The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

cadmanpilot's picture

Hello from Chesapeake, VA

Looking forward to participating in this forum. Baking bread regularly for 3 years now.


cloud9's picture

Hi from Devon, UK

Hi all,

I've decided to lurk in the shadows no more, and emerge into the flour-laced atmosphere that is TFL.

A bit about me... I've spent many years trying to perfect sourdough breads with success borne from practise, tweaking, and learning from failures. My 100% starter is half rye half white (both Dove flours) and has suffered neglect and revival many times. It's currently being pampered leading up to Christmas by twice-daily feeds... I don't think the beasties mind stuffing their faces with all the food they can eat... it is Christmas after all.

Recently I've started Hamelman's poolish baguettes and have cracked it ... I can't get the gargantuan holes of txfarmer(?) but am becoming accustomed with the feel of dough full of folded in air and yeast-wind. I've founds Wessex T65 flour gives the most consistent results... although am driving through France over Christmas and will definitely stop and pick up T55 (as much as I can smuggle past my better half.) Hopefully this'll help with the baguettes.

Nice to be part of this great forum.

Keep baking!


LevaiNation's picture

Forkish Levain maintenance

Hello everyone! This is my first post here.

I've been lurking in the sidelines for a little while and really enjoying the info and dynamics of the Fresk Loaf forum, and now it's time to get a little involved and ask some questions.

I'm a fairly new baker. I've been using Ken Forkish's book for about a month so far, and the results have absolutely amazed me (and my wife and kids are loving me more than ever!)

So for the first couple of weeks, while feeding my levain, I was throwing away a ridiculous amount of product (as the book's instructions suggest), and then I decided to cut the quantities in half while leaving the ratios the same: 50g Levain, 50g whole, 200g white, 200g h2o. (1:5:4?) That worked great, but now I've decided to waste even less and to try and keep the starter in the fridge since I only want to bake about twice a week. His method of storing is very different than the different ways I've seen suggested here, and since his ratios also greatly differ from any I've read about in this forum, I'm a little confused as to how, and when to do this.

So I have various questions:

-Should I store the levain soon after I've fed it, of do it after I've taken the amount needed for a recipe?

-If it hasn't been stored for more than a couple of days, can I use it straight from the fridge, or do I need to get it out, feed it and wait? If so, when do I get it out? I usually feed it around 9a.m. daily...

-My levain is fed in the morning. It reaches maximum expansion at about 6pm, and in the morning when I'm ready to feed again, it has collapsed a little... is this proper chain of events?

I hope I'm not overwhelming this thread with this many questions for a first time contributor, but thanks in advance.


Happy to be here! Smells good!


jim baugh's picture
jim baugh

Sourdough Calzone

Here is the recipe we just posted for our sourdough Calzone. It is a winner for sure. WOW does the dough make a HUGE difference! Jim Baugh


nancydong's picture

Vegan panettone

hi everyone,

i'm new to the group...

am a fairly experienced vegan cook, but baking is a new arena for me.

i live in italy and no christmas would be complete without Panettone....for a vegan (no animal products of any kind) this is utterly sweet bread made with butter and lots of eggs makes vegan long for those traditional treats without the suffering.

well, i've been tweaking with the recipe that gets pretty close to the real thing (see the photo of the second proofing). i use a half/half blend of 0 flour and manitoba (you call it canadian flour in the USA?), tumeric for color, raw cane sugar (also maple syrup for those who dont want sugar), vegan butter and soy milk. lemon/organge grated peels.  i dont use lievito madre (dont have time to feed it every 4 hours) but use a fresh cube of yeast..

so far the results are good...EXCEPT i'm in a dilemma..

first try i used more all purpose and less manitoba, it came out almost cakey, but rose beautifully.

second try i used equal amounts of both flours, the dough is a bit drier, the consistence is more bready which is desirable, but after 48 hours of rising, it didn't make it over the waxed paper container lip.  (the photo you see is from the first attempt). first proofing i put it near the heater, well sealed so doesnt dry out. but second proofing they sit in their waxed paper molds and on a tray in the oven (unheated)...they do rise, but at the pace of a turtle on vacation.

so all you experienced bakers our there, what can i do to make the dough rise faster? should i make the second dough a bit wetter? should i expose the second proofing to some heat? i'm afrraid the bubbles would burst if i move it from the heat source to the oven..they collapsed on me once.

need to make a whole bunch this weekend.....any help/tip/advice is appreciated!

thank you so much..

best, nancy


JWK1's picture

Does my pan loaves need scoring?

I grind my flour fresh and use about 15% to 20% KASL.  67% hydration.  Nothing fancy.  My loaves get great oven spring and the bread turns out great, but the spring is always very uneven.  One side always seem to "break" near the pan and springs and the other side doesn't, which creates a lopsided loaf.  It doesn't seem to affect the bread at all, but it bugs me.  I always thought it was some uneven heating in my gas oven, but after trying numerous things I realized yesterday that since I'm getting such great spring, I might need to score to bring the top up evenly.


My latest procedure is to put a pizza stone just under the rack where the bread is going and start the oven at 500F when I start my final rise.  After the oven preheats, I turn the oven down to 475F.  When the dough is ready I pop it in and immediately turn the oven to 350F.  This gets great spring and a perfectly browned crust.


Do you think my dough needs scoring or could it be something else?  If it does need scoring, where/how should I score?


Oh, by the way - the same exact thing happens whether I make big or small loaves.  8.5" x 4.5" and 10" x 5" are the loaf pan sizes.  Chicago Metallic commercial II uncoated.


Thanks for any help or suggestions.

Mylissa20's picture

Bake-At-Home Sourdough at Costco?? Stays good for months?

Costco just recently started carrying a three-pack of bread made by "The Essential Baking Company" that intrigues me on so many levels.

 It is shelf-stable (non-refrigerated), organic bread that supposedly will keep for months in their special packaging without molding. Here is their statement: 

Our sourdough bread is made the tradition way, using a natural starter (mother dough) or “Mamacita” as we lovingly call it and only four organic/non-GMO ingredients; Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour, Water, Salt, Organic Malt. That’s right, we don’t add commercial yeast and our bread is naturally fat free and sugar free! Unlike other imitation sourdough bread, our true sourdough ferments very slowly for over 12 hours at a cool temperature which creates a more complex, distinguished taste. Our unique Stay-Fresh Package keeps our bread Fresh For Months, Not Days.

I guess it just seems too-good-to-be-true. True sourdough, no commercial yeast, all organic, no fat, no sugar, and can be stored on the shelf for months? Did the world just become magical or is there a catch?

here is the link to their website:

blueboy2419's picture

I've given up on Sourdough

No matter how much I've tried, I simply can't get any success with Sourdough. I must have wasted kilos of flour trying to get a successful starter and even when I think I've cracked it, it all goes wrong and I'm back to square one.

An experimental approach has led me to my own technique that consistently gives me a tasty loaf. I use very little AD yeast, maybe 3g in 500g of flour, 70% hydration and a two day refrigerated fermentation.

I'm happy.and not wasting any more flour.


dickeytt's picture

Under Cooked bottom and quick 2nd prove

Hi All, I have only been baking bread for a few months and have now made 4 sourdough loafs using Dan Lepard's starter and method.

I have 2 problems that I am not sure how to solve

1) I am cooking my loaves in a UK Fan oven on a metal tray with a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven, but each time the top of the bread is cook, the bottom looks pale and under cooked.  Today I turn the loaf over to finish cooking the bottom.  The oven temp was at 200 C (about 400 F).  Can you suggest how I can correct this?  Do I need a baking stone?

2) The basic sourdough recipe from Dan's book, it suggests that the bread should prove for up to 4.5 hours or until it doubles, my bread only takes 2-2.5 hours before it doubles, the bread does taste lovely, but is this ok, would it be better if it proves slower?   If so, how do I get a slower prove? 

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Osmotolerant yeast weight/volume!

I'm literally in the middle of making pandoro according to Susan Tenney's Wild Yeast blog. It calls for "0.8 g (1/4 t.)" of yeast.

Is 0.8 gram of yeast really only 1/4 teaspoon?—because my scale says that 1/4 teaspoon is less than half a gram.

Either my new scale has a problem, or the recipe has an error and I need to add much more yeast right away. Any guidance appreciated!


P.S. I bought an Myweigh i2500, accurate to 0.5 gram. Now I wish I'd bought one that does 0.1 gram increments.