The Fresh Loaf

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fusan's picture

Let me start out by saying, Im terrible with electronics and this is my first time trying to solder anything. So I if I can do it, everyone can!

My goal was to make a device that can be used with most cooling boxes without any (or very little) modifications to the actual Cooling box.

The advantage of these kind of coolers are that they can heat or cool. It depends on how you turn the plug. I only needed it to do one at a time.

If the room temperature for example is 25 Deg C and I need 30 deg C, the plug to the box is pluged to heat. If I need 20 deg C, the plug to the box is set to cool. Everything else is controlled by the Thermostat. Theres a lot of different Thermostats but I needed the kind with a single relay and I would manually turn the plug to the box depending on what I wanted relative to the room temperature.


What is needed for this Proofing Box:

The Cooler box.

Thermostat (12v)

Cigaretteplug with a 6 amp Fuse

Powercord from an old Printer

Powersupply (12v)


The Cooler box

I was lucky to find a cheap Igloo Koolmate 40 Cooler. It can hold 4-6 of my small (27 cm) proofing baskets stacked on shelves. Its also capable of holding a 5 liter bowl easy (Pictured).

This is how it looks like:


Thermostat (12v)

This is a simple device that uses one relay. Depending on what you set the temperature to, it turns the relay on or off. When its on, there is a connection and your cooler turns on.

It need 12v from the powersupply. Be carefull when you connect + and -. If they are connected incorrectly it can damage the thermostat (or that’s what I’ve heard anyway).

So I’ve looked at youtube on how it is powered and found out that the connector that is furthest out, is the +. You can set the Thermostat to cool or heat in the settings.

I got this one from Aliexpress:

The only minus with this Thermostat is that the cord for the temperature probe is a little to short (33 cm) so you might consider getting a longer one. Its called NTC Thermistor 10K and is very cheap. Just remember to get one with the correct contact that fits the Thermostat.

There are no buttons supplied for this Thermostat either. If you want to build it in a cabinet, this link show the ones that fit but you can buy them everywere:


Cigaretteplug with a 6 amp Fuse

Since most (if not all) mobile cooling boxes can be powered from the car through a cigaretteplug, I got one to connect to the powersupply that came with the Cooler. It did have this plug allready, but I didnt want to cut it up. The less modifications, the better. It is important to buy a cigaretteplug with a fuse so you dont overload the powersupply and ruin it. The one that was supplied with the Igloo uses a 6 amp fuse, so you’ll need to get one like that. I bought a cigaretteplug with an 8 amp fuse so I had to buy some 6 amp fuses as well.


Powercord from an old Printer

It fits perfectly in the Coolers slot. There’re many plugs like that one, that are suitable for this pupose, but if you dont mind, you can cut the one that comes with the Cooler. You wouldnt be able to use it in the car again if you cut it up… not as it was intended anyway. I marked it with a red and blue dot on each side of the plug to easy distinguish how to turn it in order to heat/cool.


Powersupply (12v)

I used the one that came with the Cooler. It works perfect with the Thermostat so I only have to use ONE powersupply, instead of having one for the Thermostat as well.


How does it work

Since I wanted to only use one powersupply for everything, I had to figure out a way to power the Cooler and the thermostat from the powersupply that came with the Cooler. This was actually supprisingly simple, since the Thermostat was 12v like the Cooler. Here is how I wired the Thermostat:

When everything is wired, this is what I do...

Cooling Example:

If the room temperature is 25 Deg C and I want it to cool down to 20 Deg C.

- Turn the plug on the Cooler box to cool.

- Set the Thermostat to cool in the settings.

- Set the range for when to turn the Thermostat on/off (I use 1 Deg C).

- Set the desired temperature to 19.5 Deg C and it starts to cool.

Once it reaches 19.5 Deg C, it turns the cooling off and the temperature slowly starts to go up. When the temperature reach 20.5 Deg C, it starts to cool again.

Heating Example:

If the room temperature is 25 Deg C and I want it to heat up to 30 Deg C.

- Turn the plug on the Cooler box to heat.

- Set the Thermostat to heat in the settings.

- Set the range for when to turn the Thermostat on/off (I use 1 Deg C).

- Set the desired temperature to 30.5 Deg C and it starts to heat.

Once it reaches 30.5 Deg C, it turns the heating off and the temperature slowly starts to drop. When the temperature reach 29.5 Deg C, it starts to heat again.


Is it effective at all?

So far, it works really Fine.

Initially it takes 20-30 min to cool down from 25 to 20 deg C so It does have a startup time to cool/heat the surroundings to the desired temperature. Once everything is at the desired temperature (not just the air inside, but the walls too) the intervals for cooling/heating gets shorter.

I took a lot of measurements and found out that it takes 16 to 20 minutes for the temperature to raise 1 degree inside the box from 19.5 Deg C when the unit is on standby. It only takes 10 minutes to cool it down by 1 Deg C again from 20.5 Deg C once it starts to cool. The heating takes a lot less time than cooling!

So how on earth can it take 20-30 min to cool down 5 Deg C, when it takes 10 min to cool down by 1 Deg C?

The reason for this is that the Peltier (the unit that actually cools/heats) is in between cooling ribs on each side. Once the ribs gets cold/warm, the cooling/heating starts to be effective. So it takes a few minutes to get those ribs to perform at full power. Well thats my guess anyway :)


Thats basically it.

Should you have any questions, feel free to ask, Ill answer the best I can :)


redif2003's picture

Dear TFL experts,

I have been baking for the past 3 years, and just recently tried my hand in making baguettes. I should say that all my knowledge for this craft has came from the wonderful posts of the members on this forum - and I am very grateful to have access to such excellent resource. 

For the dough, I follow the Anis Bouabsa method, well elaborated on this site. For shaping, I follow Mark Sinclair's instructions (Thank you Mark!) and use lava rocks in loaf pans to generate steam.I preshape the dough out of the fridge, let rest for one hour, shape the baguette and let final proof for another hour.  I need to add that I am using a baguette pan which goes in my oven on a pizza stone, which is probably too thin. I bake at 460 F, for 20 minutes, first half with steam. 

My results have been mixed, I am too obsessed with getting an open crumb and large holes in my baguette, so much that I can't fully enjoy the wonderful taste of fresh bread if the crumb is't right. Some loaves come with a relatively open crumb (nothing like the pro members here), and some don't. The baguette tastes wonderful, with a complex flavor and a bit of a tang.  

The reason for this post is to get help troubleshooting the crust. As you can see in the images, some of my loaves explode in the oven, and the surface gets too rough. I get ears, but then the composition of the baguette crust is not like what one expects, a smooth crust with some ears and nice, symmetrical expansion.

You might think that my leaves are under-proofed, I have tried proofing for longer (2 hours - resulting  over-proofed and hard to score dough) which led to less extreme expansion, but similar rough surface. 

I would appreciate your intake on my loaves in general, and welcome all suggestions for a better crust, and a more open structure.









Baguette 2

Baguette 2


TwoBreadedBoy's picture

I felt I owed the good people of TFL an apology for my previous bread (which, oddly enough, was very good!). That apology, it seems, will have to come in the form of these nice little dark rye batards.

The idea for this bread came from the Youtube Channel Rus Brod. He has some excellent recipes for scalded rye breads, usually made according to GOST. However, his recipes are all in Russian. This one, however, seems to have come from a German recipe. While he shaped his dough into a sort of boule (Though with such a high percentage of rye, shaping is very different from a wheat bread) and placed it in a proofing basket seam side down. However, I stuck these in baskets for half the second rise and flipped them out onto parchment paper to score them. I then let them continue rising on the parchment paper for the next half of the second rise. I followed the recipe from the youtube user, except I only had dark rye flour. Therefore, instead of being partially composed of light rye, all the rye in this recipe is dark. I made up for this with a couple of teaspoons of of vital wheat gluten. I also used substituted part of the beer in this recipe with yogurt whey (and fed my starter with whey). I cut down on the baking time as well, as I made two loaves instead of one. Anyway, I'll have to wait until tomorrow to taste it.


If anyone is interested in making this bread or would like recipes for Russian scalded rye breads, I would be happy to translate some.

TwoBreadedBoy's picture

We bakers are always looking for creative ways to extract lots of flavor from grains. For me, the search for flavor took me to my local supermarket.
There's not much to a lean dough in terms of ingredients, is there? Just some water, some flour, some salt and (if I'm not making sourdough) some instant yeast. Bread always appealed to me because you could make an excellent loaf by virtue of your baking skills, rather than the quality of ingredients you can afford. Sure, the $6 flour may be a bit better than the store brand stuff. However, at the end of the day, I know that if I give my bread plenty of time to develop flavor and handle the dough firmly but respectfully, I can produce a loaf better than someone who uses the fancy flour, but skimps on fermentation time or abuses the dough. Musicians often say that a good player can make bad equipment sound good, but a bad player can't make good equipment sound good. I guess the same is true of bread.
I had just begun to contemplate this when an old friend called out to me.

"Hey there. It's me, Shaq. I'm only 2 for $1"
"Shaq? Is that you?" I saw him in the distance: Arizona shaq-Fu Grape Punch.
"You know exactly what to do."
I did. It was all so obvious. How had I not put it together before now? If good bread can be made with poor quality ingredients, then GREAT bread can be made with only the most disgusting ingredients! Time to make a mockery of the art of baking!

I came home with two bottles of the punch. I took a few sips from one. I almost vomited. It was sugary and tasted like watered down grape and pear juice. The ingredient list confirmed my suspicions. It was watered down grape and pear juice with a lot of sugar. Fantastic.

Here's the recipe I used:

350 g All-purpose flour
350 g Shaq-Fu Grape Punch
1 g yeast

Since the punch is so sugary, I only gave it a few hours at room temperature (at which point it was already very bubbly) and refrigerated it overnight.
The next day, I added the following:

85 grams All-purpose flour
3 grams yeast

I let this ferment for about 2-3 hours, stretching and folding occasionally.
I then preshaped it into a ball, tightened it after 20 minutes and put it in a proofing basket to rise for an hour, after which I stuck it in the fridge again. To be honest, I think it overproofed (due to the large amount of sugar in the punch). This caused the final loaf to be a bit flat (the inside doesn't seem dense. The loaf itself is just a but wider than it is tall).


I then preheated my oven with my baking surface and steaming apparatus.
I scored the loaf (to look like a basketball) and sprayed it with a little bit of water to delay crust formation.

I baked at 450 F for 10 minutes before removing the tray of hot water from the oven and letting the bread bake for another 20 minutes. I then glazed the loaf with a cornstarch mixture. It smells surprisingly good. The smell reminds me of a rosemary and grape focaccia I once made (though that had real grapes in it). I think Shaq would be proud of this loaf.


Well, I hope this little post has encouraged you to be disgusting like me and make bread out of strange liquids.

PMcCool's picture

We recently enjoyed a marvelous cruise from Vancouver (didn't get the opportunity to say hi to Floyd) up through the Inside Passage of Alaska.  We had port calls at Ketchikan, Juneau (emphasis on the 'eau', with 320 days of rain a year), and Skagway.  From there we sailed to Glacier Bay and spent a day marveling at the immensity and beauty of several glaciers.  Then it was on to our debarkation at Seward.  From Seward, we opted for the train excursion to Anchorage, then another train excursion to Denali, then a coach excursion to Fairbanks, and our flight home.  I will exercise massive self control and limit myself to one photo (of the more than 500 taken) that shows Denali on a clear day:

Since getting home, I've been futzing about with a couple of bread recipes, working the kinks out of them so that I can teach a class in September.  Trips and classes are nice events but work, and lunches, continue on.  In my case, that means bread for sandwiches.  

It's been a while since I've made a pain au levain, which remains one of my favorite breads.  This time I wanted something a bit grainier, so I went searching through the TFL archives, certain that someone would have posted something that fit the bill.  Sure enough, there was a post from Franko with just the type of bread I was looking for.  Even better, Franko included a link to the spreadsheet he had created for the bread which allowed me to scale it down for a single 750g loaf, just perfect for a chunky batard.

Having refreshed my lonesome starter, I set up the levain and the soaker on Friday night.  Knowing that I had some substantial yard work to do on Saturday, I was up early to mix the dough and let it autolyse while I fixed breakfast.  This marked my first departure from Franko's formula: I included the soaker as part of the autolyse rather than waiting to knead it in after the salt.  The Bob's Red Mill multigrain mix that I had was the texture of a coarse meal, so I wasn't concerned about larger flakes or other bits disappearing into the dough, rather than remaining identifiable.

After breakfast, I gave the dough a short knead to incorporate the salt, shaped it into a ball, placed it in the bowl, and covered it.  Then I headed out to deal with the crabgrass and dandelions and other weeds that seemed to have invaded while we were away.  After about 45 minutes, I came back in, washed thoroughly, then gave the dough its first stretch and fold.  Then it was back outdoors to continue the fray.  Forty-five minutes later, give or take a few minutes, back in again to wash up, then another stretch and fold.  Roughly 45 minutes later, I was back in to check on the dough.  Because of the warmth of my kitchen at this time of year, about 78F, the dough was moving along nicely and I judged it ready to shape.

At this point, Franko put the shaped dough in the refrigerator for a cold retard.  I elected to leave it out at room temperature so that I could bake it the same day.  And that was a good call because it made a delicious, if unorthodox, base for patty melt sandwiches just now.

The bake was exactly per Franko's timetable and temperatures.  I suppose it could have stayed in a little longer to put on some darker color but there's absolutely nothing wrong with it as is.  For once I caught the fermentation at just the right time, giving plenty of oven-spring while baking, a lovely ear, and a moderately open crumb.  

The loaf:

And the crumb:

The flavor, because of the shorter room-temperature final fermentation, is full bodied grain with only a hint of sourness.  The crust, which initially was quite hard, has softened to a very chewy texture.  The crumb is firm, moist, and cool, with a pleasing resistance when chewed.

Thank you, Franko, for sharing such a delightful bread.

The yard?  Well, the weeding is about half done.  I'll finish that next weekend when my quadriceps have stopped screaming at me.


STUinlouisa's picture

This bread has a history in experimentation. The other day I was contemplating what sort of side dish to have with smoked chicken and decided to try a savory porridge polenta style but made with various coarse ground grains. The mill was set on its widest and some barley, oats, Einkorn, rye,and Durum was ground, to that mixture some grits were added so that it came  to 1.5 cups. A 3 cup mixture of chicken stock and milk was brought to a boil and the grains were whisked in along with a green jalapeño that had fallen off the the plant, a jar of tomatoes that had failed to seal while canning and some salt and pepper. After most of the liquid was absorbed, about .75  cup of grated aged cheddar and a few basil leaves was  added. It came out pretty well but made more than we could eat.  The thought of making bread with the leftover happened the next day.

The bread was made with KA AP, natural starter and the leftover. It was retarded overnight after a short bulk fermentation due to warm temps and the presence of so much available food for the beasties. After the dough warmed an oval loaf was formed and put  in a banneton with the seam side down. It  was baked on the grill stone with an oval DO as the lid for 20 min then placed on an inverted pan to prevent the bottom from burning. This is the first time for me that the seam from forming the loaf opened up in such a dramatic way that ears were formed. I would go to the effort of trying  to name the bread but doubt that circumstances will ever repeat themselves. Such is the problem and the pleasure of winging it.


dmsnyder's picture

Multi-grain Levain – August 14, 2015

Today's bake is based on the “75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread” formula in Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. I have made this bread a couple of times before, most recently in November, 2014. I modified the formula today by adding 180g of "Harvest Grains Blend" produced by King Arthur Flour, which I soaked in warm water for a few hours and then mixed it into the autolyse at the time I added the salt and levain. The blend has about 8 different seeds and grains. This started out a very nutritious bread. The added whole oats, flax seeds and other goodies in the multi-grain blend just "kicked it up a notch" in both flavor and health benefits.

This made a very wet dough that did develop some strength with the stretches and folds and, especially, with rather tight pre-shaping and shaping. Still, with the high percentage of whole wheat flour and the additional seeds and flaked grains, loaf volume was less than most of the FWSY levains.



I tasted the bread after it had cooled for a couple hours. The crust was crunchy-chewy. The crumb was very moist and somewhat chewy. The aroma of whole wheat predominated. The flavor was similar to previous bakes of this bread with a prominent whole wheat flavor and moderate sourdough tang. The seeds added a bit of a crunch. The only specific ingredient I could taste was the sunflower seeds, but the flavor of the basic bread dominated. We'll see how the flavors evolve. Forkish says this bread's flavor develops and improves over two to three days.


I had some of this bread with dinner. It was delicious both with a thin spread of sweet butter and with a thin slice of aged Gouda cheese. It is so moist, I expect it to be fresh-tasting without toasting for several days.

Happy Baking!


victoriamc's picture

Finally, the air has cooled enough to go and into the garden and grill.  What better way to showcase your favourite homemade hamburger with a lovely Spelt hamburger bun.  These buns are perfect for hamburgers because they have just the right amount of resistance in the crust to hold all the trimmings but are soft enough to avoid a messy squidge out when you take a bite.  for details stop by

KathyF's picture

So, my first loaf turned out really well. But I thought maybe I would tweak it a bit and see if I could adjust the flavor a bit. The original recipe for the levain was 35% in the final build. I decided to up it to 50% so that more of the whole wheat flour would be in the preferment. Certainly made for a very active dough. I only bulk fermented for a little over 2 hours and the final rise was a little over an hour.

I also added butter (actually, I had added butter in the first loaf too), diastatic malt, and a little honey. I have to say, I think the malt and honey added just a touch of sweetness that worked really well with the whole wheat flour. I liked it a lot.

Here is a crumb shot:

dabrownman's picture

I am always amazed what Lucy manages to come with in her spare time when no dreaming up bread recipes.  This week she has developed a new piece of software that turns an existing piece of hardware into something truly unique and transformative for all bread bakers.


As we well know, Lucy loves Pumpernickel bread and she thinks every other kind of bread is inferior and almost woossie like.  Every time she takes a bite of another kind of bread, she wishes it tasted like pumpernickel.  Now she thinks she has fixed that problem once and for all.


The green tinge of yogurt whey is unmistakable.

She took a pair of Bluetooth headphones and reprogrammed them not only to deliver sound waves to your ears, but also the taste of Pumpernickel bread.  Now she claims she can listen to her favorite tunes and TV shows but when she bites into any kind of bread it tastes like this Pumpernickel – her mist recent favorite  Really Dark Old School Sprouted Pumpernickel – In memory of Barbra


So to test out her new invention, she came up with one of her most white sourdough recipes at a bit less than 19% whole sprouted 4 grain.  She thought  that if this bread, which is nearly as bland as she gets, could end up tasting like her most powerful and complex tasting bread of all time, then she is one step closer to her dream of being the first Billionaire Baking Apprentice 2nd Class .


This white SD bread isn’t as tame flavor wise as one would thinks though.  She subbed yogurt whey for the dough liquid, used the 15 week retarded rye sour starter, retarded the levain for 24 hours after the 3rd stage doubling and retarded the dough for 40 hours of bulk ferment after the gluten development.  This bread is really retarded!


We did our usual sifting of the sprouted grain flour, after it was sprouted, dried and milled and fed the 14% hard bits and some of the 86% extraction to the starter to make the levain and in the fridge it went.  The gluten development was also our recent 3 sets of 30 slap and folds, this time on 20 minute intervals (10 minutes less each), and 2 sets of 4 slap and folds on 30 minute intervals (15 minutes less each).


This reduced our normal gluten development phase in the 88 F summer kitchen heat by a full hour.  This was Lucy’s plan since she wanted a 40 hour bulk retard instead of the usual 21 hour one.   The levain pre-fermented flour amount was a low 10.6% so she thought this would work out as an even trade of time.


When the dough finally came out of the fridge this morning, we immediately did a quick pre-shape into a boule and placed it back in the plastic covered  oiled bowl for a one hour warm up before the final shaping and placing the boule in the rice floured basket seam side up for a quick 30 minute high temp proof out side where it was 102 F.


Had to plug the hole in the Chinese clay pot with some aluminum foil to keep the steam in.

Once the half hour was up we left we brought the boule inside but left it to proof on the counter as we heated up Big Old Betsy to 435 F with our pre-soaked Chinese Sand Clay Pot inside.


It has been while since we baked any bread in it but my wife got an other glazed clay pot bread baker (no lid) from a co worker that was made by Ayers Pottery in Hannibal MO, just down the river from my wife’s hometown of St Louis.  The pot is small but might hold a half a tin of dough – around 500 g.  The pot came with a brochure that lists 101 ways to use the pot and #65 was - fill it with Easter candy.


Once the temperature hit the 435 F mark, I left the pot in the oven for another 15 minutes so the clay could catch up to the oven temperature.  After upending the dough out of the basket onto parchment on a peel, it was slashed T-Rex style and slid into the clay pot then lidded for 20 minutes of steam.


Once the lid came off we turned BOB down to 425 F convection to brown and dry the crust.  5 Minutes later we took it out of the clay pot to finish browning on the bottom stone.  It looked done but didn’t thump done on the bottom so we left it in another 5 minutes before removing it to the cooling rack.


My daughter did make a fabulous avocado chicken salad with walnuts and pepitas with this bread for lunch - delicious!

It did blister, bloom, spring and brown up pretty well but we won’t know what the crumb looks like till after lunch but I really can’t wait to taste the bread wearing Lucy’s headphones and listening to Led Zeppelin or maybe some Neon Trees.  I did get out a frozen hunk of her favorite pumpernickel to compare it too.  She wants me to do a blind taste test to verify it really works.


Lucy's favorite pumpernickel for comparison and the test for her new headphone app.

This week was our anniversary #29 and we celebrated by going with our daughter to the Barrio Queen Restaurant in downtown  Gilbert for their happy hour appetizers, tacos and margaritas.  Their Carnitas en Chili Verde appetizer is killer, the barrio Pollo Con Chorizo tacos were the best of all we sampled - we sampled quite a few and the margaritas were strong and tasty if a bit small.


Pork carnitas fajita quesadillas this time.

In keeping with the Mexican anniversary theme, I made a classic Mexican Pepitas Cake with Mexican chocolate, vanilla and tequila for dessert at home with a cute doily powdered sugar stencil with some French Silk ice cream and whipped cream sides.  This cake is one of my favorites, a good fit for special occasions and healthier than some others.  The crumb came out soft and moist and nit as open as i would have thought but it also wasn't overly sour either. A different sour taste for sure because of the yogurt whey but civil' my daughter loved this bread and knows which side hers is buttered on!



SD Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



15 Week Retarded Rye Sour






14 % Extraction Sprouted Multi Grain






86 % Extraction Sprouted 4 Grain
























Levain Totals






Sprouted 4 Grain












Levain Hydration












Dough Flour






Smart and Final Hi Gluten






Sprouts AP






86 % Extraction Sprouted 4 Grain






Total Dough Flour


















Yogurt Whey












Dough Hydration






Total Flour w/ Starter & Scald






Yogurt Whey 272  & Water












Hydration with Starter and Scald






Total Weight






% Whole Sprouted Grain












4 grain sprouted flour is equal amounts of wheat, rye, spelt and Oat



 All gussied up Pepitas Cake and don't forget that salad



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