The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Sylviambt's picture

Bronx-to-Barn Baker

Hi all. It's been quite a while since I contributed to this site. Lots of changes in last 18 months: bought a farm, began raising grass-fed/grass-finished beef, sold house, now building farm house, started hosting an FM radio show about sustainable farming and its links to sustainable local economies and community. I've been relying on my bread machine for months, but I'm itching to get back to "real" bread baking. I've signed up for a Hamelman challenge to push me along. A secondary challenge is that my bread books are in storage while the farm house is under construction. I'm relying on a copy from the local library to help me make it through.

Hope you're all staying warm this wild winter.


TylerDavis's picture

high hydration pizza recipe in Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day

I have made a few recipes from Peter Reinhart's book "Artisan Breads Every Day"


Most of them have turned out OK, but only after I added a LOT of extra flour to make the dough workable.  Like 10-15% more than the recipe calls for.  Otherwise I get bater instead of dough.


This is his recipe for Neopolitan Pizza Dough:


680g flour

14g salt

3g inst yeast

28.5g sugar

482g water

28.5g olive oil


Using my digital scale and weighing ingredients exactly, I basically make batter.  It doesn;t even pretend to stick to the dough hook.  So I keep adding flour until I get some workable.

So my question is: am I calcuating 70% hydration correctly? and is it even possible to make pizza that will come off a peel @ 70% hydration?  Or am I doing somethign wrong?

txfarmer's picture

Focaccia and chorizo thyme rolls - Dallas has frozen over. So I baked.


Well, it's been 3 days of ice and below zero temperatures. I lived in Toronto for 5 years, this is nothing to northerners, but to Dallas, a city that has probably 2 sand trucks in total, this is "when the world stops" moment. Even my office closed for two days, which is jaw dropping since the boss is a hardy workaholic. And she's from Romania!Unexpected down time at home, what do I do? Bake breads of course! My starters are still aleep in the fridge, so I mixed up some olive oil dough from the book "Bourke St. Bakery", made two kinds of breads from it.


Olive Oil Dough (adapted from "Bourke St. Bakery")

- first dough (it's exactly the same as the main dough, so you just have to make one the first time you make this dough, after that, just reseve a portion from the final dough and use it as first dough for future loaves. it can be stored in fridge for a few days, and frozen for a lot longer.)

bread flour, 100g

salt, 2.5g, 1tsp

olive oil, 3/4tsp

milk, 1/2tsp

water, 70ml

instant yeast, 1g

1. Mix together into a dough, store in fridge for overnight.

-final dough

bread flour, 600g

instant yeast, 6.5g, 2tsp

water, 400g

olive oil, 20ML

milk, 20ML

salt, 15g

first dough, 180g

2. Mix everything togeter, autolyse, knead well.

3. Bulk rise at room temp (73F) for 1.5 hours, S&F every 30min. Dough is very smooth and soft, like silk.

4. Reserve some as preferments for later if desired, otherwise shape into focaccia. Rise for 15min, brush with olive oil, add toppings, rise for another 15min. I used two toppings: black olive+rosemary, and sliced meyer lemon+lavendar.

5. Bake at 350F for about 30min until golden.


Soft and fragrant, perfect to snack on.


The lemon+lavendar topping is my desperate calling for spring - or at least a break from "wintery mix" and "icy roads". Black olive+rosemary is just classic. Both are very delicious.


I only used half of the dough for facaccia, other other half for chorizo and thyme rolls - good thing that I had all the ingredients in the fridge, no way to get to the store!


The mixture of chorizo, onion and thyme was laminated into the dough as following:


Proof for 30 to 45min, cut into 4 parts before baking. If using the whole amount of dough, cut into 8 portions. Bake at 400F for about 20min.

Very rustic looking, very yummy.


Submitting to Yeastspotting.

gringogigante's picture

How do you "dry" a starter?

If I have a great starter and want to dry a small amount of it and freeze it for insurance, how do I "dry" it?

Zeb's picture

Cider - another of those pesky words that means something different in the UK to the States

I've been talking to DrFugawe who has recently been baking a Nancy Silverton apple bread and this month I am going to bake the Hamelman Normandy Apple Bread.

I have come to realise, and it's probably been discussed here before, that cider in America is not the same thing as cider in England.

The confusion lies particularly with the term 'sweet cider'. To an English person, that means an alcoholic fermented and usually carbonated drink made from pressed apples which happens to be sweet. We have dry, sweet, semi-sweet, sparkling ciders, all alcoholic, and then there's scrumpy too, if you live in my part of the world. 

To an American, it means apple juice pure and simple. Now I know.  It's like corn flour and cornflour, again two different things, or american pumpernickel and Westphalian pumpernickel,  or American cheddar and English Cheddar. Same names, but a world of difference. 

So if anyone else from this side of the Atlantic (England)  is baking from 'Bread', be aware that JH doesn't intend for you to use your local organic cider, he just wants you to use some nice freshly pressed organic apple juice along with your home dried apple pieces.

Having said that is there any reason for not using some good English cider?  I was thinking that if I treated the cider in a similar way to the way Dan Lepard makes barm bread, that would be a good jumping off point for an excellent sourdough. Has anyone here tried doing that?


Happy Baking



Yippee's picture

20101215 / 20110124 Mr. Hamelman's Poolish Baguette Formula


Happy New Year of the Rabbit!  I wish you all a year of good health and many delightful surprises in your baking adventures.  I kicked off my baking in the (calendar) New Year with Mr. Hamelman's poolish baguette formula.  This was also the formula that concluded my baking last year.   Both bakes were full of uncertainties.  As usual, I had to figure out a fermentation process that would fit my schedule for this type of commercial yeast/poolish leavened dough, which I had rarely dealt with in the past years.   I managed to get it to work, but a few more experiments will probably provide further assurance that everything's under control.  


In these two bakes, I tried a different hold of the lame when scoring the baguettes; and employed my favorite 'exit strategy' to shape this baguette dough into a boule when I was desperately out of time.  The new way of scoring was awkward and did not work as well on the baguettes as the old one.   On the other hand, the boule turned out okay.  I got a better idea of what my future cold fermentation schedule for yeasted dough should be. Good news did not just stop there.  The most exciting moment came when I finally produced pictures that didn't seem to come from the underworld.  For the first time, I got pictures of bread that were hubby-approved.   I love looking at them now!   From now on, no more eyesores, I promise.


And here they are:

The eyesores

and the NOT


Some of you have asked about my setup and procedure, which are quite simple, as you'll see below:







Will be submitted to Susan's Yeastspotting!

ben zipperer's picture
ben zipperer

tartine's "scoring" of bottom of loaf

Hi folks -

For the final proofing, Tartine/Chad Robertson apparently "score" the bottom of the loaf with a single lengthwise indentation, using a bench knife. You can see this clearly in the Tartine Bread book on p. 64. Also see p. 115 for oval loaves proofing with the same indentation. Unless I missed it, the indentation isn't explained in the text. Any thoughts on why they cut into the bottom of the loaf for the final proof?

In the video breads are being proofed with the indentation at 00:37, 00:59, and 01:15. At 05:52 you can see some awesome shaping. As far as I can tell, it seems that the Tartine folks shape the bread for an oval/batard, but then roll the almost-shaped dough over into a ball. Then they "score" the bottom of the loaf and place the indented round in baskets for a final fermentation. Perhaps the indentation helps to allow the tight round to expand in the directions of an oval.

Wondering if any of you have some ideas about the purpose of this technique. If this has been discussed elsewhere in the forums, please point me in the right direction.



saltandserenity's picture

Apple Fritters

Because it's February it's okay to deep fry now.

Gunnersbury's picture

Challah without braiding?

I like to make challah, but really hate the braiding part.  Is it possible to simply put dough in a loaf pan and attain decent results?

ClimbHi's picture

Oven Door

This forum has been a bit slow lately, and since I've been meaning to post this for a while now, here's something for the cause. While I was firing for this week's batch (a small batch of basic baguettes and some roasted poblano peppers this week), I took a few pics of my oven door. The question of how to make a door comes up pretty often, and this is how I solved it for my own oven.

I made this door from white pine from a tree that was cut down in my yard. I milled a bunch of the wood up to use for furniture, etc, but I used one piece for this door. It's two layers of 1-1/2" pine, layed up in alternating directions -- the outer boards run vertical, the inner ones run horizontal. The two layers are held together with some cut nails, just 'cause I like the way they look -- kinda rustic. The handles are cut from 5/4" white oak and screwed on with 3" stainless steel deck screws. Note that the bottoms of the handles rest on the deck for added stability. These also do double duty -- they just fit in the ash dump, allowing me to prop the door open at an angle like a kitchen oven door. (I'd like to say I planned that, but it was purely fortuitous.) In the center, I countersunk a Big Green Egg accessory thermometer -- it registers from 200 -1,000 degrees. It's probe is about 6" long, so it extends well into the oven on the back side of the door. It's about 3 years old now, and not showing any signs of heat damage.

Here's how it looks when it's tilted. I sometimes use this "feature" when I want to allow some extra air into the oven when I have a smoking fire going. You can see here how the bottoms of the handles fit into the ash dump slot to hold the door at this angle.

Here's a shot of the business side of the door. The oven side is clad with galvanized steel left over from some HVAC work, bent to fit the door snugly and fastened along all sides with copper nails (roofing job leftovers). After using it this way a few times, I noticed that the wood was still getting too hot, so I added another layer of galvanized sheet, just exactly the same size as the inner door opening. (The door itself overlaps the masonry by about 3/4" at each side, and about 2" at the top, for a pretty tight seal.) With this cladding and shielding, I don't have to worry about keeping the wood wet like some do. I can use the door even when there's a small fire working off to one side, but not a big one (tho' I don't know why I'd want to use the door with a big fire anyway.) I often keep a bit of a fire going with the door on, cracked open just a bit, when I want to smoke a chicken, turkey or pork butt.

 The inner heat sheild is held away from the door about 3/4" by some short lengths of 1/2" copper pipe (more leftovers) and is held on by more stainess steel deck screws driven through the heat shield, through the center of the pipe standoffs, through the door cladding and into the wood. I used stainless because it's a relatively poor conductor of heat and it helps keep the hot screws from scorching the wood where they enter it. You can also see the thermometer probe where it penetrates throught the door, the cladding and heat shield.

I don't use the thermometer much for bread baking -- I use masonry temps for that. But it does come in handy for other roasting and baking. Helps a bit with gauging timing of things that take a while to bake (e.g., turkeys) since the oven temps are continually falling if the fire's out. It also helps making sure the temps aren't rising too much if there's a smokinig fire going.

I'm planning some day to see if I can't add a gasket from a wood stove door to the perimeter just to improve the seal a bit.

Pittsburgh, PA