The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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twofunnydog's picture

Wooden Bread Bowl

I am a civil war reenactor and recently purchased a wooden bread bowl at one of the events.  Am wondering what I need to do to make it "useable".....meaning that it is just the raw wood and seems to absorb whatever liquid is put in the bowl, i.e. water when I rinsed it out.  Should I rub oil on it?  I would like to use it but am a loss at what to do.  Thanks for your help.

ummyahya's picture



I'm new to bread baking. So far i have only  tried making sandwich bread. Unfortunately I havent been very successful with it.

i would appreciate any help with ideas and recipes suggestions. I'm really new to this and dont know much bout baking breads.



M2's picture

Apple Walnut Sourdough and San Joaquin


I was intrigued by all the posts about the walnut bread, so I decided to give it a try.  The sourdough is based on the Apple Walnut Sourdough from the Wild Yeast.  I wanted to enhance the walnut flavor, so I've added the walnut paste (based on Dan Lepard's formula) to the dough during the mixing.

The bread turned out fantastic, with amazing flavor from the combination of three kinds of flour (white, buckweat and dark rye).  I took the bread to work and the scent of apple lingered in my car.  However, I was a bit disappointed that the walnut flavor didn't come out as I have expected.

Still, a fantastic bread with great look and taste.


Meanwhile, I also tried out the San Joaquin Sourdough.  This bread offers great flavor and texture.  The bread is very chewy and requires lots of teeth work, which is to my liking.  Definitely a recipe to keep!

Shannon1000's picture

Do you add insoluable fiber to your breads?

I have the insoluble fiber (clear) that I add to my drinks - can I add it to my breads too?

MapMaker's picture

crispy crunchy crust

I started baking bread upon returning from a trip to Paris 4-5 years ago.  Like many of you out there I was/am chasing the holy grail of the perfect baguette.  But as I think about it now I wonder if my rememberance of the gold standard is real or imagined. 

I remember picking up a baguette at the neighborhood boulangerie, along with a few other tasty treats, and going to a park and breaking off chunks of bread, crisp shards of crust flying off to feed the local wildlife.  While my bread comes out of the oven crisp, with an internal temp of 205+, and I can hear the bread cracking as it cools, but when it's ready to eat the crispness is gone.  I can reheat the bread to crisp it up, but I feel like I shouldn't have to do that. 

Is the problem my memory or is it my technique?  Please help.

Thanks in advance for your counsel.


hansjoakim's picture

Of steam, flour and cookies

You know, the old "ice-cubes-in-a-hot-skillet" routine is summer, isn't it? ;)

I was sitting in a sauna a couple of weeks ago, pondering nothing in particular, when this large, heavy-breathing guy shuffled down to the hot rocks, threw water on them, and climbed back up to his favourite spot. Watching the sudden burst of steam rising from the hot rocks lead from one thing to another, and I eventually picked up some small rocks on my way back home, thinking I could put them to good use for my next baking session. I put them in an old, disused bread pan, and placed them on the bottom floor of the oven.

Steaming apparatus


I also noticed I was running low on my bread flour (ah! The horror... the horror...), so I ran over to my grocery store, credit card in hand, ready to score more. This being the festive season and all, and many folks busy baking all kinds of butter cookies I guess, they were out of my regular flour. Well, I picked up two bags of flour from another producer and went back home. This flour has an extraction rate of 80% and an ash around .68, so it contains some more minerals than my usual flour (which is extracted at 75% and has an ash .55). This new one is probably not too far off a French T65 style flour. Both flours are pretty similar in protein content: 11.7% vs. 12%. During the first couple of feedings, I noticed a marked increase in starter activity (probably not very surprising, due to the increased mineral content), and where the starter previously ripened in 12 hrs., it now looked fit and perky after merely 8.

Earlier today I had my first test run with the rock-steaming-thing in the oven, and I baked a whole-wheat pain au levain:

Levain new steam


and the 5-grain levain, both from "Bread":

5 grain levain new steam

And the crumb shot:

5 grain levain new steam

I was very happy with the outcome, and I think the new flour also lends even more taste to the breads. I guess I don't have any other option but to make the change permanent! Also, the new method of producing steam generated generous amounts of steam initially, and kept the surface of the breads moist until they were both fully expanded, roughly 15 mins. into the bake. Then I hauled the bread pan out, so the loaves could finish baking in a dry oven.

Finally, something for the coffee! I'm not much of a cookie baker, but it's that time of year, isn't it? Out with the Santa beard and the cookie recipes! Here's this years' bake:

Oat and date chews and cornmeal-raisin cookies
Oat and date chews and cornmeal-raisin cookies


Hazelnut butter cookies and double chocolate biscotti

Hazelnut butter cookies and double chocolate biscotti


Chewy trail cookies and chocolate chip cookies

Chewy trail cookies and chocolate chip cookies

inlovewbread's picture

Mixed Flour SD Boule

I'm calling this "Mixed Flour" because I used a lot of different flours. I wanted to see if I could get the characteristics I wanted in the crumb by adjusting just the flours. It seemed to have worked, so here's what I used:

Again (It's a family/personal favorite :-)), I was following Susan's Simple Sourdough formula. Only hers doesn't call for so many flours!

50g Firm Starter (mine is 50% hydration composed of 10% rye and 90% AP)

205g Water

100g AP Flour (I used Wheat Montana)

100g Bread Flour (KA Bread Flour)

25g Durum Flour (also King Arthur)

25g Hard Red Whole Wheat (home-milled wheat berries)

50g Hard White Whole Wheat (home-milled wheat berries)

6g Salt (I used Hawaiian Sea Salt)

Method: Mix all by hand, rest 30 min. S+F three times at hour intervals. Let rise until double. Pre-shape, rest 15 min, shape. Into brotform and retard overnight. Out of fridge 2 hours, score and bake @450 covered for 20 min., uncovered for 20 more and 5 min in shut-off oven w/ door open.

Whew- that's quite the mishmash of flour, I know, but it tasted really good. I used the whole wheat because I want to start transitioning everything over to 100% whole wheat, but have to do it gradually. I also have tons of wheat berries that I need to use instead of buying more flour from the store! Not to mention the extra nutrition.

The reason I used the Durum is because I like the buttery flavor it lends to the bread and it seems to balance out the whole wheat flavor when added with freshly ground whole wheat. I've tried this in a couple of other things and it seems to neutralize that "earthy" flavor or any "bitter" tones from the hard red I suppose. 

And as for the 50/50 of AP and Bread flour- I like a mix of the really chewy/shiny crumb (from the BF) and a bit of "fluffyness" from the AP. The crumb: creamy/ buttery/ wheaty. 







breadbakingbassplayer's picture

2.2kg Sourdough Miche...

Hi All,

Just wanted to share with you some pics of the 2.2kg miche that I baked on 12/13/09...  It's the biggest bread that I have ever baked, and one of the best tasting...  Enjoy!


flourgirl51's picture

rofco bread oven

Does anyone know if the Rofco bread ovens can be bought in the USA?

occidental's picture

Buckwheat Batard

I baked the buckwheat batard from Leader's Local Breads yesterday.  This is my third or fourth attempt at this bread, and by far the most sucessful.  The first time I tried this bread I was unaware of the errors in the formula (if you do a search of the site you will find posts on the errors of this book) and ended up experimenting just trying to get a buckwheat starter that I could work with.  The flavor is so unique that I did not give up and have come up with a formula that works for me.  For the buckwheat levain I used 75 grams of my liquid levain that is approximately 100% hydration.  To that I added 35 grams of water and 40 grams of buckwheat flour, which totals 150 grams, close to the 125 grams needed for the dough, with just a little to spare.  I let this sit and ferment overnight.  There was not much visible fermentation as far as rising or bubbles coming to the surface with this levain, however upon stirring it up it was evident from the texture that it was active.  I then followed the rest of the formula as written in the book, except that I made 3 loaves instead of the suggested 4.  I'm not a big butter fan however I really enjoy this bread warmed with a little butter on it, and the buckwheat flavor is very unique.  Now on to the pics... 


From bread

From bread

From bread