The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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I have been busy with work and trying to fit in baking here and there. Took a moment to upload some pics of my bakes over the past weeks.

Here is the barley bread I made. Hydration was 68% and the ground barley took 30% of the flour weight. Salt .025%


Here is a pic of american style sponge cake with strawberry jam and topped with whipped creme.


Here is some pasta I made. The colour comes from pureed beets. The flavor does not come through in the taste. It does turn a bit pinkish when cooked. Next time I will use more beets to help the colour through cooking.


Here is a pic of a barley bread after I took off the cast-iron cooker cover. Wonderful amount of oven-spring.


Finally, our newest addition to our family. We adopted him from the local rescue society.


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I had commented on doing this awhile back. I kept feeding my levain intill it reached 1200g. Pulled 200 off and added salt to the rest. Hydration is around 65%. Not totally sure since I just went by feel and it felt about 65. Bulk ferment at room temp then shaped and into the fridge for a cold proof overnite. It has a nice fruity smell from the levain being at a young stage and having a meal of barley from this past weekends bake. Its cooling now and I will cut into it after work.

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So, here is a pic of the bread this time letting the levain go 48 hours after a feeding and using 40% preferment. The acid smells were just a bit more pronounced. Still no real tart flavor to the loaf.Taste is really nice though. Im building my levain in stages and plan on baking another loaf ina couple of days with 50% preferment. Soon I will be at the 100% preferment point. What an interesting bake that will be. I will just be baking my starter, but isnt that what we do now?

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I have changed the feeding of my levain. I now feed it 1: .5: .5 every 24 hours. It has been a week now. The bake this morning produced a house full of nice sour smells. I tasted this loaf and still no tangy bread. This bulk fermented at room temp then went into the fridge overnight for final proofing. Im happy with the results. A nice crunchy crust and soft crumb. I would like to have a more sour flavor to it. Im thinking of increasing the levain in the dough. My levain sits at room temp and this time of the year is around 65 degrees. I think warming it up by 10 degrees would help with the sourness of everything. Below are the bakers percent of what I did. The loaf pictured is 600g and baked at 425 F for 45 min in a cast iron double cooker. The first 15 min covered.

Flour, 12% protein: 100%

water : 63%

salt, kosher: 2%

prefermented flour: 33%

levain is 100% hydration

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Im not a big scone person, I obviously have been eating the wrong scones. These things are awesome! Light, flaky, and buttery. These have changed my mind on scones. I followed the recipe with nothing unusual. I baked in a conventional oven. After the stated time the scones still were not brown. I turned on the convection and lowered to 325. After 10 more minutes they were browned perfectly. I will have to double check my oven temp. or just bake with convection next time for the entire bake.

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Here is my first bake from The French Baker by Sébastien Boudet. Came out very nice. I had to retard the final rise overnight in the fridge. Sleep was in need. Next morning I took it out and let it finish rising at room temp for a few hours. Has rye in it and that contributes to the flavor of the loaf. The family and I liked the loaf very much. The recipe says it makes one loaf. It was to big for my cast-iron cooker so I split it into two loafs. Came out fine.

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I have been busy baking. Not all bread. Been working on my pastry and cakes. Wanted to share some pics for your amusement and inspiration.

First up is my experimentation with the Tzang method, focaccia.

And here it is out of the oven.


KAF Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal bread.


Been making pasta and learning to use a ravioli pin.

I have made some breads but nothing to really talk about except the one I have been playing with the tzang method. It is the popped loaf leading the entry. After trying out some stuff with my favorite loaf bread, the KAF parkerhouse roll recipe. It started to dry out after 3 or 4 days. I figured the egg drys the crumb and the butter makes it cakey. Well, oil makes things fudgy so I replaced the butter with oil to counter the drying effect of the butter and egg. And to keep cost down while experimenting I replaced the milk with water. All I can say is WOW! This loaf went nuts. It popped like a balloon in the oven. I had better success with subsequent loafs but not enough to post the modified recipe yet. When I get a good result I will post the recipe and process. Intill then here is a pic of a loaf that faired better than the one at the top of the page.

 Here we are getting into winter. How big are the piles of snow where you are?


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After getting my levain into some warmer temps it has finally gotten strong enough to bake with and the acetone smell is gone. I mixed it 70% hydration and let it ferment for 12 hours then made a loaf. Loaf is 1 kilo at 65% hydration, 20% levain and 2% kosher salt. I did not account for the levain hydration in the final dough total hydration. Just go with it. Results were great.

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-----------------dry stuff--------------------

240 / 2 C AP-Flour

85 / 1 C Coco Powder

8 / 1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda

2 / 1/2 tsp Salt

-----------------wet stuff---------------------

353 / 1-1/2 C Buttermilk

8 / 1 tsp vanilla

-----------------creamy stuff---------------

115 / 1 stick Butter, unsalted

305 / 1-1/2 C Sugar

----------------eggie stuff-----------------

150 / 3 Lg eggs

---------------technical stuff-------------

Combine dry in its own bowl

combine wet in its own bowl

crack eggs and scramble in its own bowl

Cut butter into 1/4 inch cubes and place in bowl of stand mixer fitted with beater

Set oven to 350 degrees f, Now STOP!

Walk away. Yes, walk away. while your oven heats let everything come to room temp. 30 min no less! Sure, your oven is super and heats up in 10 min. That's the air in the oven not the oven itself. Open the door and let all that warm air out with no retained heat and that burner will work overtime and your cake will fall flat. Plus cold ingredients don't make good cake. Everything must be warm to hold that air and not overwork the batter.

Now, creme the butter to the consistency of mayonnaise

add the sugar and creme it. Really creme it like for 3 - 5 good minutes. if you dont do this your cake will be grainy and have poor structure causing streaks and possibly falling. The butter/sugar should come together and get fluffy and white-ish

add the eggs in 3 parts mixing only enough to just incorporate

now add the dry and wet starting with the dry and alternating with the wet and ending with dry. So, dry in 3 parts and wet in two parts. Mix just enough to incorporate

use a #16 disher to fill 24 cupcake wrappers in a cupcake tray.

Bake for 15 - 18 min intill a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 - 15 min then remove from tray

Let cool completely, about 2 - hours


112 / 1 stick Butter, unsalted, softened

340 / 3 C Confectionery Sugar (ultra-fine sugar is better) SIFTED

3 - 4 tbsp milk


creme butter and sugar.   I mean really creme it, like 3 - 5 minutes.

Add milk intill it reaches desired consistency. Nice and fluffy not runny.

Let this sit for the two hours the cupcakes are cooling to hydrate the sugar. It gives a better flavor and mouthfeel.

Then reserve some filling for the decoration on top.

Pump these beauties full of creme. Use a piping bag and large round tip or a cookie press with filling attachment.



120 / 1/2 C Heavy Creme

25 / 1 tbsp Light corn syrup

170 / 1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips


Melt together over double boiler intill smooth

dip tops of cupcakes and set to dry for an hour before decorating


Pipe reserved filling onto tops of cupcakes in a swirl. You can thin this out a little to stretch the filling and give flatter swirls like the original ones.

Try not to eat them all in one sitting.





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I enjoy this bread. We usually make it for general eating around the house. Its a straight dough but it disappears before it has a chance to stale. We will make this sometimes to turn into croutons or bread crumbs too. Here are my issues with this though. The flavor has always seemed a little flat to me. And the dough can be slack and not develop good tension. I have solved some of the problems and very happy with the results. The recipe given is not the same as Jeff's and that's why I'm posting it. Please check out his book for the original recipe.

287g   Flour, White

 96g   Flour, Whole Wheat

 63g   Oats, Old Fashioned

227g Water, Warm

 43g Milk

 29g   Molasses

 29g   Butter, Unsalted

  8g   Salt, Kosher

  5g   Yeast, Instant


Toss it all into your KA bowl.

Mix on speed 1 or 2 to incorporate ingredients.

Once incorporated mix on speed 3 for 10 minutes.

Disclaimer: KA states not to mix dough above speed 2. Doing this will void your warranty. My KA 6 quart can handle this dough amount with ease. Other KA models may have an issue. Please watch your mixer and never leave it unattended. You can mix at a lower speed just extend the time to 15 - 20 min.

After mixing move dough to oiled bowl and cover, allow to double. (Turn dough in bowl to lightly cover surface of dough with a coat of oil to prevent drying)

Once doubled, remove from bowl and de-gas. Shape into loaf and let final proof in style of your choice. (I use a brotform) Keep an eye on the loaf it will proof much faster than you expect.

Heat oven and cast-iron double cooker to 425 degrees F conventional or 400 degrees F convection.

Once the loaf is proofed place in cast-iron and slash top. Place top on cooker and bake covered for 15-min. Once time is up remove top of double cooker and bake for an additional 15-min or intill done.

Let cool before slicing.


I used molasses instead of honey. This gave the sweetness for the loaf and also a fuller flavor profile. That took care of the flat flavor I got from the loaf. The slack dough was from using whole oats. It would break the gluten strands. Processing the oats into a finer meal gave better gluten development and improved handling of the dough. The recipe says oil or butter if I remember right. I used oil for a long time but didnt get the crumb I wanted. Butter was the way to go. Think oil for chewy and butter for cakey. I wanted more of a cakey crumb for sandwiches. I also backed down the hydration to 70% improving dough handling and crumb texture. Its summer here now so come winter you may need to increase the water back to 75% hydrated for consistency.


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