The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Heidi Napier's picture
Heidi Napier

Slashing the loaf

I have been baking "artisan" breads on my gas grill for several years with great results, but I have trouble getting good slashes.  I have tried a new single edge razor and a regular bread slasher that I got from KAF.  Either blade sticks in the dough, making a messy cut.  I've tried dusting the blade with flour and lubricating it with veg oil, but neither works.  My sourdough bread dough is especially sticky, but it makes a tasty loaf.  It matters not whether I use bread or all purpose flour.

THanks, Heidi

Carl Bergensis's picture
Carl Bergensis

Proofing basket colored bread

I used a plastic one following the instructions at Pastry Chef Central. Worked great, but there are orange (the basket color)  stripes on top of the loaf. Obviously the first coat of flour stuck to it. The only potato flour I could find is very fine. Could that be the problem?



whoops's picture

how to use sourdough starter in place of yeast

I am trying to use only sourdough starter for bread making, but I LOVE my zo, as it is so easy to set up and bake without getting the entire house hot.

I have a go to recipe for the whole wheat sandwich bread we use and I have no clue how to convert to a sourdough recipe. It is a basic soft sandwich type bread that the grandkids will eat and tastes good with peanut butter and honey. the recipe is :

320 ml water

2 tbsp. butter

45 gm honey

420 gr whole wheat flour

3 TBSP gluten

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp yeast

I set it on the regular whole wheat setting, and it turns out perfect every time.

My starter is a 100 % hydration.

I also tried the sourdough recipe in the manual/recipe book, and while the texture was ok, it certainly did not TASTE like sour dough(of course, I like my sour dough SOUR, and I always retard in the fridge for at least 12 hours, but most often between 24-36 hours). It also did not have a nice crispy crust. It tasted similar to a sweet French bread, but it did not rise well. I know there is a setting to custom set the times for knead/rise/bake, but I have not tried that yet.

I am terrible at figuring out formulas, so if anyone has any EASY way to make the above whole wheat recipe with the starter (and not be sourdough)  or any hints on using a starter in the ZO , I welcome all input.

Oh, my model is the Zojirushi Virtuoso BB-PAC20.

Oh, and I do not use dry milk powders, as I try to go all organic and traditional. I am not opposed to using fresh milk or buttermilk in a recipe.

I usually use either the Whole Food 365 Organic Whole Wheat flour or Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat flour. Sometimes I use Sprouted Spelt flour also.



golgi70's picture

Farmer's Market Week 14 (50% Whole Grain Levain)

Been a busy month with the new business coming together, vacation, and the daily grind.  Missed a couple markets and I'm back.  Only 11 more markets left if my math is right.  Ran into some temperature issues and hit a ceiling of whole grain for retarding in form again.  Fortunately the bread came out quite nice and tastes great.  I'm trying to come up with a few variations of levains that are relatively simple and can be used as daily bread.  Then I'll have a variety to offer at the shop.  I want to stress improvisation in my business.  Why have a set schedule of breads when it can be ever changing and always exciting for both the customer and myself.  

Moving on.

For 2 875 g boules

Levain: (DDT 78F 3-5 hours pending room temps)

100 g      White Starter (100%)

100 g      Whole Wheat, freshly milled

68.5 g     H20


Final Dough:


450 g     Malted Bread Flour (11.5 %)

150 g     Whole Wheat

166.6g   Whole Spelt Flour

41 g       Whole Rye, freshly milled

16..5 g   Barley Flour

21 g       Salt

639 g     H20


What I did.

Autolyse 1 hour

Add salt and levain and mix until fully developed. 

Bulk Ferment 3 hours (2 french slaps at :30 and :60

                                     2 s + f             at 1:30 and 2:00

Divide at 875 g and preshape 

rest 20 minutes

shape into flour bowls and retard for 8-12 hours

Bake 500 with steam for 15 minutes

lower to 460 and continue baking 235-30 minutes more rotating as needed.


--Changes I'd imply

First off my dough came out warm @82F and moved faster than I'd have liked and the dough would have appreciated 1 more s + f abut I had to get it shaped before it was over fermented.  

I think this dough would work much better mixed.  The 4 stretch and folds at 15 minutes and then retard overnight.  Then divide, shape, proof and bake at room temperature.

If a more sour flavor is desired simply decrease the seed starter in 1/2 and replace with equal parts flour and water in the final dough.  Then the levain will take 8-12 hours.  


Happy Baking



Artichokes, tomatoes, corn, Italian Herb Mix, Local honey, Red D'anjou Pears, Peaches, grapes, watermelon, fennel, brocolli, goat ricotta, and broccoli 

Szanter5339's picture

Zsemle dekoratívan.

                                                  Ma sült ez is. Ez a kezdet.







qahtan's picture

silicone bake ware

just curious, what do you think of the silicone bake ware, no I haven,t seen bread pans, but i mean for cakes ect..


tel's picture

waste starter

when it says "discard" it doesn't have to mean "throw away" ;)

run4bread's picture

Kneading Conference West 2013

I am curious if other TFLers will be at the Kneading Conference West in Mt. Vernon, WA, starting next Thursday, Sept. 12. I would love to meet up. It was fun to meet some of you last year.

jade's picture


So I have just finished baking my 3rd ever loaf and its so dense i cant even believe it! it rose but its so heavy. I have done some research and i have found that if i add a couple of tbsp of vital wheat gluten this will help this problem? Is there any other things i can add to my ingredients other than this that will lift my dough and give me a better loaf? I would prefer to keep it 100% wholemeal.

The ingredients I'm using are -

500g Wholemeal flour (very strong)

350ml of warm water

1tsp dried active yeast

1tsp of salt

tsp of sugar/honey.

I knead for 10 minutes - let the dough rise - then knead for another five - shape and rise for 30 mins before cooking in oven at 190 for 30 minutes.

Some help would be MUCHLY appreciated.

Thank you


Neotropico's picture

Dough % hydration effect on crust and bread quality

I am fairly new to high hydration doughs. I like everything about them, including the challenges they through at you.  A few days ago, I baked 3 baguettes - 66% hydration and the crust generated a beautiful crackling sound as it cooled just after baking.  Then, using the same ingredients, I increased the hydration to 70%.   

I liked both the 66 and the 70% hydration resulting breads.  May have a preference to the 70% look, feel and taste, including the somewhat larger holes in the 70%, but these made no cracking sounds.!  The question is.... is there a relation between the crackling sound and the best or ideal % hydration for a particular recipe.  Yes, I still need to work more on the lame skills! 


Puerto Rico