The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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thebreadfairy's picture

Rofco Ovens

For those people who have been lusting after the Belgian Rofco ovens, I just noticed that they are being sold at Pleasant Hill Grain, along with Haussler ovens. Be forewarned, they are not cheap!

Alex11's picture


How do i get the open and airy texture of a brioche as opposed to the dense crumby version, i have been using the michel roux recipe for this and it came out very dense and smelt

slightly alchoholic.

CourtneyNMB's picture

Bread Business Plan!

I am planning to start a bread business soon and trying to write out my business plan. Does anyone have a sample bread business plan that they could provide for guidance? Also, does anyone know where to find bread and market stats? Please help! Thanks!

evonlim's picture

Organic Hokkaido brown sugar sourdough milk loaf studded with figs

since the Hokkaido milk loaf is such a hot topic thought i share my version. baked this for a friend who requested for a soft sourdough bread. of course with the help of txfarmer formula and clear instruction! 

handmade.. had good workout on the intensive kneading part to stage 3!! 

had a slice, amazingly soft, fragrant and yum :)

note: not very good at rolling the dough yet!


Juergens Detmolder Rye Sour

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


This is the standard rye sour I use for my German - inspired rye breads


Prep time10 minutes
Cooking time
Total time10 minutes


100 g
Rye (Wholegrain) Flour
100 g


Ferment for 14 hours at 28C

If you have a different temperature, ferment longer.

Alternatively you can add more starter (up to 20%)

If your kitchen is hotter, you can use less mature starter (5%) or add some of the bread's salt.

I keep my starter in the fridge and refresh it once or twice before baking a batch (which happens once a week).

To start this rye sour begin with small quantities, and add abit of honey at the beginning:

1. Feed: 10 g rye + 10 g water + 1/2 tsp honey

2. Feed after 12 hours: add to feed 1: 10 g rye + 10 g water

3. Feed after further 12 hours: Add to feed 2: 20g rye + 20g water 

You get the idea. Proceed like this for 3 to 5 days, and yo should have something that is alive.

Now you can switch to a slower feeding cycle and less mature starter, e.g, the proposed ratios above once a day, until you are happy with the smell and taste.

You are ready to bake now. 




This starter looses about 10% of its weight during fermentation

tboland's picture

Simple Bread - maybe too simple?

I have always been the cake, cookie and quickbread baker, while my Dear Wife (DW) has always been the bread baker. She actually sold her bread through a Farmer's Market in Iowa many moons ago. The old paradigm in our house when people asked who baked what was pretty simple. It came down to leavening. If it was chemical (or absent), it was me. If it was biological, it was DW.

I tried to understand what she was ding, but she would always use terms like "as much as it needs" and "you'll know when there's enough". For a cookie baker, that's just anathema, bordering on heresey. 10 grams of flour difference and you have very different cookies. I couldn't wrap my head around the imprecision (not inaccuracy) of it all.

Finally, I deided that it was time to break the code on this bread / yeast thing. There were going to be rules here, though.

  1. It has to taste great
  2. It has to be consistent
  3. It has to be easy to do
  4. It has to be easy to clean up after.
  5. It has to be able to be done one loaf at a time because there is only two of us in the house,

DW makes several hand-kneaded loaves at a time and it completely takes over the kitchen for hours and the sale of the cleanup is fairly large. Because of this, she wasn't making bread that often. I was looking for a day to day bread, and she likes to bake wonderful project breads. If I could take care of the D2D bread, she gets to have teh fun of doing what she likes when she likes whithout having to worry about not having fresh bread around.

I started out trying to duplicate DW's procedure on a smaller scale and using a stand mixer. I wanted a softer bread because DW's bread was just a touch too artisan for me. Once I replicated her procedures, I started to adjust for the changes, such as mixing vs kneading. In DW's hand procedure, this was a big differene because of turning out the dough onto a board on a special height counter. For me, the difference is changing the speed on the mixer.

(She is 5' 3" and a standard cabinet / counter is too high for her kneading. When we redid the kithen, we had a custom baking cabinet put in that is "Anne height" - I have no idea how high it is, just that it fits her kneading height. We had the cabinet-ordering-person meaure the height from the floor to the bottom of her palm with her hand outstretched and her arm down at her side.)

What I am looking for is comments about whether I went too far in simplifying the procedure. So far, so good, though.

Sorry about the charts. That's how it got converted from Word and I am new to this blog. Here is a link to a PDF file.



Basic Bread Using All Purpose Flour

Ingredient List


Bakers' %


US Volume


All Purpose UBW Flour



3.333 cups

~ 1 lb

Bottled water



1.333 cups


Kosher salt



1.5 tsp


Active Dry yeast



2 tsp

~1 pack






Melted butter






Equipment and Supplies

Stand mixer, bowl, and dough hook

Digital kitchen scale

2 cup microwave-safe measuring cup

Probe thermometer

Clean Tea Towel

Baker’s Joy spray

Bread pan (medium or large)

Small microwave-safe cup for melting butter


General Notes and Description

This is a very straightforward white bread. The dough will be wet.  That’s OK. Let the dough be what the dough will be. This procedure is designed for great taste, consistent results, easy preparation and even easier cleanup.


Other Assumptions

  • All ingredients, including water, were weighed using grams in developing procedure.  All volume measurements are converted (and then approximated) from weight.
  • 135 g per cup of AP flour.
  • California coastal climate – 55 to 75 degrees F, 20% to 50% relative humidity, sea level.
  • National brand unbleached white (UBW) All Purpose flour at 11 - 12% protein.
  • Very hard water area, requiring bottled water.
  • KitchenAid Artisan (325 watt, 5 qt, 4.7 L) mixer used for compiling procedure data.
  • Baker’s Secret medium bread pan used as reference.
  • Auto-convection baking – Set at 350 degrees, converts down 25 degrees to account for convection heating element.
    • If not using convection, use standard bake at 350 degrees and bake to 185 degrees F internal temperature, noting times for future reference.
    • If not using convection and If oven is known for uneven heating, spin pan around 180 degrees right before placing probe thermometer at the 25 minute mark.
  • Bread flour cab be substituted 1:1 by weight for AP flour. It will change the texture a bit.
  • Salt amount is a minimum; add up to 2 to 3 grams per personal taste.

Dry Prep              Step time: 2 minutes                      Cumulative time: 2 minutes

  1.  Weigh flour into mixer bowl.
  2.  Add salt and yeast. Volume measures can be used, but weight is preferred.
  3.  Place bowl on mixer with dough hook attached.

Wet Prep            Step time:  2 minutes                     Cumulative time:  4 minutes

  1.  Pour water into 2 cup measure.
  2.  Heat carefully to 105 to 115 degrees F in microwave. Use a thermometer. No guessing

Mix                        Step time: 2 minutes                      Cumulative time: 6 minutes

  1. Mix the dry ingredients for 30 seconds on medium speed.
  2. With mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the water over 30 seconds to one minute.
  3. With mixer still on medium speed, add honey over 15 seconds. I squeeze out of the bottle without measuring – I guess at this.  Less work and cleanup. This is the only place in the procedure I do this.

 Knead                   Step time: 15 minutes                    Cumulative time: 21 minutes

  1. Lower mixer speed to low (2 or 3) and let it run for 15 minutes total.
  2. To move some of the ingredients off the bottom of the bowl, increase to medium speed (4 or 5) every 5 minutes for 30 seconds each time.
  3. Turn off mixer and recover any dough from dough hook.

 Rise                       Step time: 2 hours, 1 minute       Cumulative time: 2 hours, 22 minutes

  1. Remove bowl from mixer and place on a not-cool counter.
  2. Cover bowl with clean tea towel.
  3. Let rise for 2 hours. It should look like the Son of Blob.

 Bake Prep and Second Rise

                                Step time: 23 minutes                    Cumulative time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

  1. At the two hour mark of the rise, preheat oven to Auto-Convection Bake 350 degrees. See Other Assumptions note on this.
  2. Spray Bread Pan with Baker’s Joy spray.
  3. Lightly hand-knead the Blob in the bowl to release gas pockets for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the dough into the prepared Bread Pan.
  5. Let rise again in uncovered Bread Pan for 20 minutes.
  6. While rising, heat butter using microwave in microwave-safe cup and let cool to >=100 F.
  7. At the end of the rise, pour cooled melted butter over top of loaf and spread evenly. Your clean fingers are good tools for this.

 Bake                      Step time: ~40 minutes                 Cumulative time:~3 hours, 30 minutes

  1. Auto-Convection bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes with the pan dead center in the oven.
  2. Place probe thermometer center mass in loaf set to 185 degrees F.
  3. Auto-Convection bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until internal temp hits 185 F. Temperature wins over time.

 Cool                       Step time: 25 minutes                    Cumulative time:~4 hours

  1. Remove bread pan from oven.
  2. Let cool for at least 5 minutes in pan.
  3. Turn out bread onto cooling rack or bread board or wherever.
  4. Cover with tea towel after 20 minutes.
  5. It can take up to 2 hours before the bread is cool enough (>= 100 degrees F) to place in plastic bread bag for storage or freezing.

These loaves are residual heat sinks. If you don’t believe me, leave the probe thermometer in until it completely cools to 100 degrees F.

nicodvb's picture

I'm not receiving notifications

Floyd, I'm not receiving notifications anymore after the update of TFL. I re-saved all my settings, but still I don't get any email.



evonlim's picture

weekend baking.. with all the advices given and put in practice

today's baked..Beetroot and purple carrot sourdough kamut flour with seeds n raisins/walnuts

:) thank you for all the great tips and advices. and this is the results..


PiPs's picture

Learning Heat

It feels so strange to stop for a minute and think back over the week ... It has been a blur of oven firings, dough mixing, baking and cleaning.

In some ways it has been a week of major milestones ... the FIRST bake!

... but now that I am test baking everyday in the oven it really feels down to business. I have entered into a relationship with this wood burning beast and I need to tame it.

I now often think of something that Chris Bianco said about woodfired ovens - he said they teach you about heat.

Perhaps I understand that a little more now - it's not just the feeling of radiant heat when you stick your arm in a blazing hot oven, its also about heat transfer, how it moves through objects and is stored.

The lesson probably also extends to losing most of the hairs on my right arm and burning off part of my fringe ... I am also drinking a lot more water these days :)



Though we are baking small loads in the oven it is not fully operational. A lot of water is used to build these masonry ovens and for the first few weeks that moisture needs to be pushed out of the oven so it can dry thoroughly - the oven has been literally dripping water. But everyday I see improvements in its heat storing ability and the water patches in the render are slowly drying up ... but it could still take a few more weeks until it "comes good".

As has been said so often, the biggest test is having dough that is ready when the oven is ready ... I have many, many, many more weeks until I have a firing schedule nailed down. This will be my biggest test. We can work the bread schedule around the oven ... but the oven NEEDS to be right.


First Sourdough bake

Bread and basket

Sourdough and Walnut Levain

Sourdough crumb

2kg Miche

2kg Miche

Miche Crumb


So now the test baking phase begins ... over the next few weeks many varities of breads will be baked, tested and improved upon then baked again and again ... the whole time aiming for consisent results that taste delicious.

All the breads in this post have been baked in the woodfired oven. Apart from the ciabatta, all are sourdough and have been hand mixed, plus they contain a proportion of freshly milled grains. The biggest batch I have hand mixed so far has been 30kgs - It is easier than it sounds and is incredibly satisfying.

As Eric Kayser says, "It is a dream!  It is a dream to make the dough by hand, to make the energy with the hand!"


Scoring practice

Restaurant Ciabattas

Boldy baked bread!


Sorry I have been so slack with replies in my previous posts ... I will aim to answer any questions that you have or just say hello :)

Happy baking,