The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ensalter's picture

Hi there fresh loafers,

I just joined this community yesterday, while anxiously waitin for my first ever yeast bread to ferment and proof! Since hanukkah starts today at sundown, with sabbat, i was excited to try out a challah bread. I didn't get too ambitious with the braiding, and stuck to a 3 piece braid but i was more than thrilled with the results! Since i have an intolerance to modern wheat protein, i used 100% spelt flour (a mix of whole and light unbleached). I took the recipe from "Second Helpings Please!" and adapted slightly - i traded the sugar for honey and the wheat for spelt. This made a very wet, sticky dough so i had to add (what seemed like a lot) of extra flour to make a firmer dough, but with each rise it seemed to form a more workeable dough... now onto the pictures!

it turned out wonderfully- a nice honey sweetness, light flaky texture (which i have never managed to find with storebought spelt which tends to be really dense) and a wonderful nutty flavour from the spelt.


I am an avid kitchen enthusiast, and work at a cafe, dealing with almost 100% organic ingredients and as local as possible (depending on the time of year, obviously here in canada). I look forward to learning more about bread-making and realy getting my hands dirty trying new things!

best to all in this challah-day season!


txfarmer's picture

I used this recipe found right here on fresh loaf: Thanks! It worked great. Found saffron at my local super market, $7 for 0.5gram, ouch! Found quark at whole foods, another ouch, these breads ain't cheap! However, they look great and taste great! Other than the classic S shape, I also made a few other classic shapes.

With the quark addition, and plenty of kneading, the crumb is incredibly soft and moist, even after 3 days.

Very happy to have tried this fun new bread!

droidman's picture

NOTE: This post is superseded by

What I really like about Peter Reinhart's books is that he understands the urge to experiment. The following is his Basic Sourdough from the Bread Baker's apprentice, with a couple of minor adjustments. I got the idea from a loaf produced by a Twin Cities grocery store (Byerly's). I've had difficulty making this size of loaf (10.5" banneton) without burning the bottom crust, but moving the stone up a notchseems to have solved this.

The crust was tender yet chewy with a nice crunch, the crumb dense, but looser than my previous experience with the Reinhart recipe. The flavor was rich, almost creamy, but the milk does seem to subdue the sourness. Perhaps an extra 24 hours in the fridge would help this.

This revision includes scalding the goat milk, increasing the proportion of goat milk in the liquid mix, and increasing the percentage of liquid overall (to 75%). 

I've tried this loaf using only water, as well as substituting whole milk or half & half for the goat milk. Nothing works better than goat. Why, I couldn't say. 

Firm Starter

  • 2/3 cup wild yeast starter (75% hydration) [180g]

  • 1 cup bread flour (Dakota Maid) [150g]

  • 1/3 cup water [80g]

Final Dough

  • 4 cups bread flour [600g]

  • 1/2 cup whole white wheat flour [68g]

  • 1 Tbsp sea salt [15g]

  • 1 cup scalded goat milk at room temp [233]

  • 1-1/4 cup + 1/2 tsp water at room temp [298]


  1. Mix up firm starter, mist with spray oil, cover bowl with plastic wrap, let rise for approximately 4 hours until doubled.

  2. Refrigerate overnight (12 – 18 hours).

  3. Remove starter from fridge and set on oil-misted countertop. Cut into multiple small pieces, separate, mist with spray oil, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to warm to room temperature (a couple hours).

  4. Mix final dough.

  5. Knead 10-15 minutes. Rest 5 minutes. Knead additional 2 minutes. Dough is super sticky, difficult to manage.

  6. Allow to rise for 3-4 hours until doubled.

  7. Gently punch down, cover tightly (I have a covered Rubbermaid container I use for this), and refrigerate overnight.

  8. Remove from refrigerator and allow to warm up a couple hours. 

  9. Gently remove dough from bowl, shape into two boules, place in floured bannetons, lightly mist bottom with spray oil, cover and proof for at least four hours.

  10. Preheat oven containing bread stone and steam pan to 500 degrees at least one hour before proofing is complete.

  11. Sprinkle semolina on bottom of loaf, then flip over onto semolina-dusted peel. Score loaf as desired.

  12. Pour one cup of water into steam pan (I use a small cast iron skillet)

  13. Slide onto baking stone.

  14. Spray sides of oven with water three times in first three minutes (I've quit doing this as it cools the oven too much). 

  15. Bake until internal temp is nearing 205 degrees, 20-25 minutes.

Goat Milk Sourdough

Crumb Shot


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

vincenttalleu's picture

Hi there, I had this video on Youtube for a while already but I though I'd share it here.

Video was made in a bakery south of France where I used to work last year. I doesn't really help for home bakers to see this because I got all the tools and machinery (especially pastry break) But I know some are interested to see how we manage to make lots of those in average size bakery.

This bakery has average of 150 croissants 150 pain au chocolat per day which is a bit more than average typical french bakery.

Marni's picture

Back in March '08, Elagins (Stan Ginsberg) posted his take on this bread.  It looked so good, I had to try it.  Of course it took me until yesterday to get around to it...


I did need to make a few changes based on the ingredients I had on hand.  I used KA bread flour for the High-gluten and I only had regular dark molasses (which I prefered here to the blackstrap as it is very bitter) I also used regular cocoa, though I would have preferred the dutch for its smoothness.  I used Kennebunkport Porter which had a wonderful chocolate smell, and was quite bitter.  I also used more water- about 2.5ozs more.

I wanted this as gift bread.  I plan to bring an assortment of small and medium loaves to a family gathering this Sunday.  I'll bag them in clear bags and display them in a large basket for everyone to choose from.  So far I have rosemary sourdough, Amish loaves, and these little boules/rolls.  Today I am making small sourdough boules.

My photography leaves a lot to be desired, but here are the pics:


And if that's not close enough:

These look huge in the pictures but each weighs about 7.5 ozs and I made seven.

We had to try one, and then I had to quickly freeze the rest before they were devoured. My younger son came in the kitchen a few hours after dinner hoping to find some left to snack on - I'll be making this again soon.

fenchel2c's picture

I made my first batches of Brötchen ever and used King Arthur's European-style bread flour.  Altho I need much more practice forming the rolls, they were crispy and had a nice color on the outside.  However, the crumb was dense and chewy not like the soft and airy texture I remember.  I used the white flour Master Recipe from 'Artisan bread in five minutes a day' with one variation; adding 3 egg whites.  How can I get a softer and airier crumb?

dmsnyder's picture


“The Cooking of Parma,” by Richard Camillo Sidoli is the kind of cookbook I most enjoy. It has many marvelous recipes from one of the greatest food regions of one of the greatest food countries in Europe. It also presents a culinary history of the region, integrating the history of local foods and their preparation into the broader history of Northern Italy.

Alas, I have hardly scratched the surface of the delightful repertoire of this Italian province's cucina, but I have repeatedly made one recipe: “Torta di Patate.” This open-faced, rustic savory tart was for me an instant comfort food – perhaps because it's what a potato knish really wants to be when it grows up.


Torta Dough




2 cups


½ tsp


½ cup plus 1 tablespoon

Olive oil

4 tablespoons plus ½ tsp


Basics of torta preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Then add the water and 4 tablespoons of olive oil.

  3. Mix to form a dough, but do not over-mix. The goal is not to develop the gluten.

  4. Let the dough rest for at least 20 minutes. It can be left refrigerated overnight.

  5. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough thinly. (About the thickness of 2 sheets of paper)

  6. Spread the remaining ½ tsp of olive oil in a 15 x 11 inch baking pan, and put the dough in the pan, leaving a 3 inch overhand on all sides.

  7. Spread the filling over the dough, and fold the overhanging dough over the edges of the filling, leaving most of the center open.

  8. Brush the torta with a beaten egg.

  9. Bake until golden brown (about 25-35 minutes.)

Parma-style torta's can be filled with a variety of vegetable mixtures, and this cookbook gives recipes for several, including squash, rice and savoy cabbage. I've made them all, except for the torta di riso. We like the torta di patate best.

Filling for potato torta



Potatoes (russet or yukon gold)

2 ½ lbs


6 tablespoons

Onion, chopped

½ medium

Leek, chopped

2/3 cup

Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated

2/3 cup


¾ cup

Salt & pepper

To taste


2 large

Torta dough

1 recipe

Procedure for preparing potato filling

  1. Prepare torta dough, as above.

  2. Boil, bake or microwave the potatoes until just tender.

  3. Sauté the onions and leeks in the butter until soft but not browned.

  4. Peel the potatoes and put them through a ricer into a large bowl.

  5. Add the sautéed onions and leeks, the cheeses, milk and salt and pepper to the bowl and mix.

  6. Beat the eggs. Add ¾ of them to the potato mixture, reserving the remaining quarter to brush the torta.

  7. Assemble the torta as described above.

This mixture can be used immediately or kept , refrigerated, for use the next day.

Tortas are often eaten as antipasti, but we ate this as our main course for dinner, along with a green salad.

For dessert --- Well, what should follow a rustic savory tart? It has to be a rustic fruit tart!

Rustic sour cherry tart

Happy baking!


Submitted to YeastSpotting on SusanFNP's Wildyeastblog

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Flours that I have used:

Hecker's Unbleached All Purpose Flour

Hecker's Whole Wheat Flour

Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour

Arrowhead Mills Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour

Arrowhead Mills Organic Rye Flour

Whole Foods Market 365 Unbleached All Purpose Flour

Whole Foods Market 365 Whole Wheat Flour

King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour

King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

King Arthur Organic Unbleached Bread Flour

Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached Bread Flour

Bob's Red Mill Semonlina Flour

Indian Head White Cornmeal

I use the following flours interchangably. 

Hecker's Unbleached All Purpose Flour

Arrowhead Mills Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour

Whole Foods Market 365 Unbleached All Purpose Flour

It depends on where I am in the city, and what's on sale.  I've gotten good results with all three of them.  I prefer using mostly all-purpose flours because find breads made with 100% bread flour too chewy for my taste.  If I do use bread flour, I will only use between 10% to 50% for the total flour weight of the recipe.

I really like Arrowhead Mills Organic Rye Flour in small portions for most of my breads, and to make sourdough starters...

As for whole wheat, I prefer Hecker's Whole Wheat flour.  It's cheap and readily available in NYC...

I have been tempted to order special flours by internet/mail, but I can't seem to justify the extra expense...  It's just not worth it for me to spend the extra money on shipping, and besides isn't it more environmentally sound to go local?


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