The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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hanseata's picture

Today's Baking at Karin's Baeckerei

Coming home from Portland late yesterday evening I had no time to make any pre-doughs for today's baking. So everything was stretched and folded, except for my usual Pain a l'Ancienne dough. No kitchen octopuses to battle this time, the doughs behaved and didn't try to take over the countertop. This morning I got an early start with my baking and was done just in time to Meet The Press.

Tyrolean Pumpkin Seed Mini Breads


These are real breads, not rolls, and are made with spelt, rye and Italian 00 flour - and, of course, lots of toasted pumpkin seeds.



Pain a l'Ancienne with Oat Flour (sorry, no crumb shot, these were all sold)


And since the oven was still warm, I finally fullfilled my NYB testing duties: Lace Cookies. They look as nice as they tasted.



Franko's picture

A long overdue try at Pain au Levain

For a while now I've been wanting to try my hand at making a bread using only a levain for the rise. It's slightly embarassing to admit that for all the years I've been baking professionally and at home I've never made one. I've made breads that include a sour culture at home before , but always with the additon of commercial yeast. As far as the shops I've worked in they've always used commercial yeast for the breads and rolls. Last week I decided it was time to give it a go see what I could learn about this neglected aspect of my bread making experience.
Using Hamelman's formula for Pain au Levain I began by building the stiff levain culture over the course of 4-5 days . The levain worked out nicley, becoming very active and healthy by day 3. I managed to find some lower protein flour, about 12%, as Hamelman recommends. I say "managed" because finding this kind of flour in Canada or at least in my part of Canada can be difficult. The first dough I made up seemed like good one, very extensible and silky. I did the two stretch and folds at 50 minute intervals over two hours bulk ferment and put it into a floured 10 1/2in. banneton to rise. After about 2 hrs it really didn't look like it'd risen all that much and I assumed I'd done something wrong in the process. I decided to bake it off anyway , not bothering to score it as I didn't think it would rise enough to need it. Bad decision. It jumped like crazy after the first 10 minutes and then some in the next five , along with a wild split (of course) on one side. Unfortunatley I didn't bother taking any photos of it, but the best way I can describe it is looking very much like a Pacman swallowing a dot.  The crumb was a little more open in spots than I would have liked but the flavor was good, with a medium sour aftertaste.

Yesterday I made another mix of the dough, this time using SteveB's two stage flour addition method,  but sticking with Hamelman's formula . The dough came out identical to the last mix , and I gave it the same number of fold and stretch as last time, however I gave it a 3hr final rise this time as well as slashing it. The loaf came out better looking , but still split along the top, so maybe I could have slashed a little deeper. Judging final proof on this bread is quite a bit different from what I'm used to with a commercial yeasted bread so it's going to take a few more tries before I get it right. Since the levain was a few days older  it gave a more pronounced sour flavor to the bread that I prefer over the last loaf and the crumb is much better on this one, I'm fairly sure due to SteveB's two stage method . Thank you Steve! 

A question I'd like to ask some of the other members who've made this or similar breads is if they get better results by retarding overnight or by baking the same day as the mix. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

jkandell's picture

Whole Wheat Anise-infused Apple Sour Bread


Wholewheat Anise-infused Apple Sour bread


Started as the all-white flour Apple Sour bread from the Cordon Bleu Professionals Baker's guide.

Adapted by fellow Arizonan Stephanie Petersen for whole wheat.

Then tweaked by me.

The "sour" refers to week-old fermented shredded apples, not to the flavor.

The texture is moist, the smell and flavor are woodsy with a light background of anise. The apples are inperceptably in the background.

Ingredients: whole wheat, grated apple, organic apple sauce, anise, water, salt, sugar, honey, yeast.

Note that this bread contains only 1/16t of yeast, most of the rise is by fermented apples.



Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Professional Planetary Mixers at Great Prices

[I'm not affiliated with any of the manufacturers, websites, dealers, etc. below]

After breaking two 6qt Kitchenaid mixers, I moved on to a professional mixer about 8 months ago.

I searched for what seemed like an eternity for a quality-quantity mixer (good workmanship + good price). Hobart had the quality down pat, but their prices were beyond ridiculous (easily 4 to 5 times other manufactures).

I stumbled on the Bakemax brand and bought their 20qt planetary model:


I really love it.

I especially love the safety features: kill switch if protective guard opens; mixer halts when under too great a load [pauses in such a way that you'll know it's not happy with the dough you're asking it to mix], etc.)

I post this because I just noticed the same mixer is available in the United States now under the Centaur label. (I had to buy mine from Canada, as Bakemax is in Nova Scotia).

I checked the Centaur specs and they're identical to the Bakemax. It's really the same machine as far as I can tell (other than the top cap, which is red in color).

Here's the 10 quart for $895:

Here's the 20 quart for $1304:

Those are really good prices for this mixer, considering I paid about $1750 + $300 shipping for the 20qt pictured above.

Yes, they're big. The 20 qt. stands to about 6" below the my waist (I'm 5'11").

They're heavy (250 lbs for the 20 qt) too; but, you want something big and heavy when you're mixing large doughs.

Hobart should be trembling in its boots, as it's 5-quart model is $2000. It's 20-quart is $5000+.

Having used Hobart's before, I can say Hobart's are equal in construction quality, not better, than the above (except for, perhaps, their service, which you also pay through the nose for). I haven't owned my Bakemax for 30 years, however, so time will tell.

The moral of my post, I guess, is that if you're about to drop $600 on a DLX, consider going a little further and buying yourself a professional mixer. 

You won't regret it, especially at those prices.


gaaarp's picture

Nick Malgieri's Seven Grain & Seed Bread (Straun)

Ever since I read PR's Bread Upon the Waters and first baked his Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire from BBA, I've been in love with straun. With so many grains and seeds to choose from, the possible variations of multigrain bread are endless.

Of course, some combinations are more successful than others. So I was anxious to try Nick's variation on this wonderful bread in The Modern Baker; but I was a bit skeptical, too. After all, how would it compare to PR's amazing straun?

I needn't have worried. This is a wonderful recipe and makes a fantastic multigrain bread. Check it out here:

Blackwill's picture

Looking for Cracker-topped Wheat Roll Recipe

Hi, all....

A few years ago I was working at the Paris Las Vegas (Banquet Chef).  Our Executive Pastry Chef created a large number of rolls for a banquet, and I have been looking for a recipe for these rolls since I returned to California 2 years ago.  They were dubbed, simply "Torrified Wheat Rolls" on the menu...but they were topped with a thin disk of crispy, almost cracker-like bread (kind of like the rolls were wearing a beret).  All of my searches for a similar recipe have turned up nothing, and I was hoping someone here could help me out by either providing a real name for this bread style, or, even better, a recipe!!


Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to give,



California, U.S.A.

Kingudaroad's picture

Question about bulk fermenting at 55 to 60 degrees

I am doing some poolish baguettes tomorrow and was thinking about doing the bulk ferment in my wine fridge that can be manually set anywhere between 50 and 60 degrees. I was thinking I could do a longer, slower ferment. My questions are...


Will this have a beneficial outcome to my loaves?


How much longer will it take to ferment at say 55 degrees compared to 72 degrees?


Any input or related experience on the subject would be appreciated.



JeremyCherfas's picture

Muffin trade secrets

Wonderful article in the New York Times about trouble over the secret processes for making Thomas' English Muffins. Great fun -- though perhaps not for the people involved.


Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

My Homemade Bagel Boards

The lack of bagel boards kept me from tackling bagels, so I decided to make my own bagel boards.

Have a look at the video below.

They're nothing fancy, but they work rather well for a home oven. 

Homemade bagel boards.

The board is 14 x 6 x 1" redwood (4 will fit in a home oven).

The heavy duty linen is from art supply store (just heavy duty canvas I've used for years for couche, etc.).

Everything else (screws, handles, etc.) are from Home Depot, where I also bought the board (and had it cut to spec for free).

I soak the boards/linen before putting raw bagels onto the boards; then, into the oven they (the boards with raw bagels) go.

The large handle makes it easy to flip the bagels off the board (onto the baking stone) after a few minutes of baking, a task made more challenging because of large oven mitts.

I would have preferred 5" width, but Home Depot only has 6" redwood (and wouldn't cut it lengthwise).

The upshot is that, now, I can make gigantic bagels.

When the linen needs to be replaced, it's a simple matter of unscrewing the screws, removing the old linen, cutting a new piece, and attaching it to the board with the screws.

pfilner's picture

Porcelain casserole dish with lid

I recently purchased a porcelain 2 qt casserole dish with lid, $15 at a Target store, and have gotten very nice results with it making a Bittman/Lahey style loaf 1/3 larger than the original recipe (NY times, Nov 8, 2006) by a simplified procedure in which I never touch the unbaked dough, nor transfer it to and from a floured towel.  The breads come out of the casserole dish with a 2 inch wall, a crown 5 inches high, and a symmetrical dome. Loafs made according to the original Bittman/Lahey recipe, especially in larger pots, tend to be no more than 3 inches high, have little or no wall, and are frustratingly small.

I mix the dry ingredients, 4 cups flour, 1.5 tsp salt, slightly heaped 1/4 tsp Fleischman rapid rise yeast in a 3 qt pyrex bowl, add 1.5 cups of warm water, then with a fork mix and form a relatively stiff dough ball, then add 1/4 cup water to loosen the dough ball somewhat for rising. Instead of transferring the dough to a flowered towel a la Bittman, I keep the dough in the pyrex bowl for the 18 hr rising, 15 min rest and 2 hr second rising, reshaping the dough ball after each period, then drop the dough ball into the casserole dish preheated at 450 degrees F., bake for 30 min with lid on, then 15 min with lid off.  The bread smells, looks and tastes great, with a crunchy flavorful crust that shatters when bitten,  and a spongy, bounce-back texture inside the loaf. Thanks to the single transfer from pyrex bowl to casserole dish, no scattered flour or flour-loaded towel to clean up