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ehanner's picture

Suas Baguette
Suas Baguette

I thought I would try the formula and method pointed out by SteveB last week for Michel Suas's Baguette. You can see the original post from Steve here. The images of how to shape a baguette were I thought unusual since it requires degassing, flattening and rolling out for the length. Not the gentle handling I strive for.

The crust was slightly thicker than I usually get and the crumb was less airy than I like. The key elements of this method seem to be developing good flavor by slowing down the ferment with ice water. They tasted OK but it's my first try using this mix. Also I used a Harvest King flour which is higher gluten than the flour he recommends.

It's worth a try and not bad with red sauce!


Eli's picture

I have been busy with everything but  baking. So last night I started refreshing my motherdough from the fridge. It sits there paitienly and I eventually get around to it once every two weeks. I decided to use it insted of my counter-intelligent sourdough starter I keep for weekly baking at 166%.

I tore off about 50 grams of motherdough. I used a simple formula of ( I made a really small amount) Which is a variation from Janedo's Monge recipe which I have come to love. Thanks Jane!!

250 grams Hi Gluten Flour

175 grams of water

50  grams motherdough

5 grams salt

Combined the water and flour and allowed to autlyse 20 minutes. Added motherdough and kneaded about 5-8 minutes. Allowed a 10 minute rest and then added salt till evenly distributed. Allowed to bulk rise for 4 hours. Placed in a couche and off to the fridge. Took it out this morning and gave it about 3 hours to warm up and rise. Slashed and placed in a 500 degree humid oven for 30 minutes.

I normally do not use the motherdough. It is regarded as a back-up and safety net. It smells so sweet as if made with a good wine. Made only of flour and water back in January.

I noticed several things after the bake. The color is much more of a caramel color and seems to be thinner but crispier. The crumb seems to be somewhat more open. The taste still has a sour flavor but more of a caramel taste and then a sour finish. I may switch to this method and practice a little more. I like the results.


Does anyone use primarily a dough for the starter?

Motherdough Batard

Motherdough Closeup

Motherdough Crumb

Susan's picture

I kept losing this recipe, so am placing it here in my blog!

My recipe and methods are most decidedly less than scientific, and are the result of about 1.5 years of fumbling and many bricks. I would welcome any suggestions.


1 T expanded starter, which was saved from the sponge

15 g filtered water (1 T)

25 g flour (2-3 T)

Mix water into starter, then mix in flour. Cover with plastic and leave at room temp until it is puffy and you see bubbles under the surface (for me, 4-6 hours, depending on room temp). Store in fridge and use as is within 3 days. For longer storage, refresh it before using (throw away all but 1 T, then add 1 T water and 2-3 T flour, etc.)


240 g filtered water (1 cup + 1 T)

223 g flour (1.5 cups) (I'm currently using GM Harvest King here)

All starter

Mix water into starter, then add flour, stirring until well mixed; cover with plastic and let sit at room temp overnight. When ready, it will be expanded and bubbly with just a hint of a depression in the middle. (btw, I am using a 1.5L bowl, and the sponge fills up the bowl to within an inch of the top when the sponge is ready.)


60 g water (1/4 cup) This amount is variable (weather, etc.)

14 g (1 T) olive oil

All sponge, except for 1 T saved for the next starter

222 g bread flour (1.5 cups) (currently using GM Better for Bread here)

62 g (1/2 cup) white whole wheat flour (KA)

1.5 t salt

I use my Zojirushi ABM to mix and knead the dough, but have made up a custom program of 6 minutes mix/knead, 20 minutes rest, and another 6 minutes of kneading. Everything goes into the pan but the salt, which is added during the last couple of minutes.

Empty the dough into a straight-sided, lightly oil-sprayed canister to ferment for about 3 hours at room temp (lower 70's F). Stretch and fold 3 times over the first 90 minutes of this fermentation (Many thanks to MountainDog!). When the dough is fully risen, turn it onto a Silpat and cut in half with a bench knife. Gently pull each half into a rounded shape, turn over, cover with plastic and rest for 15-20 minutes.

Gently rotate each round a few times to tighten it, then invert each round into a well-floured cloth laid inside a small bowl (add some seeds in the bottom of the bowl if you like). (The bowls I use are about 7 inches in diameter at the top.) Seal the seam and tightly cover the top of the dough with plastic wrap. Put the bowls in a warm spot, upper 70's F, for 1.5-2 hours. (I use my microwave, OFF of course, and put a mug of hot water in with the bowls.)

Preheat oven to 450 F. Remove plastic wrap from one round and gently re-seal the seam if necessary. Invert onto a semolina-dusted peel, slash the top, and slide it into the oven. (My oven is a Miele, and it came with several trays, but I would think a large cookie sheet would do the trick. I stopped using a stone, as it didn't seem to make a difference in oven spring.) As soon as the round is in the oven, overturn a 4L heat-proof Pyrex bowl on top of it. The bowl has been quickly rinsed with hot water before putting it in the oven. I assume one could use a SS bowl, but you'd miss seeing the rise, and that's half the fun!

Leave the bowl on top of the bread until it just starts to brown (16-18 minutes), then very carefully remove the bowl by sliding a spatula under the edge (there will be a small release of steam here, so let it happen and stay out of its way) then I slide my other hand, well-covered with an oven mitt, under the edge of the bowl and lift it up and over the bread. Make sure you already have a safe place to set the extremely hot bowl when you take it out of the oven. I would not put it on a cold counter; a couple of hot pads are what I use. Please be careful.

Bake the bread another 6-8 minutes until it is dark brown. The darker it is (without burning, of course) the more taste it will have.

Bake the other loaf. I bake 2 little boules two or three times a week. And one loaf of each baking usually ends up with one grateful neighbor or another...

Well, now you know my sourdough odyssey. Remember that it's just mine; yours may take a different path. If you have any questions, please ask. I now weigh everything (again, thanks to the folks on this site), but have put in measurements for those who do not weigh. The flour was scooped and leveled.

Susan in San Diego (so you'll know I am at sea level!)

Boule Baked Under Bowl

Baked Boule

ejm's picture

In August, I received an email from Hayley Mick asking if I would do a telephone interview about how "rising food prices (particularly when it comes to grains, flour etc) are affecting bakers" and whether "it put a damper on [my] productivity". She said she had found me through The Fresh Loaf. Her email came just at the time that we had ridden our bikes all over Toronto trying to find rye flour and learning that "Five Roses" (now owned by Smucker Foods) has discontinued production of "dark rye" flour due to slow sales.

So I readily agreed to do the interview. Little did I realize that they would want to come and do photos as well! And about a month later, I appeared on the front page of the Life section of Canada's national newspaper "The Globe and Mail".

making wild yeast bread © photo Globe and Mail/Deborah Baic August 2008

And an even larger photo inside as well!!

making wild yeast bread © photo Globe and Mail/Deborah Baic August 2008

Here is the bread I ended up making:

wild yeast bread © ejm August 2008
JMonkey's picture

It's been a while since I posted, mainly due to ramped up work and family obligations, but I've not stopped baking. And, despite the fact that both of these breads are white, the vast majority of my baking is still 100% whole grain.

But, dangit, white bread -- I just can't quit ya.

I was particularly pleased with the poolish demi-baguettes that I made for dinner last night. I had my first acorn squash of the season, and had made a soup with it. For some reason, poolish baguettes seemed just the right accompaniment.

These are, without a doubt, the best looking baguettes I've ever made. Took a lot of less-than-perfect loaves, but I think I now understand how to shape these buggers so they don't look like a string bean with big bulbous ends, how to time them so they still have some room to spring in the oven, and how to slash them so they look like ... well ... a baguette.

The insides were lovely.

Today, they were starting to get stale, so I cut the leftover baguette in half and broiled it with some mozzarella, which we ate with a chopped up tomato from the garden. These were about 12 oz each, with 33 percent of the flour in the pre-ferment and a hydration of 66%. I used about 1/16 tsp of yeast in the poolish (135g of water and flour, each) and then about 2g instant yeast in the final dough (270 flour, 135 water, 8g salt). The poolish ripened for about 12 hours, but it's pretty cold in my house -- mid 60s at bestt.

Earlier in the week, I also made a white sourdough (20% of the flour in a thick starter at 60% hydration -- the starter was 100% whole wheat, and the overall hydration was about 75%) which I let retard overnight outside. It was lovely, but the top seemed as if it wanted to peel away. Was probably a little underproofed.

Again, I was pleased with the crumb.

Hopefully, things have calmed down enough so that I can post a little more frequently. I've missed this community!

dmsnyder's picture

Sourdough Italian Bread

Sourdough Italian Bread

Sourdough Italian Bread crumb

Sourdough Italian Bread crumb

This bread is based on the Italian Bread formula in Peter Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice." The only change I made was to substitute a biga naturale (sourdough starter) for the biga made with instant yeast in Reinhart's formula. I still added the instant yeast to the final dough.

I also employed the "stretch and knead in the bowl" technique during bulk fermentation, even though I used a KitchenAid mixer for mixing beforehand.

Intermediate starter (Biga naturale)

3 oz. Active starter

9 oz. Water

12 oz. KAF Bread flour

Final Dough

18 oz. Biga naturale (Note: save the remaining 6 oz. for another bread.)

11.25 oz. KAF Bread flour

o.41 oz. (1-2/3 tsp) Salt

0.5 oz. (1 T) Sugar

0.11 oz (1 tsp) Instant yeast

0.17 oz. (1 tsp) Diastatic barley malt powder

0.5 oz (1 T) olive oil

7 oz (¾ cup) Water at 80F

Sesame seeds for coating.

Semolina to dust the parchment paper.

Mix and ferment the biga.

Mix the biga naturale the evening before baking. Dissolve the starter in the water in a medium sized bowl, then add the flour and mix thoroughly to hydrate the flour and distribute the starter. Cover the bowl tightly and allow to ferment for 3-6 hours, until it doubles in volume. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove the biga from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up for an hour or so.

Mix the dough

Mix the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and malt powder in a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer. Add the biga in pieces, olive oil and ¾ cups of tepid water and mix thoroughly. Adjust the dough consistency by adding small amounts of water or flour as necessary. The dough should be very slack at this point.

I mixed the dough with the dough hook in the KA mixer for 10 minutes then transferred it to an 8 cup/2 liter glass pitcher that had been lightly oiled.


I stretched and folded the dough in the pitcher with a rubber spatula then covered it tightly. I repeated the stretch and fold again 20 and 40 minutes later. I then left the dough to ferment until it was double the original volume. This took about 60 minutes. (Approximately 2 hours total bulk fermentation.)

Divide and form

Divide into 2 pieces and pre-form as logs. Allow the dough to rest 5 minutes or more, then form into bâtards. If desired, spray or brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Prepare a couche – either a floured piece of baker's linen or parchment paper sprinkled with semolina.

Pre-heat the oven to 500F with a baking stone on the middle shelf. Make preparations for steaming the oven.

Place the loaves in the couche, cover with plastic or a towel and allow to proof until 1-1/2 times their original size.


Score the loaves and transfer them to the baking stone. Bake with steam, using your favorite method. After loading the loaves and steaming, turn the over down to 450F and bake until done (about 20 minutes). If you want a thicker crust, use a lower temperature and bake for longer.


Allow to cool before slicing, if you can.



gmask1's picture

Well, I took all of your comments with me to the kitchen, and turned out the loaves you see below: 

Not too dissimilar from my previous attempt, however I did note some differences:

- They're hard to make out, but you might be able to spot the holes in the top of the left loaf where I tried to dock each of the loaves using suggestions on my last blog entry (this was done prior to proofing). I didn't have a pencil handy, but I did have a chopstick, and used it to make half-inch or so holes along the top of the loaves. The dough was still pretty sticky and clung to the chopstick, so I'm unsure whether they had any lasting effect, or if they just closed up again during proofing. The loafs tore along the side as you can see.

- The fermentation times were changed, in the order of 12 hours for the first rise, then about 18 for the second (including 9 hours at room temperature, 8 hours in the fridge while I was at work, and 1 hour returning to room temperature). Proofing was two hours. The final loaves are not nearly as tangy as my previous attempt, and taste much more like the loaves we buy from the grocery (the word that came to mind was 'mainstream', but I'm not sure that's appropriate!).

- On the suggestion of a friend at work, I used a spray bottle to moisten the top of the loaves immediately prior to loading them in the oven. The resulting crust is much softer than the previous attempt, and not as chewy. I'm not sure if there's a direct link there, but it certainly seems that way. 

chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

Fanoos Ramadan or Ramadan's Lamp or lantern is one of the Egyptian traditions however it is known in many other Islamic countries now. The tradition started in the year 358 AH (Hijri) on the 15th of Ramadan when the Fatimi leader El Mo'ez Le Deen Allah enered Egypt, and the Egyptians recieved him with lamps and torches. And since then the Fanoos has been known as one of the main symbols of Ramadan and most of the people own it and light it in Ramadan, especially children. There has been also varios songs related to Ramadan talking about the Fanoos and the Mesaharaty - some one who wakes people up at night in order to eat before fasting. The tradition fanoos contained a candle in it, while today's ones have different shapes and using battries and LED's instead of candles

During the competition , that i told you about it, i tried to make " fanoos" from " la pate morte" or the dead dough,i really do not like the idea of decorative stuff using eatable ingredients, so i made a small one, i do not like to consume a lot of flour and oil , just to decorate non eatable and decorative dish because some people die from hunger, anyway, here you are the pics of my fanoos,

In this picture, i put a real candle, the necklace also from the pate morte" actually it is not a necklace", muslims use it in praying and mention allah"I saw it also in the hands of christian nans, they use  it too, i saw it when i was in my christian nans school " la mere de dieu".

but i do not know its name in english " what a shame!!!"

I use my fanoos to decorate our dinning  room table during the whole month.

Anyway did you like my fanoos???

chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

Dear friends,

this month for all the muslims is Ramadan.It is a time for spiritual purification achieved through fasting, self-sacrifice and prayers.

We Celebrate it during the ninth month of Islamic calendar, the fast is observed each day from sunrise to sunset. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five Pillars of Islam. The Islamic belief that requires that Muslims perform five central duties in order to strengthen their faith. While Islam has two major sects, the Sunnis and the Shiites, all Muslims aim to realize these five pillars in their lifetime.

Ramadan concludes with a 3-day festival known as "Eid" or "Eid ul-Fitr," which literally means "the feast of the breaking/to break the fast." The holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and is a culmination of the month-long struggle towards a higher spiritual state.

We have " the egyptians", some traditions "specially in food", also some plates , that you can not see it in all the rest of the year.

I am from Cairo , but we mooved to Alexandria a long time ago, i discovered a special kind of bread appears just in Ramadan, bakeries prepare it at night , so people can buy it and eat it fresh on dinner before thesunrise.

I participated in a competition ,concerning traditional dishes all around the arabic world, i made Fasting Bread, the ingredients are so simple " eggs , white flour, milk , some oil or butter".

But my own touch was different , i wrote on it " Ramadan Karim" means : wishing you generous and happy ramadan, i also paint on it.It was not my first time, i use to draw on my brioche.

Here you are the pics:-

I gave to my old neighbor one loaf, i freezed some loaves to my kids , and made sandwiches after cutting it to quarters, they really enjoyed it.

My dear husband and me , served it with our everyday dinner in Ramadan " youghurt , beans , feta cheese, some vegetables" They were all my home made.

We really enjoyed it.

Thanks to you all, and stay tuned i will put my Ramadan lantern made from the dead dough, and the feast biscuits and cookies.

Love you all

donk12's picture

I've tried 3 or 4 different recipes for ciabatta and all have basically the same ingredients, but for some reason I come up with the same result. Soft crust and a dense center. Everything goes fine during the mixing process, which I come out with this sticky dough, but my final product just doesn't come out right. Where am I going wrong? What do I have to do to get that crispy, rustic crust and center full of limitless air pockets.


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