The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Salilah's picture

New flour - how to avoid cowpats (!) ?

After reasonably (!) successful and reliable sourdoughs, I had in succession one very flat loaf and then a cowpat (overproofed) - the cowpat was a new recipe but the flat loaf was tried and tested.  Even the cowpat seemed relatively fine - not very active bulk fermentation, so fridge overnight, it felt heavy when I shaped, then fell apart before final shaping...  The thing I'd changed - was to a new flour!

The new flour came through Bakery Bits - a 100% stoneground white, which I thought would be great.  Looking at the label, it comes from Little Salkeld:

and is the biodynamic, which I'm assuming therefore is potentially only a protein level of 9%(?) - it doesn't specify protein on the label :(

I've been using either strong bread flour, or the very strong Canadian flour (Waitrose) - so I'm guessing this is what is challenging!

Question: how can I best use this new flour, as I have 6kg of it?  Should I mix it with the strong Canadian to make a sort of standard bread flour, or are there particular techniques I should try to get the best from this flour?  I'd like to be able to use it and see what it tastes like - but I don't know the right techniques.  Any suggestions much appreciated!!


davidg618's picture

1 pound loaves

During the holidays, and for the first time, we baked 1-lb. loaves, one-third smaller than our usual 1.5-lb loaves. We did this because we gifted a number of family and friends that live alone, reasoning that a larger loaf would likely stale before it was consumed. Furthermore, I can bake three 1-lb per load in my household oven, but only two 1.5-lb loaves otherwise. We  baked more than was needed, so we've been consuming the leftovers. We've realized the smaller loaves serve our needs--there is only two of us--as well, or possibly better than the larger loaves. I'll continue to make larger loaves to share at our frequent community pot-luck dinners, or when we entertain.

I also like simply hand-shaping batards, and proofing the loaves on a couche vis-a-vis bannetons.

This formula is 10/45/45: Whole Rye Flour/KA Bread Flour/KA AP Flour, with  14% of the flour (all Bread Flour) prefermented in the levain build. Hydration is 68%. I retard the dough for 15 hours at 54°F.

David G

David G

suzyr's picture

Tartine Bread

Tartine Country Bread

Here is my bread that I have just finished. This was a small loaf but I am very happy with the crust and crumb. 

tneveca's picture

Why does my loaf always split apart in the oven?

Sorry I don't have a picture, but I think my subject heading paints a familiar picture. I am infuriated with my loaf, because after 12 hours of meticulous preparation, the bloody damn f-ing loaf burst down both sides in the oven. I've been baking sourdough in brotforms for a year, and every time the loaf COMES UNDONE after I form it, which causes it to burst in the oven down both sides.

You see, when you use a brotform banneton, you place the newly formed loaf UPSIDE DOWN in the basket for the proofing period. But when you place it UPSIDE DOWN, it f-ing comes apart at the SEAM!!!! During the 2 hours of proofing, the dough slowy and insidiously UNFOLDS at the seems like a bloody rose in bloom. WHY WON'T IT STAY CLOSED!!!!!??????????? This is KILLING my loaves. I bake otherwise beautiful brotform loaves, but they all have bloody f-ing rips down the sides because of the BLOODY flowery unfolding process during proofing. I don't want my loaves to BLOOM anymore!!! THEY MUST stay shut.


What can I do? I'm am so angry I just smashed my loaf with my fists and hurled it out the front door. I WONT eat a damaged loaf. It MUST be unflawed.





Szanter5339's picture

Karácsonyi vanilliás bejgli torta

codruta's picture

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear TFL members, wherever you are!

 These are some romanian traditional sweet breads made for holidays "cozonac", usually made with a nuts or poppy seeds filling, but I made them with raisins and figs and candies orange peel.

And these two breads are San Francisco Sourdough, I'll post the formula next days. It is made in four days, from start to finish, but the result is amazing.

And last, but not least, 70% rye + 30% whole wheat, after Hansjoakim favorite.


It looks like angels are everywhere these days!

Best wishes to all of you, peace, health and happiness. Thank you all for your support and inspiration in 2011.


lumos's picture

XXVII – Seeded Sourdough Bagels

….Gosh, been really busy last few weeks and haven’t been able to post or blog for at all. A few people gave me PM/email messages, concerned about my absence (Thank you! :)), so thought I’d better re-appear once before Christmas just to prove I’m still alive and baking!

 So, here’s my last blog in 2011…..Seeded sourdough bagels.


 The formula is very similar to my regular basic sourdough WW bagels that I blogged about which seems like zillion years ago, only with added seeds and reduced WW. The procedure is exactly the same, except for spread & fold method, introduced by Eric, instead of kneading, which is so easy and works like a magic, especially for seeded dough = no need to chase around escaped seeds during kneading! (Thank you, Eric!) 




★Please note that I've been making this without added yeast as in original recipe lately.  It needs longer fermentaion, obviously, and the crumb is somewhat denser, but choice is yours! :) ★


Sourdough bagels with Mixed Seeds

 Levain …. Fed twice during 24 hr period before use with 120g high-gluten flour (see below) and 80g water (1st feed = 40g flour + 25g water,  2nd feed = 80g flour + 55g water)


 Main Dough

  High-Gluten Flour   470g (I use Watirose’s Canadian Very Strong White Flour)

  WW bread flour  100g

  Mixed Seeds   110g

  Non-diastatic malt powder   12g

  Sugar   14g

  Skimmed milk powder  2~3 tbls

  Wheatgerm   1~2 tbls

  Instant active dry yeast   1/4 tsp  optional (see Note above)

  Salt   12g

  Water  320g


Mix all the ingredients, leave for 30 mins.  ‘Spread & fold’ a la Eric-style (the link above) 3 times every 30~40 minutes.  Pre-shape → shape and place them on baking sheets (six per sheet), cover and cold retard in the fridge for 12 – 18 hrs to develop flavour.


  Just FYAI,  this is how I proof and boil bagel. (Note : those pictures are of the other batch of sourdough WW bagels with reduced WW which I baked during my absence, before seeded ones, but haven’t been managed to blog due to lack of time….)

A bit difficult to see, but I place thin strips of reusable baking sheet and sprinkle semolina under bagels…..


……which makew picking up fragile, proofed dough and putting them into boiling water gently so much easier.



A large, deep roasting pan is my trusted friend for boiling bagels, six at a time, which is ideal for my routine of baking 12 bagels at a time…..boil first six, 1 min a side → fish them out to drain on a tea towel while I put next six into the boiling water → load the first six into the oven → fish the second batch out, drain and into the oven. Switch the fan on for even temperature.

 Bake for 18 – 20 minutes @ 200C. (Take the first batch out after 18 – 20 minutes, move the second batch to the higher shelf, switch off the fan and bake another 2 minutes or so.)


…..and this is how they come out. (the photos miraculously change to those of seeded bagels! :p)




 Thank you so much for all your wonderful bready info, advices, help and  friendship in 2011 and

Very best wishes for merry Christmas and happy baking in 2012, too! 

Janetcook's picture

Enriched Dough Getting Slacker as it Ferments

I have been baking a lot of REALLY enriched breads this holiday season and they are behaving differently than my usual enriched doughs and I am wondering if anyone can shed some light on what I am experiencing.

I have been making Panettone, Stollen, Julekage and Challah.  I am using a sourdough starter and I have been retarding the doughs overnight after mixing in the evening.

Ordinarily when I do this with enriched doughs they get stiffer the longer they ferment due to the acids in leaven. Not these loaves.  They stay slack and, despite numerous S&Fs, they remain slack.  

They are still very tasty breads so my question is more out of curiosity as to why I am experiencig the opposite with these loaves and the only thing I can come up with is that they all contain a large %age of dried fruits that have been soaked prior to adding to the final dough.  The water used to soak the fruits is counted as part of the total hydration so no extra liquid is ending up in the dough.

Doughs are all made with freshly ground organic hard white spring wheat and Kamut....50/50 combo....I am thinking the Kamut may   play in to this too but am not sure.



DougMathis's picture

Wild Yeast Sourdough Bread

I have been working with my sourdough starter for a few years. I began with a recipe using the starter and commercial yeast. This year I got adventurous and decided to only us wild yeast for my sourdough bread. I worked with a few recipes without much luck then I decided to take a few tips, hints, and prcedures and use what I alreadty knew and came up with a recipe that I thought had been tweaked and "perfected". I made 3-4 batches of breaqd with this recipe and each adn every loaf came out beautiful. Since the last successful baking I have ran into dough that won't become fully elastic thus during the long rising time the top or crsut if you will begins to tear apart just at the top. I have kneaded and kneaded and made sure I had ample enough flour for the mixing stage. I have kneaded for a total of 30 minutes or more with resting time in between each kneading which last for about 10 minutes and the rest period generally lasts for about 10 minutes. The bread not only looks unappealing when it dos this but the tesxture on the inside is not light and fluffy and sorta dense like quick bread. Below is the recipe I use:

1 cup starter

2 tsp. sugar

1 cup flour

1 cup hot water (100-110 degrees)


Mix together in a bowl and cover with a
towel overnight.


1/3 cup oil

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

3-4 cups flour


Mix together until you have firm dough. Knead on
floured surface until dough is elastic. 22-32 minutes, kneading in increments
and resting for 10 minutes between each kneading. Rise at least 3-4 hours or
until doubled in bulk.


Any help or tips is greatly appreciated.






Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Getting my Ciabatta right

Hi all!  Been a while, but I'm getting back into the bread swing.  Last night I did a batch of Reinhart's ciabatta.  The loaves were beautiful and delicious, but not what I was looking for.  I'm hoping for some tips that will get me that last inch to the perfect ciabatta.

The problem is the crumb: it's not the caramelized, chewy interior I associate with ciabatta (like the gorgeous photos in PiP's Hybrid Ciabatta here), but soft and light, almost like an enriched bread.  I'll take some photos of the crust and crumb when I get home tonight.

Notes from the bake:

  • Dough was made with a poolish
  • Instant dry yeast was used
  • Room temp is ~66-70F
  • All water used was room temp
  • Dough was kneaded in my KitchenAid with hook for ~8 minutes on medium speed (4 I think)
  • Dough was *very* slack
  • After the mixer, it was put on the counter and stretched-and-folded letter-style once.
  • 30 minutes later, stretch-and-fold again
  • 2 hours later, divide into 3, stretch-and-fold each once into slipper shape and put in couche
  • 1 hour later, put on Fibrament stone that was preheated in 500F degree oven for 45 minutes
  • Add water to steam pan, spray sides of oven several times
  • Bake at 450F for 15-20 minutes

I got good rises at each stage, an excellent oven spring, and the internal temp was 209F when I pulled them.

Thanks for any suggestions!