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News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Jo_Jo_'s picture

Not a brick after all

This is the bread that I make for my husband, who likes a softer crust and whole wheat.  I like it too, but my favor my sourdough baguettes.  I have spent weeks tweeking this recipe and really like the flavor and texture of the Kaiser shaped rolls I made this time.  They were allowed to rise an extra 45 minutes while the loaf in my clay baker baked.  I'm getting better at braiding the buns without ruining the crumb inside.  The ultimate critic will be my husband though, so we shall see.  First here's my newest version of my recipe:

Whole Wheat Honey Potato Bread


14 oz (397 grams) whole wheat flour

14 oz (397 grams) water

3 pinches yeast


Mix till all is moistened, then cover and let sit for 8 to 24 hours, best if it is actively bubbling when you use it.  Can be refrigerated after about 6 hours for up to 3 days.


All of poolish

21 oz (596 grams) bread flour

4 tsp yeast

2 tsp salt

1.5 oz (2 Tablespoons) Honey

.6 oz (18 grams) shortening

1 oz dry milk

.7 oz potato flakes

11 oz water


I set the ingredients out before starting, measuring them with my scale.  I used my kitchenaid to mix for about 2 minutes, then allowed the dough to rest for 30.  I then kneaded the dough for about 6 minutes, shaped it into a ball, and put it into a bowl to rise for a couple hours.  It took closer to four hours from what I remember.  I pulled it from the bowl ad shaped it, then allowed it to rest for 10 minutes.  I cut it into two pieces, and used 1 lb 12 oz in my clay baker and the rest were made into kaiser rolls.  I have been trying to figure out how much dough to use in my clay baker, if 2 lb 4 oz was to much and 1 lb 12 oz was not enough, then maybe next time I should try 2 lbs of dough. I put the clay baker into the oven and turned it on to 425* baked for 30 minutes and then removed the cover and baked at 380* for another 15 minutes.  I think the crust color is just about right.

The loaf of bread was a little disappointing, when I pulled it from the oven.  Thought I had misread my dent in the dough test, but while it might have been a little better with a slightly longer rise time I think the crumb is actually ok.  It is just a short loaf that took the shape of the pan, probably because I like my dough more hydrated.  I will definitely put more dough in, and might try a little bit less water next time and a little more shortening, plus I might try 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour.  Not real sure why I had cracks in the crust, another reason I thought this was going to be a brick.  The flavor is outstanding in this bread, probably because I left the poolish in the fridge a couple extra days.


Happy this turned out so much better than I thought it had, now on to making my Greek Celebration bread from BBA.  This should be fun!



paulm's picture

BBA Greek Celebration Bread

I just finished recipe #2 in BBA.  It produces a loaf larger than I am used to but turned out heavenly (at least the housse smells heavenly).  I substituted Mixed Fruit and Peel (left over from Christmas cookies) for the Rasins and Dried Cranberries but otherwise followed the recipe.  I'm still having trouble with my loafs spreading out rather than raising up during final proofing so my shaping need improving.  I thought I got this one pretty tight but it still spread quite a bit.  Thank the gods of baking for oven spring.  It's still cooling so no crumb shot but I think it is presentable enough to take over to the neighbors for a post New Years get togrther.

breadsong's picture

Bon Appetit magazine (Jan.2011) article - Top Ten Best Bread Bakeries in America

Hello, Just came across this article...

Regards, breadsong

Earlybirdsf's picture

Central Milling aka Keith Giusto Bakery Supply (Petaluma, CA) has moved

Just made a trip out to Central Milling, which is actaully called "Keith Giusto Bakery Supply". They have moved into a new location. 755 Southpoint Blvd, Petaluma, CA. 866-979-2253

They have a very large selection of organic bulk flours. Now, you can call ahead, and they will pack 5lb bags. They ask that you please call ahead though, otherwise, you will wait for some time. If you are buying in 25 or 50lb bags, no problem.

Under construction, is a Bakery School, on site, that will be open soon.

Please email me your contact, if you are intersted in bulk flour. We were told that if enough of us order, they will deliver to SF, as they deliver to the Ferry Bldg twice a week.




freerk's picture

master shapers input needed (update!)

I visited "De Zandhaas", a working grain mill close to Amsterdam. Together with two fellow bread enthusiasts we had a one on one with the miller. He gave us loads of really useful info on the local, regional, national and European ins and outs on grain.

For some time already I suspected that my shaping problems originate right at the start; it's the flour we have acces to here. And the miller made it a fact! Our local grains aren't nearly as strong as the Northern American varieties. We also learned that American grain is hard to come by around here nowadays, so no need to go hunting for it. The differences are so big that all formulas that originate in the U.S.A need serious tweeking over here. My friend joked that "now we finally know that our water hasn't more water in it after all"  It certainly seemed that way every now and than with some formulas (especially this Filone that started this thread)


Loaded with information and of course the freshest of flours imaginable (the miller gave us some wheat germ to taste that was amazing) I returned home inspired. Whether it was a stroke of luck or a moment of genuine learning remains ro be seen, but I think I shaped, slashed my first more than average batard!

Meet my Golden Semolina Torpedo from the Bread Bible.



Thank you all for helping me get better. Sunday I'll post a wonderful recipe for a very local Frisian Sugar Bread that I think hasn't been posted yet here on The Fresh Loaf. Check it out!


X Freerk



original post:


My latest Filone came out fine, but shape-wise it is just not what I'm looking for.

The mistake is consistent  though;  each time the loaf has a wonderful open crumb on the ends but gets denser in the middle part, and ends up looking more like a barbell than the nice sleek torpedo I'm looking for :-/

So; I 'destroy' the air pockets in the middle part of the dough during shaping, and leave the holes on the two ends intact, I guess.

After trying just about every possible way there is in shaping the filone, after watching numerous videos and studying breadbook pictures,  none of them seem to be working for me, yet...

I know that shaping is a 'hands on' type of affair. My question to all you master shapers out there is; which shaping method would you suggest me to commit to? My guess, after fooling around with them all, is that choosing and practicing one method is my best chance to get it right fast.

I am more and more gearing towards the wetter doughs :-) Which of the methods of shaping would be the most logic for higher hydration doughs?

Am I too sissy in "punching down" before shaping? I tend to handle the dough as carefully as I can manage. I expect to see some irregularity in the baked loaf, but mine just goes haywire on me during oven spring! The more evenly the holes are distributed in the dough, the cleaner looking the loaf comes out, right? Am I too careful?

Maintaining surface tension is also proving to be a challenge with wetter doughs. Any practical tips?

I have been tweaking the Glezer formula a little in my last attempt.

Like a lot of people here I have found the dough it produces rather "gloppy" and hard to work with. I also found out that the dough becomes a lot easier to work with after the first proof with three folds. I have reduced the water percentage (following Glezer's somewhat complicated way of measuring out as little yeast as humanly possible) by subtracting the yeasted water from the amount used in the final dough, so a total of 1 cup of water, instead 1 cup plus the yeasted bit.

After that the dough did everything the recipe promised, so my guess is I might have been misinterpreting Glezer's instructions.

The taste Durum flour produces in it's loaves is so close to my "dream bread" I want to try out more with it. If you can point me towards other formulas and recipes I'd be very grateful!




Lord Jezo's picture
Lord Jezo

What did I do wrong? Middle of loaf didn't cook.

So here is what happened, I decided to make this loaf, the daily bread again, the first time I did it last year it worked pretty much fine.


This second time though, does anyone know what may have caused my loaf to totally fail in the middle?


The outside looked perfect with it's brown crust and color.  I cooked it as suggested, max oven temp, which is 550 for me, for 5 minutes then turned it down to 470 for another 15.  It rose just as it was supposed to but once I cut into it the middle of the loaf was a big ball of dough, the middle was as if it wasn't ever even put in the oven.

I followed the recipe with the only change being 3.5 cups of flour instead of a pound as I don't have a scale.  I used King Arthur's bread flour with SAF instant yeast.  Had the poolish work over night for 8 hours and with the main dough I mixed by hand and did the French fold method four times over the course of three hours with the final resting for about an hour.

I ended up putting it back in the oven for 20 minutes after I had ruined it by cutting into it.  In the end I had a large loaf of toast, but it was either doing that to salvage something or tossing it all out.  A day later it is okay to eat, the crust and the exposed bits are burned, but digging in deeper to the loaf its fine.

Any suggestions?



possum-liz's picture

New Zealand Bacon and Egg Rolls

My girlfriend's recently returned from a holiday in New Zealand and is raving about the bread rolls she ate from a bakery in Fairlie (S. island). She discribes them as big white buns with the bacon and slightly scrambled egg baked inside the bun. Have any of our NZ members tasted them? Any idea how to get the egg in? Thanks Liz

swifty's picture

Hydration for spelt/wholewheat sourdough

I have had problems getting the hydration right for spelt sourdough. The last attempt ,I followed the recipe exactly, weighing all ingredients .It was too wet to work with ,then I check the bakers percentages and it came out at 74%.  From another web site, I tried another 100% spelt sourdough no-knead approach ,it was too wet and it was about 68% 

I want to give the spelt/wholewheat a try because the flavor is so good. What hydration would you recommend for 50% Spelt, 25% wholewheat,& 25% white bread flour?


Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Tartine Loaf: The Formula

There's been some discussion about the baker's percentage formula for the Tartine Loaf in Chad Robertson's book. I thought I'd create a spreadsheet that clarified the formula. As related on page 48 of his book, he gives the baker's percentage but only in terms of the final ingredients. The formula doesn't include the flour and water in the leaven. So while he states the bread has a 75% hydration, it is actually higher, 77% The formula also makes it difficult to convert the recipe into smaller loaves. So I've created a spread sheet that does that, following a method at the Bread Bakers Guild of America. The measurements are all in grams.

The spreadsheet shows the TOTAL formula in the left column and the FINAL formula which mirrors Robertson's. To use this spreadsheet, I've made it available in google docs.

The nice thing about it is that you enter the number of loaves and the size of loaves (THE FIRST TWO CELLS -- NOTHING ELSE). The spreadsheet figures out the rest -- which is highlighted in blue.

I've only given the total leaven you need (white, whole wheat and water). The seed for that leaven should be only a couple of tablespoons. One more note -- the fourth line of the spreadsheet shows the "% flour levain" -- which means the percentage of total flour that is prefermented in the leaven. Many formulas go as high as 40%. Robertson's is much lower, which means the leaven takes longer to mature and has a much milder taste. As I noted before, however, the fermentation is spurred by the presence of whole wheat flour at 50% in the leaven. 

So ultimately does it matter, getting the precise formula? I would say no. But this is it. Now you can make it your own.

yy's picture

First sourdough loaf, a la Tartine

After tending to my new starter for two weeks, I finally got the courage to make some bread with it. I used the Tartine basic country loaf formula, which yielded two decently sized loaves. The leaven was made at around 10 PM the night before, the dough mixed at 11 AM the following morning, and the first loaf baked at around 7 PM. To my dismay, it came out like a dense, insipid sponge with a huge cavern in the middle. My boyfriend said "don't take this the wrong way, but it kind of tastes like my mom's bread machine boxed sourdough." Just to give a little background, he routinely insults his mother's cooking, so that didn't bolster my confidence much.

The book says that bulk fermentation should take between 3-4 hours at 78-82 degrees, and my kitchen wasn't nearly that warm.  I wasn't sure whether it was severely underproofed, or whether my starter wasn't up to snuff, so just for kicks, I left the second batch of dough out overnight at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the morning, the dough had expanded in volume noticeably and felt pretty well aerated. I shaped it, proofed it for around 3 and a half hours, and baked it at 475 underneath a large preheated stainless steel bowl for 20 minutes, followed by 30 minutes uncovered. Here are the results:

The crust got a little burnt on one side due to uneven oven heat, and I didn't quite get the kind of spring I wanted - the profile was a bit flat. However, I'm pretty happy with the crumb:

I think I would prefer to make it a little more sour next time, perhaps by increasing the proportion of starter in the leaven?  Maybe the flavor will come naturally as my starter matures over time. Overall, this bake was a good lesson in adapting to variable temperature conditions, and "listening" to the dough rather than the watching the clock. Around 15 hours passed between the failed loaf and the decent loaf.