The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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sfp1's picture

Best focaccia?


Does anyone have a really good recipe for focaccia? Thanks.


sfp1's picture

Hello fellow bread lovers!

Just found Fresh Loaf and joined.  :)

just.baked's picture

burn and slash

Just passing along a technique I tried.

I've been doing some high hydration baguettes and was having trouble getting good slashes even with a razor blade lame - too gummy.

The baguette pictured was slashed about 5 min after it went in the oven. The skin of the dough firmed up and the razor slashed beautifully. I'm going to experiment with slashing wet doughs after they go in the oven to find the best time to make the cut.

The other loaf in the picture is my first attempt at apple-water yeasted bread. Got tremendous, though late oven spring, likely due to the thin pizza stone not imparting a lot of heat to the dough. Was just out of the oven here, so will have to show the crumb shot later.

chasenpse's picture

Misto for steaming bread?

Since many home bakers don't have ovens with steam injectors we've had to rely on other methods be in water in a hot pan, squirt bottles, etc. I've recently picked up a pair of misto sprayers and I'm curious if anyone has tried filling one up with water and using it to help add steam to their ovens.

Would spraying a loaf with a mist of water impair the crust or would it help with oven spring?

a mars reject's picture
a mars reject

Kenwood mixer times for wrap dough

I'm going to try Paul Hollywood's wrap recipe today, but he hasn't included an idea for how long to knead it in a mixer. I use a Kenwood, I was thinking just giving it 4 minutes on Min so that it's nice and smooth, should that do the trick?

Murderboner's picture

Inactive starter


made a starter based of the tartine book. After about 4 days, liquid from the starter had separated. A few bubbles not much else going on. I decided to feed it anyway. Still seeing bubbles but the starter is not rising/collasping. Anythoughts suggestions are appreciated. 

NicholasStacey's picture

New, hello

Hello fresh loaf community. I've just joined In hopes to further my understanding of bread and learn how to improve my baking. I'm currently in culinary school, and bread is quickly becoming a passion. Thanks for having me.


MostlySD's picture

How about a section on enzymes?


I am not new to TFL having been a registered member for a while some time ago. However, I had stopped baking bread & only came back to it when someone in my household developed liver problem, most probably due to his current medication. His body is having difficulty eliminating cholesterol & triglycerides. He has been allowed 3 months to see whether a change of diet can alleviate the problem. If not, he might have to change medication, a rather dire prospect.

As a result, I have taken up bread baking again. I was always partial to sourdough. It turns out that is a good choice for him. Also, since it is said that oats is good for lowering cholesterol, I have been trying to bake a decent loaf of bread using oat flour, at first with whole wheat flour without much success - too dense.

Having read that the use of sourdough in bread baking lowers the glycemic index of even white flour, I am now trying oats and white flour. However, since it appears that oat bran is a better choice than oat flour for lowering cholesterol level in the blood, I have moved to using oat bran. Still, my bread have been on the dense side ... until now!

In "Bioprocessing to improve oat bread quality", researcher Laura Flander found that the addition of enzymes Laccase & Xylanase improves the texture of oat sourdough bread.

After some research on the web, I found out that both enzymes are present in *wheat bran*. Today, I baked a bread using Unbleached Bread Flour & 10% organic oat bran. The wheat bran was introduced in the dough through the starter. The resulting bread is very good indeed!

Which brings me to the subject matter. Wouldn't it be a good idea to add a section on enzymes in the forum ... for information about both *good* and *bad* enzymes in bread baking?

Thanks for giving the idea some consideration!

dmsnyder's picture

San Francisco-style Sourdough and dishes made with it

As the weather has turned cooler, my sourdough breads have become less tasty. They have  had a less complex flavor and have been less tangy than those baked last Summer. My kitchen is in the mid-60's of late, while it was in the high-70's (or low-80's)  in the heat of summer. So, in the interest of science and other noble causes, I set out to return my SFSD to its rightful tastiness.

The truth is that I changed a number things at once, which is poor scientific methodology. But  I think I know what made the biggest difference, and the important thing is that I made some really good bread.

The basic formula and methods for my San Francisco-style Sourdough with increased whole wheat can be found here: San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat flour And here is what I did differently:

1. I fed my levain with some firm starter that had been refrigerated for about 3 days, rather than freshly refreshed starter.

2. I fermented the levain for 9 hours at 76 dF, rather than overnight at room temperature. I then refrigerated it for about 12 hours.

3. I mixed the autolyse with water warmed to 90 dF rather than cool water.

4. After a 1 hour autolyse, I mixed the dough and fermented it in bulk at 76 dF for 4 hours.

5. I then divided the dough and shaped boules and refrigerated for 24 hours.

6. I baked at 475 dF for 12 minutes, then convection baked at 445 dF for 14 minutes more.

Here is the result:

The crust is a little darker than usual. I prefer it this way. And the crumb ...

Mixed at the same hydration level as usual, this dough was noticeably  more slack from the time I mixed the autolyse. I guess that must be because my flour had more water content with the cooler whether. I think that is why I got the much more open crumb. It is also possible that increased enzyme activity played a role.

In any event, this bake produced bread with a crunchy crust, chewy but tender crumb and a delicious flavor that was both more complex and more tangy than my previous few bakes of this bread. I think I have a new procedure, at least until hot weather returns.


We often have bread that is a few days old and starting to get a bit dry, even for breakfast toast.  I hate throwing out bread, and I seldom do. Many of my favorite dishes made with bread of advancing age are made with croutons - slices of bread that I dry in the oven before using.

Except when drying bread for salad croutons or breadcrumbs, I slice it thinly and put it on a baking sheet or pizza pan. If I want it to remain pale, I convection bake the slices at 250 dF for 15 minutes on each side. If I want the slices browned, I convection bake at 350 dF for 15 minutes on one side, then turn them over, brush them with EVOO and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Then, depending on how I am going to use them, I may rub the warm, dried slices with a clove of garlic. That's what I did for these ...

These croutons served to support heaps of grated gruyere cheese, floating in onion soup and run under the broiler for 90 seconds before serving. 

Croutons made in this way are also delicious put in the bottom of a soup bowl before filling it with ribollita or another hearty soup.

The slices of SFSD can also be toasted in a toaster and then left in the toaster for a few minutes to dry out further. That method makes a nice base for crostini. These are topped by a chicken giblet dice sautéed in olive oil with shallots, herbs and madera wine.

The giblets came surrounded by a whole chicken! We roasted it while eating the crostini and discussing how we really should have just made the crostini our dinner. 

Happy baking!


NicholasStacey's picture

December 15th

I have recently become somewhat interested in making sourdough at home (OK, maybe slightly more than interested...). I've always loved bread but never made it seriously until recently. Last year I enrolled in Stratford Chefs School where I got my hands doughy again in pastry class, and I'm now in second year. I've made a few different kinds of breads (Baguettes, Sours, Sourdough Ryes, Pain Rustique, Potato bread, so on) but have not had any real repetitional experience, often just make the bread once or twice.  


It being Christmas Vacation and all, I decided I would try to tighten up my technique a bit, as well as stock the freezer for the looming second semester of school. I've been focusing on sourdough because its what I enjoy most at the moment, and my house mates and I go through a few loaves a week. 


Here is my bake from december 15th, it was my first time making bread in this house, and making this sourdough recipe solo. I want to improve the crumb, and have it open up more, but am still happy with the results considering the quality of oven I'm using. I bake in an electric still oven, using aluminum pots or cast iron dutch ovens, sometimes hotel pans (AKA 1/3 inserts). 


Stratford Sourdough - makes 2 x 700 gram loaves


AP Flour   104 g

Rye Flour  7.5 g

Water        69 g

Culture      22.5 g


Final Mix:

AP Flour   712.5 g

Rye Flour  35 g

Water        500 g

Salt           16.5 g

Build          all 

Did an Autolyse for roughly 20 minutes, mixed by hand, and folded in 30 minute increments about 7 times. 20 minute bench rest. Shaped into baneton and Roughly a 2 hour final fermentation. Baked for 25 minutes (covered) in a hotel pan and dutch oven, and an additional 4-7 minutes (uncovered). I like them somewhat dark. 

Any advice to increase the opening of the crumb would be welcome!



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