The Fresh Loaf

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AnnieT's picture

Today I had time to "play" and an excess of discarded sourdough starter so I decided to see what I could come up with. I took a cup of starter, a cup of warm water a "dollop" of oil, two teaspoons of kosher salt, four cups of flour (half ap, half bread flour) and a scant 1/2 tspn of instant yeast. Mixed this in the Bosch until the dough came away from the sides, then let it double in an oiled bowl. Shaped it into two short baguettes which proofed for about 40 minutes, then I baked them on a heated sheet pan under the base of an oblong roaster which I removed after 15 minutes. Then I rotated the pan and baked them for another 15 minutes, to 205*. The loaves rose well and the crust was quite crisp. The crumb was very soft and none-holey, and it would make perfect sandwich rolls ( hero?) I live in a retirement community and I think this will be my "gift" bread from now on - that way I won't have to worry about people coping with crusty bread. I did take pictures and hopefully will figure out how to share them one day, A.

fredsambo's picture

Well I finally went ahead and signed up, I have been a reader for quite some time. I am a professional baker by trade, but love to mess around in my conventional kitchen as well. I needed some old dough for my next adventure, so I decided to make a nice straight yeasted bread. I also noticed that some of the bakers cover the loaves in the oven to simulate injected steam, so I decided to try it!


The formula for the dough is pretty simple and based on Joe Ortiz's Direct-Method Compagnon:


1/4 ounce active dry yeast


1 3/4 cups cold tap water


3 2/3 cups King Arthur Bread Flour


1 3/4 teaspoons salt


I mixed the yeast with a little bit of warm water and then poured the rest of the water into the wet mixture. After adding two cups of the flour, using my Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer, I mixed with the paddle on first speed for two minutes. Then added the salt and the rest of the flour, graduating to the hook. Then I mixed on first speed until the flour was somewhat incorporated, and then 12 - 15 minutes on 2nd speed. The doulgh was velvity and somewhat slack when it came off the mixer.

Next I cut three small pieces out and shaped them into little boules. I set all three boules in the fridge, in glass bowls, coverd with plastic wrap.


About four and a half hours later I grabbed two of the boules from the fridge (the other is my old dough for tomorrow), flattened and reshaped them, and then covered them with a cloth, on a floured board, for about 45 minutes to an hour.


I scored them and put them right on the stone in my oven at 450 degrees, covered by a large cooking pot. I prepped this "cover" by pouring hot water out of it right before I put it in the oven, being careful not to touch the boules with the cover. After 12 minutes I carefully removed the cover and then baked them for another 15-17 minutes.


So here is the result:




I am pretty happy with the look of the crust, the crumb is dense as I expected from such a short proof time. Overall it is dense and chewy but with zero taste:


foolishpoolish's picture


dmsnyder's picture

SF Sourdough Baguettes 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Baguettes 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Baguettes Crumb 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Baguettes Crumb 6-29-08

These baguettes were made with the formula for San Francisco Sourdough from Peter Reinhart's "Crust&Crumb." The firm starter was made with a mixture of Guisto's Organic (whole) Rye and King Arthur Bread Flour. The final dough was made with King Arthur European Artisan Flour.

The recipe makes 4-1/2 pounds of dough. I made two 1.5 lb. boules and these two baguettes. The dough was on the dry side, although I added about 1/4 cup of water during mixing. I cold retarded the formed loaves for about 18 hours. The baguettes were baked with steam for the first 10 minutes, then dry for another 15 minutes. The crust is crunchy, thicker than a traditional baguette. The crumb is less open than I wanted. The taste is typical of breads made with this dough - moderately sour and complex.

A word about the scoring, since that has been a source of frustration for me: These results are as good as I have ever obtained. I think the factors that contributed to it were 1) The dryer dough is easier to slash, 2) I was careful not to over-proof. They were baked 2 hours after being taken out of the refrigerator, 3) I consciously attempted to implement what Proth5 calls "Mental mis en place." I take this to mean clearing your mind of any other thoughts, then reviewing the procedure elements and visualizing the procedure before starting to slash, then executing the slashes quickly and smoothly according to the chosen procedure. I did not achieve perfection, but I feel I have progressed. What's needed is practice, practice, practice.

Here is one of the boules made with the same batch of dough:

SF Sourdough Boule 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Boule 6-29-08



Janedo's picture

Well, I haven't been around much lately, just too busy! But yesterday I decided to read the directions VERY carefully and try the Acme rustic baguettes once again. Howard's looked so great, I figured I should try again respecting every single step because I didn't last time.

The difficulties I found were the flour and the weather. It's HOT, around 30°C and over 25°C in the kitchen. Things went fast and I'm not used to this extra heat with this type of bread. I think I got them in the oven at almost the right moment. I got some oven spring this time... though probably not enough. The initial rise was a bit too much, I think. 

Now, the other problem is the flour. The crumb was similar to the last baguettes I made which makes me think there is a gluten problem happening. During fermentation the dough gets very bubbly, but the bubbles end up baking quite uniformly compared to a very holey, open crumb. The dough was sticky and remained very soft and sticky. I even added flour even though Glezer said NOT too. I HAD to! I think the American recipes use a higher gluten flour (that's what Glezer said in her book) and the French flours don't react the way they should for these recipes. Now, I may be TOTALLY wrong and would like some input. I bought some gluten and thought maybe I should try to add some the next time. Is this a good idea and how much?

Other than that, they TASTE great and they are very light and airy even though the hole structure isn't picture perfect.

I'll try the ones posted in my last blog entry next following ALL the indications given. But before I do that, I'll wait to get some gluten answers.


Acme's rustic baguette crustAcme's rustic baguette crust

Acme's rustic baguette crumbAcme's rustic baguette crumb

dmsnyder's picture

Rustic Baguettes made with Nury Light Rye dough

Rustic Baguettes made with Nury Light Rye dough

Rustic Baguettes Crumb made with Nury Light Rye dough

Rustic Baguettes Crumb made with Nury Light Rye dough 


As promised, I made some baguettes using Nury's Light Rye dough from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads." I followed Leader's recipe except for using a couple tablespoons less water, thinking it might work better for baguettes. In hindsight, I don't think this improved the product.

For those not familiar with the recipe, it is documented in Zolablue's original posting of her baking of this bread.’s-rustic-light-rye-leader

This was an excellent thread. It led me to make this bread myself for the first time, and it remains one of my very favorites.

Leader's recipe calls for patting out the mass of fermented dough into a 10 x 10 inch rectangle, cutting it in half with a bench knife and gently transferring the cut pieces to floured parchment, then immediately baking it on a stone with steam. For these "baguettes," I simply sliced off 3 portions, about 2.5 cm wide each, and stretched them gently to 12 inches as I laid them on the parchment. I baked with steam at 500F for 10 minutes, then removed the skillet and loaf pan with the water and turned down the oven to 440F. The bake time was 17-20 minutes, total.

The baguettes are beautiful, in a very rustic way. The crust was very nicely crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The taste was wonderful, as it always is with this recipe. The main difference between these baguettes and the "proper" Nury Light Rye is that the baguettes have proportionally much more crust, and the crust stays crisp rather than softening.

 My efforts to make traditional baguettes will continue, but this version is one I'll be making again. 



ejm's picture

cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread

I was wandering around in here the other day and saw what looked to be great looking raisin bread on Floydm's pages. The recipe was originally from Hamelman's book "Jeffery Hamelman's Bread". (I just tried to read Hamelman's tome, Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes and returned it to the library after aborting about ten pages in. With what's left of my mind, I just couldn't quite manage to retain enough to comprehend anything he was saying.) But happily, Floydm could retain and comprehend what he read, enabling him to translate this fabulous recipe.

Thank you Floyd! The bread is absolutely delicious!

cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread

Here is what I did to Floyd's version of the recipe:

gavinc's picture


I wanted to share my experience of building a backyard brick oven. I researched (and talked with mates) on and off for quite a few years before getting to work on this project. There is a lot of detail on the internet and books with lots of design, construction and material options (confusing!). I finally settled on a simple design that was a mixture of ideas from various sources. Simple approach as I'm not a trades-person, so I went with a dome shaped oven out in the open to eliminate the need of a chimney. The dome is made from red clay bricks and has an inner diameter is 1.1 meters. The oven is insulated with four layers of perlite-cement mixture and a final outer layer of builder's render. I included two K-type thermocouples during the build so I can measure the floor and dome brick temperatures.

My oven was built mostly from second-hand materials and scrap for about $500 AUD, and was constructed in my spare time between Oct and Dec 2005. I use the oven for pizza days with friends, roasts and veggies on special occasions, and of course bread baking when a few mates also prepare dough to make the firing of the oven worthwhile.

I have placed a photo set of the construction approach at:

I hope this encourages other novices that may be thinking of a similar project. It wasn't as hard as I had envisaged and has given a tremendous amount of satisfaction and good times.


siuflower's picture

I enjoy this web site very much and learn a lot by reading the blog. I think it is time to introduce myself. I love baking and when I lived in Canada my children are small and ate everything I baked. My husband and I will spend a weekend baking sweet buns; most of them are Chinese buns just as cocktail buns with coconut filing and pineapple buns with butter topping. After the boys left home we don’t see any reason to bake anymore and especially our cholesterol is so high, we have to change our life style. So I stop baking bread altogether. Until two years ago I read in the Newspaper about no knead bread (we moved back to the States). I watched the video and bake one. It became out so good and easy. I changed the recipe and add 50% WW flour. One thing leads to other, I checked out bread books from the library and I brought a couple of books. I took a class Whole Wheat Bread from Peter Reinhart in Atlanta and he also signed my book. I’m back baking bread again and I love it.

(in Chinese siu means little)

dmsnyder's picture

Nury Light Rye baked 6-21-08

Nury Light Rye baked 6-21-08

Nury Light Rye crumb baked 6-21-08

Nury Light Rye crumb baked 6-21-08

Delicious as always!

 But ... I've never baked a loaf that came out of the oven winking at me before.



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