The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
solano's picture

Just another white bread, bulk was longer this time,  almost 10 hours. 21 hs at the refrigerator. It was more easy to shape, but still difficult. Liked the result. Trevor's book is being really helpfully. 

AlisonKay's picture

Shipton Mill biodynamic stoneground wholemeal flour

December 17, 2018 - 8:49am -- AlisonKay

Does anyone here have experience using UK Shipton Mill biodynamic wholemeal stoneground flour?

I was keen to use this as it's totally UK, grown around the corner from the mill. It's coarser than any other stoneground wheat I've used before and really doesn't seem to absorb water in the way I'm used to.

My normal recipe sourdough's bulk ferment has turned into a gloopy mess. Not sure whether I needed to use less water or whether enzymes have had a field day.

Any previous experience and tips would help!


brec's picture

Using a cast iron Dutch oven?

December 17, 2018 - 6:15am -- brec

Based on recipes and youtube videos: Some place the loaf on parchment paper into a Dutch oven, using the parchment like a sling; some drop the loaf directly onto the cast iron.

I have a new Lodge 5 qt. cast iron Dutch oven which I hope to use for the first time very soon.

Are there any pros or cons about using parchment paper in the Dutch oven that I should consider?

Novice's picture

The illusive cracking

December 17, 2018 - 6:15am -- Novice

I just can't make it happen!!

Everything else is perfect, shape, taste, texture, rise in the oven even.

I slash it, spray it, have extra steam in the oven, it rises and cooks beautifully but the slashes just don't 'open'.

Maybe I should just be happy with my delicious loaf of sourdough - and I am! - but even so it would be nice to know what causes the crust to crack open.

It's cooked in a fan assisted domestic oven, first heated to max +250C then reduce to 200C when I put it in.


Owen's picture

Hints for sourdough rolls?

December 16, 2018 - 6:20pm -- Owen

I've been making some good loaves with 100% white flour, 70% hydration (no additives). I decided to experiment with using the same dough making rolls, with mixed results (see photo), baking them at 200deg C for 30 minutes. On one dimension they are fine (good crumb inside) but the crust was a bit hard, so next time I'll do it at 180deg. The other thing is that when I put it on the tray to rise, they tend to slump, and the finished product looks a little odd. I'm used to using a banneton with a dutch oven, so this is new territory. Any hints that you can suggest?

TomK's picture

I decided to do a test run of my planned bake for next week. For the last couple of years I’ve taken loaves around to our neighbors, this year it will be more than ever, 10 loaves. I still have to work out how to manage that, 2 at a time in my oven.  I’ll be studying Danni’s posts for ideas!

When I’ve used cranberries before I thought it was too much, so this time I scaled back the cranberries to 30% of the add-ins and upped the walnuts to 70%. Total add-ins 11% of the dough weight.

I mixed 592 g of CM ABC+ and 254 g of sifted, freshly ground Red Fife with 657g of water and left it for a 90 minute autolyse with 18 g of salt sprinkled on top to dissolve. Then I added 108 g of 100% hydration levain (3-stage bran-fed from NMNF, retarded overnight) and mixed for 6 minutes, rest 15, mix 3 minutes, rest 15, and mix 3 more minutes before putting it into my bulk fermenting container and into the proofer. Overall hydration 79%.

I’ve been experimenting for several weeks with a novel method to get my dough temperature up where I want it for bulk ferment. Especially this time of year, the house is rarely over 66 degrees F and as I usually have to get done in one day due to limited refrigerator space, I want the dough to ferment at 82 to 84 dF.  Because I use an Ankarsrum mixer, I’ve taken to using a heat gun on low power on the outside of the rotating bowl while mixing, keeping track of the dough temp with an infrared thermometer as I go. This works great, I can easily and gently warm the dough 20 degrees in under 10 minutes without getting any of it too warm. Then my cobbled-together proofer-cum-storage box can just barely keep the dough warm for a few hours, it was never able to warm it effectively.

I did 5 sets of stretch and folds on 30 minute intervals, adding 127 g of coarsely chopped walnuts and 53 g of chopped, dried cranberries after the second set. After 3:45 I judged that it was ready so I divided the dough in two, did a pretty tight preshape (the dough was pretty stiff, I’ll increase the hydration next time from 79 to perhaps 81%) and let it rest for half an hour before shaping 2 boules and proofing at 84 dF. My shaping was a bit uneven, I think because the dough was stiffer than what I’m used to. 

I didn’t get the oven hot in time so it was still heating up when I thought the dough was ready after 1:30 and I had to wait another 15 minutes. The dough spread quite a bit when I turned it out and slashed it so I was worried the loaves would be pretty flat as I loaded them into the preheated Dutch ovens. Baked at 475 for 5 minutes, 450 for 15 minutes, then uncovered the Dutch ovens and baked another 17 minutes at 425.

Turns out I got decent if not spectacular oven spring and some small ears. In the morning I was anxious to see how the crumb turned out and was pleasantly surprised. The loaves were less than perfectly round to put it charitably, I guess I could say they have a rustic look. ;-)


Well that’s ok after all. I Won’t. Change. A. Thing. for next week. I’m very happy with the flavor of this bread, the walnut flavor is forward and the cranberries are more subdued but definitely there. Really good toasted with butter.


pmccool's picture

Our oven has been rather busy lately, especially with the Christmas cookies that my wife likes to make at this time of year.  In spite of all of that going on, I still managed to work in three different breads yesterday.  

First up was the Tyrolean Christmas Zelten from The Rye Baker:

These gems are essentially fruit and nut loaves lightly glued together with the smallest possible amount of dough.  Raisins, golden raisins, chopped figs, pine nuts, and any of hazelnuts/almond/walnuts spend the night in a rum soaker.  (I used almonds.)  Right alongside those, candied lemon and orange peel have their own beauty bath in white wine.  The next day, rye flour, all purpose flour, fennel, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, egg, and water after blended into a dough.  After the dough has risen, both soakers are combined with the dough.  The soakers contribute enough liquid that the dough becomes more of a batter but you soldier on and shape three loaves on parchment or a pan liner.  After baking and cooling, the loaves are wrapped or bagged and allowed to ripen for a couple weeks.  These should be ready when the kids come to town for New Year.  

The second bread was Bagguettes with Poolish from Hamelman's Bread, Vol. 2. 

The baguette choir was singing as these cooled.  Since my wife wanted these as the base for crostini, the less than stellar slashing isn’t particularly worrisome and the somewhat bready texture will actually accommodate the toppings better than a wide-open crumb.  “It's not a bug; it's a feature!”  Or something like that.  I used the metric quantities, divided by 10.  Per Hamelman, that should yield four 22-inch bagguettes.  Knowing that mine would be 15-16 inches in length, I opted to make six instead of four from the same batch.  

The third bread was a perennial favorite here on TFL, Cream Cheese Braids:

There was a batch of unused blueberry filling lurking in the refrigerator from a recent class, so that was the primary motive for baking these.  Were I making them specifically for a holiday gathering, I might have chosen the cranberry filling, instead.  Since no one has ever turned these down previously, I don’t expect to hear any grumbling about them this evening.  

Sometime in the next week or two, I need to make a rye bread, too.  If anyone has a suggestion for one that would be a good analog for the miniature cocktail rye breads that sometimes show up at the deli, I’m all ears...



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