The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
Jw's picture

it is funny how new recipes or experiments later on turn into 'production bread'. I have making rustic bread almost in production now, trying to become a week-baker instead of a weekend-only baker. That is one of the current challenges.

I have tried sourdough, but the result was a bit rustic too. The smell is ok, the looks are terrible. Hardly any ovenrise. Don't know what the problem is, maybe the master is not yet ready. I will keep trying. I am quite new to sourdough, so that is were the real fun is these days. I will keep trying, Any suggestions? Thanks in advance. Jw.

SylviaH's picture

I'll have to give this sourdough recipe another is very tasty!  I bulk fermented it overnite in my very cool bathroom!  Though I did not succeed in this loaf turning out the way I felt it should...I think it definately deserves a little more effort next time! 

I used a mixture of Dark and Golden Raisins.  With a light sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon!

Pan a little large!

Huh....not what I wanted!

Worth another try!!




Floydm's picture

A busy morning today.  First up was a birthday party for my son at a local rollerskating rink.  The high point was the Spy vs. Spy theme cake that dstroy decorated:

Based on this image.  Note that the wick of the bomb was a candle.

After that it was over to Tastebud, where Peter Reinhart was meeting with a bunch of Portlanders who are testing the recipes for his upcoming book.

I met a number of his testers and tried a few of their creations, which were all good.  As I said in my previous post, I'm looking forward to trying the new set of recipes they are coming up with.

We also tried some of the wood oven bagels that they make at Tastebud.

Delicious, dense, shiny, and chewy, definitely the best bagels I've had in Portland. 

Tastebud is walking distance from the apartment I lived in in college and where we lived when we got married.  Sigh... if only it had been there when I lived in the neighborhood, back when "weekend mornings" meant "brunch," not "cartoons."  Oh well...

dmsnyder's picture

Last week, I made baguettes using Pat's (proth5) recipe. They were good. I was amazed at the open crumb I got from a 65% hydration dough. See my blog entry:

Today, I made them again, but included an overnight cold retardation during bulk fermentation. The dough was mixed last night and refrigerated. It expanded little, if at all, overnight. I decided to let it double before dividing and shaping. After 6 hours at room temperature, it had only expanded by 50%, although I could see lots of little bubbles through the glass of the 2 quart measuring cup in which I was fermenting the dough. So, I decided to go ahead and divide it. I preshaped and let the pieces rest for 15 minutes, then shaped the baguettes and proofed them for about 70 minutes. Scored, loaded and baked at 460F.

Being a sourdough kind of guy, I found the increased sourness more to my liking than the batch I had not cold retarded. The crumb was a bit less open, no doubt due to the less complete dough expansion during bulk fermentation. I will try this again but do the cold retardation of the formed loaves next time.


dmsnyder's picture

My usual sourdough starter is semi-firm. I make it at a 1:3:4 ratio of starter to water to flour. Many of the sourdough bakers on TFL favor a 1:2:2 ratio, but fewer seem to use a true "liquid levain" which is more like 125% hydration. I was curious to try a pain au levain using a liquid starter and found the Pain au Campagne recipe in Leader's "Local Breads."

This recipe calls for a 50% hydration dough to which you add 62% (baker's percentage) liquid levain, ending up with a moderately tacky dough. The levain is added after the flour and water are mixed and allowed a 20 minute autolyse. The autolyse mixture is very, very stiff, and it takes a lot of mixing to get the very liquid levain incorporated into the dough. 

The resulting bread has a very nice flavor, but not significantly different from the pains de campagnes I make with my usual starter.

Of greater interest was the final shape of the loaves. They are formed as boules, and I proofed them in round, linen-lined wicker bannetons. I scored them with 3 parellel cuts, as Leader recommends. The loaves took an oblong form even before I could load them in the oven. This is a graphic illustration of the effect of this pattern of scoring on loaf shape, as described by Suas in "Advanced Bread and Pastry" and referenced in my Scoring Tutorial. (See the TFL Handbook.)


dmsnyder's picture

SusanFNP of fame posted a photo of her "Semolina bread with fennel, currants and pine nuts" on TFL in November, 2007. She provided a link to the recipe on her Wild Yeast blog. I immediately added this bread to my "to bake list." Well, my wife could tell you, I seldom throw out anything, and that includes my to do lists. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get around to a particular item, and today I got around to baking this bread.

Mine didn't turn out as pretty as Susan's, but this is a delicious bread. The combination of flavors and textures is wonderful - The contrasting sweet currents and savory fennel seeds and the soft crumb and chewy pine nuts and currents. Wonderful bread. 

This is snacking bread. I ate a couple slices while I was making dinner and could have finished the loaf right then and there. Yummy!

The recipe can be found at:


dmsnyder's picture

Today, I baked SusanFNP's Currant, Fennel and Pine nut levain, Pain de Campagne from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads" and another batch of proth5's baguettes (with cold retardation).


Smo's picture

First, the finished loaf with accompaniment (the soup is carrot soup with ginger, from here.

The finished loaf next to its accompaniments.  That's carrot soup!

Onto the process.  So, I set out Wednesday night to mix a batch of NYT no-knead bread, the recipe that I've been playing around with lately.  I decided to do things quite a bit differently; since my last, all bread flour no-knead loaf turned out pretty chewy, I figured I could lower the gluten content.  Rather than switching to AP, I kept it at bread flour and just changed a high percentage to lentil flour.  Turns out I stretched a bit too far.

Initial Mix:

215 g KA bread flour

130 g lentil flour (ground in my nutrimill from brown lentils)

30 g rye flakes

30 g barley flakes

25 g wheat germ

360 g water

1/4 tsp yeast

5/4 tsp salt


This sat at room temp overnight.  About 18-hours later, I went to do a stretch and fold and . . . the dough didn't stretch.  Rather, it broke apart. Clearly I didn't have enough gluten to perform the no-knead method.  I took a long look at my dough, and I decided that, while it was earnest, and eager, it just didn't have what it takes to be a no-knead loaf - lots of gluten.  But that's ok!  Because I could rebuild it.  Make it stronger, faster, uh . . drier!  An enriched loaf, with butter and honey and kneading!


But I didn't have time to do that, so I stuck the dough in the fridge.

This morning I took the dough out of the fridge in anticipation of the days events.  I didn't feel like waiting around 2 hours for the dough to warm to room temperature, so I looked around my kitchen for help and found . . . the microwave!

And I don't mean putting a cup of warm water in with the dough.  Rather, I put the dough in the microwave, set it to power level 3 out of 10, and zapped it for 5-10 minutes, stopping periodically to take its temperature.  Once most of it was between 70 and 80 F, I decided that it was warm enough to add:

1.5 Tb melted butter
3 Tb honey
2 tsp yeast
60 g bread flour

I mixed all this in and kneaded for about 5 minutes, adding a fair bit of extra flour in the process - probably another 10-15 grams.  After the gluten was developed enough to get a mediocre windowpane, I gave it a 5-minute rest, kneaded another few minutes, and called it good.

The result?  It was a monster!  About doubled in size in 40 minutes.  So I divided it into two loaves, formed one into a batard, and the other into an epi.  Preheated my oven with baking stone to 450.  After 30 minutes they hadn't risen too much but seemed proofed, so I put them in the oven anyway; I try to err on the side of under, rather than over, proofing.

After a bit of cooling I tore off a chunk of epi and the crumb was dense, but not brick-like; still soft and chewy.  And the flavor was delicious and more complex than anything I've made thus far.  I'll definitely be trying to duplicate the flavor again, but maybe in a less crazy way next time.

Here's a close-up shot of the crumb:

Crumb shot!

proth5's picture

For the few and the brave following this march to insanity, I did a second milling of white flour today.

This time, I followed the same process as in the first milling run, but after removing about 20% of the bran weight, cranked the mill down to its finest setting and milled what remained.

I then sifted through my #100 sieve (0.06" openings) and got a tiny bit of pure white flour.  I returned what remained in the sieve to the mill and remilled it (at the same setting).  After six passes this way, small flecks of bran began to sift through and I stopped the process.

What did I get for this? Pure white flour.  Looking at it and feeling it, I am unable to tell it from my King Arthur All Purpose - which may be good, or not.

For this I paid a price.  I was only able to get 15 oz of flour from 2 pounds of wheat berries.  What was left behind was not all bran, but it was milled to a silky texture.  I believe the French term for this is remoullage.  And that's certainly what I did - I remilled it.

Again, we wait.  Despite folklore on "within 72 hours or then it must be aged" the explanation that I accept about flour aging seems not to support this practice.  If we are trying to get oxygen to bond with certain molecules in the flour, I don't know why they would get an exemption from this for 72 hours.  Be back in 4 weeks...

Anyone with suggestions on how I might change my process to get a higher yield is most welcome to comment.  After all - I'm just making this up as I go along.

Now I really must get to milling the high extraction flour for my bake this week.

Happy Milling!

Floydm's picture

Peter Reinhart is in Portland this weekend.  I was able to get together with him for coffee this morning at little t american baker in SE Portland.

Tim Healea, the head baker, was kind enough to show us around the bake room. 

It is a small space, but they have an awesome 5 rack oven and bake many types of bread every day.  While we were there they were making naan and pulling... plank bread out of the oven (I think that is what they called it... It was something like a focaccia, sprinkled with thyme, rosemary, and sea salt and full of olive oil).  We tried a rustic ciabatta-like roll with carrot and polenta in it while we were there that was wonderful and one of their pastries, which was delicious too.

I, however, was a space cadet and left my good camera at home (well, I had the camera but I forgot the battery), so these phone pictures were the best I could get.  I will, however, try to come by Tastebud tomorrow around 11:30-12 to see Peter and any TFLers who show up there, and this time I'll bring a real camera.



Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries