The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


BeckyBaker730's picture

I'm working on some bagels right now, using the recipe on this site and a few ideas from the website. My sponge is rising at the moment. At 7pm I can move on to step 2. I love the idea of beginning bread at night and then making something fresh in the morning. One of my favorite recipes is for buttermilk bran muffins. They keep for 3 weeks in the fridge and you can scoop just what you need to make a few fresh muffins every morning. The recipe comes from Linda Larson at Busycooks.About.Com. So yummy! The buttermilk really gives these muffins a great flavor.

Make Ahead Bran Muffin Batter 5 cups flour 15 oz. box bran flakes cereal with raisins 3 cups sugar 2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 4 eggs, beaten 1 cup vegetable oil 4 cups buttermilk

Combine flour, cereal, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix well to combine. Add beaten eggs, oil and buttermilk and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Cover bowl tightly.

You should chill this batter in refrigerator for at least 24 hours before using. The batter will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
When you're ready to bake the muffins, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the tops spring back when touched lightly with fingertip. Makes 48 muffins.

Note: I've made this batter 3 times now, and each time it comes out amazing. But, be forewarned that the buttermilk will give the batter a rather funky smell in the fridge. It freaked me out at first, and I thought that after only 2 days my batter had gone bad in the fridge. Not's just the buttermilk reacting with the other ingredients. I went on to use the batter and found out that it was perfectly fine, not spoiled at all. It really does last three weeks...well, it might even last longer, but I don't know because we always end up using all the batter well before the 3 weeks are up!

Well, I'm off to finish step 1 of the bagel-making process! Hopefully these will turn out well...I haven't had a good bagel in months. I had to do the instant yeast/active dry yeast conversion, because all I had on hand was active dry. With any luck I got the measurements right, and tomorrow morning I can bake up some toasty goodness for breakfast.

soxkat4's picture

My first pizza was a success, what a disaster! It seems an oxymoron. Success on the first try? How can that be bad? I’m concerned that I may have jinxed myself, that all further attempts at pizza dough may now be futile. Of course, I still keep trying, recreating, revamping and otherwise attempting to improve both on my skills and the recipes I find. Of course, sometimes I screw up, but usually I have something edible.

Pizza is one of my favorite foods. If I were to live on two things for the rest of my life it would be chili and pizza, of course, I do request the ability to make endless permutations of each! This recipe was collected with others from the internet (thanks be to Google). Unfortunately, I can no longer find the website so I will consider it a serendipitous event…something I needed just then, and there it was.

The recipe yields only one 10

BeckyBaker730's picture

Homemade pizza is a major comfort food for my husband and me, and we really need it today. The holidays are wonderful and all, but sometimes they come with a little too much family strife. The family politics this year are pretty bad, and we're both getting down about it. So I decided a little dough-kneading and cheesy wonderfulness was in order. My pizza dough is rising right now. I started making my own crust several months ago, after I finally got sick of the cardboardy taste of those prepackaged "just-add-water" mixes. My basic recipe is from AllRecipes.Com, but I tweaked it a lot over the number of times I've made it, so it's turned out better each time. It's very similar to the recipe in the "Pizza Primer" on this site, although from looking at that recipe it looks like mine makes half as much dough. As it is, mine makes 2 large pizzas with thicker, chewy crusts, or 4 small thin and crispy pizzas. I do wish I had a peel and a stone to cook it with, though. I just stretch the dough to fit my cookie sheets, so sometimes the bottom of the crust cookes a smidge unevenly.

I think tomorrow I will try the bagel recipe from this site...I LOVE bagels, but always thought they would be ridiculously hard to make (frankly, it was the boiling that always scared me a little). After reading through the Bagel recipe, I think I could probably make a decent batch tomorrow. My husband, a fan of "everything" bagels, would flip out if I figured out how to make a decent bagel from scratch. They are so expensive in the stores around here! To me, there are few things quite as wonderful as a toasty bagel with a little cream cheese and a cup of coffee in the morning. Or any time of day, really.

Anyone have an idea how long homemade bagels will stay fresh? I thought it would be nice to send my mom some homemade bagels for Christmas. Suggestions for wrapping/packaging them? I wanted to bake her something homemade as a gift this year, but she really watches her eating and avoids sugary things, so I didn't really want to make her cookies, fruitcake, or banana bread. Anyone ever tried mailing homemade bagels?

pizzameister's picture

OK, here we go!

I have avoided trying a lot of gluten free recipes till now, because they required the addition of xantham gum. This replaces the stretchiness of the missing gluten. Not that there is anything wrong with this additive, but it is fairly expensive and just seemed "unnatural".

Attempting recipe for Cinnamon Rolls from a book given to me by my daughter last Christmas - About time! Picked up some sorghum flour and tapioca flour - had the xantham gum.

Recipe went together well and is on first rise as I write this. Dough came together well, and some some minor vigorous beating later looks a lot like real dough. Cleaning off the spoon after it sat a bit, I noticed a gummy feel - So what did I expect??? Not quite like wheat dough, but interestingly sticky.

30 minute rise will be over in a few minutes - then to assemble the rolls. I can't wait! I can't wait? We'll see.

There is a recipe for sorghum pizza dough in the book, which may be next on my list. For the most of you, who do not have a problem with wheat, you have no idea what a craving can develop for that chewy mouth feel of real dough. The interesting thing about this recipe is that it is the only GF pizza recipe I have come across, which allowed the dough to be used in the normal fashion - spread it out and add the toppings before baking. The others are very sloppy and require a prebake before topping.

It would seem that the wheat intolerance corrolary to "No Pain, No Gain" Should be "Gain, No Pain"
I do claim copyright to that.

Timer for first rise just went off. Tune in later for the rest of the story!


BeckyBaker730's picture

Just thought I'd post my first entry to introduce myself. My current baking projects include a selection of cookies which I am baking as gifts for my family, and several breads for Christmas. I plan to use the Blueberry Cream Cheese braid recipe from this site for my Christmas morning bread.

Things I bake the most often are: homemade pizza crust, biscuits, and cloverleaf dinner rolls. I also like to make a couple of loaves of bread on the weekends.

One of my baking struggles is sourdough bread. I don't even really like sourdough bread, but I got hooked on the idea of making bread without yeast. After messing up my first attempt one Saturday morning I became determined to make it right. It was me vs. the sourdough starter. I still have not won that battle! I stick mostly to yeast breads and quick breads.

timtune's picture

Schiacatta with grapes. Used star-anise instead of anise.. Added a lil fennel seeds too.
If a touch of Chiati was added, it'll be more remarkable. Nevertheless, a nice crisp bread. Best eaten fresh out of the oven. :)

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Floydm's picture

I'm back from Texas. Afraid I didn't find the time to go bakery hunting. The closest thing to an artisan bakery I found was the Au Bon Pain sandwich shop in the DFW airport.

I did get to try one of the cakes from Collin Street Bakery, their pecan apricot cake. I'm not a fruit cake fan, but I have to admit it was darn good.

Glad to see that folks were able to help each other out here while I was out.

Bakenstein's picture

Hi all you busy bakers,

I have been struggling for a while with just not getting that beautiful light open airy texture to my doughs. Its come close at time with Pizzas and flatbreads but no cigar yet.

For some reason I just brought up baking breads with someone and they told me about using water that had been purified by reverse osmosis. Never to use just tap water.
Recently I was at my wits end as I always proof the yeast first and saw very little activity after 10 min. everything was done up to par. Threw it out the batch 2x's.
I opened a brand new yeast packet same result. So with that exact packet I retried everything again. This time with distilled water as you can't even trust the source of bottled water from the supermarket these days.


Beautiful foam doubled in the measuring cup ready to go into my awaiting 14 cups of flour for my weekly Pizza Baking Extravaganza. (Seven Pies one stuffed crust)

Everyone including Holiday company announced it was the best I've ever made. Been making Pizzas every Sunday since August.

Its pretty darn hard to get acclaim from East Coast Italians on Pizza as its a regional Heritage and the birthplace of pizza in the US.

Now for that Chicago Metallic Baguette Pan.....


Floydm's picture

Since we had another half a pot of soup leftover for dinner, I tried the autolyse approach again today (see yesterday's post). Much better results this time.

My dough was real basic again:

13 ounces bread flour
9 to 10 ounces water
2 teaspoons salt
1 heaping teaspoon active dry yeast (activated in 1 ounce of the water for 5 minutes).

I changed my technique a bit. I mixed the bread flour (all I had in the house) and 9 ounces of the water together in a bowl until the flour was all moist. I covered the bowl, let it sit for 20 minutes, then activated the yeast in another ounce or so of water. I then pulled the dough out onto a well-floured cutting board, poured the yeast/water mixture on top, sprinkled on the flour, and worked the water/yeast/salt in by hand just until mixed in. It was a mess, but it seems to have done the trick: I got a real nice, slow rise, good gluten development, and minimal oxygenation (which causes the crumb to appear yellow).

I did the same folding and baking routine as yesterday, I just didn't try shaping it into rounds.

I kept it pretty slack, so I dealt with it like a Ciabatta.



ciabatta inside

We gorged on it. It was wonderful. :)

Floydm's picture

I, too, had a doughy disaster today. I was trying to make a simple French/Italian bread using both a poolish (a wet, yeasted, overnight pre-ferment) and an autolyse (a flour and water quick pre-ferment). The poolish was too wet, the autolyse too dry, and when I tried to mix them together I could not get the chunks of autolyse dough to combine with poolish. It ended up having the consistency of chicken and dumplings. I ended up throwing the batch out and starting over.

The next batch turned out better.

16 oz. bread flour
11 oz. water
1 heaping teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt

I combined the flour and water in a bowl and mixed just until the flour was full hydrated. I covered the bowl and let it hydrate for 20 minutes. Then I mixed in the yeast and salt, mixed for about 3 minutes, and placed the dough in covered bowl. I gave it 45 minutes, then folded, another 45 then a fold, and a final 45 before shaping into rounds, placing in my floured baskets, which I covered, and let them rise for a final 75 minutes.

I baked them at 475 with initial steam. They were in for about 25 or 30 minutes. They turned out quite nice:

We had a pot of vegetable soup and a bottle of Chianti with them. You couldn't ask for a better meal on a wet, wintery day.


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