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Hello everyone,
A dear friend sent me a link to a Rosemary Rye Brownie recipe, on the PBS Food Blog, Kitchen Vignettes, written by Aube Giroux. (nice video to accompany the recipe)

Gave this one a whirl for Valentine's Day. A really lovely brownie, the rosemary flavor becoming more apparent the second day after baking and the rosemary a wonderful accent to the chocolate flavor.

(rapidly melting raspberry sorbet alongside, something 'red' for my Valentine)

I love the little hit of salt flavor to accompany chocolate so folded coarse salt in along with the dry ingredients, so the salt would not completely dissolve in the bake.


I've made another of Aube's recipes, her Rye Blueberry Cookie - outstanding! (and another beautiful video)
(the Rye Blueberry Cookie at left in photo below, on the right an experiment with whole wheat and cranberry)


Thank you, Ms. Giroux, for sharing these delicious ways to bake with rye flour!

Happy rye baking, everyone!
:^) breadsong 


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Hello and happy holidays, everyone!

The Bread Baker’s Guild of America ( offered a course, Italian Holiday Baking, in September 2013. I was delighted to attend, the class was outstanding, and it was taught by Chef Biagio Settepani of Pasticceria Bruno in New York.

Chef Settepani  took us through a wide range beautiful, colorful, and delicious Italian celebratory breads and pastries, in the weekend class. This Pandolce Genovese is one of the holiday treats we made. It is full of fruit and flavor (orange, lemon, almond, anise, raisin), fairly quick to make, and very nice for gift-giving! :^) 


I made this last year with some homemade candied citron in place of candied lemon peel. (Buddha’s hand citron, before and after candying – I hope to find these again at the market sometime- the flavor was incredible!) 


This year’s version was made with store-bought citron (greener in color), and lightly toasted slivered almonds in place of the pine nuts.


I googled Pandolce Genovese to see if a recipe was available online; and found a version of Chef Settepani’s recipe published here
This recipe notes to soak the raisins in Marsala. We did that in class for one of the breads we made and the raisins were so delicious! I will plan ahead and give the raisins the special treatment the next time I make this Pandolce :^)
The table below is based the online recipe (vanilla intentionally not included).

In the photo below, I divided into 7 pieces as I mixed a larger batch.

 ... just mixed, and loaded with dried fruit!





6 Pandolce Genovese are destined for gifts, and 1 was sampled for ‘quality control’ :^)

                                  ...crumbly, enjoyed when still warm from the oven…!

Buon natale, buon cottura, e buon appetito!
:^) breadsong

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Hello everyone,

I wanted to try making another porridge bread from Tartine Book Nº3 - so this is a try at making the Rye Porridge bread, retarding warmer, and baking hotter, than the previous bake.


I found some sweet, local walnuts at the market and used these in the dough, along with roasted walnut oil -
*amazing* flavor, with the 50% rye porridge; the flours were 50% organic bread flour, and 50% organic locally-grown
whole-milled whole wheat flour.

I am posting this one, even though it didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, crumb-wise…but the flavor is absolutely outstanding, and I’m pretty excited about that!
I hope my enthusiasm about the flavor encourages someone else to make this :^)

I’m excited too about this morning’s sunshine and a rare opportunity in my house, to take a picture of the bread with some natural daylight!

The dough temperature was 79F and was bulk fermented at 80F, for 4-1/2 hours.

This is what the dough looked like before dividing:

I divided the dough (sticky!) into three pieces, approximately 50%, 25%, 25%, to make three loaves
(wanting to try baking smaller versions to see how it might work out).

The dough was retarded at 48F for about 7 hours (warmer than my normal fridge temperature).  
I chose this temperature after reading about the Slow Final Proof method in Advanced Bread and Pastry (50F was recommended; I tried to play it safe by a couple of degrees, as per the book,  the dough using this method “should be a bit stiffer”; this dough definitely was not!).
After retarding, the smaller loaves seemed overproofed, the large loaf maybe just on the verge of; these  loaves did not have the airiness of the Oat Porridge loaves, at the same stage.

One of the small loaves was baked first, warming at room temperature for 30 minutes while the Dutch oven preheated.  The warm up did not help this dough – but I did it anyway,  wanting to see what the effect might be, after retarding at 48F.

For this first bake, I also tried placing a stainless steel cake ring inside the Dutch oven (narrower diameter), hoping the narrower diameter ring would ‘fit’ better with the smaller loaf, and help it rise up better, having closer ‘support’ on the sides.  This did not work out that well – perhaps I should have preheated the cake ring too – I think it could have been a somewhat of a barrier to the initial heat?  If I try this again, I may try with an aluminum cheesecake ring or something non-stainless, and preheat it.
I don't know why I thought this one would rise? - given its proofing state :^)

This is the crumb, from the first bake


The second, and third loaves, were baked hotter, working my way up to 50F hotter by the third bake.
The third bake was the full-size loaf, and it was baked at 550F for 20 minutes, 500F for 10 minutes, lid off, then 500F for 15 minutes;  the crust color is approaching what I was hoping for.


The over-proofing is evident in the crumb – this is more like a high percentage rye bread – but I love the purple color from the walnuts, and oh, did I say how gorgeous this tastes? :^)


There is sweetness from the wheat germ and walnuts, and a lovely tang and aftertaste, the rye porridge and fermentation adding beautiful flavors, and another very moist crumb, from the porridge. I think this bread is going to be an excellent keeper!


Loved the rustic look of the top of the bread, scored with scissors...

…and the pattern of rye flakes on the bottom,  contrasting nicely with the crust’s rich caramel color!


Will I be making Rye Porridge bread again? You bet! And very happy to do so, and keep enjoying its deliciousness!, 
while I try to find the retarding temperature and timing that’s just right.

Happy baking everyone!
:^) breadsong           





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Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

A week before Christmas, Chad Robertson's new book, Tartine Book Nº3 arrived – earlier than I was expecting!,
and most welcome :^)

One of the things I really liked about the design of the book was the arrangement of the letters spelling out the author’s name, on the book jacket.
Turned 90º clockwise, the author’s name becomes the number “3” :^)

While I was waiting for the book to arrive, various recipes from the book were popping up online, one of them on the Food52 site – the Oat Porridge bread.


The Oat Porridge bread link above includes responses from Mr. Robertson to reader questions – some helpful information there - I’m going to make note of his responses in my book.

And Floyd – you’ll probably like this! – he refers one of the readers to The Fresh Loaf: “…I often direct people to this site http://www.thefreshloaf... and check it myself when I have questions like this. You'll find many excellent bakers posting a ton of knowledge here - lots of it geared towards making professional quality breads in a home kitchen and how to find the best tools to accomplish this.”   
:^) !

I really love oat breads, and the description of this bread and its flavor in the book was amazing...very happy to have had the chance to try making this one.

The Oat Porridge bread makes two loaves, so I decided to bake one as I normally would (Nº1) , and one in the recommended baking vessel, a cast iron Dutch oven (Nº2).
The scoring (not so beautiful!) follows the numbering…loaves Nº1 and Nº2, from Nº3 :^)


I like the look of the Dutch oven-baked bread better – I was a little uncertain baking Nº1 at 500F for the full 20 minutes, so backed off the temperature to 450F after 10 minutes; it was also getting a little dark around the edges, so I took it out 10 minutes or so before Nº2.
Crust color for Nº1 suffered as a result, I think.

I scored around the edges of the free-standing loaf, fearing it might blow out being baked cold right out of the fridge.
The scoring pattern was like this and may partially account for the less-than-round shape after baking?


When making the dough, I didn’t include the leaven in the autolyse as I wanted to soak the flour for the 4-hour period.
In place of high extraction flour I used locally-grown, whole-milled whole wheat flour, and I added the optional roasted (unblanched) almonds, and almond oil.

The dough I thought very beautiful, the steel-cut oats prevalent, the roasted color of the almonds a pretty accent.


Tasting this bread, the nuts softened but have that wonderful roasted flavor, the crumb is very tender and moist
(50% cooked-until-creamy organic steel-cut oats!), and the flavor is complex – there is a sweetness from the oats as Chad suggests, and caramel flavors from the crust – but also a pepperiness I wasn’t expecting! Very delicious.

Here is the crumb (both loaves had proofed up overnight in the fridge and I baked them from cold as the book instructed…but reading Mr. Robertson’s response to a question about this in the Food52 link above, he recommended a warm-up period after refrigeration at colder ‘home’ refrigerator temperatures – so I will try that next time – and see if the extra proofing helps this bread open up at all… 
                                              …it’s going to be a lot of fun working through the breads, sweets and flavors in this book!

For some great photos of Tartine Bakery’s porridge loaf, please see this post from France about her visit to Tartine Bakery, 
at Tartine Bread Experiment…Chad’s beautiful bread, and the gorgeous loaves I know France is going to make,
will be my inspiration to keep working at it!

Thank you, Mr. Robertson, for your journey of exploration through these countries, breads and grains; and thank you to all of the talented people who worked to put this book together, as well.

Happy baking everyone!
:^) breadsong



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I discovered this poem on TFL (in a comment posted by LindyD – thank you, Lindy, for sharing it);
I am re-posting the poem here - I thought it so beautiful, and so fitting, for the winter solstice.

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

  • Oliver Herford


This baking is inspired by the winter solstice and all of the stars, the moon and beauty lighting up the night sky.

Last year about this time, I saw a breathtaking Christmas Bread, made with rye levain, spiced raisins and roasted sesame - in a beautiful star shape, baked by Lutz of Plotzblog. The star shape and dark color of this bread made me think of the season’s dark skies, the sesame seeds like tiny 'lights' in the crumb.

The Plotzblog site is undergoing some maintenance so his formula isn't available at the moment; this is my interpretation of the formula Lutz posted:


This Christmas bread reminded me of an article a friend sent me a couple of years ago (written by Martha Rose Shulman, and so interesting!), about the French Pastry School’s Jacquy Pfeiffer and the baking traditions he grew up with in Alsace, France. One of the traditional holiday cookies Mr. Pfeiffer made was Zimtsterne, a cinnamon star-shaped cookie. These seemed like the perfect thing to bake, to go along with the bread. I'm so glad I tried making these - they are a most delicious cinnamon cookie! :^)

...royal icing glaze lightly caramelized, after a gentle bake
(baked at 335F convection for 15 minutes)


These cookies are called Vanillekipferl, a Viennese almond shortbread cookie, shaped like a crescent and rolled in vanilla sugar after baking. The shape of the cookie, and the vanilla sugar adding a silvery, glittery sheen made these cookies seem moon-like to me :^)

               Before baking...

...and after baking, dusted with vanilla sugar...beautiful flavor!

Here is the recipe, from something I saved from a magazine years and years ago.



I hope you like these stars and moons, and the poem for the winter solstice...wishing everyone at TFL a very happy holiday season!
:^) breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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Hello everyone,

If you are a chocolate lover, you might like these Chocolate Salted Rye cookies!

I discovered the recipe, created by Laurie Ellen Pellicano of Tartine Bakery, in an airline magazine
(published here).  Rye flour in a chocolate truffle of a cookie - how could I resist?

The recipe is published in Tartine No.3 (had a look at the Amazon preview) and if these cookies are any indication of the flavors to be discovered in this book, I really can't wait for my copy of this book to arrive!

To make these, I used the best bittersweet chocolate I had on hand, Nunweiler's organic dark rye flour, and substituted a coarse, dark Demerara sugar for the muscovado called for in the recipe.

After mixing and shaping the cookie dough was very much like a chocolate truffle:
                                                     (shaped with a mini-ice cream scoop)

Baked these at 335F Convection for 8 minutes, yielding a soft center for the cookie;
while baking, the cookies puffed up which created a nice, crackled surface.

The recipe makes lots of cookies to savor, enjoy and share

Thank you so much to Laurie Ellen Pellicano for creating this recipe!
I was in 'chocolate heaven' when I tasted this cookie.

Happy cookie baking!
:^) breadsong

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Hello everyone,

It was lovely see all of the breads bakers around the world contributed for World Bread Day in October –
thank you to Zorra for her work to round all of these up!

BBD #62 - Bread Baking Day meets World Bread Day (last day of sumbission December 1st)

November’s Bread Baking Day (BBD #62) celebrates the breads contributed for World Bread Day,
inviting bakers to bake a World Bread Day bread for BBD #62.

One of the rye breads contributed for World Bread Day really caught my eye:  a Pumpkin Rye Sourdough bread, kindly posted by a Polish baker on the blog ‘The Scent of Bread – Zapach Chleba’.

Wasn't this an incredibly gorgeous rye? The beautiful, airy crumb and glorious color – I had to try making this one! This is my attempt at re-creating this amazing Polish baker’s bread.


I couldn’t find any information on the type 720 flour this baker used, so I used some whole, dark organic rye flour from Nunweiler’s.  This is a really, really nice flour to work with – I was very happy with the fermentation.
My rye levain was very happy, too – this picture was taken just before mixing the dough:


This bread has a fantastic flavor. I used squash and roasted it until it was really caramelized.
The sweetness from the squash is delicious in the baked bread!
                                                  (another picture of the crumb)


Here are the quantities I used for a 9x4x4 Pullman pan:

Thank you Zorra, for providing a venue for bakers around the world to share bread, and thank you to the baker from Zapach Chleba for baking this Pumpkin Sourdough Rye.

Happy baking, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating this week!
:^) breadsong

(submitted to YeastSpotting)



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Hello everyone,

The leaves are a blaze of color this fall, but quickly dropping from the trees, some trees already bare.

This afternoon, despite the breeze, there were a few brightly-colored leaves hanging on.

My friend's daughter likes dark rye bread, so I baked Mr. Hamelman's 80% Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker for her.

After baking, I turned the loaf this way and that, and thought perhaps when facing a certain direction the pattern on the crust might look like a tree ready for winter, leaves shed, branches bare.


Now, there are lots of leaves are on the ground, a bit of color to enjoy again, this season.


Happy fall, and happy baking, everyone!
:^) breadsong 

breadsong's picture

Hello everyone,

                          Today , October 16, is World Bread Day.    World Bread Day 2013 - 8th edition! Bake loaf of bread on October 16 and blog about it!

Zorra’s invitation to participate described the idea behind World Bread Day:

“…to honor our daily bread and be grateful that we have sufficient food. Not all of us are this lucky.”


In the spirit of gratitude and our recent Canadian Thanksgiving, I’m offering my Thanksgiving dinner rolls as a contribution to World Bread Day.

Many thanks to Nancy Silverton for her recipe for Sesame Semolina Sandwich Rolls, and to Richard Bertinet for a shaping idea I saw in one of his books – a beautiful, braided sesame roll :^)

This was a soft dough but with careful handling it braided OK. Ms. Silverton’s formula includes instant yeast –
I reduced the yeast and retarded the dough in bulk overnight so it would be cold when I started to braid and shape, hoping this would make the dough easier to handle.

Dividing 30g strands, then preshaping

                     Preshaped (top), ends tapered (middle), and extended to about 6” in length (bottom)

Braiding, starting at center, flipping 180 degrees away from you, then finishing the braid

The tops of the rolls were gently pressed onto a clean, damp tea towel, then gently pressed onto a tray of untoasted sesame seeds.
After proofing, the rolls were baked with steam for 15 minutes at 425F, turned for even browning, and baked about 10 more minutes at 375F.


There was enough dough left over from the batch I made to make a small bâtard - 
  a bread basket for the Thanksgiving table

The flavor? Delightful, sweetness from durum flour, lovely toasted flavors from the roasted sesame topping, and a good, crunchy crust!

Ms. Silverton's Sesame Semolina dough made nice breadsticks, too :^)

             (breadsticks baked, slightly visible on the left)

Thanks to Zorra for putting together the bread display for this year's World Bread Day - looking forward to seeing all of the breads that were baked for today!

Happy baking everyone,
:^) breadsong


breadsong's picture

sunny dahlias in the gorgeous Volunteer Display Garden at WSU-Mount Vernon


Hello everyone,

The first two days of the Conference were amazing, and still, more great things to look forward to on Day 3!

Notes on the seminars and talks I was happy to attend on Day 3 follow:
“The Scoop on Braiding Challah” – Andrew Meltzer
“Flour, Flavor and Functionality – A Range of Choices” – Jan Schat

“The Scoop on Braiding Challah” – Andrew Meltzer

Andrew Meltzer demonstrated his amazing braiding skills!, showing us some beautiful ways to braid 100% whole wheat Challah dough, and brought an interesting book to about Challah traditions to class.

Andrew recommended practicing with boat rope, and when working with live dough, to ensure the braids are a little bit loose, to give the braids the right amount of space and tension, so they proof evenly.

He explained how to get the most even braid, when doing straight braids with odd-numbers of strands:
- start at the middle and braid towards you until you reach the end

- take the end closest to you, and flip it 180 degrees away from you
(the bottom side that was closest to you is now the top side, furthest from you)

- continue to braid towards you from the middle, to finish

For a 3-strand braid, you take a strand from the outside and place it between 1 strand on the left and 1 strand on the right. That pattern is similar for the 7- strand shown above;  you take a strand from the outside, moving it over 3 strands, placing it between the 3 strands on the left and the 3 strands on the right.

That 7-strand braid was one of my favorites. Here is the completed braid, before baking, and another photo of it baked.
Andrew called this a fishtail braid, but someone in the class noted the finished braid looked like an ear of wheat :^)

Andrew told us how he egg washes Challah, to get the best shine. The egg wash is made of 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, a pinch of salt (to help break up the egg) and a few drops of water, whisked with a fork and left to sit for a little while. When the bread is almost proofed all of the way, brush with 1 coat of egg wash, let the first coat dry (this is the key), then apply a second coat, then bake. Andrew said it is the 'wet over dry' that makes the crust shine.

He also described a neat way to apply seeds alternately to egg-washed braids,: wet your thumb and press into a tray of seeds, then press your seed-coated thumb on the egg washed loaf, placing the seeds exactly where you want them. The seeds should transfer from your thumb to the loaf. Repeat with different colors/textures of seeds.

Here are more Challah braids Andrew demonstrated...

5-strand, before and after baking

6-strand, before and after baking

...and a Winston Knot
(the soccer fan next to me was quite excited about this one, likening it to a soccer ball)

Didn’t Andrew do a beautiful job braiding these breads?

“Flour, Flavor and Functionality – A Range of Choices” – Jan Schat

It was a tremendous pleasure to taste one of the breads Jan Schat baked (he baked three versions of the same bread, testing out three local wheats: an Oregon Hard White, an Oregon Hard Red, and a Washington Hard Red).

Jan’s bread was absolutely delicious, the one I tasted made with Fairhaven’s Hard Red wheat, sour and sponge preferments, and 60% fruit (30% raisin and 30% dried apple).
Just look at the fruit fest going on in this mixing bowl! – you can barely even see the dough :^)
(apologies for the blurry photo)

Here is Jan’s lovely bread, before and after the bake

Another tasting pleasure was the Fig and Anise bread created in Martin Philip’s class, "Signature Breads".
I would have loved to have spent time at that class, and the bread formula the class developed was outstanding,
the resulting bread having beautiful flavor.

This Conference concluded with tours – I toured the WoodStone oven manufacturing facility in Bellingham. They make some really nice ovens, for home use too! and the test kitchen is really beautiful (cookbooks and cooking vessels galore, a great big mixer, those ovens – I could really have fun in a place like that!). I was able to pop into BreadFarm bakery for a quick tour, too, and pick up some delicious, fragrant loaves to bring home - that bakery is not to be missed if you are ever in the area (it's located in Bow-Edison, WA).


A really big thank-you to everyone who participated, presented, and worked to make this Conference happen -
it was so wonderful to be able to go. I’m really looking forward to next year’s event!

:^) breadsong

Previous posts: Day 1!, Day 2!

2012 Kneading Conference West posts: Day 1Day 2, Day 3





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