The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SylviaH's blog

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I baked Sicilian Semolina Bread from D T. DiMuzio's book 'breadbaking' tweaking the formula and fermentation of the biga to adjust to my time schdule for wfo baking.  I also made a fresh peach and blueberry Breakfast Tart with a Pate A Foncer crust and Almond Cream from M. Suas AB&P book with some tweaks again with ingredients and for wfo baking.  The pizza's where Margherita pizza and a fresh homemade pesto sauce and shrimp pizza.  I baked the pizza's in a very hot oven.  When baking pizza fast apx. 2min. pizza you need to have the fire just right along with right floor temperature of the oven.  If the pizza is charing to much on the bottom before the top is done.  You need to make the fire larger and hotter, you would think the opposite.  The pizza needs a larger flame and more heat coming from the top of the oven so the bottom and the top will bake evenly.  Building a larger fire speeds the top baking up to create an evenly baked top and bottom of a pizza pie.  This fire is rolling over creating a convection flow of heat.  That is why the fire is placed to the side of the oven dome.  You don't want the heat to come out your door or up your chimney flue.

I started with a very hot oven and still had plenty of hot coals to shovel out and set the oven for stabilizing the heat for baking.  I started later in the day.  So I would be making my pizza's when it was a cooler outside.  Building the fire goes quick for me now and I only have to add a log about every 15 to 25 minutes until I'm ready to bake.


                              Shrimp Pizza with homemade pesto


                                           Pizza Margherita for neighbors favorite and mine


                                            Prebaked tart shell... a little to browned..I was busy shaping bread 'lol'


                                                    Next bread went in while I prepared the tart with fillings



                                             Great oven spring



                                  I had my nightly friend visit while I was baking!



                                  More to come... my husband is rushing me out the door for an appt. we have.  Sylvia


   ADDED:                                               Oven floor temperature at the red lazer dot, between pizza and fire.

                            Never add logs while food is in the oven, unless you want a little ash on top of your food.


                                I didn't expect the oven spring I got and it blew out my scroll shape.  Photos were taken in todays morning light.



                                I was happy with the bottom crust color.  Photo taken under night kitchen lights so things look a little yellow.



                                        The Crumb Shot            -  I hope for a more open crumb my next go at this wfo baking!



 I was very pleased with the way tart baked up in the oven as it cooled down somewhat from the bread baking.  The floor of the oven should be somewhere about 500F for the breads.  All coals removed and oven heat stablized..takes about a hour maybe a little longer, depending on how hot and long the oven is fired.  I had plenty of good hot coals spread all over the floor and then removed for stablizing time.

                                   Now the Tart is baking.. forgot about using a flash...but the lazer lit up


                                   I was very pleased with the Tart and it was absolutely delicious for a morning Breakfast Tart!  I added a little sprinkled on turbinado sugar and it was just right for this 'not to sweet' tart with it's fresh sweet fruit.  It can be garnished many ways.  Tonight it will be served with homemade ice cream!



                                  Out of the tart pan.  I was happy the crust wasn't to overly prebaked.





                                        This mornings breakfast, sorry about the big bite out, couldn't help myself.  It really was a delicious tart.  I prepared all the  ingredients the evening before to make things a lot easier bake day.  I think making a natural sourdough bread that is shaped and has a final proof in the my frig overnight is a lot easier than making a bread with a commerical yeast the day of firing up the oven and least there is a lot less work and timing involved for me IMHO.








SylviaH's picture

After a couple failed attempts using semolina grind for my starter.  My starter was going great with the duram flour.  I had only enough duram flour left for one loaf of Franko's Altamura.  I gave it a go today in my wfo.  Franko's formula 'Rocks' 'lol'.  I hope to have a better bake next go round.  My oven was to hot and the bread was getting overproofed, just to many irons in the fire today!


                   Altamura and SD Boules


                Oven was to hot and I hope to do better, next go on the crumb, shaping and timing :-)





                           Bread was over proofed and so went into an un-stablized oven that was to hot. 


                                    Something new.  B

aking with door off.  No steam added and there is a small fire to the left of the oven, mostly                                        hot coals.




                         Apricot, brown sugar, almond, dessert pizza, dusted with powered sugar



                                     My new DVD came today.  Ciril Hitz, new wfo baking dvd.  K.Hitz gave me a shipping discount :)

                          Altumura, SD boules and SD pizza balls.





                                                         SD Tomato Pizza with fresh Mozz



                              Garlic wfo roasted chicken and little pre roasting of apricots for the dessert apricot pizza



                                                    wfo roasted organic chicken for tomorrows sandwiches



                                                    To be enjoyed on Franko's Altamura bread Panini style.  

                                          ADDED:  up to late, long day..added link in to Franko's formula for Altamura 'altumura' 'lol' should have

                                                           got that right.  I apologize Franko :) 


             Good to be baking!









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This sourdough focaccia if based on the excellent post,  for a 'sourdough raisin focaccia' by bwraith.

 I halved the recipe and adjusted the hydration to use all duram flour to mix with my regular bread flour sourdough pre-ferment.  It turned out very much to our liking, my husband ate 3 slices and said he liked it best with the goat cheese.  Thanks to Franko recent posts on using duram flour, I was inspired to bake a semolina sourdough focaccia today.  I knew my figs were not going to wait for my next wfo baking!

So for winging this recipe, it turned out quite delicious. 

                                       The focaccia is steamed oven for 10 minutes.  Placed in a 10" oiled pan.












       Happy Fourth of July!



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While doing a little R&R around the house 'to say the least'!  I wanted something healthy, handy and easy for dinner...this is what I found in the frig.  Hmmm, a meaty ham bone in the freezer along with some black eyed peas, in the veg. bin, lot's of carrot's, 7lbs. and a large container of fresh spinach, all organic veggies,  fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, baby romain's, yumm, some home made candied walnuts.  Fresh berry, gorgonzola salad dressing.  Freezer, a nice whole boule of Pain au Levain JH!


Juicing with my 1970's Champion it, still going like new.  This has been a favorite juice of mine for as long as I can remember... I used to drink as much as 2 qts. of this 'Green Juice' a day...back in the 70's, when I could burn off all those extra calories!

7lbs. of organic carrot's, 10 oz, or a large plastic container of fresh organic spinach, I like more spinach for my green juice, but this is all that was left...since we had spinach and goat cheese omelets for breakfast this morning and a little went in the soup.



      I think these Oregon, giant blueberries are the best sweet!


                                                                            Soups ready!  Just top it with some fresh grated romano!






                              To top it all off .................fresh bread thawed and ready from the freezer :)




         Hope you enjoyed the tour :)  Sylvia












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Peter Reinhart's 'Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread' from TBBA.  A very popular bread, made by and raved about by so many at TFL.  It is very delicious and special as any Cinnamon bread could be, with it's nuts, I choose pecan over the walnut, though I have a humungous bag of each,  I love pecans... I will make walnut next, they add their own special flavor to this bread.  I also used brown sugar and cinnamon for the swirl, topping and crumb.  Raisins, yes, my favorite 'golden'.  I was a little short on the golden,  so I   also added some dark raisins.  











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After reading Mebakes excellent post here with the suggestion using a finely ground sea salt, for easier dissolving on dough.  I decided to make a batch.  I should have done this a long time ago..what a great suggestion!  Thanks Mebake for the post!  

I don't have a miller so I used my mini-food processor and ground up a batch for today's pain au levain and future bakes.  A food processor works for fine grinding of sugar so why not salt!  I'm sure you could use a coffee grinder..I have two but they have pepper and coffee in them.








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These decorated sugar cookies were fun to make and flew away quickly after a lovely family Easter dinner.




                         Happy Easter, 
















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Buttermilk Hot Cross Buns        


If you would like the recipe I used it is referred to on my blog HERE.   I add extra homemade candied orange and lemon peel.  I also use golden raisins a little extra spice of nutmeg and cinnamon.  I like to up the hydration too, by adding a little extra buttermilk.  I glazed the buns with beaten egg yolk with about a TBspoon of milk.  I also towel steamed my buns for the first 12 minutes.  I made a Royal Icing for the baked on crosses, I've tried them before and I don't care for the flavor or texture of the baked crosses, IMHO, the baked on crosses are for the benefit of commercial baking and selling of the HCB, so the crosses don't melt or disfigure...IMHO!  I think the added little sweetness of the lemon flavored icing crosses goes great with the buns.



                                        These are very large buns.  





                                                   Very tender crumb, pulled apart still warm.



                                             These were frosted still a little warm....the Lemon Royal Icing will harden nicely and not melt away on the buns when covered for

                                    later eating.








SylviaH's picture

Today I baked 4 loaves, 2 light rye and 2 pain rustique from JH 'Bread'.  After seeing Franko's lovely bake of the Pain Rustique, it sounded and looked so good, what a perfect bread to have on hand. The flavor is delicious and the crust sang.  I left the caraway out of the light rye.  The bread is very good, but I prefer more of a rye flavor. We were up late last night and so it was about 2am I put together my poolish and sourdough..tired as I was today, I baked the breads and made a rotisserie chicken for dinner.  I hope to make a better looking crumb on the next go round.  I bought a new little Bosch compact and usually do all my mixing by hand, but wanted to try the mixer. I love this little compact mixer, but I still prefer to do my mixing by hand...anyway, it was fun getting a little practice using it.














                                         Bad night kitchen lights on the crumb shot of the light rye.




                                  No recipe on these buns.  They were a one of those experimental batches.  Basically a sourdough whole wheat bun recipe that I

                                 messed with adding some APflour, egg and powered milk.  They were very tasty.












SylviaH's picture

Today I made Irish Soda Bread to enjoy with our St. Patrick's Day dinner!  I've listed the ingredients and if you would like to see photos of step by step instructions they are on my blog Here.  Making soda bread, takes a little practice.  The list of ingredients are what i used today, I added a little extra flour, while gently mixing the dough and used a heavily floured board to shape the dough.

1. 280 gms All Purpose Flour - low protein         

2. 8 gms baking soda - Always Fresh - I throw out anything over 6 mos. old

3. 4 gms salt

4. 4 gms Cream of Tartar - "      "

5  300 gms Buttermilk








                         Soda Farls     from the same recipe       Med Low Temperature bake apx. 10 minutes on each side in a well seasoned iron pan.  I also make

                         these on my electric griddle.



           Slice warm or cooled and eat with butter and jam or they make a wonderful bacon or corned beef sandwich.






              I also made one replacing 1/4 cup of AP flour with 1/4 cup organic white whole wheat and 1 TBsp. caraway seed....not your traditional soda bread, but delicious with the corned beef.









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