The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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carblicious's picture


While I'm waiting for my sourdough to bulk ferment (4th attempt in trying to get this recipe to work), I'd like to share my more successful attempt at baking.

Here's my latest attempt of baguettes, using SFBI's poolish recipe.


Don't have a crumb shot of the above baguettes, but here's a section from the weekend before.


While I very much like baguettes (and epis), I'm taking a break and making sourdough and my first sandwich loaf bread this weekend.  Sourdough has been very very painful, as it's often resulted in dense and chewy bread with no beautiful holes.  Based on the wealth of information on TFL, I hope to fix this.   Crossing my fingers.

Juergen's picture

Making a 'pre-ferment' without salt and yeast

Whenever I read a recipe that calls for a pre-ferment, it calls for a biga, poolish or pate fermentee, all pre-ferments which contain yeast. What I'd like to know is if it is also a custom when making certain artisan breads, to use a 'pre-ferment' which contains no salt and yeast, in other words, a dough of only flour and water (technically not a pre-ferment since there is no yeast to 'ferment' anything, but you get the idea).

Having a dough of flour and water stored in a fridge in advance before making a final dough (where salt and yeast are added), should in theory release a lot of flavor from the grain because of enzyme activity in the dough (which is not disturbed by yeast simultaneously acting on the dough).

I am thinking of making a bread this way but I have yet to find a recipe that calls for this technique. Has anyone ever tried this?

dabrownman's picture

Italian Corner - Cellos with Squash Lasagna and David Snyder's Pulgliese Capriosso

The first time I made limoncello I used the skins of 7 lemons per liter of grain alcohol and let the the grain sit on the skins for 20 days to extract the oil from skins and then let it age another 20 days to mello after straining filtering and cutting with sugar syrup 5o-50.  I used 454 g of sugar per liter of water and liter of lemon oil alcohol extraction.  It was a real Amalfi Coast recipe from Villa di Marie but I didn't like it that much even though it tasted just like the too many samples I had in Italy and couldn't get enough of. 


Mandarin left, lemon middle and orange right.  The orange was first to bottle.  When you mix the sugar syrup with the filtered alchohol the 50-50 mix goes cloudy but will clear later as the orange has already done. 

Now, many years later after much trial and error (like baking), I triple the skins to 21 lemons (to get a much stronger lemon flavor), cut the grain alcohol 50 -50 with vodka (to cut the heat of the grain) and let the alcohol sit on the skins for 60 to 90 days before straining filtering and and blending with sugar syrup that now is 340 g of sugar per liter of water (the original was too sweet) and it mellows for another 60-90 days.  I use the same recipe for minneolas, oranges and this year for the first time mandarins .  Folks tell me it is the best cellos they have ever had and I agree.

Finally got all of the varieties in the final bottles this past week.

It goes great with some Grilled Italian squash lasagna and some of David Snyder's Pulgliese Capriosso.

barriehiebread's picture


Toaster oven @ 150 *F works great for proofing!


barriehiebread's picture


Hello All, I try to slash my dough, even with a razor, and it still just rips. Any tips on getting the patterns I see posted? I've tried slashing before and after putting in the oven and still no difference. Any tips appreciated! TIA, Barrie

HeidiH's picture

Wonderful pizza dough learned by reading "you guys"

One again, using the TFL search box and reading a bunch of postings led to my having a really great outcome!  This time it was pizza dough.  

TFL helped me figure out what would work for me and our tastes:

-how much dough to make for a big pizza for two (start with 280 g flour)

-the formula (100% 00 flour, 2% salt, 1.5% yeast, 70% water, 5% EVOO)

-how to manipulate it (stir, 2 stretch & folds at 50 minute intervals, a few hours in the fridge, 2 hours to come back to room temp, then shape)

-how to bake it (on parchment paper trimmed to fit the pizza, on bricks, 550F for 10 minutes)

It was spectacular crust!  You guys rock.  Thank you for sharing so much information here. 

We topped it with homemade fresh mozzarella cubes that had been marinated in herbs/spices, browned loose sausage, sauteed mushrooms/spinach/garlic, and a few shavings of parmesan.  (We can't do tomatoes but didn't miss them at all.)



dmsnyder's picture

The benefits of hand mixing bread

Frank Sally, an instructor at the SFBI (and my instructor in the Artisan II Workshop), recently published this article in Modern Baking. The article is short, but it has a lot of good information and a formula for hand-mixed sourdough bread. I thought it would be of interest to TFL. Here's the link:

Benefits of hand mixing bread 



isand66's picture

French Style Baguettes with Quinoa Flour

I was in the mood for something simple and relatively uncomplicated to bake so I decided to make some baguettes based on the Peter Reinhart method from ABED which uses a long overnight ferment of the bulk dough.  Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to add something different to make it more interesting.  I just picked up some quinoa flour from the supermarket which imparts a nice nutty flavor to the dough.  I also added some low protein Italian style 00 flour from KAF along with some organic whole wheat and bread flour.

The end result was a nice crispy, light and nutty flavored baguette.  I still need some practice with my shaping and figuring out how long to make them so they fit on my oven stone.  I could have handled the dough a little lighter to preserve some bigger holes, but overall the crumb was not bad and the crust was nice and crisp.


300 grams KAF Bread Flour (BakersPercentage, 44%)

200 grams Italian Style Flour 00, KAF (BakersPercentage, 29%)

100 grams Organic Whole Wheat Flour, KAF (BakersPercentage, 15%)

80 grams Quinoa Flour, Bob's Red Mill (BakersPercentage, 12%)

454 grams water, 70 degrees Fahrenheit (BakersPercentage, 67%)

14 grams Sea Salt  (BakersPercentage, 2%)

7 grams Instant Yeast (BakersPercentage, .01%)


Using your stand mixer or by hand, mix the water with the flours for 2 minutes on low.

Let the dough autolyse for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and mix for 2 minutes more on medium speed, adding more flour if necessary to produce a slightly sticky ball of dough.

Remove dough to your lightly floured work surface and need for 1 minute and form into a ball.

Leave uncovered for 10 minutes.

Do a stretch and fold and form into a ball again and cover with a clean moist cloth or oiled plastic wrap.

After another 10 minutes do another stretch and fold and put into a lightly oiled bowl that has enough room so the dough can double overnight.

Put in your refrigerator immediately for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days.

When ready to bake the bread, shape the dough as desired being careful not to handle the dough too roughly so you don't de-gas it.

Place it in your bowl, banneton or shape into baguettes.

Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours covered with oiled plastic wrap or a wet cloth.

Pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 500 degrees F.

Slash loaves as desired and place empty pan in bottom shelf of oven.

Pour 1 cup of very hot water into pan and place loaves into oven.

Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 25 - 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.

Shut the oven off and crack the door with the bread still present.  Let it sit for 10 minutes to continue to dry out and develope the perfect crust.

Let cool on cooling rack and enjoy!

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here:

dabrownman's picture

Super-grain Challah w/ Whey Water, Sprouts, Potato, Lentil, Sunflower Seeds and 2 Starters - SD and YW

This is version 5 of my SD multi-grain challah called Brachflachen Mehrere Vollkombrot but wanted to make a special one this year - that non Jews would like - by Easter.  I added; whey water, a Yeast Water levain on top of the SD one, sunflower seeds,  white diastatic rye malt, malted barley, lentils, vital wheat gluten and various sprouted grains while cutting back on; the egg,  molasses and honey.  The crust came out lighter than usual but was still very dark and thick but soft after it cooled.  The crumb was more moist, more open, even with 40% whole grain and more interesting with the the sunflower seeds and the sprouted berries.  The taste is far superior and everything I would want in this bread.  It its a lot of work but you will be rewarded with a fine Holliday bread.  The method and formula follows the pix's.  I had an identical boule retarding in the fridge overnight, have now baked it off and those pictures will follow at the very end. I also added the 20 g of Pink Himalayan sea salt to the formula which was missing.  I do like using both starters.  SD for taste and YW is known for its spring and mpoist crumb by my experience.  These 40% whole grain breads with sprouts and seeds need all the help they can get and the YW seemed to help in spring and moistness.


2 days before bake, take the berries and soak them in water for 5 hours.  Place a sheet of  wet paper towel on a tray and spread the seed out on top of it.  Cover with two more sheets of wet paper towel.  I just get the towels wet, squeeze out the water and unravel them to flat. Cover the whole shebang with plastic wrap and let sit until needed’

1 day before baking make the 2 starters.  There is 4 hours between each of the builds.  At the 12 hour mark, put both levains in fridge overnight for retardation of 8 hours

In the morning, take out the levains and put them on the counter for one hour as you autolyse the dough flours with the whey water and water (I used an equal part mix as usual) in your mixer bowl with the paddle on KA 1 then cover with plastic.

After an hour add the levains and mix again until they are incorporated and cover.  Let autolyse for one more hour.

Add the salt and all the mix-ins except the seeds, switch to dough hook and knead on KA 2 for 8 minutes.  Add in the seeds and the sprouts and mix until combined.  Transfer dough to a well oiled and plastic covered bowl.  Let rest 15 minutes.

 Do 10 S&F’s on a floured work surface, form into a ball and put back into a plastic covered oiled bowl.  Do 3 more S & F’s at 15 minute marks only do 4, 3 and 2 S&F’s.  Let dough develop in plastic covered oiled bowl for 1 hour.

Divide dough in half and pre-shape into boules.  Do final shaping 10 minutes later making sure the skin is stretched taut, dust top with 50/50 mix of AP and Rice flour and place top down in basket lined with a well floured towel, using the same dusting flour combination.  Place baskets in a tall kitchen trash can liner for 1 hour.  Place in fridge overnight to retard or, when dough has risen 70%, it is ready to bake when it passes the poke test.

Pre-heat the oven at 500 F on regular bake for 45 minutes with your steaming method and stone in place.  Invert baskets onto parchment paper on a peel, do a T-Rex or, my favorite, 3 Toed Chicken Slash or a beauty of your own and slide into oven on the parchment paper.  Turn down temperature to 450 F and steam for 15 minutes.  Remove steaming apparatus and parchment, turn oven to 425 F convection and bake for another 25 minutes or so turning the boule every 8 minutes 1/3rd of a turn.  When the bread has reached 205 F inside, turn off oven, keep door ajar and let boule crisp on the stone for another 12 minutes.  Then remove to a cooling rack until cool.

If retarding, take the bread out of fridge in the morning and leave in the plastic bag.   Immediately start your pre-heat of the oven and bake as above.  My retarded boule will be going in the oven shortly.  It rose beautifully in the fridge.

 This bread also bakes very well Tartine Method in a cold or hot Dutch Oven. 

Dabrownman's Multigrain SD YW Challah        
SD Starter         
 Build 1Build 2 Build 3Total Dough Flour  Multigrain Sprouts
SD Starter20  20 Rye35 Buckwheat15
Rye10 1020 WW35 WW15
WW10  10 Buckwheat35 Rye15
Buckwheat 10 10 Spelt35 Bulgar 
Dark Rye 10 10 Farro20 Barley 
WWW 10 10 Barley20 Spelt15
Bread Flour   0 6 Grain Cereal20 Water15
AP20301060 Millet20 Total Sprouts75
Water4060 100 Amranth20   
Total10012020240 Lentils20 Hydra. w/Sprouts72.18%
      Dark Rye20   
YW Starter    Semolina20 Scald 
 Build 1Build 2 Build 3Total Bulgar20 Buckwheat 
Yst Water30202070 Oats20 WW 
Rye   0 White WW20 Rye 
WW   0 Potato Flakes20 Bulgar 
Buckwheat   0 Ground Flax Seed20 Barley 
Dark Rye   0 Bread Flour280 Spelt 
WWW   0 AP280 Water 
Bread Flour   0 Dough Flour960 Total Scald0
Water   0 50% Water/ Whey700 Hydra. w/Scald71.03%
Total605050160 Dough Hydration72.92%   
         Add - Ins 
Total Starters       Barley Malt50
      Total Flour1180 Molasses50
Flour220    Total Water880 Honey50
Water170    Total Hydration 74.58% Olive Oil50
Hydration77.27%       Egg50
  Red Rye Malt 
         White Rye Malt10
         VW Gluten10
         Sunflower Seeds75
         Hydrat w/ Adds79.96%
         Total Weight


kozulich's picture

Anyone here baking Easter Paska or Babka?

I'm elbow deep in my annual Paska baking.  What is Paska?  Its the traditional Ukrainian Easter bread.  Its very highly decorated.  The dough is most similar to Challah - an eggy, buttery, enriched bread.  Traditionally it is baked the day before Easter, and taken in the Easter basket to church, where it is blessed by the priest, then it is eaten to break the strict Easter fast after mass on Easter morning.  Just wondering whether anybody else does this or has tried it?  These pictures are not mine, by the way, since I can't seem to find photos from previous years' efforts.