The Fresh Loaf

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

Blue Tinge Ethiopian berries available in Northern California

August 12, 2010 - 8:07pm -- Crider

I have next to my desk a 50 lb. sack of organic Blue Tinge Ethiopian hard wheat I got today from a grower in Capay, near Esparto, Northern California. Last Sunday I was searching the California Certified Organic Farmers website for growers nearby who had wheat berries. There were several East of me in the Sacramento Valley. So out went a few emails and the next day a grower named Fritz Durst replied:


alabubba's picture

With all the work related to the NY Jewish Bakers book that seems to occupy my time I just wanted to drop a post on here and let y'all know that the oven is still running almost every day.

Along with the normal stuff I bake almost every week. 2 or 3 loaves of basic white bread, Rolls for dinner, Hamburger buns most weeks. Tortillas, corn and flour, a batch or 2 of cookies, maybe a cake. and usually a few baguettes (I Love Baguettes) I also tried a new recipe for Pumpernickel. They turned out great, but I feel like I want to add some caraway but wouldn't that just make it like dark rye bread? Not sure. Anyway, there were 6 baguettes but they tend to evaporate FAST.

Hmmm I wonder where all the baguettes went.

The obligatory crumb shots.

OK, so this one was kind of stubby on the end. Still tasted delish!

trailrunner's picture

David had posted a new improved version of his famous SJ. sourdough. I had told him I would give it a try and post the is amazing. That is the only word for it. I used my rye starter as a substitute for the levain build. It was so lively and I wanted to see how it would work. WOW is all I can say. I doubled the formula for 2 loaves. It filled the 5qt bucket overnight in the fridge. I then removed it and shaped in lined baskets for one hour. I preheated my cast iron for 30 min at 500. I then turned out the loaves and slashed and soaked them with my spray bottle...there were puddles in the slashes. In the oven covered at 460, lowered the temp, for 20 min. and then 18 min w/o lids. Here are the pics. Crumb to follow when it cools. 

formula: 150 gm levain--used my starter that was fed in the AM dough: 450g AP flour 50 g rye 360 g water 10 g salt 150g - all of levain mix- autolyse 60 min. 30 s and f's in the bowl x 3 and then 2 s and f's on the bench at 45 min intervals. retard 21 hr. Remove and shape and rise 1 hr. Preheat oven 500. Preheat pots for 30 min. Follow procedure listed above. 5qt bucket of dough after 21 hr retard: Photobucket 1hr rise: Photobucket slashed: Photobucket finished loaves: Photobucket another view: Photobucket

crumb shots: ( I love the texture ! ) Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

SylviaH's picture


                                       A nice recipe from Northwest Sourdough for a basic white sourdough, using 100% hydration starter, final dough in recipe is 65% hydration.                                               


                       I baked these loaves on my pre-heated oven stones and used the lava rock/iron pan steaming method and adjusted my oven

                       for baking temperatures and times better suited for my oven.  I made 3 loaves.  These will come in handy!















horvathmj's picture


August 12, 2010 - 4:03pm -- horvathmj

Hi Everyone,


I'm Michael and I baked my first loaf of bread today.  I have to admit, it was a lot of fun, and so easy.

My only concern was that the loaf didn't have the big irregular bubbles like most of the artisanal bread that I've bought in the past (boules, etc).  Any ideas?  Ingredients I used were unbleached flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water.


Can't wait to learn more.

Ciao for now!


tslinker's picture

baking paper

August 12, 2010 - 3:58pm -- tslinker

Does anyone out there know online sites where I can order boxes of baking paper in sheets of 500 or more? I read that a few of you bought boxes with 1000 sheets for around $35 a box. Please I need your help so badly, I'm in a location where I can't get any thing like that. Please...............

txfarmer's picture

Another recipe from "A Handmade Loaf", using the beer barm starter. Anyone who knows of traditional English barm cake, or have seen the picture of this bread in the book might object and say: hey, what's in this picture?! It's not a barm cake, it's two sandwich loaves! Well, trust me it's the same recipe, just done differently.


Here I have to digress and talk a bit about Asian syle breads - sometimes in the form of a loaf, more often in the form of a stuffed bun. Very soft crumb with small pores, "shred-able", easier to peel off pieces than cutting it. It's essentially a slightly enriched dough (often with egg, butter, sugar, milk powder, milk, cream in the dough, but in small amounts), and the key to the soft and slightly spongy texture is in the kneading and shaping. The dough is VERY WELL kneaded to complete gluten developement, so that the bread gets maximum volume and a very fine crumb, which translate to a soft texture. During shaping, the dough is roll out thin, then roll up like a jellyroll TWICE before loading into the pan, this is to ensure the finest possible crumb - with the smallest possible pores. While artisan bakers here obsess over big holes in baguette, Asian bakers invest in the same effort and techniques to achieve even crumb with absolutely NO holes. It's sort of like a Pan De Mie bread, but much lighter. For the same pullman pan I bought from KAF (4X4X13inch), KAF Pan De Mie formula asks for 40oz (1100g+) of flour, while my Asian recipe only needs 800g, you can imagine how the bread is much lighter.


This kind of soft breads are what most Chinese people like, and I started out liking and making them 2 years ago. Soon after that, I got into sourdough and other Eureopean style breads, my taste evolved. I still like Asian style breads, but want the flavor to be a bit more layered and complex. As the result I have been trying to make these Asian style soft breads with pure sourdough, which add a tangy aftertaste in addition to the soft and slightly rich flavor. I am still perfecting the process in terms of how long to fermentate, how long to proof etc, but so far so good, I really like how the breads are more flavorful, yet still soft, tall, and spongy, the best of both worlds. (I will post when I am settled on the "best" procedure.) Some may ask why these soft breads are better than supermarket wonder bread, answers are: more flavor, soft but still has body (not squishy), slightly chewy.


When I see this barm cake recipe in the book, I wanted to keep the ingredients the same, but change the techinque to make it into Asian style sandwich loaves - tall and soft, rather than dense and cake-like. Nothing wrong with the latter, just not what we wanted at the time. Only two concerns: 1)the barm stater has been in the fridge for 5 days at that point, was it still strong enough to raise a loaf to 4+ times of it's original size? 2)the butter (15%) and sugar (15%) ratioes are both slightly higher than my normal Asian sandwich formulas. I was especially worried about the sugar, at 15%, it's on the verge of being "too much" for a natural starter. However in the end, it all worked out, the dough rose just fine, and I got two very soft, very tall, very flavorful loaves. Nothing like an English barm cake, more like a light Asian chiffon cake.

fruited barm loaf (adapted from "A handmade loaf")

Note: the following formula is suitable for a standard US 8*4inch loaf pan, but I used a Chinese loaf pan that's narrower and taller. I also had more than 64g of barm starter, so I infact made more dough than specified below, that's why you see a large loaf and a small loaf in the top picture.


beer barm starter, 64g

water, 106g,

bread flour, 212g (I used KAF bread flour)

AP flour, 38g

egg, 47g

brown sugar, 38g

zest from one orange

salt, 5g

butter, 38g, softened

currants, 39g

golden raisin, 39g (I used half dried cherries and dried cranberries instead)


1. mix water, starter, flour, egg, sugar, zest, autolyse for 30min

2. add salt, knead until gluten is well developed, add butter in 3 batches, until you get a very thin and strong windowpane. The stronger the gluten network, the higher the bread, but be careful not to overknead, it's a fine line. this is a VERY wet dough, even before adding the butter. It never did completely cleared the bottom of the mixing bowl, even though it's kneaded until very elastic.

3. bulk rise for 4 hours until well expanded, almost double.

4. for my narrow and long loaf pan, I divide the dough into 3 portions, for a 8*4 loaf pan, divide into two. for each dough round and rest for 30min. then, pat/roll each one out into a long ovel/rectangle, roll up from the narrow end like a jelly roll, keep the surface tension tight, press out all bubbles.Now you have 3(or 2) cyclinder like below:

rest for 15min, rull out each cylinder along the long axis into a flat long oval, smooth side down, press out all air bubbles

roll up from the narrow end again, press the seam tight with each roll, keep surface tension tight, load them seam side down into loaf pan. As you can see they only fill the pan 1/4 to 1/3 full, seems impossible to fill the pan, but don't worry.

5. proof until it's 80 to 90% full, for me , it took 6 hours, pretty normal for this kind of doug. Note that the height of each roll is uneven, this is because the dough was very wet, and I didn't keep the tightness the same for each roll. Ideally they should be all at the same height. 

6. brush with egg wash and bake at 400f for 15min, 350 for 30min, tent with foil for the last 15 so the top doesn't get too dark. unmold immediately after bake, cool on rack. The loaves are so soft I was afraid to touch them, but no fear, they are infact baked through.


This kind of soft bread is great as a snack, or smeared with some PB and J, or just pulled off piece by piece and eaten plain like we did. We often think of sourdough breads as the crusty lean loaves (which I love too), but sourdough is just a method to raise the dough, it can make any type of bread, including enriched ones. This bread is like the sourdough pandoro and sourdough challah I made before, rich and tangy.


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