The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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MichaelH's picture

New Baking Challenge....

I have over a dozen of the most popular Artisan Bread books, and have enjoyed them all. I also visit several websites on a regular basis for recipes and ideas. However, I've decided to take a new approach to bread baking for a while.

I am going to bake my way through David Snyder's Blog. When (if) I can reproduce his creations, I will consider myself a baker.




overnight baker's picture
overnight baker

Trip across the channel

I intended to start a blog and leave a post every week with updates of a new loaf or new idea as a way to help me keep on experimenting and learning. So far, alas I have fallen at the first hurdle, after an impromptu trip to Paris I failed to update my blog the first week and haven't done so since.

It's not all bad though as Paris has been a real eye opener. I got into making bread seriously because of a lack of good local bakeries. When I moved to a new flat in a new area last year I discovered my high street had 2 greengrocers, a really good butchers and a plethora of small local independent stores, but alas no bakery! Even a trip to the nearby city centre left me empty handed but for a handful of instore supermarket bakeries and the omnipresent Greggs (a UK bakery chain that provides cheap, cheerful but ultimately soul destroying baked products). A short ferry/train trip across the channel however and it's a completely different story. Around every corner of every street in every arrondissemont the fresh smell of bread could be smelled wafting from a small boulangerie. The whole country must be teeming with bakers to be able to fill all those stores with such a variety of doughy delights. Don't get me wrong it's not as if the UK has worse bread, when you find it some of the stuff is delicious. It's just that good bread is comparitively so hard to find. And it's not as if we don't desire good bread, I recentely read Britons make far more bread at home than our french counterparts (and it's not hard to imagine why). Maybe the lack of good bakeries is a blessing, how else would I have discovered the joys of seeing the first bubbles arrive in a mixture of rye, water and nothing else (still amazes me), would I have ever even come across the words miche, banneton, lame etc. if I had not had to turn to home baking. Somehow however I still think I would prefer it if I had a friendly local bakery to buy at least the occasional loaf from.A small bakery on every street

As this blog has such a geographically diverse readership I wonder what others have to say about the provision of good bakeries in their area, and why some countries seemed to be able to have enough demand to keep a bakery in business on every street whereas others can have a whole town centre with nothing.

LRBY's picture

Sourdough Starter

I just did my first sourdough starter and have made 3 loafs of bread that came out yummy:)  I have had the starter in the fridge for a week and have not feed it since then.  Do I need to feed it before I use it again?   How long can it sit in the fridge without feeding?  Can I just use the discarded part for breads?  Thanks!

mimifix's picture

Teaching the Art of Breadmaking

Greetings everyone! I need suggestions for breadmaking classes.

I already teach a variety of 3-hour adult ed baking classes; but not bread because of the time constraints. Since all baked goods need to be started and out of the oven within that 3-hour timeframe, does anyone have reasonably good bread recipes for the novice breadmaker? I'm hoping that once students are introduced to yeast and starters, and enjoy their first delicious loaf, they will continue the adventure at home.

Thanks for your help! Mimi

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Kansas Wheat Blog

The Kansas Wheat website has a blog section. This month's blog has entries from a trip around the state to check out the crop and start gathering information for predictions on the crop yield. It's a business report, "G" rated material, and is short on literary magic but it's worth the short amount of time it takes to read.

Then you can go to the page that has recipes of breads that won in the state fair and other competitions.

Yippee's picture

20100510 Sourdough Pain de Campgne

This was a simple white bread with small amount of whole rye flour.  The first time I made a similar loaf was coincidently around the same period last year.  Since then, I’ve acquired many new skills and made some progress in making artisan breads.  I felt that I’ve grown in the past year, as a learner, from an infant to a toddler, who is now on her feet confidently and curiously exploring in a giant Breads-R-Us. Thank you again to those of you who have helped me up and walking along this wonderful journey.


I don’t bake very often.  Therefore, I like to take advantage of every opportunity in each bake to experiment with new things. Some of the things I try are new techniques I’ve learned; and some of the things simply come out due to the situation.  Like this time, I wanted to get rid of some of the previously built starters that were not used due to cancelled bakes. They must have been sitting in the fridge unattended for months.  I decided to use them as is and complemented them with a trace amount of instant yeast and a longer fermentation.  Luckily, since I’ve had my proofer, I’ve been able to manipulate the fermentation process at will. Mixing of the dough was done exclusively by machine as usual. Gluten was fully developed and oven spring was superb as I sealed all the vents during steaming. I used the method David (dmsnyder) had shared with me to flour the brotform.  I rubbed rice flour into it and I got the Sbeautiful patterns I’ve always wanted on my loaf. I also found Mr. Lepard’s oil-your-work surface technique a very practical alternative to dusting the counter with flour as it eliminates the clean up of mess afterwards.    


The crust turned out very crackly but was a bit too dark.  I think I need to lower the oven temperature sooner next time.  The crumb was light, springy and fluffy and had a very, very mild, almost undetectable tanginess, which my family enjoys.     


A summary of the formula and procedures is as follows:




 Here are some pictures:



dale1nemo's picture

Printing reciepes

I am not the most computer literate, however is there a way to just print a listed reciepe in the forum without all other responces ? I tryed highlighting the reciepe content but had no luck any help would be great....oh and save me a lot of paper and ink  Thanks

afjagsp123's picture

Mother Starter was fine, dough isn't proofing...

I'm rising a Pain au Levain from PRs Artisan Breads Everyday. The mother starter is healthy, and when I made the starter yesterday it doubled as expected. I made the dough this morning; it is supposed to proof at room temp for 3 to 4 hours, and double by 4. It's been 3 3/4 hours, and it has gained maybe 25%. There are some largish bubbles building along the sides of the container, but little sign that it is going to gain much.

Should I just put it in the fridge and let it proof overnight rather than trying to finish it today? (Original recipe calls for a 3 hour and then overnight proof, with the variation of a 4 hour proof and same-day shape and bake.) Or do you think I could just watch it some more and see if it shows signs of gaining? What about proofing in the oven with a light on? Our home is 73 right now (we live in the desert) and air conditioned.

ievbpod's picture



Just joined today, great to see so many of you out there making sourdough, absolutely everyone I know thinks I´m nuts!

Challenged myself to never again buy bread from a bakery again (it´s a long story, if anyone is interested....) and as you can imagine with 2 teenagers and one 12 year old and a voracious bread-eating husband (nothing he likes better!) this has been no small feat. Have had all sorts of experiences with yeasted dough, mostly good but was looking for more flavour and less yeast, so learnt about sourdough.

Started my starter about a month ago and all went well, have made a couple of loaves of plain white sourdough bread that tastes yummy but has a crust that is likely to break either my bread knife or someone´s teeth.  The 3rd set of loaves came out much lighter, really tasty and soft and chewy - almost everything I´m looking for in the crumb but those crusts!!!   Have seen some of the blogs and perhaps my mistake is in not paying enough attention to the shaping, my dough was already round so just sort of left it. Loved the Bertinand video, will try that next time, in the meantime any advice will be appreciated

mountaineer cookie company's picture
mountaineer coo...

Questions about a business opportunity

I have a business opportunity that I have a few questions that I hope people can help with.  This new business wants to hire me as a baker and use my personal formulas.  I have a feeling that they are going to compensate me too little, but I need more information.  


They are currently offering $9 an hour plus a 2-3% incentive pay (bonus) from each bakery sale with a "promise" of a partnership in future opportunities.  They are not offering any compensation for my personal formulas.  I have a few questions (our location is Morgantown, WV):


1.  What is the starting salary of a head baker?  Does this depend on whether it is a bakery versus a specialty shop that makes bread (that's what this would be)?

2.  What is the standard markup over total cost for a loaf of artisan bread?  (Sourdough, ciabatta, etc)

3.  What would a bakery pay for a quality formula for an artisan bread?

4.  Any advice for a counter-offer?


Thanks for the input in advance!!