The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
brewer13's picture

Trying to add olives

May 22, 2017 - 8:58pm -- brewer13

to my sourdough.  Each time is a disaster.  I put them in after the first rise and the dough just becomes so sticky when folding them in, I have to scrape it off my hands.  I've tried drying them by patting with a towel.  No difference.


Does anyone know the proper way to add olives into a loaf?



Cuisine Fiend's picture
Cuisine Fiend

This is a nice little loaf, good to use the cider you've found at home and are not keen on drinking...

Cider does not this bread make - as cider, beer, ale give just very subtle flavour to the bread. But the apple chunks are interesting: you actually knead in the diced apples and it takes a bit longer than expected to incorporate the moisture.

Here's the link to detailed recipe.

Not a huge rise (what with all the apples) but the crumb is nice and slightly gloopy in a nice, wholemeal way and it makes quite an outstanding bacon sandwich.


jsk's picture

Bread baking apprenticeship in Paris?

May 22, 2017 - 12:45pm -- jsk


I am planning to spend the summer (Aug-Oct) in Paris, hopefully to find a bakery to do an apprenticeship in. I am currently doing research about bakeries and bakers in the city but I was wondering if any of you know specific places I should try and contact? Or maybe any other advice about the idea?

I have been baking sourdough bread for the past 10 yeas but am doing it professionally only for a short time so I guess I will have a better chance with smaller, less famous bakeries.

dsr303's picture

blueberry boule. Could have had more oven spring except it got stuck in basket.. over all crumb,crust and flavor is divine

Kefir4me's picture

Advice please! SD starter is sick

May 22, 2017 - 9:02am -- Kefir4me

I received a starter from a neighbor ar least a year ago and it had been doing great until recently. I tend towards low maintenance. I keep it in a large mouth mason quart jar, feed it white whole wheat from TJs, let it sit in the pantry until it's nice and bubbly, put it in the fridge. When I want to make bread, I keep feeding it until I have at least two cups with leftover, take out two cups, and feed the leftover. That sits in the pantry until bubbly, and then goes in the fridge. I make two loaves at least once a week, though not at all if we are out of town.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I kept my promise last year, to make an improved version of this dessert for dad but it took one whole year! :D It is always a coincidence that dates come to our house from Dad's bestfiend's son working in Saudi Arabia. This time, they were different. They were so lusciously soft, almost spreadable and very sweet with a caramel-y taste; I'm not sure if these are Medjool dates. This time too, he was the one who requested to turn most of the dates into sticky toffee pudding so he had to stop himself from snacking on them. I could make them days ago but I really intended to make this on his special day. It's his birthday cake this year!

Still all by hand and no measurements! I creamed the butter and dark brown sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs one by one then salt and vanilla extract then the flour with some baking powder. Finally the dates soaked in boiling water with some bicarbonate of soda. I poured the batter in greased and floured 7" cake pan 2.5" in height then it goes straight to my pre-heated clay pot over a wood fire for 1 hour. Yes! 1 whole hour! The cake is pretty thick and you want it to bake long and slow but the secret is in the fire and heat control. First 20 minutes over a roaring flame for maximum spring, next 30 minutes over a medium flame then the final 10 minutes over embers just to dry out the center.

The cake is tall and has a slightly crusty and crispy bottom and sides and a lovely soft, fluffy and moist inside. The greasing and flouring of the cake tin really helped the formation of the slight crust that we love and how it released extremely easily. We can't believe how gorgeous it is, it looked like it came out from an oven!

I served the toffee sauce separately instead of soaking the cake because we want to feel the cake in it's pure state to feel the dates' taste and textures which I left whole. It is really much better because it's really dates bite after bite. I just can't explain it because we really love dates! :P One little change and a whole new dimension in this simple cake.

It's a messy plate I know but you understand me right?! I think this picture says it all!

A simple dinner with livers in cream sauce with either pasta or rice and cold sticky toffee pudding for dessert. I hope you enjoyed this as much as we did. Happy Birthday Daddy!

yozzause's picture

I was looking at doing a loaf from Elizabeth David's  English Bread and Yeast Cookery book Potato Bread from around 19th century, I ended up having to improvise, I used wholemeal Spelt instead of wholewheatmeal @ 30% then when weighing up the 70% white flour ran out and had to add a small amount of multigrain. The potato was 13% and I also used the potato water from boiling them, with half milk for the liquid. In the book it said that this bread was particularly popular for the making of toast and that the loaf was soft ,moist and airy to which I can concur. Not quite following the book but pretty close to it and definitely one I will make again





Richard C's picture
Richard C

So here goes, my first entry.  I have been lurking around these parts for a while, gathering information and experimenting and this is the result: a 100% wholemeal sandwich loaf, using atta flour.

This project began around one year ago after I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and had to overhaul both my diet and lifestyle.  Out went the white bread sandwich for breakfast every morning, and the hunt was on for a replacement.  Living in Francophone West Africa, where it is super-easy to get white baguettes etc., finding a decent wholemeal loaf was very difficult virtually impossible.  That left me with only one solution: to start making my own.

After some searching on the internet, the received wisdom seemed to be that bread made with 100% wholemeal flour was, by definition, unpalatably dense; due to both the lower levels of gluten in brown flour and the propensity of the bran's sharp edges to slice through what little gluten there was.  I also recalled from years ago when my mum used to bake bread when I was young that she used a 2:1 brown to white mix.  Faced with the prospect of finding a solution that would last me the rest of my life, I resolved to find a recipe that used 100% wholemeal flour and was nice to eat.  Being married to a half-Indian lady, I had also been introduced to atta flour.  I was keen to try this in bread since it is (a) 100% wholemeal and (b) smoother than Western-style brown flour.

After some time, it became apparent that there was no one recipe out there which could satisfy all of my requirements, so I started experimenting and combining the best parts of various other recipes which I had found.  The following recipe is the result of those experiments.  Any tips from those more experienced than myself would be greatly appreciated.


100% Wholemeal Brown Bread (Atta Flour) 


  • 6 cups Atta Flour
  • 2 cups, 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1/4 cup Plain Yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Instant Yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Herbs (optional)
  • A little Milk



  1. Take two large bowls.  In Bowl 1 (Autolyse), add 4 cups of flour and 1 cup of water and mix well.  This should result in the flour forming into small clumps.  In Bowl 2 (Poolish), add 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of yeast, 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of yoghurt and mix well.  This should result in a smooth, soft, wet dough.
  2. Cover both bowls with a tea towel and leave for one hour.  After this time, you should be able to see the yeast working; the dough in Bowl 2 has expanded and the surface is pock-marked by small bubbles.
  3. Add the salt, sugar and olive oil (and herbs, if using) into Bowl 1 and mix well enough to ensure that the salt is well spread throughout the mixture.
  4. Combine the two bowls into one and mix until the dough forms a cohesive whole.  There will still be small hard lumps at this stage.
  5. Tip the dough out onto an oiled work surface and knead well until all of the small lumps have been absorbed and you have a homogenous dough.
  6. Slowly add around 2 tablespoons of water as you kneed, and more oil if you prefer, so that the dough becomes slightly sticky.
  7. Continue to kneed for another 10-15 minutes; the dough should be soft, smooth and elastic.  The dough will stick to the work surface if left to sit, but not when kept moving.
  8. Place the dough in a bowl, lightly brush the top with water, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for around one hour.
  9. Deflate the dough and allow it to continue fermenting for 30 minutes more.
  10. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and cut into two pieces.  Shape into loaves and place into greased tins.
  11. Cover and leave in a warm place for around 45 minutes; until the loaves rise to the tops of the tins.
  12. Lightly brush the tops of the loaves with a little milk.  Bake for 10 minutes at 220°C, then reduce to 200°C for a further 20 minutes.
  13. When the loaves are fully baked (sound hollow when tapped), remove from the oven.  Allow them to cool in the tins for around 10 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack.


Working time:   45 minutes

Waiting time:    3 hours 15 minutes

Cooking time:   30 minutes                   

Total:               4.5 hours


Express Method

To be used when short of time.  I would use this if I were baking in the evening, once the kids were in bed and I needed bread for breakfast the next morning.  The results are satisfactory to put bread on the table, but not fantastic.

 Reduce Steps 2 & 11 to 30 minutes, Step 7 to 10 minutes and Step 8 to 40 minutes.  Eliminate Step 9.  Total: 2.5 hours


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