The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

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Melmelan's picture

I am a new bread baker.  My Tartine Bread cookbook says to use white and whole wheat flour.  Does this mean white whole wheat or all purpose flour?  I read that all purpose flour has more protein.  Please comment.

Benito's picture

I was working on a SD version this morning but something went wrong, I suspect I measured the water incorrectly and added way too much.  When I realized my error I started a second batch, but since I had no levain ready it was IDY to the rescue.  I’m glad I made the second batch, other than an issue of tearing of the dough during one coil fold where I wasn’t gentle enough it turned out just fine even with the increased hydration to 110%.  Another change was that I did final proof with a couche.  To be precise I lined the couche with parchment paper and then pleated the couche to support the sides of the dough during final proof.

For 2 medium breads

250 g water (175 g for mix) then bassinage 100 g

250 g bread flour

1.25 g IDY

5 g salt

6.26 g olive oil


Mix all flour and 175 g of water then rest 15 mins.

Dissolve 1.25 g IDY in 15 g of water add to mixer and mix until well absorbed.

Dissolve 5 g of salt in about 20 g of water and then add to the mixer until well absorbed.  The addition of the salt will tighten the gluten a bit.

Bassinage the rest of the water (65g) in small aliquots waiting until the water is well absorbed before adding more.

Once all the water has been added the dough appears to be well developed, drizzle in the olive oil while the mixer is running.  Mix until well incorporated, this will not take very long.

Grease a Pyrex dish with olive oil and then pour the dough into the dish.  Do a few folds to get the dough into a nice roundish shape.

Place the dough in a warm place, 78°F and every 20 mins do a coil fold, stop when the dough seems to have good structure.  I did four sets of coil folds.

Allow the dough to rest 1.5-2 hours.

After 1.5-2 hours the dough will have risen nicely, about double volume.

Prepare your couche by placing a sheet of parchment paper on it.  We will pleat the parchment/couche to support the dough and separate them.

Flour the top of the dough especially around the edge of the dish.  Sprinkle a generous amount of dough onto your countertop.  Using a bowl scraper release the sides of the dough from the dish, then gently invert the dish so the dough releases onto the floured countertop.  Generously flour the top of the dough.  Using a bench scraper cut the dough carefully into two or four pieces (depends on whether you made a full or half batch).  Ensure the cut edges are well floured, then gently transfer the dough using bench scrapers to your parchment lined couche.  Create a pleat to separate the two doughs and pleat the outsides and support them as well.  I used a box of water to support the outsides of the dough.  I then folded the couche over the top of the dough to prevent excessive drying.

Allow the loaves to rest at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours, uncovered. While the loaves are resting, preheat the oven to 475°F with a baking stone or steel on a lower rack. 

1 hour before final proof is complete, pre-heat your oven to 475°F with a baking stone or steel on the lowest rack.  Place the other rack in the upper half of the oven.

The dough is ready to bake when it looks puffy and there are large bubbles visible in all pieces of dough on the surface.

To bake the bread: Carefully slide the two loaves (still resting on the parchment) into the oven onto the preheated stone or steel. If space is tight and the full sheet of parchment won’t fit on the stone or steel, cut the parchment between the two loaves and arrange them as best you can. Allow the other two loaves to continue to rest.

Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then transfer them, from the stone or steel, directly onto a rack in the upper third of the oven for an additional 13 to 15 minutes. (Leave the stone in place.) Moving them to the rack allows the baking stone or steel to become hot again in preparation for the next two loaves. After a total of 27 to 30 minutes of baking, remove the loaves from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack.

My index of bakes.

Floydm's picture

The Fresh Loaf is 18 today! 🎂🥳

Hard to believe, isn't it? At least for me it is. Part of the reason I started the site (and baking so much) was because I had lots of time around the house when the babies were napping. Both of those babies are in university now.

I realize I have not been very active here for the past few years. The site needs to get a technology upgrade done in the near future. Yes, I've been saying that for a while now, but it is truer now than it has ever been. So you'll be hearing more from me about that before too too long. 

I do still enjoy seeing what people are baking and appreciate how you all help one another out. It is still a really neat community to be involved with.


trailrunner's picture

Following are my adaptations to the no levain no knead bread. I mix everything together just til moist using a large wooden spoon. Autolyse 1 hr or so.

I  then do my version of bassinage by thoroughly wetting the counter scraping out the dough throughly wetting the top and patting out to a large rectangle then letter fold and tuck into a ball and place in oiled container. I do this 3x with 30 min rest inbetween ultimately using an extra 100 g of water. Dough responds exceptionally well and becomes like silk. 

500g t80 French import 

150g spelt home milled

50g rye home milled

300g wheat home milled (generic )

70g stored starter 

20g salt

35g each EVOO, honey, buttermilk

100g apple yeast water(  stored )

600g water + the bassinage

let rise during the day and then shaped 2 boules and retarded 18 hrs 450 lid on 20 min and lid off 20 min in graniteware roaster . No steaming needed. 


Benito's picture

I felt like having fish burgers so decided to make buns for the fish.  I’ve had some luck with using potato so decided to add some mashed potato to my milk bread for buns.  Both the potato along with the tangzhong should made very soft buns.

I was watching a YouTube video recently that sought to dispel the idea that tangzhong should be made at a 1:5 ratio of flour to liquid.  In fact, the author suggested based on studies done with tangzhong and yudane that the ratio should be closer to 1:1-1:2.  They also suggested that ideally the percent flour from the tangzhong or yudane should approach 20%.  With a 1:5 ratio and 20% flour in tangzhong would leave essentially no liquid left to prepare the dough with.  However, at 1:2 or less there would be liquid left.  So this is my first bake using a lower ratio of 1:2 flour to milk but at 10%, which is higher than my usual 7%.  I will gradually adjust the tangzhong over time to see if there is any discernible improvement to the bread.  I figured that this was a good start.

For 8 buns about 65 g each


egg wash: 1 yolk, 1 tbsp milk and a pinch of salt, beaten…




Mix the levain ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 300% growth. 

Press down with your knuckles or silicone spatula to create a uniform surface and to push out air.

At a temperature of 76ºF, it typically takes up to 10-12 hours for this stiff  sweet levain to be at peak.  For my starter I typically see 3-3.5 times increase in size at peak.  The levain will smell sweet with only a mild tang.



In a sauce pan set on medium heat, stir the milk and flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until well thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool in the pan or, for faster results, in a new bowl.  Theoretically it should reach 65ºC (149ºF) but I don’t find I need to measure the temperature as the tangzhong gelatinizes at this temperature.  You can prepare this the night before and refrigerate it, ensure that it is covered to prevent it from drying out.



In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk (consider holding back 10 g of milk and adding later if this is the first time you’re making this), egg, tangzhong, salt, sugar and levain.  Mix and then break up the levain into many smaller pieces.  Next add the flour, I like to use my spatula to mix until there aren’t many dry areas.  Allow the flour to hydrate (fermentolyse) for 15 minutes.  Mix on low speed and then medium speed until moderate gluten development this may take 5-10 mins.  You may want to scrape the sides of the bowl during the first 5 minutes of mixing.  Next drizzle in the melted butter a little at a time, or alternatively add room temperature butter one pat at a time.  Slow the mixer down to avoid splashing the butter at you. The dough may come apart, be patient, continue to mix until it comes together before drizzling or adding in more butter.  Once all the butter has been added and incorporated increase the speed gradually to medium.  Add the mashed potatoes gradually.  Mix at medium speed until the gluten is well developed, approximately 10 mins.  You will want to check gluten development by windowpane during this time and stop mixing when you get a good windowpane.  You should be able to pull a good windowpane.

On the counter, shape the dough into a tight ball, cover in the bowl and ferment for 2.5-3.5 hours at 82ºF.  There should be some rise visible at this stage.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large cookie tray.  Punch the dough down and then divide into 8 equal portions.  Form each into tight boules.  Place on a parchment lined cookie tray.  Cover them and allow them to fully proof about 4-6 hours, they should pass the poke test.

After about 30 mins of proofing time, whisk your remaining egg and milk and then brush the small boules.

About 30 mins prior to end of final proof preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Immediately prior to baking brush the dough again with the egg and milk mixture.  Next spoon some sesame seeds on the buns, spread and press them lightly onto the buns.

Bake the buns uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190F. Cover if your rolls get brown early in the baking process.

Remove the bread from the oven and transfer the buns to a rack to cool.  


I have to say that these came out just perfectly.  They are so soft and tender, like clouds of bread, perfect for the fish burgers with kewpie mayo and pickles.  Over time I will gradually work the percent flour of the tangzhong up and hit the magic 20% and see how they turn out.  In the meantime, this first bake looks good to me.

My index of bakes.

Benito's picture

I love baking challah breads so whenever we host a brunch recently it has given me an excuse to bake another challah in order to make a strata.  Strata for those unfamiliar with it is essentially a way of making French toast for the masses and somewhat like a bread pudding.  It is best that the challah is a couple of days old and a bit firm.  In fact, to have a firmer challah I particularly like using 50% WW for the challah used to make a strata.  The formula for my most recent challah I used for this strata is here.


 12 cups challah cubes

 225 g cream cheese, cubed

 2 cups frozen fruit

8 large eggs

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

1/4 tsp (I mL) salt

3 cups homogenized milk

80 mL maple syrup

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp  cinnamon

1.  Place bread cubes in a large bowl.

2. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl.  Then add vanilla, salt, milk and maple syrup and mix.  Next pour the liquid mixture over the cubed bread and fold them in so that every cube gets soaked with the egg mixture.

3. Grease a large heat proof pan.  Spread half of the soaked challah cubes over the pan.  Sprinkle cream cheese chunks and half the fruit of the challah.  Then spread the remaining half of the soaked challah cubes over the pan. finally spread the other half of the fruit over the challah cubes.

4. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over top. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

5. Remove from refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).  TOTAL BAKE TIME 60-65 mins.  Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

CalBeachBaker's picture

Rye January continues

Today's bake: Ginger-Plum Bread   Zwetschgen-Ingwer Brot (Germany)

The Rye Baker by Stanley Ginsberg

This bread is made from a majority of  Organic Rye-80% Extract (~medium rye flour), some Organic Heirloom Turkey Red Wheat-Cracked and a bit of whole rye which is in the culture.

There are in addition some prunes (Dried/Pitted), grated ginger, and chopped almonds as add-ins that provide a nice flavor and texture to this bread.

I'm using a large pullman pan (15-3/4" x 4" x 4").

This is my 1st attempt making this bread.

Changes/Recommendations - When I make this bread again I will use dehydrated prunes, the ones I used were to soft and broke down a little bit when I was mixing. Also I'll reduce the amount of rye flour by 30% in the toppings.  I had an excess after rolling the loaf in the toppings and added it on the top after placing the dough in the pan which was to much.


Tasting Notes

Crumb - Sour/Dairy with notes of plain yogurt, a blend of the prune and ginger make for nice tangy/fresh fruit notes.

Crust - Roasted - tasting of a dark deer and almond.

Grain Character - Moderate - like cooked oatmeal.

Day 1 flavor was nice but a little muted, day 2 the flavors really had time to mature and became more pronounced. This is a really nice bread which I will be making again.

Recipe and Process are below for those that are interested.


MTloaf's picture

I have been switching my limited repertoire of breads over to the "Don't be a bread hostage" way of doing it from the King Arthur website. It has certainly simplified bread making for me and I really like how this recipe makes a more manageable high hydration bread to work with and produces a very soft and fluffy crumb.This is the Trevor Wilson recipe for cranberry spelt bread that I made a few changes to approximate a compromise of both recipes.

  • 800 grams Total flour 85% King Arthur BF 15% home milled spelt
  • 640 ml water (80%)
  • 18 grams sea salt
  • 180 grams dried cranberries (soaked)
  • 65 grams salted pumpkin seeds
  • 32 grams starter (a couple days old from fridge that was stirred again and warmed up until it was rising again)

Mix everything together but wait until the first fold to add the cranberries and seeds. I did two compass folds around the bowl and then two coil folds 20 minutes apart then bulk ferment until doubled about 12 hours. Divide, shape and proof partially on the counter before retarding in the fridge for 12 hours before baking.

The container I mixed in and the baskets they were proofed in. They baked up extra dark from the dried fruit but that is also recommended for higher hydration bread.


I have made this recipe countless times with the former way of doing it including using a mixer but the crumb has never been this soft when using KABF before. When toasted and slathered with Nutella it's like having a slightly healthier pastry with my morning coffee.

A guess as to why this is making better bread for me is that the long slow bulk ferment is giving it more time for the gluten and the flavor to develop. I haven't found a reason for going back to the standard way of making bread. I thought I was going miss the more hands on process of making bread but now I have more time to make other things like this.


purple and partridge soft hackle

Benito's picture

I have a big birthday for my partner to plan.  So part of that is to bake one of his favourite cakes, carrot cake.  You will notice that baking cakes isn’t something I do very often, in fact I probably bake fewer than one per year.  So I thought it would be prudent to do a test bake and ensure that the recipe I’m doing tastes good and that I can turn out a decent cake.  I hope to make this a three layer cake and decorate it better, although my decorating skills aren’t that great.

I found a recipe a while bake called a tropical carrot cake in Southern Living magazine.  The addition of bananas, coconut and pineapple (which isn’t that unusual) I guess are what make it tropical.  




  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained about half a 540 mL can. 
  • 2 cups chopped ripe banana (might be 2-3 bananas)
  • 1 cup shredded carrot, pressed dry 
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut, plus more for garnish 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus more for garnish



  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature 
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar 453 g


According to Better Homes & Gardens, the best way to soften cream cheese is by letting it sit in a warm water bath. This is a quick process, as the cream cheese shouldn't need to sit for longer than 15 minutes. Leaving the cream cheese in its foil wrapper, simply place the block in a bowl of warm water and let the softening begin. Hot water out of the tap works best because you don't want it to be boiling, Cheese Knees notes. You can simply let the block sit until it's soft, or you can flip it every few minutes -- either way, you want the whole thing to be submerged in the water (via The Pioneer Woman).



How to Make It


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and spices. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla extract; whisking until fully incorporated.


Step 2

Fold in crushed pineapple, banana, carrot, coconut, and pecans. Divide batter evenly among 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.


Step 3

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, about 1 hour.


Step 4

Prepare Cream Cheese Frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter in mixer and beat until well combined. Add salt and powdered sugar, and beat on low until incorporated, then increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.


Step 5

Assemble Cake: Cut domes off cake layers to create 3 even layers. Place 1 layer on a cake stand and evenly spread 3/4 cup cream cheese frosting across the layer. Place another layer on top of that one and repeat with another 3/4 cup frosting. Add final layer, and spread remaining frosting across the top. Decorate with shredded coconut and pecans.


I made only a single layer for this test.  I made this with 8” round pan.  In order to avoid the usual hump in the center of the cake, I made a makeshift cake strip.  Essentially wet paper towels in the center of a folded strip of aluminum foil.  This prevents the rapid baking of the outside of the cake so that the whole cake bakes evenly and there is no hump.  It works really well, you also don’t get overly crispy outside of the cake, it is just evenly baked all the way through.

The cake is quite good, but my banana wasn’t ripe enough so it didn’t really contribute enough to the tropical feel of the cake.  I may also have skimped on the pineapple in my measurements, I hate volume measurements! But this was definitely good enough to warrant a full bake.  Oh the orange decoration is candied orange zest that I made.

squattercity's picture

I've been eyeing this one for some time -- My partner doesn't like the heaviness of whole grain ryes, so I figured a 100% light rye might intrigue her. Also, in a different thread, where I foolishly argued that I could see no reason to use light or medium rye when you could use whole grain, Ilya recommended that I try a light rye to see how it showcases flavors like fennel and anise. What's more, Alcophile, Benny and WatertownNewbie all recently baked the Latgalian Rye ... and this one, calling for a pale rye malt scald as well, seemed like a not-so-distant cousin. Finally, another thing to recommend it: it's relatively quick -- 12 hours max from starting fermentation to pulling the finished loaf from the oven.

Still, assembling the ingredients took some time. First, had to I pick up rye malt at a brewing supply store (interestingly, the proprietor asked if I was growing mushrooms, as rye malt is apparently in demand as a medium for fungi.) Then, the quest for light rye was somewhat complicated: my relatively local Polish grocery has gone out of business and the three other places nearby had no rye flour at all. I was about to give up, but checked one last store and discovered two fornlorn bags of mąka żytnia typ 720 on the shelf. Success!

As usual, I wasn't totally on the mark with the temperatures. I don't have an oven thermometer (or indeed, any cooking thermometer at all) -- so I just winged it. To approximate an 85F/30C environment, I just preheated my oven on low for a bit and then turned it off. I did this every 2 or 3 hours.

I knead all the breads I make by hand and, when the final dough didn't seem to be moistening all the flour quickly enough, I dipped my hands in water to help. This turned out to be a mistake, because it transformed the dough into a ferociously sticky mass. Perhaps because of this, I didn't achieve the milestones that the Rye Baker blog describes in terms of dough growth and holes. But I plowed ahead.

I baked it in a dutch oven, 5 minutes covered at 500F/260C, 33 minutes uncovered at 450F/232C.

With a lovely anise-infused flavor, a wonderful shattery crust, and a moist, light crumb -- incredible given that we cut into it half an hour after pulling it from the oven -- this is a bread to be savored. My partner has finally endorsed a 100% rye, calling the flavor "amazing." I concur.

Come to think of it, I'm sure we're not going to savor it. We're going to gobble it up.




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