The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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rosiePearl's picture

laurale's picture

Hello, all you bakers.  I stumbled upon this fabulous website while browsing KAF.  I was given an Artisan KA mixer as a gift and JUMPED  into the art of bread baking.   Baked ciabatta (a moderate failure, but taste was good), baguettes (witha correct pan-you know-the one with the holes), which we turned into brushetta), and parker house rolls.  I find that all you bakers have so much knowledge I'm not familiar with.  Can you recommend a book or website that speaks to me in primary school terms?

trailrunner's picture

I was preheating the 2 Dutch ovens I use for the San Joaquin  Sourdough. All was great and the oven was at 500. I took out the 2 pots and placed a loaf into each one and misted lightly with water. When I placed the covered  pans back into the oven the oven had a new code F06 and it cut off. Oh NO !! I quick turned on the upper oven to preheat to 460 and left the covered pots in the lower oven while I waited and swore and worried. I moved the pots to the top oven as soon as the temp was up . Then I long to wait??? When to remove the lids...more worry and swearing LOL. After 20 min. in the upper oven I decided to peek...OH wow...they looked wonderful. I left them in till they were good and brown and then checked internal temp...210. Done. Probably the prettiest I have made and they sang to me when they came out.


Moral of this story. If I hadn't been using the preheated pots I would not have had any success at all in averting a disastrous failure . The pots are the best. Here are fresh out of the oven loaves. Crumb to follow much later :)  I am waiting now for the Miele repair folks to come. Thank goodness for extended warranty. This is the 1st time I have needed service in the 4 years of use. 

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siuflower's picture

What is bakery  pantent flour? What kind of bread uses patent flour?



lief's picture

I got an awesome fathers day gift from my daughter this year. She is going to New York University so she has been running around the Big Apple for a couple of years now. One of her favorite spots to pick up bakery items is Amy's Bread, which sells a book with some of their recipes, and that was my gift :-)

I have been slowly going through it, reading about their general take on the art of baking bread and perusing the recipes trying to decide what to bake first. I've been on a bit of a spelt kick lately, so I decided to start out with the Organic Whole Grain Spelt with Flax and Sesame recipe.



Notice the white streaks on the crust? I have been having a problem with this for a very long time, but it has only shown up intermittently. I have made all sorts of adjustments to my methods, ingredients, and physical baking apparatus to try and figure out the source of the whitening of the crust to no avail. This book may have the answer!!!! In fact, at the end of this very recipe the book states that white streaks can occur due to INSUFFICIENT STEAM. Hallelujah! Definitely makes sense because the results were never consistent... perhaps I'm depending on how quickly I manage to close the oven door after applying the steam or how long my steaming apparatus was preheated? I got very excited after reading this and when I baked this bread, I made a number of adjustments to my steaming method to try and increase the amount of steam that I got. I definitely got more steam than usual, but the bread still has white streaks. Looks like I need to make further improvements. I also bought a large foil roasting pan to try the covered "self steaming" method, but it wouldn't work for this bake, which included two large loaf pans. Has anyone else had this issue? If so, how did you solve it?

Whitening aside, the crumb was quite dense, moist, and had a nice whole grain taste. However, it was also quite sour... almost too much. This is undoubtedly due to the modifications that I made to the recipe. The original recipe called for commercial yeast along with a levain. I've been spurning commercial yeast lately, so I decided to leave it out. However, I left everything else the same. This necessarily meant that the time tables would be stretched out by quite a bit. Also, in the original recipe, the bread is baked on the same day that the final dough is assembled. I said nuts to that! I'm sure that the long retarded proof that I gave it was the main reason for the kick that it had. It is 100% whole grain after all! If I were to do it over again, I would probably bake it on the same day. I may even add commercial yeast. I guess the recipe was written that way for a reason ;-)

Neo-Homesteading's picture



I know there have been plenty of entries on the subject of English muffins here on TFL, but I actually just made them for the first time recently. Somehow or another the thought just hadn't crossed my mind but these were delicious! I almost feel guilty buying those 100 calorie whatcha ma-call-its for so long! This is one of the only things that I've made that came out looking so identical to a store bought product. Although they came out looking the same the flavor and texture was out of this world! 

External Linkn to blog post and recipe:


Candango's picture

Thank you, Sourdo Lady.  About ten days ago I finally decided to put off the procrastination and begin my own sourdough starter.  Having read many various instructions (Beranbaum, Hamelman, Williams Sonoma, et al), calling for the use of flour, water and time, and if the desired results are not produced, throw it out and start over, I decided to take Sourdo Lady's explanation and logic to heart and put them to the test.  Armed with a fresh bag of rye flour and a small can of pineapple juice, I started and five days later, I had a bubbling seed starter.  Now to put it to the test

I followed Beranbaum's instructions to convert the liquid starter to a stiff starter and then expanded it enough to make sufficient for two recipes: her Basic Sourdough Bread and her Sourdough Rye, both from The Bread Bible.   I had enough starter to double the recipe for the Basic Sourdough Bread, so I did.  I put the remaining starter (for the rye bread) in the fridge to retard another day and set out to make the Basic Bread.  According to the recipe, this is a rather wet dough (at 68%).  I followed all the instructions except for the mold for the shaping.  Instead of using a banneton or colander, I shaped it as two batards and set them on parchment, using rolled kitchen towels under the parchment to provide a support ala cloche.  So far, so good.  After three hours, the dough had risen , but perhaps not enough.  I sprayed them with water, slashed them and slid them into the oven with steam.  The result - ciabattas, or what looked like them.  The slashes I had made appeared not to have been deep enough or had closed up very quickly.  The dough spread out on the parchment.  It rose, but not very much.  The result - crunchy crust but a relatively heavy and dense crumb.  It had plenty of gas holes throughout but remained heavy, nonetheless.  After cooling, I cut one of the "loaves" into thirds and then sliced one of the thirds horizontally.  It was edible, but I wouldn't give it any prizes.  I am not sure what went wrong, so I will not send any photos or ask for advice until I can repeat the recipe in the future, this time without doubling it (in case that was part of the problem).  We will see.

The success story was today when I made the Sourdough Rye.  This is a 63% hydration recipe, 17% rye.  I worked the expanded starter into the final dough yesterday and gave it two hours at room temp, with the requisite Stretch and Folds (Business Letter Turns).  Then into the fridge to retard until this morning. I took it out this morning and gave it two hours to warm up and then worked it into a batard shape (again, no banneton available).  After a two hour proof, it had risen nicely so I sprayed it, slashed it and slid it into the oven.  Fifty-five minutes later it came out of the oven to cool.

Nice color, nice crust.  When it had cooled, I sliced it and took photos.  I am happy with the results, happy that I have seed starter working away in the fridge for the next atempt, and I am anxious to start playing again.


hanseata's picture

Sauna-like temperatures helped me hatch a scientific explanation for the mysterious connection between liquors and teen sneakers.


bakinbuff's picture

It has been quite awhile since I've baked much of anything, particularly sourdough, as since getting pregnant in March I've found the smell of the sourdough and the thought of making it completely nauseating (which is bizarre seeing as I was totally addicted to it before getting pregnant, and baking everyday.  Or maybe that is why....)  Anyway, this pregnancy has seen the nausea last an unreasonably long time, so only in the last few weeks have I felt inclined to get back to baking.  When I was baking regularly earlier in the year, I deliberated over the available options for a dutch oven, and really wanted to get one, but did the usual thing of researching myself to exhaustion then forgetting about it for awhile, and so I never got around to buying one.  I live on another continent than my mother, so when she comes to visit we make a point of getting out together without the children at some point for some rummaging through charity shops and vintage/antique stores (something I don't get to do much on my own without someone around to leave the children with and someone to go shopping with!).  We were on our morning out and I mentioned that I'd really like to buy a dutch oven, but hadn't thought about it for awhile, but if we happened to see one I would definitely want to get it.  Imagine our delight to spot a bright orange, rectangular enameled cast iron lidded dish in the window of a really great vintage shop along our wander!  For a moment I thought that the handle might be plastic, but it turned out to be metal, so we snapped up the bargain, at a paltry £10.  After bringing it home and giving it a little wash, I looked carefully at the faded name inside the lid and could just make out "Le Creuset" and "France" and the number 35.  Le Creuset!  I was pleased enough to have a genuine Le Creuset cast iron pot, but even more incredible was that it turned out, with some research to be from the original line of Coquelle pots designed by Raymond Loewy, and I found a black pot of exactly the same model listed on a website for several hundred dollars! 

So, all in all, a fantastic find!  But to the really important bit, how my first loaf came out!  Can't take a crumb picture (sorry!) because the loaf is for my father-in-law, but you can see it has lovely crusty ears and (you can't see) a lovely crackle all around after cooling down.  I am totally thrilled with my new piece of bread baking equipment!

hansjoakim's picture

Summer is most definitely my favourite time of the year. And finally it's here! Few things are better than wandering about outdoors in the early hours of morning, letting the sun shine down on you and inhaling the refreshing scents of wet grass, blooming flowers and the fresh, salty air blowing in from the sea.

Summer also means an abundance of ripe berries and fruit. Yesterday I spotted some lush, perfectly ripe strawberries that a farmer was selling. When you get them just right; blood red, plump, juicy and wildly fragrant, few things outmatch strawberries. Strawberries pair perfectly with pistachios, so this morning I prepared some pistachio frangipane tarts and dressed them up with some succulent berries after baking. Below is a photo of blind baked pâte sucrée shells and pistachio frangipane in the red bowl. For the pistachio frangipane, I mixed 2 parts pistachio cream (just replace almond meal with pistachio meal in your almond cream recipe) with 1 part Grand Marnier flavoured pastry cream.

Pistachio frangipane tarts


The tarts were filled 2/3 the way up with pistachio frangipane and baked at 190C for 15 - 20 mins, until baked through. They were then cut into smaller portions and brought along to the office together with some freshly baked tebirkes. A terrific summer treat :)

Pistachio frangipane tarts and tebirkes



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