The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SylviaH's blog

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I have been very interested in baking with an organic sprouted wheat flour.  

I've read so many good things about it's health benefits and it's exceptionally delicious flavor.  

I ordered a few small bags of Arrohead Mills Organic Sprouted Wheat Flour.  The price is a bit dear for these little bags of flour.  I'm so happy with the flour.  I can't wait to make a carrot cake.  Free shipping from and the flour had excellent reveiws.  

I won't feel to guilty at all baking and eating a whole grain sprouted flour that digest as a vegetable.  I have a new book that has some lovely recipes.  'Essential Eating - Sprouted Baking' - with whole grain flours that digest as vegetables, by Janie Quinn.    

This bake was an experiment using the formula by Peter Reinhart discribed as his Master Formula on 'Real Baking' with Rose L. Beranbaum's, baking site.  You might like to read what Rose has to say about this flour.  The pizza SW dough by PR has a link on Rose's blog..just scroll down.

I made some changes adding powdered milk and brown rice syrup for a little more added sweetness.  This flour has plenty of it's own natural nutty delicious sweetness.  Oh, I know it would make wonderful nutty, cinnamon-sticky buns or rolls : )


Baking my first loaf was a very interesting experience.  I had no idea what to expect and changes I would like to make.  Most important's taste great ,and I'm not disappointed I ordered the flour.


Pizza is wonderful with this flour to say the least.

I'll have to call this my 'spent dough'  It sat in the frig for 3 days before I baked the pizza.  It browned up crispy, tender and very delicious.  

I made a very, very thin crust.  The dough handled beautifully and stretched easily.  Olive oiled hands help a lot in handling this wet 90% hydrated dough.  I had no problem stretching it into a pizza.  Just use wet or oiled hands.


I baked the pizza in the oven with just some chopped tomato and then after it was done in apx. 10 minutes.  I topped it with sauted challots, shrimp.  Sprinkled on some parmesan, fresh basil, pepper and drizzled with pesto.  It was delicious and that's what I had on hand.



Link to P.R. Sprouted Whole Wheat Pizza Dough


The crust was almost paper thin with a wonderful crunch and a tender crown.  It held up very nicely to the heavy topping.  Delicious! I like to think I'm eating all veggies with a little shrimp..kinda guilt free pizza and healthy too! 


Now that's thin crust..with a nice crumbed crown : ) next time it'll be a little thicker but with just as nice a bite and crunch.

And that was cool...I clicked something here and the picture shrank a little.


Nicely browned bottom


Since we were snacking on pizza's.  I threw in a mexican pizza.  It had a Bread flour crust, I had frozen and thawed out..for a couple of days.

What the heck.  I'm also testing out my new little oven.  I wanted to see how it worked for baking pizza's.

To my surprise I was delighted.  

Apx. 10 minutes in the oven and out comes a browned lovely pizza.

I take the pizza out a couple of minutes before it's done and add the cheese, put it back in the oven till the cheese melts nicely.  I think this keeps the cheese from over cooking or browning.



Wonderfully browned pizza crust with a nice little crunch.


These pizza's were baked in my Breville Toaster Oven..not to be an add ... but it's everything and more than I expected...just look how nicely it baked these pizza's!  I had ordered the extra pan with holes..worked wonderfully.

All in less than 15 minutes and that includes the pre-heat.  








SylviaH's picture

Oh, Strawberries!  They are abound now and will be gone soon.

I was thrilled that a local 3 generation family owned farm with organic, pesticide free,  picked daily, fruits and veggies, have opened a second stand down the road from me.  They have another stand near by but this one is super convenient for me.  Now I have three to pick from all within less than 15 minutes drive and, that's not counting the 2 farmer's market's.  

I feel so spoiled after moving from the desert.  There was one ranch that was picked over and trampled before anything was ready at least by the time I arrived.  It made me so sad to see had people abused all the brothers hard work.  Thank goodness Whole Foods arrived.  

I've made a few batches for sending to some of my family and, extra for Mike..who loves  my strawberry jam, strawberry shortcake and anything else strawberry.  

I made some strawberry shortcake cookies.  It's an old Martha Stewart recipe that I've tweaked with sour cream instead of heavy cream.  Basically, I think it's just like a scone.  I think I would like scones made with these fresh strawberries even more than the cookies.  But these are different and very enjoyable.    

I also baked a Pain Au Levain with whole wheat ala Jeffrey Hamelman's 'Bread'.  Mike loves a bit of toast with the SJ.  


Strawberry Jam on Pain Au Levain w/ whole wheat - Jeffrey Hamelman's 'Bread'


Strawberry Shortcake Cookies -  These cookies remind me of a scone, they are not mild in sweetness and, the strawberries really come through in flavor.  

I've posted the recipe below.  They should be eaten right away or refrigerated for a short time.  They won't last long.

 Martha Stewart's strawberry desserts

Strawberry - Shortcake Cookies

A handy portable version of a classic dessert.

12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4 in diced pieces (2 cups)

1 teaspoon - fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 ounces (6 TBsp. cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes

2/3 cup of heavy cream -  I didn't have any cream so I used sour cream

Some sparkle sugar crystals to sprinkle on top of cookies before baking.

1.  Preheat oven 375F - I use convection setting for best results.

Combine strawberries, lemon juice and a Tablespoon of granulated sugar.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt,

and remaining 7 Tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with

your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in

strawberry mixture.

2.  Using a 1 1/2 - inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment,

spacing evenly apart.  sprinkly with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes apx.  

Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool.  Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container

at room temperature for up to 1 day. 


Have a Berry Happy Day!



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I can't be a party pooper, so here's enjoyed for dinner today in celebration of CDM!

I don't think chocolate chip cookies are really a Mexican cookie, but we like them occassionally.


I brined a lovely organic chicken overnight.  It was cooked in my rotisserie to delicious, moist and tender.  If you've never brined your poultry.  Do give it a try.  You'll be very pleased at the difference.



Plate of tortilla's, shredded pork roast, chicken, fresh guacamole, pinto beans, Mexican pizza on locally purchased tortilla's..we have several local mexican tortiarilla panaderilla's so they are always very fresh and delicious. 



My Oatmeal, walnut, chocolate chip cookies.  

I just recently had to replace my mini oven.  I purchased the Breville smart oven.  I made the mexican pizza in it and 

crisps up a cold pizza perfectly.  I haven't tried baking a pizza in it yet..though I do have a stone and pizza pan for it. 


Not to be an add, but I'm so pleased with the new mini oven.  

Can you tell which cookies were baked in the Bmini and which ones were baked in my GE wall convection wall oven?

Answer -  The left is the Bmini on the right GE wall oven, baked Oatmeal, walnut, choc chip cookies.


Happy Cinco de Mayo!





SylviaH's picture

Today for our 3 pm dinner of Pork Kabob's, excuse me, that's Pork Kabab's with a Cucumber, Yogurt Sauce.  Inspired by a Saveur magazine recipe.   I wanted a nice easy Naan/Pita bread on the thickish side to enjoy with the PK's.  This was a first for me making a Naan and, I quickly settled on a recipe I found surfing around.  I changed the whole wheat flour addition to an organic white whole wheat, I had been wanting to use up.  I added quite a bit more AP flour.    

After dinner I looked more into the orginale recipe.  I also found that there had been a discussion on tfl and the recipe was changed or maybe it wasn't, I still can't figure it out.  Anyway, it just opened up a whole can of worms 'lol' and I decided not to go there with a recipe.  

I should have done my math first and saved myself the grief.  I was just having to much fun mixing up my wine marinade for the kababs and that wonderful greek yogurt sauce I love so much.  So no post for the recipe.

I would love to see some of tfloafers favorite Naan/Pita's recipes..on the thickish side.  I also like to bake them in an iron skillet for a little extra crunch and char taste.

Dinner at 3pm  or is that I'm pretty sure it's Dinner time!



Rotisserie Pork Kababs


The Naan was delicious and went perfect with dinner.  The texture and thickness was just right and the touch of honey was a plus.  I ate the first one off the grill, just meaning to have one bite.



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I have always been a fan of Cyril Hitz's Focaccia.  It makes a full half sheet pan of a nice, thick focaccia.  

I like it sliced diagonally to use for sandwiches, one of the reason's I chose to bake it today.  

I also roasted a leg of lamb for tonights dinner and tomorrow's sandwiches. 

Everything was cooked in my wfo, except the cherrry pie.  I baked it in my just cleaned ovens.  No mess, I always use a pizza pan for a liner for those bubbly cherry pies.

All was delicious and the lamb roasted up nice and medium the way we like it.  It had a wonderful little smoky flavor.

The focaccia was something I decided to make this morning.  So I adjusted the poolish to fit today's cooking schedule.  It tasted wonderful even without the long overnight fermented poolish.   The oven was a little crowded with the two large roasting and baking pans.  I placed the foccacia very close to the low flames and so it had a fair bit of charring over the top crust..added just more flavor, rather like on a pizza crust.  Focaccia is a bread that bakes and taste very nice, when baked in a wfo oven, without the fire being removed.  

It was topped with olive oil, rosemary, garlic and finished with coarse sea salt.




Happy Easter!



SylviaH's picture

I made the Pain Au Levain 'sourdough' pg. 158 from the book 'Jeffery Hamelman Bread'.

What a lovely delicious bread that has been enjoyed by many who have baked it.

When preparing my wfo for this bake, timing was very important because, I also make dinner in it before doing my baking.  

I call our dinner on Mike's work days 'time orders'.  

When he arrives home from a cycling exercise ride.  He has just enough time for showering and eating before, leaving the house.

So dinner is on table usually about 4:15.


I fired the oven up, mixed my bread and, roasted the chicken after the first logs burned down.  I only needed to add one log at a time to burn  a low flame for the roasting.

When the chicken was done.  I placed it into my elec. oven to keep it hot.  I made the salad, tended to my bread strectch and folds and made the pizza's.

Dinner was ready.  The pizza's only take a few minutes.  Everything was timed great and tasted delicious.

Just after dinner.  The loaves were shaped.  

Now there only some hot coals to rake over the oven floor.  Then I cleaned up after dinner.

After cleaning up the kitchen, I raked out what was left of the dying embers and ash.  Mopped my oven floor, placed the door on and left the oven to stablize for one hour and 15 minutes.  

The oven and loaves were both ready.  The timing worked out very good.

Everything was done.  Now the fun.  Baking my bread and I also put in some yams.

I had plenty of stored heat in the oven and could have baked longer.  But, it was a long day and I was tired and didn't really need the extra rustic pies I was thinking about adding to the days bake.  Easter and my birthday will be here soon.  How time flys.  Plenty of time for sweet eating and calories.


The neighborhood farmers market was full of fresh greens.  I should have brought my camera.  I especially wanted the Cara Cara Oranges for my roasted beet and goat cheese salad, basalmic glaze, all were topped over spinach.  Roasted walnuts were forgotten :/ would have added a nice crunch.



Whenever I fire up my oven.  I always include an organic chix.  Good for dinner, sandwiches or, what have you!


Lemon, Garlic and Herb Chix.  Delicious and very tender.



Mike's favorite  -  Pepperoni

The dough I had already frozen and used it today.  It was 100% Caputo 00 flour.


Heirloom tomato from the FMarket on this one, with a little pepperoni that was left.



Farmer's Market Squash Blossom's for this Pizza

These were the female blossom's, so I added the tiny zucc's


Delicious and tender


And now for more bread bakes. 

The lovely JH Pain Au Levain ' sourdough', melt in your mouth delicious 


They sprung so fast and started browning.... 10 minutes in the oven... before I got the steam pans out.  Not to much harm done.


Browning up nicely... apx. 30 min. in the oven... I removed them.  Let them cool overnight.


The bakers hand fell asleep about 3/4 away down the slash on the loaf on the left.


Crumb was open.  No extra hydration was added.  I stuck to the books formula



I was happy with the bottom crust.  The oven floor was a nice temperature.  Oven was apx. 500F and lowering.


Oven's clean and ready for the next firing.  Nothing beats a self cleaning oven.






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The other day Pips posted a link to a video of Eric Kayser making his baguettes.  Thank you, Pips.  I very much enjoyed watching the video.

 I have made E.K. baguette monge, tweaking the formula given by our 'french connection' Janedo.  The hydration was changed and, some white whole wheat flour was used and it made some very nice baguettes.  

It was enjoyable seeing him actually make his baguettes...though there was still guessing envolved in the hydration.  I think he just wanted anyone trying the formula to be comfortable with the handling of the baguettes and, so left the hydration up to what you wanted to use.  So, that's what I did.  

Since this was also, 'for me' was about getting a nice long baguette that would just fit into my oven.  I needed 19" and ended up going a few inches beyond that on all but one.  I put them onto my baguette peel and then onto parchment lined, upside down large sheet pan.

Anyway, I enjoyed experimenting with the video's directions and kept myself busy doing a little baking.  I did not write down my measures used.

 My posting have been rather spaced out and a bit hard for me to do.  My dearest Aunt Maureen,  passed away this month.  She lived a wonderful life.  She was 92.

I will miss her visits very much. 


I took these photos and had to resize them and today they also were cooperating in being downloaded to TFL.  Not very good photo's or lighting.


My assembly line.  Now what to do with the 'to long of baguettes for my oven'.


I thought I could cut the very much to long one's into Epi's.  and it did help.  

Some of the epi's were still to long.  I pinched some off and tossed them into a plastic bag into the refrigerator.  I would use the dough for something else.

I did get some baguettes and couple of epi loaves.




I was happy with the crumbs openess..pretty much what I like.  The slashing was poor.



Now the best part.   After the extra dough resting in the frig for a couple of days.   It made a very delicious pizza.  Even as abuseably it was pinched and tossed into the bag.

I made a fresh pesto, used fresh mozza, heirloom tomatoes and, grated fresh pepper and a little sea salt, evoo for toppings.

I love the use of heirloom tomates...they are so beautiful and tasty.

The pizza was baked on pre-heated for one hour stones, in a 550F oven.  For apx. 8 minutes.

The sourdough made a fastastic tasting, crispy thin crust pizza.



Very hotta pizza as Eric Kayser would say :)



A thin crispy slice to go with the pasta marinara.







SylviaH's picture

This is an Irish bread very similar to an Irish Soda bread, except an authentic Irish Soda bread only has flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda in it's ingredients.  

Since I have 'Sylvia's Irish Soda Bread' recipe on my blog.  I wanted to add the Irish Buttermilk Bannock as well.  Here it is a very traditional type bannock, which includes raisins or currants and eggs.  Quick, easy and tasty to whip up to enjoy at teatime or anytime.

Irish Buttermilk Bannock

Pre-heat Oven 350F

4 Cups of All Purpose Flour -  125 gms. = l cup AP Flour  - You can use a little less or more.  

3 tsp. Baking Powder - Fresh

1 tsp. Salt

3/4 tsp. Baking Soda

1 Cup  Currants or Raisins  -  I used golden and dark raisins - fresh and moist

2 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk - 1 Cup Buttermilk = 240 grm - 8.5 oz - I used 390 gms and little extra flour

In a deep bowl.  Sift or wisk together your dry ingredients and mix in the raisins.

Mix the 2 Eggs into your Buttermilk.  A large measuring cup comes in very handy.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.

Pour in the buttermilk and egg mixture

Quickly and gently blend until the mixture is moistened and comes just together.

Scrape the mixture out onto a well floured surface.

With floured hands.  Press gently together and give it a very gently kneading...I do about 3, while shaping into a disk.

Shape into about 2-3 inches high disk and place into one lightly greased pie pan.

With a large kitchen knife.  Cut a cross down as far on the sides as you can go.

Bake about 1 hour and a quarter.  Until nice and browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool about 15 min. and remove from pan.

I enjoy a slice, while still slightly warm.  Very tasty with jam and butter, plain or toasted.







Happy St. Patrick's Day!










SylviaH's picture

Maggie Glezer - Tomcat's Semolina Filone 




I baked with family and friends for the holidays

German Christmas Biscuits/Cookies

These are soooo delicious, full of spicey goodness, coated with two different glazes and topped with sugar crystals for a little extra holiday shine.  I used my candied orange peel finely chopped instead of orange grated, which made a nice touch.  I will definately make more of these.  


Think Almond Roca

Took me a while to find this resized photo...sorry for the delay posting :)

May this New Year Coming be blessed for all.  




SylviaH's picture

I baked this pie early in October, because it's our very favorite pie anytime of the year...especially when the yams 'Garnet' perfered, are good and heavy with their rich fresh tasty yummieness.

Looking at txfarmers lovely custard pie has encouraged me to post this recipe to share for this 'pie season' and hope some of you might enjoy it for the coming holidays as much as we do. 

To say this is our favorite pie is a bit of an understatement...In the South this pie is often eaten along with the meat course, but obviously can be served as dessert.


An Old Southern Recipe - Matilda's Sweet Potato Pie - revised

4 medium- size Garnet Yams - About 2 lbs. -

'Baked' rather than boiled - to bring out the sweetness even more.  Cool and slip the peels off

1/2 Cup of Butter - softened

2 Cups of Sugar

4 Eggs - 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves -  You may wish to adjust the spices to your taste.. but remember..this is not pumpkin pie spices..extra clove is a good thing.

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Cup of Buttermilk ---- yum, yum

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (added to the buttermilk)  

2 unbaked 9 inch- pastry shells or 12 three-inch tart shells

Whipping cream (optional)

Prepare your pie crust and place it into your  pie pan  'I prefer glass 'amber or clear' pie dish' for my pies.  Refrigerate until filling is completed.  

1.  Whirl your cooled, skinned, baked yams in a blender, food processor or mixer just until smooth.

2. Add remaing ingredients (not the pastry) mix until combined and pour into your pastry shell.

3. Baked in a pre-heated hot oven... I set mine for my pie onto a parchment lined cookie sheet..on the bottom of the oven.  Cover my pie crust rim with foil or pie rim cover..put it in the oven..bake for 15 minutes..move to a lower shelf..reduce the oven to 350 and bake until center is nearly firm..test with a wooden skew for doneness.  Bake aproximately 40 minutes to an hour..depending upon how thick my filling is in my shell.  Removing the crust cover the last 10 minutes apx. of baking time.

Remember and 'watch and test' rather than clock your pie/crust for doneness.  The top should just begin to brown and feels firm to the touch.

Serve warm or cold with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Serves 12 apx.

Note:  This pie freezes very successfully.

Happy Holiday Baking!




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