The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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abunaloaf's picture

I have made plain white, whole wheat, or a blend of both for many years, and recently tried some in a mixer instead of hand kneading.  It turned out much like baker's bread (storebought).  I think though, it was from overcooking and not the electric mixer.  I am trying it again today to see how it goes.  If I knead it myself it is only for a short time because of health dough, if not made in the mixer, has a lot of water, and bakes soft, delicate and wonderfully home made.

The dough I make is also used to make cinnamon rolls, and fried bread.  Bread fried in a pan and split, served with butter and or jam is nice on its own or with a meal.

I would like to express my gratitude for this site and the interesting reading about the various topics.  For instance, I am learning new terminology.  I have always referred to proofing as rising; my new oven has a proof setting...and I never knew before now what a banneton is.

I have also sucessfully made ciabatta.  Occasionally exotic breads (my experiments) have ended up in my garden looking much like bricks.....but that is ok...I will continue trying as it is fun and sometimes satisfying to have a new to me finished product I can be proud of.

Best Regards,


Yippee's picture

Many years ago, I used to go with you and other friends on Sunday mornings to the Hot Bagels and Bialys on Main Street, often before it was open for business.  We were just there waiting, hoping to be the first to grab one of those freshly baked bagels, as if they were going to run out any time soon.  That's when my love for those crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside 'rings' started to grow.  My favorite was cinnamon raisin. Those were the moments of our young lives.  It's been a long time since then, yet it feels like it happened only yesterday, as those scenes still vividly come to my mind and leap up before my eyes.  Sadly, today I can only seek scenes of you in my memory only. 

The news of your passing came too suddenly. I'm still in disbelief that you're no longer with us. It probably would be easier for me to think you've only arrived at a subway transfer station, be it Grand Central or Forest Hills, and you've gotten off the train and made a transfer without us this time.

"Uncle Alan", as my kids would call you; you're a kind-hearted, intelligent individual, a great dancer, and a competitive tennis player. If our paths ever cross again, I promise I'll make you delicious sourdough bagels that we never had at the bagel shop and we'll hustle again at Dance New York.  Shalom and Kol Tuv, my dear friend. Thank you for leaving all the wonderful memories behind. My thoughts will always be with you.

This entry and this bake are dedicated to my long-time, beloved friend, who consummated his journey of life in May, 2010.

Bagels produced in this batch did not only possess the characteristic combination of crunchiness and chewiness you would normally expect from a decent, fresh bagel, but they also had these robust flavors that you can't find in a regular bagel, largely due to the multiple levains and mix of flours used in this formula.  My family enjoyed them very much.  If my friend were still around, I'm sure he'd love them, too.  

Bagels are one of the relatively labor-intensive bread projects that I've been trying to avoid.  The scaling, shaping and rests in between take up considerably more time than shaping a simple boule.  Much to my disgust, the prices of the Guisto high protein flours used have either doubled or tripled at retail since last year.  The cost of these bagels, in terms of labor (billable hours) and ingredients, is sky-rocketing and way beyond any economic justification.  However, cherishing the memories of an old friend and experiencing the gratification of successfully meeting a new bread challenge, like they say in the Visa/Master commercial, are 'priceless.'

A summary of the formula and procedures is as follows:


Here are some photos:

zorrambo's picture

I followed Reinhart’s BBA French bread recipe and instructions as closely as possible. My pate fermentee fermented for 1 hour at then put it in the refrigerator for 1 ½ days. I noticed that it had doubled in size while in the fridge. I didn’t expect such a rise. I mixed the final dough using a smidge over a teaspoon of barley malt syrup, reduced the water to compensate and added about a tablespoon of flour while kneading. I added the malt because last time I made this recipe I got poor rise. The primary fermentation lasted 2 hours, temp 76°F, humidity 51%. I proofed the baguettes for 1 hour 45 minutes, temp 78°F, humidity 51%. This was longer than I expected but it looked about 1 ½ times bigger though I am not a good judge of peak rise. I slashed with a bread knife and put them in a 500°F oven with steam pan and misting oven walls. I baked on a sheet pan because I don’t have tiles. The oven temp was lowered to 450°F for 20 min, then at 375°F for 30 min then at 350°F for 20 min. I checked the internal temperature of the bread every ten minutes of bake time and it never got above 170°F after a total bake time over 70 minutes. The bottom of the bread was black and I gave up and pulled them out. I have a brand new oven with an additional oven thermometer inside to monitor the temperature. I am new to artisanal bread making but I am determined. Here is a picture of my poor friends. I am unhappy with the crumb and the thick crust.


restever99's picture

Hello all,

Long time reader, first time poster.  Recently moved because of the job and forgot my starter.  I was in tears but there wasn't much I could do so I set up the new one last night and to my amazement it did something I never expected it to do, it went crazy!  I've never seen one develop so fast.  Is that normal?

Here is a picture of my pet:

All it is, is 1c. UB bread flour and 1c. h20.  I just fed it and already it's expanded and bubbly.  Could something else have gotten in there or did I just get lucky?  Haven't noticed any off smells or colors.

Advice is welcomed,


SylviaH's picture

I have decided to give the recipe for this wonderful pound cake I have been baking since 1964 and only given the recipe out to family in the past 45+ years.  It is very close to the same recipe given by Paula Deen called mama's pound cake.  I think only the milk and salt differs a little.  I have referred to this recipe always as 'Grandma Turners Pound Cake'.  It was given to me by my mother in law Elsie Turner in 1964 and was given to her by her daugter in law from Atlanta, GA.  What is so great about this pound cake and the reason I don't turn it upside down out of my large bundt pan or angle food cake pan is it has a cookie crunchy crust that is fabulous and I think very desirable on a pound cake.  It is a very large cake and can be made nicely also in loaf pans.   We love it with fresh sliced strawberries, sprinkled with a little sugar to bring out some juices...yumm.  A real family favorite for over 45 years.

1.  2 sticks of butter

2. 1/2 cup vegetable oil

3.  3 cups all purpose flour

4. 3 cups of Sugar

5. 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla -Added-vanilla extract used 

7. 5 Eggs

8. 1 1/4 cup whole milk

Bring your eggs and butter to same room cool temperature - so the butter is fairly soft -this helps prevent the curdling effect you get when mixing the batter together at different temperatures.

By hand or electric mixer

Grease and flour pans - Preheat oven to 325F - I use convection oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 min. for my 10+ cup large non-stick bundt pan.  Testing with a spagetti noodle poked down into the cake and coming out dry.  The crust will be a nice dark golden brown. 

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl '3 times' now I just shake it though a wire sifter once.  In a large bowl or mixer, Cream butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy - Add eggs one at a time to creamed mixture ' I lightly beat them - Add milk and flour to creamed mixture alternately. I end with the flour.  Add vanilla extract.  You can also use lemon extract. 

After the cake is baked.  Cool for about 5 minutes.  Lay a cooling rack on top of the pan and invert.  Lay another cooling rack on top of the bottom of the cake and flip back over to see the cookie crust side...try not to eat it all!

                  ADDED - These freeze great.  I wrap them up in plastic wrap and then foil.





                                                                 Gets crunched a little more when removing but you can see why I prefer this top to the

                                                                  molded bundt top.  It's hard not eat this delicious crunchy cookie crust top.



                   Sorry we didn't have any whipped cream today.  The strawberries make a nice juice when sliced with a bit of sugar sprinkled over them.  Or you also make a lovely puree strawberry sauce to go with some sliced strawberries. 




txfarmer's picture

This was the bread that confused me last week. The original formula in "Advanced Bread and Pastry" just seemed to have too much yeast (in addition to a whole lot of rye levain), and too long of a bulk rise and proof. Having faith in the book, stuck to the formula for the first try, massive failure. Overrisen and overproofed even after I cut the proof time in half, and drop the temperature by 10 degrees. Not one to give up easily, tried again with much less yeast (1/10 of original amount), nice results, even though I am not entirely sure ths is how the original formula intends to be.


There isn't a picture of the final product in the book, took a bit of google skills to find someone's flicker account, in which there are some photos of him taking the SFBI whole grain workshop. In two pictures, there's a glimp of this bread, they are covered by seeds and oatmeal flakes, which the book didn't mention, so here's my version of this bread.

- levain

medium rye, 85g

water, 68g

rye starter (100% hydration, no idea what hydration the original formula asks for), 10.5g


1. mix and fermentate at room temp for 12 hours.


- soaker

coarse whole wheat flour, 25g

oat flakes, 25g

sunflower seeds, 25g

pumpkin seeds, 50g

water, 121g


2. mix and soak at room temp for at least 2 hours


- main dough


bread flour, 127g

high extraction flour, 127g (I used Golden Buffalo)

medium rye, 64g

water, 165g (this is more than what's in the origainl formula, I find the dough way too dry otherwise)

salt, 11g

instant yeast, 1/8tsp (the formula calls for 1/8oz ==3.5g, 1/8tsp is about 0.38g)

honey, 7g

all soaker

all levain


3. mix everything togethe except for salt, yeast, and soaker, autolyse for 20 minutes. Add salt and yeast, mix until medium development, knead in soaker. At this point, the dough became MUCH looser and wetter. S&F came to the rescue!

4. bulk rise for 1.5 hours at about 73F, S&F at 20, 40, 60 minute.

5. divide, round, rest for 20 minutes.

6. shape into boules or batards, and place close to each other so they can proof into each other. Proof for 50 minutes. spray water, and put seeds and oat flakes on top. No need to slash.

7. bake at 450F for 35 minutes, the first 10 with steam. I covered the top for the last 15 minutes so the seeds and flakes don't get burnt.



The surface is crunch and frgrant with seeds; crumb is soft and moist from the soaker; seeds add great crunch; rye(~37%), ww, high extraction flour mingle together and create a very nice earthy flavor. A delicious and hearty bread, worth all the trial and error.





hansjoakim's picture

Now that virtually everyone in Europe is obsessing about the ongoing soccer world cup, I get the chance to hide away in the wonderfully soccer-free corners of my kitchen and indulge in my favourite hobby! Great thing that world cup, isn't it? ;)

Well, this weekend I put together a bread with toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted hazelnuts, raisins and some rolled oats. I just bought some delicious local washed rind cheese, and this loaf was the perfect pairing! You'll find the recipe by clicking here, and a photo below:

Raisin and nut sourdough


For this week's sugar-and-egg yolk section of my blog, I offer a fresh fruit charlotte. This is the charlotte from "Advanced Bread and Pastry", one that I also made last summer, and now I wanted to revisit it using some of this year's fresh berries. The charlotte is made of a ladyfinger bottom and ladyfinger band, it's filled with diplomat cream (a combination of pastry cream and whipped cream, set with gelatin), and frozen inserts of berry compote (I used fresh blackberry puree for this insert) and a tart lemon cremeux insert. Since the diplomat cream starts to set up really quickly after gelatin is added, unfortunately I didn't have opportunity to photograph the charlotte while placing the frozen inserts into it. Anyway, here's one from just before filling goes in:

Fresh fruit Charlotte

... and below is the finished charlotte. It has a wonderful combination of tart and sweet flavours, and, once you've prepared the frozen inserts, is very quick to put together. Would make a terrific, refreshing dessert on any sunny, summer afternoon:

Fresh fruit Charlotte

dmsnyder's picture

Davesmall's recent postings of his Fougasses (Fougasse with refrigerated dough ) inspired me to finally make this bread from Provence and the Côte d'Azur. I first had this bread in Lourmarin, in the Vaucluse. My wife and I visited an old high school French teacher of mine. His French wife has a family connection with that village going back generations. We spent a delightful day on a motor tour of the area, including several stops at bakeries, because each had different specialties. We ate the fougasse with a delicious daube de boeuf for lunch that day.

I made these fougasses from the formula in Michel Suas' Advanced Bread and Pastry. it uses a levain but is also spiked with a small amount of instant yeast. Per Suas' formula, I added some rosemary to the dough, fresh from the garden. We dipped it in EVOO with a bit of balsamic vinegar and had it with salmon cakes and a salad of tomatoes, cucumber and radishes with a mustard vinaigrette. A lovely Navarro Pinot Gris was a perfect accompaniment, although a rosé would have been more traditional with this bread.

Fougasses proofing

Proofed, ready to bake (450ºF for 20 minutes with steam)


Fougasse is a crust-lovers' bread. It is very crunchy but with enough tender, highly aerated crumb to absorb dipping oil. I enjoyed dipping it in the salad dressing more than the oil and balsamic. I ate 3/4 of one myself at dinner, demonstrating my customary restraint.


hanseata's picture

On a trip to South Tyrol (a border area between Austria and Italy) as a student, I first tasted a sample of the spicy rye breads typical for the region. Hiking up the mountains to a "Huette" (a small rustic inn) we were served Vinschgauer Paarlen with homemade butter and smoked ham (Suedtiroler Speck). The flat bread was quite spicy. I didn't know what herb was in it, but it smelled and tasted wonderful.

Later I found out that there were more than one type of rye bread from Vinschgau (Vinschgauer, Vinschger Paarlen, Vinschgerlen or Vintschgauer) comes in different variations, some with, some without sourdough, some flat, some rolls, and also with different seasonings, but all of them spicy and delicious.

A typical, very unique spice in some Vinschgauer breads is blue fenugreek (Brotklee, Schabziger Klee), it develops its special aroma from growing in the mountains with lots of sunshine. When I baked a batch of Vinschgerlen some days ago, the whole house was filled with the smell of Brotklee.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a source for Brotklee/blue fenugreek in the US - I bought several boxes in a health store during my last trip to Germany. But the German Wikipedia had at least a suggestion for a substitute: dried nettle (burning nettle) with "a good pinch of curry". I haven't tried that, yet, but I know the taste of nettle (and the nasty burn of the plant) and I can imagine that it works.

Vinschgerlen or Vinschgauer Paarlen (= pairs)

Here is the link to the recipe:

Avie93309's picture

From the ABI5MD. Who would have thought you can make dessert from stored bread dough? Well, the authors of this book did. As a matter of fact, I made this with bread dough, challah dough and brioche dough. The bread dough seems to be the favorite of all those who tried it.


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