The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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nfierman's picture

What are the principles for a lighter/softer crumb?

My whole wheat breads, even with 1/2 or more general purpose flour, come out pretty dense.  I am looking for a lighter, softer crumb.  What are the key principles for doing that?  Thanks

SylviaH's picture

What I baked today-All day!

This is what I baked today!  I started out this morning making some sourdough waffles for the freezer.  Mike likes to have a ready snack of frozen waffles.  While I was making some of J.H. Vermont sourdough bread I spotted a couple of pears that were just perfect for poaching, aahhh a pear tart for dessert tonight.  Since I was going to busy baking, I saved one portion of the bread dough for a pizza dinner tonight..the oven and the stone all would be nice and hot and it would be an easy dinner so I could tend to my baking.


                                                                         Pear Tart with Amaretto Liqueur 





                                                              J. H. Vermont Sourdough 

                    One very large Pepperoni Pizza made from some saved bread dough!







Futterbudget's picture

Can you dry sourdough starter to preserve it?

I have a wonderful sourdough starter that I got from a friend, and I'd like to know if it's possible to dry some of it so I don't loose it if I forget to feed it.  If so, then how should I reconstitute it?

00Eve00's picture

Black Pepper Rye

I was reading the baker's blogs and came across txfarmer's entry about Dan Lepard's Black Pepper Rye.  I didn't have poppy seeds, so I sprinkled sesame and caraway seeds on top.  I haven't gotten to try the bread yet, but I was rather happy with how it looked so I thought I might post some pics.  Knowing my luck, I'm jumping the gun and I'm going to be disappointed when I cut into it.  Cutting into a new loaf is always a surprise...sometimes just not a pleasant one. Hehe.

What I really need to do is get my butt in gear and start a sourdough culture.

MmeZeeZee's picture

Levain Angst

I don't know if this is the right place, but I just baked my first loaf with a new levain.  I made it according to Dan Lepard's instructions in "The Handmade Loaf".  It looks exactly like the pictures in his book, and did rise.  However, my bread did not.  Well, it rose a little bit over four hours (not doubled in height, that's for sure, but I put it in because I needed to go to bed!) and it rose and spread out a bit more in the oven.  Certainly those babies are active.  But perhaps not active enough?

On the other hand, this is my first bread from The Handmade Loaf and it felt way, way too sticky.  I should mention that I can usually get an open crumb, or at least, I have achieved this in the past until I started with my new oven.  And I did get a perfect open crumb even with a 66% whole wheat bread recently (Hamelman's Rustic Loaf as posted here).  And I have been improving with that.  However, this dough was so sticky I couldn't even really shape it.  And I have shaped many a loaf.  Perhaps my hydration was off in the levain, leading to an over-hydrated dough?

Which do you think is the culprit?  Or both?

Edited to Add:  Holy smokes.  Just tasted it.  It is amazing.  Open crumb, with holes up to 1 cm... the crust is rather over-crusty, probably because I kept it in the 70 minutes because it was such a moist loaf.  But the taste, the taste... it's like sourdough!  Like something else.  Like a really amazing bread I had somewhere once.  Gosh I hope I get replies here so I can make a properly shaped bread because that is just amazing.  My husband will go nuts.  But it is literally as flat as two pancakes.  (So the holes in the crumb take up like, 1/4th of the height of the crumb on average... heh.)

KneadToKnow's picture

How much starter to keep?

I want to get a handle on my new starter. This was begun on April 1 2010 (1 month ago). My current starter is ~2 cups or so and I'm realizing I am throwing out a LOT of flour. I've seen some videos where folks pull out what look like 1 quart jars of starter (that seems like a Huge amount!).

On the opposite side of the quantity scale, I just read one page where the author described a 1:5:5 (Starter:water:flour) method she uses. That sounded reasonable, so I decided to follow her advice. Reading further, she said she discards all but 10grams of starter, then adds 50g each of water and flour. Since I just got my scale, and have never used metric weights, this sounded fine till I weighed out 10 g of starter.

10 grams looks like a very sad little puddle to start with so I didn't discard anything yet.

My two questions to you good folks, are...

1) How much starter should I keep on hand? I'm single and -most likely- will only be baking a 1-2 loaf recipe once or twice a week, if that.

2) What ratio is "best" 1:1:1, the 1:5:5 mentioned above or.....?

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

4/30/10 - Malted Tourte de Meule

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you a potentially successful bake.  This is my variation of Eric Kayser’s Tourte de Meule.  I was inspired by Don D’s bake here:

I will post a crumb shot tomorrow.


300g WW

130g AP

50g Malted Barley Flour

350g Water

12g Kosher Salt

1/8 tsp ADY

962g Total Dough Yield


9:00am – Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl, autolyse covered for 30 minutes.

9:30am – Knead 3 minutes in bowl with wet hands.  Do not add any extra flour.  Rest 30 mins.

10:00am – Knead 1 minute, rest for 1 hr.

11:00am – Turn dough, rest 1 hr.

12:00pm – Shape dough into boule, place in floured linen lined banneton/basket, proof for 2 hrs.

1:00pm – Arrange baking stone and steam pan in oven.  Preheat 550F.

2:00pm – Turn dough out onto lightly floured peel, slash as desired, place in oven directly on stone, pour 1 1/2 cups water into steam tray.  Bake 15 mins at 450F.  Rotate, bake for another 40 minutes at 425F.  Loaf is done when internal temp reaches 210F.  Cool completely before cutting.


inlovewbread's picture

Today's Bakes

Just sharing a picture of the things I baked today. I'm pleased with the way everything came out- the sourdoughs on the left went a little too long, but they're not burnt. I made 2 sourdough batards (SJ sourdough), two loaves of whole wheat multigrain sandwich bread, poppy seed-millet sourdough batards and two batches of KA Onion buns. My freezer is now well-stocked for company. :-)

Have a good weekend everyone!

jombay's picture

Fromartz Baguettes

Didn't change much from the original formula, except I added about 5% rye and only did single strech n folds.

Took a pic of them cooling with my phone.


Then I decided I wanted to take a pic using my camera 10 mins later. Where did the rest of the loaf go?



Crumb shot.



Flavour is great. I'll definitely be making these again.

koloatree's picture

Dough Trays for Proofing?

Anyone know where I can purchase dough trays similiar to the ones pictured?


They seem to look like the 17g containers listed here

I wonder why not go for the 22g container?