The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Winnish's picture

Pita-bread with Zaatar

Pita-bread with Zaatar (middle-east spice), sesame and olive oil


















Very easy to make, and very tasty. We actually love to eat it with Tehina or Hummus (spead made of chickpeas), but it's great with everything

















For recipe and more photos, pease visit my post

My blog and my posts are in Hebrew, but translator is available (top left side-bar)


varda's picture

40% Whole Durum Boule

Sometimes you have to back up to move forward.   I have tried to make 100% whole durum bread a couple times and couldn't achieve a good density or crumb structure even if I was happy with other things.    I found myself decidedly confused by the durum - did it want a long ferment so that the dough could develop without a lot of manipulation, or did it need a short ferment because it develops much faster than regular wheat doughs?    I decided to back up in the percent of durum and then move forward stepwise to see what I could learn.   So last night and today, I made a sourdough boule with 40% whole durum flour.    Even though I was only at 40% I tried to use the gentle methods that durum seems to need, so I mixed everything by hand, stretched and folded in the bowl with my hands, and generally did whatever I could not to frighten the durum.    I also retarded overnight for convenience sake.    Hydration is 68%.   Prefermented flour is 23%.   I used my regular wheat with 5% rye starter.   Here are some pictures of the result:

Next up:  60% whole durum boule. 

probably34's picture

All purpose flour vs. Bread flour- baguettes

From what I understand, using all purpose flour will result in a crispier, cracklier crust. But what about the crumb? Will the crumb be more open and glossy when using AP flour or a flour with a comparable protein content? Is it all in the mixing and oxidation? Can anyone help me with my question?



Andy_P's picture

Making a hash of it with Vitamin C

Hi all. I have a couple of questions about Vitamin C/Ascorbic acid powder.

The first part is a bit of a tale of confusion and woe....

I'm very happy with the "lift" on my white loaves, but my brown and wholemeal were a litle bit heavy,  so I bought some Vitamin C powder and started to use it.

Over the last few weeks or months, my brown bread has been getting worse and worse so I've been adding a little more and more of the Vitamin C powder (I'll admit to how much in a minute!)

I've now wbeen reading some previous topics about Vitamin C on here (such as this one:  Ascorbic acid) and I am now thouroughly confused about how much to use.

In that topic it says in various places:

1/8 teaspoon per "recipe"

1/4 gram or thereabouts for "a loaf" (I'm guessing a 1lb loaf?)

25ppm or so as an improver for white flour (i.e. 25 milligrams per kilogram- about a TENTH of the amount in quote #2)

And then it says "Dan Lepard proposes using 250mg to 450g of wholemeal flour. So that's almost 20x as much as routine addition to white flour."

So is 1/2 gram per kilo of wholemeal flour about right? Any idea of what that would be in fractions of a teaspoon?

(OK - time to confess now...  I'm sure I read somewhere that it should be a teaspoon per loaf, so I was being stingy and only putting in one full teaspoon per kilo of flour.

As they got flatter and flatter, I was slowly making it a bigger and bigger heaped spoonful!

I  think I was lucky the poor yeast was surviving at all!)


Second part of the question....

I can't remember where I found the Vitamin C powder and can't find it anywhere now.

But I can get Citric Acid powder. I know that citus fruits have citric acid and they are high in vitamin C, but is that all spurious? Could I use Citric Acid powder instead of Ascorbic Acid????


Very grateful for any help or advice.


KHamATL's picture

Baguette Scoring Help Request

Hi everyone,

I have been reading posts on the forum for many months now and trying to gain wisdom on the topic of baguette scoring.  I have read almost every post on the subject but can't seem to get it right.  Out of about a dozen attempts at baguettes, I have successfully generated a nice ear/grigne one time.  Strangely enough, it was on the 3rd attempt.  Here is a picture:

I have been using Hamelman's Poolish Baguette and Hamelman's Straightdough Baguette for all attempts.  I have been using King Arthur flour and I usually do a 30-60 min autolyze and an extra fold to get sufficient gluten development.  I check the proofing with a "poke test" as most people do.  When the dimple very slowly returns after a poke, I consider it ready to bake.  I slash with a curved lame with a depth of ~ 1/4 in (or what I perceive to be a 1/4 in. It's difficult to say exactly).  I hold the blade at an angle (I think ~30-45 deg) to try to cut a flap of dough.  I cook the baguettes in a 460 degree oven (preheated for 45 min) on 1/2 in unglazed tiles.  For steam, I follow Hamelman's instructions: throw a few ice cubes into a cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf while slashing, slide the baguettes onto the stone, and then pour 1 cup of boiling water into the skillet.  I have followed this method for all attempts.

I think my shaping has improved in the past 4 months and I've tried to vary my slashing technique slightly to see what I'm doing wrong.  Now, I would like to request some advice.  I appreciate any guidance that anyone will offer.  Here are the pictures of my "ear-free" baguettes.  Individual photos can be seen at  Thanks in advance.

On a positive note, I have eaten many many delicious sandwiches from all of this.  Thanks for your help!


eschneider5's picture

Need help figuring out formula for this bread.

I wanted to start a new thread for this.  I need to find out the formula for this bread which is also a sandwich roll.  The roll has a slight sour taste to it, the crumb is soft and chewy, the crust is thin and crunchy.  The crust is the big mystery for me as it is unlike any baguette that I have made or eaten before.  This crust is much thinner than a baguette which makes it great as a sandwich roll.  Help please!

CoveredInFlour's picture

Will all sourdough starters I make eventually taste the same?


This is probably a stupid question, but I've just barely gotten up and running with sourdough, so bear with me. :)

I have a nice River Cottage rye sourdough starter bubbling away in my fridge (started with 1 cup dark rye flour and 1 cup bottled water), and I have a two day old culture of Reinhart's whole wheat flour/pineapple juice sitting my by counter looking slightly bewildered as a newborn baby. :) I eventually would like to turn the whole wheat starter into a white starter, but that's days away.

Having correctly or incorrectly read that sourdough starters take on the flavours of the environment that they are raised in (like kids), would there be a reason to make more than one type of white, or rye, or whole wheat starter? Wouldn't all my white or rye, or whole wheat starters eventually taste the same, theoretically, if they were raised in the same kitchen?

On one site I read a recipe for a starter that calls for milk, sugar, honey and beer - in my snobby newbie way I thought "*That's* not a real starter!", but is it? Would that be considered a "true" sourdough starter? I can see how that would add different flavours to a bread, but I thought a "real" starter was just flour and liquid.

I don't know who I'd be trying to impress with the "trueness" of a starter (I'm assuming there are no bread police, although on France, maybe.. :) ), but having read the well known bread books it seems that flour/liquid is thought of as the "real" way to produce a starter.

Any thoughts?

codruta's picture

very stiff dough for golden raisin bread

hello everybody! Last evening I began to make "golden raisin bread" from hamelman book, page 172. I increased the amount of water with 5 % (from 69% to 74%), after I read on this forum that the hydration given in the book gives a dough that is too stiff. I omited the yeast from the recipe. I did 2 S-F at 40 min interval, with a bulk fermentation of 2 hours. I shaped a small boule and a small batard and I put the doughs in the fridge overvight. The dough was stiff when I shaped it, and it didn't raise in the fridge (maybe just 10%). When I press the batard with my hand it's like a rock, I don't feel air trap inside. I start to thinking that I didn't use the right "rolled oats". I used old fashioned rolled oats, should I have used quick cooking rolled oats instead?

I removed the loafs from the fridge this morning, and I'll wait to see if they raise at room temperature. I don't know what to do, is so hot here, I don't want to use the oven if the dough is bad. Two hours of intensive heat and sweat, just to have 2 doorstops- can be very frustrating.

Overall formula was 348 g bread flour, 87 g whole wheat flour, 325 g water, 9 g salt, 44 g old fashioned rolled oats, 110 g raisins. (The prefermented flour was 15% from the total amount of flour, and the levain was liquid, at 125% hydration).

What did I do wrong? Or this dough is suposed to be dry and stiff?



freerk's picture

a boston brown quick fix

I don't even know what it was I wanted to do; I just ended up fascinated by the fact I had just purchased two tin cans of cookies, and, when flipping open Glezer's book, there was that picture of  that bread sticking out of tin cans; the Boston Brown Bread! So, sometimes if not all the time, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do:

I didn't have nearly enough dough to make it out of the tin cans, but once removed you could never tell the difference:

The bread was... interesting. It's got light molasses in the formula, and all I had was dark molasses. Even though I downed the amount in the formula in favor of some extra milk in the very stiff and dry dough, the end result is still very....molasses. The dried cranberries work wonders in it!

There were some odd discrepancies in trying to recreate the formula. The dough I ended up with wasn't nearly enough to fill 3/4 of the tin cans, even though they had the exact recommended measurements. Maybe I dozed off for a second, maybe the rye was extremely thirsty today, I'll never know.

So, a bit on the dry side for my taste, but very comfy and x-massy to eat (dutch summer sucks anyway), I'm sure when the northern winds return I'm going to give the Boston Brown Bread another spin!




 P.S. You would do me a big favor endorsing my BreadLab iniative. Every "like" will get me closer to realizing a 6 episode documentary/road movie; chasing the best bread Europe has to offer. Thanks in advance!

ananda's picture

Inspirational Stories

Here's a fine tale from one of the many inspirational people driving forward the demand for good, honest bread!

Best wishes