The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Modern Jess's picture
Modern Jess

Last night, after I formed the loaf for the Sesame Triple Threat and set it aside to proof, I realized it was still early and decided to make another batch of dough. To this one I added 20g of dried minced onion, which results in more of an aroma of onion than an actual flavor.

I didn't get much rise out of the dough overnight, though. I went ahead and divided the dough into 100g rolls anyway, formed each one up and let them proof on the sheet pan. They didn't proof much either.

Once in the oven, they poofed up nicely. They were still a bit dense, and even a bit doughy, but they turned out delicious.

  • 500g KA bread flour
  • 350g cold water
  • 150g SD starter
  • 20g Penzey's dried minced onion
  • 12g salt

Modern Jess's picture
Modern Jess

I'm a big sesame fan, and I've been wondering lately if I can take that farther than the thick sesame crust I have been using on my bread for a while now. I hit upon the idea of adding sesame oil to the dough. As I googled around for some guidance on the subject, I found an example right here on TFL, and that confirmed my hunch about how much sesame oil to add -- about 1 teaspoon.

I baked this loaf fairly strongly, though in hindsight I think the sesame would benefit from just a little less. 

  • 500g KA bread flour
  • 351g cold water
  • 150g starter
  • 13g salt
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup black sesame (in the dough)
  • white & black sesame (crust)

Four to five hours of turns at irregular intervals (I kept forgetting to set the timer), loaf formed and placed in banneton, then proofed on the counter overnight (10-ish hours). It was bulging out of my 8" banneton in the morning. Baked at 450 for 22 minutes covered followed by 18 minutes uncovered.

nmygarden's picture

The No Oven Challenge has enticed us to be creative with ingredients, methods and equipment. Members have shared breads cooked by frying, stove-top and charcoal grilling, make-shift wood fire, and steam. Lessons to be learned all around, but success, none the less!

My entry is a steamed brown bread, similar to those served in Boston and the eastern seaboard. It's whole grain - graham flour and cornmeal, leavened by baking soda, moistened with tangy yogurt, sweetened and deeply colored by molasses and a little brown sugar. Add-ins included dates and fresh cranberries.

I opted to use my slow-cooker for counter-top steaming - it rarely gets used, and would require less watching than would a pot on the stove-top. I added water to the cooker and turned it on 'high', dropped in a few mason jar rings to allow water to circulate evenly, and allowed it to heat as I was assembling ingredients. The batter came together easily and was spooned into a greased 1-qt casserole (pretested to fit into the cooker's crock), covered tightly with aluminum foil, tied with string and set into the hot crock.

The water level was adjusted to between half and 2/3 the height of the casserole. I left it to steam for nearly 4 hours. Once out and still sealed,I left it to cool for 10 minutes before removing the foil and turning it out onto a rack to cool. It had filled the casserole to the brim, but was cooked through. It was a deep caramel brown with fruit peeking through to the surface.

Sliced for serving revealed a coarse, yet moist, cake-like texture, dotted generously with fruit. We enjoyed a few slices for dessert, warmed and spread with butter. Not overly sweet, brown bread's charm is in its texture and a wholesome comforting quality. The dates provided a sweet touch that was brightly offset by the cranberries. I'm looking forward to toasting some for breakfast.

The recipe I used was fudged from one I found online from Yankee Magazine's December 27, 2015 issue, "Granny's Homemade Brown Bread". I adapted it to use ingredients I had on hand and reduced the quantities to fill my 1 qt. casserole, rather than the specified 2 qt. mold:

Original Ingredients (my substitution):

1 c graham flour (3/4 c)

1 c rye flour (omitted)

1 c yellow cornmeal (3/4 c)

1-1/2 tsp baking soda (3/4 tsp)

1 tsp salt (1/2 tsp)

3/4 c molasses (3/8 c)

(1/4 c brown sugar)

2 c sour cream (1 c nonfat yogurt)

1 c sultanas or raisins (1 c chopped dates and whole fresh cranberries)

unsalted butter ( to grease the mold)

I felt the bread may need to be sweetened to blend with the dates and offset the sharpness of the cranberries. I would do that again. I would also add nuts - pecans - but then it begins to take on a fruitcake connotation, which wouldn't bother me one bit. I would use the sour cream or full fat yogurt. The bread was moist, but it could be richer with a bit of fat. Of course, when covered in butter, it probably matters little.


Danni3ll3's picture

These were also done for Xmas dinner tonight.

Danni3ll3's picture

I really liked how the Triple Kamut loaf turned out so I repeated it and also made up a Triple Spelt loaf. I used fresh ground spelt flour so I am really curious to see what it tastes like. We are having Xmas dinner today so I was busy baking all kinds of bread. Here is the recipe for the Triple Spelt loaf.

And this is what the Triple Kamut loaves turned out like. Same recipe as above but using Kamut instead of spelt in all three ingredients.

joc1954's picture

I have really enjoyed while baking for this challenge. I was on a business trip 11 days and my starter had a rest period in fridge. The weather today was beautiful although -7 dC in the morning but warmed quite a bit before noon. I decided to use my Weber Performer grill to bake a bread for this challenge. 

Preparation was simple  - fill the chimney with briquettes and start fire beneath them. Next step was preparing the grill. I put two char-baskets one at each side of the grill and between them was just enough space for my Lodge cart-iron skillet which will not be above the charcoal but will be heated indirectly.

After the briquettes were ready I put half of them in each basket and closed the grill. After some time the temperature was 240 dC, just a little bit lower that I wanted.

I have preheated the skillets on a gas stove to be at 240 dC (checked with infrared thermometer) and then I loaded the loaf into skilled the usual way, scored it, covered with upper skillet and bring that to the preheated grill.

After a while I saw that the temperature has risen to 250 dC so I slightly closed the vents on top of the grill. I was eagerly waiting for 30 minute mark when I can uncover bread.


I was really nicely surprised because the bread looked like when I am baking in my oven, but was more pale. I checked the temp of the lid skillet and it was only about 180 dC. So i decided to bake longer. Next check was at 45 minutes mark and all together bread was baked for 65 minutes.

I was wandering what will be the bottom of the loaf looking like but was pretty sure that due to indirect heating it will be ok. And it was.

After slicing the loaf I saw a really nice open crumb structure, maybe even too open for my opinion. The crust was crunchy and has cracked on several places. It was for sure one of my best loaves with a great contrast between the crunchy crust and soft and wet crumb.

Just few words about the dough: 10% whole rye grains milled at home, 10% whole grain spelt, 80% type 550 organic German flour from Bohlsener Muehle, I bought this flour while being on business trip and it turned out as a great bread flour with  11.5% gluten. The hydration was about 80% and the dough was easily manageable.


Happy baking!


PalwithnoovenP's picture

I should have posted this yesterday but I was just feeling uninspired to write anything. This is also my first bake without Pochi, our very loyal and loving dog. He was our only dog when I started baking. I am still saddened as I type this but at least we are moving on.

Exactly 2 weeks ago, he was gone; Saturday noon, he just did not eat his lunch and we noticed his nose was dry so we took him to the vet immediately. Upon arrival at the vet's office, he does not even like to walk, I had to lift/carry him inside but part of it is because it's not dad (his true pack leader) that accompanied him to the vet. He was diagnosed with a cold/respiratory infection so he received 2 shots, one to fight infection and another to boost his appetite. We even bought him his medicines, some energy drink, prescription diet dog food (canned liver) and regular dog food. I had to lift him again to the vehicle before leaving the clinic. I remembered to lighten my mood, I practiced my "French lessons" and I suddenly understood the use of lequel and all of its forms; so I will always remember that that day on our way home with Pochi, I finally understood all of the French relative pronouns! :) As soon as we arrived home, my dad played with him, groomed him and did all of their usual bonding activities; he was FINE. My dad then fed him some regular dog food to see if he will eat it and he finished it all! Even without the canned liver! Then he also finished his energy drink, he was energetic and wagging his tail all the time.  He had gastrointestinal problems before and he does not have any appetite for days so we are slightly relieved and confident that he will recover.

That night, he was let into the house (they have their own house outside to keep their fur from accumulating in the house because we may be allergic) and he slept by my dad's side while he watched TV. At 9:00 PM he lay down his old resting place in the kitchen on his cushion. We are not worrying as much as earlier because he showed signs of recovery. Until at 11:25 while watching TV, we heard cry like barks so my dad rushed to the kitchen thinking that our cat might be provoking him then my dad shouted "His is going!", my mom and I rushed to the kitchen and called his name, he is stretched out there already urinated involuntarily, breathing with difficulty, and his tongue dark and bluish gray; and one last breath and he's gone. It's like he just called us one last time to bid his last farewell. :( My mom cried a lot at that very moment; at 11:30 our friend, guard and companion was gone which is really unexpected because he is really well fed and nourished that he didn't even loss any muscle mass (he is 17 kg) and he is very active and barks, plays and runs really well; he didn't even become lethargic or whatsoever, he just didn't eat his lunch that day; he haven't even taken a single pill from his medicines that is due for the next day and that makes it all the more saddening and crippling. We hardly slept that night, I slept at 2:55 AM and woke up just before 6:00 AM. We buried him that morning near our date tree.

It still sad but not that sad anymore partly because we still have our 2 dogs (both Labradors), our longing and love for Pochi, we channeled in them. Of course, the yard is quieter than ever for we lost the baritone in the barking trio!

Pochi is the one on the left, Bimbo is the black lab and Fedra is the yellow lab.

As I said, we miss everything about him; his barks, his banging on the door, the wagging of his tail, the way he lies down to get his belly rubbed, and his pure display of love. What we miss most is how accurate his barks are, with a clear distinction between people and other dogs/ animals. He never misses when someone enters and he never barks when there is nothing to bark at! Fedra is in the backyard leaving Bimbo the sole watch dog in the front yard; he is very playful and sometimes a little lazy to bark. Pochi is the most serious one only displaying playfulness when dad is around and although he is neutered, he is the most aggressive one! He has also the most number of tricks. Fedra is playful too but knows when to take matters seriously, just like me that's why she is my dog. They're are all very intelligent, affectionate and loving.

Do you know Cooking with Dog? It is a Japanese food channel that I follow. Recently I also learnt that Francis, the show's cute poodle host was gone too. It made me sadder too because I followed their channel over the years and I feel that I lost another dog who gives me joy.

I'm sorry if the first few paragraphs are about our dog. I just want to feel a little lighter because we miss him and I know we have some dog lovers here too. During my university days, when I was kneading my dough for my first loaf of bread, he was in the kitchen witnessing my first venture into baking. Until my graduation, it was him who greets me in the kitchen when I proceed to knead some dough before going to school. I'm just glad that I have a few pictures and videos of him as a remembrance, that's more than enough.

He really loves getting up on windows to get a good vantage point for manning the yard.


Back to the calzones (I'm actually hesistating to call these "Calzones" because they look far from the real thing); it is the same dough as my yard sourdough, my best and favorite bread. AP flour autolysed in the fridge for 20 hours, the combined with a 12 hour old levain fed with bread flour and salt, gently mixed until incorporated, allowed to rest for an hour then given 3 stretch and folds one hour a part with a total bulk ferment at room temperature of 4 hours. It was then divided into 6 pieces, shaped into rounds and allowed to rest in the fridge for 12 hours.

I meant these calzones more as an hors d'oeuvre (I still don't know how to pronounce this despite studying some French! :P) than a main dish so they are smaller and I drew the flavor combination from a classic starter, baked brie! I'm always amazed by the leaking cheese with nuts and/or fruit preserves whether it is encased in puff pastry or not.

I used this fruit preserves made by dad. I don't know its name in English but it is sweet and tangy, perfect with some cheese! This is something that you can't buy, you have to make it yourself or have someone give one they made themselves to you. I chopped them up and mixed it with the syrup. I used some sharp cheddar for the cheese component because I really love how the salty, sweet and tangy play together but you could certainly use other cheeses like an Edam, a brie, cream cheese, a goat or even a blue!.

I pat the dough flat using just my hands, the dough was very extensible. On half of it, I spread a teaspoon of the preserves and one slice of cheese. I only use a little amount of cheese because the cheddar I used was particularly salty. I got overly excited about this folding and crimping thing of the calzones that I forgot to take a picture of the assembly before folding the calzones.

Then they went straight to the clay pot without any proofing at all; same set-up baked on a banana leaf over heated pebbles in a clay pot over a wood fire. Again I didn't take any pictures because I was attending to some errands at the time. They were baked on a open fire for 5 minutes then flipped and baked for another 5 minutes; 10 minutes total baking time.

The charm of these calzones is all about their rustic look. I didn't go for a darker bake, just a few browned and charred spots is fine. I could fry this but the taste of the dough, the preserves and the cheese will shine more if there is no oil masking them. Here are some close-ups:

The crust is crispy on the outside and a little chewy on the inside with a sweet wheaty flavor and a slight tang. The cheese is nicely melted and just the right amount for the saltiness to complement the sweetness and tang of the fruit preserves. The dough and the fillings complement each other well. A very nice way to start a meal.

I was really overwhelmed by the response to this humble little challenge of mine. It is one of the rare times where I feel valued by other people. I could cry again while typing or saying this but you don't know how much it means to me! A big, warm, and sincere THANK YOU to all of those who participated in the no oven bread bake challenge! 

MARAMING SALAMAT SA INYONG LAHAT!!! Napasaya ninyo talaga ako!!!

Happy No Oven baking!


Ru007's picture

What a fun challenge this was! This was my first ever attempt at doughnuts, which I’ve been meaning to try, but given that I don’t really have a sweet tooth, I’ve never found quite enough motivation. This challenge was it. 

Here’s the formula:


Weight (g)

Final dough


Levain (77% hydration)












Unbleached white bread flour




Whole wheat flour




Rye flour
































Total dough weight




The formula looks a bit odd, because I used some left over rye and whole wheat flour I had mixed a few weeks ago, to do the first levain build. So the flour ended up being 7% rye, and 2% whole wheat.

Even though the hydration in the formula is really low, the egg and the butter and honey and the vanilla add a lot of moisture, so don’t add more water until everything is mixed.


  • 2 stage levain build, refrigerated overnight after the second feed doubled. The second feed, which was all white flour, took about 5 hours double, I think my starter went into food shock, it didn’t seem to like the white flour.
  • On mixing day, take the levain out of the fridge stir down and leave to come to room temp. It’ll rise about 25%.
  • Mix the butter and honey and melt in the microwave for a few seconds. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir well.
  • Mix the flour and the salt with the wet ingredients and the levain. I found the dough to be very very sticky. I did a lot of slap and folds for the gluten development, about 10 mins worth until I got a really good window pane.
  • Leave to bulk ferment until doubled (about 5 hours) before retarding overnight.
  • Next day, remove the dough from the fridge and pat down into a circle about 2cm thick and cut into desired shapes.

Dough after tipping it out of the container


Ready to cut into circles

  • Leave to rise for about 90mins or until they start to look puffy.

Ready to fry

  • Deep fry.

I don't have a deep fryer so a good old pot had to suffice :)

  • Drain the oil on some kitchen paper and then do whatever you like to accessorize doughnuts. I just sprinkled on some cinnamon sugar and left the rest plain.

I was really surprised by the … errr… oil spring? LOL! My fear was that they would end up dense and greasy, but they puffed up really well.



The crumb ended up good, fluffy and moist and not at all greasy. I think it would have been a bit more open if i had let the dough rise for a little longer before frying. 


 The crust was nice and thin and not too oily. 


Not the healthiest breakfast, but it was tasty. 

The taste is great, not too sweet for my palate. I’d say, for a person who likes sweet doughnuts either increase the honey or give them some sweeter toppings.

Thanks for the great challenge Pal! 

lepainSamidien's picture

Hey there old pals. I'm finally getting around to posting some of my own breads to the forum, rather than just parasiting and commenting on everybody else's. One of these days I'll provide a more detailed introduction of myself, but for today I'll just do a write-up on the bread. There are rugs to vacuum and dogs to feed, so this will just have to suffice !

This is the daily bread we eat here at home in Paris, which is always a boule baked in a largish Dutch Oven that we found here in our apartment here in Paris. It is rather bewildering to Parisians that we make our bread at home ; one would think that in the land of bread and delicious food, one would have no need to do any cooking whatever à la maison ! But having gone through baker training here in Paris, I am all too aware that the quality of most baguettes or pains de tradition françaises are of dubious quality at best, often never having submitted to the touch of a real human hand. While I could certainly go searching for a quality bread somewhere in the neighborhood, I didn't receive all that training just to let some Frenchman usurp my right to make my own bread !

Our bread is made normally from a variety of flours, often 50% T80 wheat flour (semi-whole-wheat), 20% spelt, 20% einkorn, and 10% rye, though the percentages vary depending on how fast I want the fermentation to go. This particular loaf, however, is made with nearly 95% T80 flour, since I was testing a new flour that I found at the organic food store (the other 5% is rye). I must admit that I do miss freshly milling local grains at home like I did back in the States, but at least here in France we have a pretty good variety of flour. One of these days, I'll do a write-up on the mill where I worked in Provence this past summer, an old-fashioned water-powered operation that will blow your minds. Hang on tight.

Today's bread was made from 95% T80 flour from Brittany and 5% whole rye flour from the Gard department (just to the west of Provence), totaling 900 g. The 900 g of flour were autolysed with 630 g of warm-ish water for about an hour, after which 18 grams of gray coarse sea salt mixed with 50 grams of warm water were added along with about 150 grams of a young 100% hydration levain (50/50 T80 and rye). Beat the dough up gently until it surrendered to my will (muahahahaha) and resembled something like a dough. Stretch and folds every 30 minutes (more or less, I was watching Star Trek TOS at the time and I did the S+F when it was convenient) for the first 2.5 hours, then a rest until a total of 4 hours of bulk fermentation. Pre-shape into a boule, rest 15 minutes, boule for a final shape and then into the linen-lined basket for 2 hours. Dutch oven preheated in a hot oven (can't give reliable temperatures because my oven can't even do that), baked with lid for 25 minutes, lid off for 30 minutes. BASTA.

This is a particularly delicious bread, though unfortunately my oven has trouble maintaining heat on the top, thus making the achievement of a crispy, dark crust particularly difficult. Sigh. I'll figure something out.

Our little German short-haired pointer, Moulin (French for "mill"), keeps a watchful eye on the bread. She's a tough critic. "C'est pas mauvais," she says, "mais on peut mieux faire !" (It's not bad, but we can do better !) 

Skibum's picture

Well this is take two at this hydration. I forgot to steam the oven on my first attempt and ended up with a hollow brick. I used a well olive oiled counter and oiled hands to do the stretch and folds using my finger tips rather than my palms to massage the S&F's.  This made a nice loaf with a great crust and nice open crumb. Still doesn't look what a ciabatta should look like though. Oh well, press on!

Happy baking! Ski


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