The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Here are the top 100 ETFs over the last 10 years based in average yearly returns


The top 25 returned more than 15% annual returned and the bottom 25 returned more than !0.5%

Over the past 44 years the Dow 30 and S&P 500 ETF's averaged more than 10% returns including dividends and the Nasdaq 100 returned 13.33%  w/o dividends annually over the past 44 years - Wow!  That is the entire time I have been investing  in the stock market  before there was and Apple or even a Microsoft!

But this isn't unusual it has been the same for 91 years!  So when you hear the stock market is too risky remember that it is the only sure fire way to really make a mountain out of a molehill - regardless of IQ, talent and Income.  A great way to gain financial security.  Sadly if you live in Europe, not including the UK, your task is 5 time harder since your markets and businesses do not perform like they do in the USA but the UK performs at about 70% of the US though

Happy investing over the next 91 years.

PS.  Retiring well just take time and investing 10% of your take home pay every payday from the time you are 21 until you retire at 65 years old and this is if you are making minimum wage of $7.50 an hour - just invest $25 a week.  That's it  If you invest it in the Dow 30 ETF you will have $1,335,982 in today's money taking into account 3% inflation that would be  $386.044 and pay you $15,411 in today's money in yearly retirement income..... more than you will make in SS payments by a wide margin.

But, if you invest in the NASDAQ 100  you will have $1,071,073 in today's money - the beauty of choosing wisely and compound interest.  That would pay you $42,870 a year in retire income in today's money.  Tell me where else a minimum wage earner can become a millionaire by ding so little?  Well, there isn't one!  Imagine every minimum, age worker would be a millionaire in today's money when they retire at 65 years old.  Taking care of yourself is way better than having the government steal 80% of what they should pay you in retirement for what you put into SS.

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My dear wife doesn’t like stuff in her bread.  No nuts, no seeds, no nuthin’.  For Lucy that is like missing out on some important bread flavor but it is better than not baking bread at all.  Still, Lucy was ready to come up with a bread for the dear one since she took Lucy to the Vet yesterday and came home with some kind of pills to help her recover from being stroked out.


I guess we all have to expect a stroke or two when we are 105 years old too.  I must say that she seems to feel better every day and getting around enough to go after the Roomba we got for Christmas.  Yes, the Roomba did prove that it is smarter than Lucy because the dog chases after it rather than the other way around.

This week’s bread is way different than what we would normally do when it comes to fermentation.   With it being really cold and below freezing at night lately, the kitchen is down to London temperature in the summer, 68 F, so we could do an overnight bulk ferment on the counter of 8 hours.  Or at least we thought we could at any rate.  It is sort of like being a Roomba and thinking you can clean my floors.


This week we had a 100% hydration, 10% pre-fermented flour, bran levain made up of 2.6% bran from the home milled whole grains made up of rye, Red and white wheat and oat in equal amounts and 7.4% of high extraction flour of the same grains.  We retarded the levain, after it doubled, for 24 hours.

We did a 1 hour autolyse with the remaining 10% of HE flour, 40% LaFama AP and 40% Bob Red Mill’s Artisan Bread Flour with enough water to get the overall hydration up to 78% and the total whole grains up to 20%.  The retarded SD levain was being warmed up on the heating pad during the autolyse and the PH Sea Salt was sprinkled on top of it.

We did 150 slap and folds once the levain hit the mix and then 10 minutes later we did 50 more before covering the dough with plastic in an oiled SS bowl and leaving it on the counter overnight for 8 hours of bulk ferment.  It had only puffed itself up 30% overnight so we did a set of stretch and folds and put it back in the bowl for another hour and then did another set with another hour rest making for 10 hours total of bulk ferment on the cold counter.

It had risen about 75% during the 10 hours so we shaped it and put it into a regular wide loaf pan to mimic an Oroweat loaf from the supermarket placing the tin and dough into a plastic grocery bag for a final proof on the counter.,  We normally don’t do final proofs on a cold 68 F counter like this either so we had no idea how long it would take but figured about 4 hours if it was as slow as it was fermenting overnight but it took 7 hours.

Red Pork EnchiladasOne thing we are hoping for is, that with the long bulk and final proof, the flavor should be boosted for this bread since slow bread is supposed to promote more flavor.  It is kind of fun to make a loaf of SD like some Fresh Lofians in the UK do all the time.  Slow food is good food and fast food will kill you – so don’t eat it😊  The only exception to the rule is salad which is fast and a Lucy favorite!\

Pork Chili Verde

This bread turned out to be a a great tasting one for sure.  My wife loves that it is a loaf shape but tastes like a sourdough.  It is bit more open than the last one that has more whole grains in it.  Still soft and moist and easy to cut with that new Wustof bred knife that come highly recommended.

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and the top 15 Mexican Food Blogs are

Yes I'm making instant pot Cicken Chili Verde to put over my Chicken Chili Verde Tamales for tonight's dinner:-)

Happy New Year


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Per our tradition, we welcomed in the new year with pizza, once again made the ‘killer grill’ way.  We no longer make pizza in the oven because it just doesn’t get hot enough and the pies are inferior in every way.


Dough coming out of the fridge after a 24 hour retard

Lucy even perked up when got to have some crust.  She loved it too.  The 100% hydration pre-ferment for this one was 9% flour made up of equal parts sprouted Khorasan and sprouted spelt.  The liquid was all apple yeast water.  At the last minute, Lucy added in a pinch of IDY and 8 g of NMNF rye SD starter to make to make it a triple threat. 

We put it on the heating pad until it doubled, then we stirred it down and put it in the fridge for an 18 hour retard.  The next afternoon we autolysed the dough flour, half LaFama AP and half BRM Artisan Bread Flour for an hour, adding enough water to get it to 71% hydration with the 2% PH sea salt sprinkled on top.

We started off by doing 150 slap and folds and then let it sit for an hour before doing 50 more and then 25 more an hour later.  The dough was placed on an oiled plastic mat, on the heating pad and covered with a SS bowl and a towel between slapping sessions and then we let it sit for 2 hours after the 3rd one. 

We punched it down and put it into an oiled SS bowl, covered it with plastic wrap and placed it into the fridge for a 24 hour retard.  It had nearly doubled on the heating pad and then doubled again in the fridge.  Three and half hours before we needed to make pies with it, we took it out of the fridge, divided it into 3 parts of 250 g each and placed them back into the SS bowl where the pieces doubled in volume again.

This dough was perfect for making pizza, easy to roll out with not much elasticity but strong enough not to tear and make holes either.  Earlier in the day we made a batch of Lucy’s Pizza Sauce with fire roasted tomatoes this time, smoked a pound of two kinds of Italian sausage – hot and mild, 12 large Crimini mushrooms cut into quarters and a huge red onion sliced into half inch slices.

Chris Bianco’s Wise Guy Pizza is the inspiration but we put pizza sauce on ours because we like it better than a white pie like Chris’s.  We also put fresh basil on our pies after they come off the grill.  Since it was so cold and windy outside, the grill only got to 550 F instead of 650 F like usual but the stone was still hotter than 550 F with all 4 burners running at full whack.

The Cheeses were fresh Mozzarella, Full Fat aged Mozzarella and then grated Pecorino on top.  I had some nice 3", thin sliced spicy smoked pepperoni too but forgot all about it...... so it never made it on a pie.  It is usually my daughter's favorite but she never mentioned missing it.

Normally it takes 8 minutes to make a pizza but this time it took 12 minutes.  My daughter said she was disappointed that the dough didn’t have the usual fresh rosemary, sun dried tomatoes and fresh garlic in it and then said that she liked the smoked mushrooms the best and wished there we more of them on the pies.  Then she said it was the best pizza she ever had😊

She liked picking up the whole pie with her hands and no plate to show her husband how crisp it was and that even the entire pie had so sag.  Extra, thin, crisp and tasty is what makes pizza the most popular food ever invented after about a dozen others!   Make sue to put the cut slices on a wire cooling rack so that they don’t get soggy and foldable.

Lucy reminds us to have a salad with those pies!

What a great way to bring in 2019 when served with Artful Farmer and Paraduxx red blend wines!  The 4 of us polished off the 3 pies and I hate to admit I had 6 pieces.  My daughter’s husband now knows all of Lucy’s tricks to making a great pizza.  Now he wants  some of my SD and YW starters.  Happy New Year to all!

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A few years ago Lucy bookmarked Ian’s Holiday rolls so that we could make them one day and

this Christmas was the day.  Lucy changed it up some by making them sourdough with a tiny IDY kicker.  She subbed cream cheese for the Ricotta cheese, Pecorino for the Parmesan, added an egg, subbed water and non fat dry milk powder for the milk, used sprouted Khorasan for the Kamut and added some sprouted spelt.  So only half the recipe was totally different 😊

Oh yea, plus he made them in a 8” square Pyrex pan as pull apart rolls instead of knots.  These 9 rolls scaled at 88.5 g each to fit the pan perfectly.  The girls really oved these rolls saying they were best rolls yet , which is saying something.  When I asked them if they know what made them so good, neither of them guessed garlic and cheese but as soon as I said garlic they said oh yea because it wasn’t like it was hiding or anything but they couldn’t recognize the cheese part.

These were 7 hour from mix to finished rolls hot out of the oven if you discount the 11% pre-fermented 100% hydration LaFama AP flour levain made overnight on the heating pad. We did a 40 minute autolyse with the 60% water, the dough flour, 1g of IDY with the 1.5% salt sprinkled on top.

Then we added in the levain, the egg, the NFDM powder, cream cheese, Parmesan, sugar and softened butter.  We started off with 150 slap and folds followed by 2 sets of 50 and 25 more and resting the dough on an oiled plastic sheet on the heating pad covered with the SS bowl and a towel. The  we did3 sets of stretch and folds from the compass points.

All of the dough slapping and folding sets were done on 30 minute intervals.  Then the dough was divided into 9 rolls, shaped and placed into the pan release sprayed pan and covered with plastic wrap to proof for 3 hours.  They really puffed themselves up well.

Tamales are a staple for Christmas in many Mexican households served with guacamole and salsa to mimic the Mexican flag. .  These are red pork ones.  I prefer green chicken though but they were out of them as they akways are at Food City.  32 years ago there was one privately owned Food City in Phoenix on Mohave.  The 60 foot long buffet kitchen was just the same as it is now in all the FS stores kitchens that are now owned by Basha's.  They served the same tamales as they do now except that the 50 fly swatters that used to be hooked onto that long serving line are now gone.  The fly swatters weren't for the flies tough.  They were there for the parents to use to swat their unruly kids back into line.  My how times have changed:-)

Turkey breast cooked on Indirect heat, outside burners only, on the grill at 325 F until it reaches 165 F and then let rest for 30 minutes. 

We were making candied root veggies (butternut squash, carrots and sweet potatoes) in the oven and they ere putting off some fine steam for the rolls at 375 F.  We egg washed the rolls and out them in for 20 minutes but they didn’t brown at all so we raised the temperature to 425 F convection for 5 minutes to brown them well. 

When they came out, we brushed them with non-fat milk to keep them really soft.   The inside was soft moist fluffy and shredable.  Since we didn’t make dressing to go with the Turkey breast on the grill these rolls wee a big hit.  They would also make fine white bread for dressing next time though😊  Wouldn’t change a thing but Lucy probably will next time.


2.8% NMNF rye starter

11% LaFama AP

11% Water


14% sprouted spelt and sprouted Kamut

8.5% Smart and Final High Gluten flour

67.5% LaFama AP flour

60% Non Fat Milk (water and NFDMP)

12% butter

8% Cream Cheese

4% sugar

4% garlic

6% Pecorino Cheese

12% egg

1.5% Pink Himalayan sea salt (less than normal because of the salty Pecorino)

1 g of Instant Yeast

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Lucy feels back in her element when she starts getting close to anything remotely close to German baking and the next thing you know she has lost her mind and starts putting all kinds of stuff in whatever recipe she is concocting.  She really went wild with this one.


Not only does it have a bunch of totally snockerd fruits that were snockering away in the fridge for over a year, which upset my wife the whole time, it has sprouted Kamut, sprouted spelt, whole rye and whole red and white wheat all in the triple levain with LaFama AP for 77% dough flour.  Instead of using water for the NMNF and wild and black Forbidden rice starter levain, she used well aged in the fridge, for months, fig yeast water.  Has she no shame?

8 g each if NMNF and Black Rice starters were used with a whopping 23 % pre - fermented flour.  Fruitcake hardly has any flour in it to begin with so the percentages were deceiving in this case and it totaled 124 g with have the weight in fig YW.  Once it doubled on the heating pad we retarded it overnight. 

The snockered fruit had 3 kinds of raisins, dried: figs, cranberries, cherries, dates and the other normal fruit cake stuff like red and green cherries, pineapple, orange, lemon, citron and whatever else I could find a year ago.  There was only 20 g of dough water to go with the 200 g of dough flour but the rest of the liquid came from the 3 eggs and the ton of butter that goes in last.  This one had walnuts and almonds for the nuts.  Lucy wanted pecans that usually go in….. but not this year.

It usually has a bunch of chocolate chips too but I didn’t have any.   I did have some Andies mint choco chips I could have put in but decided at the last minute not to.  Now we will never know what a minty fruit cake would taste like – a shame really but there is always version 5 for next year. 

There is a bunch of brown sugar in the mix, but there is no molasses in this one so it isn’t as dark as previous ones.  The last ingredient is the mix of 6 spices.  Cinnamon makes up half and then there are equal parts of allspice, cloves, ginger, mace and nutmeg.  All together it came to 1.5 teaspoons – not overpowering by any means.  If you like it spicy then you can add some more. 

I put it on the heating pad, in the baking dish that had parchment on the bottom and the rest sprayed with pan release for 6 hours.  It didn’t do much but fruit cake isn’t known to be light and airy either.  The rest of the baking is 2.5 hours at 300 F.   You can find o;d versions by putting 1849 in the search box. Here is version 3 where you can see what the fruits looked like before a year of snockering.

1849 Gold Rush Sprouted 12 Grain Sourdough Fruit Cake III

By snockering the fruits, you get the flavor but the alcohol vaporizes out in the oven so that the little ones can eat it no worries.  That is why I usually make two, not this year,  one is for adults and soaked in brandy a few weeks so it can age properly.  


2% each Wild and Black Forbidden Rice starter and NMNF rye starter

23%  Whole rye, red and white wheat and sprouted spelt and Khorasan - 62g

23% Fig Yeast Water - 60 g


77% LaFama AP – 200 g

7.7% Water – 20 g

50% Butter – melted – 131 g

175% Snockered fruits – 458 g

50% Nuts - 131 g

48% Brown sugar – 118 g

1 ½ tsp of mixed spices, cinnamon, ginger, mace, nutmeg, allspice, cloves

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My lovely wife asked Lucy and I to come up with a bread to give to a married couple who are also friends, mine too, who just happen to own a very nice hair salon in downtown Mesa AZ.  They been taking care of the girl’s hair, daughter too, for decades.  The catch is, if I mess it up, my girls might look bit odd the next time they come back from the salon – which might be worth it😊


So just in case, I am also sending along a very nice 2008 White Oak California Bordeaux style red blend that we know is killer hoping that, if the bread is bad, they will forget all about it after the wine is gone!  Since the make side of these partners is from France and knows wine well, he will quickly know if the wine is good or not and they both have had several loaves of Lucy’s bread over the years and know what to expect.

Lucy got strange and specified an overnight, heating pad, white LaFama AP levain at 100% hydration and 12% pre-fermented flour that doubled in 8 hours.  We did a 40 minute autolyse of the dough flour which was 12% each sprouted spelt, Khorasan, 12% whole wheat (mixed red and white) and 12% Whole Rye, 14% LaFama AP and 26% Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour. 

Water was added to the dough flour to get the overall hydration up to 80% and after the shaggy autolyse mass we formed with a spoon we sprinkled 2% pink Himalayan sea salt on top and covered it with plastic wrap.  We then mixed in the salt with a spoon and did 3 sets of slap and folds of 200, 25 and 10 followed by 3 sets of stretch and folds from the compass points – all on 30 minute intervals.


3 hours in we pre-shaped it into a boule.  Then 10 minutes later we cut off some of it with the dough scraper to make the Chacon design of a knot and 4 balls placing them in the bottom of the rice floured basket.   Then we shapied the remaining dough into a flat boule and placing it on top of the design for the final proof covering it on the heating pad with a kitchen towel.

After a 2 and half hour proof the dough was un-molded onto parchment on a peel, slid onto the combo cooker base, spritzed, covered and placed in the 500 F oven for 18 minutes of steam at 450 F.  Once the lid came off, we turned the oven down to 425 F convection for 16 minutes of dry baking.

After 8 minutes of dry heat, we took the bread off the CC base to finish baking it directly on the stone so the bottom would not burn.   It bloomed cracked and blistered a bit but browned well enough.  I keep forgetting that a Chacon cracks best a lower hydration in the 72% range and won’t crack much at all at 80% especially if over-proofed like this one was. 

Still, I’m sure the bread will taste fine ….. good enough for a holiday gift to a special couple.  Personally, I would like the wine best because I can get a nice loaf of SD bread for about a dollar or two any time the mood strikes …..but you can’t get the wine anywhere for a decent price.

Happy Holidays to all!

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No not mad like crazy whack job mad but mad as hell none the less.  I go to Whole Foods ….eeeerrr…… whole paycheck, to get my normal load for whole grains – some oats, spelt, Kamut and who knows what else from the bins.  I don’t buy anything else there because I can get the same things I buy much cheaper anywhere else.


O don’t get white or red wheat or rye there because I can get them elsewhere for much, much cheaper as well.  Well Well….no whole grains were to be found in the bins at all …..not even wheat or rye at Whole Paycheck!  Things have changed drastically at Whole Foods since Amazon bought them ….except the super extreme high prices of course.

Now I have no reason to go there except to see my doctor of course, since I can’t ever seem to get an appointment to see him in his office and he is the only one I know who is rich enough to shop there.  I figured,since I was there, I went over to their flour aisle to see if they had discontinued all of their flour too.

We like beautiful bottoms.

All the Hayden mills was gone but they were carrying a whole bunch of Bob’s Red Mill flour in its place including Artisan Bread and two sprouted flours – spelt and Khorasan.  I couldn’t say no because that was the only way I was going to get any kind of spelt and Kamut and I would sprout them most of the time anyway if I had found the whole berries.

We love thick grilled pork chops almost as much as T-Bone stakes - and they look about the same too.

I could actually afford them too since they were all on special for some reason.  The normal pricing for all 3 would be way more than I would ever pay for flour of any kind.  Lucy is having a conniption fit and now worries that Smart and Final will quit carrying rye and Winco will cut out the red and white wheat all sold for less than 50 cents a pound in the bins.

Bob's Red Mill flours

We will worry about that when it happens. This week’s bread for Baby is 25% rye, red and white wheat milled from berries at home, 25% sprouted spelt and Khorasan and 50% Bob’s Artisan Bread Flour.  We did our usual 100% hydration. 12% pre-fermented flour (winter) bran levain that was retarded overnight after it doubled.

Looks like sandwich bread to me but was a bit over proofed and the dough not quite enough to proper;y fill put the pan I love so much!  It made fine toast this morning with butter, cherry jam, white cheddar, sausage, bacon and and egg on top for the stacked high breakfast sausage.

After 1 hour autolyse with the PHSS on top, we mixed it up at 80% hydration and immediately knew it was way too dry.  The BRM flours were very thirsty for some reason.  We added water to get it to 90% hydration but it still felt like a 80% hydration dough with this amount of whole grain and kind of flours. After 2 sets of slap and folds of 100 and 25 we did 2 sets of stretch and folds from the compass points letting it rest for half and hour between each on a thin foldalble plastic sheet and a heating pad with a stainless bowl on top covered with a towel.

Instant Pot Texas Beef Chuck, Chunk Chili with kidney beans that they hate so much:-)  Cilantro, green pinion, pepperjack cheese and creama stirred in as a garnish pile on

We then oiled up the bowl and plopped the dough in for a 12 hour bulk retard in the fridge.  After warming up for 2 and half hours, we shaped it into a short log for the non stick sprayed Oriental Pullman pan.  We let it proof till it was a little below level with the rim so the lid would slide on.  We preheated to 500 F but baked it for 18 minutes at 450 F lid on.

Lucy loves her salads and ribs

The lid was slid off and we baked it for 8 minutes at 425 F convection and then removed the bread from the pan and continued baking for 13 more minutes until it reached s07 F on the inside.  If bloomed itself up enough to nearly fill the Pullman with the lid on.  It then browned up nicely out of the on as well.  It would have had nice blisters if the top of the loaf didn’t get squished when it hit the lid.

and chicken noodle soup for lunch

Kale. broccoli, blueberry, cranberry. pomegranate and sunflower seed salad

It smells terrific.   Can’t wait to cut into it but that will have to wait till tomorrow.  Turns out to be very tasty, soft and moist inside and easy to cut the thin slices that my wife likes,  The sprouted grains really make this bread tastier than the ones without them.


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