The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Alnair's picture

Proper Hydration

I currently have a rye sourdough starter and a regular Pain au Levain going, just a couple days in for both of them. I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not they are too dry or not. I actually added about a teaspoon of water to my Pain au Levain because it was very dry and crumbly and I thought that was too dry, I hope that wasn't a mistake. My rye sourdough also looks dry, but it is at least in a stiff doughlike structure, though I'm reading that perhaps it shouldn't be so doughlike? I'm not entirely sure. I took pictures of each but can't figure out how to upload both onto here. Any help would be great! Thanks.




golgi70's picture

Farmer's Market Week 7 Hazelnut Levain

The Bounty:  Local Greens, Sicilian Garlic, Italian Sausage, Fresh Flowers (for the lady), local pears, raspberry jam (again its so good particularly with this bread), purple carrots, goat cheese ricotta.  Fun.  



Total Flour 875  Total H20: 664.5   Hydration: 75.9% (I'll make this 80% next time around)

Levain  DDT 76-78 degrees
Starter 75g
H20 167g
Wheat 75g
Artisan 75g
Hazelnut Flour 16.5g (not counted as flour)

6-8 hours (I made this on the warmer side to move it along quickly and not get too much twang)

Artisan 562.5
Wheat 125
Hazelnut Paste 31
H20 460
Caremlized Hazelnuts, chopped 75
Sea Salt 20

DDT 76 degrees
1682 total (2 @ 841g)

Autolyse Artisan, Wheat, and H20 for 2 hours
Add paste and levain and mix for 5 minutes on speed 1. Add salt. Mix for five more minutes. Add nuts. Mix until distributed.
3 1/2 hour bulk with 4-6 french/s+F's
Shape and retard immediately.
Bake 480 Cold with heavy steam for 15 minutes Vent and bake 20 more

Notes/Changes:  Hazelnut Paste might be doing something but not enough and being pricey as it is might be fine to skip on.  Same goes for hazelnut meal in the levain, might not be needed and save money to cut.  You can skip the caramelizing of the hazelnuts and just roast and remove skins(i sprinkled lightly with salt after roasting).  If and when I make again I will raise hydration and add some cocoa nibs for sure.  

And we're off again playing with one of my very favorite flavors.  I'll post formula later on scaled down to 2 loaves with updates and notes and all.  But for now before I head down to the market some photos.  Quickly though.  I had some troubles with the top shelf of my fridge is apparently too cold and blowing the cold air so the best loaves were those I put down below.  This is an easy fix for the future.  It's simple salty wheaty sour with toasty hazelnuts.  

Happy Baking and More to come later, 


JoshCrumb is from the colder slightly underproofed loaves.  Not so bad though.  


JDYangachi's picture

Apology to my much-maligned kitchen

I have been blaming you (and your cool temperatures) for slow proofing.

As you can see, the fault was not yours.

I guess it was time to replace the old(er) -- but not actually expired -- yeast with a new supply.


dablues's picture

Jeffrey Hammelman's Hazelnut, Fig, Fennel Seeds & Rosemary Bread

I want to make this bread but do not have Hazelnuts and can't get them at this time.  I do have on hand, Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts & Pistachios.  I was thinking of using Pecans but don't know how that will go with the Fennel Seeds & Rosemary.  Any input would be appreciated.


agrossbl's picture

transitioning to AP flour



I have made and been keeping my starter alive with Whole Wheat flour, but would like to start feeding it AP instead (I plan to make mostly white breads). 


I fed it white a few times and it stayed alive but was expanding a lot less/slower, so I ended up just going back to wheat. 


Is there anything I need to do to move over to white flour other than just waiting for it to adjust and get back to normal activity? How long should that take? Should I feed it part WW/part AP? 



Wild-Yeast's picture

Industrial Food Ban in French "Restaurants"?...,

Some say, "only in France", but then it catches on as a way to differentiate a product. Big money is spent by industrial food outlets and suppliers lobbying legislatures in the capitals of the World followed by...,

Wondering whether it has any legs...,


Levin bred's picture
Levin bred

Catalan toast

For those of you that haven't been to Barcelona / northeastern Spain I figured I'd pass along one of my favorite simple foods ever:  Catalan toast.


Cut a thick slice of your favorite artisan bead and toast it until it is nice and crispy.

Take a clove of garlic, cut the wide end off, and scrape the flesh of the garlic vigorously  across the surface of the toast (If you leave the tough outer skin on it will protect your hand from excessive garlic smell).

Next, take a tomato from the garden, cut along the equator, and squeeze the contents onto your toast.

Finally, salt and drizzle with olive oil.


Catalan toast!  Of course there are more elaborate iterations, but this is the basic Catalan tapas--a great utilization of your artisan loaves . . .

Levin bred's picture
Levin bred

85+% WW hydration. Normal?

Hey guys,

My whole wheat doughs are very firm, even at high hydration, and I feel like I'm probably doing something wrong.

A simple loaf recipe will look something like:

500g KA whole wheat

350g water

50g skim milk

25-30g olive oil

Even at 85% the dough is quite firm and even french kneading is difficult.  I feel like I could easily french knead a dough of this type at 90% or more, in fact, I'm considering expeimenting with a 100% WW bread this weekend.  I know most people with AP or bread flour would consider even 75% to be slack.  Is this common for WW?  Should I autolyse overnight or make a preferment to loosen up the wheat?


Side note:  I'm just now cultivating my first sourdough starter, so maybe that will help things once it's ready.

Jennie Beth's picture
Jennie Beth

Hi all!

My name is Jennifer, so nice to finally meet you all.

Been prowling the corners for awhile now, and thought it was about time to introduce myself. I am a bread newbie, but have been baking for as long as I can remember: quick breads, pies, pastries. My dad just gave me a bit of his firm sourdough starter, so I am prowling again, this time for 'proper care and feeding of your new baby starter'.

Photo is of my first shot at an artisan loaf, using a Dutch oven and Jim Lahey's No-Knead recipe. I have a test batch going on the counter now, with garlic and rosemary added...

Take care,


Sjadad's picture


I got a Forno Bravo Primavera 70 about a month ago. After curing (which felt like forever!) I started by trying my hand at wfo pizza. Although not yet proficient, the results are still way better than anything from my kitchen oven, even with a baking steel. I'm still amazed it takes less than two minutes to bake a pizza. 

Today I baked bread. Vermont sourdough to be be exact. After removing the hot embers and ashes, and going over the oven bed with a damp (not wet) cloth, I let the temperature drop to 600 F. Using a garden sprayer dedicated exclusively to water, I misted the interior for about 10 seconds and put the door in place. Next, I scored the 1 lb  loaves and loaded them in the oven, misted above them for another 10 seconds and closed the door.  I checked on them after about 15 minutes.  They had great color and the oven spring was amazing. I left the door off and baked another 3 minutes. The interior temperature of the loaves was 210 F. They were done.  I'll be baking a lot more bread in my wfo. 



WFO 1st Bread

WFO 1st Bread

WFO 1st Bread