The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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This pound cake or tea cake with truly worth making.




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This is in reference to Chef Reinhart's Ciabatta with Biga.  I think what helped me was to re-read the directions time and time again. And to watch different videos. I feel it was successful...thank you Chef.


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Tartine Country Bread

Here is my bread that I have just finished. This was a small loaf but I am very happy with the crust and crumb. 

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Schmaltz and salt poppy seeds and sesame....

I actually followed the recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site...Bialys are a treat for me. But one crucial item is the Schmaltz. I use it in many items that I prepare from soup to chicken..but you have to use it in cooking the onions to get the right flavor.. the recipe that he has on his site only makes a small six. But it is a great one to start out on.. Get your schmear ready!

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Knowing these would be good after reading the recipe from Reinhart's Bread Baker Apprentice.  I am a seasoned Hummus maker for many many years. These are a wonderful addition to the Hummus lineup. I even used black mustard seeds in addition to many other seeds.  I also feel and have learned it is not proper to post the recipe.  Purchase the book, but there are many recipes on line . 

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A walnut sized of fully risen dough, such as pizza

1/4 cup of warm water

2/3 cup of all purpose unbleached flour

Mix this well and place in bowl and cover at room temp.  Let sit for 8 hours then move on to second stage.


The first starter

1/4 cup of warm water

3/4 cup of all purpose flour

Pour water over first starter and then add flour and mix in well.  Cover again and let this sit at warm room temp for 4 hours.  Then place in refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Take out and get ready for final day.


The Final Dough

1 1/4 cups of cool water

1/2 tsp of instant yeast

the second starter

3 1/3 cups of flour all purpose

1 tab of salt

Take the starter out of the bowl and cut up into pieces, like 4 and place in work bowl add water and yeast.  Let soften for 5 minutes and add flour and then salt. Mix well and switch to dough hook. Let this sit for 10 minutes and then start hook for about 8 minutes on medium speed. Then place in oiled bowl for 1 1/2 hours at 80 degrees. Fold this, not punching down at all.. then cover again and let this finish covered for 45 minutes.  Take out and shape into baguettes or boule’s.  Baguettes are around 10 ounces each.

Bake baguettes for 30 minutes at 450 with steam.

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Thank you Chef Reinhart to a wonderful addition to the Cornbread world!

I think this version would be wonderful for stuffing!

The night before preparation

2 cups of buttermilk

1 cup of corn polenta grits Put both of these ingredients in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temp.

The next day add dry ingredients into large bowl as follows:

1 3/4 cup of unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 tsp of baking soda

1 1/2 tab of baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 cup of brown sugar


Add to the buttermilk mixture

3 large eggs

2 tab of honey

2 tab of butter melted

2 1/2 cups of corn, fresh or frozen

2 tab of bacon fat or veg oil

 Note:   He uses 10 slices of bacon crumbled in the recipe.

Mix wet and dry together and pour into baking dish, I used an old cast iron skillet. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 350.  Time will vary depending on pan and oven.

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Reinhardts Ciabatta

Ciabatta- 3 small loaves or 2 large

3 1/4 cups of Mature Poolish ready for final dough

3  cups of bread flour

1 3/4 tsps of salt

1 1/2 tsp of instant yeast

6 tab to 3/4 cup of water room temp

In mixing bowl add poolish with all of the ingredients.  Blend well til flour is hydrated well. Continue to mix for 5 minutes with paddle, til dough comes away from the sides.  This is very sticky dough, if it isn’t you need more water.  They suggest starting with 6 tab and up to 3/4 cup of water.  I used it all.

Prepare counter top with flour, add dough on top and pat down with floured hands. Let rest 2 minutes and then proceed to stretch and fold procedure. Then cover for 30 minutes and repeat process.  Then cover again and proof for 1 and half hours to 2 .   Then proceed to cut into 2 pieces and place in a couche. Proof for 60 minutes then bake in preheated oven with steam at 500 and then turn down after 30 seconds. Bake for another 15 minutes.

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Whole Wheat Bread with Raisins

1 tab of dry yeast

2 1/2 cups of water, tepid

1/3 cup of honey

4 cups of whole wheat flour

2 cups of bread flour

3/4 tab of salt

1 cup of raisins

2 tab of cornmeal


Dissolve the yeast in the water with the honey, let it proof 10 minutes. Then in standing mixer add flours and salt, then add in raisins.  Knead well til stickiness goes away. I like to hand knead, not in mixer.  Then I can feel what is going on with the dough.  Place in oiled bowl and put a new white trash bag around the bowl and set in a draft free area.  Let this rise 2 hours.  The trash bag acts as a humid warm tent.  Punch down and shape into a round loaf and place on baking mat or parchment.  Sprinkle with cornmeal and cover again for another 1 1/2 hours. Make beauty cuts in the top and place in a preheated 425 oven.  Bake for 25 minutes then reduce to 400 and bake another 25.


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Great weekend for rest and relaxation and baking. I had been wanting to make Brioche and try my hand at new French Baguette recipe. The Brioche was truly pretty easy but, to me it tasted like Challah without the braid. The Baguette recipe came from another source, Cooks recipe, “The New Best Recipe Book”. I took the time and followed the whole recipe through. At 12 noon I started my “sponge” and at 6 PM it was ready according to the directions. After the first rise which was around 8PM I was able to form and out in refrigerator.Then the next AM took the bread out of the refrigerator and then baked. So almost 24 hours for this one.
If you have the time to do this it is a great and easy recipe with nothing special called for. Meaning no special yeast or flour and it doesn’t even call for 6 cups of flour like a lot of recipes.

Sponge Recipe First:

1/8 tsp of yeast
3/4 cup of warm water
1 cup of white flour plus 3 tab

Mix and cover with plastic wrap with a few holes in the top of wrap. This will take around 6 hours. It will double and have little holes all over. And it will depress in the middle when it is completely ready.

Dough Recipe:

1/2 tsp of yeast
1/2 cup of water, warm
2 cup of flour
1 tsp of salt


1 large egg white
1 tab of water

For Dough put your water and dry yeast into the sponge. Mix well with fork and add to dough mixture in mixer bowl/ Mix well and use dough hook for several minutes. Remove from bowl and knead with hands til good feel of elastic. Place in well oiled bowl for 30 minutes and then reform in a ball. Now is the time when you let this double in bulk. Probably about 1 and half hours. Take out of bowl and cut into 2 pieces. Start forming into baguettes. Needs to measure at 12 inches by 2 or 3. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet and put a clean trash bag over these and refrigerate now for 12 hours, no longer than 16. Will rise in frig, take out 1 hours before baking and get glaze ready. Have a VERY sharp knife handy or razor blade . You need to cut 6 diagonal slits on top of each loaf. Apply glaze with a pastry brush. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Serve with butter and jam….These are very nice and wonderful texture…wonderful smell and success…


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