The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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gijose's picture

Working Wet Doughs by Hand... kneading vs folding?

I know it's a topic that has been talked about quite often, and I have seen the tutorial on folding.


I have been working quite successfully with 80% hydration dough.  I'm using the Pain a L'Ancienne recipe in the BBA, and I now have a scale, so I can more accurately recreate my bread effectively :)  What I have been doing is... mixing the ingredients together for a minute or so, then put the dough in the refrigerator for an autolyse period (the recipe calls for cold fermentation, so I figured this made sense).  When I take the dough out it's much smoother, and I give it a few folds, and toss it back in the fridge to hang out.


I get bread that looks and tastes delicious, so I'm not really looking to change too much.  The recipe itself uses a kitchenaid mixer, and works the dough a lot harder than I do.  In the recipe the dough is basically kneaded for several minutes.  All I do is autolyse and fold for a minute or two.  What would working the dough more accomplish?  Would I have to knead the dough to effectively develop gluten?  Or does folding do the trick?  Next time I make the dough I'm going to try taking the bowl out and folding a few times every hour or so, just to see what happens.  Just wondering if I could expect any changes in the bread.



althetrainer's picture

Holy Oven Spring!

Just made two loaves of sourdough sandwich bread.  I usually use mostly wheat flour but today I wanted to see how big a difference white flour would make.   After six hours of rising (2 hours 1st then 4 hours 2nd rise) the breads only rose up to the rim of the pans.  I put them in a cold oven and turn it to 375F for 40 minutes.  Right before the oven reached its temperature of 375F I looked through the glass window.  Holy oven spring!  The two loaves shot up at least twice of their original height.  I knew I would get some oven sping, but never thought I would get that much.  I had to cover the loaves for the last 10 minutes because the tops were looking a bit brown.  Other than that, the two loaves turned out pretty.


The large loaf:


The smaller loaf:




chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

HELP!!! These little creatures are envading my kitchen !!!!

Hello dear friends , I really missed you all, but I did not want to show you my face untill I fulfill my promise to Minioven and other fellows, i promised that I will share my recipes for "Falafel & Egyptian beans dish" but till now I did not make it, I was so busy and I do not have any space in my freezer but I am thinking seriously to buy a deep freezer because my freezer is complaining. And I am used to prepare large batch and freeze it to be ready anytime, sorry guys and I will hurry up and make it as soon as possible.

Concerning the title of my blog entry, mmmmmm!!

That was my daughter birthday, I chose a savory dish beside the cake I made for her and her classmates, I baked these little hedgehogs, from 7 cups of flour, I got 69 cute hedgehogs.

I really liked it, I used it as sandwiches or canapes.

and as soon as they are out of my oven , they invaded my kitchen, there was a hedgehogs every where!!!!


There was even a battle.

But there was also a love story !!!

What do you think he is telling her????

My kids and the girls even all the adults like them from the first look.

Are'nt they cuuuute???

Thank you all and missed you all, and i'll be ready sooooon with my Falafel or "Taameea" & egyptian beans blog post.

Ah !! forgot to tell you about the birthday cake ,,, it was a hit!!

To watch it, please visit me on my blog

Bye Bye !! Love you all !!

ehanner's picture

Wood fired Oven

I just saw a PBS show on the tube and now that I think about it I think it may of been a Gourmet Magazine show on PBS, about Tuscan cooking. A fellow was making a point of explaining why he used small brush twigs and small diameter wood for firing his oven. He filled the oven with this small wood. He explained that if you start the fire with what we would call kindling and then add larger wood, you end up with a very hot floor and not so hot roof in the oven. This makes perfect sense and reminds me of another show where a baker in England was saying how he fills the oven with what they call "Faggotts" which are again, small diameter brush like wood. It flashes quickly and burns down to ash in a short time leaving the roof hot and the floor appropriately evenly heated.

I thought I would mention this since quite a few Fresh Loafians are escaping to the outdoor oven recently. Using small hardwood brush would make it easier to find burnable materials I would think also.


jsmapr1's picture

Converting Firm Starter to Liquid

Hello everyone,

I've found quite a bit of information about converting a liquid starter to a firm, but how about converting a firm starter to liquid. I have a firm starter now from the infamous Artisan Baking Across America.



foolishpoolish's picture

Hot Cross Buns

In the run up to easter, I've been working on a naturally leavened recipe for hot cross buns.

Results are up on my blog, for all who are interested:



fsu1mikeg's picture

Whole Rye (Volkornbrot) crust problems

I have attempted to make a whole rye loaf similar to what my German wife enjoyed eating back home.  I have not been successful using the formula from Dan Leader's "Local Breads" book.  I used that recipe because it called for (finely ground) whole rye flour and rye berries, both of which I can find in Atlanta.  I finally decided to try Hamelman's version which calls for rye meal and rye chops.  I ground my own rye meal and chops using a small electric chopper.  Not the most efficient way I know, but I thought I'd give it a shot.  I sifted the contents through a regular kitchen strainer.  What came through the strainer I used as the "meal".  What was strained out I used as the "chops".  Working with these ingredients felt more "right" to me as I followed Hamelman's instructions.  I baked it in a loaf pan with no cover, just sprinkled some meal over top.  It looked real nice when I took it out of the oven 90 minutes later.  I let it cool for a couple hours on a rack and then wrapped it with a kitchen towel and left it on the counter overnight.  My wife eagerly tried it this morning (about 14 hours after it came out of the oven) and e-mailed me at work to say it was very hard still, but tasted good.  Will the crust soften as it continues to cool?  I know Hamelman recommends 24-48 hrs before slicing.  I thought this was more about the crumb stabilizing than the crust softening.  Is there any reason why the crust would come out this way and how can I get a better crust in the future?  Sorry for the long-winded post and thanks for any replies.


slimk23's picture

Light with a dimmer switch for proofing box

Could someone please tell me where I might find a light source with the dimmer built in for constructing a proofing box.  I have been looiking on this site and others for ideas of construction and many say they found a light with the dimmer together.  Any ideas or sources would be greatly appreciated.

gosiam's picture

Creating and Refreshing a Starter for a Specific Recipe

I am getting ready to bake Paul Merry's French country bread from Country Breads of the World by L. Collister & A. Blake and I can see that the baker builds the starter from the scratch for three days, refreshes it twice, over the following two days and then creates the dough after the time lapse of anywhere from 4 to 12 hours after last refreshment.  The built starter and the dough are 66% hydration.

My question is, since I have a healthy white starter in my fridge, 100% and ready to go, will it suffice to convert it to 66% hydration and then proceed with making the dough after the suggested time.  In essence, I would go strait to the second refreshment.  Will it matter that I did not keep the starter at 66% from the beginning of the process? And if so, what will this fact affect - rise, crumb, taste?

The second question has to do with the converter I am using.  I have this tiny Excel spreadsheet that enables me to calculate starter conversions from any higher hydration to any desired lower starter hydration.  It does it in such a way that I don't waste any starter, but build to exact quantity required by the recipe, by taking the minimum required quantity of the mother starter.  In other words, I only add flour (the amount calculated by the worksheet) for the firmer starter.  However, I am so used to adding both flour and water that it seems sacrilegious that I don't do this anymore.  Would "The French Baker" frown if he knew?

By the way, I will gladly share the converter tool if you are interested.


janij's picture

The project begins

The concrete just got poured for my wood fire oven.  So I guess I have to wait a week to let it cure then we are on.  I think someone else was going to break ground on April1.  If you did how did it go?