The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Blog Sighting

Check out this "Top 50" list, compiled by That's our own SteveB (Bread cetera) in the Baking and Pastries category. Very nice blog, Steve---Congratualtions!


50 Best Blogs for a Complete Culinary Education

Going to culinary school is a dream for some students, but it's not the only way you can learn how to become a great cook. The web is full of food blogs, and the best of the best - outlined here - couple their recipes and food tips with cookbook reviews, gorgeous photo tutorials, travel stories, food news, and behind-the-scenes coverage of celebrity chefs around the world. Here we've outlined 50 best blogs for a complete culinary education, whether or not you've earned your degree.

Cooking Tips and News

Find recipes, cooking tips, food news, and plenty more from these blogs. Subscribe to their feeds for steady lessons in cooking basics and beyond.

  • the Epi Log: Epicurious' blog covers food news and gossip, top 10 lists, cooking books, baking, cooking tips, and other yummy stuff.

  • Simply Recipes: This popular blog lets you browse recipes by type or by ingredient, and there's even a Simply Recipes Amazon store.

  • Cooking with Amy: Amy has been featured in The Guardian, PARADE and other publications for her smart take on presenting original recipes alongside travel notes and food news.

  • For the Love of Cooking: This is another award-winning blog that features a foodgawker cooking gallery and tasty, classic recipes with clear instructions.

  • Closet Cooking: If you have a tiny student's kitchen, you can make the recipes featured on this blog, like apple pie French toast or spinach and feta lasagna.

  • Start Cooking: Kathy Maister's Start Cooking blog adds photos for each step in the cooking process, to help you master each recipe. You can also watch cooking videos.

  • La cuisine d'Helene: Helene clearly has a sweet tooth, but you'll find solid meals and appetizers to make on this blog, too.

  • The Food Section: Get all kinds of food news, from food technology and kitchen tools to celebrity chefs to food trends in other countries.

  • The FN Dish: The Food Network blogs about shows, shares recipes, and talks about other topics foodies love.

  • Browse recipes for every time of day (and in between), plus community blogs, how-to articles, and your own recipe box.

Culinary Schools and Students

These blogs come from culinary schools or culinary students and can help you understand what cooking school is all about.

  • Eric Rivera's Cooking Blog: This fun cooking blog, full of photos, is written by a Puerto Rican culinary school student.

  • The Dish: This culinary student blog discusses cooking basics, "egg week," and more.

  • The Hot Plate: This is the blog from the French Culinary Institute in New York, and it highlights foodie tours around the city, school news, culinary events, and more.

Baking and Pastries

Some culinary students choose to major in the baking and pastry arts. Even if you've chosen a different route, visit these blogs for scrumptious recipes and photos of bread and desserts that will make you drool.

  • Joe Pastry: Get up close shots of Joe's mixing and folding talents as he whips up cakes, macaroons, and more. Joe also shares tips for leavening, mixing, and bread making.

  • Gluten A Go Go: Learn to make fancy gluten-free cannolis and other desserts on this blog.

  • Let Her Bake Cake: She's trying not to eat everything she bakes, but it must be impossible for this blogger since she makes so many tantalizing desserts from scratch. On Let Her Bake Cake, you'll also find baking tips and baking supplies reviews.

  • Cream Puffs in Venice: Ivonne, one of the founders of The Daring Kitchen, blogs and posts photos of Italian desserts and other goodies on this blog.

  • heavenly cake baker: Get recipes for classic but impressive cakes here.

  • Charm City Cakes: The Ace of Cakes team shares news from the shop here.

  • Bread Cetera: Steve is an organic chemist turned bread baker, so you know he gets it right.

  • My Baking Addiction: This baker is truly obsessed: she has 25 posts for cupcakes, and 17 just for cheesecake!

  • Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit: Get recipes and tips for making pomegranate green tea cupcakes, Meyer lemon cranberry cupcakes, fig and quinoa cupcakes, and more.

  • Zoe Bakes: Bread book author Zoe is also a pastry chef who has worked with Andrew Zimmern and Steven Brown, and you'll find book reviews and favorite recipes here.

Culinary Management and Hospitality

If you want to learn about running a restaurant, check out these blogs.

Food Science 

  • Bringing food chemistry to life: Head to this blog from Oregon State for open conversation about the components of food.

  • Food Technology: Learn about food safety and technology systems used to package, transport and preserve foods.

For and By Chefs

Get a peek into the lives of some of the world's top chefs, and find tips from other successful cooks who love sharing their secrets.

  • Al Dente: You can find recipes, culinary news and kitchen gadget reviews on this blog.

  • Nigella Lawson: Each day find out what Nigella's cooking, or play around on her site for other recipes and "kitchen wisdom."

  • La Mia Cucina: Lisa, another co-founder of The Daring Kitchen, posts cooking challenges for herself here.

  • The Cook's Tour: Here you'll learn about food, wine, baking and travel.

  • A Moveable Feast: Louisa Chu is a chef and journalist who has appeared as a judge on Top Chef. Check out her blog for cooking show previews, and some of the most intriguing food photographs online.

  • Super Chefs: This blog/online magazine is a terrific resource for finding career tips, chefs and cooking in popular culture, and recipes.

  • Ideas in Food: Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot own a consulting business for restaurants and food service companies, and here they share recipes and other food adventures.

  • Chef From Hell: Learn classic American recipes from Chef JP here.

  • Giada De Laurentiis: Food Network star Giada blogs about her foodie and travel adventures here.

  • Cooking Diva: Tropical Chef Melissa DeLeon shares favorite recipes and cooking techniques from Colombia, Panama and more.

Foodie Blogs

These bloggers celebrate food and drink to the utmost. You'll never tire of reading about their love of food, trying out their exotic and comfort food recipes, or scrolling through beautiful photographs of food and travel.

  • Foodista Blog: On Foodista, you'll learn about the history of recipes you read about and get ideas for making all kinds of dishes for breakfast, cocktails, holidays, special diets, and more.

  • Kiss My Spatula: Find tweaked recipes from other blogs, books and newspapers, coupled with striking photos and music pairings for your dishes.

  • Chocolate and Zucchini: This popular, award-winning blog from Parisian Clotilde features recipes, food news, restaurant and cookbook reviews, kitchen gadgets, a recipe index, food glossary and more.

  • Bitten: Mark Bittman writes about food and shares fabulous recipes for the New York Times here.

  • Gastronomer's Guide: Get food book reviews, how-to guides, and food discussion here.

  • Cafe Fernando: Fernando lives in Istanbul, and his colorful, creative blog is filled with fantastic recipes, from muffins and desserts to pasta to Turkish dishes to meat and fish.

  • Serious Eats: Serious foodies congregate on this blog and food community to swap recipes, rate restaurants, take on cooking challenges, and share tips.

  • The Bitten Word: Get tips for mincing garlic while you find recipes for cocktails, holiday meals, party food, sauces, soups, side dishes and more.

  • Orangette: This famous foodie blog is no-frills, but it has over 5 years' worth of recipes, cooking stories, food photos, and tips.

  • Chez Pim: This celebrated blog combines food with travel while sharing recipes and interesting food facts.

  • If you, like Matt, are obsessed with food and drink, read his blog for beautiful recipes for entertaining and more.

  • delicious: days: On this blog, you'll get cooking tips and keep up with what other chefs are doing around the world.

  • The Wednesday Chef: If you want to learn how to cook with an international flair, follow Luisa Weiss, an Italian-German editor and home cook in New York City.

Click here: 50 Best Blogs for a Complete Culinary Education - Online Degree Top Online Degrees

Karmel_Kuisine's picture

Yeast types

I'm thoroughly confused about yeast.

The King Arthur Flour baking books, which I use a lot, say to use instant yeast.

I just checked out their book on whole grain baking, and in that book, the text says that instant yeast and rapid rise yeast are not the same thing and are not interchangeable.

However, in my supermarkets, there really is no "instant yeast." Just active-dry, and depending on the brand, either fast- or rapid-rise.

There is one store that carries something called "instant yeast;" it's Oetker brand (?), but it's a specialty store.

What's the deal with this?

(I have used rapid- and fast-rise with good results. I have used active dry a lot less).

Nymphaea's picture

Simple questions on the basics :)

First I should say Hi, my first message here since I joined yesterday :)

I have been wondering on peoples oppinion mostly on how to keep the starter, because I find so many conflicting ideas everywhere about it, and today when preparing some of my new yeast for baking, I noticed it smelt much healthier when I kept it in a bowl with just a cloth over it than it did in the jar I keep it in, which I had thought may be going bad from the smell. So my first question, is how to contain the starter? I have been keeping mine in a Mason jar, with the inner lid upside down so it will not form a seal, and the lid very loose. Would it be better to give it more air?

Another concern is material, everywhere says to avoid plastic and metal, but I see alot of people, including on this site, using tupperware containers for theirs(especially starters on the dry side of the spectrum) This is for tools as well, when working with my starter, would it be best to avoid plastic and metal tools? After my first batch spoiled, I have been using a wooden spoon only with this one, but not sure how much it matters ^-^;;

Thanks in advance for any help you can give :)

chef55's picture


Does anyone know recipe for Philly Soft Pretzels.  Thanks

pjr918's picture

Bread baking class


I am a culinary instructor, and I can tell you that it's much easier to have students bake their breads in a pan for the first time. The pan provides the support to make sure the loaf comes out tall and well risen.

If you must teach artisan breads that cannot be baked in a pan, I suggest all the loaves be stood on a peel on either parchment paper or corn meal so they can slide onto a baking stone easily.

wmtimm627's picture

Durum flour

I recently found an Indian market that sells durum flour in 20 lb bags. To most of us, this is semolina flour. I'm having a hard time finding decent recipes for my bread machine that use this hard wheat flour. The best one I've used so far uses half bread flour and half semolina. It's delicious, but I'd like something different.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Practice recipes-how small can I go?

So, I'm learning much from this website and have a steep learning curve right now. But, like Julie on the movie I must watch my beltline and my husband must too. As he said this AM after devouring half of the delicious (30% recipe) loaf of cinnamon raisin swirl bread, "You have to stop, don't make this again, even if I ask for it!!". Last night it was the "excess starter sourdough bread" that came out with the taste and texture of an unbelievable french bread. And the naan, sourdough whole wheat muffins, whole wheat sandwich bread, whole grain seed bread. That's just this past week.

I'm already freezing and giving a majority of it away to my parents and brother. The other side of the family only likes 100% soft white wonderbread style and sweet breads which is probably 10% or less of what I actually bake.

Anyway, how small can I make a recipe? Can I make it down to dinner roll size and just change the cooking time? I need to practice kneading, stretching, folding, the feel of the dough, retarding, all those things that make bread what it is. Learning what recipes I like to make and don't like to make. Learning how to play dough, shape dough, etc. Braiding was a great project with the Finnish Pulla bread that I made because it got my hands into the "feel" of a good workable dough.

Can I make a recipe with 250 total grams, 150 total grams, how small and still not lose the integrity and learning value from a recipe?


cognitivefun's picture

do eggs go bad in a long fermentation?

Normally, enriched doughs are made using baker's yeast and relatively short rise times.

I made a Greek celebration loaf using PR's BBA recipe pretty much.

The eggs went in and the fermentation times turned out to be like 8 or 10 hours do to the high percentage of wild yeasts, and a confluence of that and baker's yeast (not instant).

I am wondering if the eggs go bad in this scenario as in "do not eat".

Anyone have experience with this?



davidg618's picture

What defines a bread? or, Is a baguette, a baguette, or just a shape?

This morning I baked a variation of Anis Bouabsa baguettes. The changes are minor: 72% hydration vs. 75%; I bulk fermented the dough at 55°F vs. 41°F for the prescribed 21 hours; and I added distatic malt powder. Otherwise, my formula and applied techniques were essentially the same as those in the Anis Bouabsa's Baguettes thread. The changes were made for the following reasons. I don't trust my skills yet with a 75% hydration dough. I'm sneaking up on it. Over the weekend I made a 70% hydration sourdough (or pain au levain), and today's baguettes. Furthermore, my refrigerator maintains a 37°F temperature on the only shelf that will hold my bulk proofing container, and I was concerned that temperature would severely change the yeast's reproduction rate. (That's not a guess, I've got an erudite paper written by a couple of microbiologists on the subject of yeast reproduction rate vs. temperature as a reference.). I have the convenience of a wine closet--its too small to call it a wine cellar--that maintains a steady 55°F. Lastly, I added the diastatic malt powder to give the yeast all the edge available.

However, messing with the hydrations of these doughs got me thinking. If I changed the shape I could pass this bread off as a ciabatta, or a foccacia, or a pain rustique, and no one would challenge me: perhaps criticise, but not challenge what I called it. On the other hand, if I offered the pain au levain, to a reasonably knowledgeable eater, as a slice of boule, or batard they'd raise an eyebrow at least.

So what classifies a dough? Content (Ingredients)? Preferments? Shape? Weight? All of the above? All of the above, but not necessarily everytime?

My curiosity grew when I checked three published baguette formulae (DiMuzio, Hamelman, and Hines), and two for pain au levain (DiMuzio, Hamelman).  Their doughs' hydrations are within 2% percent of each other, as well as similar ingredients, percentages, and techniques. "Is there a "secret" crib sheet these guys aren't sharing with us?" I wondered. Yet I was baking a baguette dough that was essentially a straight dough, with hydration 9% pecentage points higher than prescribed by "common practice", using atypical techniques. Is Anis Bouabsa a rogue baker?

My interest in things that ferment isn't limited to bread baking. I also brew beer, and make wine. Among brewers there is a crib-sheet. It contains approximately two-dozen beers, and describes each of them by the same attributes which are defined both in scientific precision, e.g., specific gravity, International Bittering Units (IBU's); Lovibond (color) rating; and in subjective terms of taste, smell, and appearance. If there are specialty additives or techniques they are also described, e.g., lambics (a beer made sour by lactobacteria). Wines, of course, are mostly defined by their primary varietal (or mixtures of varietals) ocassionally by craft processes, e.g., malolacticfermentation, ice wines; and a subjective vocabulary codified by a Univerity of California at Davis, professor.

Does anyone know if bread types have been classified, or catergorized and written down, and where is it written? How are bread-baking competitions judged? What are the competitive rules, i.e., do they contain de facto categorical or classifying ingredients, technniques, etc.?

David G

Shiao-Ping's picture

Le Pain de Seigle de Thiézac (The Rye Bread of Thiézac)

Thiézac, a village 30 km from Aurillac (260 km north-east of Toulouse, France) has a reputation of pure rye bread.  Just the sound of it is beautiful to me.  When I read about it in Mouette Barboff's Pains d'hier et d'aujourd'hui (page 64 - 67), I felt that had to try it.  I am mesmerized by the rye bread photo and crumb shot in the book, full of soul.  The book has the most beautiful bread photos I have seen anywhere.

What struck me about the crumb of the Thiézac pure rye sourdough bread is its deep caramelized color.  A forum post by Danubian at Sourdough Companion, entitled "Dark" or "Black" colour to rye bread in June 2007 says that the dark rye bread "colour is achieved by method rather than adding an ingredient that imparts 'colour'."   

I had to consult several on-line French translators to get some sense out of the Thiézac recipe and even then I still have puzzles.  For instance, about "5 à 6 kg de levain de 3 jours," to build up the levain over 3 days to 5 - 6 kg?  I guess so; but how many feedings a day, and, more importantly, what is the flour to water ratio for refreshing the starter?  And, stand the levain at room temperature for the whole time?  

There is a knowledge bank at TFL regarding rye sour and rye flour in general, but I am really not interested enough on the subject to study.  My family and myself are not rye enthusiasts.  But anything "pure," as in the case here, I am all for it.  A pure rye bread makes me want to try it and ... dream about it.

So, here it is... the result of my dream:








Now, I have to warn you that my result is quite different from what was in Mouette Barboff's book that inspired me.  For a start, from what I can ascertain accurately from the formula figures, the overall dough hydration in the Thiézac recipe is only 53%!  I cannot work on a dough with that hydration!  I kept adding water until a medium soft consistency was obtained and reached 76% hydration.  Further, the Thiézac rye bread has diamond scoring (3 cut on one direction and another 3 cut on another direction).  My dough was too wet to attempt at any scoring.




This bread is sour, too sour for my family.  Because of the whole rye flour used, it also has a very nutty flavour.  The aroma is simply amazing when it came out of the oven.




My crumb looked similar to the one in the book.  To my way of thinking, if I had done the dough at 53% hydration, the crumb would have been much denser.  I can only surmise that the village bakers' formula is only a guide - they would add water on the spot if they think the dough needs more water irrespective of the formula.  But I don't know for sure.

Well, as nice as the bread is, my family is not the slightest interested in it.  




I have to pile up with something else that they like for them to eat it.  And here it is:



                             Smoke Salmon & Salad with a Dill Sour Cream Spread on Pure Rye Bread


For any one who is interested, my formula of this rye sourdough follows:

Day 1

  • 10 g any ripe starter at any hydration

  • 35 g medium rye flour

  • 35 water

Mix and leave it in room temperature until doubled, then move it into the refrigerator.

Day 2

  • 80 g starter (all from Day 1)

  • 80 g medium rye flour

  • 80 g water

Procedure same as Day 1.

Day 3

  • 230 g starter (all but 10 g from Day 2, reserve 10 g for future endeavour)

  • 230 g medium flour

  • 230 g water

Mix and leave in room temperature for 6 hours or until it doubles.  (Note: I cut short one day here.  The Thiézac recipe does this 6 hour feeding one day 4; ie, using "levain de 3 jours.")

Final Dough

  • 690 g starter (all from above)

  • 345 g whole rye flour

  • 345 g medium rye flour

  • 440 g water

  • 20 g salt

  • 2 g instant yeast (or 2 x 1/3 tsp)

Total dough weight was 1842 g and the overall hydration was 76%.




  1. Mix all ingredients and knead for 2 minutes by hand or by plastic scraper.

  2. Oil a clean bowl and place the dough in there.  Cover.

  3. Bulk ferment for 2 hours at a warm spot of your kitchen.  (My room temperature was 28C.)

  4. Upturn the dough onto a well-dusted surface.  Lightly gather the edge of the dough to the centre, turn the dough over, and lightly shape it into a boule.  Sprinkle some flour on the top. 

  5. Sprinke some flour on a piece of baking paper.  Place the dough on the baking paper.  Cover, preferrably with a big bowl, so the surface of the dough remains untouched.

  6. Proof for one hour (and in the mean time, pre-heat the oven).

  7. Bake with steam at 240C for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200 C and bake for a further 40 to 50 minutes.