The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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robadar's picture

Non-diastatic malt

I have some "Aunt Patty's barley malt extract" syrup.  I need to know if it is or is not diastatic, for a Maggie Glezer recipe that specifies non-diastatic.   An internet search has left me confused and my question unanswered as has a quick search of this website.  Anybody know the answer?  I'm going to make Glezer's "Thom Leonards  country bread"  or her "Essentials Columbia Country" bread.  Any thoughs on these?  Thanks.



ehanner's picture

A Study of Gluten Development

Just recently, Mariana-Aga, a fellow baker who I have great respect for and who is an occasional poster here, presented a very interesting paper with extensive photos on the development of gluten. For the purposes of her research and documentation she used a food processor to mix and develop, then over develop the dough. All of the various stages are carefully documented and you can see the tell tale signs of the dough being over worked and ruined.

 This experiment shows what over kneading will do to your dough. It is also possible to over develop your dough by simply over fermenting it, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. We have all had a dough turn slack and sticky from not being attended to in the proper time.In fact unless you use a food processor, it is very hard to mechanically over develop or over mix your dough at home. The mixers most home bakers use are not capable of over mixing unless you take a long nap while mixing.

If you don't learn anything more from this great post other than to finally know that there is no fixing it if you get in this situation. I have tried adding more flour to the extreme, and it never works. You may as well resign yourself that this will never be right and toss it in the compost.

If you have seen this, you know what I'm talking about!

And finally, I learned a nice trick for cleaning that unbelievably sticky gooey dough mess from my bowls and hands. This alone is reason enough to visit this very informative blog post by Mariana.. I hope some of you find it as interesting as I have.


PS: This page is written in Russian. Google Translate had no trouble translating to English.

bnom's picture

Three cheers for ears!!

Today, finally, I got some bloomin ears!  

I've been playing with Susan (Wild Yeast) Norwich Sourdough and Floyd's San Joaquin sourdough on this site. I found the first too firm and sour, the second too slack and not sour enough, so I worked out my own formula...a happy marriage between the two.  And lo and behold---ears for the first time ever (in a dough not cooked in a dutch oven).  As it happens, I donated the bread for a friend's dinner party so no crumb shots.

I'm not sure what made the could be that I added about 200 gram Gold Medal AP to the Morbread AP I usually use.

The formula:

300 g firm starter

620 g water

730 g unbleached AP flour (530 g Morbread, and 200 g Gold Medal)

120 g dark rye flour

23 g salt





Amberh11's picture

BBQ to Brick Oven...

Hi everyone :)

A couple of days ago I decided to try and bake my pizza dough in the bbq by placing my pizza stone on the grill, letting it heat up and then placed my pizza on the stone and let it bake. (And yes, the bbq has a cover ). Unfortunately the temperature gage is broken so I had to guess the temperature and how long to let it bake. I let it bake about 8 minutes and to my surprise it worked amazingly well...except for one thing...most of the bottom part of the pizza was burnt, but the top was perfect. The parts that were not burnt on the bottom tasted amazing. Is there anyway to prevent the bottom from burning before the top is done? Should I try rotating the pizza half way through, or putting something on the stone?



kimes's picture

Can a whole wheat starter be used in French Bread?

I have recently been looking through books on whole grain breads.  I have yet to see any information on a whole wheat french bread and am wondering if it is because of the unique qualities of this type of bread.

I really have two questions:

1) Is there a whole wheat French Bread recipe available, that still maintains the slight sourness, airy texture, and large holes?

2)  Would using a whole wheat sourdough(ish) starter effect the flavoring?  Would any adjustments need to be made?


Thanks for your imput!

Porkbutter's picture

Bosch Universal Plus - size does matter


After the umpteenth time of promising myself that I would take my spasmodic KA mixer out back and put it out of it's misery...excuse me, out of MY misery, I've decided to bite the bullet and spend some coin on a better mixer. The Bosch seems to be well liked by a lot of people, and is looking good to me. While there is plenty of talk about how much dough it can handle, I can't find anything on how little it will handle. Is it good for just one loaf? Maybe one small loaf? How about 1 pizza dough? That last one is probably unlikely, but what the heck, I’ll take what info I can gather.


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

3/16/10 - Everything (I had laying around in my pantry) Levain

Hey All,

Just wanted to tease you a bit.  I don't have pictures yet, but here is the recipe for something I will call the "Everything Levain".  I pretty much had all this stuff laying around in my kitchen, so I wanted to make a bread using all of it...  Here is the recipe below.  I will post pictures later this weekend.

Edit: So I finally cut into it.  A friend whom I gave a loaf said the crust was too crusty, and the inside was a bit "dense"...  My loaf, while it was very "crusty", I found the crumb to be pretty OK.  As for the taste, it's pretty OK.  There were so many things it it, that I can't really place any of the flavors individually...  I prefermented 50% of the total flour, with most of it being the mixture of bits.  Maybe next time I will preferment less, up the hydration, and bake it for a shorter amount of time...  Overall, I am pleased with this "bold" bake...  Enjoy!


3/16/10 - Everything Levain

Stiff Levain (60% Hydration)

440g - Bread Flour

70g  - Rye Berries (freshly ground)

70g  - Spelt Berries (freshly ground)

70g  - Hard Wheat Berries (freshly ground)

70g  - Millet (freshly ground)

70g  - Jasmine Brown Rice (freshly ground)

70g  - Cornmeal

70g  - Graham Flour (Bob's Red Mill)

70g  - 10 Grain Cereal (Bob's Red Mill)

600g - Water

100g - Firm Sourdough Starter (60% Hydration)

1700g - Total


Final Dough

750g - AP Flour

250g - Bread Flour

760g - Water

36g -  Kosher Salt

¾ Tablespoon - Instant Yeast

1700g - Stiff Levain

Yield - 3500g dough



Stiff Levain

7:30pm - Grind all grains

7:50pm - Mix all with wooden spoon until combined, knead with wet hands until rough dough is formed, cover and let rest.

11:30pm - Knead into ball, transfer to oiled container, cover and let rest on counter.



1:00am - Transfer to refrigerator overnight.

8:30am - Turn dough, shape into ball, return to refridgerator.



12:52pm - Take levain out of fridge, place on counter and let rest.

1:00pm - Mix flour/water from final dough, place in oiled container and let rest/autolyse in refrigerator.

6:04pm - Take dough out of fridge.  Measure out salt and yeast.  Cut up stiff levain into pieces and place onto dough, sprinkle with salt and yeast, knead 5 minutes and rest for 30 minutes, covered.

6:50pm - Knead dough 1 minute, cover let rest for 30 minutes.

7:20pm - Turn dough, cover let rest.

9:00pm - Divide dough into 3 equal pieces, shape, place in linen lined basket, covered with towel.  Proof for 90 minutes.

9:30pm - Arrange 2 baking stones on different  levels, arrange steam pan, turn on to 550F with convection, preheat for 1 hour.

10:30pm - Turn off convection, place 1 cup of water in steam pan, close door.  Turn boules out onto floured peel, slash as desired and load directly onto stone.  After last loaf is in, add 1 more cup of water to steam pan, close door.  Lower temp to 460F and bake 1 hr with no convection, rotating and shifting loaves between stones halfway through bake, lower to 430F for remaining half of bake.  Loaves are done when crust is deep brown, and internal temp is 210F.  Cool completely before cutting.


Dragonbones's picture

Using fresh spinach instead of frozen?

I've noticed that most recipes for adding spinach to bread involve purchasing frozen spinach, then thawing and draining it.  However, I've not see frozen spinach here, and have daily access to fresh spinach. My question is, if converting to fresh, do I need to blanch it first then freeze it, or just freeze it raw, then thaw it to get the same consistency, or just blanch it and chop it, or anything? Or just wash, chop and put it into the dough raw? I know I could experiment but rather than risk ruining a loaf, I thought I'd pick your brains first to see if anyone has experience to share here.  I do know to make sure it's well drained or squeezed dry, or else the hydration has to be adjusted. Thanks in advance!

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Calculating a pre-ferment

I have a question about baker's math and pre-fermented flour.  When a recipe calls for "25% fermented flour," what does this mean in terms of baker's math?  In other words, how do you compute a formula using that information? 

I think I know, but I'm not really sure.  I would assume that if you're starting with, say 1000g of flour, then 250 grams of that is fermented using the water from the total water content of the recipe, according to what percentage of hydration you want the pre-ferment to be (125g for a stiff starter, etc.)  Is this correct?

Thanks for any help.

Barbara's picture

Developing a crusty crust with the distinct "ear".

My daughter and I have been working with artisan breads for about 8 years and we still have not mastered the crusty crust and the "ear" that forms on the crust from slashing. What is the secret to consistantly making bread like this?