The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

nutrional yeast

Is there anything I can do with this stuff? My sweet husband came home with it because he couldn't find baking yeast last night while at the health food store. Hate to feed it to the dogs as a supplement but that's what I'd probably do.

Cosmopolita's picture

Escarole Pizza

This is a escarole pie with pizza dough,  the typical and traditional regional Italian cuisine.   

Escarole Pizza

For the pizza dough:

  • 1/4 ounce package yeast

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

  • 3 cups flour

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Coarse salt

For the escarole

  • 2-3 head of escarole

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 10 black olives, pitted and sliced

  • 1 2-ounce can flat anchovies, chopped

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

  • Freshly ground pepper

Make the pizza dough. Dissolve the yeast in one cup lukewarm water and let it stand for five minutes, or until it has begun to ferment. If the mixture does not ferment, throw it away and use another package of yeast.

- If using a food processor, fit the bowl with a steel blade and put in the flour, olive oil, salt, yeast mixture and remaining water into the bowl. Process until the dough forms a ball - about 20 seconds. Place the dough on a smooth surface and knead for a couple of minutes, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.

- If using the hand method, combine the flour and salt and place the mixture on a smooth working surface. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture, olive oil and remaining water. Gradually work the flour into the liquid, using a wooded spoon. When the dough is too stiff to work with the spoon, knead until it is smooth and shiny, about eight to 10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough gets too sticky.

Put the dough in a large floured mixing bowl. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it rise for two hours in a warm place (the back of the stove, for example) until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the escarole topping. Wash the leaves and simmer them in boiling water for five minutes. Drain, squeeze out the water and chop the leaves coarsely. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently saute the garlic, olives, anchovies and pine nuts until the garlic begins to turn golden. Add the escarole and cook uncovered stirring frequently for 10 minutes over moderate heat. Stir in the raisins and capers and season with pepper. Tilt pan to remove excess water. Let it cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200° C).
Punch down the dough, sprinkle it with flour. Cut off two third of dough and roll out the dough with a rolling pin directly onto the pan to covering bottom and sides . Spread escarole filling over crust in pan and if you want, sprinkle grated cheese and black ground pepper over the top. Roll out remaining dough into a round on a lightly floured board. Transfer to pan, covering filling. Press edges to seal. Bake the pizza for about 25 minutes.


Picture and recipe here:

Pizza di scarola


longwinters's picture

Chicago pizza dough blues

I have been trying to make a Chicago deep dish pizza for over a year.  I have tried copycat recipies with so so results.  The biggest problem I have is the bottom of the pizza and the crust edge getting done, too brown, before the middle is.  I have tried different temps (my oven only goes to 500), rack heights, pizza stone underneath, cast iron pans etc.   I have no problems with thin pizza as I pre-bake my crust for a few minutes and keep my moisture levels down on veggies etc...

One other problem I have is that the crust is too thick in the area around the bottom of the pan where it meets the sides.

What am I missing?



Shiao-Ping's picture

Mathias Dahlgren's Swedish Rye Bread - with an apple twist

The 40-year old Swedish chef-owner, Mathias Dahlgren, has two Michelin-starred restaurants, Bon Lloc and Matsalen, the latter in Stockholm.  His style of cuisine is Swedish traditional as well as innovational (a fusion of Scandinavian, Tuscan, Californian and Oriental dishes). 

I saw a picture of his Swedish Rye Bread in Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs, page 101, and decided to give it a try.  The recipe uses a rye sourdough starter.  It also has a high percentage of instant yeast and molasses, which is 4.7% and 19%, respectively, of total flour, rye gains and seeds.  The approx. dough hydration is 84%. 

The bread is exceptionally moist and flavourful.  For a person who does not normally like a lot of rye flour in bread, I find this bread quite delicious.  The bitterness from the Black Strap Molasses that I used, together with all the grains and seeds and the fermented rye flour, formed a very interesting flavor and texture.

There is something, however, not quite how I would like it in a fully-loaded bread like this one that, if no changes were made to the recipe, I would probably not make it again.  As with the Chinese concept of ying (feminine) and yang (masculine), for something to be balanced, there has to be a ying and a yang element simultaneously.  For instance, the enjoyment of a fatty and salty pork chop (the yang) is enhanced if it is eaten with, say, apple sauce (the ying) - the sourness in the apple sauce cuts through the fat while the sweetness in the fruit compliments the saltiness in the meat.  Another example: the best chocolate lava cake would have some salt in there, or the sweetness would make you sick. 

The issue with this bread for me is: it is perhaps a tad too masculine (too much "yang") because of all the rye grains and seeds in the recipe.  I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who love this bread just the way it is.  I just have a difference taste.  To address the imbalance to my taste, I am adding apple puree as a hydration for the final dough.  Also, I have changed the formula to a sourdough version.   I find molasses an attractive ingredient to add to a bread full of rye, grains, and seeds but I cut it down in my formula (below) as too much molasses makes the bread bitter (which some people may find it an attractive taste).  Here is my Swedish Sourdough Rye Bread with apple puree:



                                            SP's Swedish Sourdough Rye Bread with apple puree


My formula for Swedish Sourdough Rye Bread with Apple

Day 1 - soaker

  • 330 g water

  • 125 g crushed rye grains

  • 43 g rye meal flour (whole rye flour)

  • 83 g sunflower seeds

  • 53 g linseeds (flax seeds)

  • 11 g salt

  • 68 g rye sourdough starter (or any ripe starter) @100% hydration

Mix all the ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or at least overnight. 

Also on Day 1 - rye sourdough starter (Note: Mathias Dahlgren's original recipe uses instant yeast and so there is no rye sour build.)

  • 20 g any ripe starter @ 100% hydration

  • 123 g medium rye flour

  • 70 g water

Mix the ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or until ripe. 

Day 2 - final dough

  • 110 g medium rye flour

  • 123 g white flour

  • 713 g all of the soaker

  • 213 g all of the rye sourdough starter

  • 70 - 100 g molasses (Note: Mathias Dahlgren's original recipe has 140 g of molasses but I find at that quantity the bread is a bit bitter.)

  • 345 g of cooked Granny Smith apple puree or shopped-bought apple sauce  (To make your own apple puree, steam 320 g of chopped Granny Smith until cooked, then puree it with 25 g of honey)

Total dough weight 1585 g; estimated dough hydration 84 - 85%.


  1. Mix half of the apple puree with molasses and the other half with the starter. 

  2. Then, mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. 

  3. Grease two bread tins. Divide the dough by two and place them in the bread tins. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 3 hours (my room temperature was 28 - 30 C). 

  4. Pre-heat oven to 220C / 425F.  Bake with some steam for the first 3 - 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 185C / 365F and bake for a further 40 minutes. 

  5. Turn out the loaves immediately after baking and let cool on a wire rack (or the bottom will be soggy). 




My father-in-law and his wife came to stay for Christmas.  They are very discerning diners and both keep in good shape.  They have been told by their doctor to NOT have too much bread made of wheat flour and that if they must have bread, rye and spelt breads are the best.  Whenever they come to visit, I try to make rye and/or spelt sourdough for them.  For today's lunch I served this bread.  They loved it.






Tomorrow morning, when my father-in-law and his wife leave, they will have this little prezzie, all nicly sliced-up to go.





Smita's picture

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Clint is doing well. Tried making a sandwich bread using sourdough starter. Heres what I did.

2 Nights before:
Added about a cup of whole wheat flour and half a cup of water to half a cup starter (100% hydration)

Day 1:
Added a cup of whole wheat flour, a cup of white whole wheat flour and a third cup of AP flour, 1.5 cups of water, 2 tsp salt, 1 tablespoon each butter and sugar.

1. Mixed flours and water to get a shaggy dough. Rest for 30 mins (autolyse)
2. Added salt, butter, sugar and kneaded 8-10 minutes till the dough windowpaned.
3. Rest. Phew.
4. Bulk ferment for 90-120 minutes or till the dough doubles in volume, with stretch and folds every 30 minutes.
5. Shaped and stuck into a loaf pan.
6. Day 2. Pulled dough out of fridge and kept at room temperature for 2 hours. Baked at 375 for 40 minutes.

Soft and pillowy. Good crumb and rise. However, my shaping skills suck. Need to develop a feel for tension in the dough. Looked a bunch of YouTube videos but need to develop a better feel. Also want to try this with whole wheat flour instead of the white whole wheat. Just a personal taste preference. 


hannah's picture

Strawberry Tart

for the recipe at my food blog, click HERE

svirden's picture

Hi from Alaska...a newbie with a question

Hi from Homer!

I've recently lived on a sailboat and expect to do so again. This means I NEED to be a bread baker. My husband bakes lovely bread in the galley oven. I started last winter and have really been enjoying it, though I've thus far limited myself to a wheat bread recipe that we love and prefer for our standard toast and sandwich bread (it's supposedly the Pepperidge Farm recipe). I plan to experiment more with vital wheat gluten and the recipes in a recent Mother Earth News. My goal is to develop a repertoire of a half dozen great breads that:

1) create low mess,

2) require minimal kitchenware and counter space,

3) don't require any refrigerated ingredients,

4) will be resilient enough to proof in a somewhat chillier-than-normal environment and

5) bake in a kerosene oven with no thermostat.

Before I ask my question of the moment, I'll just say that this wheat recipe has turned out fabulous every time, even with my confusion: The recipe makes three loaves and calls for 4 cups each of white and wheat flour. After mixing, it says "When the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board (about 1 Tbsp per cup of flour in the recipe). Turn the dough several times to make it easier to handle. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 10-15 min before kneading."

Here's my problem. Following the recipe exactly, the dough is far too wet and sticky to handle much at all while kneading. The instructions indicate that I knead on a surface with appx 8 Tbsp of flour. HA! I must heavily flour-and-knead, flour-and-knead, for ages while I incorporate (probably) another TWO CUPS of flour, and all the rolly bits from my hands and fingers, before the dough becomes "smooth and elastic" prior to the first proof. Am I doing something wrong? Is there any reason why I can't just add one more cup to the recipe so the dough isn't so unwieldy?

Thanks, and looking forward to learning from all of you...


ps: also interested in your pressure cooker bread recipes and/or easy flatbreads, chappattis and naans that I can make in a cast-iron skillet.

CaptainBatard's picture

I seen to have lost the definition in my braids

I made the beutiful challah that David posted.....and I seen to have lost the some of the definition in the braids......I wrote a message to him and he suggested that I would be better off if i put question out in the forum...I thought forming the strands was ok...pretty tight....i did not make the braids tooo tight.... and i thought it proofed OK...i did sub eggs for oil (i was out).....and I also had the same problem when i made BBA it a matter of over proofing, too much steam, ????

it looks a better in the photo..




Rodger's picture

Eclectic Ciabatta

It has gotten to the point now when I try something new, I'll read through my library (Leader, Reinhart, Hammelman, Di Muzio, and the CIA's Baking and Pastry), read through the archives of TFL, and then throw tegether a synthesis that somehow makes sense to me.

So I've been working on Ciabatta.  I tried the beat-the-daylights technique championed by the famous Jason and apparently customary in Southern Italy (according to Dan Leader's Local Breads).  This method calls for spiraling the dough 20 minutes or more at the high end of the mixer's throttle.  The product is magnificent, but after years of indoctrination in the careful dough handling techniques of Calvel and his students, it felt practically immoral to turn the mixer up to eleven like that and just let it go.

For the last couple of loaves, I've developed an improved mix at low speeds with subsequent stretching and folding.  I also fused the double flour addition technique from Steve B's Breadcetera with the biga-based Ciabatta formula in Dan Di Muzio's book.  Dan describes a slightly different interpretation of the double-hydration technique than Steve B does, and in the event Dan's seemed more practical.  Hold out about ten or fifteen percent of the water, mix the ingredients to an improved mix, then add the remaining water and mix at low speed until it is absorbed.



davidjm's picture

How do you bake High volume of bread?

My wife and I are completely exhausted today.  Why?  We baked 9 pizzas, 7 baguettes, and 8 whole grain loaves yesterday from our home kitchen.  And, we did all that while stoking the fire in our clay oven in which we bake.  At the end of the day, we said, "There has got to be a better way!"

So, my question is: How do you bake high volumes of bread from a home kitchen?  We have a standard Kitchen-aid mixer, lots of bowls, and proofing baskets, plus we worked out a proofing room (laundry room with heater on thermostat).  Neither of us have a background in bakeries - and we're not trying to go pro.  We just want to bake more at one time to meet our home demands.

The problems we ran into were: (1) Mixing all the dough took too long, and it through off our rise times and coordination with when the clay oven would be ready to receive the loaves.  In the end, 6 of the whole grain loaves over-proofed and were a little flat.  So how can we shorten mixing times?  (2) It was completely exhausting to do so much work in one day - just two people.  (I don't see how anyone can make a living at this!)  (3) Timing was also a big issue with rises and mixes and the clay oven.

Any suggestions?  I particularly welcome responses from those who have worked in bakeries, etc.  But any help is appreciated.