The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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guan.xiu's picture

 hi,大家好,I'm Chinese. I'm from Nanjing




rhag's picture

Today i put together a decorative plaque, baguettes, ciabatta, and the beer and barley bread. I'm entering a baking competition this weekend and have been practicing for the last little while. On Sunday I'll be doing the decorative plaque, baguettes, ciabatta, beer bread, multi buns, challah, palmiers, croissants, and danish dough for my display. Thoughts and comments are always welcome. If people are at all interested in a tutorial for the plaque just let me know! (I'm from Manitoba, Canada and our province has heritage with the bison and farming hence the wheat and bison on the display) I've redone the plaque already to clean up the seams and braid and this was my first.








glora's picture

Where are all of the artisan bakeries in LA?

Marni's picture

Well here it goes, trying to post pictures on my blog - today I baked a traditional Jewish holiday treat called Hamantashen.  They are popular for the holiday of Purim which is next Tuesday.  I made about 110, a mix of prune, cherry and blueberry.  I'm not the most careful cookie shaper, but these are disappearing too fast for that to really matter.

I also tried the round braid that Trailrunner made recently.  That was so much fun!  I make challah almost every week and have never tried this before.  I just used a basic challah recipe that looked good. 

Here it is  just after shaping:

And just out of the oven:

Lately I've been brushing my challahs with a mix of egg yolk and dash of vanilla.  The taste is great and the smell even better.  The line is from rolling the strands , it was a technique I haven't used before and was much easier than my usual method, but I'll have to watch for those seams.

We haven't tasted this loaf yet - tomorrow night.

Whew - I admire those of you who post pictures regularly, it takes a while to do!  I love seeing everyone's pictures, so thank you for taking the time to show your work.  I loved doing this.

LindyD's picture

Inspired by Hansjoakmin's five-grain rye sourdough, I decided to try a sourdough rye. I chose Hamelman's Flaxseed bread, which is a 60 percent rye, because I've never tasted such a rye (let alone baked one). Plus, flaxseed is good for you.

Given my inexperience, I went by the book and followed Hamelman's instructions precisely, starting with building a rye sourdough from scratch.  That began on February 16, using Arrowhead Mills organic rye flour, and feeding it twice a day from the third day on.  

On February 28 the rye sourdough culture looked and tasted ready, so I built the sourdough that evening (rye flour 100%, water 80%, mature sourdough culture, 5%). The flaxseed soaker was also made and left overnight.  

The overall formula is:

Medium rye flour 60% (No medium rye available, so I used Arrowhead Mills organic rye)

High gluten flour, 40% (didn't have HG flour - used KA bread flour)

Flaxeeds, 10%

Water, 75%

Salt, 1.8%

Yeast, 1.5%

The mix the next day was short and gentle, per Hamelman's counsel, in my KitchenAid mixer.  Desired dough temperature is 80F.  Mine was 81F and while doing the calculation before the mix, I wondered why the soaker temperature isn't included in the calculation.  My soaker temp was 74F but I had to ignore that number.  I don't know the answer but have sent off a post to KAF asking why it isn't included.

While I had expected a really sticky and tacky dough (Leader advises to embrace stickiness when working with rye)  it wasn't really difficult to handle nor did it stick to my counter when shaping into boules.  

Bulk fermentation is 30 to 45 minutes and final fermentation 50 to 60 minutes at 80F.  Just about everything I've baked over the past six months has been retarded overnight, so I have to consider the flaxseed bread as a  "quick" bread!

I sprayed the top of each boule with water, dipped them in a bowl of sesame seeds, and baked at 460F for 15 minutes (steamed once), then at 440F for an additional 35 minutes.  Twenty-four hours later, on Tuesday, I tasted the bread.   It has a nice light texture and a very pleasant tang.  The sesame seeds in the crust add a nice, light nutty flavor.  Last night I made a grilled sandwich using the rye, Boars Head lean corned beef, and Swiss cheese.  Very tasty in spite of forgetting the sauerkraut.

If you haven't tried a high percentage rye bread, this Flaxseed recipe is an good introduction to working with rye - which is very different from wheat.  It was a good education for me.  Maybe someday I'll have the courage to try the Detmolder method.

blockkevin's picture



Hamelmans 5 Grain Levain


 So after much discussion on these boards I finally decided to make this bread myself to see what all of the fuss was about. I can't believe I waited so long...This is absolutly one of the most delicous breads that I have ever tasted. I did make a few adjustments to the formula based soley on what I had available to work with (noted in formula below), but I tried to recreate the formula as close to the original as possible to get a sense of the bread in it's purest form. I also recalculated his formula so that I would end up with approx. 1200g of dough, which is the appropriate size to fit on my stone.


Liquid Build

  • KAF AP Flour 128g 100%

  • Water 160g 125%

  • Mature Culuture(mine is 100% Hydration) 26g 20%


  • Bulger Wheat(The original formula calls for Rye Chops) 47g 27%

  • Flaxseeds (mine happened to be golden) 47g 27%

  • Sunflower Seeds 39g 23%

  • Oats 39g 23%

  • Boiling Water 204g 120%

  • Salt 3g 2%

Final Dough

  • KAF AP Flour(The orignal formula calls for hi-gluten flour) 255g 67%

  • Fairhaven Mills Whole Wheat Flour 128g 33%

  • Water 133g 35%

  • Salt 9g 2.3%

  • Soaker(all) 379g 99%

  • Liquid Build 314g 82%

1. Liquid Build & Soaker-approx. 12 hours before mixing elaborate liquid build, and prepare grain soaker.

2. Mixing-As per the instructions in the book all of the ingredients are placed into a mixer and mixed on low speed for a few minutes to hydrate the flour. I found that I needed to add about 2 Tbsp more water. I suspect that the bulger wheat in the soaker absorbed more water than the rye chops would have. When the dough begins to come together increase speed to medium and mix until moderate gluten development is reached. Seeing as I didn't have any hi-gluten flour I mixed a little more thouroughly then I would have otherwise. On speed four in my kitchenaid mixer I mixed for 8 minutes, and I achieved a fairly high level of develpment.

3. Ferment- 3 Hours with a fold at 1.5 hours. (Orignal formula calls for 1-1.5 hours)

4. Divide- Divide the dough into 2 approx. 600g. portions.

5. Relax- shape the dough into loose boules, and allow to bench rest for approx. 20 minutes to allow for easier shaping.

6. Shape- shape the dough as desired and place between folds of bakers linen or in prepared bannetons. Round or ovals are what Hamelman suggests.

7. Proof- Approx. 1 hour at 76 deg. F., or alternatively retard in the fridge overnight for up to 18 hours.

8. Bake- 30-35 minutes for 600g. batards 460 deg F. on preheated stone with steam for the first half of the bake. Turn the oven off and prop open the door and allow bread to dry out for an additional 10 minutes before removing from the oven.

9.Cool- allow the finished bread to cool for at least 3 hours before cutting.


Final notes and Impressions

The crumb on this bread was unlike anything I have ever made before, it is incredibly soft, and creamy on the tongue. The crust was lightly crisp, and not as thick as I would have expected given the overnight retarding. I would definetly make sure this bread is cooked long enough, and hot enough as it has a good deal of water from the soaker, and it needs a thourough bake to fully dry out.

Dsnyder once refered to this bread as a "flavor bomb" and I would enthusiasticly agree with that assessment. It has wonderful tart notes from the levain, and a lovely complexity from the soaked grains. I hope you all get the chance to make this bread sometime to fully experience how delicious it is.

Happy Baking


SylviaH's picture

This is a very nice tender and delicious tasting 100% WW Cinn. Raisin loaf using P.R. recipe.  I used dark and golden raisins in the soaker.  There were some hungry mouths so it was sliced a wee bit warm...very nice with cream cheese!  

I put the cinnamon and sugar well in the center by putting an extra thick amount of the mixture right along the tip of the edge that is first to be rolled inward on the shaping of the loaf!

This is my second attempt at a 100% WW loaf...the first was the sourdough WW.  I have some WW working now!    

This is being made with my Australian culture!  Any advice is always welcome!


trailrunner's picture

I have had this recipe for granola since the 80's. My Mom found it in the Orlando Sentinel. It is the best I have ever tasted. Here is the pic and the recipe.

Photobucket 12c rolled oates

 2 c sunflower seeds

2 c ribbon coconut

 2 c chopped nuts - I use almonds and/or pecans

2 c sesame seeds

combine in a pan: 2 c smooth peanut butter 2 c honey 1 c water 3 tsp salt 2 Tbsp cinnamon heat till well mixed toss above mix w/ this dressing. Bake at 300 till brown as you like it. We like it quite crunchy. Watch closely after first 30 min. Takes about 1 1/2 hrs.

 This is the Cherry Pecan au levain from TFL. It was a very easy formula to follow. I made a couple small changes. I put the completed dough into a large bowl and did 15 minutes of folding in the bowl w/ a large rubber spatula. I did the pecans first for 5 min to incorporate them and then put the soaked cherries in the bowl. This worked very well and there was no mess at all. Also my cherries are very moist so I only soaked them about 1 hr and drained well. They held up perfectly due to not being so fragile. The dough was retarded for 24 hrs due to time constraints. This did not affect it at all. It had gotten a nice rise in the fridge and I then placed it on a sunny table while the oven preheated. Great rise and nice crust. I no longer use a steam pan for any breads. I just mist heavily right before I put loaves in the oven and then mist one time a minute later in the oven. Seems to work very well and a lot less trouble and safer too ! These were baked on parchment and placed on a cookie sheet, no stone used today.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

MikeC's picture

I've been away for a short while developing starters using the technique posted by Debra Wink.  I now have two starters that are 7 days old today, one all rye and one that I started with rye until it became active that I now refresh with white KA AP flour.  Both are refreshed at 2:1:1 (starter:water:flour)

In an attempt to reduce waste, and also because I'm anxious, I took yesterday's "discard" and mixed it 60g:60g:60g.  I placed it in a mason jar and waited for it to double, which took two hours.  I searched here for a "simple" recipe and happened upon the 1-2-3 recipe.  So, to my 180g starter I added 360g water, then 540g flour (10%Rye, 90%KA Bread) I stirred this together and let rest for 30 minutes, at which point it was STICKY.  I did the slap and fold about five times and felt resistance from the dough, which seemed to want to tear, so I put it in an oiled bowl to rest.

I came back an hour later to no rise at all.  The dough was still REALLY sticky, so I folded in the bowl and walked away. Two hours later, REALLY sticky, folded again.  All this time there seemed to be no rise at all.  After about six hours, the dough seemed to be about 150% its original volume, though I'm not sure how you can reliably tell.  I shaped a boule, which I placed into a canvas lined colander to rest before putting into the fridge for the night.

In the morning, I took the dough out and placed it on parchment on the back of a baking sheet.  After two hours it felt dense to me, and was still noticeably cold.  When pressed gently with a finger, the indentation was slow to return, giving me concern that I would overproof.  I turned the oven to 490F and preheated for a full hour.  I slashed just prior to baking, but I don't think it was deep enough.  I placed the loaf into the oven, reduced the temp to 450F, added water to the oven, and put a foil baking tray over the loaf for the first ten minutes.  I then removed the baking tray and the steam pan to finish the bake.

I got very little oven spring, which I am guessing is a combination of under/over-proofing and scoring?  Does it mean I over-proofed, didn't score deeply enough?  How, if at all, does the amount of time spent bulk fermenting affect rise, and can that period also be too long or too short?

I liked the color of the top of the loaf, but the bottom was very pale in comparison, even with a full hour of pre-heat time.  I have noticed this on my last three bakes.  I'm guessing I need to pre-heat the stone even longer??  Hmmm, maybe this affected my oven spring as well?

The crust is soft, so I'm not sure if the foil tray over the baking loaf gave me the crispness I desire.  Maybe a longer time next time?  I left the loaf in the oven after it was done for an extra ten minutes with the door propped open.

All in all, I'm pleased with the effort.  It seems my starter is capable of rising dough, though I have a great deal to learn in pretty much all respects.  Looking forward to comments and suggestions.  As always, thanks.

First Sourdough Loaf 

Unappealing bottom!



dmsnyder's picture

It was 1 year ago that I last made cheese pockets. I've been good, even if the scale disagrees. So, prompted by Norm's posting his Crumb Buns, I made my annual indulgence. 

These are made with a sweet, coffee cake dough and filled with a mixture that is mostly hoop cheese, which is a non-fat cheese somewhat similar to ricotta. (Recipe follows.) For some background on these pastries, please surf to my previous blog entry:

I won't repeat all the history, but I will mention of few differences in this bake which resulted from my prior experience and helpful tips from Norm (nbicomputers). But, first, the recipe:

Cheese Pockets

Coffee Cake Dough (Formula thanks to Norm)
Sugar                                     4 oz (1/2 cup)
Sea Salt                                  1/4 oz (1 1/2 tsp, or table salt 1 tsp)
Milk Powder (skim)                   1 oz (3 T)
Butter or Shortening                  4 oz (8 T or 1/2 cup)
Egg yolk                                  1 oz (1 large egg's yolk)
Large eggs                              3 oz (2 eggs)
Yeast (fresh)                            1 1/4 oz (or 3 3/4 tsp instant yeast = 0.4 oz)
Water                                      8 oz (1 cup)
Vanilla                                     1/4 oz (2/3 tsp)
Cardamom                               1/16 oz (1/2 tsp)
Cake Flour                               4 oz (7/8 cup)
Bread Flour                              13 oz (2 3/4 cups)

Other flavors can be added such as lemon or orange rind grated

Note: Using other size eggs or other flours will result in substantial changes in the dough consistency require adjustments in flour or water amounts.

Cheese Filling 
Hoop cheese or Farmer's cheese 12 oz
Sour Cream                              1/4 cup
Sugar                                       2 T
Flour                                        2 T
Egg                                          1 large
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

Mix all ingredients well. Refrigerate until needed, up to 24 hours.

Egg Wash
Beat 1 egg with 1 T water

Streusel Topping 
Sugar (all white, or part brown) 2 oz (4 T)
Butter                                    2 oz (4 T)
All purpose flour                     4 oz
Cinnamon                              1/2 tsp. 

1. Cream the sugar and butter. 
2. Add the flour and mix with your fingers, rubbing the ingredients to a coarse crumb. (This can also be done entirely in a food processor.)

Mixing and Fermenting the Dough
1. Mix the sugar, butter or shortening, salt and milk powder to a paste.
2. Add the eggsbeaten with the vanilla and cardamom and stir.
3. If using powdered yeast, mix it with part of the water. If using cake yeast, crumble it in with the flour.
4. Add the water (the part without the yeast, if using powdered yeast, otherwise all of it),  cardamom and vanilla.
5. Add the flour. (If using powdered yeast, add the yeast-water now. If using cake yeast, crumble it on top of the flour now.)
6. Mix well into a smooth, soft dough. (20+ minutes in a KitchenAid at Speed 3 using the paddle.) The dough should form a ball on the paddle and clean the sides of the bowl.
7. Cover the dough and let it rise to double size. (2 1/2-3 hours at 60F.)
8. Punch down the dough, and allow it to rest 10-20 minutes.

Making up the Pastries
1. Divide the dough into 2.25 oz pieces and roll each into a ball. (My dough made 18 pieces weighing 2.35 oz each.)
2. Place dough pieces on a sheet pan or your bench. (I used a lightly floured marble slab.)
3. Stretch or roll out each piece into a square, 4 inches on a side. 
4. Take each dough piece and press the middle with a round,  hard object such as the bottom of a small measuring cup to form a depression in the center.
5. Place about 1 T of cheese filling in the center of each piece.
6. Take each corner of the square pieces and fold 3/4 of the way to the center, pinching the adjacent edges of the folded dough together to seal the seams. (See Note)
7. Cover and allow to rise to 3/4 double. (30-40 minutes at 70F.) Do not underproof! 
8.  Brush the top dough of each pastry with egg wash. Do not get egg wash on the exposed cheese filling.
9. Sprinkle streusel over each pastry.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Bake pasties on parchment lined  sheet pan until golden brown. (25-35 minutes)
3. When pastries are cooled a little, sift confectioner's sugar over each, if desired.

Note: The pastries can be refrigerated overnight or frozen at this point. If refrigerated, allow them to rise at room temperature to 3/4 double, and proceed as above. If frozen, thaw at room temperature, allow to rise to 3/4 double, and proceed as above.

One thing I learned last time was that under-proofing these pastries results in exuberant oven spring, with the pastries bursting open. So, I really proofed these puppies. Maybe a little bit more than was necessary. But maybe not.

Another thing I changed was to pick up on a suggestion for speeding up proofing by putting the made-up pastries in a humidified, warm oven. I found that my KitchenAid conventional/convection oven has a proofing setting! It is actually a "dehydrating" setting, but I set it for 100F and put a pan of just-boiled water in to create a humid environment. This probably cut my proofing time in half, compared to my 70F kitchen.

As you can see, the pastries had just a bit of oven spring, which is good in this case, and they did not burst, which is also good.

Previously, I had topped the pastries with streusel. This time, I just egg washed them and sprinkled on a few sliced almonds. I skipped the painting with syrup to make them shiny. So, I could tell my wife these are the "low-cal version."

I had only one for dessert. Pretty good stuff. It will be even better with coffee for breakfast.




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