The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Plannerjohn's picture

Did the Hearthkit Manufacturer fold?

Does anyone know if the manufacturer of hearthkits is still in business?  Their website has been "under construction" for some time now, and it's not available anywhere except EBAY.  

I ask because I went ahead and bought an unused model off EBAY.  It was real cheap, but I'm hoping I don't have any problems which would have otherwise been covered by warranty. 

Also, I hope this doesn't duplicate an earlier post.  If so my apologies.  I looked around as best I could, but it didn't appear in my search results.

gosiam's picture

My First Posted Bake

This is the first time I am actually sharing the results of my bake.  I have posted a few times in the past, but never showed what I can, and more often than not, what I cannot do.  I have baked Wild Yeast Rustic Flax Seed-Currant Sourdough today.  I made it once before, with cranberries instead of currants, and it tasted wonderful, though shaping left a lot to be desired.  I have decided to avoid the diamond shape altogether today and went for the more traditional batards.  All worked well and everybody who tasted the bread, absolutely loved it.  The recipe is a winner, try it if you have not yet done it.  Here are the pics and

Many Good Bakes to All


rainwater's picture

Left over starter...

I'm never really comfortable throwing out starter when it's feeding day.  I keep my starter in the refrigerator, I keep about 3# at 75% hydration, and I feed it once a week, or more if I'm using a lot.  So....sometimes I left with quite a chunk of starter on feeding day.  I bake enough to use all my starter, but often, I want to try some of the instant yeasted breads.  Well, starter is really only flour and water (with bacteria and yeast of course).  So, with baker's math, one pound of starter has @9.15 oz. of flour, and @6.85 oz. of water. I just subtract these amounts from the flour and water in a instant yeasted recipe, and go from there.  I made a batch of foccacia with throw away starter using Reinhart's foccacia recipe. 

1# of starter (75% hydration-@9.15 oz. flour/@6.85 oz. water)

13.35 oz. flour

2tsp. instant yeast

2tsp. salt

3oz. olive oil

and I put a squirt of honey. 

I followed the recipe, and I'm very happy with more throwing away extra starter for me.....and I can expand my horizons with more instant yeasted breads.

Some samples of foccacia boosted with left over starter......The first one I made, I sent home with a guest. I divided the second batch into two foccacias because the recipe makes the foccacia too big for my taste.












davec's picture

Why are wheat berries so expensive?

Where do those of you who grind your own flour buy your grains?  I have only found one source who doesn't charge more for wheat berries than for flour ground from those same berries, and that source was 2000 miles away, so the shipping costs are prohibitive.  Just this week, I got another price list from a buying club I can join locally.  They have several brands of stone ground whole wheat flour at around 40 cents a pound in 50# quantities.  The best price they have on wheat berries in bulk is nearly twice that.  Even their King Arthur fancy bakers' flours are cheaper than the plain old wheat berries.

Does this make any sense?


rryan's picture

Retarding sourdough loaves overnight

I have recently started baking sourdough bread, and have thoroughly enjoyed the process.  Each loaf has been a "success", but each loaf has been very different from the others.  My wife and I have very different opinions about whether or not a loaf is a success.  For me, the crust should be a beautiful brown, and very crispy/chewy.  The crumb should be open, with some large, irregular holes.  My wife, on the other hand, prefers a bread with a golden colored, soft, delicate crust, and a finer crumb.

I have been able to achieve the bread I prefer by baking boules in a cast iron pot.  My wife's favorite loaves were achieved by baking batards on a pizza stone (although I was honestly trying to bake bread the way I really like it!).  I have posted about a couple of my previous loaves on TFL, and a number of you have responded with comments and suggestions about each loaf.  One suggestion that was made more than once was retarding the dough after shaping.  So this time, I decided to give retarding in the refrigerator a try.  Of course, I was hoping to end up with a loaf with crisp crust and a really open crumb.

I used Mike Avery's basic mild sourdough recipe again, only modifying it by adding a tablespoon of Bob's Red Mill vital gluten, as the organic AP flour I get from my local co-op is lower in protein than the KA flour I was previously using.  Lacking proper bannetons, I used a couple ceramic bowls from the china cabinet.  They measured 5 1/2 inches in diameter by 2 1/2 inches deep.  The dough had been kneaded a bit in my Kitchen Aid mixer, then stretched and folded three times at 45-minute intervals, and finally formed into round balls and placed in the ceramic bowls. The shaped dough was put into a cold refrigerator (actual temp unknown, but a lot of things freeze in the darned thing) overnight. Total retard time was about 12 hours.

On removal from the fridge, the loaves were nearly completely risen. They had risen enough that the portion above the bowl was at least as large as the portion in the bowl.  Rather than chance disaster by removing them from the bowls to bake, I opted to bake them as "pan" breads.  Fortunately, I had buttered the bowls, rather than lining them with floured cloth, so I was able to just pop them in the oven after a 2-hour warm-up period and scoring them.  I spritzed them with water and placed them in a 375 degree farenheit oven directly on a baking stone for about 45 minutes.  At that time, they were golden in color, but sounded hollow and had an internal temperature of 202 degrees. They were removed from the ceramic bowls and placed on cooling racks.

The results were somewhat surprising, although maybe they shouldn't hve been.  The upper sections (above the bowls) had crunchy, chewy crust.  The lower sections (baked in the bowls) had soft crusts.  The crumb was light and open, moist but not wet, and the flavor was less subtle than previous loaves, with a more pronounced sourdough flavor.

Overall, this baking was a "success" for both of us.  My wife had her soft crust, and I had my crisp and chewy crust.  The crumb didn't have big, irregular holes, but it was open and delicate.  Retarding the final dough paid off in flavor, but the baking method undoubtedly affected the crumb and crust. Overall, though, I'm certain that more bread will be baked this way in our house.

Feel free to weigh in with comments and suggestions.

hazimtug's picture

Focaccia Genovese

Second time I tried focaccia, using Reinhart's Pain a la Ancienne technique at about 77% hydration. Even though, I could bake on the same day, I further retarded the proofing stage overnight in the fridge. This was our Sunday treat. I was impressed with the airy crumb and the natural sweetness that came with the cold water technique. Herb oil just topped it off...

Jw's picture

hedgehog bread

In absence of my camera (the display is broken), I uploaded a few old pictures. When our kids were younger, we once took them to the Bakkery Museum. They were really exited about the figures the bakers demonstrated. If it is not the content of a bread, it will be the form that decides whether they like it are not!

We made some of these breads during several birthday partys, even the 'never eat bread' kids would eat that own bread this time.

I am progressing with the sourdough, more on the art part then on the science part. Baking full week around is also working out so far. Pictures will follow! Groeten, Jw.

A baker at the museum. I remember they put on a real good show, they made everything look so simple.

Some of the figures:

And a picture from a birthday party. The kids added a bit of sugar powder on top... the pictures are from 2002.


SteveB's picture


For those who might be interested, I've detailed my baking of Scali here:


baltochef's picture

What Percentage of Dried Onions in Onion Rye Breads??

The following question is directed towards those forum members making onion rye breads.."What percentage of re-hydrated minced dried yellow onions are you using compared to the total amount of flour in your rye bread recipes??"..I am trying to come up with a N.Y. Delicatessan-style seeded onion rye bread that I can bake in a Pullman pan so the crust is not too tough for my mother to chew with dentures..Below is the recipe I first created last week..Great deli rye flavor, but little onion taste..I made the mistake (??) of not using the water used to soak the dried onions in the recipe, for fear that it might bake out with too strong of an onion taste..My second question is, "Would the recipe have tasted OK if I had included the soak water; or do I need a greater amount of dried onions for this recipe??"..The recipe I created follows..

Pain de Mie N.Y. Delicatessan-style Seeded Onion Rye Bread


545g (19.21 oz.) water, 100F

250g (7.58 oz.) coarse rye flour

120g (5.46 oz.) bread flour

15g (0.53 oz.) organic granulated cane sugar

1 3/8 teaspoon (0.15125 oz.) SAF Gold instant yeast

Final Dough:

Contents of sponge

35g (1.23 oz.) dried, minced yellow onions (1/4 cup)--soaked in 70F tap water for 30 minutes, absorbing...

87g (3.07 oz.) water

595g (1 lb. 4.97 oz.)(20.97 oz.) bread flour

16g (0.56 oz.) fine sea salt

25g (0.88 oz.) caraway seeds


Thanks for any advice in helping me to troubleshoot this recipe!!..




foolishpoolish's picture

Pain Aux Deux Levains