The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Skibum's picture

Just got my copy of ITJB!

Inside the Jewish Bakery is a beautiful book! Stan and Norm this is a wonderful piece of work. The photos are beautiful and the desserts -- oh my, I don't know where to begin. I will start with almond paste and go from there and it looks like I will need to buy some more eggs. I can't wait to start on some cookies and cakes! I also enjoyed your historical perspectives -- really well done.

I found your website after receiving the book. Had I known, I would have ordered the autographed version. Now my to bake list has truly gone off the charts.

Great book! Thanks for sharing! Brian

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Exploding Dutch Ovens?

Ken Forkish's Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast unambiguously recommends preheating a Dutch Oven empty.

I'm about to use Lodge's EC4D43.

But a post on Amazon suggests that 'empty = explosion'.

Any advice, please?


kensbread01's picture

Can one use lemon zest in Tartine bread recipe

without retarding the yeast?  i figured I better ask first before I start another designer bread.  I was planning to add a whole lemon zest to a 500 g loaf.  Or maybe a half lemon, just depends on the size of the lemon.


ActiveSparkles's picture

working with wet dough

Hi guys, been a while since I last posted on these forums! Hope you are all well.

I have been trying to work with a wetter dough the past few days, but for the life of me I just can't handle it. Now when I say wet, it is what the recipe suggest. (its a very basic 500g flour/ 300ml water combo)

I use the term wet, because I have deliberately been adding more of the water than I usually would, I tend to go with slightly less so I can work with the dough more easily. But I have been reading some bread books and it seems the general feeling is that "wetter is better". The thing is that I just can not shape it into a loaf that will hold structure while proofing. It just spreads out, not up.

I assume it is probably something to do with my technique along the way somewhere, either in kneading or shaping. Just wondering if you lovely people could throw some wisdom my way? I am determined to get comfortable with the wetter mix.


Thanks a million, and happy new year all!

Neddy's picture

Cast iron or hand formed loaves

I've been making some new high hydration artisan bread recipes that call for baking in cast iron pans.

But since I have a newly completed wood fired oven with  an 8-10 loaf capacity I don't feel the need or want, to use cast iron. 

Unfortunately the loaves like to spread considerably when removed from the proofing baskets. all of these recipes call for stretch and fold with no conventional kneading.

Thinking that gluten development would be helpful, I've tried version with extra kneeding in my Magic Mill and reducing the hydration up to 10%. The bread tastes fine and I'm getting some oven spring. But, must I be satisfied with the horizontal spread and minimal height gain without the cast iron to keep the more compact width?

Any thoughts ?




Theresse's picture

Will I regret using dark rye AND sprouted wheat in my first starter?

I don't know what possessed me.  I kept reading so many conflicting things online and watching conflicting videos on youtube about how to make a starter and late at night I went to the kitchen for a snack (naughty) and thought "what the hell" so mixed these two flours together, added water and mixed it all up, trying not to think about it too much.  I ended up putting in more of the rye than the sprouted wheat because I'd realized I'd put in a bit too much water so I'd added more rye.  Then I had too much I thought so I split it into two containers instead of one.  To further complicate matters, two hours later I went down again and put just a tad more rye in to each container (don't ask - I'm a goofball - I think it was cause I was worried about having mixed the two flours and I wasn't sure sprouted wheat was a good idea) AND the water I used for any/all of this was tap water which happens to have chloramines in it rather than chlorine.  Oh, and I used warm-ish tap water at that, thinking that would be best for yeast to grow.  So at this point I'm figuring it may me a miracle if this stuff turns out at all, haha.

Mainly though I want to know if it's okay that I mixed dark rye with sprouted wheat!  It's not like mixing it with AP flour which I know is okay based on what I've read anyway.


Theresse's picture

How much starter to make based on how much bread I'm likely to bake?

Hello -

I'm intrigued and would like to try making homemade yeast (or "catching" it as I've read people refer to it) using flour and water.  

Can I make a basic kind that will work in most types of bread?  If so, what kind would that be?  I'd like to be able to use it for both sourdough bread or other types of artisan bread as well as sandwich bread (is that crazy?).  

I don't think I have a handy container sitting around so I'll probably buy one for this purpose - either the glass canning jar type or else the plastic square kind so many of you get.  I'm not sure how big the container should be cause I don't know how much I'll need, never having made it.  And what's even more confusing is that from my understanding, there are different amount you need depending on the recipe.  And I've read some people use small amounts of starter because they claim it works or tastes better while others use more.  Can someone just give me some basic advice for some basic starter that would be appropriate for a variety of bread recipes, or is that just too tall an order?!  I need to put in an online order that will take time to process and arrive (I'm ordering wheat berries, containers, lids and other things so this is when and where I'm going to get the container to grow the yeast in, too) and I plan to do the bulk of my research.  Hence, my asking advice here prior to that research/order, which I hope you'll forgive me for!  It will just save me a lot of time in the long run if I do it in that order.

I *think(* I'll want to make about 8 loaves' worth of bread per 2 weeks on average.  Meaning, I may or may not bake once a week...on some occasions it might be twice a week.

Based on the above info, can you give me an idea of how many cups of flour I'd need to get this thing started - no pun intended and what size container might be the safest bet?  How much of the yeast mixture once it's ready is most typically used per recipe i.e. per 2 loaves, if that isn't an impossibly difficult question? 

Thank you!

breadsong's picture

Nº1 and Nº2, from Nº3

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

A week before Christmas, Chad Robertson's new book, Tartine Book Nº3 arrived – earlier than I was expecting!,
and most welcome :^)

One of the things I really liked about the design of the book was the arrangement of the letters spelling out the author’s name, on the book jacket.
Turned 90º clockwise, the author’s name becomes the number “3” :^)

While I was waiting for the book to arrive, various recipes from the book were popping up online, one of them on the Food52 site – the Oat Porridge bread.


The Oat Porridge bread link above includes responses from Mr. Robertson to reader questions – some helpful information there - I’m going to make note of his responses in my book.

And Floyd – you’ll probably like this! – he refers one of the readers to The Fresh Loaf: “…I often direct people to this site http://www.thefreshloaf... and check it myself when I have questions like this. You'll find many excellent bakers posting a ton of knowledge here - lots of it geared towards making professional quality breads in a home kitchen and how to find the best tools to accomplish this.”   
:^) !

I really love oat breads, and the description of this bread and its flavor in the book was amazing...very happy to have had the chance to try making this one.

The Oat Porridge bread makes two loaves, so I decided to bake one as I normally would (Nº1) , and one in the recommended baking vessel, a cast iron Dutch oven (Nº2).
The scoring (not so beautiful!) follows the numbering…loaves Nº1 and Nº2, from Nº3 :^)


I like the look of the Dutch oven-baked bread better – I was a little uncertain baking Nº1 at 500F for the full 20 minutes, so backed off the temperature to 450F after 10 minutes; it was also getting a little dark around the edges, so I took it out 10 minutes or so before Nº2.
Crust color for Nº1 suffered as a result, I think.

I scored around the edges of the free-standing loaf, fearing it might blow out being baked cold right out of the fridge.
The scoring pattern was like this and may partially account for the less-than-round shape after baking?


When making the dough, I didn’t include the leaven in the autolyse as I wanted to soak the flour for the 4-hour period.
In place of high extraction flour I used locally-grown, whole-milled whole wheat flour, and I added the optional roasted (unblanched) almonds, and almond oil.

The dough I thought very beautiful, the steel-cut oats prevalent, the roasted color of the almonds a pretty accent.


Tasting this bread, the nuts softened but have that wonderful roasted flavor, the crumb is very tender and moist
(50% cooked-until-creamy organic steel-cut oats!), and the flavor is complex – there is a sweetness from the oats as Chad suggests, and caramel flavors from the crust – but also a pepperiness I wasn’t expecting! Very delicious.

Here is the crumb (both loaves had proofed up overnight in the fridge and I baked them from cold as the book instructed…but reading Mr. Robertson’s response to a question about this in the Food52 link above, he recommended a warm-up period after refrigeration at colder ‘home’ refrigerator temperatures – so I will try that next time – and see if the extra proofing helps this bread open up at all… 
                                              …it’s going to be a lot of fun working through the breads, sweets and flavors in this book!

For some great photos of Tartine Bakery’s porridge loaf, please see this post from France about her visit to Tartine Bakery, 
at Tartine Bread Experiment…Chad’s beautiful bread, and the gorgeous loaves I know France is going to make,
will be my inspiration to keep working at it!

Thank you, Mr. Robertson, for your journey of exploration through these countries, breads and grains; and thank you to all of the talented people who worked to put this book together, as well.

Happy baking everyone!
:^) breadsong



katyajini's picture

KA for kneading at higher than #2?

Hi everyone!

I just have a new KA proline 7 qt mixer.  I posted this question elsewhere but I am reposting here as a separate question.

its a great mixer, its quiet, moves through batters and cookie doughs very easily. .

However I really bought it for kneading bread dough and I can see that it is not the 'pro' or as 'powerful' it is touted to be.  There are explicit warnings not to use it higher than speed #2 yet I can see it going nowhere to a finished correctly kneaded dough at #2 even with  5-6 cups of flour. or maybe it would have taken 20-25mins?  I didn't try that long.  Rose Levy Beranbaum openly instructs in many of bread recipes to use a KA at #4 and even #6 for both paddle and dough hook for extended periods of time until the dough comes together.  Well, why would she do that?  I tried #4.  At speed #4 there is a constant clicking, clacking sound.  Its not the motor but some part hitting against another part at the higher speed.  And it does begin to heat up after 10-12 mins of kneading. If it does this while brand new it is going to wear out sooner rather than later if I use it regularly for kneading (which I want to do!) I don't think I have a lemon.  I think the mixer works very well but its not as powerful as I was led to believe.  And upon reading the reviews more closely many people have heard the clicking which gives them pause. I think it will be inadequate for kneading whole wheat, whole grain doughs or big batches of dough. I think there are ways to work around these limitations in power, more autolysing, stopping the kneading periodically and resuming after 5-10mins of resting both machine and dough.  But I don't want to, I just wanted a simple strong mixer for when I just wanted to get some kneading done quickly!  Maybe my expectations are inappropriate for this type of mixer?

Just a question: do you all never use it above #2 for kneading? and still get proper kneading?  On this forum, as an example, other than RLB, people are making Jason's ciabatta at highest speed?

I welcome any feedback please.

 Thank you so much for patiently reading about my discomfort with my new and fancy toy.  I did really want to love and live with it forever, but I don't know now.


Tim Greening-Jackson's picture
Tim Greening-Jackson

Greetings from Manchester UK

Hi there. My earlier attempt at an introductory post didn't work, so here's my second attempt...

I've recently started baking bread, which at times seems almost like alchemy. I'm keeping my attempts simple for the time being and am grateful for any advice anyone can give me about a whole lot of things. I have a relatively small kitchen (I live in a city centre apartment) and at the moment am confining my efforts to white loaves and buns.

When I have more understanding and experience I'd like to branch out in to more exotic things like Focacica and ultimately start making sourdough. But for the time being I'm keeping things simple.

As I type this there is a loaf baking in the oven to go with some chicken soup I am also making for supper. So I'd better sign off and see how it's going.