The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Truth Serum's blog

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Truth Serum

Follow the yellow brick road To Babka land.

I have done a deep dive into Babka bakingCulminating in packing two large loaves in my suitcase and traveling with them to Texas! Where they have been the hit of the breakfast brunch

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Truth Serum


This is a recipe  that I have adapted from Sarah Owens book Toast and Jam. It uses a rye tangzhong and has the option of making it with a combination of sourdough starter and commercial yeast or just using sourdough starter. I have done it both ways and it always comes out great.  If you are not using commercial yeast you will need to use 150 grams of starter.


I have found it is best to grind your 45 grams of buckwheat flour in blender. The little bit of extra effort is worth it. I use a bullet blender.




For the tangzhong

45 grams

Rye flour

115 grams


115 grams





In a saucepan combined these ingredients with a whisk until smooth. Then place the pan over medium low heat stirring constantly until it thickens  about 3 to 4  minutes. It might be pourable and its ok if its thickened beyond that. 




Put this mixture in a 6 qt kitchenaid or large bowl if hand mixing it will be hot to cool it  your milk and butter should be cold

60 grams

Buckwheat honey or wildflower honey

230 grams


85 grams

Unsalted butter,Cut up into cubes

Stir to combined then take the temperature make sure you get this mixture  to 90 degrees F or less before adding the other ingredients.

630 grams

Bread flour

100 grams

Active starter

45 grams

Buckwheat flour

1 tsp

Active dry yeast

100 grams 

2 eggs beaten

Combined all of these ingredients until you cant see any streaks

Let the dough rest covered in the bowl for 20 -30 minutes.

Then add

15 grams of fine sea salt *

*I also add seeds at this point

Knead thoroughly until a smooth dough is achieved, Let proof  till tripled in size. 3 hours if using commercial yeast longer if using sourdough. Watch the dough not the clock


Grease two small pullman loaf pans . Divide dough in half . Form loaves   Watch dough. Anticipate when dough will  almost come to the tops of the loaf tins, so you can preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.



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Truth Serum

Whole wheat bread

 I noticed last time I went to a large retailer that the KitchenAid attachment to grind grain was on sale for $30. I had 20 percent off coupons. I knew that wasn’t going to work well, but I thought that if I made  10 loaves of bread it would not be such a bad investmenI am now a convert. Although it was a clunky noisy machine that works slow Lee

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Truth Serum

   Cookies and yeasted Pretzels  were my gateway baking experience to bread! And this is a post about cookies. On November 2 I had the good fortune of meeting Dori Greenspan, noted cookbook author. I brought my wellworn cookbook,  Paris Sweets  for her to sign and she also signed a copy of her new latest cookie cookbook, Dorie's Cookies! 

 The recipe is in both of these cookbooks but it is a tasty recipe. I'm not going to give it here but you would be able to find it if you would buy the book.  I don't think it's my favorite chocolate cookie but it is it tasty chocolate cookie.  I think if people made more of these cookies there would be more peace in the world! 

I have been baking cookies for many years and it was a personal thrill to meet a cookbook author!  

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Truth Serum

  Yesterday I made a classic mistake by not being patient with a loaf of bread that would've been delicious if I had just given it enough time proofing! 

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Truth Serum

I have I have been continuing to pursue my study of 1-2-3 bread. I had some extra pureed blueberries I though would go well in bread. They did except for the one loaf that stuck to the bottom of the pan, so I ate some and it was addictive and cut up the rest and froze it, for stuffing or maybe even croutons. The other loaf might have been a bit under proofed.




Loose dough on silipat

Crumb shot

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Truth Serum

two slices of sourdough bread

The last time I tried to make a loaf of sourdough bread .

I had several issues first of all the dough was so sticky and it stuck to the basket despite the rice flour and wheat flour that I put on the basket! 

Also I was on the clock and got I impatient!

(Needless to say I won't be posting that bin bread) It  would've come out perfect if I had let it proof for long enough and added much more flour on the basket!  So to do  this bake I was determined not to make the same mistakes again, and not to make a mess!

So I did a minimum of mixing, stirring it by hand for about 10 minutes, letting it set, and after half an hour I added 1.5 teaspoons of salt, and then put the dough in the refrigerator for the night. The next morning I took it out shaped up the cold dough ! The dough had some surface tension but not a lot it was somewhat slack but not Goopy! this time I placed it in a basket covered with aluminum foil. I couldn't find the Rice flour so I used some black sesame seeds and oatmeal for the bottom of the loaf.

raw dough

I was Definitely going to wait till it was doubled in size until before I put it in the oven! That took five hours but I waited! I also was not going to mess with slashing, and I opted for the scissors method. I baked it at 450  farenheit in a covered Dutch oven for 20 minutes and then I turned the heat down to 400 farenheit for a  20 minutes.

loaf of bread with recipe



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Truth Serum

Lazy Gender Free Brioche


This recipe is a synthesis of two recipes. I like this recipe because you don’t have to use the mixer. The technique is based on what I saw on Cooks Illustrated. Except I don’t enjoy eating that much butter, and the recipe is based on Floyds Lazy Mans Brioche.



500g bread flour

250g milk

2 eggs

50g sugar

15g instant yeast

5g salt

1 stick (113g) unsalted butter, diced


1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Egg Wash

1 egg

a pinch of salt

a teaspoon water


500g bread flour (approx 3 1/2cup)

250g cool milk (approx 1 1/4cup)

2 eggs

50g sugar (approx 1/4cup)

15g instant yeast (2 tsp)(note 1 packet is 2 1/4 tsp)

5g salt (1 tsp)

1 stick (113g) unsalted butter, diced (cold)


The technique comes from a Cooks Illustrated Recipe

Mix flour salt and yeast together.

Mix eggs milk and sugar together. Melt and let butter cool a bit , then whisk in butter to egg mixture.

Then combine with flour mixture. Mix up thoroughly . Let stand 10 minutes


Stetch Fold and turn in Bowl at 30 minute intervals 4 times. Cover tightly put in refridgerate for 16 to 48 hours.



Then I followed what Floyd did


except I made my rolls 2.75 ounces, so that they would be easier to release from the pan.



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