The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Ju-Ju-Beads's picture


I'm grinding in a Golden Grain stone grist mill using white wheat and corn for grits and cornmeal.  The cornmeal comes out just fine without sifting but I want to sift the finer particles (cornmeal!) out of my grits  and to try sifting some of

the bran out of my wheat flour.  I've been reading about Proth5's sieves of various sizes and wondering which ones will be most useful and where to get them.   Suggestions?


Virtus's picture

'Home Baked' by Hanne Risgaard

I was wondering if anyone that has purchased Ms Risgaard's book has had a chance to check out her 'Real Rye Bread' recipe. I don't understand why she mixed all of the dough ingredients and then takes out 400 grams of the dough and saves it for the next bake. How long can this be kept? I presume you don't use sourdough then, just the dough amount, in your next bake. I just have never read about this technique except for a simpler formula using only flour, water, sourdough and salt.

Thanks, Esther.

davidg618's picture

Trick or Treat: Pumpkin/Pecan Biscotti

In a recent post I suggested this combination. With All Hallow's Eve only two weeks away, while originally planned for Thanksgiving, I decided to give it a try now.


Here's the recipes: Pumpkin/Pecan Biscotti and Candied Pumpkin (an ingredient)

Pumpkin/Pecan Biscotti


2-1/4 c (282g) all purpose flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 tsp salt--reduce to 0 to 1/4 tsp if you substitute salted butter

¼ tsp Freshly grated Nutmeg

1/2 c (114g) unsalted butter

2/3 c (134g) granulated sugar

1 large egg (50g)

1/3 cup cooked, pumpkin puree (~80g)

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup roasted pecans

½ cup diced (3/16”) candied pumpkin.  Note: Cook on medium-low heat only until just tender, not mushy; about 5 minutes.


Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Do not use a baking stone, nor leave one in the oven. The oven needs to cool quickly for the second baking. The heat stored in some baking stones will prevent that.

Combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt; whisk to distribute evenly.

Cream the butter and sugar until homogeneous. Add egg, pumpkin puree and vanilla and beat together.

Combine the dry ingredients with the wet, and either by hand or on lowest mixer setting fold or beat them until they are just combined.

By hand, using a rubber spatula, fold in nuts and diced pumpkin gently until evenly distributed.

The dough should be stiff, but will still be sticky.

On half-sheet pan or cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper or a fiberglass pad, form two trapezoids.

Bake until top center of the loaves spring back to a light touch, or a toothpick come out cleanly. (usually 16 to 22 mins.)

Remove from oven, let cool on pan for 10 mins. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

When cooled, carefully remove one loaf to a cutting board--I use an eight-inch wide cake-transfer spatula. There is a danger of the loaves breaking in half from their own weight unless you support both ends.

Using a serrated blade cut 3/4" inch thick slices, on a bias and return them to the baking pan, one cut side down. Do the same with the second loaf.

Bake for 20 minutes at 300°F, test for crispness--the up side should be very firm, a slight spring is ok. Remove the pan from the oven, and flip each cookie exposing the original down side. Bake another 20 minutes or until the up side is crisp (no spring) and dry. Remove and cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Candied Pumpkin


  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 3 cups diced (1/2 inch) sugar pumpkin or butternut squash
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 3/4 cup maple syrup
  5. 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the pumpkin and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Stir in the maple syrup, ginger and cinnamon and remove from the heat. Let cool and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Recipe compliments of


I only had one small Pumpkin Pie pumpkin (about 3 lb.) so I only candied 1 cup of diced pumpkin. The biscotti recipe is simply my usual biscotti recipe with a couple of tweaks. I reduced the sugar slightly (3/4 c to 2/3 c) to account for the sugars in the candied bits. In actuality, I don't think it made much difference, if at all. I also eliminated 1 egg, relying on the water in the pumpkin puree to replace the egg's moisture contribution. I also added 1/4 c of AP flour, expecting the puree to be wetter than one egg. It was, the additional flour was needed.

For a first try, I'm pleased. Their flavor isn't "in your face", but neither is it subtle.  I found myself liking the taste better with each nibble: a nice way to experience any flavor.

The first baked loaves were more fragile than usually experienced. I think in my next effort--there will be one--I'll restore the second egg, and wring some of the water out of the pumpkin puree. The second egg should improve the dough's cohesiveness, and contribute to a richer flavor.

I was concerned that perhaps I'd over-cooked the diced bits of pumkin, and that they would turn to mush when folded into the dough with the pecan. To guard against this I spread the bits on a plate, and froze them. Frozen solid, they mixed in beautifully.

My wife wants me to add more candied bits. I will.

Happy Hollowe'en

David G




Wade37's picture

Is it practical to maintain the Full Sour (of 3 Stage Detmolder Process) for future use ?

I use a 100% rye starter and produce tasty, but not notably sour, rye + wholemeal loaves and I am considering trying the Detmolder 3 Stage Process to increase my output sourness and flavour. The procedure is lengthy and necessitates critical temperature control.

My question is : Is development of Refreshment/ Basic Sour/ Full Sour stage mixes necessary for each bake or can a portion of Full Sour be maintained (e.g. refrigeration + feeding, as in the case of conventional starters) for future use ?

dabrownman's picture

Parade of Sandwiches Continues - Part 3

















Remco's picture

Tasteless bread


for some time now I'm trying to bake a tasty bread. Everything I bake looks great from the outside and good texture on the inside but tastes after nothing. I switched from wholemeal flour to spelled flour because it has a more distinct flavour. Thru this website I started with prefermentation which does add a little bit more flavour to the bread. Of course adding stuff like sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and linseed it gets more tasty but the basic bread taste remains tasteless. And it has to be possible to bake a tasty bread without all kinds of taste additives.

My general recipe for a 500 gr. bread is: 50 gr. preferment, 4 gr yeast, 8 gr. salt, 400 gr. spelled flour, 25 gr. rye, 25 gr. bread improver, 15 gr. butter and a total of 390 cc water (preferment included).

Who has tips and suggestions?

Many thanks in advance!

baybakin's picture

House sweet dough

House sweet dough

This sweet dough is a mixture of two recipes; The brioche recipe from the Tartine bread book, but with the percentages of butter, eggs, and hydration scaled back to similar percentages as  Richard Bertinet's sweet dough (My favorite yeasted basic sweet dough).   I use this dough for most of my basic sweet dough pastries, some of my favorites are Monkey Bread, Cinnamon Rolls, Orange/lemon sticky buns, fake croissants (in this case with chocolate), Fruit braids, etc. 

Details on the starter/poolish: Chad Robertson advocates the use of "young" levian and poolish, with less fermentation time than more "mature" starters, using them right when they float in water.  I admit that I use them whenever it works best with my time schedule usually between 6-8 hours.  The starter is a 100% hydration, fed with a 50/50 mix of AP flour and whole wheat flour.

For people who like Yeast Water, I think this one would translate very well to YW + SD, with YW used instead of poolish (I'm looking at your dabrownman).  Pictures are of cinnamon rolls and fake chocolate croissants, dough also made an apple/cheese braid which is not pictured.  Baked at 375.

200g Poolish
150g Tartine Style starter (100% hydration, Whole wheat/AP)
210g Milk (Scalded and cooled)
50g Butter
50g Sugar
100g (2) Eggs
20g (1) Egg Yolk (retain the white for glazing/frosting)
500g Flour
12g Salt

Rosalie's picture

New Bread Book by Ken Forkish: Flour Water Salt Yeast

I ordered this book from the library, and I believe I'm the first person to check out this particular volume.  The author, Ken Forkish, had left an unsatisfying career in the Silicon Valley, chucking it all for artisan baking.  He opened Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland, Oregon, in 2001.

Checking a bread book out from the library is a different experience from buying it.  I read it more carefully than I read the books that I buy because I only had three weeks.  When I decided I wanted to try out his techniques, I had to take extra pains to keep it clean because it was not my book and it was so new.

He gives the book his own slant, trying to keep home kitchens in mind.  Everything is done by hand, no electric mixers., lots of wetting of the hands.  The ingredients are pretty basic, as suggested by the title: Flour Water Salt Yeast.  He's particular about temperatures.  And he likes the Dutch Oven approach.

But he is perhaps of the supersize generation.  The recipes use 1000 grams of flour (mostly white, with up to 75% whole wheat).  This is, according to his accommodation, about 7 3/4 cups flour, making 2 loaves, each about 1 1/2 pounds.  I was especially shocked that his recipe for making a starter begins with 500 grams (almost 4 cups) ww flour (and 500 grams water); on day two, you toss 3/4 of this mix and add in another 500 grams each ww flour and water; and so on.  He mentions somewhere under maintenance that you can scale this down, but is this really practical for the home kitchen?

There is a section on pizzas, tying in with Ken's Artisan Pizza, which he opened in 2006 in conjunction with his bakery.  He gives recipes for pizza doughs, based on his other recipes, and focaccias.  He also gives real pizza recipes.  Looks good.

I was intrigued by his technique descriptions, especially folding and shaping.  So I tried one of his recipes, adapting it to 100% whole wheat (and 82% hydration, per his suggestion).  I think I need practice, especially on the shaping and the use of the Dutch Oven.

My impression is that, try as he might to be populist, he'll probably scare off beginners, especially with his quantities.

Has anyone else seen the book?  What are your impressions?


thihal123's picture

Help with bread from The Village Baker (Pain de Seigle sur Poolish)

I need some help with a recipe in Joe Ortiz's "The Village Baker" book, in particular his pain de seigle sur poolish (sponge-method rye bread). It seems to me his recipe measurment is way off. I like to convert his recipe from volume measurment to weight measurment. The first time I made this bread, I first measured almost everything in volume and then recorded the weight measurment. Turned out the dough was so wet (like 88% hydration!) I had to keep adding flour (about 2 cups additional) to make this even work with the slap-and-fold technique.

Here is Ortiz's original recipe on page 114:

The Poolish

2 packages (2 scant tablespoons, 1/2 oz.) active dry yeast

2 cups water

1 cup organic, unbleached white (or all-purpose) flour

1 cup rye flour

The Dough

1 1/2 cups warm water

All of the poolish from previous step

2 cups rye flour

2 cups organic, unbleached white (or all-purpose) flour

1 tablespoon salt

Glaze: 1 egg wisked up with 1 tablespoon milk


Here is what I recorded after weighing almost each volume measurment:

The Poolish

1 tablespoon active dry yeast (I think it is a misprint to say 2 packages of yeast is 2 tablespoons. 1 package is only 1/4 oz, so two packages is 1/2 oz which is way less than 2 tablespoons! First error in Ortiz's recipe above).

473g water

125g white flour

128g rye flour

The Dough

355g cups warm water

All of the poolish from previous step

256g rye flour

250g white flour

1 tablespoon salt

Glaze: 1 egg wisked up with 1 tablespoon milk


When I got to the dough stage (i.e., after incorporating the poolish) the dough was still unworkable. I had to incorporate an additional 2 cups of flour to make this workable even for the slap-and-fold method. Turns out the dough, before the additional 2 cups of water, was 108% hydration!! (Total flour = 801g, Total water = 823g, which equals 108% hydration). No wonder it was not workable!

So, can anyone help me figure out where Ortiz's recipe error is, and how do I correct it? I like the method of making this rye bread.

FlourChild's picture

Starter is ailing- what medicine do you recommend?

Recently my firm starter developed a spoiled smell- it has all the smells and appearances of a healthy starter (rises predictably, no visible discoloration, etc.), but added to that is a definite spoiled smell that I would never put in bread.  I would describe it as similar to the smell of spoiled milk.  The smell is much stronger in the early part of fermentation, after a feed, than it is later in the process. 

Luckily, I had a back up in the fridge (I maintain my ongoing culture at room temp) which sprung back to life easily and quickly and is doing well, so I am able to be relaxed about what is going on with that smell.  

My first approach was to let the smelly starter sit for two days after a feed, hoping that the desireable microbes would win out over the undesireables.  That didn't work.  My second approach was to let it go even longer- three days at room temp- after a feed, in hopes that a little alcohol or ketones or something in a underfed, overripe starter might help kill off whatever has taken root in there.   That didn't work, either.

So now I'm curious to experiment with it to see if I can find a fix:  what sort of medicine would you recommend?  I'm thinking of things like salt, freezing, lemon juice, etc.  I'll probably divide it up and try a different approach in each jar.  Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Advice?