The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

.wild rice roll This is a shot of the wild rice and onion rolls I made for yesterday.

Beka's picture

Mmm... that *time* of the year again when all the pumpkin recipes start poppin' up everywhere. I live in the lovely equatorial tropics, which means our pumpkins are of the green-and-white variety and we get them all year round (just without the carving). I believe that this recipe works for American pumpkins as well.


Japanese Kabocha Pumpkins

Fancy some pumpkin scones? I love this recipe - it makes a sticky dough, which turns in scone that is deliciously moist. Only 1/3 cup of butter (2/3 of a stick) is needed for each batch! It's my mother's favourite, and I make sure she has a stash on them in the freezer for afternoon tea.


It's an original recipe adapted from a sourdough scones recipe - the conversion worked quite well! I made this instructional video a couple of years ago, and the printable recipe is below (unfortunately it's in gram measurements). If you try making these scones, do let me know! I think it'll be awesome for a warm autumn afternoon, or anytime really.






ph_kosel's picture

My friend Leo died earlier this year.  He was pretty sick towards the end.

Leo loved Choreg, a sort of Armenian holiday bread his mother used to make.

To try to cheer him up a bit I found a recipe on the web and made up a loaf for him, the first time I'd ever made Choreg.  

The recipe I used was this one:

I found the nigella seeds and mahleb on Amazon although I actually used some mahleb I bought at a middle-eastern specialty market here in town.

I followed the recipe as closely as I could although I made one large braided loaf in stead of two smaller loaves as instructed.  Because of the high butter content or for other reasons the strands didn't adhere to each other the way I'm used to.

The bread rose well and I baked it in a steamed oven, getting a beautiful braided lof that was easier to pull apart than to slice. The mahleb gave the bread a delightful cherry-like aroma which filled the house when I baked the loaf, and later the car when I took it over to Leo's house.

Everyone who tried the bread said it was lovely.  The crust was particularly light and nice, and the crumb was soft and delectable.  I was not fond of nigella seeds when I used them before and had actually thrown out my stash, but the nigella I got from Amazon in the proportion the recipe called for added a nice crunch without overpowering.

Here are links to the ingredients I bought on Amazon: nigella seeds ( and mahleb ( .  They both seemed to be of good quality.

Leo was one of my professors when I studied engineering many years ago.  Over the years I've attended many parties in his home and he's been a frequent visitor in mine.  He was sorely missed at thanksgiving this year.


alfanso's picture

The first two for our S.F. friends visiting with us earlier this week, and the third for our TG dinner with cousins nearby.  Happy Thanksgiving.  alan

A pair of Greenstein/Snyder Jewish Rye loaves 

A pair of Raisin-Pecan WW Levain Batards, plus one little baguette just because...

A pair of SJSD Batards 

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I've never had a pumpkin pie in my entire life because pumpkins and/or squashes are just meant to be savory here. I can't imagine pumpkin as sweet before, then it became a trend to put it in desserts because of the flavor and health benefits; still haven't tasted a sweet with pumpkin. So, pumpkin is generally accepted now to be used in sweet and savory alike but the idea of pumpkin pie with spices (some even call for black pepper and coriander) is still perplexing because the use of spices with sweets is not much accepted, it sure tastes alien here!

Last week, there was a conversation about pumpkin pie on Dabrownman's blog and it really made me want to taste pumpkin pie. I like to taste one to know the reason why every American I knew love the taste of sweet pumpkin with spices in a pastry shell. For me as always there's no other way to taste it than to make it myself as soon as possible.

(This is long post with a ton of pictures because I'm so happy of what I've achieved)

This weekend, my cousin brought us half of the lovely pumpkin (I don't know if it's a pumpkin or squash; what I just know is when I became aware of this world is THIS is the pumpkin or squash that I knew but I'll call it pumpkin in this post) that they harvested weighing more than two kilos. I said to myself that maybe it's really meant and it's the right time for me to make some pumpkin pie.

This pumpkin pie was totally unplanned! I tried to get my palate accustomed first to sweet pumpkin by just dipping my toes in the water, pumpkin sweets with simple clean flavors. First, I thought of making a pumpkin flan but I saw some spices used in pumpkin pie in my bunch of things so my thoughts shifted to a crust less pumpkin pie. When I am to begin my mind was struck again that it won't work so I changed my mind again, I'll just make a pumpkin flavored custard tart. Then again I got really curious about the taste of a pumpkin pie and I got all the ingredients I frequently saw on pumpkin pie recipes so finally I've settled that I will give it a shot. Okay, I am ready to check the internet for an exact recipe but there was no connection! I'll just have to rely on my memory on what I've seen on that recipe. I remembered it has maple syrup, evaporated milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

I really winged this pie, the filling and the crust! I don't have a recipe to follow and I don't have many of the required ingredients in the kitchen. Well, it's not a problem! I am the kind that doesn't hesitate to improvise or substitute.

* I don't have evaporated milk but I have condensed milk- reduce the sugar and add some water. Solved!

*No maple syrup but I have golden syrup and honey- use honey because it will complement the spices better. Solved!

*No ground ginger- use fresh ginger. Solved!

*No butter for the pie crust- use oil and a bit of technique. Solved!

I didn't measure anything too because that's my game, it's where I'm used to. I made four mini ones and one large pie in my llaneras which are flan molds. Unfortunately, my molds won't allow me to crimp the edges which is my favorite part of pie making and I'm so good at it! :P

For the crust, I've read before that oil pie crusts are not as flaky as butter ones so I tapped on my background in oriental pastries. The spiral pastry made with alternating layers of water dough and oil dough is super flaky without even a chunk of butter and works every time so that's what I used here. I made both doughs by adding water and oil little by little until they had the right consistency. 

For the filling I cut off a decent-sized chunk from the pumpkin, sliced it thinly and boiled it until very soft. I then mashed it by hand and added other ingredients with cinnamon being the backbone of the spice flavor. I tasted and tasted it before adding the eggs and made it overly sweet on purpose so when the eggs are added, the sweetness will be right. I also went heavy with the salt for a tremendous flavor boost. Not so fast! Before adding the eggs I saw it was too thin because of too much water added as compensation for the condensed milk, it was like soup! When the eggs are added it will be much much more fluid unlike the pumpkin filling I saw on videos so I made a brave move, I cooked the filling on the top of the stove sans œufs until thickened. When I tasted it, I liked the flavor much better than the uncooked one, more intense and slightly caramelized. Yesterday I remembered txfarmer's favorite pumpkin pie that I read long ago and decided to read it and I was shocked (I've already made and eaten the pie before I read it) that it also calls for heating the ingredients before filling the pie so maybe this is a technique to keep. When the mixture was cool, I then mixed in the eggs.

I suddenly had plan; instead of baking the unbaked dough filled with the filling in my clay pot over a wood fire, I will employ a different technique to test a theory. I will try to bake this in a frying pan on top of our gas stove! To ensure a crisp crust, I will bake it first without the filling utilizing conduction from the mold to cook the dough on the bottom then I will flip it so the radiant heat from the pan will cook the dough from the top so it's really dry and crisp; then to ensure a silky filling, I will bake it at a low temperature and since it is technically a custard or flan, it can be steamed too!

What sounds good in theory doesn't always go smoothly in practice. The dough is a bit difficult to conform to the shape of the mold especially with the large one, I really rolled it into an oval to minimize waste and luckily none was wasted. I intended to serve these as a late afternoon snack but since it was unplanned and I began very late, I had to rush it that resulted in some mishaps. I forgot to  prick the base of the crust and five minutes later they have all puffed up like a balloon so I pricked them with a fork as best as I can to keep them flat. When the crust was cooked I immediately put the filling in and pour water on the pan to steam it, again as an effort to serve it that afternoon so I forgot to shake and tap the pan to raise the air bubbles so they left a mark at the top. I quickly covered it with the lid too not remembering to put a cloth so condensation dripped on the pies and left white marks on the top and a crack on one. If those didn't happen then this pie would have a very smooth top and a more vibrant color. Alright, I learned my lesson! 

The crust was VERY flaky and crisp, this one even managed to keep the spiral pattern too! It may not look like it was because it's pale but it really is. The crust without any barrier from the filling is still crisp even after four days in the fridge! It also goes well with the filling, what more if it's a butter crust!

The custard was smooth and silky, no cracking or weeping. It didn't dome over like most "baked" pumpkin pies. Its texture inside is closer to the one posted by txfarmer. It was spicy, yes and I admit that I really like it as first time maker and eater and I understand now why Americans love it, personally I would love it more if it was more spiced. Now, why it lasted for four days? Because I'm the only one who ate it! People here can't get past the aromatic spices especially the ginger and said "If it was just pumpkin then it would have been delicious or I could have eaten it!" No problem! More treats for me!

It was so delicious but it can be made better. This will be my adjustments next time:

*Use a proper all butter crust- it's my favorite and has the best flavor.

*Add some alcohol- I think it will be really nice; rum, brandy or whiskey, maybe a splash of Kahlua or Tia Maria will be good too for some coffee undertones.

*Add some nuts- walnuts or pecans would be a nice contrast to the silky filling.

*Use brown sugar and/or molasses- I think it is the ultimate complement to the pumpkin and spices.

*Stick to the sweet spice quartet- I'm not a fan of ginger so I'll ditch it. I'll add cloves because that's what I like then use more nutmeg and less cinnamon. I'm sorry cinnamon, it's time for you to move aside and let nutmeg take center stage.

*Make two batches- one for my spice loving self and one for my pumpkin loving friends!

I would like to close this with a satisfying sweet meal. Thank you very much!

Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

Instead of discarding some when I feed my rye starter, I have been experimenting with cakes and baking. I found this recipe on the internet but used a cup  of leftover sprouted grain whole wheat flour instead of cake flour. Before it went into the oven, I thought there was not nearly enough batter to make a decent sized cake. But it must have quadrupled in volume and came right up to the rim by the time it finished baking. It is moist and surprisingly light. I think I have just discovered my favourite chocolate cake.



E poi, ci sono occasioni in cui ti chiudi nella tua cucina per riflettere.....

E soltanto nel silenzio di quel piccolo spazio intriso di profumi, ricordi, tanti ricordi, nella tua mente i pensieri tornano indietro nel tempo, al 2012 per l'esattezza, quando fu il caso che mi consentì di assaggiare un Pane integrale di grande valenza, un vero Pane d'Autore, eseguito da uno straordinario Professionista....

Ed allora tu lasci che le tue mani impastino farina, acqua e buon lievito e pesi con la bilancia di precisione quei pochi grammi di malto che sapranno fare la differenza, e aspetti pazientemente, che dalla tua passione e dal tuo tanto studiare scaturisca il risultato tanto atteso.

Sarà stato un caso??

Quella straordinaria eleganza e leggerezza, tanto cercata e studiata in un impasto integrale, mi ha regalato questi straordinari Panini e so, che è soltanto il punto di partenza .....e continuerò a studiare!!

A presto carissimi Amici.


nmygarden's picture

This will necessarily be brief, but I wanted to post yesterday's loaf, Spelt Sprouted Wheat Date Walnut. I've been in the office more than home lately, so this one got only the attention I could provide when I could provide it, but turned out well despite the inattention. Ingredients included:

Sprouted wheat grains - about 2/3 c.

250 g Whole Spelt

350 g BF

60 g Wheat Germ

500 g Water

150 g Starter (@100%)

12 g Salt

2 Tbsp Walnut Oil

Walnut pieces, toasted - 2 handfuls

Dates, chopped - 2 handfuls

The procedure was abbreviated - soaked the wheat grains and allowed them to sprout for 24 hours (not quite long enough for this particular wheat, an organic I got through my CSA). Autolysed the flours, wheat germ and water for a couple of hours, added the salt and starter and left it at cool room temp overnight. Next morning, I did about 4-5 stretch and folds at irregular intervals over about 4 hours, incorporating the grains, oil, nuts and dates. Preshaped, then shaped and into a basket for a final rise of 2 hours. Turned out onto parchment, slashed and baked on a stone at 450 F under my cloche for 15 minutes, then about 25 minutes more at 425 F and 5 minutes with the oven off and the door open to crisp the crust.

The house smelled rich with toasted walnuts - it was so hard to leave it to cool, but I did get a piece later once it was sliced and ready to freeze. The walnut comes through, the whole grain flavors, too and a sweet surprise when you bite into a date. This one was worthy of making again and demonstrates that even when neglected, SD can make good bread that is good for us.

Happy Week and Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!


STUinlouisa's picture

Very seldom do I repeat a bread, always something new and interesting to try, but this one was so good had to try again. Plus it's a test drive for rolls on Thanksgiving. The Millet porridge gives the crumb a moist almost fluffy at the same time texture and the sprouted grains add some sweetness. 

Also out for a test drive are some corn muffins made from some fresh ground organic corn meal, fresh ground white whole wheat and some AP. These are naturally leavened and  treated more like a raised bread than a quick bread. The liquid is milk and some sorghum syrup and coconut oil are added. Right now in the bulk ferment stage.


AbeNW11's picture



Rye sour 30g

Medium rye flour 125g

Water 208g

[leave overnight]



Malted rye 18g

Coriander seed 2g

Coarse rye meal 58g

Boiling water 150g

[leave overnight]


Next morning add the sponge to the scald, mix and leave for 5-6 hours. Until doubled. 





Wholegrain rye flour 201g

First clear or high-gluten flour, unsifted 74g

Unsulphured molasses 20g

Red rye malt 5g

Salt 6g

Coriander for garnish 1g


Leave for one hour then spoon into prepared loaf time and smooth over top. 



Place in plastic bag so as the top shouldn't dry out and final proof till small holes begin the appear on top. 

Preheat oven to 290C. When the dough is ready then spray the top with water and garnish with crushed coriander seeds. Cover the tin with aluminium foil, place in oven and turn down to 175C. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes. After which uncover and finish off till nice crust has formed.

Allow to cool fully before cutting into it. 






There are a few things I changed from the original recipe. Mainly the hydration by adding in another 100g of flour or so from close to 100% down to 75%. The original recipe had a higher proportion of non rye flour which I altered to bring it down to the correct specification of no more than 15%. I did not have any red rye malt so substituted barley malt. The original recipe had some medium rye flour however I used wholegrain rye flour throughout which is more in line with the correct recipe. Forgot to take into account of the extra flour i added and didn't increase the molasses proportionately hence the lighter colour. On the whole I'm happy with this first attempt. 

Thank you Dabrownman for all your guidance. 


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