The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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mrosen814's picture

Selling your homemade bread

Hi all,

I was wondering if any home bakers here have had success selling their breads from their home kitchen.  Were you able to sell to more than friends and family?  Farmer's market?  Anywhere else?  Your trials and errors would be much appreciated!



Shiao-Ping's picture

Sourdough 50/50

I came back to Brisbane to the first day of spring (1st September).  I had neglected my back yard garden for over a month.  There had been very good rain going into winter after a prolonged drought and no name flowers are sprouting every where.  Even my one and only lemon tree is loaded with clusters of dainty little pink and white flowers.  Any my wisteria!  It welcomes me back with such vivid purple (or blue):


                                                                  I waited three seasons for this to flower. 

As I was going round the garden pruning and liquid-fertilizing, I marveled at how time could not be rushed, how waiting was paying off, and how often my energy was misused in being inpatient. 


                                     no name flower 1                                                                      no name flower 2


                                                                                 and other no name flowers

Since I came back from my baking classes in San Francisco, I had made 6 less than satisfactory breads; three on my Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer (which has a C hook, not the spiral hook which comes with the Kitchen Aid Pro stand mixer), two on my Panasonic bread machine (dough mixing function only) and one by hand.  I find it hard to adapt the techniques I learned in the baking school to home set-up - our equipment are different, our starters are different, and our dough temperatures are perhaps different too, etc. etc.  Our instructors foresaw these problems, and they emphasized the need for us to learn to "read" the dough rather than mechanically following instructions or formulas.  We were asked constantly during the mixing process to check gluten development by window paning and by simply tugging at the dough to feel its strength.  But all this is easier said than done.

All that I can do is to keep trying.  The idea of this 7th bread came indirectly from Safa, our instructor at the Artisan I course.  It was my last Saturday in San Francisco; I was on my way to Ferry Plaza market and I ran into him on the train; we chatted all the way.  He said he recently made a bread and he called it 30/30, not that there is anything magic about the number 30, but it's just that it is easier to remember since it has 30% soaker and 30% levain (in relation to final dough flours).  So here I experimented with my 50/50 - 50% Poolish and 50% Levain.

The purpose was to see how this would vary sourdough's flavor profile. I have learnt that the acidity you get from poolish as well as levain that is fed more frequently than just once a day is lactic acidity (e.g. yogurt) as opposed to acidic acidity (e.g. pickles).  A classmate at the Artisan course who had done the bakery tour at Boudin bakery museum in San Francisco told me he saw a baker there use the starter straight out of the refrigerator.  Their San Francisco Sourdough is famous for its sourness which is not to my taste.  I imagine if the starter is fed only once a day and is kept in the refrigerator for part of the feeding cycle such that it stays in the anaerobic condition for a long time the acidity can be developed quite strongly.  I am a fan of Chad Robertson's rustic sourdoughs.  I was reading about him in "A Day in the Life at the Bay Village Bakery" in the Bread Builders and Alain Ducasse's Harvesting Excellence; and interestingly it is mentioned that he uses a brief two-hour final stage of levain expansion before he mixes up his doughs.  I imagine this "levain expansion" would be the aerobic stage of levain build-up where the little beasties are in rapid reproduction (rather than fermentation).  I don't know for sure but I imagine too his levain would be fed more than once a day and would most likely sit in room temperature.




Formula for my 50/50

Early morning - prepare Levain and Poolish, allow for 6 to 8 hours to ferment, depending on your room temp


  • 80 g bread flour

  • 24 g medium rye flour

  • 78 g water

  • 52 g starter @75% hydration

(Note: this starter is on a two feeding a day cycle and stays in my room temperature of around 18 - 21C / 65 - 70F)


  • 117 g bread flour

  • 117 g water

  • A very small pinch of dry instant yeast (or 1/4 of a 1/3 tsp)

Late afternoon - prepare the final dough

  • 400 g bread flour (Australia's Laucke Wallaby unbleached bakers' flour, protein 11.9%)

  • 34 g whole wheat flour

  • 34 g rye flour

  • 275 g water

  • 14 g salt

  • 234 g Levain (all from above), which is 50% of final flours

  • 234 g Poolish (all from above), which is 50% of final flours

  • Extra medium rye flour for dusting

Total dough weight 1.2 kg and total dough hydration 68%

  1. I mixed all ingredients in my Kitchen Aid for 4 min at the first speed then another 6 min at the 4th speed, at which point the dough did not feel very strong.  I pulled it out of the mixer any way because I planned to supplement by stretch and folds during bulk fermentation.

  2. I placed the dough in an oiled container and gave it two letter folds. After the first letter fold, the dough was rotated 90 degrees then letter-folded again, and then the dough was turned upside down so that the folds faced downwards (ie, right side was up).

  3. Bulk fermentation was 2 hours with a set of two letter folds (as above) every 30 minutes.  I turned the dough over first (so the right side was down) before I did the letter folds and when I finished the folds, I turned the dough over so that the folds faced downwards (the purpose was so that the dough stayed tight.).

  4. After 2 hours, I pre-shaped the dough into a tight ball, and while it was resting, I dusted a linen-lined basket with medium rye flour.  After a rest of 20 minutes, the dough was shaped into a boule and placed in the basket and covered with a plastic bag.  I placed it into the refrigerator to retard (for 13 hours).

  5. The next morning the dough was baked cold at 220C / 440 F for 50 minutes with steam for the first 10 minutes.






This sourdough has the flavor profile that I like: the lactic acidity from the Poolish and the levain, the sweetness from the bread flour, and the richness from rye and whole wheat.  All round the flavor is complex and the after taste is long lasting.  It is mildly chewy, very pleasant.

I'd like to work on my scoring.  Also I am finding it tough to apply what I learned on the mixer I have at home.  Perhaps I need to mix my dough to stronger gluten development in order to have a bloom.  Or perhaps the blind faith in a perfect mixer is a sign of no faith in one's self.  Whatever it is, for now, this:


with a view of this:


is what I need.


Salome's picture

Autumn the third - Painted Bread

I have to confess that I'm not very busy these days. I've got a lot of free time because university hasn't started yet and in addition to that, I'm very limited in what I do because I've got some weird inflammations in my feet. And my friends are all working or have already started school or . . . I can't go and hike, I can't meet friends, but I still can bake! The more time consuming, the better. I'm keeping myself busy and happy this way. And my family well-fed ;-).

A freshly baked bread and some "colors" - That's what you need for painting a bread. In my case, it's Hamelman's "Rye Sourdough with Walnuts" but without walnuts. It's basically a bread made with sourdough, 50% whole rye flour and 50% high gluten flour. (in my case, normal bread flour with some Vital Wheat Gluten.) I tried a dark color and a white one, but the dark was not visible on the rather dark crust. For the dark one I just over-caramelized sugar until it was very dark and then added some water, let it cool and mixed it with egg yolk. The white is a corn starch - water blend.

I baked the bread as usually and started to paint with a normal brush as soon it was out of the oven. The crust is hot and makes the water of the colors evaporate. Nothing easier than that! After the "art work" was done, I baked it for another few minutes, no more than five. Et voila, a bread that will impress everybody.

The flowers and leaves are all out of our garden. I've been saying for the last couple days that the falls has come and here's now the proof. it is autumn. And it's beautiful.


yozzause's picture

meat cooking

The wood fired oven has worked wonderfully well for both pizza and bread to date with great results, but it is now time  to some serious meat cooking i would be pleased to hear from some of the woodies on their exploits with meats.

Some of the students here at TAFE are interested in cooking  / baking a whole piglet in the near future for their graduation.

I am going to have a bit of a practice day with a number of items chickens, pork legs etc on a friday after the students have finished with the oven for pizzas at lunch time. (cant waste that heat)

 Any suggestions on cooking with some fire in or out meat covered or uncovered as a bit of a giude could save me from re-inventing the wheel

I have added a shot of the oven built from plans from traditionaloven showing the size  

regards yozza

bnb's picture

King arthur old fashioned oatmeal bread

Here's my attempt at KA's old fashioned oatmeal bread. This bread is very adaptable. I've tried it with instant oats, old fashioned oats, with honey/molasses, AP flour/bread flour and it has turned out great every time. I did not use the additives that were optional.  On my first attempt I only used a  teaspoon of yeast and the bread had no oven spring, although I did let it crest well above the pan rim before baking. The second time I used the 2 tsps of yeast and the bread had wonderful oven spring. The recipe can be found here.

This is an incredibly moist bread. Very flavorful. 


chuppy's picture

Best baguette you've ever made...

Hello bread lovers,

I have been baking bread for about 4 yrs and would like to know what your favorite baguette recipe is and if you could post a picture of it. I have been looking for an awesome recipe, but have not been successful in recreating one just yet. Can't wait to see what others have done!


davidg618's picture

A novel approach to pastry dough making

Watched Cook's American Test Kitchen on PBS today, and saw, what was for me, a very novel approach to making pastry dough.

The ingredients began with the usual: flour, butter, shortening, and cold water.

Then it got interesting. In addition to the water, an equal amount of vodka was added.

The result was a wetter than usual dough, that after the usual chilling, rolled out more easily, stayed together excellently, yet after baking was flaky and crisp.

The chef stated that alcohol and flour will not form gluten, like the water and flour will, and most or all of the alcohol content evaporates during the bake, leaving the dough wetted only with the usual amount of water that would normally result in a rather dry, and less manageable crust.

I'm happy with the pastry dough I make--flour, butter, lard, and water--but this is too interesting to not try at least once.

David G.


hansjoakim's picture

Reasons to bake #18: Cold and miserable weather

The pain au levain with whole-wheat from "Bread" that I blogged about a few weeks ago, is quickly becoming one of my favourite levain breads. Here's one that I baked yesterday afternoon:

Pain au Levain

I'm always amazed by the fact that these levain breads only contain three ingredients: Flour, water and salt. It's fascinating how three so simple ingredients come together and, given enough time, produce delicious loaves. This loaf has a subtle and mild taste, and I usually eat it plain in order to fully enjoy the flavour.

In my last post, I wrote about a new rye starter that I made. The initial motivation to get a new one going, was to see whether there would be any significant difference in flavour compared to the stiff, white starter that I've had for about a year. The rye starter is incredibly active, and I've been keeping it on a 1:10:10 (starter:flour:water) diet, with feedings spaced roughly 12 hours apart. The resulting loaves taste pretty much like those leavened with the white starter, so I guess one of them will eventually be cut loose... We'll see. Anyways, below is a multigrain sourdough that I baked with the rye starter (no commercial yeast):

Multigrain Levain

It's approx. 20% whole-rye (all from starter), 10% buckwheat and the rest bread flour. Multigrain soaker contains the usual suspects (i.e. flaxseeds, quinoa seeds, oat bran, rye chops, sunflower seeds). I gave the dough a 2 hr. bulk followed by proof overnight in the fridge.

I also baked some croissants over the weekend:


It's been a long time since I had a go at these, and I've definitely felt the cravings for buttery, flaky croissants for a while. I used the straight dough version from Suas' ABAP, and let the dough ferment 45 mins. at room tempertaure before I degassed and retarded the dough in the fridge overnight. Lamination (three single folds) the following morning, and makeup and final proof the following afternoon. A nice evening snack and splendid petit dejeuner the next morning :) They turned out alright, but rolling and shaping still need practice.



Finally, a humble carrot cake:

Carrot cake

A very moist, soft carrot sponge and cream cheese filling made this an enjoyable dessert! Three pretty large, shredded carrots went into the sponge batter (baked in a 15 cm cake ring), but I think even more could go in there to give it a stronger flavour of carrots. The most enjoyable bit was actually making small, cute marzipan carrots :)

DonD's picture

The Right Flour for Baguettes: All Purpose Flour or Bread Flour

I have looked at a lot of recipes for Baguettes and there is no concensus as to whether All Purpose or Bread Flour is the most appropriate. The breakdown is as follows:

Jeffrey Hamelman: BF

Peter Reinhart (Crust & Crumb): AP

Peter Reinhart (BBA): 50% AP & 50 % BF and also either AP or BF

Daniel Leader: AP

Dan DiMuzio: BF

Michel Suas: BF

Joe Ortiz: AP

Richard Bertinet: BF

Personally, being a Libra, I compromise and mix 2 parts AP to 1 part BF and have had good results. I am curious to see how most people feel.


M2's picture

Video: Stretch and Fold Technique from Peter Reinhart

Not sure if this video has been posted or not.  Great technique from Reinhart: