The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

dosal's picture

Hello from North Augusta, SC

I am back to baking our own bread after a 30 year hiatus. My husband and I are originally from Germany and upon moving here 46 years ago we found a bakery that made beautiful rye bread. The baker became our friend, but he retired 30 years ago and I had to learn to bake our own bread which I did until I found a source in Canada (Dimpflmeier)  that would ship bread without shipping charge. I ordered huge amounts and froze the bread. Then came 9/11. Importing bread became very expensive. At first I found Vollkornbrot at Big Lots and then when we got an Aldi I bought it there. I baked Flaxseed bread on the side to alleviate the monotony.

I recently found two tins of Backferment in my freezer that dated back 30 years and I decided to give it a try. Everything took a bit longer than the instructions said, but it worked. I remember loving to bake with it and since it doesn't make a sour bread I started with that starter again. (With Backferment you do not need to feed the starter once you have it made and it lasts 4 months in the refrigerator.)

Alas my eyes aren't what they used to be and I misread 1/4 cup of water for 1/2 half cup. I have been adding flour like crazy to get the proper consistency. This was going to be a rye bread. Well, now I have 4 small loaves. They are still hot, but I can't wait to try them.

futureproof's picture

Recreating a hotdog, sorta

I know, I nearly put this under Special Needs but let me explain:

I have an artisanal bakery in Port Hawkesbury, which is on Cape Breton island in Nova Scotia, Canada, which becomes important in a few sentences time.

I also have a farm just outside said town on said island in said province etc etc. I'm currently raising sheep, as I put all seven of our rarebreed pigs in the freezer this summer, too dangerous to have them around at lambing tme you see.

Now then, my bakery & cafe are doing quite well, and I know, I really really KNOW, that I should have said 'no, thanks, I'll pass on this opportunity' when the contract to run the canteen in the arena came up. But I can't, just can't, pass up on any opportunity.

You see there's 3400 people in this town, and we probably get a couple of hundred or so through the bakery in a week. That's a lot of potential out there, a lot of people still eating supermarket bread, needing to be enlightened.

Now the important bit I told you to look out for is this is in Canada, and Canada in the winter means Ice Hockey, and this arena I mentioned with the canteen... is an ice hockey arena.

So my problem is that my bakery/cafe sells organic, artisanal, European-style breads by the loaf or folded loving around some local farmers ingredients in very eco-friendly packaging. I'm reliably informed that people who go watch sports thingies eat fries and hot dogs.

I was just lying here doing some blue sky thinking when it occurred to me that I have seven pigs in the freezer and a bakery. Why couldn't I do my own version of the hotdog? A Banger in a Bun if you will, sneak the good stuff in without the bloodthirsty mob even realising it.

I know hotdogs are disgusting and mainly made out of the bits of chicken that would only be edible if they pressed the stripped carcas through a mesh sieve with about 5000lbs of pressure and the buns are designed to sit on a shelf for a halflife or two before conveying the 'hot dog' into the mouth of somebody who's eyes and brain aren't really considering their actions so... do I make my good healthy top-notch nosh into something they will buy and eat and not be too weirded out by the ....the... flavour thing ... that's happening in their mouth?

Any ideas? Anyone?


dabrownman's picture

Happy Rosh Hashanah – A Holiday Challah

We were going to make a multi-grain challah but, at the last minute, decided to do a more typical one.  It is white bread with saffron, honey, sugar, egg and oil.  Pretty standard except the honey sugar egg and oil are a little less than the standard traditional challah - if there is such a thing.


The unusual thing about this challah is it is a mixed up levain of YW, SD and poolish  Why do one when you do all three at once for the Holidays?  This levain was (2) 5 hour builds and then a 1 hour one before being retarded overnight in the fridge for 12 hours.


When it all came together the next morning we did 12 minutes of slap and folds and 2 sets of S&F’s before a 1 1.2 hour counter top bulk ferment.  We shaped a Franz Joesph roll, a small 4 strand braid roll where the ends were rotated around to kind of make an octopus looking thing. Then we did a big 6 strand challah that was supposed to be round but ended up kind of square of some reason that escapes my apprentice completely.


A good 2 ¾ hour final proof and the bread was egg washed and tossed in to the mini oven without much steam other than a ¼ C of water thrown in tot bottom.  We did 5 minutes at 400, and 5 at 375 F then rotated the lot and turned the oven to 5 minutes of convection at 375F.   Then we baked n additional 20 minutes at 350 F convection when the large challah was done at 195 F - 35 minutes total.  The small rolls were done in 20 minutes.


The small rolls didn’t brown as much but were nicely golden, shiny and blistered and the large challah was dark brown shiny and blistered.  All puffed themselves up well in the mini’s heat.   My daughter came home in the middle of the bake and said they smelled grand and wanted to eat one of the rolls but my apprentice defending them.


The bread should go well with tonight’s brisket dinner based on Aunt Beve’s recipe the is sweet and hot just kike she was in life,   Beverly passed away last year and we miss her way more than we can convey.

There is no question that this n=brad needed to proof another hour at least.   But, dinner nneeded a challah so it was baked off.  It wasn't horrible at all.  The crust was just terrific and the taste was wonderful but..... my daughter said 'this bread is dense' and she was right.  Instead of proofing to 85% it needed to go to 150%. time....when we have more time.  The dinner was great, The brisket was some of the very best - fork tender, jjuicy and flavorful - my daughter could not get enough of it.

And New Year's breakfast of French toast, a sausage, berries and a sliced peach.

The gravy from the braise  was so tasty with the Sambal garlic,  chili sauce in the heat background.  The brown sugar and tomato paste made for the sweet.  Sweet and hot just like Aunt Beve and just as tender  as she was.  No one except her brother could ever be as gracious.  This character trait runs intthe family through her children. .  She always made the best brisket.... that wasn't smoked.  Then the sunset made for a the perfect start for the New Year.

With a nice salad and the background of roasted veggie made up of eggplant, summer squash, mushrooms, yams, red and russet potato, onion and carrot with a splash of sweet and pan sauteed green beens and spicy gravy, the meal was simple and simply satisfying,

The best in life to each of you for the New Year!


Pinch of ADY plus

Build 1

Build 2

Build 3



Multigrain SD Starter












Yeast Water


















Multigrain SD Levain






























Levain % of Total












Dough Flour












Dough Flour
























Dough Hydration












Total Flour






Water 167, Yeast Water 90






T. Dough Hydration






% Whole Grain Flour












Hydration w/ Adds






Total Weight












Add - Ins


















Veg oil


















Ilse's picture

Does a recipe need to be adapted?

Hello again!

Does my recipe need to be adapted from just mixing the dough by hand to kneading it with a doughmixer?  All my recipes seem to react totally different.



Bill and Annie's picture
Bill and Annie

Bread Pans

I have embarked on a mission to bake bread in several different varieties. Can someone suggest the right size loaf pans to use? I am really tired of using the old standard 9 X 5 pan.

Ilse's picture

Help again :-)

Good morning

My clay oven takes about 24 loaves at a time, but my new dough mixer only kneads about 6 loaves (I think) (it's a 20lt mixer) at a time.  How do I go about kneading enough dough so that I will have enough at the right time for the oven.  Surely the batch that has been kneaded first will be better with having had more time to rise?

Thank you


Ilse's picture

How much dry ingredients for a 20lt dough mixer?

Good morning

I've just purchased a 20lt dough mixer and I would like to know how much flour/water (in kg) it can take without straining the machine?  On the machine it says 20pd for wholewheat flour, but I'm not sure if that includes the water.




VonildaBakesBread's picture

Wheat Berries' life

How long can wheat berries be stored? I was given a bagful that has been stored for 2+ years. Thanks!



VonildaBakesBread's picture

Reinhart Sandwich Loaf

Why are my attempts at Reinhart WW Sandwich Loaf turning out a loaf that is soft, bordering on gummy in the middle? Am I just not  cooking it enough, or am I not adding enough flour, since I'm using Dry Active Yeast instead of Instant?



Allenph's picture

Hydration issue with artisan bread!

All right, well, long story short I did some research on hydration percentages because my bread was turning out a little dense. After some research, my understanding was that you add the weight of the dry ingredients up and then sum up the weight of the wet ingredients, and finally divided the weight of the wet ingredients by the dry ingredients. I'm trying to make some baguettes,  but my dough is REALLY dry, I think I've done something wrong. I do not have a scale, so I researched the average weight of a cup of water, and a cup of flour. YES, I do know how to measure flour directly, I did not dig. 

Assumed 125g per cup of flour, and 237g per cup of water.

1 1/4 Cups Water (296g)

3 1/2  Cups Flour (437)

1 Tablespoon Yeast

1 Tablespoon Salt

I'm trying to make French bread, which (I think.) has a 65-70% hydration percentage. I came up with 69% which is the high end of French bread.

My dough is so dry, I'm having trouble incorporating all of the flour. Hopefully I get a response in time to save this loaf, but if not I'll start over. Help!