The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Made some bread bowls today to hold a delicious salmon chowder.

There is no exact recipe for what I did today because it was a thrown together kind of thing from stuff I had on hand.

And the sad truth is, I have never weighed my ingredients, I don't even own a scale (not even in the bathroom), and I very seldom measure, and when I do it's not very accurate. But next time I do this I will try to be more careful and document what I am doing!

In short, I made my basic sourdough white bread, I let it rise until doubled with two folds in my special warm spot - the barely pre-heated oven. Then I punched it down and divided into six pieces by just eye balling it. Shaped each piece into a ball, dipped the bottom of the ball into a plate of cornmeal. Then I placed them on a piece of parchment paper and set them in the fridge to ferment for a couple hours.

I preheated my oven to 425F, with my cooking stone in the oven. I use a Pampered Chef cooking stone, set on the middle rack with an old Wilton castle shaped cake pan on the bottom rack for my steam generator. I let the oven preheat for about an hour to make sure the stone is up to temp.

Working with two boules at a time, they got a light egg wash, then using my best sewing scissors, I snipped a star shape on top of the boule. Five snips, then quick into the oven on the stone, still on the parchment paper, filled the cake pan with two cups of boiling water poured out of my long neck watering pot as quick as I could and shut the oven door.

Baked them for 15 minutes with the oven light on. I sat on the floor in front of my oven staring through the glass so that I could watch them rise. After 15 minutes, I opened he oven pulled out the stone, gave each boule an additional quick egg wash, pulled out the parchment paper, swapped them places on the stone, shoved them back in and let them bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Took them out, internal temperature was 200F, so I moved them to the cooling rack and continued in the same fashion with the rest of the boules.

After they cooled I cut off the tops at the base of the star lid, and hollowed out the boule with my fingers until I had a suitable bowl. I saved all the crumb, it will be used to make bread crumbs. At dinner time (actually, when we got hungry), we filled the bowls with a delicious salmon chowder and it was really, really good!

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I've not made English muffins for years and years. I chose the King Arthurs's recipe here:

They are very good, not quite the crumb texture I was looking for, I wanted it a little more open, so I will try adjusting my fermentation and proofing times. I really don't want to change any of the ingredients because they are so good, especially with Candy Apple home made jelly!

Which by the way can be found here:

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This is essentially my pizza dough recipe except that I added an extra teaspoon of yeast. I let it rise until double in size. Punched it down, divided it into fourths, formed flattened balls and placed them in a 9x9 pan. Let them rise until doubled again and baked them at 350F for 25 minutes. Sprayed them with butter flavor oil immediately as they came out of the oven, and broke them into individual buns to cool.

They had a nice crumb for burger buns and toasted easily. Tasted great!

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I'm still working on my challenge to provide before and after pictures of all the breads I posted in a collage. This is not the pizza in the collage, but it's the only pizza pic I have that somewhat shows the crumb of my pizza dough. And all my pizzas are the same basic dough, so here's to substitutions!

Pizza is such a customizable dish that it's difficult to produce an exact recipe. My basic rule of thumb is to use a crust recipe you like, the sauce of your choice and the toppings that you prefer. You can cook it on a stone, in a pan or a dish. In the oven, on the grill or over a campfire. Make it small, medium, large. Thin crust, hand tossed, thick or stuffed crust, deep dish.

The one I have shown is a deep dish version, Alredo Sauce, chicken, broccoli, and all the other goodies we like. The only thing I'm going to include here is my recipe for the crust.

Pizza Crust

SIZE            WATER               YEAST               OIL              SALT               FLOUR

Small            1/2 cup                 1/2 tsp             1 tbs              1/2 tsp             1 1/2 cups

Med              3/4 cup                 3/4 tsp             1 1/2 tbs        3/4 tsp             2 1/4 cups

Large             1 cup                   1 tsp                 2 tbs              1 tsp               3 cups


The water should be warm. Pour water into bowl, sprinkle with yeast and allow to bloom. Add salt, oil and half the flour. Beat with a fork until smooth. Knead in the rest of the flour and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Oil dough, cover lightly, and put in a warm place until doubled in size.

Punch down and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Shape dough to fit your needs and you can let it rest again and even rise again, or you can add your toppings and put it in the oven. I bake mine at 425F until it's as done as I like it.

Now the conditions in your kitchen are probably different from the conditions in my kitchen, and I don't know what kind of yeast, oils and flours you use, so amounts my differ according to your needs, tastes and preferences. I tend to use all purpose flour, Red Star dry active yeast, either vegetable or olive oil, and regular table salt.

Explore your options with this one, I've never had anyone turn down pizza hot out of the oven. Enjoy!



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You just have to improvise and salvage what you can!

These were really good buttery rolls. They should have been croissants!

I was trying to make croissants, but had a major butter blowout while working my dough. Such a blowout that it was not going to work as croissants at all! So I folded my dough up, cut it into 6 pieces, sort of tucked the corners under to form a ball and then went at each ball with my apple corer.

Some times you just have to do what you can to save what you can!

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Continuing on my quest to enhance the collage I posted, this is what I call Cherry Pecano Bread. And I know that I said I would include either recipes, or links to recipes, but this one is a work in progress, so the recipe is not really ready yet. I will though, explain what I did so that you can try it too!

We eat a lot of salad at my house, and I've recently started using these little packets to kind of dress them up when one day it occurred to me that this stuff would be good in bread.

To my favorite basic sweet bread dough, I added vanilla, cinnamon and the packet of salad toppings, which in this case was Salad Pizazz's Cherry Cranberry Pecano. It has cherry flavored cranberries and honey toasted pecans.

I baked this loaf in a springform pan, and think that I should have let it proof a little longer. I did a horrible job on the scoring, I did use an egg was and sprinkled it with turbinado sugar.

It was a good bread, especially sliced and toasted with a little melted butter.

I've tried several different Salad Pizazz flavors. Each packet I've used so far has almost a cup of ingredients, maybe like 7/8 of a cup. Try it! I think you'll like the results.

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And the recipe for this one is here:

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This is a follow up to the flauta blog from yesterday. This shows a little bit more about how they go together.

Fillings can be made of whatever you like, I generally use whatever leftover meat I have on hand be it chicken, pork, beef, or even moose. Next I add a spicy type sauce or chile that I also usually have on hand, but even sriacha sauce will work. The third component is always some kind of shredded cheese.

In this picture I'm using chicken and a red chili salsa, Mix it all up together and spread a row of the filling mix on a rolled out tortilla. I have been making tortillas for over 50 years and still cannot roll out a perfectly round one, but it doesn't really matter in this case.

Then you roll them up. What keeps them closed? Some flour and water paste! Let it dry a little bit before you fry them.

I roll all mine up and then let them dry while the oil for frying is warming up. Drain on paper towels.

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Working on the collage thing again, this one deserves a recipe page of it's own, and I will get to it, someday!

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I'm still working on the pictures and instructions for a collage I posted earlier.

It had never occurred to me to try and capture the crumb of a flour tortilla! Ever!! So mostly what I have is a picture of the gooey, melted cheese that's on the inside.

And this particular batch is pork and green chile. Next time I make them, I'll do up a much better set of instructions!

Basically, its a stuffed generic flour tortilla that is deep fried. Any flour tortilla recipe will work, you have to use raw tortillas though, not the already cooked ones from the store. The fillings can be what ever you want, but my family likes meat, cheese and some kind of chile.



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