The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

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Floydm

As I've mentioned previously, as time permits I've been chipping away at an upgrade to TFL.  Progress was slow through the holidays what with the kids home and so many things going on, but recently I've cleared my plate so I can get serious about it.   

There are lots of things I'm trying to accomplish with the upgrade:

  • Move the site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 - Drupal 6 will soon be unsupported, so this is just a technical necessity.
  • Make the site render well on mobile devices - cell phones, iPads, and other tablets are now over a quarter of the site traffic and growing.  The current design is mediocre on those devices, at best.
  • Improve media handling - both image uploading and embedding videos from YouTube and Vimeo. 
  • Make user profiles meaningful - the profile pages here right now are pretty useless.  It'd be great if they listed recent posts and comments by user and generally were worth clicking on.
  • Clean up the keywords - tags can be useful, but we've got so many now that they are a mess.  I never use them anymore.  I want to trim the list down to just a couple of hundred of the most useful ones so they can be used meaningfully to find related content. 
  • Do a better job surfacing the depth of community content here - Much of how I designed the site back in the day was to make it look big and full of content when there still wasn't a lot here.  Now there is a ton here, but it is difficult to track down some of the older gems.  I'm trying to improve that.
  • Be more contextual - the sidebars on the site really don't change.  I'd like to make it so that, say, if you are on someone's blog post in the sidebar you get a list of their previous posts. 
  • Clean the site up - both visually and content-wise.

I still have lots of work to do before it is ready, but I'm excited about the progress.  Here is a little sneak peek: 

Cleaner, isn't it?  The current site has so many boxes and borders and lines... I find it visually exhausting.  I'm hoping the new design will be easier on the eyes while remaining very familiar. 

That's it for now.  I'll keep folks posted as I progress, and definitely will give everyone an opportunity to try it and give me feedback before upgrading.

-Floyd

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Floydm

Fed the starter dark rye flour Sunday evening.  Monday morning combined:

1000g bread flour

680g warm water

Left that as an autolyse for half an hour, then added:

20g salt

180g ripe starter

Mixed it briefly.  Stretched and folded every hour over the next three hours, then put it in the fridge.

Mid-morning Tuesday, pulled it out of the fridge and divided the dough into three loaves.  Shaped them and let them rise for about 90 minutes, then baked them at 465F covered for 15 minutes and uncovered another 30. 

 I'm pretty pleased with the result I get when I feed my starter dark rye flour then bake with bread flour.  The rye livens up the starter and adds just touch of tang, but the loaf is still quite light. 

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Floydm

My fight against scurvy (not really) and the wintertime blues (really) by baking fruity things continued today.  This time I went for raspberries and made a Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid using the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid formula on the site.

 Very very good, as expected!

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Floydm

Today I baked a sourdough loaf in a pot...

and cinnamon rolls too.

10% of the sourdough loaf was whole wheat, otherwise it was the same as my previous loaves.

I hope everyone had good holidays and New Year! 

-Floyd

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Floydm

Lots of Christmas treats baked this weekend.

Magic Squares, Cranberry-Pecan Bars, Berlinerkrasner.

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Floydm

Earlier this week on a rainy day working from home, I fed my starter with 50% dark rye flour and 50% bread flour.  The next morning I made a dough with 10 ounces starter, 11 ounces water, 16 ounces of bread flour, and a teaspoon or two of salt.  All measurements are approximate: this wasn't something I tended to carefully, just a "background process" that I had running while doing other things.

That was a much larger proportion of ripe starter to fresh flour than I usually bake with but, boy, let me tell you, did this  dough ever pop.  I folded it two or three times during the day, shaped it in the afternoon, and an hour later baked it in the pot I got with the Average Joe Bread Kit.  465 preheat, 425 bake, 25 minutes covered and another 30 minutes or so uncovered.

It came out great.  One of the best rising loaves I've ever made, and incredibly thin, crackly crust.   The only real flaw was that I overdid it with the flour on the outside while it was rising, but that's easy enough to brush off.  

* * *

Hey! If any of you are Tumblr users, we started a blog for The Fresh Loaf there.  Follow us!  It'll mostly just point recipes and posts here, though we'll also recirculate good baking posts we find on Tumblr.

 

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Floydm

Today, I baked. I baked a no-knead loaf, a sourdough loaf, and batch of Hamelman's Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal bread.

Something else exciting I worked on this weekend...

 

That doesn't look like much, but it is early stages of porting TFL to Drupal 7, the newest version of the CMS that powers this site.  Drupallers will recognize the Omega theme at play here, which is a responsive theme that will make the site render well on mobile devices like cell phones and tablet computers.  There is still a lot of work to do but I'm excited to finally be started on it.  

Community members have no need to worry.  My hope is to keep the site behavior as familiar as possible, though if I could make things like image handling a bit simpler that would be a big plus.  I will also give folks a chance to try it and give me feedback before I roll anything new out.  And it is still going to be a while... my best guess would be January or February, after the holiday craziness is behind us.

That's about it.  Vancouver has been lovely this fall.  If you care to see pictures of the places we've been exploring, you can do so here in our Vancouver blog.

-F

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Floydm

We had plans to make a pot of barszt (borscht) this weekend, so I made a rye loaf to go with it.

I leavened it with  both my starter, which I fed with dark rye flour the evening before, and a teaspoon of instant yeast.  The loaf itself was about 30% dark rye flour, 70% bread flour.  The hydration... very approximate.

It is good stuff and seems to be keeping quite well.  

-Floyd

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Floydm

We've been having a lovely fall here in BC and I've been getting back into the baking routine.  These sourdough loaves were shared at our Thanksgiving dinner.

Then we had pizza night a couple of days later.

And last weekend I made a big honkin' miche with 5% rye flour, 10% whole wheat.  

I forgot to get a crumb shot, but it was pretty nice.

Of course, what would autumn be without apples and apple pie?  

Recently I learned a trick for making the crust: rather than trying to cube and cut the butter in with forks like the cookbooks always tell you to do, just toss the butter in the freezer for an hour or so before making the crust, then use a cheese grater to slice into little bitty bits.  It is so much easier and having the butter that cold to begin with makes the crust considerably flakier.

Happy baking!

-Floyd

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Floydm

Not the prettiest loaf I've ever made but proof that my new starter is indeed alive. 

* * *

In other news, I just can't wrap my head around it being Thanksgiving here in Canada Monday.  It feels too early in the season for pumpkin pie and turkey.  I think we're going to have a mini-Thanksgiving with some friends here Monday and then celebrate again with family members from the states six weeks from now.  Will I bake?  We shall see.

-Floyd

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