The Fresh Loaf

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we thought we would publish our masa recipe that folks seems to love more than others.  It is a little different and just plain delicious. Once you make your own masa, tortillas and tamales, and they don't have to be this fancy, you just won't want to buy them - even though you will.


For a dry mix, we swear by Minsa Corn Masa Harina for Tamales (make sure it is for tamales and not tortillas) made in Muleshoe, Texas - but any will do.  Dry mix may be the most available across the USA so this recipe will use it even though some Brownman have been known to make fresh from hominy on occasion, or buy fresh from the Mexican Mercado.

Masa for Tamales and Tortillas

1 C dry masa harina

3/4 C home made chicken stock - have a little extra in case it is dry - I used 7/8 C total

1/4 C  fat.  (use 1/3 bacon and sausage dripping, 1/3 butter and 1/3 lard)

1/2 tsp salt

2 T of chopped very fine Swiss chard - I grow my own

1/8 tsp each dry peppers; mole, chipotle, arbol, ancho, smoked paprika

1/8 tsp each dried oregano, cumin, coriander

1/4 tsp baking powder

Directions - Mix the fat with the harina by cutting it in with a pasrty cutter.  Add the chicken stock, peppers and spices and mix with a spoon until well combined.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  For tortillas I use the bottom of 1 qt sauce pan to smash down a golf ball sized ball of masa into a 1/8" thick tortilla.  Do this between two oiled sheets of plastic wrap  if you don't want get mad and want to harm your baking apprentice.  Then gently peel off the top plastic and then peel off the tortilla with the pal side of your hand making sure to overlap only 50% of the tortilla.  Then lay the other 50% of the tortilla in a small dry Teflon pan heated to medium low while releasing the other 50% from your hand.  I make my tamales in banana leaves, corn husks or parchment paper.  These were made in parchment.

With this masa you can make, tacos, tamales, chips and quesadillas - some of which follow in pictures.  Salmon tacos, pork carnitas tamales and chicken  quesadillas.  All were served with; crema and yogurt chipotle roulade, home made; pico de geudo with corn, guacamole, chili tomatillo verde sauce, red pepper sause, mole sauce, chipotle sauce, seasoned cabbage, Mexican dirty green rice  and puerano, pinto, and black beans with smoked pork jowl.

And a little huevos rancheros for breakfast in the morning with chorizo, chipotle roulade and fake YW pretzel bread after sleeping on typical AZ sunset. 

Cinco de mayo sunset, moonrise and dinner.




dabrownman's picture

I wanted to make some YW rolls that had a pretzel twist so we made some pretzel bread crumbs and used them to stick to the outside of some 15% White WW yeast water rolls.   We made some rolls using 4 little balls of dough per roll and some knotted rolls.  All were; retarded overnight, proofed and baked in ramekins.  Also cut the salt in half since the pretzel crumbs were very salty.

The rolls were baked in my mini convection oven with stream and came out nicely browned, blistered, crunchy crusted with a soft moist crumb.  The pretzels were hardly noticeable,  The next time we will use the pretzel crumbs as altus to get more pretzel taste.  Will also enrich the dough with egg, cream and butter to make a nice hamburger bun  for version 2.  Cut in 3rds, toasted and buttered these are pretty tasty.  Formula and method follow the pix's.

YW Fake Pretzel Rolls    
YW Starter     
 Build 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
Yeast Water30403010023.81%
AP Flour30405012028.57%
Starter %   
Levain % of Total 29.97%   
Dough Flour %   
White WW5011.90%   
Dough Flour30071.43%   
Dough Hydration70.00%    
Total Flour420    
Total Water310    
T. Dough Hydrat.73.81%    
Total Weight734    

Yeast Water Fake Pretzel Rolls

 Build the levain in 3 stages 4 hours each for a total of 12 hours.  Retard the levain 12 hours.

 Mix the flours with the water and autolyse for 12 hours.

 Make pretzel bread crumbs.

 Mix the levain and the autolyse with the salt for 6 minutes on KA 3.  Move to an oiled plastic wrap covered bowl and rest for 20 minutes.  Do the first of 6 S & F’s on a lightly floured surface at 20 minute interval returning to the covered oiled bowl.  After last S & F let ferment in the oiled bowl on the counter for 1 hour  Form into knots or roll of your choice, 4 balls  ( I did some of each).  Dunk individual balls or or bow ties into pretzel breadcrumbs and place in (6) ramekins covered in plastic wrap - then refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.

 Remove from fridge and let come to room temp.  Once rolls have doubled in size from the time they went into the fridge they are ready to bake -  mine took about 2 hours.

 I baked mine in my Cuisinart mini oven with a 1 cup Pyrex cup half full of water in the back and I threw ½ C of boiling water in the bottom.  Pre heat oven at 500 F regular bake.  Put rolls in and steam for 10 minutes.  Remove steam, turn down to 400 F convection  and bake for 5 more minutes.  Remove from ramekins and bake for 5 more minutes or so until center reaches 205 F.   Move to cooling rack until room temperature.  



dabrownman's picture

After baking several white, or nearly so, YW and SD breads in French styles, I wanted to go back to my favorite breads to make and eat (and re-stock the freezer) - rye based multi grain SD breads that were at least 50% whole grains with rye sprouts,  rye scald (with red rye malt), some Borodinski altus, some caraway, flax and pepitas (pumpkin) seeds.

The levain was retarded for 12 hours after a 12 hour 3 stage build.  The flours were autolysed for 24 hours in the fridge and then after development and ferment the dough was retarded for 24 hours too - all to try to bring out the sour.

The bread came out with a nice thick dark crust that went chewy as it cooled.  The crumb was fairly open, soft and moist.  It tasted very sour and was delicious plain, with butter or toasted with butter.  I really like this bread very much. it is delicious,  and the best I have baked for awhile - the slashing was a little odd as usual.  Method and formula follow the pixs.

50% Multigrain SD W/ Rye Scald and Sprouts - Pepitas, Caraway and Flax Seeds
SD Starter        
 Build 1Build 2Build 3Total         %   
SD Starter20  203.96%   
Rye1015 254.95%   
WW1015 254.95%   
Bread Flour  606011.88%   
AP   00.00%   
Total Starters        
Starter Hydration100.00%       
% of Total Flour 47.52%      
Dough Flour %      
6 Grain Cereal203.96%      
Borodinsky Altus254.95%      
Dark Rye509.90%      
White WW254.95%      
Potato Flakes50.99%      
Bread Flour20039.60%      
Dough Flour38576.24%      
Dough Hydration72.73%       
Multigrain Sprouts %      
Total Sprouts254.95%      
Total Scald254.95%      
Add - Ins        
Red Rye Malt101.98%      
White Rye Malt101.98%      
VW Gluten50.99%      
Total Flour505       
Total Water400       
T. Dough Hydrat.79.21%       
Hydration w/ Adds76.42%       
Total Weight1,033       


 Levain - Make the levain in 3 builds over 4 hours each – 12 hour - then retard 12 hours in the fridge for 24 hrs total. Then immediately

 Put the flours in a small bowl with the flax and caraway seeds (5 geach) and the white rye malt.  Add all the water except 40 g.  Mix well, cover with plastic and autolyse in the fridge for 24 hours

 Start the rye sprouts by soaking them for 5 hours.  Drain and spread over damp 2 paper towels, cover with another and then cover with plastic wrap and leave covered until needed.  When needed the rye seeds will have sprouted

 Start the scald buy placing the rye seeds in a small sauce pan, add the red rye malt and just cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until the water is gone but the mix is still wet.  Transfer to a small bowl and put in the fridge until needed.

 Dough -The next day 1 hour before needed take the scald, autolyse and levain out of the fridge to warm up.  Place the autolyse in the mixing bowl.  Add the40 g of water to the flour and work it into the flour autolyse  by squeezing through fingers with your hands. What fun! Once the water is absorbed add the levain and work it in the same way.

 With dough hook knead on KA 2 for 4 minutes, add salt. molasses and VWG and then mix on KA 3 for 2 minutes – 6 minutes total.  Transfer to an oiled bowl cover with plastic and let rest for 20 minutes.  Do 8 S&F’s on a floured surface and return to oiled covered bowl.  Do 3 more S&F’s (4 folds each of floured surface) on 20 minute intervals.  Add the sprouts, Borodinskialtusand25 gof pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and do 2 more S&Fs on  20 minute intervals.  Form into a ball, place in oiled bowel can cover with plastic.  Let is for 45 minutes and then place in fridge for retard overnight – 20 hrs or so.  It will double overnight.

 Take out of the fridge and let rest on counter to warm up for 1 ½ hours in the morning.  Pre-shape into boule and let rest 10 minutes.  Shape into boule making sure to stretch the skin tight by dragging boule across a non floured work surface.  Place seam side up in cloth lined and floured basket (I use half rice flour and half AP).  Pinch seams closed and flour top.  Place in a trash can liner and let rise until it nearly doubles and passes the poke test.  About 3 hours.  At the 2 hour mark:

 Bake: Pre-heat oven to 500 F no fan with steaming method in place.  Place parchment and peel on basket and turn over to de-mold.  Flour if you want, slash and slide into oven onto the stone.  After 4 minutes, turn oven down to450 F.  Continue steaming for 16 more minutes, then remove steam and turn down oven to 425 F convection this time.  Bake until middle of loaf reaches 205 F - about 32 more minutes.  Turn off oven and leave door ajar and leave bread on stone to crisp the skin.  After 12 minutes move boule to wire cooling rack.

dabrownman's picture

This lunch was made with the 20% whole grain baggies.  After a busy weekend doing nothing much, it was nice to have some ready made sammy materials to use for lunch.  This YW bread was made for flavor as opposed for holes.  It came out of the freezer in good shape.

Had some left over grilled Japanese eggplant to go with leftover Holiday Ham, last nights salad, half a tomato, last of the brie cheese, home made Dijon mustard and some mayo.

After the Sammy was piled high, a couple of different home made pickles, a lovely left over polenta made with garbanzo flour instead of corn, Parmesan, Pecorino, Feta, Swiss chard, chipotle pepper and sun dried tomato.  Pink Lady apple slices left over from feeding the YW, (I wonder why there are no Brownmen apples to go wih the Pink Ladies - they must be lonely), some sliced carrots, olives and a dolop of the last of some home made hot sauces (red and green mixed) at one end of the polenta.  A very nice leftover lunch to remember.


dabrownman's picture

After the last bake's attempt for flavor instead of holes, this bake was for baguette holes.  I also had some hemp seeds burning a hole in my pocket so thought they would be appropriate.  Burning, burning holes, holes and hemp are baggie proof and go way back to SF in the early 70's as far as I can personally attest.

I wanted to use txfarmer's 36 hour baguette method for a new variation that was different from all of her many variations.  The holes she produces with this recipe, in all of its forms, are amazing - and holes were the main goal today.  I wanted a new variation and Hanseata's Hemp seeds (scalded and then soaked for 4 hours) were the ticket.  I want to thank them both for their inspiration.  I did use a slightly different method by retarding the levain for 12 hours too, to go along with the 24 hour autolyse.  Was trying to get more SD flavor and hoped for holes with this extra levain retard.  The previous bake of 20% rye and WW had much better, deeper and lingering SD flavor - the taste of the bread was just better overall and more akin to my personal preference.

Got a nice crust with some blisters, some ears, some glossy holes, nice nutty taste from the hemp seeds, nice SD twang along  some very poor slashing on one baguette as is usual for me.  I give this bake an 87  or B+. Recipe follows pix.  Use txfarmer's method and just retard the levain too.

The bread was more sour today and I am adding another crub shot of the lunch shot that follows.  Bologna with  cheddar cheese and greens, salad, a brie wedge, a radish, carrot and jicama sticks, olives, tomato, some refried black and red beans.  Sorry for the smudge on the lens - never photograph while you eat!  Took Dopey out of the title too since this bread isn't.

SD Starter     
 Build 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
SD Starter30  303.48%
Dough Flour %   
Bread Flour809.28%   
Dough Flour30034.80%   
Dough Hydrat75.00%    
Total Flour485    
Total Water370    
Total Hydrat.76.29%  Seeds     20 
Total Weight862 Baked WT355 
Lev % of Total38.28%  each of 2  

Seeds not included in weights or percents calculated off of them. 

dabrownman's picture

Today we had a wonderful breakfast and lunch thanks to sweetbird's fine bread that had pistachios and soba noodles added to it by a 'butcher' or as Varda says a 'postmodernist'.  When toasted, this bread, like most, takes on a new life that is hearty and modern too.

As a classic smoked salmon, grilled chicken, tomato and basil feta cheese, lettuce and mushroom masterpiece - rarely attempted by the most professional sandwich artisan, this bread comes into its own saying 'You Know I Ain't No Slimy White Slice Sweetbird'

The original blog is here aand where you find the link to sweetbird's fine recipe on her blog :

With some fresh pineapple, strawberry, bread and butter, kosher dill and Serrano pickles, a slice of brie and some corn chips with jicama and corn salsa - this lunch is terrific on any spring day that nears 100 F in the shade.


dabrownman's picture

The other half of the puff paste we made the other day was used up on these tasty apple, pear  and cream cheese sleds.  This time I watched them to make sure these didn't over caramelize like the last variety.  I mixed in some apple jam in the cream cheese that is on the bottom and hidden.  Also, we reconstituted dried apricots, raisins and cranberries in some bourbon and also added fresh minced ginger to the chopped apples and pears that were sauted with some brown sugar and mixed spice.   The middle of the sled was docked to keep it from puffing and make a well / seat for the riders on the sled :-)

dabrownman's picture

Yeast water multi-grain baggies, toasted with butter, apple ginger jam and homemade sage hot breakfast sausage on top.  Served with a springy yeast water strawberry pancake, maple syrup and over easy egg.  Throw in some nice coffee and breakfast becomes something special on a spring weekday.

dabrownman's picture

I have been wanting to do some whole rye and whole wheat SD baguettes that has at least 20% whole grains.  I wasn't going for holes but for taste.  The starter was a Rye and WW one as well.   I also told teketeke that I would try her baguettes she makes with YW and I am becoming a real YW convert  Since her baggies are YW using white flours, this doesn't qualify for doing hers yet but I didn't want her to think I had forgotten. The SD is nice and sour and YW is not.  Both have the same moist crumbthat is fairly open for so much whole flours.   I am OK with the slashing and know it could have been worse. :-)  The YW did spring slightly more.

Below left is SD and Right is YW.

Slash of SD below

Slash on the YW

Crumb shots follow SD top adn YW bottom

Close ups YW first

SD below

Below SD is on top

Method was the same for both.  Levain build in 3 stages over 12 hours and then retarded in the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning the levains were allowed to sit out on the counter for 1 hour to warm up.  The entire levain was placed in the mixer with half of the flour, 75% of the water and the rye malt.  This is mixed on KA 4 with the wisk for 4 minutes.  Then it autolysed for 30 minutes covered.

The rest of the flour and water is added and the dough hook goes on to knead for 4 minutes on KA 3.  Then the salt goes in and you knead on KA 3 for 2 more minutes.  The dough goes into a covered and oiled bowl to rest.  5 S& F's are done on an oiled counter 4 times every 15 minutes.  The the dough is formed into a ball and sits in the covered oiled bowl on the counter for an hour and half before going into the fridge for 22 hours. 

The next morning the dough sits on the counter for 1 1/2 hours to warm up and then is shaped, placed in a floured couche and then into a plastic bag for final proofing.  Mine took 3 hours. 

Preheat at 500 F regular bake with stone and steam in place.  Slash the baguettes and put into the oven to steam for 8 minutes.  Remove steam, turn down to 450 F convection and bake for another 8 min or so until done.  Here are the formulas.

YW Baggies  - All numbers in grams          
SD Starter     Dough Flour % Multigrain Sprouts%
 Build 1B 2 B 3Total% Rye303.89% Buckwheat 0.00%
SD Starter   00.00% WW303.89% WW 0.00%
Rye   00.00% Buckwheat 0.00% Rye 0.00%
WW   00.00% Spelt 0.00% Bulgar 0.00%
Buckwheat   00.00% Farro 0.00% Barley 0.00%
Dark Rye   00.00% Barley 0.00% Spelt 0.00%
WWW   00.00% 6 Grain Cereal 0.00% Water 0.00%
Bread Flour   00.00% Millet 0.00% Total Sprouts00.00%
AP   00.00% Amranth 0.00%    
Water   00.00% Lentils 0.00% Scald  
Total00000.00% Dark Rye 0.00% Buckwheat 0.00%
       Semolina 0.00% WW 0.00%
YW Starter     Bulgar 0.00% Rye 0.00%
 Build 1B 2 B 3Total% Oats 0.00% Bulgar 0.00%
Yst Water60301010012.95% White WW 0.00% Barley 0.00%
Rye   00.00% Potato Flakes50.65% Spelt 0.00%
WW   00.00% Ground Flax Seed 0.00% Water 0.00%
Buckwheat   00.00% Bread Flour 0.00% Total Scald00.00%
Dark Rye   00.00% AP25032.38%    
WWW   00.00% Dough Flour31540.80% Add - Ins  
Bread Flour   00.00% Salt70.91% Barley Malt 0.00%
AP60303012015.54% 50% Water/ Whey21527.85% Molasses 0.00%
Water   00.00% Dough Hydration68.25%  Honey 0.00%
Total120604022028.50%     Olive Oil 0.00%
       Total Flour435  Egg 0.00%
Total Starters     Total Water315  Red Rye Malt 0.00%
  %  0.1724 T. Dough Hydrat.72.41%  White Rye Malt151.94%
Flour12015.54%        VW Gluten 0.00%
Water10012.95%    Hydration w/ Adds70.00%  Sunflower Seeds 0.00%
Hydration83.33%     Total Weight772  Nuts00.00%
Levain % of Total28.50%        Total151.94%


SD Baggies  - All numbers in grams

SD Starter     Dough Flour % Multigrain Sprouts%
 Build 1Build 2 Build 3Total% Rye303.65% Buckwheat 0.00%
SD Starter20  202.43% WW 0.00% WW 0.00%
Rye  10101.22% Buckwheat 0.00% Rye 0.00%
WW 10 101.22% Spelt 0.00% Bulgar 0.00%
Buckwheat   00.00% Farro 0.00% Barley 0.00%
Dark Rye   00.00% Barley 0.00% Spelt 0.00%
WWW   00.00% 6 Grain Cereal 0.00% Water 0.00%
Bread Flour   00.00% Millet 0.00% Total Sprouts00.00%
AP80202012014.60% Amranth 0.00%    
Water60302011013.38% Lentils 0.00% Scald  
Total160605027032.85% Dark Rye 0.00% Buckwheat 0.00%
       Semolina 0.00% WW 0.00%
YW Starter     Bulgar 0.00% Rye 0.00%
 Build 1Build 2 Build 3Total% Oats 0.00% Bulgar 0.00%
Yst Water   00.00% White WW303.65% Barley 0.00%
Rye   00.00% Potato Flakes50.61% Spelt 0.00%
WW   00.00% Ground Flax Seed 0.00% Water 0.00%
Buckwheat   00.00% Bread Flour 0.00% Total Scald00.00%
Dark Rye   00.00% AP25030.41%    
WWW   00.00% Dough Flour31538.32% Add - Ins  
Bread Flour   00.00% Salt70.85% Barley Malt 0.00%
AP   00.00% 50% Water/ Whey21526.16% Molasses 0.00%
Water   00.00% Dough Hydration68.25%  Honey 0.00%
Total00000.00%     Olive Oil 0.00%
       Total Flour465  Egg 0.00%
Total Starters     Total Water335  Red Rye Malt 0.00%
  %  0.2043 T. Dough Hydrat.72.04%  White Rye Malt151.82%
Flour15018.25%        VW Gluten 0.00%
Water12014.60%    Hydration w/ Adds69.79%  Sunflower Seeds 0.00%
Hydration80.00%     Total Weight822  Nuts00.00%
Levain % of Total32.85%        Total15


dabrownman's picture

The first time I made limoncello I used the skins of 7 lemons per liter of grain alcohol and let the the grain sit on the skins for 20 days to extract the oil from skins and then let it age another 20 days to mello after straining filtering and cutting with sugar syrup 5o-50.  I used 454 g of sugar per liter of water and liter of lemon oil alcohol extraction.  It was a real Amalfi Coast recipe from Villa di Marie but I didn't like it that much even though it tasted just like the too many samples I had in Italy and couldn't get enough of. 


Mandarin left, lemon middle and orange right.  The orange was first to bottle.  When you mix the sugar syrup with the filtered alchohol the 50-50 mix goes cloudy but will clear later as the orange has already done. 

Now, many years later after much trial and error (like baking), I triple the skins to 21 lemons (to get a much stronger lemon flavor), cut the grain alcohol 50 -50 with vodka (to cut the heat of the grain) and let the alcohol sit on the skins for 60 to 90 days before straining filtering and and blending with sugar syrup that now is 340 g of sugar per liter of water (the original was too sweet) and it mellows for another 60-90 days.  I use the same recipe for minneolas, oranges and this year for the first time mandarins .  Folks tell me it is the best cellos they have ever had and I agree.

Finally got all of the varieties in the final bottles this past week.

It goes great with some Grilled Italian squash lasagna and some of David Snyder's Pulgliese Capriosso.


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