The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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turosdolci's picture


Spätzli is a speciality in Switzerland. It is a type of dumpling that is almost always served with game. The hunting season starts in a few weeks for about 3 weeks and restaurants and those of us who love game will be preparting a lot of Spätzli.


ejm's picture

This is mostly for amusement's sake.

Every so often, I want to make a recipe that calls for fresh yeast and I don't have fresh yeast. Of course, I have nothing against using fresh yeast. It's just not that easily found around here. Instead, I use the active dry yeast we always have on hand. (Why do I always choose active dry yeast? Because that’s what my mother always uses.)

In the past and quite recently, I have gone through various books and the internet looking for this conversion information. Here are some of the various formulae I have come across in my travels:

for every cup of flour in the recipe, use either of

    3 grams compressed fresh yeast
    2 grams active dry yeast
    1 gram instant active dry yeast

-Maggie Glezer, "Artisan Baking Across America"


Substitute twice as much (by weight) fresh yeast for the amount of dry yeast called for in the recipe.

-Daniel Leader, "Local Breads"


1 g fresh = 0.5 g active dry = 0.4 g instant

-Susan (Wild Yeast),


2+1/2 tsp (one package) active dry yeast = 18 gm cake fresh yeast

-Carol Field, "The Italian Baker"


A .6-oz [17gm] cube of cake yeast is roughly equivalent to 1½ to 2 tsp. instant yeast or 2 to 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast.

-Sydny Carter, Yeast: The Basics,


One .6 ounce [17 grams] cake is equivalent to 1 envelope [.25 ounce/7 grams] of dry yeast.

-Fleischmann's Yeast FAQ,


yeast, compressed . . . . 1 cake, 3/5 oz . . . . 1 package active dry yeast

-Irma S. Rombauer, Know your ingredients, Joy of Cooking


1 packed tablespoon of fresh or cake yeast=21 grams which=2-1/2 [8gm] teaspoons active dry (so for 100 grams fresh yeast use 1/4 cup + 1/2 teaspoon or 40 grams active dry)

-Rose Levy Beranbaum,


If you are substituting active dry yeast for instant yeast in a recipe, [...] add about 20 percent more yeast to the recipe than what is called for. [...] If you encounter a recipe that uses fresh yeast, divide the weight by 3 to calculate the proper amount of instant yeast to use.

-Yeast FAQ,


Some years ago, with mixed up logic, I managed to work out the following formula. Remarkably, the bread I made rose beautifully.

2½ tsp (8gm) active dry yeast = 50gm fresh yeast

-me, my house

Depending on whose formula I use, to replace 50gm fresh yeast, I should use anywhere from 8 to 32.5 gm active dry yeast. (I think I have the arithmetic right with the various formulae: 32.5gm, 25gm, 22.5gm, 20gm, 17.5-20gm, 17gm, 8.3 OR 8gm active dry in place of 50 gm fresh yeast)

So. After all these contortions? I've decided that I'll use the higher amount of active dry to replace fresh yeast if there's lots of sugar in the recipe, but the lower amount if there's little sugar in the recipe.


Here is a nifty javascript that one of my sisters created after hearing about this:

edit: Ooops!!! I hit "save" by mistake. I MEANT to hit "preview". I think I've finished fixing things now. Have fun with the conversion chart!


Also may be of interest:

Mebake's picture

This is the same Wholewheat Multigrain bread baked from Hamelman's BREAD, only this time i chose to roll back to my old steaming technique. Furthermore, i increased the hydration from Hamelman's 75% to 90%! the grains are very thirsty!


Adhering to Hamelman's Final Proof of 1 hour doesn't seem to cut it. I always underproof when i follow hamelman's guidelines. 70 to 90 minutes will be the final proof from now on.



manicbovine's picture

I make a variation of this bread each Sunday; I've done so for the last several months. The result has steadily improved.


      My goal is a whole-grain bread that stands on its own. I don't eat many sandwiches, but enjoy slices of bread for lunch or breakfast. I have practical demands from the bread I make: long shelf-life, versatile, and relatively easy to produce.

      I've experimented a lot (pumpkin seeds in one week's loaf, not a success), but none of it has mattered much. I'm such a novice that I think the bread has improved through practice. I had hoped to eventually post with an absolutely perfect formula and method. I realize that I'm not going to achieve this, so I'd rather just post and ask for feedback.

Levain Build

100% Hydration Rye Starter       5%

Whole Rye Flour                          100%

Water                                          60%


1.) Mix, aerate well, and let sit for 12-18 hours.


Final Dough

WW Flour                                     66%

Whole Rye                                   14%

Whole Spelt                                 20%

Water                                          67%

Levain                                          20%

Salt                                              4.5%

Molasses                                     5.6%

Olive Oil                                       3.5%


1.) Mix flours, water, molasses, and oil. Let rest for 45 minutes at room temp.

2.) Mix in salt and starter.

3.) Knead well, moderate gluten development. It's wet, but comes together eventually. By hand, it takes around 20 minutes with a resting period.

4.) Bulk ferment 2 hours @ room temp, stretch and fold, ferment another hour, stretch and fold.

5.) Shape, place into fridge for 18 hours.

6.)  Bake straight from fridge in 475F oven for 15 minutes under regular steam. Lower temp to 425 and bake until done. (It darkens quickly in my oven, so I place a piece of tinfoil on top to prevent too dark a crust.)

Notes: I live in Arizona, which is very dry. My flour is thirsty! I'd adjust the hydration in a normal climate. Also, some of the rye flour can be replaced with rye meal. This improves the rye flavor and provides an interesting texture.


The result is a sour loaf with a complex rye/wheat flavor; spelt adds a sweet hint. It toasts well, dips well in soup, and stands up to Dijon. 



breadsong's picture


Here are today's efforts (gifts for a friend, so I can't cut them to take a crumb shot!):
Rose Levy Beranbaum's French Country Sourdough Boule
Jeffrey Hamelman's Oatmeal Bread (straight dough)

Mr. Hamelman's Oatmeal Bread is delicious! But I wanted to make special mention of the French Country Sourdough - I really like the flavor provided by the combination of sour and flours in this loaf. The recipe is also spiked with instant yeast, so when I have planned poorly or am otherwise rushed for time and want to complete a sourdough loaf in a shorter timeframe, this is the recipe I turn to. 

Rose's original recipe was created for those without their own sourdough starter, and so calls for a powdered sourdough starter by Lalvain called "Pain de Campagne". Rose's formula for Liquid Sourdough Starter is:
100g bread flour
.4 grams Lalvain Pain de Campagne starter
100 g water, room temperature (70F-90F) 
Stir together for 3-5 minutes until very smooth (will be very liquid). Cover bowl tightly with greasted plastic wrap (or place starter in a 2-cup food-storage container with a lid) and place it in a warm spot (70F-90F); let sit for at least 12 and up to 20 hours. It will be full of bubbles and will have risen by about one third. It is ready to use to make the dough, or it can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

I have substituted an equal amount of my sourdough starter and this has worked out OK. The formula below is identical to Rose's recipe, except for the type of starter and my adjustment to the amount of instant yeast used. The formula I use is:
200g sourdough starter
300g water
flours: 312g bread , 80g rye, 58g whole wheat
2g instant yeast
11.6g salt

I find this makes just over 2 pounds of dough - about right for my 9" banneton.

I feed my sourdough the night before, and when it is risen, I begin making the bread. As it is a very sticky dough, Rose's instructions are to combine starter and water in Kitchen Aid mixer bowl, sprinkle on the flours and yeast, mix on low (#2 speed) until a rough dough is formed, cover bowl and autolyse 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on salt and mix on medium (#4 speed) 10 minutes. (I found my mixer gets warm! so I stop a bit earlier, about 8 minutes. The weights given above are double her original recipe so I'm sure that's why my mixer is working hard!). I've also mixed and kneaded by hand, trying to be careful about adding too much extra flour (usually if I'm making two boules at once - too much dough for my Kitchen Aid to handle).

Scrape the dough into a greased dough-rising container; cover; rise until double (75F-80F), 1.5 to 2 hours. Stretch and fold (2 business letter turns). Rise until double (about 1 hour).

Shape into a boule. Line banneton with a floured cloth*, and place boule inside, smooth side down. Cover. Let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour. When the dough is pressed gently with a fingertip, the depression should very slowly fill in. The center of the loaf should come to the top of the banneton sides or a little above.
*Alternatively, flour the banneton with 50% white rice flour/50% all-purpose flour. I found some good tips and really helpful information on preparing bannetons here:

Preheat oven to 475F one hour before baking, with baking stone on lowest level. Preheat a pan for steam.
Place parchment paper on a peel (or flat baking sheet). Place parchment-lined peel over banneton and gently invert banneton onto peel. Gently set peel on countertop, lift off banneton and gently remove the floured cloth. Slash the bread (1/4" deep), slide bread and parchment onto baking stone, steam the oven by pouring hot water or tossing ice cubes into the preheated steam pan.
Bake 5 minutes, and reduce heat to 450F. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bread is deep brown, 212F internal temperature. Remove bread to wire rack to cool completely.

With many thanks to Rose Levy Beranbaum, for her wonderful recipe and for granting permission to give formula and method details here.
Friends and family love this bread and if you make it, I hope you do too!

Regards, breadsong

wally's picture


This past weekend I decided to continue my experimentation with ryes and hot soakers. After my experience spending 7 hours making a mash for my last rye, I took Hamelman's comment on my attempt to heart: "it's always seemed to me that historically people would have been grateful to be able to make a simple manipulation of ingredients and wind up with a little sweetness in their bread."

So I decided to trade-in further chemistry experiments in favor of seeing if greater simplicity could still yield greater flavor. I selected Hamelman's 66% rye in Bread because I wanted a sandwich loaf and this seemed like it would fit the bill - sufficient rye content to provide a flavorful loaf, yet not so much as to yield a dense crumb.

The variation on his recipe was to add a hot soaker as well as toasted sunflower seeds. To create the soaker I took his rye levain, which accounts for a little over 40% of total dough weight, and halved it, creating a soaker with equal portions of flour and water that would have gone into the levain. This also raised total hydration from 75% to 80%. I then upped the percentage of yeast slightly to account for the smaller amount of levain used.

The night before my bake on Sunday I mixed my levain, and then poured boiling water over the rye. According to Hamelman this is called brühstück (a scalded soaking) in Germany. Using equal parts water and flour you end up with a very dense mixture. Both levain and soaker were covered and left overnight.

The next morning I mixed levain, brühstück and water, and then added the remaining ingredients. My toasted sunflower seeds were salted, so I gave them a quick rinse in a sieve.

Because I wanted sandwich bread - and because the hydration was so high - I air shaped the loaf and placed it in a somewhat smaller than standard bread tin. After 55 minutes proofing it was baked at 460 F initially, after which the temperature was decreased to 400 for the remainder of the bake. I wrapped the loaf in a tea towel after it cooled, and allowed it to rest 24 hours before cutting.


This, it turns out, was a good move, because it was quite moist, and over the past few days while it has dried somewhat, it remains moist. The soaker did in fact impart a noticeable sweetness that balanced nicely with the nuttiness of the sunflower seeds. Not as sweet as a mash soaker, but much simpler. This is bread I'll bake again.


While waiting for the rye to finish baking I was reading through old articles I've accumulated related to bread, and stumbled upon James MacGuire's wonderful The Baguette, printed in The Art of Eating in 2006 (Number 73 + 74).


I've read a number of times his wonderful accounting of the history of the baguette, how French baking underwent near ruination after World War II with mechanization, and of the pivotal role played by MacGuire's friend and sometime collaborator Raymond Calvel in resuscitating the art of baking through the introduction of autolyse. James MacGuire is a master baker, but he is as well a masterful narrator and commentator on the history of bread - particularly in France. I cannot too highly recommend this article to anyone unfamiliar with it. (Reprints may be obtained from The Art of Eating.)

The surprise for me, however, was that I had neglected to ever look at his recipe for a pain tradition at the article's end. And I delighted in what I found there. MacGuire is keenly aware of the challenges baguettes present to the home baker, starting with the fact that most home ovens will not accommodate a true baguette's length, and including the travails one confronts with steaming, especially in gas ovens.

And then there too is the fact that his pain tradition is a super-hydrated dough at 80%, meaning that for the vast majority of bakers it would present formidable obstacles in shaping and slashing.

MacGuire says, in effect, Ok, you want a baguette but it is very hard to do. Here instead is a baguette dough which we'll shape to an easier profile (more like a miche), and through this achieve basically the same crumb to crust ratio a baguette has.

Again, simplicity is chosen over complicated schemes. (A theme is emerging I think).

His recipe calls for hand mixing and hand folding over many hours. Because I machine mix dough at work I'm inclined to do so at home - it just seems easier. But as I followed his process I was struck by how much more in touch you become with the gluten development of the dough. It is truly fascinating to experience over many hours what transpires in mere minutes in a mixer.

My one variation on his recipe was to give it a bulk retarding overnight in my refrigerator to develop more flavor since it is a straight dough.

Next day, after 16 hours in the fridge, I preheated my oven, and turned the dough out on a floured counter. Shaping, such as it is, is equally simple: MacGuire advises patting it out to a diameter approximating that of the bottom of your floured banneton or mold, and then plopping it in for final proof. That's easy.

Final proofing was about 75 minutes. The secret to this bread is a long bake which dries out the loaf so that its crust does not go soft after coming out of the oven. And to accomplish this means an initial bake at a fairly high temperature, followed by a long bake at a much lower temperature.


The loaf, just under 1 lb., was in the oven for 70 minutes. The trick is to achieve bread that has dried sufficiently, but not in the process developed a dark crust which overwhelms the delicate flavor of the crumb. The profile in terms of height is comparable to that of a baguette and it has a crisp crust and an amazingly light, airy crumb.

I love baguettes, but I tend to avoid baking them at home because the results are never as good as what I get in a commercial steam oven. And that is frustrating. But here, in this marvelous little recipe that MacGuire tucked at the end of his article, is a simple and enjoyable method of enjoying everything good in a baguette with the exception of its form.

Not a bad compromise!



breadsong's picture


I've enjoyed the lovely bread served at the Grand Lux Cafe; I think this bread has outstanding flavor and a gorgeous crust.
I was wondering if anyone had ever tried reproducing it at home.
If yes, I would just love it if you were willing to share what you did, and how it turned out.

Regards, breadsong




teketeke's picture

I have a question.

When I tried to make a Gosselin or Mr Nippon's looking baguette, They turned out  both of them were heavy baguettes. They are looking good indeed.  My question is that is right?  they are supposed to be heavy? I never had real one so that I can't figure it out. I hope that somebody tell me the fact.


Have you ever heard that a ratio of how much water the baguette lost ?

Here is the one that I heard of in Japan.


A ( The baguette's weight  before baking ) - B( The baguette's weight after baking) ÷ A x100 =  Ratio of  how much water the baguette lost.

The baguette's ratio is supposed to be around 20%-23% by Japanese bakery books. You can judge between good one and bad one depend on this.  The pictures above are around 17%

There are two of baguettes that I made today are light. see picture below:

All of them are 80% hydration. I like light baguettes.   

Best wishes,


Jon Morrison's picture
Jon Morrison

I spoke to a professional baker on making bagels and he told me he uses ice in his dough.  This lowers the temperature of the dough allowing for a longer mix time with the large mixer.  Has anyone else had experience with using ice?  Can you do it with other sour doughs?


I am currently baking 7 types of sour dough,30-40 loaves a week, no rye yet.





Floydm's picture

We just spent a weekend up in Victoria BC. 

As you can see, it was beautiful.  We had a great time.  I have a new obsession now though:

The current scones at Murchie's Tea & Coffee (on the right) were unbelievably good.  We had them with tea in the afternoon the day we got there and I had to go back to have another the next morning.  So light and totally different than the biscuit-like scones I am used to.  

I've been told that using cream that is already whipped and folding it into the dry ingredients is the secret to scones like these. I will figure out how to bake them or something very like them... oh yes, I will... and share my findings here.


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