The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Floydm's picture

This morning was the first morning that it was cold enough here that the furnace kicked on. Unfortunately, we discovered that the ignitor has failed, so we got a fan running but no heat. So I've done what any good home baker would do: put together enough batches of bread to keep the oven on all day. It has kept the house warm and smelling wonderful.

Floydm's picture

I made a simple French Bread yesterday. I didn't use a pre-ferment or anything: I actually wanted to experiment with long knead times and see just how much of a difference in taste and volume it made. Something just didn't see right with my dough. It felt tight and, although moist, kind of puckered up.


After I tasted it it was obvious what was wrong: I added much too much salt.  Almost double.  The crumb still wasn't too bad:


I saved about 8 ounces of the dough in the fridge to throw into today's batch.  I wanted to try the old dough method.  Indeed, I did end up with a much tastier loaf today (I reduced the salt in today's batch accordingly).


I thought this loaf came out particularly pretty.




ojuice's picture

So I got my sourdough starter going almost a month ago using SourdoLady's wonderful instructions, and things were going well until this past Monday. Suddenly the starter no longer rises after feedings and no longer has a delicious and yeasty smell. Instead it's smelling like pancake batter, and just barely gets a few bubbles. However, this morning when I woke up and checked on it, there was a thin layer of hooch on top. Does anyone know what's going on with it? Do I need to start over?

Floydm's picture

I baked a couple loaves of French Bread and a Whole Wheat Loaf today: 

three loaves

The French Bread turned out very good.  I used a poolish and autolyse, then when I went out for a hike this morning I popped the dough in the fridge so it had an extra slow, long rise. It always seems to help.

I've started reading the copy of Good Bread is Back I got a month or so ago.   I'm finding it more interesting that I expected to.  I was afraid it was going to be too scholarly and dry, but, although the author is an academic, he clearly has a passion for bread that shines through in his writing.  I still have quite a way to go, but so far I am enjoying it.


amethystrosemaiden's picture

I have just recently baked this morning( 30 Sept 2006)  some Sweet Potato Rosemary loaves using a proper 18 hour poolish made out of Vit enriched plain flour that'd I made a day ahead for my very first time. With reference to this post dated 26 Sept'06 I went ahead with it.

Kate, here they are.  I think it's a bit too peppery for my palate as well as my family's too. I think I'll reduce the pepper by a tsp next time round.Unfortunately, the end result turned out nothing like I expected it would. I didn't get that much airy irregular holes Nevertheless, the texture was moist, rather dense with a nice crust. I decided also to experiment on how I should add the mashed sweet potato to see which ones would achieve the best results.

Here are my photos that I'd just posted into the Harvest Gallery  :

I did 2 methods:

i) to mix it into the wet flour mixture

ii) to mix it in during the folding/stretching/resting process.

1) Sweet potatoes mixed into the wet dough:

a) autolyse & 10min rest
b) stretching/fold & 10 mins rest process
c)Knead & 30 min rest
d)Stretch & fold into thirds & 30min rest process
e)Stretch & fold into thirds & 30min rest process
f)Shape & proof for 45 mins

2) Sweet potatoes folded into the wet dough after :

1) autolyse & 10min rest
2) stretching/fold & 10 mins rest process
3)Knead & 30 min rest
4)Stretch & fold into thirds & 30min rest process
5)Stretch, add mashed sweet potatoes & fold into thirds & 10min rest process done 3 times to add to remaining 30mins as stated on Dan's Garlic loaf recipe

6)Shape & proof for 1 hour 25 mins( an additional 45 mins) because my oven is a mini toaster like electric oven & can only fit in one loaf at a time.  It's a good thing there was no unbearable beery odour nor was did it produce any distasteful off sour taste.

Notice the uneven strands of mashed sweet pot colouring the crumb, although not what I'd wanted but it was a nice rustic decor.

I know it can be a bit disheartening when my loaves didn't turn out the way that it should have but I've gotten this far to almost baking some decent different variety of straight dough methods and now I'm in the midst of embarking on a new whole adventure of artisan home bread baking.

I certainly found the posts I've read here & other baking sites encouraging.  I must say this particular post by Floyd has given me & I'm sure many as well the determination to persevere & practice.

As always, I'd appreciate any comments from anyone on what I've missed that resulted in a dense & loss of airy irregular bubbles in my loaves.

PMcCool's picture

We're leaving town today to visit our youngest daughter and son-in-law for their birthdays.  One of the requests was "Could Dad bring some bread?"  So Dad got busy and baked some sourdough bread from the King Arthur cookbook.  I tweaked the recipe by substituting 2 cups of rye for some of the AP flour.  I also made a batch of sourdough english muffins as well.  Picture below:

Sourdough bread and muffins

Luckily, the TSA is allowing foods in carry-on luggage, so we don't have to worry things getting smashed or stolen in the checked luggage.


lakshmi's picture

i went through a lot of recepies,

i find some words like sponge, poolish and sourdough being repeated quite often will some one enlighten me on the meaning  of these words and the purpose it serves,


lakshmi's picture


im from indiaand this is a fabulous site.

i had given up on baking bread after a lot of unsuccessful attempts

but this is the first time i could actually do it and tasted good.

the crust was a bit too brown.. i guess i kept it in the oven for  a bit too long.

how do i know that the bread is done from inside and also is not too hard/ brown onthe outside.

also i need to know what the measurements of a standard loaf tin are.

i have a small one 22 cm* 7* 7 cms.

so if i make the doughwith 3 cups of flour, and put half of it in the loaf tin and let it rise.

can i put the other half in hte freezer and use later after 2 days?

if yes then how long do i thaw it  and after what time can it go in to the oven?

let me know.



amethystrosemaiden's picture

Ahmmm... I can't really remember what date I'd baked these but it's definitely after I'd baked the Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal loaves.

I loved Floyd's version of the Sweet Corn Raisin Bread & I thought to myself since I have a huge package of sunflower seeds sitting around waiting to expire, why not add some nutty flavour to an already delicious recipe.  The cornmeal certainly added a wonderful  golden colour to the crumb & an unusual grainy crunch to the crumb.  As usual, my favourite raisins is always the yellow raisins, it's just simply so sweet & has this sweet & sour like nectar that somehow is superior to all the other variety of raisins IMHO. The sunflower seeds definitely added additional crumb design & scrumptious nuttiness but then again, I'm always a bit fan of sunflower seeds, can't really remember when I've acquired the taste.  Definitely late in life as it seems.

I tried scoring a star shape on this boule but looks like I overdid it a bit that it's kind of distorted. This loaf was certainly heavy hence my photo taken by my webcam was a bit out of focus. Colour of crust was a little too dark, will have to note down a shorter baking period next time.

Now this next regular pan loaf  finally had the perfect middle scoring that I'd been trying since forever to get that perfect cut just under the crust of the loaf to open up beautifully. Hmmm..may be I have to give credit to my using my new serrated bread knife that could finally cut instead of using my other knives that keeps dragging across the loaf like a shark's bite not to mention deflating all those nice bubbles that I'd worked so hard to get. I'm also very pleased to add that my fiance thinks I'm improving on my scoring, not too much of Shark tooth's overbite..:)

 Now these look like a poor sister or brother to the perfect Hot Dog Rolls. I was trying some elaborate scoring on top but looks like the rolls were a bit too short to be Hot Dog rolls..oh well... I'll know better next time & get a measuring tape ready just to be precise. Nevertheless they tasted absolute deliciously when I stuffed them with tuna scrambled eggs & baked beans for dinner.  No complaints from my aunty there.  She'd gobbled up 2 of them all one go.

Flourgirl's picture

Well, here goes:

I have had a love of baking for quite a while now.  I really didn't get a chance to actually do much baking because of my lifestyle.  So, I changed all that.  I went from driving an 18 wheeler over-the-road, to driving a bus locally, to working in a small bakery.  I am also going to school for a Certificate in Baking.  it's just a small community college, so all my training is in the form of an apprenticeship in a local bakery/restaurant.  It's not a Artisan bakery, but I am learning about small scale production baking, which is more then I knew before. 

I'm doing my on-the-job-training apprenticeship at the bakery three to four days a week, from around 4 a.m. till about 9 a.m.  This gives me time to attend my on campus classes in the afternoon.  On a weekday, I usually make three batches of bread, Swedish Limpa, Oatmeal and White.  Then I make four batches of Cardoman dough to be used the following day for forming cinnamon rolls and braids.  While the bread is in the proofer, I bake braids and rolls formed the previous day and take dough from the previous day and form rolls and braids for the next day.  Then, in between breaths, I squeak out a pie or two, some pie shells and some rice or bread pudding. 

So, when it's all over, this is my day:

I will usually have about baked about thirty loaves of bread from scratch.

Baked ten to fifteen rolls and ten to fifteen braids formed the previous day. 

I will have prepped for the next day by making four batches of Cardoman dough to partially rise in the cooler.

Formed ten to fifteen each of cinnamon rolls and braids from the previous days dough.

Blind baked four or five pies shells from scratch.

Made one or two pies from previously baked shells.

Made a pan of pudding from scratch.

After all that, I go home and take a nap, if I am lucky, before I go to my classes.  It makes for a busy day.  The weekends are even more intense, as the bread production is doubled.

But, this kind of production baking isn't my big dream.  While it's a good learning experience, it basically has taught me what I don't want to do with my life.  There is no room for experimentation or a desire to do so by the bakery's management.  So, I trudge along at my apprenticeship, knowing that I can take what I learn to a place that better suites me.  In the evenings, I go home and leaf through pages of books and websites, looking for that special something that will breath some life back into me. 

Then, on some evenings, I bake that special little something for myself to fill that artistic desire.

And hope it turns out...


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