The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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gary.turner's picture

Pumpernickel -- when is it done?

This may seem a silly time to ask, my loaf's in the oven as I  type, but how do you know when pumpernickel is done?

I'm baking a traditional Westphalian version, 100% rye (45% light, 45% medium, and 10% flakes) at approx 70% hydration. Temperature started at 350F and is being lowered 25F every two hours 'til it's at 225F.

Everything I've found for all rye pumpernickels only gives ranges somewhere in a 16 to 24 hour window.

I have a roaster pan with water on the bottom rack, and another roaster inverted over the Pullman pan to trap the moisture (not any sort of seal).

The aroma test seems a bit vague, as the kitchen end of the house has had an aroma of chocolate cake baking since about two hours into the bake; and no, there's nothing but rye, salt, water and yeast in the dough.

Any suggestions?



SylviaH's picture

Peter Reinhart's - Pizza Quest-Recipe, Country Pizza Dough & plenty more news

For those of you who have not seen P.R. Pizza Quest.  This came in my newsletter today from and has been in the making for some time.


joyfulbaker's picture

DIY: Those Raincoast Crisps

Awhile back, I tried making a DIY version of Lesley Stowe's Raincoast Crisps.  While they tasted delicious, the texture was somewhat chewy and even a bit gummy, and the raisins all sank to the bottom.  Not a very successful outcome, but they were pretty good, especially with Trader Joe's honey goat cheese spread on top.  I am about to make them again, only this time I'll plump the raisins (or maybe dried cranberries this time) and toss them with a bit of flour, and I'll reduce the brown sugar and honey  just a bit (can also use molasses for all or part of that, as well as maple syrup, according to some recipes).  I got the original recipe online from Julie Van Rosendaal (her cookbook is called Grazing: A Healthier Approach to Snacks and Frozen Food).  Of course there are variations, but here is the original recipe as I got it online:

2 cups flour (I'll mix A/P with W/W pastry flour)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 C buttermilk (or milk soured with vinegar)

1/4 C brown sugar*

1/4 C honey* 

1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries or dried cherries, halved if large)**

1/2 C chopped pecans

1/2 C pumpkin seeds, roasted (I used roasted sunflower seeds)

1/4 C flax seeds (or flax seed meal or a mixture of the two)

1/4 C sesame seeds

1 TBSP chopped rosemary

* I'll reduce to a scant quarter cup or 4 TBSP of each.

** I will plump the raisins w/ hot liquid (orange juice or sherry) for about 15 minutes, drain and mix with sprinkling of flour.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.  Spray two loaf pans (or four mini loaf pans) with nonstick cooking spray (can also line w/ parchment after spraying pan)

2.  Put flour, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Stir in honey, brown sugar and buttermilk until combined.  Do not overmix.  Add the raisins, pecans, all the seeds and rosemary until combined and well distributed.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Size of crackers will depend on size of loaf pans.  

3.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, until well browned but not overbaked.  Cool completely or freeze.  (You can retain half in freezer for another time, since this produces about 5 to 6 dozen crackers.)  Slice loaves as thinly as possible.  Places slices on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 300 deg. F. for 15 minutes on first side, then turn and bake for 10 minutes on second side.  Cool and store in air-tight container.

Let me know if you make these and if indeed they come out as "crisps."



Jaydot's picture

Huge amount of seeds and sugar...

My sister in law brought back a recipe from her travels (to South Africa) for a "best ever" bread, but I'm uncertain about even trying it. My experience in bread baking so far is limited to lean sourdoughs, so this recipe seems extraordinary. 

It's a recipe for a yeasted bread (20 gr fresh yeast), and it calls for 500 gr flour, 1 cup of castor sugar (that would be about 200 gr, right?), 300 gr water and then 350 gr of mixed seeds (seven kinds). It also uses 5 teaspoons of malt extract and 60 ml syrup (unspecified). And some salt.
The recipe basically says mix, knead, proof, knead again briefly, rise "to top of tin" and bake at 200 C.

In spite of all the sugars, my sister in law says it didn't taste sweet at all. That hardly seems possible to me...

Have any of you ever baked something with so much sugar en seeds? Will it work?

AndyPieper's picture

Homemade Baguette Pans

Let me begin by saying this is my first post, and I have learned a tremendous amount from so many of you.  I am an amatuer baker...serious, but time constrained.  One of my major curiousities has been how people get bakery quality breads with home equipment.  I have learned many great tricks from you all.  I hope I can share one with you.

One particular interest of many on this website is baguettes.  Many of us spend alot of time perfecting the formulas and shaping of baguettes.  But given the length of most people's stones (usually 15") and standard baking pans (around 18") I see that many of us end up with only about 15-17" baguettes.  Most of the retail baguette pans are 16-18".  These tools often create very nice looking (and nice tasting) loaves, but given that the standard home oven is nearly 24" wide, I was frustrated with my inability to make better use of that space, and the potentially more dramatic loaves that space could provide.

So I set about finding a fairly easy, and even more importantly, cheap, solution. 

I began with three cheap aluminum stove pipe pieces purchased from Lowe's.  I was not able to find them at Home Depot.

Pan Barcode




As you can see, these cost a whopping $3.34.  I bought three for $10, and used the first one for "practice." 

Make sure the pipes are not galvanized, as these are problematic.  You want plain aluminum.

These pans are about 24" long, and after you use a hacksaw to cut off the ribbed ends, will be 22-23".

The diameter of the pipe is about 4", which means the width, if stretched, would be a little over 12".  If you can find a flat 12x24 sheet, that would work.  But I wanted the "curve" to be partially formed already, and this pipe piece fit the bill.

The next part is a little difficult, but "about right" is as okay as perfect.  You want to divide the pan into three sections lengthwise.  I used a flexible fabric tape measure, and tapped indentations into the metal with a hammer and nail punch.  If you tap three indentations, each the same distance from the edge, then you will have a sort of "line of dots" the length of the pan.  Measure first from one edge, and then from the other.  This will give you two "lines" of three indentations each, which essentially creates three lengthwise sections to the pan.  Note that I used about 4 1/4" as my distance.  This means the baguettes are a little thicker that those bought from a bakery, but thinner than most of us create free form.  You could potentially try to create four-loaf pans, which would require approximately 3" measures.



The next step is the initial bending of the pan seams.  The indentations create a "line" on the outer part of the pan.  Using the edge of some sharp piece of wood, position the pipe along the indentations.  Using your fingers, press near the indentations and bend the pipe sort of "around" the corner of the wood.

Bending Pipe



Continue this bending along both lines.  From here, you simply do your best to create semi-circle rounds that will hold the baguettes.  I used two strategies to continue forming the pans.

The first was to use a long thin tool for spreading wallpaper or edging paint.  You could use a variety of things, such as a thin board, or even a stiff piece of cardboard (those of you who have a baguette flipping is another use).  Simply place it underneath the partially bent pipe joint, and bend as far as you can, pinching the bend with your fingers.

Bending Pipe 2



My next strategy was to use a rolling pin to continue the bending process.  The goal is to make the groove as near a semi-circle as possible. 

Rolling pin



This did not work that well, and I ended up just using my fingers to bend the aluminum as best that I could.  The final results can be seen below.

Final Product 1



Final Product 2



Does this work?  Well, my results are below.  I just put parchment paper lengthwise on top, and made some sourdough baguettes.  For these approximately 22" baguettes, each baguette's dough was about 15 oz.  The recipe is based on the Proth5 65% hydration dough.  As I mentioned earlier, these baguettes are a little wider than I prefer.  They are about 3" in diameter.  But they are still nice.

Finished loaves



The reason I like these pans is that 1) they are cheap; 2) they allow one to bake multiple long large loaves; and 3) they are easy to make and maintain. 

Many of the retail pans out there are expensive, and waste some of our oven width.  You could make three of these for $10, and if you mess up the first few, then no problem...spend $10 more and make them better.  Making these two pans (plus one practice pan) took about 45 minutes.

Many of us are looking for longer, grander, easier to handle baguettes.  I know that many of the posts I've seen discuss the difficulty of shaping and transferring baguettes.  I hope these pans fill a void that many of us have surrounding baguettes.  They take full advantage of all of our oven space, allowing me to cook six 22" baguettes in one baking cycle.  They avoid the problem of poor surface tension on free form baking pans or collapsed loaves after transferring from couche to stone.  In addition, they allow for the use of higher hydration doughs that don't hold their form as well.

Some notes/ideas/caution:

The bottom of baguettes baked in these pans are quite soft.  I have adjusted for this inevitability by removing the loaves from the pans and baking directly on the rack the last 3-4 minutes of baking. 

These pans are weak and flimsy.  I place them on upside-down baking sheets when using.

Also, the edges can be slightly sharp, so be careful. 

Finally, the loaves are rounded on the bottom.  I think it is possible to bend or form the bottom of the pans more squarely, I just haven't done so. 

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Italian Lard Bread, v2.0

My advisers pronounced these perfect, at least in terms of duplicating their memory. Twice as much lard and twice as many cracklings (also of a larger size.) A much coarser crack to the pepper. Just for the fun of it, I mixed this dough considerably wetter than the last. I believe I overproofed it some. Both baked covered in cast iron. One twisted, one scored. I don't think it is necessary to score this loaf, although it is attractive.

For people who love bread and love pork, this bread is a touchstone. Make extra; it disappears very fast.

LeadDog's picture

Persimmon Bread

We have a persimmon tree and this year I thought I would make Persimmon bread from the fruit.  First I had to find a recipe that I liked and do a trial run to see how the bread tastes.  I found a recipe at this website that I used to make my bread. The first one turned out very tasty but I thought that I should double the recipe and bake the bread in my panettone mold.

Persimmon Bread



2 1/2 cups persimmon, mashed pulp.  I put mine in a blender and made a smoothie out of them.  There was a little extra that went into the bread also.

2 tablespoon lemon juice

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup plus 4 tbsp. sugar and 4 tbsp. water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups bread wheat flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon nutmeg 

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup roasted almond pieces


Mix the persimmon lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, water, and vanilla extract together.  Then add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  Then mix until all the flour is moistened.  Add the almonds and raisins and mix them in.


Pour into what ever baking pan you are going to use and smooth the top out so it looks nice.


Preheat oven to 325°F then cook for 1 1/2 hours.  Let the bread cool completely before cutting.  The glaze was made by melting a thick slice of butter.  Then added a half tablespoon of fruit flavored brandy, an eighth of a teaspoon of Vanilla and Almond extract each.  The glaze is then thickened up by adding powdered sugar until I got the thickness that I wanted.  This glaze is just very wonderful all on its own.  I then placed some sliced Almonds on top of the glaze.  I love the wonderful flavor that the persimmons give to this bread.



TerryTB's picture

Quintessential French Sourdough - Pain Au Levain [Leader]

[First Post!]

When I first attempt a new bread, I don't know what to expect.  Much like a piece of art, I have an end goal in mind, but by the time I am to the "perfecting" stage, it could be mistaken for a completely different project from which it began.

Pain au levain.  Universal, complex, subtle.

This bread was going to be a hearty boule that would always be around, yet never the center of attention.  Now it is the bread that I most likely reach for.  Ripped off heel? holding a tandem of goat cheese and bartlett pear?  Squeezing a scoop of tuna salad?  Gripping a banana dolloped with peanut butter?

Yes.  Every time.  All the time.



My proportions are taken from Daniel Leader's "Quintessential French Sourdough" and the method is partially borrowed from pain l'ancienne.


Stiff Dough Starter Refresh:  

  • 45g Old starter

  • 50g Water

  • 95g All purpose flour

  • 5g whole wheat


  • 62.5g stiff dough levain

  • 175 all purpose flour

  • 60g whole wheat flour

  • 15g rye flour

  • 175g water

  • 5g salt



  • Autolyse 20-30 minutes

  • Knead for 20 minutes, in three intervals, with 5 minutes in between to let the dough relax

  • Primary ferment for 2.5 hrs at 70F, with stretch & folds at 15 min, 30 min, 45 min and 60 min

  • Dust a piece of plastic wrap, place in banneton

  • Shape dough, place in banneton, and wrap plastic over the dough

  • Place in fridge for 24 hrs

  • Proof for 45 minutes out of fridge

  • Score

  • Bake, covered (ceramic dutch oven) for 20 minutes at 500F

  • Oncover, lower oven temp to 425F, bake until tapped hollow


Here are a couple of attempts:




GSnyde's picture

Variation on San Francisco Country Sourdough— BBA Liquid Levain, Central Milling Flours and Dutch Oven


After my baking hiatus, I needed to take another try at variations on my “San Francisco Country Sourdough”.  I made three mini-baguettes and a 800 gram boule. 


I wanted to try this bread with my new favorite flours--Central Milling Co.’s Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft (with malted barley) in place of AP flour, and Central Milling Co.’s Organic Type 85 in place of the whole wheat. Making the BBA Poilane-Style Miche Saturday involved making a larger quantity of liquid levain (what Reinhart calls his "barm") than I needed for the Miche, so I used some leftover levain for the SFCSD.

Once I got all the math done to adjust for the different hydration in the BBA levain, it was all pretty simple.  The mixing, fermenting, dividing, shaping and proofing pretty much followed my previous techniques for this bread. 

The baguettes were proofed on the wondrous linen couche from SFBI, and I’m pretty pleased with the scoring and grigne.  The boule was proofed in a linen-lined banneton.  I tried a different scoring pattern; ok, it ain’t artistic, but it spung.

My main experiment was baking the boule in a cast iron Dutch oven (Lodge 5 quart “Double Dutch Oven”).  I did not preheat the DO, though the oven was pre-heated.  I loaded the loaf on parchment in the lid of the DO.  It didn’t get any color in the first 12 minutes covered, but it sprung some.  Maybe 15 minutes covered would have been better.


It took almost an hour of total baking time to get the right color and internal temperature. Maybe the longer baking time was due to using a lower shelf in my oven to make room for the DO.

In any case, all four loaves came out well.  The flavor of the baguettes is wonderful, but not noticeably different than with KAF flours.  The malt in the Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft may have added a bit to the dark roan color.




Here’s the whole formula.


San Francisco Country Sourdough (12-12-10 variation)

Yield: Two 750g  Loaves or Three Mini-Baguettes (235g each) and one 800g Loaf




140 grams KAF bread flour

140 grams water

26 grams active starter (75% hydration) 

FINAL DOUGH (66% hydration, including levain)

660 grams   Central Milling Organic Artisan Bakers Craft flour (85.7%)

65 grams  Central Milling Organic Type 85 flour (8.5%)

45 grams   BRM Whole rye flour (5.8%)

456 grams   Water at room temperature (59%)

17 grams   Salt (2.2%)

306     Liquid levain  (40%)



1. LIQUID LEVAIN:  Make the final build 8 to 10 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F.  The levain should be bubbly and gluey.  It can be refrigerated once it has activated; if you refrigerate it, make sure you adjust the water temperature in the final dough to compensate.

2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary.  Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for an autolyse phase of 30 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing 5 minutes. The dough should have a medium consistency.  

3. BULK FERMENTATION WITH S&F:  3 hours. Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl twice 30-strokes at 45-minute intervals.  Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl, and stretch and fold on lightly floured board at 45 minutes.

4. RETARDED BULK FERMENTATION (optional):   After second S&F on board, form dough into ball and then place again in lightly oiled bowl.  Refrigerate 8-20 hours, depending on sourness desired and scheduling convenience.

5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into two  pieces (or more for baguettes) and pre-shape.  Let sit on board for 30 minutes, and then shape into boules or batards or baguettes.

6. PROOFING: Approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 72° F. Ready when poke test dictates.  Pre-heat oven to 500 with steam apparatus in place.


7. BAKING: With steam, on stone. (or in cast iron Dutch Oven)  Turn oven to 460 °F after steaming (or 475 °F if using DO). Remove steaming apparatus (or DO cover) after 12 minutes. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes total (50-60 minutes if using DO).   Rotate loaves for evenness as necessary.  When done (205 F internal temp), leave loaves on stone with oven door ajar 10 minutes.

Happy Baking.



ehanner's picture

Back to drawing board-Panettone

I posted this on the end of Floyd's post on Panettone but I thought better of it getting more readers on its own. I could use some help.

My batch of Panettone smelled heavenly as it baked for nearly 2 hours. I checked every 15 minutes after an hour. i divided the recipe in Floyd's post in half and loaded it in two ornamental paper buckets. It was about 1/4 to 1/3 full. I let them proof for 3.5 hours at around 80F and I did use the osmotolerant yeast. They rose slightly and did dome some where I made a cross cut and plopped a dollop of butter.

I'm pretty sure the reason it took so long to get an internal temp of 185F is that the dough was so dense.

Looking at why it didn't rise well:
I saw on the Italian site that they use only egg yokes. Sooo, I figured that 2 egg yokes would be about the same as 1 whole egg. Later I checked and I see a yoke is around 18g where the entire large egg, minus the shell is closer to 50g. I was a little short of egg product it seems.

Thinking about how the dough felt, I think it may have been a little dry. I added the egg yokes to the booze and whisked them together. I added the butter to the flour and other dry ingredients and broke it up by hand similar to making a pie crust or biscuit. Now I'm thinking maybe I should have added it after the dough was combined and partially developed, similar to a straight brioche.

I just put together a batch of mid level brioche in my old KA mixer to see how it would compare in texture. It is a very nice dough of much better quality than what I did yesterday and I have no doubt it will rise perfectly later today and would be a good base for Panettone with the fruit additions.

I should say that my wife has been noshing all morning at my mistake and thinks I'm nuts. She thinks it tastes great. It's starting to look like the first 2 Lb loaf isn't going to last the day.:>) Yes, I know you are supposed to wait a couple days to cut into it.

Any of you Panettone experts out there, I'd be happy to hear your take on my door stops.