The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
ehanner's picture

Larry (Wally) posted his version of Sam Fromartz's award winning Baguette's last week and after reading the post, I thought I would try it again. First I copied Larry's recipe and method and then I went to look at the original write up by the author/baker. There were a few small things that separate the two methods but the formula I think was right on. When you look at Sam's images of his breads, well they are stunning. The crust has just the right amount of color and spring. They look crisp and well, just perfect.

I'm not new to baguettes but I am always willing to bow to a master when it comes to improving the art form. Baguettes are 90% technique and 10% formula, I'm certain. So my intention here is to read closely the instructions Sam has left for us to understand. No detail is too small.

I made 2 batches yesterday, a 500g and a 1000 g mix. I thought I would bake the first 2 pairs of 250g baguettes, followed by the next 4, 2 at a time. This gives me a chance to evaluate the process and make some changes along the way. I was taken at how hard it was for me to keep from what I normally do and make a change no matter how small. Proofing in the couche cloth seam side down for example was a challenge for me. I had to re think my handling process and make a change.

In the end I only have one item that I didn't remember to change over to Sam's method and I think it will make a big difference in a positive way. That would be moving my stone up from the second shelf to the middle shelf. A seemingly small thing but the breads will get a more intense heat and brown up there I'm certain.

We taste tested this afternoon and the verdict is the bread is exceptionally tasty and has a nice mouth feel and after taste. The aroma is very original to me from my long ago memory of a wonderful baguette in Paris.

What I have learned from this exercise so far is that with a baguette, everything matters. There are many ways to make a good loaf, but, far fewer ways to make a really great loaf. I need to raise the bar and focus on the smallest details to make them as good as I possably can. Soon enough.


ehanner's picture

I cooked a 10 pound corned beef today and we had a New England boiled dinner. It's my start of the St. Patrick's holiday meals. Tomorrow will be the corned beef sandwiches on the Rye below. I have made this Deli style Rye a hundred times and just about every time I swear I ruined it and don't expect it to spring in the oven. When I open the door and see that nice puffy brown loaf I can smell the caraway and I just know I beat the odds one more time. That's the thing about rye, especially really sour rye that sat on the counter for 24 hours and the fridge for 2 days. It's been hectic around here and I didn't get to it when I had planned.This is evidence that even ugly bread can be delicious. I don't know WHAT I was thinking when I slashed  these two. It certainly wasn't baking. These have a poppy seed and large crystal salt topping.

One loaf will go to my son along with a care package of a couple pounds of meat and potatoes/carrots. I think  I need to go down to his apartment and bang some pans today to check for survivors from last night.


SylviaH's picture

This is my version of Sourdough English Muffins recipe I found the other day on the net.  It is from correction to this link..hopefully this one works! The recipe comes from Bette's Oceanview Diner in Berkeley, California.  These muffins are delicious and make a wonderful Eggs Benedict brunch.  Though these are wonderful tasting and very easy to make I have to say the English Muffin recipe I have from Northwest sourdough are absolutely devine and still my number one favorite.  Teresa's recipe has been temporarily discontinued until published in her new book.




                                                                             To open up my EM I poke a fork around the edges and pull it open



                                             My version of Eggs Benedict for brunch!







ehanner's picture

My 23 year old son is home from his job as a cruise ship musician. He plays saxophone on a huge ship traveling all over the world. When he returns for a little time off, I try to treat him to his favorite foods and breads. Today being St Patrick's Day in the US, I'm certain he is singing Irish tunes at one of Milwaukee's many Irish Pubs. I thought some of you might appreciate the humor in the picture he just sent me. Apparently some one gave him a slice of home made beer bread so he asked for the recipe. Here it is written out on a piece of paper and photographed with his cell camera, directly into the heart of dear ole dad's kitchen. What better use for technology!

It looks like a quick bread. Maybe I'll use a bottle of dark beer and swap a cup of WW to give it some tooth. He'll need that tomorrow, no doubt.


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you my recent bake from 3/10/10.  These are improvised graham flour boules.  I didn't have a lot of graham flour laying around, so I made it up out of stuff I had in the kitchen.  Enjoy!

I am dedicating these to dmsnyder who demands a crumbshot!


Total Formula

1430g - AP - 60%

524g BF - 22%

14% - Coarse Wheat Bran - 14% (Shilo Farms Organic)

96g - Wheat Germ - 4% (Bob's Red Mill)

1788g - Water - 75%

48g - Kosher Salt - 2%

5g - Active Dry Yeast - 0.2%

4126g - Total Dough Yield


Liquid Levain (125% Hydration)

238g - AP

298g - Water

24g - Firm SD Starter (60%)

560g - Total


Stiff Levain (65% Hydration)

476g - AP

168g - Water

560g - Liquid Levain

1204g Total


Final Dough

714g - AP

524g - BF

334g - Coarse Wheat Bran

95g - Wheat Germ

1332g - Water

48g - Kosher Salt

5g - Active Dry Yeast

1204g - Stiff Levain



Evening Day 1

6:45pm - Mix Liquid Levain, cover, let rest on counter.

9:10pm - Stir levain, cover let rest.

Day 2 (midnight)

12:00am - Mix stiff levain, cover, let rest 30 mins.

12:30am - Knead stiff levain for a minute or so until smooth, form ball, cover, place in fridge.

Evening Day 2

6:20pm - Take stiff levain out of fridge.

7:10pm - Mix final dough, autolyse 40 minutes.

8:00pm - Turn dough

8:30pm - Turn dough

9:00pm - Turn dough

9:30pm - Turn dough

10:30pm - Divide into 4, shape boules, place in linen lined baskets, proofe for  45 to 60 minutes.  Place 2 stones in oven along with steam pan.  Preheat oven to 550F with convection.

11:45pm - Turn boules out onto peel, slash as desired, place in oven directly on stone.  After all are in, place 1 cup of water in steam pan, close door, turn down to 460F, bake with no convection for 10 minutes.  Turn convection on for 20 minutes.  Rotate loaves, bake for another 30 minutes with convection at 430F.  Loaves are done when internal temp reaches 210F.  Cool completely before cutting.


darren1126's picture

Does anyone have a good receipe for Sub Sandwich Bread. My family loves home made subs but I'm never satisfied using the traditional white bread recipe. I love it with meals, or,  a great snack with butter, but, not with subs....

Thank you!

JoeVa's picture

Bake, bake and bake, the time passes and you demand more, you want more, you are more exigent.

In my previous post I shared with you a good looking bread but I admitted it was not to my taste. I have to say you that even in my last trip in Paris (March 2010) I didn't find a really amazing bread. I tasted a lot of bread from famous and not so famous bakeries and a lot of bread at Europain Exhibition. Some bread was really good, most of them good, someone bad. Till now I take with me, in my memory, just two or three bread I can say - that's a perfect sourdough!

So I planned a new formula to try the flavor potential of this sourdough bread. It was based on the previous one (85% white bread flour, 10% whole wheat, 5% whole rye. 66% hydration. 25% pre-fermented flour (100% hydration). Short mix with S&F ...

My changes:

  • The preferment was feed (and it is feed) with 97% bread flour 3% whole rye, 100% hydration. This adds a fruity smell.

  • Tested a new white bread flour. This is a strong "type 00" flour (50% extraction rate, low ash content), I think W 340. It could be used for long fermentation. Proteins contents 14% with European measurements (11.8% USA measurements).

  • Longer cold proof. This was not planned but I didn't want to bake early morning before work. So I adjusted the process to accommodate a 20h cold proof at 5°C.

I wanted to take a few shots of the process but I was tired so I took just a photo of my super cheap mixer while waiting my water cools down 2°C.

And here the levain almost ready to go:


The Bread:

Do you think it is to my taste? ...

I'm thinking these very light (empty) bread cannot be to my taste. It seems that the aroma escape from the loaf together with the water.

Next loaf? Maybe a T80 organic miche.

ehanner's picture

A couple weeks back, Shiao-Ping picked up a new book and did a nice review on it here. I was intrigued by what I saw and ordered a copy from Amazon which arrived early this morning.

I will not go into great detail about the book except to say that I am a visual person. I appreciate seeing what the finished product looks like in vivid color. The BSB is stunning in this regard. Every bread and pastry is artfully photographed in a way that make me want to try every one of these recipes. The method for each is carefully worded to be clear.

One interesting aspect is that they have several base recipes that are then modified or added to to create something different. For example the Mr. Potato Bread (page 92) calls for 830g of sourdough (pages 50-51) . "Once you have a basic white sourdough, millers sourdough (multi grain), or spelt sourdough you can create  other variations from it." These are called Derivative Breads.

This is how I have organized my thoughts about the breads I bake but I didn't really have a good grip on the variety I could create with the base recipes. This book is loaded with unusual breads you have never heard of or tasted unless you happen to live down the road from this bakery or perhaps in Oz where some of these couplings might be common. Fig and Barberry loaf, Spiced Fruit sourdough, Mr Potato Bread and on and on. Each one looks better than the last.

This is a great book and is proclaimed to be "The ultimate Baking Companion" on the cover. From what I can see I wouldn't dispute that statement at all. I'll be selecting some of the more unusual breads to highlight here as I suspect will Shiao-Ping in the future. One can not help but compare this book to Suas's Advanced Bread and Pastry. The last 200 plus pages are dedicated to pastry and deserts, starting with laminated doughs.This a serious book for any serious home baker or want to be pro baker.


Doughtagnan's picture

After seeing quite alot of  blog entries from my fellow bakers regarding French Flour I thought i'd share a pic of  this loaf made earlier today.  I spent last weekend in France so picked up some Pain de Campagne flour (Francine) from the massive Carrefour Hypermarket outside Caen. I have used it and Francines white flours before with good results though they are more expensive than the flour I buy in the UK.  Total flour weight was 550grams + rye starter and around 350ml of water. Yesterday, I made up a sponge with 250g of the flour & all of the water  then added the rest of the flour plus some olive oil and a little salt once it was good and bubbly.  After a leisurely kneading it was retarded overnight in the fridge, warmed up, shaped and proofed for couple of hours before baking in a cast iron casserole (from a cold oven) for 45mins on max (250c) then lid off for an extra 5mins at 200c. It was even nice enough for a pic outside!, crumb pic to follow cheers, Steve


Doughtagnan's picture

After looking for a pizza peel for home use I decided to try and make one after getting a cheap (£2) non-stick baking (cookie) sheet from the UK store Wilkinsons, only trouble is that now i'm in the dog-house for shortening a broom handle for my baking toy!.  Cheers, Steve




Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries