The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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cdiggz's picture





1 3/4 cup flour (2 cups if using frozen berries)

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly butter muffin tins or line with muffin cups.


1. Beat egg in small bowl.  Add oil and mix well.


2. Measure milk and add to egg mixture. 


3.  Measure dry ingredients and sift into large bowl. 


4.  Add milk, oil and egg all at once to dry ingredients.  Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.


5.  Fill muffin cups ¾ full.


6. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Yield: 9-12 muffins





Blueberry Muffins


Prepare batter as above.  Gently fold in 1 cup fresh or thawed and well-rinsed blueberries.


Chocolate Chip Muffins


Prepare batter as above.  Gently fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. 


Surprise Muffins


Prepare batter as above.  Fill muffin cups ½ full, drop 1 tsp, jam or jelly in the center of each and add batter to fill cups 3/4 full.


pattycakes's picture

Sourdough Went to Sleep and Won't Wake Up

I was so proud to be baking good sourdough bread here in Italy, having figured out the flour, made a starter from local flour, and gotten the steaming and baking up to snuff. (Well, I had baked three days in a row successfully after 5 days of making my starter.) Then my starter started looking dead. Not grey, just white and lying there like a slug. Asleep. I put it in a warmer place, as it's been very cold here. No luck. I found a Peter Reinhart link that said to add pineapple juice if you had used pineapple to start the starter. I hadn't, but I did it anyway (to half the starter). The other half, I have been stirring a lot, another of his suggestions.

It seems that a rogue bacteria can get in that makes bubbles but suppresses the natural yeasts. I suppose that's what I've got. Can anyone help?



Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

The mystery of the ghost biscuit

This isn't a problem - it's just a big conundrum to me, and I'm simply wondering whether anybody can solve it...

The other day, I asked my husband what sort of bread he'd like for me to make the most.  He said a regular loaf - but salty! extra salt!  So I warned him that salt can kill yeast, and at best we'd have a very slow rise, but he said he didn't care - just salty!  (For safety's sake I made another loaf, the same recipe but without extra salt, too!)

So I went ahead with it - taking a basic loaf recipe with white flour, water, scalded milk, butter, sugar - but I upped the salt to about 4 or 5%.  Like I had predicted, the rise was extremely slow and small, both in the dough and the final proof.  I went ahead and popped it in the oven with steam, and it turned out to have excellent oven spring and a nice soft gold crust.  We were pleased.  

But upon the tasting - it was salty enough, perfectly so - but for reasons I simply can't explain, it tasted exactly like the breakfast biscuits we've had in a diner in the United States!  The other loaf tasted like a normal bread.  

Where did the biscuity flavor come from???  Spooky!  I just can't figure it out!  Any hints, ideas?  Thanks!

ApplePie's picture

Anyone in the SF bay area interested in whole wheat flour from Central Milling?

Hello Fresh Loafers!  Long time lurker, first time posting.

In my quest for sourcing good whole wheat flour, I called Nicky Giusto at Central Milling ( asking about prices and shipping.  I knew that Central Milling produces Whole Foods 365 Organic Unbleached All Purpose flour, and that Frank Sally at SFBI highly recommended flour from Central Milling so I figured I'd give it a try.  To my surprise he said I could swing by their warehouse in Petaluma and buy flour directly (gotta love that!)

I'm planning a run to their warehouse tomorrow to buy whole wheat flour, specifically Organic Whole Wheat Hi Pro Flour Fine, and anything else that catches my eye.  This is the whole wheat flour they developed for Acme bakery's whole wheat products.

Someone at the warehouse might be able to break down a 50 lb bag into something more manageable.  But if not, is anyone out there interested in splitting a 50 lb bag?  I'm sure it's great flour, but I still prefer to try out a smaller quantity.  If you're in the SF Bay Area (I'm in San Jose) and are interested, let me know.


maggiem's picture

Roasted Garlic

Hi, I am roasting some beautiful cloves of garlic (the house smells wonderful) and I am also in the process of warming up my starter for a couple of loaves. I was thinking of crushing the roasted cloves and adding them to my bread during the last few minutes of kneading. Does this sound like a good plan?

Thanks, Maggie

txfarmer's picture

Still struggling with Horst Bandel’s Black Pumpernickel

I made this bread for the 3rd time this past weekend, and it still didn't rise up to fill the pullman pan during the bake. I've tried all sorts of hydration levels, the latest dough was the wettest one, but it didn't make any difference in terms of the height in the bread. I tried to let it proof to 3/4 inch below the pan lid like instructed in the recipe, also tried to let it proof higher and lower before, no difference, the bread just does not get to the top. So my question is: has anyone baked this bread and have it filled the whole pullman pan to the top, WITHOUT adding any extra flour? What's your trick? I held back water during mixing and add as needed, this lst time I added 10 oz of the final 12.8oz water, I don't think the dough can take any more water than that. The first two times I kept the dough drier, no difference. 

Since it's a big batch of dough, KA doesn't do a good job of mixing it. I actually mixed the high gluten flour with some water first to get the gluten started, then added in the rest of the soakers and rye chops. I am obsessed to get it right but running out of ideas!

I used:

13X4X4 pullman pan (the recipe indicated 13X3.75X3.75 pan, but I think they are the same thing? Really don't think that 0.25 would make such a big difference)

Sir Lancelot high gluten flour

my rye starter was active and double every time after I feed it


What gives?

Susan's picture

Prescott Flaxseed Sourdough

Same old recipe, tweaked a little for the seeds.  I keep learning more and more, thanks to everybody here.  This one's named Prescott, as we're up the hill in Arizona for a short while. 

Here's the way I did it. It's only one way, so bake how it suits you and your location, temp, flours, etc.

20g whole flaxseed and 55g warm water, soaked for about 30 minutes before starting dough

50g firm starter

175g water

275g KA Bread Flour

25g whole wheat flour

6g salt

Mix starter and water, add all of flaxseed mixture, then add flours and salt.  Mix minimally by hand just until flour is wet, rest for 30 minutes, one Stretch & Fold, two more S&Fs at 1-hour intervals, let rise to double.  Keep the dough temperature in mid-70'sF during fermentation.  Pre-shape, rest 15 minutes, shape, then overturn into linen-lined basket.  Put in plastic bag, then into fridge for overnight.  Out of fridge for two hours before scoring, loading into oven, and covering. Oven preheated to 480F, then lowered to 440F after 3-5 minutes.  Bake 20 minutes covered, 15 minutes uncovered, 5 minutes in turned-off oven.

Note:  You can retard this dough in an oiled bowl after folding, if you like, and continue in the morning.

Raymowick's picture

Software for new retail operation

Afternoon everyone,

Been crawling the net looking for all the guidence I could get but thought it was about time to reach out to those with the passion in the field. I am working with a few others to get a bakery started up in our area and in turn need a good software solution. We will be doing both artisan breads as well as custom cakes.....both retail and wholesale. Our community has a nice void with regards to bakeries, we all have the passion and its a leap of faith we are willing to take.....despite being relatively green.

Would any small business sorts have any software to recommend that helps provide a good foundation?

cake diva's picture
cake diva

Asking for suggestions on what to do with sweet dough

Hello everyone!

I have a batch in the fridge of the USA Team sweet dough from Maggie Gleazer's Artisanal Baking.  Don't really want to make the monkey bread or the cinnamon pull-apart bread in the book.  May I ask for ideas on what to do with the dough?  I happened to add sultanas to it thinking maybe I'll make a loaf of raisin bread but I'm not sure it's the right base.  I'll be taking it out of the fridge first thing tomorrow morning.

Thanks in advance.

Shiao-Ping's picture

Pain au Levain with 20% Spelt

I find Hamelman's Pain au Levain formula very attractive (page 158 of "Bread").  A friend asked if I could do spelt sourdough for her.  I thought I would try 20% spelt flour to start with.  Essentially I took Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat Flour formula (page 160 of "Bread") and substituted spelt for whole-wheat flour.  But I have no confidence in my bread machine to mix and knead the dough properly, so I made two versions to compare: one by hand, my way; and the other by machine, exactly as detailed in Hamelman's book.   


First levain build - 8 to 12 hours before final levain build 

  • 5 g starter

  • 14 g bread flour

  • 9 g water


Final levain build - 12 hours before final dough mixing 

  • 130 g bread flour

  • 9 g stone-ground organic medium rye flour

  • 85 g water

  • 28 g mature culture from above (@ approx. 60% hydration)


Total levain 252 grams.  Reserve 28 grams for future use; with the balance of 224 grams, I split it by two (ie, 112 grams each), one for the dough to be made by hand, and the other for the dough to be made by my bread machine. 


Final dough - the quantity below is to be split by two as above 

  • 549 g bread flour

  • 37 g stone-ground organic medium rye flour

  • 181 g organic spelt flour (of which 1/2 is wholemeal spelt flour)

  • 532 g water

  • 17 g salt

  • 224 g of levain from above


Total weight 1.54 kg to be split into two of 770 grams each; dough hydration 68%




Major differences in the two methods are as follows:

(1) Autolyse:  With the hand mixing version, I autolyse all ingredients, whereas with the other version, salt and levain are not mixed in until after the autolyse. 

(2) The levain: In Hamelman's machine version, the levain is cut up in chunks and spread on top of the dough to mix. With my hand version, I diluted the levain thoroughly with the formula water before adding the flours in to mix.  As a result, the levain in the hand version acts more vigorously.   This means that fermentation happens faster in the hand version (see below).

(3) Fermentation:  Temperature of both of the doughs was roughly 76F as recommended by Hamelman in his book.  Bulk fermentation was 2 and a 1/2 hours and proofing was 2 hours.  An interesting thing was that at the end of this fermentation time, I felt the two doughs with my finger - the one that was mixed and kneaded by bread machine felt just right, however, the hand version dough felt slightly over-proofed, very bubbly, gassy and fragile.

(4) Baking:  I baked the hand version dough first (and placed the other into the refrigerator to wait for its turn).  

(5) Scoring:  My scoring for the hand version dough was shocking; the other one was easier for me as it was in the refrigerator for half an hour.






It is very obvious that that the hand version pain au levain has a more open crumb.  Hamelman says of Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat Flour that "the bread has a clean flavor and a balanced acidity" this would apply to the two Pains au levain here with 20% Spelt as well.  The flavour is really lovely.


It is very easy to over-ferment the dough.  If dough temperature is higher or lower than the recommended 76F (24.5F) due to ambient temperature, fermentation time should be adjusted.