The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

Floydm's picture

Today was the first time since before the Haiti earthquake that I was able to bake much of anything. 

Today's breads

I baked a three seed sourdough (poppy, sesame, and flax) and an Italian bread (a pinch of yeast, some sourdough starter, and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil).  Both batches turned out very well and my starter proved to be amazingly resilient.

BTW, remember the fundraising tool I was working on for Mercy Corps that community members here helped test back in the fall?  It got written up in the NY Times a couple of months ago.  Thank you again to everyone who helped with it.  It has been a tremendous success and helped fund a lot of excellent projects we are doing in Haiti.   

dmsnyder's picture


It has been a few weeks since I last made my San Joaquin Sourdough. I had become so enamored of breads made with the Gérard Rubaud flour mix, I was starting to wonder if I would still like the flavor of the San Joaquin Sourdough as much as I had. Well, I do.

Yesterday, I made the breads with a 73% hydration dough and divided it into two 250 gm ficelles and one (approximately) 500 gm bâtard.





Wt. (gms)

Baker's %

Active starter (75% hydration



WFM 365 Organic AP flour



BRM Dark Rye flour











  1. The night before baking, feed the starter at 1:3:4 ratio of seed starter: water: flour.
  2. Mix all the ingredients and allow to rest, covered for 20-60 minutes.
  3. Stretch and fold in the bowl for 30 strokes, three times at 30 minute intervals.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover.
  5. After another 30 minute rest, stretch and fold on a lightly floured board. Replace in the bowl and cover.
  6. Rest for 30 minutes, then repeat the stretch and fold, and replace the dough in the bowl.
  7. Refrigerate the dough for 21hours.
  8. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and immediately divide and pre-shape it. Cover the dough with plasti-crap or a towel and let it rest for 60 minutes.
  9. One hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500ºF, with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.
  10. Shape the loaves as desired and place on a floured couche. Cover the loaves.
  11. Proof for 45 minutes.
  12. Pre-steam the oven. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them as desired and transfer them to the baking stone. Steam the oven.
  13. Turn down the oven to 460ºF and bake for 12 minutes. Then remove the steam source.
  14. Continue to bake until the loaves are done. (20 minutes for the ficelles. 30 minutes for the bâtard.)
  15. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.


The crust was nice and crunchy, and the crumb was pleasantly chewy. The flavor was wonderful, as always. There is no perceptible rye flavor, but the rye adds to the overall flavor complexity. This batch had more of a sourdough tang than usual, which we like.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

hansjoakim's picture

Better late than never, right?

I've been out of the loop for a little while, but I've still been baking. This week I have slowly worked my way through the flaxseed rye shown below, based on Hamelman's flaxseed rye from Modern Baking (link here to recipe here). I prefer to bake it as a pure sourdough, so the final proof is extended by approx. 50% compared to the original recipe. I've savoured the loaf with slices of brie, smoked ham or fish.

Flaxseed rye with old bread


On Friday, I spotted some of the season's first strawberries at my local market, and I simply couldn't resist:


Delicious early-spring treat! ...and would you believe it? The snow's almost all gone here now! :D (<-- happy grin)

Raisin buns is a perfect snack to pack along for upcoming hikes:

Raisin buns

Mebake's picture

I baked this boule last week end.

As always, i have learned few thing from this bake:

1 - Never Underestimate the significance of Weighing Salt.

2 - Handling Fermented dough as if a new born baby, during inverting onto the baking stone / surface

3- For my gas oven: always switch the top elements on after 10 minutes of covered baking, as the bottom gets charred way before the top is browned.

4 - Always give the natural yeats time to do their work, hasting them with commercial yeast will reduce flavor.

5 - Never forget to place a parchment, i had a near escape due to the proper gluten development.

Other than that, the loaf tasted good, soft and airy. It was 50% Whote bread flour, and 50% Hard White mixed with Red Winter. Overall hydration was 70%.

ryeaskrye's picture

I have a fondness for rosemary. Having an Austrian heritage with a splash of Irish thrown in, I also have an innate predilection for potatoes.

Naturally the Potato Rosemary bread in Reinhart's BBA was a bread that had to be made. Ever the joker, and not one to follow directions without change, I decided to see what would happen if I used blue potatoes. I eagerly anticipated reactions of surprise I would get with a blue colored bread.

The dough ended up being a very weird consistency. It was extremely slack and refused to hold shape, similar to a very wet ciabatta, but somehow was not sticky. I didn't have much hope it would turn out well, but I baked it anyway. While they looked more than passable from the outside, the inside was an uneven shade with dingy gray streaks.

I was quite disappointed with how the crumb turned out...that was until I toasted some the next morning and it turned lavender. HA!

The texture of the crumb was moist, soft and consistent throughout. The flavor was exceptional, even eliciting a "best tasting loaf so far..." from a frequent devourer of my breads.


Before toasting:

After toasting:


Any chemists here who might have ideas on why the blue was heat activated?

txfarmer's picture


This book and this particular baguette formula was first brought to our attention by Shiao-Ping here: , Eric later did a fabulous take on it too: . I happened to have the book (in Chinese translation, DH got it for me from China when he was on a business trip there), the concept of 12hour autolyse is intriguing, and the wonderful pictures in the book, as well as Shiao-Ping and Eric's photos made me eager to try. However, I had such trouble with it. The first 3 times, they all came out flat. Really flat. Flatter than anything I've baked before. After the third time, I sat down and started from scratch. Read up on autolyse and what exactly happens during it. Read on different flours, even asked my friends to investiage the Japanese flour used in the book. Converted a part of my liquid starter to firm, because some have mentioned that firm starters may work better - then read up on the difference between the two. Let's just say, I applied all my research skilled from school and work to studying breads! It was fun though, I learned a lot, and this 7th try was my best one so far, I am finally sort of happy with the results. 


So what's the magic bullet? Well, suprise! There aren't any! Other than the old lesson of "obey the dough (not the book even if it's written by a great Japanses baker who specifies every little detail!)". Same liquid starter, I simply fermentated until the dough is ready (4 hours as supposed to 3 in the book), and did 2 more sets of S&F during bulk rise. I think the culpit is that the book really spelled out the exact temperature, time, even PH values, so in the begining I was trying to match everything in the instruction. During this past 2 months, temperature in Dallas has been perfect for making this bread: night temperature is right around 60F, which is what the autolyse temperature should be. The day time termperature in the house is a perfect 22C, matching the fermentation temperature exactly. But I forgot one thing - wild yeasts, unlike instant yeast, have personalities. They don't go on the same schedule. Mine apparently is a bit slow going, by about an hour for bulk rise. Once I realized that and experimented with different bulk rise/proofing time, the breads started looking decent. So, long story short, LISTEN TO YOUR DOUGH!

Please see Shiao-Ping's original post for the exact formula, the changes I made are: 4 hours of bulk rise rather than 3; S&F at 20, 40, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240 minutes, so 7 in total rather than 5 in the instruction; final proof was 50 minutes rather than 60; flour used was KA bread flour. As for the bread itself, very nice indeed. Open crumb, chewy crust, a noticable sweet taste due to the long autolyse, but not sour at all though. It only has 15% of starter (100% hydration) and 0.1% instant yeast, hence the long rise times, as well as the nice flavor.

There are 34 other baguette formulas in that book, I am sure I will attempt more of them. In the mean time, I am glad this bread is finally out of my mind, I can now shift my focus onto other things - like tax returns! Sigh, not nearly as fun. ;)

Jasamx's picture

Hi! Everyone!  I am new to this and need some help.  I want to make German Soft Pretzels and it calls for 1C of Bread flour. (3C's All Purpose Flour)  Now I understand I think the higher the proteens means it reacts better with the yeast.  So my normal flour is Wheat Flour and has 16.64% proteens. Which I use like all purpose flour in the USA.  I went out and bought another flour which I was told was for bread and it has 17.36% proteens.  When I made bread in the USA I bought Bread Flour which is no big deal.  Here, everything is a big deal, believe me.  I even have learned to make Choc. pudding from scratch and it is a lot of work but Gee! I forgot just how good stuff taste when I was a kid and mom made it from scratch.  So, what do I do?  Are both flours good enough to use or make bread, or should I use the 17.36% proteen flour?  Please help, you all seem to know what you are doing when it comes to flour.  Thanks Jim

StephaniePB's picture

I'm a long time home baker, and a recent convert to sourdough. I started lurking around here when I started getting into sourdough, I've learned a ton from the forums and blogs! I keep a personal blog elsewhere, but am finding I want someplace to keep track of my baking experiments. I am.

I first tried sourdough baking around 10 or so years ago when I lived in NYC, and loved the results, but I think I knew at the time I still had a lot to learn about bread baking before seriously tackling sourdough. I now live in San Francisco, and find that my sourdough is often coming out too sour for my tastes. So that's my big challenge, how to make good sourdough that doesn't taste too sour when I live in the one place in the world with the dang bacteria.

I have two happy starters - one is a SF Goldrush I purchased ages ago, the other is a wild yeast starter I made here. I much prefer the wild starter, it's very irregular and can rise like crazy, which I love. The goldrush is much more like, well, commercial yeast, very even and reliable. Reliable's boring, though.

I'm in the process of converting my Goldrush to whole wheat (KA organic) right now, I'm curious what whole wheat starter will do to the final taste. I have only fed with white flour until now (KA Flour, unbleached, mostly AP for feedings, bread flour for baking), and it's fun to see how differently it's reacting with whole wheat. I always use tap water that's been sitting on my counter for 12 hrs or so, room temperature, 100% hydration. I have had terrible results with bottled water and filtered water, there's something in that tap water, I guess?

I'm hoping the goldrush will peak up later today so I can mix up a sponge tonight and bake tomorrow, but I'm not sure it will be possible. I did keep the discarded starter from this morning's feeding to use in pizza dough for tonght, though, so at least I'll get something in, even if I'm going to have to cheat with added yeast.

I also need to find my camera so I can start taking decent pictures!

AnnieT's picture

Or something like that. As I sat here this morning waiting for a call back from the furnace repair man who said it was fixed on Wednesday, and carefully re-piecing the quilt pieces I had painstakingly unpicked over the last few days - I had time to mull this over. If a bread recipe doesn't work out the way it should, at least the results are usually edible. I know I have continued to work with dough that any sane person would have dumped and frequently been pleasantly surprised. Quilts, on the other hand, are not so forgiving. I knew one of the fabrics in this latest quilt wasn't quite right, and yet I persisted. Did I think the quilt fairies were going to somehow make it look good? Could this be why I make "Susan's Sourdough" over and over, along with what my family and friends refer to as "The Quilt"? No surprises with either, but once in a while it would be nice to branch out.

Well, the furnace man is coming to take a look and hopefully it won't cost a fortune to fix. The new fabric looks good, and my starter is ready to go. Life goes on, A.

Sedlmaierin's picture

Well, so here pictures of my first bake as part of the "Bread" challenge. I will have to remember to take pictures of the process in the future, and in the meantime I am apologizing that there are none this time around.

I followed the recipe pretty much as written-the only difference is that I used one tenth of the metric bulk probably a bit larger dough yield. I maybe should have formed 5 baguettes instead of four.The baguettes' final proof was done in a flowered couche made from pastry cloth-then I inverted them onto a baking sheet-which made them have quite a bit of flour on their top sides. I don't know if that was the right way to do it-I had major trouble with getting them to brown, but that could also be due to the fact that I forgot to pre-heat the oven with my steam pan inside and then only added boiling water to a steam pan upon putting the bread in the oven.Scoring the charmers was a joke...........if I feel like I have ample time on my hands(and friends who want Baguettes) I will try Baguette baking again soon, since I was not too happy with the bake. They stayed very light colored, which made me not realize that they were getting way too dark on the bottom.Oh well, live and learn!The taste and texture of the bread was great,though. Very crunchy crust and really lovely,light crumb.

Here are pictures-my camera is also being highly uncooperative and it was nearly impossible to get a well-lit crumb shot close up.


Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries