The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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breadsong's picture

Chile and Cheese (two quickbreads and one sourdough)


These are three bakes using chile (jalapeno or chipotle) and cheddar cheese (I've had a craving lately for some spicy things!).

The first bake is a Cornmeal Biscuit with Cheddar and Chipotle, an old favorite from Bon Appetit Magazine, March 2006:

The baked biscuits (cheesy, oniony, with some background heat from the chipotle); we love these!:

It mixed up into a wettish dough; I folded the dough a few times incorporating some extra flour.
I froze the biscuits before baking:

The second bake is Sourdough Cheese Bread from Advanced Bread and Pastry (scaled to 1500 grams for two loaves, including 212 grams cubed sharp cheddar and 90 grams diced, seeded jalapeno slices (from a jar)).  Lots of gooey cheese melting out during the bake! I’ve been wanting to try making a cheddar and jalapeno bread for a long time.
We couldn’t wait to let this cool down before cutting into it to try. Mmmm, good!:

The third bake is Southwest Corn Bread, from Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads by Ciril Hitz.
With thanks to Mr. Hitz for this lovely corn bread formula! This is a Cheddar, Corn, Chile and Lime version.

I included the zest and juice (50 grams) of one lime, and 60 grams of crème fraiche, in place of some of the milk called for in the formula.  The lime flavor really came through and was very tasty.

I added four roasted, diced jalapenos and although my husband thought this was fine!, some parts were very spicy
(I thought sometimes the heat overtook the lime and other flavors). Next time, I might just add two jalapenos.
I roasted four peeled cobs of corn, and took the corn off the cob, to add some deeper corn flavor to the bread.
The tops of the corn breads are decorated with roasted red pepper. We really enjoyed these too!
Here is the crumb shot:

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong




amateur's picture

New to sourdough - what to do?

Okay, I'm sure this has been covered many a time; my apologies.

I have sourdough starter in a crock-pot in the kitchen. No mold. Brown stuff on top - hooch, is that what it's called?

I made a loaf out of it. The loaf didn't rise. Even after two days at room temperature. I finally gave up and baked it. It rose, and I ate some. SOUR! I mean, really sour.

So, since it didn't rise, I made another loaf, added a lot of honey to it, and just baked it without leaving it at room temperature. It's dense and heavy. It tastes all right, but it didn't rise at all.

What's the best way to approach this thing called sourdough?




varda's picture

Vermont Sourdough with Banana Yeast Water

Yeast water Vermont Sourdough with peony...

After being pushed over the edge by Akiko's magnificent baguette, the desire to ferment just became too strong.    So over the last few days I've been making banana yeast water.   I followed Akiko's instructions in her blog post which also refers to a very detailed and helpful web page.   I replaced raisins with sliced bananas but otherwise followed instructions.   This means that I started with banana and water only rather than weaning my flour based levain to fruit as I have seen others write about.  After 5 days it seemed that the yeast water was ready.   I strained out the water, took half of it, added flour, left it overnight on the counter and baked with it the next morning.   The results were tasty but not quite ready for prime time.    Meanwhile I fed the yeast water with another banana and water as per Akiko's instructions and this morning was ready to try again.   I decided to bake Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough partly because it's good and Codruta reminded me of it, and partly to have a well recognized formula to experiment with.   Further I baked two loaves - one with a banana yeast water levain and the other with my regular levain.   Since these were different hydrations the only difference in the two doughs was how much water I added to the final dough.    All of the percentages matched Hamelman's instructions.   While preparing both doughs, I noticed that the yeast water version was always more manageable and with a more silky texture.   Really though, there was very little difference between the two doughs.   However during final proof it became clear that the one with regular levain was fermenting much more rapidly.   In fact so quickly that the oven wasn't entirely ready for it when I put it in.   Unfortunately this caused me to stumble technically.   The loaf bottom split in the oven and so the whole loaf came out misshapen.    I am almost sure this was due to the fact the oven wasn't steamed properly and also possibly the stone wasn't sufficiently preheated.   Oh well.   I waited until the first loaf was done (and the oven resteamed) before putting in the yeast water loaf.    This had definitely needed the extra 55 minutes of proofing and did much better in the oven.  As for taste, what can I say - they are both tasty breads, but the regular levain sourdough has a tiny bit of sour tang which is quite delicious, where the yeast water loaf is a bit flat.   Also if you look at the crumb shots below, even with the poor misshapen loaf, the regular levain wins the competition.   So maybe I simply chose the wrong formula to test out my yeast water on and picked one that is more appropriate for a regular levain.    I will probably try, try again, and I simply love the fact that I can take a piece of fruit, doctor it for a few days, and end up with something that very competently raises bread.   


Yeast water Vermont Sourdough crumb...

Vermont Sourdough with standard levain crumb...

metropical's picture

deciphering Instructions for starter

I have a small bit of starter from someone I met recently.

The instructions that came with it don't make much sense to me and I have no way to contact.

Can anyone decipher?


100%,  1/2 WW, 1/2 white x.022=weight

70% water

10% sourdough

12 hrs.

total weight 180 IE: .400/180=.022


Take total weight of starter you want IE: .4g divide by total of percentages IE: 180.

Then multiply by each percentage for weight.


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Rye Sourdough Recipes with added Commercial Yeast

I recently posted in my blog a general formula to make German style breads with a rye-wheat flour mix.

The formula has been derived from the blog of a German baker, and it contains a bit of yeast in the final dough.

This fact caused some surprise.

I further researched this practise: the primary reason to use yeast is to have a predictable schedule, but yeast is also a means to influence the acidity by cutting the bulk fermentation short (Hamelman, Bread, p.169, in the comment)

The German "sourdough guidance" wiki gives a table of different starter types and their effect on the dough, and where the use of yeast is appropriate or necessary.

Just for reference I also checked some of the books I have for rye sourdough formulas with yeast, and found quite a few:

Peter Reinhart

The Bread Baker's Apprentice

New York Deli Rye, page 236

PR's comment: “The best rye breads are made with a mix of wild-yeast starter and commercial yeast. This is what makes them so flavourful.”

Pumpernickel, p.248

Sunflower Seed Rye, p.249

Crust & Crumb

Team USA Swiss Sunflower Bread, p.185

Daniel DiMuzio

bread baking - An Artisan's Perspective

Deli-Style Rye Bread, p.216

Hearty Sourdough Rye, p. 220

Jeffrey Hamelman

Bread, A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes

Whole Wheat Multigrain, p.169: Yeast shortens bulk proof to prevent acidity to hide grain flavors

Golden Raisin Bread, p.172

Five Grain Levain, p.175

Cheese Bread, p.180

Normandy Apple Bread, p.181

Roasted Garlic Levain, p.183

Roasted Hazelnut & Prune Bread, p.185

All breads from the chapter “Sourdough Rye Breads”

 Happy Baking,


Emonahan36's picture

NY Kaiser rolls

I have had fair success with the hard flaky crust on these rolls,  but they seem to be too dense inside,  or maybe thick is a better description.  They also turn very hard quickly, but that may be another problem.  What would be a solution to get the  inside lighter?


Mebake's picture

66% Sourdough Rye (More like the recipe)

I Have blogged about my first 66% Sourdough Rye before Here, but this time, its more like what it should be: close textured, more sour, More Rye-ish. This time i used Medium Rye (I mixed sifted Rye Flour with Whole Rye Flour in 50/50 ratio).

The fermentation happens faster when whole rye is added, and my bulk fermentation was 45 minutes only. As expected, the dough never came together as it would with lower Rye breads, but the falvor of sour rye was very pronounced.

I guess that this is how Hamelman's 66% sourdough Rye may really look like.


codruta's picture

baguettes, weight, length

hello, I need an advise regarding the right proportion between the length of the baguette and the weight of the dough. My oven (in fact, the stone inside it) is 39cm wide. If I want to make baguettes of 35 cm length, how much dough should I use for one, to obtain a proper ratio of crumb and crust? I guess I'm not the only person out here with a small oven, maybe some of you had the same problem before and can provide a good advise. I made baguettes before, but usualy they were too thin, and once they were too fat (large in diameter)... so, I would appreciate any advise I can get.


Nickisafoodie's picture

Pizza lovers: Easy to recalibrate home oven up to 35° hotter

Like many I don't have room for a brick oven (condo) and have tried various ways to try to emulate same.  The 550° max setting on my oven makes very good pies, but not nearly as well as my dream 2 minute brick oven pie, nor as good as my 4 minute 650° but "not for everyone" method posted below.  I'm happy with the variables re dough, sauce, and toppings, thus the oven temp being the issue.

I just found a link (see bottom of post) that shows how you can calibrate your oven for up (or down) by 35° in 5° increments.  This feature is common as it is not unusual to find that ovens are off by up to this amount from the factory, thus the manufactuers provide an easy way to calibrate to the correct temp assuming you tested oven with an accurate themometer.  Once that is done, the fun begins:

I have a better use for this feature since my oven is accurate - increase by the max 35° adjustment and hope that my 550° max turns into 585°.  That should result in a 5-6 minute pie vs. 9-12 minutes at 500-550°.  Given my GE oven has a self cleaning function with insulation designed to withstand 900+ degrees for hours on end, there is no danger with a mere 35° increment- nor would the manufactuers provide for this feature if the insulation could not handle it.

For the adventurous- The above approach will be a departure as I usually run my oven at 650°-675° with a 90 minute preheat resulting in a 3 1/2 to 4 minute pizza as explained in this post:  Those pizza's rock and gets me as close as I can absent the real deal.  This method works very well for me when the stone is near the bottom of the oven, and after the pre-heat I turn on the broiler (which is on the ceiling of the oven, about 12 inches above stone/pizza.  The retained heat of the stone combined with the broiler flame is the closest I've come to emulating a 2-3 minute brick oven bake.  Also at these hotter temps the hydration percentage needs to be in the 70-75% range (I use natural leavan and 3 day fridge per the above link) to ensure a moist geletinized inner crust and slightly chared outer crust. 

But 90 minutes is a long time to get my stone to 650° thus my interest in trying out what will hopefully be a 585° oven and likely a 45-60 minute preheat.  And at 585° I will just let the oven bake rather than trying the broiler after the preheat (but may have to revisit that and try!).  Hopefully this weekend...

The following link talks about GE ovens, likely that most manufactuers have this feature either in the owner's manual or on Google.  Easy to reset back for traditional baking...

patrick348's picture


In a week and a half my family will be beginning our vacation in San Francisco. In addition to Boudin Bakery, WHERE should we visit for the best bread baking experience.