The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


PalwithnoovenP's picture

I was so busy the past week that I wanted to make something quick to celebrate Father's Day. Instead of making bread, I decided to make cookies. This is just my second time to bake cookies; I am slowly exploring quick breads in my oven. It was quick but not that easy because of a few components which was inspired by the cookie principle of Monsieur Albouze. I made 3 giant single serving cookies, though roughly the same but with a variation for each. To French speakers out there, sorry if I made a mistake with the name; it just came to my mind while thinking of a name for this cookie, je suis désolé !

Mangoes are our favorite fruit and it's mango season now so I thought of flavors that would go well with mangoes and make it into cookie form.

It starts with a rich, lightly salty, chewy cookie dough loaded with dried Philippine mangoes, roasted cashews and white chocolate disks. 

It was then stuffed with salted caramel in the middle then baked for 10 minutes at 180C. After 10 minutes, it was topped with more dried mangoes, white chocolate, homemade mango jam from slightly sour mangoes, and homemade caramelized cashews then baked again. After a further 10 minutes still at 180C, what you get is this fabulous cookie with intense but balanced flavors.

Here are the variations:

1. Exactly as the description above, stuffed with homemade soft and chewy salted caramel.

2. Yema, a Filipino candy made from reduced condensed milk replaces the salted caramel as filling.

3. Filled with Yema, topped with a slice of fresh mango in addition to the mango jam then finished with a sprinkling of dark chocolate. Our favorite!

It was so fragrant from all the add-ins in addition the butter and sugar. The nutty aroma can even be smelt outside the house while they were baking and when they were cooling. The chewy dried mango, crunchy nuts, gooey chocolate, sticky caramel, chunky jam, and soft and smooth mangoes make for a party of textures in the mouth; and the balance of flavors from the caramel, salt, tang from the fresh mango, sweetness form the dried mangoes and chocolate and the nuttiness from the cashews. So enjoyable to eat!

Look closely and you will see the caramel evenly distributed in the cookie.

Sorry if this was out of focus, I was in a hurry to eat it.

I had some beverages to pair with it but I found a glass of cold milk is the best! It really complements all of the flavors well. One more thing, how I wish I have filled all of them with my salted caramel, it really tastes way better with the mangoes than with the store bought candy (which I tried to see if making homemade is critical or just a waste of effort; if you can have an equal or better outcome using something store bought without effort, clearly the effort is worth it) and how I wish that it was the third variation that I have filled with the good stuff!

Happy Father's Day!

pmccool's picture


The lead photo is Auvergne Dark Rye from Leader's Local Breads.  While I won’t know until tomorrow how it looks inside, I really like the way the crust turned out.  I expect it will be worlds better than my disastrous first attempt with this bread a few years ago.  

The big difference is hydration.  Leader describes the dough as “soupy” but the water quantities (50g in the levain and 350g in the final dough) only work out to 53% hydration.  Something is obviously amiss.  My prior experience taught me that a soupy dough doesn’t work.  Some googling this morning brought recommendations for 475g to 550g of water in the final dough.  After considering it for a few minutes, I opted to use 500g of water.  The dough was definitely soft but nowhere near soupy.  

Leader doesn’t say anything about using bannetons for the final proof of this bread, which seems peculiar.  The dough is supposed to be very soft, so why not give it some support for the brief (20-30 minute) final proof?  Since I was already straying from his non-instructions, I figured I’d proof the boules seam-side down and let them fissure naturally, instead of scoring them.  Ah, yes, boules.  Plural.  Leader recommends a single large boule.  From my previous experience, I thought the smaller boules might bake out better than one great big boule, especially at the 500F oven temperature he recommends. Like I said, the appearance is encouraging.  Now to see if the crumb is as good as the crust.  

Since I was in the book, I also made Leader's Classic French Sourdough, including the seeded soaker.  For the soaker, I chose millet, steel cut oats, rolled barley, and cornmeal.  Given that combo, I also chose to use boiling water instead of room temperature water.  The thought of cracking a tooth on a millet seed or an oat fragment that hadn’t fully softened before baking even harder just didn’t appeal to me.  Other than adding a quarter teaspoon of ADY to the final dough, the rest of the process went as per instructions. 

The batards also turned out well, at least on the outside.  We might get into one of those with our dinner this evening.  

After some recent bakes that ranged from disappointing to frustrating, it feels really good to have two good ones in the same day.  


Auvergne Dark Rye crumb:

As good as hoped for.

agres's picture

I learned the Ideal Gas Law ( ) circa 1962, and it has been on the tip of my tongue ever since.

Simply, it says that when you put bread dough in the oven, the gas bubbles in the dough expand as the gas warms. In a hot oven, with plenty of heat, this happens much too fast for yeast to do anything. The myth of yeast suddenly putting out a lot more CO2 as a result of the extra heat is an old wife’s tale.

Bread dough contains a lot of water. In the heat of the oven, water at the surface of the dough heats to over 212F, converting to steam. As water converts to steam, it expands by a factor of ~1600. Thus, the water in the crust can fill the loaf with steam, very quickly. That steam carries a lot of heat which kills yeast and bacteria, heats the gases in bubbles in the dough, and converts the hydrolyzed starches and proteins in the dough into the stable structure that we call bread.

Steam from the crust can not only carry heat into the bread, it can carry huge amounts of heat away from the baking loaf. By trapping that high energy steam around the loaf, Cloches & Dutch Ovens can be very worthwhile, particularly with gas ovens.

However, modern, energy efficient electric ovens tend to do a very good job of holding steam in the oven.

I have a Wolf electric oven. It is fabulous for a pound or 2 of yeast based breads made with white flour. I can set the oven to 375F convection mode, give it 15 minutes to heat, and bake a tray of 3 x 250 gram baguettes,  resulting in beautiful loaves, with minimal effort – no fussing with baking stones or generating steam. There is ~300 grams of water in the dough that must be heated, so throwing any additional water in the oven simply diminishes the heat available for baking the bread. (E.g., the water in the dough and the additional water must be heated.)

However, for a 750 gram whole wheat loaf, I use a higher hydration level so there is 330 grams of water in the loaf, and the oven does not really have enough thermal inertia to quickly heat that extra amount of water with a set temperature of 375F, so I set the oven to 395F.

Heat is temperature times thermal inertia. Available heat can be increased by raising the temperature or increasing thermal inertia. Available heat is what counts in baking. The higher temperature supplies extra heat to make steam of the water in the crust and bake the bread. And I still do not have to mess with steam generation or baking stones or a cloche.

If I want to bake larger loaves, I need to add a baking stone or Cloche or Dutch Oven or otherwise increase the thermal inertia of the oven.  The first step is to use a cast iron griddle (with oven set to 375F with convection) on the bottom rack. The second step is a baking stone on the bottom rack and the cast iron griddle above the baking rack. Then, both the stone and the iron griddle add thermal inertia and when hot can supply heat to vaporize water in the crust. Also, a very small loaf does not produce enough steam to fill my oven with steam, so small loaves must be baked in Cloche or Dutch Oven or my favorite turkey roaster. Or, last night I baked a very small loaf and an apple pie at the same time (convection @ 375F) and both came out perfectly. (The pie supplied extra steam for the bread.)

I like a golden-brown crust. If I want a darker crust, I can glaze it to produce a darker crust. If someone tells me to preheat my oven to more than 450F, then I presume that they have a gas oven with low thermal inertia, and which does not trap steam; and, they think readers have similar ovens. I notice that bread recipes that call for baking at temperatures over 450F also call for long bake times (resulting in darker crusts by the time the crumb is baked.) I try to have enough thermal inertia in my oven that I can bake at a lower temperature and have a much shorter bake time. Yes, I generally use convection baking, which substantially reduces baking time, but still, my baking times seem very short in the context of many bread recipes.   I expect this is true for anyone with a good electric oven.

Commercial bake ovens use steam injection because steam injection is a way to quickly increase the heat in the oven without scorching or burning the products being baked. Also, in some places steam is a very inexpensive source of heat. Adding water to (a home) oven in addition to the water in the dough cools the oven. Under some conditions it may help transfer heat from the thermal inertia of the oven to the product, but it is more likely to cool the oven and lengthen the bake time resulting in a thicker crust.  I can get a crisper crust by using a decreasing oven temperature so the last 5 minutes of the bake is at 325F.

Florentina's picture

Hello everyone,

Yesterday I baked Barm bread form Daniel Lepard’s book. I did one single bread instead of two and I used T80 type of flour (the recipe called for white flour). The result is a tasty bread, full of flavor and I can say that it’s on the list of “to do again”.Below is the result.

Thank you!

leftcoastloaf's picture

After baking a lot with 50% Einkorn, I felt like I needed to get back to some dough that could hold a little more structure. Einkorn is VERY sticky and hard to work with, so this was sort of a break from that phase.

I'm using AP, but contemplating switching to bread flour in the future for the white flour portion of my doughs. All in all, looks great, tastes better :)

isand66's picture

   I had not made a porridge bread in a little while, and I've been loving adding freshly ground barley to my bakes, so here we are.  I thought freshly ground Kamut would make a nice combination with the barley and I was not mistaken.

I added some polenta I ground from the purple corn I recently purchased with some rolled oats to make a porridge and added some caramelized onions I had leftover in the main dough for good measure.

I was very happy with the flavor profile on this one and the nice moist and tasty crumb as well.

Please note, this formula made 3 loaves instead of my usual 2 since I gave a couple of them away to some former work colleagues.

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.

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 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.   You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the water called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the liquid is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the water and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.  Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours  and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge, olive oil and salt and mix on low for 4minutes.   Add the onions and mix until incorporated.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 545 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 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.

For those of you interested, below are some photos from my gardens, which are finally taking shape.

ifs201's picture

This was my first attempt at the FWSY 80% biga. As usual I made the dough using 25% whole wheat, I reduced the water temperature given the temperature of my apartment, and slightly reduced the proofing time. Given the lack of oven spring and tighter crumb structure, maybe I should reduce the proof time further? It tasted good, but definitely room for improvement. Is a good rule of thumbs for FWSY to end the bulk ferment when the dough is 2x the original volume? 

Yippee's picture




This loaf was made with CLAS, whey, mashed potatoes, lard, spices (coriander, caraway, and fennel seeds), and 100% home-milled rye flour. 


Thank you, Rus!




CLAS after refreshment, pH 3.4






Straining home-made yogurt to collect the whey






Whey, pH 3.8, from home-made yogurt






100% wholemeal rye loaf






I might not have mixed the dough evenly, as bits of mashed potatoes are still in the crumb. And the sides are a bit mushy. Could it be that I used too much lard to grease the pan? 


Tap to enlarge


PalwithnoovenP's picture

Hi TFLers! Long time no hear! I've been very busy adjusting to my new career that I seldom bake and post. I hope you still remember me. I made this simple flatbread for my birthday and I paired it with homemade charcuterie (sausages in particular). It feels like a very European thing to do but since no one drinks wine or alcohol in our household, we just washed it down freshly squeezed calamansi juice and hot chocolate.

I do not know if I can call this foccacia or schicciata or pizza bianca so I just called it flat bread. It was inspired by the pizza dough made by a bakery in Rome that I watched in the pizza show. The dough is a simple one day sourdough made with AP flour, milk, salt, and a bit of sugar. The levain matured for 3 hours in the morning due to high temperatures then I made the main dough. I did 100 slap and folds for the initial gluten development. I gave the dough 3 sets of S&F's 1 hour apart during the bulk fermentation which took 4 hours.

The dough was very soft and bubbly at the end of the bulk rise. I divided it into 2 and flattened it into rectangular flatbreads. I immediately cooked them on skillet for 3 minutes over medium heat then broiled at 250C for five minutes until golden brown and a little charred.

I made a crisper thinner one and a softer thicker one. I brushed butter  in lieu of olive oil over half of the thinner one for more flavor albeit a softer crust.

One can make a pocket even in the thin one with just a little force. Sliced it in half and filled it with my homemade dry cured sausages inspired  by the pizza bianca with mortadella and the schicciata filled with cold cuts as italian street foods.

Filled with a sausage inspired by the flavors of Mortadella.

The softer and thicker flatbread.

Filled with a "Spanish Chorizo" inspired sausage.

In this simple combination of meat and bread, without cheese, veggies, spreads, or sauces arose a flavor so sublime. Unlike how the sandwiches in those streets with a lot of meat, one doesn't need much here. The cured meats were so flavorful that less is more.

The bread was soft on the inside, lightly chewy, substantial with a good bite and the crust was crispy with a charred aroma that adds to the experience, lightly bitter and plays well with the sweetness and that hint of tang of the crumb. The dough when raw has a tangy, buttery, cheesy aroma that intensified when it was baked. The texture really holds up to the meats. The sweetness and aroma or the milk was very pronounced and helped the crust get that lovely brown color. It really complimented the cured meats extremely well; they elevated each other.

I will now go into detail with the stuff  with which I stuffed my flatbread.

Yes, I added another thing to my arsenal/repertoire: charcuterie. The craft that mystified me for so long; I finally got the courage to try it even without proper equipment like a scale and accurate temperature and humidity controls. Dry cured sausage always carry the risk of botulism and listeria which are fatal so most people won't make it at home, why take the risk? I also only used salt and no nitrates because there is a higher risk of putting my health in danger for putting in too much nitrates than introducing bacteria to my body. But I'm relentless or stubborn maybe so I still went to do it. Again, I do not know if I will be called great or foolish for doing it.

I'm not used to eating raw meat, even though this meats are cured I still consider them raw because they did not go under heat so I cooked them so it eliminates the risk of listeria and botulism where the toxin is quickly destroyed at temperatures over 80C for 10 minutes. I slow cooked these for an hour until caramelized.

I really got confident when my first which was a cured meat from southern China became a huge success. Unlike western charcuterie, the one that I first made is very different through it's use of soy sauce and large amount of sugar. It also uses spices not commonly used in the west. I want to post it but I believe there will be a more fitting post for that one.

Western ones often has garlic which increased the risk of botulism that kept me from trying to make them but I took the plunge finally and I was surprised with results. I really like it even though there was no trace of sweetness, and the garlic was very nice whether applied lightly of heavily.

I originally planned to make hot sausages made with paprika but I decided to also make a more delicately flavored sausage like an old world salami or mortadella.

This one was flavored with garlic, pepper, juniper and bay. Light on the garlic and I included whole peppercorns which added a nice flavor and texture to the finished sausage. The center did not dry that well due to to low of a humidity level.

A "Spanish Chorizo" made with Spanish smoked paprika and garlic. I went heavy on the garlic and  I added cayenne to half to make a hot chorizo.

What aroma and flavor! Really beats most "chorizos" I had before by a mile.

The most decent chorizo that I can buy at the store.

My homemade one.

I learned a new skill this year! I plan to learn more. I am looking forward to learning how to smoke these meat beauties of mine. I think it will send them to another level!

I thank God for another year of life and blessing! God bless you all! See you next time.

ifs201's picture

I am a sucker for fruit breads and decided to try this one. I would highly recommend this recipe, but I had a real issue getting the fruit to be well-dispersed. All of the fruit seem to be on the very top of the loaf which was frustrating. I didn't have fresh yeast so I used 1/2 tsp of instant and then 1/3 cup of fed sourdough starter. I put 5g of starter in the overnight pre-ferment and the rest when I mixed the dough the next day. I decided to make 2 smaller loaves.


Makes: 1 large or 2 small loaves

For the pre-ferment
175g white bread flour
5g fresh yeast
125g water, at about 25°C

For the fruit and nut soaker
100g crystallized ginger, chopped
100g raisins or sultanas
100g dried cranberries
50g pitted dates, chopped
50g dried figs, quartered
100g almonds or Brazil nuts, chopped
50g / 3⅓ tbsp rum, brandy or fruit juice

For the dough
220g white bread flour
100g  butter, plus extra for greasing
70g dark brown sugar
100g lightly-beaten egg, (about 2 eggs)


Mix the pre-ferment ingredients together thoroughly, cover and leave in the refrigerator for about 12 hours overnight. Meanwhile, mix the soaker ingredients together in a bowl, substituting similar fruits, nuts and liquid if you wish, according to taste, allergies or simply what you have to hand. Leave this mixture at room temperature for about 12 hours, stirring occasionally.

Mix the dough ingredients into the pre-ferment and knead until the sticky mixture becomes a soft, smooth and glossy dough. Cover and leave at room temperature for 2–3 hours. At this point you can give it a fold and leave it for another hour or so, but this isn’t essential.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a rectangle about 20x25cm. Spread the fruit and nut soaker over almost all the surface. Roll the dough up carefully, turn it through 90 degrees and gently roll it up again, taking care not to force the fruit through the surface. The aim is even distribution, but it is better to leave the dough a bit lumpy than to work it so much that you end up with a mess.

Grease the baking tin (or tins) with butter, shape the dough to fit and place it in the tin(s). Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough doesn’t spring back instantly when gently pressed. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas 4.

Bake a large loaf for 45–60 minutes, smaller ones for about 30–40 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown.



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