The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
Sabinka's picture

Buttermilk Bread - my first attempt

This is my first attempt in making Buttermilk Bread.  The mixing and rising of the Bread dough was all done in the Bread Machine, then the dough was placed in a Bread tin and cooked in the oven.  Truly Delicious!!




Melleah's picture

Flaxseed Loaf

This is my first post on The Fresh Loaf, so here we go! This is the Flaxseed Loaf from The Bread Bible.

The only thing I wasn't completely satisfied with was the shape of the finished loaf. The error is all mine since I need to practice shaping bread (I'm getting a little better) and I think I let it rise too high. At the end of the day, it is a pretty sturdy bread that you can slice thin for sandwiches and toast. 

I used my kitchen scale to measure the ingredients rather than measuring them with cups.

Flaxseed Loaf from The Bread Bible
13 oz. all-purpose flour
5 oz. whole wheat flour
2.5 oz. pumpernickel flour
2 oz. flaxseed, coarsley ground
1 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
2 Tbsp. honey
14.6 oz. warm water
2 tsp. salt

 In a bowl, whisk together the flours, flaxseed, and yeast. Form a well and pour in the honey. Mix on low speed with a dough hook while gradually adding the water. Mix until all the dry ingredients are moist and have come together to form a rough dough (takes about 1 minute). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt on the dough and then knead it for 7 minutes on medium speed.

 Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for about one hour, or until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a loaf.

Place the loaf into a greased loaf pan and allow it to rise until it is 1 inch above the rim of the pan (about one hour).

I can't seem to get the dough to the edges of the pan, and its a lot higher in the center...

Perhaps I let it rise too high before putting it in the oven?

Bake the loaf until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Once baked, turn the bread out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

Here's a photo of the finished loaf (its a little out of focus). You can see that it flares out on the left side, and the end of the loaf is kind of indented as well.

P.S.-Any advice on shaping would be greatly appreciated :-)!

 Read about my adventures in baking (and cooking) at my blog.

tanyclogwyn's picture

Bassinage, Gaude & flour characteristics

Dear All you experts

Here’s a couple or so queries thrown up by Father Christmas to a rather casual home baker in the UK (likes sourdough/long rises, bakes in an elderly and moderately controllable Aga). FC brought me Le Dictionnaire Universel du Pain (ed. P de Tonnac, Paris 2010) – 1217 pages of fascination; and not least the annexes with recipes from a number of ‘starry’ bakers.

Question 1: Several of the recipes allow for 50 or 60g of eau de bassinage in addition to the normal measurement of water (650g usually). Is this additional water part of the recipe or is it simply water that is held back in order to make an adjustment in case the dough is too firm (see Dictionnaire under bassinage, eau de). The only reference I have found in my English books is in Beyond nose to tail p. 92 where Henderson & Gellatly refer to ‘the bathe’, and allow for a higher proportion – 60g to 340g; the bathe appears to be added in stages after a sort of autolyse. Is there a standard practice in French boulangerie of adding this water as part of the mixing/kneading process, and if so, at which stage?

Question 2: In Eric Kayser’s recipe (Dict, p. 1108) he calls for 20g of ‘gaude’. What is this? There is a farine de gaude apparently – which appears to be toasted (torrefie) maize coming from the Jura/pays de Bresse. If this is it, could one substitute toasted polenta meal?

Question 3: at the risk of opening the classification of flour issue, on p.1100 Ganachaud says one should ask one's miller (ho hum) for flour with a W value of between 230 and 240 and above all a P/L as close to 50 as possible. I am reasonably familiar with the T issue, but can some kind expert explain these latter terms (or point me in the right direction)?



grimeswh's picture

Drying a starter????

I once saw a comment saying a person dried their starter so they could use is for later. Kind of a neat idea has anyone on here tried it??? Sounds weird to me because I've only ever grown up with the "normal" way of doing a sourdough starter but I think it would be cool to try. Is there a website or something that I can go to, to show me how to do it so I can try it myself???

txfarmer's picture

Hamelman Black Bread

Hope everyone had a great holiday! We took the days off between Christmas and NYE, rented a RV and drove 3000+ miles round trip to Key West. It was super fun, as we were counting down with the crowd in front of Sloppy Joe's, I felt it was one of the best NYE celebrations we've had.


Before we took off, I needed some bread to take with us - there's no oven on the RV, just a microwave and stove. Being super busy, I didn't have time to do a pure sourdough loave, and this black bread from Hamelman's "Bread" was fast (it uses instant yeast, in addition to rye levain), fragrant, delicious, healthy (by that time, we needed SOME fibre to combat all the sugar and butter in my holiday baked goodies), and uses up some of my leftover rye breads, perfect!


The old bread was toasted to very dark, then soaked in coffee and boiling water overnight, I knew the bread is going to be delicious when I smelled the soaker. Coffee flavor was not prominent in the final bread, but the flavor of rye was very enhanced.

A full flavored 60% rye, went perfectly with the smoked salmon and aged gouda cheese we brought along. Beats fastfood burger anyday!

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

First Loaf of 2011

Hey All,

Wishing you all a very happy 2011.  Here's my first loaf of the year.  It was for my friend Sarah's birthday on January 2nd...  I've been baking pretty much the same bread for the past few months save for few high percentage rye breads which I will write about when I have some more time and energy...  This bread is one of my best recipies of late...  Here's the recipe and process:

Total Recipe:

750g Total Flour

540g Total Water (approx 72% hydration)

16g Kosher Salt

40g Storage Sourdough Starter @ 80% Hydration

1346g Total Dough Yield

**Storage Sourdough Starter at 80% to 100% hydration fed within a few days and kept in fridge.


Digital Scale

Oven with convection

Oven thermometer

Instant read thermometer

Large mixing bowl

Rubber spatula

Plastic scraper

Large plastic bag

Linen lined 8" to 10" banneton/brotform/colander lined with tea towel (non terry cloth)

2 baking stones

Wooden peel, or some way to get the loaf into the oven directly onto stone

Cheap loaf pan filled with lava rocks

Bowl of water to wet your hands/scraper/spatula

Rye Sour:

76g Rye Flour (Arrowhead Organic)

76g Water

20g Storage Sourdough Starter (I am keeping mine at about 80% hydration these days)

172g Total


38g WW Flour (Whole Foods 365)

38g AP Flour (Whole Foods 365 and/or Hecker's)

76g Water

20g Storage Sourdough Starter (I am keeping mine at about 80% hydration these days)

172g Total

Final Dough:

598g AP Flour (Whole Foods 365 and/or Hecker's)

388g Water

16g Kosher Salt

172g Rye Sour

172g Levain

1346g Total Dough Yield




12:30am - Weigh out ingredients using a digital scale, mix starters in separate bowls, cover and let rest on counter at room temp...  Go to bed.

10:30am - Weigh out final ingredients using a digital scale.  In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients in the following order: water, starters, flour, salt.  Mix with rubber spatula into a rough shaggy dough, then with wet hands squish out any dry clumps, scrape down bowl sides with wet plastic scraper, place bowl in plastic bag, close and let rest.

11:30am - Using a wet dough scraper, scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl, then with wet hands stretch and fold the dough 4 times.  Pick up the dough mass from the center, lift and let the front part flop under, and release.  Turn the bowl 180 degrees and repeat.  Each time, you can squish the dough down with lightly wet hands.  cover and let rest.

12:00pm - Turn dough using method above, return to bowl to plastic bag, close and rest.

12:30pm - Prepare proofing basket by generously flouring the linen/cloth.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface/board, shape into large boule/round, and place into proofing basket seam side up.  Lightly flour the dough, cover with cloth towel, place into entire basket into plastic bag, close and place in top shelf of refrigerator.

10:00pm - Take dough out of fridge and place on kitchen counter.  If using an 8" basket, dough should be domed over top of basket.  Do the poke test to see if the intentation springs back slowly, but a small impression still remains.  Prepare oven by arranging one baking stone on the lowest level, and the other on the highest level.  Place bottom baking stone with the length going front to back.  Prepare lava rock loaf pan, fill 3/4 way with water.  Place steam pan on bottom rack to the side of the baking stone.  Place oven thermometer on bottom stone and turn on oven to 500F with convection.  Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated, open the windows and run fans.  This is especially important if you are using a gas oven.

10:45pm - Remove oven thermometer with tongs/oven mitts so you don't burn yourself.  Turn off convection.  Lightly flour wooden peel, gently loosen dough from basket and turn onto peel.  Slash as desired and place into oven directly onto bottom stone.  Close oven door.  Bake 10 minutes at 500F with steam pan.

11:00pm - Remove steam pan, turn oven down to 450F and bake for another 40-45 minutes.

11:40pm-ish: Check weight of loaf and internal temp of loaf.  If weight is approx 15% less than the pre-bake dough weight, and internal temp has reached 210F, then loaf is pretty much done.  You can turn the oven off and put the loaf back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

11:50pm-ish: Take loaf out of oven and let cool overnight on a wire rack...  Go to sleep...


Loaf profile

Close-up of crackly bottom crust


Bad crumbshot picture from friend's iPhone camera...




Submitted to Yeastspotting on 1/4/2011

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Pasta Machines

Can anyone recommend a good basic, sturdy pasta machine?  I've looked at the Pro Cucina, the Marcata Atlas and also the Imperia. They all seem reasonably priced and adequate, but I was wondering if anyone could talk about their personal experience with any of these machines to help me decide which to buy.  Alternately, I will be in Italy in a few months and am wondering whether I should wait and see what is available there. I greatly appreciate any help.  Thanks in advance.


sourdoughexpolra's picture

I know another post about help with a starter...

Hello all, 

I am about three and a half weeks into a new starter that seems to be going well. But I do have a few questions that I think I might need a little direct help with and this seems like a place that is well versed in both helpfulness and knowledge. 

This is about the fifth starter that i have had, and this is the longest I have been able to keep one viable. The first two went about the same way. Just started with about 25g of both unbleached AP flour and water and fed it this until I noticed activity then started discarding until I had about 100g and then feeding 50g water and flour every twelve hours. They both turned out well for about a week afterward and I would bake some tasty bread and then they would just stop showing any activity almost out of the blue. 

The last few starters I have made I followed the pineapple juice solution using rye flour and it seemed to work very well except the last two I kind of fell off of the wagon on my feedings and decided to start over... my fault

But the starter I have now I have been very diligent in feeding twice daily in as close to 12 hour increments as I can get (sometimes 10, sometimes 14). My procedure for feeding it is to discard all but 100g of starter then to feed it 40g KA AP flour and 40g water. It is close to doubling between feedings most of the time and seems like it is doing well except I have noticed it has a slight metallic taste and it doesn't seem to have much of a sour flavor. I know that the sour flavor can take time to develop but the metallic taste is really what is worrying me. It is a little cold in the kitchen(sometimes as low as 60) and I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not but I just don't want to have to start over again. 

Thank you for reading my long drawn out post. 

DANIELHOOKE66's picture

Finding your ultimate cranberry sauce recipe

Really significant things with cranberry sauce quality recipes

A cranberry sauce recipe should fulfill a few basic criteria. Cranberries are a bright, acidic flavor that's perfect for pairing with turkey, stuffing, or even vanilla ice cream. Make sure your cranberry sauce has a lot of flavor. It shouldn’t be too sweet or too acidic though. It's a tall order, but relatively easy to fill.

A cranberry sauce recipe you blend together

A good blended cranberry sauce recipe is quick, easy, and should be simple enough you can ask the twelve-year old to look after it. This cranberry sauce recipe creates a thick, relish-like cranberry sauce. In a food processor or blender, you are able to mix these ingredients:

  • You’ll need a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries

  • Peel and separate one large orange

  • You'll need 1 cup of sugar. Get ¾ cup agave nectar if that’s not what you want

  • 1/4 cup orange juice, ginger ale, or 2 ounces good-quality whiskey

Your cranberry sauce recipe can be cooked too

You may prefer a baked cranberry sauce if you would like more of any dipping sauce. On high heat in a stainless steel or aluminum sauce pan, mix:

  • You’ll need one 12 ounce back of frozen cranberries

  • You’ll need a cup of orange juice too

  • Three cups of ginger ale should be added

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • You will need zest from a small orange

Make sure you boil it all. That is the first step. Reduce the heat to medium, and reduce for 45 minutes, or until there is about 2 cups of thickened sauce. Combine with a stick or stand blender. Serve as a dipping sauce.

Making brand new stuff with leftover cranberry sauce recipe

If you've remaining cranberry sauce recipe following the holiday holiday, you've got several choices. Put it over ice cream while keeping it sealed in the fridge. You can get 8 ounces of cream cheese and mix it with ½ to ¾ cup of cranberry sauce recipe that is remaining. This is good for turkey sandwiches as a spread.

cpanza's picture

Pani di Lavello

(reposted at my blog:

I knew I was going to make a bread right after the holidays, and I wanted to use up some excess Italian cheeses and meats that I had in the refrigerator, so I decided to add them to the bread. So this is a kind of pani di lavello – a “bread of the sink”. Not that this is odd – Italian bakers tend to have a number of “just throw it all in (everything but the kitchen sink)” breads. I just figured I’d add one to the list.

I’ve got to say, this particular version was amazing. The look of it is striking (as the picture attests) and it is rich, rich, rich. This bread also has lots of wang that attack the taste buds from all sides. The only problem is that it is really heavy. I had a few slices and felt as if I’d dropped an anvil or an anchor into my stomach. I’m totally bloated — but it’s a really good bloat! Highly recommended, but dangerous in terms of calories.


This bread is really a version of Carol Field’s pani di casa - a rustic peasant house bread mixed with double the ingredients (plus some pepperoni) of a typical casatiello. As you can see in the picture, the oils from the meat (especially the pepperoni) tend to travel in the crumb, which is actually very nice – it adds a nicy spicy taste to the bread.

The crumb itself is moist and thick, and the crust is not that crunchy, but instead a bit softer than typical for rustic bread, though it seems appropriate for the type of bread this is.

Here’s how to do it:

Ingredients for Biga (starter)

1 tsp of yeast

1/3 cup water warm

2/3 cup of warm milk

1 cup of flour


Add the yeast to the water/milk and let it sit for 10 minutes, or until foamy. Then add the flour and mix well. Let this sit covered for 4 hours minimum, or for 18 hours maximum (to get the most sourdough taste).

Ingredients for Dough

2 cups water

1 tbsp salt

2 oz Pecorino Romano

2 oz Parmesan


1. Add the salt and water to the biga mixture in the mixing bowl

2. Using the mixer paddle, slowly add 5 cups of flour

3. Switch to the dough hook and slowly add 1 1/2 cups of flour until you have a soft and velvety dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the Romano and the Parmesan to the dough, and continue to mix on the hook. Total hook time should be around 7 minutes.

5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl for 2 hours until doubled

Shaping Ingredients

2 oz Provelone

5 oz Pepperoni, sliced small

4 oz Salami, sliced small

Directions for Shaping

1. Punch down the dough and then press into it half of the provelone and pepperoni and salami.

2. Shape in the way you see fit (I make round loaves). If you do this, every time you pull back a corner of the dough, press more cheese and meat into the dough. Repeat the process until you have a ball.

The dough will be thick and full. Pat the top with flour, place on a floured peel for 1 hour.

3. Let sit for 1 hour again.

4. Preheat oven to 410 and bake for 50

5. Let cool for 30 minutes, during which time you should put on your eating pants with the elastic cord, since this is a thick bread that will require room for your bloated stomach.