The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

gmagmabaking2's blog

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Are now two. The world has lost a great amateur baker, and an even greater big sister. Our sister Barbra died today... we will continue to bake with her forever. I am thinking I have to master her Tartine loaf... I am really going to try. I know many of you know my sister through this site... She was such a fan, and she contributed so much! The work of her hands and her heart were a blessing to many. She will be missed.

Diane and Helen, proud to be her sisters!

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Hi all, yesterday we make our fruitcakes, so we would have plenty of time to snocker them up for the Christmas Dinner. We used a great recipe that we tested when Helen and I surprised Barbra on her birthday almost a whole year ago... we made our yearly fruitcakes there with her in October.  This year we started a bit earlier and baked together via cyber/text.  Admittedly, in person was more fun!!!  But these all came out great by anyone's standards I am sure.

We used a combination of pans and our fruits are a bit different... Here are Helen's and then My fruit before mixing.


Barb didn't send a picture of her fruit, but I imagine it looks a lot like mine... with nuts...I left nuts out at my husband's request.

Looking the into the oven shots.


Those oven shots are mine, then Helen's, then Barb's.

We had a good time making these, tasting, and now waiting for the time to reveal them after some "resting" in wait for the holidays.

 Helen's all done  and wrapped.

 Barb's baked and ready to wrap.

 Barbra tripled the recipe... that is a whole lot of fruit and goodies.

and then mine is all wrapped up... the lead in picture is my round one that is in the can... it weighs 6.75 pounds, single recipe in tube pan with about an inch in a loaf pan for sampling.


... that is a lot of love waiting for Christmas... 

By this time next week we will all have "Baking with Julia" in our hot, floury, little hands... I wonder what we will bake?

Happy Holiday Baking!

Helen, Diane, and Barbra (rbo) =)


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Hi, we have been baking, but not posting lately due to the fact that I had surgery on my right ankle, completing the ankle reconstruction project and any forseeable body restoration!!! So this past week we just made "bread" ... Barb made her Tartine bread, Helen Sourdough and I made a Buttermilk bread from a new cookbook we are cruising through "Baking with Julia"... Tomorrow we are baking our Christmas Cakes to set aside to mellow for the holidays... time to get that going... lots of fruit...we all have the same basic recipe but, as usual, we have a little different spin on the outcomes... will post results.

Here are our bread shots... glad to be back.

Barb's bread is the lead in: 

Helen's Sourdough:

and finishing up with my Buttermilk bread...        

If you remember when we made the Hokaido Milk bread... discovered that the dough make the absolute best cinnamon rolls...just saying... 

Tis the Fruitcake Season!!! and lots of Pumpkin stuff... go for it!

Happy Baking, Barbra, Diane and Helen (birth order)


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but you remember how it was... the leftovers will go on forever! Not really, this really made me wonder why there were leftovers back "in the day"... these meals were really well received and not much ended up repurposed. To end the month we made "roast beef with potatoes and vegetables, plus desserts... The lead in rolls are Barb's. She made a nice yeasted dinner roll, and was pleasantly surprised at the light texture and the fluffiness, after becoming such a tartine, sourdough bread guru... nice change for this dinner... Here is her crumb.

  and her dinner plate. She had ice cream and cookies for dessert!

This is a great looking meal and the rolls... yummmy!  

Helen's dinner plate looks amazing also... 

she has some Jello with bananas, and a pretzel roll... looks like honey butter for the rolls.... YES! I can see why leftovers are missing here. This is what the roasting pan looked like at the beginning...

  Good start and great finish... Well done!!! my sisters!

Mine is being stashed away to bring out later for heat-ups... I am in to making my own TV dinners, sort of...

  and Dessert... 

Good old Jello with fruit cocktail and homemade Hershey's old-fashioned fudge... into the freezer goes the TV dinners.   


In addition to these lovely dinners, I made raisin bread, Barb made Tartine loaves and Helen made Alaskan sourdough... just wanted to let you know we are on to another theme for next month... just haven't figured out what yet... any suggestions????

Happy Baking, Helen, Diane (me) and Barbra


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This month we are calling Retro Supper Month... mid week we are getting together to make a "50-60s" Supper and then having the good old fashioned leftovers... or re-purposed meals to fill out the week... All the meals have a dessert but some might or might not have breads, depending on how the week is going, whether Lucy has visited our kitchens and whether our memories have put the ingredients on the shopping recap a bit... the first week of February we made... meatloaf and dinner rolls, lemon meringue pie, last week we made fried chicken and mashed potatoes,sourdough popovers, pumpkin pie... each of us added a veggie ... I am going to toss in an assortment of pictures to catch y'all up on our doings... and then maybe I can post a more coherent blog for this week. The lead in picture is Helen's Supper...

 Left is Barb's leftovers...

and to the right here, is my meatloaf......  This pie on the left is Helen's pumpkin with struesel topping.

These popovers in the oven are Barb's....  

  This is my pumpkin pie with pecan struesel

Here is my baked chicken, rosemary potatoes...

popovers and green beans..

While making these dinners, Barb still reigned supreme on that gorgeous tartine bread...


These loaves just keep getting better 

 looking... don't they?

 Seriously good breads...

Will do better at tracking this week... looking forward to Retro Wednesday's Sisters Supper Club... Spaghetti and Garlic bread is this week's theme... We are looking at those chewy italian ciabatta rolls on KA... maybe... who knows... we still have more talking and planning to do... research and chatting with my sisters is what makes it all worthwhile...

Thanks for checking in... 

Happy Baking and Memory making... Diane and Helen and Barbra.





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This week among other things baked... together we baked Polenta pepita breads...Helen did not put rosemary in ours... Barb used a recipe that had it and used it.

Helen and I made recipe pretty straight to the script... Barb, creative thinker that she is... added brown sugar candied bacon crumbles, along with the pumpkin seeds and rosemary... she said the rosemary was a little overpowering the first day... but this morning, that rosemary had mellowed and the bacon had taken the stage.

Sounds like a very good for Barb. As you can see it is a great looking bread.


Helen just had a slice of hers toasted with a sweet potato side... 

My loaf didn't get the big nice holes like Helen's or a thinner crust like Barb's ... in fact my crust is very thick and unfriendly...


In addition to this bake, Helen did Alaskan Sourdough and Barbra did more Tartine Bread... and I made pasta and raviolis.

Happy Baking, Helen, Diane, and Barbra


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We talked, we texted, we discussed ideas and recipes... but this week we all baked somewhat differently. Barb made the amazing Tartine bread on the lead in... many times... many loaves... maybe obsessively!! Maybe not, she had a wealth of talent and people standing in line to eat her breads... or sitting and reclining... however it gets them bread they are doing it!!! 

 Absolutely beautiful and holes that have never been seen in

MY kitchen... I am going to get there someday... Helen baked a variation of the Olive loaf we baked last week, this time she put in ripe olives and cheddar cheese along with some swiss... 

 Now does that

look good or what... she is serving this with toasted with minestrone soup... which we all made... it all looked pretty much like the recipe in Ina Garten's book... where we found it. I am showing you my pot of soup... Barb's and Helen's looked the same.

  and then for dessert I had Angel Cake,

same old "Better Homes and Gardens, red and white checkered book" from the old days.

Sliced and topped with some berries  and whipped cream and it was a good baking day... or days, this week we all baked on different days... the only for sure commonality this week was the minestrone and the sharing... Love our times together, baking, talking, planning, texting, and emailing.

Happy Baking, see you next week.

Helen, Diane, and Barbra.

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Helen chose this bake. The lead in picture is her crumb. Watching Martha Stewart bakes on was what really convinced us to do the bake... She made this bread look so good and so easy... Good and Easy are two of our favorite ingredients!!!

Here is the dough.  Helen's comment was that this was a nice little "cheesy" dough ball... looks great! The dough was moist and somewhat sticky. Nice and soft.

 Baked up beautifully. Check out those lovely olive slices. 

This bread is so very good as toast! With freshly sliced tomato, with sliced mozzarella, with peach preserves... great with just about anything. Makes a good little "pizza bread" with pizza toppings.

Barb used jalapeno's and cheddar... there was an olive "sneaker" in the family olive jar... 


Those two sisters of mine are some great bakers... wonderful, wonderful.... Other than Lucy stealing olives, no other appearances in their kitchens... Helen also baked Sourdough bread and Barb also baked Tartine bread, busy breadies those sisters!

My bake went well too... first time I tried the putting a glob of wet dough in a hot pot...


With the lighting... this really reminds me of the OLD movie... the Blob! Or a real brain loaf... LOL...

I was thinking that was going to be really hard to get into a hot pot!

But the parchment paper helped and even I ended up with a pretty good looking bread!


One of the best breads we have made... I was thinking it would be good with Salami cubes and Swiss cheese... sounds good to me.

We have a new cookbook "Ina Garten" and we are planning next week's bake... See you then.

Happy Baking... Helen, Diane, and Barbra (youngest to eldest)



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The lead in photo is Barb's first ever homemade tamales... She and Helen both made tamales for the first time... and they both made pork... She did a marvelous job meandering outside of her comfort zone.

Helen made her's with her daughters and granddaughter, thus starting a new family tradition... They made about 90 or so of these ...

 Nice looking tamales here too... fun times!!

 My tamales are Chicken and Green Chili... I made plenty for later... we like them rather thick... so my recipe ended up making 42 out of 2 pounds of chicken breast. 

  Just a word of warning... If you happen to wet down too many corn husks... DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRY THEM OUT IN YOUR CLOTHES DRYER!!! On the other hand, I may have discovered how corn flour... or corn starch can actually be made without a grain mill!!! One day, I will look back and laugh... actually any day, I can look back and laugh.. LOL... 

Happy Baking, Everyone... Hoppin John, Cornbread and Greens for the new year... tomorrow.


Barbra, Diane* and Helen

Here is her picture.

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                                         Gingerbread and Sprinkles

                                             with icing so sweet.

                                         Today we baked cookies

                                              for Santa to eat!!


Ha! In reality... unless some got put in the freezer, Santa, that old chubby guy, is out of luck!! At least in my house! 

We had a great time baking sugar cookies and gingerbread... Helen's Gingerbread Invasion is our lead in shot... She made trays for her kids to take to their jobs and their neighbors... Actually Helen had a baking, candy making day with her kids and made awesome aprons for everyone to wear during the family SWEET day... 

Gingerbread and Sugar Cookies all look great... and then she had the gingerbread men standing on their heads...

and it was Dancer and Prancer, and Donner and Vixen, Dasher and... well you know... lots of Rudolph imposters with those red noses!!! I really think they are cuter than Gingerbread MEN.... 

Barb set up a Sugar Cookie tray for the Great Grand kids to have fun decorating ... 

The named cookies are for each of the artists and the palettes are below.... 

And then there are my cookies... 

Whooo hooo.... refrigerator art AND calories... I know I have said this before ... but the fun we have together baking makes each week so special... What a gift my sisters are! Not just to me, but to everyone in their lives.

 and now in the words of the youngest in the family.... Ahhhh.... time to go Shopping....

Merry Christmas Everyone,

Check back next week to see how our Christmas Tamales come out! 

Happy Baking, Barbra, Diane and Helen




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