The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

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"Hello, my name is Floyd, and I am a bread-aholic."

I went crazy this weekend. Kaiser rolls, a french bread, oatmeal raisin cookies, pumpkin bread, ciabatta, a raspberry cheese braid, honey wheat bread. Not to mention that I made a batch of apple butter, specifically for eating on home baked bread.

Next weekend, I've gotta stop. Maybe one or two batches but that is it.

Man, I'm pooped. Recipes for more of these may follow, but for now just a few pictures and comments:

I had some leftover raspberry sauce from Saturday morning waffles that I wanted to use up, so I made this. I used the milk bread dough from the Village Baker. I think Hensberger's milk bread that I used for the braid last time is better. Either that or I overbaked it, because it came out fairly dry.

The buttermilk bread. Haven't tried it yet. It is basically this recipe. Nothing fancy but should be quite good toasted with apple butter.

Hamelman's ciabatta again. I added a little (1/2 teaspoon) extra yeast because I wanted a break from dense homemade bread. It didn't come out quite like ciabatta, but it wasn't bad.

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You know you've got the baking bug bad when you find yourself making a sponge on a Saturday night not even sure what you'd want to bake the next day, just figuring it is a good idea to have one ready.

I think I may try a ciabatta again, but who knows? Still, I'm glad to have my poolish handy.

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I forgot to mention that I baked kaiser rolls again yesterday. They were mighty tasty, though they still don't look like professional kaiser rolls. I actually like the rough look of them though.

Anyone have any kaiser shaping tips?

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before and after bread

I tried making the poolish ciabatta from the Hamelman bread book today. I was not paying much attention when I added everything to the mixer and I must have added too much flour or too little water, so it was clear it was not going to be a ciabatta after all. So a french bread loaf it turned out to be.

One thing I did do was focus more on the scoring. I did a few things better this week:

  • While shaping, I got the surface tension tighter and kept the loaf supported between towels so that when I scored it it didn't just spread out like a pancake.

  • I scored at an angle, not straight down. Something around 45 degrees.

  • I scored quicker and deeper, somewhere between 1 and 2 centimeters deep. See?

scored loaf up close

Definitely one of the nicest grins I've gotten on a loaf yet:

loaf grin

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I found an iron pan at Goodwill this week. I used it to create steam and, yes, iron definitely holds its heat. The crust was very nice tonight.

I may try again Sunday.

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I finally bought Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread book the other day. I baked the poolish baguettes from it today and following his instructions on mixing, shaping, scoring, and baking. It was largely successful, though I made a few mistakes.

The dough seemed pretty sticky, but Hamelman is correct that folding the dough during rising tightens things up nicely. I probably should have given it an extra fold and an additional hour to rise before shaping.

before baking

Hamelman's instructions on shaping are quite good. I think I did a better than average job of shaping today.

When it came to scoring, Hamelman cautions about scoring too deeply. So, against my own better judgement, I underscored the loaves.


I suppose he is correct, that one can overscore a loaf, but I don't think I've ever done it. My cuts were under a half a centimeter deep here. I don't think I've ever gotten a nice looking loaf without scoring at least 1-2 centimeters deep. Alas.


The bread tasted great. The crust was a bit on the soft side because I added too much water to the oven, trying to create steam, and not all of it evaporated. And it is interesting to note how the top one looks quite different from the other two. I'm not certain if it is because I had a difficult time loading it into the oven and I damaged it then or if I hadn't shaped it properly. I'll just have to keep trying.

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Back to work tomorrow.

During my week off I managed to bake pain de Provence, bagels, chocolate chip banana bread, kaiser rolls (recipe to come, after I try it a few more times), pain sur poolish, and an apple pie. Not bad consider everything else we did (3 days at the beach, a day hiking, lots of visits to the local playgrounds, and so on).

I'm finally pleased with the way the site (this one) is looking. It has taken me a month or two to work out most of the design kinks. It is finally getting there.

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I've been on vacation this week. Of course I have to be a bakery tourist. I came across Bread & Ocean in Manzanita, Oregon (see map).

A nice little place, that makes some interesting sounding breads: fig-walnut bread, potato-rosemary leek bread, spelt bread, german seeded bread, as well as the standard french bagettes and sourdoughs.

I tried one of their sweets, an almond-poppy seed bun. It was excellent.

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last night's pizza

Tomatoes? From the garden.
Basil? From the garden too.
Garlic? Yeah, I grew that in the garden as well.
Cheese? Milked my own cow Ok, I bought that. But it turned out wonderful.

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Two baking experiments yesterday. One was a big success, the other a total failure.

The first experiment was tweaking the banana bread recipe. I made two small changes (added a 1/2 a cup of whole wheat flour and a cup of vanilla yogurt) and it was *sooo* good. I want to try it one more time to verify my measurements and then I'll post a recipe and pics.

The other experiment was to make the baked potato bread and leave the dough extremely slack. I didn't even stretch it to build up surface tension or anything. It probably would have been fine if I'd baked it in a loaf pan, but on the baking stone it just splayed out not unlike a biscuit.

I didn't really do this experiment on purpose, I just had a very busy day. I wanted to bake something but didn't have the energy to do it right. I figured I was taking a chance but it was worth a shot. I can live with one out of two being successful!

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I made croissants in honor of Bastille Day today. They actually turned out OK, better than I expected.

I'll try to post the recipe in the next day or two. Too tired tonight.


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