The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Floydm

It is still cold here so I made a big pot of black bean soup this evening.   I also made whole wheat rolls with organic stone ground whole wheat flour that grown and milled by flourgirl51.


The rolls were great.  I was really surprised... the flour felt much courser than the whole wheat flour I usually buy and the dough seemed pretty rough, not silky.  But the rolls rose beautifully and had a wonderful wheaty flavor.  No complaints from my kids, which is usually my test of whether I've gotten too organic for my own good.  So thank you, flourgirl51, so much for the flour.  I will be looking forward to baking with the rest and trying your rye flour as well.

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Floydm

Today I made Crumb bum's miche (though I split it into two loaves).



I also made Saffron Rolls with currants.


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Floydm

This has become a regular around here.  Pesto Pizza:



I use Peter Reinhart's pizza crust, Costco's pesto (which is actually quite good), frozen shrimp or chicken, and parmesan cheese.  The kids love it, we love it, and it is quick and easy, easy enough to do on a work night (or Valentine's, which is when this was from).

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Floydm

There has been a marked increase in the amount of spam (particularly with "adult" themes) that is posted here in the last week or so.  Dstroy and I and the other members who can moderate content delete these posts as quickly as possible, but sometimes that is not before they get sent out in the site digest emails or they show up in syndication.   My apologies if you've been on the receiving end of some of those: not what I want to find in my Inbox before I've had my first cup of coffee either.   Know that we try to kill them and close the accounts that posted them as quickly as possible.


Using the "flag as offensive" link at the bottom of such posts would help me.  I think if 2 community members do that, the offending posts will get unreleased and will disappear for the rest of the site visitors.


I could make it more difficult for spammers to sign up, but of course that would make it more difficult for new folks who legitimately want to participate in the baking discussions to sign up.  So I'm hesitant to make it too tough.

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Floydm

I made a couple loaves of French bread and also tried Dan Lepard's Onion Bay Leaf Bread. 



Subtle but quite good

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Floydm

Taking a break from fence rebuilding, I've updated a bunch of the modules on the site.  I added something many folks have asked for, a private messaging (PM) system, so users should be able to send and receive notes to and from other individual members of the community.  It looks like is a pretty clean, simple, easy to use system.  Let me know if you have any problems with it.


I  don't anticipate any issues, but I should make clear that as site admin I can read anyone's private messages.  I would only do so if someone reports incidents of getting creepy PMs from someone they don't really know, PM spamming, or any other PMs that violate the "honor principle" that governs the way The Fresh Loaf community governs itself.


 

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Floydm

Sunday I made a holiday bread that was pretty much like a stollen.



I didn't have marzipan and I baked it in a loaf pan, but otherwise it was basically the BBA stollen recipe.  It was excellent.  I think I'm going to bake a double batch today and give some to the neighbors.


You may have heard, Oregon got walloped with a doozy of a snow storm.  Keep in mind that we rarely get more than an inch or two of snow here.  Yet here is picture of me yesterday climbing back up the hill after sledding down it with the kids.



And it is still snowing today.  Sounds like it won't warm up enough to start melting until tomorrow.


 

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Floydm

I made Magic Squares yesterday, which the kids are happily snacking on right now.  We also made pecan-cranberry bars and shortbread cutout cookies, which the kids decorated.



Since the oven was on and we were snowed in, I also made pizzas.  We had pesto pizzas, one with shrimp and the other with chicken.




Happily I have enough dough left over for two more pizzas, so I'm excitedly waiting for lunchtime.


I'm baking a sourdough loaf to go with a pot of soup tonight, and I'm thinking of making a holiday bread, something similar to a Stollen or Clayton's Pain Allemande Aux Fruits.  I forgot to pick up marzipan, but I have plenty of dried fruits, nuts, and Amaretto, so I ought to be able to come up with something tasty.


BTW, anyone else notice that we crossed post number 10,000 here?  That is pretty exciting.  The site just grows and grows.

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Floydm

Anybody in Australia catch A Matter of Loaf and Death last night?  How was it?  


My kids and I are big Wallace & Grommit fans.  That the new one is set in a bakery makes it irresistable.


 

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Floydm

There is a good article in today's Oregonian on challah.  Good timing, since I was thinking about challah and holiday breads in the shower this morning (yes, sadly it is true that some days I think about breads and baking pretty much around the clock). 


I was thinking about holiday breads this morning in the context of updating the home page of TFL to replace the Thanksgiving breads with Christmas breads.  Whenever I update the homepage with holiday breads, I get concerned about the possibility of a perceived geographic or cultural chauvanism here.  I realize that this site has readers and members from countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America; members who celebrate Jewish holidays, Islamic holy days, Christian holidays, Chinese festivals, or a combination of more than one of the above; members who are devotely religious, others who celebrate these festivals in a less religious but no less significant manner, others who celebrate none of the above.  Even secular holidays like Thanksgiving run the risk of alienating readers from elsewhere in the world who either don't celebrate the same holidays or celebrate them on a different date (yeah, that's right, I'm talking to YOU, Canada!).


Bread is significant in so many traditions and celebrations that to ignore the rituals surrounding bread would miss a tremendously important aspect of the history and meaning of bread.  Whenever I've felt like I understand and can share the meaning and history of a ritual bread, I've tried to post about them and share those stories.  Even for non-participants in those traditions, it is enjoyable to learn those stories.


I share the stories and traditions that I feel like I can do justice to, but there are many more stories I do not feel comfortable telling.  The ritual significance of challah is one such example.  Though I've read a great deal about it, as someone outside the Jewish tradition I don't feel like I can do justice to its significance and explain its ritual context appropriately.  The same is true of the breads and baked goods that are baked when breaking fast at the end of Ramadan.  These simply are not rituals I've participated in.


But you may. 


In the next few weeks I'm sure this site will be featuring Christmas breads and trying to explain the background and significance of some of these recipes and traditions.  In the appropriate season, I'd love to see members of other faiths and cultures share their stories and recipes so I and others can learn more about their traditions.  It is great to see photos after a holy day, but it is even better if stories, photos, and recipes can be shared before hand.  The best posts are along the lines of "A week from now people in my part of the world (or of my faith) are going to be celebrating ...  We celebrate this because ...  We'll be baking ... because ... "  I will gladly highlight those on the homepage if they are accessible, well put together, and have photos and recipes to support them.

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