The Fresh Loaf

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adventuress-in-baking's picture

I've been taking books from the local library to see if any are worth spending money on.  Since there is a wealth of information on this site and the internet in general, I hesitate to spend money until I know whether or not it will be a useful reference.  One of my recently borrowed books is Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish...which will also probably be a keeper.  The Pain Au Bacon recipe caught my eye so I decided to bake it the Wendy way...meaning take a recipe for a guide, and adapt it to my way of baking and hope for the best!

Last night I created the levain/starter as follows:

7:00 pm.
100 gr Wheat Sour Starter
100 gr. Rye Sour Starter
200 gr. Whole Wheat Flour
200 gr. Water

Mixed it all together and let it ferment and at 11:00 p.m, I added 50 gr. WW flour and a splash of water, mixed it and went to bed.

This morning it had almost doubled in volume and looked pretty lively.  I then put together 600 gr. of KA bread flour with 300 gr. warm water and let it sit for about 30 mins.  I then added the starter, 12 gr. of salt and while the original recipe doesn't call for it, I added 12 gr. of yeast (being some impatient and can't wait days for a rise), mixed it in the Kitchenaid until incorporated and let sit another 10 minutes before I added a pound of bacon, minus 3 slices my husband ate, that had been cooked crisp and chopped up along with two tablespoons of the bacon fat.  I then mixed it again in the mixer until it started to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  You could see the strands of gluten developing though it was still quite sticky and moist.

I tipped it out onto the floured counter and kneaded it with wet hands a few times and covered it with a bowl for 15 minutes.  I then did a stretch and fold every 15 minutes for an hour before splitting the dough between two bowls that had been lined with flour dusted towels.  I let the loaves proof a little less than an hour using the finger poke test.

Today I had to make do using an aluminum Calphalon dutch oven.  I have ordered a Lodge and 2 bannetons.


Since the recipe made two small loaves, I cooked the other on a heated stone to see how the two compared.

I set the oven for 475 degrees f and  heated both DO and stone together.  I tipped the DO loaf out and put it in and covered it.  The other loaf was put on a cornmeal strewn parchment covered cookie sheet and slid onto the stone, parchment and all.

Cooking time was 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered.  Stone loaf was done in 30 minutes and the DO loaf was done in about 15 more minutes....doneness checked with a thermometer.  The Calphalon performed very well.


Meanwhile my husband is salivating and hovering over the bread with the knife.   When we finally cut into the loafs, the one done in the dutch oven was much loftier with an incredible crispy crunchy crust...and while both loaves were really excellent the loaf on the stone while extremely nice and tasty, paled in comparison.  I probably should have used some steam on the stone boule for a crispier crust.


This was a real successful bake and I'm very pleased with the results.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Finding myself with starter that needed to be used and not enough hours to create a loaf that I would be happy with, I decided to take a  different route. Using both wheat and rye starters I threw together a fougasse that disappeared almost a little too quickly

CAphyl's picture

I have really enjoyed making David's baguettes recently (link to recipe below), both in the UK and back in the U.S. in California.  I use a baguette tray for proofing and baking and that has worked well for me.  I tried the couche cloth to start, but found that it was harder for me in handling a wet dough.

Instead of four baguettes (per the recipe), I make three, using the tray.

I still would like a more open crumb, so I will have to resist the temptation to add more flour to make the dough easier to deal with.  My husband and my friends said they really enjoyed the baguettes, so I will keep baking them and trying to improve.

I also made a few classic batards as well.

It's a lot more fun to bake these than the gluten-free loaf I made today!  Happy baking to everyone....Best,  Phyllis

CAphyl's picture

I keep trying to improve my gluten-free bakes.  It is so hard to achieve anything close to my gluten loaves, but I did have some improvement on this one.  I altered the recipe slightly (see below).  The dough is difficult to work with and doesn't hang together too well, so you have to stick with it. It is also a very heavy loaf...very filling.

The crumb is always a bit dense and wet, and I have to eat small pieces, as it is so filling.  I maintain my gluten-free starter, but I don't bake loaves very often.  Progress is slow, but the loaf was a bit better than the last one.  Phyllis

Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread

I used the start of Nicole Hunn’s  “No-Rye Rye Bread” for this recipe, but altered it quite a bit.  Gluten-free bread is frustrating, but I really wanted to make a sourdough loaf that was edible.

I made a sourdough starter from gluten-free flour and kept it in the refrigerator.  I used Nicole’s recipe, but it is confusing and complicated, so when I refreshed it, I just used gluten-free brown rice, oat and tapioca flours.  It perked up very well.

Here is the recipe I used:


80 grams starter

½ cup plus 3 tablespoons bottled water at room temperature

1 cup plus 10 tablespoons gluten-free bread flour (I used Pamela’s gluten-free  bread mix)




1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm bottled water (about 95 degrees)

3-1/4 cup gluten-free bread flour (I used Pamela’s bread mix)

½ cup whole grain gluten-free flour (I used King Arthur’s WW gluten-free)

1 tablespoon salt

1-1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds



Place the starter into the bowl of your stand mixer and add the water; mix using your paddle attachment for a few minutes.  Add the bread flour until it is incorporated and switch to the dough hook and knead for about two minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic and place it in a warm location until the starter has doubled in size (at least 6-8 hours).

Making the Dough

Once the starter has doubled, add it to your stand mixer bowl along with the water. Mix with the paddle attachment (or by hand) for one minute. Add the bread flour and whole wheat flours and switch to the dough hook.  Mix on low speed and knead. Add the salt and mix on medium speed for about three minutes.  Add the seeds and mix until incorporated. Place the dough in the refrigerator in a lightly oiled bowl for at least 12 hours or until it is doubled in size.  I left it for more than 24 hours.

Shaping the Dough

Take the dough out of refrigerator, ease onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Place into a banneton coated with brown rice flour (gluten-free). Place in the refrigerator overnight.


On baking day, preheat your domed  covered baker to 500 degrees.  Sprinkle some corn meal  (gluten-free) into the bottom tray and place the bread on top of the corn meal.  Spray lightly with water and score as desired.  Bake at 500 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes and then remove the lid and bake at 450 for another 15-20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minute before slicing.


Cher504's picture

Intrigued by the idea of grape skin flour (purple bread!?) I took the bait and ordered a flour made from cabernet sauvignon grapes. Looks like cocoa powder...          

According to my reading, this gluten-free flour adds antioxidants, great grape (wine) flavor and beautiful color. They say for breads, it should be 3 to 8% of the flour weight. I made a 100% hydration levain from my grape yeast water and made a very simple 1,2,3 loaf with 5% grape skin flour. 

You can't tell from the photo, but there is a purplish hue to the crumb and faint smell of grape - but maybe that's from the grape yeast water which I used for all the water in the levain and the final dough. I can't say I really taste any grape or wine flavor...






     I think next time I'll try adding some walnuts and dried fruit - maybe figs or raisins. And I wonder what the results would be if I upped the percentage of grapeskin flour?

I've also seen some "cabernet" chocolate chip cookie recipes - might have to give those a whirl. If anybody has some experience with grapeskin flour, I'd love to hear about it.



greedybread's picture

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Hope you made the ones yesterday!!

These Pain aux raisin are more like a brioche dough than yesterdays.

Not overly rich, almost cake like in texture.

I prefer the more flaky pastry texture myself but you try both and see.

Both are gorgeous but I would like to try these making a richer brioche recipe though.

Try making just brioche too and see how you like it.

I think brioche is sort of hybrid, not a bread but not exactly a pastry either.

I have also tasted these made with pastry, not yeasty bread pastry.

You do need to make the Brioche dough the night before in most recipes and this is no exception.

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For the Dough:

4 cups of Bread flour.

2 tsp of salt.

1/4 cup of sugar.

3 tsp of dried yeast.

1/4 cup of cold water.

6 eggs.

200g butter at room temperature.

1 & 1/2 cups of pre soaked raisins.

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Creme Patissiere;

150 ml of milk

Vanilla Bean with seeds scraped out.

2 Tbsp of castor sugar.

1 Tbsp of cornflour.

3 egg yolks.

Apricot Glaze:

3 big Tbsp of apricot jam (I like Roses Apricot Conserve).

4 Tbsp of warm water.

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Combine all dry ingredients, including yeast together.

Mix water and eggs together and combine to make a dough.

Knead for about 5-6  minutes until smooth.

Add in butter, 30 gms at a time.

The dough will be very sticky initially but will come together.

Knead about 10 minutes in total.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave for about an hour.

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Remove dough from bowl and gently knock back a little.

Return to bowl, cover & refrigerate overnight.

Place raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water.

Leave for 5 minutes, drain and then leave raisins draining overnight in the fridge.

This will make them nice and plump.

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Make Patissierie creme.

Place the milk in a saucepan and scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean.

I also put the seedless bean in too as it's still has lots of flavour to give us!!

Bring to slow boil.

Beat yolks in a dish and add in sugar and cornflour.

Remove bean.

Pour milk over this mixture and whisk well.

Return to sauce pan and simmer over a low heat, whisking all the time.

Cook for 2-3 minutes and then remove from heat.

Place patissierie creme in a bowl, cool and cover and place in fridge with dough and raisins for tomorrow):

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Remove dough from the fridge the next day and roll out to about 60 x 30 rectangle.

Using a pallet knife if possible, or a spatula or non stick scraper, spread patissiere creme over dough.

Sprinkle raisins over the dough.

From the top edge, furthest away (long end) roll dough towards you, as tightly as possible.

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If you look at my other version of Pain aux raisins, you can see the whole rolling up of the dough process.

Cut the dough into 3 cm slices and place on baking tray with paper.

Give each pain aux raisin about 5-6 cm between as they will expand a little.

Gently cover and leave for an hour to prove.

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Pre heat the oven to 200C .

Place apricot jam in a small pan and warm with water until aside for pain aux raisins as soon as they come out of the oven.

Gently egg wash the pastries and place in the oven.

Bake for 15-18 minutes and rotate half way through.

Warm thinned apricot and as soon as you remove the pastries from the oven, brush heavily with apricot jam.

Leave to cool on racks...

All glossy and yummy!


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Dean Brettschneider was my inspiration for this recipe from his latest bread book, " Bread".


dmsnyder's picture

Warning!: This report contains graphic images of misshapen loaves and loaves subjected to extreme thermal trauma. Young children and those easily upset by pictures of charred crust are advised to immediately go on to the next blog.

My long-awaited first bake in a wood-fired oven occurred yesterday. The day before had been hopping from dough to dough. I had mixed one large liquid levain to use in both San Joaquin Sourdough baguettes and the miche from the San Francisco Baking Instute's "Artisan II" workshop. That was made with a mix of AP and CM T85 flours. A 100% Whole Wheat liquid starter was mixed to make Hamelman's "Whole Wheat Levain."

For most of the day, I was a slave to my kitchen timer.

By late afternoon, I had the SJSD dough in the fridge and was shaping the other two doughs, the WW levain as two 940g bâtards and the miche dough divided into two 1010g boules. I figured that, except for the baguettes, all the bread should be in the same size loaves, so the bake times might be the same.

An hour before going to the WFO venue, I divided and pre-shaped the SJSD into rounds, and, just before loading the car, I shaped the pieces into 4 demi-baguettes. So, we loaded the car with 4 baguettes en couch on a proofing board, 4 loves in bannetons and a box with assorted bread baking paraphernalia - oven gauntlets, a lame, my super peel, cooling racks and more. We drove the 20 minutes to J.S.'s house and unloaded the car.

I was introduced to the WFO. I thought it was pretty neat.

J. had fired her oven the night before. When I arrived, the wood was burned to coals and ashes and raked to one side. The oven flour was at about 650dF. The "roof" was about 100dF hotter. We discussed raking out the ashes. I didn't want J. to go to too much trouble, so we left them in the oven. That was a big mistake. I wanted the oven somewhere between 480 and 580dF, and the oven floor could be brought to that range by leaving the oven open for a while. But, as soon as the door was put up, the oven floor temperature went right back up.

We discussed options for humidifying the oven. Since I wasn't going to come close to filling it with bread, there was no question that we needed to do something. We decided to fill a cast iron skillet with water and place it deep in the oven before loading the breads. That worked reasonably well.

I decided to bake the baguettes first. I transferred them from the couche to my SuperPeel. I then discovered that the oven door was narrower than the SuperPeel was wide. The loaves were therefore transferred to a semolina-dusted aluminum pizza peel and loaded to the oven deck with only moderate distortion of their shape. I would call the result "a movement disorder." (That's a medical joke. Sorry.)

All the advice I had read told me to not even peek at the loves for the first 20 minutes, so the steam in the oven isn't let out. Well, I figured the baguettes would probably bake in much less time than that, so I "peeked" in 15 minutes. And quickly removed the baguettes from the oven.

The second transfer clearly damaged my baguettes' structural integrity and provided a very nice illustration of how oven spring will always find the weak spots in your gluten sheath and expand at those spots. Anyway, the two baguettes on the outsides of this pathetic line-up were judged worth trying. 

The crust was very crunchy and the flavor was delicious. That was a relief!

Before loading the other loaves, I left the oven door open until the floor was down to 640dF. I then refilled the cast iron skillet, loaded the 4 loaves and closed the oven door. After 15 minutes, I opened the door, expecting to rotate the loaves, but they appeared quite well-baked. I took them out, knocked their bottoms and checked their internal temperatures with an instant read digital thermometer. In fact, 3 of the 4 loves were done, with internal temperatures over 205dF. The 4th was almost done. I gave it another 5 minutes in the oven, and that was plenty. 

As had been mentioned, oven spring in a wood-fired oven is exuberant. That was nice. Having the experience with the baguettes, I was more cautious with the larger loaves. all were somewhat charred in places, but none was ruined.

On slicing (still warm), I saw that the loaves were not cooked evenly. No part was totally under-cooked or gummy, but some could have used a few minutes' more baking at one end, at least. 

Appearances aside, the eating quality of all the breads was very good, and the WW Levain was amazingly good. The crusts were very crunchy. The crumbs were tender and slightly chewy. The flavors of the WW levain and of the baguettes were as good as I have every had. I think the "miche" would have been improved by more whole grain flour.

While the breads were baking, J.S. opened bottles of Chablis and Sangiovese and did the final cooking of a cioppino with talapia, shrimp, clams and mussels. The chef from her deli had made the sauce for her, and it was by far the best fish stew I have ever tasted. J. had decided to make it with the thought of having a delicious sauce for dipping bread into. An excellent decision! I apologize. By the time we sat down to eat, I was too tired and too hungry to even think about taking more photos.

We all had a delightful afternoon. I was disappointed in how the breads looked, although I really cannot complain about their eating quality. I did learn a lot, and I think I won't make the same mistakes again. (I'll make new ones!) The most important mistakes were not sweeping out the coals and not waiting until the oven was cool enough. If I am to try baguettes again in a WFO, I need to get an appropriate peel. The oven steaming method I used was adequate and a lot easier than using a mop or a garden sprayer.

I want to thank all those generous TFL members who responded to my request for advice on WFO baking. I collected all the suggestions into a single document and left a printed copy with my hostess. 

She invited me to use her oven whenever I wanted to, and I am eager to apply what I learned yesterday.

Happy baking!


Anconas's picture

The first month of bread has been refreshing, and tasty :)  Many mistakes and trial and error, fun stuff.

I really wanted to get to sourdough and I'm having success with my starter.  I'm reading books, but TFL is an amazing translation tool for application.

I haven't made that many breads and something about my kitchen accelerates things - my kitchen being me, my ingredients and my environment.  I seem to go from maybe to overproof rather quickly so I worked with that and ignored all recommended time and tried to talk to my bread.  I also skipped the whole follow recipes until you achieve consistency factor and just made changes to get me closer to what I want in bread - sourdough (fermented), baguette and boule for their taste and texture, and grain. 

Still baby steps but SD boules in a dutch oven at least fit the shape of my existing equipment more than baguettes so I'm giving them a run for learning before I tackle SD baguettes.  Held it's shape and I solved the sticking issue in proofing.



10% whole grain rye - amazing flavor difference.  A new learning curve - the grain texture cuts the gluten strands if worked too much, or that is what it seems like.  I pushed it and I need much more practice on scoring and shaping and proofing - but this is actually a boule isn't it?  A very beginner boule, but actually boule shaped and risen?  On the right track sort of thing?  Crumb is very tasty, rye makes a big difference and I think I can up the hydration and with more experience shaping and proofing, get the more open crumb I like - I like the taste and texture of holes.  I think I found my baseline to bridge from.

SD  starter is 1 week white following dabrownman's "no muss no fuss" refrigerated lower hydration, no waste method with a 3 tier build and over night retard.  That particular post made everything from BBA, FWSY, and Glezer's AB make practical sense for maintenance and baking fitting my schedule.


TFL Handbook on Rye inspired me to try a 10% whole grain Rye loaf while still being very new to the whole bread thing.  Glad I did, the final bread tastes much better than anything I've tried before.  It's not dense and not over baked.  Bold I like, but I like blistery and done before over bake and I'm starting to understand my oven.  Holes throughout, no lift offs of dense bottoms, it's not gummy and it tastes great and has a very decent mouth feel (my family cracks up that there are people who understand that I think that is a real important thing :).  The grain tearing factor in the dough - just my inexperience or is there a better route?

I'm giving myself a gold star on the forehead for a kindergarten SD Rye Boule.  The high flour thing with proofing still bugs me, I don't like all the flour on the crust like some may but I like sticking even less. 


  grams per pound453.5924       
    300total flour    
110gWarm Water (Well) 70%      
200gPoolish Starter (Gen AP)   39%total weight  
130gFlour, 100g KAF AP, 30g Gen AP 77%      
40gFlour, KAF WW 13%      
30gFlour, Rye 10%      
7gSalt 2%      
1. Mix Water, WW & Rye Flour, autolyse 30 minutes
2. Add remaining flour and starter, rest 30 minutes.
3. Add salt
4. Slap and Fold to develop strong gluten.
5.  Stretch and Fold once, round out dough, rest 10 minutes - 3 times total
6. Bulk rise 2-4 hours, or until the dough has increased 1.5 times it's original size.   Took 1 hour 15 minutes.
7. Shape and tension pull, rest 10 minutes
8. Re-do tension pull for final shaping - this was needed but the grains in the Rye seem to have started to tear dough skin.
9. Proof in flour lined basket/towel 2-3 hours until 1.5 times pre-proof volume.  Took 1 hour.
10. Flip and place in pre-heated dutch oven, score and bake.
Pre-heated at 500F, scored in the very hot DO with scalple blade.  Dropped temp to 450F and kept coverd 25 minutes.  Uncovered and dropped to 425F for 10 minutes, turned for another 10.  Turned again and turned oven off closed for 5 minutes, then turned and left oven cracked open for 5 minutes.
Placed across a bread pan to cool and it sang and crackled for at least 20 minutes.


10% whole grain rye flour

3 build levain from low hydration white starter (dabrownman "no muss no fuss" style)

30 minute autolyse ww and rye

mcs's picture

One more video for the Freshloafians.  Yesterday was a great day at the market and I made a video about it!  Enjoy :)


adventuress-in-baking's picture

What else is there to do in retirement but perfect my baking skills.  Everyone benefits and I'm getting fat!!! Ha Ha

After seeing the recipe in the feed for the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid I just had to try it.  

And after today's success, I'll be making it for my knitting club members this coming Friday.  I used to buy the fundraiser Butter Braids but this recipe is soooo much better.  And we used to think those were great.  Not anymore!  I'll be making this recipe from now on.

Next up on the baking schedule:  Sour Jewish Style Rye.  I'm a tweaker, I'll admit it.  Its like a sickness.  I can't leave well enough alone as I've said before.  Sooooo....

The Brooklyn bakery, in Waterbury, CT makes a really nice rye bread. And it was our go-to bread.  I'd buy the big loaves, slice them and freeze them in ziplocs in 2-3 day quantities. The local German deli used to stock it, delivery was only on Fridays.  But the bakery doesn't deliver to this area anymore we're out of luck!  

And since I've starting baking again in retirement, I began researching recipes. I know the Waterbury bread was a lot lighter in color and more dense in crumb.   

Here's today's bake fresh from the oven along with a picture of the crumb.  


Taste is right on...hubby is very happy...but I think I'll proof it a little less next time and hope I get a rounder shape.


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