The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dcsuhocki's picture

2010 Krakow Bread Festival

Well, I had some good luck this past weekend.  It seems that I'm in Krakow at the perfect time of year:  the 2010 Bread Festival was in full swing.


You can read my short piece here:

Here are some pictures:

emily_mb's picture

Newbie Q on Hydration and Additions: Flax, oat, wheat germ, wheat bran, polenta

I am a newbie who loves to experiment.  From my reading and experimentation I have learned that successful breads roughly have a 3 to 1 ratio of flour to liquid.  And that dough can tolerate a certain amount of "additions" such as nuts, raisins, sundried tomatoes, etc.  Most recipes that call for additions have 1 to 2 Tbs. per cup of flour.  So, my question is. which of these things function as flour (have to be counted towards the hydration) and which ones are additions? 

  1. flax seed meal

  2. rolled oats

  3. steel cut oats

  4. fine ground cornmeal

  5. coarse cornmeal

  6. cooked brown rice

  7. toasted wheat germ

  8. toasted wheat bran

  9. cracked wheat

  10. bulgar wheat

  11. all seeds are "addition"?

  12. all nuts are "addition"?

 Also, can anyone provide guidance on incorporating Greek yogurt in recipes? I want most of my breads to be high protein and high fiber.  THANK YOU.

zorrambo's picture

Third Strike: French Bread Baguettes

I followed Reinhart’s BBA French bread recipe and instructions as closely as possible. My pate fermentee fermented for 1 hour at then put it in the refrigerator for 1 ½ days. I noticed that it had doubled in size while in the fridge. I didn’t expect such a rise. I mixed the final dough using a smidge over a teaspoon of barley malt syrup, reduced the water to compensate and added about a tablespoon of flour while kneading. I added the malt because last time I made this recipe I got poor rise. The primary fermentation lasted 2 hours, temp 76°F, humidity 51%. I proofed the baguettes for 1 hour 45 minutes, temp 78°F, humidity 51%. This was longer than I expected but it looked about 1 ½ times bigger though I am not a good judge of peak rise. I slashed with a bread knife and put them in a 500°F oven with steam pan and misting oven walls. I baked on a sheet pan because I don’t have tiles. The oven temp was lowered to 450°F for 20 min, then at 375°F for 30 min then at 350°F for 20 min. I checked the internal temperature of the bread every ten minutes of bake time and it never got above 170°F after a total bake time over 70 minutes. The bottom of the bread was black and I gave up and pulled them out. I have a brand new oven with an additional oven thermometer inside to monitor the temperature. I am new to artisanal bread making but I am determined. Here is a picture of my poor friends. I am unhappy with the crumb and the thick crust.


hanseata's picture

Vinschgauer Bread - Unique Alpine Flavor

On a trip to South Tyrol (a border area between Austria and Italy) as a student, I first tasted a sample of the spicy rye breads typical for the region. Hiking up the mountains to a "Huette" (a small rustic inn) we were served Vinschgauer Paarlen with homemade butter and smoked ham (Suedtiroler Speck). The flat bread was quite spicy. I didn't know what herb was in it, but it smelled and tasted wonderful.

Later I found out that there were more than one type of rye bread from Vinschgau (Vinschgauer, Vinschger Paarlen, Vinschgerlen or Vintschgauer) comes in different variations, some with, some without sourdough, some flat, some rolls, and also with different seasonings, but all of them spicy and delicious.

A typical, very unique spice in some Vinschgauer breads is blue fenugreek (Brotklee, Schabziger Klee), it develops its special aroma from growing in the mountains with lots of sunshine. When I baked a batch of Vinschgerlen some days ago, the whole house was filled with the smell of Brotklee.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a source for Brotklee/blue fenugreek in the US - I bought several boxes in a health store during my last trip to Germany. But the German Wikipedia had at least a suggestion for a substitute: dried nettle (burning nettle) with "a good pinch of curry". I haven't tried that, yet, but I know the taste of nettle (and the nasty burn of the plant) and I can imagine that it works.

Vinschgerlen or Vinschgauer Paarlen (= pairs)

Here is the link to the recipe:

turosdolci's picture

Dolceacqua & Apricale -The Riviera dei Fiori

The story of michetta:

The Marquis Doria sent a young bride who refused to give herself to him to prison to die. The population of Dolceacqua rose up and forced the Marquis Doria (1364) to stop this abuse of power and on the 16 of August there is a festival to celebrate the event.  The women of the village created the “michetta” to celebrate this occasion.  It is now the symbol of love and freedom. Michetta are small sweetbreads similar to a raised doughnut.


adrianm's picture

Dry crumb

I have recently tried my hand at a Pane a levain, using a 62% hydrated levain (from 100% sour starter)

The final dough hydration is 70%

Only 3% wholemeal & 3% rye flour in the total recipe

Balnce of flour 94% is organic white flour (strong)

Mix is very sticky out of mixer, after three folds (30, 60, 90) firms up, struggle to stretch the last fold properly (dough quite tight)

Total bulk prove 3 hours, second prove 3-4 hours

The loaf has a slighly open texture, good flavour, the crust is splitting slightly, but the crumb is too dry!!?




Yolandat's picture

Euchre Rolls

 I saw the blog as I was wondering though TFL for Bridge Rolls. I didn't know what they were or what they should look like so I checked it out. I am playing euchre with some of the women that I work with. it is an excuse to get together and drink lots of wine and nosh and gossip and yes play a little euchre. Hopefully these little Euchre Rolls with go with the Port Salut cheese and whatever anyone else has brought along. 

Tuirgin's picture

Bagels from The Bread Baker's Apprentice—Updated

I just posted a blog entry discussing the bagels I've been making and wanted to follow it up over here in the forums with a couple questions.


I've used longer boil times and have compared KA Sir Lancelot HG flour to bagels made with KA's Bread flour and find there's only a slight difference in chewiness. These bagels are good, but the inner bagel is still surprisingly soft. What aspects of bagel making can affect the chewiness outside of boil time and gluten content of the flour?

Surface Texture

After increasing the amount of baking soda, and adding malt syrup to my water, the exterior is getting much closer to what I expect from a bagel, but it's still quite soft/chewy. Shouldn't a bagel have a bit of a crackle or crispness to the outside? Is this something that only moving to a lye bath is going to achieve?


Since these are the best bagels I've ever had, I'm guessing that I've never really had a good, traditionally made bagel. What should the crumb look like? Should it have a tight crumb, or should there be some noticeable holes to it?

That's it for now, I think. Although I can't recall all the various posts I've found that have helped me this far into my bagel making, I want to thank the members of The Fresh Loaf forums as a whole for all the great info. I've been lurking until now, but have found the site incredibly helpful. It's helped me improve my bagels, fix my sourdough starter, and given me some ideas on how to deal with kneading and pain in my hands and forearms. Much thanks to all of you!


UPDATE—2010-06-12 10:26 AM

I made a batch of dough up Thursday afternoon using King Arthur Sir Lancelot (High Gluten). I retarded it while the bagels were still extremely sluggish to float. Rather than spraying the bagels with oil to keep them from sticking to the plastic bag they were stored in, I sprayed the plastic bag, itself, and arranged it so that it wouldn't make contact with the bagels; i.e. the spray was just insurance in the event that the bag was moved so that it touched. This morning I boiled them for 90 seconds per side. And rather than sticking the whole tray of bagels in the oven, I removed the bagels from the tray and cooked them directly on my quarry tile. I cooked them for approximately 15 minutes.  The bagels were a rich brown with a slight reddish tinge. They had crust—there was a discernable crackle as I passed the knife through them. Biting into them, there was resistance—at first a slight crunch and then chewiness. The upper half which was covered with my everything mixture—Maldon sea salt, black and white sesame seeds, dehydrated garlic granules, and poppy-seed—was less crusty, both because of the seed coverage and because my range just isn't able to achieve an ambient temperature beyond 450ºF. The bottom, which was in contact with the baking stones, was perfectly crusty. There was a slight pretzel-like flavor to the bottom crust. I assume that's because pretzels and bagels both have a gelatinized crust from an alkaline bath. At any rate, the bagels were as close to perfection as I think I can come with this particular formula and my existing range. In fact, they were so good that my wife and 3 daughters wouldn't shut up about them and some of the sounds being made were rather alarming.

Next I'll try some different formulas. I should have Jeffery Hamelman's Bread any day now, and I picked up Mike Avery's small book, Back to Bagels. I want to thank everyone here for your comments and suggestions. It was a huge help. Thank you!


Tuirgin's picture

Bagels from The Bread Baker's Apprentice

 Plain, Asiago, Everything, and Rosa al Bianco

Back in March my wife sent me to a food blog to read about the "Best Pizza Dough Ever Recipe." In the post, Heidi Swanson gives some background to her discovery of Peter Reinhart's Neapolitano pizza dough along with an adapted version of the recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It seemed a bit detailed, but it sounded good and a few days later I gave it a go.

I'll admit I had a rough time of it. It was my first time working with wet dough—to date I'd only made some quick breads and some rather disappointing bread sticks, and this was a whole different beast. The first pizza went everywhere. The second was little better. Did I mention the smell of carbonized semolina flour? Altogether the pizzas were a mess, but they were still good enough that it showed promise, and it got me interested in checking out Reinhart's books.

Ten days later my wife surprised me with copies of The Bread Baker's Apprentice and American Pie. I switched to the AP Neapolitano dough and I've now made the pizzas 3 times. It's the best pizza I've ever had. Our favorite pizza so far is the Pizza Rosa al Bianco.

In the same time, I've been exploring a variety of bread recipes from BBA. For myself, the European style breads, and for my wife a variety of sandwich loaves. But one of the formulas has overshadowed all the others. First I made bagels for us. My entire family raved. Then I made bagels for my wife's co-workers. And then my mom wanted some for her school. I have been making between 2–3 dozen bagels per week for the last month or two. And thanks to some snooping around the forums here, my bagels have consistently gotten better with each batch. I have to admit it does feed my ego when people constantly tell me that my bagels are better than anything in town and that I should open up a shop. Most of the bagels I've had around here don't even begin to compete with these. Panera comes closest, but there are a few people insisting that these are better yet. I agree that they're good, but I'm still hunting for the perfect bagel.

In the meantime, I'm very proud of these and love making them with a couple tweaks to Mr. Reinhart's formula. The few changes I make are as follows:

  • Liberally add more flour—I need to measure this, because I'm consistently adding more flour as the dough seems fairly wet

  • Toss the proof times out the window—since I have to hand kneed 1-2 batches at a time, the bagels are often ready to be retarded just as soon as I have them shaped

  • Increase baking soda to 1/4 cup per pot of water—1 tbsp wasn't sufficiently gelatinizing the outer dough

  • Add malt syrup to the water until the water is tea colored (with thanks to those who have posted Jeffrey Hamelman's techniques)—without the malt, the bagels come out of the oven very pale

I've also experimented with some different toppings. I liked the ginger, garlic, sesame bagels I turned out, but my wife wasn't a fan of the ginger zing. The favorite topping, by far, has been my adaptation of the Pizza Rosa al Bianco from American Pie. I mince the red onion—is there any reason why everyone seems to use rehydrated onion for bagels?—and chop the pistachio nuts and rosemary smaller than I would for the pizzas. It still gets a huge heap of parmigiano reggiano and gets spritzed with olive oil before going into the oven.

Bagel Rosa al Bianco

There are still a few things I'd like to figure out. No matter what I do, the bagels don't have the texture I expect—the inside isn't quite a chewy as I think they should be, and I've tried using KA Sir Lancelot HG flour as well as boiling longer. The crust is also surprisingly soft. Chewy, yes, but shouldn't the crust have a crispness about them?

Regardless, these bagels are certainly satisfying. Everyone from my 2 year old daughter to my recently-vegan parents begs for them. And this makes me very, very happy.

dmsnyder's picture

Mid-week baking

I usually don't get to bake during the work week, but this was a slow week so I got some afternoon time at home. Last night, I made pizza with dough I froze a couple weeks ago.

I had used Peter Reinhart's formula from BBA. I'm going to get the hang of stretching pizza dough yet. My wife generously consented to eating pizza once a week or so, providing me more opportunities to work on it. She is so supportive ... at least in agreeing to eat one of her favorite foods.

Yesterday afternoon, I also mixed the dough for San Joaquin Sourdough and baked it this afternoon.

San Joaquin Sourdough with peaches and nectarines from this afternoon's farmers' market


 I made this with a firm (50% hydration) starter that had been refrigerated for 6 days. I did not refresh it before mixing the dough. It was plenty active.

Because I used a firmer starter than my usual 75% hydration, I increased the water by 10 gms to get my usual dough consistency. I kept the same ratio of starter to flour by weight, so the actual amount of pre-fermented flour was higher than usual. The flavor that resulted from these variations was slightly but noticeably more sour.

It's been fun, but I'm back to my customary work schedule for the rest of the week.