The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Skibum's picture

I baked some cookies for Christmas, from recipes I discovered on the net and thought I would share. The big ones on the bottom are lemon ricotta cookies with a lemon glaze. Easy and yummy!

The smaller cookies on top are almond shortbread. These cookies carry a WARNING. I cannot stop eating them!  I baked a half batch of each for Christmas and still have some lemon cookies. In the mean time I am up to 5 batches of the shortbread and will soon begin a sixth!  Great recipe, but please heed the warning.

Happy baking and Happy New Year! Ski

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

We're getting ready for Christmas dinner #2 here; the first one was with the DH's family at the sister-in-law's house so we're hosting my family today with the second one. Busy making turkey dinner with all the trimmings but I thought it was time to post the Stollen (I baked for both Christmas dinners!).

The recipe came from Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb. The only change I made was to use home-made kefir in place of buttermilk for the poolish, and the soaked fruit was a mixture of whatever leftovers I happened to have on hand (left from the mincemeat and the Buckwheat Cranberry Levain, plus a bunch of other stuff).

The smell of the fruit soaked in Cuban rum and vanilla was simply divine!

I tried to shape in the traditional crescent but there is so much fruit both kneaded into the dough and then folded in to the loaf that it didn't want to stay folded!

This is your typical rich bread with lots of eggs, kefir and butter. It is fabulous toasted with preserves and makes a nice dessert for Christmas dinner, or a great host gift if you're visiting!

Happy New Year, everyone!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

In my last post, my writing in English was complimented by some TFLers. Since this is my last post in the last day of the year (in a few minutes it will be already 2016 here), I will make this special by writing in my first language (We are a former Spanish colony and although we don't speak Spanish, we retained some of their words. If you speak Spanish, you may find similar words with different spelling but the same meaning), it has also many pictures because I also want to show a way of life here. Most words and phrases do not have a direct English translation, there is always something lost in translation so our language is one of the least accurately translated by google translate but don’t worry, I will provide translations. In my country, most are bilingual and we often change languages not only mid sentence sometimes even alternately by word or phrase, we also often conjugate English verbs with our own conjugations that even include “verbing” of nouns. As a result (in my opinion) one never really becomes proficient in any of the languages; in English, often lacking appropriate vocabulary or not being able to utter their speech smoothly and in our language,using wrong verb conjugations and noun forms. This is my way of maintaining my fluency in both languages and to let other people hear our beautiful language.

Ang tinapay na ito ay hango mula sa isang kakanin mula sa timog na bahagi ng aming bansa. Ang karamihan ng mga naninirahan dito ay mga Muslim na hindi nasakop ng mga dayuhan kaya nanatili ang kanilang relihiyon at natatanging kultura at mga pagkain. Gawa mula sa niyog,asukal at giniling na bigas; ang kakaning ito ay kadalasang inihahain lamang tuwing my kasalan at sa mga dugong bughaw. Ito ay tinawag kong Dayang dayang kasunod ng pangalan ng pinakatanyag na prinsesa mula sa lugar.

This bread was inspired by a delicacy from the southern part of our country. Most of the population there is predominantly Muslim who resisted colonization that’s why they preserved their religion and unique culture and cuisine. Made from coconut, sugar and ground rice, this delicacy is often only served in weddings or to Royal bloods. I am calling this Dayang dayang in honor of the famous princess from the island.

Marami kaming niyog sa aming bakuran at kailan lang ay pinapitas ng aking ama ang mga bunga nito. Marami kaming nakuhang bunga, parehong may buko at niyog. Para sa tinapay na ito, niyog ang aming ginamit. Kinudkod ito ng aking ama at mula rito ay ginawa niya ang isa sa pinakasikat niyang panghimagas. Maaring pamilyar kayo sa di-kuryenteng pangkudkod ng niyog ngunit para sa gamit na ito, ang pakamay na pagkukudkod lamang ang natatanging paraan para sa tamang lasa at linamnam. Ang mga niyog naman na hindi na maganda o masyadong nang matigas ay hindi masasayang dahil ito ay magandang pakain para sa mga manok.

We have many coconut trees in our yard and just recently my dad had their fruits picked. We got many coconuts, young and mature alike. For this bread, we used the mature coconut. My dad grated it and from it, he made one of his famous sweets. Maybe you are familiar with the electric coconut grater but for this application hand grating is the only option to achieve the right taste. Those coconuts that are bad or too hard won't go to waste because they are excellent chicken feed.

Ito ang aming kudkuran na bago. May paa na ito at mataas na ngunit dahil matangkad ang daddy ko, ipinapatong pa rin niya ito sa mas mataas na upuan para hindi siya mahirapan ‘pag nagkukudkod.

This is our new coconut grater. It has legs already and made taller than our previous one but because my dad is tall, he still puts it on a higher chair so it won’t be difficult for him while grating.

Ito naman ang aming lumang kukudkuran. Mula nang magkaisip ako, ito na ang ginagamit ng aking ama kapag nagkukudkod siya ng niyog at sigurado akong mas matanda pa ito sa akin. Pinalitan na lang ito ng bago mga ilang taon pa lang ang nakararaan. Di gaya ng bago naming kukudkuran, mababa ito kaya mas mahirap gamitin at sa hagdan ito  inilalagay para magamit ito ng maayos.

This is our old coconut grater. Ever since I became aware of this world, this is already what my dad is using when he is grating coconuts and I’m sure it is older than me. It was just replaced a few years ago. Unlike our new grater, it is low that’s why it is more difficult to use; it is used at the stairs to facilitate proper usage

Upang kumpletuhin ang tinapay na ito gaya rin ng nasabing kakanin, kailangan natin itong budburan ng  pulbos para sa kakaibang lasa at texture. Ang ginamit ko rito ay isang tustadong keyk na tinusta ko pa sa kawali para lalong lumutong at tsaka ko dinikdik sa almires.hanggang maging pino. Naaalala ko ang almires na batong ito na noong hindi pa uso rito ang arinang bigas, ay iginiwa ako ni daddy rito. Mano mano niyang dinikdik ang bigas para sa akin dahil kailangan ko ito para sa isang proyekto sa paaralan. Tulad ng kudkuran ang almires na ito ay mas matanda rin sa akin.
To complete this bread like the said delicacy we need some sort of a powder for a unique taste and texture. To make it, I used a toasted sponge cake from the store that I toasted further in a skillet to make it crisper then I pounded it in a mortar and pestle until fine. I remember this stone mortar and pestle; back when rice flour was still unheard of in our area, dad made some using it. He manually pounded some rice into flour for me because I need it for a school project. Like the coconut grater, this mortar and pestle is older than me.

Ang tinapay na ito ay tunay na kolaborasyon namin ng aking ama. Siya ang gumawa ng niyog na pangunahing pagmumulan ng lasa at ako naman ang gumawa ng mismong tinapay. Matapos mamasa, ang niyog ay ihahalo na sa pamamagitan ng maingat na pagtutupi. Matapos itong paalsahin nang magdamag sa ref, ito ay tinilad-tilad ko sa mga parisukat na piraso, pinaalsa ko itong muli ng apatnapung minuto. Iprinito ko ito sa kumukulong mantika hanggang pumula. Matapos itong hanguin ay patutuluin ang mantika ng ilang sandali at dali-daling pagugulungin sa pinulbos na tustadong keyk.

This bread is really a collaborative effort between me and my dad. He is the one who made the grated coconut sweet which will be the primary flavor source of the bread and I am the one who actually made the bread. After it was kneaded, the coconut was blended through a series of folds then it went into the fridge for overnight bulk fermentation. Next day, I cut it into square pieces and fried it in hot oil until golden then they were allowed to drain for a few moments then immediately rolled in the cake crumbs.

Ang tinapay ay malutong sa labas at sa loob ito’y malambot at hindi puro hangin at may sapat na kunat para may kasiya-siyang manguya ang kakain at ang tinustang mugmog ng keyk ay may kaaya-ayang gaspang. Ang lasa ng niyog ay nangingibabaw at bagay na bagay sa tustadong lasa ng pinulbos na keyk.

The bread is crispy on the outside and soft and substantial inside with a nice springy texture that’s enjoyable to chew and the toasted cake crumbs provide a nice gritty interesting texture. The coconut flavor really comes through and goes well with the toasty flavor of the cake

Nang malapit ko nang maubos ang isang piraso, nagulat ako sa malaking butas na tumambad sa akin. Katulad ito ng mga butas sa lean hearth breads. Ano kaya ang naging dahilan nito? Tunay itong kakaiba para sa isang tinapay na may masang minasang mabuti.

As I was about to finish one, I was surprised as a large hole appeared after I took a bite. It's like the holes in the crumb of a lean hearth loaf. What maybe the reason for this? It is really strange for a bread with an intensively kneaded dough.

Short Lesson:

Tinapay = Bread
Trigo = Wheat
Harina/Arina = Flour
Tubig = Water
Asin = Salt
Lebadura = Yeast

Wow! My brain just had a tough workout but it's really worth it! Let me just share my story of languages. I am already a fluent speaker of two languages and though not as fluent as my mother, I could also speak her language as my third language that I can hold a conversation for hours. In high school I considered studying Japanese but was scared by their different word order of S-O-V so I decided against it, now I’m older I noticed that my first language has a very unusual word order. English has S-V-O, ours had V-S-O; realizing that I became fluent in English which has a very different grammar, I now have no fear in studying another language; with time, dedication and passion, I can become fluent in it. Just last month, I studied French to take a break from Mandarin because characters just overwhelmed me at that time and I am enjoying my French study. To kill time, I study languages so instead of clash of clans or other game apps, you will find pleco and duolingo in my phone. Having studied several languages, it just fascinates me about the different aspects of a language and which is the most difficult for learners, for example: we have consistent pronunciation but foreigners find case marking, linkers, verb inflections, and word order very difficult; I could already read Cyrillic but can’t grasp Russian grammar; I could remember most of French verb endings in writing but pronunciation is the most difficult part; and speaking is the easiest part of Mandarin but do not talk about reading and writing! With this I appreciate differences even more and I am more fascinated in the world.

Now, I’m starting to feel my “Mandarin fire” burning again and I will go back studying it in the New Year but I will not leave my French study either! As I was studying French for a month I learnt better through French chansons and I recently discovered great francophone artists like Mireille Matthieu, Françoise Hardy, Joe Dassin and Christophe; I can't stop listening to their beautiful songs. I hope that I’ll be fluent in French and Mandarin by my early or mid thirties just like how ten years of English study made me fluent in it.

Remember the roasted piglet last week? We stretched for a whole week and made some dishes with it so aside from the wrap we also made some stew and soup.

Lechon Paksiw is the classic way to give life to leftover lechon when the skin is not crispy anymore. Stewing it make it gelatinous and tender that it melts in the mouth. We used the tail and trotter for that sticky sauce quality.

Sinigang na Lechon is a new dish for leftover lechon. It is a clear soup with vegetables flavored with tamarind. We used the ribs and trotter for a rich flavored and full bodied soup.

Someone also gave us large prawns. Simply boiled and eaten with vinegar, they were so delicious!

We really had a great year and we thank God for it! I hope it will be the same or even better for next year!

Thank you very much and Happy New Year!

From Pochi, Bimbo, and Fedra: Happy New Year!

dabrownman's picture

After 2 weeks of making new weird stuff; a witch yeast and a cooked potato starter, Lucy decided to combine them with our rye sour starter to make a triple levain bread quite unlike many other triple levain breads usually available everywhere else.

 My daughter’s fiancé was visiting and he said, out of all of our breads he has tasted the past couple of years, he likes the seedy, sour multigrain ones the best.  So Lucy decided to send him back to Denver with a seedy and nutty triple levain something or other bread along with a hunk of the witchy, figgy pistachio and another hunk of the potato white bread.

We took 6 g or each of the starters and combined them with 72 g of whole six grain flour that was comprised of equal amounts of rye, wheat, spelt, oat, Kamut and barley with equal amounts of water over 3 builds of 2, 3 and 3 hours each.  The triple levain actually tripled at the end of 8 hours – a very spunky mix even if warmed on a heating pad at exactly 82.6 F.   It ended up bit over 18% prefermented flour all of it whole grains.


I know it was exactly that temperature because my daughter’s fiancé got me a nifty point and shoot infrared thermometer for Christmas to go along with the dehydrator from last year.  We had quite a time taking the temperature of everything in shooting distance and I mean everything!

This guy is a keeper for those two things alone.  I should have made some sprouted grain bread for him to see the dehydrator in action but there wasn’t an extra day available to do so.  At least the other two breads he is going home with do have sprouted grains.

I didn’t want him to think I wasn’t using the dehydrator as often as possible so I let him have a taste of my latest batch of beef jerky I have stashed away so no one can find it – especially Lucy who is now addicted to the stuff for some reason.

Picture with flash

We did our usual 1 hour autolyze of the dough flour and water with the salt sprinkled on top and did 3 sets of slap and folds of 30 laps each once the triple levain hit the mix.  We then did 3 sets of stretch and folds incorporating the chopped flax, pepitas and sunflower seeds with the pecans and walnuts on the first set of S&F’s.  All dough manipulations were done on 30 minute intervals.

We then pre-shaped the dough, final shaped it, placed it in a rice floured oval basket and bagged it before placing it on a 83 F heating pad for 1 hour before retarding it in the fridge for 12 more hours.  It didn’t do much in the fridge so once it came out of the fridge we put it on the heating pad for 4 ½ hours before unmolding slashing and sliding it into the combo cooker preheated to 450 F for 18 minutes of covered steam.

My daughter has to have Thai Seafood Curry when she is home.

Once the lid came off we turned the oven down to 425 F convection and continued baking for 5 more minutes before removing it from the cooker to let it finish baking on the stone 15 more minutes.  It bloomed, blistered and sprang a bit under steam and browned OK without it.  Nothing to write home about without it.  We will have to see what the crumb looks like once it cools down for slicing.

This is a tasty bread for sure.  Seedy and nutty with that very cool purple tinge from the walnuts.  A soft, moist and fairly open crumb for a bread with near 20% whole grains and 40% seeds and nuts.  The sour came through too.  A very nice bread overall that makes some killer toast.


SD Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



4 Week Retarded Rye Sour






Witch Yeast






Potato Starter






20% Extraction 6 grain






80 % Extraction 6 Grain



















Levain Totals




Whole 6 Grain








Levain Hydration



Dough Flour




LaFama AP












Dough Water




Dough Hydration



Total Flour w/ Starter



Total Water



Cracked Flax Seeds




40 g ea Sunflower and Squash Seeds




40 g ea Pecan s and Walnuts




Hydration with Starter



Total Weight



% Whole 6  Grain



6 grain flour is equal amounts of: of rye, spelt, Kamut, barley, oat and wheat





Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

No sourdough or yeast. A quick savoury loaf made with coarse polenta, sweet corn kernels, rosemary and grated parmesan. It is really good with a just a bit of butter.

I had to adjust the original recipe ( by adding a half cup of whole wheat flour because the batter was much too soggy. Next time I may use only one cup of buttermilk to see if it is enough. I also don't see the need for mixing cream with the parmesan on top and if I make it again I will just sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top before baking.

WoodenSpoon's picture


  • 120g 100% hydration levain (11%flour and 11%water)
  • 171g fresh milled kamut (31%)
  • 284g bread flour (50%)
  • 45g ap flour (8%)
  • 160g wine soaked figs (20% fig 9%wine)
  • 112g wine (20%)
  • 298g warm water (58%)
  • 100g toasted walnuts 18%
  • 12g salt (2%)


  • 1 hr autolyse
  • mix in levain & salt
  • slap and fold @ 5 minutes
  • slap and fold @ 10 minutes
  • fold in figs and nuts @ 1/2 hr
  • fold @ 1 hr
  • fold @ 1 1/2 hr
  • fold @ 2 hr
  • fold @ 2 1/2 hr
  • preshape/rest/shape @ 5 1/2 hr
  • retard @ 8 hr
  • bake @ 21 hr

I baked this on my stone, covered by a large mixing bowl at 500F for 25 minutes then uncovered at 460 for 45 minutes.

Lately I have started to shy away from loaves with ingredients whose flavors will over power the taste of the grains and fermentation, but my house has been so cold lately that coaxing out those subtle flavors has been a bit of a up hill battle, so I gritted my teeth and made a flavored loaf and I'm glad I did.

 This loaf is so good that I'm going to make it again, and I usually don't make things twice in a row as I really only bake on my weekends and over the course of a week I'v got a hundred new ideas that I want to try. But this will be an exception, the flavor was good enough that I think its worth taking a crack at upping the whole grains to a percentage I'd be more proud of.

If any of you take a shot at making this keep in mind that my house is very brisk, >60f so take that into account and possibly adjust yer levain percentage or fermentation times accordingly.

PY's picture

Im kinda getting a hang of this bread and i love it. Mixed by hand instead of a mixer which the recipe called for and did 4 stretch and folds at 30 mins interval. After that into the fridge it went for 4.5 hours (because i had to go out). Recipe called for it to be shaped before being retarded, if desired. pre shaped straight from fridge, benched for 30 minutes. Final proof for 45 mins before loading into oven with towel steam.

alfanso's picture

About a year and a half ago, The New York Times featured the formula for the Tartine Country Bread in their food section.  I dutifully copied it off and even more dutifully dropped it in the back of my pack of formulae for "sometime in the future".  Finally deciding to make the loaf as baguettes, I didn't stop to consider that there is a Tartine baguette formula also and that it is quite different than for the Country Bread, and with a much lower hydration.  

But that would ruin my narrative and my string of converting boules and batards to baguettes and vice versa.  So off I went to see some notes on TFL about it.  And I discovered that txfarmer knocked it off way back in 2010, years before I was around these parts.  And to quote her, verbatim, "Who's up for shaping this dough into baguettes?".  Well, I am!

With a new oven to learn to deal with (that's another tome for another day), I made it last week and had some slight difficulties.  Nothing earth-shattering but it could have been better.  Was the problem the formula as a baguette, me, the new oven, or any random combination.  Who knows just yet.  The bread didn't get the standard bloom and oven spring that I've come to expect, but it also is far from entering into the Frankenstein range of bakes.    

Rescaled from the original weight down to ~1500g for each bake, on my second attempt I dropped the overall hydration down from 77% to 75% to make the dough a bit more manageable, and it probably worked in my favor, although I'm not quite sure about that.  Living on a couche overnight in the refrigerator, the dough shed a lot of moisture.  Even with the amount of flour that I used to dust the couche (still quite nominal), the dough was a bit resistant to cleanly flipping from couche to hand peel, but not much of an issue.  Just not a completely clean transition.

I'm also surprised at how long these baguettes baked for, 13 minutes with steam and then another 19 after that.  That's a pretty long bake at 450dF for baguettes.  The one batard (how could I resist?) took an additional 6 minutes.

3x300g baguettes, 1x550g batard, created using my standard methodology of 300 French Folds, bulk retard for x hours and then divide, shape, couche and retard until bake time.  The lead picture is from the first bake.

Pre shaped and waiting to become something...


bakingbadly's picture

Sometimes when my heart's heaving, when I'm struggling to smile or lift my head high, I think about my friends, my beloved customers.

One time, a regular at the farmers market gifted me a bag of organic rye flour (non-existent in Cambodia) & a glass bottle of baker's yeast... manufactured in 1956!

My jaw dropped.

Another time, another regular surprised me with a bottle of 100% pure, natural maple syrup (another scarcity in Cambodia) harvested by her family in Canada.

As a Canadian, f**king eh!!

Other times I reminisce about enthusiastic encounters with visiting bread bakers from across the globe---USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, wherever---a few who took time & effort to find me!

When I reflect deeply on my life as a bread baker, I'm reminded of 3 critical things: I am respected; I am appreciated; And I am loved.

Despite the hardships of running a traditional sourdough bakery in Cambodia, combined with personal afflictions, its moments like these that pushes me forward.

Mr. Zita
Head Baker
Zita's Bakery​
Siem Reap, Cambodia

A brief timeline of my progress this year:

  • Earlier this year I acquired a new, triple deck, stone hearth oven from Taiwan. No steamer. I named her "Poppling". 

  • My bakery's new logo (previously "Siem Reap Bäckerei") & business cards. Made from fibrous banana tree stalks in Cambodia. Natural, biodegradable & fair trade.

  • My bake sale stall at the Sunday Farmers Market.
  • Front row: Muesli Sourdough (left) & 7 Grain Sourdough (right). Back row: an assortment of yeast breads (bagels & German-style bread rolls). 
  • Notice the "Z" on my 7 Grain loaves? They're my bestselling breads. 

  • Me, organizing my bake sale stall at a cafe. Yes, those are pretzels I'm handling.

  • My breads can be found in a few luxurious, top rated restaurants & boutique hotels in town---my preferred clients. Why? Because they make custom orders (I love new challenges) & they're willing to pay higher price for greater quality.

  • I launched a separate brand called "Kookie King" months prior to my bakery's new branding (Zita's Bakery). Besides my reputation as the "Bread Baker" in town, I'm also known to do cookies well. 

  • Challenged by my friends, I created a tropical, vegan, gluten free cookie, using as much local ingredients as possible. I call them "Cashew Kiss". Inspired by the Italian "Baci di Dama". Contains salak (snake fruit) & lime cream. 
  • Next steps: create a variety of flavours, design & produce packaging, sell them in specialty shops, cafes, restaurants, & hotels across Cambodia. (Yes, I'm highly ambitious.) 

  • Latest creation: Cider English Muffins & Swiss Cheese Buns. (Bagels are my second bestselling breads.)

An invitation to serious bread bakers: if you're heading to Siem Reap, Cambodia, please feel free to contact & visit me. I'd be honoured to meet other bread fanatics, especially established, experienced bakers. (I still consider myself a novice baker.) 



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