The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Pablo's picture

Stalking the wild bear claw

OK, I have my laminated Danish pastry dough.  I'm good to go.  But I'm wondering what to stuff my bear claws with.  Nothing fancy, I'm a man of the people.  I have almond meal and sliced almonds.  I have maple syrup and almond extract.  Does anyone want to share the bear claw filling of my dreams?  Any tips whatsoever gratefully accepted.  The dough will be ready to play with starting tomorrow morning.  I'm hoping to create what is to my mind the classic bear claw of my youth, but I have no idea what the filling consisted of or even, really, whether this pastry dough will be the right stuff.  But I'm excited and optimistic.  Anybody feel like hopping on the bear claw wagon and throwing some thoughts my way, I'm all ears.  Thanks.


BerniePiel's picture

Eggplant recipe

I'm looking for a superb eggplant recipe for these three beauties which I harvested from my garden about an hour ago.  If you have a favorite and perhaps out of the ordinary recipe, I'd love to try it.  Many thanks.  Bernie Piel

eat.bread's picture

baking multiple loaves



I'm new to bread baking (feel like ill need to add this statement to every post).


If I am baking up a few loaves at one time do I need to change the oven temp at all to account for adding that much dough to the oven?  I know that it might take longer but is there anything else I should be aware of?




SallyBR's picture

Polenta-Crust Tomato Loaf, another Lepard tasty bread

Very nice and easy bread to bake, wonderful crumb color and intensely flavored.    

Plus, it worked well in my electric oven, which is a plus nowadays... :-)


The link to my blog entry is here, where you can find the whole recipe (from The Guardian website)


but I also include a photo for those who don't want to go to the blog

homemadeisalwayshealthy's picture

In Search of WHOLE GRAIN Durum/Semolina Flour

I was wondering if anyone knows of a place/website that sells WHOLE GRAIN durum of semolina flour. All of the flour I find in shops has been sifted, and while I understand excellent gluten development is the whole point of durum and semolina flours, I would still like to get a whole grain source of this type of flour.

All responses are appreciated. 

ananda's picture

Home baking in late July, and September 2010


The lecturing schedule kicks off in earnest tomorrow, following Induction sessions this past 2 weeks to enable our students to find their way and settle in at the College.

I noted the freezer stock of bread at home, piled high before we went to Crete, was virtually empty, so set up to do some baking over this weekend.

I borrowed "Advanced Bread and Pastry" by Michel Suas from the College Library as essential reading for the Summer, in order to plan to run a Level 3 ["A" Level] course this year.   It seems to be a ready-made textbook, especially given that Cengage [publishers] offer excellent online support for both instructor and student.

The breads I made just before our holiday utilised the Mountain Bread recipe, moreorless straight from the book.   I really enjoy making a couronne shape; these were lovely, with a formula very similar to the Pain de Siègle recipe I use in class with students, but omitting the fresh yeast in the final dough.



I also made some of the "Wonderful White", which I posted on at the back end of last year, when I first happened upon TFL.   You can read about that here:

Yesterday [Saturday] I mixed 2kg of paste to make Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel in a Pullman Pan.   These are the links to the formulae: and

Except that I used strong white flour in the final paste this time, so the formula is as Hamelman recommends, with the additional controls on water I added as constant.   This was then baked very slowly overnight in my regular electric [fan] oven, at 100°C, with a small tray of water for a steady steam supply.   I did share this earlier with Nico to ascertain a bake profile.   I still like to steam these loaves, and intend to revert to this method in the ovens at College [Pumpernickel now on the student syllabus!].   The end result was very acceptable, with Alison asking for more at lunchtime, when I really should have been insisting on waiting a couple more days before slicing.   We just love rye in this house!   Photos:





And I made 3 x 1200+g loaves of Pain de Campagne.   The leaven had one feed from stock beforehand as refreshment and to re-invigorate activity.

New journey for me this time round: overnight retarding!   I've done this before commercially and whilst running bread courses, but not at home.   It worked well, I did 3 variations, and think the last loaf gave the best results.   Loaf 1 had only 1½ hours final proof [too tight in the baking]; loaf 2, radically, I did not re-mould [good, but a bit flat and rustic] and loaf 3 instructions given below, with photographs attached.

Great finished bread taste and texture too!

This is the formula:


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

  • 1. Leaven




Flour: 12.4. Water: 7.5. TOTAL 19.9

Flour: 280. Water: 168. TOTAL 448

Strong White Flour












  • 2. Rye Sour [from stock]



Dark Rye Flour












  • 3. Final Dough



Leaven [from above]



Rye Sour [from above]



Strong White Flour



Dark Rye Flour












Total Pre-fermented flour



Total Hydration



Bake Profile: Steam, pre-heated oven [250°C], baking on hot bricks, drop heat to 200°C after 20 minutes.   Total Bake Time of 40 - 45 minutes


  • Autolyse flours, water and rye sour for 1 hour.
  • Add leaven to form a dough and mix by hand for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt and mix a further 5 minutes. Rest briefly
  • Complete mixing cycle, using "slapping" techniques.
  • Bulk ferment for 2½ hours; S&F every 45 minutes.
  • Scale and divide into 3 equal pieces, and mould each round.
  • Line plastic bowls with a little olive oil and use these to store dough pieces overnight, covered, in the fridge [mine was running <4°C].
  • Take each dough piece out as required and re-mould.
  • Drop upside down into a prepared banneton and set to prove for 2 hours, covered with heavy plastic
  • Turn out the dough piece onto a pre-heated metal sheet, cut as desired and bake to the profile shown above.






Best wishes to you all


foodslut's picture

Northern Ontario Rye

Living in the nordic climate of northern Ontario, I was pleasantly surprised a few years ago when a local flour mill started operation.  Brule Creek Farms takes locally-grown grain and stone grinding it.  I've enjoyed using the whole wheat, partially sifted and other BCF products, but I was VERY happy to see rye flour join the range of products being sold.  I like making rye, so I thought I'd try out an "all local flour" rye recipe.

My general approach:  60-40 split of regular (in this case, partially sifted instead of all-purpose) to dark rye flour, starting with a poolish to get some pre-ferment flavour, and long, slow proofing in the fridge (to allow me to bake in the evening during the work week).   Here's the final formula for a 750g/24 oz. loaf (PDF).

I prepared the poolish and let it grow for 12 hours at room temperature, then slowed down in the fridge for another 8.  Next, I mixed the poolish with the other ingredients, autolysed for ~25 minutes, then kneaded and let the dough ferment in the fridge for 12 hours.  Finally, shaped the loaves and let them proof for about 90 minutes before baking them in a 425F oven for 45 minutes (internal temperature to 200F).  I do the longer bake in a medium oven because I like my rye with a softer crust and a somewhat finer crumb.

The results (yeah, I blew it by proofing the loaves too close to each other):

Here's the "crumb shots":

Softish rye, with a very hearty taste.  Loved it!

I'm working on a liquid levain using the dark rye, so maybe the next version will be a TOTALLY local (including the yeasts) rye.

breadsong's picture

Ciabatta ... an attempt


I've seen so many beautiful loaves here on TFL, with beautiful open crumb. When making dough by hand I know I'm adding too much flour to overcome stickiness when kneading. Guess what? No holes. I have shied away from the really wet doughs not really knowing how to handle them.

I recently saw a video by Richard Bertinet where he demonstrates his method for working sticky dough:

I found this video very encouraging, and now want to give a wet Ciabatta dough another try.  I read through various formulae and methods, to see how they meet the following criteria (what produces big holes in the crumb, as written by Rose Levy Beranbaum in The Bread Bible):

a) acid dough (use of a dough starter and a long cool rising)
b) underdeveloped gluten (from less mixing time)
c) high water percentage, to create a very wet dough
d) a slow rise
e) gentle shaping
f) an overnight rise of the shaped dough in the refrigerator (not applicable to Ciabatta?)

I decided to try Eric Kastel's Ciabatta formula as I've liked some of his others, and because there are similarities to Hamelman's formula, which gives me comfort (any Hamelman formula I've tried, so far, has produced really good results for me).
Kastel also writes about a double-hydration mixing technique that sounded interesting (discussed below).
Instead of 100% bread flour as Mr. Kastel's recipe indicates, I substituted 50% bread flour and 50% Type 00 Italian flour, to mimic 'ciabatta' flour, as shown in Mr. Bertinet's Ciabatta formula.

I saw different methods in different books, and tried to take bits and pieces from a few, to try to address the conditions needed to create big holes in the crumb:

a) Kastel's Ciabatta uses a poolish that ferments for 12-14 hours prior to mixing the dough.

b), c) Kastel's Ciabatta uses a double-hydration mixing method, using only 80% of the final dough's water for the initial mix (in the bowl, by hand for 4 minutes), then adding the remaining 20% of the water in thirds, continuing to mix by hand until each addition of water is absorbed before adding the next. Kastel writes the purpose of this is to allow some gluten to develop, while the dough is firmer and before the dough is completely hydrated. (Water is ultimately 81% of flour weight in Kastel's formula). 
Kastel advises that Ciabatta is a delicate dough and shouldn't be worked too much; Bertinet instructs to work the dough until it is supple and elastic; Hamelman says after mixing there should be some 'muscle' to the dough. I decide to go with Bertinet's more vigorous working method, partly because I want to see if it works, partly because I'm using some lower-protein flour, and not 100% bread flour, and because I trust Hamelman and his mixing recommendation. I turned the very wet, soupy dough onto the counter from the bowl and tried to do as Mr. Bertinet instructs. I mucked around (literally) for 10 minutes or so and got the dough to a stage where, while still very soft and sticky, had a bit of spring to it and would leave the counter in a cohesive mass when I picked it up. I am hoping that stretch and fold will make up for any deficiencies in my mixing or working of the dough.

d) Hamelman's bulk fermentation, at 3 hours, is longer than Kastel's instruction. I decide to wait it out for the 3 hours. When preparing for mixing, I made some formula adjustments as I was planning to let the dough bulk ferment for longer -  I wanted to slow down the rising - so used 1/3 less yeast (why 1/3? Only a guess). I also adjusted the salt to be equivalent to the percentage used by Hamelman as I really like how Hamelman's breads taste (I think they're nicely salted, and Kastel's recipe had a higher salt percentage).

Both Hamelman and Kastel indicate 2 stretch and folds during bulk fermentation. Peter Reinhart's stretch and fold video on Amazon instructs 4 stretch and folds for Ciabatta:
I will split the difference and go with 3 stretch and folds, at 45-minute intervals.  For the stretch and fold, Kastel says to flour the counter, Reinhart says to oil it. I'm going with Reinhart on this one, as I really want to preserve wetness in the dough.
I can feel the dough responding to each stretch and fold, and see air bubbles, which is exciting!

e) All the authors recommend using lots of flour and being really gentle with the dough when shaping.
I sifted a heavy coating of flour on the counter, gently turned the dough out of its rising container, and sifted more flour on top. I cut the dough into three strips. Shaping one dough strip at a time, I pushed the sides together as Rose instructs (to create the wrinkled look on top of the loaf), then inverted bottom side up. Then I gently picked the loaf up and stretched to lengthen it slightly while placing on parchment paper.

f) Kastel's final proof was for 20-30 minutes, and Hamelman's was for 1-1/2 hours. I chose the longer timeframe for proofing.

I followed Hamelman's baking instructions, 460F then 440F, and baked on a baking stone with steam.
I found the loaves were really browning so reduced the oven to 400F after about 18 minutes in the oven.

Here's how they turned out:

When I sliced the bread, the crust sort of splintered.  It's a very crisp crust. I am eating a piece of the bread right now as I finish this post...and the bread is good!
I am not sure if the crumb is as open as it could or should be, but it's more open than anything I've made yet, so for that I'm grateful!

Regards, breadsong








nicodvb's picture

Is it possible to create an osmotolerant sourdough?


since my sweet tooth (as Andy calls it) demands quite high percentages of sugar I always have a big problem with my leavened cakes: my rye starter  and the preferments I prepare with it are not made of osmotolerant yeasts, and it shows... making a cake is always a pain and I always have to proceed in incremental steps.

I wonder if I can give life to an osmotolerant starter using a selective approach: continually refreshing a part of my starter adding a non trivial amount of sugar and salt. My guess/hope is that at every refreshment only the osmotolerant yeasts should survive and colonize the starter.

But now the questions:

-first of all: does it make sense? Does my idea have any chance of succeeding?

-how much sugar and salt should I use? Yesterday I refreshed with 10% of sugar  and a touch of salt and now, after 12 hours, the starter has doubled a couple of times (the second time after a stir).

-should I keep the amount of sugar and salt constant until the growth rate is high or should I raise the percentages every time in small steps?

-finally: what would happen to the lactobacilli? Would they survive or die? Would my starter lose its enzymatic activity and it sourness?


Debra, I really hope to read your answer! I'm also very curious to know what which yeasts are osmotolerant and their properties. Can you can point me to something to read, please?


Nami01's picture

Shokupan Sandwich Bread...Help?


Nice to meet you all! So looking at the wonderful forum here, I found a recipe for Shokupan. Something I didn't know could be found ANYWHERE on the net. Excited, I started the recipe on from the Japanese site that was posted.

The pictures for the recipe and my progress work seemed to fit quite well, to the point I was really excited. But following the baking instructions, I got something like this...

Shokupan from Pullman Pan

D: It didn't look brown and toasty at all. In fact, it looked like it had shrunk in my pan. I baked it according to the site 160C for 10 min and 190C for 20 minutes. Then I waited 10 min before opening the pullman pan and popping it out. Can anyone guess what I did wrong?

I made sure to rise the dough until 1.5cm below the pan before baking. It looks like it grew a little initially during, but didn't quite make it there to make the pretty stuffed box shape?

The Japanese pullman pan is a different size than regular ones, not as long but wider and deeper. Could this have anything to do with it? I checked the ingredients and they should make a 1.4lb (630g) loaf...which should be about right for my 1.5lb pullman pan? Right?

From the background of the picture on the Japanese site, it looks suspiciously like they used a toaster "oven" type that my friend used while she was in Japan. Could it be that comparatively my big normal sized oven makes the pan too far away from the heat source and my temperature wasn't "hot" enough? On the site, they did say their little oven was "stronger" than most...?

And what in the world made the bread shrink smaller than the pan? Was I supposed to let it sit in the pan until completely cooled? Or maybe not let it sit in the pan at all (pop it out immediately)? Was it because my heat was too weak?

Sorry for being such a newbie. I feel that many experienced bakers may be able to tell what I did wrong from looking at the picture and my description. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I thought I would roll up my sleeves for try #2 tomorrow! Thank you in advance for reading/replying to such a long post from a confused little newbie!