The Fresh Loaf

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Floydm's picture

I looked into my pantry today and found rye flour, whole wheat flour, rice flour, barley flour, cake flour, pizza flour, and high gluten flour for making bagels but no bread flour.  So, like ApplePie, I decided to go flour shopping.

I didn't visit a mill, instead hitting the local Cash & Carry, which carries a number of different brands of flour, the most noteable of which is Pendleton Flour Mills.  I was pleased that this time they had 25 pound bags of flour for under 10 bucks, so I picked up one bag of their unbleached Morbread flour, which I've been quite satisfied with in the past.  They had their Power high gluten flour, their semolina flour, and their pizza flour blends too, which I'm quite tempted to try next time.

So now I've just mixed up my first batch of Anis Bouabsa's baguettes and will set up a sourdough to ferment overnight tonight as well.  It is nice to have the rainy weather back... perfect for hanging around the house, reading, and baking!

ApplePie's picture

I'm a compulsive baker.  When I'm in a grocery store, sometimes I walk down the baking ingredients aisle, even if I don't need anything, just to look.  Pulling a freshly baked apple pie or loaf of bread from the oven, with its aroma wafting through the house with the promise of deliciousness to come, is one of the most enjoyable experiences in life, in my opinion.

I'm also an engineer who needs to understand how things work.  Baking fascinates me.  The transformation of simple ingredients - flour, water, yeast and salt - into a living piece of dough, and then nourishing loaf of bread that feeds the soul as well as the body is the fascinating intersection of science, the senses, and the spiritual.

Lest anyone think I'm an expert baker, let me assure you I've had plenty of duds:  gloppy underdone pies, bricks for bread, sourdough cinnamon rolls that were so sour they made my mouth pucker - and not in a good way.

So I'm here, and you're probably reading this, because I want to understand and apply the secrets of good baking, one of which is quality ingredients.  Now you can make a decent loaf a bread from store bought flour; I've used King Arthur and Gold Medal Better for Bread in the past.  But in an effort to bake healthier breads, I wanted to find a full-flavored whole wheat flour that wasn't bitter.  That's challenging since whole wheat flour is more perishable due to the oil in the germ.  References from the Fresh Loaf and from Artisan I and Artisan II classes at SFBI point to Central Milling, who produces Whole Foods' 365 Organic Unbleached All Purpose flour.  They also sell unbleached white flour at Costco, under the Central Milling label.

I contacted Nicky Giusto at Central Milling to ask about ordering whole wheat flour directly from the Utah mill.  To my surprise, he said I could swing by Petaluma (in the SF bay area) and buy directly from their warehouse!  I met Nicky yesterday just after he returned from delivering some flour to the Culinary Institute of America in Napa.

Nicky Giusto

Nicky, 4th generation in the flour/baking business, set up and is running this west coast warehouse, which has been in existence for less than a year.  Nicky was very helpful, freely sharing information about the different flours and which ones to use for what you want to bake.  We talked about the business, the wheat market, and the quality of their flour, starting from the seeds they supply to the farmers.

Although the Petaluma warehouse doesn't stock every type of Central Milling flour, they still have quite a selection. This picture shows a depleted supply, deliveries having been made throughout the week.

Central Milling Petaluma warehouse


It was good to hear how Central Milling keeps a close connection to the farmers who grow the grain.  In fact, the photo in the Central Milling logo is of Farmer Brown, the great great grandfather of the Washington farmer who now grows grain for their Organic Whole Wheat Acme Hi-Pro Fine flour.

Central Milling logo

And they do sell a lot of flour to Acme:

Flour for Acme

I ended up w/ 2 50lb bags of flour plus a little extra:

  • 50 lbs Organic Whole Wheat Acme Hi-Pro Fine: High protein, especially good for pan breads. Although you can make a 100% whole wheat loaf with it, Nicky suggested mixing it with some white flour, I think for some softness.

  • 50 lbs Artisan Bakers Craft white flour w/ malted barley flour. This bag he threw in for free, since the bag had gotten a tear (which they taped up) and so couldn't be sold commercially.

  • 2 bags of pancake mix, regular buttermilk and whole wheat buttermilk, just to try.  You may notice that the pictures used on these packages of pancake mix are the same pictures to be found on Whole Foods 365 brand of pancake mix.

Central Milling pancake mix

In the future, I'll probably be coordinating with others to split 50 lb bags of flour.

If you are interested in buying flour from the Petaluma warehouse, contact Nicky via phone - his number is shown at the top of the Central Milling products webpage - to arrange your visit.  Although they aren't set up to sell to a high volume of people, Nicky is quite happy to sell to enthusiasts on an occasional basis.  Just be prepared to take your flour in 50 lb increments.  If there's a bag already opened, he is willing to sell a smaller quantity.  Working on the website is on Nicky's To Do list.

I have no affiliation with Central Milling - just an enthusiast looking for quality flour.



AnnieT's picture

I'll try again




AnnieT's picture

It has been too long since I made bread for my neighbors, aka "The Old People", and as I had a large yogurt container of SD discard today was the day. Or rather yesterday evening when I made the dough. I started with a quart of discard and about the same amount of warm water then added old fashioned oats, dried milk, oil, sugar, 1T instant yeast and salt and added KA white whole wheat flour and Wheat Montana ap flour. Like quahtan I lost count of the exact amount - just kept adding until the dough cleaned the sides of the bowl. Oh, I was using my trusty Bosch mixer. Then I added raisins and when they were mixed in I transferred the dough to the biggest mixing bowl I own and put it into a large plastic bag and into the fridge for the night. When I checked at 10.30pm the dough was straining the bag so I punched the dough down and covered it with David's favorite plasti-crap. This morning it was way over the top of the bowl again, time to shape the braids. I divided the dough into 4 pieces but after shaping the first braid I decided that was too big so I did some judicious downsizing, and after baking I think they could have been even smaller. When they were proofed they were brushed with egg and milk and sprinkled with raw sugar befor baking at 375* for 20 minutes. The grandgirls are coming to spend the night so they can be the delivery people, a task they love. Nana is going to take a quick nap! A.

Well, I have my picture all ready to go - and when I click to get "browse" nothing happens! Maybe later...







SylviaH's picture

I've seen some lovely variations on E.K. Baguette Monge and it's started my craving.  I used King Arthur All Purpose flour and K.A. Organic White Whole Wheat and formulated it for 69% hydration.  I also did an overnight bulk ferment.  I thought they tasted the best of any baguettes I have made so far...which is not saying much because I've only made baguettes a few times.  They really did have such a nice flavor..I ate half of one while trying to take photos...sweet, creamy, nutty also I think my levain has developed a very nice flavor and it really came through..I will have to do this again...but next time without the overnight bulk.

I shaped these as long as would fit in my oven.  I liked the way the corners jumped up from being on the pre-heated hot stone.

They sang nicely to me!  I need a lot more practice than what I have been getting on my slashes!

The Crumb Shot!



Obsessive Ingredient Weigher's picture
Obsessive Ingre...

Waffles are a form of quick bread, so I thought I'd share a recipe for pumpkin waffles that I've been working on + post some photos of them! Let me know what you think.

The initial mix of dry ingredients...

Whisk to blend...

The initial mix of wet ingredients (butter not yet added)...

The wet ingredients blended with the melted butter...

Beginning to blend dry and wet ingredients...

The perfect mix of dry and wet; it's still a little lumpy, and that's perfect...

Egg whites at the stiff peak stage...

The final batter with egg whites folded in...

A fresh waffle about to be taken from the iron...

dstroy's picture

So, as you all already know, World Bread Day happens to coincide with Floyd's birthday. This year, I decided to try the recipe that qahtan had posted here in this forum a while ago (which keeps coming up in discussion) for the Guinness Stout chocolate cake.

I was a teeny bit intimidated actually, because the measurements are in weight rather than in cup measure units, but I pulled out Floyd's bread scale, which to date I had never used for anything beyond weighing the occasional package, and I decided the recipe sounded too good not to make the time to learn now.

I thought you might find amusing the endeavors of a complete baking newbie in attempting this recipe. Floyd's the baker around here, not me - I am on the site all the time but usually I am just clearing out spam and checking out the new recipes (to ask Floyd to bake later, heh) or keeping track that threads don't start spiraling out of hand. Most of the bakers jargon and knowledge, however, tends to go over my head.
I did learn a few key points during the course of baking, here's a rundown of the kitchen chaos that occurred. I'm pretty sure that Floyd is way better at keeping the messes minimal, because I think I spent more time cleaning the kitchen than I did in actual cooking.

The cake, however, turned out phenomenally, despite my lack of baker's experience. We give this one two thumbs up, all the way around!


I dropped two sticks (8oz) of unsalted butter into the mixing bowl and added the 12 oz soft dark brown sugar, which measured out to about 1 cup of well packed sugar and got it mixing.
In a second bowl, I beat 4 eggs, and then I added them into the main cake batter in the mixing bowl.

Then I made my first mistake, which was when trying to figure out what 8 oz of flour measured out to, I put my third mixing bowl on the scale and started to pour directly from the flour bag, which landed about a quarter of the bag in the bowl and a lovely white cloud of the stuff in my face and hair. Eventually I managed to scoop out the extra flour until the scale showed the right amount in there and then I mixed in the 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.

The recipe then calls for you to 14 fl oz stout Guinness and the only size of beer I could find was a larger bottle. I'm not sure if I did it right, but I didn't find a measuring cup with ml measurements, so I ended up zeroing the scale on another bowl and then pouring the beer in until it weighed the 14 ounces.
This turned out to be pretty comical when I then added 4 oz of Droste cocoa, because the stuff is really expensive so I didn't want to have cocoa powder flying everywhere, but when I tried to stir it into the beer, the mixture began to froth and bubble and eventually this too turned into a spectacular mess.

Eventually though, I got the cocoa and flour stuff into the mixing bowl and got it all into a goopy consistency (though I also learned the importance of remembering to switch off the mixer before lifting the beaters to scrape the sides of the bowl - this piece of "education" earned me some artistic chocolate messes splattered on the cabinet, ceiling, and walls!)

Then I then poured into a slightly-larger-than 9 inch spring form tin which I'd buttered well.

That went into the preheated oven at 350F for a little over an hour until a toothpick inserted in the cake came out clean.

But despite all my amateurishness, the cake cake out splendid.


I had read that some FreshLoafers really liked "naked" or whipped cream only toppings on this cake, but I couldn't bear to not have something with it, so I found a recipe for a cream cheese icing with whipping cream that was absolutely perfect for this cake.

Take 8 oz cream cheese and 1 cup confectioners' powdered sugar in a mixing bowl, and whip with an electric beater until smooth.
Then add about 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and beat again until you have a spreadable consistency.

And I forgot to add the grated chocolate that qahtan had recommended into my mix before putting it into the baking pan, so I ended up using it as decorations on top. (The heart outline was done with chocolate syrup.)

A few candles on top and we were ready to serve!

Happy Birthday Floyd!


This cake was so amazingly rich and dark. No taste of beer, the kids were amazed and didn't believe us when we explained that there was beer in there. I've never made anything like it before. This is some serious chocoholic dream material!

Thank you, fellow FreshLoafers, for the recipe! This was a great one!

dmsnyder's picture

I am again trying Ed Wood's "San Francisco Sourdough" starter. I began activating the dry starter just a week ago. It took about 5 days to get it up to speed. This is the first bread I've baked with this new starter. It's my "San Joaquin Sourdough" made without any added instant yeast and with KAF Bread Flour.

My San Joaquin Sourdough is based on Anis Bouabsa's method for baguettes, which utilizes a long cold retardation at the bulk fermentation stage. The flavor of the bread was what i usually get with this formula. It is very mildly sour. There was no distinctive "San Francisco Sourdough" flavor, but the starter is still very new, and the flavor should develop over the next month or so. We'll see.

I have another couple loaves shaped and cold retarding to bake tomorrow. Those were also made with this starter but with a more conventional method. I expect them to be more sour in flavor.


davidg618's picture

We are having homemade soup tonight for dinner. Since we've been eating a lot of sourdough lately I decided to make Hamelman's Pain Rustique. A unique bread, attributed to the legendary French baker. educator and author, Raymond Calvel, its poolish preferment comprises more than half of the entire dough weight.

Two pounds of poolish, for three-and-a-half pounds of dough!

One gets an interesting shape when the a loaf hangs off the edge of one's too-small-for-three-loaves baking stone.

The crumb: open, firm chewiness.

David G

chouette22's picture

Last weekend, I wanted to get my baguette experiments on the way, and used one of David’s (dmsnyder) comments and his wonderful posts (how fantastic to be able to benefit from them and the ensuing comments of the members here) as a starting point. My goal eventually is to try all of his three favorites, the one by Samuel Fromartz and any other styles that catch my attention, to see which one I might favor in the end.


This past Saturday I made Pat’s baguettes (proth5) using David's recipe, shaping one into the classic form and the other one into an épi one.



Then on Sunday I attempted Philippe Gosselin’s baguettes, again following David's footsteps, and again making two épi shapes, since we like the crust and crunch so much. I baked them quite a bit longer than what the recipe suggested, but couldn't get a darker color. 

We liked all of them, the tastes were wonderful, but for some reason I didn’t get too much oven spring in either of them. I’ll have to keep trying. Gosselin’s needed a lot less attention I found. Either bake disappeared on the same day…

I also made a big Zopf, this time after my compatriot Thomas’ recipe:

It came out very well, but I guess I cannot really compare it with my age-old recipe, since I tested a new flour that I recently bought at Costco: The Eagle Mills AP unbleached blend of white and ultragrain flours, as the label states, 20lbs for $5.68, can't beat that!

If you are interested, you can see the nutritional profile here. Its protein content per 100g is 13.7, fiber 12.2, and ash 1.6. They are selling it as AP flour and I am checking if I can really use it as such. Since it has quite a percentage of whole wheat in it, and I often mix my AP with whole wheat anyway, this could be quite convenient.

For a Zopf however, one typically uses only white flour. My daughter was suspicious right away when she saw it, since the appearance was a bit less white (or light yellow) than what she is used to see in a Zopf. She often suspects that I smuggle “healthy” things into her food, when she prefers bread and pasta, for example, to be as white as possible. Some weeks ago I made a Chocolate-Zucchini-Bread, and she loved it, thinking it was a chocolate cake. Later I made the mistake (I thought she was old enough now – 12y) of telling her that it actually was Zucchini Bread – she had no more of it!...



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