The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
afjagsp123's picture

Mother Starter was fine, dough isn't proofing...

I'm rising a Pain au Levain from PRs Artisan Breads Everyday. The mother starter is healthy, and when I made the starter yesterday it doubled as expected. I made the dough this morning; it is supposed to proof at room temp for 3 to 4 hours, and double by 4. It's been 3 3/4 hours, and it has gained maybe 25%. There are some largish bubbles building along the sides of the container, but little sign that it is going to gain much.

Should I just put it in the fridge and let it proof overnight rather than trying to finish it today? (Original recipe calls for a 3 hour and then overnight proof, with the variation of a 4 hour proof and same-day shape and bake.) Or do you think I could just watch it some more and see if it shows signs of gaining? What about proofing in the oven with a light on? Our home is 73 right now (we live in the desert) and air conditioned.

ievbpod's picture



Just joined today, great to see so many of you out there making sourdough, absolutely everyone I know thinks I´m nuts!

Challenged myself to never again buy bread from a bakery again (it´s a long story, if anyone is interested....) and as you can imagine with 2 teenagers and one 12 year old and a voracious bread-eating husband (nothing he likes better!) this has been no small feat. Have had all sorts of experiences with yeasted dough, mostly good but was looking for more flavour and less yeast, so learnt about sourdough.

Started my starter about a month ago and all went well, have made a couple of loaves of plain white sourdough bread that tastes yummy but has a crust that is likely to break either my bread knife or someone´s teeth.  The 3rd set of loaves came out much lighter, really tasty and soft and chewy - almost everything I´m looking for in the crumb but those crusts!!!   Have seen some of the blogs and perhaps my mistake is in not paying enough attention to the shaping, my dough was already round so just sort of left it. Loved the Bertinand video, will try that next time, in the meantime any advice will be appreciated

mountaineer cookie company's picture
mountaineer coo...

Questions about a business opportunity

I have a business opportunity that I have a few questions that I hope people can help with.  This new business wants to hire me as a baker and use my personal formulas.  I have a feeling that they are going to compensate me too little, but I need more information.  


They are currently offering $9 an hour plus a 2-3% incentive pay (bonus) from each bakery sale with a "promise" of a partnership in future opportunities.  They are not offering any compensation for my personal formulas.  I have a few questions (our location is Morgantown, WV):


1.  What is the starting salary of a head baker?  Does this depend on whether it is a bakery versus a specialty shop that makes bread (that's what this would be)?

2.  What is the standard markup over total cost for a loaf of artisan bread?  (Sourdough, ciabatta, etc)

3.  What would a bakery pay for a quality formula for an artisan bread?

4.  Any advice for a counter-offer?


Thanks for the input in advance!!

jc's picture

Baking Supplies

Hi Everyone,

I used to buy baking supplies and equipments from Surfas at Culver City in Southern California. I just moved around UC Berkeley. Does anyone know any baking supplies store is similar to Surfas?



Elagins's picture

Wanted: Test Bakers

Hi all,

As many of you know, Norm Berg (nbicomputers), a retired baker with over 30 years of bakery experience, and I recently signed with Camino Books to author The New York Bakers Jewish Bakery Book. After months of work, the manuscript is almost finished and our publisher has encouraged us to field-test a representative sampling of the recipes included in the book.

To do those recipes justice and to make them as clear and accessible as possible, we'd like to assemble a group of 120-150 test bakers and start baking by June 1. We plan to wrap things up before Labor Day.

Because Norm and I first connected on this site, and because it's such an important resource to bakers everywhere, we're limiting this invitation exclusively to members of the TFL community.

For more details and a sign-up link, please visit This link is only accessible here, so if you're intereste in joing our endeavor, please bookmark it accordingly.

Thanks so much for your help!

Stan Ginsberg (Elagins)

txfarmer's picture

Pull-apart bread

if pizza and savory monkey bread meet and have a child, it will be this dangerously delicious bread. Recipe can be found here:


Very easy to make, a departure from my usual sourdough and lean artisan breads, but if it tastes so good, it can't be a bad thing!


Fresh mozarella cheese in each dough ball, wrapped in butter and more cheese and herbs, layered with bacon (bacon!), sundried tomato, olives, and green onion, trust me, no one can say no to this bread. OK, maybe vegetarines can, know what I mean.

amauer's picture

Help improve Swedish Sweet Rye bread Recipe (not limpa)

I had a recipe passed on from my Grandma from Sweden. Now the family has so many variations, I can't fid the original. Here is one I made this weekend that is close, but no cigar. The one I remember starts with "make sponge of', etc. It is a dark, heavy dense close grained bread, but very moist and on the sweet side.

For two loaves

1 Ounce cake yeast, 1 cup warm water, 1 cup warm milk, 2 tsp salt, 4 C bread Flour, 1/4 C molasses, 1 C brown sugar, 1/3 C melted shortening, and 2 C rye four. I went with 3 cups of each white and rye.

it calls for a knead, rise double , and loaves, but I left in the frig all night and rose it in the pans.

It turned out OK, but right off the bat I knew the loaves were not dark or sweet enough. It must need more (like double?) molasses. It is a lighter grain than I wanted and not as dense leaving a lot of crumbs as I cut it, and not as moist as I like... Any ideas on how to improve from this recipe?


Newfieguy's picture

Why a starter in the first place?

Hello everyone, excuse the basic Bread 101 question here but why is it some recipes call for a starter and some do not?

I do not want to look a complete idiot but many of you in here are very forgiving to newbies! 

I did not see a definition of starter in the glossary so just thought I would ask!

It seems some folks work on starters for days.  Is it really necessary and when would you use it?

Thanks everyone!

New Newfie guy!

00Eve00's picture

New to starters--Unsure about feeding

I have a 6 day old AP flour starter.  Today was the first day I switched over to AP flour and water from rye and orange juice.  This morning I fed him and he doubled and collapsed in 4 hours so I fed him.  Ive been watching him and I noticed that he's doubling again and it's been about 4 hours.  This has all been happening at 68 F.  

Should I feed him again, but switch from a 1:1:1 to a 1:2:2?

He smells like alcohol (like a fuzzy navel lol) and yeast, and is nice and puffy so I don't think his vigor is due to leuc or other flora....but I could be wrong.

Thanks for your help. :)

dlstanf2's picture

Merlin's Magic (by the book)

After some of the comments on my other post, I tried another recipe, KAF's Merlin's Magic Sourdough. This recipe omitted the sugar, but still used the Vital Wheat Gluten which I used to boost protein and make a softer crumb. I took the recipe, by volume, but I did weigh at each process.

Basic Recipe

½ Cup Sourdough Starter (130gr)
¾ Cup Warm Water (180 gr)
1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
1 ½ Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten
1 ½ Tsp Salt
⅛ Cup Olive Oil
3 to 4 Cups AP Flour (420 gr/3 Cups A-P F)

I began by making the sponge; starter, water, wheat gluten, dry yeast, 1½ cups a-p flour . Once mixed I let this rest on the counter for 10 hours. This is what it looked liked. I had more than doubled in volume and yeast activity looked healthy.

After 10 hours I added the salt, olive oil, and the remaining 1½ cup of flour and kneaded for 10 minutes or so on top of my stove, best surface I have for kneading. The dough got elastic and had the feel I wanted, something similar to a good pizza dough. Here's the pic of the kneaded dough ball.

Next, I put this dough in the pan to rise for a few hours.

I had more than doubled and it was getting late. Two hours by the recipe, or it could have gone for 12 to develop more flavor. Here I lighlty floured my surface and used the strecth and fold technique to avoid overworking my dough. Then I formed the dough into a smooth ball, about the size of a grapefruit.

After forming the dough into a small boule, I put it on a cookie sheet, lighlty sprayed with olive oil, covered in plastic wrap, and covered that with a plastic mixing bowl, which I refridgerated overnight, another 10 to 12 hours. The recipe called for letting the dough rise for 2 hours and then baking, but it was after midnight for a loaf I started that morning, but it worked into my schedule quite well.

Here's the proofed loaf which I have just scored for baking. Recipe calls for baking at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. I spayed the oven first, then again when I inserted the loaf, and again about 10 minutes later. I used a thermometer to bake to 200 degrees.

This is the resulting loaf.

Baked weight was 683 grams or 1lb 8 1/4 oz. Perfect size. However, the crumb had a soft and finely holed textured, I suppose from the wheat gluten. Almost sandwich bread quality, soft with a chewy crust. While lighlty soured, I want more. I've ben looking for citric salt but haven't found any locally.

I just ate a slice with orange marmalade. Um! Um! Good!!

I'm thinking about making a few tweeks. Like using less or no wheat gluten, adding a bit of WG Rye (1/4 C), and starting with a cold oven. If that doesn't work I'm going with a hotter preheat (425-10 minutes), and then dropping to 375. Maybe I can get some citric salt in the meantime.