The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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varda's picture

Boston area TFL Meet Up - Parking

Meeting room location:   The main entrance to Cary Library is on Mass Ave.  A rear entrance is down a level, behind the building.   Our meeting room is on the lower level, to the left as you walk in the rear entrance.

Parking :   The small lot behind Cary Library is often full on Saturdays.   There are a couple 15 minute parking spaces right next to the lower level entrance, where you can stop to drop off your stuff, and then find longer term parking.     Two public lots in Lexington Center are within a block or two of the  library.   There is also on street parking.    All of this is metered at 25c per hour, quarters only - two hours max.  Meters can be refilled after the two hours are up.   You can also park on street in the residential neighborhoods behind the library with no meters.   Any questions, please let me know. 

A local reporter and/or photographer from the Lexington Minuteman may stop by sometime in the afternoon.  See you tomorrow. 


The list of attendees keeps shifting as some are unable to come and others decide they can.    Sorry that some who had hoped to attend will be unable to do so.    It looks like we'll have around 15 people attending, give or take last minutes changes.    It's almost time to start baking. 

Just to get us geared up for our get-together Yozza sent me this link to an earlier TFL real life meet-up.    Of course ours won't involve a WFO or baking 28 loaves of bread at a time, but it will still be epic! 


Our Boston area TFL get together is coming up soon - on March 30 from 1-4:30 at Cary Memorial Library 1874 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, Massachusetts.   Looking forward to meeting everybody.   We have plenty of room for more attendees, so if you have been thinking about coming but haven't responded please let me know.    If you want to come but have an issue with getting there, also let me know.    Other issues? 

If you want...

*  Bring something a little out of the ordinary that you use for making bread.   We'll set up our objects/ingredients/whatever on a table for browsing.

*  Bring some of your starter to exchange.

*  Be prepared to say a few words about  how you made your bread (hopefully accompanied by recipe copies to hand out.)


Things to Bring

* Your bread (of course) and accompaniments

* Cutting boards and knives - the more the merrier

* Plates, knives, forks, spoons, cups, napkins - Varda

* Trashbags for cleaning up - Muskoseev

* Name tags, marker, little cards to identify bread - Carol

* Water to drink - HotelPhyllis


Attendees and Bread

---BobS - rosemary-olive levain and some cheese

---Bostonphotobill (Bill) - baguettes

---Brotfan (Kirsten) - hot cross buns and maybe volkornbrot

---Carol (Bill's wife) - Peter Reinharts bagels

---Colinm (Colin)

---Dobeda - vegetarian dish, bread or baked goodie

---Hotelphyllis - dinner rolls and jalapeno cheddar sandwich rolls

---Isand66 (Ian) - Roasted corn with Feta Loaf and Guacamole bread, cheese and olive oil

---Ian's wife - cake

---Jong Yang and family - multi-seed bread and egg tart

---kzic - levain

---Mukoseev - ryes and some home made pastrami and new pickles

---Varda - 80% Rye loaf with rye soaker, butter and creamcheese, herring


Cary Library Rules:

1.  No cooking on site

2.  No liquor

3.  Must remove all leftovers at the end and clean up

See the policy page here




davidg618's picture

Mostly White Flour SD, and Salt

When I first began baking sourdough I followed the experts formulae to the letter. Most prescribed 2% salt. Frankly, I was disappointed with most of the mostly (or entirely) White Flour formulae, especially those that included up to 10% Whole Wheat flour in the mix. They were too bland for our palettes. Along the way I discovered overnight hydration, at cool temperatures, developed both flavor and the desired crumb.

Ultimately, as I continued exploring, my "go to" sourdough is a 10% Whole Rye flour (preferably Hodgson's Mill), 90% White (a 50/50 mix of KA Bread and AP flours), 2% salt, 68% hydration, DT 54°F and 15 hours retarded at 54°F. A typical loaf's flavor is neither Rye nor Wheat but an amalgam, perhaps enhanced by the levain acidity.

Along the same journey, we've come to enjoy the distinct wheatiness, and nutty flavors of overnight retarded baguettes leavened by commercial IDY.

Today I baked two loaves wherein everything was identical to our routine sourdough bakes, except the flour mix was 5% Whole Wheat, and 95% the usual White flour mix. I also upped the salt content to 2.25%. My intent was to achieve a wheaty flavored SD.

The flavor is, as hoped, wheaty; not the in-your-face wheatiness of baguettes but certainly the high note, modulated, softened, by the levain's acidity. All the flavors seem crisper which I attribute to the increased salt.

Coincidentally, I also finished simmering a 5-day-brined corned beef.  I think today's dinner has come together.

David G



HappyHighwayman's picture

First attempt at brioche

Came out really dark but hopefully the inside will be good. I think I baked it 25 degrees too hot. 

Inside is perfect though and tastes great!

BrianOD's picture

Whole wheat Sourdough starter behavior

I've been SD'ing for a couple of years now and I've never been happy with my results. I am beginning again with a revived starter. (6 months since last baking) My question concerns the activity of the starter and if it is active. The starter, which is a 100% whole wheat from SD International, is at 100% hydration. It will begin growing about 2 hours after feeding, grow to about double, maybe a bit more, and then stay there for about 6-8 hours. All at 75deg. There is no "bubbling" on the surface but the starter is almost a "foam-like" consistency, small irregular bubbles imbedded in the material. This is identical to the behavior it has exhibited in the past, including when it was first activated from the package so I think it has been revived successfully. Is this what I should be looking for, or should it be a little more effervescent? My loafs have not risen well in the past and usually turn out dense. Right now, I'm trying to determine if the problem lies in the starter or somewhere further down the process. thanks for ANY help!


Delbadry's picture

High crown muffins - impossible at home??


I am very, very close to giving up on trying to bake high-domed, large-crowned muffins. I've tried any and every recipe with a picture showing a muffin peak like I'm trying to create, and I've only ever achieved an average-looking, barely-rounded dome; unlike the kind you find at professional bakeries. I've tried different baking temperatures (including combination temperatures), different oven rack levels, different mixing methods, resting times and immediate baking, 3/4 full tins and heaping full tins, room temp ingredients and strict mixing guidelines, different batter consistencies, and even different muffin pans including jumbo and crown pans. Nothing has created that gorgeous dome that's as high as the muffin's base.

My question is: has anyone achieved this? Has anyone personally made these high-rising muffins with semi-sphered domes or even close to it? I've researched all the tips and any recipes you may suggest I've probably already tried.. I just wanted a confirmation before I give up that it cannot be done at home.

Thanks!!! :)

Gene New's picture
Gene New

No success with no need breads

I am new to bread making and very much at the experimental stage. Thanks to a recipe by Micheal Roux Jnr and the method of slap and fold employed by Richard Bertinet  I have successfully managed to make a decent white loaf after a series of nice enough but still quite right  loaves and a few bricks.  

One fairly basic thing I havent managed to do properly is make a successful No Knead loaf, you know the type of bread that is so simple even a 4 year old can do it.  

So far I have tried two variations and failed both times, but never being one to give up easily I though I would give it another go so today was attempt number three.   This time I thought I would try a part wholemeal version that called for 300g bread flour, 100g wholemeal flour, 300ml water, 1/4 teaspoon yeast and 1.25 tsp salt.

The recipe is simple enough and after mixing it all I was really happy with how it went last night. However I got up this morning to a goo that stuck to everything, wouldn’t hold it’s shape for anything and gave off a smell in my kitchen was more like brewery than a household ready to bake bread.

I know I didn’t leave it too long and it wasn’t anything to do with heat or altitude since where I live we are only 200 feet above sea level plus it is winter and it snowed last night and we didnt have the heating on so my kitchen was like a fridge when I got up.

The next part of the recipe called for folding the dough which looked easy in the videos but I couldn’t handle it at all since my dough was at pouring consistency and the flour I put out for it to sit on had no affect, it was like trying to handle a very liquid tacky glue!

I couldn't do anything with it so I tried my own version of a resurrection.

Since I have had most success with Richard Bertinets method of kneading and that in turn works well with high hydration mixes I though I would try a little slap and fold and see if I could bring the glue together that way.    Initially I seemed to be getting somewhere but the moment I stopped working it would start to fall apart and stick to everything once again. I tried adding a little of flour but that didn’t work either so after a frustrating and totally unsuccessful hour or so it was back to the Internet and look for a solution but that was to little avail.  The picture at the top shows was what it looked like at that point.

However when I did a search about the strong smell in the kitchen a few people suggested the yeast may have eaten all of the nutrients and some suggested you should add more yeast but no one said how much so I added 1/8 teaspoon of instant yeast and worked it a bit more with another couple of pinches of flour and more slap and folds. After a lot more effort on my part it finally it started to come together so it’s currently sitting in a bowl proving, it’s been about 45 minutes and at least it is rising.

Alas I don’t have the experience to know what I should do next – should I treat it like one of Richards mixes and fold it, let it rise again shape and cook in a bread pan or should I continue treating it as a no knead bread despite all my work and simply shape and cook it in a Dutch oven – I really don’t know!

But the way things have gone with this bread I don’t hold out much hope for it producing anything remotely edible so I may just go for broke and cook it in the Dutch oven anyway, if I do I will report back and let you know what happened but so much for no knead!

jgmathis23's picture

Rustic Bread from The Fresh Loaf Pocket Book of Bread Baking

Just started trying to learn how to bake bread.  

First book purchased was the Kindle version of The Fresh Loaf Pocket Book of Bread Baking.

This weekend, I tried making the Rustic bread from this book.

To my amazement, the loaves turned out great.

Nothing in them but the basic 4: flour, water, yeast, salt.  Yet there were a million little decision points that are probably hard to reproduce identically every time you bake.  Hope my second time out goes as well.


Jim Mathis

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

Baking Bread, an exploration of bread and its many facets

Bulk fermentation is done when a dough is strong enough to remember its shape after baking.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

40% Rye With Ground Seeds

I have been excited to bake a simple rye bread since my starter had become ready to use.  Also, I went to a local organic mill and stocked up an all sorts of grains, flours as well as a hard to find Puy lentil from France.  I chose to do a 40% Rye with some toasted and roughly ground seeds (sunflower, flax and caraway) within.  I also got to use a brotform for the first time.  I will update with crumb photos, but I have a feeling I should have seen more oven spring and height from a formula such as this one.  I did forget to bulk ferment an hour, so I just proofed for a full 2 hours.  Any rye experts out there, please let me know if this could most likely be the cause of such a poor spring.

JOHN01473's picture

A light at the end of the tunnel would be really useful right now.

I loaned a book from my library; its called "How to make Bread" by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. It contains some nice SD recipes / formulas. The problem is that all the recipes refer to the starter that he guides you through making. He then uses the same build for each recipe. He does not state the starter hydration for each recipe / formula. Rather than make his starter I wanted to use my one. This is his starter creation / feed plan.

Day 1,
Take 1 Teaspoon of Flour and add 2 Teaspoons of Water and mix thoroughly.

Day 2, 3, 4 and 5:
Add 1 Teaspoon of Flour and add 2 Teaspoons of Water and mix thoroughly.

That makes 5 Teaspoons of Flour and 10 Teaspoons of Water.

His build for baking is take 15g of his starter and add
150g of Flour and 150g of Water. Cover and ferment overnight.
The next day use the amount of starter that each recipe requires.

As I worked through the maths I used the Standard conversion for Teaspoons to Grams:
1 teaspoon = about 5 millilitre ( ml ) = 5 grams ( g )

I carried on working through the maths, using previous guidance. When I finished I was pretty sure I had worked out the hydration of his starter and build for baking.



I came out with 200% hydration for the starter and 103% for bake starter. I was not sure these sounded right so I decided to weigh some flour and water. Using a proper measuring spoon I weighed a Teaspoon of White Strong Bread Flour and a Teaspoon of water; to my surprise the flour weighed 4g and the water weighed 6 ml. this contradicted the 5g / 5ml from the standard conversion.

So now I have lost my way - I am not sure how to proceed, so I need help.
A light at the end of the tunnel would be really useful right now.

The Baking Bear