The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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trailrunner's picture

Hamelman no-knead Baguettes w/ wild yeast culture

My husband asked me to please make baguettes for him today. I had the starter already going . I already knew how much I liked this formula since I had done it once before. So I subbed 250 g of my 100% hydration starter for the yeast. I didn't adjust the flour or the water at all. I wanted a really wet dough. Boy did I get it. It was like a ciabatta. But I persisted and am very pleased. I tried to score the loaves but they were so wet and I didn't do the best but I got huge oven spring and grine so I am OK with it . The crumb is lovely and creamy and since I don't keep my starter out on the counter it is a very mild flavor. Here is the crust:

: Photobucket and the crumb: Photobucket

bostonphotobill's picture

Looking for a home use dough roller

I am looking for information on a home dough sheeter.  Does anyone have any experience with the Somerset CDR-100 Dough Sheeter?  I am most interested to know if it will roll croissant dough. Any other suggestions?


dmsnyder's picture

My Weekend baking - Variations on familiar themes

These were baked yesterday ...

I wanted to try some variations on a couple of breads that I have baked a lot - The "San Joaquin Soudough," which is a pain de campagne that has an overnight cold retardation at the bulk fermentation stage and the Sourdough bread from SusanFNP's Wild Yeast blog.

My San Joaquin Sourdough (SJSD) derived from Anis Bouabsa's baguette formula, as related to Janedo. See this blog entry: 

I used KAF European Style Artisan flour with 5% each Giusto's whole rye and KAF White Rye. I also add 100 gms of firm sourdough starter. For this variation, I added to 500 gms total flour (not counting the starter) 3/4 T barley malt syrup and 3/4 T toasted wheat germ.

The malt probably resulted in the darker crust color. I really could not perceive a distinct effect from the wheat germ. In any case, this was a very tasty, wheaty, mildly sour bread. The bâtards were somewhat under-proofed, resulting in exuberant oven spring and bloom, as you can see. 

San Joaquin Sourdough Variant

San Joaquin Sourdough crumb

SusanFNP's Sourdough bread formula has proven to be a reliable and easy bread to make. Her formula can be found here:

I used a mix of high gluten and bread flour with 10% Giusto's whole rye flour.

 The boule was formed and cold retarded overnight, proofed for 5 hours in a cool kitchen.

Susan's formula calls for 68% hydration. For this variation, I made a 70% hydration dough, trying for a somewhat more open crumb, which is what I got. I plan to boost the hydration even higher next time.

The cold retardation results in a somewhat more sour flavor in this bread compared to the SJSD. The bread was fully proofed, so I got decent oven spring and bloom, but less than with the under-proofed SJSD pictured above.

Sourdough boule

Sourdough boule crumb


hansjoakim's picture

A loaf and something for the coffee

I've seen Hamelman's five-grain rye sourdough bread recommended a couple of times, but it wasn't until this morning that I had the opportunity to bake it for myself. It's a modest 25% whole rye, but the loaf is also studded with seeds and cracked rye, and there's a lot of flavor in it.

Hamelman's Five grain rye sourdough

No easily obtainable "high-gluten flour" around these parts, so I used my regular flour, but made sure the dough was strong and well-developed before bulk fermentation. It looked delicious even at that stage: A nice brown ball, flecked with dark flaxseeds and cracked rye. The rye sour infuses each slice with great taste, and the soaker and the high hydration keeps the crumb ultra moist and tender.

Hamelman's Five grain rye sourdough

So, when breakfast's over, and you pour yourself a cup of black coffee, what better way to finish off your meal than with some Viennoserie? Last week I made a batch of croissant dough, using some prefermented dough and putting 20% whole wheat flour into the mix. Half of the dough was rolled around spinach and feta cheese filling, and the other half was brushed with pastry cream and sprinkled with raisins. Yum!

Whole wheat croissants

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

The Great Bagel Experiment

Since making a foray into pretzels and discovering the impact of a strong-ish baking soda solution on the crust of said pretzels, I've been wondering how different qualities of water affect the results on bagels.  I know from around the forums that some do without baking soda, some do a little, some go for malt syrup instead. The Bread Bakers Apprentice recipe (also the one in Floyd's bagel post) calls for 1 tablespoon soda in an unknowable amount of water.  By comparison, the concensus in the pretzel thread was 1 tablespoon soda per cup water, a 1/16 solution.  But would that work for bagels, or make a pretzel-tasting bagel?  I endeavored to find out this morning.

I made up a batch of the BBA bagel dough, shaped and refrigerated last night.  This morning I got two pots of water going with 8 cups of water in each, and did six different dipping combinations, with each bagel boiled 1 minute per side.  In this first one, from right to left, you can see plain water, 1 tbsp baking soda (the amount called for in the recipe, though probably stronger than usual since I typically use more than 8 cups water), and 4 tbsp baking soda (a 1/32 solution, half the amount recommended on the forums for pretzels).

As you can see, the amount of soda makes a big difference! The rightmost pair in the next pan had 8 tbsp of baking soda--pretzel quantity.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but these were much darker than the 1/32 solution pair. After this I switched to the other pot of water, and the last two pairs of bagels were boiled with 1tbsp and 2 tbsp of malt syrup in 8 cups water, respectively.  No, it wasn't the camera's fault, I couldn't really tell them apart either.

Of course, this left my wife and me with six type of bagels to taste, and only two taste testers.  We tried the 1/32 and 1/16 baking sodas, and one of the malt syrup ones (I think the 2 tbsp, but I forget).  The 1/32-solution bagel was quite good, although with a little bit of the alkaline "pretzel" taste in places where a lot of moisture from the pot stuck to the bagel.  The 1/16 solution bagel tasted like a bagel in preztel's clothing--pretzel-y on the outside, yet bagel-y on the inside.  Weird.  The bagel boiled in malt had much the same texture as the 1/32 and 1/128 baking soda bagels, though with a slightly different flavor.  My wife and I decided we like the baking soda flavor a bit better, but I figure that's a matter of taste.  I think for future I'd shoot for something like a 1/64 or 3/128 solution of baking soda (2-3 tbsp in 8 cups water).

The Great Bagel Experiment!

baltochef's picture

Cinnamon Raisin Pulla

First I would like to thank Julie J for posting her mother-in-law's recipe for Finnish Cardamom Buns, ie. Pulla on 02-11-09..Her recipe was my inspiration for modifying her MIL's recipe..I am the only one in my family that likes the smell and taste of cardamom..When I announced that I was thinking of trying out the recipe, all hell broke loose..So, to appease the family I sat down and reworked the recipe in order to substitute cinnamon for the cardamom, substitute some dark brown sugar for part of the granulated sugar, and to add raisins where there had previously been none..

I really like the use of some kind of pre-ferment in my recipes, so I created a sponge stage to get the yeast activated, and to start flavor development..I converted her MIL's volumetric measurements to weight measurements..I also use the bowl of my DLX mixer for the sponge stage, kneading the final dough, and for the first proof of the finished dough after washing out, drying, and oiling the bowl..The recipe follows..

Finnish Cinnamon Raisin Buns---Pulla


22 oz. milk, heated to 100F

3.5 oz. granulated sugar

4 oz. dark brown sugar

20 oz. bread flour

3 tsp. SAF Gold instant yeast

Heat bowl of DLX mixer under hot running water..Heat milk to 100F..Add to bowl of DLX..Add sugars, and mix with whisk until sugars dissolve..Add yeast, and mix to combine..Add flour and stir until all lumps are wet, and flour is well incorporated into wet ingredients..Cover tightly with plastic wrap..Proof for 60 minutes, or until doubled in volume..

Final Dough:

Sponge in DLX's bowl

4 oz. unsalted butter, very soft--(I had to use margarine as my budget is very tight at this time..The extra salt in the margarine did not seem to effect things)

1 large egg, room temperature

20 oz. bread flour, plus 2 oz. to bring dough to a ball stage, and 1 oz. for kneading on bench--total = 23 oz.

1 tbsp. coarsely ground cinnamon--To try and mimic the crushed cardamom in the original recipe I took cassia cinnamon sticks, broke them into 1" pieces, and ground them into a coarse meal in my spice grinder--This worked out very, very well!!..

1 tsp table salt

8 oz. raisins soaked in 4 oz. warm tap water--After soaking for 60 minutes, the raisins were drained and re-weighed--Final weight was 9.95 oz, for all intents and purposes 10 oz..

Bowl was installed on the mixer..Sponge was punched down..Scraper and roller were installed..On low speed the butter and the egg were mixed into the sponge until well incorporated..The flour, cinnamon, and salt were added, brought to a ball stage, and kneaded for 4 minutes..The drained raisins were then added and the dough kneaded for an additional 2 minutes..It was at this time that I added the additional 2 oz. of bread flour..It took some stopping and starting of the mixer, and cutting the dough with the blade of a Cuisinart spatula to keep the now wetter ball of dough from wrapping itself around the roller and spinning uselessly..After realizing that the raisins were not incorporating evenly into the dough, I removed the dough to the top of my wooden kitchen cart, chopped the dough up into about 20 pieces with a bench knife, added 1 oz. of flour, and hand kneaded until the raisins were evenly distributed..This took approximatelt 1 minute..Internal dough temperature was 85F..Yield was 5 lb. 7.6 oz. of kneaded dough..Dough was put back into the washed and oiled DLX bowl, covered tightly with plastic wrap, and proofed until doubled in volume..This took 60 minutes..

The proofed dough was punched down, turned out onto the cart's top, cut into twenty-one 4 oz. portions, and one 3.6 oz. portion..Each portion was rounded tightly up into a ball and placed on parchment lined 1/2 sheet pans..Eight buns on two of the pans, and six buns on the third pan..I used a staggered pattern..The pan with six buns was bagged in a tall kitchen garbage bag, sealed tightly, and retarded in the refrigerator for later baking..The two pans of eight buns each were placed on top of the stove to proof, and covered with clean cotton tea towels..At the 20 minute mark the oven door was closed, the temperature raised to 375F (my oven bakes about 20 degrees hot), and the oven allowed to come to baking temperature..The buns were allowed a third, and final proof of 30 minutes..A depression was made in the center of each bun, a 1/4" x 1/4" cube of margarine placed in the depression, the entire bun brushed with egg / milk wash (leftover French Toast mix), and sprinkled with granulated organic cane sugar..The buns were baked, both pans together at the same time, for 10 minutes..The pans were then rotated 180 degrees, switched shelves, and finished baking for another 6 minutes..Tops were a dark golden brown, and the internal temperature was 200F..The third pan was removed from the refrigerator when the first pans went into the oven..It proofed, covered with the tea towel, for 45 minutes, everything else that was done to the first two pans was repeated; except that with a single pan of six buns in the oven it only took 14 minutes to bake to completion..

Finished yield was 22 buns with an average weight of 3.75 oz..The buns are approximately 3.5" across at the bottom, and 2" thick with a domed shape..They taste FANTASTIC!!!!..I definitely want to try my version of the recipe with the crushed cardamom, as well as the original recipe from Julie J's mother-in-law..I have the cardamom seeds in my pantry that I purchased from Penzeys Spices..

Thanks again to Julie J, and her mother-in-law (whatever her name may be!!)..Please do try her recipe..I am sure that it tastes as good as my version does!!..






lisacohen's picture

Which stand mixer should I buy next? Help me spend my $$$!

Hi there,

Well I just found out about this site and can't believe how much information is here and I can't wait until later tonight after I tuck the kids into bed so I can wander around and check everything out!!!

I'm posting because my KitchenAid stand mixer just died during a double batch of dough that I was making for some recipe testing work that I was doing (on level #2). I've had it for 11 1/2 years (I remember because I got it as a wedding present)... it's been great and I am so sad to see it unusable (I haven't tried to get it fixed.. maybe this is an option - but I'm thinking that there has to have been some advances in the last 12 years that I could take advantage of). I'm not sure my KA stand mixer's time was coming anyway or if it's been the amounts of dough that I've been asking it to handle lately. But either way I'm looking for a new stand mixer.

I was wondering if I should go ahead and get another KitchenAid and if so which one, or if I should go with another brand. I searched on the forums the threads I found were from 2007 so I thought I'd post here just in case some newer models have come out that are highly recommended. I want one mixer than can handle heavy duty double batches of dough, whole wheat doughs, as well as just one batch of dough, and also small amounts like cookies, pancakes, brownies, etc.

I guess I should also not that I already have the pasta attachment for the KA that I love since it rolls out fresh pasta so easily.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions that you may have.


Julie J's picture
Julie J

How do you grind whole cardamom pods into crushed cardamom, not ground cardamom?

I just wanted to ask if anyone can tell me how to grind whole cardamom pods that have the green shell removed into crushed cardamom.  This is cardamom that isn't totally ground, but has the seeds intact when you bake the bread.  My mother inlaw in Finland gave me an amazing family recipe for Finnish pulla (cardamom bread), but you can't find that type of cardamom over here in the U.S.  I have to bring the cardamom back from Finland, and I would love to give everybody here the rceipe because it is REALLY GOOD, especially when you bite into the crushed seeds of the cardamom pod.  I have tried coffee grinders,  hammers, sides of knives, etc., and still can't get it crushed the way I want.  You can get cardamom online that lists:  Cardamom seeds, but it is much larger than what you buy in Finland, and I don't how it gets crushed finer...thanks anybody!!  Everybody loves this recipe when I make it for them...

Julie J

Zenbirder's picture

Loaf size for Farmer's Market

I am gearing up for baking for Farmer's Market and need to expand my number of bread pans for sandwich loaves.  I am questioning the size I should buy.  My normal for home are some old aluminium 5 1/2 X 9 1/2 X 2 3/4 for breads, I have never had any problems baking in them.  I am particularly considering the Norpro 8" and/or Norpro 10" sizes from Amazon.  I am thinking that if I go with the smaller size, my sale price per loaf will not be all that much different, but I will be out less money for ingredients.  On the other hand, a big loaf is impressive and seems more worth the money?  Does anyone have any experience with what customer's want or even notice in a loaf size?  Are there any opinions on the Norpro?

baltochef's picture

Eric's Faviorite Rye Bread Made w/o Sourdough Starter

My mother really likes Jewish / New York seeded rye sandwich bread so I decided to give Eric's recipe a try..Unfortunately, she wears full dentures which she says hurt her mouth when trying to chew through the crusts of artisan breads..So I decided to modify Eric's recipe to see if I could make it work in a Pullman bread pan..I figred that the crust would turn out much more tender when baked in the Pullman pan..Eric's recipe as written gives a total ingredient weight of 1990g..With his recommended additions (for a bread made without the sourdough starter) of an extra 1 teaspoon of instant yeast, 1/4 cup of water, and 2/3 cup of flour I came up with a total ingredient weight of 2035g..I also ended up using an extra 190g of bread flour to make the dough come together into a kneadable form..The recipe is as follows:

Eric's Favorite Rye Bread   (made w/o sourdough starter and baked in Pullman pans)


815g water, 100 degrees Fahrenheit

320g organic whole rye flour

230g Pillsbury bread flour

15g organic cane sugar

2 teaspoons SAF Gold instant yeast


Final Dough:

605g Pillsbury bread flour

22g fine sea salt

25g caraway seeds

needed an additional 190g of flour



1st.---  made sponge in bowl of DLX mixer, covered w/plastic wrap--- proofed 60 minutes

2nd---  kneaded dough 7 minutes in DLX, finished kneading on bench 1.5 minutes---proofed in washed out, oiled, covered in plastic, DLX bowl---proofed 60 minutes

3rd---  punched down, divided into three 745g portions, rounded into tight balls, 1 portion retarded in refrigerator for baking later, 2 portions covered w/ plastic wrap on bench---proofed 25 minutes

4th---  balls deflated, shaped into loaves, pressed into bottoms of oiled Pullman pans, covered w/ plastic wrap---proofed 65 minutes

Lids added to pans at 50 minute mark, proofed an additional 15 minutes, oven raised to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, baked for 30 minutes w/ lids on, lids removed, baked an additional 10 minutes---Loaves temped 205 degrees Fahrenheit in exact centers w/ Thermapen digital thermometer

First loaf of this bread was sliced just as I was finishing this post..The crust is tender, but somewhat chewy..I'll see what it is like tomorrow..The crumb is tight, and well formed..The bread has a distinct rye flavor..Next time I will soak dried onions in the water as Eric suggests in his recipe..I am sure it will improve the falvor even more..All in all, I am pleased with this recipe..Many rye recipes that I have tried, or invented myself, have not tralslated well to being baked in pullman pans..Using a well-developed sourdough starter will vastly improve the flavor, I am sure..


Baker's Percentage Formula


Water                     148.18%

Whole rye flour          58.18%

Bread flour                41.82%

Sugar                         2.73%

Instant yeast               0.91%


Final Dough:

Sponge                    174.21%

Bread flour               100.00%

Sea salt                       1.64%

Caraway seeds              1.86% 



Water weight is 815g divided by 1345g total flour weight = 60.59%..I am wondering if others that regularly make this bread feel if my recipe's hydration percentage fits into the levels where the standard recipe's hydration percentage does??..