The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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sourdough_lou's picture

Buckwheat ciabatta problem

Hi everyone,

It's my first time posting in the forum and need some help and advice.

I am working on different ciabatta recipes, and got a very good result with a blend of AP and strong flour and a little experimenting.

I would like to come up with a recipe which includes buckwheat, a flour that I love.

My first attempt has been ok, the ciabattas rose well even thought they were not as holey as hoped and were very crispy when straight out of the oven. Crumb too moist for a ciabatta. Didn't take long before they became soggy/rubbery. I was suggested to try double hydration, and I wonder wether reducing the percentage of semi-wholemeal and maybe putting a little AP flour would balance the gluten content and make the bread less humid.

Here is the formula.I am open to any suggestions and criticism ;)

Buckwheat ciabatta
130 gr levain 100% hydration
70 gr buckwheat flour
200 gr spelt flour (13% protein)
80 gr semi-wholemeal flour (14% protein)
300 gr water
6 gr salt

Dissolve levain in the lukewarm water and add 200 gr of spelt and semi-whole meal flour previously sifted together.
Rest covered for 30’.
Add the rest of flours previously mixed with the salt, and rest covered for 30’.
Leaving the dough in the bowl fold the dough with the help of a flat spatula, at least 10 times.
Rest covered 30’.
Leaving the dough in the bowl fold the dough at least 10 times.
Rest covered 30’.
Leaving the dough in the bowl fold the dough at least 10 times.
Rest in the fridge, covered, for 14 hours.
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and fold.
Cover and rest 1 hour.
Preheat oven at 275°C, with the baking tray in the oven.
When 1 hour is passed take out the tray, sprinkle with flour.
Cut the ciabattas and transfer them onto the hot baking tray, put in the oven lowering at 250°C, hot air mode on, bake 10’.
Lower on 200°C and bake 5’ more.


msova's picture

Focaccia not cooking thru

So im having trouble getting this focaccia to cook all the way through. Initially I thought it had to do with the water and oil poured I too prior to baking. But it's definitely just not cooking ( bottom and too brown nicely, but top 1/4-1/3 stay doughy). I'm cooking very high heat (preheat to 500 then lower to 450 upon putting it in). this last batch I had it on the middle rack and neatly burnt the bottom. Do I just need to be at 375 or something? Or maybe put another empty pan below it to shield some of the direct heat? I'm under the impression the high heat is necessary. I'm doing rel focaccia Genovese. Following a few different authentic recipes and videos. Thanks. 

MaraZedan's picture

Burning the bottom of my bread

Hello. This is my first post on here and I'm hoping someone can help.

The recipe:

I am using a Lodge dutch oven, center rack in a gas oven. I can't move it any higher up as the dutch oven will not fit. The recipe calls for placing the dough+dutch oven into a cold oven then heat to 450. I heated to 425 instead, baked for 50min then removed lid (the edges already looked VERY dark). I then popped in my thermometer, waited until it came up to EXACTLY 205 degrees, then pulled it out.


Any thoughts?

IHeartCarbs's picture

Forgot to retard overnight in fridge

Well, the title says it all, I forgot to put the dough in the fridge overnight.  Is it still worth baking?  (Might it even be better??)  The thermostat said 72 degrees when I woke up this morning.  Thanks for any advice!

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

Some bagel history

My father was not a baker, but he was in the specialty food business in Cleveland during the 50's, 60's, 70's, and part of the 1980's. The company he owned, and where I worked with him for about ten years, brought us into contact with small bakeries, butcher shops, and groceries as well as some of the bigger local chain grocers.

Sometime during that period he met a bagel baker from New York City who had come to town looking for a location in which to open a bagel shop. For whatever reason, he felt that New York was too crowded, or perhaps the bagel baker's union there was not to his liking. My dad encouraged him and helped him find a location in the middle of Cleveland's large Jewish community.

Back then, bagels were very much an ethnic food. Jews ate them, but no one else did. Sometime in the late 1960's dad approached his bagel baker friend with the idea of packaging and freezing his bagels. Dad would place them in the freezer sections of some of the supermarkets who were his customers. They'd both make a profit!

It worked out fine except for one thing; no one bought them. It wasn't until Lenders was acquired by Kraft (Philadelphia Cream Cheese) and the product modified to suit the pallet of the general population that bagels left the limited orbit of Jewish ethnic taste.

Just thought that someone might find that interesting.

Here's a photo of Dad (Sam) and his sister Sarah in the grocery store he owned in the 1940's.

DavidEF's picture

Trying to work sourdough into my busy week

Hello all fellow TFLers! I have a particular challenge that maybe you can help me with. I'm trying to figure out how to get my bread making time down by letting the sourdough do it's thing while I'm sleeping and while I'm at work. I figured if I can do it in 12 hour increments, then I can start in the evening of day zero, build it up again on the morning of day one, then bake in the evening of day one. I tried it with a 66.67% hydration starter and final dough. I took 30g of my starter from the fridge, added 72g flour and 48g water at about 4:30 PM. The next morning, at about 4:30 AM, I added 360g flour and 240g water. Then, at about 2:00 PM, I was going to add 450g flour and 300g water, but I got distracted while pouring the water in, and got way too much, so I added more flour as well, to keep it at 66.67% hydration, and I also then added 20g salt. At about 6:30 PM, I took it out of the bowl and tried to shape it, and it was already overproofed. I knew I wasn't using any rigorous scientific method or finely calculated mathematical formula, so overproofing was a known possibility. I was just trying to see if the process could be done this way at all. What I'd like is to fix my amounts, and maybe add the salt at the very beginning, so it slows the yeast growth. I'm looking for suggestions. I'd also like to get it to work out that it will be ready to mix in the last amounts of flour and water at 3:00 PM. Then, I'd like to start baking it by 8:00 PM at the latest.

I want to do bulk ferment at room temperature, versus refrigerated, so that my dough is active and ready. My house is refrigerated at 70F during the summer. But, summer just ended, and it is sometimes cooler outside than 70F, and yet not cold enough to need heat, so my house may be cooler inside than the set point of the thermostat at times, though not by much. Let me know if you need any more info, and please help me move in the right direction. I know you won't be able to tell me exactly precisely what to do to get it exactly perfectly timed, but maybe you have some general suggestions? For one, should I start with less sourdough starter? Should I feed less at a time, and put most of it in at the last, or feed more at a time, and not put as much in at the end? I'm aiming for around 1450g to 1550g total in the end. The reason for the range is because I'm using loaf pans, and I have three of slightly different sizes, so I can use whichever two will work for the amount of dough I end up with. I like easy math.

aptk's picture

Pull Apart Bread Loaf

The pull apart bread loaf can be made with many things, it all starts with a buttered 10 X 16 piece of dough.


Use your favorites! I generally use parsley, with a little cilantro, oregano and chives. If I'm serving it with chicken, it's parsley, chervil and rosemary. For an Italian meal, it's garlic, onions, basil.

Or you can go sweet, sugar and cinnamon. Or maple sugar, chopped apples, and cinnamon. You can get creative.

Then cut your strips length wise and stack them up. Then cut into 8 sections and place in your well oiled loaf pan. Allow to rise until doubled in size and bake!

aptk's picture

Pull Apart Buttery Herb Bread

I grew up in a household where bread and butter was served with every meal. Now granted, it rarely was a nice, warm home baked bread. More likely than not it was either Rainbo or Wonder brand sliced white bread from the corner store. Today I still like bread with almost every meal, but I've made great strides in seeing to it that it's a home baked bread.

I currently live in Interior Alaska and the corner store is a 20 mile trip to town, so I've come up with a recipe that works well for me that's quick and easy enough for a good quality daily type generic bread. One cup of warm water with one tablespoon of white sugar dissolved in it. Sprinkle with two teaspoons of yeast, let it sit until the yeast blooms, then stir in one teaspoon salt and one cup of flour and really beat it good with a fork until it's smooth. Now add two more cups of flour and work it into a dough. If it's too sticky add more flour a handful at a time and work it (knead) until you have a smooth elastic dough.

Next step, I place my dough on the counter, wash and dry the bowl I mixed it in, spray the bowl with a non stick cooking spray, plop the dough ball back in it and spray it too. I cover it loosely (usually with a piece of wax paper, but sometimes a kitchen towel) and let it raise until doubled in size. You should end up with enough dough for two loaves.

Divide your dough in half. Knead one lightly, shape, and place in an oiled loaf pan. There you go, one loaf of plain bf bread.

The other half we will turn into a wonderful pull apart loaf of buttery herb bread.

Step 1: Shape dough into a flat 10 x 16 inch square. You can shape it by hand or roll it out. Spread it well with softened or melted butter.

Step 2: Sprinkle it liberally with chopped, fresh herbs of your choice. I like to use primarily parsley, with small amounts of oregano, cilantro and chives (but that's because I grow those herbs in my kitchen window garden, you should use what you like and have on hand, and dry herbs will also work).

Step 3: Now cut your dough, length wise into two inch strips and stack them up. Now cut the stack into 8 two inch pieces. Now we're going to place them in an oiled loaf pan, sideways and alternating the way you put them in so that they face opposite directions, but always so that you can see all five of the layers.

Step 4: Cover loosely and let both loaves rise until again double in size. When they are ready, bake in a 350F oven for about 45 minutes or until done.



varda's picture

The Oven Question (aka Problem)

Lately I have been pondering the impossible question.   How to up production in my tiny home bakery while still keeping it in the home.   Here are my wishes/constraints.

1.  I would like to be able to bake around 50 loaves for each sale in a two day period without freezing.   That is whole grain loaves the day before the sale, and everything else baked off in the morning of the sale.   That is around twice my current output.  

2. I would like to continue baking out of my house.   I have checked into renting kitchen space and the story isn't pretty.    Also, I tend to bake in the midst of things like making sure my son does his homework so I really don't want to be off somewhere else.  

3.  I'm not going to pay a lot of money for that muffler.  

4.  Small kitchen with very little potential for expansion. 

Right now, the oven is decidedly the bottle neck since I upgraded my mixer to an Assistent.   My current oven is GE gas, nothing special, which if I'm very careful can bake 6 hearth loaves at once using half sheets.  If I switch shelves and rotate in the middle of the bake, I run the risk of losing too much heat.   If I don't then I run the risk of scorching.   I don't intend to get rid of this oven (around 5 years old.) but think I might be able to add another one in the eating area which I would like to be as small as possible (as it will cut into our eating space) while still baking 12 loaves at a time. 

My investigations show that there are three types of ovens that might work:

1.   A double wall oven - like the Electrolux EI30EW45J S.   These need an enclosure, which given that I just want to plop the oven down in an eating area seems iffy.   Costs around $3K+.

2.  A single deck convection oven like the Vulcan VC4ED or Southbend EH/10SC.   The first is fairly massive.   The second looks amazingly small.   Can it really handle 5 half sheet pans with loaves on them, or even 4?    These are also in $3K+ range

3.  A large counter top model like the Cadco - XAF-193 - Line Chef Full Size Countertop.   This has four rack positions but at 13 inches tall could it handle even two fully loaded sheet pans?   This is a bit cheaper - around $2.5K.

All of the models above are convection ovens.   I know a lot of people use convection ovens happily, but isn't there an issue with loaves drying out too quickly and so losing full spring?    The Cadco has some sort of steam option - not sure what it is.  

Anyhow, that's as far as I've gotten.   Any suggestions, ideas, information?

Thanks so much!


bobku's picture

Tough Crust

I have read some post on this problem but haven't seen a solution. I have been making a Tartine style loaf for a while It's been coming out great, large open crumb, dark flavorful crust . When the bread cools maybe even the next day the crust becomes real tough and leathery its real hard to cut. The crumb is still soft and moist bread still taste great. I just need to solve the crust problem. I have been thinking of wrapping the bread in plastic wrap I know this is a no no but I think I could enjoy the bread as it is for the first day, then when it gets wrapped the crumb should get soft and at least be manageable. If it needs to be crisped up I can place it in oven. This way it can be enjoyed as s a sandwich bread with a softer crust as is. I really don't want to change the recipe I like the way the bread comes out now. The crust is great when it first comes out. How does everyone else deal with this problem ?