The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
ydolem11's picture

Blackstrap Molasses for Gingerbread

December 11, 2018 - 4:43am -- ydolem11

Long story short, I have blackstrap molasses for making gingerbread cookies. I live in Nicaragua and getting that was a big enough challenge. People just don't bake here. 

So, how do I use it? I'm thinking of mixing it half and half with honey, or maybe 2/3 molasses and 1/3 honey to balance it out. 

Part of the problem is I've never really used molasses before, so I'm not sure what to look for in terms of consistency and flavor...

PastMyBreadtime's picture

Getting cozy with my recipe but shaping needs work...

December 10, 2018 - 3:58pm -- PastMyBreadtime

First, a huge thank you to this community and all the useful knowledge being shared here. I've been baking sourdough since March or April of this year, and have come a long way from the dense, flat, disaster loaves of the early days. 

Recently I've been baking a loaf similar to the ones pictured, with the same proofing times. The specs, roughly, are:

30-35% Fresh Milled Turkey Red Wheat

70-65% AP or Bread Flour, depending on what I have on hand

80-85% Hydration

20% Starter (50/50 WW/AP @ 80% Hydration)

2% salt

TheBakerGuy's picture

French Clay or Cast Iron

December 10, 2018 - 11:53am -- TheBakerGuy

I'm relatively new to baking artisan breads. I've worked my way through FWSY and the bug has bit hard. I'd really like to make nice baguette at home, though from what I'm reading heat+steam are always key. That can be hard on a home kitchen cook such as myself that does not have access to a steam injection oven.

davey1025's picture

Here is a tasty straight dough bread that is as tasty as it is simple to make.

Danni3ll3's picture

All of my other bread related obligations are done, so I can finally bake for the family. Cedar Mountain had posted a wonderful recipe that he called “Grass Bread”. This is an almost identical recipe with a few tweaks from me. Thank you, CM, for sharing that recipe.




Makes 3 loaves




25 g hulless oats and 75 g water

38 g wild rice and 114 g water

25 g barley flakes and 75 g water

63 g large flake oats and 125 g water



75 g rye berries

75 g spelt berries

75 g kamut berries

75 g Red Fife berries

750 g unbleached all purpose flour

725 g filtered water

22 g pink Himalayan salt

40 g local yogurt

250 g 3 stage 100 hydration levain (procedure in recipe)

Wholewheat flour/all purpose flour for feeding the levain


Mid afternoon the day before:

  1. Take 18 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 18 g of filtered water and 18 g of wholewheat flour. I used flour from our local miller. Let rise in a warm place (oven with the light on and door cracked open - 82F)
  2. Mill the grains and sift to obtain 250 g of high extraction flour. Save the bran for dusting the baskets as well as for another use. 
  3. Place the high extraction flour in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it. Cover and set aside.

The night before:

  1. Place the hulless oats in a pot with the water. Boil one or two minutes and turn off the heat. Let sit covered overnight on the stove.
  2. Put the wild rice and the water in a pot and let soak overnight covered.
  3. Before going to bed, feed the levain 36 g of water and 36 g of wholewheat flour including any left over high extraction flour. Let that rest in a warm place overnight.

Dough making day:

  1. Feed the levain 72 g of filtered water and 72 g of all purpose flour and let rise 4-5 hours in a warm spot. I deemed mine ready after 4.5 hours.
  2. Boil the hulless oats gently until the water disappears. They should be soft to the bite. I ended up with 50 g of cooked hulless oats. Cover and set aside. 
  3. Cook the wild rice until it has bloomed fully and most of the water is gone. Drain and reserve. Mine had actually done most of its blooming overnight and I just needed to cook it a bit to soften the a few hard pieces. This made 95 g of cooked wild rice. Add to the hulless oats.
  4. Cook the barley flakes in the water until the water has been all absorbed. This made 69 g of cooked barley. Add to the oats and wild rice.
  5. Cook the large flake oats with the water until soft and water has soaked in. This made more than 150 g but I used only 150 g. My oldest apprentice ended up with a bit of porridge. =) Add to the other add-ins.
  6. Two hours before the levain is ready, mix the water with the flour in the tub and autolyse for a couple of hours.
  7. Once the levain has doubled, add the salt, the yogurt, the add-ins and the levain. Mix well to integrate everything and let sit for 45 minutes in a warm spot.
  8. Do three sets of French slaps and folds at 30 minutes intervals. The first two sets have 100 slaps, and the last set has 50 slaps. Continuing on 30 minute intervals, do another 3 sets of folds. The dough was highly hydrated, therefore the extra work with it. 
  9. Let rest 30 minutes and then retard the bulk for two hours. The dough rose about 30%. 
  10. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~790g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest one hour on the counter. 
  11. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.
  12. Sprinkle bran, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp hearts in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons, cover, let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 10 hours. 

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully place the dough seam side up inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, drop the temperature to 425 F, and bake for another 25 minutes. I usually do 17 minutes but the loaves were still a bit pale for my taste. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.

Oven spring was pretty good and the loaves look quite festive with their coating of seeds. 


flourpower's picture

mixing by judgement

December 10, 2018 - 2:06am -- flourpower

Hi all.

Rather than measuring exact to the gram.

Do any or you mix by feeling the water or flour content i seem to be going in that direction also  understanding how important to follow trusted recipes 

Some flours have different hydration rates etc getting the.feel when its right.For me the results are better

Just wondering out loud



TomK's picture

I’ve been playing with freshly ground heritage varieties lately, this is my latest foray into freshly ground wheat.

I bought 2 pounds of locally grown Frassinetto wheat berries at the farmers market last week. Since my wife has given up on trying to be gluten free, I’m now allowed to use our old Nutrimill. Yay!

 I built my levain from DABrownman’s NMNF starter, many thanks for that scheme! I used last week’s leftover RedFife flour and bran for the feedings.

For the dough I used 70% Central Milling’s ABC+; 30% freshly ground and sifted Frassinetto; 2% salt;12% levain; overall hydration of 79%, which I’ll increase 1% at a time over the coming weeks until the dough exceeds my shaping abilities.

As is my habit, I used the dough hook of my Ankarsrum mixer to bring the flour and water to a shaggy mass and removed the hook for a 2-hour autolyse. After adding the salt and levain I put in the roller and mixed with external heat applied for 8 minutes, 15 minutes rest, and 4 minutes more. My desired dough temperature is 83dF, it’s challenging to get the dough warm enough to get the yeasts and bacteria moving. 

After about 3:45 in bulk ferment with 5 sets of stretch and folds I divided the dough at 815g, preshaped and rested for 30 minutes before shaping two boules by stitching and putting them into rice floured, cloth lined bannetons. After a few minutes they went into the 38 degree fridge for 16 hours.

In the morning After preheating the oven to 500 degrees with my Dutch ovens inside I took them out of the fridge, slashed, and got them into the Dutch ovens as quickly as possible. Reduced the temperature to 450 after 5 minutes, removed the lids after 20 minutes and reduced the temperature to 425 for another 17 minutes.

 I’m pleased with the rise and oven spring, and the crust is nicely blistered.

After about 6 hours I couldn’t resist cutting one open although I haven’t quite finished the last loaf. Taste Will have to wait until tomorrow.

 I still have some work to do to get the elusive open crumb but I’m happy with this for now.



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