The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Kingudaroad's picture

Question about bulk fermenting at 55 to 60 degrees

I am doing some poolish baguettes tomorrow and was thinking about doing the bulk ferment in my wine fridge that can be manually set anywhere between 50 and 60 degrees. I was thinking I could do a longer, slower ferment. My questions are...


Will this have a beneficial outcome to my loaves?


How much longer will it take to ferment at say 55 degrees compared to 72 degrees?


Any input or related experience on the subject would be appreciated.



JeremyCherfas's picture

Muffin trade secrets

Wonderful article in the New York Times about trouble over the secret processes for making Thomas' English Muffins. Great fun -- though perhaps not for the people involved.


txfarmer's picture

Barm Bread + pure sourdough rye a little improved

This bread is from Dan Lepard's book "A handmade loaf", also well documented here and here. The basic idea is to make a starter with heated beer + flour + sourdough starter to mimic the traditional beer barm starter. Since beer is first heated, whatever yeast is there in the bottle aged ale are all killed, so the rising power is completely from the natural starter, not from the beer. Dan still recommends to use bottle aged ale beer, I think for 2 reasons: 1. authentic flavor; 2. the other micro organism and "stuff" in bottle aged ale would more likely coexist with the natural starter better, while lager or even a different ale with additives, might interfere with the health of natural starter.

I used Chimay Ale, the starter became bubbly and matured after 24 hours, longer than what the book says (overnight), shorter than some other people's experience.

The hydration was around 70%, nice open crumb.

I changed procedure so the proofing was done overnight in the fridge (shape, fridge, take out the next morning, keep proofing for another 90min at room temp, bake), however it was not sour at all. Mild and slightly sweet taste. Can't really taste the bitterness from beer hops, but overall flavor is very good. Crumb is moist and chewy, crust is crispy.

The barm starter can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, I will do some more experiments with what's left.


Tried to make pure rye sourdough again, this time I think my proofing and baking timing were better. Proofed less, and baked with higher temp for longer (480F for 10min, 450F for 10min, 430F for 10min, 410F for 10min).See my last attempt here.

Crumb is more even, rise was better too.

They didn't become moldy after storing for 4 days, but also stayed moist, so I guess the baking time was good.

My husband, who started out liking softer Asian breads, later started liking sourdough and baguette, now is getting a taste for this pure sourdough rye. Yes! My "training plan" is working! :P


*This post is being submitted to YeastSpotting.

SylviaH's picture

D. Lepard's Choc. Honey Meringues

Very delicious and fairly simple to make, these appealing cookies make a very nice accessory cookie to an elegant dessert or just simply to snack on alone.

With 'Mis en Place' I made these while preparing dinner, placed them in the oven to slow bake.  The recipe is HERE updated..this link should work, scroll down to the recipe.







thegrindre's picture

Soft and light sourdough?

Hi all,

Got a question or two but first let me explain.

I've gotten older in life and at 62, I've lost most all my teeth. I once enjoyed San Fransisco's hard crusts and chewy crumb sourdough bread but now I can't eat it. I do miss it so.

Questions are, can a crust be made like the store bought sandwich breads? Nice and soft without loosing the flavor?

Can the crumb be softened without loosing the flavor as well?

Is there a recipe for sourdough bread that's light and soft for old folks?




JR05's picture

Awesome Blueberry Muffins!

I just found a recipe that I have been using for a couple weeks for blueberry muffins.  They have turned out AMAZING every time.  I haven't tried too many recipes, but I think I have found one I am sticking with already.

I have made them with and without the crumb top and they are great either way.  I recommend doubling the recipe as the small number (half dozen) they make don't last long enough.

Anyway, here is the Recipe if anybody is interested.

* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/3 cup vegetable oil
* 1 egg
* 1/3 cup milk
* 1 cup fresh blueberries
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup butter, cubed
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

PS It is from so I am sure many people have already seen it, but I thought I would share for those that are looking for a good recipe.  I just use brown sugar for the topping instead of white because it is much better.  Also the vanilla isn't needed, but it is up to you to add it or not.


berryblondeboys's picture

Blueberry Banana Bread from "The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread"

I have this book on loan from the library - makes a really yummy bread and I like the addition of oatmeal.


The loaf:


And the inside:



I made four loaves on Saturday. Blueberries are in season and cheap and my grocery store was selling ripe bananas in a bag for 19 cents a pound (versus the usual 69 cents a pound). One loaf was gone that day, another given to a neighbor for their housewarming party and the third eaten on Sunday, leaving the fourth to be cut into on Monday.

wmtimm627's picture

Pizza for one

I've seen a lot of recipes all around the web and in numerous cookbooks that I own for pizza.

I live alone and find that most recipes aren't friendly to the single baker (I can live with sharing bread though).

I own almost every gadget that a baker could want; stand mixer, food processor, bread machine, electric convection oven with massive stone.

I just need some recipes for pizza dough that will keep well in the refrigerator or freezer. I see a lot of stuff everywhere that refers to that, but never any good details. Also, there seems to be a lot of differences as to what kind of flour to use in pizza dough. I'm a big fan of thin crust pizza (fancy that, from someone in the Chicago area), so I'm going to try Reinhart's Roman version next.

trailrunner's picture


The request for a good Challah recipe that was not sourdough had me posting my recipe that I have used since the 70's. I haven't been making it weekly as I did for decades since I have been working with wild yeast and have been exploring artisinal breads and formulas. It felt wonderful to have my hands in the dough and to knead and develop with only 10 min. of effort. None of the 3 days that I have been spending lately with a minute or 2 here and there. Different but nice in its own way also.  Crumb later when it cools. c 


hanseata's picture

Multigrain Pain a l'Ancienne

I'm baking my own version of Peter Reinhart's Pain a l'Ancienne (from the BBA) regularly for three years now, it is a hot seller at our local natural food store. Since I wanted my bread to be a little healthier than 100% white, I substitute 100 g of the bread flour with whole grain flour, either rye, whole wheat, oat, spelt, corn or buckwheat. I also add a little sourdough just for the taste, and found the right baking technique for my oven. Thanks to DonD's - and others from TFL - advice to leave the breads for 5 minutes in the switched-off oven with the door slightly ajar, the crust comes out perfect now - and stays crisp for several hours.

After trying DonD's version of Pain aux Cereales (and loving it) I thought of doing something similar with my organic 7-grain mix (rye-, wheat-, barley chops, cracked corn and oat, millet and flaxseed), but in a simpler way that would better fit my time schedule, to be able to sell it. So yesterday morning I made a soaker from 100g multigrain mix and 100 g water. In the evening I mixed it with all the other ingredients and placed the bowl in the fridge overnight. I took the nicely risen dough out this morning at 4:00 am to de-chill and rise somewhat more. Three and a half hour later, with the Vollkornbrot already in the oven (I start with the breads that bake at a lower temperature), I divided the dough, placed the pieces in perforated baguette pans and let them proof for another 1/2 hour more until the rye breads were done and the oven reheated to 550 F.

I bake my Pains a l'Ancienne for 9 minutes, with steam, then rotate them, remove the steam pan, and continue baking for another 8 minutes, keeping the breads 5 minutes longer in the switched-off oven with the door ajar, before they are cooled on a rack. My oven is very well insulated (no steam escaping unless I open the door) and I bake with convection (fan-assisted, not "real"), since I bake on two shelves.

This is the result:

This one we kept and had for lunch, the others are sold. My husband's comment: "This is the best Pain a l'Ancienne you ever made".