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The Fresh Loaf
Oatmeal Wheat Bread too flat and dense/ Vital Wheat Gluten?

Oatmeal Wheat Bread too flat and dense/ Vital Wheat Gluten?

I started making wheat bread for my family to start eating healthier but all the batches of my bread loaves are dense and flat! I have vital wheat gluten but I don't know how much I should add? Also could I add eggs to make my bread softer, if so, how many?

This is my recipe.

2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup shortening or butter
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant yeast

Another attempt at eliminating the 'flying crust' problem

Another attempt at eliminating the 'flying crust' problem


I posted a couple of days ago about avoiding large holes under the top crust of my rolls:

I had another couple of attempts at the recipe, bearing in mind the advice I received about shaping and proofing, but the problem hasn't been entirely eliminated. I made sure to pat out the gas fairly thoroughly during shaping, and proofed for a shorter duration.

The first batch looked nice:

And had a nice crumb structure considering that this is an enriched bread:

The other rolls were eaten before I could take any pictures, but they seemed similar in appearance and crumb. I didn't cut any vertical cross-sections, but I felt encouraged. I didn't notice any big gaps while eating, but everything gets kind of squished together so it's hard to tell.

No changes in procedure were made for the second batch. The horizontal cut looked similar:

But the vertical cut revealed that the problem persists:

I sliced another roll to double check, same story:

These rolls are very tasty, but clearly there is something I need to tweak.

Thoughts for next time:

  • Make some of the dough pieces into round rolls, and others into ovals, to see if the problem is related to the shape
  • Reduce the proof time further, perhaps baking in two stages to compare

They didn't seem overproofed to me - when I poked them gently with my finger, the indentation bounced back fairly quickly but they felt light and airy. I only made very shallow indents though. I also think I degassed adequately during shaping.

Any thoughts welcome.


Multi-seeded sandwich loaf

Multi-seeded sandwich loaf

Recipe is from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread.

Some changes

1) 10% whole wheat flour

2) 10% whole spelt flour

3) 5 types of nuts/seeds of equal weight - pumpkin, sunflower, flax, pine, sesame.

4) More pumpkin seeds were added to the top of the loaf after shaping instead of the suggested sesame seeds.


Dough was in the fridge from Wednesday night to Friday evening.

After shaping, it was proofed in a loaf tin for 2 hours.

Crumb shots to be included later.


What chance do 2 amateurs have of being a success in baking for profit?

What chance do 2 amateurs have of being a success in baking for profit?

My wife, Jojo, and I have been retired for 3 years but are bored.

She has been all her life and when she made some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for our niece our niece asked for 60 to sell at school. They sold immediately. The niece, only selling 2 hrs. on Saturdays, has been ordering 120 cookies ever since and in 2 hrs. she sells them all.

So, Jojo started baking a wide variety and the niece sells them all fast and wants to enlarge business.

We are Americans, my wife is dual national Filipino/US, retired in Mandaluyong, Manila.

How fast will we close shop and lose our money if we dare open a bakery here?

Thanks, john

Lard recipes

Lard recipes

I just bought two pounds of leaf lard. Two pounds makes a lot of scallion pancakes and Chinese pastries. Time to branch out.

Do you have any recipes calling specifically for leaf lard?


First Sourdough Loaves

First Sourdough Loaves

My first loaf of Sourdough bread from my first starter! I might have over-proofed a bit, to the detriment of oven spring. I used a Gaggenau steam oven for one loaf, and the casserole method for the second loaf. I still need to figure out the best setting for the Gaggenau steam oven - 100% steam for 20 minutes? 

I am quite happy with the crust and the taste. Quite tangy, and looking to see how it changes overnight. Great big bubbles in the crumb. 

Thanks to all the great bakers on this forum for the inspiration and the countless instructive posts! 

Most important question; how long can I live on a sourdough only diet? 



Doyon convertion question

Doyon convertion question

I am in the process of building a new kitchen and dinning room for our training center and am looking to buy 4 double stack convection ovens. I am looking at several but am having a hard time finding much in the way of reviews on Doyon products. The model I am looking at is a JA28 it is one unit that has 4 oven units so in essence would replace 2 double stack ovens. Thanks for any input.

Chad Robertson and Samuel Fromartz - Live in San Francisco!

Chad Robertson and Samuel Fromartz - Live in San Francisco!

Hello Everyone:

I love this forum and joined specifically so I could share this great news with y'all:

Chad Robertson (Tartine) and Samuel Fromartz (author of In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker's Odyssey) will be speaking together on September 12, 2014 at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. 

There are still plenty of tickets available as of this writing, and the cost to Club members is **free** - woohoo!

Check out the link and RSVP / purchase tickets from that page.

I hope to meet some of my former "Loafers" at the event, which is inclusively from 11:30 to 1 (book signing from 11:30 - noon; lecture from noon - 1pm).

Happy Baking,



Hey guys. New baker here.

Hey guys. New baker here.

I'm very new to professionally baking but I got my first position 2 months ago in Chicago. I'm extemely passionate, hardworking, and I never stop learning. I'm very open to new things and since I'm a clean slate, I've been trying to learn the way things are really supposed to be done. 

I'm very focused AND I moved here for this position so bread is, hands-down, my life right now. However, the bakery I work at does not want to give us OT or give anymore salary positions so I'm forced with short 8 hour days. What am I supposed to do with the rest of my day??

I'd like to start a small side project baking bread for the market, etc. Id like to rent a commissary kitchen/bakery for a bread oven. I'm ServSafe certified. I have a general business plan. And I'll dig deeper into liability insurance if this seems to be a possibility. 

I'm just curious if anybody has done this on these boards before. I don't know where to look. I want to invest into where my future is ultimately going to lead me. 

Also, I'm know I'm new so feel free to ask me any questions if I have left out any info. Or if ya want to know. 



A New Twist on Classic Sourdough

A New Twist on Classic Sourdough

I actually baked this recipe while I was in the Midwest twice and again today back in California.  The new twist is using a mixed starter (AP/WW/Rye), which adds some texture to the loaf and a much different cold proofing process.  This was produced a wonderful crust, moist interior and the most tangy, sourdough loaf I ever baked. This is the CA loaf (above); the Midwest loaf is at top.

I was pretty excited because I used an Emile Henry baker (below) for the first time a couple of weeks ago when I baked the loaf in the Midwest. It worked well.

In California, I use my LaCloche covered baker, which has had plenty of use!

The Midwest crumb came out well...

I'd say that this was the biggest loaf I have ever made.  The California loaf was huge as well; it weighed in at 2 lbs. 9 oz. It lasts for some time, and my husband finished the entire Midwest loaf!  It makes great toast as well.

The crumb on the California loaf was more open.

The bread made excellent sandwiches; I think mine was a bit messy. My husband has an engineering background, so his was much neater!

One of the things I changed considerably from the recipe was the proofing.  I added an extended bulk fermentation in the refrigerator and an overnight cold proof vs. a room temp overnight proof from the original recipe. I've detailed the changes below.

It's a beautiful, but warm day in California today. Probably too warm for baking, but I started early this morning, so I was done with the bake before the temps started to move up.

Makes: One 2 pound loaf (or more as I saw today with the 2 lb 9 oz loaf).

Method adapted from: Classic Sourdoughs by Ed and Jean Wood.

I varied the recipe by using my active starter that was a 70/20/10 mix of AP flour, WW flour and dark rye at 100% hydration.  The original recipe starter has no whole wheat or rye. I also changed to cold fermentation vs. room temperature.


Final Dough:

  • 230 grams (about 1 cup or 240 ml) active starter, 70/20/10 mix of AP, WW and Rye flours at 100% hydration
  • 300 grams water (Approximately 1 1/2 cups or 360 ml water)
  • 10 grams salt (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 500 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (about 4 cups)


  1. Mixing the dough. Pour the starter into a mixing bowl. Add the water and mix well.  Add the flour a little bit at a time until it starts to stiffen.  Hold back some flour to knead in a bit later.  Let the mix autolyze for 30 minutes and then add then fold in the salt.

  2. Kneading the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in some of the remaining flour if the dough is too sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes until it the dough is smooth and easy to handle.

  3. Bulk fermentation. Lightly coat a glass bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball into the bowl, making sure that the top of the dough ball has a thin coat of oil. Cover and bulk ferment in the refrigerator for 24-72 hours.  I did three bakes of this bread in the last several weeks, and I bulk fermented the first and last loaf for 72 hours, and both came out really great with a wonderful sourdough taste.  The long fermentation period contributed to the strong sourdough taste. I actually think that 24 hours may not be enough for this recipe. The original recipe calls for it to proof at room temperature for 8-12 hours, so I made a major change here. Over this period in the refrigerator, the dough should about double in size.

  4. Shaping and final proof. Use a spatula to ease the dough out onto a floured surface. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, shape it into a rough ball, cover it with a cloth, and let it rest again for 30 minutes. Now, shape the dough into a boule and place it seam-side up into a banneton coated in brown rice flour. Put in a clean plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.

  5. Baking the loaf. The next morning, remove the loaf from the refrigerator and let it warm up before baking. You should be the judge of how long you need it to warm up.  My loaf needed to pop up a bit, so I let it warm up for about an hour at room temperature as I preheated the oven. It will over-proof if you keep it out at room temperature too long. My experience is that this pops up in the oven quite nicely. As the original recipe calls for 8-12 hours of room temperature proofing, I did notice that this dough did need time to warm up and rise a bit at room temperature before baking. I used my covered baker, so I preheated it with the cover on at 500 degrees (260 degrees C).  When the oven and baker are at temperature, remove the lid and pop the loaf into the bottom tray. Score it in the pattern you desire.  I sprayed a light mist of water on the dough, trying to avoid the hot surface, as I was hoping for a really beautiful crust.  Bake at 500 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes, and then take the temperature down to 450 degrees and remove the lid for the final browning, which is another 10-15 minutes, depending on the type of crust you like.  We tend to like a bolder crust, so I bake it a bit longer. Watch it closely during this phase. If you do not have a covered baker, you can use a baking stone or tray with parchment paper, but make sure you create steam by using your steaming apparatus or baking tray with boiling water from the start of the bake.  Bake the loaf at about 480 (250 C) degrees for the first 25 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 435 for the next 15-20 minutes, depending on how bold you like the crust.

  6. Cooling and slicing the loaf:  Remove the loaf from the covered baker tray or stone and let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

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