The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Grandpa Larry's blog

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

My wife claims that the older I get, the more like my mother I become. One of her idiosyncrasies was her distrust of any food not prepared by her.

I guess I am a little like that. I bake almost all of our bread, and I recently started culturing my own yogurt. I've noticed that, unless I strain some of the water out the yogurt is thinner than the supermarket variety, but it makes a perfect substitute for buttermilk in muffin, scone, pancake, and biscuit recipes. It's the consistency of store bought buttermilk.

Here's a recipe for Blueberry Muffins using yogurt.  My family really likes these muffins. You have my permission to use any yogurt you please.

2 Cups    All Purpose Flour

1 tsp        Baking Powder

1/2 tsp     Baking Soda

1/2 tsp     Salt

3/4 Cup   Sugar

1 Cup      Yogurt or Buttermilk

1 Egg

3 Tbl.      Veg Oil

1 heaping cup fresh Blueberries.

Whisk all dry ingredients until they are well combined.  Add berries and stir until they are all coated with flour mixture.

Combine egg, oil, and yogurt

Add liquid to flour/berry mixture. Mix until combined.

Scoop into muffin tins.

Bake in 375F oven until golden brown. About 15 minutes. Makes 12-14 regular or 6-7 jumbo muffins.

Make your own buttermilk:  Add 1 Tbl lemon juice or 1 Tbl white vinegar to 1 cup room temperature milk. Allow to sit until clabbered. If using lemon juice, add the zest to the batter.


Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

I found this recipe today while going over some old recipe cards that appeared in the back of a kitchen drawer. I'm certain I copied it out of a paperback book on sourdough breads, years ago. I can't find the book nor do I remember its' title or author. I've never tried the recipe, though I'll likely give it a go soon.

Does anyone here know anything more about it?


 2 Cups Buttermilk

3 Cups corn meal

1pkg dry yeast

½ tsp salt

¼ C warm water

Sterilized corn meal

white flour


Scald 2 C buttermilk with 3 C corn meal over low fire, stirring until a smooth mush is achieved.

 When cooled to warm, add yeast dissolved in ¼ cup warm water. Let stand. When it rises, stir it down and let rise again 3 times.

 Add enough sterilized corn meal and white flour in equal amounts to make very stiff dough. Use a rounded teaspoon to make each cake.

 Dip in corn meal. Lay on trays of absorbent paper and dry at room temp. Turn often and change paper as needed.

Store in fridge. 1 cake=1 pack dry yeast in starters and overnight sponges.

 Sterilize corn meal in oven at low temp for 1 hour.. Stir often. Do not allow to burn.

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

I'm a huge fan of Inside The Jewish Bakery, by Stan Ginsberg and Norman Berg.  Today I had a taste  for  a rich white bread, and so I decided to bake up a couple loaves of the Vienna Bread (Vinnerbroyt.) It is described in the book thus:

"This sweet, enriched loaf has a lovely open crumb and soft texture. In the Jewish bakeries, it was used for sandwich loaves and, when left to ferment for 2 to 3 hours, for kaiser rolls." 

It sounded like just what I was after.

Stan has indicated that he does not wish to post the recipes from this book, so I won't. I'll just say that it calls for 1 3/4 tsp. of instant yeast. The recipe makes slightly more than 2 pounds of dough.

The recipe also states that fermentation should take about 40 min to an hour for the dough to double and about the same for the loaves to proof. This a dough rich with egg, oil, and sugar and it seemed like not much yeast , but I followed the recipe, something I rarely do.

In reality, the dough took 2.5 hours to double and almost as long to proof.

The loaves are beautiful, light, and tasty, with a light, crackly crust.  I'll use a bit more yeast next time.

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

About a month ago I ran across the website "The Italian Dish" which contained a post titled Amazing Artisan Bread for 40 Cents a Loaf - No Kneading, No Fussing, No Kidding.

This is the author's take on the no knead bread baking technique and the book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

As most cooks do, I modified the recipe and technique to suit my own schedule and the ingredients on hand and came up with a method I've been employing in my bread and pizza baking. The basic recipe is:

5 cups flour (usually half AP and half bread flour)

2 cups water

1 Tbl. sugar

1 Tbl salt

1 tsp. instant yeast

I have experimented by varying the types of flour, including semolina for a portion of it and using honey in place of sugar.

I mix these ingredients by hand into a pretty shaggy dough, which I allow to rise until doubled. I then place the container into the fridge.for at least 24 hours. The longer, the better. After it comes to room temperature I shape it into a loaf or pizza and bake.

Lately I've been pouring 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough when I place it in the fridge. I don't wash the container between batches.

The bread resulting from this dough, with or without olive oil, with or without semolina, most closely resembles and tastes like ciabatta. It is very, very good. The longer it ferments, the better the flavor. I wish I had a larger container.

The quality of the bread as well as the ease with which it's achieved has made me a happy baker.

I'll experiment further and report.

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

I read the posts and blog entries on this forum pretty regularly, and I freely admit that there are far more sophisticated bakers posting here than I am. Many of the photos of breads, pizzas, and pastries I see look better; far better, and more appetizing than the products I see at local bakeries and restaurants.

That being said, I occasionally have a moment where I get something my bumbling sort of way. I believe I've been having some of those moments recently with pizza. I seem to have hit upon a few simple tricks which have dramatically improved the crust on the weekly pizza I bake for my family.

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