The Fresh Loaf

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

Choosing a new oven

February 10, 2010 - 2:30am -- Doc Tracy

I have the opportunity to switch to a gas range due to our housefire. They have to replace our fireplace and the Maricopa county no longer allows wood burning fireplaces unless they are EPA certified. Therefore, it's more cost efficient to switch to a propane (no natural gas in our neighborhood yet) fireplace. They have given me the option. I think I'd prefer propane as I'll probably use it more, especially on nights when my husband is gone and when I just want to take the chill off the room.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I found this recipe called "The Easiest Focaccia in the World" posted online and I have to say they may be right. I was looking for something really easy to accompany a thin sliced sirloin and freshly picked garden salad. (sorry Northerners!!) Anyway, it doesn't get any easier than this.

Here is my slightly modified version. (added the whole wheat)  I apoligize, I had to add some flour and I'm not quite sure what the end flour weight is so you'll have to add to the original amount until you get it to come off the sides of the mixer.

100 grams WW flour

350 grams AP flour

2 tsp instant yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

13.5 fluid oz warm water

Mix in the KA blender on speed 4 for 10 minutes. During this time I watched and had to add about 1/2 cup off flour in small increments until the sides of the dough didn't stick but the bottom was still sticking to the bowl.

Let rise in oiled bowl until almost tripled. This took about 45 minutes.

Put on silpat with cornmeal (or oiled parchment, oiled baking pan). I put the silpat into a "half cookie sheet" as that is what will fit into my camper oven. Spread the dough out gently. This fit my half sheet perfectly. It will be about 1" thick.

Spread with about 1/4 cup olive oil. I used a mixture of 2 cloves fresh garlic, some fresh parsley/thyme (from the garden) and a little sprinkle of red sea salt. I spread the thyme/parsley/garlic mixture onto the bread and dimpled it with my fingers. Then a light sprinkle of asiago cheese. Let dough double in pan, about 30 minutes.

Into the oven (probably about 450 but who knows with the camper oven?) for about 20 minutes. Results, tasty light focaccia bread to eat with our tender, fresh garden salad, homemade Meyer lemon vinagrette and thin sliced sirloin steak on the grill.

Until next time. It's 65 degrees and sunny here at RV World, Mesa, AZ!

txfarmer's picture

Another formula from Dan Lepard's " The Art of Handmade Bread" (recipe can be found here: , but as always I encourage you to buy the book, well worth it.)


This is my first time using barley flour, it doesn't have any gluten, and this loaf also has a lot of rye, so it's not a light loaf to be sure, rather substantial. Straightforward to make, using Dan's "knead 5 to 10 seconds, rest 10 to 30 minutes" method. I did however halved the recipe and retarded the dough overnight in my fridge for proofing. Like always, my proof time is much shorter than Dan's, 90 minutes after taking out of the fridge. Judging from scoring marks, I'd say any longer would risk over proofing. (My house was 71F.)


I am happy with the crumb, it's not that open, since the loaf has 50%+ of rye and barley flour. However, it's definitely not dense or heavy.

Now the best part - the taste! I love how rye, barley, and wheat flavors all subtly mingled together, along with slight sourness from my starter. My idea of a good complex sourdough.


It's perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich, with some caramelized onion thrown in

KenK's picture

Temperature adjustment for pan

February 9, 2010 - 3:26pm -- KenK

I just mixed a sourdough dough and am going to bake it in a standard loaf pan.  I have  been proofing and retarding in a brotform and then baking on a sheet pan at 450 degrees with reasonably good results. 

This is a lean dough with nothing but flour, salt and water, plus the starter of course.

I plan on retarding for about 18 hours in the refrigerator due to work constraints and then will bake it right out of the refrigerator.

Any opinions on oven temp?


patishaffer's picture

Sourdough in baguettes

February 9, 2010 - 3:23pm -- patishaffer

I would like to make the baguettes with poolish from Hammelman's Bread book. I want to incorporate sourdough into this by using starter in the poolish but don't know how much to put in. Then when mixing the final dough and it calls for yeast, would I decrease it? I have made the sourdough and added a little yeast to quicken up the process as noted in one of th BBA breads. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks

louie brown's picture
louie brown

An original idea. The purpose of this entry is to ask about readers' experiences with flavored waters, stocks, etc. I'm not referring to milk, beer, apple cider, as these have been well covered. Other than the "Pain Marin" at restaurant Ledoyen in Paris, I'm not aware of other flavored breads along these lines.

First, the mistakes. I overlooked the fact that the tomato water has a good deal of solids in it. My dough needed extra hydration as a result, and could have used still more, in my opinion. It also seems to be underbaked, as there are a few gummy areas right through the middle.

This wound up as a roughly 70% dough, KA AP flour, some wheat germ, the seeds, the tomato water. A stiff starter was used. Bulk fermenting after a couple of stretch & folds was almost 14 hours at about 72 degrees. Preshaped, rested, shaped, into the fridge overnight, out for a couple of hours, scored (clearly unnecessary), baked under a bowl at 450 for 20 minutes and then without the bowl for a total of 45 minutes. I think another ten would have been fine.

While there are flaws to this early work in progress, the taste is exceptional; a deep, mellow tomato background with none of the acid. The seeds add nice garden notes. All of this seems very compatible with the sourdough.

Experiences with these sorts of flavorings are invited, as is comment and criticism on improvement to this loaf.

DonD's picture


'Snowmageddon 2010', end of Round 1, waiting for Round 2. Between 10 to 20 additional inches of snow expected by tomorrow. We are digging out and digging in. It gives me a chance to try something new.


'Obelisk' is an excellent Italian Restaurant in Washington DC. The Chef/Owner, Peter Pastan is a brilliant self-taught Chef who has traveled extensively throughout Italy to bring back the authentic, simple and pure dishes of regional Italian Cuisine. I have had many memorable meals there and the one that stood out the most was a special 9-course dinner that he cooked for a group of us using a half a dozen different kind of wild mushooms that we had picked that day. He always serves homemade breads, beautiful Ciabattas, Focaccias, Tuscan Loaves, Dark Sourdough Whole Wheat Walnut Breads and his signature 24 inch long Grissini that he learned to make during a week-long stint in an Italian Bakery. Many times when we were the last diners of the evening, Peter would give us all the leftover Grissini which were always prominently displayed in a tall ceramic vessel on the serving table in the middle of the dining room. They would be great with a Capucchino the next morning. The long and slender amber colored sticks, dusted with semolina were crunchy with a slightly soft core and tasted nutty, slightly yeasty with a nice balance of saltiness and caramelly sweetness.

Recently, in the Food Section of the Washington Post, there was an article about local Chefs making their own Breads and Peter was featured with the recipe for his famous Grissini. I was thrilled that finally I would be able to duplicate those delicious breadsticks.

Peter Pastan's Recipe:

- 1 Cup Warm Water (90 degrees)

- 2 Tbs Active Dry Yeast

- 1 Tb EVOO, plus more for greasing the dough

- 1 Tb Honey

- 1 Tsp Salt

- 2 Cups Flour, plus more for the work surface

- Semolina for forming the Breadsticks

My Variations:

While mixing the dough, I had to add more Flour to get the right workable consistency so I also added a little more salt.  From my taste memory, I detected a touch of Baking Powder. I thought that the amount of Yeast would be too much so I reduced it slightly. Essentially, I followed the recipe except for the following variations:

I used 2 1/2 Cups KA AP Flour, 1 Tb Instant Yeast, 1 1/4 Tsp Grey Sea Salt and added 1 Tsp Baking Powder.


Combine Water, Yeast, Oil, Honey, Baking Powder and Salt and mix with Flour in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed for 5-6 minutes until dough is smooth and supple. Transfer dough to floured work surface, do one french fold and roll out dough to a rectangle 6"W X 16L".

Transfer dough to an oiled baking sheet, brush oil on top, cover in plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Dust top with Semolina and sprinkle liberally on side of baking sheet. Using a 6-inch dough scraper, cut 1/2 inch  thick strips of dough, roll in Semolina and transfer to parchment paper stretching dough to about 14" long.

The original recipe calls for baking temperature of 450 degress for 12-15 minutes but I baked mine on a baking stone in a 400 degrees preheated oven for 10 minutes.


I was quite pleased with the results. They tasted pretty close to the original version.

Happy Baking!



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