The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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FrugalBaker's picture

I just made a Norwich Sourdough with lemon zest and poppy seed this afternoon. Without having a Dutch Oven, baking stone or pizza stone, I had to use what I have in my tiny kitchen. So I turned to my roasting pan and my WMF stainless steel stock pot. This is what I did.

I preheated the roasting pan and stock pot at 250 dc for 20 mins prior to baking. Spritz water onto dough. Used the roasting pan as base and the pot to trap steam since it is heavy. The result? No, I couldn't get the crust that I hoped for but it solved my problem with having a pale bottom bake.

The pictures below will do the explanation...


Bulk Fermentation (only spent 1.5 hour on stretch and fold as it is warm in here)


Final rise after 14 hours of cold fermentation (estimated about 75 percent of final proving)


Bottom Shot (much better than all my previous bakes)


Crumb Shot (moist inside but not so crunchy outside)


Meanwhile, I am still searching for a piece of terracotta and a claypot as a substitute. Went to only to find out the shipping cost to my country is higher than the Dutch Oven itself...doesn't make any sense, totally disappointed!

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

When the weather gets warm it means dinners outside and bread from the grill. While the shapes can change based on the rest of the meal - they are mostly a basic pain au levain,

Part wheat and part rye levain - and then flour, water, salt. After so many loaves I still find the highest pleasure in pulling the most flavor out of those ingredients. A nice long ferment and the right mix of levain makes such a perfectly simple treat. The added flavors of the fire and outdoors is just enough to make the bread of summer a special treat.

I am occasionally tempted to throw in some olives, caramelized onions or other goodies. Sure it is tasty, but in the end hides too much of the wheat flavor I have worked so hard to make the star. I do like some seeds in the crust, as they don't seem to mask the flavors to me. I see breads with so many ingredients they seem a bit more like a complete sandwich than a loaf a bread. I am sure they are tasty and I am not judging them, but like so many things when you pull back until you are dealing with just the essence of what you are creating - there is something a bit more satisfying when it is delicious I think.

As I am reading "In Search of the Perfect Loaf" I think the baguette often takes on that role of only basic ingredients taken to an extreme level of taste, feel, and well, everything people use to judge bread.

I am not sure how many loaves like this have already come off the grill this year, they never make it into the house for a picture. This day there was enough baked to leave an end uneaten.

And as I slowly cool off as the sun sets, tomorrows dough has been cooling in the fridge already for hours the flavors building just waiting for tomorrow's bake. 

Sigyn's picture

I have been baking most of my life, the quantity and variety of baking has diminished as my family grew up and I became more careful about what I was eating. I was still baking bread in my usual way, using basic bread flour and commercial yeast, with little variety in flavour, shape or style. I make preserves every year, clementine marmalade, jam from a variety of soft fruit and indulge in the baking frenzy prior to the festive season.  I was however in a bit of a bread rut. I had watched the bread renaissance that was going on around me over the last ten years or so from the sidelines, barely registering the potential to develop some new skills and reinvigorate my interest in bread making and unlock the flavour that is possible with a different approach.

A friend in the USA bakes sourdough bread, he had been discussing technique and the wonderful flavour of this type of bread. We had a grand experiment. He posted me a sourdough loaf. It arrived 5 days after baking. It survived the journey and was in perfect condition. The flavour was superb having matured further over the course of the journey. I was hooked.

I had read that a Rye sourdough starter was the easiest to culture and thought that as a beginner it would be the best place to start. In the early days I was advised to use bottled spring water rather than tap water as any chlorine in the tap water would have a detrimental effect on the fermentation and the bacteria I was trying to cultivate. Once the starter was a little more mature tap water could be used.

I began with a stoneground wholemeal organic Rye flour from Dove's. 

Day one - 25g of Rye flour and 50g water at approx. 37 ˚C mix by hand and pour into a glass jar. I used a mason jar with the lid loosely fitted to allow any gas build up to escape. I placed it on a block of wood on top of the kitchen radiator and left it to get on with it.

Day two - A further 25g Rye flour and 50g water at 37 ˚C was added to the jar and given a good stir. Back onto the radiator to keep it warm.

Day 3 - Adding another 25g Rye flour and 50g water at 37 ˚C and another good stir. Back onto the radiator to keep it warm. It had sprung into life!

Day 4 - Lots of activity in the starter and it smells interesting. 50g Rye flour and 50g water at 37 ˚C was added to the jar and given a good stir. 

Day 5 and its ready to use.

Bakingfanatic's picture

A wickedly indulgent bake, these are great fun to make and are insanely easy to eat! 

I have gone for a very tangy, fragrant strawberry flavour for the ganache inside and for the fondant icing.

The freshly fried crounts are rolled in a mixture of sugar and lemon powder - which gives an almost sherberty flavour. Just wonderful as it cuts through the richness of the pastries themselves!

The full recipe is on my blog post at


mcs's picture

Hey everyone!  I'm back from my big trip and I've got some stuff to share with you, mostly coming in the form of links to stuff I posted along the way on my phone. Lastly is a short video I made of the baking session I had in Moscow in the middle of May. 

Here are a bunch of photos I took, both personal and professional along the way.

These are some photos from when I was working at the Black Dog Bar & Grill outside Prague.

And this is my bakery FB page that provides a little bit of narrative on some of the photos (if you look hard enough)  :)




KathyF's picture

In my last blog, baybakin suggested I try Peter Reinhart's SF Sourdough from Crust and Crumb. I looked at the recipe and actually, his timing works well with the summer weather as you end up baking in the morning. So I decided to try it out. This is the first time I tried retarding the final proof. I let it rise a bit like it said in the book and then put it in the fridge. I panicked a little when I observed that it kept rising for a while until it finally chilled down. I worried for a bit that I would be baking in the middle of the night! But it slowed down nicely once it was chilled. I scaled it down to 2 loaves. Here is the other one:

And the crumb shot:

It was maybe a tad over proofed. The first one deflated a bit when I scored it. Next time I think I will put it in the fridge a bit sooner and if it needs it, let it finish proofing the next morning.

There is a bit of a tang, but not quite as much as I hoped for. The texture of the crumb turned out very well. And this was the loudest I have ever had the crust sing to me. Very nice.

PMcCool's picture

I received a note recently from Amy Goldman, who had attended one of my sourdough classes.  She and her partner, Sean Galloway, are in the process of planning a business combining a brewery and bakery in the KC area.  Right now they plan to call it The Brewkery.  Amy is already baking, using starter that I provided to each of the students.  It's a treat to think that my starter might be the base for a bakery's sourdough breads someday.


Gaffri's picture

The rolls are sort of old nordic meets southern europe. The combination of the Enikorn flour, kernels, wild Greenlandic Angelica and Blueberries gives these rolls tons of aromatic, nutty sweet fragrant flavours.

 The dough was mixed directly with my "dormant" fridged sourdough starter with a approx 80% hydration level, and it took around 20 hours at room temperature for the fermentation process to kick in. They were baked at 230 degrees C for 25/30 min.

 The flour is a 70% organic Einkorn flour with approx. 30% organic Wheat flour. Its great with butter or strong cheese.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I should have posted this a long time ago since I've made this during my practicum but my laptop gave up as I was writing this while doing my practicum report. It is one of the greatest challenges I've ever faced, after typing nearly a ten page report a message just flashed saying my laptop is corrupted two days before the deadline! (What makes it worse is the policy "submit it on or before the deadline or GRADUATE NEXT YEAR!"). I had to retype my report relying only on my memory but it did not deter me, in the first place what's in my report came from my mind and just a little more push t will be my graduation so I wouldn't waste all my efforts from the past four years. Thank God I was able to finish it and even got a 1.0! These are the lessons college taught me for the last time: Learn to prioritize; plan for the worst; and if I can do something now, do it now so I'll have plenty of time doing what I love. My parents were very proud of me as I was able to graduate and also make it to the dean's list.

Fast forward to months later after graduation, my dad gave me a new laptop as a graduation and birthday gift so now I can post again! He also gave me a huge table whose sole purpose if for bread, MY BREAD! He says no one can touch it except me so it is always clean and ready for kneading and shaping breads. Maybe someday he said we will have an oven and a mixer and all other equipment necessary for baking. I am very lucky because I have parents who are very supportive of my craft. Of course if I will have a job I will try hard to provide those myself for my family and for my bakery as it is really my dream and their dream for me.

Back to the bread, I made this in my dormitory when I was longing to make bread without my clay pot. It made me sleepless for nights thinking of what bread can I make and how I will make it. During those times I was thinking of a festival/street snack, the kind that when you're walking while watching a parade and your tummy rumbles you buy some then carry on with your business. I thought of A RUSTIC SANDWICH WITH A RUSTIC BREAD because earlier I've seen post on breads like the shao bing, scallion pancake and rou jia mo; though they are cooked in different ways they all have a rustic personality but what captured me is the flakiness of the first two I mentioned, I want to replicate that. I married their characteristics for my ultimate bread: flaky and yeasted like a shao bing; crispy, full of scallion flavor and cooked in a frying pan like a scallion pancake; and sturdy enough to hold up to wet fillings.

The dough is the most basic with just flour, water, yeast and salt with just the slightest touch of sugar and oil for softness. I only made a small amount so I won't waste a ton of ingredients if it fails. After the bulk fermentation I divided it into four then proceeded to do some "Oriental style lamination" where you have laminate one by one. I rolled each one flat, spread some oil and sprinkled some chopped scallions, toasted sesame seeds, a little salt and optional white pepper. I then rolled them like spring rolls, coiled them and flattened them. After a 20 minute rest, I cooked them on lightly oiled pan for 7 minutes on each side on low heat. I don't like their pale sides so i cranked the heat up and browned them quickly but I don't think it's necessary as we can see in English muffins. I was rolling on a small chopping board so I have not rolled them thin and big enough, if I have done so they could be flakier with more layers, that's just a theory though. Also, for the first two i cooked the heat was too high so they were burnt slightly.

They were crispy and flaky on the outside as you can see on the first picture shards were all over the plate. They were soft and substantial inside with some visible layers. They were a bit sweet but very savory full of scallion flavor with a hint  of toasted sesame. When I brought some leftovers home, my mom said she could eat them alone everyday without tiring of it but I think she's exaggerating a bit though. 

This is how they look inside:

I filled them with some braised chicken thighs fragrant with ginger and garlic with just a kick from chilies the flaky scallion buns are the prefect complement to it. The buns and chicken are good alone but the textures and punch of flavors they deliver when when together is sublime.

It's so good I forgot that the oils and juices are dripping down my fingers and just let myself fall into the world of good food.

The photos were taken at night when I returned to my dorm after my training inside my bedroom under a fluorescent light which is a first time for me since I'm used to taking photos in the afternoon at our home using only the light from the sun. I also cooked the braised chicken myself because I cooked my own meals there, therefore allowing me to experiment with my food because of the small quantities. Now that I'm back home, I'm so excited to try and share many of my "no-oven" bread baking ideas.

This was a long post mainly because of the stories behind this bread. Can you think of a better name for them? in fact, I don't know what to call them so I just stick to calling them flaky scallion buns. Thank you very much!

greedybread's picture


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I know, no Turkish or Italian bread…

I thought I would confuse you….

I love this, its my new favourite!


Well, that changes each recipe, I am a fickle bread lover, faithful to no bread.

Give me eggy sweet breads and I am your slave.

I have been reading Allyson Gofton’s Year in France book and saw the recipe in there.

Then I investigated some other recipes, had a fiddle and voila!

Sweet, yeasty bread cakes, that is me!!

Orange Blossom water, its is a sign!!

I had to do a few substitutions and I have been on a mad search for some ingredients.

But we got there in the end.

Smudge says " Yes Please"

Smudge says ” Yes Please”

1 cup of chopped cherries (I used red and green as could not get angelica to start with).

1 cup of chopped candied orange peel or mixed peel.

2 tbsp (I did a big splash) of orange blossom water.

3 Tsp of dried yeast.

4 cups of bakers flour

4 eggs

200g of butter

1/2 a cup of warm milk

1 cup of sugar, prefer castor.

pinch of salt.

Sugar pearls of possible.

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You could use flaked almonds on top but would alter the taste, be nice though.

In a small bowl place warm milk, stir in 2 tsp of the sugar and stir in the yeast.

When this is mixed well, add in 1 beaten egg and 1/4 cup of flour , mixing until relatively smooth.

Leave to stand for about 30 minutes or until the yeast mix is frothy and smooth.

It has to be smooth!!

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Place flour, remaining sugar and salt in a bowl and combine well.

Beat remaining eggs, splash in orange blossom and set aside.

When yeasty mix is ready, add in beaten egg mix and add to dry ingredients.

Add in butter and beat well, then add in the glace fruits etc when the butter is well combined into the mix.

Stir through.

This is like stiff batter, it’s not a dough as such.

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Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave for 3-4 hours.

The slower the better as the flavour develops over time.

Place gloopy dough batter on a well floured bench/area.

Divide into 2 portions and roll into a ball.

Flour your fist and poke a hole in the middle of the balls.

Work it round a bit and enlarge the hole so its 1/3 the size of the entire cake/bread area.

Place on a baking tray lined with paper.

Cover and leave for an hour.

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Pre heat oven 15 minutes before to 160 Celsius.

Brush rings lightly with egg and place decorations on the ring.

I did red and green cherries and then pearl sugar.

Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes.

Not too brown…cover with tinfoil if need be.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest on the tray for 5 minutes.

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Gently place rings on a wire rack to cool.

Best eaten within the day but I was eating it a day or so later and still great!

Mmm warmed with lemon curd and greek yoghurt!

Very unfrench but nice!

Great for breakfast.


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There 2 versions of King Cake, a pastry one with almond and the one above.

My one is from the Southern France region.

David Lebovitz has a gorgeous Puff pastry version called Galette des Rois.

Here is a nice historical piece on the Galette des Rois.


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