The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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SylviaH's picture

Which conducts heat better Iron or Steel

I would think iron and more evenly but, then again I think not..because all of these steel heating plates are coming out on the market.  I received an e-mail from Sur La Table and they are offering free shipping on any $59 purchase.  One new item is their Baking Steel plate 14X14 1/4 inch thick.  I haven't experimented with using one of these and I'm thinking about adding one for another baking accessory.  

They can be used on stove tops, bar b q's and as a cold plate.  I was just wondering about baking pizza in an indoor elec. oven.  Has anyone tried the bottom of their ex-lrg Iron Skillet and how did it work for pizza.

I've been meaning to give it a try with my iron pan..but have just been procrastinating about it.


pb9003's picture

Challah, in large quantities -

Greetings -

With the Jewish holidays approaching, I'm considering methodologies for making quantities larger than what will fit in my KA stand mixer and am looking for advice.  I have a challah recipe I've played around with and perfected over the years, basically "Almost Grandmother's Challah", found all over the 'net.  Each recipe makes 2 loaves and is, I believe, at or about the capacity of my 6-qt mixer.  I need a dozen finished loaves, one of which is going to be a 'mega-loaf' in a 7-braid configuration to be used as a centerpiece on one of the tables.  So really, I need 7 batches.  Having watched videos on 'stretch and fold' as well as no-knead, I was wondering if I could just mix the whole thing in one plastic bus-pan (those things they use to bus tables in restaurants, I already have a couple) by hand, using stretch-and-fold to develop the structure, rather than making 7 individual batches in the machine doing the traditional kneading on the hook and ending up with 7 pails of rising dough each at a different stage of rising.  The recipe does call for beating sugar into the eggs and then whipping the whole thing with oil, all before adding any flour, so my plan would be to use the mixer for that part, then dump that liquid (35 eggs, 7 cups of sugar, some honey and 3.5cups of vegetable oil) into the flour and proceed with mixing.  My concern is trying to knead by hand a blob of dough containing 49 cups of flour - I'm a sturdy guy in pretty good health for a 54-year-old, but certainly not a muscle-man and not one who does not regularly expend the energy I imagine would be required to accomplish a more traditional kneading with such a large batch.   Any and all thoughts are welcomed!!!    Among other reasons, I'm trying to streamline this because I also have to cook the rest of the meal, much of which cannot be done in advance.

Thank you



tom_belte's picture

Cleaning/Changing of container....

Hello,  I'm on day 5 of my starter, using a medium sized tubby kilner jar. I was wondering about jar cleanliness and once I have my starter ready to use is it a good idea to change to a cleaner jar ? Obviously there will be continuous feeding so is it a worry which needs no worrying ? Just a little nervous/excited at the moment and very new to this all.  


hashemi's picture

Petit Beurre Problem

Dear All,

We are a producer of petit beurre biscuits. Recently we are trying to develop a new product by making two 75 mm round petit beurres and placing cream in between.

We are currently facing two major problems in the final product:

1. We are getting dimples & blisters on the surface of the products when they get out of the oven.

Our oven consists of two zones, first zone temp is 290 & second zone temp is 310. We lowered the temp of the first zone to 280 which had some positive effects, but the problem is not completely solved.

2. When the goods cool down, nearly 40% of them get cracked in half and therefore we can not put cream on them and package them. So we are obligated to package the goods as soon as they come out of the oven and are still warm, if they remain for tomorrow they will break up!

I would be thankful if anyone could help us solve the problems.

All the best

Abelbreadgallery's picture

Mill loaf by Dan Lepard

This is a sourdough rustic loaf (60% bread flour, 30% whole wheat and 10% rye).

I found the recipe in the book The handmade loaf by Dan Lepard.

More info:

subfuscpersona's picture

QUESTION: mixing all purpose and bread flours...

I've noticed some bakers here mixing some all purpose flour with bread flour in their artisan loaves and I've wondered why they do it.

I realize subbing some AP flour will somewhat lower the gluten forming ability of the dough. What pluses does it bring to the dough?

A typical bake for me is a sourdough artisan bread (flour, water, levain, salt) with about 30% whole grain (mostly whole wheat flour, small percentage of whole rye flour) and hydration of 70-72%, so if you, dear readers, could respond in that context, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks in advance

PS The white flour I normally use is Gold Medal unbleached bread flour (about 12% protein).

hkooreman's picture

Raymond Cavel's Sourdough Starter

Has anyone used Raymond Calvel's process for developing a sourdough starter.  It's supposed to take just 2 1/2 days to get a starter that is ready to use.  I found a description of the process here:

If anyone has used it, how well did it work?  Also, I noticed that the formula calls for both malt and salt.  I was wondering what these ingredients would do for the starter.  I was interested to try the formula out but thought I would check and see if anyone has used it successfully before I start.  Thanks.

Nilsmasters56's picture

Gap Year


Firstly my name is Nils and I currently live in the UK I'm 17 and about to finish college next year (high school in America I suppose). I've been interested in cooking since a very young age and particularly artisan bread since I was about 14, for the past 3 years I've been reading about and baking bread and I love it. Coming to my point, I've decided to take a gap year and something I really want to do is pursue this combining it with traveling. Now obviously I can't expect to become a master baker in a year and it's quite insulting to the craft to assume that I could. I was hoping still for a way for even just a year to train or learn in some way. I had an idea to move to San Francisco as I would like to live in America at some point and the artisan baking movement seems to be at large there (SFBI seemed an option), If any of you could suggest any things I could get involved in, or places to go anywhere in America to learn about bread that would honestly be fantastic.

Thanks very much, Nils

parisbread's picture

catering sandwiches - storing bread in the fridge question

I am often asked to prepare sandwiches for catering (tea sandwiches or other 2-bite affairs).

For tea sandwiches, I use a moist rich bread (homemade, something like challah/brioche), cut off the crusts, and store in plastic containers lined with damp paper towel.

So far so good :)

Now, I'm catering a wedding at the end of September, and they've asked for a variety of sandwiches. And I suggested mini NY Onion Buns and mini Cheese Buns (20 g per dough ball, about the size of a golf ball) in addition to tea sandwiches. The mini buns make great sandwiches ...

But I'll have to fill the mini buns hours in advance, pack, transport, and then they'll be stored in a fridge for 10 hrs *before* serving. (I have deliver before the wedding; the sandwiches are being served at the end of the night as a snack course at 9:30 pm).

Yes, bread stored in the fridge is gross. But mini sandwiches filled with bacon and cheddar and smoky mayo on little cheese buns are adorable. And have to be refrigerated.

Any advice on how to store them in the fridge without creating hockey pucks? I'll be using par-baked mini buns reheated that morning; I'll be cutting, filling, wrapping at about 7 am, I'll transport them at 11:30 am, and they'll be eaten after dark. 

Other than advising that the servers take the sandwiches out the fridge 20 minutes before serving, what else can I do? I cannot be onsite to assemble a-la-minute...

thanks :)

CAphyl's picture

My starter has matured and become less active

My starter has been very good for six months or so, and lately, it seems to have slowed down.  Not much growth at all after feeding.  Is this a maturity problem?  I can see it is still there something i should do differently?  I have been feeding once per day when I am in town.  I have had it in the fridge when i have been traveling, but it has bounced back fine. It just seems to be in a suspended state right now.  Any suggestions?