The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
T_om's picture

Bosch Universal Plus or Compact?

Hello folks,


I hope you can help out a newbie here.

We have a bread machine, which we only use for making bread dough which we second-rise and bake outside the machine.  Lots of people do that I think.  Anyway, we are dumping the breadmaker as it is on its last legs.  We are going to get either the Bosch Universal Plus or the Compact Bosch.  (Glad to see Bosch brought back the Compact) :)

We are not concerned about cost so much as counter space and capacity.  Our "normal" rounds have about 700g of flour and a bit over 300 grams of water... so about 1kg of "stufff" per loaf.  We usually only make one at a time, but frequently (several times a month) need to make four at a time for the kids and grandkids.

It looks like the Compact MIGHT handle three of these.  Perhaps not?  May have to make two batches, eh?  The Universal Plus looks like it could handle MUCH more... but I have been reading that the Universal Plus doesn't like to make little batches.  Is my 1kg loaf a "little" dough batch that the Universal Plus would not like?

Can the Compact handle at least three of those loaves with no strain?  Can the Universal Plus be used by my wife as an all-round mixer (batter, whipping, merangue, etc.?)

Any Bosch owners that could help us out here?  As I said, it is not the cost so much as we want to avoid buying something that takes up more room than necessary.

Any advice would be appreciated.


putneyal's picture

Freezing sourdough starter and then bringing it back to life. Thnx to Dan Lepard

Don't know if this has been posted before, but there is a terrific little video on Dan Lepard's website demonstrating the method. A boon to those not able to bake on a daily basis



nicodvb's picture

Cold rye soaker


recently I talked to my rye pusher complaining that several soakers done with hot water didn't come out sweet, or at least not as sweet as I remembered from previous occasions. He told me that if not done properly the temperature of the water may denaturate the enzymes and make more harm than good; he invited me to do the soaker with salt and room temperature water. Salt is needed to stop every kind of fermentation and supposedly -even in large quantities- it doesn't minimally affect amylase. Soaking time should last between 12 and 24 hours.

I followed his advice and wow, it really worked great! I did my usual rye bread with this formula:

-soaker with 4 gr of salt, 180 gr of r.t. water and 150 of rye flour - 24 hours

-poolish with 15 gr of starter, 180 of r.t. water and 150 of rye flour - 24 hours

-dough with 6 gr of salt and 200 of rye flour

-10 minutes at 250°, 40 minutes at 200°, rest in the oven until cooled.


The bread came out really sweet, even sweeter than all breads made previously without a very long baking, even a touch darker. Next time I'll add all the salt to the soaker.

I knew that this tehnique would sweeten the bread somehow, but not that it would work at the same extent as a soaker with how water.

Sometimes things work out better when they are easy:-)


lbr's picture

Hand Mixed Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I teach basic cooking and nutrition classes in the community to those who are on food stamps or are food stamp eligible. One request that I get occasionally from my clients is to learn how to make whole wheat sandwich bread. They usually don't have bread machines or heavy duty mixers so I am looking for a recipe that is pretty simple, easy to purchase ingredients but also gives great results. My experience has been that the first exposure to something new has to be spot on or they will never try it again.

Anyone with a tried and true recipe that fits this criteria? I would appreciate any ideas or helps. 


Thank you!



PMcCool's picture

Soulful German Farmhouse Rye - Take 2

I've taken a bit of a break from ryes in the past couple of weeks, baking Honey Lemon Whole Wheat from Clayton's Complete Book of Breads and the Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book.  This weekend, though, I went back to rye again, baking the Soulful German Farmhouse Rye from Daniel Leader's Local Breads.

Leader's Soulful German Farmhouse Rye

I've blogged about this bread previously, so I won't repeat what I've said previously.  

The most obvious difference this time is that I proofed the boules smooth side up and then baked them with the seam side up, allowing the natural weaknesses in the dough to be the expansion points.  I like the effect, particularly since the darkness of the crumb contrasts with the lighter-color flour on the crust.  Not so evident, but still different this time is that I did not add any of the instant yeast called for in the formula (I had all day at the house anyway), nor did I "dust" the banneton with rye flakes.  That did nothing for my enjoyment or for the bread, so I just used a light dusting of rye flour on top of the rice flour already embedded in the fabric.

If I remember the next time that I make this bread, I'll double the quantities but still shape it into just two boules.  That might give a bit more height to the loaves, which would make them more serviceable for sandwiches.  Despite the diminutive size of the loaves, this is a delicious bread and well worth the making.


raneen's picture

tight seam on baguettes

How does one create a tight seam on a baguette? 

I shape by folding and pressing the edge twice, but it works for baguette dough but not for really wet dough.  I'm happy with my baguettes, but have yet to be pleased with any attempt at "big hole" bread! 

SylviaH's picture

Roman Pizza Dough Pizza's WFO Style

I was so inspired by Pamela's 'xiapete' post on the ZaZu resturants style Chanterelle mushroom and goat cheese pizza, she baked in Nov. of 09, I've been craving one ever since.  I finally found some lovely Chanterelle mushrooms.  I also baked a pizza Margarita style.  It was served with a lovely little organic chicken, I stuffed with fresh garlic, rosemary, lemon, s&p. and, some roasted peppers!  Roasted it all at the oven door while the fire was getting ready for the pizza's.

I made my version of Roman Pizza Dough from PR book American Pie, by adding Olive Oil.  I used King Arthur's Duram flour.

The crust is absolutely delicious.  My favorite way to have it is, stretched thin with a big blooming crown, that way I can enjoy this fabulous tasteing crust.  It can be stretched to a cracker thin crust.  My husband loved it, crust toppings and all...he said it was his favorite crust. 


                      Roman Pizza Dough

I made 4 large dough balls - or you can make six- 6- ounce balls

5 cups  (22 1/2 ounces) King Arthur All Purpose Flour

1/4 cup (1 ounce) semolina flour - I used King Arthur Duram flour -

1 3/4 teaspoons salt or 3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, I use sea salt

1 teaspoon instand yeast

1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons cool water (65F)

I added 2 Tablespoons of unfilter extra virgin olive oil

1. Mixed all ingredients in my KA until combined, using the dough hook and mix on low speed for about 4 minutes or until all the flour gathers to form a coarse ball.  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on medium-low speed for an additional 2 minutes or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom.  Adjusting the hydration or adding more flour if needed.  The dough should pass the windowpane test. 

I divided the dough into 4 balls and placed each one into an oiled plastic tub and refrigerated them until the next day.  Removing them about 2 hours before making my pizzas.

I stretch the dough out thin leaving a thicker area for the crown...add my toppings and bake, either a pre-heated convection 550 oven with stone, or in my WFO 800F and up. until the crust browns with a little charring.

         First the Chicken stuffed with fresh lemon, rosemary and garlic and drizzled with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, S&P.  The oven omits so much heat the roasting is done at the oven door...which is very handy.

                                                            Oven getting good and hot for the Pizza


                                                     Fire Roasted Peppers - My Italian girlfriends moms recipe -

                                           Roast peppers, clean off charred skin, I leave a tiny bit of char for more flavor, add to bowl and cover with

                                   extra virgin olive oil, diced fresh garlic and sea salt to taste...refrigerate and keeps for a good week, delicious on

                        Sausage sandwiches or alone..I used to get grossed out watching my still girlfriend over 50yrs. eating her school lunch sandwich

                with just these peppers on it.  Little did I know!



                               Ready for the Pizza's



                                        Pizza with Chanterelles, Goat Cheese, EVOO, Truffle salt and a smidgen of Pesto, Shaved Parmesean Cheese.

                                      What a great combo of ingredients...

                                                                            On my tweeked Roman Pizza Dough - Fabulous tasting!


                      Crispy crust                    Submitted to  Yeast Spotting               


                                                                  Tomato and Cheese - Still my Favorite - My sauce, herbs, garlic and San Marzano 

                                                   tomatoes.  Fresh mozzarella -



                                                         Fabulous tasting's really a draw between the sauce and the crust, but I would have to pick

                                       the crust!  Fresh mozz makes all the difference!



                                                 Crumb of the Crown









vmtaurus's picture

Whole Wheat Flour in India


I am fairly new to baking bread and stumbled across this forum on the internet. I have tried making whole wheat bread with the regular 'atta' flour available here in India. The result was fine, but not very good. After going through a couple of posts, I realised that it could be because of the 'atta' flour I was using.

Can anybody tell me what brand of whole wheat flour (specifically for bread) are available in India? I stay in Bangalore..have tried searching for something in stores near me, but have not been successful.

I prefer not to use all purpose flour, as my husband and me both do not stomach it too well.

Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


cex112's picture

How long before I can use the starter


A few days ago I started my first sourdough starter using the Bourke Street Bakery books recipe. Now this recipe says that the starter isn't ready to use until week 4 (if I'm reading it right).


Just wondered if people thought this was right, as I've seen other people suggest that after a few days its ready to go.


Thoughts and guidance would be most welcome.





Vogel's picture


I've baked several things during the last weeks and I really wanted to post some pictures here, but first I had a foodborne infection from bad olives, then my camera went to die. I hope I will be able to post more regularly during the next weeks.

Work in progress: rolls

In German bakeries you can buy a wide array of different rolls. Unfortunately, since the wholefood movement became popular, a lot of those rolls, especially the darker ones with seeds, are made from whole wheat, often without long fermentation. For a lot, maybe the majority, of people whole wheat is pretty indigestible, because in contrast to rye the unwanted substances in the husk of the grain aren't fully decomposed by fermentation. I am one of those people and prefer white wheat flour.

Of course making rolls isn't much different from making bread, but I didn't really succeed in creating the thin and crispy crust of rolls from the bakery. Especially on the bottom side they were just too thick and bread-y. Now I used a perforated baking sheet for the first time and it really helped me to achieve this goal. The hot air and steam can circulate through the little holes in the baking sheet, giving a more uniform and thin crust at the bottom.

This time I made rolls with seeds and a little bit of rye sourdough. I didn't really follow any recipe and just threw some ingredients together, so don't take the following recipe as the final recommendation. Personally I liked them very much. The rolls are not shaped but just cut from the final dough, similarly to making Ciabatta. I chose this method because that's how seeded rolls are mostly sold here, too.


crum 1

crumb 2

The recipe makes about 16 medium or 12 big rolls. The dough uses a total amount of 600 grams of flour and has 70% hydration (just relative to the flour, seeds not included) and is made with both rye sourdough and a wheat poolish. It is really cold here in the house (about 65°F/18°C or even less), so you fermentation times might be shorter.

rye sourdough

  • Produce 200 grams of ready 100% hydration rye sourdough (so from 100 grams of medium dark rye flour / Type 1150) in a way you feel comfortable with. I usually do a three-stage feeding over the course of about 20 hours.


  • 100g water

  • 50g all-purpose flour / Type 550

  • 50g wheat flour Type 1050 (I think it is similar to "white whole weat flour" - you can just use all-purpose flour here too, if you want to)

  • 0,3g fresh yeast (a tiny splinter about the size of a pine nut)

Disperse the yeast into the water until you can see the water becoming slightly coloured. Mix in the flour, cover and ferment for about 16 hours at room temperature.


  • 200g rye sourdough

  • 200g poolish

  • 50g medium dark rye flour / Type 1150

  • 350g all-purpose flour / Type 550

  • 45g sunflower seeds, toasted and roughly chopped

  • 45g pumpkin seeds, toasted and roughly chopped

  • 220g water

  • 12g salt

  • 4g fresh yeast


  1. Mix sourdough, poolish, flour and water (except for 10-20g of it) until combined to a dough. Cover and let rest for about 30 minutes.

  2. Disperse the yeast in the rest of the water, pour this mixture onto the dough. Sprinkle the salt onto the dough. Knead until the windowpane test shows medium gluten development. The dough will be a little sticky at first, but become good to work with later in the process.

  3. Put the dough into a bowl, cover and ferment for 3 hours, with two stretch and folds after 1 and 2 hours, respectively.

  4. Lightly flour the work surface and put the dough onto it, smooth side down. Degas the dough with your flat hands (flour your hands if the dough sticks). Keep the dough in a roughly rectangular or square shape and stretch it more or less depending on whether you prefer thicker or flatter rolls. Now just cut out rectangular or square pieces by using a dough scraper or cutter. Try not to squeeze down the edges of the dough pieces from now on.

  5. Put the rolls smooth side down on a baker's linen or towel, slip into a plastic bag or cover in another way you like. You can also sprinkle the towel with untoasted seeds and put the rolls on them (brush off the flour from the smooth side or spray it with water so the seeds stick, or place the rolls smooth side up so the sticky side is in contact with the seeds).

  6. Let rest until fully risen. It took me about 3 hours, but will probably take less for you in a warmer kitchen.

  7. Pre-heat your oven to about 445°F (230°C) in the meantime and prepare for steaming your oven. Gently put the rolls smooth/seed-side up on a baking sheet, preferrably a perforated one. Bake with steam for about 10 minutes at this temperature, then reduce to 390°F (200°C) for another 10 minutes, depending on how fast the rolls are colouring. Bake without steam for the last 5 minutes or so.

  8. Let cool on a wire rack.


A side note: It could also work not to degas the dough in step 4, but just cut out the pieces, let rest for 20 minutes or so and bake directly, without a final proofing. I've heard of this method but haven't tried it out personally yet.