The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts



A number of tools exist on this site. Such as:


gtbehary's picture

Still Trying to find a good loaf of bread in South Florida!  We have a nice old antique hand cranked bread dough mixer.  Its shaped like a bucket with the crank on the top.  Does anyone ever use one of these?  I would like to try making a larger than normal size recipe.   We're new to the starter/sponge recipes and we just love them and all of the enthusiasm on your site.

CBudelier's picture

I've never tried one, but I wonder if an old fashioned hand-crank ice cream maker would accomplish the same thing?  It has a 4-6 quart bucket and the dasher would work like a large wooden spoon.

pumpkinpapa's picture

We use a large high torque drill with a mixing paddle for mixing feed grade molasses with feeds on our farm as well as for turning cranks attached to 200 foot cable rigs. Beats doing it by hand!

I've seen one setup like what you mention in Nova Scotia about 30 years ago but never in operation, it would sure be a workout.

sagharbormo's picture


what is the model and make of your drill? thanks

RFMonaco's picture

Panera's bakeries are very good.

Breadbaker70's picture

I've seen these for sale in a hardware store in Shipshewanna, Indiana (Amish Store).  It might be a good workout for the kids.   I use the Magic Mill Assistant from Electrolux in Sweden.  It's a great mixer but a little more expensive than the Kitchen Aid.  Check it out on the net.

pmccool's picture

Here's one thread on mixer pros and cons:

You can find more using the "Search" utility, since there have been several discussions about the topic.  Happy researching!


Arlette's picture

this is a tray of soft pretzels just out of the oven.

charbono's picture

Certain vitamins will gradually degrade upon exposure to oxygen.  However, I can find no credible source for the drastic decline you cite in whole wheat.  I think it’s a myth, or a reference to refining losses. 


Some millers, such as King Arthur, will show a Julian and a “Best By” date.  The Julian date is a year earlier and indicates the mill date.  I’ve seen Bob’s Red Mill whole grain flour with a “Best By” date nearly 2 years out – a good reason to avoid Bob’s.



BvN's picture

When it comes to flour based recipies, I follow my grandmother's PDS (Pinch, Dab, and Smidgen) system of measurement. I often wondered why pasta dough has no recipie, until a friend explained that there could never be one. It all depends on the humidity of the flour, the air, barometric pressure and other uncontrollable variables. The long and short of it, is that it has to look and feel right - somewhat problematic when you've never made it before. I believe, that one should accept what is, by nature, experimental and recognize that experiments are allowed to fail. --- also keep good notes. No sense in repeating the same failure.

I am, by training, an engineer. Engineers produce "practices" - reliable and repeatable methods for creating something that works. Recipies are not "practices" - mearly generic guidelines. I have best practice documents for all my important kitchen products.

For humor look up the FFF system of measurement on the Wikipedia.

Measuring by weight is the most reliable and reproducable method. Get a "portion" scale because you can zero out the weight of the vessel - measure in what you actually use. Zero out your mixing vessel, dump in your cups, grams, and firkins and record in your "practice" what they actually weigh. Don't bother converting. The numbers arn't all that accurate for your venue anyway (any weigh ? :-).

The size of a mixer is bounded by the size of your oven. I have a Kitchen Aid Pro-520 (5 qt, 450 watt) mixer. The smallest commercial grade mixer around. I cannot use anything larger because my oven is only a 1/2 size convection.

Above all, have fun and tollerate the occasional failure.

Leamlass's picture

I am looking to buy an accurate food scale, but have had no luck after ordering two of them, and had to send them back. Can anyone tell me what brand they have/like.  I would appreciate the feedback.  Thanks.

xaipete's picture

I have an inexpensive Salter brand scale. It works great and is very accurate.


Chuck's picture
  1. Virtually every brand offers a range of prices and qualities. Get the cheapest of any brand, and you'll probably be unhappy either with gross errors or with unreproducible measurements.
  2. The small quantities of yeast and salt are so different you usually can't measure them accurately in the same scale as flour etc. When after a while you want to graduate from teaspoons/Tablespoons, get a second small quantity digital scale that measures to the nearest tenth of a gram.
  3. Mechanical spring scales seem to have not only the usual "margin of error" that's a percentage of what you're weighing, but also an error that's independent of size. It doesn't matter too much for large quantities, but for quantities small enough to make a single loaf, that unreproduceability will completely screw up your hydration levels from one batch to the next. For small batches, a good quality digital scale seems to be the only way to go.
ciabattaventi's picture

I have a Salter, too. It works fine for larger quantities--flour, water--but if you need to measure salt or yeast, it is waaay off. I tested it with salt when I was doing a 5# batch of flour for pizzas. The scale vs tablespoon measure was off by about 3 times! Just my two cents.

Chuck's picture

I got these large shakers, and filled one with regular baking flour and the other with a non-stick mix (rice flour and semolina). They're like salt shakers on steroids  ...except filled with flour. Since I got them, I've found them so handy for baking I can't remember how I ever got along without them.
Tools - Large Shakers
They do everything:

  • a smidge more flour dusted evenly over my work surface but my hands are wet
  • an even dusting over my couche
  • a light sprinkle of raw flour on the topside of a proofed loaf
  • flour over top of oil on my work surface (both oil and flour to really not stick)
  • a little flour on a piece of parchment paper, so I can scootch a loaf that will proof there
  • cover my whole work surface with no thin spots or voids, but without so much flour I risk changing my dough's hydration level too much

No trying to finagle my way in and out of a flour sack with doughy hands - no trying to guess in advance how much flour to load into a dredge bowl - no having to throw out a lot of flour that didn't get used but that can't go back in the sack because it might be wet.

Shakers now seem so obvious to me I think they should be standard in any reasonably-well-equipped kitchen; yet I had to mail order mine from a specialty house.  (Fortunately many of the specialty houses are listed on - search in "Home & Garden" for "shaker dredger". Note the very wide price range, only partly explained by the wide variety of styles. My top is a screen  ...not a "fine" screen and not "holes", just a screen.) My guess is they're not common because there's some better way.

What's the "better way"?

dmsnyder's picture

I've been using one just as you describe for a few years. It works great. I also use it to flour food before frying, which is probably its intended purpose. Mine is all metal and has small holes, not a screen.

Hmmm ... Actually, I hadn't thought of using it to flour bannetons. I need another one then for an AP/Rice flour mix.


nickk's picture

I tried this recipe several times using a bread flour ( dont have the flour recommended). The crust is perfect but the inside is not soft and light but slightly spongy. I cooked it for about 35mins


any help appreciated



dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Nickk.

I don't know how your entry ended up in the topic it did.

The Bouabsa baguettes are best made with a flour with about 11-12% protein. Lower would be better than higher. The crumb should be tender and chewy. I would not call it "soft and light." It should be very well aerated.

Why don't you pose your question, preferably with photos, in a new topic?


ssor's picture

I often mix 5 pounds of white flour with 26 ounces of whole wheat at 65 percent hydration to make 8 loaves. I have a friend that has and uses a dough pail. She is a gigaintic 4'11' 102 pound PHD that happens to love baking , cooking and gardening. Her dough pail has a clamp to hold it down and when she gets tired her 6'4'' husband takes over.

jannrn's picture

Ruth, PLEASE post your recipe here!! I TOO tried the link but it didn't work.....just got a "this page can not be found" message.

Thank you!