The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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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I have picking teketeke's (Akikio) brain on making a yeast water starter and baking bread with it.  Akiko is a a generous person and very knowlegable about YW.  Since I have minneolas in the back yard, I started my yeast water with them and apples.  I was successful first time thanks to Akiko.  I built up a levain over 3 days and started searching for a recipe to use it on.  Zolablue's explosive spring Semolina Bread jumped out because the crumb I thought would work very well with the color of the TW.  Here is my formula,  Sorry it is not as technical as most I see on TFL.

Levain - 120 g ( 20g YW & 20g AP flour 12 hours, add 20 g YW and 20g flour 12 hours later, then 40 g AP flour 4 hours later. Kneed the final levain and let ferment 8 hours - all at 82 F

Bread dough:

semolina - 400 g

water - 300 g

sugar - 15 g

olive oil - 50 g

salt 10 g

Paddle mix levain and water in mixer until water is absorbed. Add everything else and kneed with dough hook 8 minutes  (Speed 4 on KA) until dough passes window pane. Put in oiled bowl and let rest 60 minutes. Then do 4 stretch and folds (each time in the bowl) every 30 minutes. Form into loaf and place in pan that is coated in non stick spray. Let rise until top of loaf, in the middle, is level with top of loaf pan - another 2-4 hours. Preheat oven 45 minutes at 400 F - regular bake - no convection.   Place steaming aparatus in the oven. Put bread in oven, turn down to 375 and steam for 20 minutes, remove steam and bake using convection for 20 minutes more. Take loaf out of pan and continue baking until loaf hits 200 degrees in the center.

I was really happy with the crispy crust and color of the exterior.  The crumb was soft, moist, very yellow and puffy in a good way.  The taste was straight up, pure semolina with no sour or fruit taste lingering from the YW.  Toasted, the bread really shines.  I am fond of YW now and will use it for non SD breads in the future.  Akiko makes TW Baggies!!!  That is on my list for sure if I ever learn to slash a loaf half decent!!


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Make your own Greek yogurt and then use the drippings to make great bread by substituting the yogurt whey water for the water in your bread.

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Get stuck with too many Red Pears and and Blueberries?  Make a chocolate crust, lemon and blueberry cheesecake and a blueberry, ginger and red pear Italian fruit tart with home made Puff Pastry that's what !!!!!

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After finding out the Pierre Nury's Rustic Light Rye didn't have much if any rye taste or earthy taste either, I decided to try and see if I could get more rye taste and earth flavor without totally compromising Pierre's fine SD bread completely.

The changes include home grinding whole rye berrys and adding 25 grams more to make 75 total, adding 50 gramsof home ground whole spelt berries and deducting 75 grams of bread flour to keep everything in balance.  I also  lightly slit the loaves before they went into the bag for final rise to try to get them to rustically split on top. 

I really like this bread with these small changes. It kept all the great character of Pierre's original but produces more and deeper rye flavor and sour.  The spelt also gives the bread a very nice speckled brown crumb - something a Brownman appreciates :-)

Here are some Pic's


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