The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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fventura20's picture

Bread mixers


There have been several threads about bread mixing and I wanted to share what works well for me. I usually mix small batch of dough - up to six cups at a time. I found that a Westbend Hi Rise Bread Machine works very well. The machine cost about $90.00 and is available through Amazon with free shipping. It has a removable pan, two bread paddles, 4 ½ cup capacity (but mixes 6 cups well), and best of all a homemade cycle that allows you to set knead and rest times. I set it for 5 minutes knead, 20 minutes rest, 10 minutes knead, and then 50 minutes warm proof. The machine mixes well, dough doesn't climb on a hook, and there is no worry about it falling off the counter.



I only use the machine to mix the dough and prefer to bake in my oven. These are some of the loaves that I made recently with the machine.

I have also used the machine to mix multiple batches of dough (12 cups or more) by only mixing 6 cups at a time and removing the dough to proof elsewhere.

StrangeLoaf's picture

Overnight crust?

Am I doing something wrong? or just expecting too much to have a crispy crust the next morning? I have to bake the evening before, as like most people I have things to do in the morning. but I like a good crusty bread in the morning.

I live in London, and I guess my flat is on the humid side. So if this is the problem, how do I get around it?


ehanner's picture

Learning the Rubaud method

There has been much discussion lately about the rather remarkable Gerard Rubaud as written by MC. Everyone seems to like the flavor of the multi grain levain and dough mix but the method is a trial for home bakers due to the tiny amounts involved in the starter.

To make a long story short, I decided to make one loaf which means the first stage of the levain could be mixed in a large thimble with a tooth pick. Since all of the starter feeds and the dough use the same mix of flours, I added it all up and mixed it all together in one batch as dsnyder suggested in his second try at this. It makes the process far less cumbersome since you only have to measure once all the small amounts.

I also weighed out the salt and divided it into 1/4's and added a little from 1 pile spread out in all 3 levains. I hope that is clear. In practice I just sprinkled a pinch in each build to slow it down a bit as per the author.

I also broke from my usual method of adding the water (for the dough) to the levain and creating a slurry. Rubaud says use the water in an autolyse and THEN add the levain and salt. All small things but in the end I think it makes a difference.

All of us that are baking this bread are after the BEST bread we can make and attention to the smallest detail may make a difference.

I will not duplicate Davids most excellent recipe table it can be found here. Also Shiao-Ping's wonderful front page post is here. And MC's Interview which started this off is here.

I'm quite happy with this second attempt at this bread. It did smell wonderful in the house tonight and I can only imagine how it must be to be in a room of 50 or so right out of the oven. Many breads taste good but in my experience not all of them smell great after baking. The bread is just slightly warm to the touch and there is no sour tang. Just a full flavored translucent and creamy crumb and a thin crispy crust. Very nice.

Eric's picture

How can i make really moist maraschino cherry bread like Bob Evan's bread? No nuts just plain cherries

Hi, I recently bought cherry bread from Bob Evan's and found it was one of the best breads i have ever eaten. I tried to duplicate the recipe but found it was not the same flavor or moistness that i found in the Bob Evan's bread. Does anyone know how to make this particular bread as close as possible to the Bob Evan's bread i enjoy? Please no nuts or other ingredients, I want the delicious flavor of the maraschino cherries.

pincupot's picture

Is this the correct rye bread crumb?

Hi all,


I have been baking Hammelman's Sourdough Rye Walnut and Rye Walnut Raisin bread for a while.  I love the flavor and look; however I wonder if my rye just isn't rising.  In know rye doesn't rise like white flour, but I thought there might be a bit more air in the crumb.  Any comments for the photo below?


Rye Walnut crumb

inlovewbread's picture

Essential's Columbia

This bread is from Maggie Glezer's gem of a book: Artisan Baking. I have been wanting to make this bread for a while because it was named after the Columbia River. As a Washington State native, I had to make it. I'm glad I did as this bread has become my new personal favorite. 


Bread Flour 45%, All-Purpose Flour 45%, Whole Wheat Flour 8%, Whole Rye Flour 2%, Toasted Wheat Germ 3%, Barley malt syrup 3%, Water 67%, Levain 41%*, Salt 2%* (*Glezer's formula specifies 41% but by my calculations it was more like 46%. I used 30g 50% hydration firm white starter to innoculate 150g bread flour at 63% hydration (63g water). *I decreased the salt from 2.4% to 2% overall.

I made a small change to the original recipe in method. Instead of mixing for 10 minutes (!) which I thought was a bit much, I mixed to shaggy mass then let rest (autolyse) for about 50 (instead of 20) minutes before adding the salt and levain. I then did two stretch and folds for the first two 45-minute intervals of the 5 hour bulk ferment. The dough was then divided, shaped and proofed for 4 more hours. I also changed the baking from what was recommended in the book. I baked at 500 degrees F for the first 5 minutes with steam, then turned the oven down to 460F, then 425F for the last 10 minutes, for a total of 34 minutes baking time.

This is the best ear/ bloom that I have ever gotten on a loaf. It was really fun to watch it open up in the oven. 

We like the toasted wheat germ that was added to this bread. It adds a lot of nuttiness and depth of flavor along with a small amount of rye and white whole wheat. Some others on TFL have tried it with spelt with good results. I might try that. The picture above shows one that I slashed twice, and the other tried to follow the "grapevine pattern" instructions described in the book. THere is only one small off-to-the-side picture of the actual bread, so I wasn't quite sure what Glezer meant. My attempt wasn't pretty- too many scores. The below picture is of some sort of shape I made-up today to avoid a disaster. I tried shaping these batards differently than I usually do (actually, I tried GR's technique shown here) and the batard ended up too long for my baking stone. (Not to discount this shaping method, just my learning curve error to blame) So I made a coronne/ ciabatta shape to fit. Worked pretty well, and I kind of like the look :-)

Wonderful flavor and texture, I love this bread.

Fly's picture

Yet another vital wheat gluten question!

How does adding it affect hydration?  I know it goes in small amounts but given that it's virtually straigh protein (the one I looked at said 80%-90% pure protein) I can see it affecting dough consistency more than the small addition would seem. 


I'm looking at it b/c I'm still having difficulty getting my 50% WW bread to spring well in the oven and hold it.

cajun_1's picture


Just started my starter from this fine website. The instructions say "cover" for 24 hours.  Mine is in a glass jar. Should the lid be loose or tight? Maybe a cloth or something other than the lid?  Any help is truly appreciated.


jsk's picture

Replacing wheat bran in Struan bread.

I want to bake tomorrow the PR's Struan bread and make the pre-doughs today.

The soker calls for wheat bran wich I don't have in the moment. What other grain/flour can be a good subtitue for it?

Thanks a lot!

RiverWalker's picture

Whole Wheat cookies? (Melon Bread)

My fiancee and I are anime fans and a while back I felt adventurous and tried making Melon bread, based on a recipe I believe I found on this site.  (for those who don't know, Melon Bread is basically a bun type thing, that has a sweet bread, with a sugar cookie sort of crust laid over it.)

it came out pretty well,  definitely able to see the reason its popular in japan.

but health-wise, they aren't so hot.  by weight watchers points, they werel like, 4-6 points each or something like that.

so I thought of trying to make a version thats healthier.   now for the bread-portion, I am fine, I have been experimenting with substituting WW flour for regular and such.

but for the cookie portion...  it seems a bit trickier.  (I mean, how often do people make COOKIES with whole wheat flour?)

I tried doing two main things with my first attempt at making healthy melon bread, I substituted part of the sugar, with Splenda, and used 100% whole wheat flour.   while it did not end up BADLY, I was profoundly unimpressed with the cookie crust.   while it did seem to prevent the bread from crusting up early(quite well, in fact, the bread portion was wonderfully soft and fluffy) and never got remotely crispy, in fact it was hardly distinguishable from the bread portion.

the regular flour cookie portion of the recipe I am using is:

1c Flour (with the straight recipe, I mixed AP and cake flour, though I'm not sure the distinction mattered that much)
1/2 tsp baking powder
3Tbsp Butter
4Tbsp Sugar
1 egg

(sugar/buter creamed, mixed with egg,  then the baking powder/flour mixture mixed in.  portioned and refrigrated, then rolled out and put on top of the mostly proofed buns)

is it possible to do something like this with whole wheat flour and it work better than I experienced? larger volume overall? more baking powder?  would using only half WW flour improve it greatly or would the WW flour weigh it down too much even then?

I'm not averse to experimenting if thats what it takes, but if I can get a direction thats more likely to work, that would be appriciated.

also, how does Splenda interact with bread baking or cookies like this?