The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Steph0685's picture


Ok so I am a fisrt time bread maker. I was given a bread machine without instructions. Not a problem. I looked up some general how to's online and found a general basis for making bread, using a machine, etc. I was lucky! Right on the machine it had instructuons on what to put in and when, ie, water then dry ingredients then yeast. Okay so all is well. I start out making a loaf of potato bread. Add the ingredients just as it said in the recipe. The bread turned out great. My boyfriend and I ate it and today we wake up and were both sick with stomach aches. I had to call off work today! What did I do wrong?!? So I start thinking back and rereading the directions. Then I start looking at everyone's blogs. We used active dry yeast in the recipe and just added it to the bread machine(the last step).I did not dissolve it first or add sugar or any of those things. Could this have caused us to get sick? Or is it just a coinscidence? I have another loaf I made and did the same thing and now Im afraid to eat it. Please Help!!

moreyello's picture

Sour dough bread holes

Hello everyone, well here is another question on bread holes. My sour dough bread tastes and looks great but I am still

not achieving those big holes. I am a little confused, on one message board I read they recommended folding and strecthing the

dough before the final rise to give the bread enough strenght. In another it said not to tamper with it once you deflate it so as no

to de gas it. What should I do?

Johnbbq's picture

Wheat Montana four is superior to just Organic Flour

Some serious mis-information has been posted about the products of Wheat Montana and their products.


To have a "Certified Organic" label a product must meet certain minimum standards.   The producers must be inspected and use only natural fertilizers and no chemicals to have this label.  Period!  

The law does not recognize those producers that go beyond that standard, that produce superior products.  This is why What Montana does not advertise that they are certified organic.   Their flour is certified to be chemical free of well over a 100 known chemicals after it is milled in the latest high tech flour mill.  They do not use chemical fertilizers.  In addition they use NO animal manure.  They will not risk the spread of any bacteria into their products at all.   (Remember some of the recent problems with organic products that had salmonella from manure?)   The grain produced by Wheat Montana goes directly to their own flour mill and directly to the consumer.   Few other flour producers can deliver any product this pure!!!

In addition Wheat Montana uses no Genetically Modified grain whatsoever.   Most flour millers try to achieve this but they have no way of really knowing the origin of their grain to grow the wheat.

This information is posted on their web site and on their menus and in their stores.   I quess if you cannot read and walk up and ask if they are organic, you will get a quick answer that they are not.   They are so much more than the minimum standards--Wheat Montana, in my opinion, if the Gold Standard of pure food.

I am a retired guy who loves to cook.  I do not work for What Montana.   I have been in a few hundred food production plants in my life.  The Organic label is a good guide for those that want food that is chemical free.   It is only a minimum guide and there are many marginal products on the shelves today that  survive only for their organic label, not for the quality of the product they sell.  

The food buyer should always be aware of the whole picture.   Many people pay extra for poor quality food that gets turned out under the shield of being organic.   Nothing in the Organic law says anything about the food quality or taste.   Always use common sense.

America is the land of plenty when it comes to food choices.   And there will always be leaders in food production and their will always be some that cut corners.   Witness the recent mess in peanut butter.

Wheat Montana grows, mills, bakes, sells their own product.  It is a marvelously successful family operation.   They only sell a few products.  The Prairie Gold whole wheat (whole grain) flour is a marvelous high protein, high fiber flour.   In a modern hammer mill, the flour is ground differently than most conventional mills.  Most people rave over the taste of this bread and are shocked to learn that it is whole grain.  I use it exclusively in all breads from Banana bread to Rye (I do add some rye flour) bread.   I challenge anyone to show me a better tasting product or healthy product.


Pster's picture

Can someone explain what a "soaker" is?

I've read about people using "soakers" - what exactly is that?

How do I incorporate that into making the bread?  When do I add it?


and also....

*why* would I use a "soaker" or that method?


If you could tell me all about it - I'd appreciate it! 


xaipete's picture

Why should a levain be used at the peak of ripeness?

There has been some discussion lately about how to tell when a levain is ripe, but why is it important that a levain be used when it if ripe? Why not use it when it is half-way ripe or 3/4rds ripe?


MommaT's picture

loving Hamelman's pain au levain with whole wheat!


Having been on the great quest for that perfect daily bread for my family, I think I'm getting closer.

I've been baking Hamelman's Pain au Levain now and again with mixed reviews from the family.  I recently tried the pain au levain with whole wheat and it has been a massive hit!  The flours here are split between 75% bread flour, 20% whole wheat flour and 5% medium rye.     My starter seems to really love the warmer weather of spring and this dough bursts to life.  I wish I had photos to show you!

One day, due to a cat who needed to be rushed to the vet, the dough sat in the fridge over night and was super!  It seems to be a very forgiving recipe.

I would encourage you to try it if you haven't already!



PS:  Hope to send pics next time!

SallyBR's picture

Walnut Levain Bread

Last weekend's bread was my first attempt at a recipe called "Pearl's Walnut Levain", from Artisan Bread Baking, Glezer's book


I highly recommend this recipe - I was a bit weary of the walnut halves, they seemed huge and difficult to knead in, I was afraid it would break the gluten strands and turn the bread into lead. Not at all. The crumb is a bit tighter than the sourdoughs I've been making, but still feels pretty light, especially considering the amount of nuts inside.


the bread still tasted quite fresh and moist after 3 days, which is an added bonus. It was spectacular with some Stilton cheese in it.  But we even enjoyed it to go along with some pasta with chicken parmiggiana, which seemed a bit of a strange combo  :-)


I show  four pictures, dough ready to get the walnuts mixed in, final rise before going in the clay pot, and two of the ready "boule"


driechel's picture

My new spiral mixer

Hello everyone,

yesterday my new spiral mixer arrived. I ordered it in Italy and me living in the Netherlands had to wait for over week for it to arrive. (DHL didn't understand my adress notation!) Anyway my patiences paid of. I cannot emphasize enough how happy I am with this mixer. After years of trying different mixer (all planetary) I hoped that I finally found the right mixer for me. And I can tell you I am pretty sure this is the one!
It is a spiral mixer with moving bowl and central shaft. It can mix from 500 grams up to 3000 grams of flour (so 5 kg of dough depending on amount of water). The engine is only 370 watt but the deep low sound it makes is uncomparable with my old kenwood chef of 800 watt (ok I have to admit that this mixer only has one gear and the kenwood has many more).
It took me 3 years to find out that a spiral mixer with a household size existed, so that is why I like to share it with you all. Maybe I can inspire some others.

For those interested here is a link to a movie I made of the mixer at work:


It comes from this store:
Click on kneading machines. It is the IMC5E model. (the smallest)

jemar's picture

An Apology

I posted a message in the wrong place yesterday because I wasn't familiar with the way things work here! In the past I have only left comments on other users text and this was the first time I had started a thresd of my own. Also, I am not that 'au fait' with this technology being what we call in the UK a Silver Surfer!! I hope I am doing it right this time. What I wanted to do was post some pictures of rolls I made yesterday but I'm not sure I've got my head round that procedure yet, I've looked at FAQ but it says to look for the little tree, there's no tree that I can see. I'll persevere, I'll get there sometime!

RFMonaco's picture

Whole grain breads

Some really great looking and tempting bread shown here: