The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Skibum's picture

This is another take on Norm's onion buns, one of my favourite recipes on TFL. Previoously I used 2 Tbs dehydrated onion and this time added 1 Tbs granulated dehydrated garlic and re-hydrated both in hot water. The soaking water was of course used in mixing the dough. 

Buy did these ever smell good baking! They also have a great flavour and snap to the crust and a nice open crumb. I got the proofing right this time and the buns rose to a more normal size than my last bake. Thanks Bonni!!!

The garlic adds an extra kick to an already outstanding recipe!

Happy baking folks!

HokeyPokey's picture

Thats a very subtle play on Bread Resolution in case you missed that :)


I am putting together a plan of new breads to try out next year - 1 bread a month - can't get any simpler than that. 

Read here about my plans and please join me in baking, I would love to see your photos and hear your comments 



David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

The plan for this loaf started out to be the Overnight Country Brown, from Flour Water Salt Yeast.  However, I ran out of all purpose flour and made up the difference with whole wheat from my red winter wheat berries freshly milled for the occasion.

For the flours, I autolyzed 200 grams KA AP flour with 680 grams of the whole wheat flour.  I decided to use 699 grams of water and that seemed just about right for moistening all of the flour. After an hour or so, I added 22 grams of salt and the levain.

Unfortunately, as I was measuring out the levain and seeing that I was not going to have enough, I realized, I messed up somewhere along the way, most likely in not zeroing out the scale before I started removing the levain, since I was pretty certain I had made enough.

Sure enough, when I weighed my dough and container, it was a bit heavier than it should have been, so instead of the 216 grams of levain I had intended, I had probably used 228.  Not a terribly large difference, but I think it made the bread tangier than usual.  It is quite soft, but easily sliced without tearing and tastes great with butter.

The crumb was quite closed but not dense.


cmatecun's picture


This loaf was a complete toss-up when I put it together, but the combination of tart cherries, crunchy pecans, and tangy sourdough with a hint of coffee-infused ale in the background makes for a delicious loaf. The flavors are complex, but not too complicated to stop you from being able to still taste each ingredient-- just the way I like it. 

This bake had a crisp crust and an incredibly moist crumb, but I would have liked to see a bit more oven spring. Any suggestions? I'm thinking I may have been a bit too forceful with the dough during the bulk fermentation. Thoughts? 

 Here's the method I used (yields 2 loaves)   The Night Before You Make Your Dough Prepare 250 leaven by adding...
  • 125g warm water (my thermometer is broken... so you're just gonna have to go by feel on this one)
  • 125g whole wheat flour
  • 20g starter
 The next morning 
  • Dissolve the 250g of leaven in 210g water along with 500g of a strongly flavored beer and let it autolyse for a full hour. Be sure to keep an eye on the dough temperature here--you may want to warm your beer up (at least to room temperature) unless you want a slower bulk fermentation later.  
  • At the end of the autolyse, pinch in 20g of salt along with your remaining 50g of water. Here's the schedule I followed for the bulk fermentation.
  • *I added in the pecans and cherries during the second turn so they would become incorporated during the next couple of folds. 
 Bulk Fermentation 
  • 30 mins: turn 1
  • 60 mins: turn 2 (add in chopped pecans and cherries). 
  • 90 mins: turn 3
  • 120 mins: turn 4 --> move to the fridge for the next 2 hours
  • 240 mins: remove from fridge
 Pre-Shape, Shape, and Proof 
  • After pulling it out of the fridge I pre-shaped, covered it with a towel, and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. 
  • Finally I did a quick final shaping, nestled it in my fake banneton, and tossed it in the fridge to proof overnight. In the end it proofed for 14.5 hours. 
  • Preheat a cast iron pot inside your oven at 500 degrees (let it sit for at least 60 mins)
  • Gently place your dough inside and bake, covered, for 20 mins at 500. 
  • Reduce the heat to 450 and continue to bake, covered, for 10 mins. 
  • Pull off the lid and continue baking until the crust is golden brown--around 18 minutes for me. 
  • Remove from the oven and let it rest for an least a hour... by far the hardest part! 
 Here's the full ingredient list 
  • 250g leaven (100% whole wheat
  • 800g bread flour
  • 200g whole wheat flour
  • 210g water + 50g water
  • 500g of beer (I used a bottle of Joe Coffee Porter from Philadelphia Brewing)
  • 20g salt
  • 100 g dried cherries
  • 200 g roughly chopped pecans (toasted)
 Happy baking!  Chase
davidg618's picture

I'm a believer biscotti lends itself as well to savory versions as it does sweet versions. Unfortunately, there are few savory recipes to be found.  I've been making a romano and black-pepper biscotti for a couple of years.  It's my adaptation of a parmigiano and black-pepper recipe I found online. I've been thinking of other savory combinations since, but haven't acted on them: until today.

This is a bacon-chedder combination baked today. The recipe is mine.

Bacon-Chedder Biscotti

250g AP flour, unsifted

2 tsp Baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black-pepper

115g (one stick) Unsalted butter, cut into segments

60g bacon, friend crisp and crumbled and cooled

60g shredded or grated sharp chedder cheese

6 Tbls Buttermilk

1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, black-pepper and butter segments in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, two table knives or your fingers work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like course corn meal--a few pea-sized pieces of butter is fine.

2. Add the cheese and bacon crumble and toss with your fingers insuring the cheese and bacon are well distributed.

3. Make a crater in the center of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Gently combine the wet and dry until a ball begins to form. Pat the mix into a smooth ball, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

4.The dough will be tacky. Divide the dough into two masses and, on a lightly floured surface, form two logs approximately 2 inches wide and 12 to 13 inches long. Transfer the logs to a silicon-paper (or non-stick fiberglass pad) lined half-sheet pan. Gently flatten the logs to approximately 1 inch thick.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Bake the logs for approximately 18 minutes. Test that the loaves are firm, but not crisp. (Light browning around the edges is a good indicator the loaves are ready for slicing) Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.  Allow the loaves to cool in the pan for 10 mins.

6. Transfer a cooled loaf to a cutting board. With a sharp serrated blade, cutting on a diagonal, cut the loaf into approximately 15, 1/2 to 3/4 wide wafers. Arrange the cut wafers cut side down on the paper-lined pan. Do the same with the second loaf.

7. Bake the wafers 20 minutes @ 300°F. Test for firmness. The wafers should be firm, but needn't be crisp at this point. Being careful not to burn your fingers on the edge of the pan turn each wafer over exposing the previously down side. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 18 minutes. Test. The wafers should be crisp to the touch without any spring. Remove the pan and transfer the wafer to a cooling rack. Cool until they are at least not a threat to burn your tongue.


David G 

cerevisiae's picture

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, after giving my oven a heavy workout on Thursday, I went to make scones, and discovered that my dear kitchen appliance was lacking some of it's functionality. Namely, its ability to turn on. Some contact with the landlord and a visit from a repairman ensued, but it was still nearly a week before I heard the sound of it firing up again.

Some roasted veggies and a cake later, it has become clear that the new thermostat that has been installed lacks a certain...accuracy. While occasionally on target, there is sometimes as much as a 100 degree (F) discrepancy between the setting on the oven and the face of the thermometer we keep in there. And it runs low, so I'm dubious as to it's ability to hit the 500 degrees that I like for baking pretty much all my bread.

So, this has been a great time to rediscover flatbread. I tend to go through phases with the stuff, but I've been on a such a kick with hearty boules that there hasn't been enough of a break from my toast and sandwich eating to make space for more bread.

I've long been fairly laissez fair with the composition of my flatbread doughs. But after reading Barbara Abdeni Massaad's Man'oushe last spring, I adapted her basic recipe to sourdough and have been using that as my go-to. A Post-It with amounts for a two person batch of dough scribbled on it lives on a kitchen cupboard door for easy reference. I usually eat it for breakfast/brunch, mixing everything together before bed the night before, and rolling out the dough and cooking it in a cast iron skillet in the morning.

The most classic topping for man'oushe is simply olive oil and za'atar, but any number of things can go on it. More and more, my renditions look like breakfast pizzas. They're wonderful. And frequently quite filling.

I went to mix up some dough for them the other night and had a tray of roasted carrots, soft and now cooled, next to me as I did so. "Why not?" was my basic thought as I grabbed a few, mashing them slightly in my hand and dropping them into the bowl. I let kneading take care of the rest of the mashing and distribution.

Rolling the dough out this morning, I was quite taken with the orange speckles in the dough and took a few pictures. And then a few more, and then realized that I might need to do a whole blog post.

At the top is the first flatbread, rolled out and waiting to get cooked. Here's a close up of that dough: 

The orange, of course, is the roasted carrot, and the darker flecks are from the whole rye flour that goes in pretty much everything I make these days. I think I did about 10% rye here, as well as 50% white whole wheat and 40% AP.

While preheating the skillet, I assembled my mise en place:

Assorted leftover roasted veggies, from left to right, clockwise-ish: Eggplant, zucchini, red onion, carrot. Also, a very nice Raclette-style cheese from Vermont. If you come across it, I'd recommend picking it up. Soft and rich, melts nicely, plays well with others. I find it a little too rich on it's own, actually, though my boyfriend didn't seem to think so.

There's also an egg beaten with a little salt and some za'atar off to the side of the cutting board.

One of the breads puffed up in the skillet nicely while cooking:

Watching flatbreads puff up always makes me happy.

To balance out the sweetness of the vegetables and the richness of the cheese, I dusted the tops of the breads with some sumac and dotted it with some harrissa*:


I decided this bread was pretty photogenic:

If ever an onion vamped for the camera, then that onion in the front certainly is.

And don't forget about the bit of green from the zucchini:

You can also see some of the speckles of carrot in the dough still if you look at the edge. Less distinct than before, but still noticeable.

After a short rest on the cooling rack, the bread could be moved to plate without steaming itself and losing the crispness of the crust. Check out the coloring on this:

All in all, a successful brunch. Less filling than the breads I was making earlier in the week with Thanksgiving leftovers, which had an almost ridiculous amount of protein and a good dose of whole grains:

Above: Egg beaten with harrissa, cheddar slices, leftover turkey, and dabs of herbed butternut puree.

*I've had a jar of harrissa from Les Moulins Mahjoub sitting in my fridge for several months now. It's quite nice and apparently keeps well. If you're looking for a prepared harrissa, I recommend trying this one. It's tangy and sweet, spicy without being overwhelming.

Gail_NK's picture

The kitchen got a little festive after the bread came out of the oven; my husband cut some holly from the tree in our backyard. (Just a note: while the little red berries are really pretty, DON'T plant a female holly tree unless you're ready to sweep up bushels of them when they start to fall. And the prickly leaves are really nasty - the tree sheds 1/3 of its leaves every year!)

This loaf had 100gr Kamut, 300gr whole wheat, and 600gr unbleached white - 80% hydration. Until I remembered that I had left out the salt it was nearly unmanageable during the slap and folds. Once it had been given a 20 minute "time out" and the salt added, things progressed nicely. The crumb was not particularly open, but evenly distributed.

Here's the crumb shot from this bake:

We were running short of crackers, so I turned out a batch of sourdough crackers. They're quick, tasty, and help use up any extra levain that your recipe might produce. The starter hydration should be 100%.

Happy baking!



davidg618's picture

Zelten di Natale, or just Zelten; a popular fruit bread in South Tyrol, an alpine region in northern Italy. 

That's not surface topping, the loaves are loaded with fruit and spices fore and aft, and top to bottom. Yes, there's a little bit of rye dough too.

I'm saving these to serve at our annual holiday dinner, but I've nibbled a little. These are definitely not the dreaded annual Fruit Cake from aunt Jane!

David G



Cari Amici,

volevo condividere con voi la gioia provata nel divulgare a degli straordinari bambini, ciò in cui credo fermamente: "alimentarsi in modo semplice e sano rispettando le vecchie tradizioni".

Perchè soltanto con la condivisione delle proprie passioni, della propria conoscenza ed il rispetto delle nostre tradizioni gastronomiche, potremo sperare che anche i nostri figli un giorno, ne facciano buon uso.

Grazie a tutti, a presto, Anna

PalwithnoovenP's picture

My father and I went to the local Chinatown here last month. There he allowed me to buy anything I want as he knows most of my favorite treats are there. It feels like we’re in an old Chinese movie as we walked along the narrow alleys witnessing exotic items being sold. There were sea cucumbers, fresh mushrooms, fresh cherries, kumquats, and HUGE strawberries; very expensive and not usually found in everyday markets. I wanted to take pictures but my hands are just busy shoveling food into my mouth. We even rode a Kalesa (horse pulled two wheeled vehicle) on our way back to the bus station, again very movie-like. XP

Of course, I wouldn’t go back home without buying my favorite stuff from my child hood, pork floss! Here, it is called ma sang/ ma hu/ ma tsang. I really don’t know the difference between them but the grocery where we bought it sells ma hu with seaweed and the ma sang without it and appears to be drier, the pork floss I grew up with. I love eating it with congee as a child but now that I’m older I love it more with rice.

The main inspiration of this bread is the Floss bread of a famous bakery chain, soft bread with special filing topped with spicy meat floss. Here it is so expensive! Yes, it’s delicious but its size makes me feel like it’s not just worth the money; so I made my own version.

I made the dough using cream as I like its taste from the breads I’ve made before with it, so soft and bouncy with an unmistakable flavor and aroma. Most recipes that I’ve read asks for condensed milk and mayonnaise for the filling; I didn’t have both so I used the leftover cream and added sugar to it and to emulate the tang of mayonnaise, I added calamansi, our local citrus here that has unique flavor that lemon or lime cannot replace.

I divided the dough into three, rolled it flat, spread the cream filling and put a generous amount of floss then I rolled it like a spring rolls before proofing it in my llanera (local flan molds). It was glazed with egg and cream before I finally baked it in my clay pot for 40 minutes. Here’s what I’ve got…

It looks like its burnt but believe me it's not, I just like a bold bake. The bottom is also crisper since the heat in the pot is more intense at the bottom. That black thing is just some pooled glaze (I don't have a brush to glaze breads, I only use my fingers) that apparently burnt on the surface.

Here are the crumb shots:



Pork Floss, don't be shy! Show yourself!

We can't see the cream but the inside is moist and sweet like it is saying it really there and melds well with the bread and meat. I took the center roll, smothered it with the last of the filling and scattered more floss on top, heavenly! Unfortunately that photo was corrupted so it isn't included here. I think I will make it next time as a unique cake for someone special! Haha 

By the way I am trying to improve my photos and baking! Thank you very much!


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