The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Skibum's picture

This has been a very enjoyable baking project.  This was the second half of the last focaccia dough that had rested in the fridge for 3 days prior to baking.  I changed up the herbed evoo using dried basil this time. I found the fresh basil used in the last batches tended to burn and become a little bitter. This is not an issue with the dried herbs: rosemary, basil, oregano and Italian seasoning.

Last bake after dividing I pre-formed a ball and ended up with a square-ish loaf. This time I thought I would follow Peter Reinhart's lead and do a letter fold instead. This gave me a rectangular piece of dough about 268 grams.  After 15 minutes rest I was able to coax the loaf into shape in my long loaf pan, drizzling generously with the herbed evoo and docking firmly with my fingers to coax things into place. I also sprinkled fine sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper and granulated garlic on to the oiled loaf. Yummmmmmm . . . .

I love this bread! Great snap to the crust and a nice soft crumb.

Fully proofed and ready to bake. Again baked 10 minutes at 500F with steam, turned and finished at 485 for 7 minutes. Okay, I promise this will be my last focaccia post . . .well maybe.

Happy baking! Ski

STUinlouisa's picture

Decided to experiment with some summer sausage and cheese. The dough was made with a combo of fresh ground  high extraction Red Fife, home ground corn meal, and AP. The leaven build was started at 5:30 AM with 30g starter, 50g Red Fife, 50g AP, and 70g water. At the same time started the autolyse with 114g Red Fife, 36g corn meal,100g AP and 170g water. The leaven moved fast because it is about 80F in the house and was ready after about 2 hr since I wanted to catch it still on the rise and very active. I mixed the two together added 6g salt and did 3 S&F about 15 min apart then let ferment which only took another 2hr. The dough was flattened into a rectangle, sprinkled with chopped summer sausage and sharp cheddar cheese, rolled into a log, and proofed on a sheet pan. It took only about 45 min to a little more than double. It was baked at 325F in the countertop convection oven that was a late birthday present and an interesting change from our regular gas oven. It was very quickly done, only about 20 minutes even at that low temp, of course the loaf did have a slim cross section.

The crumb has nice structure with a soft moist texture and a tender crust. The taste is good with the sausage and cheese not completely overpowering the bread like I was afraid it would. It makes a good novelty bread but not an every day loaf.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I made banana roti almost a year ago and we loved it! I also noted before that I will try this with mangoes come mango season and it's finally here! Banana roti is a famous  street food in some South East Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand, from the name it's obviously made with bananas but I've seen some made with a different fruit like mango. Mango is my favorite fruit and where I'm from is famous for its mangoes so I'm sure I will love it.

This bread/snack is simple; an unleavened dough is stretched very thinly the cooked on a griddle for a few seconds then the fruit filling is deposited in the center then the sides of the dough are folded neatly like a handkerchief, a few minutes later it is flipped and when browned beautifully cut into small pieces then drizzled with condensed milk. Here is a newer video I found for this snack, jump to 1:52 for the actual cooking process. Both mango and banana were used for this roti.

Mangoes ripen in large quantities so we froze those that we cannot eat. Very juicy and sweet. For the filling, the mangoes were just mixed with eggs.

Here is the mango custard. Mangoes are already juicier than bananas but frozen mangoes are even more watery! I don't know if this will work as filling.

For the actual roti, I want to try a different folding method too like the ones in Malaysia but it's more difficult because the dough need to be stretched thinner and larger and this is just my second time to make this kind of bread so I stuck with the method I used before and tried to improve. I used the same dough but with slight modifications. Here are the dough balls soaking in oil.

I used AP flour (you can see in the white dough color) as uncle Dab suggested and it was more extensible than my dough before made with strong flour. I also made it wetter and softer this time. My technique may have improved too and I'm still using this plate as my work surface. I was able to stretch it thin without any holes.

Look! This is some serious windowpane!

I cooked them just like in the video. The mango filling is very runny and I have to be fast in folding the dough to contain the filling otherwise it will be a mess; mango flavored scrambled eggs instead of smooth mango custard!

It was much better than my banana rotis. More even square shape with good distribution of the filling.

I cut it into 9 pieces using my spatula just like how vendors do it! The mango filling is peeking.

Fully dressed and ready to rock & roll.

Condensed milk, salt and sugar. You know, half of the can of condensed milk ended up in my and dad's hands!

Crispy, soft with a slight chew and a fragrant sweet creamy mango custard filling! So delicious!  The texture is unique, like a crepe but like a tortilla too, only this method could achieve this texture. Even though mango is my favorite fruit, I still prefer this with banana. The mangoes broke down too much and the flavor is somewhat diluted quite the opposite of banana where the flavor and aroma gets concentrated. This dessert is still really good, with the crunch from the sugar and the salt playing very well with all the sweet flavors.

A mango-pineapple drink to accompany the rotis.

I got a little bit crazy too and made some homemade spring roll (popiah 薄餅皮) wrappers. We were craving for some spring rolls but we don't have the wrappers and it's too dark to go to the market so I experimented in making my own whether it will work or not.

Still a bit thick, I need to practice the dabbing technique (Here is a video so you know what I mean) more but again not bad for a first try making only a few pieces. This week is all about thin breads / wheaten products.

Ru007's picture

This week I wanted a fairly simple loaf, so I decide to do a plain SD loaf but bump up the whole grains. I’ve been meaning to try this ( steel cut oat bread for ages so I thought I’d throw in some oat groats too:




Weight (g)







Levain (80% hydration)


































Oat groats (dry weight)









Total dough weight




1. I did a three stage levain build from my rye NMNF rye starter (7 weeks since feeding) using all w/w flour, which brings up the w/w flour to 40%.

2. I soaked the oat groats in hot water for 24hours (I’m sure less time is fine, but this I had to make this work around my work day.

3. I mixed the rest of the flour and the water from the drained oat groats (plus extra to bring the water up to 295g, I had to add 40g) and left that to autolyse overnight.

4. On mixing day, I mixed in the levain (which had been refrigerated overnight) and salt, did a few slaps to get everything mixed in. I did 5 S&Fs over 2 hours (one set every 30mins). I added the oat groats on the 3rd set.   

The dough to bulk fermented undisturbed for another 3hours. I then pre shaped, shaped and put the dough into my basket and straight into the fridge for 22.5hours.

5. I baked the loaf straight from the fridge at 230dC with steam for 20mins, then for another 30mins at 220dC. I left the loaf in the oven with the door ajar for 5mins.

The crust is crispy and brittle.


The crumb is  soft and moist , the oat groats add extra chewiness too. The taste is lovely, my starter produces loaves that very mellow in terms of sourness, this one has a bit of extra tang, but its also got a sweet after taste to it too.

 Happy baking to all!

Skibum's picture

Well friends, three days of steady rain have given me some time to bake.  I call this a successful bake as the crumb is nice and open and the crust has a real snap when you bight into it. Perfect with just herbed EVOO.

This bake was 300 grams total flour @77% hydration. Ten percent of the flour was durham semolina and the balance strong bread flour about 6g salt and 1Tbs EVOO. I abandoned P. Reinharts dough handling suggestions. The batch was refrigerated overnight and this morning divided in half. I used a pan oiled with evoo and topped the loaf with herbed evoo, salt, pepper and dried oregano, basil and Italian seasoning. After 15 minutes rest I topped and docked the dough with my finger tips, coaxing into a roughly square shape.

I baked this in the pan on my pizza stone for 10 minutes with steam @ 500F and another 7 minutes at 485F convection.

Fresh out of the oven and still retaining some dimples. Looks closer to what Focaccia is supposed to look like.

I can't resist showing off the Lupins flowering in my front bed garden. They are putting on a real show this year. I counted 20 developing flower spikes so the show should continue for a while.

Happy baking! Ski

STUinlouisa's picture

Got excited this week when I noticed that one of the four varieties of wheat planted in the garden was starting to form heads. This is white wheat and the best bunch. Can't wait for the others.


CrustyMac's picture

Hi everyone,

New here and new to breadmaking which my wife and I began to do in the sleepless days following the birth of our son 6 weeks ago! I tried to bake Ken Forkish's overnight country blonde using my levain and got mixed results. 


First the dough was quite wet and difficult to handle. I ended up having to add quite a bit more flour during the shaping stage just to be able to form it for proofing.


I also noticed the fermentation might have happened on overdrive. We live in a tropical climate and I ferment the doughs at room temperature which might be 24 or 25c. I fermented this dough overnight and it at least tripled in size. Proofing also may have been too long. 


When I tried to score it (I'm not sure I like Forkish's technique of using the folds as scores) the dough deflated significantly, and didn't really spring back in the oven. 

The taste is pretty good but a little denser than I would like, the crust is a bit too thick and just a little disappointing overall. 


Anyone have any idea what might have gone wrong with this? I find it really difficult to work with wet dough (this was hydrated at 78%), and I'm guessing that is why in part it ended up being a bit flat?Perhaps because we live in a tropical humid environment I should hold back a bit of water when I mix the dough? And maybe cut down fermentation by 25% or something?


Any advice would be welcome. I am really enjoying breadmaking and am keen to learn whatever I can! 

EllaFromChina's picture

I tried a new recipe yesterday with potato. It turned out as a surprise. I like it:)


I made some guacamole to go with it. My first time to make this as well. Tastes good together.






I made some smoothie with muskmelon, banana and rocket vegetable.


PalwithnoovenP's picture

It has gotten cooler here at 81F so I gained some confidence to try puff pastry. I recently saw some very elegant apple turnovers (chausson aux pommes) and I can't get them off my head, I really want to make and taste them and that day finally came.

The recipe uses inverted puff pastry and that made me even want to try it more. I first heard of inverted puff in the anime Yakitate!! Japan; it said that instead of the dough enclosing the butter, it is the butter that encloses the dough! What?! I said to my self. Is that possible? Yes! It is really possible! I was convinced when I saw a recipe in Advanced Bread and Pastry.

The key to it is the beurre manié, the floured butter so you can wrap the butter onto the dough and proceed with the turns without trouble. I gave it 2 sets of double and single turns made alternately. It was trickier to roll because it's the butter that is in contact with my steel pipe.

The recipe also includes the most delicious apple filling I've ever tasted. A famous fast food with an "M" and a "D" made me hate apple pies because of it's overly sweet mushy one-dimensional filling! This one is just the opposite, sweet, tart, and complex with nice apple chunks. The original recipe recommends Golden Delicious for the compote and Granny smith for the chunks. I can't find Golden Delicious here (You guys in the US and Europe are lucky to have a large variety of apple cultivars) so I used the only ones available. 

Since the compote is meant to be sweet and smooth. I used apples that are overly sweet and turns mushy when cooked; I used Red Delicious and Fuji apples for the compote; I steamed them until soft and because I don't have a food processor, I just passed them through a sieve until fine. The compote was cooked on a pan to reduce the water content. The Granny Smith were left in chunks for texture and to also provide tartness, they were sauteed in butter and brown sugar for a caramel flavor. It was heavenly when the compote and apple chunks were mixed.

The puff pastry (I should have dusted the work surface liberally with flour but because I didn't do that, some of them stuck to surface) was cut into 4.5 inch diameter circles. The delicious apple filling was scooped into the centers and closed to form a half moon shape. They are eggwashed twice then scored with a leaf pattern before being baked in my preheated clay pot for 20 minutes. They were flipped after 10 minutes.

Some of them leaked that's why the syrup from the apples burnt on the surface but on some it formed a lovely natural glaze so no need to brush them with some simple syrup.

The firewood that day was not so good so it did not produce the necessary heat for the pastry to puff but it was still the crispest flakiest pastry I've ever eaten. The crust looks pale on some areas but it was very crisp, light and  delicate all over. The leaf pattern was obvious too despite being flipped! I'm so happy!

The dough was also a little salty and goes well with the apple filling. The combination of the salty flaky dough and tart sweet aromatic filling was epic! It was dad's favorite pastry that I've made to date. The photo didn't show the filling well because we're all in a hurry to eat them and a thunderstorm was coming too and we have mangoes to pick before it gets rainy and windy! I ate some with cheese and it goes well with the apple turnovers but more will go for a bit of cream or ice cream. Oh, I have the best accompaniment to these, cheese ice cream! I know, many of you just puked but it is one the most common flavors of ice cream in our country and it's also a characteristic of our cuisine to mix sweet and savory; and honestly it's really good but to each his own. Try it someday, it is really delicious.

I also made a peach cake for my birthday. Choux pastry, custard and some peaches, yum! I'm tired of conventional birthday cakes composed of a sponge or "butter" cake filled with not even buttercream but with an overly sweet greasy shortening based frosting. I really want to bend the realm of birthday cakes so I decided to make my own this year. Last year's cake was unique too, Brazo de Mercedes a meringue roulade filled with a rich lime scented custard.

I also cooked some pancit. It is always marks a special occasion. There was no canned braised pork leg but it was still overflowing with Chinese sausages, shrimps and veggies that's why it was very delicious.

The whole table for the simple birthday meal.

May dad's gift for my birthday. A nice serrated knife so I can cut my breads easily. I've always used a small Chinese cleaver for cutting my bread and it's difficult not to squish and destroy them especially soft breads. Now, I could cut them with ease. Thanks daddy!

Zhou Clementine today. She has gotten stronger, she now quadruples in 12 hours to fill more than half of her home.

I thank God for my birthday and gifts. I am so blessed!

My favorite is the cake because you know, I really have a sweet tooth. Crunchy choux pastry, creamy rich custard and sweet juicy peaches. Amazing! A dusting of icing sugar completes the look. I served it with an iced sweet potato leaf tea, it goes great with it!


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