The Fresh Loaf

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Darkstar's picture

Well it's been since I first found TheFreshLoaf in 2006 that I posted to my bread blog. Up until recently I hadn't had much time or energy to do much baking. Couple that with my love of crusty breads and whole wheat and my wife likes non-crusty, white breads and all the married folk can understand how this variable can decrease the amount of bread time for Jason. Well I had the time recently and wanted something to challenge me and get me back in the swing of baking so I scanned the site and decided on Floyd's Pain sur Poolish recipe.


I don't have much experience with working high-hydration dough but the best way to learn is to do so I dove right in. I guess I was feeling cocky from finally ordering and reading BBA but I felt I could handle it or add enough flour to make it a lower hydration loaf. :)


I followed the recipe to the letter with minor variations caused by the weather and temperature in the Chicago area recently (freaking cold). I am pleased and proud to have turned out a lovely boule and to have achieved a crisp crust with a creamy interior; both firsts for me as I usually bake enriched breads. I was doubly pleased and proud when my wife came home and not only tried my bread but actually liked it! I quickly made another poolish and baked up a second batch the next day for around-the-office gifting this time making two smaller boules for my usual "bread-head" and a newly discovered loaf-lover. The picture below was taken of the crumb from one of the smaller loaves my "bread-head" friend devoured. I thanked her for photographing it before it was all gone.


Darkstar's Daily Bread


I got sidetracked after I baked this as my sourdough starter became ready to bake with and I made this same recipe with a cup of starter in place of some of the flour and all of the yeast. I used pieces of info from JMonkey's lesson Squeeze more sour from your sourdough and other suggestions from another site to make a very, VERY tasty loaf. I plan on doing this again to photograph as my wife and I decimated the sourdough loaf before I could take pictures of it.


dmsnyder's picture

 Silesian Light Rye 1

Silesian Light Rye 1

Leader's "Local Bread" has three formulas for Polish ryes. I have made the Silesian Dark Rye once and the Polish Cottaqe Rye many times. Today, I made the Silesian Light Rye for the first time.

Leader describes these "glossy golden loaves" as having "a delicate rye flavor, a spongy crumb, and a thin, chewy crust." That about sums it up. This rye bread is the farthest you can get from a dense, super-sour, dark german rye. But then, it only has about 100 gms of light rye flour to 500 gms of bread flour. The chew and taste are light even compared to a French levain with a bit of rye flour in the dough. It is more like a (extraordinarily good) sandwich bread. The crust gets very soft, and it is thin yet chewy. The whole loaf feels light and spongy. 

I expect it will make lovely toast tomorrow morning to eat with my usual homemade almond butter and apricot jam or marmelade. I also think it would be great for a tuna or egg salad sandwich. I'd want a more substantial rye for corned beef, myself.

silesian Light Rye CrumbSilesian Light Rye Crumb


Floydm's picture

I found this photo in my camera. This was a straight up French bread, like a 65-2-1 combo. It had a 3 hour poolish, with wasn't enough to make a big difference, but it tasted pretty good.

Today I tried baking something similar though with an overnight poolish. I got distracted playing with the kids and let it rise about half an hour longer than I should have. It was huge. When I tried loosening it up on the peel so I could slide it into the oven, it went pffffffft... and deflated by about 40 percent. I got a little bit of spring back in the oven, but, alas, nothing like what it was prior.

My sourdough I timed much better, however. This was just with cheap-o store brand AP flour too, since I've not gotten a chance to pick up another big bag of Pendleton Mills bread flour.

Finally, I also made melon bread this afternoon. A yummy afternoon treat.

Thegreenbaker's picture

Yesterday, we were heading out for the day and we were also out of bread. I decided to throw together some dough and stick it in the fridge until today.

So, I put 4 cuops of sifted wholewheat (14%protein) and about 2cups of water and 1/2 cup milk (its thirsty flour) added some oil and salt also. I only put 1 teaspoon of yeast and everything was quite cool. I then let it sit for 20 mins to align the gluten while I got ready, then kneaded it for about 2 mins,,,,,not even that really....and threw it in the fridge.


We came home and I decided to make pizza with it, but it didnt rise at all. So I took it out folded it while cold and put it in a warm oven for about 5 mins hoping to warm it up and make it DO SOMETHING. Then decided it wasnt worth the effort (its was 9:30pm) so in the fridge it went, and this morning it is still quiet and flat.

I am going to do two things. Take a hunk, shape it and bake it, take the rest and use it as a preferment and add it to some more flour. Lets see what happens.



JMonkey's picture

I've been baking a lot, I've just had no time with work and home life to post. Here's a quick update of what I've been making over the past few weeks.

The sticky buns have been a big hit, but I only make them when we've got company staying over -- otherwise, I eat far too many. Photos and the recipe are here.

Oatmeal bread has made a come-back. I've tried a bunch of recipes, but pre-ferments never work for me because, since I prefer to use cooked steel-cut oats, the water in the oatmeal and the pre-ferment together make the dough too wet. I've finally settled on the recipe from The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book which relies on the oatmeal alone for liquid, but I took a cue from Hammelman and added an overnight retarding in the fridge. I love the warm, sweet flavor of the oats -- this might be my favorite sandwich bread.

I've also been making sourdough whole-wheat pizzas (60%). Here's the recipe I use for the dough, though lately I've been scaling back the water to 75% so that I can be sure I won't have any trouble with the dough sticking to the peel.

Here's that Ponsford Ciabatta that was giving me such fits a few weeks ago. It turned out OK, but, surprisingly, the flavor was not as yummy as the Poolish Ciabatta from Hammelman's Bread. It also started to go stale just a few hours after I made it. All I can figure is that I overproofed the thing.

Here's a funny one. Just a simple loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread, made with yogurt, from Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. I have no idea why the oven spring was so lopsided. Odd.

Last, I've been playing around a lot with rye, since I revived my rye starter from a massive attack of stinky black mold. I've tried breads with 40% rye and 60% whole wheat, but unless they're panned, I've never gotten the kind of volume I like. So I've been going with a 40-30-30 mix of whole rye - whole wheat - strong white flour that I've been very pleased with. I also add caraway. Yum.

zainaba22's picture

Makes 4 large or 8 small.

 1 recipe 10 Minutes Dough ( I use 2 whole wheat flour cups +3 white flour cups in this recipe).

1) Preheat the oven to 550F.

2) Divide dough into 4 or 8 pieces.

3) Shape each piece into a ball.

4) Roll each piece to round.

5) Place onto oven trays or hot baking surface for 2-3 minutes.



GlindaBunny's picture

It's been awhile since I've baked bread... I'm baking some today and it's rising right now.



I haven't been a complete slacker... I made brownies recently.   They were more than half gone before I could take a picture (we had company over - I swear I didn't eat them all myself)


The top is just a dark chocolate ganache with white chocolate stripes (drag the tip of a knife back and forth to create the design). 

AnnieT's picture

My son gave me a couple of bottles of light ale, some that had been brought to a party and he wouldn't drink, so I decided to try the Almost No Knead bread. I used 1/3c of my starter instead of the vinegar, a tip I got from Marie at Breadbasket. Mixed all the ingredients at 9pm last night and by 10am this morning it was pushing up the cover. What a nice dough! Kneaded it just 15 times and put the shaped boule in a parchment lined banneton for 2 hours where it rose beautifully. I baked it in my ss Dutch oven but next time I will use my stone and big mixing bowl. Good oven spring and the crust is still crackly, but the crumb isn't as open as I had hoped. Very light and tastes great, but no big holes. I just checked back on Marie's site and her crumb wasn't very holey either, so maybe it is supposed to be this way. Speaking of holey, I took a loaf to my son's house when I went for dinner recently, and as usual I was anxious to see what the crumb was like. When I said I was happy with the holey crumb my seven year old grandaughter said "Perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches!" I remember somebody talking about grilled cheese sandwiches where the cheese drips through and "toasts" - and he was right. Delicious, A.

HogieWan's picture

Thanks to a combination of techniques learned here (better kneading, shaping and slashing, esp.) and (maybe) a new baking stone, my oven spring keeps getting better and better. Last night I baked a simple 25% WW loaf. After proofing my shaped oval loaf for 4.5 hours, I put nice long slashes mostly-lengthwise acroos the loaf and the cuts immediately opened up, showing I'm getting good surface tension. Slipped it on the hot stone, and within 5 minutes, it exploded.


WW oven spring explosion


I didn't get a clear picture of the crumb, I'll add that tonight.

It tastes fantastic. My wife doesn't like "wheat bread" but she loved the slice she had last night. The crust is crackly and chewy and the crumb is soft and airy. I'm very pleased.

HogieWan's picture

My wife was asking me to make a "soft" white bread, so I hacked together a potato bread.  I'm not really sure what the recipe was, but there was WAY too much potato.  The dough was super sticky, but I forged ahead.  Oven spring was fantastic, but the bread was so soft the bread fell back in on itself upon cooling (the slash mark was strecthed flat upon removal from the oven).

 my first pototo bread attempt


It tasted quite good, but the middle seemed too moist.  It wasn't doughy/uncooked, but just way too moist.  I'll have to up the bake time next time I try this. 


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