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The Fresh Loaf
Very long autolyse question

Very long autolyse question

Hi Freshloafers

I have been experimenting with very long autolyse, on average 50% of the flour content for 6 to 8 hours. 

Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts/insights/results from very long autolyse?


MJ Sourdough

hypothesis and questions about preferments

hypothesis and questions about preferments

dear all,

          Being new to using preferments in bread, I have studied its use and preparation methods online. Based on what I've learned, I can't help to have the following hypothesis about preferments.

  •          Since the direct consequence or (maybe objective too) of using preferments is to have a readily available large yeast population at the first working stage (mixing I guess), this relatively large yeast population should exhaust the nutrition in the dough faster than a dough prepared without preferments. 
  • Since the nutrition in the dough prepared using preferments can be exhausted faster, it has a relatively high risk of yeast running out of food, and a higher risk of  poor performance in the second proofing and baking. 
  • This risk may be mitigated by adding sugar into the dough.

        Is my hypothesis reasonable? 

        and my question is: most of the information sources about preferments say that it enhances flavor (and if I remember correctly, reducing bulk fermentation time too), is this the main if not only purpose of using preferements? Could it lead to better crumbs or volume? and what differences can be made in the flavour, sourness? 


         Thank you !





How do you edit a response?

How do you edit a response?

Like the title says, how do you edit a response? I am not talking about the original post but rather answers to that post below. I find that I occasionally have typos and being a bit of a spelling freak, I want to go back and fix these but I don't see anyway of doing this, and frankly, it is driving me batty. I have never been on a forum where you couldn't edit your posts within a certain span of time. Does this option exist on TFL or are my typos preserved forever on the net?

First overnight retarding/proofing

First overnight retarding/proofing

So, I've had some repeatable success with baking artisan breads before, hearth-style. 

This was my first time trying an overnight (refrigerated) proof. I used Ken Forkish's 40% WW recipe.

(Basically, 40%WW, 60% white, 80% water, bulk ferment for 5 hours with stretch and folds, then proof overnight in fridge)

I fairly heavily floured the bannetons because I reeeaally didn't want any sticking after that proof for so long. Well, they didn't stick, but rather almost all the flour seemed to stick in between the canes in the basket. Like they were hydrated by the dough and got stuck there.

Then, to make matters weirder, the scoring/bloom looks bizarre. And so wrong.

I was hoping for a more blistered crust from the overnight refrigeration, but instead got LESS! Should I have cut deeper into the bread? I've never quite had this issue with scoring before. 

I realize there are a lot of variables here, I'm just looking for some input, please!




flat boules

flat boules

I've been baking sourdough for about 6 months. My starter is strong. My problem is my boules spread out as soon as I tip them out of the bannetons. I'm baking them in a hot cast iron pot. Most of the recipes I'm using are around 70% hydration. My crumb and crust are fine, just too flat. This morning's rye bread boule came out 9" wide out of a 8" banneton. Its 2 and 3/4 inches tall. I don't think it was overproofed, only one hour in a 69 degree kitchen and about half an inch of rise in the banneton. 


If I want big round 3 dimensional boules am I going to have to add commercial yeast?




Just in case you're lurking, I miss your presence on the forum.

I hope all is well and that you will reemerge shortly.


First few Sour dough loaves

First few Sour dough loaves

After trying some low hydration recipes <50% just to get the hang of baking, having never been much of a baker before, I took the advice given and began to work my way up.


First I tried a bit of a home made recipe for 60% hydration. 

Came out well although there was a lot of oven spring towards the top of the loaf.




Then I tried the baguette recipe posted in my earlier thread, with a few changes due to ingredients and time. I was pleased with these, but I think the ceramic baguette tray I have (bought by my girlfriend) constrains the circumference a bit too much. That and the end dropped off the tray making the weird "nose shape" you can see.


Before anyone says it, I'm off into town now to go an get a wire rack!

Mushy pumpkin bread. Any advice?

Mushy pumpkin bread. Any advice?

I've been trying to find a pumpkin bread recipe that I could make using roasted pumpkin or squash (I can't get the canned stuff here in Shetland :( ) and which I could sweeten with honey instead of sugar. 

I've attempted this on numerous occasions now and invariably end up with a tin full of mush!! (With a lovely crust though!!) 

Anyone have any thoughts or recipes?


Hefezopf, Strawberry Cake and Pretzels

Hefezopf, Strawberry Cake and Pretzels


I haven't had much time lately for baking so it was nice to spend a day in the kitchen. 

This is by far the best German Hefezopf I have baked and I have tried heaps of different recipes. This one is so light and fluffy and stayed fresh for days.  

Recipe can be found here


 photo IMG_1030.jpg




This cake is such a quick and easy recipe, a few ingredients into the mixer and bake the base for 10 minutes. Then fill with custard, fruit and a glaze.

Recipe can be found here


  photo IMG_1007.jpg


No good baking session is complete without making Pretzels lol 


  photo c299c45b-e5b0-4037-b46c-1545778365e7.jpg


Cheers Sonia

Seed bread- Did I ruin it?

Seed bread- Did I ruin it?

I am nearly at the end of FWSY having baked all but one of the recipes (Warm Spot Levain) so I am at the point of experimenting. I took the basic recipe for the Overnight Country Blonde and adapted it:


100 g dark rye

100 g whole wheat

680 g all purpose flour

20 g wheat germ

684 g water @ 90.7 (78%)

After 30 minutes, I added:

22g salt

216 g levain (80%)

75 g sunflower seeds

75g pumpkin seeds 

25g sesame seeds 

25g chia seeds 

25g ground flax seeds

I did not soak the chia seeds and I am wondering if I should have. My dough is now bulk fermenting with 3 folds done and one more to go before bed. The dough is not as loose as usual. Will this work? Should I have upped the hydration because of the wheat germ, ground flax and chia seeds?

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