The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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?

plevee's picture

Bosch Compact

I bought a Bosch Compact on eBay. It is great for bread - kneaded a 5 1/2# batch of Hamelman's 5 grain rye sourdough with absolutely no problem - but I cannot get it to cream butter and sugar for making cakes. I have the manual but there is no advice which attachment to use & neither the multiwired nor the few wired attachments seems to do a good job. Does any cake maker use the baby Bosch?

BTW I have a DLX 9000, also bought on eBay, which someone stronger & taller than me might be interested in buying (I have to stand on tiptoe to look in the bowl on my counter). It is in excellent condition & comes with the roller & dough hook, not the smaller bowl & whisk. I paid $277 & would sell it for the same plus shipping. Patsy

ezzirah's picture

freezing bread dough....

Hello! long time lurker here, don't post much, too much of a noob.. :)


I was thinking of getting in the kitchen this weekend a whipping up batches of various bread doughs that I can put in the freezer then simply take out and unthaw and bake when I need them. But I am unsure at what a point is it safe in the bread make process to freeze the dough. After shaping? should I rise once then freeze? After a second rise? 


I am hoping the question is clear, I apologize if it is not. 


Anishnabe baker's picture
Anishnabe baker

White bread additives

Hi, I am a baker from Birch Island, Ontario. I have fits and starts in baking since I am not always here. I was just in Jolly Old and was fortunate enough to get face to face time in the local bakery. Should you be in Evesham the bakery on the main street makes excellent bread and , by going round the back(long walk) you can meet with the baker. Having had a long talk with him on the way back I thought I had not clarified the "Diamond" additive he said he added to his Bloomer Loaf. Can anyone help??

kolobezka's picture

Minimum amount of yeast


I would like to ask what is the minimum amount of yeast (commercial) to use in a recipe that would not negatively affect the results.

I have read that yeast can reproduce but in fact it has not enough time to do so during dough fermentation. It just eats (and therefore produces gaz and increase volume, I guess).

Of course lean dough needs less than fat- and/or sugar-rich dough. And less yeast needs more fermentation time. Are there other factors that should be taken into consideration (whole wheat, rye, multigrain...)? And is there a general rule of thumb what would the minimum for different types of bread be? The avarage seems to be 10g fresh yeast (1tsp instant) for 500-600g flour. Can this be reduced?

For example I do not understand why in ABED by Peter Reinhart there are 4g instant yeast for 560-680g flour in one case (eg p. 72/73 - 50% and 100% Whole Grain Rustic Bread) and then 10-15g instant yeast for app the same quantity of flour in other breads (eg p. 83 Every Day 100% WW Sandwich, p. 102 Many-Seed, p. 113 Wild Rice and Onion), when there is not a difference between fat and sugar content. Would it be possible to reduce the yeast amount in all recipes?

Thanks for help