The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Hello, Recently, Floydm made a lovely potato bread, and SylviaH made Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pugliese - both really beautiful loaves!
Inspired by their efforts, I wanted to try making something similar. I saw this formula for Pugliese in Advanced Bread and Pastry, which included mashed potato in the formula. It's hard to say what the ultimate hydration is, as I'm not sure how much water the potato contributed. These loaves really crackled and sang when they came out of the oven; the bread has a wonderful aroma and the crumb was very moist.
I scored the boule but not the second loaf; it made no difference in the final height of the baked loaves.
Here are the results:


Here is the formula: From SUAS. Advanced Bread and Pastry, 1E. © 2009 Delmar Learning, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission.

      Final Dough weight in grams      
  Baker's Percentages Weights Baker's
  Dough Sponge Dough Sponge Total %
Bread flour 0.93 0.8 230 198 428  
White whole wheat flour 0.07 0.2 17 50 67  
Water 0.6 0.55 149 137 286 57.8%
Yeast instant 0.0048 0.004 1.20 0.99 2.19 0.4%
Salt 0.05   12.40   12.4 2.5%
Sponge 1.5532   386      
Mashed potatoes 0.82   204   204 41.2%
 Totals 4.028 1.554 1000 386 1000  

Here is a link to the manufacturer of the square banneton I used for the unscored loaf, in case anyone is interested: (this page shows the engraved bannetons)

With thanks to Mr. Suas for this really, really good formula!  Regards, breadsong



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Hello, I really love Rose's walnutty-oniony bread. I found a maple-veined cheese a few years ago and it paired amazingly well with this walnut bread! Any good cheese is great with this bread though.  This is a 69% hydration loaf using milk, with the addition of some roasted walnut oil. I like to substitute shallots for onions; I like their nice pink color and great flavor.  Regards, breadsong

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Hello, Here is an attempt at the Pear Buckwheat Bread from Advanced Bread and Pastry by Mr. Michel Suas.
What a wonderful book!!!!
The shaping instructions for this bread can be found here (thank you Susan!):

This recipe requires dried pears. I tried drying diced pears in the oven and it worked out OK; with thanks to Eric Kastel, who writes about drying apples in his book Artisan Breads at Home (I just did the same thing with the pears):
Preheat oven to 400F or 380F convection; start with twice the weight of dried fruit you require; peel, core and dice (1/2-inch) fruit; spread on baking rack and set on top of parchment lined baking sheet; bake 15 or 20 minutes (may need to move diced fruit around so it dries/browns evenly); turn oven off and let fruit dry for a bit longer (I left the fruit in for another 20 minutes or so to let it dry a bit more). I stored the fruit in the fridge until I was ready to make the bread.

I poured a couple of Tablespoons of pear liqueur over the dried pears and let the fruit absorb the liqueur before mixing the bread, and used toasted hazelnuts instead of walnuts. Here's how it turned out!:

Happy baking everyone!  This was a fun project.  I don't have a crumb shot yet, but will be cutting into one of these loaves later today & will try to take a picture then. Regards, breadsong

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Hello, I have a group of people at work I wanted to bake bread for. I wanted to make them something special - this bread seemed to fit the bill!
It was such a pretty bread, as pictured in Advanced Bread and Pastry. With thanks to Mr. Michel Suas for a wonderful, if involved, formula - there are four separate preferments and I had to create a spreadsheet in order to figure out how to scale enough ingredients for 2000g of dough.
I divided into roughly 250g pieces to create as many loaves as I wanted to give (with one extra to keep, for tasting!). 
I sliced the one that achieved the least height & was surprised but happy to find an open crumb, so I hold out hope for the others. 
The caramelized hazelnuts are fantastically, wonderfully delicious in this bread!!!
Regards, breadsong

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Hello, I made a batch of Mr. Hamelman's Oatmeal Bread to make some bread today, so I could use my new bannetons!

My sweet little niece is turning 6. I wanted to make a bread design to go with her 6th birthday card, to form part of her gift for her birthday party tomorrow. This is 220g dough, 5" round banneton, and a small bit of Mr. Hamelman's pate morte colored with cinnamon to make the "happy face":

This is 500g dough, 16cm square banneton (I scored along the lines created by the banneton):

I've got some pate morte left over; will try to freeze to use for future projects.
Regards, breadsong

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Hello, This formula has some rye sourdough in addition to a liquid levain.
This is the first time I've tried making a bread with rye sourdough; I'm looking forward to tasting!
These loaves really puffed up during the bake - perhaps a bit underproofed although thankfully there were no blowouts.
From breadsong


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Hello, This is my second try making Chad Robertson's Country Bread, from his book, Tartine Bread.
I am enamored to say the least! I will be coming back to this again and again - it is SO good.

I tried baking this time on six firebricks instead of on my thinner baking stone. The baking stone was heated on the top rack to provide some more radiant heat from the top.  Here are the pictures of today's bake (each loaf proofed in a oval banneton at room temperature; loaves were not retarded).
I was happy with the oven spring and crumb! Flavor is once again quite wonderful! Regards, breadsong

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Hello, I wanted to try making something different for a birthday dessert.

I made a recipe of Ciril Hitz's Basic Sweet Dough & divided in two, one half for each 'number'.
Each half was rolled out and covered with roasted hazelnut paste, then rolled up and shaped.
I extended the first roll a bit to make it longer, so it would be long enough the shape the '8'.
I used two metal rings for the '8' and an oval cake pan for the '0' to maintain shape while proofing and baking.

(My recipe to make enough hazelnut paste for this experiment: 1.5 cups roasted, skinned, ground hazelnuts,
1.5 cups sifted icing sugar, a pinch of salt, 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, enough egg white to make the paste spreadable).

These turned out rather large! In the picture, the 'rolls' are sitting on a 12x18 pan...

A decorated birthday cake would have been prettier but it was well received anyway!
Regards, breadsong


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Hello, I recently purchased the Tartine Bread book, by Chad Robertson, when I had an opportunity to visit the Bakery.
I was there for breakfast, so alas, did not get to taste Mr. Robertson's bread, but did get to enjoy a lovely croissant & have a good look at his book... 

I really liked how Mr. Robertson described his journey as a baker and it's beautifully written and illustrated.
I especially liked what he said about fermentation...I had to have this book to add to my collection back home!

My dear father-in-law celebrates a milestone birthday this weekend, so I wanted to bake this special Country Bread for him.
I really tried to make sure I was fermenting the dough in the right temperature zone...ensuring a cool enough environment for the leaven and then a warm enough environment for bulk fermentation...requiring some woodstove management as I tried to control temperature in the house!

I retarded the loaves in the fridge for 7 hours before baking. I don't have the combo cooker that is recommended in the book so just baked my usual way.  The first loaf went in straight from the fridge, and I had an interesting blow out on the bottom of the loaf, that actually made the loaf sit up pretty for pictures! The second loaf proofed for about 45 minutes prior to baking, and I scored it differently, hoping that would help control how the loaf expanded.

I scored the tops with an "F" for Father-In-Law...the aroma of the baked loaves is heavenly...the loaves sang nicely and the crust crackled!
I don't have a crumb shot yet because the bread's for the 'big day' tomorrow...I hope father-in-law likes his bread!!!  
Regards, breadsong

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Hello,  I recently attended a weekend workshop at SFBI where we made six different kinds of baguettes. This workshop was a lot of fun and we benefited from excellent instruction from our talented, organized, extremely knowledgeable and hard-working teacher Frank!
On day 1 we made three kinds of baguettes (straight dough, sponge dough, poolish dough).
On day 2 we made teff, then wheat germ, then sunflower seed baguettes.
All were good, with the poolish, teff and sunflower seed baguettes being my favorites flavor-wise.
We were using an 11.8%, hard winter wheat flour for these baguettes.

I tried to take pictures showing what the dough looked like as it developed, and showing how the dough was shaped, as we progressed.
Some pictures are a bit blurry due to my poor photography skills, and the speed at which our instructor's hands shaped those baguettes. 
There are some really nice pictures for this baguette class from an earlier post by txfarmer:

This was our very well-equipped working area (those OVENS!):


The hand mix, gluten developed after hand mix, gluten developed after machine mix (Frank demonstrated machine mixing for us on the second day)


The dough after 3 stretch and folds


Dividing the dough into square shapes, for preshaping


Preshaping (after gently degassing, first roll, then three pictures showing the second roll)


Shaping (after gently degassing, first roll, reversing the roll, second roll, then five pictures showing the last roll & seal)

 Extending (Frank's hint: press down and move hands outward while rolling, but don't stretch the dough sideways)


Frank's expertly shaped baguette


Proofed baguettes


Frank demonstrating scoring and my straight dough baguettes ready to bake


My first baguettes out of the oven!, the results of day 1 and a crumb shot

The results of day 2 and a crumb shot (this was a teff baguette)

While the dough fermented and proofed, Frank taught us about ingredients and fermentation among other things, upstairs in the classroom.

Frank also demonstrated how we might produce the same baking result in a home oven:

Cast iron pan with cast iron ball bearings heating in the bottom, fire bricks for top and bottom radiant heat, 550F temp!
Load bread, place perforated pie pan filled with ice cubes over cast iron pan, close the door, watch the steam pour out!
(I think Frank tried to plug the oven vents with tin foil but lots of steam escaped from the oven anyway, as the ice melted and dropped onto the hot cast iron)

This was a really, really good class. My classmates were all super nice people and enthusiastic learners who all made lovely baguettes!
The quality of Frank's instruction was superb, and thanks too to the bakers who took care of us and spoiled us with beautiful breads and pastries at breakfast, and wood-fired oven pizza for lunch on our last day!  
I hope you like the pics everyone.  Regards, breadsong 








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