The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
AnnieT's picture

Last night I went to an event labelled "Artisan Bread" at the local grange, choosing this over an evening with Elizabeth George and a popular gardening writer. Imagine my disappointment when the "Artisan Bread" turned out to be the good old No Knead Bread! Especially when the speaker put her dough into a cold Pyrex casserole and assured us that it would not stick. In fact she had to cut it out of the bowl in chunks. The good news in all of this is that the room was packed and people got really excited at the thought of making bread themselves. I know that reading about and trying the No Knead method is what got me into this obsession and I can only hope that many of the people there will also become addicted, A.

Blaauwberg's picture


I am fairly new to bread baking and have tried a few methods of creating steam in my oven at bake time with varying success (mostly not) I have seen a steam oven but am not sure wether it will do the job. It is an AEG B9820. Does anyone out there have one of these ovens? Is it suitable steam baking etc? Any advice etc would be appreciated.




Yippee's picture

Little Yippees have had all these sandwich breads that I've been testing for weeks.  They are begging for a change.   Here it is, something different on the table for breakfast:


xaipete's picture

This is a very tasty bread with a light crumb and nice crunch from the soaked seeds. I would make it again. In spite of the German rye sourdough incorporated in it, which was very sour tasting, I don't really taste any sour. It is a lovely, soft sandwich-type bread with only a hint of rye flavor. I can't imagine anyone, including children, disliking it. There are a number of errors in the recipe. I have pointed those out below, and indicated my experience when making this recipe in case someone else wants to try it.

Leader's Flax, Sesame, and Sunflower Rye

This sunflower-crusted rye gets great chew from the flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds inside. Flax isn't familiar to most people, but it is one of my favorite bread-baking ingredients. The glossy, tiny golden brown seeds have a wonderful sweet nuttiness. Until I saw this bread at Tobias Maurer's bakery in Stuttgart, I wouldn't have believed it was possible to put so many seeds into one loaf. I had seen how an abundance of seeds can draw moisture from dough, drying out the bread as it bakes. Tobias showed me how an overnight soak softens the seeds, turning them into a gelatinous mass that does the opposite, moistening the dough as it bakes (Local Breads, p. 282).

From Leader's Local Breads:

50 g German rye sourdough

28 g flax seeds

28 g raw, white sesame seeds

28 g raw sunflower seeds

525 g water* (I will probably either reduce the water by 50 g the next time I make the bread)

5 g instant yeast

300 g unbleached bread flour (I used KA Bread flour)

200 g whole grain rye flour (I ground my own)

10 g salt

Topping: 28 g raw sunflower seeds

Soak seeds, except topping, in 175 g water and make German rye sourdough 12 to 24 hours before mixing dough. (I did not find that these formed a gelatinous mass after soaking overnight, but whatever they formed seemed to work perfectly.)

On baking day: Pour remaining 350 g water in mixer bowl and stir in yeast, soaked seeds, bread flour, rye flour, salt, and German rye sourdough. Using the dough hook, knead the dough on speed 2 for 8 minutes, let rest in bowl for 10 minutes, resume kneading for another 8 minutes. I had to incorporate a substantial amount of extra bread flour during the final kneading time owing perhaps to errors in the amount of water* specified in Leader's recipe, which is different in the ingredients column than in the text.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container with a lid and let rise until double, about 2 hours.

Divide the dough in half, shape, and place in two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch pans. (I got two, 1-1/2 pound loaves out of the recipe, but Leader indicates there would be two 17 ounce loaves.) Mist the loaves with water or brush with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining sunflower seeds. Cover loosely and let proof for about an hour until nearly double (mine were doming the pans).

Preheat the oven to 400º twenty minutes before baking and place the oven rack at the lower middle position.

Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes. (I got a lot of oven spring.)

German rye-sourdough: mix 50 g liquid levain, 100 g water, and 75 g rye flour. Let stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. It is ready when it has doubled and tastes very tangy. It is alright to use if it has deflated (this was the case with me). This makes more sourdough than you need. According to the recipe, you can store the unused portion in the fridge until you are ready to use it again.


Seeking Chewy Loaves's picture
Seeking Chewy Loaves

I have some bread recipes that I am trying to "fix".  Whole wheat, multigrain and white sandwich loaf recipes specifically.  They currently yield very airy, light loaves.  This may please some but I am interested in chewy, relatively dense loaves with buttery crusts.  The current recipies produce crusts that are light and tear easily.. I am looking for more "chew" than "tear".  Any suggestions?  Do I need to type the recipe or does something jump to mind that I need to adjust, ie more sugar, more oil, more proofing time?

Many thanks!


xaipete's picture

I completed a batch of Leader's Sourdough Croissants from Local Breads today. I used the metric weights and had no problem with the recipe; everything seemed to be correct as written. I baked one tray at the recommended 350º for 18 minutes but thought they weren't browning enough, so upped the temperature to 375º for the remainder.

They baked up fine--light, flakey and layered--, but have almost no flavor, being neither sour, nor sweet, nor buttery, nor anything else. I knew something was wrong when I couldn't smell anything when they were baking. What a disappointment! It's almost like the levain canceled out the flavor of the dough. I've tried at least 6 different croissant recipes over my lifetime and all have come out well except this one. I think they are destined for the trash.

If anyone has had experience with this recipe or has an idea as to their lack of flavor, please let me know.

Leader's Sourdough Croissants


Leader's Sourdough Croissants


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Did anyone find the latest issue of National Geographic interesting?  How about Dan Fisher a paleontologist who plays with his food by preserving it with Lactobacteria?


Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Baked Potato Bread Photo

There'll be a better write-up on my blog,, but I wanted to thank Floyd for a good starter recipe. I'm still working on modifying this one. I think that I have the general consistency of the bread down that I want, but I want a bit more tang. I think that there may have to be a sourdough component to really get it where I want it to be. But that's a completely new bread.

This is Floyd's recipe with a few modifications. The first is adding a bit more sour cream. The second was adding cheddar cheese instead of chives. The third is the addition of half & half in the dough and the mashed potatoes.

I think that getting a stand mixer will help me with this type of bread the most. I mixed for 8 or so minutes on speed 2 and then folded twice during the bulk fermentation, giving it an hour at the end to come to full bulk. The crumb is light, fluffy, and very tender.

I'm writing the recipe on the blog now. I wanted to share the photo because I'm so proud of how this one turned out. :)

Yippee's picture

These baguettes were a result of the collaborative efforts of Yippee and Little Yippees. The kids enjoy eating foods that they took part in preparing more.  These turned out to be part of our lunch and dinner of the day.

These are better looking baguettes than my first batch.  However, there were even fewer air pockets than the first time.  May be this was due to excessive gas loss during shaping since I did not follow Mike's video this time.    

 Colors improved since this time I did everything I could to achieve a better color. 

1st, 2nd  and 3rd rises were all done in the fridge and each followed by stretch and fold. 3rd rise was unexpected and was used as a way to delay the process to a later time. Final internal temperature was 205F, a few degrees lowered than last time at which I found the crust was crispier.    

Yippee's picture

Another sleepless night. I almost thought something was wrong with my dough since I did not expect the fermentation would take this looooooooooong.  Next time I'd go to bed while it rises and not check on it every 15 minutes. 

The recipe was done on two builds from barm to final dough. The barm was refreshed the day before, very active.  It's converted from my previous whole wheat recipe.  I wanted to start my wild yeast experience with a recipe which I'm already very familiar with so that I can easily compare the differences. 

1st rise:  retarded in fridge, seemed very active, rose more than double in a very short time.

Final proof:  took 5 hours, barely reached 80% of the regular height.

Q: Should I have skipped all these different rises and shaped the dough once all ingredients were mixed?

Q: This made me wonder normally how long it takes to rise a dough with wild yeast?

 These loaves were moist, springy with a slight tang, but not as tall as their counterparts with commercial yeast. 

Q: Maybe I should adjust the rising time and the amount of starter next time?  

This time I experimented with 240g of 100% hydration starter. It's quite a challenge to maintain the percentage of ingredients in the original recipe without compromising those like eggs and milk which contribute to the softness and good flavors of the bread.    In this case I dehydrated the milk by using dry milk power and spared the extra water from the starter to the dough.  

 My seed culture was made with raisins.   

Q:        Would anyone know if there's a difference in tastes when seed cultures are made with different ingredients?

Q:        Or once the seed cultures are turned into a barm, the tang is indistinguishable?  



Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries