The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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.

MANNA's picture


I started a new culture over a month ago. It was active then about a week in it smelled like someone barfed in dirty gym socks. I figured we're in the stinky phase just keep going. A month in with regular feedings the stink was gone but no activity. So I ditched it and started anew with the pineapple method that has worked in the past. That has worked. Not much activity again but I get the horrid acetone smell after 12 hours of feeding. Two days ago I popped it in the oven with the light on and got great activity from it. I feel my kitchen was just to cold being winter here. I have gone from 24 hour feedings to 12 hours to keep up with the increased rate of fermentation. This morning I fed it from a hydration of 100% to 70%. Im hoping to get some sourness into it and try for a bake in the next day or so. Anyone have thoughts on this? It has been driving me nuts with the acetone developing. It appears like the acetone has subsided with the increase in temp. does that seem right? I didnt get the acetone smell with the other culture that was started with just flour and water. Yes, it was stinky during the second week but after that it never stunk like acetone. Every time with the pineapple though it gets the acetone smell. Again, any thoughts?


Tech stuff: I use KAF Sir Galahad Flour, water is filtered spring water, I was feeding 1:1:1 every 24 hours and have switched to 1:1:1 every 12 hours. I have been at 100% hyd intill this morning, now Im at 70%.

dosco's picture

First Attempt at Tartine

I thought it might be interesting to try The Weekend Bakery's version of tartine.

I deviated from the recipe in many ways. First, I mixed the "Water 1" with the flour and let it autolyse overnight while the poolish fermented (I did this on Monday night 12-9-2013). The second deviation was that I only performed 4 stretch and fold sessions. Third deviation was that I used my silicone spatula and stretch/folded the dough in the KA mixing bowl ... each S&F session included 100 folds. Fourth deviation was that I shaped the dough ball into a boule and let it rest for 15 minutes, then shaped it into a batard. Final deviation was that the final rise was 75 minutes and not 150.

When I shaped the dough into a boule, I floured my work surface with WW flour (cleans up more easily) and used my hands to work the dough. It did seem to tighten up a bit, but when I formed the dough into the final batard it flattened upon itself. I'm not sure how y'all are getting "surface tension" with these higher hydration doughs.

Got a nice oven spring, the crumb looks pretty good, and the taste is nice. Kid #1 had a piece with breakfast and thought it was good.

Seems to be a better result, but I am still puzzled as to how I can get surface tension, good oven spring, super open crumb, and a nice cut on the surface. Seems I can get some of these results but not all.



Tiffany's picture

Sourdough starter

Okay this is my first time making a starter and I must admit I haven't been precisely measuring. I'm not a precise kind of person. ;) Anyways, I'm on day 7 and my starter is quite active almost tripling in 3-4 hours. The problem? is it still smells pretty strongly of alcohol. I keep it on the counter and was feeding just once a day and have bumped it up to twice a day. I've also not been throwing out my starter, just putting it into another bowl and feeding them all. I plan on doing a lot of baking once I know it has been established. I do not know how much starter I have currently, but I add about 1/2c rye/1/2c ap to about 1/2 c water to each bowl. It is a pretty thick starter.  I did make pancakes last night with it and it came out fine. what should I do about the alcohol smell? And how soon can I attempt to make some bread?

chris319's picture

Vinegary Sourdough in San Francisco

I am in the San Francisco bay area and bought a loaf of Boudin sourdough. It has a distinct vinegary taste and aroma.

What would cause a vinegary taste and aroma? Could it be the use of a cold, stiff levain?

Boudin was never a major player back in the golden age of S.F. sourdough and now I can understand why. The gold standard back in the day was Larraburu.

BTW I have sampled many breads from bakeries in the city this trip and they were mostly awful. It puts the lie to the myth of the "magic" of S.F. yeast, climate, fog, air, etc. as creating great sourdough bread.

There is a bakery/cafe called "Tartine" and its bread is almost pretty good, except that the half loaf they sold me was burnt, i.e. the crust was badly charred.