The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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fredsambo's picture

French Bread

Well I finally went ahead and signed up, I have been a reader for quite some time. I am a professional baker by trade, but love to mess around in my conventional kitchen as well. I needed some old dough for my next adventure, so I decided to make a nice straight yeasted bread. I also noticed that some of the bakers cover the loaves in the oven to simulate injected steam, so I decided to try it!


The formula for the dough is pretty simple and based on Joe Ortiz's Direct-Method Compagnon:


1/4 ounce active dry yeast


1 3/4 cups cold tap water


3 2/3 cups King Arthur Bread Flour


1 3/4 teaspoons salt


I mixed the yeast with a little bit of warm water and then poured the rest of the water into the wet mixture. After adding two cups of the flour, using my Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer, I mixed with the paddle on first speed for two minutes. Then added the salt and the rest of the flour, graduating to the hook. Then I mixed on first speed until the flour was somewhat incorporated, and then 12 - 15 minutes on 2nd speed. The doulgh was velvity and somewhat slack when it came off the mixer.

Next I cut three small pieces out and shaped them into little boules. I set all three boules in the fridge, in glass bowls, coverd with plastic wrap.


About four and a half hours later I grabbed two of the boules from the fridge (the other is my old dough for tomorrow), flattened and reshaped them, and then covered them with a cloth, on a floured board, for about 45 minutes to an hour.


I scored them and put them right on the stone in my oven at 450 degrees, covered by a large cooking pot. I prepped this "cover" by pouring hot water out of it right before I put it in the oven, being careful not to touch the boules with the cover. After 12 minutes I carefully removed the cover and then baked them for another 15-17 minutes.


So here is the result:




I am pretty happy with the look of the crust, the crumb is dense as I expected from such a short proof time. Overall it is dense and chewy but with zero taste:


Tacomagic's picture

Smooth Looking Bagels


 With the recent increase in food prices everyone is suffering under, I've been making more and more of my families food in the kitchen, rather than buying it pre-fab (or whatever you call pre-made food).  Among many success at this I've "conquered"*: english muffins, crumpets, granola bars, bread, hot dog/hamburger buns, fruit roll-ups, salsa, tomato sauce, etc...  However, I seem to have one daily commestable that eludes my cooking genius**; the bagel.

I've made many attempts at these wonderful, round, single-serve, vehicles for cream cheese, but have met with limited success.  The first attempt left me with rather dry, salty, uninspired little rounds.  They were servicable, but not nearly what I think of when I picture a bagel.  The second attempt met with more success, producing "bagel sticks" (as I lacked the ambition for proper shaping) that were fluffy, nicely chewy, tasty, yet homunculus looking and with no outer crust (very homogenious softness).  I figured my failures there were due to the accidental omission of salt, and a low baking temperature.

 Undaunted I tried again, this time carefully setting out all the ingredients I would need so that the salt wouldn't fall by the wayside.  I also cooked them at a higher temperature, dropping it after 5 minutes (as I do with bread 500 -> 450).  However, they still failed to produce a nice, shiny, chewy/crunchy crust.  Rather, they looked shriveled and raisen like.  They hadn't lost any size during the baking... they just didn't seem to grow and smooth out any.  They just seemed to "freeze" in the same semi-wrinkled, post-boiling shape that they went into the oven with.

So I'm asking for help to tweak my method so that I have a chance at producing truely impressive "bagel shop" bagels.  Here is my method so far:

-Make the dough and allow to double in size (You're basic mix and proof).  During the ferment, I do one de-gas and fold.
-Seperate dough with a sharp knife and shape.  Shaped bagels are placed between two sheets of wax paper and allowed to rise for 45 minutes to an hour... until puffy.
-Bagels are placed in boiling water and allowed to boil for 2 minutes, turned, and boiled 2 minutes longer.
-They are removed from the water and placed on a baking sheet covered in corn flower.  The bagels are allowed to rest for 15 minutes, then baked.
-Last batch was baked at 500º F for 5 minutes, then lowered to 450ºF for another 15.
-Finally, they are cooled on a wire rack.

I wish I could provide a picture of these bagels, but I'm pretty sure my wife ate the last one yesterday morning (as I said, they looked funky, but tasted pretty good).  If I find a spare one sitting around somewhere... or if I have another partial success, I'll take a snapshot of it and post it here.

I'm planning on giving the sourdough bagel recipe I saw here a try, since the bagels pictured are exactly what I'm trying to accomplish... and I have some starter that's looking at me with big doe-eyes, wanting to be used in something.

Any help is greatly appreciated in this endevour.



*Conquered read as "Met or exceeded market quality."

**Genius read as "Base level of competence".

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Electrolux DLX - WOW!!! It CAN do things other than make bread!

This weekend I was teaching a Sourdough Quickbreads class and for the first time in a class got out my mixers.  I'd never used my DLX for anothing other than making bread, but today it was time to make cupcakes, cake, muffins and frosting - LOTS of frosting.


After a bit of hunting I found the smaller bowl, the beaters, and the drive extension rod.  WOW!!!  It was GREAT!!!\


It didn't have any trouble with a whole bowl full (3 packages of cream cheese and 14 cups or so of confectioners sugar).


I'd been using my KitchenAid for everything except making bread, but now I know that the new kid on the block CAN do it all!




MaryinHammondsport's picture

Pane Siciliano - from BBA

Count me in. It will probably be toward the end of the week however, Maybe Wednesday or Thursday at the latest for me. I want to take another shot at Pain de Campagne tomorrow.

I have both durum and semolina flour and and notice the recipe says you can use either. I'll use whichever you don't want to try.

Anybody else wany in on this experiment? I know you'd be welcome.


erina's picture

Starter Sluggish after Frozen

Hi all,

I froze my starter to preserve it somehow when I was away.I now am trying to revive it, but it looks sluggish. I have fed it with Ehanner method (doubling method), twice a day, with no sign that it is active. So far it smells great and bubbles a bit (very little), but no rise whatsoever.

Has anyone encountered the same problem? And how do I get my beloved starter back? I miss it... :-(


dmsnyder's picture

Rustic Baguettes made with Nury's Light Rye Dough

Rustic Baguettes made with Nury Light Rye dough

Rustic Baguettes made with Nury Light Rye dough

Rustic Baguettes Crumb made with Nury Light Rye dough

Rustic Baguettes Crumb made with Nury Light Rye dough 


As promised, I made some baguettes using Nury's Light Rye dough from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads." I followed Leader's recipe except for using a couple tablespoons less water, thinking it might work better for baguettes. In hindsight, I don't think this improved the product.

For those not familiar with the recipe, it is documented in Zolablue's original posting of her baking of this bread.’s-rustic-light-rye-leader

This was an excellent thread. It led me to make this bread myself for the first time, and it remains one of my very favorites.

Leader's recipe calls for patting out the mass of fermented dough into a 10 x 10 inch rectangle, cutting it in half with a bench knife and gently transferring the cut pieces to floured parchment, then immediately baking it on a stone with steam. For these "baguettes," I simply sliced off 3 portions, about 2.5 cm wide each, and stretched them gently to 12 inches as I laid them on the parchment. I baked with steam at 500F for 10 minutes, then removed the skillet and loaf pan with the water and turned down the oven to 440F. The bake time was 17-20 minutes, total.

The baguettes are beautiful, in a very rustic way. The crust was very nicely crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The taste was wonderful, as it always is with this recipe. The main difference between these baguettes and the "proper" Nury Light Rye is that the baguettes have proportionally much more crust, and the crust stays crisp rather than softening.

 My efforts to make traditional baguettes will continue, but this version is one I'll be making again. 



Marni's picture

What kitchen scale do you have?

I guess I'm convinced.  I have never baked with scales, but the folks here that do make it sound like the very best way to go.  The clincher for me- someone said there will be fewer things to wash up!!

So please- what scale do you have, do you like it or not and why?  Any other advice?  Brands  or styles to avoid? Tips on use?

Thanks in advance,


Trailrat's picture

100% Rice Bread



2 eggs

375ml/ 13 floz rice milk

1 tspn lemon juice (I just used half a lemon)

1 tspn salt

1 tbspn honey

50g/ 2oz dairy free spread

175g/ 6oz white rice flour

200g/ 7oz brown rice flour

(or a 375g/ 13oz white/brown rice flour blend, which is what I used)

25g/ 1oz rice bran

1 tbspn xanthum gum

1 tbspn active dried yeast


Warm the rice milk in a microwavable jug for 50 seconds on high. Stir in yeast and leave ten for minutes.

Mix together flours, bran, salt and gum.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, melted dairy-free spread, honey and lemon juice.

Add the flours and milk to the egg mixture and mix slowly for 5 minutes.

Tip the dough into a greased loaf tin, cover with a tea-towel and leave in a warm place for approx 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200 C/ 400 F/ Gas Mark 6

Lightly brush olive oil on top of loaf and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and cover top with double layer of foil for ten minutes before turning out onto cooling rack.

Cool completely before slicing.

dmsnyder's picture

Nury's Light Rye - ;-)

Nury Light Rye baked 6-21-08

Nury Light Rye baked 6-21-08

Nury Light Rye crumb baked 6-21-08

Nury Light Rye crumb baked 6-21-08

Delicious as always!

 But ... I've never baked a loaf that came out of the oven winking at me before.


Marni's picture

starter not rising noticably

My 3+ month old starter doesn't seem to rise much lately.  It does a little when it's left out, but it doesn't seem to at all in the fridge.  My breads are rising fine and taste sour or not depending on how I treat them, but I wonder if the starter is as healthy as it should be. 

When it is on the counter I feed it twice a day as it gets very foamy, fluffy and rises a bit and falls.  In the fridge, I feed it about every three days or so, although sometimes sooner because it develops hooch.

I feed it flour equal in volume to the starter but with a bit less water to make a fairly thick batter.  Mostly I feed it KA AP, but sometimes add a bit of organic whole grain rye.

Since it seems to work well, I've assumed things are fine, but then I realized I could be wearing it down or something without knowing it and I'd be sunk.

I guess the short question to this long post is- If a starter doesn't rise after a feeding is it still healthy?