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MadAboutB8's blog

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As part of the plan to try using up 5 kilos of potato that we have, I turned to Bourke Street Bakery cookbook for Mr Potato Bread. 

This was the first time I followed BSB's method of starter built, i.e. number of feedings and amount of starter. In the past, whenever I made the sourdough from BSB, I adapted Hamelman's method.

I usually fed the starter twice before the bake, but I did three for this bake (followed the book's feeding schedule). The dough was much more active. However, come to think of it, it could have been10% of rye in the dough that contribute to a rather active dough or it could be both.

Apart from following the book's feeding schedule, I also didn't substitute the nigella seeds in the recipe for something else  I am usually a serious offender  when it comes ingredients substitution. I'm glad I didn't for this bake as the nigella seeds enhanced the flavour of the bread tremendously. The aroma was fantastic. The seeds together with rosemary gave the bread extra kick, extra flavour. It was really a flavoursome bread.

 Nigella seeds also known as kaloonji in Indian cuisine

This is unusual potato bread, different from the ones I made before that included mashed potato. This bread called for chunk potato, which still can be seen when the bread was cut. It gave the rustic look and provide some different texture to the bread.

BSB's recipe use 62% hydration, I increased this to 66% as I rather like working with high hydration dough. It's easier, more pleasant and fun when it comes to kneading.

More photos and recipe can be found here. 


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I'm back to making my favorite green tea bread bun again. Having a mentality like a Japanese (trying to as I'm making something sort of Japanese) that food appearance is as important as its taste. I am thinking to make a nice looking bread roll instead of simple bread bun.

I also got lots of green tea powder I bought during my trip to Japan late last year that is asking to be used. And again, I'm on to my favorite food pair, green tea and red bean, a food pair that is made for each other. A match made in heaven!

The recipe I used is a typical sweet bread recipe but I use sourdough starter and reduce amount of yeast. I also included 20% wholewheat flour.

This type of decorative bread roll is quite common in Asia and Asian bakery in Australia. It is not difficult to make but provide a great looking bread roll. It was fun to make different bread shape and learn about new pastry techniques.

Recipe and more photos are here.



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I finally got around to make the famous SFBI (San Francisco Baking Institute) Miche the past weekend. I have been wanting to try this recipe for sometimes after reading so much rave reviews from the TFL members.  

The recipe was posted by David (dmsnyder). Many of the TFL members have made this Miche and all reported fantastic results (many thanks to David and all TFLers who baked the bread and share their results). 

The bread has a mixture of bread and whole-wheat flour in the starter. The recipe also contains wheat germs, which was toasted before the mixing. I have never baked with wheat germs before, or have any wheat germs for that matter. The aroma of toasted wheat germs was fantastic. It has nutty and sweet aroma and give the earthy flavour to the bread.

The original recipe yielded one 2-kg Miche. It was suggested not to scale down the recipe, or you'll be sorry if you do, as the bread was really nice. I didn't scale down the recipe, but instead, I scaled it up to 3-kg batch for two of 1.5-kg Miches.

The dough was soft, silky and nice to work with. I was surprise how well the gluten has develop with little effort. I almost did ZERO kneading but the gluten seems to develop itself from the very beginning, which I was wondering if it was the result of high hydration.

It is one of the tastiest bread I made so far. I love its chewy crumb, crackling crust, and pronounced sourness (which I wonder if it has anything to do with whole-wheat flour in the starter).

I have also posted about this bake in my blog, here.






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I made Tomato, Parmesan and Basil flatbread from Bouke Street Bakery cookbook this weekend with our home-grown peach tomatoes.

The tomato resembles cherry tomato in size, only with yellow colour. It tastes sweet and mild acidic with a beautiful aroma.

I tweaked the recipe a little by using sourdough starter instead of pre-ferment, which I believe give extra flavour.

The recipe is here.


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Every now and then, I take a break from making multigrains bread to fruit bread. I've also been wanting to try making bread with walnuts for quite somtimes, influenced by many wonderful entries from TFL members.

Cranberry and walnuts is a food pair that appears together quite often and I wanted to try making bread with cranberries. So, here go the bread from my last weekend's bake, cranberry and walnut sourdough.

I adapted the recipe from Jeffrey Hamelman's prune and hazelnut sourdough recipe. I made this recipe quite a few times with my own fruit and nuts adaptation, fig and hazelnut, fig and almond. Strangely enough, I never made the bread using prune and hazelnuts as the original recipe suggested.

I quite enjoy cranberry in bread. It added the nice sour yet sweet flavour to the bread, as well as the moist and chewy texture. The bread also got a good crunch texture from walnut.

It made great fruit toast with my home-made orange butter.

delicious with orange butter

More pictures and recipe can be found here.



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I just want to share my experience at the Red Beard Bakery, an artisan bakery in a small town called Trentham in country Victoria, Australia.

Trentham is about 70-minute drive from central Melbourne. It's a small gold-rush era town in central victoria. We made a day trip to visit the Bakery. I only knew about Red Beard Bakery recently from the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival program, which offers a bread-making class at the Red Beard Bakery.

The Bakery's story is quite fascinating. It was set up by two brothers at the site used to be a commercial bakery over 140 years ago. They refurbished the 19th-century Scotch oven (woodfried oven) and put it back into operation again.

The story is not only fascinating, it is also refreshing to see an artisan baker baking traditional bread using traditional methods. It is such a great story and I was very keen to visit the bakery and taste the bread.

Customers can also ask to see the Scoth oven. We took the chance. The oven is huge. Its size is about a small bedroom. The peel for loading breads is a massive 4-metre long! They can bake 300 sourdough loaves at the same time.

We also had lunch there, BLT sandwich and vegie focaccia. Great sandwich starts with great bread and their breads are excellent.

More photos and story are here.


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This bread was inspired by a post at Wild Yeast Blog (and also my inner frugality and curiosity) about incorporating old bread into the dough. The idea is also based on the bread-making wisdom that old bread will improve bread flavour and its keeping quality.

I love the idea that instead of throwing stale bread away, I can make the use out of it. The piece that was destined for the bin or compost could potentially improve the bread flavour and texture. It is a fabulous idea.

I had a small piece of sourdough corn bread left over from two weeks ago that I have put them aside in the fridge. I chopped it into one-inch pieces and process them in food processor to get the breadcrumb (it was about 90 grams, or 10% of total flour weight).

The bread has a wonderful aroma, and it is even more so when toasted. The bread is quite sweet even though there is only 5% of honey in it. I guess the high amount of corn in the recipe also contributse to the natural sweetness of the loaf. I totally love this bread for its flavour and aroma. It is seriously yummy bread. It's nice on its own and even better with butter.

I also stenciled hearts into the loaves, just to get into the spirit of Valentine's Day:P.

For more details and pictures, you can follow the link below:


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I came across burghul (also known as bulghur) at the grocery section of Oasis Bakery. The name was really familiar and I remembered vaguely from the bread-making book that it was grain. So, I bought a one small tub hoping to try using it with the grain-bread, and the Jeffrey Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain is on my agenda. 

I did some research on Google about burghul in bread as well as flipping through my bread making cookbook (Reinhart's and Hamelman's). I didn't find much of useful information (must I say, it's almost ZERO information).

As it turned out, burghul is widely known more as bulghur than burghul. When I did searches on bulghur, it now returned a large amount of relevant and useful information. However, I only did this after I finished with my bake and was very curious about this grain.  Which, I will now refer to this grain as "bulghur". So, I baked with bulghur without having enough information on how to handle it correctly.  In fact, there are useful discussions about bulghur in The Fresh Loaf specifically for Hamelman's Five Grain Levain bread, the bread I was working on. Had I searched The Fresh Loaf about the bulghur (not burghul, sorry if this sounds confusing), I would have had enough valuable information to work with. Why didn't I do that, I will never know.

I substituted cracked rye in the recipe with bulghur and keep it as hot soaker (i.e. soaking grains and seeds by hot water for 12-16 hours) as I figured that I should treat bulghur as cracked wheat.  In fact, if you want to keep its slight crunchy texture, you should soak it in the cold water instead. And it's what I should have done. 

However, hot soaker also worked fine. But I just prefer the bulghur not to be mushy and blend into the bread like it was with the hot soaker.

Given that a lot of water was absorbed into bulghur (with hot soaker), the dough felt stiff, yet sticky. I had to add about 2 tablespoons more water to adjust the dough consistency. Again, I believe the stickiness might have come from mushy bulghur. If I am going to make bread with bulghur again, I would definitely soak it in cold water as I believe it will give a nicer texture and easier when it comes to dough handling.

The bread is very moist and a little dense. I found the crumb is also tighter than my previous  five-grain levain bake. I think that the cooked and mushy burghul played the part in the tighter crumbs. The grain flavour seems to be dominated by sunflower seeds in the grain mix. Its aroma came through every time I bit into the bread, which is really nice.  The bread also has nice texture from the flaxseeds and sunflower seeds. I couldn't taste the bulghur but it definitely added texture, moisture and chewiness to the bread.

All in all, this bread is my all-time favourite. It never disappoints. It is full of flavour an texture, not to mention its goodness from the wholegrain. Highly recommend for the multi-grain bread lover.


For more details and recipe you can follow the below link:



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It's Australian Day and it's the day when Aussies celebrate with things we love, barbeque, beer and lamington (?). We didn't plan to do any BBQ gatherings but ended up with one.

I only knew about the BBQ 5-6 hours in advance and decided to bring some fresh butter rolls to the barbie. Given the tight timeframe, straight-dough is the only option. I chose the soft butter rolls recipe from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread cookbook. The rolls can be done in about 3 hours which worked out nicely with the limited time.

I also sprinkle grated Parmesan on the rolls before the bake and brush the hot rolls with melted butter. The rolls were a hit. They were soft and relatively rich with butter, milk and egg in them. Parmesan also added nice aroma and sharp cheese flavour. It was a great accompaniment to the barbeque dinner.

For more details and photo you can click on below link:

Yummy bread rolls, with sprinkled Parmesan and black sesame seeds


The bread rolls with a view of Melbourne CBD




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I came across polenta flour (maize flour) at Oasis Bakery (a middle eastern food store) and thought it would be an interesting ingredient for bread. I use polenta (coarse grind) quite often with my multigrains bread and I like its taste. It make the bread sweeter and give a nice yellow hue to the crumb.

Having no experience working with polenta flour, I had no idea how well it would absorb liquid, what changes it would make to the gluten development when mixed with wheat flour, etc. A search through Google and The Fresh Loaf website didn't give much information either. It doesn't seem like polenta flour is widely used in bread making, at least not from the information I found on the Web. 

The bread turned out quite nicely. The crumb was relatively open. It is denser and slightly chewier than usaul. It's good change from normal wheat bread and works really well with tomato, basil and olive oil.

More details can be found here:


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