The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SylviaH's blog

SylviaH's picture

Testing for a little personal satisfaction!  Today I baked a single large loaf of my usual - 100% levain Country Boule...I use my variation of a recipe from Northwest Sourdough,  for a 100% hydration starter, sourdough country bread.  It was proofed in the frig from 4pm until 9am.  I don't usually proof this long, but I was out for most that evening and had to leave the house at 4pm. 

I have been wanting to see my largest loaf baked in the LCC without topping out.  My loaf fit great, without 'topping out' with what I think will be very close to my fullest ovenspring for this type of loaf.  No crumb shot included.  This loaf is going to a family dinner!


                                                 Oven spring just reached under the top of the cover






                                                           Slashed with a V 'name of slash ?' on top/ Sprung up nice




                                                                                                 Apx. 4.5"H X 7" W - Correction: 1lb. 14oz baked                                                                                 


                    Happy Holidays!









SylviaH's picture

I baked this panettone for the first time last year HERE  and loved it so much I'm baking it for family and friends again this year.  No matter what formula you make a panettone, you will love it and want it everyear...and it's really not as difficult as it seems...really! 

It was done a little different from last years...mixing was done both KA and hand, toppings, fruits, brandy, liqueur and extracts.  I won't have a crumb shot, maybe in about 3 days.  I know the flavor really comes through with a little just gets better and when it does begin to dry a little...Oh what delicious bread pudding..that is if there's any left.  Last year I used the chocolate topping from Susans wildyeastblog and this year a delicous plain Almond Paste topping.  I used all dried fruits.  I made 2 large panettone and 3 smaller new smaller panettone molds were found at Sir La Table and just arrived this time for the second batch.  I made double formula this year.



                                              Dried fruit blend with a little brandy, Disaronno, Fiori de Silica and extracts of orange, lemon


                                                                        This is a double batch of fruit.


                                The babysat, pampered for hours and for days now ready sponge.



                                                  Cooling  -  I inserted the wooden skewers after they were baked - It can be done before the batter goes

                                                   into the paper molds...which is better...I forgot to do it before baking.  The bread is hot and you don't want

                                                   to squish it while inserting the skewers.



                                                      Cooled Panettone with Almond Paste Topping

                                                                        Almond Paste Topping Recipe

                                                                         1/2 Cup of good quality Almond Paste, room temperature

                                                                          3 Tablespoons of Bakers Sugar - I use bakers sugar in most of my pastry baking

                                                                           you can use regular granulated sugar.

                                                                            2 Egg Whites. 

                                                                  Beat until creamy and smooth consistancy from spreading, being careful not to deflate your

                                                                   panettone.  Add sliced almonds and pearl sugar.  Or you can use powdered sugar.  It can be

                                                                   also be refrigerated and rewhipped smooth before using.  I applied it very thick, love the crunch

                                                                   and flavor.



                                           My Italian neighbors lovely oranges, I use for citrus peel and zest.  Oranges in exchange for Panettone!

                                           They are delicious, their Cara Cara Oranges have the lovliest pinkish tinge and make gorgeous colorful peel.


                                                                 ADDED: Crumb shot, Mike couldn't wait another day! Just delicous addicting! 


                                                                     The almond slivers seem to dissappear into the crumb but are a wonderful addition.

                                                          I had forgotten to purchase some and was so relieved when I found a new bag in my





                    Happy Holiday Baking!





SylviaH's picture

I've made this bread many times as seen on my blog, with a biga naturale, overnight fermentation, braided loaves, rolls, and just as the recipe comes from the bread site, listed in the recipes section.  Today I wanted to have a loaf ready for dinner and since I was making my usual sourdough loaves to try out in my iron combo cooker.  I prepared my biga and levains last night.  We love the nutty flavor of the Scali loaves with added sesame seeds.  I especially like making the Scali Hoagie rolls, they are just get for hot or cold sandwiches.  You can shape this bread just about any way you like, a member, weavershouse, does a beautifully perfect shaped batard scali.  The traditonal loaf is braided an very popular in the Italian Boston community of resturants and bakeries.

Just out of my oven and still to hot to slice, I made my usual plain sourdough @ 100% hydration that is one of Mike's favorites.  I tried it for the first time in my iron combo cooker.  The thing I notice most different for baking it in the combo cooker is the color of can become a very rich dark/black tinged crust with a lovely mahogany hue.  I have another 5 qt. DO. but find it awkward to do two loaves at once...especially since the pots are so very hot, a lot of caution needs to be used.  My second loaf is just about ready to come out of the oven...went right in after the first came out without any problems.


                         Scali baking in the oven on a cookie sheet




                                         Scali crumb was still slightly warm as we enjoyed the bread with dinner tonight.






                                                               2 Sourdough boules baked in my iron combo cooker.  The second one is still

                                                               baking and I will post it soon.


                                      Lovely deep mahogany color from using the combo cooker




                        Second loaf just came out of the oven, was baked even bolder.







SylviaH's picture

My grandson's 17th Birthday Party was Saturday.  After returning from a fun afternoon of Paintball sportpark a pizza party was planned.  I made the pizza dough and sauce, my daughter and another mom took care of the rest.  It has been a busy fun week of family and friends.  I assembled the pizza's along with lot's of volunteer's...who needed no instructions :)  My daughter tended to the oven baking of the pizza's.  They couldn't come out of the oven fast enough and requests for toppings were coming in fast!  What a production we had going!  I would like to share some of the day and my family with you, along with how I managed to make enough dough and sauce for 30 pizza's, last I counted. 

I starter Friday night armed with my little kitchenaid artisan mixer.  Not being able to hand mix this amount of dough and not wanting to be at it for long, this is what I did and the dough turned out perfect and the tomato sauce.  The pesto, chanterelles, shrimp, sausage, pepperoni, assorment of different cheeses where also some other toppings used.  Back to the dough mixing...I made one batch, yes one batch at a time.  I made 6 batches of the basic good old stand-by, Neo Neapolitan Pizza Dough from Peter Reinhart's 'American Pie'. 

My version used: To mixer bowl added in this order:

1 3/4 cups room temperature water

2 Tablespoons of EVOO and using the same Tablespoon I added 1 Tablespoon clover honey...sides off real easy from the previous oiled measuring spoon.

23 oz. King Arthur All Purpose flour

1 teaspoon instand yeast

3 1/4 teaspoons sea salt - a little less salty

Using the paddle, turned on mixer until dough was mixed and formed a rough ball.

Rested 10 minutes - Attached the dough blade, continued mixing until light gluten began to form and the dough was sticking slightly to the bottom of the bowl and starting to slap the sides.   Removed the dough, shaped into a nice smooth ball and placed into a oiled bowl.

Started the next batch, using the same method.  During the mixing and resting of each batch, I would give the previous dough in the oiled bowl a stretch and fold testing for good a window pane...when that was reached, I placed the dough-all into a very large plastic tub.  It was actually a large plastic cake cover turned upside down...perfect and used the bottom for the lid.  All the dough balls were placed into the large oiled tub.

When 6 batches were completed and placed into the large oiled inverted cake cover.  I placed it into the refrigerator for an overnight bulk ferment.

While making the dough, I also assembled my sauce...easiest part making the sauce! 

Sauce:  My version of PR Crushed Tomato Sauce Recipe in 'American Pie'

4 28oz. cans San Marzano Crushed tomatoes

1 28 oz. can SM chunked tomatoes- drained

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

5 teaspoons dried basil

5 teaspoons Mediterranian Oregano

apx. 25 minced fresh garlic cloves

2 TBsp. red wine vinegar, 6 TBsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

5 teaspoons sea salt to taste

Placed all into my 5 lb. plastic flour canister, just filled it..the ten pound would have been roomier, but did not fit into the frig..

The next morning: 

Floured 3 tin foil was very large and two smaller ones..the large pan was little crowded and next time :? would use 2 more smaller tin foil pans instead of the one large.

Dumped all the cold, doubled in bulk dough, onto my wooden dough board and cut, weighed and shaped individual 8 oz. dough balls.  Placed them into the well floured tin pans, keeping them floured inbetween, so they did not stick together as they final proofed...on the way to the party!

I cut and weighed and shaped 8oz. pizza dough balls..did a few 10 oz..but thought a little large, so changed to making all 8 oz. pizza balls.

I did a pretest single batch of this see how it would work bulk fermented and then divided cold the next morning, shaped into individual pizza balls, proofed for a couple of hours and then shaped and worked perfect.  The weather has been very cool and allowed the dough to proof nicely on the drive to my daughter's home and ready when we where to make the pizza's.

I don't have a lot of photo's..I was busy and didn't even get to bring out my camera..would have loved to catch some photos of my daughter making the pizza's in the hot oven...she did manage time to catch a few photos and e-mailed them to me this afternoon..

I only managed to get 2 of the dough and sauce finished...I was ready for some bed rest, doing Thanksgiving dinner the day before, dough and sauce Friday, party was Saturday.


                                        Enough dough for 30 pizza's ........... more than enough sauce...I forgot there were other sauces, so made to

                         much....won't go to waste with some mozzarella stuffed meatballs and pasta!




                                                       Grandson enjoying Red Velvet cupcake decorated like a paint-ball splatter.  Made by a mother of the other boy who was also celebrating his 16th Birthday!












                                               It is very cool and breezy outside.  I quess when your that young you don't feel it.



                                                         Mom on the left baked the

                                                         paintball splatter cupcakes and some serious pizza making in the lovely outdoor kitchen area

                                                         with the Wood Fired Oven.







                                  There's what's left of a couple of pizza's..we forgot to take photo's of the pizza's!










SylviaH's picture

to Thanksgiving Day.  I baked several different kinds of bread in advance of Thanksgiving Day and these were just a few, I managed to get a couple of photos of along the way to the big day.  I baked challah, sourdough, cornbread, pugliese and tried the buttermilk rolls from  BH Bread Bible.  I tried a sourdough out in my new cast iron baker...It bakes up a wonderful loaf but the cast iron was a little heavy and hot to handle and limited to only one loaf at a time...all in all, I love cast iron dutch oven pan!  I especially like this one most of all for stove top cooking..just right size little fry pan and real nice pot for frying chicken or any deep frying, I'm very happy with this set, so much so I gave my extra large iron pan, I was using for lava rock. to my DIL with instructions how to get back the once lovely seasoned coating it had...I also have another extra large very well seasoned/aged one...but it will keep that lovely seasoning, that took so long to build.





                                                    I love my new Lodge Cast Iron multipurpose dutch oven set



                                                    Steaming a couple of sourdough loaves




SylviaH's picture

With a house full of company, my little grandaughter helped me make this apple and pumpkin pie.  We used Caroline's buttermilk crust recipe..ran a little short on didn't get a fancy crimped matter, won't affect the taste... we also made a couple of pumpkin pies problem just pieced in the edges.  Making a deep dish apple next time I will triple the recipe..also 3X for 2 large pumpkin pies.  I like plenty of dough to work with and can always make cinnamon twists with extra dough...we like our crust a little on the thickish side...especially when it's this buttery tasty and DIL requested a thicker crust, made me smile! 

Grand daughter picked the Indian girl pie bird for Thanksgiving, she liked her better than the Indian boy!  I have a lot of pie birds!



Happy Thanksgiving to TFLoafers!


SylviaH's picture

This is apx. 82% (the recipe 3 X's is apx. 84%) total hydration dough, that I think would be fun for anyone to try.  It is one of my favorites, I've posted HERE before.  The recipe comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum 'the bread bible' and a photo is displayed on the cover.

Delicious, it has a lovely creamy crumb, tender chewy crust, the added duram flour gives a mellow buttery flavor, just perfect for dipping in EVOO, or slathering it with just about anything you favor...perfect for a sandwich.  The Biga can be used up to three day before baking.  I use the 'Ultimate Full Flavor Variation' allowing it to ferment in a cool area (55F to 65F) for 12 to 24 hours.  Perfect weather now for finding a cool spot in my home.  I just add a few ice cubes in my very cool spare bathroom sink.

I have always 3 Times the recipe - the recipe in the book makes small pugliese- 3 times gives me 2 nice size round loaves that just fit in my banneton's that are linen lined...I used to use small bowls lined with floured tea towels, that works fine, too!

This is 'Three Times the recipe'

1. Biga  - 225 gms - All purpose flour - use only- Gold Medal, King Arthur or Pillsbury - 225 gms

instant yeast - 3 X 1/16 teaspoon -  or 0.6 gms.

water, at room temperature (70F to 90F) - 177 gms

6 hours or up to 3 days ahead, make the biga. - I use the 'Ultimate Full Flavor Variation', as stated above.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir the mixture until smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl...3 to 5 minutes. Should be sticky or tacky enough to cling to your fingers.  Cover the bowl, with oiled plastic or lid and set aside until tripled and filled with bubbles..about 6 hours.  Stir it down and use it, or refrigerate it up to 3 days, before baking,  I place my bowl in a cool spot for as mentioned above!  So I can bake the next day.

Dough - 

All Purpose flour - GM, KA or Pillsbury -213 gms

Duram Flour - 213 gms

Instant Yeast - 1 1/2 teaspoons

salt - I used 15gms sea salt

water, at room temperature (70F to 90F)  about 12 oz - 354 gms

Biga from above

I mixed all by hand, this way.

In a large bowl, dissolve the biga in the water...there were a few little pieces, undissolved.  Wisked together my flours, yeast, added salt and wisked again.

Added the flour mixture to the biga and water and mixed just until the all was wet and combined.  Autolysed for  apx. 50 minutes and did stretch and folds-30 minutes apart,  double it's length and give it a business letter fold, after 3 stretch and folds, round up the dough into a ball, covered and let it rise in a (ideally 75F to 80F) until tripled...about 2 hours.

Preheat oven and stone 500F...1 hour before baking...Shape very gently, handling as little as possible, trying not to deflate all those nice air bubbles.  Pour it out of the bowl onto lightly floured surface...cut it in half..pull it over itself into a rough ball shape and in just very motions pull it into a rounded ball.  Gently pick it up and drop it seam side up into the floured banneton.  Sprinkle top lightly with flour, and cover with oiled plastic wrap.  Allow to rise until it has increased by about 1 1/2 times, to 1 1/2 hours.  It will just start to push up the plastic.

Bake with steam turning down the oven after the first five minutes and then continue baking with steam for 12 minutes total at 450F or adjusting your ovens temperature to bake the loaves for apx. another 20 minutes, until deep golden brown....leave loaves in off oven with door ajar for a 5 to 10 minutes

ADDITION NOTE.  A change was made in the water addition from 154gms. to 354gms.  I apologize for the typo and thanks to pattycakes for catching it.

This recipe comes from RLB 'the bread bible' and I have tripled  her recipe. 



         Duram Flour and Semolina Grind  -  Use the Duram Flour, pictured on the right,  not the pasta grind semolina on the left.





                                                             Usually I do this right handed but I' holding the camera : )                             











                                                                          submitted to yeastspotting                                                                               



SylviaH's picture

Oh the freezer was empty of bread.. I baked up some good old basic sourdough @100.  The recipe from the  site.  Where Teresa now has her free download book available!

 They turned out nicely, though these loaves tended to get what I considered a little man-handled in the shaping, a dull razor slashing, and some sticking to my woven baskets, the linen ones work fine, no sticking.  I will just have to use more flour/whiterice in by baskets, until I get the midas touch, Txfarmer has it for dusting her baskets....maybe she'll loan me her magic dusting wand ;) Just having a little fun Txfarmer...thank you so much for your helpful advice!

I don't want to carry on about the steaming method I've been using with wet nuked towels in the 2 loaf pans...But Oh Man, I'm so very pleased/happy with the fantastic results and especially how all around much easier this is for me from previous methods I've tried.

Mike said, he loved the flavor and this was his favorite bread...I replied....your just a country sourdough man at heart, many lovely recipes on my to do list for country sourdoughs.






                             4 - 1 lb. Loaves - one holding up the Oval loaf - 




                                                            Crust and Crumb with a little bolder bake- IMHO a noticably thinner bold baked crust, crunchy, crispy and a cracks                                                                                                                                


SylviaH's picture

I was so inspired by Pamela's 'xiapete' post on the ZaZu resturants style Chanterelle mushroom and goat cheese pizza, she baked in Nov. of 09, I've been craving one ever since.  I finally found some lovely Chanterelle mushrooms.  I also baked a pizza Margarita style.  It was served with a lovely little organic chicken, I stuffed with fresh garlic, rosemary, lemon, s&p. and, some roasted peppers!  Roasted it all at the oven door while the fire was getting ready for the pizza's.

I made my version of Roman Pizza Dough from PR book American Pie, by adding Olive Oil.  I used King Arthur's Duram flour.

The crust is absolutely delicious.  My favorite way to have it is, stretched thin with a big blooming crown, that way I can enjoy this fabulous tasteing crust.  It can be stretched to a cracker thin crust.  My husband loved it, crust toppings and all...he said it was his favorite crust. 


                      Roman Pizza Dough

I made 4 large dough balls - or you can make six- 6- ounce balls

5 cups  (22 1/2 ounces) King Arthur All Purpose Flour

1/4 cup (1 ounce) semolina flour - I used King Arthur Duram flour -

1 3/4 teaspoons salt or 3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, I use sea salt

1 teaspoon instand yeast

1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons cool water (65F)

I added 2 Tablespoons of unfilter extra virgin olive oil

1. Mixed all ingredients in my KA until combined, using the dough hook and mix on low speed for about 4 minutes or until all the flour gathers to form a coarse ball.  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on medium-low speed for an additional 2 minutes or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom.  Adjusting the hydration or adding more flour if needed.  The dough should pass the windowpane test. 

I divided the dough into 4 balls and placed each one into an oiled plastic tub and refrigerated them until the next day.  Removing them about 2 hours before making my pizzas.

I stretch the dough out thin leaving a thicker area for the crown...add my toppings and bake, either a pre-heated convection 550 oven with stone, or in my WFO 800F and up. until the crust browns with a little charring.

         First the Chicken stuffed with fresh lemon, rosemary and garlic and drizzled with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, S&P.  The oven omits so much heat the roasting is done at the oven door...which is very handy.

                                                            Oven getting good and hot for the Pizza


                                                     Fire Roasted Peppers - My Italian girlfriends moms recipe -

                                           Roast peppers, clean off charred skin, I leave a tiny bit of char for more flavor, add to bowl and cover with

                                   extra virgin olive oil, diced fresh garlic and sea salt to taste...refrigerate and keeps for a good week, delicious on

                        Sausage sandwiches or alone..I used to get grossed out watching my still girlfriend over 50yrs. eating her school lunch sandwich

                with just these peppers on it.  Little did I know!



                               Ready for the Pizza's



                                        Pizza with Chanterelles, Goat Cheese, EVOO, Truffle salt and a smidgen of Pesto, Shaved Parmesean Cheese.

                                      What a great combo of ingredients...

                                                                            On my tweeked Roman Pizza Dough - Fabulous tasting!


                      Crispy crust                    Submitted to  Yeast Spotting               


                                                                  Tomato and Cheese - Still my Favorite - My sauce, herbs, garlic and San Marzano 

                                                   tomatoes.  Fresh mozzarella -



                                                         Fabulous tasting's really a draw between the sauce and the crust, but I would have to pick

                                       the crust!  Fresh mozz makes all the difference!



                                                 Crumb of the Crown









SylviaH's picture

I have been wanting to try this method for sometime and have just been putting it off until today.  Of coarse I had to pick today, my kitchen still in some construction mode after remodeling my shower, it had leaked through on the kitchen ceiling, an appointment with a glass and mirror installer...and today is Mike's birthday, so everything is in a bit of a rush.  I baked a couple of mulitigrain loaves, and upon doing this I decided to try a new method of creating steam in my oven.  I'm convinced the only way I'm going to get steam that's not continually 'vented' out of my oven is by using this method.  This is so much easier for me..a lot less effort to create constant steam.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Preheated the loaf pans in my oven one or two 5 1/2" X 9 1/2" dark non-stick loaf pans...I used 2 loaf pans with 2 tightly rolled towels in each pan.

Placed 2 water soaked towels into a 6X10 Pyrex glass dish.  Microwaved them for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Until good and hot.

I removed a pre-heated loaf pan from the oven.  Turned my pre-heating oven onto the Bake mode.

Using Tongs I placed the hot towels into the loaf pan. Placed the pan and hot towels back into the oven

Repeated for the other loaf pan and towels.

Using a 8oz. pyrex cup, I microwaved a 1/2 cup of water until it boiled.  Poured the hot water over the two hot rolled towels in one of the loaf pans.

I then repeated for the other loaf pan.  I covered my glass door with a towel and left the pans in the oven while pouring the hot water over the towels.

More or less water can be added.  I had my towels very wet with a little water on the bottom of the pans.

The oven was pre steamed and steamed.  There was constant steam coming from the towels..  Up to 10 minutes after the pans were removed from the oven, there was still steam present, lots of it.  Photos of this steam.  It's not easy to get photos of steam but I did manage if you look closely at the photo.

This is the first time I have tried this method.  It is so much easier for me and creates that constant steam I have been after, without losing it to my venting oven...there's always steam present until the pans are removed.  I think one pan would work nicely too. 

My bread is still cooling.  Mike and I are off to enjoy the evening out.


            Tongs should have been included in this photo.  A couple of  large multigrain loaves was todays's baking.


                  Microwave heating the wet towels in a the pyrex dish



                                                           Steaming the oven



                                                        Steam coming from towels, apx. 10 minutes after being removed from the oven



          ADDED: A little better photo.  Steam coming from the towels several minutes after being removed from the oven.

                                  As I said in the post to Larry, there is some scientific reason

why the steam vapors are not as visable in a hot oven..something I think to do with the air being hotter and so the vapors do not show like they do in cooler air...something like that!  But the steam is in the oven, even though you can't notice it as much as you do outside the oven.  I think I will try a little less steam in my next bake.









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