The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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varda's picture

Patriots Day Baguettes

Recently I have been experimenting with making sourdough multigrain breads.   My first attempt had 50% bread flour, 25% spelt, and 25% rye.   Suffice it to say, I hope our friendly neighborhood coyote didn't break a tooth on it.   Yesterday, I went down to 6% spelt, 6% rye.   This wasn't bad.   Today, I went down even further and made baguettes with 3% rye, 3% spelt.   This was downright tasty.   Here they are with a flag in honor of Patriot's Day.

and with the remnants of the 12%er. 

470 g Bread Flour, 17 g Rye, 15 g Spelt, 250 g white starter around 75% hydration,  312 g water, 1 T salt. 

Start feeding active white wild yeast starter afternoon before, with at least two feedings, maintaining 75% hydration.   Leave on counter overnight.   Mix all ingredients but salt and autolyse for 30 minutes.  Mix in salt.   During bulk ferment, stretch and fold every 45 minutes  twice.   Leave for 45 more minutes.  Cut in three pieces (could have done two, these were short) preshape and let rest for 15 minutes.   Shape.   Final ferment until done (I really don't know the right amount but I did 40 minutes.)   Bake at 475 for 23 minutes.


txfarmer's picture

Silverton's sourdough bagel and Hamelman's Bialy

The bagel recipe is from Nancy's Siliverton's book "Breads from the La Brea Bakery". The procedure is very similar to the one in BBA, cold rise, boil, bake, except that it uses some starter in addition to commercial yeast. I like the end product a lot, as happy as I was with the BBA ones, I find these ones are more chewy, the crumb is tighter, more like a true NY bagel. I used various toppings, my favorite one was Asiago Cheese, yum!

I used my 100% starter, and adjust water content accordingly. Also used some baking soda in the boiling water to get that shine. The following is my modified version:

water (70F), 14.5oz

instant yeast, 1.75tsp

white starter (100%), 11oz

high-gluten flour (I used Sir Lancelot), 2lbs

sugar, 2oz

salt, 1tbsp

barley malt syrup, 2tbsp

milk powder, 6tbsp

1. Mix everything until gluten is well developed

2. Rest for 10 minutes

3. divide into 4oz pieces, round and relax for 15 minutes

4. shape into bagels - I use the "connect two ends of a rope method", but some prefer the "punch and stretch a hole in the center" method. Keep the hole in the center fairly big.

5. refriderate for 12 to 24 hours.

6. take out and take one to test whether it floats in water, if so, they are fully risen and ready to be boiled, otherwise, they need more time on the counter to rise, check every 20 minutes.

7. boil in water and baking soda, 20 sec each side

8. take out and add on toppings

9. bake at 400F for 20minutes (but oven is preheated to 450F then turned down when breads are loaded).

Liking the bagels, I wanted to make some bialys as well. Used Hamelman's formula even though I see Glezer has one that's straight from Kossar, Hamelman's has lower water content, and bialy is supposed to be chewy, so I chose his instead.

Nice and chewy out of oven, full of onion aroma. The problem is that there's no salt in the onion topping, so while it smelled wonderfully onion-y, but the taste is ... not salty enough. I added a pinch of salt in the onion mixture for the 2nd batch, much better. I checked Glezer's formula, the onion topping is also saltless. I've only tasted Kossar bialy once before, I remmeber it had some salty taste, did I remember wrong? Salt or no salt, these are some yummy little rolls.

Since they are the best fresh, still warm from oven, I think it's really worthwhile to make them at home. Plus they are quite easy to make! I am not posting the recipe since it's straight from the book with no modifications. My order of dried onion is on its way, plan to make some Norm's onion rolls to compare to these.

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Cost only spreadsheet

Hi all,


I did a search of the archives but didn't find what I was looking for. I would like a spreadsheet to calculate the cost of ingredients going into my bread. More and more people are asking me to bake an "extra loaf" for them when I bake. I just don't know what to charge them. Here in the islands ingredients can get spendy and would like quick way to know what the cost for the ingredients are for a given loaf.

I tried to make my own Excel sheet but have forgotten too much of Excel to do it. If you have a simple program to sell or share, or know where I can get something like this, I'd greatly appreciate it!




copyu's picture

Ancient baguette discussion

Hi all,

I was searching the 'net for possible tips on re-creating Boulangier Paul's "flute ancienne" and came across this rather old, but interesting, bulletin-board/blog/discussion. There are some really good posts, there.

Someone asked the question: "Why are French baguettes better than others?" There were some interesting answers. This may be useful to bakers around this neighbourhood. No questions from me, for a change...just posted FYI...




tananaBrian's picture

Update on The Bread Challenge

The Bread Challenge is getting off to a good start!  As of today, we now have 18 bakers signed on, 12 of which are maintaining blogs about their journey.  Plus, I have now put together a blog that aggregates everybody's blogs into one page so you can, at a glance, see the latest happenings with people's individual baking efforts.  You can find The Bread Challenge blog here.

If you are interested in what we are doing, click the Bread Challenge link above and check things out.  We're baking our way through Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman...

Thanks, and I hope to welcome you to the team soon.



jayfoxpox's picture

Lot's of sour dough questions

Hello everyone,

This is my first post in a long time. I attempted to make sour dough  loafs last year but it always gave a really sharp acidic taste that I really disliked. I decided to give it another shot . 

So I'm attempting to make some basic whole wheat loaves.

1) What is the minmium temperature the sourdough ferment at? Last time I placed the dough into a 4C fridge  for 24 hours it was just a dense blob .

2)I'm going for a 50% whole wheat levain ( 68% hydration) approximatively how long  of a bulk fermentation and proof  am I expecting? ( 68% hydration )

3) If I were to decrease the levain to 50% to 25% about how many hours am I expecting it to extend the bulk fermentation(@ room temp)?

4) If memory serves me correct a firm starter is best used when tripled in size ?


I'm thinking of having an ice water bath in an ice cooler ( dough in a glass bowl floating on water with a handful of icecubes )so during the bulk fermentation It will the temperature will start from around  4 C then slowly rise to room temperature hopefully by the time it is fully fermented , anyone tried this?  Hope this works well.

I plan to do the same thing for the final proofing. Hopefully I can get this right so bulk fermentation is 24 hours while final proof works out to about 12 hours.

I'm trying to separate the steps as far as possible so I can hopefully have 1 day for mixing and kneading and bulk fermentation, 2nd day shape and final proof, 3rd day in the morning : toss it straight in the oven . all while keeping minimum time a day working on the dough.


Thanks in advance,





daysi's picture

Sour dough HELP!!!


Hello everyone, I have been following this site for the last couple of months, I learned about sourdough starter and though of giving it a try. The first recipe I used called for 4 days at room temperature and then keep it in the fridge, it was bubbly up to the point when I put it in the fridge then I tried baking with it and the dough didn't rise. So I discarded it. a couple of weeks later I decided to try again, so I used another recipe I found here which called for 8 days at room temperature, I saw bubbles and "active" for the first three days and then nothing happened, the bubbles disappear and by day 7 I added white wine vinegar (what I had available at that moment) so the following day it was alive, then I decided to start baking bagel (recipe found here as well) it called for 100% hydration, now I am not a baker at all, I love homemade, and that's why I am here (in fact I'm a nurse, so I do not understand this hydration language) anyway I did my Google research and understood what I had to do, so I took 1/4 cup of starter and mix with 1/4 cup of unbleached AP flour and 1/4 cup of filtered water. Next day my starter was dead...  :( I went ahead and baked with it but cheated by adding yeast (ha-ha!) because I knew what the result was going to be. anyway even with the yeast my bagels came out very hard like a rock, at first the dough was way too wet, when I boiled them one of them fell apart, and the baking was supposed to take 8 min, mine took like 1 hour.

What am I doing wrong? I discarded the rest of my dead starter, but I see the pictures of perfectly and delicious looking breads I don't want to give up, please give me some advice.

By the way one thing that kills me really kills me about starter is the fact that I have to discard so much flour and I am not the type of person that would do it, I actually collected it and tried baking with mine but the same thing happened, it  didn't work. Also I don't own any baking books, I see many of you praise somebody call Reinhart, sorry I don't know him. I guess he is an excellent baker, I should buy his books.

Thanks for any advice 


dmsnyder's picture

Lame from TMB

Barbara Kraus asked a question about how to get a razor blade installed on the lame handle from TMB (SFBI). I thought some photos would be most informative.

Lame handle with double edged razor blade installed

Tip of handle on which the razor blade gets installed

Close up of installed blade, convex view

Close up of installed blade, concave view

I hope this helps.


P.S. To get an idea of the range of lames available to the french baker, check out this web page (recommend doing so while seated): Meilleur du Chef - Lame de boulanger page 

sortachef's picture

Cascade Cabin Cinnamon Rolls

Cascade Cabin Cinnamon Rolls

 One of my favorite things to do when I'm up overnight at our little mountain cabin is to make cinnamon rolls, with a long slow rise. I get a batch of dough going, and let it sit for a long time in a cool corner, to rise all day. Before turning in for the night I roll the dough out and shape the rolls. Sometimes I make them all the same size, and sometimes I make them look like mountain peaks, the way I've done in this recipe. They're just perfect the next morning with freshly brewed cabin coffee.

Cascade Cabin Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 8 large rolls


For the dough:

½ cup water at 100º

2 teaspoons yeast

2/3 cup milk, scalded and cooled

4 Tablespoons butter

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoons salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup flour for benchwork


For the filling:

2 Tablespoons butter, lightly melted

¾ cups raisins (I use golden raisins)

3 teaspoons cinnamon

2 Tablespoons sugar


Make the dough: Mix the water and yeast in a 4-quart bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to foam. Scald the milk in a small saucepan and add the butter to the milk while it's cooling. Add the ¾ cup sugar, the salt and 2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture in the bowl and, when the milk has cooled to body heat add it as well. Stir with the handle of a wooden spoon for 200 beats to make a smooth batter.

Add the other 2 cups of flour and work it into the dough to incorporate. Make a ball with the dough, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 5 minutes. Clean and dry the bowl.

Long rise: Put the dough ball into the bowl, cover with a lid or a piece of plastic wrap, and let sit in a corner to rise. Optimal temperature for this rise is 55-60º. If you can't achieve this temperature you may have to improvise by putting the dough by a doorway or on a cellar step. Let sit for 8 to 10 hours, punching down if the dough is super active.

Shape the rolls: Roll the dough into a 10" x 18" rectangle. If your cabin has no rolling pin use a wine bottle, as I do. Spread 2 Tablespoons of barely melted butter over the flattened dough.

Cut the dough into equal quarters, and then cut each quarter in half lengthwise at a 20º angle so that one end of each finished piece is 3" wide and the other 2".

Mix the raisins, cinnamon and sugar in a coffee cup and spoon equal portions along the center of each dough piece. When all the raisin mixture is distributed, roll each piece up, starting with the widest end and keeping one side flat as you roll.

Overnight rise: Arrange the somewhat unwieldy rolls in a buttered 8" square metal or glass pan. They'll want to flop some, so let them. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 7 hours at 55º.

Bake the rolls: In the morning, let the rolls sit near the morning fire for an hour to warm up some. Preheat the oven to 425º and, once hot, put in the rolls. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350º and bake for 25-30 minutes more. If the tops get too dark, drape a piece of foil over the rolls for the last 10 minutes.

When the rolls are baked, put down your snow shovel and grab some coffee. The rolls should probably cool for 30 minutes, but I really wouldn't know - I've never been able to wait that long!

Disclaimer: These results were obtained in a mountain cabin with thin insulation and a 40-year old electric stove. Rising and baking times will vary.

For complete text and a few more photos, see original content at

bshuval's picture

Gateau a la creme (Brioche with creme fraiche filling)

Hi all, 

After watching the bread episode on Raymond Blanc's "Kitchen Secrets" several times (it is such a delightful show, and I just can't tire of it), I just had to make the Gateau a la creme. The recipe can be found on Raymond's site:

I used a different brioche dough recipe (I used Ciril Hitz's recipe from his latest book, "Baking Artisan Pastries and Bread"), but otherwise followed Blanc's recipe. It couldn't find creme fraiche, so I had to make my own. I warmed up some heavy cream slightly (just to room temperature), and stirred in a tablespoon of buttermilk. I let this stand, covered, on the counter for about 24 hours until it had thickened considerably. 

The result was amazing. First, it is simply beautiful to look at (especially with the nib sugar decoration on the sides). Second, the sweetness is just at the right level. You might think that because of the lemon and creme fraiche this might not sweet enough, but it is. The amount of sugar in this gateau is surprisingly low, and still it tastes amazing. 

Another great thing about this recipe is that a lot of it can be made ahead. I made the brioche dough earlier in the week and held it in the freezer until the day before baking. The day before baking I took it out of the freezer and into the fridge to thaw. I had prepared the creme fraiche over the weekend, and kept that in the fridge as well (it will keep easily for a couple of weeks). Tonight, I had guests coming at 7. At 5:30 I came home from work. I took the dough out of the fridge and shaped it by hand into the gateau shape. I covered it and let it rest. I then prepared the custard filling and set it aside. After the 30 minute rest, I poured the filling and baked the gateau. After 25 minutes of baking, the brioche had risen nicely and browned beautifully, and the custard was set. The sugar sprinkled on top caramelized slightly to great effect. The gateau was ready before 7. I let it cool for about 30-45 minutes or so, and served it. 

I apologize that I don't have any pictures of the gateau, but it was devoured before I had had the chance to take pictures. 

I really urge you to try this recipe out. I am normally not so excited about a recipe! 

One word of warning: I recommend that you bake the gateau on a baking sheet placed inside a pan with a shallow rim. A little bit of the filling tends to escape, and you don't want to make a mess in your oven.