The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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highmtnpam's picture

For the second proof, i cover my bannetons with clear shower caps from the motel. They don't last very and my stash is gone.  Think how happy I was to find this new product (at least I've never seen it before).  It has 10 covers. They are medium, large and x-large and they will cover round or oblong. THey seem to be pretty good quality.  Doing the happy dance :)  I'm sure people in King Souper's though I was crazy.   Pam

GSnyde's picture

Much excitement.  Kind of a busy weekend.  But late last night after getting home from a friend's birthday party, I mixed the levain for baguettes.  Today I tried to do a bit more baking than I should have.  I wanted to make Lahmajouns for lunch while the baguette dough fermented.  So I mixed the baguette dough first thing, with my first cof of cuppee.  It's a wonder I didn't put sugar and milk in the mixing bowl (I'm not much good first thing in the morning especially after a late night).

Once the baguette dough was mixed--using a variation on proth5's 65% hydration formula, which my spouse adores--I started the lahmajoun dough.  I followed the recipe that Xaipete had posted last year (, hoping it was something like the lahmajouns of my Fresno boyhood.  

What I hadn't really figured was that the various steps in the baguette process and the various steps in the lahmajoun process would make the day just a tad impossible.  The lahmajouns are easy to make, but the topping takes some time, and they bake two at a time for 12 minutes each.  So the oven was tied up when it needed to be preheating for the baguette.  And I couldn't fit the baking stone, cast iron pan and sheet pan for lahmajouns in there all at once.  I was afraid the baguette dough would over-proof, but it all worked out.  I didn't really have a leisurely Sunday, though.

Here are the lahmajouns.  The dough was a bit too elastic, so I couldn't roll it out thin enough.  Besides being a bit too thick, they were excellent.  Thanks, Pamela.



The baguettes, as I said, were a slight variation from Pat's formula.  I used KAF European-Style Flour instead of AP.  They sprung up good, but no big ears.  Totally delicious, with thin crispy crust and moist crumb.  Thanks, Pat.



After dinner (Lahmajoun Encore], we went to hear Rosanne Cash, a great modern Country singer and her incredible band.  Rosanne Cash is the daughter of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash (of the Carter Family).  So, yes, she has a Mama June and we had a Lahmajoun.  It was meant to be.

All in all, a very exciting day.  Of course, Tasha slept through the whole thing.



Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Staying home and looking after my wife and new baby has given me all kinds of time to bake, which includes my weekly batch of baguettes.  This week was intended to be the same as last week but without the errors imposed by my wife going into labor, but let me take this opportunity to reiterate my formula and process:


  • 5.3 oz. bread flour
  • 5.3 oz. water
  • 1/16 tsp yeast

Final Dough

  • 10.7 oz. bread flour
  • 5.3 oz. water
  • 5/8 tsp yeast
  • 0.3 oz. salt


  1. Mix Poolish night before, let sit ~10 -1/2 hours 
  2. Mix all ingredients with wooden spoon, let sit 5 minutes  
  3. Mix in mixer ~2 minutes until the dough windowpanes
  4. 30 folds in the bowl with a rubber spatula
  5. Ferment 1 hour, stretch and fold
  6. Ferment 1 hour more, divide into 9 oz. pieces, pre-shape oblong (I do a modified version of Hamelman's pre-shaping technique for boules--fold in half, then tuck the dough into itself with the fingers.  For an oblong, on the last tuck I twist my wrists inward such that it turns into a stubby torpedo shape)  
  7. Rest 10-20 minutes
  8. Shape as baguettes--I've been doing the "fold over the thumb and press" technique, twice in one direction and then once in the other, sealing the last against the work surface.
  9. Place on couche, cover with the folds  
  10. Proof 1 hour, 15 minutes  
  11. Pre-heat oven and stone to 535 degrees at least 45 minutes before baking. Place two metal loaf pans in the oven on a rack below the stone.
  12. Transfer baguettes to parchment on a sheet pan, score.  
  13. Pull the loaf pans out of the oven.  Soak two towels in a bowl of very hot water (my tap water gets plenty hot), transfer to the loaf pans  
  14. Slide parchment onto stone, load steam pans, lower temp to 485.  
  15. Bake 26 minutes, removing the steam pans and turning the baguettes around after 10.

This week's results:




From Food




I find this week's results puzzling.  The exterior had a good color, but burnt on the bottoms.  I had good placement on the slashes, but either not enough depth, or not enough angle, or a little overproofing.  Flavor was good, though last week's was better.  Crust was still a bit chewy, not like the lovely crisp crust I got in week 5.  Crumb was fairly tight (the section in the picture was as good as it got--most of the baguettes were tighter than this)  Linked to the quality of the slashes?

 I'm thinking that I overproofed just slightly this week, and possibly degassed a bit much when I was making my slashes.  Last week when I got such good results I didn't know for certain how long I'd proofed, but I think it may have been closer to 65-70 minutes rather than 75.  Or the baguettes just proofed faster this time.  I need to watch the dough, not the clock, I guess.  This would be consistent with my results in week 5 as well--burnt bottoms, hit-or-miss appearance of gringe.  But I don't really know what I'm talking about, so feel free to correct me.

Next week then, a slightly shorter/more sensitive proof, and I think I might experiment with alternate shaping methods, see if one of those gives me better results.

trailrunner's picture

I have never made this before. I looked up a number of different recipes and then made up my own. I used my old standby of a buttermilk crust. I doubled the crust recipe .  I sauteed 7 sliced Gala apples till tender and added cinnamon and sugar and flour and a pinch of salt. I rolled out the crust and piled on the apples and baked till golden and juicy. I was wonderful with vanilla Blue Bell ice cream. We have it here in the South I don't think everyone can get it is still sold in real half gallons. 


 Single Crust recipe:

1 c AP flour and cut in 5 TB chilled unsalted butter and 1/4 tsp kosher salt till large crumbs. I use my Cusinart.  Place in freezer till ready to use. Remove from freezer and toss with chilled buttermilk till holds together. Roll out on floured counter w/ floured pin. Brush crust with beaten egg white and pile on apples leaving a 2 inch border. Turn up and pleat edges of crust. Brush w/ remaining egg white and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. Bake at 375 till brown and juicy...about 40 minutes. I used a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and it worked great . 


Alfie's picture

I have buying Reynolds parchment paper and recently saw

The pricing between Walmart and the above link is so different I am wondering if I am missing something.

The S&H for webstaurantstore was high so does anyone have suggestions?


TIA, al

wally's picture

One downside to working as a baker is that it doesn't allow me time to bake during the week.  So now everything gets crammed into weekends.  And frankly, sometimes after a week at the bakery, I really don't feel like spending a day off baking more.  And yet, inevitably I find my two starters staring at me ruefully, and so on a beautiful Fall day when the temperatures felt more like September than mid-November, I decided to do a series of bakes.

Below, from the upper left moving clockwise: a 72% rye with soaker, Vermont Sourdough, a batard and a boule of Polish Country Rye.

On Saturday I got started by mixing and then retarding overnight Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough.  I've discovered that even with giving the bread an hour and a half proof before final retarding, it still needs an additional three hours the next day at room temperature to finish proofing.  But, the finished loaf rose nicely in the oven.


Here's a couple crumb shots of the Vermont sourdough:


Saturday evening I prepared the rye levains and soakers for the 72% rye and the Polish Country Rye.  I've become so fond of the added sweetness imparted by soakers, that they are now a routine part of my rye preparation.  However, a couple weeks back I had my first experience with the dreaded 'starch attack' and this has led me to now add either part of all of the salt in my rye formulas to the soakers as a preventative measure.

This morning while the Vermont sourdough finished its final proofing, I began with the 72% rye because I knew it would have the shortest floor time before final shaping and baking.  In using a high proportion of the water for the recipe in the levain and soaker I unintentionally created a problem I had not foreseen: my kitchen was cold this morning, and I found that the flour temperature and those of the levain and soaker were only about 68° F.  But there was so little water to be added to the final mix, that it was not possible to arrive at a DDT of around 80°.  This necessitated both extending the bulk fermentation from 30 minutes to 50 minutes, and setting the dough container on top of my then-warming oven to increase its internal temperature.  Note to self: it's important to retain a sufficient amount of water for the final mix to adequately adjust DDT!

In any event, the jury-rigged proofing worked, and once the loaf was air-shaped (the hydration was at 80%) and placed in a pyrex baking dish, it required a little under 50 minutes before it was ready for baking.  I baked if for 60 minutes, starting out at 450° and dropping the temperature by 25 degrees every 15 minutes, so that the oven temp at bakes end was 375°.

Here's the final result: it will sit for 24 hours to completely set and then I'll add some crumb shots.  But it's already got a pleasant sweetness about it.

The Polish Country rye I altered slightly by upping the percentage of rye from its usual 15% to 30%.  Even with that, this is a most agreeable dough to work with - it has the gluten development and consistency of wheat-based doughs, so there is very little of the stickiness associated with high percentage ryes.  Final proofing after shaping one into a boule and the other a bâtard was about two and a half hours and it baked at 440° for 45 minutes.  Here's some more shots of the final result - crumb shots to follow.

        All three breads were baked using a combination of SylviaH's wet-towel-in-a-dish method and my lava rocks in a cast iron frying pan to generate steam.  As the loaves and cuts indicate, I cannot say enough good things about Sylvia's simple yet effective work around for those who, like me, struggle to maintain steam in our steam-venting gas ovens.

So, at the end of a beautiful Fall day I sit at my kitchen table surrounded by a week's worth of wonderful and varied sandwich breads, along with a rich rye loaf that will accompany some good cheeses and spreads.

Not a bad way to unwind after all.


EDIT: crumb shots of 72% rye and Polish Country rye below.


mdunham21's picture

I am rather new at making homemade bread but it is something I am growing to love.  I come from a family of cooks and bakers, mostly from my mom's side of the family.  Her father was an excellent cook and baker; I recently stumbled upon one of his bread recipes for buttermilk loaf bread.  I have been making this loaf on the weekends for the past year or so.  However, he kept the majority of his recipes in his head and didn't write many of them down.  This has forced me to branch out on my own.  This weekend I prepared a biga pre-ferment for a pugliese from "The Bread Bible"

This recipe does not use Durum flour which is fine because I was unable to locate any at my local grocery.  The biga was prepared with a mixture of all purpose flour and coarse rye flour, a small amount of commercial yeast and water.  This mixture was allowed to ferment for about 18 hours at a cool temperature.  

I was pleased with the way the bread turned out, however I was hoping for a large sized boule compared to the one i was able to develop.  

The crust was soft and the crumb was chewy with a medium distribution of holes.

Overall I was satisfied with the results.  I currently have a sourdough starter in the making and cannot wait to make my first loaf in time for thanksgiving stuffing.

I look forward to any comments and suggestions



breadsong's picture

Hello, I have a group of people at work I wanted to bake bread for. I wanted to make them something special - this bread seemed to fit the bill!
It was such a pretty bread, as pictured in Advanced Bread and Pastry. With thanks to Mr. Michel Suas for a wonderful, if involved, formula - there are four separate preferments and I had to create a spreadsheet in order to figure out how to scale enough ingredients for 2000g of dough.
I divided into roughly 250g pieces to create as many loaves as I wanted to give (with one extra to keep, for tasting!). 
I sliced the one that achieved the least height & was surprised but happy to find an open crumb, so I hold out hope for the others. 
The caramelized hazelnuts are fantastically, wonderfully delicious in this bread!!!
Regards, breadsong

JoeVa's picture

Tre mesi dal mio ultimo post, ma continuo a panificare. Oggi scrivo per aggiornarvi sull'andamento dei lavori per il nuovo forno a legna di Cascina Favaglie. Il forno è a buon punto, resta da terminare la canna fumaria, il tetto e la struttura frontale.

Three months since my last post, but I'm still baking bread. Today I write to update you about the construction of the new wood fire oven at Cascina Favaglie. The oven it's almost ok, we need to finish the flue, the roof and front structure.


Nel frattempo faccio qualche prova di panificazione e continuo a lavorare sui prodotti che prepareremo nei corsi di panificazione di maggio 2011. Al momento ho previsto tre corsi differenti, ognuno orientato ad uno specifico tema. I corsi si svolgeranno sabato e domenica a tempo pieno. Massimo 6-8 partecipanti. Fai una cosa, falla con calma e falla bene, questo è la mia filosofia.

Meanwhile I do some baking test and I continue to work on the products we will prepare at the bread baking courses in May '11. Currently I've planned three distinct courses, each one oriented to a specific topic. The courses will be held Saturday and Sunday, full-time. Maximum of 6 to 8 partecipants. Do one thing, take your time an do it well, this is my philosophy.

Il Punto Parco Cascina Favaglie, nonché sede di ItaliaNostra Milano Nord-Ovest è un'ottima collocazione. Le nuove strutture e la natura che le circonda creano l'ambiente ideale per questo tipo di attività. Questa mattina, dopo aver finito di cuocere il pane sono andato a fare un sopraluogo sotto un'abbondante pioggia. Queste sono alcune foto che ho fatto.

Punto Parco Cascina Favaglie, also ItaliaNostra Milano North-West section is a great location. The new accomodations and facilities, the surrounding nature create the ideal environment for this kind of activities. This morning, after my baking I went to do an inspection under a heavy rain. These are some shots I took there.



I tre corsi sono:

  • Chef: Pane Francese a Lievitazione Naturale.
  • Grani dei Paesi Freddi: Pane di Segale
  • Fuoco e Fiamme: la Pizza
The three courses are:
  • Chef: Naturally Leavened French Bread
  • Cold Grains: Sourdough Rye
  • Fire and Flames: Pizza

I primi due corsi sono basati sul mio "Pane Paesano" (un pane a lievitazione naturale di grande pezzatura con impasto morbido e mix di lieviti naturali di segale e frumento) e "Pane di Segale" (pane 100% segale integrale in cassetta). Poi c'è la pizza ... ci sto lavorando, ma non avendo un forno a legna alcune cose sono impossibili da provare, la mia massima aspirazione è la "verace napoletana" (in foto quella del bravissimo Adriano, maestro e fonte di ispirazione - foto di Paoletta), riuscirò mai a farne una così? Apparentemente sono tutti impasti relativamente semplici ma l'esperienza, i piccoli gesti fanno la differenza. Alcune foto:

The first two courses will be based on my "Pane Paesano" (naturally leavened large miche with a soft dough and wheat/rye wild yeast cultures mix) and "Pane di Segale" (sourdough rye 100% pan baked). Then we have pizza ... still working on, but since I do not have a wood fired oven a lot of things are impossible to test, my dream is the "verace napoletana" (in the shot the wonderful Adriano pizza, master baker and font of inspiration - taken by Paoletta), will I be able to bake something like that? Apparently they are all simple recipes but the experience and what looks like a small gesture will make the difference. Here some photos:




E dopo aver atteso un giorno ecco la mollica del pane di segale.

And after one day rest, here the rye crumb.



The miche saranno impastate sabato e, dopo un lenta lievitazione fredda, saranno cotte l'indomani, domenica mattina. La segale sarà preparata impastata e cotta in giornata: con la segale si fa presto ... se qualcuno ti prepara la madre di segale! Entrambi saranno cotti in forno elettrico casalingo. Per la pizza si userà anche il forno a legna. In ogni corso ci sarà tempo per discutere aspetti teorici e far pratica su impasti di supporto all'apprendimento (tipicamente impasti diretti / indiretti).

The miches will be mixed on Saturday and, after a slow cold proof, they will be baked the next day, Sunday morning. The rye will be prepared, mixed and baked on one day: rye is fast .. if someone build for you the rye mother dough! Both will be baked in a domestic electric oven. For the pizza we will use also the wood fired oven. In every course there will be enough time for theory and for working on sample didactic doughs (some direct / indirect dough).

Per ultimo, ma non meno importante, va dato merito al grande lavoro di Giuseppe, Arturo (i nostri progettisti), Giancarlo (il presidente) e tutti i soci anziani di ItaliaNostra per la progettazione e supervisione dei lavori di tutto ciò che avete visto.

And least but not last, I have to thank Giuseppe, Arturo (our engineers and architects), Giancarlo (the president) and all senior members of ItaliaNostra for the great work, projects and works supervision of all you've seen.

Date uno sguardo dentro al forno!

Take a look into the oven!


Questo il nostro contatto.

This is our contact.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I had to get this out of my system. I am an admirer of the bakery and the bread and I was glad to be able to take a shot at it. I agree with a lot of what's been said on both sides of the conversation about the book. I'm sure I will read and enjoy it more than I will use it to bake from. For a bakery book of that latter sort, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I still prefer Nancy Silverton. Anyway, I add my pictures for the record. I liked the pictures in the book of the loaves torn open, so I include one of those. My kitchen was a few degrees warmer this week, so fermentation and proofing times were closer to those indicated.







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