The Fresh Loaf

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Jw's picture

With a little help from qahtan (tip for walnut oil) and liam (tip for folding), I made wallnutbread this sundaymorning. Two versions: slowrise (from 3-4 days ago, 50% wheat from mill, whole groats wheatflour (?), 50% plain white flour) and an experiment: last night before midnight I mixed about half pain d'ancienne, mixed in the wallnuts and let it rise overnight.

The results: perfect for the pain d'ancienne. A bit sticky bread for the overnight version (btw with 100% wheatflour, no mix), much lighter taste. It was gone in one lunch anyway. The purple around the walnuts did not show up, maybe since I cracked he wallnuts on the evening before. Maybe it was my illusion that the walnuts don't spread so nice in the bread, I am sure I had that problem once before.

On the normal pain d'ancienne the scoring did not work out completely (but still good enough). The structure and taste is very good, almost 'criminal' as one tester put it. Next time I will not shape right away, but wait for half a hour (when out of the fridge). Then shape and score, so that it looks more like a boule.

Last but not least: ciabatta. A lot of work, but definitely worth the effort. This is pushing my oven to the limit (I used to stone). I am ready for a larger group of guests now... BTW the piece of cloth is a quilt 'in development' by Mrs. Jw.

Off topic: what else can you do but bake on rainy day like this...

Thaichef's picture

Good Morning:

I had been reading and leering on "The Fresh loaf" and "wildyeast" blogs for months.  So..after gathering up my nerve I made my first "sour dough breads for the first time yesterday.(two days bread making).  I used Susan's wildyeast recipe of "Norwich sourdough" and her other "over night ciabata".  Both are busted!  The Norwich sourdough was so hard and didn't rise at all. The ciabta has no air pocket to talk about.  I think that the 100%  hydration sourdough starter may not be working on the Norwich bread???. The ciabata is edible but nothing to crow about. 

I am starting a new sourdough starter today using "Floyd" method.  Wish me luck.

  There must be some trick to this mystery which I can't crack it yet.  But, if I can make the Pad Thai and curry with "both of my hands tie behind my back,(just kidding but you know what I mean), there must be "the magic time" when this thing finally work. Darn.  I was so...excited now I am down in the dump.  Mantana

Stephmo's picture

I love soft pretzels - who doesn't?  I just never seem to get them outside of fair settings.

And then the other week, Alton Brown did a show on homemade pretzels - it was a sign! So I went to the food network's site and I grabbed the recipe. (

The Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water

1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt (note, I simply used Kosher salt)

ALTON: Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

So Alton's all into proofing the yeast - and I must say that I only do this because the instructions say so.  At some point I'll stop since I'm really only convinced this is a leftover from poor production methods of old - but look, it bubbles:

ALTON: Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Now it's all about letting the KitchenAid do the work. I add the melted butter and the flour. You may notice Alton's recipe does specify flour by weight. I actually do have a scale where I can zero out my mixing bowl with ingredients, so I'm able to pour 22 ounces of flour exactly. From here, I let the mixer do it's thing for 5 minutes until the dough is nice and ready:

ALTON: Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Rising time. Recipe calls for an hour, but this is fast-acting - in 30 minutes, I'm more than doubled:

ALTON: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

I tear my into 8 pieces and lightly oil my counter so I can roll these into ropes and form them into pretzel shapes. I'll admit that it's not as supple as I'm expecting it to be, but that's okay. While I do this, I have water boiling on the stove and the oven preheating:

Hint from me to you - do put in the baking soda before the water is boiling - if you think you see white crusty stuff on the sides of the pot, you do. I added the baking soda while the water was boiling and got a mini-science experiment. Luckily no spillover, but I laughed. I basically boiled each pretzel for 30 seconds and scooped it out with a wire scoop (this gives the pretzel texture):

At this point, I give the pretzels an egg wash and bake them for 13 minutes. Look what I get:

If you're wondering - but is it a chewy, doughy piece of pretzel goodness? Well - take a look at this crumb:

Yes, this is good stuff - I will be making this again!


chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

Hello everybody and missing you all !

Phyl Divine named me on his group on Facebook "artisan bread bakers".He named me "Pharaoh of flat Bread ".

I really was very happy but wondering all the time , why ?? May be phyl knows that Egyptians can not eat without the presence of the flat bread on their meals tables .

So I decided to present something about our daily bread in Egypt , may be to try to prove to myself that I really deserve this great title !!!!

O.k I bought this pan shown in the picture, it is better than my oven cause flat breads really need a very high temp. and it is usually baked in special ovens " with three flames".

The pictures will show you this incredible invention for flat breads , let's go ....

First the bread before being baked,,,ah forgot to tell you that I used 100% wild yeast.

Also about the dough , i made two doughs one contained 50% bread flour +50% whole wheat flour, and that is the traditional ingredients for our egyptian bread.

The other dough "which i invented" contained bread flour +whole wheat flour+grounded oats"i grinded it at home"+barley flour and of course wild yeast and tepid water .

let's go ....


"as seen on T.V" HAHAHAHA!


The harvest !!



sandwiches for me and my husband, i filled it with pastrami and romi cheese.

I wish i had at this time some of our wonderfull home made falafel or foul"beans".

Falafel , I am missing it!!

And here I am....Do I really deserve to be the "pharoah of flat bread"?????

Jw's picture

Last week I was out of flour and was able to combine a trip for work to a nearby windmill: . This mill has better openinghours then the mill I normally go to, and I tested the flour with a simple slow rising bread (next time I will add more simple flour, not just the wheat type). A great mill, I will be back there. I will need a bit more time to look around at the mill. It will take a while before I find the right/best combination of wheat for our weekly bread.

I also made some zopf. Finally, sometimes there are (near) perfect ones as well. We had a to say thank-you to a few friends and neighbours, I always like to give them a zopf. The best shape is from broad to narrow, or thick to small. This is four strands only, I think challah is 6-strand and keeps the size the same. For this zopf I used 1 kilo (2.2 pound) of simplest kitchen flour. Recipe on request.

Last but not least: pretzels. I was a lunchwish from my 'boss at home'. It reminded her of her youth in Austria, where she grew up. Can one get a bigger compliment? These three kinds of bread can hardly be consumed at the same time, the tasts are too different. These pretzels are best with cheese and e.g. ham. The zopf is great with marmalade and chocolate. Bak ze! Cheers, Jw.

hansjoakim's picture

Howard's been baking his way through many of Suas' recipes at a furious pace. His posts have been equally inspiring and enlightening. With Howard way ahead of the curve, the last few weeks I've found myself sifting through the debris and studying the dough scraps left in his wake. Wanting a simple, clean and filling every day loaf, I had my first crack at the whole wheat sourdough (dough scrap #1).

I branched a stiff white starter off my rye starter on Saturday morning. By Sunday morning, the stiff white levain was good to go. The whole wheat flour I'm using has a very high content of bran, so I'm paying close attention when mixing the dough. As opposed to Howard, who did a shorter mix followed by a series of folds, I went with Suas' directions, and did an improved mix. Due to the many bran particles in the dough, it's difficult to get a perfect windowpane, but after a total of 8 - 10 mins. in the mixer, and a few folds in the bowl using a dough scraper, the dough was remarkably strong when I tugged at it. With the improved mix, there are usually no folds during bulk fermentation, so the dough was allowed to ferment for two hours uninterrupted.

Whole wheat sourdough

Just yesterday I received my first ever brotforms, and I was a bit nervous that the dough would stick during final proof. A liberal dusting prevented that... thank heavens. Instead, a nicely risen boule bumped down on the peel, and off into the oven it went.

 Whole wheat sourdough

As you can see, the crumb is a bit darker than Howard's (probably due to the coarse WW flour in my mix?), and the above crumb is also more uniform. I'm guessing that Howard's initial autolyse (increased extensibility) and his shorter mixing time are both contributing to a more irregular crumb structure in his version of the bread. Additionally, I shaped the dough into a quite tight boule, which also usually suggests a more uniform crumb. The desired loaf characteristics should dictate the choices made during the baking process.

This is a solid everyday bread that can be used to virtually everything. It's got a deliciously moist crumb, and a splendid aroma. Top it with cheese, meats, fish, jam or nothing - it's a terrific bread either way!

Yumarama's picture

This is from a recipe in Peter Reinhart’s Bread Bakers Apprentice and I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, being the first try at it. 

Well, ok, one or two very minor changes: he asks for fresh rosemary, I only had dried which I soaked for an hour while the dough was warming up. He says to mix in roasted garlic - didn’t have any. I guess next time I’ll have to make that ahead of time along with the extra mash. 

Anyway… here’s the final product, first try (slashed a bit too deep) and the loaves are still cooling so I haven’t cut or tasted yet but boy-oh-boy, does the house ever smell wonnnnnnderful!!

Potato Rosemary Bread

Full post on the blog:
Potato Rosemary Boules


alyaman's picture

hi ...i'm here because... i'm just in the beginning

this is my first loaf

 i try it from the lesson one

 is it nice ...???







 befor i try to bake the rosca de reyes  

 see that;s full of dates... yammy




hello again

this  is my second bread

  the recipe from lesson two

 see that

 i  found it better and more delicious than the first one

  and you what your advice to me ???????





 this is my daily bread

 and that is for to  day i made it by my own  sourdough



 i'm very happy

 because the sourdough finally become good

 it was so difficult


 i do it





 hello again


 here is my favorite daily bread by my  starter >>>>>>>



Floydm's picture

There has been a marked increase in the amount of spam (particularly with "adult" themes) that is posted here in the last week or so.  Dstroy and I and the other members who can moderate content delete these posts as quickly as possible, but sometimes that is not before they get sent out in the site digest emails or they show up in syndication.   My apologies if you've been on the receiving end of some of those: not what I want to find in my Inbox before I've had my first cup of coffee either.   Know that we try to kill them and close the accounts that posted them as quickly as possible.

Using the "flag as offensive" link at the bottom of such posts would help me.  I think if 2 community members do that, the offending posts will get unreleased and will disappear for the rest of the site visitors.

I could make it more difficult for spammers to sign up, but of course that would make it more difficult for new folks who legitimately want to participate in the baking discussions to sign up.  So I'm hesitant to make it too tough.

mountaindog's picture

This is in response to Trailrunner's questions on a mixing discussion over at Hansjoakim's blog here on a fantastic-looking crumb he has on his Hazelnut bread.

Lately I seem to get best results with a combo of warm shorter bulk ferment with frequent early folding and long cold final proof. No mixer, no kneading with flour, no repeated French-folding. (warning, this could change as soon as I read of a better method, so please take with a grain of sea salt!):

  • Hand mix all the ingredients with a large dough whisk in large bowl (incl. salt)

  • Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 30 min. (I know you are supposed to leave out the salt but I find it easier to mix everything initially if not using a standmixer)

  • After 30 min. rest, use plastic dough scraper to fold dough onto itself in the same bowl, just like what Mark does in his video here. I count to about 100 as that takes me just about 3 min., and that has seemed to develop the dough well.

  • Next round up the dough with scaper and place it into a clean, lightly spray-oiled lidded dough bucket - or for large-size doughs where I double or triple the formula, I use a big square clear plastic food service container with lid.

  • Let the dough sit for 30 min. (preferably at 76F location), then do a single stretch & fold as per Hamelman: if dough is in smaller bucket, tip the dough out onto a lightly spray-oiled counterstop, stretch it out into a rectangle, and letter fold it onto itself once, rotate 90 degrees, letter fold again, and put it back in the bucket for another 30 minutes. If dough is in big square container, just fold it right in the container and turn upside down when done.

  • Repeat step above 2 more times for a total of 3 folding sessions spread 30 min. apart. Then leave the dough to finish bulk-fermenting at 76F, usually for another 90-120 minutes until just doubled (my home-made starter is not that fast a riser).

  • Next shape loaves, then I place the shaped loaves in a 45-50F location (my unheated mudroom) to retard overnight or 12 hrs min.

  • After cold retarding I place the proofed loaves in my room temp (65F) kitchen while I preheat my baking stone for 45 min. and bake with steam right after that, usually the loaves are proofed enough after all that time retarding, and the oven spring is great.

Here are results of a less slack dough (65% hydration pain au levain 10% whole wheat), not huge holes like you'd get with a very wet dough, but large enough and evenly distributed, and very flavorful crumb, chewy but not gummy:

I still need to try SteveB's double-mixing technique he describes here. If anyone sees any error in my ways with how I've been doing this, I'm all ears! I'm sure I'll revise this after I read Advanced Bread and Pastry, due in soon.


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