The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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BerniePiel's picture

Tartine Basic Country Loaf with raisins and pistachio

I have really become enamored of late with Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread, particularly his basic country loaf which is a combination of APF or BF and WWF.  I had to experiment with some raisins and pistachios that I had on hand.  The methodology was identical to Robertson's given in the text, same proportions, same times and so forth.  My only variation is that I use spring water, I mill local Oklahoma winter hard red wheatberries, and perhaps my method of folding the bread and the number of times that I fold versus the text.  I fold 4 or more times depending on what kind of structure I see developing; Chad states he folds three times every 25 minutes during the bulk rise.  I add one of two extra folds.  Also, I do not use all of the 50 g of water that he calls for when addiing the 20 g of salt after the inital 20 minute autolyse.  I usually just end up adding 25 g rather than the entire 50 because I feel it makes my dough to wet.

I have also discovered that his temps of water and air environment called for at various locations in the recipe should be adhered to.  He states using water at 80 degrees and he's right.  I tried using my ambient temp water at between 65 and 72 and the dough behaved differently.  The bulk rise and final rise temps should also be between 78 and 82 which is conducive to good yeast activity and providing a proper amount of time for the flavors to be created in the dough.

In this bread I added 1 1/2 cups of currants (a smaller dark raisin) and 1 1/2 cups of unsalted pistachio nuts, added at the first folding following  the 20 minutes autolyse or rrest.  It took several minutes to incorporate these two items evenly throughout the dough.  If you skimp here, the raisnins and nuts will be along the inside of the crust edge rather than scattered throughout the loaf.

Also, as the recipe states, it will make two loaves.  During this bake, I cooked the first loaf immediately ater the final rise.  The second loaf I allowed to ferment in the fridge for 12 hours just to see if  there was a difference in taste.  There is and its quite good.  But, even without that fermentation period, the bread was also very good.  But, the time in the fridge did improve the flavor.

Finally, I baked these two loaves in a round clay couche that I soaked before puttiing into the oven and I added  them as tthe oven was heating.  The oven was up to 360 degrees when I added the couche (normally I put my cooking vessel in when I fire up the oven, but I forgot this time.)  The clay vessel had been soaking in water for 15 minutes just prior to going in the oven to preheat befoe i added the boules.

I put the loaves in when my temp reached 515, put the top on and after 10 minutes, turned the oven down to 450.  After a total of 20 minutes had elapsed from the time I first put the dough in the clay pot, I took the lid off and baked for another 20 minutes at 450.  The crust becomes harder, good carmelization, and the interior crumb is chewy and flavorful.  I really, really like this bread.

Here are the pix:


from the oven couche


troutski's picture

Jim Lahey's no knead

Just baked my first basic loaf from the book. Aside from being a little scorched on the bottom (Note to self:oven runs hotter than advertized at higher temps...)

This was the simplest and one  if the best loaves for texture that I have made. good thing I held on to that ancient dutch oven of my grandmother's....


I can't wait to try it again in sourdough version.


Just gloating....




jowilchek's picture

Kneading or Stretch an Fold or both

If this has been discussed and I missed it I'm sorry, but I didn't see it.

I tried a new recipe:
recipe for a 60% hydration French Bread dough, the so called French Bread

It requires 5-7 min. kneading, then stretch and fold several times, at intervals.
I thought stretch and fold method eliminated the kneading I wrong? Do they go hand and hand? Or are you to do one or the other, not both?
p.s. the bread turned out good, against my own judgment I followed the recipe and did both the kneading and the strech and fold.
Any advice or remarks appreciated.

flourgirl51's picture

whole wheat tortillas

Has anyone made tortillas using whole wheat flour?

KMIAA's picture

Savory Sweet Potato Bread


I'm looking for a recipe for a savory Sweet Potato Bread Recipe that will have a firm crust, and not using cinnamon, nuts, etc.  I've looked all over the net but haven't found anything that I'm interested in. If anyone knows of such a recipe and could point me in that direction would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Ju-Ju-Beads's picture

Durum flour handled too much?

Can I handle the dough too much?  I am working on a much larger batch of bread than I've ever done before--about 8 loaves of a rustic Italian loaf with durum flour acpunting for about 2/3 total flour content.  It's about 66% hydration. 

My concern is that it got to be too much to finicsh last night--sick dog, etc.--so I put it in the refrigerator to retard overnight.  Because I didn't think to divide it last night, the whole mass of dough cooled slowly, so I turned it several times.  Same thing this morning, trying to return it to room temp.  Now my once glossy surface is rather rough looking.  Could it be that that much handling, with a high percentage of delicate durum flour, has broken the strands?  Should I start over?? I've committed to bread for the church bake sale tomorrow and the clock is ticking.

amolitor's picture

Rye Sourdough with Roasted Cracked Wheat - Take II

I'm working on this recipe.

My current state of the art is:

Evening of Day 0

  • 1/4 cup WW flour

  • 3 T water

  • 1 T WW starter

(this approximates 100% hydration starter mix). Let rise overnight.

Morning of Day 1

  • starter from last night

  • another 1/4 cup WW flour

  • another 3 T water

Let rise until about noon (6 hours). Should be Quite Active at this point.

Noonish of Day 1

Toast 1/4 cup + 1 T cracked wheat in dry skillet until Dark Golden Brown, mix with 1/4 cup + 1 T boiling water. Let rest/soak/cool.

  • starter

  • 1/2 cup rye flour

  • 1/2 cup WW flour

  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon water

  • 2 tsp salt

  • toasted cracked wheat mixture

  • sufficient bread flour to hit a moderately high hydration dough

Knead dough until it starts to develop. The dough will be moist and sticky, if you form it into a blob and grab one end you can lift the blob up off the working surface. Holding it there, it will sag, eventually pouring slowly out of your hands over a minute or two. It's as thick as a Very Thick muffin batter, and somewhat springy due to gluten development. Mine was starting to windowpane, weakly -- I didn't want to overdevelop since the ferment goes on a while.

Bulk ferment for 5 hours, S&F every hour.

Into the fridge around 6pm.

6 am Day 2

Remove from fridge, place somewhere warm. S&F after an hour. Form up a loaf after 2 hours. Proof until done (2 hours in this case). Bake at 450 with steam for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 425 for another 25 minutes. Results:


I had good development going in to the fridge in the evening, but it seems to have started to vanish by morning. I feel like the dough was starting to fall apart. The next test will be to follow the same pattern, but aim for mixing dough about 3-4 hours later, so there's only 8-9 hours in the fridge instead of 12. This experiment went off rather better than the previous run (the dough was less sticky, and much more willing to stand up, but the surface gluten network wasn't quite what I want it to be). The flavor and texture are very very similar to the previous result, and the loaf is more staisfying to me, but I feel I have more work to do.

Previous experiment is here:

breitbaker's picture

Mission: Perfect Flour tortillas..

I've made these flour tortillas for the past year or so...and with the approach of fall, and things beginning to slow a bit, I'm on a mission to find my "perfect" version.....take a look and give me your ideas....Thanks!

Cathy B.

paulm's picture

First Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

As I was feeding my starter (Ralph), rather than discarding I fed the discard and used it to make my first sourdough cinnamon rolls.  I'm up to my ears with sourdough pancake mix and just couldn't bear to flush half of Ralph.  I happened on the following recipe in COOKS.COM and with only very minor adjustments, I made the cinnamon rolls shown below.

Printed from COOKS.COM

1/2 c. starter
1 c. evaporated milk
2 c. flour
1/4 c. butter
3 tbsp. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour (approx.)
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. chopped nuts
Melted butter

Combine starter, milk and flour (2 cups) in a large bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight. Next morning, beat together the butter, sugar, and egg. Blend into sourdough. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, soda, and baking powder and mix with other mixture. Turn out on floured surface and knead until shiny. Add flour as needed.

Roll out to an 8 x 16 inch rectangle. Brush surface with melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and nuts. Roll up dough, cut roll at intervals, dip in butter and place in 9 inch square pan. Let rise about 1 hour and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.



I eliminated the nuts (allergies) and used granulated white sugar rather than brown sugar (pantry deficiency).  I made an orange glaze using the zest of one orange,  juice of 1/2 orange and 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar.  Waiting for them to cool before I can report on the taste but they smell devine.


busymate's picture

pizza dough


        I have just made some dough for pizza. The same as i would a standard white loaf dough mix, using 100% bread flour.

I let it double in size, then knocked it about to deflate it, divided it in to portions and have frozen it..

What i would like to know is, after i defrost it, do i shape it then let it rise and then put toppings on?

or do i defrost let rise then shape and let rise again? Im a little confused being new to baking..

surley if i let rise then roll out ready for toppings, the yeast will deflate as i roll it, or flaten it into pizza shape?

Thankyou Phil