The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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This pulla raised with both sweet and YW levains is a Christmas present for my friends who are having this 'orphan' for dinner tonight.

 I used Ibor's 3 strand octopus braid for the first time after watching his very skilled hands work several times on the excellent videos her has posted here:

Well this braiding produced a much different loaf of pulla than I have ever baked and should make a fine Christmas gift!

Well it is time to go for dinner, so the crumb shot will have to wait.

Merry Christmas everyone!  Brian

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The yeast water really makes for some amazing oven spring. For this bake I used 50g YW and 25g sweet levains both at 100% hydration and less than 300g total flour, all AP except for the levains and still got this monster, mutant loaf:

Once again am egg wash and a generous sprinkling of sugar and ground almond. Sadly I was out of slivered almonds.

Happy baking folks! Brian

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Holy oven spring Batman! This was essentially the same as my last pulla bake but used only YW levain to leaven the loaf. I also used only 30% bread flour and 70% AP. The dough felt quite a bit more extensible than just using strong bread flour. Yeast water makes for some mighty tasty pulla and sweet dough and the loaf volumes are truly astonishing to me!

I once again brushed on an egg glaze and sprinkled liberally with sugar, ground almond and chopped slivered almonds.

Just the thing with a good cup of strong expresso coffee from my Bialetti moka -- Spanish style cafe con leche, half hot milk and half expresso. Yummmmm!

Happy baking folks! Brian


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I was quite a bit more patient this time, letting the dough tell me when it was ready and this is the best pulla I have ever baked! I topped it with the egg wash, sprinkled liberally with sugar, ground almond and slivered almonds. I totally forgot I was going to bake this as a chacon and went in to auto pilot and divided the dough into 2 balls then one ball into 3 for braids . . . Next time I will try a chacon pulla! A skibum moment!

I scaled this recipe to 2/3 my grandmothers recipe posted in varda's Pulla post, with weights.

280 grams milk scalded

6 cardamom pods, hulls removed and seeds ground, infuse in hot milk

140g sugar

188g strong bread flour, next time I will mix AP and BF, just to see

1 egg, 50g

50g sweet levain

50g YW levain

The levains were fed a day before and left on the counter to double or more and collapse.

When the milk has cooled to 80F make a sponge with the above ingredients and let it go for a couple of hours or more until nice and bubbly.

Next add 1 cup, 135g flour and mix until smooth.

2/3 tsp coarse sea salt, forgot to weigh

80g melted butter, beat the dough until it is smooth and glossy and all the butter has been combined.

175g or more flour, gradually add this until you have a firm dough that is not sticky.

Rest 10 minutes once all the flour is combined. Knead 4 minutes, rest 10 and knead 4 minutes.

The first bulk rise took about 6 hours and it more than doubled, nearly 21/2. Degassed and did a couple of S&F's, then bulked it a hour on the counter then into the fridge for 16 hours at which point it was again 21/2 times bulk.

After an hour on the counter to warm up, I divided the dough into 2 batches, one for pulla and one for cinnamon buns. After pre-shaping, resting rolling out the dough and braiding the loaf, I let it proof for about 2 hours and baked 20 minutes 400F convection, turning once and finished at 400F no convection for 4 minutes turning once.

I had this apre ski with beer and can't wait to have it for breakfast with strong coffee! Great pulla! I think my granny is smiling right now.

Happy baking, Brian



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I again baked this Forkish style, proofing seam down and baking seam up with a slash. It looks like the well sealed seam bloomed open.

Formula wise, this was identical to my last bake:

300g total flour, using strong bread flour and 10% durham semolina

231g water

8g coarse sea salt


I used 25g YW levain and 25g sweet levain @ 100% hydration and mixed about 24 hours after the levains were fed. they stayed on the counter until bed time then went into the fridge.overnight then back onto the counter to warm up for the mix.

Holey oven spring Batman! Wow does that YW ever cause an oven explosion!

Sometimes an old skibum needs a multi-purpose kitchen. Hey, I can tune my skis while the pizza dough rises.

Happy baking folks! Brian

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Another nice Forkish style loaf, 300 g flour, 10% durham semolina, 231 g water 1 tsp coarse sea salt and 3/4 Tbs EVOO. I once again worked at tight seams during the fold of the pre-shape and shape and it looks like a pretty tight bloom on this bake. Again this loaf was risen with 25g sweet levain and 25g yeast water levain.

I debated about scoring this one and in hind sight think I would have got better spring with a single score. I am consoled by the fact that this is one tasty loaf and after all isn't that why we bake?

I love this bread and enjoy baking it! Crumb:

Happy baking! Brian

PS Ski season is full on here now and I have less time to browse this site and every other site, less time to bake, but all day to ski. We got bombed with snow earlier this week and this old skibum has a BIG smile on his face right now. After skiing boot top snow for 21/2 hours today, my legs could barely carry me up the stairs to the bar for the celebratory pint of beer . . . Ski

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This loaf was proofed seam side doen again, Forkish style and baked seam side up. Though I took great pains to seal the seams in both the pre and shape, it looked like they would bloom open and they bloomed open beautifully!

I once again used 25 grams of sweet levain and 25 grams of yeast water levain, 300 grams flour and 231 grams water total. I used 30 grams durham semolina for flavour and colour boost.

I had an old friend over for dinner last night I hadn't seen in two years - before I started baking bread. He gave this loaf the best endorsement a baker can get! He ate most of it, repeatedly going to the cutting board and slicing off large chunks he wolfed down with his chili. There is barely enough left for toast this morning.

Now that I bake in a cast iron covered DO, my pizza stone gets little use, so I thought, why not place it on a rack above the DO to provide some radiant heat from the top to go with the radiant for the cast iron and the hot air convection bake. Baked 12 minutes covered, 10 minutes uncovered, turning often. Bake setup:

Time to get busy again.

Happy baking!  Brian

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Total flour 300 grams, strong bread flour

Total water 231 grams

Sweet levain @ 100% hydration 25 grams

Yeast water levain @ 100% hydration 25 grams

Salt, 1 tsp or about 7 - 8 grams, should have spent the extra five bucks on the digi scale that gives me the decimal. .  I once again took extra care when pre-folding and folding the boule, making sure the full length of the fold was tucked in nicely.

the dough was proofed seam side down and baked seam side up.

I scored a crescent across the seam I thought most likely to bloom.

The crumb.

So I refreshed my yeast water yesterday and as bake s per dabrownman's directions and made some YW pancakes today with the 'spent' YW,  I also refreshed my sweet levain at the same time and left it on the counter also. 

YW pancakes

100 grams spent YW

100 grams bread flour

I left it on the counter overnight for yesterdays's mix and today's bake and had a massive amount of bubbling dough! This morning I added 1 egg beaten and mixed with 2 Tbs maple syrup adn 2 Tbs melted butter, 1/4 tsp baking powder and mixed it with the flour and YW. The mix took some doing, but when done I mixed in some fresh blueberries, fried it up in the same pan that fried my hone cured/ smoked bacon and YOWSER, some fine breakfast to celebrate myu first day skiing at Lake Louise!

Ahhh, topped with melted butter and real maple syrup.

I discarded the fruit this time. Next tie I will do something with the spent fruit

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This bake was a carbon copy of my previous 2 or 3 but I added 30g Durham semolina for a flavour upgrade. I also took extra special care pre-shaping and shaping. When I was folding the boule, I made sure that the seam was sealed along the entire fold, a details that had escaped me the last couple of bakes and in baking, I am finding the beauty is in the details. This care and attention to the shaping has finally resulted in the crumb I was seeking. The semolina added a nice taste and colour and I really liked this bread today at lunch.

Agian proofed seam side down, with WELL sealed seams, baked seam side up and scored ac

Well I am coming up on 3 weeks for the yeast water and I think it is time to do another YW levain loaf and see how the flavour has improved with some aging. The YW smells wonderful! Once again I used YW and sweet levain for the bake. I have another batch of soft, pull apart dinner rolls going with the YW/ SL build. I have written myself instructions so I get it right this time!

Happy baking! Brian

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This morning's bake was exactly the same as my last bake of this type:

The only difference was trying to get my shaping tighter. Getting there, but still needs work. I will give another half loaf away and bake one off again tomorrow. People are always happy to receive my bread and making people happy makes me feel good.

This made delicious sandwich! I guess there were a couple of changes, I put the extra YW in the fridge overnight to use this morning and I think it developed greater flavour and character. It sure did look robust!

Today's sandwich was smoked chicken, home cured and smoked c=bacon, lettuce and tomato with lots of mayo and Rene's Garlic Caesar dressing. Great sandwich!

I smoked a whole chikcken for dinner last night, brined it overnight, rested in the fridge for the day, gae it a dry rub and smoked @ 225F with hickory and maple until an internal temperature of 140F, then onto a hot grill for 5 - 10 minutes per side to crisp the skin and back into the smoker @ 275F until the internal temperature reached 165F. Rest for 20 minutes or so and OH MY!

Happy eating folks! Brian


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