The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Floydm's picture

I'm trying to upgrade the site to Drupal 4.7 tonight. Wish me luck!

rmk129's picture

This recipe is the result of a mixture of ideas from a few different recipes. A moist and delicious way to use up overripe bananas and excess zucchini :)

May 31 019

Zucchini Banana Bread

A)Combine these ingredients:
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini

B)Combine these ingredients and slowly add to first ingredients, mixing well.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
5 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

C) Finally add these (optional):
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins (presoaked in hot water)

D) Bake ~45 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean). My gas oven doesn't have a temperature gauge...
I went for what I call "moderately hot". Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out loaves onto cooling rack.

Yummy warm!!!

rmk129's picture

Last week I managed to try a few other recipes with mixed results...

1)Rustic Bread
Very nice loaves of bread. Delicious!!! I made it twice (once with rye flour) and my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed the two different types.

2)Sweet Corn Raisin Bread
I had quite a few laughs throughout the process of making this bread...since I have joined this site, I have read so many pieces of advice about working with wet dough that I think I took it to the extreme while I was making this loaf! After I *poured* the dough out onto my lightly floured counter (using my hands, arms and apron to stop it from oozing into the sink and off the counter!) I realized that I probably should have added more flour in the first stage :) Nevertheless, I persevered and somehow managed to shape it into a fairly round object (this required much patience and a constantly running tap to clean dough off my hands). I then plopped the globular mass of dough into a bowl that I had covered with a heavily floured teatowel and proceeded to clean up the huge mess I had made all over the counter! Sometimes I think it is a blessing in disguise that I have such a tiny little kitchen because then at least even huge messes remain somewhat manageable :) It rose very well, but to finish off my adventure, I really screwed up the scoring process by changing my mind halfway through...after all was said and done, the baked loaf looked like a golden brown loaf that had been attacked from above before it made it into the oven. However, it was scrumptious with a nice crumb...maybe I will have better luck with the process next time. There WILL be a "next time"!!!

3)Whole wheat/flax seed/bran/oatmeal bread
My own "failproof" recipe that has never let me down...until this week. Do you see a pattern here? I bought my whole wheat flour from a bulk health food store this week and it was very coarsely ground (I even found 1" bits of wheat ?chaff? in it!). I also had a very busy day so I ended up leaving the dough in the fridge for most of the first the end, I produced 2 teeny little loaves. At least they were not rock hard...they were actually quite moist and tasty. Probably a good way to prepare bread for bringing on an overnight backpacking trip :) I guess that is the beauty of baking bread...pretty hard to screw up a loaf so bad that it isn't worth eating!

4)Baguettes Bizarre
In order to keep my current disaster "streak" going, I decided to try out a new recipe for baguettes instead of my usual. So as I type, I am halfway through the process and keeping my fingers crossed. I got the recipe from a website link from this site, and it is completely different than any recipe I have ever tried so I will see how it works...on the website, she admits that this is actually a Reinhart recipe that he got from a parisian baker "Baguettes Ancienne". I had to mix up the flour, salt, yeast and ice water last night, knead it for 6 minutes with my mixmaster, then put it in the fridge overnight. This is not the usual biga/poolish method, because you don't add any additional ingredients the next day...what you start with the night before is what you end up with. Now it says to let the dough rest on the counter for 3 hours, then simply shape the dough (which the website author had huge difficulties with and I'm sure I will too) and throw the baguettes in the oven. Seems like such a short process compared to the way I usually do it, so I thought I would give it a try... Wish me luck!!!

5)Banana Zucchini Bread
On this weekend's list due to the fact that both of these ingredients are approaching the decay stage in my fridge...sounds yummy, doesn't it? :) I was originally going to follow a recipe I got from the web:Banana Zucchini Bread. I didn't have any self-rising flour, but I read somewhere that for every cup of flour you should add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to make it equivalent to self-rising flour. Hmmm...that would mean adding 3.5 x 1.5 = 5 1/4 tsp of baking I smell another disaster in the offing???? I guess it would make sense to end my week of oozing, non-rising, flopping, slashed-apart bread with a loaf that explodes out of the oven :) I just popped my loaves in the oven 5 minutes ago, and the ingredients I ended up adding actually ended up being a mixture from the original recipe (linked above), Linda's Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread, Floydm's Better Banana Bread, and a few of my own additions :) If it works out, I will post the recipe in my next blog entry so I don't forget what I did!

RichC's picture

I was originally going to try the Italian bread from BBA this weekend, but I forgot to write down the biga recipe so I had to scrap that idea. So instead I decided to come here and look up something else to try. The victim of my baking experiment would end up being Floyd's daily bread recipe.

As other people did, I found the dough to be extremely wet. I had to add another 1/2 cup of flour for the dough to come together. It was still very slack, but I could still work it. The only problem I had was that I think my attempts to steam the bread resulted in me inadvertently misting the bread itself which made the crust chewier than I would have liked. Also, my lack of baking stone and using the middle rack instead of the bottom caused the bottom crust to be a little soft.

The crumb came out really well too. Very creamy and open.

The flavor wasn't quite what I hoped it would be, but I think that has to do with the crust not coming out as well as it should.

But adding a few accompaniments sure did make it taste good! :)

I also made another 2 loaves of the cinnamon raisin walnut bread but used the correct amount of raisins this time, and substituted pecans for the walnuts. I had a problem shaping one of the loaves because there was a section with to many raisins and the dough broke around them. It caused about one third not to rise all that great. They still tasted great though!

Next weekend I'm going to try and mix it up. Maybe I'll take a stab at bagels instead.

JMonkey's picture

A big baking weekend, now that my oven is fixed:

  • Nice and sour 100% whole wheat sandwich bread
  • Pain au levain (actually, Jeffrey Hammelman's Vermont Sourdough, but I live in Watertown, MA, so technically, I suppose it should be "Watertown Sourdough")
  • Baguettes (using the BBA's French bread formula which employs a pate fermente)
  • Whole wheat sourdough with raisins, pecans and a cinnamon sugar swirl.

  • Click more for photos.

    The two in front are pain au levain with 10% whole rye. I usually use a firm starter, because to get a decent "sour" out of my local microflora, I have to work them hard: firm starter, long bulk fermentation (6 hours), overnight retarding in the fridge. This formula required a starter at 125% hydration, so I converted some of my starter and followed his instructions to the T. The result: a mildly sour, flavorful bread similar to French bread that just exploded in the oven. I've NEVER gotten oven spring like this before.

    I haven't cut into the sourdough raisin pecan with a cinnamon swirl (in the back). It's in the freezer -- I expect it will either be delicious or awful.

    By the way, whenever I retard a pan loaf of sourdough, the top of the loaf that's directly exposed to the cold always bakes up much more pale than the rest of the loaf. I cover it with plastic. Anyone have any idea what I could do to prevent it from being so pale? I don't mind too much, since the flavor isn't affected, but it would be nice if the entire loaf was a nice golden brown.

    A nice open crumb. I was very pleased. :-)

    Here's the baguettes. I clearly need some help with slashing and shaping, but there were neverthleless mighty tasty. Nutty, somewhat sweet with a long tangy finish. I made three baguettes, but one already made its way to our happy bellies before I could find the camera.

    Baguette crumb. Not as open as I'd like, but I'll take it. Next week, I'm going to make poolish baguettes. I imagine that will produce more holey bread.

    Next week: Hammelman's Potato bread with the addition of fresh rosemary (from my friends garden) and roasted garlic. Mmmmmmmmmm.

    rmk129's picture

    I just finished making my second loaves from this site...the Rustic Bread. I followed the ingredient amounts exactly. The only things I did differently were:
    1) added the water and yeast mixture for the final dough directly to the bowl with the preferment in it, then I just mixed in the dry ingredients with the dough hooks on my mixmaster (fewer dishes to deal with afterwards!);
    2) since I had to leave the house this afternoon, the first rise was quite long (1 hour on the counter and 5 hours in the refrigerator!); and
    3) the final rise for the second loaf (round one with cross marks) was 45 minutes longer than the first one (while the first loaf was baking)


    Since there was some recent interest on this site about photos of scoring/slash marks, I thought I would contribute to this with some before and after photos of my Rustic Bread loaves.

    May 17 before#1

    May 17 after#1

    May 17 before#2

    May 17 after#2

    Joe Fisher's picture
    Joe Fisher

    There's pecan craisin and sourdough rye and pumpernickel breads on the top of my fridge. Banana bread on my counter. Sourdough craisin dinner rolls, herb rye, pumpernickel and pizza dough fill my freezer. 25 lb buckets of flour fill my basement. Sourdough starters crowd my fridge. My in-laws have threatened my life for making them fat with breads they can't resist.

    It's a terrible addiction :)


    JMonkey's picture

    It's been raining for two weeks, and we're about to get yet another week of rain. Luckily, I'm not in any danger of getting flooded out, but I may end up working from home at the rate they're closing roads. Very wet. And at the rate that sewage and water treatment plants are going offline, I may end up boiling all our water soon.

    My oven will be repaired on Friday, but it still works well enough for me to keep a fairly constant 350 degrees -- good enough for the BBA's raisin-walnut (I prefer pecan, being a former Southern boy, myself) bread. Had to have French toast for Mother's Day, and there's no better French toast than cinnamon raisin pecan French toast.

    I picked up three 9x5 pans at a garage sale for $1 a couple of weeks ago, so instead of dividing the dough into two loaves for a 8.5 x 4.5 pan (they always seem to come out too small for my taste) I just put the whole shebang into the 9 x 5.

    Perfect! We had a big honkin'loaf, most of which went to French toast (we've got a freezer full - yum), and the rest to peanut-butter and bannana sandwiches.

    On Thursday night, I'm going to start preparing for a BBA pizaa on Friday night. Living without a high-heat oven has been a sad existance.

    rmk129's picture

    Okay, now I am trying to figure out how to post photos without having them appear in the Gallery :)
    I just discovered "Flickr", so I will try to post a link to my site to show my first attempt at Floydm's Pain Sur Poolish". I ended up adding 1 1/2 extra cups of flour, but next time I will try to follow his advice and keep the dough as wet as I can handle :)

    Both loaves. I have a tiny oven so I can only bake one loaf at a time.

    Crumb of the first loaf. At least I think that is what you call a "crumb", judging from other people's descriptions on this site?

    Crumb of the second loaf.

    The very pale loaf was the first loaf I baked. I did not use a wash or glaze, although I sprayed the outside of the loaf lightly with warm water before putting it in the oven...I read somewhere that was a good way to create more steam (I also always have a small pan in the bottom of my stove and I throw a cup of water into it to produce steam just as I put the loaf in the preheated oven). Now I am not so sure about the loaf-misting idea because maybe it is responsible for the pock-like marks on the crust of this loaf??? I think I also had issues with the oven heat for this loaf--I have a gas oven with no temperature indicators at all. I baked it for 40 minutes and it was still that pale!!!

    The darker loaf was the second loaf. I put it in the fridge while the first loaf was baking, then I used an egg white wash spread on with my fingers...maybe I deflated the loaf a bit too much this way and this is why the shape is like a perfect semi-circle??? I made sure the oven was very hot this time (the flames sounded very loud), and it only took 25 minutes to bake even though I turned it down to "halfway" (whatever temperature that might be) after 15 minutes.

    My major trouble is definitely telling when the loaves are done. I did the hollow-sounding test, and they both seemed done, but when I cut them open an hour later they both seemed a little too moist in the center for my liking...or am I being too impatient cutting them open so soon? I should probably invest in an oven thermometer to test the loaf temperatures...

    I would be happy to receive *any* suggestions, criticisms, and/or comments about my loaves and/or best methods for posting photos. I am really looking forward to learning from the members on this site!!!

    rmk129's picture

    As a newbie bread-maker, I was ecstatic to find this site yesterday!!! I have been making bread with the help of a bread-maker for over 5 years. In December my husband and I moved to Argentina, so we gave up everything that would not fit into 2 suitcases more bread-maker!!! Although there are many bakeries here, they almost exclusively feature breads made of white flour and even those breads are nothing like homemade. My husband's mom used to make yummy bread in their outdoor oven here, but nobody measures their ingredients here so it is hard to get accurate recipes unless you have time to watch someone go through the entire baking process...even the local recipe books usually indicate that you should simply add "a sufficient amount of flour" and things like that.

    I am a grad student, so I spend a lot of time at home working on my thesis and bread-making is the perfect way to break up my days and make me feel productive even when my thesis is moving along at the pace of a turtle... So over the past few months I have been experimenting with different breads and so far I am fairly happy with my baguettes and basic whole-wheat/flax seed bread. They are definitely not perfect but very yummy!!!

    An added challenge for me has definitely been my tiny gas oven that does not have any temperature indicator (therefore directions to set the oven to 350 or 500 mean nothing to me)...I have had to learn to go by the sound of the flames, and it is still hit or miss :) Room temperature here also has a very different meaning, especially now that it is getting colder out. We do not have central heating, so room temperature was close to 35 degrees a few months ago, and now it is closer to 15 degrees and dropping in most of the apartment...except in the hallway where the gas heater blows out :)

    I look forward to following these forums and hopefully picking up lots of tips...especially tips that will help me make decent bread without lots of special equipment. I am thinking of investing in a cheap kitchen scale, because it seems to be more important to weigh ingredients rather than measure them??? Today I have already read about how to make homemade cloches out of baskets and linen...great idea!!! I made the poolish for the Daily Bread featured on the home page last night, so I will see how that goes today...and if I figure out how to post photos I would love to participate in that aspect of the site so I can get more help and suggestions!

    Until next time...


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