The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

beanfromex's blog

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Well the sourdough is now into the fridge for the next phase of folding every hour for the next four or five hours. I will then leave it overnight on the lower shelf inthe fridge.

It seems like a surprisingly small loaf given all of the work on the starter..which began last Thursday. I have put the remainder into the fridge after feeding and will use it again next week, should this loaf work....if not, I am going back to tried and true recipes...and the trusty cottage loaf from the weekend.

For the most part, I have followed egullets sourdough directions. Sourdough seems to be one of the more complicated, many version type of baking out there. I have read about concorde grapes, pineapple juice and so many things wtih regards to this bread that I am a bit confused. I am buying a book in Canada in december, and am leaning towards the BBA.

I took some pictures of my starter, but do not think you can see anything due to the flash...I will have to work on that.

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I started this starter on thursday evening, and this morning I noticed a subtle change in the smell, for the better. The harsh sour smell had gone .

I poured off all the top forming houch and have been feeding it faithfully every 8 hours. Today I think I finally have enough bubbles to make the dough tomorrow and bake the bread on wednesday morning.

Ramona also tried making two loaves at her families home over the weekend. Only one of the two loaves rose and one of her children touched a loaf on its final rise and probably punctured the surface. 

The last thing I baked was the cottage loaf, recipe given in previous blog entry.  We have now eaten all of that loaf and I want my husband to concentrate on the oatmeal raison in the freezer before I bake anymore...other than the sourdough that is...

 Hasta luego...


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Today I have tried a new recipe. It is from the "great british kitchen" website and is called cottage loaf: recipeand photo as follows:

Cottage Loaf
Bread-making is soothing and enjoyable, although you do need a lot of time to allow for the rising process. This loaf can be made with wholemeal or plain flour, and as it is baked in the traditional cottage loaf shape, you will not need a loaf tin but just a baking sheet.


15 Gram Fresh yeast, or 2 level tsp dried (1/2 oz)
300 ml Warm milk (not low fat) (1/2 pint)
450 Gram Malted brown flour, strong wholemeal flour (1 lb)
1 Teaspoon Salt
Beaten egg to glaze
Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling


Makes 1 large loaf
Dissolve the fresh yeast in the milk. If using dried yeast, sprinkle it into the milk and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes, until frothy. Put the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the yeast liquid. Beat well together until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Cut off one-third of the dough and shape into a round. Shape the remaining dough into a round. Place the larger round on to a greased baking sheet and brush with a little water. Place the smaller round on top. Push the lightly floured handle of a wooden spoon down through the centre of the loaf right to the bottom. Using a sharp knife slash the dough at 5 cm (2 inch) intervals around the top and bottom edges to make a decorative pattern. Cover and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes, until doubled in size.

Brush with a little beaten egg to glaze and sprinkle with poppy seeds, if liked. Bake at 230 °C / 450 °F / Gas 8 for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200 °C / 400 °F / Gas 6 and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


I found this dough wonderful to work with, quicker due to onloy two risings and very tasty. The crumb is dense without being heavy and would make a great addition to a food like stew or chili, I image toasted this bread would be excellent. The bottom crust was crusty and chewy. The egg wash helped with the colour of my loaves.

I did everything as suggested in the above recipe, including the poppy seeds. The only difference was sprinkling cornmeal on the greased baking sheet.

I took pictures and will try to get them uploaded.

I will definately make this loaf again.

Other than that, it has been a slow baking week. I started a sourdough starter on thursday night, feeding every 8 hours and so far I am happy with the results. It was 1:1 AP flour and water with a .5 cup flour and water feeding. I HOPE to have this ready come monday or Tuesday....but that really isn't up to me is it???

Be well everyone.

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Life finally caught up with me and the taking of pictures hasbeen set aside until I manage to figure out what th problem is with my uploading pictures...the good news is I have more time for experimenting with the favorite recipes (to your left).

I made the cinnamon raison oatmeal cluster , but prefer my original recipe which is a version of "white bread from the Joy of cooking cookbook". 

I also have sucessfully changed the wheat content to a ration of 2 cups WWF to 4 cups AP flour.  I am very happy with the height and the crumbs of the loaf, so it reamains my tried and true favorite.

Yesterday, I made the pizza and sauce from Floydm's recipe. My husband and I enjoyed the crust and the sauce. I made the thicker crust version, with milk and more oil. I found the dough to handle very well and put it onto a greased and cornmeal dusted pizza pan, and the second pizza onto a non stick cookie sheet with minimal cornmeal dusting. The non stick had better release than the pizza plate.

 The crust was thick and chewy. The only think I would change for the next time is perhaps having a slightly thicker crust into the center, which was almost too thin.

 I am teaching Ramona to bake. (maid). She kneaded the oatmeal raison bread by hand to learn the technique. Southern mexico is not known for its bakers, preferring to buy the products from the local grocery store and due to the fact some years ago many of the poorer people did not have access to ovens. When I replace my oyster kitchen center mixer with the new one, I will give it to Ramona, so she can continue making bread easily. She took the last few loaves home to her children, and they seem excited about learning "bread making".  Thefirst loaf she took on the combi ride home, she received all sortsof comments about its wonderful smell, imagine the odour of freshly baked bread within the confines of a van...

I am still investigating the mixers, but am leaning towards a Delongi.

I am also preparing a list of things that I would like to enhance breadmaking that are unavailable here, parchment paper, a cloche, and an oven capable of getting hotter than 450F...

Hasta luego.

Tabasco Mexico 

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Last week I had 11 people over for dinner to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving..Food becomes a focal point for most ex pats (living outside their birth country). My ex chiropractor for example, would get misty eyes when he spoke about his mothers roast France.

And for dessert, I made an english trifle, a sour cream and raison pie and a cherry pie. My husband, a week later is still craving cherry pie, claiming he did not get enough of last he BUYS a frozen one yesterday...claiming he didnt want me to go to "any extra trouble" and that a frozen one would "be almost the same". Now I am not a food snob, but Hades will freeze over before I eat a piece of this frozen pie, pictured below. Also I had alterior motives... the previously mentioned "doubts about the oven temp"

The good thing about it, was that it almost burnt, prooving again that there is something seriously out of whack with the temperature guage somewhere in my oven...

But, as beauty is in the eyes of the is taste...

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After last weeks failures of french bread...and the previous weeks sourdough fiasco, I have decided to move onto something that is tried and true in the kitchen. The thought was to check the oven's ability to remain at a constant temperature since they moved the gas tank and laid new lines on the roof.

The cookies came out of the oven "as normal". I had moved my only rack into the top position for the french bread attempts, so the first cookie batch came out a little crispier than normal, no photos of those ones!! This was the last of the Nestles pre chocolate chips, I have a single bag of hersheys minis left...But we prefer the Nestles.

I have also noticed that my key board is not spacing correctly...Most electronic appliances seem to deteriorate quicky in this humid enviroment..and I have experienced first hand its wonderful effects on french bread crusts....


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I am thinking of coming up with a sure fire recipe for this loaf.

But of course, before I do that I have to master my new "progressive" glasses, the yahoo beta format, uploading pics into this site while I continue to try and produce french bread in a location where the flour and humidity and yeast are all unstable...But, it may just be me...

 I have baked french bread twice this week, putting all my new found knowledge and lists and tips into play...all to no avail. The first batch I had to pry off the couche...the second batch came out firmer, pale and without a crust despite feeling crusty in the oven when I first took them out...

I just know at any minute my dear husband will walk through the door asking where "todays batch"is and I am sure that will send me into a homicidal rage...I have accomplished nothing other than whinging to the site owner for the mentally incompetant set of directions for uploading pics , and putting 9 measly pics into photobucket.

I dont know if my inability to read the screen text is flour smudges, the progressive lenses, or general eye fatigue due to reading for the past week on french bread..which didn't help me out anyway did it??

So, tomorrow, I will take another stab at uploading pics, and perhaps bake my old standby loaf, which should soothe me, if not, there is always margaritas made with fresh lime juice...

 Bye for now..


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