The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


pul's picture

I tried to mimic Abel's Roggenmischbrot which looks quite pretty.

I like to add rye flour to the mix because of the flavor it imparts to bread. Typically, I add around 10% rye but in this version the rye content is higher. This bake has been based on 50% AP flour, 50% rye flour, 2% salt and 78% hydration, leavened with yeast water. I autolysed the dough for about one hour, but then I actually forgot about it, and ended up applying only one set of S&F after the mix. Since I started the process too late, I had to put the dough in the fridge to complete the bulk fermentation. The next day I shaped the small loaves and proofed for about 45 minutes before baking at 250C for about 15 min and then 230C until finished for another 15 min. It yielded two small loaves since the total flour used was only 260 g.

The loaves were baked seam side up to give a rustic look. Great taste and an unbelievable crispy crust. The next time, I will use less fermented flour in the levain, which was 23% for this bake.

 Happy New Year!

leslieruf's picture

Lately I have been concentrating on using up grains and flours stored in my freezer so for the last few weeks I have been making kibbled wheat, kibbled rye loaves. Still some kibbled wheat left but what else is there hiding in there.  Ah...

Ok, its been a while since I used that.  Starter was refreshed and levain built in two steps overnight and first thing in the morning.

10 am Mix soaker - 157 g 6 grain mix + 39 g barley flakes + 70 g near boiling water.  That isn't going to work, too dry. So I gradually added more water until just a little free water left (another 160 g) covered and left.

11:30 am Autolyse 589 g bread flour + 79 g home milled whole wheat + 242 g water + soaker.  I added water to the soaker then added to the flours.  It was still far too dry so I added another 130 g water.  I was working off a recipe I had for a loaf made several years ago but I didn't look up my method or notes.  I have done that this morning, and find that I made this as a porridge bread back then and yes I added extra water but nowhere near the amount I added this time.  Note to self:  update formula in file!

12:30 pm Tip out autolysed dough onto bench, spread 251 g levain (100% hydration) over, dimple in then fold and rollup dough.  100 slap & folds and levain is well mixed in.  Add 14 g salt and continue with another 80 slap and folds.  At this point I divided the dough and completed another 30 slap and folds on each portion.

4 sets of Coil folds were then done at 45 minute intervals and the dough was left to complete bulk fermentation.  I am now leaving BF until it looks about right, puffy and risen.  I am not good at judging % increase as the container I am using at the moment is bigger than dough but allows easy access for coil folds.

5:45 pm Preshaped dough and left covered for 30 minutes.

6:15 pm final shaping then left 30 minutes on bench then retarded overnight in fridge.

7 am Unmould dough, score and spritz with water. Baked in preheated DO at 235 deg C for 15 minutes then uncovered and baked another 17 minutes. 

Crumb shot

Good but not massive oven spring, crumb is soft - a really good texture for everyday sandwiches, crust is not too thick, all in all I am happy with this bake.  Looking back to the earlier bake in May 2018 which was done as a porridge bread, I think the crumb maybe a little better and possibly by using the hot water in the soaker, the effect was probably very similar.  

Let us all hope for a better 2021

Bake happy everyone


_JC_'s picture

It's been a long year of Sourdough Baking, Learned a lot and still learning. Baked my last Sourdough for the year... 2020. 10/90 Whole Wheat and Strong White flour.

  • 315g Strong White Flour
  • 35g Whole Wheat
  • 280g Water
  • 70g Starter
  • 7g Salt
  • 2 Hours Autolyse
  • Added Starter and Salt mixed for 10 mins(Rubaud Method)
  • Fermented for 7 hours or until it was almost doubled.[with 2 stretch and fold]
  • Pre-Shaped - 30 Mins rest(not so tight)
  • Final Shape
  • 15 hours Cold Retard
  • Baked on a baking steel 250c deg for 20 mins/200c deg for 25 mins.
agres's picture

As a kid, I was fascinated by dough troughs, and traditional baker’s technologies. I tried making some dough troughs out of wood, but I was never satisfied with my product. In the kitchens, I made do with stand mixers. Here, at the Tulip Patch, the mixer habit carried over, but I was still on the look out for a dough trough.

We eat a lot of fresh produce, and I bought bins to store produce at the local “cash and carry” restaurant supply outlet. It turns out that they are the “dough trough” that I have been seeking for 60 years.  Somehow they are better than the generations of mixing bowls that I have tried.

They are plastic, rectangular, with good lids, ~ 4” deep, holding ~6 liters. After a couple of dozen batches of bread in them, I find them to be faster, easier, and more convenient than either of my stand mixers. 

These days, my method/technique is to put a weighed amount of fresh ground flour in one corner of the trough, make a well in the flour, put weighed amounts of starter/yeast, and (honey, oil, other) in the well, and a weighed amount of salt in the other corner.  I add warm water to the well and stir, gently mixing flour into the slurry.  The very wet mix comes together and forms gluten rapidly. I stir and add water until I have incorporated all the flour, and salt.  I knead in the trough for a couple minutes. Between the stirring of water into the flour and the little bit of kneading, the dough will pass a window-pane test.

I let rest in a warm place (usually a Styrofoam “cooler”) for an hour, do a stretch and fold in the trough, and an hour or so later it is ready to begin shaping and forming for the final rise in banneton or pans.

I find the trough(s) to be of convenient size for batches of dough ranging from 500 gm to 2- kilo. If I must bake 4 kilo (9 lb.) of bread today, I use 2 of my produce bins as dough troughs. They are inexpensive and I use them for other things such as storing produce.  They do not overload my little kitchen scale.  I do not have to clean the mixer kettle/hook.  And, stirring water into a well in the flour develops gluten and makes a dough faster than my mixers.

At my 1-hour stretch and fold, I reserve back 100 grams of dough, that I keep in the refrigerator. That “old dough” gets added to my next batch of dough. I find this old dough method to be the easy approach to sourdough. The salt in the dough and the cold storage, means the starter will remain in good condition and quite active for a few days.  In the next bake, it provides flavor, texture, and improved keeping qualities.  I find the old dough approach to be less effort than most modern recipes for “sourdough”.

My other adaption to a plastic dough trough is use of a nylon bench knife

Let’s face it, if I want really good bead, I have to go to a bakery, or bake it myself – the bread at the grocery store is not as good as the bread at the bakery.  (I live in a place where a local grocery store gets daily deliveries from 2 of the best bakeries in the SF Bay Area – and I stand by that statement.) Therefor, I try to arrange my baking so that it takes less effort than buying the same quality and kinds of bread. I can mix dough and set it to bulk ferment while I prepare my wife’s breakfast. It can be a yeast dough for lunch or a sourdough for dinner. Yesterday’s bake was whole-wheat  focaccia for lunch and whole-wheat dinner rolls.  Today’s bake is a Korean style, whole-wheat sandwich bread.

However quick and easy it is to make bread; I will always be looking for an easier method/technique to make better bread.

idaveindy's picture

Dec. 30, 2020.

Goal: to add soluble and insoluble fiber to white (refined) bread flour with guar gum, psyllium powder, chia seed and flaxseed.


A few days ago I did this by just throwing the ingredients together without measuring anything. I made a pita (flatbread) with it, and baked it in my toaster oven on a Lodge cast iron 9.25" serving griddle.

It came out surprisingly good.  So I decided to try again, measuring the ingredients this time so I can repeat it and share with others.

  • 100 grams Gold Medal Bread Flour.
  • 5 grams whole dry chia seed.
  • 5 grams ground flaxseed.
  • 1 gram pure psyllium powder. Purchased at an Indian grocery store, Patel Brothers.
  • 1 gram guar gum, "Pure Organic Ingredients" brand, purchased from Amazon.
  • 2 grams salt.
  • .5 gram instant dry yeast.
  • 10 grams cold starter, 100% hydration. Last fed evening of 12/26.
  • 61 grams bottled spring water. Maybe 1 gram more was added during kneading.

Make sure the guar gum and psyllium are well distributed/mixed with the flour prior to adding water, otherwise they will clump.

I forgot that I had used some fat-free milk powder and a dash of nutritional yeast in my previous attempt, and did not use them this time.

Started first ferment around 11:30 am.  Dough is a _little_ stiff.

Shaped into 8.5" diameter round flatbread, started final proof, around 1:00pm.  The dough had softened and loosened up noticeably, and was easy to shape.


Pre-heated toaster oven, with both upper and lower elements turned on, to 400 F indicated. I'm not sure what actual is. Held temp at 400 for 10 minutes to get cast iron griddle/plate up to temp.

At 2:00pm, after a 1 hour final proof, I docked the flat dough with a fork, so it wouldn't puff up, and loaded in the toaster oven,  with the side with holes facing up. Lowered thermostat to 350 F, and turned off upper element, leaving lower element enabled.

Baked 5 minutes, flipped the bread over, and baked 4 minutes more.

Internal temp was 206 F.

The first down side (the side without holes) resulted more crispy than I wanted, but the other side was perfect.  I will likely pre-heat to only 350 next time, and bake 4.5 minutes each side.


There is a mild off taste that I think is the psyllium. So I will eliminate it next time.

texasbakerdad's picture

We made gingerbread from scratch. Cutting the design by hand for 9 people was a PAIN IN THE BUTT! I cut two fancy Church style houses and it took forever, so I decided for the other 7 houses I would simplify things, but it still took forever.

Unfortunately, everyone had so much fun making the houses, I am sure we will be doing the same thing next year, so I want to take some notes to hopefully make the process less painful next year. My wife says I will forget how much work it was a year from now, she is right.

Ok, first, I need to give credit to the source of my recipe, I pretty much did exactly what they recommended. Main difference in the recipe, I used butter instead of lard:

The gingerbread that was cooked properly (which was difficult for me), tasted better than any gingerbread I have ever had before, soft and chewy, but still plenty strong enough to build a house with. Really really good. The only problem was that I had difficult rolling the dough out to a consistent thickness, and as the dough was baked, the thinner dough was cooked too much.

Gingerbread Recipe:

  • 5 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses

Royal Icing:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • water as needed


  • A couple days before baking, I googled "gingerbread house templates" for inspiration, then I painstakingly used GIMP (which I am not skilled with) to create a custom gingerbread house design that fit onto a 8.5"x11" paper. The idea being that I could roll the dough out to an 8.5"x11" square and transfer the design from paper to dough using toothpick pricks and a knife. The idea worked fine, but was tiresome and boring, especially after doing it 6 times.
  • Bake Day
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.
  • Melt butter in dutch oven and smear butter on sides of dutch oven to promote non-stickyness for later.
  • Add sugar and molasses and stir.
  • Bring to a boil then turn off burner but keep on heat and stir, let the sugar completely dissolve and get really bubbly.
  • 1 cup at a time, incorporate flour into hot mixture, reserving 1 cup of flour mixture for later.
  • Dust counter with some of the remaining cup of flour mixture, dump dough onto counter.
  • Knead in the rest of the flour mixture. If you cooked the butter mixture enough, you should end up with a very easy to work with dough, it won't be oily. If you didn't cook it enough, it will be an oily hot mess (I know because one of our batches was an oily hot mess).
  • As the dough cools, it becomes harder and harder to work with. If it gets too hard to work with, stick it in the microwave for 15 seconds.
  • Roll dough into 8.5"x11" square that is 1/4" to 1/2" thick. Try to be consistent.
  • Transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Cut shapes.
  • I tried removing the shapes and baking them separated and baking them together... baking them together gave the best results (cleanest lines) but was too tedious and some of the shapes broke while trying to separate them after the bake. Next year, I am going to bake the shapes separately, except for the doors and windows where the clean lines are important.
  • Bake at 350dF for 12 to 15 minutes
  • Set on racks to cool, except for walls with windows, put them back on baking sheet and put jolly ranchers in the windows and stick back in oven to create stain glass windows.
  • Let everything cool.
  • Royal Icing
  • Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until they are frothy, DO NOT keep going to stiff peaks. Then add in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Icing will be thick, you want thick for structural integrity.
  • Make sure it is thick.
  • Store in plastic bags, cut the corner off of the bag so each person can have their own inexpensive pipette bag. 
  • Make a separate batch of royal icing for decorating that is the same recipe but slightly thinner (using water to thin)


  • Make sure you boil the sugar, butter, molasses mixture long enough to get to that candy like boil, not a simple simmer. Failure to do so will result into oily dough mixture. The oily dough mixture still produced OK gingerbread cookies, they just weren't as fun to roll out and didn't taste as good or have the right texture.
  • Make sure the royal icing is thick enough for building the structures, we made 4 batches and 1 of them wasn't thick enough. My daughter mixed up that batch and I am not sure what was different.
  • If possible, assemble the structures day before. That way, you can make sure everyone uses thick icing for assembly and thin icing for decorating AND it gives the structures time too solidify before piling on all of the decorations. Also, splitting up the house making into two days makes the whole process more enjoyable, because things get less tedious.
  • The only way I can see to make the dough cutting enjoyable, it to make custom cutouts. A 3D printer would be perfect for this, or maybe there is an easy way to do it with metal.

Santa up at 2am starting the brisket for Christmas Day

My second time to smoke a brisket. All of it tasted great, some of it could have used a little more time on the smoker... smoking on my tiny offset smoker is hard, very uneven temperatures makes it hard to evenly cook the brisket.

Cinnamon rolls, I think we made something everyday for 7 days straight, I was exhausted... I didn't take any photos of the sourdough bagels.


Our livestock guardian slacking on the job. 

the barn cats.

texasbakerdad's picture

Christmas has been busy with activities so far. I am trying to stay disciplined and post my bakes, because I am finding the posts useful when I am trying to plan future bakes. I am going to post 3 blog posts today with the different bakes over Christmas I want to keep notes on.

Unfortunately or fortunately depending on who you ask, I am short on time this morning, so I will try to keep the posts brief.


  • 100g Spelt
  • 200g Hard Red Wheat
  • 1100g AP
  • 120g starter (8.5%)
  • 35g salt (2.5%)
  • 70g Honey (5%)
  • 980g Water (70%)


  • Mixed dough the night before to shaggy mess leaving out the starter, waited 10 minutes
  • Smeared starter over top and worked into dough, kneading very lightly, just enough to evenly distribute the starter
  • Let dough to ferment on counter for 1 hour then stretched and folder 4 or 5 times and then stuck it in the fridge to retard the fermentation.
  • In the morning, about 9am, pulled out of fridge and set on counter.
  • Stretch and folded every hour until about 3pm.
  • 3pm, preshaped, then waited 15 min.
  • Shaped into pies in 3 stages, with 5 minute rests in between to let gluten rest. 1st stage, slightly flatter than an english muffin. 2nd stage, thick 8 inch pies, last stage 10-12 inch pies. (I didn't really rest 5 min, I had 9 pies, so I would do each stage on all 9 pies and then start back over on the first for the second stage, probably more like 2-3 minutes).
  • Topped and loaded into oven 450dF for about 12 minutes (non-convection).


  • My dough was lumpy, I didn't understand why until I made the same mistake 4 days later while making bread bowls. I poured honey directly onto my flour and it solidified into little balls that had to be hand smooshed... I should have dissolved he honey into the water first, or at least added the honey on top of water instead of dry flour.
  • The pizza and crust was amazing with regards to taste, and rise, and crumb, and cornicione. But, many times I have made pizza, I have been able to throw the pizza in the air to shape, I find that process so much fun, AND, when the dough is like that, the kids can shape the pizza without having to worry about messing it up. Once again, this dough was too difficult for a kid to work with. I need to figure out what I can do differently to make the dough easier to work with. On this bake, I was hoping the reduction of hydration to 70% and the addition of spelt would have gotten me there, but it did not, those changes definitely helped, but not enough. Maybe I will try an even lower hydration next time. I am open to advice on this.

Just showing off some Christmas gifts I made.

HungryShots's picture

I do this sweet bread every year but it is just this winter that I tried the sourdough version. As always, once I try sourdough, I do not come back to yeast. It will be the case for this bread as well. It is true that it takes time to make it but it worth every minute of it. 

I do this bread called "Cozonac" only for Christmas and Easter. Sweet bread is not my highest preference, but this one is a tradition that I know since childhood. I am continuing this tradition, especially for my kids, although I am now living in another country. The smell spread in the house when this cake is prepared for Christmas and Easter resides deep in my memories.

This is a sweet bread linked to traditions, memories, aroma and holidays. It is a treat to share with family and friends in joyful moments. It is also a delicious breakfast or dessert.




 300g stiff sourdough (50% hydration) 


Ingredients for dough:

  • 300ml of milk
  • 15g salt
  • 125g soft butter
  • 4 eggs (~230g eggs)
  • 825g strong bread flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 heap tablespoon of lemon zest
  • the above preferment

Ingredients for filling:

  • 2 egg whites (reserve the yolks for brushing)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 300g Turkish delight
  • 200g raisins
  • 200g ground walnuts


Directions and more details on my blog at: 

Miller's Dad's picture
Miller's Dad

A very good tasting chew, with butter, toasted or untoasted.  Hard to pin down the dominant flavor, but it has chocolately, coffee, and rye tones.  Finally, a sweetness imparted by 3% Mesquite bean pod flour.  Smells iffy while fermenting, but sweet once baked.

My notes and instructions below assume familiarity of the reader with some baking terms and procedures.  Methods and terms will vary a bit from baker to baker.  If you are new at this, you'll probably find some things unclear.  This is my first post of a recipe, so I apologize in advance for any lack of clarity.

Yield: two 1.7 pound round artisan loaves

Ingredients (% based on 1,000 g flour BEFORE addition of 115 g of flour in the leaven):

  • 48% Artisan Baker's Craft+ white flour (
  • 36% hard red spring WW fresh-milled berries
  • 13% whole rye fresh-milled berries
  •   3% Mesquite bean pod flour

____1000g flour before leaven added__________

  • 230 g leaven (45 % WW + 45% white + 10% whole rye at 100% hydration)
  • 80% total H2O (warm coffee, no grounds, 779g coffee+ 115 g water from leaven)
  • 1/2 tsp SAF granulated yeast
  • 22 g salt


  • Feed a new leaven from starter the night before: 30 g starter +100 g starter flour mix + 100 g water--ferment overnight at room temp
  • 7:40 AM autolyse flours, leaven, warm coffee and SAF yeast together. Target temperature of dough 78°F
  • 8:40 AM cut in salt
  • 9:10 AM fold (turn bottom of dough to top in four turns of the bowl or bucket)
  • 9:40 AM fold
  • 10:20 AM 3rd fold, bulk ferment at room temp until double or more in volume
  • 12:45 PM divide, shape into 2 rounds, "envelope fold," bench rest, covered
  • 1:15 PM basket proof
  • 2:15 PM score tops of loaves, bake at 500°F immediately reduced to 450°F in dutch ovens, 25 minutes covered, 25 minutes uncovered.
kendalm's picture

Well I had a baking extravaganza this weekend - pizza, croissants, baguettes and today canele.  I took a snap (with my flour encrusted phone - sorry for the lack of phoographic quality).  This bake had very few uncooked tops which if anyone has tried canele knows that cooking tops is a challenge since they like to rise or 'muffin top'.  I have no idea why with repetition, certain things just improve.  but to the bigger point - all y'all, sometimes its just a good thing to resign yourself to all the science and tips and tricks and just bake over and over - and accept the fact that even with tons of practice, you will have flops.  happy baking folks ;) 


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