The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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mcs's picture

bread packaging

Most of us make more bread than we can eat.  And hey, why not when it's takes just as long to clean up after making 2 loaves as it does after making 4 loaves.  Anyway, for those of you who give away (or sell) your extras, these bags might be of interest.  I use them for our bakery packaging because they keep things crisp and allow me to package the loaves while they're still warm.  Plus, as you can see, they enable the customer to pick up the loaves and see them from top to bottom.   I print the labels on a single color laser printer (no smudging), which makes them easy to edit.  The ingredient labels on the back are standard name tag size, the main labels on the front are slightly larger.  I use brown ones for the bread and silver ones for the pastries.  

bag closeupbag closeup

assorted bagsassorted bags



hansjoakim's picture

Back from Paris: Hungry for baguette de tradition!

Hi all,

I'm just back from some amazing days in the French capitol. It was perfect: Glorious sunshine, mild weather, the most inspiring autumn colours on trees along the Seine, and the baguettes, my god! the baguettes!

For some reason or other, I'm mostly a whole wheat loaf kind of person, but now I'm really up for trying my hands at some baguettes. In Paris, I often had baguettes de tradition. I don't speak French, but I sort of figured that the baguettes were made from a "fixed" or prescribed recipe. Does anyone actually know the French baguette de tradition recipe? Metric or bakers % would be amazing :)  Are there any autolyse or kneading "instructions" to go with the "traditional" recipe?

Also, Hamelman give baguette recipes made from poolish, biga and pate fermentees. From your experience, which preferment gives the best result? I initially thought that baguettes and poolish go hand in hand.

Thanks in advance :)

Floydm's picture

Norm's Onion Rolls

I too have baked a batch of Norm's Onion Rolls. They are wonderful.

I added 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds to the dough as well as an extra quarter cup or so of rehydrated dried onions. Otherwise, I followed his recipe.

I may have gotten a little too carried away with the poppy seeds and onions, but they were awfully tasty.

redcatgoddess's picture

Basic Baguette Formula

This is the most basic & easiest to acheve Baguette formula from Le Cordon Bleu (where I am trained).  This formula will yeild about 3 22" classic baguette.  You can use this recipe for

 805 g bread flour

16 g salt

6 g instant yeast (or 18 g fresh or 9 g active)

523 g water (or 511g if fresh yeast is used, or  520g for active yeast)


This is what we called "straight dough," basically, everyone comes to the party!

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together, includes the yeast (active or fresh yeast needs to disolved in the wtaer 1st.
  2. Add the water to the dry.  Now, just mix the dough w/ you hand, until there is no dry or wet spot (and yes, the dough is still VERY sticky at this point and I know, but just leave it).  Cover it with the mixing bowl & let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the dough and knead/throw the dough (and yes, it will stick to the counter top or board, but please do NOT use any more flour, additional flour WILL change the formula.  Just knead the dough until it is not longer stick to your tough about 5 - 10 minutes.  Cover the dough w/ the mixing bowl again, let stand for another 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough and LIGHTLY knead it until the dough starts to show a little tearing on the side of the dough. 
  5. LIGHLY spray the mixing bowl w/ commerica pan spry (to make sure the dough doens't stick to the bowl, then cover w/ the plastic wrap.  Let ferment for 45 minutes (yes.. that's all it takes).
  6. After 45 minutes, slowing & lightly (use a bowl scraper) 'flap' the dough upside down onto the counter, then lightly pat out the large air bubbles & fold the dough into 3rd (3 folds).  Put the semi-rectangula/long dough back to the bowl, cover, let rest for another 45 minutes.
  7. Use a bowl scraper, 'flap' the dough from the bowl & dived into 3 potions (about 450 g each).  Lightly pat out large air cells, 3 folds, cover w/ plastic wrape and let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Shaping... seal the seam of the baguette dough by firmly push the seem against the counter (as if you are chopping it, then start from the middle of the dough, slowly roll out the length of the baguette.  Then place the shaped dough onto a inverted baking sheet w/ springle of cornel, parchment, corn meal (pan, corn meal, parchment, corn meal).
  9. After shaping, spry the shaped baguette w/ either commerical pan spry or warm water, then cover w/ plastic wrap again, and let it bench rest for 20 minutes.
  10. Scoring... use a lame or sharp knife. Slash the baguette 5 or 7 times at 45 degree angle & about 4" long on the surface of the baguette.  The angel of the slach should look about 20 degree.
  11. Baking... 400F w/ 8 minutes of steam + 12 minutes = 20 minutes + extra minutes for desired crust color. Now, if you are a home baker, make sure you spry the baguette w/ WARM water HEAVILY then bake at preheated 400 F oven, about 20+ minutes, depends on the desired color.
  12. DO NOT CUT OPEN THE BAGUETTE UNLESS IT'S COMPLETELY COOLED!!!  Restaurants have us thinking WARM bread is the best, however, if you are cutting open a warm baguette, your 2 hrs work has just down the drain for nothing.  It has to be cool, please... another 30 minutes will not kill you...

I made the following Epi w/ this formula.
dmsnyder's picture

Krupnik - soup to eat with rye bread, onion rolls, pumpernickel, etc.

Sour Rye Bread (Norm's formula) with Krupnik

Sour Rye Bread (Norm's formula) with Krupnik

 Krupnik is an Eastern European beef and barley soup that is a meal in itself, with some good rye bread. There are many versions. Mine is an old family recipe, although I have seen almost identical versions in Jewish cookbooks. Unlike the version Floyd makes, mine is strictly meat - no milk products, since it is a Jewish version. I know that it has been altered somewhat from generation to generation, depending mostly on the tastes of family members. The version I will give is as close to that my maternal grandmother made as I can remember.

Recipe for Krupnik

  •  1 lb lean chuck trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 carrots cut into 1 inch long pieces
  • 2 stalks celery cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried brown lentils
  • 2/3 cup pearled barley
  • 1/2 cup dried baby lima beans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried navy beans (optional)
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice.  (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I like lots of pepper, but each person can add this at the table to personal preference.)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Water to cover ingredients by 2 inches. Plan on adding more as barley and lentils swell to achieve a thick but not solid final consistency. 
Notes on ingredients
  • When I was a child, I hated beans in this soup, so, for many years my mother omitted them. My tastes changed as an adult, and I now put them in. 
  • My grandmother used a variety of cuts of beef, often short ribs. As we have tried to cut down on fat in our diet, I began using top chuck.
  • My wife's grandmother made krupnik with lamb rather than beef. We have made it this way many times, using lamb neck, and it is equally delicious.
  • Many recipes also add some dried porcini/cepes. I love mushroom-barley soup, but I don't put mushrooms in krupnik.
  • My wife likes krupnik with some tomato, so we now usually add a small can of coarsely chopped tomatoes. This is definitely not traditional, however.
  1. Trim and cube chuck and place in a 8-10 quart soup pot. Add 3 quarts of water. Bring to a gentle boil and skim any scum that rises to the surface. 
  2. Turn the fire down to achieve a steady simmer and simmer for 1 hour.
  3. While the meat is simmering, cut up the onion, carrots and celery (and optional potato) and measure out the other ingredients.
  4. After the meat has simmered for 1 hour, add all the other ingredients and additional water, as needed.
  5. Cook at a steady simmer, stirring frequently for 1-2 hours until the beans are completely cooked and the meat is very tender. Add water to thin it if the soup is getting too thick. When thick, it tends to stick to the bottom of the pot if not stirred very frequently.
  6. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  7. Serve with  rye or pumpernickel or other bread of your choice. 
This soup is even better the next day, but you almost always have to add more water as you re-heat it. It also freezes well.  Enjoy!  David 


tgw1962_slo's picture

unbromated flour vs. regular flour


About two months ago I discovered "unbromated" flour. I had never heard of this before nor did I know what it meant. So I did a little research about it and found out what the difference is. Based on what I learned, I decided to buy a bag of it to try. I made a focaccia using some of this and was really amazed at the difference. The focaccia came out soft and chewy (but firm). I was really happy with the results. A week prior to this I'd made a focaccia using what I'll call "regular" flour and the results weren't as good. The crust was rather hard and crunchy (kind of hard to chew).

So I guess I'm wondering if anyone else here uses unbromated flour? What your experience is.

Please let me know. Thanks.



bluesbread's picture

Rising in cooler -- why didn't I think of this long ago?

Maybe this is a well-known trick but I'm still patting myself on the back for thinking it up recently, and I want to make sure you all know about it:

Let your dough rise in an insulated cooler! I have a small soft-sided one that works great, but any small cooler would work. The yeast generates heat as it eats and multiplies, and the cooler holds it in, keeping the dough nice and cozy (but not so warm that it speeds up the action to the detriment of the flavor, as happens when you put it into a warm oven). I used to wrap towels around the bowl, but the cooler is easier and more efficient. Do not stick dough that you've just removed from the fridge into the cooler, though, or you'll just be keeping it cold. Wait until it warms to room temp and then place it in the cooler. Happy baking! bluesbread

Traci's picture

Bake times for smaller loaves


I have only just started baking. I've made the no-knead bread and really like that. However its really, really large for one person. If I want to split the recipe in two and make two loaves how I should adjust the bake times to still get the same results of a crispy, crackly crust and nice soft inner part? Also, is there anything I'll need to do differently with my dutch oven?

Thanks in advance!



KipperCat's picture

wrapping bread for swap meet - and baking ahead

First I want to say hello! to everybody.  I've missed chatting about bread - and missed baking it even more.  Awhile back I suspected some food allergies, so decided to test some changes in my diet.  To my dismay, I found that I do feel a lot better when I don't eat wheat or dairy.  There was no way I could bake bread all the time and not eat it.

I've changed my focus to another hobby - gardening.  I'm attending my first plant swap in a few weeks.  Since I have almost no plants to trade, I decided to make some bread. With very rusty skills, some no-knead multi-grain seems good.  I'd like to bake it a week or two ahead. I have some of the Glad Cling Wrap to freeze it in. 

I could use some suggestions for thawing. Is there a good way to restore some crispness to the crust?

Then there's the whole issue of bagging it.  Does anyone know where I can buy some paper bags for boules?  I don't mind buying more than I need this time, as I may do this again in the future.  Or do you have other inexpensive suggestions for packaging?

berryblondeboys's picture

What is the yield for wheat berries to cups of flour?

I guess there are two ways to look at it, 5 lbs of flour is the same as 5 lbs of wheat, but what is the yield? Like, how many cups of flour do you get from a cup of wheat berries?

Or, for baking purposes (and I do use my scale a lot), is it better to just weigh my wheat berries and then grind them and use that as my guide for making a loaf?

Consensus seems to be either use it IMMEDIATELY or have it wait a few days (more than three?)

I don't have a mill right now, but have been thinking about it for YEARS and now that I'm baking daily AND i make cakes, I'm wondering if it's more economical in the long run to grind my own wheat?