The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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The Black Sheep Baker's picture
The Black Sheep...


Sometimes, I think, it's best to start telling a story by jumping to the end. Especially when that story is still alive and unfolding.

It's Sunday morning and the bakery is open once again. On the sunlit shelves lie gently whispering baguettes,  butter laden pastries and warm, plain loaves.  Sunday bread.  Bread to make you feel good inside and sprinkle a touch of nostalgia over your long, lazy breakfast.

Through the open door to the street outside waft the irrestible scents of the ovens offering.

People fall in haphazardly. 

First are the devout.  Those well dressed for church, behinds still aching slightly from unforgiving pews.

Two croissants go first.  One each for Mr and Mrs Hughes.  A modest celebration for the Sunday table.

Children come next.  A mite shyly they set out on their first solo forays into the world beyond Mum and Dad.  They exchange warm coins for pain au chocolate and leave with the seeds of future memories growing within their minds.

It's an easy time to feel satisfied for the baker.  

Sunday has none of the frantic scramble of Friday and Saturday morning when the public are rushing and scrabbling to buy the items that their checklist demands for a successful weekend.

They amble and browse and hang around a little longer this morning.  They enquire after family and are rewarded with a little more care and attention.  Today if a queue forms people chat, enjoying this continental flavoured ritual.  

Dog walkers make up a lot of the numbers.  Carefully dressed for all weathers they linger outside admiring each others animals.  Certain dogs demand more attention.  These are the superstar dogs of my town, decidedly a doggy hotbed.  It's the done thing these days to patrol the beach with a an exotic breed in one hand and an amply laden dog poo bag in the other.



DulceBHbc's picture

Here were my weekend bakes. I took these to a picnic—one loaf sliced up, the other given to the host. I'm incredibly pleased with the way these came out. Everything from the crumb to the crust to the color was ace in my book.

Skibum's picture

One of the great things about this site is the volume of great recipes to try. One of my favourites is Norm's onion buns:

My two key changes were using a liquid levain and upping the hydration to about 68% The dough hydration as written would be not workable at my elevation and I hand mix all my breads, so no big mixer to help.

Start with 2 Tbs dried onion rehydrated in a couple of cups of boiling water. I used the re-hydrated onions to top and the water to mix the dough.

I needed to feed my liquid levain after 4 or 5 days of neglect in the fridge and used 75 grams of what would have been discard to make a sponge:

75 grams (old) liquid levain

21g sugar

7g malt syrup

21g beaten egg

150 g strong bread flour (BF)

150g onion water

I let the sponge get happy for a couple of hours, then into the fridge overnight.

After a couple of hours on the counter in the morning, I added

110g H2O

265g BF

21g canola oil

7g salt

I mixed and used Peter Reinhart's S&F method, let rise for 1:20 then shaped 125g balls and baked off at 450F, 8 minutes with steam and 12 minutes, turning a couple of times.

These rolls are excellent by them selves with just a schmear of butter. For sandwiches, I am now torn between apple wood smoked chicken or hickory smoked pulled pork, both of which I have cached in the freezer AND can actually find. Votes?

Happy baking, Ski

isand66's picture

  I've been meaning to make a version of Dave Snyder's famous San Joaquin bread.  I baked some baguettes last week using the modified formula below but without the onions and they tasted great.  For this bake I decided to add some grilled onions and shape some batards.

I used KAF French style flour in place of the AP flour in the original formula and increased the amount of rye and whole wheat also using fresh milled rye and fresh milled sprouted whole wheat.  I added some fresh milled Durum flour as well.

I used my standard 66% AP starter and added some extra water to compensate for the original formula using a 100% starter as the seed starter.

I have to say this bread is about as good as it gets.  The crumb was nice and moist and open and the onion flavor along with the mix of whole grains was amazing.



San Joaquin Inspired Onion Sourdough Batard (%)

San Joaquin Inspired Onion Sourdough Batard (weights)

Download the BreadStorm File Here.


Levain Directions

Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 8-12 hours or until the starter is nice and bubbly.

Build 2: Add the flour and water as indicated and mix thoroughly.  Let it sit at room temperature for 7-8 hours plus or minus until starter has peaked.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the levain by dissolving the liquid starter in the water, then add the flours and mix well. Ferment at room temperature, covered tightly, until the surface is bubbly and wrinkled. (8-12 hours)

Dissolve the levain in the water, add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover and autolyse for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and onions and mix to incorporate for 3 minutes.  Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

Bulk ferment for 3 hours with stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours, then a stretch and fold on the board after 2.5 hours. The dough should have expanded by about 50% and be full of small bubbles.

Refrigerate the dough for 18-24 hours.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and transfer it to a lightly floured board.

Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and pre-shape as a round.  Cover the dough and allow to rest for 60 minutes.

Shape as batards and proof for 45 minutes, covered.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 500 degrees and after another 3 minutes lower it to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 210 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 1 hour before eating.






alfanso's picture

Next up was making baguettes based on Ken's Artisan Bakery's Country Brown batards and boules.  The other day I did the same to his bakery's Country Blonde.  Not much to add except that I'm in the midst of a tear for getting batard and boule formats squeezed into baguettes.  Must be an affliction, Doc.

These are significantly higher whole grain breads with lower hydration, with that combination resulting in a baguette that doesn't display quite as much oven spring as do other breads that I've been baking.  Still, a nice dough to work with and to shape.  And a pretty fair final result. 

The lead picture are the four "all dressed up" and a minute shy of hitting the oven deck.

It's a nasty job, but someone's gotta do it!



dabrownman's picture

This week I was going to try to explain Lucy’s plan to save all of us from the Sun going naturally smoking hot  in 500,000 years and toasting us into wishing we were pop tarts instead of lazy.  But, things happen, and we are off on another totally different track.  Let’s face it 500,000 years is a ways off so we can concentrate on something else a little more pressing.... like human caused, global warming – even if it is totally fake or not.


No that’s not it either, even though it is more pressing like fake documents being used to work illegally the USA by stealing someone else’s identity to do so ..


No….but it is a fact that I was reminded twice by other Fresh Lofians this past week, that it is time to make this year’s Holiday Fruit Cake so it can get properly snockered by the time the holidays roll around and cause extreme global warming just for the baking of such snockerd things.


Now is the time to consider getting your own experienced, German, Baking Apprentice 2nd Class because mine put the fruits to snockering a year ago and you could have had it done for you too :-)


Once the levain is built, in this case a sprouted 12 grain one with a bit of 9 week retarded starter, over one 12 hour stage, the recipe gets real simple – a basic measure, dump and stir – no gluten development and a 6 hour sort of proof in the ceramic baking dish before baking off at 300 F for 2 hours.  It smelled terrific as it baked but what cake full of snockerd fruit doesn’t .


This is the 3rd integration of Holiday Fruit Cakes baked in the style of the Gold Rush Days in San Francisco in 1849.  Some are sweeter or less so, some have less snockered fruit, some are not 100% whole grain like this one.  One of them will change you mind about fruit cake if you were one to shun the stuff in the past.  Home made makes all the differenceWe have to wait on the crumb shot for as long as i can stand it...

Well we made it overnight and few hours.  But then collapsed into a Fruit. Cake Coma!  Delicious!




Build 1



 Rye Sour - 9 Weeks Retarded




Sprouted 24% Extraction 12 Grain




Yeast Water












Levain % of Total








Dough Flour




Multi-grain Whole Grain Mix




Dough Flour












Water in SD / YW Levains




Dough Hydration








Total Flour








T. Dough Hydration




Hydration w/ Adds








Total Weight








Add - Ins












Egg (2)




Snockered Fruits




Chopped Pecans & Walnuts




Chocolate Chips




Brown Sugar












3/4 tsp of 7 spice mix includes: Cardamom



Ginger. mace, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves



Sprouted Multi-grain Mix include:  spelt, rye, Kamut, farro, wheat, oat

Pima Club, Sonora White, oat, Einkorn, Emmer. Barley, Desert Durum


 Lucy says to have that nearly as good salad with that fine green chili, chicken, chipotle quesadilla.


victoriamc's picture

hi the freshloafers,

I make this marbled rye bread purely for its aesthetic value.  Its made with a dark and light whole rye/ wheat mixed dough.  A great little bread to serve for brunch.  It does also taste very nice!  for details, photos and instructions to get that great swirl effect follow me back to mybreadandbrot.


vasiliy's picture

This is part of my experiments with home milled whole wheat and rye berries.

I used about 400 grams of whole wheat flour and 300 grams of rye flour which I sifted after milling grains at home.

1) Used sifted out large parts to feed my wheat and rye starter, three times/builds before using the starter.

2) Autolyzed flour for 24 hours, room temp.

3) Combined flour and starter from the fridge, and about 15 grams of maple syrup. Total hydration was about 75% at this point.

4) Mixed in a kitchenaid for 20 minutes.  Even after that the flour was sticky, so added some more whole wheat flour and had to knead with hands for 10 mins. Put in a bowl and let sit at room temp for about 1 hour, then into fridge for 24 hrs.  The final dough was about 65% hydration.

5) Removed from fridge, shaped, let set for 2 hours and sent to the oven in a dutch oven. 500 F for 25 mins, then removed dutch over lid, 450 F for another 20 mins.

This is the best rise I've gotten so far without using any bread flour.

alfanso's picture

Continuing on my quest to reverse boule and batard formulae to baguettes, here is my take on Ken's Artisan Bakery's country blonde.  But instead of as boules or batards, which is what he sells them as, I fashioned them into baguettes (and a batard).  

Almost, but not quite as compliant as my take on the Hamelman WW levain baguettes and batards, it falls short on both looks and shaping.  But only by a few fat hairs.  The Hamelman's have an incredible delicate finish to them.

Once more, I am on a mission, albeit not much of one at that, to convince the Dutch Oven and banneton bound masses out there, to take a few bakes and shape some batards and baguettes and retard/proof them with a linen couche.  Perhaps frustrating at first, but in the long run, you'll be glad you did.  Or - be cursing me...

The batard (as if I had to tell you!)

The baguettes (as if I had to tell you!)


PalwithnoovenP's picture

I first saw this bread about a year ago in this video by chowhound  where Alex Van Buren had it at Rhong-Tiam, a Thai restaurant in New york. I made a lot of research and found out that it is a very popular street food in Thailand. It has very interesting ingredients and technique and looks very delicious, I knew I have to make it but I did not have the guts to try until last Saturday. I do not know why it took me a year to finally make this but I'm really glad and proud of myself for achieving this, not really bad for a first try.

To make banana roti, an unleavened dough is stretched paper thin by flipping and slapping it against the work top then grilled on hot griddle; the center is then covered with a mixture of eggs and bananas and the sides are folded into a neat parcel before flipping it to cook both sides; when browned and crisp, it is cut into bite-sized pieces then drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and sprinkled with salt and sugar. Today there are different additions such as nutella, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, jam sprinkles; anything that goes well with banana is great with it but I think the classic is the best!
Here is a video of street vendor preparing it in Thailand.

The problem in replicating this bread at home as with most street food is the lack of resources on how it is exactly made. After watching countless videos, I only saw the cooking process as the dough making was never shown. I've tried to read on the web; some recipes I've read say it contains condensed milk, others say it has an egg but some even say that both or neither is needed. It's quite confusing! The choice of flour is also difficult because a strong but VERY extensible dough is needed. Though the recipes are confusing I noticed a common step which I think is the key to this type of bread; soaking the dough balls in oil. I thought of using oil instead of flour for the dough not to stick to the surface because I saw the dough is always oily when the vendor takes it out from his bucket  but not in this way. Armed  with that trick I went to make my own dough.

I used strong flour and kneaded less than usual for the balance of extensibility and strength. I added a little condensed milk but discarded the egg because I think the dough should be a little enriched but not too rich since it will be used for a dessert roti and I feel that it's really not necessary. No measurements too, just added water bit by bit until a nice smooth stiff but soft dough formed. After a short rest, it was divided into four balls and soaked in oil for two hours. A four hour soak is recommended and sometimes overnight but I don't have the time.

I proceeded to stretch the dough imitating the technique of  master roti makers in Thailand. The dough stretched really well with no resistance and with all the oil in the bowl my hands are non-greasy and smooth as soon as I finished stretching the dough like no oil touched it. Magic! I tried to stretch it as thin as I can but holes still formed in the dough, my technique needs refinement and practice; no matter what patchwork I do the dough just resists because of the oil. To add to that, I'm only using a large plate to stretch the dough and the masters are using a stainless steel surface because I don't know if it's okay to use oil on a wooden surface which is the only one I have. Here's one of those attempts.

I put it on a heated pan which is a challenge because it is difficult to maneuver the dough through its high sides. The thin sheet of dough is cooked instantly so you have to be lightning fast from this point on. I then put a banana and egg mixture and fold the sides. You'll immediately smell the banana the moment it hits the pan. When It was flipped I put some butter (vendors usually use margarine but I used butter since I don't stock margarine anymore) so it finishes frying in butter for extra delicious flavor. The whole house was filled with the lovely aroma of banana when I'm done cooking this.

Like anything, you'll really get better the more number of attempts you make:

1) This is my first one. The heat is too high so it was a little burnt. The filling also leaked out from a small hole making it look like a scrambled egg. I'm also "not yet into" the folding technique.

2) My second attempt. I overcompensated and left the dough too thick to avoid holes. It was more difficult to fold so it ended up looking funny, still delicious though.

3) My third roti. Getting better but the filling was not distributed well.

4) The last one. This the prettiest that I've managed. Cooked on gentler heat for a longer time, it was perfect. It was almost similar in looks to the real banana roti! I'm really happy!

The bread was crispy and soft with the slightest chew. The banana and egg became a smooth silky custard, very fragrant and delicious! Mom ate hers plain, dad with only condensed milk and I did it classic style, with additional sprinkling of salt and sugar. The sugar provided crunch and the salt cuts through the rich flavors but complements each well elevating this humble dessert to whole new levels. Very very good! I think they are really close to the ones you can get in Thailand

Until now, I still can't believe that I made it in my very own home. I just used to watch this in my laptop but now I have already made, eaten and shared it with my family and we all loved it! There's really nothing like this feeling of satisfaction, fulfillment and pride. I hope you've enjoyed this one as much as I do.

Thank you very much!


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