The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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bnom's picture

Side to side comparison of loaves baked in cold start v. preheated oven - Photos

I wanted to see what difference it would make to bake loaves from the same dough, one in a preheated oven and one starting off in a cold oven. In a previous post I mentioned that I had tried the cold oven technique using a cast iron pot. The resulting bread had a very light, shattery-type crust. It was an unusual loaf for me, but then again, the circumstances were not usual. We were at our cabin and I had no scale, no mixer, no sourdough.

Back home, I took advantage of my 1960 double oven to put the hot v. cold oven to the test. Because one oven is smaller, I used an oval Le Crueset for the loaf I started in a cold oven and a round Le Crueset for the loaf I started in an hour-preheated 500 degree oven (the pot was preheated too). I baked both until 205 degrees internal.

Cold/hot oven (hey it's a 50 yo stove)

A cold oven is supposed to produce a good oven spring but that didn't happen here. The cold oven loaf collapsed where scored. I've never had a loaf collapse on me before so I suspect it was the cold oven.  I don't think it was because of overproofing. After shaping, I only proofed it 35 minutes because I'd heard it was best to underproof if using a cold oven. I scored it about a 1/2 inch--same as the round loaf.

As As you can tell, the crumb is very open. The bottom crust is burnt.

The round loaf came out looking better. Decent oven spring. The crumb was more regular (not necessarily a plus) than the oval loaf--but that may be because of the shaping process.

Still and all, these loaves were pretty darn similar. Taste was the same. Both had a nicely carmelized, crispy/chewey crust. I'll probably keep playing with the cold oven technique (esp this summer), but if I'm baking for company, I'll stick with the more reliable hot oven method.

The next mystery I need to resolve is how I got that shattery/light crust in the loaf I made at the cabin. Any thoughts??

And now, I better clean the oven!


jjestelle's picture

Sicilian Muffaletta Bread

Hi All,

   I am a newbie and this is my first post.  A friend suggested this website to help me find an authentic Sicilian Muffaletta bread recipe.  I was born in Sicily and have fond memories of this bread from a bakery in our home town of Riesi.  The Muffaletta bread I remember was a 8 or 9 inch round, flatish bread.  It had anise seeds in it and was not overly dark in color, with a thin crust.  The color was light, the texture was airy, like an english muffin, and it was more of a breakfast food.  We used to cut them in half steaming hot from the bakery and eat them with a drizzle of good olive oil, salt and pepper.  The flavor and aroma of the anise seeds with the olive oil was out of this world.  If anyone has visited this region of Sicily or comes from there and knows what I'm talking about, I'd love to hear from you.  If anyone might happen to have this recipe, please post it!  Thank you!

Sedlmaierin's picture

Question about retarding a German sourdough bread.........

Hi there,

soooooo,now that my newest sourdough batch is ready and I am DYING for a loaf of my favorite bread, I find myself not having enough time. I just recently came upon this website and have been perusing it with the greatest interest.

So, my question today is: can I retard my sourdough bread in the refrigerator overnight? if yes, when would be the best point to do the retarding-after the bulk proof?( I feel so grown up using those terms-hope I am using them correctly ;) )

I will translate the recipe as best as I can :

Hannoversches Doppelback- Double backed Bread from Hannover- recipe by W. Fahrenkamp

60 g Yeast(fresh)

1/2 cup warm water

500g wheatflour 1050 ( i generally use KA white whole wheat)

500g rye flour 1150 ( i use arrowheadmills organic rye)

250g sourdough ( Fahrenkamp starts his SD with a 1:1 ratio and then to build up he uses a 2:1 ratio of flour and water- does that come out to 75% hydration? the baker's percentage is still a bit confusing to me to calculate)

about 0.5 liters warm water

2 tbs salt


if kneaded by hand one is to knead for about 30 minutes, by machine for about 10-it calls for a bulk proof of about 75 minutes-until the dough is 50% bigger-then knead again and form into a loaf shape, put into greased and floured loaf pan and let rest again for about 20 minutes. pierce all over with a fork, paint with water and bake in preheated oven (with steam) at about 230celcius for about 60 minutes( i do it just a bit under 60 minutes-it gets way too dark otherwise)-take out the bread, and take it out of the loaf form, increase oven temperature to 280celcius and bake again for about 10 minutes.

I have made this bread succesfully on a number of occasions,I have just never even thought about retarding in the fridge(since I didn't know what that was) and am now excited at the prospect of doing so, since I don't really haver a solid chunk of time to bake this loaf. And no, I am not a morning person , so getting up earlier is not an option *wink*

Looking forward to your input,



Carl Bergensis's picture
Carl Bergensis

Substituting starter

Can one author's starter be substiturted for another? I have several books, all with different formulations and one good starter I made using Daniel Leader's. What happens if I use that with someone else's recipe? I'm guessing maybe I have adjust the hydration, which may be beyond my tiny little brain.





dmsnyder's picture

Today's breads - Boules and Baguettes with G. Rubaud Flour Mix


I'm continuing my exploration of bread baking with Gérard Rubaud's mix of flours. Today's breads were made with a firm levain, as used by Rubaud, and a high-hydration final dough. I made about 1500 gms of dough. The flour required is shown in the first chart.



Wt (gms)




Whole wheat



Whole spelt



Whole rye






I divided the dough to shape two 500 gm boules and two 250 gm ficelles.

Total dough




Amount (gms)

Bakers' %


















Amount (gms)

Bakers' %







Active starter







Final dough




Amount (gms)

Bakers' %

















We had some of the baguette with dinner. It is a mildly sour bread with a delicious flavor, like the other breads made with this mix of flours.



breadbakingbassplayer's picture

2/23/10 - 2.225 kg Mixed Levain Miche

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you a very large 2.225 kg mixed levain miche that I baked on 2/23/10.  It is roughly 12 1/2" in diameter by 5 1/2" tall.  It was well worth staying up late on a weeknight to do.  We cut into it on 2/25/10 at a dinner part, and it was worth the wait...

Please excuse the crumb shot as it was from my friend's iPhone under less than stellar lighting conditions...



Stiff Levain

216g - AP

129g - Water

22g - Firm SD starter (60-65% hydration)

366g total

Liquid Levain

144g - AP

144g - Water

14g - Firm SD starter (60-65% hydration)

302g total

Final Dough

576g - AP

286g - BF

144g - Organic Hard Wheat Berries (freshly ground)

44g - Organic Spelt Berries (freshly ground)

30g - Organic Rye Berries (freshly ground)

762g - Water

26g - Kosher Salt

366g - Stiff Levain

302g - Liquid Levain

Approx 2500-2600g total dough



7:00am - Mix stiff and liquid levains, place each in covered containers and let ferment on counter for 8-10 hours.

6:40pm - Measure out final dough ingredients.  Prepare a bowl of water for dipping your hands to knead.  Place all water in large mixing bowl.  Cut up stiff levain and place in mixing bowl along with liquid levain.  Add all try ingredients on top and mix well with wooden spoon.  After all is combined, with wet hands, knead dough in bowl using french fold method squishing out any lumps.  Knead for about 5 minutes until relatively smooth dough, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

7:15pm - Turn dough using stretch and fold method, cover and let rest.

7:45pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.

8:15pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.

8:45pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.

9:15pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.

10:15pm - Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and shape into boule.  Cover and let rest for 15mins.

10:30pm - Final shape and place into floured linen lined basket, lightly flour top of dough, place towel on top, place basket in plastic bag, proof for 60-90 minutes.

11:15pm - Place baking stone on 2nd rack from bottom, prepare steam pan, preheat 550F with convection.

11:45pm - Add 1 cup of water to steam pan, close door.  Turn boule out onto floured peel, slash, place directly onto baking stone, add 1 more cup of water to steam pan, close door.  Turn oven down to 460F, no convection.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Rotate loaf, bake for another 15 minutes.  Then turn down oven to 400F and bake for another 55 minutes, rotating half way.  Loaf is done when internal temp reaches approx 210F.  Cool and rest for 24hrs before eating.



ritav's picture


Following is a sweet tarali recipe for all seasons.  They are light, sweet and can't stop eating them.  They are also great dunked in red wine.


Sweet Taralli

6 large eggs

1-1/2 t. salt

½ cup shortening preferable Crisco

1/2 envelope of dry yeast

1/2-cup water

6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (Do not use all the flour if not needed.)



2 egg whites or Just Whites equal to 2 eggs (4 t. Just Whites & 4 T. water)

4 cups of sifted confectioners sugar

2 t. lemon extract



  •  Proof yeast in water heated to 110 degrees

  •  Beat eggs until fluffy and mix with shortening, salt. Then add the yeast mixture and flour.

  •  Place on floured board and knead for 5 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes.

  •  In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil.

  •  After 5 minutes, knead the dough again for 5 minutes and rest for 10 minutes.

  •  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  •  Cut pieces of dough the size of a golf ball and shape as desired (twists, circles or whatever you wish). Do not overwork the dough.

  •  Drop into boiling water until taralli floats to the top. Remove and set on clean dishtowel to drain.

  • äWhen all the taralli have been boiled, place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 10 minutes or until they are brown in color.

  •  Cool completely on a rack. 

Icing Glaze

  •  In a mixer bowl beat egg whites and confectioner's sugar until very stiff. Add the lemon extract and beat to blend. If too stiff for dipping, add a little water and beat again.  Dip each tarali in the glaze and set on a rack with a pan underneath for dripping.

Makes approximately 30 to 35 taralli.


nirbeltran's picture

spelt- rye sourough

well i have to admit i am hardly using yeast any more - all my breads are now based on my sourdough and its been living in my fridge for a few good months now .

i use the basic starter formula from Barry Harmon's site with a few changes for this bread :

60g of sourdough @ 75% hidration - i fed mine one day before mixing .

mix with 80g ap flour

20g whole grain rye flour

20g spelt flour

and 120g water


let is rest on the kitchen counter overnight ( i waited about 12 hours )


then add

200g ap flour

50g whole grain rye flour

50 spelt flour

and 300g of water

again let it sit for 12 hours


then i mixed the final dough

to the 900g of starter i added 

25g salt

380g water

600g ap flour

100g whole grain flour

90g spelt flour

mixed all and let it rest for about 6 hours


then did a stretch and fold .

divied in two loafes , shaped and into the fridge for 12 hours or so


baked  covered for 30 minutes amd then 15 more uncovered - i used an iron cast pot .

my oven is a stove gas oven and its a little warmer then normal kitchen stoves - i bake 2 280-300 c

but i guess it will work the same with a normal 250 c baking heat 


yozzause's picture

mad baking

With a forecast temperature of 42 degrees CENTIGRADE  for the following day you would have to be mad to even thinking of lighting the oven, BUT that's what i did, my sourdough starter was looking pretty vigourus so i decided to put it to use. This bread EVOLVED,  i decided to use 500g white flour and 200g of my starter i then thought i would add my home brew lager beer, unfortunately i opened my dark stout by mistake. Not normally a problem to drink but it was warm and aussies do like their beer cold.especially in hot weather so rather than waste it and open a lager i decided to add it to the dough. I then thought it would be a good idea to add some course rye that i had.

so what went in

500g white flour    

200g s/d starter

100g course rye

14g salt 30g olive oil

412ml dark stout

dough was mixed and given a bulk ferment for 3 and a half hours then given a stretch and fold it was about half proofed at that time. Much later that night i devided the dough into 2 pieces and shaped 1 piece went into the fridge and was retarded the other was formed and allowed to rise (slowly).

At 5.00am i got up and popped the oven on  and 30 minutes later it went into the oven  the other dough was pulled from the fridge and was going to be baked at work later.

The end result was acceptable i thought there might have been a more noticable difference between the two, there was a difference in the taste and the consensus was the retarded one was slightly better tasting.  

  so we had a dough that was 12 hours from start to finish and the other half was a further 5 or more hours




kind and warm regards especially those that are in the snow YOZZA

vince hav's picture
vince hav

pleas e verify what "room temp" could be

i have read several recipe that call for things to be room temp..

my question is there a standerd for this..? when i read this today i went to my thermostat an looked at the room was 60 degree F. someone elese maybe 78 degrees F so that made me wonder..whats "room temp"?