The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Ran out of deserts, (a real no no) so quickly whipped up this whole wheat, apple galette.  It is based on the winning pie recipe at the very first pie contest I ever saw in Clearwater, Florida around 1990 something.  Dried fruits, (apricot, cranberry, raisins, sultanas) are soaked in bourbon until they are ....softly, puffed up drunk.  The fresh ginger always adds a subtle flavor that causes people to ask 'what makes this taste so differently delicious?' Used Jazz and Ambrosia apples this time.

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After having such good luck with Phil's no stress recipe for 40% Rye and Caraway, I was additionally inspired by hanseata's seeded loaf's.  So, I thought I would try to marry up the two and take on my requirement for more whole grain and less white flour.  I was hoping that by adding some spelt and farro home ground berries to the rye replacing some of the white and adding some anise and fennel to the caraway, this new concoction would be a decent bread.  Plus, another important test, I could try out for the first time my new 'double Y chicken foot' slash!!!!

I also got a new way to final prove these ill shaped breads with a new bamboo containment thing-a-majig that has some doohickey handles for the containment challenged like myself.  Don't laugh.  This thing, what ever it is,  cost a buck.  We can't sleep at night worrying about these contraptions and they are real issues for us !!!  The used, so much better than new,  parchment paper is the crowning achievement of getting the loaves out of the trash bag and into the oven without disfiguring oneself unnecessarily - by hot oven.

The loaves sprang nicely.  The crust was crisp, crunchy yet chewy.  The taste of the bread was more earthy and more to my liking as expected.  The crumb wasn't quite as open as before probably due to the extra 20% whole grains in place of the white - but still OK.  The slash produced a wide flatish gash where the loaf pooled through lazily.  No ears - so fancy pants still needs some work before the double chicken foot slash is a keeper.

The disappointment was that I replaced some of the caraway seeds with the anise and fennel and the resulting seed taste was too slight and muddied.  I was too chicken to go for a bold taste with these seeds.  Don't you be !!! It would be much better just adding the same grams of anise and fennel as the caraway.  I think it would be perfect that way - if it didn't kill you of course ;-) 

Here are some more pics...

I really like it that you can make these breads in half a day if you have some decent rye sour built all the time.  Next time, and there will be one if only the for the double Y chicken foot slashs' sake, More seeds will be boldly incorporated.  I think I am still making progress.

Thanks again Phil and hanseata.



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Last weekend We went to a friends house to strip her Meyer Lemon tree so that I could make this years batch of lemonchello'  I already have a batch of Minneola Tangelo and navel orange mix for this years Aranchello.  But, as a surprise, we also were able to get enough Mandarin's to make a batch of Madarinchello for the first time.  You need fruit that hasn't been sprayed with fungicide or insecticides ( organic) and does not have a wax coating sprayed on them by the packer to keep them fresh.  Here is how you make them.

The usual recipe is for the skins only (No pith or Juice) removed by a very sharp veggie peeler - I use an XOX good grips, from 7 citrus per 1,000 ml of grain alcohol, 195 proof, to extract the flavor from the skins and their essentiial oils.  I use 50% grain alcohol and 50% vodka.  Grain is not cheap but vodka can be.  I have also found that with twice the skins and 1/2 the grain replaced by vodka,  the 'chellos' are much, much more flavorful and not as hot going down if drinking them straight.  Plus vodka is $8 on sale for 1.75 liters while a liter of grain is $13 on sale.  Use the cheapest alcohols you can find - this isn't the place for the good stuff.   SO as example 14 lemons peeled per 1 liter of mixed alcohol. Cap tightly put in a cool dark place.

After soaking the skins in the alcohol for 40 days, strain off the skins and throw them away, they have done their job.  Strain the liquid twice through a sieve lined with coffee filters to get rid of the crud.  If the filter gets clogged, it will, switch to another one.  Now measure how much liquid is remaining.  Take an equal part of water and make a simple syrup by boiling the water with a ratio of 3/4 pounds of sugar per liter of remaining alcohol .  Once the water boils, the sugar will be dissolved.  Turn off the heat and let the simple syrup cool to room temperature .  I cool it quickly in an ice bath but that is not necessary.

Once cool, mix the syrup with the citruss infused alcohol.  The alcohol will go cloudy as soon as the syrup hits it like Ouzo does.  Cap tightly.  I use old liquor bottles and let sit for another 40 days to mellow and clear in a cool dark place.  After 40 days, filter through coffee filters one more time and put the  in its final bottle.  Create a nice lable and enjoy.  You will have made one of the best chello's in the world and nothing you can buy can touch it. - just like the bread in the grocery store is not at all what you can make at home. 



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What a nice bread to make - and it only took half a day since I already had the starter build ready - retarding in the fridge.  It is what Phil calls simple baking which is why I chose it.  It has to simple and stress less after all these 3 day ordeals of late :-).  Rye SD with caraway is my favorite bread - by far.  This one besides being easy, is also top notch.  Phil knows his bread baking ! Lovely texture and taste, crispy crunchy crust to cut but soft and chewy when eaten.  I had it plain, buttered, toasted, creamed with cheese and it was all good.  The lox was frozen but I bet it too would have been fabulous with this fine bread.  This is a fine every day family rye that almost all will enjoy.  Here are some more pics of how I did it  - which is far away from what the pro's like Phil do and my sorry attempt proves it.  Still haven't got a decent camera, so the cell phone shots will have to do.......

I'm getting better slowly but surely.  It is a nice feeling .  Bake Phil's 40% Rye with Caraway.  You will like it.

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Well, I am happy as punch with the latest version of my multi grain challah bread that is baked at 450F and steamed in the oven for 20 minutes -verses the cloche.  But, I am disappointed I was not able to control my experiment to find out if the cloche or oven steaming method was better.  The higher temperature worked best for both but, this attempt, the bread rose much higher and faster than the Wagner Ware loaf even though  both were identical in every way.  The only thing I can think of is that the starter, which was the same for each, was more mature and stronger than it was the week before.

I noticed this time, during the levain build, it doubled in 4 hours instead of the 8 hours it took the last time.  This is a new SD starter that is less than 3 weeks old (started the sourdolady way).  When the loaf went into the baking pan it appeared to be exactly like the cloched loaf.  But, the version 4, did rise higher during fermentation and it also rose higher in the fridge during retard and rose higher after it was taken out of the fridge this morning - even thought the retard was 6 hours less and the final rise before the oven was 2 hours less.

All things considered, I think that either cloched or baked in a steamed oven, this bread works equally well both ways and it shows that that a fully mature and strong starter with a proper build is essential to bread making.  I had half a loaf of the clotched verion 3 to compare in the photos that follow.  The version 4 crum is far superior, lighter and open.  The crust is the same as the clotched.  I like the taste of the clotched better propably because it was hours longer in the making and developed more SD flavor.

I think I can reproduce version 4 and will figure out a way to slow it down and make the flavor a litttle better.


What can Ido to improve this bread now.  Autolayse the flour before adding the levain.  Cut down the amount of levain to extend the time.  lower the temp of the ferment and post retard?  Any thing else?

Here are the pics before retard.


After retard

After poor slash - My worse bread making skill by far

In the oven

20 minutes later steam comes out

Oven off and door craked open - temp 205 F

Version 4 twice as high as version 3

crumb shot and others






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to catch up on. First off I got a new SD starter going using sourdoughlady's technique.  I used minneola juice instead of pineapple since I have citrus in the back yard. Here it is in the middle of the Minneola / Apple Yeast waters teketeke helped me get started .

Here is a photo of 3 of the breads I did the past couple of weeks.  David Snyders' SFSD, Pierre Nury's Rustic Light Rye inspired by Zola Blue and my non clotched multi grain challah.  I also did a clotched version of the multi and a very nice yeast water Semolina.

A batch of chocolate chip cookies for the wife to take to her conference in Flagstaff and a small batch of 6P jam (pomegranate, prickly pear, plum, pineapple and red pear)

Racked off the latest wine vinegar the mother made.  You might see her on teh bottom?

Picked the last of the tomatoes from last year's spring plants, never had them this late before and saw the first volunteer daisy blooming too.

picked this year's Meyer lemons to make Limonchello Del Uuomo Morone.  Here is a shot of last year's batch.

There is more but I got to go - the Giants just won the Super Bowl.  Way to go.  My bet paid off for once.

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You just have to have some hummus with that great Pita bread you just made but don't buy that crud in the store that is just horrible and full a so many bad things, foul smells and  unusual tastes.  Make your own it is easy!!!  Here is how.  Simmer off till tender 1 1/2 cups of  dried Garbanzos (about an hour) that you soaked overnight in some home made chicken stock to cover and a bay leaf.  Let the beans cool in the stock in the fridge and drain off the liquid and reserve it in case the hummus is too thick or, better yet, to make garbanzo bean soup.

Take an onion and slice it width wise in thirds and put tooth pick in from the side to hold the onions together,  Slice some pieces of peppers (red, jalapeno, Serrano, poblano and hatch green also known as Anaheim) so the wide exterior skins lay flat.  Take some garlic cloves (at least 5)  coat them in olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. brush the veggies with olive oil and grill them until they are nearly black.

Put the veggies in plastic bag or covered container or plastic wrap to sweat for 10 minutes so the skins of the peppers slough off easily.  Buzz the garlic, skinned peppers, onions and garbanzos in a food processor until smooth.  Add 2 T of Tahini (Sesame paste), 1 tsp salt, 3 T of lemon juice, 3 T of olive oil and buzz again until the Hummus is smooth as butter.  If it is too thick add some of the reserved hummus chicken stock.

Serve with those great pitas you just baked off !!!! 



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Inspired by kjknits EM recipe I decide to try it out.  I don't have a cutter so I just cut them into square shapes with my dough scraper.  They turned out nice.  My wife, who eats the Thomas brand regularly, also seemed to like them too.  Thanks to kjkniots for the recipe.  They came out with holes on one side after slicing for some reason.  Maybe the side that hit the hot pan first got bubbles or cause them to go away?No I don't think I will be buying an EM cutter either - unless I find one at Goodwill.

These are delicious toasted with butter and home made 6P Jam ( prickly pear, pineapple, plum, pear & pomegranate)  Can't buy that at the store :-)


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After changing my Multi grain Challah recipe to make it a S&F long ferment and retard bread, I decided to see if baking it in a cloche would make for an even better every day sandwich bread.  My Mother In Laws old Warner Ware Roaster 13" X 10" X 8" high seemed to be the only thing we own that might fit the bill.  I also has a nice rack to hold the bread pan off the bottom.    I heated the oven to 500 F (convection on) and put the entire roaster in the oven to heat up for 45 minuted.  No normal steam at all.  Once the roaster was hot ,I easily dropped the loaf pan in with oven mitts on and baked the loaf in the covered roaster for the first 20 minutes, turning the temperature down to 450 F convection.

The loaf, before it went into the roaster, had doubled in size from the overnight retard even though it still only came half way up the pan.  I was making a small test loaf.  The spring was an additional 100% as the finished loaf doubled again in the roaster.  After 20 minutes I took the roaster out of the oven, took the bread out of it and put the bread back into the oven to reach 200 F in the center of the loaf.  I then turned off then oven, cracked the door open and allowed the crust to dry.

The only thing I can say is that this might be the best loaf of this bread I have ever baked.  The crust was very dark brown with light brown specks.  Just beautiful!!  It was crispy crunchy yet still chewy.  The crumb was moist, light and also speckled with light brown flakes.  It tasted fantastic.  I bake this bread every week and this was by far the best.  I will bake it this way from now on.  The previous attempt I baked at 350 F with steam so the higher temperature played a big part I am sure.  So I will bake it next time the old way, No Cloche, but at the higher temperature to see what effects that has on this bread.

And who wouldn't want this bread to sop up a nice Garbonzo Bean Soup?

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Here are a couple of shots of the SD Raspberry Pancakes made for breakfast a couple of days ago.  The spring was incredible !!! I used a starter that had been refreshed 3 days before some it wasn't in peak form.  Made the batter the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  Very tasty too.  Another blog on TFL, sorry I can't remember which, inspired me.


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