The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Since my mutant loaf a couple of days ago I have spent great care in both pre-shaping an shaping and the results are much better.  New to sour dough baking on a regular basis I let the first 2 batches proof for an hour and scoring was most difficult.  I suspected over proofing.  On today's bake I proofed the loaf on the right for 50 minutes and it was reasonably easy to score, though I had trouble with the lame and had to use a serrated knife.  The loaf on the left, which proofed longer was nearly impossible to score by any means, so definitely over proofed.

This is a lean hearth loaf at 80% hydration with total flour at 300 grams.  I suspect that even at 50 minutes the dough was over proofed.  Next bake I will proof one mini loaf for 40 minutes and the second for 45.

I am most impressed with the chew and crumb on this bread and LOVE the flavour the SD baking process brings to breads.

I got on the lean bread flavour kick a couple of weeks ago.  I bought some Western Bratwurst from my local Swiss deli then realized I had no long buns and bought one of their baguettes, which looked not bad.  This was my first store bought loaf since finding TheFreshLoaf and BOY was I disappointed. 

Reading some of the complex bakes here used to make me tired, just reading the recipe descriptions!  I have realized now, that very little time is spent building the levain's and dough's and one must let the magic of time do it's work.  I am loving the whole process and REALLY loving the finished results.  GREAT FLAVOUR!!!  I now get it . . .

Best regards, Brian

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Okay this loaf definitely blew a tire and I am not sure why. Overproofed? Underproofed?  Poorly shaped?  Poorly scored?

This was a simple lean hearth loaf using my new SD starter and following dabrownman's excellent instructions:

to the tee.  HELP, any suggestions would be welcome. Other than the sidewall blowout the crumb looks pretty good and the flavour is great!

TIA, Brian

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I just baked a half batch using Syd-a's, recipe.  Great recipe and great pita the very first time:

So it was pita pockets instead of sandwiches for lunch today.  This one definitely goes into my baking rotation.  I sized these at 104 grams and think I will go larger, say 120 g next bake.  Flavorings in the next batch would also be interesting.  Hmmm garlic and rosemary . . .

Thanks again for sharing Syd-a!

Happy baking!  Brian

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Well my nieghborhood has turned into a reclamation camp.  I had EMS and Technical Rescue workers from as far away as the State of Illinois set up in front of my house for two days:

These people are here to help my friends and neighbors, so I baked a big batch of Pulla -- 4 loaves to help feed our helpers.  It was a hit with the Fire and EMS people on the scene.

I have been working with very small bake batches, ie 300 g flour for several months now.  I have to say that I got a better product working with a larger amount of dough.  This is the best Pulla bake I have ever had and chalk it up to the baking experience I have gained over the last 1 1/2 years of Fresh Loafing:

For some the world is returning to normal, but for others the real struggle begins and the recovery continues:

This has been very sad and most hard to watch.

After a week's closure in both directions the Trans Canada Highway re-opened today.  It still looks like a war zone . . .

Happy baking TFLers!  Brian

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. . . bake on a day like today.  I baked cheese bisquits from PR's ABED. I'm afraid I haven't had much appetite these past few days as the southern half of my province, my town and immediate nieghborhood have bee hit hard by record flooding.  My first thought was to bake something up for the troops in the 'hood, but they were gone by the time these were out of the oven.

The first photo shows my home on Grotto Road, Canmore, Alberta, Canada, looking soouth east:

The next photo looks south west.  These homes back on to Cougar Creek.  Please note the police tape:

This photo shows why the police tape and mandatory evacuation for those families was made:

By this time Saturday, 8 huge shovels had been working nearly 72 hours continuously to try and save the houses. Sadly all but 2 of the houses visible on the left are deemed NOT fit for habitation and are in danger of demolition.

For 2 days I defied the evac order collecting rain water to filter, boil and use.  We had electricity the whole time and after 3 days, the gas is back on and I can pack up my old Coleman camo stove:

Happy baking folks and ALWAYS appreciate the bounty of what you have.  It can be taken from you at any time.

Happy baking folks, Brian  :-(

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I had a hankering for something sweet and PR's cinnamon buns from ABED turned out great last time.  Both raspberries and blueberries, my favourites, were on sale 2 for 1 this week, so I also wanted to bake with berries.  My inspiration ws to take a handfull of rasps and a handfull of blueberries, coarsly chop them and spread them on the first part of the ready go roll cinabuns:

You just got a taste of berry on the inside of the buns and the result was good enough, I will increase the amount of berry next time I bake thee!


Happy baking!, Brian

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I googled and came across a vbery interesting recipe where the baker was doing tiramisu in cupcakes:

I baked some lady fingers in a cupcake tray, cecided there was not enough room for filling and baked the rest of the ladyfingers in small ramekins with lots of room for yummy filling AND for cupcake bake layers.

The actual recipe I used was c/o Wolfgang Puck:

Topped with grated dark chocolate, these bad boys are setting up now.  Do yo think a dollup of whipped cream would be over the top?

This will be a nice cool down following a dinner of blackened chicken alfredo!

Happy baking, Brian

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I finally got up the nerve to try this recipe and to my surprise, was not that difficult.  I had this batch of dough on the go when Floyd posted his raspberry version.  As raspberries and blueberries are my favourite field berries and are (almost) always in my fridge, I used a half and half mix of berries.  This is a seriously tasty coffee or dessert bread and one of the best things I have ever taken out of my oven.  As Floyd says, "HEAVEN!" Amen to that.

I rolled the dough out thinner than the recommended 1 cm, but it didn't hurt the final result.

Ready for the oven.

Enduring the cool down period.

The fin ished goods!  I found that a half a batch made quite a large loaf, so I gave some to my neighbours.  Their five year old girl coundn't get enough of it, so I am starting another batch.  I will try and apple and cinnimon variation for this batch.


Regards, Brian

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I have recently been seeking out new recipes to try, both for the flavour of new breads and the fun of trying new things. One of my favourite recent bakes is P. Reinhart's Many Seed bread which has become my favourite toast bread:

After a year of trying to make "artisan breads," I tried PR's Hoagie/ Cheesesteak buns and I love these! It is a super easy recipe -- beautiful dough to work with, the buns freeze well and toast up great for a grilled Bratwurst from my local Swiss deli.  I have done these twice now and both have been easy, fun bakes:

Hoagies proofing on my ragged linen couche. I support the couche with the counter backsplash and anything handy for the other end.

Proofed, scored and ready to bake.

Voila! A most tasty result and I will repeat, a very fun bake!  Beautiful, easy dough to work with and tasty results.

Regards, Brian

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I have been for the last couple of weeks using a nearly pure rye sourdough starter and have baked nothing but the New York Deli recipe from P. Reinhart's BBA.  I love the addition of the fried onions.  So far I have added the onions to the final dough and at some pont I will try adding them to the starter to see if it makes a difference.  For my last bake, I reduced the fried onion and added garlic to cook lightly, but not brown.  With the heat off, I added the caraway seed and fresh rosemary.

This bread has a really nice subtle garlic, onion and rosemary flavour and just screams out for a large pile of corned beef or pastrami lathered with both hot and grainy mustard.  Darn, that could have been an apres ski dinner, but the deli is closed . . .

I had incredible oven spring from this loaf.  Next bake I will also include a post proof, pre-bake photo.  I have now had 3 consecutive success's baking with my rye sourdough and will share what has worked very well for me.  Pre bake I refresh the mother rye starter as follows:

25 g seed

50 g light rye flour

40 g water

This is mixed well in a measured container and left to at least double.  This has taken anywhere from 4 to 28 hours depending on when the mother starter was last refreshed -- I do it weekly now.  After the initial build had doubled or more, I went to a second build:

115 g first build

60 g light rye flour

60 g strong bread flour

96 g water

The second build has consistently doubled or more in about an hour.  For this bake I had to put it in the fridge after a half hour as it was a ski day.  Six hours later, I removed the second build from the fridge and it had nearly overflowed the container.  Time to get baking!

NY Deli Rye w/ garlic and rosemary

151 g second starter, (it is hard to hit 150 perfectly and decided not to be anal about things.  bread is so forgiving in that way!)

50 g light rye flour

151 g bread flour

30 g greek yogurt, full fat

30 g whole milk

100 g water

1 Tbs brown sugar

1 tsp caraway seeds, pounded in a mortar and pestle, they didn't reduce much

90 g finely chopped onion, fried, weighed before cooking

20 g coarsly chopped garlic, fried, weighed before cooking

1-11/2 tsp fresh minced rosemary, less than 1 g, my scale only weighs to full grams, not fractions and I should have spent the extra 5 bucks . . .

1 Tbs canola oil for frying the savourys

1/2 Tbs EVOO for the main dough mix

11/4 tsp salt

I have been adding the salt in the final couple of S&F's of late, thanks to reading Carol Field's The Italian Baker.  So mix well, rest for 5, mix well again, rest 10, then 4 S&F's with 10 rest.  After a 1 hour bulk rise this dough had more than doubled.  This starter works faster than commercial yeast!  Pre-shaped, rested 5 then shaped a loaf.  After 30 minutes it was oven on to my 500F max, then another 30 minutes proof.  Scored and baked with steam for 20 turning and removing the steam pan at the half.

This was a fun bake I was able to fit around my schedule and am enjoying the whole sourdough leavening process.  The sourdough preferments add great flavour, I find the final dough develops strength quickly and the finished bread keeps surprising well on the kitchen counter.

BakeON!  Brian


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