The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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fsu1mikeg's picture

Whole Rye (Volkornbrot) crust problems

I have attempted to make a whole rye loaf similar to what my German wife enjoyed eating back home.  I have not been successful using the formula from Dan Leader's "Local Breads" book.  I used that recipe because it called for (finely ground) whole rye flour and rye berries, both of which I can find in Atlanta.  I finally decided to try Hamelman's version which calls for rye meal and rye chops.  I ground my own rye meal and chops using a small electric chopper.  Not the most efficient way I know, but I thought I'd give it a shot.  I sifted the contents through a regular kitchen strainer.  What came through the strainer I used as the "meal".  What was strained out I used as the "chops".  Working with these ingredients felt more "right" to me as I followed Hamelman's instructions.  I baked it in a loaf pan with no cover, just sprinkled some meal over top.  It looked real nice when I took it out of the oven 90 minutes later.  I let it cool for a couple hours on a rack and then wrapped it with a kitchen towel and left it on the counter overnight.  My wife eagerly tried it this morning (about 14 hours after it came out of the oven) and e-mailed me at work to say it was very hard still, but tasted good.  Will the crust soften as it continues to cool?  I know Hamelman recommends 24-48 hrs before slicing.  I thought this was more about the crumb stabilizing than the crust softening.  Is there any reason why the crust would come out this way and how can I get a better crust in the future?  Sorry for the long-winded post and thanks for any replies.


slimk23's picture

Light with a dimmer switch for proofing box

Could someone please tell me where I might find a light source with the dimmer built in for constructing a proofing box.  I have been looiking on this site and others for ideas of construction and many say they found a light with the dimmer together.  Any ideas or sources would be greatly appreciated.

gosiam's picture

Creating and Refreshing a Starter for a Specific Recipe

I am getting ready to bake Paul Merry's French country bread from Country Breads of the World by L. Collister & A. Blake and I can see that the baker builds the starter from the scratch for three days, refreshes it twice, over the following two days and then creates the dough after the time lapse of anywhere from 4 to 12 hours after last refreshment.  The built starter and the dough are 66% hydration.

My question is, since I have a healthy white starter in my fridge, 100% and ready to go, will it suffice to convert it to 66% hydration and then proceed with making the dough after the suggested time.  In essence, I would go strait to the second refreshment.  Will it matter that I did not keep the starter at 66% from the beginning of the process? And if so, what will this fact affect - rise, crumb, taste?

The second question has to do with the converter I am using.  I have this tiny Excel spreadsheet that enables me to calculate starter conversions from any higher hydration to any desired lower starter hydration.  It does it in such a way that I don't waste any starter, but build to exact quantity required by the recipe, by taking the minimum required quantity of the mother starter.  In other words, I only add flour (the amount calculated by the worksheet) for the firmer starter.  However, I am so used to adding both flour and water that it seems sacrilegious that I don't do this anymore.  Would "The French Baker" frown if he knew?

By the way, I will gladly share the converter tool if you are interested.


janij's picture

The project begins

The concrete just got poured for my wood fire oven.  So I guess I have to wait a week to let it cure then we are on.  I think someone else was going to break ground on April1.  If you did how did it go? 

qahtan's picture

steaming spritzing in convection oven

What is the point of steaming or spritzing in a convection oven,
convection is a fan that blows hot air around the oven, hot air dries any steam that is in there quickly.

Am I missing some thing here?????, If I were to steam, I would turn
off the convection.
I never convect baked goods, breads, cakes etc. qahtan

vincent's picture


now it's perfect this time very soft to eat and buttery

Ingredients (3-lb dough):
1 3/4 cup milk (evaporated)
1 egg
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tsp salt
6 cups allpourpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp instant dry yeast

Topping: softened butter(margarine), granulated sugar

Add dry ingredients in a bowls the 6 cups flour,instant dry yeast,salt mix together.. in the pan mix evaporated milk together the 1 3/4 cups sugar and the butter and heat the pan to boil. then cool to warm about 90-100 F. then poured into the flour and mix slowly , then knead about 5 minutes. let it rise for 1 hour. Once done, punch the dough, knead again then lay on the table and roll with a rolling pin to make it flat.  To keep the surface of dough from drying up, cover with clothes while you work on the ropes.)
Using dough cutter, make long ropes (about a foot long) about 1/2 of an inch thick, and coil. at the end of the coil press it tight so that it will not break the coil. some of mine i bake got loose note this...
Apply melted butter(brush) on coils and let rise for 1hour 1/2 inch apart on the tray
You may apply egg glaze prior to baking (if you want it darker brown upon baking). Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes when finish...
You may apply melted butter as soon as they get out of the oven. Helps keep them soft by preventing too much moisture loss. Then apply softened butter and roll in sugar when ready to consume. or you may mix cinnamon together with the butter then dip in the sugar...

if you want to see more recipe visit the site: link :


rainwater's picture


I've made so many pizzas in the last couple of months......all of them pretty good, and all of them inspired by this website and the books recommended here.  Finally, I have my formula for the pizza I've been looking for.

When I made the "Anis baguette" I saved a little dough for pizza.  I hybridized the recipe a bit to try to match what I am looking for in a pizza dough.  I've made the dough with "Bread Flour", and "All-Purpose" flour.  Both versions are excellent.  The first photo is with "Bread Flour", and the second photo is with "All Purpose". 

All my pizza photos look about the same, but the test is in the eating, biting, tasting.......oh finally! ! !

I used the Anis baguette recipe but changed the quantity of yeast from 1/4 tsp. to 1 tsp., and put ice in the water to cool it down.  I added 3/4 of 1/4 cup olive oil (strange measurment, but this is what felt right).  I used the same technique of mixing, stretching and folding 3 times, fermenting overnight, and removing the dough two hours before using.  Thanks to  "The Fresh Loaf".

rolls's picture

pain sur poolish (my daily bread) - re wetness of dough

hi i made pain sur poolish yesterday for the second time.  i used the recipe posted by floyd on this site, adapted from village baker. this time i used the 10oz of water rather than the 12 but it was still really wet. it was delicious, heaps of holes, different sizes. but the dough was way too wet and soft.

i just wanted to know is this how its supposed to be? i thought it was supposed to be a normal loaf of bread (because of the name) it turned out flat like ciabatta. the taste is amazing, will definately make again, very addictive. appreciate any tips. does anyone have pics of this bread (dough, crumb etc)

also one last question, how long can poolish be kept at room temp.?

thanks heaps!

alyaman's picture

my bread better :D



this is my fresh loaves
it made of the artisan bread.
the dough is mixture

mix... leave it 2 days ..chilled
then make delicious bread
and here... i stuffing it by shredded cheese
the round loaf
made of
120 g sourdough starter
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
crumbled or shredded cheese, optional

Combine all the ingredients
except the cheese
in the bowl .
and then knead to make a smooth dough.

Flatten the dough on surface.
Sprinkle the cheese over it
and roll up the dough.
and shape it .
let it on the greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
cover, and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
until very puffy
and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven
for 25-30 minutes


this is the fresh photos


This is my natural own sourdough
It worked .. Organized life and an environment suitable for months ago

i make many things by it
Bulgarian bread
Cinnamon rolls

b_elgar's picture

Rye & AP Starter Fun

I began serious refreshment of my rye and one of my white SD starters on Thursday, and Friday morning mixed up some pre-ferments. We're traveling to see family at the end of the week, and I like to bring frozen loaves as gifties. I also wanted to play around some more with herbed loaves made into rings. The rye pre-ferment, made up only of rye flour, was also laced with caraway seeds.

The Jewish style rye is about 35% rye flour, 30% clear flour and 35% AP. There is a splat of olive oil, a squirt of honey, a bit of vital wheat gluten, pinch of ascorbic acid, some salt and enough water to make a tacky-stick-to-your-fingers-if-you-touch-it dough. Mixed in the Electrolux for 5 minutes after autolyze, stretched and folded a few times, then retarded in the fridge overnight. Removed from the fridge early in the morning, allowed to warm up for a hour or two, scaled, proofed, slashed, baked on a pre-heated stone at 450 F, then painted with a "cooked" cornstarch and water mixture.

The herbed rings were made from a basic AP 65% hydration sourdough, with the addition of olive oil to tenderize the crumb. Mixed and partially kneaded in the Electrolux, stretched and folded a few times, then retarded in the fridge overnight. Removed from the fridge in the morning, allowed to warm up for a hour or two, then I did the following:

Each ring was made of up two, 1 lb pieces of dough. Each 1 lb piece was rolled into a rectangle, brushed lightly with olive oil, then various combinations of the following were put on:

Thai fried shallots
Chopped garlic
Penzey's dried Italian herb mixture
Grated Manchego
Rosemary (fresh)
Thyme (fresh)

Each rectangle was then rolled tightly into a coil. Two coils were intertwined and linked together. The rings were allowed to proof, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, then baked at 375 F on a heated stone.

More photos here: