The Fresh Loaf

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

retarding = more blistering?

February 15, 2019 - 9:24am -- jmoore

In my experience, cold retarding generally results in more blistering for a given dough. I think that this has to do with the dough temperature/consistency going in to the oven rather than how fermentation is effected by the lower temperatures. 

I want to get nice blisters on a same-day bread. Has anyone tried RT bulk and final proof, and then dropped the temperature of the dough by putting it in the freezer right before going into the oven? I think I'm going to experiment with this concept a little.


Lmw4's picture

Famag 5 vs 8

February 15, 2019 - 4:14am -- Lmw4

I need some advice!  I am looking at purchasing either the Famag 5 or 8. It is strictly for home use.  Do I need one?  No.  Do I want one?  Yes!  Pre-retirement gift from my husband.


I usually bake 2-3 loaves at a time. These days I’ve been baking Ciril Hitz’s whole wheat bread and want to start baking whole grain breads. 

I know the 5 and 8 are identical in all but size. I am more concerned about the lower capacity end because I don’t do volume baking.


It looks like the 5 can do a smaller batch but not by much


Smashiness's picture

All rye starter

February 14, 2019 - 10:48pm -- Smashiness

Hi everyone,

I've recently started an all rye flour starter, I've been feeding on a schedule since 1.24.19 on the daily. I've noticed that it's rising to double in size every day very well but I don't see it deflate much at all. I do 100 gr starter, 100 gr dark rye and 100 gr water. After 2 hours I see action begin. After 8 hours, it's double and full of air. 12 hours later... almost the same size. I haven't baked with it or float tested it yet but I want to give it a try maybe next weekend. Any help with this will be greatly appreciated. 


CUISINED's picture

Baguette turns too crusty

February 14, 2019 - 6:07pm -- CUISINED


I have a baking stone that I preheat to precisely 230c. then I load my baguettes and throw ice cubes. close the oven door and let oven spring occur. after 7-10 minutes I release steam and cook until golden.

the problem is they do not turn golden so I keep baking until they are and then I get a really crusty baguette and I am not aiming for. 

I do use sourdough.

I've tried entering the baguettes to a hotter oven (when the spirals are working toward maintaining 275c, spirals always on) did color they baguettes faster but still turns with hard crust.

agres's picture

There are the dreams of night that are forgotten with the morning coffee; and, there are the dreams that come as one considers the bread one is eating with morning coffee. Thus, one steps forth in the bright morning light, to find the 7 Pillars of Wisdom. (T.E.L. will forgive me because one of the best breakfast breads I ever had was in Hafer Al-Batin.)

I have been seeking a better PdC for a long time. In the last half of 2018, I was looking at some mix of fresh ground grain and white flour. Those results can be understood by the fact that New Years came and went, and I was still looking.

More promising is my current approach of grinding a mix of grains, sifting out the bran, making a dough, and soaking the bran, then recombining the bran into the dough AFTER the gluten is well developed.

This morning's grain mix was rye, spelt, Kamut, red spring wheat, and red winter wheat. The dough was all sourdough, and the starter is added right up front when I first add the water to the flour. The bran was soaked in a bit of l evain.  

All in all, one of my most successful baking experiments in many years. For a commercial product, I might switch the red winter wheat for a white wheat, but here we have an over-flowing herb garden, and most of our menus want a full flavored bread. 

dmsnyder's picture

Josey Baker Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

David Snyder

February, 2019

Browsing cookbooks at a branch library, I found Josey Baker's “Josey Baker Bread.” I have driven by and peeked into his bakery in San Francisco, but have never tasted his products. I confess I found what he charged for a slice of toast off-putting. But, folks seem to like his bread. Looking through the book, I found some recipes for 100% Whole Wheat sourdough bread. It certainly looked good in the photos, and I am still looking for my personal favorite 100% whole wheat sourdough. So, I checked out the book.

I won't comment on the book's style except to say it is an attempt to seduce some one into baking bread at home who is still a bit frightened and mystified by the whole process. It is certainly a worthy objective.

Anyway, here's my first bake of this bread.

Note: Baker does not call for a true autolyse. He combines all the ingredients in the “Final Dough” at once and, after a mix to just distribute them evenly in the dough, he lets it sit for a half hour before beginning a series of stretch and folds at half-hourly intervals. The procedure described below is what I actually did. I mixed the final dough, including the levain but not the salt, and let it rest for a period before adding the salt. This is the way I was taught at the San Francisco Baking Institute to autolyse dough when a liquid levain is used.

Total Dough

1 loaf

2 loaves

4 loaves



Wt (g)

Bakers' %

Whole Wheat flour






















1 loaf

2 loaves

4 loaves



Wt (g)

Bakers' %

Whole Wheat flour





Water (cool)





Sourdough starter










  1. Mix the levain ingredients well in a 4-6 cup bowl. Cover well.

  2. Ferment at room temperature (72-76ºF) for 8-12 hours.

Note: The sourdough starter I used to seed the levain is 100% hydration. It is actually 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% whole rye. For purposes of the “Total Dough” formula, I treated it as if it were entirely whole wheat.

Note: Because of a social obligation, I was not able to mix the final dough right when the levain was ripe. I refrigerated the ripe levain overnight and continued the process the next morning.

Final Dough

1 loaf

2 loaves

4 loaves


Wt (g)

Whole Wheat Flour




Water (warm)








Ripe levain









  1. Mix the flour and water and levain to a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30-60 minutes. (Note: I actually autolysed for a bit over 2 hours.)

  2. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix it in with a spatula, spoon or your hand.

  3. Distribute the salt evenly using a pinching procedure (as described in FWSY or Tartine No. 2), alternating with stretch and folds in the bowl.

  4. Cover the bowl and ferment until increased in volume by 50% and well aerated with bubbles (about 3 hours at 80ºF). Perform stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours.

  5. If making more than one loaf, divide the dough evenly into the desired number of pieces.

  6. Pre-shape piece(s) into balls. Cover and let rest for 10-30 minutes.

  7. Shape into boules or bâtards. Place in floured baskets and cover or place in food-safe plastic bags.

  8. Proof the loaves 3-4 hours (per Josey Baker). I proofed 1 hour at room temperature, then refrigerated to bake the next day.

  9. Pre-heat oven to 475ºF 45-60 minutes before baking.

  10. Bake either on a baking stone with steam for the first 15 minutes or in a Dutch oven, covered for the first 20 minutes. The total bake time should be 45-50 minutes, to an internal temperature of 205ºF.

  11. Remove to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Note: Baker says one can cold retard this bread, either in bulk (after Step 4.) or as formed loaves. (after Step 8.) He does not say whether or not he would ever do both retardations.

The flour I used was Turkey Red wheat, freshly milled in a Mockmill 100 set at its finest setting. I did not sift out or remill any of the bran. The dough was soft and tacky but very manageable. It seemed to be developing some strength curing the stretch and folds, but was quite loose during shaping.

Lovely dough made with 100% home-milled Red Turkey wheat

Formed loaves, ready for a 12 hour nap at 40ºF

Baked loaves, cooling

The crumb

I sliced the bread after it had cooled for about 3 hours. The crust was chewy, except for the ears which were crunchy. The crumb was very moist and tender with a wheaty and mildly sour flavor. My experience has been that this type of bread improves after a day or so.

Happy baking!


HempOil's picture

Canadian Deal on Brod & Taylor Proofer

February 14, 2019 - 1:39pm -- HempOil

Hi All,


This is my first post on the site. I thought others, like myself, could benefit by this sale price of $125.99:

I am in no way affilated with the vendor and have no idea how long the sale will be on for. I was simply lucky enough to come across the sale before pulling the trigger at a higher price someplace else.

Valdus's picture

Small Batch equals Small Bread

I thought that the dough was at the 1.75-ish cup point, thus I heated the forge, put it in wet parchment. Took out the heated cast iron, placed it in, poured in a half a cup of water under the parchment and started the usual 450 after 500 for 20 then for 30. Herein is the result, small, unimpressive, with no 'boom' really. 

Not sure if something went wrong, I feel like I way over-proofed. I am moving more toward the second proofing for no more than 45 minutes- ever. But the whole waiting for 85% just doesn't work for me. 

I wonder, I wonder a lot, about the differences between all of us in space, geography, and thus temperature. I read about Dabrownman's adventures in AZ baking, basically like baking in adobe and wonder how much different it is to baking here in Louisiana- like baking under water. 

Then I had another thought, my dough seemed to have expanded out more than up. So maybe the batch of dough should be wider? No, because many people bake on a flat stone and that allows for serious wide-age. 

So if I had to ask for a conclusion, I would say, too small, too proofed (despite it only rose 50%) and ye gods Valdus- you need to work on shaping!

Further, for slap and fold, it better be a pretty big piece of dough. 

Comments are welcome and encouraged. 

HearthandRyeBakery's picture

Liability Insurance for a Cottage Bakery

February 14, 2019 - 10:52am -- HearthandRyeBakery

I am at the point of needing Liability Insurance for my bakery. I am a home run cottage bakery operating out of about 150 sq feet. Currently I do about $400-600 a month in gross sales and am hoping to triple that at the farmers market this spring. 

What are others paying for liability insurance? What is covered with said insurance? Any recommendations for companies?



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