The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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jofl's picture

Tartine country loaf..again

Need some advice here, 

im used to making good loafs using leavens and different starters from scratch. My problem is with regards to texture.

i cannot get the large bubbles and open texture in my loafs as shown in the Tartine bread book. I am not using the Dutch oven as part of the process - I don't have one, but I am loading my fan oven with steam before putting the bread in.  Is this the cause? 

Im getting good bread with excellent crust but with a tight texture.  I have never come across the Dutch oven process before so guessing what it's impact may have on the finished loaf.

please advise

Syd-a's picture

Back to Basics - Success

After my brioche brick disaster I was keen to get back on track with some bread that would be useful and also something that an amateur (as I am), should surely be able to succeed at.  I decided to do some soft sandwich rolls and thanks to the tip from davidg618 (Thanks very much for that), I used a Dan Lepard recipe:

Simple ingredients and gave the following results:

Ready for the oven

Nice big rolls

They are very moist, perfectly soft and look very inviting. The dark crust is an interesting aspect (maybe because of the sugar in the dough or the high bake temperature?), but a great aspect to the white dough.

Here is the crumb shot.

Now I completely understand there is nothing special to this, but I think the moral of the story is important to myself and other novice bread making colleagues. That is when things go wrong, take a step back and do something easy/easier to regain a little confidence and then dive in again. I now feel sufficiently happy to try my next artisan loaf and hopefully will use a little regained confidence and experience with dough to make more progress.

Happy Bread Making


StanS's picture

New here

New to the forum, been baking bread here at home on and off for about 20 years.  I learn something new each time I make bread.  Been working on flat breads and artisin loaves lately.  Just a hobby, don't buy store bread any more.  Looking forward to learning more.

floppy's picture

baking whole grain - heavy bread

I've been baking whole grain bread and continually have difficulty getting the bread cooked thoroughly, frequently the exterior is caramelized ( in the pan area). Have used non-convection oven(slide in stove), a convection toaster oven and a non-convection toaster oven. Monitored the temps in the three ovens and all seem to maintain about 350 consistantly. I'm baking the loaves (regular metal bread pans) in the large oven two loaves at the same time or one loaf per toaster oven. Alternatively, rectangular baking pan with 6 small loaves - which fits the toaster ovens perfectly, but likewise the small loaves will caramelize somewhat to get the bread fully baked.

Baking time is about 30 min. or more, as using a thermometer at a temp of 165 the thermometer shaft will contain some sticky dough, where a toothpick may be clean. After cooling/slicing and refrigerating I find quite a bit of doughy consistancy in the bread.

My recipe is 13- 15 cups of freshly ground hard white wheat, 2/3 cup oil, 2/3 cup honey, 5 1/2 cups water, 2 Tbs dough enhancer, 2 Tbs yeast, 2TBs salt + 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds- mixed in a Bosch universal mixer. Also have varied recipe using 1/2 cup cooked millet 1/2 cup cooked rye,barley,triticale- the cup of grains is included in the total flour amount. Dough rises for 1- 1 1/2 hours before baking.


I'd appreciate some input on dealing with this issue.



Tinabean's picture

Replicating German Bauernbrot mix

Just got back from Germany where I picked up a mix for Bauernbrot. Made a lovely loaf with the typical, yearned-for,  spongy, moist, non-crumbly crumb and dark chewy crust. Cuts perfectly for sandwiches. The mix had so few ingredients I thought I would try doing it by scratch. How much ascorbic acid and barley malt would I need for 500 grams of flour (about 75% wheat and 25% rye)?

Like many others, I too am chasing the elusive perfect Bauernbrot. This mix I picked up came awfully close for me. It is interesting how one baker's perfect recipe may not be another's. We have to remember that every region, even every city or bakery tastes just a bit different. Just like potato salad-everyone swears that their grandmother's is the best and only true way to make potato salad.:)


kamamav's picture

new starter & loaf (re flat starter...)

So last night I restarted my starters; one with the old method(left) and one with the method suggested by Mini Oven(right).

As you can see, thr new method is MUCH better! I believe it probably topped it's proof time somewhere between 4-5 a.m. since this is what I woke to at 5:30. I am def happy with it.

Instead of throwing out the starter last night at feeding time, I used the 'leftover' for a new loaf, with a new formula.I used 1 1/2 C (old)starter, 1 1/8 C water, roughly 5 C flour(including what I used to knead), 1 T each oil & honey, and 1 tsp salt. This is after 1st 2 hour proof, shaping and scoring.

It took 3 more hours to proof enough for baking.(ok really I fell asleep, but it didn't appear overproofed. whew!) I baked at 450 for ten min, like my original formula called for, then 40 minutes at 400. I ended up with a beautiful proof-compared to what I have had- and a nice dark golden loaf. It is still a little dense crumb, but lightest loaf so far.It still seems very slightly on the moist side, but again better than before. If you can tell, the crust is a little heavy and hard. I am wondering if this is due to the high temp. Anyway it was actually nice to eat, I had a slice for b-fast, and with lunch. 


I am excited to have this, but do realize this is with my old formula starter. I am anxious to use the new starter formula, which is rising now. I am going to experiment with making rolls and see how it works. I will let y'all know. Thank you so much to those who pitched in and made suggestions.

I am a seasoned baker, except this is still a challenge for me. My sis says it should be a science project, with all the percentages and measurements I keep spitting out! I am so excited to work this, and I am looking forward to learning more about this "science project" as I go! I have already started a second AP feeding, and also am experimenting with a 2nd WW starter. I will keep you posted, again thanks a ton! Kamamav

breadbliss's picture

Ovens for Baking Breads & Cakes

Appreciate if someone can recommend a good oven for baking Breads & Cakes.

bruneski's picture

Improved Schwarzbrot

Thanks to the outstanding help and wonderful pieces of advice I got from Karin (hanseata), Khalid (Mebake), Juergen (Juergen Krauss) in my previous thread about Schwarzbrot (, my (actually, I should say our) tweaking of the original recipe produced a delicious, much improved black bread!

Very tasty, with a very deep, distinct rye flavor, it provides a delightful munching experience. Its crumb looks incredibly nice. In all these aspects, and many others, this version showed marked improvement with respect to the original recipe.

Additional notes: (a) this version had a much slighter hint of sweetness than the original one, (b) black coffee and dark chocolate were totally dropped from the original formula, (c) the amount of dark molasses was halved, (d) the introduction of new techniques (biga, autolysis, retarded fermentation) in the method also permitted a drastic reduction of the amount of active dry yeast: from 8.5 g in the original for-bread-machine version to 1.0 g in this tweaked hybrid-method version (besides imparting the bread a much better, deeper rye flavor).

I believe this version is perfectly suited for some smørrebrød!!! I guess I'll try this tonight!!!

Here are some shots of this Schwarzbrot!

The new, tweaked formula, that incorporates several ideas provided by Karin, Khalid and Juergen, is the following:

final dough: 62,5% rye, 75,0% hydration
yield: one 700-g loaf
Biga (65,0% hydration)
200 g rye flour
130 g water
0.5 g active dry yeast
110 g lukewarm water
120 g unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark molasses
1.5 tbsp vinegar (or buttermilk or yogurt)
3 tbsp soft butter
0.5 g active dry yeast
1 tbsp caraway seeds
0.5 tsp fennel seeds

Note: in another thread (, I've been dealing with the possibility of scaling down the above biga.

Here are shots of slices (using different, improved lighting for the shots):

As to the method, it started with the biga that rested for exactly 8 hours. This was then incorporated into a 30-minute autolyzed mix of white flour and water. With the help of the Dough cycle of my bread machine (yes, ... here it goes again), I incorporated the remaining ingredients (the salt was gradually sprinkled all over the dough after 5 minutes into the Dough cycle; the same was done with the seeds after 10 minutes into this cycle). The final dough was then retarded in the fridge for 17 hours (chosen to fit my Sunday schedule). [edited on July 10] After a total of 2 hours that were needed to get the dough back to room temperature and to go thru a 75-minute proofing period [edited on July 10], it was baked for 1 hour in the bread machine. Another 15 minutes in a preheated 220 degrees C conventional oven were necessary to give it a nicer crust. Finally, the resulting loaf sat untouched (before any slicing was done) for 18 hours.

My take on this experiment: "Learning is always a great, rewarding experience! Learning from you girls and guys here, at TFL, is moreover easy and fun!"

Thank you all. Have a great week! Bruneski.

Patf's picture

loaves dry and crumbly

I make white bread and wholemeal bread, and the last 6 months or so both have been dry and crumbly, with a space between the top crust and the crumb. I haven't changed anything in method or ingredients.

For the white I use Allinsons, and the wholemeal, Doves Farm organic.

For 1.5kg of flour, 4packs of dried yeast (32g)

I've tried using more oil (sunflower) but this hasn't made any difference.

Can anyone suggest a reason/remedy? I wonder if the quality of the flour has changed? Too much yeast?

My bread used to be rather more dense and chewy.

dabrownman's picture

Yeast Water and ADY Hot Dog Buns

Breakfast on bun day

These were very good buns.  We didn’t make a poolish or a YW levain since we didn’t have time on our side.  It was already 11 AM and no time to grind flour or an autolyse it either.  We used 40 g of YW and a pinch of ADY for the leavens.  This was an all AP bake so not very healthy.  But brats, Italian sausage and Boudin aren’t all that healthy either.


We just mixed everything together, did 10 minutes of slap and folds and 3 sets of S& Fs on 45 minute intervals and then let the dough rest for 1 hour.  We shaped the buns pulling them taut and let them proof for 3 hours on parchment paper, on the top portion of the mini’s vented broiler pan, on the counter.


We fired the mini oven up to 400 F convection and egg washed the buns.  We baked them without steam for 4 minutes and turned the oven down to 375 F convection  and baked the rolls another 4 minutes before spinning the pan 180 degrees and turning the oven down to 350 F convection.


The Last of Sylvia's inspired Key Lime Pie

After 8 more minutes the buns were done and we moved them to the cooling rack and brushed then with milk while still oven hot to keep the skins soft. They came out brown and blistered.  So, blisters aren’t from a cold retard or mega steam or a combination of both - since there rolls didn’t have either.  They were soft, moist and open on the inside.


We are getting close to a fine enriched bun recipe with this batch.

A magnificent sunset tonight



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