The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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SylviaH's picture

Baguettes/Rolls -Photo

J.H. Bread Book recipe for Baguettes with Poolish.  I made a morning poolish and baked this evening baguettes and rolls.  I used KA AP flour.  The Baguettes were so light and the rolls are delicious!


These rolls are great alone or for light!

Recipe made 3 small, medium and large Baguettes and half dozen medium Rolls. 


dcp740i's picture


I have only been baking for a few weeks, but thanks to personal guidance, good books, and this site, I am getting some great results all things considered.  My family is happy.  One odd thing: though I score deeply with a razor blade, I get no grigne or edges.  The scores just pop open widely and crust over like the rest of the crust.  You can see them, but they are basically flat.  I am using a very wet 4-ingredient french-style dough made with poolish and scrap dough plus a little SAF yeast.  Good crust, good crumb, some nice air pockets, good flavor, but a smooth surface.  I have bene misting the bread before baking, as well as misting the oven and pouring boiling water into a pan just before baking.  Oven is convection at 500, turned down to 425 after 10 minutes.  Today I did not mist the dough, just the oven.  Same result.  I suspect the wetness of the dough is causing the scores to simply collapse. 

If I go with a drier dough, do I lose the great crumb and "big air?"

Many thanks, folks!

rolls's picture

need help with pain ordinaire recipe from 'village baker' plz

hi all, ive been reading 'the village baker' past couple days and researching simple white french bread recipes on this site. there is heaps of information, maybe thats why i am feeling a bit confused, lol.

i thought i'd try pain ordinaire to start off and try it a few times to perfect my skills. i was going to make it in my kitchen aid using a direct method and mixing on low speed for 10-12 mins. however, i just read a lesson post on autolyse and now im not sure exactly how to go about it. i want to try this asap (u know how it is when u just can't wait and find urself baking at midnight).

i would really appreciate any feedback, tips, advice. thanks heaps!

mmdione's picture

Beignets aux amandes*

- 500g all purpose flour
- 80g ground almond
- 20 cl evaporated milk 
- 6 eggs room temperature
- 250g sugar
- Powdered sugar
- 125g butter
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1/2 tsp of salt

Heat milk. Add the butter, sugar and salt. Stir until all is dissolved. When cooled, add yeast.

Sift in flour and add about 1/2 to the milk mixture. Mix until smooth and add the egg, beat well. Add the remaining flour mixture and stir until all is smooth. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise, about 1-2 hours.

Put dough onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 2 or 3 inch squares and let stand 20 minutes before frying.

 Heat oil in deep fryer to 360 degrees. Fry four rectangles at a time for 2 to 3 minutes turning beignets as they rise to the surface. When golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to blot excess oil. Dust with powdered sugar and eat immediately.


* I find the beignets more tasty when using 150g of unsweetend dessicated coconut instead of the ground almonds

alex's picture

Hi, from London, UK. My first time.


I am a student from London, UK. I only just started to take bread baking more seriously last week. I managed to bake up to 5 batches of baguettes, since using different techniques. I found that everything turned out as it was supposed to, apart from the taste of the bread at the end. They all taste different, which i guess is right, but not how the book describes them to taste or how i tasted them from actual bakeries. As a result I started earlier this week to cultivate liquid levain and maybe next week stiff dough levain to see whether or not that will make a difference to the taste. I also looked around online and as a result stumbled across this site/forum and was amazed by the fact that there were so many bread lovers here, and everyone discussing their ideas amongst each other.
I understand that the flour off course also plays a major part in the taste. Are there any suggestions as to where i can look for the right type of flour in London?


Leah Vetter's picture
Leah Vetter


I just started baking 3 months ago.  i started with no-knead bread and have moved on to usingng recipes from THE BREAD BAKER'S APPRENTICE.  I've been using a Kitchen Aid mixer to mix and knea  I've done French Bead, Pain L"Ancienne, Pugliesse and Pain de Compagne. Everything I bake tastes delicous but I have never achieved the kind of crumb I see in the photographs (those great big holes). i'd appreciate any advice from you experienced bakers.



ClassicAles's picture

Origins of S.F. Sour Dough...

Hello All;

Wanted to stop in and introduce myself. I've been a craft brewer (home brewer) for several years now and tend to be on the teckie geekie side of things. I've brewed many styles of beer and like the hobby. Why am I telling you this? It all has to do with the history of sour dough yeast and where the San Francisco taste was born.

You see, a style of beer known as "Steam Beer" which is kept alive thru the diligent marketing of Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing uses a very unique beer yeast. This yeast is unlike any other in the brewing industry. It has a flavor profile that fits uniquely between the classic lager and ale yeasts of which there are literally dozens in commercial use world wide. But there is only ONE San Francisco brewing yeast! Now imagine yourself 150 years ago in S.F. and you are a commercial bakery and you use a lot of yeast to bake.... Where are you going to get yeast.... From the bakery supply store or the brewery down the street! I think you'll agree that back then, they didn't know what was going on with the yeast, they just know that it made the beer... ah hum... the bread taste great! And the brewery was glad to sell or give it away because believe me... when you brew beer, you produce a HUGE amount of yeast in the fermentor.

When German brewers came to America and migrated to the west coast during the gold rush, they naturally took their 'old world' skills with them. One of these skills was brewing beers. The problem was, they had no ice caves in which to "lager" (a german word for 'store cold') their beers. As a result they did the best they could with the yeast they had carried half way around the world. Over the decades this yeast evolved to produce the classic BOLD tastes that are associated with Anchor Steam Beer. I've used this yeast, fresh from the yeast banks and using the standard recipes for french bread have produced some very fine 'sour dough' breads. They taste way better than the "bakers yeast" you'd use in the recipe and produce that famous 'west coast' taste that everyone loves.

You can acquire this yeast, use yeast ranching techniques that are easy to find on the web, and keep the yeast culture for months or years and have San Francisco Sour Dough bread anytime  you want without having to keep a starter that will itself evolve and mutate into something else over time.

Go to and look for WL-810 San Francisco Lager Yeast or go to and look for 2112 California Lager yeast. These are the same yeasts, and are "banked" for commercial purposes. You will be amazed at the taste if you follow the directions for the bread, but use these liquid yeasts (yes they ARE that fresh) to make the starter/sponge. And depending on where you live, you can order from almost any homebrewing supply house on the web. A couple I've used that have very fresh stocks are and

Enjoy and just remember.... Beer is known as 'liquid bread' for a very good reason.... ;-)

Try it.... You'll like it!


ClassicAles - Artisan Brewer and Baker

fugalh's picture

Gauging Growth Stage

I've been reading and thinking about sourdough growth. Most instructions refer either to time or to the activity of the start. It is asserted in at least a few places that different starts may be "faster" than others though I have a hard time believing tha if one is to believe that the dominant species in those starts are L. sf and C. milleri.

It seems to be a common belief that when the start or dough has risen as high as it goes and stops rising, that the start activity has peaked. In other words, that it enters the transition to the static phase. But I wonder if this isn't an erroneous assumption. Dough, and especially the more fluid starts, are hardly airtight. I think the only thing that can be said is that an equilibrium has been reached where gas production is at least high enough to counter gravity to the extent that the gluten structure will allow it to rise.

It seems like this may even be true even early or midway through the exponential phase, or well into the death phase. Or maybe not—I'm not sure and this is my question. Does anyone know of a good way (without scientific instruments) to estimate the growth phase of sourdough? Particularly, the transition to static phase, but any indication that it's in static phase would be useful.

gothicgirl's picture

Carrot Coconut Cupcakes

I had a craving for carrot cake the other day.  It was one of those cravings you try to ignore, but in the end you submit because, like it or not, you did not try all that hard to avoid it in the first place.

Carrot Coconut Cupcake

Submitting to my desire also gave me the opportunity to play around with a recipe.  I always enjoy that!  I did not just want carrot cake, I wanted carrot cupcakes, and I did not just want carrot, I wanted carrot coconut.  I do not bake with coconut often because my husband, and main test subject, dislikes the texture of it.  Did I say dislikes?  I mean loathes. 

Regardless of the likes of my husband my mind was set on carrot coconut, so on the way home from work I picked up a few things and set to work.

Carrot Coconut Cupcake 

The original recipe for the carrot cake is my father's.  It is an excellent, moist, and very dense carrot cake, but I knew with all the eggs and oil it would make a very poor cupcake.  Besides, I hate getting a cupcake with a greasy liner!  Yuck!

So, I made some modifications, such as reducing the eggs, replacing some of the oil with applesauce, and adding some buttermilk to thin the batter and to add a slightly tangy note to the cakes.   Adding the coconut helped add moisture along with the grated carrots, so in the moistness department I figured I was good.

Carrot Coconut Cupcake 

The original cake calls for 1 teaspoon of baking soda for a 9″x13″ cake which is quite dense.  I wanted fluffy cupcakes that would dome proudly inside the liners so I added an additional 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder.

My modifications resulted in tender, moist, flavorful cupcakes with a slightly chewy texture from the shredded coconut.  Even my husband, who avoids coconut like the plague, said they were pretty tasty ... coconut aside. 

Carrot Coconut Cupcake Fixins' 

Carrot Coconut Cupcake   Yield 24

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded coconut

Heat the oven to 350F and line your cupcake pans with paper liners.

Sugar, Eggs, Applesauce, Buttermilk, Oil, and Vanilla

In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, oil, applesauce, buttermilk, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth and well incorporated.

In a smaller bowl sift the dry ingredients, then pour the dry onto the wet and whisk until the dry ingredients just moisten.

Folding in the Carrots and Coconut

Add the shredded carrots and coconut and fold gently, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Fill the cupcake liners 1/3 of the way full.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the center of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed. 

Carrot Coconut Cupcake Fresh from the Oven 

Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for three minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

Carrot Coconut Cupcake 

I frosted my cupcakes with a simple cream cheese frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting   Enough to decorate 24 cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 - 8 oz bar of cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Blend the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well mixed, about five minutes.  Add the vanilla and blend to combine.

Add the powdered sugar and blend on low until the powdered sugar is moist, then blend on high for thirty seconds to remove any lumps.

Carrot Coconut Cupcake

Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator. 


Posted on - 3/17/2009

jackie9999's picture

Stone VS parchment paper on stone?

I getting ready to make my first pizza and have a question about using a stone vs parchment paper on stone. Is there a big difference?

I have an inexpensive stone I use for breads and I tried a store bought pizza directly on it and it stuck. Even my bagels stuck, so I use parchment paper and have no problems at all. But I wonder if the pizza crust won't be as good as it could be if I don't use the paper?

Another question I have, while I'm asking, I notice the gas in my oven seems to go off/on more often with the stone..possibly it's my imagination? I suppose I'm asking are there any possibly bad side effects to your oven using a stone?