The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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bob13's picture

Baking in a Big Green Egg

I have read where people actually use their BBQ as an alternative brick oven.  It seems folks have had success with the ceramic komado style smoker grills (like the Big Green Egg or Primo) to bake pizza and bread dough.  Has anyone really done this and what were the results?  This could be a very cost effective way to bake pizza and bread without having to build a brick oven.  Any thoughts form the pros here at the fresh loaf?  I know it is some what off topic for the bread site, but it is close to a brick oven and maybe some of you have ideas for me.  Thanks for any and all suggestions.



dmsnyder's picture

Today's baking 8-20-11

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's Bread (So what if I baked it umpteen weeks in a row? It's really good!)

Pain au Levain Crumb (the real reason I'm posting on this bread again) 

They say "Man cannot live by bread alone. You need side dishes."

A bit of petrale sole, a stuffed baked tomato and some Italian broad beans. Navarro Reisling, not pictured. (Tomato is stuffed with bread crumbs from Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Two Starters, garlic, etc.)

And, to clear the palate and fill any empty corners ...

Susan baked a plum cake.

Hmmmm .... I think I need another slice.


asfolks's picture

Rye flour?

I am working on a formula that calls for medium rye flour. I have some dark rye and white rye flour on hand. Is it faulty logic to assume that I can combine the two to get an approximation of medium rye?


lumos's picture

IV : T55 Trial I – ‘Baguette’ That Didn’t Become

 So, this is the first report on my trial of T55 flour my daughter brought back from Paris.  I used to use Shipton’s T55 years ago for a while, but this is the first time I’ve ever used T55 actually made in France….though it’s just a supermarket’s own brand flour, so definitely not the highest quality one.  But to be fair, the supermarket my daughter bought it from was Monoprix, which, according to Wiki, is “considered an up-scale chain and its business model was the inspiration for Waitrose,” in spite of its very un-assuring name :p,  so hopefully it’s at least not the lowest of the lowly, bog-standard flour. ::fingers crossed::


 The first thing I noticed when I opened the bag was how yellowy the colour was and also it looked less smooth?/less fluid?/a bit more sticky? (sorry, can't find a good way to describe) than other white flour I use.

< (from left to right) Waitrose Organic Strong,  Monoprix T55, Waitrose Canadian Very Strong>


I ‘d always thought Waitrose Organic had creamier shade of colour than other flours I’d used (except for Waitrose's Leckford Estate flour which had even creamier shade), but compared to the T55, it looked more pinkish in comparison,  which was a surprise.

The biggest reason I wanted authentic French T55 was to find out how much difference it would make in my baguette, both taste and shape (both outside and inside) and to use the experience as my future bench mark when mixing UK flours to improvise.  So I proceeded with my regular poolish baguette recipe, of which formula I posted in my last blog.

The only change I made this time was replacing all the flours (Strong, Plain and WW) in the formula, except for small rye in the poolish, with T55 and also omitting wheatgerm completely, because I wanted to see how pure T55 tasted.

The instant I added water to the flour to make poolish, I noticed it’s very different. For a short while the flour didn’t ‘dissolve’ as easily as the strong flour (Waitrose Organic) and looked a bit like when I added water to Dove’s Pasta Flour I blogged about before which contained Durum flour. A bit grainy and more lumpy, similar to when you mix water into semolina......just for a short time initially.

After a few more stirring, the flour and water mixed well but it looked a bit more ‘fluid’ than my usual poolish, most likely because T55 (10.5%) is much lower in protein than my Strong (12.9%) .

When mixed well, I  left it to ripe at room temperature, as in the above mentioned formula.  After 7 hrs, I saw the poolish reached its peak, so I proceeded with the rest of the formula. Again, when I added all the ingredients and poolish,  I noticed immediately the dough was much softer than my usual mix. When I did S&F, again it was much softer to touch and more extensible. In utter desperation a few years ago for not being able to obtain T55 very easily here,  I had once attempted making a baguette only using UK plain flour which had a similar protein level as this T55, but it felt different from that. This time, it was extensible but there was a kind of strength in it, like a ‘core’ which 100% plain flour dough didn’t have. I thought, ‘Aha! This is how T55 make a difference in resultant baguettes!’ and put the dough in the fridge for long, cold retardation for 21 hrs, as usual.  

After 21 hrs……The dough hadn’t gained as much volume as my usual improvised-flour dough. Looked very flat and had hardly any large bubbles on the surface which I always see a few of them with my regular baguette dough after the cold retard.   And when I turned it out onto the worktop, it just spread just like a very high-hydration dough, almost like this video by Peter Reinhart.

So there was just NO WAY I could shape this into baguettes with the state of gloopy dough.  I contemplated for a while if I should do extra sets of S&F until the dough was strong enough, but I knew from my past experiences it would only give you the crumb with uniform texture without much big airy holes to speak of, unless you do another long, cold retardation after shaping,  which was not an option at the time.

So in the end, this is what it ended up as. A ciabatta with baguette-ish crumb….or a baguette who wanted to pretend it was a ciabatta, whichever you prefer to call. :p


(Hope nobody notices a half-bitten piece I discreetly put back among them....)



The crumb wasn't open nor did it have larger holes I would've liked, obviously because 1) I didn't slash the top because it was going to be like a ciabatta, 2) the hydration was not high enough to be a ciabatta with typically open crumb with lots of BIG holes because it was supposed to be a baguette......::sigh::

Sorry, it’s such an anti-climax.  But I must say the flavour was AMAZING! It had such a deep and more complex flavour than my usual UK flour baguettes, especially the crust. And the aroma which came out from the oven during baking was quite different, too: more wheaty and nutty.  Also the crumb had much darker colour, which I associate with really good baguettes. And the most interesting thing is its saltiness.  Even I added exactly the same amount of salt as usual, the saltiness was a little more predominant compared to my regular baguettes…or many other baguettes I’ve had  before. It’s not actually ‘saltier,’ in anyway,  the amount of ‘saltiness’ you taste is the same. But for some reason ‘the saltiness’ stood out.  It really brought back the memories of excellent baguettes I had in the long past and reminded me its lovely saltiness, Yeah….a gooooooood baguette was always salty, never sweet. I’d forgotten that……


Chiesa_Dan's picture

Hamelman's semolina bread (sourdough)


yesterday i baked my first try at Hamelman's semolina bread, the sourdough version. I increased the durum to about 70%, but the levain was all white flour still. The loaves were retarded for 18 hours at 4ºC and in an effort to not get very big holes, i degassed the dough as much as possible prior to shaping. Before mixing, i did an autolyse of about 20 min. and then mixed 2,5 min. on medium speed on a Kenwood machine.

Baked right out of the fridge in my WFO, with steam for the first 10 min., for 45 min.

Overall very good flavour and aroma, just slightly sour, but balances with the sweetness of durum flour. Next time i'll try 100% semolina, since the crumb was still too gummy for what i would like in a semolina bread; had no problems whatsoever with shaping or rising or oven spring, so i suppose it will not go terribly wrong then.

Here are a couple of pics:


Good baking to all,


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Baking Bread for a diet (by the book, and a variation)


My Wife and I decided to reverse some of the effects than my good bread had on our waistline (nice bloom ...).

The diet of choice for my wife is the "Scarsdale Meical Diet", carried out after a book she got in a charity shop years ago (British edition of the "Scarsdale Medical Diet" by Tarnower, 1985).

This diet calls for "Protein Bread", which hasn't been available in the UK, so the editors provided a recipe.

Please take a look at my outcome first:

The original formula (tinned loaf on the left):

Wholewheat Flour 78%

Soya Bean Flour: 22%

Water: 72%

Vinegar: 0.8%

Sugar: 1.3%

Salt: 0.8%

Instant Yeast: 0.87%

I baked this bread according to the recipe, and it turned out edible, but quite dense with a strong soy bean taste which didn't integrate well with the wheat flavour (in my opinion). My wife's remark: Not quite your standard.

However, she was happy (only having 1 slice a day), but  I wasn't.

I researched the Internet and TFL about adding soya flour, and found that nobody recommends adding more than 10%. Hm.

I then thought I could use the original proportions, but do things I learned about here on TFL to improve the outcome:

My second approach to "Protein Bread" (bread on the right in photo above) was using a wholewheat sourdough and a soaker, and not use sugar and vinegar, and I added more salt.

Here the straight formula:

Wholewheat Flour: 78%

Soya Bean Flour: 22%

Water: 72%

Salt: 1.6%

Wholewheat flour from starter: 29%

Hydration of starter: 100%

I made the soaker from the remaining water and wheat and left it at ambient temperature for about 5 hours.

The starter matured for about 14 hours at 28C.

The dough had a nice feeling after I mixed soya flour, salt, soaker and starter, and id didn't need much development.

During the 2 hour bulk proof I folded twice. The final proof in a basket took about 90 minutes.

The result is very different from the yeasted loaf (I expected it to be): Not dense at all. And the wheat clearly dominated the taste in a nice way. Quite appealing, actually.

With the background taste of soya I can imagine this bread alongside Japanese dishes such as Miso-braised mackerel, or even with Natto on top (Do I hear a scream from the Japanese corner?) I'll try that after I finished my diet...

This experience reminded me of the cartoon Yakitate Japan ( I saw only the first episode), where a baker explains to the young baker-hero that good bread is made with the topping in mind. Does anyone know where I could get Yakitate Japan DVDs in the UK?





longhorn's picture

SFBI Artisan I, Day 4

Wow! Five breads in one day. Anyone thinking about doing this class needs to be prepared for long, busy days! We were on our feet almost all day!

One of the real lessons from this class is prepping and planning. When you are baking four of five (or more) breads it is important to be time efficient.  All dry ingredients wer measured the afternoon before and our seed soaker for the multigrain was prepared the day before. This morning we began with the autolyse of the whole wheat flour, then mixed our egg dough, then back to the whole wheat...and so on, weaving back and forth as we mixed and divided and preformed and shaped and preformed and shaped and baked and shaped and so on.

Our mixer schedule was optimized to also avoid cleaninhg - until the final dough which was pan bread (homestyle white bread) which required a careful cleaning of the mixer to make sure all the seeds and rye and wholewheat doughs were removed.

Especially beneficial today was that we used many of the same skills we have been developing for baguettes in new ways - forming the "ropes" of egg dough for braiding, forming the multigrain batards, and learned a few new skills for boules. To be candid, after ten years of making boules I thought I had it down, and I pretty well did, but working with wet doughs all week has really helped me learn to use flour much more sparingly and wisely and my boule forming today was really nice. Also learnes some new techniques for pan breads which I NEVER do but probably will now! 

Here is a photo of yesterday's baguettes all bagged up and ready to give to the hotel staff!

Here is today's egg bread braid (the pan loaves are in the image also)

The rye!

The whole wheat...

And the multigrain...

I wish I had a shot of the multigrain crumb, but all the breads had crumb about like you would expect - fairly dense for the whole wheat and rye and a bit more open for the multigrain. 

Tomorrow we return to baguettes with preferments.

I am tired!




bobku's picture

Using starter for breads with different flour

Can you use your white flour starter for other breads like rye, whole wheat? Instead of having several different starters. how does it effec the outcome?

HokeyPokey's picture

Lets get it Started

There are a lot of posts on activating a starter on this wonderful website and I thought I’d add my two pennies worth and get a chance to show off my hubby’s wonderful photos :)

My starter is taking over the world, well, taking overUKat least and I thought I’d share my feeding schedule with the rest of you and open a forum for questions / comments.


Also, I would like to know why would you keep waters (raisin water, apple water, etc.) that started popping up in a lot of recipes on this side AS WELL as a starter – whats the difference, advantages of one over another?

 Full post and lots of photos on my blog here

Mrs262's picture

Hello from Ohio!!

Hello, everyone! My name is Angie and I'm from central Ohio. I am currently the head baker and assistant manager at a bakery/deli. I've been there for almost 5 years now. My biggest responsibility is bagel production. Our bagels are the best sellers!!

Anyway, I joined this site to learn all I can about breads and to meet other bakers! My bread skills are lacking (we do 5 types of bread and that is IT) and I'd really like to expand my abilities!

Nice to "meet" you all and thanks for reading my post!! :)