The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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mompat5's picture

I would like to know if anyone has used the kitchen aid steam assist oven.  I am replacing my oven and was wondering if it worked well for baking bread with a nice crust.


ryeaskrye's picture

I recently acquired a new toy...a camera remote that also has timer features. Playing around, I shot a time lapse video of dueling starters. Here are 9 hours condensed into 12 seconds.

On the left is my San Fran and on the right is a Swedish Rye recently received from Northwest Sourdough. Both began with 80g of starter and were fed 80g of flour and 100g of water. 

The San Fran has 2 complete rises, 2 dramatic collapses and is starting a 3rd rise when the clip ends. 

The Rye peaked at 3h09m and again at 5h27m.

The San Fran peaked at 5h03m and again at 7h59m.

This was shot on a day when a storm front was moving through and the changing cloud cover caused the lighting to jump around a bit.



[ETA: I didn't like how PhotoBucket jumped 3 seconds into the video before starting, so I added a 3" header and changed out the video link]

ryeaskrye's picture

I have been meaning to start a blog here at TFL for quite some time. So...

I want to start this blog with a post influenced by why I began a bread-baking adventure in the first place. My quest began several years ago in an attempt to recreate a sourdough "pumpernickel" I and my extended family of Austrian descent relished when I was a kid growing up outside Denver. (Hi Pat.)

There was a local bakery near I-70 and Josephine whose name I can't recall and that has long since disappeared. However, the memory of their "pumpernickel" lingers among numerous family members that still talk about it at holiday gatherings. I decided I would bring those memories back to life. 

As my knowledge of bread has grown, in no small part due to the TFL community, I realize this is not really a true pumpernickel, but basically a 50% Rye with Caraway.

I adapted a recipe from Charles Van Over's "The Best Bread Ever" (my first bread book) by eliminating commercial yeast and converting to a full sourdough, increasing the percentage of rye, increasing final hydration, and pre-fermenting 39% of the flour overnight. Below is just the latest tweak of the formula and the resulting bake from a few weeks back. Being a bit of a purist, I dropped the cocoa for a little while, but discovered it does add essential flavor undertones in addition to being a coloring agent. (Hey...some people like chocolate in their bread.)

Despite ongoing refinements and continual variations, I have a base formula that finally satisfies cravings from a now distant era.

I used a 50-50 mix of Bob's Red Mill Pumpernickel and NYBakers Dark Rye, BRM Vital Wheat Gluten, Ghirardelli unsweetened coca, Eden Organic Barley Malt Syrup and KAF Bread Flour. And yes, I like poppy seeds.

Prefermented Flour = 38.89% Total Flour = 900g Total Water = 610g Final Hydration = 67.78%
General method:

  • Late evening the night before baking, combine starter, water and rye flour to make rye sour. Cover and ferment overnight.
  • In the morning, combine together all ingredients (except salt and caraway) just until hydrated. Let autolyse for 30 minutes.
  • With mixer running, add salt and mix for 5 minutes (KitchenAid @ Speed 2). Add caraway and mix for 2 more minutes.
  • Proof for 40 minutes in a warm place (76-80°F) then perform a stretch-&-fold.
  • Proof for another 40 minutes and perform a 2nd stretch-&-fold.
  • Proof for another 1.5-2 hours.
  • Preheat oven, stone and cover to 475°F.
  • Divide and shape dough into two boules or batards. Place either in covered brotforms or en couche. Proof for another 1 hour.
  • Lightly brush with cornstarch glaze (or spray with water) and sprinkle poppy seeds on top. (simmer 1 TBL cornstartch with 1 cup water for 2 minutes and allow to cool to room temperature for glaze) 
  • Score and bake covered for 15 minutes at 450°F before lowering temperature to 420°F and baking uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool completely on wire rack. Flavor builds when left uncut as long as you can wait. Goes well with european unsalted butter, cured meats and pungent cheese.


While the crumb make look dense, it is actually very even, light and moist. I normally have a more open crumb, but let this round overproof just a touch and was heavy-handed on the slashing. The flavor is clean and full with very little aftertaste..and meets the approval of all family members. The crust is thin and crunchy.
The non-poppy-top loaf was for those who get drug tested at work...


varda's picture

I wasn't planning to make baguettes in my seven day bread making challenge to myself, but this morning I realized that my refrigerator was being taken over by bread byproducts.   In addition to my whole wheat sour dough starter and rye sour, I had the leftover levain from the pain de compagne I made the other day, as well as the bread equivalent of a chain letter - a white flour starter for Amish Friendship Bread that a friend dropped off the other day.   I had no intention of making the friendship bread.   It has most likely never been cooked in an Amish kitchen, since it calls for a box of instant vanilla pudding in the batter.    But the starter looked fine and healthy and I've been feeding it for a couple of days.   So I decided to mix the levain and the "Amish" starter together, add some salt and make a couple of baguettes.   The thing that has been holding me back from making baguettes is I don't have a couche or a baguette pan, and I am hesitant to run out and buy them until I get a better sense of what type of bread I want to make on a regular basis.   So I just set these baguettes out on a board, and let them flatten out as they would while rising.    So these don't look like much, and I'm sure whole wheat baguettes would be considered an abomination by some, but they are actually quite flavorful, and I'm hoping that I will be able to figure out how to make these (or something like them) again.


Now I'd better take a break for a day or two to give my family a chance to catch up on all the bread!

kdwnnc's picture

Today's bake: Rustic Bread from this site.  I haven't cut into it yet, but I have a feeling that it will have a nice, open texture.  I didn't add any flour than what was in the recipe, so the result was a rather sticky dough that had so many bubbles while shaping that it got rather difficult.  The dough was so lose that after shaping into a boule with as tight a skin as I could make, I had a rather flat pancake at the end of the final rise.  But it had the best oven spring I have ever seen in a bread!  I am very eager to see how it tastes; it looks beautiful.  

bnom's picture


bailey and bread

The formula:

300 g firm starter

620 g water

750 g unbleached AP flour (530 g Morbread 12% protein, and 200 g Whole Food AP)

100 g wheat bran

23 g salt

The technique was similar to the San Joaquin Sourdough posted on Fresh Loaf


Submitted to Wild Yeast's Yeast Spotting:


Panadero's picture

I am looking for recipes on how prepare and to bake these types of breads-memories of Puerto Rico 1950's early 60's.

txfarmer's picture

From Maggie Glezer’s "Artisan Breads" again, the recipe can be found online here: , I highly recommend buying the book though.


All the sourdough breads in that book use a 60% firm starter, I recently converted a portion of my 100% starter to 60%, just to see the difference in handling and taste. The firm starter has been going for about 3 weeks now, I'd say it's definitely more sour than my liquid starter. This bread requires to mix the dough very well before adding the cooked polenta, after it's added, the dough became very wet, sticky and slack. It got some structure after 3 sets of S&F, but when I dumped the boul out of the proofing basket, it was a sad flat disk. My heart sank, I thought I'd end up with a dense pizza. Nope! It grew and grew in the oven. In fact, I definitely underproofed (the instruction specifies 2 to 2.5 hours @ 75F, I did 2 hours at 75F). From the crumb shot below, you can see the bottom is denser than the middle and top, another 30 to 60 minutes of proofing would make a more even crumb I think. The big holes were unexpected and amazing though! Must've been all that liquid in cooked polenta, the dough was slack for a good reason.


Made one boule and one batard, the spiral scoring pattern on the boule was from the book's instruction, not easy to get smooth on such a slack dough. Since I underproofed, the boule became more like a pyramid, stretched upward very tightly. To get a more rounded semi-sephere shape my scoring should've deeper, or proofing time should've been longer. Scored the batard in a "leaf" like pattern, also a bit underproofed, which explains the uneven hieght.

I liked how the bread tasted - chewy (there's some high gluten flour in there), earthy (the cooked polenta), mediumly sour. Even though the polenta on top adds texture and makes it more interesting to look at, I would skip it next time since it got very messing during cutting and eating. Polenta all over the counter, table, and floor. A very good bread to try!


Has anyone else notice that firm starters has a lot more rising power in the oven, comparing to liquid starter doughs? I am used to using my 100% liquid starter, which is why I keep under-proofing firm starter breads.

varda's picture

Until I found this site, I had never heard of spelt much less cooked with it.   Today's entry in my seven breads in seven days self-teaching event is a multigrain batard with spelt.   I made this using (slightly modified) no-knead methods.   This loaf lost its shape a bit while baking and looks like a boule from one side and a batard from the other.  

Here is the formula:

225 g bread flour

30 g spelt

20 g whole wheat

25 g rye

210 g water

3/4 tsp salt

<1/4 tsp yeast (less than 1 gram so hard to measure)

Night before mix all ingredients and leave in bowl on counter.   In the morning stretch and fold in the bowl.   When the dough has risen again and looks like it's about to collapse but hasn't, scrape out of bowl onto lightly floured counter.   (Times respectively for these steps 12 hours and 3.5 hours.)   Pat into ball and let rest for 10 minutes.  Shape into a batard.   Place on board sprinkled with cornmeal.  Let rise until double and/or fingertip impression remains.   (Note - I let this go until it was well past double and dough was still springing back.   Finally after 2.5 hours I decided not to risk letting it overproof and popped it into the oven.)   At least a half hour prior to baking preheat oven and stone to 475.  Score.  Place loaf on stone and cover with a lid (I used the bottom of a metal roasting pan.)   Bake for 20 minutes covered, then remove the cover for the last 15 minutes.  

Any tips on how to do this better for this or the other breads I posted yesterday and the day before are humbly requested!

Doughtagnan's picture

This Sunday I baked one "test" baguette as I had been a bit busy playing with a new toy (an allotment!) so the dough had been a bit neglected and not worked much etc. The recipe was (loosely) based around the proth5 65% hydration baguette but my flour was a mix of some leftover french Pain de Campagne flour with some Spelt and 00 to make up around 300grams (the starter was rye). As it did not seem to be very lively or rising much so I did the test bake and put the rest in the fridge overnight as I thought the dough did not look very promising. However, the test bake was far more successful than expected, further proof that dough is pretty resilient!


After being left in the fridge overnight I hamfistedly shaped into two further baguettes and proofed the dough for an hour or so and baked with steam on max fan 250 for about 12 mins, results were even better, with much more oven spring. Also after watching the Lyon based "Bob the baker" on BBC TV slashing his baguettes my technique is coming on - I just used a hand held razor blade and one turned out better than the other, oh well. Cheers Steve



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