The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

  • Pin It
Floydm's picture

I think I fed my sourdough starter once this summer.  I thought for sure it was a goner, but I fed it last Saturday night and, lo and behold, Sunday morning it had nearly tripled in size.  It baked a great looking loaf.

Floydm's picture

As I mentioned the last time I posted, after a visit there I decided I needed to figure out how approximate the scones at Murchie's in Victoria, BC.  I tried two recipes last weekend that were very similar except one was yeasted and the other was unyeasted.  The unyeasted one came out very good and, while light and creamy, had the crumbly consistency I typically experience with scones.

I used the cream scone recipe here but substituted currents for the cranberries.   

For the yeasted recipe, I came up with something like this saffron bun recipe, leaving out the saffron and using cream instead of milk and butter.

These were delicious but too rich and heavy.  Next time I'd use maybe half cream and half milk and bump up the amount of yeast I use.

I'm pretty sure now that Murchie's scones are not traditional baking powder raised scones but instead yeasted cream buns.  They really nail it so that they both taste light and rich at the same time.  It is going to take a few more tries, but I think I'm heading in the right direction.

Floydm's picture

We just spent a weekend up in Victoria BC. 

As you can see, it was beautiful.  We had a great time.  I have a new obsession now though:

The current scones at Murchie's Tea & Coffee (on the right) were unbelievably good.  We had them with tea in the afternoon the day we got there and I had to go back to have another the next morning.  So light and totally different than the biscuit-like scones I am used to.  

I've been told that using cream that is already whipped and folding it into the dry ingredients is the secret to scones like these. I will figure out how to bake them or something very like them... oh yes, I will... and share my findings here.

Floydm's picture

Actually a few of these are from Montpellier too, like the first few:

Macarons are all the rage.

This bakery had the dark baguettes set aside for people like me who like them that way.


Floydm's picture

We just got back from our first trip to Europe with kids, our first trip overseas in nearly twelve years. We spent most of it in southern France but flew in and out of Paris.

As you can imagine, I made all kinds of plans for hitting bakeries while passing through Paris.  We got in on a Sunday and left Paris early Monday though, so most bakeries were closed.  We did find one that was open in the neighborhood we were staying in, which was on Rue de Lombards, one of the gayer streets in gay Paris.  Coincidentally it was also pride weekend, so the bakery was baking up special treats.

We headed to Montpellier after that, where I had a lot of really good though not incredible bread.  I wasn't so envious of the quality of the bread, which was comparable to what you can find in a good bakery here, as I was the abundance:  whereas we have four or maybe five good bakeries in all of Portland, every five or ten blocks in Montpellier there were decent bakeries.  Every the baguettes they sold in the grocery stores were quite good.  And cheap.  And I really loved these:

Nothing fancy, obviously, but mildly sweet chocolate brioche that you can find in every grocery?  I'm extremely envious.  I wish we had breakfast buns readily available that weren't as syrupy sweet as doughnuts or Danishs.  The closest thing I can thing of here is Kings Hawaiian Sweet Bread which is quite good but not the same.

When we returned to Paris I tried to arrange to hit some of the better known bakeries but didn't have much luck.  We got sandwiches from Pain D'Epis and I snapped a few photos but it was the middle of the day and we were headed to Les Invalides, so I didn't buy any of their breads.  They were nice looking though.

Julien was the bakery we went to the most.

Gosselin, which I tried to visit. Unfortunately it was being remodeled.

Oh yeah, and I wanted to head over to Poilâne on our final day in Paris but opted to take the kids to the Pompidou instead, but noticed they had Poilâne bread in the local grocery store.  So I tried it this way.


Floydm's picture

I was preparing to make a couple of loaves of French Bread this weekend when I noticed we had some pesto sauce in the fridge that I needed to use up.  I went ahead and dumped it into the mixer to see what would happen.

Well, it definitely turned green.  The flavor?  Not bad, but not as compelling as I'd hoped.  It  seems like something is missing... maybe bits of sun-dried tomatoes?  Or cubes of mozzarella and salami mixed in?  Or parmesan cheese melted and browned on top?  I'm not sure.  It is worth further experimentation with this, but I don't feel like I've struck gold yet. 

My formula (or at least my notes, since this was one of those "measuring everything by the handful" kinds of recipes).


1 cup AP flour

1 cup water

1/8 teaspoon instant yeast


Final dough:

All the Preferment

16 oz AP flour

10 oz water

1 teaspoon salt (less than normal since I figured there was quite a bit in the pesto)

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 cup pesto sauce

Enough additional flour to make the ingredients bind together properly (which in my case was nearly 1 1/2 more cups, but it would be less if your pesto was less runny).



Floydm's picture

Today was the first time since before the Haiti earthquake that I was able to bake much of anything. 

Today's breads

I baked a three seed sourdough (poppy, sesame, and flax) and an Italian bread (a pinch of yeast, some sourdough starter, and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil).  Both batches turned out very well and my starter proved to be amazingly resilient.

BTW, remember the fundraising tool I was working on for Mercy Corps that community members here helped test back in the fall?  It got written up in the NY Times a couple of months ago.  Thank you again to everyone who helped with it.  It has been a tremendous success and helped fund a lot of excellent projects we are doing in Haiti.   

Floydm's picture

Thank you to the many TFL community members who have shown support for Mercy Corps' response to the disaster in Haiti.  Your support means a great deal to me. 

Overall we've had tremendous support from donors on this one.  It you hit today you'll see they are listing us as the preferred charity.

On another note: remember how I was saying TFL was exactly 5 years old yesterday?  Some members contacted me about having a hard time reaching the site this morning.  Guess how long I registered the domain "" for?  5 years.  Can you figure out who forgot to renew their domain?  Geez, what a dumb thing to do.  Happily no one snatched it up and the domain has been renewed, so should be safe for another five years.

Floydm's picture

This evening I was planning on doing a longer post about how I set up and made the first post on TFL 5 years ago today and how I couldn't have imagined that it'd blossom into what it has become.  I was also going to share photos of a cute little bakery in my hometown that my mother sent me, but as you've likely heard a terrible earthquake hit Haiti this afternoon and my employer, Mercy Corps, is scrambling to organize a response to the earthquake.  We of the fundraising team are doing all we can to raise funds promptly and get the word out that we and partner agencies are responding immediately.  So I'll keep it short and just note the anniversary, offer my sincerest prayers for the people in Port-au-Prince, and take it as another reminder to count my blessings at every opportunity.


Floydm's picture

I found a copy of January/February issue of Saveur today, the one that includes TFL in the 2010 Saveur 100.

TFL gets better exposure than "Cantonese Roast Meats" or "Harumi Kurihara," less than the "Tuna Melt" or "Pyrex Glass Measuring Cups."  I can't complain.

Let me also put out a reminder to Americans that we have one final day to make contributions to charities if we want to be able to take the tax deductions in 2009.  TFL members have been extraordinarily generous when we've done fundraising in the past, and, as The Chronicle of Philathropy reports, this year charities are having a very tough time raising funds.  The needs both domestically and abroad are greater than ever and even small gifts can have a significant impact, so if you can afford to help, please do.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve.  See you in 2010!


Subscribe to RSS - Floydm's blog