The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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David Snyder's thread on these baguettes seems to be closed so I will post this in my blog instead. Here is his recipe, in case you missed it the first time around.

I just got around to making these baguettes today, as I have been concentrating on something else lately. I made a couple of substitutions, using King Arthur Artisan flour instead of Guisto's (hard to get on the East Coast) and kosher salt instead of sea salt. Other than that I followed his recipe to the letter.

David, they were great, and I will make them again. they went down real well with some "almost bouiliabaise" I threw together. My other half ate even more of them than I did, and since he is not much of a bread eater, that's a compliment.

We didn't take pictures; my camera is on the blink, I don't know how to use Howard's, and he was out in the garage lying on his back under the lawn tractor trying to re-attach the blade. I didn't dare ask him for help.

I've been quiet for quite a while -- that doesn't mean I'm not baking nor does it mean I'm not reading TFL. As I say, my head has been elsewhere of late. But I couldn't pass up this opportunity to thank David for this easy recipe that has such good results.

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Hamelman's Oatmeal BreadHamelman's Oatmeal Bread

This is my second try at Hamelman's Oatmeal Bread.

We're really pleased with it for sandwiches. My husband prefers a pan loaf but I think it would make a good hearth bread as well.


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This recipe is a modified version of Floyd's !0 Minute Banana Bread recipe shown at the lower left on the home page. It incorporates most of the suggestions Foolish Poolish made just recently and a change or two of my own. I just happened to have some over-ripe bananas and some left-over starter this morning, so I though , "Why not?" It's delicious and so tender it almost slices itself!

Sourdough Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350° F

In a food processor, combine and pulse until broken up:

1/2 stick of room temperature butter (4 ounces/60 gr.)

2 eggs

2 -3 fully ripe bananas, broken into chunks


In a large mixing bowl combine and stir:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (214 gr.) (could be partly whole wheat, but not more than 1/2 cup)

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (100 to 150 gr.)

3/4 teas. salt (4.5 gr.)

3/4 teas. baking soda (3.5 gr.)

1/4 teas. baking powder (3.5 gr.)

1/2 teas. cinnamon (1 gr.)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry.

Also add up to a cup of sourdough starter. I used a scant cup of batter-consistancy starter, and it was just right. Thw weight here will vary -- some starters are heavier than others. It would be ok to use a liquid measure of 8 oz., more or less, here.

Stir all together very very well.

Optional ingredients to add at this point:

1/2 to 3/4 cups chopped walnuts, or

1 tablespoon poppy seeds, or

1 to 2 tablespoons flax seeds

I would not use more than one of these options.

Grease an 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" loaf pan or two smaller ones. Turn batter into pan(s).

Bake at 350° F on a middle rack. It should take 30 or so minutes if in two pans and about 40 in just one. Test by poking a toothpick into the center of the loaf; if it comes out clean, the bread is done.

Let sit in pan(s) for 5 minutes or so, then turn out onto a wire rack.

This is going to be my favorite use of left-over sourdough, I can tell that!

Sorry, no photos; I put it in two 8 1/2"X4 1/2" pans and the loaves are way too flat to be proud of, but they taste great.

Thanks to Foolish Poolish for getting me started on this modification and to Floyd for providing the basic recipe.








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I made these buns for over the 4th but am just getting around to posting them now.

A double batch of Onion BunsA double batch of Onion Buns

The recipe may be found here at the King Arthur Blog:

To reach the recipe you can either scroll down to the 6th recipe in or use search on the KA blog Website.

They're a good sturdy bun; none of that fluff that falls apart in your hand. The recipe tells how to make the burger buns; I made a double batch and dived the second half into 8 hot dog buns, using my imagination as to how to shape them.

Handy for this weekend, too.


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With the loaf shown below I have managed to solve a couple of recent problems.

I mentioned earlier that I was having a spreading problem with my sourdough and other artisanal breads -- actually, anything not baked in a loaf pan. I speculated that this was because our water was softened. We had the water tested, and it came out as 1 grain (the equiv. of 17 ppm.) while Hamelman recommends between 100 and 150 ppm as ideal. We purchased some spring water just to test it; this was rated at 8 grains, or 134 ppm. It worked. Same recipe I have had trouble with, now no longer spreading all over.

A second problem with this particular recipe was a pale pale crust. Paler than Wonder Bread. I added 6 grams of diastic malt this time. Wow! Boule trial with harder water and maltBoule trial with harder water and malt

Because we have a very well-vented gas oven, I baked it under a stainless steel bowl. This was my second trial with the bowl and I am convinced. Real oven spring this time.

The crumb is the next area that needs work. I had some scheduling problems, and the dough was manipulated a little more than I had planned. The crumb is acceptable, but could be better. The taste is fine, though perhaps not quite sour enough, but I can work on both of those.

Thanks to Susan for the bowl idea and the Mike Avery for introducing the idea that overly soft water sould cause problems. Who would have guessed!






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Our daughter was here for a visit this week, and together we pushed our boundaries with regard to baking.

First, we had home-made pizza using previously frozen dough from the boule recipe in AB in 5. This was new for her, but not for me.

We next mixed a new recipe of the same dough, so that she could shape a loaf, and see what a time saver it is. Another use of the same dough was pitas for lunch. A first for both of is, and easy to do. I’ll make those again.

She wanted to do bagels next, so she used Floyd’s recipe, to be found here. Excellent.

Lastly, we made a loaf in my new cast iron Dutch oven. I took a suggestion from holds99, and used the Rustic Bread recipe from KA.

This is the only one that I took a photo of; here’s how it looks. Great advice and good directions on how to get it into and out of the hot Dutch oven. Thanks!

Cast Iron Dutch Oven BouleCast Iron Dutch Oven Boule

All in all, a nice visit, and a lot of learning for both of us. She goes back to France (Alpes Maritimes) today, but I’ll keep experimenting with baking.


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Lately I have been switching around through various bread cookbooks, especially Reinhart’s Whole Grain Bread Book and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, in addition to experimenting with my sourdough formula and trying recipes from TFL. I thought I would post photos from my bakes of three of the Reinhart whole grain recipes. All three are 100% whole grain.

I don’t want the above to sound as if I think I am some sort of expert. I’m far from that. I have baked quite a bit, but it’s almost always loaf-pan sandwich breads, because that’s what’s needed in this household. Up until recently I have always followed standard procedure learned 50+ years ago -- scald the milk or heat the water, activate the yeast, etc., etc., etc. In other words, until encountering Reinhart and Artisan in 5, I baked bread the “old fashioned American way.” Nothing wrong with that, either!

I had never considered whole wheat baking to be particularly difficult, probably because I was too innocent to know better. I just went ahead and substituted whole grains in a recipe, or followed a recipe that included them. I didn’t expect that a 100% whole grain recipe would rise as much as a white bread loaf, but I always get a good enough rise to suit me. Then I began reading about how difficult some folks consider whole grain baking. Being innocent apparently helps!

So -- here are photos of my efforts with three of Peter Reinhart’s recipes from his Whole Grain Bread Book. All three recipes are found in his book so I won’t post them here. All three are a little “squatty” because they were the first time for each recipe and I hadn’t scaled them up to fit larger pans. I like to bake a recipe first “by the book”, then play later on.

The first is his Master Recipe. I used water as the liquid in both soaker and biga, and mostly KA White Whole Wheat Flour. I did substitute 1 cup of Hodgson Mills Graham Flour for 1 cup of the KA, which explains the somewhat freckled appearance. It’s a very tender bread, and I think it rose well, though the pan used could have held more dough. I will note that both soaker and biga were impossible to cut into chunks, as Reinhart directs; they were way too wet. I just had to blend them with my hands, before using the machine. Didn’t seem to hurt anything.

The Master Recipe from Whole Grain Bread BookThe Master Recipe from Whole Grain Bread Book

Second is the Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin. Again KA White Whole Wheat, but no graham flour. Note that the raisins made the loaf darker, because I added them while kneading in the mixer. I threw the walnuts in at the last minute.

Cinnamon Raisin BreadCinnamon Raisin Bread

Lastly, my most recent experiment, Straun. This didn’t rise as high, and I suspect that this was due to the cooked grains. It’s delicious -- very moist without being soggy, delicate, and sweet without being “sugary.” It really was an experiment this time. Instead of assembling a whole bunch of different grains, I used Grande Pilaf from Bob’s Red Mill for all the grains. This is a pilaf we like to eat as a “starch”, and contains several different grains, seeds, etc, (red wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, triticale, barley, buckwheat, and sesame seeds) so I thought it would be appropriate for Straun. I just cooked up a pot of it, measured out the 6 ounces called for in the Reinhart recipe, then we had the rest for dinner. It worked fine. This time I used KA Traditional WW flour, not White WW.

My version of StraunMy version of Straun

I really like the KA White WW, especially in combination with a cup or so of the Graham Flour. This is probably my new go-to combination for most breads. I have a tendency to be able to taste a bit of bitterness in regular WW flour that I don’t taste in the White WW. I think this is one of those tasting differences that we all have. I’d like to encourage folks who have had trouble with this flour or whole wheat in general to give it another try -- if I can do it, so can you, because I don’t do anything special at all.

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I was looking for an excuse to use my sourdough starter this morning and settled on the Sourdough Blueberry Muffins from Mike Avery's website, Sourdough Home. For the recipe, go to

These were just great! My starter is very thick and I had to add a little rice milk (I'm lactose intolerant) to enable me to stir everything in without over-mixing, but the crumb was very tender. I'll make these again.

Thanks, Mike.

Mary in Hammondsport

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