The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Skibum's blog

Skibum's picture

Greetings Fresh Loaf friends. I continue to bake every week but have been negligent in posting my results. This is my weekly sandwich loaf:

I have been making this recipe for a year now and have it dialed. I am also fortunate to be able to buy the best bread flour from my local bakery. Boy does great flour EVER make a difference. I also use a sweet levain at 100% hydration. This is essentially a sourdough starter that isn't sour, hence sweet levain.

Here is the recipe:

445 grams fine bread flour

250 grams whole milk scalded and cooled

85 grams sweet levain starter

11/2 tsp active dry yeast

58  grams honey -- boy did the wildflower honey EVER kick up the flavour!!!!!

3/4 tsp salt

50 grams melted butter

2 egg beaten

After mixing and developing the dough, I let it bulk ferment for about two hours. I then pre-shaped and shaped a pan loaf, let rise for about two hours, then egg washed and scored.

The loaf baked for 18 minutes at 375F with steam and an additional 20 minutes with no steam.

Best sandwich bread I have ever baked. Try it you'll like it!

Happy baking. Ski

Skibum's picture

Merry Christmas fresh loafers! This has been my go to recipe for sandwich bread for some time now. It freezes well sliced and each loaf keeps me for 2 - 3 weeks in sandwich bread. The recipe is a version of Peter Reinhart's recipe for soft sandwich bread and rolls from Artisan Bread's Every Day. I use a natural yeast, a sweet levain at 100% hydration. The current levain is at least three years old.

To finish the loaf, I brushed with an egg glaze and then scored the top, finally getting a good score and a nice grigne. It tells me I judged the proofing right. It is nice to get a great bake in a relatively new kitchen and new oven and at a new altitude and humidity. I am figuring it out.

May all of your Christmas dreams come true and happy baking! 


Skibum's picture

I bake infrequently now, but continue to maintain a sweet levain @ 100% hydration. Today was pulla for breakfast in the morning. Second bake, rising is P. Reinhart's soft sandwich bread. It is an bread, enriched by butter, milk and eggs. I modified Mr. Reinhart's recipe to use my sweet levain, which is a sweet version of a sourdough starter. I don't care for the sour taste in my breads.

Beautiful flavour and a nice crumb. A successful Christmas bake! Merry Christmas!!!


Skibum's picture

Since I moved to my new home 31/2 months ago, I have eaten little bread. Now that the cold weather is setting in, I have had cravings for grilled cheese sandwiches. I actually bought a store loaf of sliced white bread and it made a pretty good grilled cheese. I figured I could do better.

I did a sweet levain version of Peter Reinhart's soft sandwich bread and rolls from Artisan Breads Every Day. I used his recipe, but used 150 grams sweet levain, adjusting the milk and flour to compensate. I also added 1/2 Tbs active dry yeast. It was nice to be working with an active dough once again. this is also the first loaf I have done in a loaf pan for some time. Very please with the results! Nice crust and crumb and great flavour! A nice slicing bread for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.


And here is the sandwich, made better by adding bacon!

Happy cooking, baking and eating folks! Ski

Skibum's picture

Well with record breaking heat this summer in my new town, I haven't baked much. The blueberries and jalapeno mixed well together. A simple easy, quick recipe.

Heat oven to 400-410F and heat an eight inch cast iron skillet in it.

1/2 C each cornmeal and flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 Tbs sugar

1 egg beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk soured with vinegar

2 Tbs honey

1 jalapeno minced, I will use 2 next time

3/4 cup of blueberries

Combine dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine, stirring the pepper and blues in well. When the oven is up to temp add 2 Tbs to the hot pan and coat all sides well with butter. The excess butter can be added to the mix.

Pour the batter into the buttered CI skillet and back 25 minutes, turning at the half. Now I say 400-410F as I am adjusting from 400F in a convection oven and find I need either a little more temperature or time in my non-convection oven. Very happy with the results today!

Happy baking friends! Ski

Skibum's picture

My first bake was soft pull apart dinner rolls and they didn't turn out well. Now I have moved from a kitchen elevation of 4,420 ft above sea level to 2,600 feet. I was not getting the rise with the same amount of levain. Also moving from an electric convection to a non-convection oven gave different results.

I made two adjustments that worked out will for this bake. First I increased the liquid levain by 50% fromn66 grams to 102 grams for the same recipe. I also raised the bake temperature from 350F to 375F. I baked for 14 minutes with steam and 10 without. Next bake, I will back down to 12 minutes of steam. The rolls were a little over baked today, but with all the enrichment's, milk, honey and butter, they were still quite moist.

The extra levain gave me rise similar to what I had in Canmore. Two simple fixes and I am settling in to my new kitchen and oven!

Happy baking, cooking and eating friends! Ski

Skibum's picture

Well, I have neither baked much nor had time to visit this site for the last couple of months. Moved from Canmore AB to Golden, BC. Moving is a HUGE pain, but I am very satisfied with the result. I love my new home and town!!!

Check out my new kitchen. It is easily 4 times as large as my last kitchen. There is a full pantry unseen to the right of the fridge. Now, I have a well equipped kitchen, but so far have used a little more than half the cupboard space. LOADS of counter space for working dough! Lots of space for my new toys, a FoodSaver and a Sous Vide Supreme. Floyd, you have seen my old kitchen and boy is this a serious upgrade

The biggest change for me is going from a gas cook top, electric convection oven to a non convection electric oven with induction cook top. I love the induction top.  However my bake results for the oft pull apart dinner rolls were different. Certainly I didn't get the nice brown on the crust, I got with the same time and temperature with convection. So far, I figure I will need to bump up my baking temperatures a bit and I have had to add extra time to the first bake.  I have also moved from 4,420 feet above sea level to 2,580' and will have to make adjustments for this.

If anyone has any comments or suggestions on how to get a browner crust, I would most appreciate any suggestions.

Happy baking friends, from a happy old ski bum at home in Golden, BC!

Skibum's picture

This is my liquid levain version of Peter Reinhart's soft pull apart dinner rolls. I really enjoy the soft texture and the flavour that the honey brings to the mix.

I baked this time on parchment on a cookie sheet, so the rolls could grow to their natural roundness, rather than sticking together as was the case last bake.

Prior to baking I gave them 2 coats of egg wash, waiting a minute in between coats. I baked @ 350F for 15 minutes with steam, then another 14 minutes no steam. Great results once again, with great flavour and a shred able crust!

Here is the recipe:

68g liquid levain

236g milk scalded and cooled to below 90F

363g strong bread flower

1/2T kosher salt

39g honey, I slopped a little more

43g melted butter, again, I slopped a little more

1/2 large egg, or 25g egg

The left over half egg supplies the glaze before baking.

Happy baking friends! Ski

Skibum's picture

Greetings friends, I haven't been posting much lately, as I haven't been baking much.

Super happy with my FoodSaver for storing fresh food and particularly bread. I baked a batch of soft pull apart dinner rolls April 26th. By vacuum sealing, freezing and taken out as needed. My last roll is as fresh today, 3 weeks later as it was when fresh from the oven! Take out a roll, re-vacuum and re-seal, then back in the fridge.

As a single ski bum I have either had to give bread away or double bag it in zip locks to freeze which never gave me a good re-heated product.

The vac sealer has also transformed my re-heating of my slow smoke BBQ. Pulled pork and vac sealer then re-heated sous vide style is as good a fresh pulled. My latest kitchen toy is a Anova sous vide precision cooker. Most impressed with the results so far!

Happy cooking, baking and eating folks! Ski

Skibum's picture

Well friends, I have had this appliance for a month or so now and LOVE it! Vacuum sealing food in plastic keeps it fresher, longer, saves space in my freezer and compared to double zip locked bags, I can actually see what is sealed and frozen.

My soft pull apart dinner rolls have stayed baking day fresh, shrink wrapped and frozen. You just need to stop the vacuum motor before it squishes the rolls, breads etc. What sold me on the product was the idea, I could re-heat my slow smoked BBQ pulled pork butt sous vide style. I comes out just like day one pulled pork.

As a serious cook, I give this appliance 5 stars and 2 thumbs up!


Happy baking! Ski


Subscribe to RSS - Skibum's blog