The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
RachelJ's picture

Home-Based Bakery - A Little Advice Please? :)

Hello -
I'm posting here again. :) Although I still check the email notifications I get from here, I don't get to visit the site as often as I'd like. Mainly due to the fact that when I get on the computer, it's to check email and Facebook, my blog and Twitter. My mother's computer crashed and she's been having to use mine. Not to mention we are moved now, to Costa Rica, from the U.S. I am posting here a couple of questions I have about starting a home-based bakery here.

We've been told that you can't find good baked goods here, and that the ones you find taste AWFUL. We've been here about three weeks (nearly) and my father doesn't have a job yet. We are going to be baking and selling our own baked goods (i.e. breads, cakes, cookies, and the like) for an income. We are looking for a house right now, preferably we want it on some land in a more rural setting than the city, where we can garden and maybe have some chickens and a cow for milk and eggs. (Milk is kind of expensive here, as is most dairy things.) This is what we're hoping anyway. We lived on 2-1/2 acres of land in the U.S. and moving to the city has been somewhat of an adjustment for us. Not to mention we have a large family. :)

So... what I would like to know is any tips and ideas you all might have for things we could sell here. I know there are endless things to bake - breads, cookies, cakes, pies, tarts and the like. If anyone on here has started something like a home-based bakery before I would love to know what you did. We are getting a logo for our products, and the needed info for pricing and such. I would appreciate all your help, if you would be so kind as to give it. :)


cw's picture

bread dough enhancer


I have just made a white loaf using a bread dough enhancer (lecithin granules, vit c and ginger) and noticed that the bread was softer, rose higher and had a more tender crust.  However I also noticed that its taste became more bland.  In other words, with the incorporation of these ingredients, the bread seems to have lost some taste.

Does anyone have similar experience? I wonder whether I should add more sugar when I use dough enhancer.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!




Thank you for your responses.  My intent was to create a loaf with bakery-like quality.  Using these ingredients was a way of experimentation.  And no, I was not using a bread machine.  I agree that it is more natural and thus healthier to bake without enhancers, however, I did not anticipate resentment against using the ingredients.  And I apologize if I offended anyone by posing such question.  

The only ingredients used in the mix were lecithin, vit c and ginger.  Vit C is a nutrient, even if in supplementary form.  Ginger seems to be the grounded form of a spice regularly used (by many) in cooking.  So I would imagine that health concern must come from the use of lecithin.  What are the health dangers in using this?

Please note that the posting was only meant to open discussion on past experience with using these ingredients.  It is not an attempt to persuade anyone to use enhancers.  Thanks again.


I'm glad and grateful to see this wealth of information on this topic.  I appreciate everyone's input.  My conclusion is that substances with acetic acid, whether lemon juice, vit c, seem to tenderize the dough, but also reduce its flavour.  Lecithin, also in egg yolks, seem to enhance the performance of yeast, but may be harmful to the body as there seems to be strict health regulation.  The effects are consistent with what I observed from my own experimentation.  Whether the benefits justify the costs is to each his own.  On learning from you; however, I feel much less compelled on conducting further trials.  As my goal was to produce bread with bakery-like quality, I found most insight from a point made that commercial bakeries use high energy dough mixers with powerful kneading functionality that give the dough that special texture and also a super fast processing time.  Perhaps there would be no way for me to replicate such effects at home so maybe I should stop trying.  I should have stated my purpose at the beginning and its good that it was questioned otherwise I would not have gotten such relevant information.  Much thanks to all you bakers for your valuable information.  I'll keep these points in mind in the future.


I appreciate all the additional tidbits and advice, especially more info on ginger.

FYI, the "enhancer" I used in experiment was as follows:

    * 1 cup lecithin granules
    * 1 tablespoon fruit fresh (or vitamin C powder)
    * 1 tablespoon ginger (ground)

Used in the proportion of about 1 Tbsp per 3 cups of flour.


The information on the effects of different ingredients is very interesting.  Regardless of stance on the use of any "enhancers", I think it is useful to know about the effects of their composition. If I had known more about these and where they came from, I could have used natural food products instead for example, replace lecithin with egg yolk, vit c with lemon juice, ginger powder with fresh ginger.  Now, if those ingredients were substituted into the recipe, I wonder if it would still be considered an "enhanced" dough.  Maybe the item and quantity used also play major role in each person's definition of a "dough enhancer" and an acceptable ingredient....some food for thought.




jsk's picture

Anis Bouabsa's Baguettes

Fot quite a while now I was working with whole grain doughs producing flavorful breads with strong aromas from the various flours. A few days ago I decided to bake a proper baguette after seeing the beautiful baguettes you TFL members are showing here.

I have never made a baguette in my life but have read about it quite a bit. So I searched TFL and found dozens of recipes but I rememberd that I wanted to give Bouabsa's baguettes a shot back then so I went for it. It was my first time using the strech and fold in the bowl technique wich I found very easy and effective.

I used 94% AP flour and 6% whole rye as I was stuck without additional AP flour. I increased the hydration accordingly to 78% as I wanted to preserve the texture of the dough. I also added a final fold on the counter after the 3 S&F in the bowl as I felt the gluten was not developed enough.

The dough was retarded for only 16 hours because of my working schedule. Shaping was done by Hamelman instructions in "Bread" and the baguettes were proofed in a couche for an hour.

Anis Bouabsa's Baguettes:




The results were very good. The taste was sweet with a great arome of fermented flour. The baguettes were eated warm with a variety of cheeses. Delicious!

Have a Good Week!


 Submitted to YeastSpotting.

GloriouslyHomemade's picture

Sourdough Conversion - check math please?

Hi there!

I have a few recipes that call for 166% hydration starter and mine is 100%. I've done some math and logic. Could someone please check them both for me?


* 166% hydration starter = 100 units flour + 166 units water = 266 total units.

* Say I need A grams of 166% hydration starter in the recipe.

* A/266=X, with X being the weight per unit

* Since 100% starter has 100 units of flour and 100 of water, I'm short 66 water units. So, I need to add more water to the recipe as follows:

additional water needed = X * 66 units.

 Comments? :-)

purpleronie's picture

Using fridge with dough


I am shortly going to be running a small scale trial of breads and pastries for a visitor centre cafe on the island where I live. I am a home baker, and have tried various recipes, and catered for functions where I have baked repeated batches of dough so they are all ready to go in the oven one after the other. I know you can put dough in the fridge overnight, and then remove it in the morning, and leave for couple of hours before its ready for baking.

What happens if its not left long enough to warm up?

Do I need to let it warm up, then seperate, shape and proof again before baking?

How can I deal with a bigger quantity of dough that needs to be baked at different times? for example, if my oven holds 6 loaves on the top shelf, can I remove the dough from the fridge, let it stand, seperate it and leave some standing at room temperature while the first lot is shaped and baked?

And is it possible to bake bread on both shelves of a domestic electric oven at the same time if you rotate them?

I know my setup is far from ideal, but we have no bakery on the island, only shipped in steam baked sliced sh*te so there is a real need for something. If I can survive the 3 months trial, I will have a better idea of what sells and can use that to try and obtain funding to set up with better equipment. Until then its hand mixing, and domestic ovens all the way!

Any help on this matter would be much appreciated.


copyu's picture

Super Sourdough?

It's just turned 2:00am where I live, but I found this before heading to bed. I am too sleepy to read it all AND check the sources...if any...

Interesting? Any comments?

I hope this isn't wasting anyone's time. I'm going to bookmark this link and go to sleep. Please enjoy the article if you're in another time-zone.



rolls's picture

If you could choose just one bread book to buy, which one please??

Hi everyone, I currently have:

The Bread bible by Rose B

The Italian Baker Carol Field

foccacia  Carol Field

100 breads  Paul Hollywood

Cordon Bleu: Bread

and jus some miscellanious small books etc

I jus want to get one bread book, as I really have too many cookery books, so from your experience which one do you think?

Thanks heaps :)



nicodvb's picture

My rye schrotbrot

Recently I received a lot of cracked rye (actually I hoped it would be a batch of rye chops, but unfortunately it's not the case...).

I put it immediately to work to prepare my preferred rye bread, something in between frisian rye and this one done from my friend Gi.


The night before I prepared a soaker with:

-320 gr of cracked rye (there are a lot of barely broken berries and some very coarse flour)

-80 gr of old bread broken dried in the fridge  and broken in the mixer

-340 gr of boiling water

mixed very well, but quickly, and left to rest in a closed plastic container enveloped in a pile.

At the same time I would have generally prepared prepared a poolish with

-200 gr of dark rye flour

-170 gr of warm water (40°C)

-10 gr of rye sourdough

but this time around I prepared (1 day in advance) a three-stage leaven as in my post of Detmolder rye. For this kind of bread a three-stage is not necessary, but I tought I should mention it for the chronicle. Total hydratation is the usual and magical 85%.


After 12 hours I mixed the two compounds and added 12 grams of salt, kneaded well and put the dough in a 12 inches plum-cake form, left to ferment for threee hours at ~28°C. This kind of douh doesn't rise a lot, generally never more than 1/3 in height, but the acidity developed will improve the flavour of the bread and protect it from molds.


I cooked the bread totally enveloped in aluminum foil (3 rounds) at 120°C for 10 hours, then I put the bread in a linen sheet and waited 2 days before cutting it.

The taste is fantastic, sweet and sour with a remarkable caramel intensity; moreover -and contrary to my previous long bakes- there's something remembering a faint taste of liquor that I never tasted before, it's totally new to me.

The crust is absent and the crumb is moist as it should be. Contrary to most my other breads it dosn't even crumble when sliced thinly.


I also noticed that when sliced in advance the taste seems to improve sooner and seems to get sweeter in shorter time. Does it make any sense?



Walden Pond's picture
Walden Pond

Losing Shape from Banneton to Baking Stone

I've learned so much from everyone in my journey to make perfect sourdough. But I have two unanswered problems:

1) If I keep my dough at a high hydration level (in order to perfect the crumb), it sticks to the sides of my banneton. It doens't matter if I use my wicker one or linen lined banneton, whether I flour the sides or grease the sides, the dough sticks and won't come out...

2) If I am able to get the dough out unscathed, it always seems to collapse and never rise enough again. The bread still tastes wonderful but I wonder if I am making my loaves too big, so the dough cannot hold it's shape. My loaves are typically ~12 inch round loaves.


How can I use my banneton to create a well risen loaf that holds it shape when turned out onto the baking stone?


Thaks for any suggestions!