The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
plevee's picture

? protease in starterh

I normally use my starter weeky but  bought bread for the past 2 weeks. When I got the stater out of the fridge it hadn't risen at all & smelled more acidic than usual. I fed it twice and got no rise and also noted a change in texture; slimey and gelatinous -kind of the way chewing gum goes if you have some food in your mouth.

The last time this happened, the bread I used it in got stickier the more I kneaded it. I was told by the kind people at KAF that I probably had a protease problem. I made another starter which has performed very well till now.

I've now refreshed  tiny amounts of the starter 4 times with no change.

Diagnosis? Advice?


Floydm's picture

Now Available: The Fresh Loaf Pocket Book of Bread Baking

The Fresh Loaf Pocket Book of Bread Baking e-book is now available for Kindle on for $4.99.

A Nook edition is available on Barnes & Noble's website for the same price.



I'm having a hard time writing much more about it because I really don't enjoy tooting my own horn. I'll just say I'm proud of what we've put together and hope it will a worthy expression of our shared passion for bread baking.

Originally I thought this e-book was just going to be an aggregation of the content and lessons I've already posted here, but in the end Dorota and I put a great deal of work into this.  The community feedback on the first draft was tremendously helpful and many adjustments and additions were made in response.  We also found that once we read through the entire text there were a number of inconsistencies and omissions that are no big deal on a website where you can instantly search, ask a question, and interact with other bakers, but that are a larger problem in a work that is meant to stand on its own.   These past few weeks we've tried hard to remedy those shortcomings and, with the help of friends and family members in publishing, to achieve the level of editorial polish that you would expect from professionally-produced content. In the end, this became a fairly substantial work, one that I hope readers will find an economical yet still high-quality introduction to bread baking.

I would love TFL community members' help kicking this off. A few positive reviews on Amazon and enough sales that non-TFL members notice it when browsing the e-book charts will make a tremendous difference in the ultimate success of this project.

Again, thank you all again for your feedback, words of encouragement, and on-going support.



dmsnyder's picture

Man cannot live by San Joaquin Sourdough alone.

It's much nicer to live with my wife, along with San Joaquin Sourdough, than alone. And if there is any bread that makes her happier than San Joaquin Sourdough, it's the Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread from BBA. So I baked some today.

One of these days, I will try Glenn's variation with pecans and dried cranberries. See Another Spice-Fruit-Nut Bread

And, for those who are wondering, Glenn and I did not discuss what we were baking this weekend. It's just one of them synchronicity things.


Maryann279's picture

Whole Grain Breads at SFBI

I just finished a week at SFBI taking their whole grain bread class.  We made about 20 different kinds of bread;  they were all good and many were outstanding.  There were lots of interesting shapes, and we used many add-ins, such as dried pears, nuts, seeds and sprouted wheat berries.  This was the third week-long class I've taken there, and I'm starting to be able to work more efficiently and keep up with the more experienced students.  As usual, there was a mixture of home bakers and professionals.  It was a very productive week and I'm becoming more certain that I want to pursue baking and pastry as a second career.

Floydm's picture

Success Story: Dave's Killer Bread

Dave's logo

"Just say no to bread on drugs!"

So says the label on each loaf of Dave's Killer Bread, a playful tagline that alludes to both the organic nature of the ingredients and the darker side of Dave Dahl's past.

"I was a four-time loser before I realized I was in the wrong game," Dave writes on the back of each loaf of Dave's Killer Bread. Burglary. Drug dealing. Armed robbery. Dave spent close to 15 years in prison in total.


James Dahl, Dave's father, started the Portland, Oregon-based NatureBake bakery in 1955. Dave and his older brother, Glenn, grew up in and around the bakery, learning how to bake from their father. Glenn had an aptitude for business and began helping his father with the business side of the bakery, eventually taking over management of the business in 1988. Dave broke away from his family and the family business for many years, years in which his life when progressively downhill.

James Dahl passed away during Dave's final stint in prison, a period when Glenn's son Shobi joined the family business. Something clicked for Dave: he cleaned up his act and decided he could do something with his life. Dave reached out to his brother, who agreed to give him a chance to start over by helping out in the family business when he got out.

When Dave returned to NatureBake, the bakery, while not struggling, wasn't exactly thriving. Their breads were mostly found in health food stores and hadn't successfully connected with the younger "locavore and farmer's market" crowd. I have to admit that though I'd seen NatureBake breads on the shelves of grocery stores and co-ops in Portland forever I don't think I ever bought one. I had the impression that these were the kinds of breads you ate because eventually your doctor said you had to, not because you wanted to.

They needed something new.

Dave's Killer Bread

Powerseed logo

While helping out around the bakery, Dave started experimenting with some new recipes. The brothers decided to try selling a few of them and to try marketing them in a new way by letting Dave tell his story. Out went the drab packaging touting the health benefits of spelt; along came a cartoon image of Dave with long hair and a guitar, breads with offbeat names like "Blues Bread", "Powerseed", and "Peace Bomb". The breads went from being dull health food fair to hypercharged loaves of awesomeness chock full of seeds, nuts, and organic ingredients. They became killer breads.

Dave's Killer Bread made its premier at a baking festival held by the Portland Farmer's Market, Summer Loaf, in August 2005. That was only a few months after I started The Fresh Loaf and though I didn't know it at the time, I actually got photos of the premier of Dave's Killer Bread there. I took a few more photos of Dave at his booth but, alas, I haven't been able to find any of the others.

Dave's premier
The world premier of Dave's Killer Bread

Dave's Killer Bread quickly became a success, first at the farmer's market, then local co-ops and health food stores, then regional independent grocers. NatureBake's 15,000 square foot bakery wasn't adequate to handle the increased production that would be required to get Dave's Killer Bread onto the shelves of mainstream grocery stores though, so in 2008 the brothers borrowed money to move from the existing facility in Portland to a new 52,000 square foot "bread-quarters" directly across the street from Bob's Red Mill in Milwaukee, Oregon. It was a big gamble, taken at a time when rising commodity prices were threatening to raise the price of ingredients so high that Dave's Killer Bread could not be sold profitably at a price that consumers would be willing to pay.

The gamble paid off. Around the time of the move Glenn optimistically projected that within 5 years they could be selling 100,000 loaves a week. Just two years later, they are selling over 350,000 a week. Dave's Killer Bread is on the shelves in major grocery and warehouse stores like Fred Meyer, Safeway, Winco, and Costco across the Pacific Northwest and is making inroads in California and other states. The 52,000 square foot facility that seemed like such a gamble two years is running near maximum capacity now.

"Making the world a better place, one loaf of bread at a time"

Dave and me
Me and Dave

Dave's story would be inspiring if it were just the tale of one man's redemption, but there is more. About 25% of the 200 employees at the bakery are ex-convicts being given an opportunity to get back on their feet. "I believe in second chances," Dave told me, "but I also believe in holding people responsible for their actions." Dave mentioned that at the bakery they let employes know they may be randomly drug tested and that he himself had taken one the day before. "We're all judged by the same standard," he said.

The Dahl's are major supporters of local charities and community organizations like Loaves & Fishes and Meals on Wheels, have worked hard to develop an environmentally sustainable production line, and are working hard to source locally grown ingredients. Dave travels around the region to share his story with inmates and community groups. Just last week Dave won the Oregon Ethics in Business Award, with good reason.

As you know I bake all the time, but we still have a loaf of Dave's "Good Seed" in the house at all times. My kids' think it is the best bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It sounds cliché, but as parent it makes me happy that my kids beg us to buy a locally-made, organic whole wheat bread rather than balloon bread. Dave's breads are killer, and NatureBake is a killer company I'm happy to support.

Companion post: a photo tour of the NatureBake bakery
Link: Dave's Killer Bread on Facebook

ph_kosel's picture

Fennel Fennel Everywhere!

I discovered the other day I had 3 almost-full bottles of fennel seed, presumably due to repeated cravings for fennel, a bad memory, and a very cluttered spice cabinet.  There's only one thing to do when that happens, of course: make bread with fennel seeds in it.

I whomped up some dough as follows:

450g unbleached bread flour, 50g whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon SAF "red" instant yeast, 1 tablespoon fennel seed, 1.5 teaspoons salt, 0.5 teaspoons diastatic malt powder, 333g very warm water. 

I turned the dough out into my 9x4x4 pullman pan and it filled the pan in under an hour (you could almost hear the dough rising it was so fast).  I baked it at 450F for 25 minutes.  Result was a nice soft chewy loaf with a mild fennel flavor, good with butter on it.  Fennel tastes sort of like licorice (which I like).

This loaf rose amazingly fast, which is good when you're hungry for some nice warm bread.

At this point I still have a LOT of fennel to use up.  Also, some dry lemon peel (I wonder what that would taste like with fennel?).

I was looking at "pain de mie" recipes the other day and they frequently call for a 350F baking temperature instead of 450F, I guess to get a tender crust.

varda's picture

Syd's white sandwich loaf - original and yeast water


Syd's white sandwich loaf has been on my to bake list since it was posted.   But those lists are ever growing and time is ever short and I'm ever distractable, so...  One of the distractions has been the yeast water craze.   As much as I pride myself on being above fashion, the simple fact is I'm not.   So when Daisy suggested that an enriched bread might be a good candidate for yeast water, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and try Syd's loaf with yeast water.   The problem with converting a recipe before trying it first, is one has (I have) no idea what one is (I am) doing, so I had a failure or three.    Then I decided to bake two loaves side by side - one Syd's original formula and the other, his formula converted to yeast water.    The loaf pictured in the first four photos is made with Syd's original formula scaled down by 3/4.   The only deviation is that I did not use ascorbic acid.   


The resulting bread is probably the most feathery light I have ever made.   The taste is mild but delicious.    Unfortunately the pictures can barely capture the wonderful taste and texture of this bread.    My recommendation - if you have any taste at all for white bread, go to Syd's original post and bake it.  

For the second loaf, I converted to yeast water by replacing all of the water in the poolish with yeast water and omitting the yeast.    I also omitted the yeast from the final dough.   Otherwise I followed exactly the same formula, again without the ascorbic acid.   After mixing both batches of dough this morning I had to go out for a few hours, so I refrigerated both bowls.    When I got back, the yeast version had already doubled, while there appeared to be no change to the yeast water one.    I shaped the yeast one and placed in a bread pan to proof, and stretched and folded the yeast water dough and let it bulk ferment on the counter.    Before long (I wasn't watching the clock) the yeast loaf had risen an inch above the pan so I baked it, and then shaped and proofed the yeast water loaf.   By the time the yeast water loaf was ready to go in, it hadn't even cleared the pan top.   But it was softening so I decided to bake it.   In the oven it grew to around 80% of the volume of the yeast version.   

After tasting the original, I was ready to hate the yeast water version, but surprise, surprise, there was nothing to hate.   While the yeast water loaf wasn't as feathery light as the original, and really the taste was completely different, it was every bit as delicious as the first - just a different style of bread.   It's hard to come up with exactly the right words, but the yeast water loaf had a tiny bit of a tang, and a more complex flavor in a somewhat denser (not dense, just denser) bread.   The picture below is of both loaves (yeast water on the bottom) and below that two shots of the yeast water crumb.   I will be hard put to decide which one of these to make next time.   Such dilemmas are fun to have.   Thank you Syd, for posting your fabulous and delicious formula.



johannesenbergur's picture

Quick and easy white bread


  • 1 dl (100g) lukewarm to warm water
  • ½ dl (50g) plain naturel yogurt
  • 15g fresh active yeast
  • 8 g honey
    (pref. liquid)
  • 10 g sea salt
  • 10 g olive oil
    (this is a minimum, feel free to use more, I reckon 25g would be ideal)
  • 250g various types of flour, I used and recommend:
    30g Graham flour
    70g semolina flour
    150g wheat baking flour
  • Poppy or sesame seeds or for sprinkle

This recipe is very small, the smallest I've ever made. Usually I double the ingredients mentioned, except for the yeast, the dough rises just fine with 15g.


(Work: 20 mins - 1st rise: 30 mins - work: 5 mins - 2nd rise: 35 mins - bake: 30 mins)
Estimated time from start to finish: 2 hours 

Mix the warm water and yogurt, so you get a tepid mixture. Add the yeast and stir till dissolved. Add salt and honey and dissolve. Add the flour to the mixture, I ususally add 100g, mix and add then add more.

Knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes, put it into an oiled container, cover it with a hot teatowel and leave it to rise for 30 mins or so, can be more or less, usually more means better and less means less good.

Should be doubled after half an hour and shape it into a loaf. Place the loaf onto your baking surface of choice. Pat the bread with milk and sprinkle the seeds on top of it. Cover it again with a warm towel and let it rise for 30-60 minutes; Afterwards put the loaf into your oven.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until the crust is golden and it makes that hollow sound you know so well, when you knock on the bottom of it.


MangoChutney's picture

Meat Grinder Opinions?

I am looking to buy a standalone electric meat grinder (not a stand mixer attachment).  I have scoured Amazon's selection for hours on end and cannot tell which one of those with a moderate price is best.  I am wanting to grind poultry, pork, and perhaps lamb or beef, for meatballs, meatloaves, steamed meat dumplings, sausage patties, etc.  Stuffing sausage casings is not something I am interested in doing.



txfarmer's picture

Parmesan Batter Bread - so easy, so quick

Recipe is from KAF(, I used instant yeast rather than active dry, which means I could skip the "warm milk to proof" bit, and make the whole thing even easier. Also skipped the cream cheese on surface, since I didn't have any. Very delicious though, a good base for all kinds of add-ins, next time I will try green onion and bacon.


I highly recommend using a cast iron pan to make this, the crust is perfection


And a fluffy soft delicious crumb


Sending this to Yeastspotting.