The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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hross's picture

Hamburger Bun didn't rise

The recipe I used was very simple; but the dough didn't rise, and the buns are tiny. What did I do wrong? Did I kill the yeast?



1 cup milk 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup butter 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast 2 tablespoons white sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 egg

1. In a small saucepan, heat milk, water and butter until very warm, 120 degrees F (50 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 3/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix milk mixture into flour mixture, and then mix in egg. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
3. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape into smooth balls, and place on a greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly. Cover, and let rise for 30 to 35 minutes.
4. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
fastmail98's picture

Baguette Shaping...Suggestions Welcome!

Hello, Friends...

I'm practicing making French bread and seem to have the texture, flavor, and crust okay, but the problem that I have is in the shaping. I've been following Peter Reinhart's instructions as to preparing the pate fermentee, mixing, fermenting, and proofing, but when it comes to shaping the final dough, I end up with something between a baguette and an oval. It looks okay, kinda rustic. From what I can see in the video that came with Ciril Hitz's 'Baking Artisan Bread', he uses a wetter dough that takes the shapes like magic. I'm using a dough that is stiffer. From my final dough, I can get a batard or boule, but I need some help on getting a more tubular shape and those wonderfully crafted ends. Here's what I baked up firm or slack should my final dough be so that I can get a better shape? Thanks!


French Bread from Russ

cookingwithdenay's picture

Michigan Cottage Food law, formerly HB5837, signed into law

The Michigan Cottage Food law, formerly HB5837, was signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The cottage law allows residents to make and package "nonpotentially hazardous foods that do not require time/temperature control for safety" without licensing and inspection from the Michigan Department of Agriculture.The baked goods, jams, jellies, popcorn, candy, cereal, granola, dry mixes, vinegar and dried herbs, must be created in a kitchen and stored in the residence, which includes a basement or attached garage of the home where food was made.

For more information visit the Michigan Department of Agriculture


trailrunner's picture

ain't no accident...

I had to get rid of starters and Larry's post the other day was the inspiration I KNOW he meant it to be :) I had enough bubbly weekold starter and I added that to his measurements. I added a couple more splashes of water as my KA mixed since it seemed dry and I wanted it to really slap the bowl. All went perfectly. I used my Grandmother's old blue granite roaster to bake. I have another really large one also. I have not tried this but saw the post by another TFL member and decided to give it a shot. Perfect. HUGE oven spring. I preheated my stone at 500 and then placed the covered pot on the hot stone  for a few minutes . It gets hot quickly. I sprayed the loaf heavily with water and placed it in the pot and covered. Baked at 460...lowered temp ...for 25 min and uncovered for 15. internal temp 208. 

Photobucket We should all have such great accidents. Pics of crumb tomorrow after it cools.c

Here is the "other side of the story" LOL. My scoring failed to take into consideration the huge oven spring I would get. Photobucket Lovely fine even crumb : Photobucket closer: Photobucket

ryebaker's picture

new member - wood-fired oven

a brief introduction.  just completed a 3 by 4 wood fired oven, similar but unique from an Alan Scott type design.  cure is complete so we are busy experimenting. some charcoal, some great successes this past week and given the oven seems to stay warm for half a day or more, lots to come.  particularly interested in rye breads, but have Clayton's Breads of France, and working through all the breads in there.

dsoleil's picture

Mash Bread - New horizons...

Hi All,

I've been playing around a lot with mash bread and wanted to share my thoughts and hope some other people might want to give it a try.  For those who aren't familiar with mash bread, Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain cookbook discusses it.  The essence is taking flour or grain and cooking it with water at around 150 degrees for a few hours to get the enzymes to convert starches to sugars.  He uses flour and spent grains for mashing and then adds it to bread for a great addition of flavor and complexity.  After looking further into the mashing process, it is very similar to brewing beer.  When brewing beer, brewers take sprouted grains, cook them at a low temperature in water so the enzymes can convert starches to sugars.  The sugary liquid is called wort.  The wort is then fermented and the yeast eats the sugar converting it to alcohol and beer is born.  So, I thought, how can we use that process or part of it for bread making?  Reinhart says there are very few mash bread recipes around and he's right.  So, I thought I'd add my experiences to the small pile.

I love the purist concept of the baguette, using only flour, water and salt.  Well, here is another grain manipulation that can create sweetness without any additional ingredients.  Since rye has one of the highest level of enzymes, I went with whole rye grain.  It produces the greatest amount of sweetness in the shortest amount of time.

Soak the rye grain in water overnight.  Then, drain the water and keep the grain moist.  In 36-48 hours, it will have sprouted and grown to its enzyme peak.  The sprouts should be 75 - 100% the length of the grain.  I then grind all the sprouted rye in a food processor.  I then measure water at double the volume of the grain.  Heat the water to 165 degrees and add then grain.  Then cover it and put the pot in the oven at 150 degrees for 3 hours. 

What you get is a sweet, watery grain slurry.  Reinhart would call it mash, some might call it wort.  The key here is that the grain is not "spent" from the beer brewing process.  You get the enzymes to work for you for the bread making.  I believe Reinhart uses more water than I do, but I have found 2x the volume of grain to be plenty.  I let the mash cool and then use it exclusively as the liquid in a bread recipe.  Wheat berries will produce a similar effect but will take a bit longer to sprout.  

This is where things get a bit experimental.  Do I have exact measurements and a recipe yet?  No.  I'm going entirely by feel of the dough.  What you will find is that the dough will be stickier than usual.  You will want to judge the dough more by its density than by the feel of stickiness.

I have made breads with both white flour and 100% whole wheat.  With white flour, you will get a complex, sweeter taste with a moist crumb.  It reminded me in sweetness of the soft Hawaiian bread you can buy in the stores.  With 100% whole wheat, you get the sweet complexity, a moister crumb and you can eliminate the typical addition of honey or agave or sugar.  

This has been a very interesting way to add sweetness and moistness to bread without additional ingredients.  It's just grain, water and salt.  For those who love to take a long time to make a loaf of bread, instead of a three-day bread, add this to the mix and it will take 5 days to make a loaf due to the time of sprouting the grains.  You can also make a lot of the mash as it freezes well and you can put into single-use containers.

I hope that provides enough explanation to get people going.  Feel free to add your own experience with mash bread, ask questions, etc.






dmsnyder's picture

Back from Fort Bragg

We're back from 5 days in Fort Bragg with family. I took along 7 breads and, because of menu compatibility and dining out, I only baked once while there. I made a couple loaves of Sourdough Italian Bread which went well with baked coho salmon and grilled veggies.

We did breakfast one day at the Fort Bragg Bakery. They make very good bread and pastries, as well as pizza. They do the pizza's in a gas fired oven built with bricks salvaged from the bakery that was on the same site a couple generations ago and eventually torn down.

On the drive home, Susan and I stopped for lunch at the Costeaux Bakery in Healdsburg. Along with our bill, the waiter left us a 2 lb sourdough epi to take with us. It was outstanding with a comfort food coming home dinner of scrambled eggs and tomatoes from our garden.

On a non-bread note I just have to share, I found myself taking all but a couple photos with my new iPhone 4. It's pretty amazing, especially the macro capability.

Begonia at the Fort Bragg Botanical Gardens

Fly on Begonia petal

So, we're back home, doing laundry and re-packing for my week at SFBI.


RobertS's picture

Died and Gone to Gluten heaven

My dear TFL-ers:

May I present my just-baked cold-fermented, pull-shaped, parchment on cookiesheet-baked, rustica baguette. 72 hours in fridge, 6 hours warming and fermenting out of fridge, 1 hour proofing, using unbleached AP flour from Robin Hood Mills in Canada. Baked at 475F convection with steam for 24 minutes. Sweet and pliable crust, and an extra strong crumb structure that was elastic and chewy, yet soft and sweet on the tongue. Forgive the smudge of butter at upper middle of slice.

Somehow, I can never attain these very good results using only bread flour.

Question: anyone out there who strongly favours AP for baguettes, and why?


stefano_arturi's picture

mistake in Peter Reinhart's Pain au Levani (ABED)??

hi there

does anyone know of mistakes in Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread Every Day (ABED)?

In particular, I have been trying the Pain au `Levain (p 61) different times, with poor results. The recipe calls for a lot of starter in relation to flour: 16 oz/458 g starter being added to  16 oz/458g bread flour (+ 11 oz/312 g water and almost 3 tsp salt)

this is a 1:1 ration, starter: flour.

is it correct? is it a printing mistake?

isnt' it too much?

the dough doesn't develop any proper gluten. It looks and feels as if the starter "has fed" on all the flour - apologies for my lack of technical explanations. After the initial proofing (2.30 hrs), the dough doesn't feel/look elastic and shiny and if you try to check the gluten, it tears, instead of stretching (and yes I had mixed it according to recipe and even a little longer, on separate tests.

has anyone tried this recipe?

plus: do you think I can use all this bread dough-turned odd/unsable dough as a levain? yes, there is some salt, but it should not be a major problem?

what do you think?

has anyone tested recipes from this book,

I Am a fan of Mr Reinhart, but this book has not won me over and I don't feel hundred per cent confident in its recipes (the way I was with P Reinhart's previous books). Am I totaly wrong?

pls advise



Doughty's picture

New Norcia Sourdough and an Unusual starter.

New Norcia Sourdough Recipe.

Related post in General Discussion forum.

Sourdough starter:
250ml cold potato water, grape juice, lemon juice or
plain water
250 grams stone-ground, wholemeal flour

Sourdough bread:
750 grams baker's flour
15 grams salt
250ml starter
250ml water

Sourdough starter:
1) Mix together to a thin paste in a plastic or ceramic
mixing bowl.
2) Cover with a porous cloth (eg: cheesecloth) and
leave near an open window out of direct sunlight for
three to four days. It should have started to ferment
(i.e. bubble) and have a sweet/sour pleasant aroma.
3) Mix in another 250ml water and 250g flour. If not
using within four hours, refrigerate.
4) The starter needs to be fed daily with 250ml water
and 250g flour. Pour off excess starter before feeding.
5) Two to three hours before using the starter, remove
from refrigerator and feed.


Sourdough Bread

1) Mix together and knead well. Let prove for two to
three hours.
2) Mould into two loaves and let prove for one and a
half to two hours until soft and puffy.
3) Slash and bake at 230 degrees for one to one and
a quarter hours until golden brown and tested hollow.