The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dmsnyder's picture

5-Grain Levain from Hamelman's "Bread"

Today, I baked Hamelman's "5-grain Levain" from "Bread."

Various TFL blogs have featured this bread. They can be found by searching the site. The recipe was posted by fleur-de-liz here: Eric: Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain. She was a very active contributor to TFL at the time I joined and an inspiration to me. She encouraged me to bake this bread for the first time way back when. It is, indeed, among the most delicious breads I've ever made or tasted.


BLHNYC's picture

Raisin Challah

Hi Everyone-

With the Jewish holidays right around the corner, I am wondering if any of you have a raisin challah recipe that you recommend. In the past I have made Nick Maligieri's braided challah but I am looking for something new- and with raisins. Suggestions for the round-shaping are welcome too!


dvuong's picture

Another Stretch and Fold Technique post

I decided to try PR's Pain a l'ancienne recipe from ABED last night.  I noticed in this book that he introduced the S&F technique (I'm not sure if it was introduced in any of his other books).  From reading the forums, many of you suggest S&F at least 20 minute intervals but in PR's book, he suggests 10 minute intervals.  Is there any logic behind this?  It would be great if I could S&F all doughs at 10 minutes since it would save a lot of time.

I apologize if this question has been asked before - I am very new to bread baking!  I've searched the forum and couldn't find an exact answer to my question.  Also, would S&F work on all types of doughs or would hand kneading be a superior method for some?  In the past, I kneaded in my mixer but have now switched to hand manipulating my doughs.  I find it much more satisfying and therapeutic!


JoPi's picture

Bread from 1918

Here you will find a Government issued Bread book from October 1918  titled "Victory Breads".  It's just a few pages with some WWI info in there.



fastmail98's picture

Anyone Use a French Bread Pan?

Good Morning, Fellow Bakers...:)

Perhaps this question has been asked, but when making baguettes yesterday I was cuious about another kitchen gadget: French bread pans. Does anyone use them? My baguettes come out fine, but I would like a more tubular shape. Perhaps if I added more surface tension on the dough I would get it, eh? The pans available through Chicago Metallic, etc. are coated with a non-stick coating that, like all of the coatings, release chemical fumes at 500 degrees or so (depending on whose tests you read). I pre-heat my oven to 500 degrees to get my baking stone really hot and to use a steam pan for a firmer crust. Any suggestions for a non-non-stick French bread pan? Thanks!


mcs's picture

Two Years and Running

Hey there Freshloafers,
I thought I'd poke my head out of the dough and cloud of flour to update you on the bakery's progress.

A few weeks ago I noticed that we had our two year bakery anniversary.  I think it went like this:
Me:  "Last week was two years for the bakery."
Sharon:  "Really?  When?"
Me:  "I don't know, some time last week, I think."

It wasn't exactly a 'stop the mixers and break out the champagne' type of celebration, but it was pretty cool to think of the progress we've made in such a short time.  Rather than summarizing the last two years, I thought I'd let you know what's happened in the past 12 months or so.  (Here's the post I did on our opening day two years ago; This is the post I did on our first year strategy)

During the slow months last year (November through April), I continued the baking for my wholesale accounts while working to finish the construction on the upstairs of our house.  Sharon had been patiently looking at sheetrock screw heads for the past couple of years.


the loft

I also put in a new floor downstairs, which I completed just hours before our first farmers' market in the spring.

bamboo floor

The other goal during the off-season was to take my first days-off with the wife in two years.  If you missed that post, here's the link to my entry about our trip to Vancouver Island.

As far as the Baking Business goes, I continued the first year plan while making a few adjustments like:
1.  Cutting back on wholesale deliveries.  Thursdays is now my prep day which comes in awful handy now that the busy season is here.  It's now my laminating day since the place stays nice and cool without the ovens on.
2.  More special orders and special deliveries.  Last winter I used Friday as my 'home delivery' day to extend my farmers' market season a little bit longer.  I'll continue it this winter as I offer everything that I do at the market for home or workplace delivery ($10 minimum).  The new customers are very excited about this deal.
3.  DVD sales.  Last winter I started selling some baking technique DVDs, and that's definitely helped to supplement the long and slow winter.  Here's my post on them.  The next one will be on croissants.

Other than that, it seems that it's mostly business as usual.  There have been a lot of improvements as far as efficiency goes which have added up to 'a little less work making a little more product'.  I sleep in an hour later each day, but mornings are absolutely filled with baking and/or pastry prep for the busier days.  This leaves my afternoons a little more relaxed.  Funny thing, but the difference between waking up 1 hour later each day and sleeping in on Sundays is a big deal.  Ask any of the interns if they could've used an extra hour of sleep each day!  Plus sometimes we even get to eat dinner before 7.  Hey, not all the time, but every once in a while.

Anyway, that's about it.  I'll leave you with a few pictures of some of the special orders that I've worked on this past summer and spring.

Happy Baking.


mini croissants

mini croissants baked

hot cross buns

burger buns



JoPi's picture

Cookbook from 1895

I came across this cookbook which has some very interesting 'ways' from 1895.


The name of the book is "Smiley's Cookbook and Universal Household Guide: A Comprehensive Collection.

Take a look at the section on bread which starts on page 256 (you can move ahead in the book by typing the page number in the little box on the top of the page on the right).  

There is info on how to test the oven for the right temp. and something called 'steaming' for several hours and then baking for an hour???

My favorite was the section on page 261 titled "Eating Hot Bread".  





breadbakingbassplayer's picture

8/26/10 - Almond Milk Bread with Dried Cherries

Almond Milk Bread with Dried Cherries

This recipe was inspired by a friend who gave me some dried cherries to bake something with, my recent success with brioche, and a box of unsweetened almond milk that just doesn’t taste very good to drink straight…


1000g Bread flour (Gold Medal)

600g Liquid (3 eggs + almond milk to make up amount)

200g Liquid levain (100% hydration storage starter from fridge)

150g Granulated sugar

150g Slivered almonds

230g Dried cherries

100g Unsalted butter

20g Kosher salt

10g Instant Yeast (3 tsp)

2 tsp Vanilla extract


2460g Total Dough Yield


Digital scale

Large stainless steel mixing bowl about 15L size

Rubber spatula or wooden spoon

Plastic dough scraper

Bowl of water

Large plastic bag

Plastic tub with cover (4L or larger)

3 loaf pans 9” x 5” loaf pans

Large plastic bag

Baking stone (large rectangular)

Egg+ water for egg wash

Butter for greasing plastic tub and pans



Weigh out all ingredients, cut butter in to small cubes, butter plastic tub, toast almond slivers in a pan and let cool.

7:45pm – Place eggs, almond milk, vanilla extract in large mixing bowl.  Then add the bread flour, granulated sugar, Kosher salt, instant yeast.  Mix well using rubber spatula until a shaggy dough comes together.  Knead in bowl using slap and fold method for about 5 minutes.  Then add all the butter and continue kneading using slap and fold method for another 5 minutes.   Then add almond slivers and dried cherries.  Transfer to buttered plastic tub and let rise for  2 to 2 1/2 hrs or until doubled. Turn dough every 30 minutes.  (I put it in the fridge for 1 hour due to scheduling of another bake).

9:30pm – Place plastic tub in fridge for 1 hr if necessary due to scheduling.

10:30pm – Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, divide into 3 equal pieces (800g approx).  Shape into loaf, place in buttered loaf pan. Place all pans in large plastic bag, cover and proof for 90 minutes.

11:00pm – Place baking stone on 2nd rack from bottom, preheat oven with convection to 400F.

12:00am – Brush loaves with egg wash made from 1 egg and a little water.  Turn convection off, place loaves into oven, turn down to 380F and bake for 40 minutes or until internal temp reaches 190F or more.  Cool completely before eating.


baker daniel's picture
baker daniel

Baking Bread above 3000 Feet above Sea Level

I am having a problem.  I live 3000 feet above sea level.  I have been baking sourdough bread with a starter that is well over 100 years old.  The flavor of my sourdough bread is awesome, but the texture of the actual bread (inside) is too dense and finely textured.  I have tried everything to create more gas inside the bread, but to no avail.  What am I doing wrong?  If my altitude is too high, how do I compensate?  Suggestions are welcome!

evmiashe's picture

How to grind your own all purpose flour - recipe

Since I have a wheat grinder and lots of wheatberries (hard red, white and soft), I want to grind my own all purpose flour - not buy it in the store.  I have been searching and searching for a real recipe on how to grind your own all purpose flour for baking (not bread baking).  So far I have found out that it is a mixture of soft wheat and hard winter white wheat.  Is it 50% / 50%???  Can someone share their recipe?  And do you then sift out the bran with a hand sifter to make a lighter flour for pastry and cake? 

Thank you so much!