The Fresh Loaf

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

panettone - lievito madre - to wrap or not

December 15, 2018 - 9:56am -- GustavoSM

It's panettone time! So I have to built my lievito madre (50% hydratation)

When I maintain liquid levain I feed it and then I put in a plastic box or a jar and let it grow. 

But, with lievito madre, I've been told to wrap it in a cloth so it won't expand much. Is it really necessary? Will I get a different result or it is just tradition?

Thank you

brec's picture

"Cover loosely" -- why cover at all?

December 15, 2018 - 3:11am -- brec

Newbie bread baker and bread baking book reader asks...

Why am I instructed to cover sourdough starter or rising dough loosely? I think I understand the "loosely" part -- it permits gases to escape, avoiding pressure build-up. Or, for too-small containers, it allows expanding dough/gas to escape instead of breaking the container.

But then why cover at all? I have one tentative guess, but I'll withhold it to avoid biasing your answer. :)


russell's picture

Tin vs dutch oven - temperature and time

December 14, 2018 - 4:37pm -- russell

I tend to work with 2-loaf batches. I can fit one dutch oven and one tin in my oven so that's what I do. I use a Pyrex dish upturned on the tin to hold steam for the first 20 mins (and the lid on the DO of course).

Generally the tin loaf gets a darker crust (all over) than the DO boule. My home oven is fan forced.

Rustic Rye's picture
Rustic Rye

Hello Fresh Loaf Community,

This is my first post on the site after reading recipes and browsing for the past several months. I have been really inspired and impressed by all the amazing bread I have seen here on TFL and want to join the conversation. 

The loaf was made using spent beer grains obtained from Somerville Brewing (Boston, MA) and naturally leavened thanks to Stefano, my sourdough starter. 

A few months ago, I took a bread making class at the brewery where one of the owners lead us through making a spent grain loaf with rosemary. That was tasty, but I wanted to improve the results using my starter. After taking some spent grain home and finding a great recipe on The Perfect Loaf (thanks Maurizio!) I began experimenting. 

During the beer making process, the grain is mashed, boiled, then separated from the liquid. The byproduct, "spent grain," is either thrown away of fed to farm animals. Instead of letting it go to waste, this batch of grain will instead go to feeding this animal, aka me, and feed my voracious appetite for artisan bread. With that in mind, baking with the spent grains gives me a deep satisfaction knowing that I'm putting something to practical use which would normally get thrown in the bin. 

I was pretty pleased with the crumb, which turned out light and airy, while maintaining a tender, chewy texture. This was a moderate hydration dough (80%) that produced a pretty light loaf. It had a nice nutty flavor from the grain, similar in character to a loaf with lots of whole whole wheat, but without any bitterness. Lately, I have been working on getting a consistent airy crumb with good rise and pronounced ears. This loaf seemed to have all three. Horray! 

Here's how I made the loaf:

Yields 2 large loaves. 

1. Levain build: 50 g starter, 50g whole wheat (WW), 50 g bread flour (BF), 65 g 90˚ F water. Let stand for ~5 hours in a warm area. 
2. Autolyse 2 hours before levain is ready: 100 g WW, 50 g rye, 850 g BF, 700 g 90˚ F water
3. Mix: Dissolve starter in ~60 g water then add to autolysed dough. Slap and fold for about 7 minutes then add about 20 g salt and slap/fold a few more minutes to achieve medium dough development. 
4. In 30 minutes increments, fold the dough a few times. Add 250 g spent grain right before the second round of folding. I found my dough needed 3 sets of folds, your dough might need less or more depending on the efficiency of your slap & folds after mixing. 
5. I let bulk fermentation go for about 3 hours, since the dough was progressing nicely. I let the dough sit for an hour after my last set of folds. 
6. Divide and preshape. Let sit for 20 minutes after preshape and before final shaping. Then into the fridge for the overnight rest.
7. The next day, preheated the oven to 500˚ F for about 45 minutes with my lodge combo cooker. I turned my dough into the shallow side, scored it, then baked with the lid on for 30 min, then removed the lid and decreased the temperature to 450˚ F for another 15 minutes.

Happy baking everyone,


kapoosht's picture

65% sourdough sticky as glue

December 14, 2018 - 6:30am -- kapoosht

Hello all,

I've been lurking about on this site and been reading lots of different posts that have helped me to finally cultivate my own starter (which strangely enough, took about 3 weeks instead of the usual 5-7 days which i've come to see so often).

I thought the difficult part was over, but boy was I wrong!

jthor's picture

Swedish Vort Limpa Help!

December 13, 2018 - 1:35pm -- jthor

Hi there, I was hoping I might find some help diagnosing my loaf of Swedish Vort Limpa. There are enough complicating ingredients that I’m not sure what to expect out of the finished bread.

It’s about 50/50 dark rye to white bread flour, and the liquid is beer with melted butter and molasses. There’s also orange zest and fennel seeds.

The flavor is good (good reviews from the taste test subjects at work!) but I’m not sure if the loaf is really as it should be.


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