The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Yippee's picture

090919 Mr. DiMuzio's Nuts and Dried Fruits Bread

This bread was made with 40% levain and is a variation of Mr. DiMuzio's double raisin walnut bread. I used a 3-build firm starter of 50% hydration and adjusted the formula to Mr. DiMuzio's percentages.  The 75% nuts and passion fruits medley have made this bread very colorful and attractive.  It is a bit chewy and has a medium-mild sourdough taste.

I utilized my Zojirushi to knead the dough for ten minutes and gave it a few folds afterwards before bulk fermenting it in the fridge overnight.  Before shaping, nuts and fruits were folded in.  Shaped dough was proofed in fridge overnight. Steamed and baked at 460F for 40 minutes.

JeremyCherfas's picture

Peasant bakers in France

I went to a really interesting bread-making course about 10 days ago, and have simply not had time to write it up yet. One thing I did want to share though, was a film we were shown. It is called Les blés d'or, and was made by ADDOCS, a French film-making organization.

The film is about peasant bakers (and the word peasant is used as a badge of pride, with no pejorative undertones) who have rescued several old varieties of wheat and who bake in the traditional manner. The commentary is all in French (although the DVD for sale has other languages, including Italian but not English (yet)). I found it fascinating, especially the sequence that shows the mixing of the dough.

The recipe is very simple: 33 kg of flour, 22 litres (i.e. 22 kg) of water and half a bucket (maybe 5 litres?) of starter. And the entire mass is mixed by hand. It is absolutely glorious to watch, and if you've never seen a baker stretch and fold 55 kg -- more than his own body weight, I'm sure -- of dough, you have a real treat in store.

You can watch the video streaming in reasonable quality from the ADDOCS site. It is the second film down in the list on the right. I hope you enjoy it.

In view of an earlier post I was thrilled to see a loaf made from Touzelle what flash up on screen, albeit very briefly.


txfarmer's picture

Horst Bandel Pumpernickel From the Hamelman Bread Book

Hi all, I've been making high percentage rye breads recently, finally got to the horst bandel pumpernickel this past weekend. Having read some of the warnings here, I was very stingy with the soaking water for old bread (I used some 100% rye) and rye berries. I didn't add any extra water at first after mixing everything together, it was actually pretty dry, with lots of dry flour at the bottom, so I added water one TBSP at a time, until the "dough" is a paste that felt like the 100% rye I made successfully a few times. Shaped and put it in the pullman pan (even double checked to make sure it's the right size), after 50 minutes it rose some, the top domed probably 3/4inch below the pan edge, not as high as I had expected, but I didn't want to over proof, so it went into a 370F oven for an hour, then 275F for 3 hours, then the oven is off. Everything went smoothly, imagin my disappointment when I open the lid this morning and found that the bread didn't rise at all in the oven, still the same dome shape. What could be the problem? The sourdough start I used has been reliably effective for months, and the starter dough rose and matured properly in the 14 hours. The instant yeast I used is from the same batch used for another bread, which rose successfully, what what can it be? Did I leave the dough too dry? Should I have baked it longer/at a higher temperature? I am eager to try again and get it right, but need to figure out what went wrong first! Oh, the high gluten flour I used is Sir Lancelot from KA, about 14% protein. Thanks!

wally's picture

A sieve or a proofing basket? More adventures in jury rigging

This weekend I decided to try Hamelman's Country Bread in the shape of a boule.  However, I lack proofing baskets, and as I proceeded through the recipe, a nagging thought kept injecting itself: So, how do plan on keeping your boule from turning into a pancake?

I baked only one loaf, so I scaled down his recipe thus:

Overall formula:

Flour (sir galahad)    454g    100%

Water                         309g     68%

Salt                                4g      1.8%

Yeast    1/4tsp instant dry       .6%

The pre-ferment is a stiff pâte fermentée:

Flour                        227g

Water                       136g

Salt                              2g

Yeast  1/16 tsp instant dry

Final dough:                DDT = 75° F

Flour                       227g

Water                     173g

Salt                             2g

Yeast  1/4 tsp instant dry

Pre-ferment            365g


The pâte fermentée is made up 12 - 16 hours prior to the final dough.  Final mixing involves incorporating all ingredients except the pâte fermentée on speed one, and then cutting in the pre-ferment in chunks as the dough comes together.  Increase to speed two and continue for 2 - 3 minutes (or longer).  Hamelman's description of the final dough is "supple and moderately loose, with moderate gluten development."  My own experience was that while the dough had developed some strength, it was still relatively slack.

Bulk fermentation:

2 1/2 hours, with two folds at 50 minute intervals.

Shaping and Baking:

Pre-shape, cover with plastic and bench rest for about 20 minutes.  Final shaping into boules is followed by placing the loaf into a floured banneton or a couche.  Final fermentation is approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hour.  Bake is at 450° in a pre-steamed oven that is steamed again once the loaf is loaded.  Baking time is approximately 35 minutes.

The moment of truth for me came at the shaping stage when I had to decide what to do with this boule I had created.  It was clear to me that with a final fermentation time of an hour or longer, even a tightly shaped boule would begin to imitate ciabatta dough, and I do not have any bannetons.  But as I surveyed my kitchen, it occured to me that I did have a fairly sturdy sieve, into which I could fit a floured tea towel.  That revelation then raised the question, how to suspend the sieve so that it was level/  A 2 qt. calphalon pot volunteered and I glimpsed a true jury rigged solution to my problem.

I heavily floured the tea towel with rice flour, which I've discovered is much less absorbent than AP - I haven't had anything stick to surfaces I've dusted with rice flour and this was no exception.

The result is a boule which, though it spread some in the oven, does not resemble the pancake I had dreaded as I began my project.  The country bread has a pleasing taste - thanks to the pre-ferment - and makes a nice (if not so wide) sandwich bread.

Meanwhile I've made a note to add bannetons to my Christmas list.  But in the meanwhile, I'm happy with my sieve and makeshift proofing method!





sicilianbaker's picture

Peter Reinharts Sicilian Bread




I tried this bread around four times, 2nd time the bread had amazing flavor.. this time it was good, had a good crust but not the color I want. It thought I wasn't baking it enough but the bread just started to get browner and it didn't come out the way in Reinharts photo of it.


I'm using a electric oven, with stone but its a thin one and using steam. their was a good crust on the bread but the color and texture wasn't there.. there are alittle spots on the final dough.. could the dough be too dry?


I'm having trouble getting my breads to look like in the pictures. don't worry about the S shape he does, the dough kept sticking to the pan that I use to slide it on the stone.


MotoJack's picture

freezing dough?

Every 3rd sunday after service at our church we have a luncheon.Everybody brings food and we eat in the fellowship hall.Today my contribution was cinnamon buns and 3 different breads.Well,the ladies doing the preparating before we even had church ate most of the cinnamon buns and about half the bread so there wasn't much left after church when we had our luncheon.I'd made a triple batch of the buns (36 big ones) and 4 loaves of bread.Long story short,they liked the stuff I'd brought.Now they want me to supply a bunch of bread and buns for their church bazaar.My question.Can I make a bunch of the various doughs I would need ahead of time and freeze the dough till I'm ready to make the stuff?If I can do that,should it be frozen after it's completed or at an earlier stage?Thanks in advance.

dmsnyder's picture

Potato-Nut Bread from South Tyrol made with Rye Sour


I made this bread from Salome's formula a couple months ago. At that time, I couldn't get good quality hazelnuts, so I made it with walnuts only. It was very good tasting, had amazing keeping quality and was excellent after having been frozen.

A new crop of very good tasting hazelnuts finally appeared in my local Whole Foods Market, so it was time to make this bread again. Salome has posted this bread on her own TFL blog since I first made it. She made her bread using a rye sour rather than a wheat flour levain. This sounded like a great idea, so I did it.




Amounts (grams)

Baker's percentage

Bread flour



Roasted potato



Toasted hazelnuts & walnuts

200 (100 gms each)





Active rye sour






Ground coriander

2 tsp



Notes on Ingredients

You may note that I have increased the flour for this bake. Maybe my potatoes had more water content or my flour had less. (Or my water was wetter?) In any case, the dough was even gloppier than previously as I mixed it, so, after giving it a good chance to develop but still having medium-consistency batter in my mixer bowl, I added 100 gms more flour. The ingredient list reflects this.

At this point, I'm not sure what to recommend to others except to not add “too much” flour. This is supposed to be a very slack dough. Alternative methods I would consider would be to hold back some of the water and add water as needed (rather than flour) during mixing. This has the advantage of not throwing off the percentages of other ingredients relative to the flour. Another related solution would be to plan on using the “double hydration” technique often recommended for very slack doughs. This entails initially mixing with only 2/3 to ¾ of the total water until the dough has developed some (gluten) strength, then adding the remainder of the water and mixing until it is incorporated.


  1. The night before baking, activate the rye sour by mixing 20 gms starter with 100 gms of water and 80 gms of whole rye flour. Cover and ferment for 8-12 hours.

  2. The next day, roast, steam or boil the potatoes. Peel them.

  3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of your mixer), dissolve the rye sour in the water. Add the flour and potatoes, mashed or put through a ricer and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.

  4. Add the salt and coriander and mix to moderate gluten development. (10-13 minutes at Speed 2 with a KitchenAid)

  5. Transfer the dough to a floured board and, with well-floured hands, stretch it to a 14” square. Distribute the nuts over the dough, roll it up and knead for a few minutes to evenly distribute the nuts throughout the dough.

  6. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl tightly.

  7. Ferment the dough until doubled in volume with stretch and folds at 30, 60 and 90 minutes.

  8. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Divide it in two equal pieces and pre-shape each into a log. Dust with flour and cover. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes.

  9. Shape each piece as a bâtard and place them, seam side down, on a linen or parchment paper couche.

  10. Cover the loaves and proof them until they have expanded to 1.5 times their original volume.

  11. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 430F with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  12. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone and bake with steam for 10 minutes, then another 20 minutes without steam. If the loaves are browning too fast, turn the oven down 10-20 degrees.

  13. Bake until the internal temperature of the loaves is 205F.

  14. When the loaves are done, leave them on the baking stone with the oven off and the door ajar for an additional 5-10 minutes to dry the crust.

  15. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing

I sliced the bread and tasting it after it was completely cooled. The crust had softened somewhat but was still crisp. The crumb is moist but pleasantly chewy. The nuts are soft but provide little pops of nuttiness. This is particularly true of the hazelnuts, which I roasted longer than I usually do. The overall flavor is outstanding. There is more of a sour flavor than my previous bake of this bread, presumably due to the rye sour. There is no discernible rye flavor, but it does add to the overall complexity of the flavor as well as to the sourness.

I do prefer this version with the walnuts and hazelnuts and with the rye sour. 

I'm taking one of the loaves up to San Francisco tomorrow to nourish 3 of my siblings who otherwise would be suffering with only bread from Acme, Boudin, Semifreddi, Arizmendi, Tartine, Noe Valley, etc. to eat. <sniff>




subfuscpersona's picture

Lee Household Flour Mill - my Review / Evaluation


I'm in love with Lee...

The Lee Household Flour Mill is an electric grain mill manufactured by EM Lee Engineering. Purchased new, models start at $556. However, used mills are available at times on eBay at significantly reduced prices. I purchased a model S-600 on eBay several months ago and have been exploring the mill's capabilities since then.

Choice of Four Models




 Operating Voltage
    115 AC-DC
 Current Draw
    3.0 amperes
 Overall Height
    20 inches
 Shipping Weight
    20 pounds



 500 1/6 H.P. 3 to 5 LBS. Not Adjustable
 600 1/6 H.P. 3 to 5 LBS. 20 to 25 LBS.
 S-500 1/4 H.P. 6 to 10 LBS. Not Adjustable
 S-600 1/4 H.P. 6 to 10 LBS. 40 to 45 LBS.

The S-600 model I purchased is this company's top of the line flour mill. It is a one-pass variable grind electric mill that uses a unique design for milling grain. It is adjustable from a coarse mill to a very fine flour. To-date, I have used it primarily to mill fine flour from hard spring wheat for bread and soft wheat flour for pasta and cookies. I have also milled a very coarse corn grits (from popcorn).

I have been extremely impressed with the fine flour this mill can produce. The flour I mill from hard spring wheat (red or white) is virtually indistinguishable in feel from a standard, commercial bread or all-purpose flour yet it is entirely 100% whole wheat. I also own a Nutrimill (micronizer) grain mill and I feel that the Lee Household Flour Mill produces a better fine flour.

This mill does have limitations. Like a micronizer mill, it is not capable of remilling flour. It cannot mill bean flour or small size grain such as millet or amarinth. It is difficult to clean. The units that become available on eBay may be missing some parts (most usually the flour receptacle bag and the lid for the grain hopper).

On eBay, I paid $125 (plus $15 shipping) for a working stone-based mill that can mill fine to coarse flour for most of the grains that home-millers use (wheat, rye, spelt, corn). Given the price, I'm willing to live with this mill's limitations, though I would be the first to admit that this mill is definitely not for everyone.

If anyone wants additional information on this mill, please post back to this thread or PM me (I have done extensive searches and have collected most of the information available on the 'net relating to this mill). I would be delighted to exchange information with you on this mill.

===== Selected Internet Resources about the Lee Household Flour Mill ========== - the primary source for documents (user manual and other documents) on the Lee Household Flour Mill. All documents are in Adobe Acrobat's pdf format and can be downloaded to your computer. - information on models from the original manufacturing company, Lee Engineering.

narabio's picture

Create a Starter from Sourdough extract


Does someone know if I can make a sourdough starter from "Sourdough extract"?

Today I've seen a packet (15gr) of something labeled as "Sourdough extract" and I have bought it. The ingredient list says it contains only "Rye flour and Enzymes". I wondered if this is some kind of dried sourdough culture and if I could bring it to life.

Anyone have any experience with something similar?

Thanks in advance,


Shiao-Ping's picture

Let's have a feast for our eyes


                                                                               SP's Country Sourdough







And let's slice them ...







 Now I found something ... 


And this ...


                                   Lovely crumb to me                                        but this is slightly on the dense side and gummy, why?


A wake-up call:

I recall when I was mixing my starter in the water for the final dough, I felt tiny little lumps of dough in my hands but I was unable to break them up because they were too many.  I used a trick that I learned from making custard when there were lumps - by pushing the starter through a sifter, I managed to get rid of most big lumps, but there were still many very tiny ones.  I got tired of trying to get rid of them, so I proceeded as normal.  Those lumps would most likely have been formed during the 2 hour final levain expansion (see my post here for details of Chad Robertson's sourdough timeline) - I did not mix the starter thoroughly with the flour and water.  And these lumps, however small, became the gummy part of the crumb!  (I may be wrong but that's what I think it was.)

A myth: The longer the fermentation, the better it is for the sourdough.  No, it depends on how time is spent, not how much time there has been.

With this sourdough, I learned something new.  What happened was when I was trying to get rid of the lumps, my hands were stirring the starter in the water for quite a long time (15 to 20 minutes at least).  I had never seen so many bubbles appearing in the water as if all of the wild beasties were woken up from their sleep and were doing their morning exercises.  This would not have meant anything to me, had it not been the fact later on that the fermentation seemed to have advanced in quite a fast pace even though the dough temperature was under 20C / 68F.  (I wish Debra of the Frankendough could help me out here.)

Anyway, with the fermentation kicking along, I decided I wanted to do an experiment, and that is, to really work the dough with my stretch & folds in such a way as to really build the dough strength.  I dipped both of my hands in water (to prevent sticking) and, with one hand pressing the centre of the dough, the other hand grapping a corner of the dough and folding onto itself, I stretched & folded the dough quite vigorously for at least 30 to 40 times at each set of S&F's until the dough felt elastic.  I did 3 sets of S&F's within one and a half hours and within that time the dough expanded quite a lot.  In normal circumstances I would have done a 4 hour bulk fermentation as in my post of Chad Robertson's country sourdough; but in this instance, I decided one and a half hours were enough (the dough temperature stayed under 20C).  I divided the dough into three pieces and pre-shaped them twice as they were very soft and even though I pre-shaped them to very tight balls each time they relaxed and spread out completely.  I shaped them to tight batards and only proofed for half an hour, compared to 2 hours previously when I did my Chad Robertson's.  Retardation was only 9 hours.

This morning before I baked them, the doughs were as flat as pancakes, but in the oven, they rose like hills:


What I learned in this bake is that the dough strength (built up from the vigorous stretch & folds) helped in the volume (the oven spring, the open crumb, etc).


Time for some food,



And pack up the rest,




p.s.  The minor variations I made in the formula here compared to the one in My Imitation of Chad Robertson's Country Sourdough were: (1) 72% hydration; (2) 5% of total flours in rye flour; and (3) total dough weight 3 kg.