The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Marni's blog

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My wrist was declared healed about two weeks ago, and I am thrilled to be able to stretch and fold (both in the bowl and out) and shape two handed again!

Here is one of loaves I made first:

This is the 1,2,3 formula with the addition of dried rosemary which I soak in warmed olive oil.  I add both the rosemary and oil to the dough late in the first mixing.  This is one of my favorite breads.

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After seeing the fabulous Monkey Bread that Txfarmer posted about here, I had to try my own version.  I have to say that hers runs circles around mine- especially as far as the photography, but we enjoyed it.

Because we don't eat bacon ( I rarely eat any meat at all) I substituted a soy bacon.  It definitely is not the same.  Still, it was tasty, fun to make and looked great.  I'm sorry I don't have a pic of the finished product, I didn't have access to a camera at the time.  But here are some work in progress photos:



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I'm documenting the results of the help my wonderful family gave me this past month while I recovered from a bicycle accident in which I broke my left wrist.  Fortunately, I'm right handed, but the cast/brace severely limited my baking.  I'm not the only one who suffers if I can't bake - my family wants their bread, cookies and cake - and I now know without question that I am a baker for the love of it.  I missed baking!

Anyway, there was no kneading or shaping for me, (typing with one hand too!) so my family stepped in and did pretty well:

   He did the shaping above and we finished them together.

   Here he is rolling challah into ropes; we all had fun braiding.

The challahs below were shaped by my daughters who are    seven. One was a first braid accomplished alone and the other is an interpretaion of a rose.

My husband and I made the braid from a video we watched of Ciril Hitz.






The finished products:


He also helped form a couple sandwich loaves ( very sticky - very funny and sweet) and the girls helped with pizza one night too.

As one of my friends said, the kids gained some good life skills during these weeks.


Now, my wrist is healed and I have two sourdough rosemary boules coming out of the oven!



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After seeing and reading about Qahtan's  Guinness Chocolate Cake and how delicious it is, I had to try it.  Documenting my try, which was made with Murphy's stout rather than Guinness (it's what I had) are these pics:


It turned out of the pan beautifully, Hooray!


It is a very chocolately cake, not too sweet, with a nice depth to the flavor.  I have since bought the Guinness and may try this and the gingerbread again.

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The standard sourdough in my house is one posted a few years ago by Susan in San Diego.  I make it at least once a week. I 've been adding or changing it as my whim dictates. This week's version was 1/5 white whole wheat, olive oil and ground flax seed.

Here's the crumb:


They really had quite a bit of oven spring, although they look flatter here.  I doubled everything, and these were large.

I did not retard them, but left them out in a cool (70-ish) kitchen all day. (about 8-10 hours). They were baked on my cracked basalt stone under cover.

I thought the flax would show more, but it blended in. They have a distinctive, but not overwhelming sourdough taste and smell wonderful! 


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A few relatives suggested that they would love a loaf of bread as a holiday gift this year.  I took that idea and had a little fun.  When we gathered last Sunday, I brought a basket containing five different types of bread in different sizes and shapes for them to choose from.  It was very fun to share my love of baking and everyone went home with a few loaves.  Here's the basket:


The breads were Susan's Sourdough, Rosemary and Herb Sourdough, Chocolate Porter Bread, Amish Bread, and a loaf I made up of White Whole Wheat, Whole Spelt and Agave.

It's hard to tell from the picture but this is a pretty big basket, over two feet across.

I had a lot of fun planning and baking and hope my family asks again next year!

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Paddyscake's Guinness Gingerbread looked sooo good, I had to try it!  I use Black Bart Stout, other than that, it is the same.

This was fabulous!  Sweet at first taste with a great bite that is not too spicy and so moist with a real depth to it.

My picture of the cake on the plate somehow didn't load onto the computer, but I just took a picture of the last remaining bit:

The lighter spot is the fresh ginger, which really makes a difference in the taste.  This is the best gingerbread!  Thank you Paddyscake!

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Back in March '08, Elagins (Stan Ginsberg) posted his take on this bread.  It looked so good, I had to try it.  Of course it took me until yesterday to get around to it...


I did need to make a few changes based on the ingredients I had on hand.  I used KA bread flour for the High-gluten and I only had regular dark molasses (which I prefered here to the blackstrap as it is very bitter) I also used regular cocoa, though I would have preferred the dutch for its smoothness.  I used Kennebunkport Porter which had a wonderful chocolate smell, and was quite bitter.  I also used more water- about 2.5ozs more.

I wanted this as gift bread.  I plan to bring an assortment of small and medium loaves to a family gathering this Sunday.  I'll bag them in clear bags and display them in a large basket for everyone to choose from.  So far I have rosemary sourdough, Amish loaves, and these little boules/rolls.  Today I am making small sourdough boules.

My photography leaves a lot to be desired, but here are the pics:


And if that's not close enough:

These look huge in the pictures but each weighs about 7.5 ozs and I made seven.

We had to try one, and then I had to quickly freeze the rest before they were devoured. My younger son came in the kitchen a few hours after dinner hoping to find some left to snack on - I'll be making this again soon.

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My older son turned 14 yesterday.  It has become traditional for me to create a personalized cake for my children on their birthdays... but what to make for a teenager?  We have made fire engines, owls, and baseball diamonds in the past.   But his favorite thing now is his ipod - hence:

The ipod cake!

He loved it, and that is what it's all about.

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We needed bread for school lunches yesterday and I wanted to make something other than the usual Amish Bread from allrecipes.  I also have way too much disgarded starter in the fridge, so I just decided to see what would happen if I winged it.    Some (about to be disgarded) starter, oil, water, wheat germ, yeast, sugar, salt and flour.  I've done this a few times before, but yesterday's loaf turned out so well, this is all that is left:

I was able to hold them off until it was almost cooled.  The problem is they want more today and this is a loaf that can't be replicated exactly.  But I'm trying - another batch  is bulk rising as I type.  We'll see what happens...


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