The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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emkay's picture

I don't have anything too exciting or interesting coming out of my oven these days. I've been baking once a week just to make sure we have enough bread to feed ourselves for the week. My storage starter is still doing great. It's been in the refrigerator for 8 weeks (unfed) and amazingly there's no sign of mold. Only a tiny bit of clear hooch is developing. Every Thursday evening, I take about 6-8 g starter and feed it once (usually about 1:3:3 or 1:3:4). I build my levain Friday morning and let it ferment while I'm at work. I mix my dough Friday night and bake on Saturday.

I've been baking my bread in loaf pans recently. My formulas for naturally leavened sandwich loafs are pretty much the same as I would employ if I were to make free-formed hearth loaves. I might increase the hydration since the loaf pan helps the dough keep its shape, but I generally like 75-80% hydration, pan or not. I haven't used any recipe for bread lately. I've just been "winging it". When I first embarked on my sourdough journey in March, I never imagined that a bread newbie like me could ever get to the point where baking bread would become second nature. I am constantly amazed by the power of this newly found knowledge.

Here are two recent loaves. Both formulas are similar except that the first uses 40% levain and 2.5% salt and the second uses 12% levain and 2% salt. The higher amount of salt in the first was to help moderate fermentation. The timelines differed slightly. Even though the beginning of the bulk fermentation to hot bread was around 22 hours for the first loaf and 21 hours for the second, the first was shape retarded and the second was bulk retarded.


This first loaf had a very complex sour flavor. It was 20% rye. I think sourness was due to the rye flour in the starter, levain and dough. The age of my storage starter and the long shape retardation probably contributed to the lovely sourness as well. It had good oven spring and was airier than it appears in the photo. I found this one absolutely delicious.



70% all-purpose flour
20% whole rye flour
10% whole wheat flour
80% water
2.5% salt
40% levain (100% hydration, 20% rye, fermented 12 hours)

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl by hand.
  • Bulk ferment at room temp (74F) for 3.5 hours. S&F at 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 min then undisturbed for final hour.
  • Shape and put into a loaf pan.
  • Retard the shaped dough in refrigerator for 18 hours.
  • Bake cold dough at 450F for 45 minutes (20 min covered/steamed, 20 min uncovered, 5 min out of loaf pan).


The second loaf turned out less lofty than the first loaf even though I used the same amount of dough in the same loaf pan. It was still good eats and made great toast. The little bit of cornmeal added some interest and crunch.

70% all-purpose flour
10% whole rye flour
10% whole wheat flour
10% coarse cornmeal
80% water
2% salt
12% levain (100% hydration, 10% whole wheat, fermented 12 hours)

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl by hand.
  • Bulk ferment at room temp for 5.5 hours. S&F at 30, 60, 90 min then undisturbed.
  • Bulk retard in refrigerator for 12 hours.
  • Preshape and bench rest for 45 minutes.
  • Shape and proof at room temp for 2 hours.
  • Bake at 450F for 45 minutes (20 min covered/steamed, 20 min uncovered, 5 min out of loaf pan).





emkay's picture

I started a new job about two weeks ago and, as a result, I haven't had much time to bake or surf the internet lately. I miss being able to read TFL daily, but I miss sleeping more so I chose sleep over the internet. :) My brotformen are still vacuum-sealed for safe keeping while I get settled with my new routine, so I've been baking in loaf pans.

This week I baked Syd's seed loaf (, but I omitted the bread spices. After mixing, I divided my dough into 2 portions. One was 250 g and the other was 750 g. I spread the 250 g portion into a mini loaf pan, proofed it at room temperature for 1 hour, then put the pan into the refrigerator for 2 hours. I baked it straight from the refrigerator at 375F for 30 minutes.


I bulk fermented the 750 g portion in the refrigerator for 7 hours. After the cold bulk, I shaped it, put it in a 8.5 x 4-inch loaf pan, and proofed it at room temperature for 1 hour. Then I stage baked it as follows: 450F for 10 min, 425F for 10 min, 400F for 20 min. Then I removed the loaf from the pan and baked it at 350F for 5 min. Total bake time was 45 minutes.


The large loaf was a little bit overproofed (as evidenced by the compressed crumb at the bottom), but it wasn't too noticeable as far as eating was concerned. In addition to the lovely flavor that the rye levain added, it also helped with the keeping quality. The tangzhong helped it stay soft. Overall it was a delicious sandwich loaf.


:) Mary

emkay's picture

Marcus (wassisname) mentioned in a recent post that his favorite "aromatherapy bread" of late was a 20% rye with raisins and dried coriander. I was intrigued by the flavor combination. I love cilantro (aka coriander) and grow it in my garden. It's one of the few things that seems to grow well. I tend to let it bolt and go to seed, but I think the tiny white flowers are pretty so I don't fret over it. I like adding the flowers to my salads.




With an abundance of fresh green coriander seed pods, I decided to harvest some to put in my bread. The green seed pods taste like cilantro leaves, but way more herbacious and verdant. But they also have a spicy, citrusy edge. I opted for dried tart cherries to complement the citrusy notes of the green pods, but raisins would be perfect as well. I also added a bit of ground dried coriander seeds to my dough to add a hint of earthiness.



Marcus suggested using about 1-1.5% dried coriander, but I wasn't sure how much fresh green coriander to use. I settled on 2% fresh and 0.5% dried. On day 1 the green coriander was quite overpowering (even for a coriander lover like myself). I feared that adding 2% seeds was too much, but the green coriander had mellowed considerably by day 2 and was quite nice. The dried cherries were very moist and burst with every bite.



Coriander and Dried Cherry Sourdough

80% all-purpose flour
20% whole rye flour
75% water
2.4% salt
36% levain (50% rye, 100% hydration, 12 hours)
2% fresh green coriander seeds, smashed
0.5% ground dried coriander seeds
40% dried tart cherries

  1. Combined all ingredients in a bowl and mixed by hand.
  2. Dough fermented at room temp (72F) for 3 hours with a stretch and fold at 30, 60, 90, & 120 minutes.
  3. Then bulk retarded at 40F for 12 hours. 
  4. Preshaped the cold dough and bench rested for 1 hour.
  5. Shaped 1 kg dough and placed it into a 9x4x4-inch loaf pan.
  6. Proofed at room temp for 90 minutes.
  7. Baked at 450F for 45 minutes.


:) Mary

emkay's picture

I have always wanted to make a naturally leavened croissant for no other reason than to see if I can do it. But most sourdough starter / levain croissant recipes I see on the internet have both commercial yeast and levain in the dough. I have nothing against using commercial yeast in croissant making or in any other bread for that matter. Whatever floats your (bread) boat is fine with me. Croissants and other laminated yeasted doughs are challenging enough without using sourdough starter / levain as the sole means of leavening.

When Michael (mwilson) recently posted his purely sourdough croissant formula, let's just say that I was more than excited to try it out. The day I made my croissants was one of the hottest days of the summer in San Francisco. 83 degrees F! And, yes, that is considered hot for SF. I did have some minor tearing while doing my folds and I didn't roll the dough thin enough during the shaping step, but I don't think that had anything to do with the weather. I just need to practice my lamination skills. I filled the croissants with chocolate because (1) I have a big box of Callebaut chocolate batons that I needed to use up and (2) uh, it's chocolate, so why not? :)


I deviated from Michael's recipe a little bit. I used more egg yolk and butter and I didn't add any flavorings to dough as suggested in his post. I didn't use a stiff levain nor did I double-feed my levain to temper the sour flavors. I built a 20% rye flour, 80% hydration levain which fermented for 12 hours. Even though I wasn't following the letter of the law, I hoped that I was honoring the spirit.


I think my croissants still turned out pretty well. These croissants seemed sweeter and less buttery than the typical French-style croissant. My crumb wasn't as lacey and honeycombed as I would have liked and the bottom crumb was slightly compressed, but that's because I overhandled the dough. They were still flaky and crisp and oh-so delicious! I admit to having more than one with my afternoon tea.


Naturally Leavened CroissantsGramsBaker'sPct
Low-protein bread flour (~12% protein level)350100%
Egg yolk205.7%
Granulated sugar6318%
                                                           DOUGH726.3 grams 
Roll-in butter22631.1% of final dough


  1. Mix together all ingredients except the roll-in butter. (I used my KA stand mixer to mix the dough on speed 1 for 2 minutes and then on speed 2 for 2 minutes.)
  2. Refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours. (I did it for 6 hours.)
  3. Enclose the roll-in butter in the dough. (I like the regular lock-in method, but any alternative lock-in is fine.)
  4. Do 3 folds with 1 hour rest in the refrigerator between each fold. (I used the single fold aka letter fold as opposed to the book fold, but that's just my personal preference.)
  5. Shape the croissants and let them proof for 16 hours at 72 degrees F. (I shape retarded mine at 40 degrees F for 16 hours and then let them sit at 72 degrees F for 3 hours before baking.)
  6. Gently brush with egg wash and bake at 375 degrees F until golden brown, about 20 minutes. (Baking time will depend on the size of your croissants.)


:) Mary

emkay's picture

Every year my parents receive many gifts of mooncakes in the days leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Most of the time they are the traditional mooncakes filled with lotus seed paste and salted egg yolks. I thought I would try baking a different sort of mooncake to bring to my family's gathering. I call them American-style mooncakes. I made a trail mix inspired one and a coconut one. Mooncakes need to be baked at least a day (and preferably 2 days) before serving. Freshly baked ones do not have the correct texture since the pastry shell is still too crispy. The resting period allows the pastry shell to "return to oil" which just means that the skin will soften a bit.


Mooncake Pastry Dough

130 g all-purpose flour (10.5% protein level)

90 g Lyle's Golden Syrup

30 g canola oil

1/4 tsp alkaline water (aka kan sui which is a solution of sodium bicarbonate and potassium carbonate)*

* Note: Although a bottle of kan sui is very inexpensive, I didn't want to buy a whole bottle since I needed such a tiny amount. So I dissolved 1/2 tsp of baking soda in 1 tbsp of water and used 1/4 tsp of my solution instead of the 1/4 tsp kan sui.


1. Mix syrup, oil and alkaline water.

2. Sift flour into a mixing bowl and add wet ingredients. Mix to form a soft dough.

3. Cover and let dough rest at room temp for 30-60 minutes.

4. Divide the dough into 10 balls each weighing approximately 25 g. (This is scaled for my miniature mooncake mold.)


"Trail Mix" Filling

70 g almond meal (or chopped almonds)

80 g walnut, toasted and finely chopped

20 g sunflower seeds, toasted

50 g dried sour cherries, chopped

60 g kor fun (aka cooked glutinuous rice flour)

50 g water

20 g granulated sugar

20 g canola oil

10 g walnut oil

10 g sesame seeds (I didn't have any so I used tahini.)


1. Mix all ingredients.

2. Divide filling into 10 balls each weighing approximately 35 g. (This is scaled for my miniature mooncake mold.)


Egg Wash:   1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water or milk


1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Flatten the pastry dough and wrap it around the filling. Try your best to completely enclose the filling with the dough.


3. Put it into your mooncake mold to shape it. (I used a plastic mooncake mold with a plunger.)

4. Place shaped mooncake on sheet pan.



5. Bake at 375F for 8 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and let them cool for 5 minutes, then brush on the egg wash.

7. Lower oven heat to 350F and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

8. Cool for 10 minutes on sheet pan then remove to cooling rack.

9. When completely cool, store in an airtight container for at least 24 hours before serving.



I also made some coconut mooncake "cookies" using wooden cookie mold to shape them. I call them cookies because they are much flatter than mooncakes.



I used cake flour instead of all-purpose flour in my dough for the coconut ones so the dough ended up too soft. As a result, my baked cookies did not keep the carved details of the mold, but they were still delicious. They tasted like a coconut macaroon inside a mooncake pastry shell.



:) Mary

emkay's picture

The no knead bread has been all the rage since Bittman wrote about Lahey's method in the NY Times. I've always wanted to try it out, but just never got around to it. I had about 50 grams of sourdough starter leftover after feeding. It had only been about 15 hours since it had been fed (at 1:3:3), so instead of discarding it I used it to experiment with a naturally leavened no knead bread.

I used only all-purpose flour and no whole grain flours because my all-purpose is less costly than my whole grains. If the resulting bread turned out poorly then I would be less sad about tossing it out. I knew I needed something fairly wet so the following are the baker's percentages I decided to use: 100% flour, 80% water, 2% salt, 10% levain. The overall hydration including the 100% hydration levain was 80.9%.

Naturally Leavened No Knead Bread

500 grams AP flour

400 grams water

10 grams salt

50 grams levain (aka my leftover starter)

Final dough: 960 grams

  • I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mixed it into a shaggy mess. No kneading, no stretching, no folding, and no slapping.


  • I covered the bowl and let it ferment undisturbed at room temperature (about 71F) for 9 hours, and then I put in the refrigerator (about 38F) for 72 hours. 
  • I took the cold dough from the refrigerator and shaped it into a loose boule.
  • I proofed the boule at room temperature (about 71F) for 3 hours. 
  • I did not slash nor did I score it.
  • I baked it seam side up in a cast iron pot at 450F for 40 minutes (20 minutes with the lid on and 20 min without the lid). 


The crust was thin and crisp and covered in blisters.


The crumb was really moist and almost custardy. There was a nice pleasant chew to it too.



In hindsight the 72 hours in the refrigerator could have been disastrous, but luckily my dough was not overfermented. I think the 72 hours in the refrigerator really made a positive impact in the flavor department. The bread was tangy and sour like the SF sourdough that I remember eating as a child and it was nothing like the one-dimensional vinegary flavors that plague today's Boudin bread. Overall I think it was a very sucessful experiment and one that I will be repeating again and again.

:) Mary

emkay's picture

The Chinese like soft and fluffy white breads. The whiter, the better. It might explain why something called Hong Kong flour exists. The HK flour is bleached and low in protein so that the resulting bread is super white and super soft. I don't really mind if my Chinese breads turn out white or not. So I just use what I have on hand which is Central Milling's Artisan Bakers Craft, a 10.5% protein, organic, malted, unbleached flour. The results are definitely more off-white than white. Soft and fluffy is easy. Enrichments such as butter, egg and milk will do the trick. Using a tangzhong aka water roux helps with the softness and keeping quality.


This bun is a purely Asian creation. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with Mexico although buns with a cookie-like topping are reminiscent of conchas. I don't know who invented it first and I have no idea why the Chinese like topping breads with a cookie batter, but it's pure genius. The cookie melds with the bread dough and creates a thin, crispy, cookie-ish layer. Depending on the ingredient ratios in the cookie batter, the layer can be fused with the bread and cannot be peeled off. Or if the cookie batter is stiffer, the baked layer can be peeled or flaked off the bread and eaten separately which is the way I did it as a child when eating boh loh bao aka pineapple buns (which have no pineapple in it at all).

I used instant espresso powder in my cookie topping, but instant coffee powder can be used instead. You can leave out the coffee and have a plain vanilla topping. I used a tangzhong milk loaf for my buns. They turned out super soft, fluffy and shreddable. The topping was crisp on day one, but softened considerably by day two.




I left a few without topping. The topping weighs down the bun a bit so the topped ones spread out instead of up.


The bottom of the bun.


The crumb.



Bakers' percentages for the bun dough

100% flour*, 75% whole milk*, 10% sugar, 12.5% egg, 1% instant dry yeast, 1.5% salt, 10% butter

[* 5% of the total flour was used in the tangzhong. TZ ratio was 1:5 flour to milk.]

Bun dough recipe

To make the tangzhong: In a saucepan whisk 20 g AP flour into 100 g whole milk until it's pretty smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 149F/65C. It should be pudding like. Allow the tangzhong to cool before using it in the dough.

380 g AP flour

200 g whole milk, 85-90F

40 sugar

50 g egg

4 g instant dry yeast (SAF red)

6 g salt

40 g unsalted butter, softened

all of the tangzhong

  1. In a KA stand mixer, mix everything except the butter on speed 1 for 3 minutes.

  2. Add the butter and mix on speed 2 until all the butter is incorporated, about 2 -3 minutes.

  3. Bulk ferment at room temp until doubled, about 1 hour.

  4. Scale each bun at 55 grams. (I got 15 buns.)

  5. Proof on sheet pans at room temp for 30-45 minutes.

  6. Pipe cookie topping onto each proofed bun.

  7. Bake buns at 375F for about 15 mins or until golden brown. Best served warm.   

Coffee cookie topping

50g unsalted butter, softened

50g granulated sugar

50g egg, lightly beaten

70g AP flour

1 tsp instant espresso powder

1 tsp water

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

  1. Dissolve the espresso powder in the warm water and mix in vanilla extract. Set aside.

  2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  3. Beat in the egg until well combined.

  4. Beat in the espresso mixture.

  5. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated.

  6. Transfer topping to a pastry bag fitted with a round pastry tip.

  7. Store in the refrigerator until needed. (Can be made 2 day in advance.)

  8. Allow the topping to soften a bit at room temp for about 5 or 10 minutes before piping it onto the proofed buns.

 :) Mary

emkay's picture

I've been craving a whole wheat loaf lately. After consulting Tartine Bread (aka book #2), I chose to make Chad's whole wheat complet which is 70% whole wheat flour. I increased the final dough's hydration from 80% to 85%. I used a not-so-young levain because I like it sour. Just for kicks I added some lightly toasted walnuts and walnut oil too. Mine didn't turn out as open and hole-y as the non-walnut WW one pictured in the book, but it sure tasted great. It was moist and hearty and filled with tons of walnut goodness.


Tartine's 70% Whole Wheat with Walnuts

Grams (Baker's Pct)

350 (70%) Whole wheat flour (Whole Foods Organic)

150 (30%) All-purpose flour (Central Milling ABC)

425 (85%) Water

10 (2%) Salt

100 (20%) Levain (100% hydration)

150 (30%) Walnuts (lightly toasted)

10 (2%) Walnut oil

Final dough: 1195 grams

Overall hydration: 86.3%

Prefermented flour: 9.1%

My levain (10 g starter + 50 g water + 50 g flour) was fermented for 12 hours at 70F. Autolysed the flours and water at 70F for 1 hour, then mixed in the levain and salt. After the levain and salt were well incorporated, I mixed in the walnuts and walnut oil. Bulk fermented at 75F for 3.5 hours with stretches and folds every 30 min during the first 2 hours.



Scaled 850 g for my oval brotform and the rest of the dough for a 3x5-inch loaf pan. Shaped and proofed at 75F. 3 hours for the brotform and 2 hours for the mini loaf pan. Baked the oval at 450F for 40 minutes (with steam during the first 20 minutes).



Baked the mini loaf at 450F for 25 minutes.



I always seem to have egg whites stashed away in my freezer. I think it's because I use the eggs yolks to make pasta carbonara (which is quite often). All those egg whites give me a perfect excuse to make macarons. Nothing too fancy this time. Plain and simple with a vanilla bean Swiss buttercream.




:) Mary

PS: Submitted to Susan's Yeastspotting.

emkay's picture

Fennel has a very distinct, licorice-like flavor. Fennel, and its relative anise, tend to be polarizing. People seem to love or hate it. I am definitely on the side of loving it. My favorite way to eat raw fennel bulbs is thinly shaved and tossed with citrus segments and a citrus vinaigrette. I use the fennel fronds like any other fresh herb. A couple nights ago I combined fennel fronds, fresh rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and crushed fennel seeds to rub onto a pork shoulder for slow-roasting. I even make a sweet 'n savory shortbread cookie that has fennel seeds, parmesan cheese and Maldon sea salt. It sounds strange, but it's an absolutely delicious cookie.

I bought a 2-pound bag of dried organic black mission figs from Costco a couple weeks ago and have been looking for an excuse to use it. Dabrownman posted his fig and fennel bread and I knew what I would bake.


The starting point for my fig and fennel bread formula was the Tartine basic country bread. I used 20% whole wheat flour and a levain that has fermented for 12-15 hours as opposed to Chad's 4-6 hour levain. The levain was built from my rye starter. I soaked my dried figs for 30 minutes in warm water and then drained them. I saved the fig soaking water to use in my dough. I would say my water was half fig soaking water and half from the tap.

I mixed everything except the salt and figs, let the dough rest in the bowl for 30 minutes, and then squeezed in the salt. I bulk fermented at 73F for 3.5 hours with stretches and folds. The figs were added during the second S&F. Shaped and retarded at 40F for 14 hours. Baked at 450F for 35 minutes with steam during the first 15 minutes.

Fig and Fennel Bread Grams (Bakers' Pct)

AP flour (Central Milling ABC) 480 (80%)

Whole wheat flour 120 (20%)

Water 450 (75%)

Salt 12 (2%)

Levain (100% hydration) 120 (20%)

Dried figs (soaked, drained & quartered) 200 (33%)

Fennel seeds (half ground, half crushed) 9 (1.5%)


Final Dough 1391 grams

Overall hydration: 77.2%

Prefermented flour: 9.1%


The bread was lovely. I thought that 33% figs would've been enough, but in hindsight I think I could have gone up to 50%. The crumb was not as open and hole-y as I wanted, but I guess if it was too open then the figs would fall out. The fennel seed flavor was quite assertive since I ground half the seeds into a powder before adding it to the dough. I left the other half crushed. The flavor was well distributed throughout the bread and I could taste it in every bite. Fennel and figs really work well together.


The other fennel bread I baked is a semolina, golden raisin and double fennel bread. I stole the flavor combination from Amy's Bread in NY. The dough is based on the semolina sesame bread (pane siciliano) that I learned at the San Francisco Baking Institute. There's a tiny bit of instant dry yeast in this dough. The instructor at the SFBI said it's a bit of insurance since a naturally leavened semolina dough can be a bit tricky.

I used some fennel bulb as well as fennel seeds. I sliced the bulb, blanched it for 2 minutes, drained and chopped it. I ground all the fennel seeds into a powder. I soaked the golden raisins for about 15 minutes in warm water and then drained them.

I combined everything except the raisins and chopped fennel and mixed for 2 minutes on speed 1 of my KitchenAid stand mixer. I added the raisins and fennel and mixed for 1 minute. I transferred the dough to a lightly oiled container and bulk fermented at 70F for 3 hours with a set of stretches and folds at 60 and 120 min. I divided the dough into two halves. I shaped six 100-gram rolls with one half and a boule with the other. The boule was proofed for 2 hours and the rolls for 1.5 hours (room temp ~70F). The boule was baked at 450F for 35 minutes with steam during the first 15 minutes. The rolls were baked at 425F for 20 minutes.



Semolina, Raisin, and Fennel Grams (Bakers' Pct)

AP flour (Central Milling ABC) 250 (50%)

Semolina flour 250 (50%)

Water 340 (68%)

Olive oil 25 (5%)

Salt 12 (2.4%)

Instant dry yeast (SAF red) 0.5 (0.1%)

Levain (100% hydration) 125 (25%)

Golden raisins (soaked & drained) 115 (23%)

Fennel seeds (ground) 5 (1%)

Fennel bulb (sliced, blanched & chopped) 115 (23%)


Final Dough 1237.5 grams

Overall hydration: 71.6%

Prefermented flour: 11.1%


My boule stuck to the brotform and deflated quite a bit as I worked it out of the form. The ovenspring was not enough to overcome the deflation. The rolls came out perfectly.


I loved the sweet golden raisins with the flavor of the semolina. The fennel seed was detectable, but not assertive. It was the perfect amount. The fennel bulb wasn't worth the effort. It was hardly noticeable and I would probably leave it out the next time I make this bread.

:) Mary

emkay's picture

Every June I eagerly await the arrival of John Driver's CandyCot apricots at the farmers' market. The apricots that he grows are unlike any other apricot I have ever eaten including the Blenheim. They are sweet and complex with a very concentrated flavor. According to their website, they measure between 26 and 32 on the Brix (sweetness) scale, while most supermarket varieties of apricots register in the low teens.

The growing season for these amazing apricots is short, and even shorter with this year's drought in California, so they're available for only 3 or 4 weeks. On their final market day, I got a great price on 25 pounds of "cosmetically challenged" apricots which are perfect for making pie, jam and ice cream. Here's a glimpse of what I did with all those lovely apricots.


Fresh apricot pie (with an all butter crust).



Refrigerator apricot jam (no pectin, no canning).


Macaron (filled with apricot Swiss buttercream and a dab of apricot jam).


Apricot sorbet.


Make ahead pie filling. Quartered apricots tossed with lemon juice, flour and a tiny bit of sugar and then frozen in the shape of a pie tin. Peel off the plastic bag and the frozen filling is ready to be dropped into the rolled out pie crust.




Of course I had to use some of them in a bread too. I bought some pressed barley (oshimugi) at the Asian supermarket earlier in the week, so I baked a barley porridge bread with fresh apricots.


Flours, water and levain were mixed into a shaggy mess. I let it rest for 40 minutes and then squeezed in the salt. Bulk fermentation was at room temperature (68F) for 4 hours with stretches and folds during the first 3 hours and undisturbed during the last hour. The barley porridge was added to the dough during the second S&F. The apricots were added during the third S&F.



Final proof of the batard was done at room temperature for 3 hours. Sadly, the dough stuck to the brotform so I had to pry it out. The top of the loaf was a bit wonky and wavy, but I tried to hide the damage with some creative snipping and scoring.



I shape retarded my boule in the refrigerator for 15 hours and the dough came out of the brotform easily. No crumb shot of the boule since I gave the loaf away.



There were nuggets of barley and apricot throughout the bread, but I think the dough could have handled even more barley. The apricots paired well with the earthiness of the barley.



The apricots chunks were soft, but not mushy, and bursting with flavor. It was almost like having dried apricots in the bread, but the fresh were super moist and without the chewiness or hardness of dried. I probably wouldn't use supermarket varieties of apricots in this bread as they tend to be a bit too watery, bland, and fibrous. But if you have some excellent apricots, then I highly recommend adding fresh apricots to your dough.





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