The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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proth5's picture

Cleaning it up

Remember when I said "linen is the exact right fabric for a couche"?  Yep - you all laughed.  Until you bought a linen couche and found that bread wouldn't stick.

Remember when I said "save yourself the pain and blow just a couple bucks on the blade holder from TMB" - I know - you just thought I was a shill - until you bought one.

So - here we go, again.

I hate the feeling of dough on my hands (after I am done working with it, of course) and there's always something to clean up in a bowl (or the bowl of My Precioussss)

Scrubber sponges just get gummed up.  Apparently in my region of the country the net onion bags have become obsolete - and the few times I have tried they get gummed up with dough.

So I was once again thinking about the whole issue when I spotted the nail brush that hangs about my kichen.

Cleans dough right off my hands.  Came clean itself pretty easily.  Great as a nail brush, but also as a vegetable or mushroom brush.  Cheap.

I have a demanding personal schedule and I take great joy in tools that work well.  And when one is not only a great multitasker, but inexpensive - well - where's the downside?

The folks from whom I buy these claim they are used for surgery prep...  I actually buy them by the dozen because I garden, clean ponds, and then take those same little hands and bake bread.  I like to scrub up pretty well.  Just never occurred to me that they would be superior dough scub off tools (never said I wasn't a bit slow on the uptake.)

So here is the link (or put Lee Valley Tools into your favorite search engine and then search for nail brush.)  Made in the USA.  Money back guarantee.  Just try them.,42551,10259

Happy Cleaning!


dahoops's picture

Hard Rolls

Today's experiment.  I got tired of chasing hard rolls for my husband's lunches and these worked out well.  I rolled 4 oz of dough and put three in each oval brotform to rise.  Then baked them in oval clay bakers for 30 mins and an additional 5 mins uncovered to darken.  Egg white/water wash with sesame.   Here's the recipe:

15 oz KA bread flour

1 Tbsp dried buttermilk

1.5 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp yeast

1 tsp diastatic malt powder (optional)

11 oz liquid (I use 50 / 50 water and ale)

Mix all together and let ferment overnight or 10 - 12 hours.  Stretch and fold dough; let rest 10 - 20 mins.  Divide dough into 6 equal parts (4 oz).  Bake @ 450- 460 degrees for 30 mins; remove covers and bake an additional 5 mins to darken or until 200 - 205 on thermometer.


SylviaH's picture

Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day!

Today I made Irish Soda Bread to enjoy with our St. Patrick's Day dinner!  I've listed the ingredients and if you would like to see photos of step by step instructions they are on my blog Here.  Making soda bread, takes a little practice.  The list of ingredients are what i used today, I added a little extra flour, while gently mixing the dough and used a heavily floured board to shape the dough.

1. 280 gms All Purpose Flour - low protein         

2. 8 gms baking soda - Always Fresh - I throw out anything over 6 mos. old

3. 4 gms salt

4. 4 gms Cream of Tartar - "      "

5  300 gms Buttermilk








                         Soda Farls     from the same recipe       Med Low Temperature bake apx. 10 minutes on each side in a well seasoned iron pan.  I also make

                         these on my electric griddle.



           Slice warm or cooled and eat with butter and jam or they make a wonderful bacon or corned beef sandwich.






              I also made one replacing 1/4 cup of AP flour with 1/4 cup organic white whole wheat and 1 TBsp. caraway seed....not your traditional soda bread, but delicious with the corned beef.








Elagins's picture

More Recent Baking & Latest Book Update

So the book is moving along the publishing process.  Editing is finished, the MS has gone to the page designer and we're now working on finishing up the photos and the cover.

Amazing how much work goes into making a book, beyond the writing.  Brad, our editor, told me that we needed more bread photos, since the illustrations at this point are heavily weighted towards cakes, cookies and pastries, so over the weekend I made some onion pockets and Kaiser rolls (see below for results).  In the next couple of weeks, there will be lots of rye breads, from black pumpernickels to marble ryes, corn ryes and traditional NY Jewish ryes, along with lots and lots of challahs showing different braids ... so it's gonna be a busy time.

We're still looking at summer, 2011 publication, with most of the publicity (that's another story -- press releases, book fairs, signings, etc) to come in the fall, although our publisher, Camino Books is going to be promoting the book in May at BookExpo America in New York City.

So it's all drawing closer, and we're starting to get excited about it.

So in the meantime, here are some samples of things to come. Interesting thing is that both of these rolls use the same Medium Vienna dough formula, with the difference being that the onion pockets only ferment for 45 minutes and proof for 1 hour, while the Kaisers ferment for 2 hours and proof for 1 1/2-2 hours, so they're nearly at full proof.  As a result, the Kaisers are much leaner and crustier than the onion pockets.

Stan Ginsberg



Mason's picture

Berlin Bakeries, breads, ingredients?

Hi Everyone,

I'm going to be in Berlin for a week (East near Alexanderplatz for a few days tourism, then in the South West near Dahelm for a few days at a conference) starting this weekend (March 19).  

I know that if I was going to Paris I'd have a longish list of bakeries to which I'd need to make pilgrimages.

Do any of you TFLers know of bakeries in Berlin that one really should visit?  If I'm seeking out a Werzelbrot (related to Pain a l'Ancienne, I'm told), are there sources?  

Or are there breads that are available in Berlin that might be impossible to get elsewhere?  What characteristics (of bread or establishment) should one look for, when seeking out a Volkornbrot or a Werzelbrot, for instance, to distinguish an excellent one from a mediocre one?

I also like to look for unusual and interesting local cheeses and other bread accompaniments or ingredients when I'm in a new place.  Recommendations on this are welcome too.

Any advice would be sincerely appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

How to Shape and Score a Baguette: the Videos

I posted two great videos at my blog, about shaping and scoring a baguette. I was hoping to post them here but can't get the embedded videos from youtube to work, so just go to the link.


ledoux_rodeogirl_454's picture

Introducing myself and my vision ^_^

I am an entreprenuer at heart, and every hobby of mine is always thought of as a possible business opportunity. I'm a full-time mother, student, and housekeeper. On the side I compete with my horse, teach my son dirt-bike racing, and try to boycott the corporate giants by making as much of my families diet from scratch!

I love baking~ my son's birthday cake was such a hit... gluten and dairy free... that mother's began asking me to bake birthday cakes for them. I also have been experiementing with different bread recipes/ techniques and have a real passion for it. My mother-in-law is on a strict, gluten-free diet, so I began trying bread without the craveable wheat-gluten.

So my latest business vision is to start a desireable bread bakery, with the possibility of goodies to be sold at local coffee stands (which there are a lot of around here, near Seattle!). The closest full-scale bakery is 15 miles away and there is a Harvest Wheat store about 10 miles away, so I feel like I would have an advantage.

Gluten-free and whole-some ingredients would be some of my selling points. It seems as though there is a lot of hog-wash around making and selling out of your home. I don't have a lot of start-up cash right now... the reason to start small. Would it be worthwhile to begin by selling to family and friends, then to outreach with a local kitchen?

The plan is to stock up on ingredients from Oregon (there is a good retailer for gluten-free flours) and keep good records (the business side of me). If my vision begins to look promising then I could sell at the many local farmer's markets around and possibly sell to some of the local-minded stores.

Any insight is always helpful. I've just began the feasability research of this plan so I'm not 100% ready to invest! ;-)


Thank you in advance for your helpful wisdom!!! Happy trails!



swtgran's picture

farina ??

When an Italian recipe calls for farina, to what are they referring?  Is it a wheat flour or semolina? If semolina is it the coarser or actually durum flour? 

I found a grissini recipe on youtube I would like to try, but it is all in Italian.  I think I have everything figured out but the farina.

Thanks for any help.  Terry R

ehanner's picture

Revisiting NKB from Jim Lahey & "My Bread"

Recently we have had a few posts on people having issues getting the No Knead Bread to turn out a wonderful as it should. Jim Lahey has just published a new book called "My Bread" that I thought might be fun to take a look at. It isn't an expensive book at $16.60 and has many variations on his original recipe as well as many popular variations of offerings at the Sullivan Street Bakery.

I thought I would start with the basic formula which is all Bread Flour. It almost came to pass but at the last minute I swapped out 5% of white for rye. I love what a small amount of rye does to a simple white flavor. All of Lahey's formulas call for 400 grams of flour and 300 grams of water and 2% salt. The variable is the yeast which runs from 1-3 grams depending on the additions. The resultant hydration is 75%.

One concern about the KNB process is that the chance of mixing a smooth silky dough with no lumps is diminished by minimal mixing and no kneading. After my initial mix, I went to check the dough after an hour and found many clumps of partially hydrated dough. I know that these clumps will result in inconsistency in the crumb. So, I deviated from the script and did a frissage, (squishing the dough with the heel of your hand while sliding it across the counter) which broke up the clumps. Now I have a smooth cool dough that will set at room temperature for at least 12 hours.

Somewhere along the way, the NKB process took a turn towards what I would call normal breads in that Lahey now wants us to do a second fermentation after a brief shaping. The book calls for flouring a towel and setting the bread in a bowl to "proof". I used a linen lined basket and let it proof for 2 hours.

Interestingly, the procedure calls for the final ferment (proof) to be done seams down and baked seams up. No slashing is called for so the bread expands on the weakness of the bottom seams from shaping. It worked pretty well on the two loaves I have done although I would have liked a better spring.

I baked the loaf in the Lodge Combo Cooker, 15 minutes covered and 15 open at 460F. The internal was just over 203F. I didn't get the wildly open crumb structure that is shown in the book image but it's very appropriate for the bread, and delicious.

There are several very interesting recipes in Chapter Three "Specialties of the House" that are on my to-do list. The Italian Stecca with tomatoes and garlic pressed in the top of a stick. Then the Beyond water section, there are several interesting selections. The carrot bread looks like it would be fun and tasty. It uses home made juice extracted from carrots for hydration. So here is my first crack at the new "My Bread".


Just a little course corn meal prevents scorching on the bottom.


breadsong's picture

An experiment with multigrain

Today's bake was an experiment with multigrain, to see the difference between baking in a cold dutch oven, versus baking on my firebrick baking stone.
I've seen so many successful dutch oven bakes here on TFL - I wanted to give it a try!

The result: Very tasty! if not exactly pretty.
The baking stone loaf rose up an extra 1/2" compared to the 'cold dutch oven' loaf, which spread out more & didn't have as much oven spring/bloom from scoring.
Other variables: shaping was harder for the dutch oven loaf (fighting a sticky dough), and the dutch oven loaf was baked at a slightly lower temperature.

Crumb shot is from the 'cold dutch oven' loaf. The bottom loaf was baked on the baking stone.

I tasted a heavenly sourdough bread with sunflower, poppy and flax seeds this past week - I wanted to try and recreate that flavor - so this is the combination of seeds I used for this multigrain. The sunflower seeds were not toasted prior to soaking.

Weights, in grams, for two big boules:






Baker's %

Bread flour






Red Fife 75% whole wheat flour






75% sifted rye flour






Rye meal
























Mixed seeds






Levain (7 hour build at 80F)






Soaker (7 hour soak)












*also added approximately 1 teaspoon of barley malt syrup when mixing this dough.
The ingredients are based on Chad Robertson's Tartine Whole Grain Seeded Bread as featured In The News here on TFL (page 3), and Didier Rosada's Whole Grain Bread as featured on I am grateful to both of these talented bakers for their formulas!

Mixing, fermenting and retarding were as per Mr. Roberton's method, except I held back 90g of water to mix in with the salt and seeds after autolyse (double hydration used in Mr. Rosada's method).
Ingredients (levain, increased whole wheat flour, rye meal) were inspired by Mr. Rosada's formula.
The dough was retarded in bulk form for 12 hours, after a 3.5 hour bulk ferment at 80F.
The boules were shaped cold from the fridge; both proofed for one hour (one loaf in the dutch oven and one in a banneton).
The dutch oven was covered and placed directly on an oven rack in an oven preheated for 20 minutes at 500F. Temperature was reduced to 450F after loading the oven. The dutch oven lid was removed after 20 minutes.
The other loaf was baked on the stone with steam after the stone was preheated at 500F for 1 hour. Temperature was reduced to 460F after loading the oven.
Loaves baked for 45 minutes, then were left in oven for 10 minutes with oven off and oven door ajar.

I think this is one of the tastiest breads I've made. I really like the energy savings the dutch oven baking method provides.
Next time I'll try preheating the dutch oven and see how the oven spring is.

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong