The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Floydm's picture

Back to work tomorrow.

During my week off I managed to bake pain de Provence, bagels, chocolate chip banana bread, kaiser rolls (recipe to come, after I try it a few more times), pain sur poolish, and an apple pie. Not bad consider everything else we did (3 days at the beach, a day hiking, lots of visits to the local playgrounds, and so on).

I'm finally pleased with the way the site (this one) is looking. It has taken me a month or two to work out most of the design kinks. It is finally getting there.

Erithid's picture

Today is my birthday, and for my birthday my friends and familiy got me baking supplies. With my new baking stone (bed bath and beyond is having a great deal on them, fyi), I went to work on some baguettes. I followed the recipe in the king arthur flour's online baking lesson found at:
They turned out excellent. This was the first time I could actually hear the bread crackling as it came from the oven. That was quite an experience. I also got a silpat mat and some new cookie sheets, so I will let you all know what I think of them when I get to work on some pumkin cookies. :-)
ps, sorry no pictures, but I don't have a digital camera. ~Erithid

Floydm's picture

I've been on vacation this week. Of course I have to be a bakery tourist. I came across Bread & Ocean in Manzanita, Oregon (see map).

A nice little place, that makes some interesting sounding breads: fig-walnut bread, potato-rosemary leek bread, spelt bread, german seeded bread, as well as the standard french bagettes and sourdoughs.

I tried one of their sweets, an almond-poppy seed bun. It was excellent.

Erithid's picture

Hello! For my first entry I will talk about a recipie inspired from a show called Yakitate Japan. Yakitate Japan, which means "freshly baked Japan" where Ja-pan is a pun on the japanese word for bread "pan", is an anime about a young boy's journey to create a bread that culturally represents Japan. It is hysterical, tounge-in-cheek, and chock full of interesting bread ideas. On one episode they discussed a recipe for microwave bread. Since I don't speak japanese or cook in metric, I devised my own recipe using the same basic concepts. It is still a work in progress, but everyone should try it. It amazed me with how well it turns out.
Microwave Bread:

about 2.5 cups flour
2 tbs butter
1 cup milk
1.5 tsp salt
2tsp yeast
2 tbs sugar

1. Add the butter to the milk and microwave until it just melts, about 30-60 secs. You want it melted, but not boiling or anything.
2. Add the yeast, sugar, salt, mix well
3. Add the flour until you get a sticky dough that you can handle.
***** Important******
Do not knead the dough, just mix it. Trust me, if you knead it it will not rise. There is a reason for this, but I forget. It has to do with the gluten formation interfering with the rise.
4. After you mix the ingrediants, cover the bowl with parchment paper and a wet towel and microwave for 30 seconds on high
5. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Shape into balls, put on a microwave/oven safe dish (I use a plate w/ parchment paper)
6. Cover with paper and towel, let sit 10 minutes
7. Microwave on low(plevel 30%) for 30 seconds
8. Let sit for about 45min- 1 hour
9. Bake at 375 until golden brown, about 15 min I believe
Total time 1.5 hours, but I think I actually let the rise go longer than neccessary

For a real treat, follow steps 1-7, then fill with chocolate ganache. I make these for breakfast once a week or so. Let me know what you think, or if you have any suggestions. Enjoy! ~Erithid

Bakenstein's picture

Well since asking the question about what kind of adjustments are to be made at high altitude I have been researching on the web quite a bit. It is very perplexing, contradictory and fustrating. It is said that 37 states have cities that are over 3000ft. yet there are only a handful of books devoted to the subject. Think also of all those RVers traveling all over the place to multi mountianous regions you have an aweful lot of people who need a sound guide to help them out.

I have come to realize even in general cooking I've already made a bunch of adjustments out of necessity such using a pressure cooker,cutting back on sugar in desserts, buying only better pastas so it doesn't gum up from the extended low boil cooking, lower deep fry temps and more to come.

Some people have made adjustments and have never acheived the type of results they were accustomed to at lower alts. and even moved back to low baking Nirvana. Restuarants in CO. solve their bread and muffin problems by ordering from lower alt. bakeries. Then the brave claim absolutely NO Changes are necessary proceed as per recipe (a few of those were from these here parts in Northern AZ).

Then you have a master baker Susan Gold Purdy who unabashedly admitted to all the utter disaster in New Mexico when she tried to recreate a Chocolate Buttermilk Cake at 7000ft which crashed as it cooled. Those in attendance all encouraged her to seriously consider the vast undertaking of creating a systematic cookbook using 200 of her favorite recipes from all her previous books.

This has been accomplished over course of a number years in real household kitchens at 3000ft, 5000ft, 7000ft, and 10,000ft. Every recipe had to be indivdually ajusted and tweeked to match its sea level counterparts.

As I look at this weekends Baking Extravaganza sitting in my back porch do I really want to turn out another 3- 2lb loaves of Banana Bread that though not too dense have absolutely no dome to talk about? Or alas my Italian Bread attempt with good looking crust but is only a little higher than a Biscotti?

Yes right now there are many of our follow countymen, women, children without parents, some dead and still undiscovered in their ravaged homes who will never again be able to even flip a pancake. As I asked my own beloved should I throw this bread away? The reply I've been nibbling on it really brought it into perspective.

I can purchase "Pie In The Sky" by Susan Purdy in attempt to solve some of my little culinary problems but I better keep my feet on the ground and have LOVE in it or it just isn't worth it.

Floydm's picture

last night's pizza

Tomatoes? From the garden.
Basil? From the garden too.
Garlic? Yeah, I grew that in the garden as well.
Cheese? Milked my own cow Ok, I bought that. But it turned out wonderful.

Altaf's picture

Finaly arrived.... The bread baker's apprentice at my hands :-D. It looks very informative &the beautiful illustrations make me want to bake.

I have to dedicate my time in the coming days for reading this amazing book.

Floydm's picture

Two baking experiments yesterday. One was a big success, the other a total failure.

The first experiment was tweaking the banana bread recipe. I made two small changes (added a 1/2 a cup of whole wheat flour and a cup of vanilla yogurt) and it was *sooo* good. I want to try it one more time to verify my measurements and then I'll post a recipe and pics.

The other experiment was to make the baked potato bread and leave the dough extremely slack. I didn't even stretch it to build up surface tension or anything. It probably would have been fine if I'd baked it in a loaf pan, but on the baking stone it just splayed out not unlike a biscuit.

I didn't really do this experiment on purpose, I just had a very busy day. I wanted to bake something but didn't have the energy to do it right. I figured I was taking a chance but it was worth a shot. I can live with one out of two being successful!

Floydm's picture

I made croissants in honor of Bastille Day today. They actually turned out OK, better than I expected.

I'll try to post the recipe in the next day or two. Too tired tonight.

Altaf's picture

I always had a fear towords making a preferments (in other words: starter, levain ,biga, poolish....etc). Why?...not sure, may be from the stories i hear about other people experiments or the long description written in professional bakers books.

well, yesterday night i decided to stop thoes annoying night mares. So i opened one of my cooking magazines which had a recipe of rye bread with a good amount of illustrations for a begginer like me. The recipe requires two starters : one made with fine ground rye flour and the other made with wheat flour (un bleached bread flour).

And Since the recipe demands leaving the starters in a room tempreture for 12 houres and up to 20 houres, i made both the starters at 21:00 july 12th. (Here comes the exciting part): :lol:

I waked up this morning july 13th, got dressed then went to take a quick glance at my starters(8:00) before going to work. And.... i found out that the rye starter had exploded :-o :-o :-o. I had to clean up the mess, and i put the both starters inside the fridge just for a precaution. Of course i was late to work

well this is the first disaster. I'll continue the rest of the story with some picutres......End of part one.

july 13th 3:00, Part Two:
I took the starters out from the fridge as you can see them below.....and left them at room tempreture

the rye starter on the right side and what left of it after the explotion. The white starter on the left is doing well.

The author said it`s better to knead the dough without flouring the work sufrace:-o .I followed the recipe steps carfully and another disaster happened, The dough was very very very stickey i could'nt work with. So i tried to solve this embarrssing sitiuation (while my sisters where watching me) by oiling the work surface, but it was sticky, then i floured the work surface a lot...still the dough had a bad behavior.

After one hour of wrestling, i decided to declare the dough's death.

End of the story. Comments from experts are most welcome.


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