The Fresh Loaf

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Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

image from
Image: Chipati with chickpea, potato and spinach stew.

I wrote a story in the WaPo on a wood-fired baking class at King Arthur Flour with Jeffrey Hamelman. Here's the companion recipe on flatbread, which has a hydration of 66%. It seemed appropriate given the long thread launched by Bhutan Baker.

Summer is a great time to make this yeast-free flatbread, which takes minutes to cook on top of the stove. The recipe calls for chapati flour, a very finely ground whole-wheat flour that is available in Indian markets. You can use regular whole-wheat flour, but it must be sifted to remove any large particles of bran.

MAKE AHEAD: This dough is best made in the morning for use later in the day. The balls of dough can be refrigerated in a lightly oiled resealable plastic food storage bag for 2 or 3 days; let the dough come to room temperature before rolling. The flatbreads can be wrapped in aluminum foil and reheated in a 400-degree oven for about 5 minutes.

Makes 12 flatbreads


3 cups (400 grams) whole-wheat flour or chapati flour, plus more for the work surface (see headnote)

Scant 1 1/4 cups (265 grams) water

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, plus more for the bowl

1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) salt


Combine the flour, water, oil and salt in a bowl until they come together into a mass. Let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes while the flour absorbs the water.

Lightly flour a work surface. (All-purpose flour can be used for this; if using whole-wheat flour, make sure it has been sifted to remove any large bran particles.) Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead for about 5 minutes by pushing down on and spreading the dough and then turning it over on itself, being careful not to rip the dough. It should be smooth and elastic. Form it into a ball and place in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 8 to 12 hours.

About 45 minutes before you want to bake, spread out the dough on a lightly floured counter and form into 2 logs. Cut each log into 6 equal pieces. You should have 12 pieces of dough that weigh about 2 ounces each; evenly distribute any leftover dough as needed.

Shape each piece into a ball. Let the balls rest for 30 minutes at room temperature under plastic wrap.

Place a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; cover with a lid. (Alternatively, invert a wok over a burner for cooking on the underside of the wok.)

Liberally flour a work surface. Flatten a dough ball and dust it lightly with flour, then use a rolling pin to roll it out as thin as possible (7 to 9 inches in diameter), rotating the disk to keep it even.

Rolling out dough

Image: dough rolled out nearly paper thin.

When the skillet is smoking lightly, gently lift a disk of dough. Place it in the skillet and cover immediately. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then flip the dough. Cover and cook for 30 seconds. (If using an overturned wok, simply place the bread on top of the wok and flip it when ready.) The breads will bake in 2 minutes and should be blistered and dark in spots.

Remove the flatbread and cover with a towel or aluminum foil to keep it from crusting over. (Dot it with butter and fold it in half if you like). Serve warm. These can be made in advance and stored in a resealable plastic container.

Recipe adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman, a master baker and bakery director at King Arthur Flour.

This version was posted on my blog at

Stuffed flat bread

Image: Flatbread stuffed with beets, goat cheese and cilantro

txfarmer's picture

This past weekend was big for our household - July 30th is my birthday and our 5th anniversary, July 31st is my husband's birthday, lots to celebrate. Made some baguettes and the following Polish Cottage Rye from "Local Breads"

This bread has been well documented and recommended on TFL, see here for formula.

I don't know why I waited so long to make this one, it definitely lives up to the hype. The rye flavor is surprisingly noticable even though there aren't that much rye flour in the dough.

Even with the long kneading (13 mins!), the crumb is surprisingly open, I guess the high hydration made up for intensive mixing.

With such dark and crackly crust, it's big and beautiful 

I will join others to highly recommend this bread!

For our 5th wedding anniversary (year of "wood"), I made Yule Log cake, with chocolate swiss roll + chestnut cream filling + cream cheese chocolate frosting, yum!

Love the cute meringue mushrooms

Hey, it's all about the details, I don't feel guilty carving this tree!

For DH's part, he gave me hand-made tree leaf bookmarks and card, with patterns he designed himself. He used peach tree leaves for their natural heart shape.

Also gave me an anniversary ring, with 5 diamonds. Designed the ring himself. to match the wedding band and engagement ring.


All around a great weekend, we spoiled each other silly. I found time for a birthday run as well, with my trusty running partner! This is after a 15 miler long run, it was hell-ishly hot. Trust me, you don't want to know the temperature.


trailrunner's picture

The request for a good Challah recipe that was not sourdough had me posting my recipe that I have used since the 70's. I haven't been making it weekly as I did for decades since I have been working with wild yeast and have been exploring artisinal breads and formulas. It felt wonderful to have my hands in the dough and to knead and develop with only 10 min. of effort. None of the 3 days that I have been spending lately with a minute or 2 here and there. Different but nice in its own way also.  Crumb later when it cools. c 


Mebake's picture

This is a 50% spelt Sourdough I made up, adapting the formula from Hamelman's Mich callier stiff levain:

Levain: 275g @ 65% hydration fed with (40% seplt, and 60% AP)

Final Dough:  - 505g water

                   - 720g Flour (50%AP, 50% WHole SPelt Flour)

                   - 30g (1T) Sea salt.

                   - All Levain (275g)


                   1500g dough @ 70% Hydration

Baking day: I dissolved the stiff levain in 505g water, then added the 720g Flour. Left to Autolize for 30 min, then salt went into the dough. I french-Kneaded  the dough for 10 min. let rest for 5-10 minutes, then french-kneaded for anoth 5 minutes, and shaped to a tight boule.

Fermenation 2.5 Hours with 2 folds. I then divided the dough into 750g doughs, preshapd gently, and then shaped after an hour. Final fermentation for 2 Hours, and into a hot 500F oven reduced to 430F with steam for 15 minutes, 30 min utes without steam.


Taste was very pleasent: typical of mild sourdoughs, with nutty aftertaste from spelt. Versatile for spreads, or even alone!



hanseata's picture

I'm baking my own version of Peter Reinhart's Pain a l'Ancienne (from the BBA) regularly for three years now, it is a hot seller at our local natural food store. Since I wanted my bread to be a little healthier than 100% white, I substitute 100 g of the bread flour with whole grain flour, either rye, whole wheat, oat, spelt, corn or buckwheat. I also add a little sourdough just for the taste, and found the right baking technique for my oven. Thanks to DonD's - and others from TFL - advice to leave the breads for 5 minutes in the switched-off oven with the door slightly ajar, the crust comes out perfect now - and stays crisp for several hours.

After trying DonD's version of Pain aux Cereales (and loving it) I thought of doing something similar with my organic 7-grain mix (rye-, wheat-, barley chops, cracked corn and oat, millet and flaxseed), but in a simpler way that would better fit my time schedule, to be able to sell it. So yesterday morning I made a soaker from 100g multigrain mix and 100 g water. In the evening I mixed it with all the other ingredients and placed the bowl in the fridge overnight. I took the nicely risen dough out this morning at 4:00 am to de-chill and rise somewhat more. Three and a half hour later, with the Vollkornbrot already in the oven (I start with the breads that bake at a lower temperature), I divided the dough, placed the pieces in perforated baguette pans and let them proof for another 1/2 hour more until the rye breads were done and the oven reheated to 550 F.

I bake my Pains a l'Ancienne for 9 minutes, with steam, then rotate them, remove the steam pan, and continue baking for another 8 minutes, keeping the breads 5 minutes longer in the switched-off oven with the door ajar, before they are cooled on a rack. My oven is very well insulated (no steam escaping unless I open the door) and I bake with convection (fan-assisted, not "real"), since I bake on two shelves.

This is the result:

This one we kept and had for lunch, the others are sold. My husband's comment: "This is the best Pain a l'Ancienne you ever made".




Shutzie27's picture

The following are some photos of breads I've bakes since last winter. It's fairly obvious I'm just learning and a bit timid (i.e., I could stand to leave the bread in longer for browning, but I'm always gripped by this abject terror that the bread will burn). I'm mostly posting these so I have a kind of pictoral catalougue of my attempts and can see how I'm (hopefully) improving with practice and over tiime.

This was my first loaf of sourdough bread. A bit pale, and not particularly crusty, but it was actually shockingly good and had a definate sourdough taste.


 This is an Italian bread I made about two weeks ago. I was happy with the taste and the way the Rosemary stuck to the crust, but again, it went soft and seemed a bit pale.


This is a fresh honey wheat loaf I made. It's a bit darker than the picture shows (I have my Blackberry set to auto flash). I would have liked much, much, much more honey taste in it, but the recipie already called for 1/3 of a cup. Also, I was a bit disappointed with the wrinkle on top. Still, though, not awful at any rate.



My other pictures apparently are bmps, so I can't seem to upload them.

kydave467's picture

I am looking for bread knife blades approx. 10" long.  Anyone know a source?

teefay's picture


Sorry I havent posted in a while but there is a great Banana Coconut Recipe that's really easy to make in the best bread machine which is my Zojirushi BBCCX20. I havent  tried this recipe in any other bread machines but I am sure it will turn out just fine. Anyways, here goes..


Banana Coconut Nut Bread for bread machine

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

3/4 cup Banana -- mashed
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1 1/2 Eggs
3 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons Vital gluten -- to 3 tbls
3 2/3 cups Whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons Yeast
1/2 cup Nuts - chopped

Add ingredients according to manufacturer's directions. Medium color setting.
Makes 1-1/2 lb loaf. Add nuts at the beep.


Make sure to to come back and share your resuts and feedback.






breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to say hi to all of you and share with you my bake from last night.  It's a very large WW boule.  It's sort of the whatever flour I had left in my kitchen type bake...  It turned out to be about 62% WW, 38% AP, and approx 70% hydration.  Here are the pics.  It turned out to be about 1890g after baking...  Enjoy!



792g Organic WW (Whole Foods 365)

480g Organic AP (Whole Foods 365)

890g Water

26g Kosher Salt

4g Instant Yeast (1 tsp)



10:08pm - Mix all ingredients by hand in large metal mixing bowl, knead 10 minutes, transfer to lightly oiled plastic tub (at least 4 L in size), place in refrigerator.

11:00pm - Turn dough, cover, return to refridgerator.  Make sure your refrigerator is set to 40F.


9:30pm - Take dough out of refrigerator, turn dough, leave on counter.


12:00am - Shape dough into large boule, place in lightly floured linen lined basket, cover with kitchen towel, proof for 60-90 minutes.  Place baking stone and steam pan filled with lava rocks in oven, preheat to 500F with convection.

1:00am - Turn convection off.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured peel, slash as desired, place in oven directly on baking stone.  Place 2 cups of water into steam pan, close door.  Turn down to 460F, bake for 1 hr, rotating at 30 mins.  Turn oven down to 440F, bake for another 20 minutes.  Turn oven off and leave loaf in for another 10 minutes.  Total baking time will be 1hr, 30 minutes.  Loave is done when the internal temp has reached 210F, and the has lost 15% of it's prebake weight.  Cool completely before cutting and eating, 12-24hrs.



Shutzie27's picture

The following is my bread manifesto:

I do not ever ever bake bread for money, unless I am seriously and quite literally faced with homelessness. I'm far too selfish to turn this corner of reprieve in my life into a job.

I will never put myself in a position for anyone to turn baking bread into work or labor for me.

I will always make sure every loaf, roll or breadstick that comes from my hands is made with love and the excitement that comes from sharing something good and showing love in a tangible way. The ability to bake bread from scratch by hand is, after all, to some degree a gift and one that should be shared. (Granted, whether or not I have this gift is still debateable).

Someday I will make a baguette. I don't have a pan for it, and probably not the oven, either. I have been reading and re-reading the recipie and studying it like it was a final exam in the class of Life. I don't believe I am ready yet...perhaps when I've finished this semester of law school. But someday, I will make a baguette.  

After that, and only after that, I will attempt to make a challah bread.

I must also make another sourdough again, though I'm not entirely sure where that fits in and it might depend on how law school goes.

And finally, before I die, to celebrate a personal and deep victory of my own, I will make a croissant. Well, probably six or a dozen, because that's usually what the recipe calls for. I shall be exceedingly careful as to who I chose to share the croissants with, as well. The ones that turn out, anyway. It's not the kind of patience, care, precision, and effort one puts in for just anyone, after all.


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