The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


bakingmaniaclimited's picture

Cakes are one such food item that is everybody’s favourite! They don't receive any hate, just love. One such cake that has been the talk of the baking town is “Semi-Naked Cake”. These beautiful sponge cakes are layered with frosting and more frosting because it's never enough!

Here’s how to bake a red velvet semi-naked cake:

All-purpose flour – 4 cups
Baking soda – 2 tsp
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Unsweetened cocoa powder – 4 tbs
Sugar – 4 cups
Vegetable oil or canola – 2 cups
Eggs – 4
Buttermilk – 2 cup
Vanilla extract – 4 tsp
Red food colouring – 2-4 oz. (depends how deep you want the colour)
White distilled vinegar – 2 tsp
Prepared plain hot coffee – 1 cup

The first step is to preheat the oven to 160 degrees. After this, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt together. Leave this aside. Next, mix sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food colouring until combined. Take coffee and white vinegar to stir. It's now time to mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients just a little at a time. Once this is done, grease and flour two round 8-inch cake pans with butter. This batter is ready to be poured evenly in each pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Be sure not to over bake as the cake will continue to cook as it cools off. Your cake is ready to be decorated with frosting!

Frost the cake:
Slice the cake tops as they are equally levelled after which, cut each cake in half. Take white buttercream and pipe a ring around the edge of your bottom layer. Make sure to fill the centre! Add the second layer of cake on top and go along with the same technique. After frosting, refrigerate your cake for 15 minutes max. Add a thin layer of buttercream around the edges of the sponge cake, but seeing to that the sponge is a little peek through!


Your dessert is ready to be served and relished! Grab your spoons or don’t because there is no perfect way of eating a cake! This naked cake will definitely make you drool and lick your fingers till there is no sight of frosting on your hands!

Skibum's picture

Look at this beauty friends! This is the best loaf of bread I have ever baked. Why? A fresh bag of the finest bread flour bought from our local bakery and fresh Durham Semolina to sweeten things up. Great bread!!!!! Recipe:

95g starter at 100% hydration
1/2 t instant yeast
177g milk scalded
42g Durham semolina
328g strong bread flour
41g honey
55g butter, melted
36g egg, beaten
1+ t salt

 Prior to the bake, I brushed some egg wash on to the top of the loaf and sprinkled with Durham semolina flour, then scored.

Mix and develop the dough. Bake @ 350F 18 minutes with steam. Remove steam, turn loaf pan and finish for another 18 minutes.

I can't stop eating this bread! I finally have a winner.

Happy baking! Ski



riverbread's picture

Beginning to get more comfortable baking! Decided to experiment with Figs and Walnuts (figs freshly dehydrated)

Started with 50% Red Fife, 10% Rye, 10% Spelt, 30% All Purpose, with a 2 hour autolyse and then a 5.5 hour bulk fermentation. Laminated once 45 minutes after adding leaven and salt to get the mix-ins incorporated (maybe should’ve chopped the walnuts a bit smaller) and then did 3 coils folds separated by about 45 minutes each. Retarded overnight for ~12 hours and then baked 20 minutes at 450, then uncovered at 425 for 25 more minutes. 

Produced a lovely oven spring, but think the crumb got a little wonky maybe from the nuts? Flavor was delicious though, and next time would probably add way more figs and reduce the walnuts. 

Benito's picture

This has quickly become our home’s favourite sourdough.  There is something special about the Einkorn with the Red Fife.  There is a hint of cinnamon flavour from this bread, which doesn’t contain any cinnamon, and a sweetness to the crust which is wonderful and that we love.

I’ve been using the aliquot jar lately and it is helping me more accurately determine the degree of fermentation.  Last week I fermented to 40% rise before pre-shaping and shaping.  Then I left the shaped dough in the banneton until the aliquot jar showed 50% rise.  This week I ended bulk fermentation at 50% and pre-shaped, then shaped and then put the dough immediately into the fridge because by the time the dough was placed into the banneton, it had risen an additional 5% to 55%.

This bake was the same 20% Einkorn, 9% Red Fife which was all in the levain and strong bread flour.  It had the same hydration of 82% and 9% pre-fermented flour.  There was a 3 hour autolyse. Salt was the usual 2% and added with water 30 mins after the mix.  Bulk fermentation lasted 4 hours and 15 minutes at 80ºF.  Structure and gluten were built with a combination of 100 slap and folds done after salt was added, one stretch and fold, one lamination then three coil folds.  After 50% rise, I pre-shaped the dough allowing it to bench rest for 10-15 mins then did final shaping and then into banneton and the fridge at 2ºC for 21 hours of cold retard.

Baked as usual in a dutch oven preheated in a 500ºF oven, when the dough was loaded into the dutch oven the temperature dropped to 450ºF with the lid on for 20 minutes.  Then the bread was removed from the dutch oven and continued to bake now at 420ºF until good colour was achieved, this took more than 20 minutes turning the bread to get even colour.

My score was more off Centre than usual and it is interesting to observe how that affected the shape of the resulting loaf compared with the last one.  The long cold retard along with brushing water on the dough seemed to contribute to even better blisters than the previous bakes.

Hotbake's picture

This was a new experiment, I didn't expect it to work this well and this bread is stupidly soft and stayed soft even when in the fridge.

I used about 580g leftover mashed potatoes, with milk and butter already in it, for TWO loaves.

Then I mixed up 1570g of dough(flour water starter) @ around 71% hydration, mixed in the salt and herb and mashed potatoes after 1.5 hr of faux autolyse,

looked like a disaster at the beginning, but after 10mins of mixing and slapping in the bowl it came together 

And after another 4 hour of bulk fermentation and folds it looked like a regular super strong dough without potatoes,  I actually needed 30g more water because it was too stiff!

And after it baked it's completely different, soft and velvety like no other bread I baked with other starches (non wheat grains, legume, carrots, sweet potatoes) just completely different in a good way! 

kendalm's picture

Dedicated bread oven so as to not destroy my new domestic unit.  Dual top and bottom elements (no steam device unfortunately but we know how to make that) 

For size reference the top photo has a 45lb bag of flour on top.  This gives a human perspective below.  Also for additional reference I have abnormally long arms - 


ciabatta's picture

My 2nd attempt at a seed loaf.  First attempt was too ambitious (with sunflower, pumpkin, quinoa, oats and sesame) using Hamelmann 5 grain levain formula and turned out to be a salty wet mess due to soaker hydration issues.

This one I kept to my standard SD formula with adjustments from 16% to 30% whole wheat. Added a soaker of course ground bulgur and a cold soaker of flaxseed.

Dough seemed just a little bit loose but preshape and shaping went well.  after overnight cold retard, dough firmed up and didn't spread, which was what i was afraid of.

20 minutes covered in oven. much better spring than i anticipated from a loaded 30% WW.

nearly 30 minutes uncovered. i think i should have gone on for another 10 minutes. maybe at reduced heat. not quite enough color on the crust.

Crumb was good. it bit of moisture left (should have baked 10 more mins). But acceptable. I don't think i get any of the bulgur texture in the crumb, but on the crust, they add some good flavor and crunch.  maybe i should do a shorter soak.   the flaxseeds were interesting. making a gel envelop during the soak. next batch will be slightly lower hydration, longer bake, and a bit more salt and maybe a touch of honey.  For some reason i mentally expect more salty taste on a seed bread.

texasbakerdad's picture

Round 3 of the same recipe with mostly hydration changes.


  • 346g HEB brand bread flour
  • 346g Home milled hard red wheat
  • 585g water
  • 48g sourdough starter (50% home milled hard red, 50% water)
  • 1 heaping TBS of salt

Original Recipe:

Problem 1: Just like the previous bake. Baked this loaf in 1 day. Had a major hiccup though, had to take the kids to swim team at right after I shaped my loaf. So, to play it safe, I popped the loaf in the refrigerator. I think? this had a negative impact on my crumb, because it seems like the faster warming outside of the loaf had bigger holes in crumb, than the inner parts of the crust which would have taken longer to warm.

Problem 2: My loaf was slightly too big for my romertopf, when I tried to close the lid, I couldn't avoid pinching some of the dough with the lid.

Compared to the 55% and 75% hydration loaves, this loaf rose a lot more. Also, the dough was finally supple and extensible. Now... I am debating in my head whether or not the 55% and 75% loaves were underproofed. Even this loaf might have been underproofed, but the emergency trip to the refrigerator is complicating the analysis.


  • 30 min autolyse
  • fold in the bowl every 30 minutes or so for about 6 hours
  • preshape, wait 20 minutes, shape and drop in to long banneton
  • 30 minutes on counter, then into fridge while we were at swim team for 2 hours.
  • Out of fridge and back on counter for 2 hours
  • Preheated oven with romertopf to 550df
  • dropped dough into romertopf with aid of parchment paper
  • reduced oven to 450df stuck in oven and topped, cooked for 45 min
  • Took top off and cooked for another 10 min.
  • Cooled on wire rack for 8 hours before slicing.

Sourdough_Hobby's picture

Hi All, the local coffee shop has requested that I take over production of their rye. They currently get it frozen so decided to keep a record of my experimenting here. 

Initially though I would do a 100% rye with seeds, but that's closer to the health bread they currently use. 

Below is the first test result, happy with the loaf overall just going to tweak it slightly and play around with the starter  build,  I like the flavour I get from the three stage Detmolder build more.  I pushed the bulk on this one, left it for around 7 hours in a cool kitchen until the dough doubled. "pre-shaped" as much as I could, left it for another hour and shaped and proofed at RT for 30mins, fridge at 5C for 12H.  

Stats on the loaf was around 38% Rye and 77% hydration, with 20% Rye starter @ 70% ish hydration. Hand mixed, shallow score and baked seam side up, I wanted the natural tear along the seam, don't think I needed to score would have open up fine without the help. 

texasbakerdad's picture

My last bake went so well that I thought I would do it again and try to tweak 2 things about the bake. Here is the link to my blog entry for the last bake:

My 3 complaints about that bake:

  1. The dough was too dry, I wanted a supple and extensible dough.
  2. The crumb wasn't the super open. It was a great crumb, but not that super open tartine crumb and I want to try and get there.
  3. The top might have gotten a bit too dark. Honestly though, it looked and smelt a bit 'singed' when it came out of the oven, but after letting it rest overnight, I think it was perfect.

#1 and #2 are related. I need to raise the hydration, the dough was just too stiff. So, I bumped my hydration to 75%. The bread came out almost exactly the same as the 55% hydration. It was a great loaf, but the dough still felt a bit dry. The crumb was great too, just not open tartine style crumb.

The only major difference in this loaf compared to the previous other than the bump in hydration, was that I did the loaf in 1 day, instead of an overnight bulk ferment. Also, I used even less starter.


  • 338g Home milled hard red wheat
  • 338g HEB brand bread flour
  • 80g 50:50 sourdough starter
  • 1 TBS Salt


  • 30 minute autolyse (recipe minus salt and starter)
  • folded the dough every 30 minutes until the dough had some bulk to it (about 8 hours)
  • preshaped, then waited 30 minutes, and shaped and dropped into long banneton
  • preheat oven to 550dF with long romertopf in oven
  • let rise for about 2 hours
  • transferred into hot romertopf bottom from banneton using parchment paper and cut off the excess parchment. Scored with razor blade. Covered with top of romertopf and stuck in oven.
  • Reduced oven to 450dF, baked for 45 min with top on. Then, 15 min with top off.
  • Let cool on wire rack overnight.
  • The whole bake minus the cooling started at 9am and finished at 11pm.  

Problems with this bake:

  • Still seemed a bit dark coming out of the oven, but then was perfect after it cooled overnight.
  • Crumb wasn't as open as I am striving for.
  • I think, maybe, I could have let the dough rise for another 30 min to an hour... I am thinking I will keep tweaking the recipe until I get the hydration right, and then, I will bake the same loaf over and over again, trying to get the proofing just right.

As I type this, I am working on a 3rd loaf, this time with 85% hydration. The dough, this time, finally feels wet enough. I think it will turn out great.


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