The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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I haven't had much time lately for baking so it was nice to spend a day in the kitchen. 

This is by far the best German Hefezopf I have baked and I have tried heaps of different recipes. This one is so light and fluffy and stayed fresh for days.  

Recipe can be found here


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This cake is such a quick and easy recipe, a few ingredients into the mixer and bake the base for 10 minutes. Then fill with custard, fruit and a glaze.

Recipe can be found here


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No good baking session is complete without making Pretzels lol 


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Cheers Sonia

sonia101's picture

My whole family have voted David's SJ sourdough as the best bread ever! I am so happy I have found my "go to bread recipe". Beautiful flavour, crumb and crust! I followed David's recipe (HERE) the only deviations were,  I use my starter cold from the fridge and I bake my bread in a wet clay Romertopf with a cold oven start. David's recipe and descriptions are fantastic and the dough is a pleasure to work with :-) I have made four loaves in the last few days.


Dough directly after being mixed and then after  S&F's 




Dough, preshaping and then proofing in my warming drawer at 27C





HOT crumb shot because my son had too have a slice :-(


Once it cooled I had to have a taste and my dog photobombed my photo! Somehow I think he wanted the Salami and not the Bread lol. The bread looks doughy in this photo but it's just the shadow.




Cheers Sonia


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I just worked out how to resize my photos in my post, no more massive photos (I'm high fiving myself) lol. Is this a new feature or am I slow? lol. Too easy, click on photo, resize and drag :-)


Baked some white 53% hydration bread in my Romertopf, I seriously love how easy it is baking in these pots, love the cold oven starts! So quick and easy :-)





 Other recent bakes, sourdough gozleme stuffed with baby spinach and feta  Recipe Here

Sourdough crumpets Recipe Here 




New York Baked Cheesecake I baked for a family party, with praline and chocolate coated berries.


 Cheers Sonia

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It's freezing in Melbourne so I'm quite content to stay home in the warmth and bake comfort food lol


Sourdough Millers loaf from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook.


Five Grain Sourdough loaf from The Fundamental Techniques Of Classic Bread Baking, The French Culinary Institute cookbook.




 Sourdough Naan Bread with butter chicken, such a lovely quick and easy recipe. Recipe by Skibum



Sourdough Chocolate Brownies, my son and husband loved this recipe!



My not so pretty Chellah, need to work on this lol. Any ideas on what I am doing wrong? Is it under proofed ? I love this recipe and the taste is amazing but they always explode while in the oven.




Friday Night sourdough pizza.


Testing out my new steam oven, creme brûlée from the miele steam oven recipe book



Cheers Sonia

sonia101's picture


Just wondering if anybody else bakes with unfed starter straight from the fridge? I was finding sourdough was controlling my life and stopped baking, until a friend told me that she bakes with her starter straight from the fridge. Her starter always stays in the fridge and she feeds her starter after a bake and puts it straight back into the fridge .

Now I control my life not the wild yeast (lol) I take my unfed starter from the fridge and pour it straight into the mixer bowl ( feed it and back in the fridge) make my dough, let rise overnight, wake up and shape. At this stage I either proof and bake or place into the fridge to retard till I'm ready to bake.


Lastest bakes using starter straight from the fridge 


Bourke Street Bakery Millers Loaf


 Basic white loaf 



5 seed loaf with rye and wholemeal 


100% dark course Rye with caraway, coriander, fennel and ansi seeds 

 I'm seriously loving this carefree baking, the breads are just as tasty in my opinion.


Cheers Sonia

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I love this take on Roti Bread, love the crispy layer of this bread and it's so much fun to make! 

  • 500g plain flour
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 100g ghee
For instructions watch   Pho's video



Cheers Sonia

sonia101's picture

Just made my second loaf of Rye bread, I must say I'm really enjoying baking with rye flour! I used Petra's recipe from Chili und Ciabatta Blog

I was really pleased with the way this bread turned out, even my son who only eats white bread loved it! I'll be baking this again :)




Cheers Sonia

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Just thought I'd share a link because I always have a hard time buying banneton proofing baskets in Australia and when I do find them they are so expensive. I purchased these on Ebay for $13.00 ea with free delivery, they arrived in the mail 8 days later. They have a large range of sizes and I think they deliver free to the States also.



I have also been hunting for a good flour supplier in Melbourne and finally found rye flour, $40 for 25 kilos, way cheaper than $10.00 a kilo at the health food shops!!!

My first ever 75% Rye Bread :-)


 Sorry for the large photos I'm having problems resizing them :(

Cheers Sonia



sonia101's picture

I finally have a sourdough starter again and this time I'm going to dehydrate some before I kill it again! LOL. I've tried google and can't seem to find any answers.....Do I dehydrate it after feeding it or when my starter is at it's peak? Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

Growing up I used to watch my Aunty make this bread all the time, it was her specialty. I would sit in her kitchen in total amazement as she braided the bread. My Aunty now lives in a retirement village with no kitchen in her unit and mentioned that she really misses having a piece of Hefezopf with her coffee. Last weekend I baked her some and went for a visit, the bread brought a tear to her eyes! She got on her walking frame and showed the staff and her friends, I have never seen a person move so fast on a walking frame LOL! Listening to her tell her friends stories about the bread almost made me cry, but cry in a good way :)

Hefezopf Recipe
  • 500 grams plain flour
  • 1 packet (7grams) dry yeast
  • 90 grams softened butter
  • 1 packet vanilla sugar
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 90ml lukewarm milk
  • 150ml lukewarm cream
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt

  • Egg yolk and milk wash for glazing

Mix all ingredients into a smooth silky, soft dough. Set aside to rise for 40 minutes covered in a warm spot (till the dough has doubled in size). Divide dough into 3 pieces (for one big braid) or 9 pieces (for three smaller braids) Roll into long strips and braid. Allow braids to rest for 30 minutes in a warm post covered in plastic wrap and then brush with egg yolk/milk wash and sprinkle with course sugar and bake in oven on 180 degrees C for  20 mins (smaller loaves) 30 mins (larger loaves).

Cheers Sonia
sonia101's picture

I love this cake, the crisp meringues, chewy chocolate ganache, fresh vanilla cream and strawberries work so well together.

I used the meringue recipe from the ‘Burke Street Bakery” book , I love this book. The cake I made was  28cm so it is quite large.


8 egg whites

500 grams caster sugar

2/3 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

2/3 teaspoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 140 degC and line 3 baking trays with paper, I used a 28cm cake tin for a template. Place the egg white into a clean bowl( making sure NO yolk is added) and whisk on high speed until firm peaks form. With the motor still running, slowly pour in the sugar and whisk until shiny, firm peaks form. Using a rubber spatula fold through the vanilla extract and vinegar. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the paper and using a palette knife spread the meringue evenly. Bake for 25 minutes (rotating trays) then turn oven down to 100 degC for another 15 minutes. Allow meringues to cool in the oven (this helps to prevent cracking) you can even leave them in the cold oven overnight. Use a palette knife and gently run it under the meringue to release it from the paper.

I always flip the bases so I'm working on the flat (bottom) side, it make is easier to spread the ganache and helps to keep the cake nice a level.

For the chocolate ganache I used equal parts of chocolate and cream, 300 grams dark chocolate and 300 grams heavy cream. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring the cream to a gentle boil. Remove cream from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate, stir mixture until it starts to come away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool and spread evenly over all 3 meringue bases

For the Vanilla cream and decorating the cake I used 1.8 litres of heavy cream (shock!!, but it was a really large cake) and added 8 tablespoons of instant vanilla pudding to stabilize the cream. Whisk together until firm peaks form and spread over 2 of the meringue layers and then add the chopped strawberries. Assemble the layers and decorate with the remaining vanilla cream.

I normally add strawberries on the top, but this cake was a birthday cake for my daughter's boyfriend. I had a football theme made with piped chocolate and chocolate plastic.

Now that I have my sourdough starter up and running again I can't wait to try some of the sourdough recipe in this book.

Cheers Sonia


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