The Fresh Loaf

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zhi.ann's picture

My second attempt at using yeast!

I discovered one packet of my yeast, labeled as 18g, results in more than 35 ml (about 7 tsp or 2 1/3 Tbsp) of dry yeast. Is it okay that I store what I don't use in an airtight tupperware-type container, in a dark cabinet?

storing yeast

I started preparing for the pretzels at 8:10 pm using floyd's recipe here.

I wasn't sure how to activate my yeast, not sure whether to mix in or let it sit on top of the water, but I think it worked correctly; at first, nothing seemed to happen but after a few minutes a thickish layer of tan foamish stuff was on the top.

activating dry yeast

My brown sugar comes in hard blocks I have to chop up to make like a powder. It wasn't as fine as it could of been if I kept chopping, but after quite awhile, I put it in there. Is it okay that my brown sugar wasn't super-fine?

not too fine brown sugar

I had to add a ton of flour, probably 550 ml (2.5 cups) above the original 240 ml (1 cup).

I also didn't know how to knead until satiny. After just a minute or two, it seemed smoother than before, but as I continued kneading it quickly became rougher, and after 8 minutes of kneading and not being sure what I was looking for, I moved on. Also, despite the added flour, it still stuck to the cutting board a lot.

This may be because of the consistency being off, but I couldn't figure out how to "roll" my dough into logs. I kind of squeezed them into the logs, rolling as much as I could (not much) to make them round, and I came out with very inconsistent sizes with loops that didn't want to stick at all.

pretzel logs

I used the eggwash.

I didn't know whether to grease the baking sheet, and whether the salt was needed (I always scrape the salt off my pretzels cuz I don't like the taste). I salted one, put garlic powder on one, and left the others plain.

pretzels, pre-baking

At this point (I know better now) I thought I should only turn on the bottom, not the top, heating element for baking. After 6 minutes, my pretzels were so HUGE, they didn't really have holes anymore. Oh well.

The tops weren't browning at all (obviously since I didn't have any heat up there) but the bottoms were turning yucky black, so I took them out.

pretzels, post-baking

You know what? They tasted really good. They taste to me like breadsticks, not pretzels, but still yummy. My husband melted some butter with garlic powder mixed in, and it made a great dip. I liked the garlic powder pretzel best, and wonder whether I could brush them with the butter/garlic powder mix rather than the egg, or in addition?

pretzel inside - yum!

Looking forward to trying this again:
-with both heating elements on
-rolling the dough out thinner so the pretzels will look more like pretzels
-potentially brushing with butter/onion powder, based on people here's suggestions
-anything else people suggest for me 

siuflower's picture

Make you own diastatic malt

You can make your own:  sprout a cup of wheat berries by covering
them with water in a jar for 12 or so hours, dump out the water &
rinse with clean water, and place the jar in a darkish, warmish,
place.  Rinse the berries every day with clean water and return to
their place.

In 2-3 days they will begin to sprout.  When the sprout is as long as
the berries themselves, dump them out on paper towels, dry them off,
and set on a cookie sheet in the sun for a day or so to dry out. Then
put the cookiesheet in a 100F oven for an hour or three.  Do not let
the temp get above 130F or the enzymes will be destroyed.

Then grind the dried malted berries into flour, and use it in your
favorite recipe at a rate of approx. 1t. per loaf.


I am new to this blog but I also could not find any diastatic malt in AL, so I search the internet and happened to find a web site to make your own diastatic malt. I did not saved the web address but I did copy the recipe and I did follow the direction and make my own diastatic  malt. I hope it will help some of you  to make your own diatatic malt. I sprout 1/4 cup of wheat berry instead of 1 cup and grounded it and store in the freezer.



slothbear's picture

  my standard challah for company.  1/3 King Arthur white whole wheat, 1/4 c dark flax seed meal.

Since my husband is out of town, I fished for a Shabbos invitation at a close friend's house. He was going to be out all day, so I volunteered to bake the challah. I haven't made one for them before, and I always do a six-strand loaf for my debut. It has about 1/3 King Arthur white whole wheat, and 1/4 c dark flax seed meal.

suzanneulrich's picture

How do I get good oven spring?  My loaves come out looking just like they did when I put them in.  Am I not letting them rise enough, or too much?  Did I exhaust my yeast?   The crumb is a little dense, but not bad.

carltonb's picture


Announcing SFBI's First Book!

Advanced Bread and Pastry BookThe San Francisco Baking Institute is pleased to announce the publication of our first book: Advanced Bread and Pastry: A Professional Approach.

Advanced Bread and Pastry: A Professional Approach is a comprehensive guide to bread and pastry, designed as a resource for colleges and universities, private culinary schools, professionals, and dedicated enthusiasts.Balancing a respect for tradition with modern approaches to method and technique, Advanced Bread and Pastry unites appealing presentation and indispensable instruction. It is written to help today's instructor and baker respond to the recent evolution of ingredients, products, and presentation in the baking industry. The recipes (called formulas) are based on a variety of classic methods and processes. With this strong foundation of knowledge, a baker or pastry chef can develop further skills, experiment with new ideas, and understand any formula.







Carlton Brooks CEBC, CCE

Mesa, Arizona


Karen K's picture
Karen K

I made the whole rye and wheat sourdough rye from Laurel's Kitchen using the steaming method. It is the best tasting bred I've ever had! I would like to show what it looks like but image is too big. I'll work on that. Karen K

dolfs's picture

Today I made Norm's recipe for Irish Soda Bread. Discussion here and elsewhere has me convinced that his Americanized version is more appropriately called Spotted Dog.

Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread)
Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread)

I made 4 loaves. Two loaves were in 7" cake pans, but I used 1 lb 5 oz of dough instead of Norm's suggested 1 lb and 2 oz. The other two were in square pans a little larger and I guesstimated 1 lb 10 oz each. Otherwise I followed Norm's formula to the letter. Mixing was done by first mixing the shortening with the flour, and then adding the remaining dry ingredients, mixing again, and finally the buttermilk and water. I did this by hand using a dough whisk. Since I had 4 pans in the oven at the same time I baked at 350 convection (my oven's thermostat is on the low side so this is not as bad as it seems). Towards the end I even cranked it up to 375F convection to get some more browning. Start to finish (cooling time not included) a little over 1 hour.

Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread) Crumb
Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread) Crumb 

Never made this before, nor tasted it before. The crumb came out really nice and soft, but I think it could have used a little more raisins. Tasted delicious with a little (lot) of butter on top! Thanks Norm. 




See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

AnnieT's picture

I walked over to a local thrift store while my car was in for an oil change and was thrilled to find a copy of The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz - for $2! I was able to do a quick scan while waiting for my car and it looks like a keeper. Does anyone have this book? Any comments, favorite recipes, errors? Now if I could only find a used (slightly) DLX mixer... A.

rainbowbrown's picture

Onion and Poppy Seed Purim Ring


Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrating the story told in the biblical Book of Esther, when the Jews living in Persia were saved from being massacred. In celebration of Purim, one is commanded to “eat, drink and be merry”, festivities are held and fun is had for all. My contribution to BBD #8 (celebration breads, hosted by susanfnp at Wild Yeast blog) is an onion and poppy seed Purim ring from Maggie Glezer’s _A Blessing of Bread_. The following is excerpted from Glezer’s book:

As for the Purim connections: The twisted ring looks like Queen Esther’s crown, and the onions and poppy seeds are not only delicious but honor this queen’s bravery and piety. Queen Esther observed the rules of kashrut in King Ahashuarus’s palace by eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Despite its extravagant looking nature this was quite easy to make. Ok, shaping was a bit tricky, but not that bad. I don’t generally make enriched breads, so this one was intense for me. It’s very rich and quite delicious. I love the flavor of safflower oil which is why I chose to use it here, but I think next time I’ll go with a more neutral oil, the intensity of the oil flavor really comes through in the end. Make sure you have enough counter space to shape this stuff. My workspace is about 20” in length and the strands of dough need to be 30” long. I didn’t take this into account beforehand and ended up doing some tough maneuvering, but it worked.




· 7 grams(2 ¼ tsp) instant yeast

· 500 grams (3 ¾ cups) bread flour

· 170 grams (¾ cup) water

· 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus one for glazing

· 110 grams (½ cup) vegetable oil (* I used safflower oil)

· 8 grams (1 ½ tsp) salt

· 55 grams (¼ cup) sugar



· 275 grams (1 ½ cups) finely chopped onions (about one onion)

· 70 grams (½ cup) poppy seeds

· 3 grams (½ tsp) salt

· 85 grams (6 tbs) melted butter



(* This wasn’t called for in the recipe, but I think it worked out pretty well)

Use 160 grams of the flour, all of the water and ¼ teaspoon of yeast and mix until combined. Let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours until some activity is apparent in the dough. Refrigerate overnight.


Mixing the Dough

Take the poolish out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before mixing the final dough. Then mix the remaining 2 teaspoons of yeast, the salt and the sugar with the remaining 340 grams of flour in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the eggs and oil into the poolish, and then combine this mixture with the flour mixture. Stir until vaguely combined. Turn out and knead for no longer than ten minutes (* I kneaded for about 8 minutes, the dough was firm, soft and very easy to knead).



Put dough into an oiled container and ferment for about two hours or until doubled in bulk. Alternately you can refrigerate now until the next day. When the dough is almost done fermenting mix the filling ingredients, divide in half and set aside.


Shaping and Proofing

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough in two and roll each piece to about 30” in length. Working one at a time, flatten each strand with a rolling pin to about 4” wide. Spoon half the filling along the center of each strand. Pull the long edges up over the filling and pinch them together (* Pinch well! This dough with want to split open). Turn the strand so the seam is down. Lay both strands along side each other and cross them in the middle. Twist them over each other down both ends and then bring ends around to form a ring and pinch shut. This will make a spiral circle. Carefully (* I made someone help me here) transfer to the parchment. Cover and proof for about an hour. It will rise to about one and a half times its size. Or you can retard overnight if you wish.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Glaze the proofed dough with egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 45–50 minutes until well browned, turning half way through. *Prepare for butter leakage, perhaps use a sheet pan with a lip all the way around, mine spilled a little in my oven. *Don’t use steam when baking this bread, I imagine the fillings would just burst out.


*Has anyone ever noticed that when you type the word "poolish" in Microsoft Word it changes it, without telling you, to "polish" ? I've had quite a time with that...

holds99's picture


I tried your recipe for the baguttes/batards (using starter) and I had some problems that maybe you can help me understand.  First I refreshed my starter at 6 hours intervals for a day and a half before I started.  It's the Nancy Silverton starter I made years ago and still use when making some of her sourdough recipes.  It was bubbling nicely when I started the recipe.  Anyway, following your recipe I used 167g starter, 375g K.A. French style flour (supposed to be the equivalent of French T55), 225g water, and 10g salt.  Mixed it all together, let it rest for 45 min. did a fold and placed it in a lightly oiled gallon size plastic container, turned it over (smooth side up), covered it and set it aside at room temp. for 12 hours.  After 12 hours I didn't have any rise to speak of in the dough.  So, i left it for another 3 hours, thinking maybe the room temp. was cooler than 78 deg. and after 3 hrs. still very little rise.  At this point I figured I better do something or I'm going to lose it.  So I stretched the dough out on the counter sprinkled 1 tsp. instant yeast over the surface and kneaded it for about 8 minutes giving it a good workout to fully incorporate the yeast.  Then let set it into the fridge for about 3 hours, removed it to room temp. and let it rise until doubled.  Removed it from the container did a couple of folds, returned it to the container for about an hour, then put it on the counter divided it in two and let it rest for 30 min.  I then shaped it and placed it in a well floured couche and let it rise for about 1.5 hours.  Flipped it from the couche onto my floured transport board, placed it on parchment lined pans, scored it and baked it.

The only thing I can figure is that my starter was not working properly.  Can you tell me what you do to your starter in this recipe to bring it up to speed and get the proper rise without having to resort to yeast?  The exterior of the loaves look o.k. but the interior, well it needs "big time" help because it sure doesn't resemble the interior of those lovely loaves you made.  I feel like the gods must be angry :-)    Seriously, I really want to understand where I went wrong. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.




Batard Interior

Batard Interior


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