The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
xaipete's picture

DiMuzio's Baguettes with Liquid Levain

These baguettes turned out surprisingly well in spite of a number of recipe mishaps--I improperly jury-rigged some ripe firm levain into an instant liquid levain, made two large loaves instead of three smaller, and left the oven at 500º. The crumb was somewhat open and had a nice buttery flavor, but the loaves lacked a crispy crust owing to their too high and brief bake. I really owe this one another try before deciding on its merits!

dimuzio french baguette


dimuzio french baguette

450 g KA AP flour

290 g water

10 g salt

3.5 g instant yeast

100 g liquid levain

Put together in the usual fashion.



rainwater's picture

Semolina flour???

What is Semolina flour exactly?  I just bought some.  I know it's used for pasta.  I know the Bread Baker's Apprentice has some recipes using Semolina. 

Fresh pasta question?  All the recipes for fresh pasta use eggs for fresh pasta.....but, the ingredients all the different brands of italian pasta just use semolina and water......anyone know anything about fresh pasta, using eggs, not using eggs????

I was thinking Semolina might make better gnocci than regular flour???

Janknitz's picture

A Question and a Story

Question First:  Will Stretch and fold work for pretty much any dough, or do some doughs absolutely require kneading?  

I'm not talking about things like laminated doughs (i.e. croissants) but basic lean and enriched bread doughs?

Now the Story:

I posted already about my experiments adding my new wild yeast culture sourdough to KA's multigrain loaf recipe to lighten the crumb and extend the shelf life.   Following Dan Lepard's suggestion, I calculated the total flour weight an added 30% of that weight in sourdough starter to the dough.

My first try was a disaster, but all my fault.  It made the usually dry dough very wet and sticky in my Kitchen Aid mixer.  I did what I knew was a mistake even as I was doing it-- I added flour, and added and added, and added flour, until it came clean from the sides of the bowl.  I probably added 3 or 4 cups of flour and what I got was this very dense, hard, dry loaf.  DUH!  

So when I tried again, I was determined not to add additional flour.  I mixed it up and kneaded it in the KA mixer for about 6 minutes, then put the sticky mass onto my marble board.  I used stretch and fold techniques and the teeniest bit (really about 1 tsp) of flour to ball the thing up.  After the first rise, I stretched and folded the much tamer dough again before putting it in my loaf pan.

I got a lovely, light loaf.  It still has a dense crumb but that is to be expected with all of the ingredients, but it tastes moist and light and delicious.  Now we will see how the shelf life is.

If stretch and fold can handle that sticky mass, it seems to me it can handle anything.  Hence my question.  What do you think?

par's picture

dough skills

Some decent dough skills..



par's picture

Hi From Lithuania, Kaunas

Hi Bakers, Greetings from Lithuania - nice to find such a great community gathering around such an exciting topic. We'll make some fabulous bread! Best Regards, Par

Michael 2003's picture
Michael 2003

Bread baking classes?

I live in in Shorewood, just west of the Joliet IL, and have been looking for a bread baking class that is somewhat local to me and have had no success. There's Joliet Junior College but they only offer a basic cooking classes for those looking to go into the hospitality field for work. There are culinary institutes in the area but it's like taking an engineering class to learn how to change a tire, and the experience is out of the question for this one little thing! I even tried chatting up the local bakers, and the Whole foods baker in Naperville is a real baker from flour and yeast to finished product, but I had no success. Perhaps she thought I was attempting to steal her secrets? All I want is to get the basics down and get me going in the right direction. Anyone out here experienced and interested in tutoring?

Janknitz's picture

Thrift STore Find

Our local Goodwill had a half off sale today and look what I got for $1.49 (regular price $2.99)!

I've been complaining of having difficulty cutting my loaves evenly, so I hope this will help.  It needs some cleaning up--I will probably sand it with some fine sand paper because it feels kind of "greasy" .

I have had some good luck at thrift stores lately.  I got my "Apple Baker" cloche for $3.99 and today this.  Yay!




xaipete's picture

Leader's Polish Cottage Rye--the helium really helped with the oven spring!

This was a delicious bread! It was everything I hoped for (thank you David!). This massive loaf had a delightful sourness with a nice rye flavor, a well-developed structure without any hint of heaviness, and a wonderful aroma. I would definitely make it again.

This was a three-build bread: I made the German rye sourdough Thursday night and the rye sourdough Friday night. I used KA bread flour and home-ground unsifted rye (the formula called for white rye so this was a substitution). Everything ticked along exactly as expected. I put the final dough mixture together Saturday morning and mixed it in my Kitchen Aid on speed 4 for 14 minutes (again, thanks for your help on this David!), scraping the sides down twice. After I literally poured the mixture into a dough bucket, I let it ferment at room temperature for about 2 1/4 hours. Meanwhile I scoured the house for an appropriately sized proofing basket for my 2 1/2 pounds of dough finally turning up a basket from a closet.

After rubbing a considerable amount of rye flour into a flour-sack couche, I emptied--again almost poured--the dough into its center. The dough was too slack to shape, so I just lifted the whole thing into the basket, covered it with plastic wrap, and let it proof for another 1 3/4 hours during which time it nearly doubled. I then placed a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, sprayed it with PAM, placed it over the basket, flipped it over and watched the dough come tumbling out.

After three quick scores about 1/2-inch deep, I slid the spreading mass onto a preheated oven stone on the middle rack, plopped 3/4 cup of ice cubes in a skillet beneath the stone for steaming, shut the door, and hoped for the best. As I watched through the oven window I was delighted to see a lot of oven spring. The dough expanded both upwards and sideways increasing in volume nearly 50%. I was very pleased and hopeful. I threw a piece of foil over the loaf after 20 minutes because I worried that it was getting brown to quickly and then checked it to see if it was done at 40 minutes. It registered 96º C. so I removed it to a cooling rack. I was very happy to feel that the loaf was wonderfully light. I knew I had a winner.

Notes: I used the rye sour from Leader's book. It had sat in the refrigerator un-refreshed for a month but seemed to perform just fine after only one feeding and 12 hours on the counter (actually, I let it sit on the counter for 24 hours before using it); no doubt, this is a testimonial to the rehabilitation properties of rye flour.

You can see the hole in the top of the loaf where I injected the helium.
polish cottage rye

I took some more pictures but didn't have the CF card in the camera so I'll post more tomorrow.

Here are some more pictures. Vodka is the traditional accompaniment.

polish cottage rye

polish cottage rye crumb

This is a picture of about one-third of the loaf in its proofing basket; I'm including it so you can see how really large this massive loaf was.

After our dinner of sausages, grilled red peppers, and sautéed onion relish, we enjoyed a fre$h cherry pie. The pie's crust was perfectly flakey and delicious owing to the incorporation of a small amount of solid Crisco with the butter (as usual, I promised myself that this was absolutely the last time I would use the white stuff!).

fresh cherry pie


SulaBlue's picture

Flour for brotforms

D'oh! I forgot to get rice flour to use in my new brotforms. I don't really feel like going to the store tomorrow JUST to get rice flour. Is there a second choice that would work OK? I have KA Bread Flour, stone ground whole wheat, cornmeal, and I have whole quina, barley, wheat berries, rye berries (either could be coarsely ground), oats (could make oat flour, but I think that'd be particularly sticky?) Heck, I've even got a boatload of brown rice that I could grind in the spice grinder if that'd work?

cake diva's picture
cake diva

Pizza dough tearing apart easily- need diagnosis

I was being both parsimonious and curious when I decided to make pizza dough using a 100% starter that had been sitting in the back of the fridge for 3 months without feeding.  To it, I added a small amount of active starter, and let this preferment mixture sit overnight at room temp.  The next day, I proceeded to add the salt, olive oil, and flour to the consistency that I thought was proper.  I then kneaded the dough using the dough setting on my breadmachine. That same day, I tried making pizza.  I knew there was problem as soon as I saw the dough tearing as I attempted to stretch it.  It looked like there wasn't enough gluten development, but it couldn't have been the kneading since I used manual and breadmachine kneading.  Might it be the yeast, or lack of it?  I'm grasping at straws here;  I always read the lack of gluten development comes from inadequate kneading.