The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dsadowsk's picture

I have raised a heathen.

My son, home from college for the summer, had been chomping at the bit to try one of my BBA French Bread baguettes, but I wouldn't let him touch them until they had cooled. When one reached room temperature I gave him a piece, and then turned aside to do some cleaning.

Next thing I know I hear the sound of the microwave: yes, he had put my baby into the machine that turns good bread into gum, in order to melt some hard butter he had placed on the piece. 

I did not disown him, though I am trying to figure out what I did wrong in my childraising.

BTW, he now says he likes the non-microwaved ones a little better. Oy.

lstamatov's picture

Baguettes as hard as a brick

Hi guys,

I am not sure if I am posting this into the right category, but I didn't see baguettes labeled anywhere.

First, a little introduction. I have been successfully baking breads with my own sourdough starter for a year now and I am fairly advanced. Yet, when a few weeks ago I bought a baguette pan and tried making baguettes, they were a real disaster. Tried several times with different flowers and tried to increase the hydration a little bit but the result was the same - the bread crust is awfully hard that you can barely chew it.

Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong?


Abelbreadgallery's picture

Summertime bread

It’s summertime. We are on holidays. We’re staring at the sun and there’s no decent bread to buy near us. We will have to bake a bread, but we don’t have sourdough, we don’t have good quality flour. The oven in our beach apartment is very basic. Never mind. We want to eat real bread. We will get a soft crumb, crunchy crust, and neutral flavour bread that will fit with any kind of meal we have.


- 500 gr of bread flour

- 360 ml lukewarm water

- 10 gr salt

- 2 gr instant yeast or 6 gr fresh yeast.

- A wash tub

- A wooden spoon

- Eagerness

- Sunglasses, flip-flops, a towel, and sun lotion

09.00 h. Mix the flours and almost all the water. Let it rest 20-30 minutes. Add salt. Fold the dough 2-3 times until salt is integrated in the dough. Add yeast. Fold the dough 2-3 times until yeast is integrated in the dough. Add the rest of the water. It is a sticky dough, so we won’t knead, we will strecht and fold.

09.30 h. Put the dough into a wash tub. The dough will be resting between 4:30 and 5 hours, depending on the room temperature. We should strecht and fold the dough 2 or 3 times in the first 1:30 hours of fermentation. So at 11.00 h we could get the sunglasses, flip-flops, the towel, and the sun lotion, and go to the beach.

It’s between 14:00 and 14:30. Dust your proofing basket with flour. Shape into a ball. Place the seam side down in its proofing basket. Let it rest between 1 hour and 1 hour and ¼, depending on the room temperature.

15:30 h. Place the bread into the oven at 240C (465F). Bake it 15 minutes at 240 with some steam, then open the door, remove the moisture, and then reduce the heat 15C (60F) every 10 minutes. This bread should be baked in 50 minutes + 5 minutes into the oven switched off. The final temperature before you switch off the oven should be 180C (355F).

At 16.25 h. your bread is ready.

Have a nice holiday and enjoy bread wherever you go.

More info:

bringonthebread's picture

My First Sourdough Problem - Drying Out

I am making a sourdough loaf for the first time.  I am using cranbo's beginner's sourdough recipe from here.


I followed the instructions and it went off without a hitch until this morning.  Yesterday I put the dough in the refrigerator loosely covered in a flax linen couche that was set in a glass bowl.  I didn't use plastic wrap like I usually do.  Today, I take my dough out and I see the top of the dough has completely dried out .  The rest of it seems pretty elastic and normal--only the top has dried out.  Will the dry crust on top affect the dough's ability to rise?  Should I fix it and what should I do to fix it?    I still have 3-6 hours of waiting for the dough to rise so I'll report on what happens.  But, I'd appreciate anyone's help.

bayoubakery's picture

My first ever attempt at Ciabatta

I have been baking bread in loaf pans for years and have recently been branching out and trying other types of breads.
I have learned much by cruz'n around on TFL so thought I would show off a little. ;)

I welcome any comments or observations.

meadmakrmikey's picture

Sourdough stopped rising

I have a starter from King Arthur that I have maintained for about 10 months.  I have refreshed it intermittently, with equal parts of AP flour and bottled water, and a 1/2 -1 cup of starter.  It then sits at room temp for about 2 hours, and  I then refrigerate it, and bring it to room temp before the next feeding.  Bubbles form during the rise in temp from the refrigerator, but it BARELY rises, and this has been progressive for about 3 months.  The flavor is there, but it seems that the "yeast" part of the starter is gone.  Any suggestions?


ktz84's picture

Sourdough Starter - Plain Flour

I've been maintaining my sourdough starter with Plain Flour (All Purpose I believe is the US equivalent) and it works just as well as the Strong Bread Flour. It's a white starter. When I come to do the bulk starter for use in the bread I've always switched to the bread flour however I was wondering if the result would be affected by continuing to use Plain Flour for this also? Any thoughts?

Wingnut's picture

8/2 Bake

The Sweet Stuff


I am not much a proper pastry baker but I had a request from my Wifes workmates for some sweet morning breads so I decided to give it a go.

Cracking on with the dough….

Rolled out one half of the dough and laid out the Blueberries, Toasted Almonds and Lemon Zest…...

Rolled it up and proofed overnight…...

Rolled the secong dough with White and Red Rasins, Dried Tart Cherries, Brown Sugar, and Toasted Walnuts.

The next morning (4:30am mind you) I pull them out and let them warm and proof wile I make the Maple-Caramel Drizzle for the finished lot.

Everything out of the oven and ready to plate

Drizzle and box up to be driven over to the Wife's work place

As far as I can tell they enjoyed everything, but I was knackered by 8pm that day.



dmsnyder's picture

Good sense regarding nutrition and bread

There is so much pseudo-scientific .... nonsense ... written about food component intolerance and nutrition. It's nice to see an article about some folks who 1) make sense, and 2) are doing something meaningful to address the nutritional shortcomings of most of the flour available to us.

Here's a link:

As a pediatrician, I think I know a little bit about human nutrition. I strongly believe that the "whole food" movement is truly onto something important.


MommySetFree's picture

Reusing Commerical Yeast Dough

I have resused sourdough - dough as a starter to start a new batch, by just taking a hunk and using it as the starter, instead of the designated sourdough starter.  Has anyone tried doing this with a hunk of commerical yeast dough?