The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

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Floydm

My laptop has been in the shop, so for the past few days I've only been on the site long enough to check that there was no spam. That said, it looks like there have been some very good posts lately, like ehanner's garlic bread and bwraith's recent blog posts. I have some catching up to do.

I did bake this weekend. I tried a sourdough with chocolate chips. I added milk and some sugar to the dough and bumped up the amount of starter to around 10%. It was pretty good, but I don't think I really nailed it. Have to experiment with that some more, because I love the idea.

Oh yeah, and I got my hands on Dan Lepard's baking guide that ran with the Guardian a few weekends back. If you have any way of getting your hands on a copy, do. It is quite nice.

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Floydm

Yet another miche I baked last night...

miche

The sad thing is I'm just going to chop this up and let it dry out to make stuffing out of it. Yes, it is cheaper and easier for me to do this than go buy a bag of bread crumbs at the store. Besides, this will taste considerable better I am sure.

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Floydm

As you may have noticed, in the past couple of days I've replaced a few of the ads on this site with ads for Food Buzz.

The folks at Food Buzz approached me a month or so ago to talk about sponsoring the site. After chatting with them I agreed because it seemed like a mutually beneficial relationship. Food Buzz will include The Fresh Loaf as one of their Featured Publishers, thus increasing the exposure of this site. Presumably that'll increase traffic here and expose more people to the great content we're creating here.

For us it establishes a relationship with a vibrant, growing food portal. Their site is structured more like a social networking site and includes a lot of features I'll be unlikely to add here, thinks like geographically tagged restaurant reviews and photos. It seems like a good place for some of us who have other food-related passions than just bread to go find other like-minded folks to share our enthusiasm with.

This relationship should also improve the finances of TFL. I'm afraid I'm not able to quit my day job to devote myself full-time to The Fresh Loaf or anything like that yet, but I should be able to do things like migrate the site to a faster server or pay for a backup service in the next few months without going into the red. I have a few other projects I've been meaning to work on here too, and this increases my incentive to get on it as soon as I can. So it seems like a good thing all around.

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Floydm

The Gingerbread I baked last night I did not bake long enough, so the ends were done (and quite tasty) but I threw away the majority of it. So sad.

However, the miche I baked Monday night came out fantastic.

miche

Pretty, pretty loaf.

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Floydm

A right sidebar! We have a right sidebar! Whoo hoo!

Ok, if you aren't a geek you probably don't care, but I think it is neat. If you are running at 1024x768 or less you won't see it, but that is ok because it isn't critical information. If you are running at a high resolution, it is an added bonus.

Of course it looks perfect in Safari and Firefox but a bit funky in IE. If you are still browsing in IE, I beseech you to download Firefox. Even non-techies find it a much nicer browser than IE.

The right sidebar gives me a good are to show off many of the beautiful things people have baked and posted to the site over the years. I'll be digging through the archives and adding more thumbnails into the rotation in the next few days. Not tomorrow though: jury duty.

I baked a miche tonight. Probably the prettiest I've baked yet. I'll try to get photos in the morning.

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Floydm

I made a few changes to the layout over the weekend. The logo has changed and is now dynamic, I've reduced the padding between some of the elements, and, most significantly, I've fixed the width of the body.

Non-nerds may not care about this, but whether web pages should have a fixed width so they look the same on all machines or a flexible width so that they can take full advantage of large monitors is one of these debates that web designers discuss endlessly. I've always been in the flexible width camp, but of late I've begun to move into the fixed width camp.

For me, the big advantage of fixed width isn't the design consistency, it is the readability. When text flows over 1000 pixels before wrapping, it becomes very difficult to not lose your place. Think about newspapers for a minute: if they printed copy all the way across the page rather than in columns it would be much more difficult to read. A consensus is emerging that as the web is becoming more and more of a reader's medium, designers should do whatever they can to improve readability. So with that, I'm sold on fixed width.

The screen resolution stats on people who visit this site are interesting:

The vast majority of us have large, high resolution monitors now. So with that I'm making sure 1024x768 is well supported. I may add perks for folks with even larger monitors, like a rail to the right of the content that could include links to favorite stories or something. We'll see.

Any issues with the new layout, please let me know.

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Floydm

burnt waffle

Hm. Yes, must remember to remove the waffle from the oven before stepping into the shower. Does not bode well for this weekend's baking.

miche

Last week's miche turned out quite well though. And I have a couple of loaves rising right now that I'm optimistic about.

In site news: I just swapped out the Drupal search with a customized Google search. It is hard to beat Google's search algorithm, so I think people will prefer this. Let me know what you think.

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Floydm

Amazingly nice weather here today. Supposed to be rainy all week, but today was definitely a day to be outside.

That said, while I was planting bulbs I had a loaf rising.

I did a white poolish bread that turned out excellent.

french bread

I gave this about 10 minutes in the Kitchen Aid and very little yeast. I was very pleased with the crumb.

french bread crumb

I also made an apple sourdough bread. It was about 15% whole wheat flour.

apple bread

While I had the autolyse going I took a look in Dan Lepard's book and saw his recipe with oats and apples. That sounded good, so I quickly soaked some oats in boiling water and threw them in too.

apple bread crumb

It is well baked and not at all gummy since I accidentally left it in the oven an extra 10 or 15 minutes, but the oats and apple kept it moist inside.

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Floydm
World Bread Day '07

World Bread Day is Tuesday, October 16th, a day when the bread baking guilds ask you to appreciate the role of bread and bakers in society.

For amateur bakers, Zorra is again organizing a big blog roundup. If you bake something for World Bread Day, by all means, post about it in your blog here and let Zorra know.

October 16th has also been declared by the United Nations as World Food Day, a day to raise awareness about the role that famine and inadequate food security continue to play around the globe. As I have mentioned before, I now I work for a humanitarian agency, so I must admit that this year I am more moved by the latter cause than the former. Though I don't see them as being mutually exclusive: the former is about appreciating the simple things, the health and prosperity in your own life, the latter about trying to make that available to others (speaking of which: if you want to appreciate how well off you are compared to to others, take 15 minutes to read this piece about daily life in the Democratic Republic of Congo that we recently posted on our site. Quite powerful.). Both are worthy causes.

Tuesday will also be my birthday. I'm not sure I'm going to get any baking in then, so I am doing some over the weekend to make up for it. It is a beautiful fall day... I'm thinking an apple sourdough loaf might be in order tomorrow.

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Floydm

Struan, banana bread, crumbbum's miche.

I got much closer on the timing with the miche. Real nice oven spring and pretty nice crumb.

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