The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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grimeswh's picture

Drying a starter????

I once saw a comment saying a person dried their starter so they could use is for later. Kind of a neat idea has anyone on here tried it??? Sounds weird to me because I've only ever grown up with the "normal" way of doing a sourdough starter but I think it would be cool to try. Is there a website or something that I can go to, to show me how to do it so I can try it myself???

txfarmer's picture

Hamelman Black Bread

Hope everyone had a great holiday! We took the days off between Christmas and NYE, rented a RV and drove 3000+ miles round trip to Key West. It was super fun, as we were counting down with the crowd in front of Sloppy Joe's, I felt it was one of the best NYE celebrations we've had.


Before we took off, I needed some bread to take with us - there's no oven on the RV, just a microwave and stove. Being super busy, I didn't have time to do a pure sourdough loave, and this black bread from Hamelman's "Bread" was fast (it uses instant yeast, in addition to rye levain), fragrant, delicious, healthy (by that time, we needed SOME fibre to combat all the sugar and butter in my holiday baked goodies), and uses up some of my leftover rye breads, perfect!


The old bread was toasted to very dark, then soaked in coffee and boiling water overnight, I knew the bread is going to be delicious when I smelled the soaker. Coffee flavor was not prominent in the final bread, but the flavor of rye was very enhanced.

A full flavored 60% rye, went perfectly with the smoked salmon and aged gouda cheese we brought along. Beats fastfood burger anyday!

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

First Loaf of 2011

Hey All,

Wishing you all a very happy 2011.  Here's my first loaf of the year.  It was for my friend Sarah's birthday on January 2nd...  I've been baking pretty much the same bread for the past few months save for few high percentage rye breads which I will write about when I have some more time and energy...  This bread is one of my best recipies of late...  Here's the recipe and process:

Total Recipe:

750g Total Flour

540g Total Water (approx 72% hydration)

16g Kosher Salt

40g Storage Sourdough Starter @ 80% Hydration

1346g Total Dough Yield

**Storage Sourdough Starter at 80% to 100% hydration fed within a few days and kept in fridge.


Digital Scale

Oven with convection

Oven thermometer

Instant read thermometer

Large mixing bowl

Rubber spatula

Plastic scraper

Large plastic bag

Linen lined 8" to 10" banneton/brotform/colander lined with tea towel (non terry cloth)

2 baking stones

Wooden peel, or some way to get the loaf into the oven directly onto stone

Cheap loaf pan filled with lava rocks

Bowl of water to wet your hands/scraper/spatula

Rye Sour:

76g Rye Flour (Arrowhead Organic)

76g Water

20g Storage Sourdough Starter (I am keeping mine at about 80% hydration these days)

172g Total


38g WW Flour (Whole Foods 365)

38g AP Flour (Whole Foods 365 and/or Hecker's)

76g Water

20g Storage Sourdough Starter (I am keeping mine at about 80% hydration these days)

172g Total

Final Dough:

598g AP Flour (Whole Foods 365 and/or Hecker's)

388g Water

16g Kosher Salt

172g Rye Sour

172g Levain

1346g Total Dough Yield




12:30am - Weigh out ingredients using a digital scale, mix starters in separate bowls, cover and let rest on counter at room temp...  Go to bed.

10:30am - Weigh out final ingredients using a digital scale.  In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients in the following order: water, starters, flour, salt.  Mix with rubber spatula into a rough shaggy dough, then with wet hands squish out any dry clumps, scrape down bowl sides with wet plastic scraper, place bowl in plastic bag, close and let rest.

11:30am - Using a wet dough scraper, scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl, then with wet hands stretch and fold the dough 4 times.  Pick up the dough mass from the center, lift and let the front part flop under, and release.  Turn the bowl 180 degrees and repeat.  Each time, you can squish the dough down with lightly wet hands.  cover and let rest.

12:00pm - Turn dough using method above, return to bowl to plastic bag, close and rest.

12:30pm - Prepare proofing basket by generously flouring the linen/cloth.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface/board, shape into large boule/round, and place into proofing basket seam side up.  Lightly flour the dough, cover with cloth towel, place into entire basket into plastic bag, close and place in top shelf of refrigerator.

10:00pm - Take dough out of fridge and place on kitchen counter.  If using an 8" basket, dough should be domed over top of basket.  Do the poke test to see if the intentation springs back slowly, but a small impression still remains.  Prepare oven by arranging one baking stone on the lowest level, and the other on the highest level.  Place bottom baking stone with the length going front to back.  Prepare lava rock loaf pan, fill 3/4 way with water.  Place steam pan on bottom rack to the side of the baking stone.  Place oven thermometer on bottom stone and turn on oven to 500F with convection.  Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated, open the windows and run fans.  This is especially important if you are using a gas oven.

10:45pm - Remove oven thermometer with tongs/oven mitts so you don't burn yourself.  Turn off convection.  Lightly flour wooden peel, gently loosen dough from basket and turn onto peel.  Slash as desired and place into oven directly onto bottom stone.  Close oven door.  Bake 10 minutes at 500F with steam pan.

11:00pm - Remove steam pan, turn oven down to 450F and bake for another 40-45 minutes.

11:40pm-ish: Check weight of loaf and internal temp of loaf.  If weight is approx 15% less than the pre-bake dough weight, and internal temp has reached 210F, then loaf is pretty much done.  You can turn the oven off and put the loaf back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

11:50pm-ish: Take loaf out of oven and let cool overnight on a wire rack...  Go to sleep...


Loaf profile

Close-up of crackly bottom crust


Bad crumbshot picture from friend's iPhone camera...




Submitted to Yeastspotting on 1/4/2011

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Pasta Machines

Can anyone recommend a good basic, sturdy pasta machine?  I've looked at the Pro Cucina, the Marcata Atlas and also the Imperia. They all seem reasonably priced and adequate, but I was wondering if anyone could talk about their personal experience with any of these machines to help me decide which to buy.  Alternately, I will be in Italy in a few months and am wondering whether I should wait and see what is available there. I greatly appreciate any help.  Thanks in advance.


sourdoughexpolra's picture

I know another post about help with a starter...

Hello all, 

I am about three and a half weeks into a new starter that seems to be going well. But I do have a few questions that I think I might need a little direct help with and this seems like a place that is well versed in both helpfulness and knowledge. 

This is about the fifth starter that i have had, and this is the longest I have been able to keep one viable. The first two went about the same way. Just started with about 25g of both unbleached AP flour and water and fed it this until I noticed activity then started discarding until I had about 100g and then feeding 50g water and flour every twelve hours. They both turned out well for about a week afterward and I would bake some tasty bread and then they would just stop showing any activity almost out of the blue. 

The last few starters I have made I followed the pineapple juice solution using rye flour and it seemed to work very well except the last two I kind of fell off of the wagon on my feedings and decided to start over... my fault

But the starter I have now I have been very diligent in feeding twice daily in as close to 12 hour increments as I can get (sometimes 10, sometimes 14). My procedure for feeding it is to discard all but 100g of starter then to feed it 40g KA AP flour and 40g water. It is close to doubling between feedings most of the time and seems like it is doing well except I have noticed it has a slight metallic taste and it doesn't seem to have much of a sour flavor. I know that the sour flavor can take time to develop but the metallic taste is really what is worrying me. It is a little cold in the kitchen(sometimes as low as 60) and I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not but I just don't want to have to start over again. 

Thank you for reading my long drawn out post. 

DANIELHOOKE66's picture

Finding your ultimate cranberry sauce recipe

Really significant things with cranberry sauce quality recipes

A cranberry sauce recipe should fulfill a few basic criteria. Cranberries are a bright, acidic flavor that's perfect for pairing with turkey, stuffing, or even vanilla ice cream. Make sure your cranberry sauce has a lot of flavor. It shouldn’t be too sweet or too acidic though. It's a tall order, but relatively easy to fill.

A cranberry sauce recipe you blend together

A good blended cranberry sauce recipe is quick, easy, and should be simple enough you can ask the twelve-year old to look after it. This cranberry sauce recipe creates a thick, relish-like cranberry sauce. In a food processor or blender, you are able to mix these ingredients:

  • You’ll need a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries

  • Peel and separate one large orange

  • You'll need 1 cup of sugar. Get ¾ cup agave nectar if that’s not what you want

  • 1/4 cup orange juice, ginger ale, or 2 ounces good-quality whiskey

Your cranberry sauce recipe can be cooked too

You may prefer a baked cranberry sauce if you would like more of any dipping sauce. On high heat in a stainless steel or aluminum sauce pan, mix:

  • You’ll need one 12 ounce back of frozen cranberries

  • You’ll need a cup of orange juice too

  • Three cups of ginger ale should be added

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • You will need zest from a small orange

Make sure you boil it all. That is the first step. Reduce the heat to medium, and reduce for 45 minutes, or until there is about 2 cups of thickened sauce. Combine with a stick or stand blender. Serve as a dipping sauce.

Making brand new stuff with leftover cranberry sauce recipe

If you've remaining cranberry sauce recipe following the holiday holiday, you've got several choices. Put it over ice cream while keeping it sealed in the fridge. You can get 8 ounces of cream cheese and mix it with ½ to ¾ cup of cranberry sauce recipe that is remaining. This is good for turkey sandwiches as a spread.

cpanza's picture

Pani di Lavello

(reposted at my blog:

I knew I was going to make a bread right after the holidays, and I wanted to use up some excess Italian cheeses and meats that I had in the refrigerator, so I decided to add them to the bread. So this is a kind of pani di lavello – a “bread of the sink”. Not that this is odd – Italian bakers tend to have a number of “just throw it all in (everything but the kitchen sink)” breads. I just figured I’d add one to the list.

I’ve got to say, this particular version was amazing. The look of it is striking (as the picture attests) and it is rich, rich, rich. This bread also has lots of wang that attack the taste buds from all sides. The only problem is that it is really heavy. I had a few slices and felt as if I’d dropped an anvil or an anchor into my stomach. I’m totally bloated — but it’s a really good bloat! Highly recommended, but dangerous in terms of calories.


This bread is really a version of Carol Field’s pani di casa - a rustic peasant house bread mixed with double the ingredients (plus some pepperoni) of a typical casatiello. As you can see in the picture, the oils from the meat (especially the pepperoni) tend to travel in the crumb, which is actually very nice – it adds a nicy spicy taste to the bread.

The crumb itself is moist and thick, and the crust is not that crunchy, but instead a bit softer than typical for rustic bread, though it seems appropriate for the type of bread this is.

Here’s how to do it:

Ingredients for Biga (starter)

1 tsp of yeast

1/3 cup water warm

2/3 cup of warm milk

1 cup of flour


Add the yeast to the water/milk and let it sit for 10 minutes, or until foamy. Then add the flour and mix well. Let this sit covered for 4 hours minimum, or for 18 hours maximum (to get the most sourdough taste).

Ingredients for Dough

2 cups water

1 tbsp salt

2 oz Pecorino Romano

2 oz Parmesan


1. Add the salt and water to the biga mixture in the mixing bowl

2. Using the mixer paddle, slowly add 5 cups of flour

3. Switch to the dough hook and slowly add 1 1/2 cups of flour until you have a soft and velvety dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the Romano and the Parmesan to the dough, and continue to mix on the hook. Total hook time should be around 7 minutes.

5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl for 2 hours until doubled

Shaping Ingredients

2 oz Provelone

5 oz Pepperoni, sliced small

4 oz Salami, sliced small

Directions for Shaping

1. Punch down the dough and then press into it half of the provelone and pepperoni and salami.

2. Shape in the way you see fit (I make round loaves). If you do this, every time you pull back a corner of the dough, press more cheese and meat into the dough. Repeat the process until you have a ball.

The dough will be thick and full. Pat the top with flour, place on a floured peel for 1 hour.

3. Let sit for 1 hour again.

4. Preheat oven to 410 and bake for 50

5. Let cool for 30 minutes, during which time you should put on your eating pants with the elastic cord, since this is a thick bread that will require room for your bloated stomach.

nicodvb's picture

Does soy flour inhibit protease?


I'm curious to know if soy flour can inhibit or slow down protease action in doughs. If so, what percentage is it safe to use with respect to flour? Does anyone have first hand experience with it?

I read some mention of it in baking applications, but nothing well explained.

If I werent sick at bed I would have tried it myself, but I have only whole (and very hard) soy beans  at home :-(




Norman's picture

My First loaf of 2011

I only had 4 hrs to do the bread and I made kinda like no knead bread. I measured the flower and the water (300gr for bread flour and 210gr of water, 1/4 tsp of yeast and 1 tsp of salt and sugar) but the dough was not wet enough like I wanted to.  So I add some more warm water, I really don't know how much I put, but the dough got really wet, almost like a pancake butter. Anyway, I let it rest covered for like 3 1/2 hrs and then I had quite a hard time trying to fold the dough, but with the used of flower and dough scraper I managed.  I had some friends coming over for diner so I only let it rest for like 30 minutes while the pot was getting hot in the oven.  I cooked it covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 12 minutes.  The bread needed to have been cooked for a bit longer, but diner was ready and I had to get it out of the oven and sliced it while still pretty hot. Nevertheless, bread was very good and the crumb was a bit undone to me, but still much better than most bread than you can buy in the stores.  Over all, pretty happy.  Attached is the picture of it.


dmsnyder's picture

Whole Wheat Bread from BBA made with fresh-ground flour

A couple days ago, I tested my new KitchenAid Grain Mill's output with a formula calling for about 30% whole grain flour. It was very good. In fact, the flavor of that bread has improved over two days. Even as I dipped my toe in the home-milled flour waters, I knew that the real test, for me, would be how the flour performed in a 100% whole wheat bread.

Most of my breads are made with levain, but my favorite whole wheat bread has remained the “Whole Wheat Bread” from BBA. This is made with a soaker of coarse ground whole grains and a “poolish” made with whole wheat flour. I have used bulgur for the soaker in the past. Today, I used coarsely ground fresh-ground hard red winter wheat, the same wheat was used finely ground for the poolish and final dough. The formula can be made as a lean dough (plus honey) or can be enriched with oil and/or egg. I used both.

The KitchenAid Grain Mill does a great job with coarse grinding. I found that, with the first pass, the particle size is rather variable. It seems to even out by putting the flour through the mill again at the same setting.

I ground the rest of the grain at the next to finest setting. I put it through 3 passes of increasing fineness, actually. The flour ends up somewhere between semolina and AP flour fineness, at least by feel. This slightly coarse flour, fresh-ground, seems to absorb a bit less water than the KAF WW flour I usually use. I ended up adding about an extra tablespoon of flour to adjust dough consistency during mixing.

Bulk fermentation, dividing, shaping and proofing showed no differences I noticed from the behavior of this bread made with KAF WW flour. However, there was a remarkable difference in the aroma of the bread during baking and cooling. It filled the kitchen with a wheaty smell that both my wife and I found absolutely lovely. (As I write this, the bread is cooling. I hope it tastes as good as it smells!)

Another remarkable difference is that the color of the loaves is quite a bit lighter than loaves made with KAF WW flour and exactly the same other ingredients and the same baking time and temperature. I thought this might be because the KAF WW has malt added, but it is “100% hard red whole wheat,” according to the ingredient list on the bag.

The flavor of the bread is just perfect, to my taste. It has a wonderful whole wheat flavor with not a bit of grassiness. It is very slightly sweet. I used a very mild-flavored clover honey, and I cannot find any distinct honey taste in the bread. The flavor is bolder and more complex than this same bread made with KAF WW flour. I'm sold!

As I've written, above, Reinhart's whole wheat bread from BBA has been my favorite. I've made other whole wheat breads from formulas in Hamelman's “Bread” and Suas' “Advanced Bread & Pastry” that I found less tasty. I am now wondering how they would be if made with fresh-ground flour. Hmmmm …. This is shaping up to be a project.