The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dixongexpat's picture

I have been doing pretty much the same loaf every week, so the pictures are a bit repetitive by now. Here are some samples during June and July. Texture is about the same on each. Fairly dense, didn't rise a lot. Flour was about 50/50 bread/whole wheat mix.

June 3


June 11


June 17


July 1


July 9

mungie's picture

I conducted an experiment to determine two things with respect to high-hydration sourdough bread:

(1) What does it look like when it's underproofed, perfectly proofed and overproofed?

(2) What is the difference between baking in an enclosed vessel v. on a baking stone with steam?

I made 5 loaves, each of which were about 385g as follows (~78% hydration):

-800g unbleached AP

-75g home-milled white, spring whole grain wheat flour

-75g home-milled red, spring whole grain wheat flour

-50g home-milled whole grain rye flour

-760g water

-180g levain (100% hydration)

-21g fine sea salt

Mix flours and 710g water. Autolyze for about 1 hour. Mix in levain, salt and rest of water. Slap and fold until moderate gluten development. Bulk ferment for around 4 hours at 80-85 degrees (until grown by 50%) with 3 S&F every 30 minutes for first 1.5 hours. Divide, preshape and bench rest for 30 minutes, then shape into boules. All loaves were baked in an oven preheated to 500 degrees. When the loaves were placed in the oven, the oven temperature was lowered to 475 and the loaves baked with steam for 20 minutes. The steam was then taken away and the loaves baked for another 20 minutes at 450.

These are the ways in which the loaves differed:

(1) First bake: NO PROOF - immediately after shaping, Loaf One was baked in an earthenware pot, Loaf Two was baked directly on a baking steel. Steam was provided to the second loaf using lavarocks (with water poured over) at the bottom of the oven and sporadic spritzing with a spray bottle.

(2) Second bake: MIDDLE PROOF - Loaf Three was baked in an earthenware pot, Loaf Four was baked on the baking steel (same as first bake). These loaves were proofed at room temperature (about 80 degrees) for 25 minutes, and then in a warm fridge (about 60 degrees) for 35 minutes.

(3) Third bake: OVER PROOF - Loaf Five was baked in an earthenware pot. I did not use the baking steel for this bake because I already knew that the loaf would pancake. Loaf Five was proofed for 2.5 hours at room temperature (around 80 degrees).


Loaves One and Two Top View.  I tried to score them differently, but I did a very rough job scoring for Loaf Two, which is evident in the bake.

Loaves One and Two Side View. The loaves seem to have similar oven spring, although Loaf Two baked darker.

Loaf One.

Loaf Two. I was surprised that Loaf Two did not spread in the oven (because all my prior experiences trying to bake high-hydration SD on a baking stone resulted in spreading), but in hindsight this makes some sense as the loaf did not have a chance to relax after shaping.

Note that many of the holes inside are very small. These loaves felt quite dense.

Loaves Four and Three Top View. Loaf Four baked with a larger diameter due to spreading in the oven. In addition, the rings from the banneton are less evident in Loaf Four due to the spritzing.

Loaves Four and Three Side View.

Loaf Four baked higher on the side facing the oven door due to my spritzing on that side of the loaf.

Loaf Four.

Loaf Three. Loaf Four was much more open than Loaf Three, even though it was subject to the same conditions as Loaf Three. My assumption is that I handled Loaf Three more during shaping. 

Comparison of Loaf One and Three (both baked in earthenware pot). The oven spring is about the same.


Loaf One has much more uneven hole distribution, with quite large holes near the outer edges/crust.

Loaf Three, on the other hand, has much more even holes. The smaller holes are bigger and the larger holes are smaller.

Loaf One crumb close up (middle of loaf).

Loaf Three crumb close up (middle of loaf).

Also note the shape difference between Loaves One and Three - you can see that Loaf Three wanted to spread more, but was prevented from doing so by the pot. (Loaf One, in contrast, is more of a triangular shape rather than the shape of the pot.)

Loaf Five Top View. This loaf baked darker because of the additional fermentation during the longer proof, which resulted in more caramelization of the crust. The overproofing is evident in the way the scores opened up (more of a stretching, rather than a tearing, apart).

Loaf Five Side View.  You can see that the dough was really resting against the pot for the entire bake (where the rings end).

Loaf Five.

Loaf Five crumb close up. The smaller holes are much larger than the smaller holes in Loaves One through Four, and the size of the holes is generally more even.

This hole distribution seems more desirable for a sandwich bread cooked in a loaf pan, and I would not have considered this overproofed for such a loaf because the bread did not collapse, the bread is light and airy and there was some oven spring (but not enough for a blowout in the loaf pan). These results show me that slightly underproofing is preferable for this type of high-hydration, freestanding loaf than overproofing. In addition, a dutch oven or other kind of enclosed vessel provides support and more even steaming. 

This is the earthenware pot in which Loaves One, Three and Five were baked. This is called a "ddukbaeggi" in Korean and comes in many sizes. (It also costs about $10 to $15 dollars per pot, which is much cheaper than a dutch oven!)

trailrunner's picture

Thanks to Danni's  post I got out my starter , fed 'er up and started mixing. I followed most of her formula but used some Winter Wheat from Breadtopia and added 60g brown sugar to the fruit soaker with the 60g of butter. I didnt put any cinnamon due to her experience and I didn't want to do a swirl in the center of the bread. Maybe next time. 

I did my bake in a 425degree preheated cast iron pot lid on 15 min and reduce heat to 375 bake additional 25 min. Perfect finish at 210 internal temp. Got great rise and lovely color and fragrance. Just took out of the oven so crumb pics later on .... if we can wait! This bread smells fabulous! 

Gator Chef Restaurant Supply's picture
Gator Chef Rest...

The Commercial Deep Fryer is a highly resourceful appliance in the food industry because of its ability to prepare nearly any type of food. The wide variety foods that can be cooked using a deep fryer include funnel cakes, donuts, hamburgers, French fries and Mozzarella sticks, vegetables - you name it! Although it is not uncommon to find the fryers in residential houses, commercial grade deep fryers are mostly used in commercial and industrial settings where large volumes of food are prepared.

Since there are many commercial fryer designs and manufacturers in the market today, shopping for an ideal deep fryer for your restaurant, cafeteria or food truck can be greatly overwhelming. When you’re looking to buy a commercial grade deep fryer you need to first decide what you want to cook using the fryer. For instance, you can choose a fryer in which wet coated products that will be fried, if the food you want to prepare needs to be battered. All deep fryers have a cold zone, except for “flat bottom” type which is not utilized much in commercial applications (restaurants). There are two common fryer pot types – tube & open-pot each having differences in the cold zone due to their designs.

The features of commercial fryers to key on are: - Fry Pot Design – open or tube

- What’s being fried – fresh or frozen food due to a fryer’s recovery time. Recovery time is how fast a fryer will come back up to the correct operating temperature after a batch of product is dropped. Especialy important with frozen food, the fryer’s BTU’s, the measurement of how much heat it can produce has to be high enough to allow a quick temperature recovery for the next batch of product in order to get full operating capacity from the fryer.

- Fryer Size – consider how much you will be cooking. Fryer are sold by how many pounds oil the fry pot can hold typically floor model type fryers are available from 35 to 100 pounds. A general rule for the industry is that a fryer will be able to fry up to 1/12 times the weight of the oil in food produced per hour.

- Heat Souce – commercial fryers are available that use natural gas, liquid propane (LP) gas or electric to power the fyer for cooking.

Types of Deep Fryers

By far the most popluar types of commercial deep fryers on the market aretube type fryers, and the open-pot fryer.The tube-type fryer is highly recommended for preparing breaded foods that emit high amounts of sediments. This type of fryer is energy efficient, versatile and features a large cold zone. The open-pot fry pot on its part is highly ideal for preparing low sediment dishes such as frozen foods, hash browns and French fries. This fryer also comes with an array of advantages, including reliable burner design and having less oil dedicated to the cold zone.

The flat bottom fry pot is best for preparing foods made or coated with dough and wet batter such as battered fish and chicken, onion rings, tempura and doughnuts. Lastly, the electric fryer is suitable for operators and chefs who prepare lower volumes of fried foods, most are available in smaller sizes that can fit on a countertop and do not require a hard piped connection like their gas counterparts they easily connect to an electrical outlet via a cord and plug.

Commercial Deep Fryer Features

Modern commercial deep fryers come with an array of features designed to enhance the overall cooking experience. Some of the advanced features to look for when purchasing a deep fryer, include programmable control, automated basket lifts, filtration systems, split pots and dump stations. The split pots are an appendage that features two separate containers designed to prevent the transfer of flavor from foods with strong tastes such as fish.

The basket lift helps maintain product consistency when lifting the dish out of the oil after it is cooked. The dump station often comes with an assessor that is usually sold separately. The device is used to keep fried food warm and crispy. The programmable control allows the user to preset the cook time and temperature and helps prevent under-cooking and food burnout. The other important features to look for include tank capacity, heat deflector capacity and energy efficiency. Not sure which one is best for your kitchen or restaurant? Email us at and our team will be happy to answer your questions!

dmsnyder's picture

This week, I baked another dried fruit and toasted nut sourdough bread. I really like the combination of eathiness from the nuts and the sweet tanginess of the pieces of dried fruit. The nut flavors seem to permeate the crumb while the fruit yields surprising little explosions of tartness when you bite into a bit.

I have baked cherry-pecan sourdoughs several times, but this is the first time I based one on Hamelman's "Fig-Hazelnut Levain." It is very good and was a big hit at a pot luck to which I took it. I think it could be improved though with a bit more hydration and the addition of some rye and more whole wheat. 

Here are some photos:

Happy baking!


isand66's picture

I love porridge breads.  They are so moist and flavorful I never tire of making or eating them.

I tried something a little different for this one by using Greek yogurt in place of part of the water in making the porridge.  I think it just added an extra layer of flavor and was worth trying.

I also used beer as part of the liquid in the main dough.  This one was extra hydrated and was a little challenging to shape the next day.  Next time I would shape it right out of the refrigerator instead of letting it sit out for an hour.

The final bread tasted and smelled fantastic.  It was extra moist and good enough to eat without anything on it.  The beer didn't come through as much as I would have hoped since I didn't use enough of it due to only having 1 left to use.  Next time I will use all beer instead of water.

I've included a bunch of photos from my garden which is in full bloom right now.  Hope you give this one a try and enjoy the flowers.

Download the BreadStorm file here.


Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.  You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the milk called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the milk is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the milk and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.    Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge, and salt and mix on low for 5 minutes. Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.

sadkitchenkid's picture

When I was a kid, my parents sent me abroad to study in the Middle East to learn French, German, and Arabic. 

Bread, for Arabs, has a significance in their cuisine. It also has a very political significance. During the Arab Spring (and the Bread Riots of 1977), people would march out onto the streets in Egypt, holding up loaves of bread, demanding the prices of much needed produce, be reduced, and for bread to be more accessible to the poor. Bread represented freedom and equality. 

I spent a couple of years in Egypt during my travels, and one of my favorite memories was going down to the neighborhood bakery (which was a tiny hole in the wall resembling a kiosk) every evening, pushing through the crowd of adults surrounding it, and buying a warm bag of bread for that night's dinner. For most people in the ME, bread is bought fresh daily. 

When I came back home to Brooklyn, I wanted to maintain the tradition of daily baked bread. I make this pita bread every single day and have done so for the past two years. I don't have a recipe in grams since I eyeball it and know the general measurements, so the recipe is in cups:

1 tbsp starter (optional)

2tsp dry active yeast

1/4 cup olive oil (also optional)

2 3/4 cups water

5 3/4 - 6 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar or molasses


Combine the water with the yeast and starter and 3 cups of the flour, let proof for about 2 to 12 hours. 

Mix in the remaining ingredients. The dough should be fairly stiff but because it's wholewheat, it will be sticky no matter how much you do to it (due to the low amount of gluten). After the dough comes together, let proof either in the fridge overnight (which I do since I make this dough at night and bake in the morning), or for about 3 hours. After it's proofed, divide into 15 - 18 pieces and shape into balls. You'll have to flour your hands a lot when handling the dough because it will stick to you and the counter. Let the balls proof until doubled, then roll them out into about 8 to 10 inch circles. Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat, adjusting as you go along, and place on of the rounds onto the skillet, leave for 15 seconds and then flip over and cook for another 15 seconds. After that, on a different stove burner, lift up the loaf and place it directly onto the heat. It'll puff up in a few seconds. Repeat for each round and you're done. Pictures:

A spoon of cold starter from the fridge

proofed sponge^

final mixed dough

I don't have a picture of it after it proofed since I put it in a plastic bag and popped it in the fridge overnight.

Dividing the dough:

Placing the round on the skillet

after 15 seconds:


Place on the burner


Love to bake bread! looking for tips to market my product.

maojn's picture

I made two videos for the cherry blossom cake roll. Hope they are helpful.

maojn's picture

I made these three videos in great details. Hope they are helpful.


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