The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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coffeetester's picture

Help I think my starter is not well

So Its been 12 days since I started my Pineapple SD starter. After about 9 days I thought I had a good starter going. It would double and collapse in 12 hours. It smelled pretty decent. On Friday morning I fed it a 1:2:2 feeding and it really looks like my starter has really stagnated. After 12 hours I barley had 50% growth and almost no bubbles in the top. I then went back to my 2:1:1 starter and I cant get an explosive growth out of my starter. Lots of forums are saying 3 to 4 hours to get a good double. My Sunday feeding did not grow in the first 12 hours so I did not feed it last night. This morning there is a stench that was there in the first couple of days. I feed it again this morning with a 2:1:1 feeding. Can I get some advice to tell if I damaged the starter. Here are some facts I do know

My Counter top/Oven temp is 71F. This is pretty constant but I have been trying to get it to 75 with boiling water

I am using King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flower

I use water from a filter system under the sink. I dont know the quality of the filter but the water tastes good.


On a side note using these same supplies I have made 2 successful loaf's the last two weekend so I dont suspect any thing wrong with the environment or water.

Bake Skywalker's picture
Bake Skywalker

Quick Dinner Bread

Hello my Baking Buddies, I am totally new to the site, really enjoying the community and forums, I feel at home here :) I have a good topic to start a thread on so I though I would throw it out and see what hits.

I found myself in a situation over the weekend.  My fiance and I were invited over to have Halloween dinner by the parents of my ten year old sons friend ("Girl" friend).  Saturday afternoon I found myself wishing that I had started a batch of Pain A L'anciene the night before to bake off that evening to bring to dinner on Sunday.

Does anyone have a recipe for a really delicouse, quick dinner quality bread that can be baked in half a day?

I am just hoping that in the future if given short notice, I might still be able to whip up something immpresive.

Here is hoping


P.S. I did end up making fresh Pita Flatbreads and Fresh Hummus with Roasted Red Bells, which ended up being a huge hit.  But still, the expreice left me wanting a nice crusty dinner bread.

wally's picture

Homage to SylviaH (and her sure-fired steaming method!)

Anyone who's followed my blogs knows that I'm constantly whinging about my gas oven and it's tendency to vent steam as quickly as I can create it.

But it's true: my relationship with my oven is probably like that of Ike and Monty in WWII - hated one another but needed each other.

So, having tried the numerous Rube Goldberg remedies found on TFL (I'm still using lava rocks in a cast-iron frying pan), and found them either impractical or wanting, I read Sylvia's recent post with interest - but skeptical interest I must admit.

Still, looking for anything that might offer a tactical advantage over my oven, I tried it out today with a pain au levain recipe using mixed rye and AP levains from Hamelman's Bread (still my favorite sandwich bread!)

I slightly improvised on Sylvia's instructions: I thoroughly soaked a terry cloth towel in water, placed it in a glass pyrex bread pan, filled it 3/4's with water and then nuked it in my microwave for about 10 minutes before placing it in my oven just before loading my loaves.

On loading a cup of water was carefully tossed onto my lava rocks, and then two minutes later, another half cup.  I removed the pyrex pan with the towel 15 minutes prior to finishing the bake.

Oh the result!  The most oven spring and the best opened cuts I've ever had at home - easily!

Here are some shots of today's bake:




If I could sell Sylvia's technique I'd be like Ron Popeil at this point.  However, I'm having difficulty visualizing an infomercial featuring a terry cloth towel steaming in a bread pan, so I'll give that a pass.

However, I will heartedly add my endorsements to those Sylvia has already received. 

This is one way of overcoming the shortcomings of home kitchen gas ovens.  And how!


And the crumb shot:

(Crumb shots to follow once the bread's cooled)

teketeke's picture

some of My favorite breads

Again, I want to introduce some breads that I make over and over!   My family loves these bread as I can tell is they don't complain to me that they are tired of these bread. They ask me more slices of these often.

First, This bread was posted by Daisy_A (  I posted this bread before, but I got a lovely letter from one of  my husband's coworker who loves bread. She said that this was the best bread I ever had! she and her mother ate every bit of crumb until it was completely gone!    I was really happy to hear that they enjoyed this loaf.  I love this bread, too.  I can't count how many time I made this.   It is sourer that I usually attempt for the other bread. This bread shloud be the way, and this has a lot of flavor, too. 

I used 125% sourdough culture this time. It was difficult to put it in the tin but it was worth it! It has more moist in the crumb!

Thank you, Daisy and Katie and rebecca!

Second, Franko posted this recipe but he used 100% spelt flour that is more challenge for me.   Although I posted it this recipe using 100% whole wheat, and 80% whole wheat.  this time, I used white sourdough culture instead, and 50% white bread flour, 50% whole wheat flour and some wild rice and oats for the soaker.   I also decreased the water amount down to 9% as like I made the other mutilgrain bread before.   I have shopped some stuff for baking recently.. I can't still afford to buy spelt flour.... I will buy it and other flour that I want to try  for other recipe when I can spend more money for extra.

I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds and oats on the top. I got this idea from Karin who posted a fabulous Straun on Khalid's blog. Thank you, Kharin. It tasted really really good!  Thank you, Franko!


In the end, This is the first time to post this bread that was posted by Hansjoakim. I have made some of his rye bread that were excellent.  This is his pain au levain. I love this bread.  I tasted sour and sweet on the first day when I sliced them when it was slightly warm yet. I regreted that I did.  As RobynNZ suggested me that I should have waited until it was completely cool. I always appreciate her help. Many thanks to you, Robyn.    The next day, the taste was wonderful. We ate toasted 2 slices of this bread each with butter for this breadfast!  Yummy!!

Thank you, Hansjoakim!! 

I am really appreciate for all of you and Floyd who keeps the website peace and safe.   Thank you, everybody.




copyu's picture

Posting photos...I know, I know...!

I know this has been done to death, but I was wondering if anyone else has had trouble using Win7 (32-bit) to upload photos here. I had a heck of a time uploading photos to TFL using XP, but (eventually) it worked beautifully with some excellent guidance...[Thanks again to those kind folks!]

I've now read just about every post on TFL with respect to this subject, but ZERO results...I could click that little "tree icon" until my mouse died, but it does nothing

Are my local security settings too high? Do I need to shut down my firewall? Am I "barred" by admin from posting photos as some sort of 'trouble-maker'? ;-)

I'm still finding my way around Win7, but have been around computers since the days of steam and can usually solve these problems by myself, but not this time! Any advice would be welcome



dmsnyder's picture

Pain au Levain with Hazelnuts and Currants


I've been thinking about baking a sourdough nut bread for some weeks. They are so nice plain and with cheese. With lots of family expected for several days around Thanksgiving, I'll want a variety of breads I can take out of the freezer to serve with meals and for snacks. I like to serve sourdough nut breads with hors d'oeuvres.

I thought over the breads with nuts I've made before but decided to try something new: a French-style (not too sour) Pain au Levain with hazelnuts and currants.

I based the bread on Hamelman's Pain au Levain from “Bread.” I added about 25% nuts and currants to the dough at the end of mixing and followed Hamelman's procedure for bulk fermentation, proofing and baking.


Levain build


Baker's %

KAF AP flour

4.6 oz


Medium rye flour

0.3 oz



3 oz


Mature (stiff) starter

1 oz



8.9 oz



Final dough


KAF AP flour

1 lb, 9.8 oz

Medium rye flour

1.3 oz


1 lb, 1.8 oz


0.6 oz


7.9 oz

Roasted hazelnuts

4 oz

Zante currants

4 oz


3 lb, 13.4 oz


  1. Mix the final levain build 12 hours before the final mix. Cover the bowl and let it ferment at room temperature (about 70ºF).

  2. Mix all the ingredients except the salt and levain to a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and distribute chunks of the levain over the dough. If using a stand mixer, mix with the paddle at Speed 1 for 1-2 minutes to incorporate the added ingredients and then with the dough hook for about 6 minutes at Speed 2. There should be moderate gluten development. Add the hazelnuts and currants and mix for another 2 minutes or so at low speed. Desired dough temperature is 76ºF.

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and knead briefly to evenly distribute the nuts and currants. Then round it up and place it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Bulk ferment for 2 ½ hours with two folds at 50 minute intervals.

  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and preshape as rounds or logs. Let the pieces rest for 20 minutes.

  7. Shape each piece as a boule or bâtard and place en couche or in a banneton. Cover with plastic or a towel.

  8. Proof the loaves for 2 to 2 ½ hours.

  9. Preheat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place 45 to 60 minutes before baking.

  10. When proofed, transfer the loaves to a peel, score them and transfer them to the baking stone.

  11. Turn the oven down to 440ºF and bake with steam for 15 minutes, then in a dry oven for another 25-30 minutes.

  12. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool completely before slicing.


    Notes on my baking procedure

  • To steam the oven, I use a cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks. This is pre-heated along with the baking stone. Right after the loaves are loaded on the stone, I place a perforated pie pan with 10-12 ice cubes on top of the lava rocks.

  • I start my bake with the oven at conventional setting. At the end of the steaming period, I switch the oven to convection bake and lower the temperature 25ºF.

  • For this bake, when the loaves were fully baked, I turned off the oven and left the loaves on the

    stone with the oven door ajar for 10 minutes.

We tasted the bread when (almost completely) cooled. The crust is very crunchy. The crumb was denser than I had hoped, although this is a rather low-hydration bread. My experience with nutted breads has always been that the crumb tends to be less open than expected, so now I expect it.

The crumb was very chewy. The flavor of the bread was lovely, with no perceptible sourness, except for the sweet-sour flavor of the currents. At this point, the bread, nuts and currents each contributes its distinctive flavor. Quite nice.

I'm looking forward to having this bread toasted for breakfast. 


Submitted to YeastSpotting


joeleaux's picture

Recipe for bread machine similar to Nature's Own Wheat "Sandwich Rounds"

My wife buys the wheat "Sandwich Rounds" by Nature's Own. Is there a way to make something like them at home?

songwritergirl's picture

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

This was my first legit attempt at homemade bread, a whole wheat oatmeal bread. The recipe is from Kim Boyce's "Good To The Grain" cookbook, and is made in one day, using active dry yeast, regular whole wheat flour, oatmeal and unbleached bread flour, and a very short 30-minute autolyse before kneading and proofing. It's a great beginner's recipe.

A short list of ingredients I used:

King Arthur Flours

Red Star Active Dry Yeast

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

Doubling the starter

I keep my 100% hydration starter in the fridge.  I remove it and allow it to come to room temp.  I feed it 1:1:1 and use half in bread recipe.  Then put remaining half back in the fridge.  Is this okay to continue like this or is there something wrong with my method?

jtziolkowski's picture

Unpredictable Oven Spring Issues with Whole Grain Breads

I am a home baker regular baking approximately 6+ loaves of whole grain breads per week.  I use Peter Reinhart's delayed fermentation method  exclusively and I am having issues with my oven spring...or lack there of.  It's totally unpredictable...I baked three anadama loaves last night and each of the two rises went as planned, yet when I put them into the oven...nothing.  The night before, however, I baked two loaves, both of which sprung nicely in the oven. In short, my oven spring has been consistently inconsistent and I do not know why. 

Here is some general information about the process:

Room temp in my house is usually right around 76 degrees

Soaker is kept at room temp for 10 - 12 hours

Biga refrigerated for approx. 10 hrs (two additional hours at room temperature to take the chill off before final dough mixing_

Use King Arthur whole wheat flour exclusively

My yeast is kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator and is only a month of two old

I use 9"x5" loaf pans

First rise usually lasts approximately 45 - 50 mins to achieve recommended rise of 1.5x's original volume

Final rise in the pan usually takes no longer than 50 mins until i press the dough with my finger and it slowly springs back (sometimes a hint of the indentation remains)

I do not use vital wheat gluten

I have noticed that when I make breads such as challah or brioche which include eggs and milk that the oven spring is usually significant

I have been baking for more than three years now with no formal training whatsoever.  In the past, a loaf here or there that did not spring was not the end of the world, however, I now have a number or people for whom I bake a loaf of bread per week and I cannot be giving out whole grain bricks!! Please help!