The Fresh Loaf


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The Fresh Loaf
unlimited prep time but very limited pre-bake schedule.

unlimited prep time but very limited pre-bake schedule.

Trying to help out a good friend of mine who is trying to increase business at his donut shop.  Everybody loves my breads, so this is an opportunity to see if we can make a bit of extra cash and go legit at the same time

We have unlimited prep time and can refrigerate, freeze, whatever we need to do to stall the final rise..
The stumbling block is they close at 5pm daily. They get back at 4am to turn on the donut line and convection oven. Ideally, the bread needs to be fresh baked and ready for sale at 5:30 when they open the front door.

I'm thinking, to do my proof to about 75% then egg wash it and toss it in the fridge overnight.  
In the morning pull it out at 4:30 let it warm for a half hour and bake it off @ 5:00?

Or any other suggestion you have.

Need Help Containing Steam in Home Gas Oven

Need Help Containing Steam in Home Gas Oven

I have a gas oven that has a fan, and it turns on and off during the baking. So this really destroys my steam environment and I think it is the reason why my breads haven't been blossoming. I just bought a cast iron for more steam introduction, but need to do something about this fan. I go through the conventional bake, not Convection, which my oven has this option as well, but I've been avoiding that for obvious reason. Should I preheat the oven, and shut it down for 10 minutes and then kick it back on for the final cooking stage? Worried about a lot of heat loss when loading the loaf in. I also do not want to block the fan, as that is a safety concern. Thanks for any help.

Want Steam?

Want Steam?

This takes the "SFBI" steam method to the next level. 

There are two changes to the standard SFBI method: first is the use of a half inch round steel plate instead of lava rocks or bolts. This allows the second change: heat the steel plate and the skillet on the stovetop to whatever temp you want. I took the temp up to 550° with great results. The steel plate weighs 5.75 pounds and holds an incredible amount of heat.

The advantages are that the round steel plate has far more thermal mass than lava rocks or nuts and bolts, you can bring the whole thing to a much hotter temperature by heating directly on the stovetop, and by heating the steel to higher temperature you have less heat loss in the oven. The plates heat quickly on the stove, so my guess is that it is more energy efficient also. 

You can have a local metal shop cut the round plate for fairly minimal cost, or probably order one from BakingSteel Co. The skillet is standard 9" Lodge cast iron. The perforated pie plate is made by Chicago Metallic and is available on Amazon. 

An infrared thermometer is recommended to get a temperature reading of the steel on the stovetop. 

Moving house tomorrow

Moving house tomorrow

We are moving house tomorrow, almost done packing here.

We will not have Internet until coming Monday so I wont be able to be here and read. wahhhh

Where do I get my daily bread forum fix from. 

I am exited to move to the new house, the landlord is nice, the house is beautiful , my 2 dogs will love the new Garden.

So, by by for now my friends, I shall read you again on Monday.


High Hydration Nightmare

High Hydration Nightmare

Ladies and gents,

I have a problem. I guess the first step toward resolving the problem is admitting that you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. I cannot handle high hydration dough. I just fail. Miserably.

Yesterday I watched a video of some French guy doing a high hydration recipe, using this lifting, stretching and folding technique. Here is what happened in his video:

1) He mixed the flour and his yeast and the salt I guess

2) He added an almost obscene amount of water :-)

3) He mixed it into a sticky goop

4) He turned it over on the work top

5) He started stretching and folding

6) You could see the gluten tightening

7) As he kept going the dough became silky smooth


Now, I use a sourdough starter, and I'm making a light brown bread with Italian tipo 00 (probably about 12.7% protein) and a brown "malthouse flour" at about 12.3% so things are a little different, but I tried to stick to the above method as best as possible. Because of the sourdough I also decided to autolyse the flour first...

This is what I tried...

1) I mixed flour and about 90% water and left it to stand for 1/2 hour

2) I added salt, mixed that in, and then mixed in an amount of levain equal to the original amount of flour

3) It, too, turned into a sticky goop

4) I turned it over on the work top

5) I started .... well, to the best of my limited ability, to stretch and fold.

6) At first you could indeed see the gluten tightening. It seemed like everything was going swimmingly... but then

7) It's almost as if some kind of "glue" starts oozing out of the gloop. Suddenly it's as if, rather than getting smoother, it starts getting stickier again.


And then it all went horribly wrong





My first sourdough culture

My first sourdough culture

I just wanted to share my first starter and see if anyone can provide me with hints and tips.

I first started it 2 weeks ago with white flour at 100% hydration and some white wine vinegar. It started making shy bubbles after day 2 but not until I fed it whole wheat flour on the 5th day did it rise and over flooded its container.

I kept adding whole wheat till now except one addition of rye which did not react and 24 hours passed with no bubbles visible. 

Now I am planning on using this starter at night for my preferment and will keep photos and posts updated

Kitchenaid Mill extension

Kitchenaid Mill extension

I've been browsing the web lately reading about the chemicals added to commercial white flour and how the industrial mills kill all nutritional values in wheats due to harsh milling and high temperature in metal rotators and so I came to a decision to mill my own wheats.

Since I have a Kitchenaid I was thinking of getting the mill extension, anyone has it and can give me advice?

Still one unclear thing, if I mill my own wheat, then I will only have whole wheat flour? Will my bread need any white flour? I do care for my health and lately am going natural all the way

Getting my baking mojo back...

Getting my baking mojo back...

It’s time to be honest; so I’ll lay it all out right here. I’m into my third year of my 5-year plan to learn how to bake good bread, and somewhere around March this year, I lost my baking mojo! Every loaf that came out of the oven fell into two categories: brick or curling stone!

Actually I didn’t lose my ability, I just got cocky and thought that I was getting closer to being a “real” baker so I started experimenting. And every scientist (and baker) will tell you that you don’t start experimenting until you’ve got the basics down. You’ll blow something up – or in my case, you’ll pull some spectacular flops out of the oven.

Read Good Flour Makes Good Bread and see how I humbled myself to good flour and good bread, and finally turned out some pretty fine loaves.

(Many thanks to all TFL members who have been so much help!)

Hello from beautiful Santa Cruz Calif.

Hello from beautiful Santa Cruz Calif.

I found this web page while searching out sourdough recipes. I'm so glad to have found it. I hope to begin making sourdough bread next week and am reading all kinds of comments and suggestions about it. It's wonderful to see so many people from all over the world.



These are really the first loaves I am baking without a formula.  Forkish's FWS&Y had a formula for same day 75% whole wheat bread, on which these loaves are loosely based.  I wound up baking them and freezing them before cutting them, so I do not know how the crumb is, or what they taste like.

I did not bake the breads according to a plan and did not note what was in them.  I believe it is 500 grams of AP flour, with the remaining 500 grams being freshly milled whole wheat and rye.  I just have no idea what percentage of each I used, basically pouring what I had on hand into the bowl, until it came to 500 grams, and then milled.

I also did not use 80% hydration but reduced it to something lower. I did not note that either. I am guessing it was closer to 73-75%.  I figured that I did not need it so high with less whole wheat than he had called for.

I thought it was very cool how baking seam side up gave two completely different looks to the bread.  I shaped one of them "alla Tartine" and one of them according to my interpretation of Forkish.

Here is a closeup of the crust on one of them:

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