The Fresh Loaf

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crunchybaguette's picture


I baked this hand shaped loaf and a dozen others yesterday in an artisan bread bakery I work for in New Zealand. About 80 in total.



It is made with a cold overnight poolish at 125% of the overall dough weight, receives a fairly decent bulk fermentation and a quality hearth bake.



Love to hear some feedback from bread lovers around the world.





jimk90804's picture

It seems that often my bread products turn out too dense and doughy tasting.  For example yesterday I had lunch at a church's and their biscuits were delightful, I looked up the recipe when I got home to see if I could make them as good (from a knockoff recipe on the internet) and they were pretty much a disaster, too dense and doughy tasting what could I be doing wrong.

I have had good recults baking some bread recipes from Clayton Bairds book "Complete Book of Breads".

Shiao-Ping's picture

Two girl friends came for tea this morning.  In the past I would have toiled for weeks (no kidding) to prepare the most exquisite desserts and pastries that I could think of for our tea.  Since I started making sourdough breads, my taste bud has changed.  Just as well, Chinese tea is not meant to be enjoyed with sweets.  We just drank and drank until we were hungry.  We then had the finger sandwiches that I made earlier for lunch with the two Pains au Levain that I baked yesterday - Snow Peas Pain au Levain and Carrot Pain au Levain.



                                                                     Celebration for summer colors



                           Snow peas butter, bacon and snow peas sprouts in Snow Peas Pain au Levain



                                     Smoked ocean trout, avocado and lemon in Carrot Pain au Levain



                                             Asparagus and crème fraiche in Snow Peas Pain au Levain


My Formula for Carrot Pain au Levain

  • 450 g starter @ 75% hydration (5% rye flour)

  • 450 g flour (5% rye flour and the balance white bread flour)

  • 282 g carrot juice (from 455 g peeled carrot, or 4 - 5 carrots)

  • 55 g orange juice (from 112 g orange, or 1/2 orange, skin included )

  • 14 g salt

Total dough weight 1.2kg (divided into two) and approx dough hydration 72 - 75%



My Formula for Snow Peas Pain au Levain

  • 500 g starter @ 75% hydration (5% rye flour)

  • 500 g flour (5% rye flour and the balance white bread flour)

  • 660 g peas puree (made up of 500 g frozen peas cooked in 30 g oil + 2 garlic + salt to taste, then blended with 130 g water added)

  • 12 g salt

Total dough weight 1.6kg (divided into two) and approx. dough hydration 67 - 70% (based on assumption that there is 30 to 35% liquid in peas.)



Procedure for both breads

  1. Mix only the flour and carrot/orange juice (or peas puree).  Autolyse for an hour.

  2. Combine with starter and salt; stretch & folds in bowl, 60 - 70 strokes (very messy, especially the peas dough)

  3. Bulk ferment for 2 to 2 1/2 hours (my room temperature was 25 - 26 C) with one set of S&F's.

  4. Divide into two doughs and pre-shape and shape into cylinder or any shape you like.

  5. Proof for 2 hours (my room temperature was 25 - 26 C)

  6. Retard in refrigerator for 10 hours.

  7. Bake with steam at 220C for 35 minutes (carrot bread) or 40 minutes (peas bread).



Leftover bread crumbs for a bread quiche for dinner tonight:  I soaked the above leftover bread crumbs (from making the finger sandwiches) in chicken stock, then added some vegetables (Swiss mushroom, butternut squash, capsicum, and cherry tomatoes), eggs, cream and cheese and made a bread quiche.  The idea came from making bread and butter pudding the other day using staled walnuts and raisins sourdough. 




                                                                         Enough bread to sink a ship


breadnik's picture

Having used this site for ages, and having greatly appreciated and learned from the collective wisdom of my fellow bakers, I finally decided to join the Fl. So now, I figured, is as good a time to introduce myself as ever.

Here's my story. A couple of years ago I did not know how to bake anything. All the foolproof recipes that my more baking-talented friends gave me simply said, "add as much flour as the dough will take" or "knead until the dough would stop sticking" -- but the dough would take as much as I'd give it or will never stop sticking, thought I! I honestly tried baking bread a few times, and failed miserably every time, producing absolutely ugly loaves that were as heavy as a brick, and as raw on the inside as they were burnt on the outside -- in other words, completely and utterly inedible. After a while the word "yeast" would send me into a major panic mode, even though in all other respects I was a very fearless and rather successful cook.

And then some kind soul sent me the link to the youtube no-knead bread recipe. Now THAT seemed totally foolproof. I worked up some courage and decided to try it. It came out! Not to push my luck too far I waited a few days and then tried it again. It came out again! At that point, having gained just the tiniest bit of self-confidence, I started reading cookbooks and trying some "real" recipes. Some came out, some didn't. But my failures ended up being even more educational than my successes -- I started actually "getting it."

One day early this summer I was at a local farmers' market. I had a loaf of my Russian corainder-rye bread that I brought at the request of a friend. Well, the friend couldn't come to the market, so I gave the loaf to the market manager. As soon as the market ended that day, she found me through common friends and asked me if I could become a vendor at the market. Apparently, my bread was different enough from everything else that was available that she wanted to have me join them.

It took me a little time to rework my recipes from cups/spoons into grams and milliliters (my brain works in metric only) and to figure out how to scale up from baking 10-15 loaves a week to over 100 in one day (for the market, I generally make a push and bake all of my 120-150 loaves on Friday, but that would be all of my weekly baking). By mid-July I started selling my breads at the market. I absolutely love it! It is very hard work, it doesn't make a lot of money (although I am not in the red, thank goodness!) but I feel that after a lifetime of working much less "real" kind of jobs I'm finally doing something that makes people happy. At least, my customers' faces make it all worth my while.

CaptainBatard's picture

This is my first attempt to post a blog. I have been baking bread and looking at the site for many it goes.

I try to make a bread at least once a week especially when the weather is agreeable. I was looking for a bread to make over the week-end and saw the Cherry Pecan sour dough recipe posted by Mountaindog....and thought...that will work! I did tweak the formula a bit, I used 35% white whole wheat, 5% rye and increased the hydration to 73%. (my flour tends to be thirsty). It was not fussy at all and had a nice oven spring. Next time I might try leaving out the ww and up the rye.

I like a bold bake......

That was touch and go tring to get the photos in....

Being sent to Yeast Spotting







turosdolci's picture

You ask, what could be more decadent, and I say absolutely nothing. Cartellate are traditionally made during Christmas. They are traditional Pulgiese fried pastries, filled with roasted almonds, honey, spices and chocolate.

They are a holiday cookie and although mostly made at Christmas time, they are our star dessert on our Thanksgiving table. They just seemed so suited to a beautiful Thanksgiving dessert table. 

These cookies are a labor of love and not easy to make, but the good news is that you can place the shells in a brown paper bag and keep some for Christmas. 


Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

I have already written about Bäcker Süpke's wholegrain spelt bread with whole grains in my 'other blog'.
But I think the TFL blog would be a much more appropriate place for this recipe.

I've made this bread several times by now, and it always turned out flawlessly. It's nothing I could claim any credit for, but , seeing how charming Meister Süpke is in his comments, I don't really think he'd mind the extra publicity. So I sat down and translated the original recipe, hoping to spread this around the blogosphere a little.

There are only two minor changes I made to the original recipe, apart from the translation, that is.

For one, I shied away from adding the soft, boiled grains to the dough at the very beginning and kneading them for half an hour. I feared they would completely disintegrate and so I decided to add them only for the last ten minutes. And it works very well, the grains remain whole and apparently it makes for something like a double hydration technique, with the dough being able to build up strength before I add the final bits of liquid with the grains.

Also, the original recipe calls for a bit of 'Brotgewürz', bread spices. Which is all very nice, but also entirely undefined as far as I know. So I guessed and used ground caraway and coriander seeds in equal proportions. Which turned out to be one of my luckier guesses lately. Both spices blend pitch perfectly with the taste of the spelt, warming and brightening the taste without being really distinguishable on their own.

This bread has become a constant fixture of our diet, and I can only stress that it is the least 'healthy' tasting whole-grain bread I've ever come across. It never stops to amaze me that it's really brown and not grey, that it's rather sticky than crumbly, open-crumbed and yet perfectly sliceable with a nice but demure crunch to the crust.

Roasted in the oven with just a few drops of honey until the corners start to turn dark, this bread makes a perfect treat on its own, or a great coaster underneath a grillt goat's cheese, or basically anything that needs a solid, earthy partner.

The only thing I am not really happy with is the name, unwieldy as it is. Even in German with its infatuation with endless strings of words it's a rare thing to need 47 letters to name a single bread. But for a bread with such a long list of strong points, I am more than willing to put up with a lot, even this behemoth of a name.


Bäcker Süpke's wholegrain spelt bread with whole grains
(translation and any mistakes are mine)
(makes two 850g loafs)

for the boiled grains
200g spelt grains
400ml water

for the sourdough
340g wholegrain spelt meal
10g ripe sourdough starter
340g warm water

for the soaker
200g wholegrain spelt flour
20g salt
120g water

for the final dough
190g wholegrain spelt flour
7g dry yeast (one sachet)
[EDIT: The original recipe uses 10g presumably fresh yeast, equaling half a sachet dry yeast.]
40g runny honey
1 heaped teaspoon ground caraway
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander seeds (or more, to taste)

for decoration
rolled spelt, about 2 tablespoons

On the day before baking, bring the grains and the water to boil in a small pot. Cover and leave to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, then take off the flame, stir, and set aside, covered.

Mix all the ingredients for the sourdough until just incorporated. Cover and set aside.

Mix all the ingredients for the soaker until just incorporated. Cover and set aside. Leave all three bowls to ferment overnight in a cool room, but not the fridge, for a minimum of 16 hours.

On the day of baking, combine the sourdough, the soaker and the final ingredients in the bowl of your mixer and knead at lowest speed for twenty(sic) minutes.
I am not kidding. The original recipe says twenty minutes and the dough really needs every second of it. You'll see, in this case it makes all the difference between wet flour and a dough.

Leave to proof for an hour. Deflate the dough and add the boiled, cold grains.
The original recipe says to discard eventually remaining water, but I add it to keep the amount of added water identical each time. Never had much of it left with the grains, anyway.

Knead at low speed for another ten minutes.
That's half an hour kneading all together. Any wheat dough would be a neat rubber ball by now, but here, it just works perfectly.

Pour into a rectangular baking tin lined with non-stick paper. Even the dough and cover loosely with the rolled spelt. Leave to proof in a warm place for about an hour to one hour and a half.
The dough will increase about 20% in volume at most, and when ready will stop springing back if gently poked.

Preheat your oven to 220°C. Bake with steam for the first minutes and immediately reduce temperature to about 160°C. Bake for 100 minutes. Take out and leave to cool on a rack. Rest a day or at least until fully cooled before cutting.

Freezes perfectly well, and tastes especially well toasted.
We usually bake on stock and freeze the sliced  bread, thawing individual slices in the toaster. Talk about two sparrows and one stone.

Some more wise remarks of Bäcker Süpke:

  • Always add all the salt to the soaker. Otherwise, the enzymes of the wholegrain flour will produce harmful byproducts leading to a grumbling stomach.

  • Wholegrain doughs, especially wholegrain spelt doughs, have to be wet - rather add a little more water.

  • Bake long and 'slow' to get all that moisture out of the bread.

  • Always use very little yeast and long final proofs, else you wouldn't get a sliceable bread.

  • Playing with the honey and the spices is a great way of tweaking this recipe!

dosidough's picture

Well here I am;

and I will fear no bread. This is my first post outside of a few comments one of which was admitting to feeling intimidated by many of the “high-end” bread books. I buy them, get very excited, then back off and retreat to my known and used comfort formulas. But I want more. I find this site and the people here very inspiring, creative and helpful and I want in. I only have a computer at work so I’ll be a bit sporadic. I started years ago with a bread machine and a fear of yeast (”They have box mixes for these things don’t they?”). Loathing the machines loaf shape and stupid paddle hole pretty soon I got a small loaf pan and after the dough cycle put the ball of stuff from the mix into the oven. I was right to fear yeast. They are extra terrestrial beings! Like pods they rise up, take over our brains and alter our normal budgetary disciplines with mad cravings for new bread books, bannetons, heavy duty mixers, and every kind of milled grain from everywhere on the planet. They may have overcome many of you earlier but yes I am a yeast head like you. Thank goodness for this site for I will catch up.

I got PRs Artisan Breads Everyday and I find it very relaxed and accessible. After hearing a lot around TFL about Struan loaves this is where I jumped in. I was especially curious as the formula is very similar to a favorite of mine from an old bread machine book that was called Irish Brown bread. I posted this recipe here in a response awhile back (_somewhere?). I didn’t add the brown rice, and used a multi-grain cereal. It came out great. Good moist crumb and very crisp crust. Now I want to try his other versions of this bread. Has anyone done both, and how would you compare the different methods? 

Straun LoafCrumb Shot

I also made a small Oatmeal Maple Nut loaf from Beatrice Ojakangas Whole Grain Breads book. When I’ve used maple in the past I find it is just too subtle so this time I added some natural Maple flavor_KAF, 1/4 teas. per cup of ingredients. What a tasty loaf and boy did my house smell good. Next day I was compelled to remake this very same loaf when upon returning from a quick trip to the store I discovered I had left the loaf sitting on the edge of the counter where I had sliced off my breakfast. With irritated resignation I retrieved the tea towel from beneath a cupboard while my maple/pecan breath Boarder Collie slunk nonchalantly to his resting area. I took out the last of the pecans and began again.

MapleNut Loaf

Crumb Shot

Here’s also a couple of my regular sourdough loaves. They are made with a starter from KAF that I got about 3 years ago. Does anyone use the same? If you have a KAF starter and still feed by their directions (volume) what hydration do you figure it to be? I did a bunch of math weighed things out and converted it to a 100%. A month later it’s raising power had diminished disturbingly so it went back to once a week discard of 1 cup and feed the remainder (a 1/4 to 1/2 cup) with 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of flour. It’s taken awhile to get it’s strength back but now it’s back on track. In a week I’ll have enough time off to maybe brave beginning the PR starter from his new book. Hmmm pineapple juice. Now where have I heard of a starter like that???

2 SourDough Loaves

Love you Guys and Gals. Thanks for helping me along on my journey from the paddle hole through Norm’s fantastic onion rolls to stretch and fold prior to autolyse and maybe someday a rye starter.

Many thanks and..bake on.


(Ureeka!!!! I just got the photos to show up...only took an hour! The Send To Editor part was what I missed. Is that in the FAQs instruction? Sorry these are bigger than necessary next time I think I know how to do it better, for now I'm leaving the office I'm too beat to redo them.)

ques2008's picture

I want to thank Paddyscake here on the TFL for sharing her raspberry tart recipe last July (divine is the word to describe it).  She said she substituted the mascarpone cheese with cream cheese and used Pepperidge Farm for the crust.  She said despite these substitutions, the pie was just about gone in a heartbeat.

In "Two Pies, One Lie" on my personal blog – – I featured Paddyscake raspberry tart because I did some cheating of my own.  I bought  mascarpone cheese (almost had a coronary when I saw the price) but berated myself for pairing it with a Graham cracker crust that was idling in my cupboard for two months.  On hindsight, I thought it was kind of criminal to buy expensive cheese and drape it on a store-bought crust.  Nature is very forgiving though; this raspberry tart had a silky, delicious, whistling taste.

The Dutch Apple Pie below was taken from the Canadian Living  Test Kitchen.  For this one, I stayed faithful to the recipe ingredients and procedure.  Nothing was tweaked or substituted.


During the fall, there’s a lot of apple picking going on in the eastern seaboard of North America.  Quebec’s apple route is in a town called Rougemont – rustic, postcard-pretty kind of town.  I used Cortland apples for this one.  The ¼ cup whipping cream gives it a different twist.

For Paddyscake raspberry tart recipe, this is the link:

(you need to scroll further down – it's a thread that starts with Pam’s Kalamata Olive bread).

For the Dutch Apple Pie, I reproduce it below.


GabrielLeung1's picture

For about two years previous I had been making bread for groups of college students as a part of the college student outreach at my church. Every Sunday morning I would bring pounds of retarded yeast fermented dough to the church kitchen, prep it on site, and bake it off for our college lunch. I was pretty proud of the formula I used for it, mostly this was because it was mine. I chose the hydration, the fermentation technique, and the shaping and baking of it. And it always came out beautifully every time. Later on, i even started fermenting it with my sourdough starter. 

Fast forward five months. In addition to baking off a spiked sourdough boule, we would be making pane francese, a rustic dough that we would be forming into baguettes. It was made with a high proportion of biga, and a high hydration, around 70.5%. We ended up putting 6 folds into it as it dribbled around on the bench, then it would be shaped, proofed, and baked. It was supposed to be an exceptionally beautiful bread with a wide, open crumb. And it was.

Sometime after Chef showed us how to shape the loaves, and before his loaves went into the oven I recognized something interesting about the loaves. That shaping technique was the exact same one I used for my church batards. I thought this was intriguing and dismissed it. Curiosity bit me a few seconds later as I decided to check the exact hydration...70.5%. Another interesting thing. And to top it all off you use biga to give it great flavor and texture.

And then it was that I realized that for the past two years I had been making pane francese. Its amazing that by thinking about how I would make good bread, and implementing those factors, you can come up with a bread is very very old. 


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