The Fresh Loaf

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Not much to say, except I'm re hydrating my 2g of dried starter from 3(?) years ago. I've been feeling better and store bought bread prices have been going up. Almost $4 a loaf here for the basic stuff. I've got bubbles in my tiny starter which is half rye and half whole wheat. If anyone remembers, I was having water problems when trying to get it going the first time. So far I have only been using filtered water and no bottled, so my fingers are crossed this stays alive (it's hurricane season and people panic buy the bottled stuff).

On another note, I found a glass bottle of regular yeast starter in my refrigerator door, from 2018. I made rolls with it, no problems at all! I made the Cafeteria Lady rolls, but they came out more like biscuits. And so on I go to look for something more like that of Hawaiian rolls we had in our schools down here. I'm guessing the tangzong method.

I haven't been able to do much baking but school for the kiddos start next week, so I'll have lots of time to bake (and rest) and have a nice smelling kitchen. It's been a very busy year.



8/9 Edit: a few days later and I've got black mold on the rim. I am bummed. I was trying to get enough going to do a bake this week of one of Trevor's loaves or some sourdough cinnamon rolls. I guess I'll stick to regular yeast for now and when I do restart it will be the bottled water and pineapple juice method again. Dang, dang, and dang. Well, I guess I'll try making the BBA's cinnamon rolls this week with a bit of rye added. I have a 3lb bag that expires at the end of the month (never buy flour from or fulfilled by Amazon).

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So my rye starter from almost 2 years ago is going strong. I did a 1:2:2 feeding and it doubled in 6 hours so I decided to bake a 1-2-3 loaf with it. The dough was super sticky, like octopus sticky ( I first tried wetting my hands, but that only worked a little bit, so then I had to just use flour, about 1/4 of a cup and it still stuck (like chewing gum, #3 on the link) to my Silpat. I suspect my starter may have run out of food (or I didn't let it rise the second time enough) since my rolls didn't rise very high, they stayed pretty squat. They tasted fine with a bit of a zing from rye flour. My youngest said it was too salty and my oldest smeared peanut butter on top and loved it.

My measurements were this:

50g starter (all rye, it was a 1:2:2)

100g Water

125g AP Flour

25g Rye Flour

25g Malted Milk Powder

1/2 T olive oil

4g Salt (I was going for 3g, but it poured out a bit fast and it's hard to pick out salt from flour.)

And melted butter for brushing right before going into a 375F oven for 15 minutes.

i did a few stretch and folds, did a letter fold a few times, and more stretch and folds over the course of a few hours. Then popped it in the refrigerator over night. Hardly any gluten development, if any. I did not see any strands, just big blobs of chewing gum. So I'm not sure why it was like this. I am a beginner when it comes to dough, but I've had better luck the commercial yeast no-knead bread. I want to to try Trevor's loaf bread next, the one where he uses bread flour, rye and spelt. He has a good video I've watched a few times, so I guess I'll go feed my starter and hope for the best for next time. Here's a link to his loaf: I wish I could make bread that pretty and take pictures that well.

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Revisiting The Approachable Loaf from the 2020 Community Bake- part 3

(Link here:

I tried the loaf again. The kids were at school/daycare so I could pay a bit more attention to the dough. I wish I had taken pictures of the process, then you all could tell me if the dough was done. Next time!

So the changes from last time are 100% whole wheat with the addition of vinegar and I rounded off the oil to 30 instead of 27ml. I prefer round numbers because that's what my jars do. I also accidentally added 2 grams of yeast to the preferment, so I compensated by only adding 3 grams to the final dough. It fermented fast, about 3 hours to doubling, but the strings were short.

I did a gentle mixing and then left it alone for a while before kneading. For the kneading I gently did some Rubaud and stretch and folds. I also squished it some. I know, squish is not very descriptive, but that's what I did when it would start to tear. I did that maybe 3 times then I left it alone for 30 minutes. Came back and did the same thing again. The third time I did one Rubaud followed by several coil folds. I noticed throughout the kneading that the dough went from sticky and shaggy to smooth and sleek. I was glad I could take time to notice that. I think the kids being away helped with that. After 30 more minutes I shaped it.

I baked it at 425F for 30 minutes. Again it was too hot or my bread was too close to the top as the top got singed. It rose higher than my first loaf. I'm not sure if that was the vinegar or the gluten development and gentle kneading. I have noticed that whole wheat rises better when I use vinegar, but I think it was probably both.

Here are the ingredients

Preferment: WW Flour: 352g + 352g water + 2g yeast

Final Dough:

166g WW Flour

60g Water (This bumped up the hydration to around 80%)

40g Honey

30g Olive Oil

10g Salt

3g Yeast

1tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

I'll post pictures tomorrow after I cut into it.

I wasn't able to get to making bread as soon as my last post because I've been sick with sinus stuff and now the doc suspects anemia. So now that I'm not sick and only dealing with low iron I was able to bake some bread today. I still have a lot of breads to try on my wish list, but I think I may stick with one (or two, possibly three) for now.


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My husband wanted "Carraba's" bread, so I made some No-Knead Bread based on Jim Lahey's. This bread is about 90% hydration, I think it's easier to work with than the lower ones since I can feel when the dough needs to rest better (it's dramatically different).

  No Knead Bread

  •  100g Bread Flour
  • 73g All Purpose Flour
  • 156g water
  • 4g Salt
  • 2g Yeast

  Mixed all and let sit in a container for 11 hours at about 74F. Mixture was bubbly and smelled fermented in the morning. Put in the refrigerator for about 1.5 hours. Lightly floured the top and did some stretch and folds in the bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes. Sprinkled a pinch of an Italian seasoning blend, then sprinkled on more flour and did more stretch and folds in the bowl.


Left out for about 30 minutes. Not quite doubled.


Preheated oven for 425F. Stretched the dough out a bit and did some finger poking all over it instead of scoring. Baked for 20 minutes. Took it out and rubbed a butter stick on the top. Put back in for 5 more minutes. Bread temperature read 205F.


Bread was puffed up like a balloon. It was about 1/2” tall before going into the oven. I probably should've scored it or let it do it's final rise longer. But no explosions at least!



This is for lunch so I'll report back on how it tastes later.

Update: It tasted pretty good, but too chewy for me. I think that's the bread flour though, so maybe less bread flour and more all purpose flour. The seasoning was very subtle, two pinches needed if not using an oil with seasoning dipping sauce. To make it really good, it needs some onion-garlic-salt-butter brushed on top after baking. I prefer garlic on top of bread instead of in it.

I'm not big on big holes, this sopped up pasta sauce pretty well. Next time I'll let it rise fully before putting in and see how big the holes are.

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I am once again trying The Approachable Loaf from the 2020 Community Bake

Link here:

This time I am replacing some of the Whole Wheat with Bread Flour and am adding the Honey back in. Total Amounts are still the same for a 1,000g loaf.


Total DoughGramsPercent
Whole Wheat Flour35268.00%
Bread Flour16832.00%
Total Flour518100.00%
Instant Yeast50.80%
Olive Oil275.25%
Hold Water53 



WW Flour352
Yeast (pinch)0.25


I saw someone did a 100% poolish on another post with whole wheat bread so I thought I would just do all my whole wheat as a poolish. I have a bad habit of experimenting before I even get the basics down so if this doesn't work out I'll just go make some muffins and do some cake planning (my son's birthday coming up).

I also read that Hamelman mixes his yeast with the water before adding in the flour (poolish), so I think I'll do that too. He also mixes a little water at a time in the center of the dough when using a dough hook for kneading. He pulls out the hook then puts a little water in that empty space in the middle and then continues mixing. Water, mix, water, mix. I may use my mixer, but it's a good mental note for the next time I do.

The poolish will be started as soon as my littlest one goes to bed.

(I also have no idea why my spreadsheet looks like that.)



I let the poolish go for 16 hours. I saw short gluten strands when I pulled it back. I'm guessing those strands are gluten, they look kind of gross, like melting skin from a horror movie or the wrinkles on your fingers after a long bath. Sorry for the visual. That's the best way I can think of to describe it. I'm not sure it was done yet, but it did smell wheaty with a hint of changing to alcohol.

I did score it before baking. I thought it was too deep and too much, but you can barely tell I did any scoring. I scored two long ones on the side (about 3/4"-1" deep) and several small /short ones down the middle. So I guess it's a good thing I did. I also thought it had bulk fermented too long, but it rose just fine in the oven.

I ran into a two problems but I did what I could.

Problem 1: I accidentally added an extra 100grams of water (in addition to the hold out water, for a grand total of 152g extra). I forgot that I had added all the water into the poolish and was only going to add the 52grams. It was a very slack dough, so I added 76grams of whole wheat plus a little extra for dusting. I did 3 stretch and folds with 30 minutes in between each one. After the last stretch and fold I shaped it and put it into a dark loaf pan.

Problem two: I baked it for 45 minutes, in a dark loaf pan, at.... 425F the whole time. I was meaning to turn it down after I put it in, but I was still mad at myself for the extra water so I forgot to do so. Top was a little singed in places.

Well, it turned out fine, except for the slightly burnt top (which I cut off later so it would fit in the container). The loaf rose higher this time and even though I was afraid there was not enough gluten development, it did not seem fragile this time. I like the addition of the bread flour, it mellowed out the wheat taste for my kids and probably added more gluten since I do not keep vital wheat gluten on hand. It was better with the honey this time around. For a different flavor, I wonder if a different type of wheat could be used.

I think I will stick with Floyd's Honey Whole Wheat under Favorite Recipes but I might revisit this again. I enjoy reading everyone's posts on the Community Bakes, even when the science bread geeks get technical.

Here's the loaf. First one is on the left, current one on the right.

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This is my try on the "The Approachable Loaf using Commercial Yeast and Poolish" Community Bake from 2020.

Link here:


  1. Room temperature was 76F the whole time. It is not cool here.

  2. I am using molasses and brown sugar instead of honey (another poster did this so I am using their numbers). Another poster said honey can inhibit yeast and I wanted to try molasses (going for that Steak & Ale bread).


259g Whole Wheat flour (King Arthur)

259g Water

1/16tsp Yeast (a pinch)


Final Dough

259g Whole Wheat Flour

10g Salt

5g Instant Yeast

18g Molasses

13g brown sugar

100g water (instead of 93g, I had a 100ml line on my measuring cup)


45g Hold-Out Water (reserved for just in case) original recipe called for 52g, but I put 7g of that above,

I ended up using all the water, so 404g water total.


What I did:

  1. Mix 259g Whole Wheat Flour (KA), 259g water, and ¼ of a 1/4tsp (1/16?) of yeast. Let sit for 2 hours at 76F then put in refrigerator until 7am. Very thick, like tomato paste. I think I used too little yeast in my poolish since I thought I was making a 500g loaf instead of a 1000g loaf. I had my spreadsheet numbers wrong, again.

  2. 7am: took out of fridge and let sit on the counter for 4 hours. No bubbles, still super thick.

  3. 11am: I gently folded in 100g water with my rice cooker spoon, still pretty thick but better.

  4. 12:30pm: starting to see a few bubbles. Starting to think I need to use all the water. 352g+53g = 405g which is 87% hydration instead of 68%. I've already used 359g at this point, so only 45g left to go. We will shall see.

  5. 1:30: still only a few bubbles, I think it's needs more yeast, but the mixture is not sticking to the sides so I think I will go ahead and do the rest of the ingredients soon.

  6. 2pm: Mixed in the rest of the water(45g), flour, sugars, and yeast. Let rest 20 minutes(2:15pm). Starting to look like bread dough! Dough was super sticky.

  7. 2:35pm: sprinkled on 10g salt. After kneading it in, let it rest for another 20 minutes. Dough did not stick to my hands, no dry clumps either. I have it in a big bowl and I smooshed it so it reached the edges instead of being a big ball.

  8. 3:00: Wasn't able to really do stretch and folds/slaps, I think the dough was too dry. But I was able to stretch it into a rectangle on my cutting board (14x9) then do a tri-fold, then stretch the folded rectangle to meet the length of the cutting board and do another tri-fold. I put that back in the bowl. Dough seemed to be too resistant for anything else. Rest for 30 minutes covered by a tea towel. I'm wondering if I should've spritzed some water on it somewhere, it's not wet, but not dry. I'm worried that the dough has not been slack at all like the white flour I've used before.

  9. 3:40: Did a stretch and fold. Shaped into a loaf and put in a dark loaf pan to bulk ferment. Dough is very tight. I think it probably needs more water but I also have no idea if that's what's wrong (or if anything is wrong). Maybe next time I'll use hot water and autolyze the flour first like in the “Honey Whole Wheat” bread on the “Most Bookmarked” front page section.

  10. 6pm: Loaf has a dry top. I slashed it 3 times with a  serrated kitchen knife and then wet the top with a wet hand. Oven was already on for 425F (was cooking potatoes). Put the pan in and turned the oven down to 325F (dark pan). Timer set for 40 minutes.

Here are the pictures of after I shaped it and before it went into the oven. I'll update with another picture when it's done.

 Update 1:

Thermometer read 186.3F and it looks okay. The sides looked a little cracked. I'll slice into it later when it's cooled off. Probably as a midnight snack after the kids go to bed.

Here's the crumb shot. It is good with honey and butter on top. Without it the bread has a weird aftertaste, almost like a hint of bitter. So maybe more sweetness is due.

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