The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


mcs's picture

 This past week (June 5-11) May visited the Back Home Bakery from the L.A. area for her internship.  During the week we had the usual work-load plus a bunch of extra palmiers and baguettes for a special order.  The area she felt she improved on the most was controlling the factors to get the desired dough temperatures in both loaf breads and laminated doughs.  Although I'd like to think that being in the bakery was her main highlight of the trip, seeing this as we were coming home from the Tuesday night farmers' market was probably at the top of the list. 
Thanks for the hard work May, and for spoiling Hoku rotten.


May working on the 20qt mixer while we start the rolls


shaping as I record times in the background





RonRay's picture

Sourdough, and Yeast Water Combinations  From Sour to Sweet and Way Back Again
Previously, I posted details on the loaf I use as a 'standard', for purposes of testing. Link:A Standard KISS Loaf, or Keep It Simple Smiley The Fresh Loaf
In that post, I gave a table for three basic types of loaf - White Sourdough [WSD], Yeast Water Levain [YW], Sourdough & Yeast Water Hybrid [SD&YW].These three basic types were shown with there formulae given in two batch sizes, 680g and my 'standard' 478g
In this post, I provide photos of these 3 types, as baked in my standard nominal 478 gram size. At the end is a fourth type loaf, which I will simply call "Aged-SD". The four loaves generated a range of flavors, "nice tang", "fruit and sweet", "sweet with a mild tang", and finally "Strong tang with sweet overtones".

The first images are of the "Straight Sourdough" loaf.  It gave a very nice, mild SD tang to the loaf.

This second set of images is from a totally Apricot YW loaf.There was no sign of any SD tang, nor any apricot flavor, however, there was a very nice flavor with a fruit-like sweetness, and the slightest hint of the type of "tang-like" taste one might detect in an apricot itself.  

This third loaf was a combination of the same sourdough culture used in the first loaf, and the apricot yeast water culture use in the second loaf.

I found the flavor was all I hoped for, a lovely blend of the sourdough tang and sweet, fragrance of the fruit with a slightly different tang from the Apricot YW.

This forth, and final loaf offers a flavor, not unlike the third loaf, but with a "jacked up" sourness. The "Aged-SD", is explained in the PDF copy of my baking log's detail comments, which you can access from Google Docs at the following link:Y-110610-07_Aged-SD+SD&AprYW_478 [Photos]_110611-1115.pdf -

Extremely good oven spring. Of course, the final rise went 6 hours + 45 minutes, and it was 40% bread flour in the dough. Nonetheless, the 11% levain, which was this first testing of Aged-SD surly didn't cut into the levain's ability to leaven this loaf. The top of crust was strong and very chewy. If you like a good good tang with note of apricot tang, but without identifiable fruitiness and a soft touch of sweetness, then, you would like the loaf's flavor. Crumb was more open than my recent enriched sandwich breads, but still more than tight enough to be an excellent sandwich and toast loaf.   The levain method of adding Aged-SD most definitely accomplished my desired objective of combining SD and YW merits into a Hybrid Sour Sweet and Sour loaf.

breadsong's picture

There are a couple of herbs in my garden, that thankfully, come back each year –
I so look forward to when these fresh herbs have started growing!
Chervil is one of the first things to start growing in spring. It reseeds itself, and there will be new chervil in the fall also :^).
I love the tender, lacy leaves and delicate anise flavor.
Golden sage, which I am so grateful made it through our cold winter, is now producing some pretty
golden-and-green variegated leaves.

Time for some herb rolls! 
(the image is an experiment with merging photos):

This idea I first saw in a Better Homes and Gardens ‘Holiday Cooking’ magazine, from December 2000.
After proofing, the rolls are gently brushed with egg white; the herbs are applied; then the rolls are gently brushed with egg white again, making sure the whole herb leaf is covered; then the rolls are ready for the oven.
Parsley (Italian flat leaf) is another nice herb to use for this technique.

Susan at WildYeast also made a lovely! version, using parsley, for her Roasted Garlic Bread.

The chervil rolls were the herb version of this recipe:

The golden sage rolls were based on Sylvia’s excellent ‘buns for sandwiches’ recipe (Thanks, Sylvia!).
The potato adds such a nice flavor and texture to these rolls!


The chervil rolls were baked in a pan on a rack in the oven (no baking stone). The chervil didn’t brown at all and kept its green color through the bake :^)

I was a little worried about the golden sage browning as the leaves are thicker and wanted to lift off the roll a bit after being brushed with egg white. Also, these rolls were baked on a baking stone, starting out at a hotter temperature but baking in a reducing oven. After 2 minutes of baking I covered the rolls with foil, turned the oven down to 325F convection for the last two minutes of baking and removed the foil, so the tops of the rolls would finish browing (but hopefully not the sage!).

Crumb shot, Sylvia's sandwich bun:


I want to try making a big loaf using some Italian parsley – Susan’s loaf was so pretty!
Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting

GSnyde's picture

For no particular reason, this weekend turned into a cheese-baking spree.   I planned to make Curry-Onion-Cheese Bread to take to our friends’ house as appetizers to snack before pizzas baked in their wood-fired oven.  And I was making the pizza dough--the Reinhart recipe from TFL’s Pizza Primer (  Then I learned that Beloved Spouse wanted to try baking cheese-crackers—a “homemade Cheez-Its" recipe from

The cheese crackers were first, and I’m happy to say they are nothing like Cheez-Its, except the color.  The recipe is very simple (  Flour, butter, salt, cayenne and lots of sharp Cheddar. 

These are sinfully delicious.  The texture is very much like a cheesy pie crust.  In fact, we decided it would be perfect as the crust for apple pie (some day when the diet is over, i.e., never). 

Next up was the Curry-Onion-Cheese bread from The Cheese Board Collective Works. This is one of our favorites. This one has a mix of sharp Cheddar, Jarlsberg and Gruyere.  Because I wanted it to be super fresh this evening, I wanted to bake it this morning.  So, for the first time, I tried overnight bulk fermenting the dough.  It needed a couple extra hours to warm up before baking, but the results were as good as always.  Our friends loved it.

It was even better briefly toasted in the 800 degree WBO

Finally, the Pizza!  We had had wood-baked pizza at our friends’ place before, but never with the outstanding dough from Peter Reinhart’s formula.   It performed admirably.  Crispy on the bottom and poofed full of holes around the crown.   Here’s our friend, Kelly, the Pizzaiolo.

My favorite of the four pizzas was topped with fresh Mozzarella, Andouille sausage, roasted peppers and Portobella mushrooms.

And this one had Proscuitto and roasted green onions.

We waddled home full of excellent cheeses.


breadsong's picture


These are three bakes using chile (jalapeno or chipotle) and cheddar cheese (I've had a craving lately for some spicy things!).

The first bake is a Cornmeal Biscuit with Cheddar and Chipotle, an old favorite from Bon Appetit Magazine, March 2006:

The baked biscuits (cheesy, oniony, with some background heat from the chipotle); we love these!:

It mixed up into a wettish dough; I folded the dough a few times incorporating some extra flour.
I froze the biscuits before baking:

The second bake is Sourdough Cheese Bread from Advanced Bread and Pastry (scaled to 1500 grams for two loaves, including 212 grams cubed sharp cheddar and 90 grams diced, seeded jalapeno slices (from a jar)).  Lots of gooey cheese melting out during the bake! I’ve been wanting to try making a cheddar and jalapeno bread for a long time.
We couldn’t wait to let this cool down before cutting into it to try. Mmmm, good!:

The third bake is Southwest Corn Bread, from Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads by Ciril Hitz.
With thanks to Mr. Hitz for this lovely corn bread formula! This is a Cheddar, Corn, Chile and Lime version.

I included the zest and juice (50 grams) of one lime, and 60 grams of crème fraiche, in place of some of the milk called for in the formula.  The lime flavor really came through and was very tasty.

I added four roasted, diced jalapenos and although my husband thought this was fine!, some parts were very spicy
(I thought sometimes the heat overtook the lime and other flavors). Next time, I might just add two jalapenos.
I roasted four peeled cobs of corn, and took the corn off the cob, to add some deeper corn flavor to the bread.
The tops of the corn breads are decorated with roasted red pepper. We really enjoyed these too!
Here is the crumb shot:

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong




mcs's picture

Last week Patrick loaded up his truck and drove up from San Antonio, Texas for the first internship slot of 2011.  We had a busy week preparing for Memorial Day, some wholesale accounts, and two farmers' markets.  Patrick had a bit of practice with all of the bakery equipment including using the sheeter to laminate 75 pounds of croissant dough on Thursday morning.  He elected to stay in the area for an extra week for some rainy sight-seeing in Glacier National Park and finished his stay by helping us and intern #2 (May) on an extra-busy Saturday morning.  More about that in my blog entry about her week. 
Thanks for the hard work during your internship week and for helping us on both farmers' market Saturdays.  I hope you enjoyed the stay and learned lots about the baking process.


Patrick showing the mixer who's boss and operating on a Mannele made with baguette dough



Both of us working on a batch of rolls on a Saturday morning


varda's picture

Yeast water Vermont Sourdough with peony...

After being pushed over the edge by Akiko's magnificent baguette, the desire to ferment just became too strong.    So over the last few days I've been making banana yeast water.   I followed Akiko's instructions in her blog post which also refers to a very detailed and helpful web page.   I replaced raisins with sliced bananas but otherwise followed instructions.   This means that I started with banana and water only rather than weaning my flour based levain to fruit as I have seen others write about.  After 5 days it seemed that the yeast water was ready.   I strained out the water, took half of it, added flour, left it overnight on the counter and baked with it the next morning.   The results were tasty but not quite ready for prime time.    Meanwhile I fed the yeast water with another banana and water as per Akiko's instructions and this morning was ready to try again.   I decided to bake Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough partly because it's good and Codruta reminded me of it, and partly to have a well recognized formula to experiment with.   Further I baked two loaves - one with a banana yeast water levain and the other with my regular levain.   Since these were different hydrations the only difference in the two doughs was how much water I added to the final dough.    All of the percentages matched Hamelman's instructions.   While preparing both doughs, I noticed that the yeast water version was always more manageable and with a more silky texture.   Really though, there was very little difference between the two doughs.   However during final proof it became clear that the one with regular levain was fermenting much more rapidly.   In fact so quickly that the oven wasn't entirely ready for it when I put it in.   Unfortunately this caused me to stumble technically.   The loaf bottom split in the oven and so the whole loaf came out misshapen.    I am almost sure this was due to the fact the oven wasn't steamed properly and also possibly the stone wasn't sufficiently preheated.   Oh well.   I waited until the first loaf was done (and the oven resteamed) before putting in the yeast water loaf.    This had definitely needed the extra 55 minutes of proofing and did much better in the oven.  As for taste, what can I say - they are both tasty breads, but the regular levain sourdough has a tiny bit of sour tang which is quite delicious, where the yeast water loaf is a bit flat.   Also if you look at the crumb shots below, even with the poor misshapen loaf, the regular levain wins the competition.   So maybe I simply chose the wrong formula to test out my yeast water on and picked one that is more appropriate for a regular levain.    I will probably try, try again, and I simply love the fact that I can take a piece of fruit, doctor it for a few days, and end up with something that very competently raises bread.   


Yeast water Vermont Sourdough crumb...

Vermont Sourdough with standard levain crumb...

Mebake's picture

I Have blogged about my first 66% Sourdough Rye before Here, but this time, its more like what it should be: close textured, more sour, More Rye-ish. This time i used Medium Rye (I mixed sifted Rye Flour with Whole Rye Flour in 50/50 ratio).

The fermentation happens faster when whole rye is added, and my bulk fermentation was 45 minutes only. As expected, the dough never came together as it would with lower Rye breads, but the falvor of sour rye was very pronounced.

I guess that this is how Hamelman's 66% sourdough Rye may really look like.


JoeVa's picture

Dopo un mese pieno di impegni ho finalmente il tempo e la tranquillità per aggiornare il blog. Il mese di maggio è stato un mese frenetico: Corsi di Panificazione, Gite Sociali, Festa del Pane e Festa del Punto Parco hanno scandito i nostri fine settimana.

After a very busy month I finally got some time and tranquility to update the blog. The month of May was full of work: Bread Baking Courses, ItaliaNostra Social Trip, Feast of Bread and the Feast of PuntoParco marked our weekends.

Fortunatamente quasi tutto è andato per il meglio, non senza imprevisti, come il brutto tempo delle ultime settimane che ha "rovinato" la Festa del Punto Parco impedendo lo svolgimento di molte attività previste (animali da cortile, giochi dimenticati, figuranti, risottata nella "pentolaccia" ...).

Fortunately, almost everything has gone well except a very bad weather in recent weeks that has "ruined" the Feast of PuntoParco preventing the conduct of many planned activities.

Ecco un riepilogo degli eventi svolti.

Here a summary of the events of this month.

Corsi Panificazione (Bread Baking Courses)

Per il primo anno abbiamo svolto i nostri corsi nel nuovo laboratorio/cucina. Immersi nella bellissima ambientazione tra le due barchesse accanto al nuovo (ma ormai ben collaudato) forno a legna, il tutto incorniciato dal verde della natura e degli orti didattici.

For the first year we did our courses in the new lab / kitchen. Immersed in the beautiful area between the two "barchesse" next to the new (but now well-established) wood fired oven, all surrounded by the natures and our didactic gardens.

Ecco qualche foto che sono riuscito a scattare in quei brevi istanti senza le mani in pasta! Non è stato possibile documentare tutto, ma questo piccolo "assaggio" può darne un'idea.

Here some photos I had the chance to take in those few free moments without my hand full of dough. It wasn't possible to document everything, but I think those images can give you the sense.

Chef: Pane Francese (Chef: French Bread)

Qualche micca a lievitazione naturale cotta nel forno elettrico: farina biologica macinata a pietra, acqua, sale (senza lieviti aggiunti).

Sourdough miches baked in the electric oven: organic stone grounded flour, water, salt (without added yeast).


Fuoco e Fiamme: la Pizza (Fire and Flames: Pizza)

Una delle tante, cotta nel forno a legna ... per me la prima volta, che bello! Qui la più semplice, pizza bianca ad alta idratazione e lenta lievitazione: farina bianca, acqua, olio, sale, lievito di birra per l'impasto, solo olio e sale sopra.

One of the many, baked in the wood fired oven ... for me the first time, very nice! Here the simplest, white pizza with slow rising high hydration dough: white flour, water, oil, salt, fresh yeast for the dough, just oil and salt for the topping.


Gita in Valchiavenna: tra Crotti, Bresaole e Palazzi

Una gita intensa: l’antica Abbazia cistercense di Piona, Piuro ed il Crotto Belvedere, le cascate dell’Acqua Fraggia ed il Palazzo Vertemate. Questa volta Arturo non ha risparmiato su nulla! Il LINK alla locandina con il programma dettagliato.

A very intense trip: the cistercian Abbey in Piona, Piuro and Crotto Belvedere, Acqua Fraggia waterterfalls and Palazzo Vertemate. This time Arturo planned a very rich trip! Here the LINK to the playbill with the detailed program.

Un collage riassuntivo (clicca sulla foto per visualizzare la versione ad alta risoluzione).

A collage summary (click on the photo to see the high resolution version).


Festa del Pane (Feast of Bread)

La prima Festa del Pane a Cascina Favaglie, perfetta occasione per inaugurare ufficialmente il nuovo forno in presenza della giunta comunale. Il nostro progettista Giuseppe, preciso e pignolo, ha fatto un ottimo lavoro, come dice lui scherzando, è già pronto per il prossimo forno.

The first Feast of Bread at Cascina Favaglie, a perfect moment for the official inauguration in presence of the city councile of our new wood fired oven. Our designer Giuseppe, precise and meticulous, done a great job and, as he used to joke, he's still ready for the next one.

Tre giorni di panificazione: sabato, domenica e lunedì. Domenica abbiamo veramente esagerato, tre infornate la mattina ed una, non programmata, il pomeriggio per un totale di 4*30 kg = 120 kg di impasto (l'impasto lo fa il panettiere, ma infornare non è da meno). Poi nel tardo pomeriggio anche 16 pizze con poolish preparate il giorno prima da Arturo e 4 pizze bianche (quelle sopra) impastate a mano durante il corso della pizza di sabato.

Three days of baking: saturday, sunday and monday. Sunday we really exaggerated, three batch in the morning and one, not planned, in the afternoon with a total of 4*30 kg = 120 kg of dough (the dough is mixed by a bakery for us, but baking that stuff is not less). Then in the evening we did also 16 pizze with poolish mixed the day before by Arturo and 4 white pizze (the one showed above) mixed by hand in the pizza baking course of saturday.

(clicca sulla foto per visualizzare la versione ad alta risoluzione)

(click on the photo to see the high resolution version)


Festa del Punto Parco (Feast of Punto Parco)

Purtroppo il maltempo ha impedito la realizzazione di gran parte del programma... Nonostante ciò, attorno all'aia (e al forno a legna acceso per l'occasione per riscaldarci...), ci siamo trovati in parecchi e abbiamo tirato sera tra musica, balli, risottate cucinate dalle cuoche di Italia Nostra e l'esibizione canora del Gruppo Corale "Il Melograno". Presente la Giunta Comunale quasi al gran completo. Grazie a tutti per la partecipazione e arrivederci alla prossima manifestazione (che per leggi statistiche dovrà godere per forza del bel tempo...)!

Unfortunately the bad weather has prevented the realization of much of the program ... Nevertheless, around the barnyard (and the oven turned on for the chance to warm up ...), we were a lot of us and we got night with music, dancing, risotto cooked by our chefs of ItaliaNostra and the singing performance of "Il Melograno" Choral Group. Present the City Council almost in full force. Thanks to everyone for participating and we hope to see you the next time (which for statistical laws must necessarily enjoy the goodweather ...)!


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