The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Sedlmaierin's picture

Catching up again.

I made the Brioche a while back-since I don't have a mixer it was all hand kneaded and I thought I would fail miserably for while, since following Hamelman's instructions when kneading by hand proved-ahem-difficult. Incorporating a gigantic amount of butter into hydrated dough made me want to cry, but then, once I decided I was just going to half-knead,half frissage the thing into SUBMITTED. And it was worth every moment of doubt....................we ate most of it while still slightly warm-definitely the best way to eat it in my opinion. Sublime!

Then I made a loaf that I found on the Chilli und Ciabatta website( on a BBA Poilane style Miche.I made my own flour mixture(using rye,ap,ww,and buckwheat),added a tad more water,watched my loaf rise in the most beautiful fashion-it was going to be perfect.Until one part of it stuck to the HEAVILY floured kitchentowel, when taking it out of the bowl after its final proof.Deflated like a balloon, of course.Oh, well....the stenceling was a disaster ,too. Am getting worse rather than better at that-the bread tasted great, though. A bit flat but yummy!

Then I made the Soft Butter Rolls from "Bread" but they were devoured so quickly that there is no photographic evidence.Next time........

I also tried my hand, for the first time, at David's San Joaquin SD-wow what great taste! I am making it again -dough retarding in the fridge. Nicely sour loaf,amazing oven spring. I prepped myself for another flat loaf when I realized I had only preshaped it and forgotten to shape it(yeah, absentminded me),but it really rose nicely in the oven.Scoring-terrible.....will I ever learn how to score bread I wonder.I used KA AP ,replaced 50g of it with White Whole Wheat ( I read that in the European Style flour David was using there is a small percentage of WWW.....thought I'd try it),stone ground rye and a AP starter.

That's all.......folks! Almost time for another pretzel bake, me thinks....................


Daisy_A's picture


As a Briton I have been encouraged by TFL posts in which British foods from Bermaline to barm bread, scones to muffins to malt loaf appear as objects of desire rather than derision!  Having been teased for years by European friends about the state of food in Britain this is a strange position to be in. Please do keep the cake love coming - it helps to heal the scars!
Surely memories of tea time treats prompt a wish to recreate certain breads and cakes among those who have lived in Britain for a spell. However I'm sure we also have ambassadors like Nigel Slater and Dan Lepard to thank for spreading British cake love abroad. Although not chauvinistic in their tastes they've given the best of British baked goods a positive press. I'm with Nigel when he states that while they lack the finesse of French and Austrian patisserie and viennoisserie, there is something about the heartiness of British cakes and sweets that appeals.

And yet, while I consider good tea and cake a top treat when out and about, I rarely bake sweet goods at home. One bag of sugar can last literally years in our house. Occasionally someone calls who has sugar in their tea. We take the sugar out of the back of the cupboard, shake the crystals off, dole out a couple of teaspoons and then put it back again for months. Thank goodness sugar doesn't go off!

This is a long term thing. Sugar used to last a long time in my family home too. My mother baked little as my father much preferred savoury foods. I do remember some cake baking sessions in which I eagerly stirred the pots in anticipation of licking 'em afterwards. I took in some of the method but also remember pleading for more to be left in the bowl for the small assistant to lick. It was a precious time but it wasn't a comprehensive introduction to baking.

However in the spirit of thinking positively about British baking I decided to bake a malt loaf. This is a cake I do remember eating as a child. Although it was never baked at home I remember friends and neighbours making it. The version they made was moistened with tea, which is why I chose the adaptation of a Gary Rhodes recipe , also flagged up on this thread. The formula is also high in malt which I think is vital to reproducing a good, malty loaf. chunkeyman has also posted a very similar recipe, inherited from his grandparents on this thread.

The recipe worked extremely well. The gooey batter was very easy to mix and the cake baked well. I didn't have whole wheat self raising flour, which is what the recipe calls for, so added two teaspoons of baking powder and .75 of a teaspoon of salt to 175g of whole wheat flour. The loaf didn't rise much in the tin so I may add more baking powder next time. However, as I remember it this type of loaf doesn't normally have much oven spring and has a flat top. I used Lady Grey tea to add the extra flavours of citrus and bergamot. As this type of tea can brew quite slowly when made with tea bags I used two bags to add strength. I imagine it would be even more aromatic if made with leaf tea. The baking time was around 1.25 hours. I'm not sure how well such a sticky cake would freeze but I think if it does freeze it would be more economic to batch bake this recipe. As the oven was only required to hold the heat at Gas Mark 1(250F, 120C), I didn't use the oven stone for this bake.

The loaf emerged from the oven well cooked and beautifully golden. It was hard not to dive into it straight away. However it definitely improved when kept for a couple of days before eating, wrapped up and in an airtight container,  After being stored the texture of the loaf had changed and all of it was suffused with a malty gooeyness which was delicious. The crumb was dense, moist and malty with a hint of spice and a good distribution of fruit. It was lovely with a cup of tea and a slick of unsalted butter.

turosdolci's picture

Tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil and farfalle are all that is needed for this fresh pasta salad that you can prepare a day ahead. Great for a a July 4th cookout.

It can be fast and easy, or it can take a LITTLE MORE TIME.



moldyclint's picture

So , I finally have one I want to share in my first post!  I have only been baking steadily for a couple of months now, and since I successfully captured some wild yeasties, have been using them exclusively.  I have also tried to simplify things as much as possible, hence have tended to keep my sourdough starter roughly the same hydration as my final dough.  As I have a regular day job, but don't want to limit my baking to weekends, I have been working on a means of fitting my baking into a regular day's schedule, and have come up with a technique that seems to work for me (made specific for this loaf):

The night before baking, I take the ~1 cup of starter that I have in my fridge out, and add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water and ~1/3 tsp salt.  I typically use rye or whole wheat, but this time I used organic spelt (the existing starter was ~80% spelt, 20% AP).  Mixed alltogether and left on the counter overnight.

Morning, 5:45am before going to work, added 3 cups organic AP flour, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 and a bit tsp salt.  Mixed together, and put down in the basement where it is a bit cooler.

Went to work.  Returned ~5:00pm.

Had roughly doubled.  The challenge has been to find a spot in the house that is the right temperature to leave the dough all day.  This has been a cool spring, so some days the basement is too cold, and I get almost no rise. Recently it has been a lot hotter, and I can get over-fermentation.  This still to be refined.  Nevertheless, today things worked out perfectly!

Cut ~1/2 cup of dough off to save as my next starter, stretched/folded/rested/formed a boule and let it sit in the colander for a couple hours to proof.  Next used the handy cast-iron dutch oven method, and results were most satisfactory.  The starter got fed (tripled) and immediately put in the fridge.

I have varied quantities of starter from batch to batch, and this quantity (~1 cup doubled the night before and then more than doubled the next morning) has given me the best flavour yet!  Not so sour that the wife won't eat it, but not as lightly-flavoured as I have been getting with half the quantity of starter.  Mmmmm.

semi-demi-spelt sourdough

Bit of an explosion on the crust, despite a cramped (as it was in the dutch oven) slashing with my handy straight razor.


tracie's picture

At the beginning of the year, when I was a complete novice, I went to the half price book store, in the hope of finding some inspiration and help.  I couldnt find anything specific in the cookery section, so I meandered off to the discount shelves in hope of finding a novel in order to utllise my time doing something other than filling my freezer with dough items.  I noticed one book had been replaced backwards.  Imagine my excitement as I pulled it out, to find the title was simply 'BREAD'.  Eureka!  I have since made and adapted (oh yes, I said adventurous streak now knows no boundaries!) many recipes, one of which is the 40 minute hamburger buns. 

Admittedly, the first time I attempted these the reception was not marvelous.  They were a little too doughy to be the traditional 'baps' that are served at the fast food joints, but they sufficed.  Then, last night, a stroke of genius hit me.  I could 'adapt' the recipe.  The dough makes 12 rolls but I managed to eek it out to 14.  To the first four I added chopped jalpeno, the next three olives, the next three carraway seeds and finally a mixture of italian herbs, majoram, parsely and rosemary.  Before putting them in the oven, I sprinkled cheese on the jalapeno four. 

The fact that four of us demolished them before the meal was over, I thought, was a positive sign.  If anyone wants the recipe here it is.

1 cup of warm water; 2 tablespoons (american) of fast active yeast; 1/4 cup sugar; 1/3 cup oil; 1 egg; 1 teaspoon salt; 3-3.5 cups of flour.

Add yeast to warm water, then add sugar and oil.  Mix together and leave for five minutes.  Add egg and salt, mix, then add enough flour to form soft dough.  Kneed for 3-5 minutes.  Divide into 12 pieces an roll in hands to form a 'roll'.  Add whatever you like to each roll and put on baking tray.  Cover and leave for 10 minutes.  Bake in a hot (425) oven for 8-12 mins. 


Mebake's picture

This is a 50% wholewheat from "BREAD". I have finally achieved the color i wanted and the crumb texture i like. THis is a keeper.

To obtain the color, I have improvised enclosed steaming for this one:

Poultry roaster with lid. Under the roaster a stone, and in the roaster lid: a stone squeezed-in in such a way that it dented the lid, but remained in. This way, i can get heat from a stone on top of the loaf, and from under the loaf, all in an enclosed space to trap steam. IT Worked!

Here are the loaves:

UPDATE:  here is the roaster steamer with stone device:



hanseata's picture

Today I revisited my childhood. For the first time I baked Danish Tebirkes.
For many years my grandmother, aunt, two cousins and I would spend our summer holidays in Denmark. Every morning
one of us kids would bike to the grocery store to pick up freshly baked rolls for breakfast. My favorite were Tebirkes, buttery, croissant-like rolls, sprinkled with poppy seeds.

RobertS's picture

Continuing my experiments with Lahey bread...

I cut up fresh cherry tomatoes and a medium sized "regular" tomato, and threw in 2 tsps ground oregano. Then I hand-mixed them into my gorgeous, gorgeous Lahey dough which had fermented for 26 hours. It was a struggle, and when it ended, I thought I had thoroughly destroyed all the gas and air in the dough. I also thought that the dough had finished all the fermenting it was going to ferment, as it looked somewhat shiny, like a kind of cheap plastic. So with heavy heart (not really, it was fun!) I let it sit in my fermenting tub for another hour and fifteen minutes, not really expecting to see any change. To my surprise, back came at least a modicum of bubbles, and, taking no chances, I poured it onto a wheat-branned towel and did a sloppy. mimimal fold job as best as I could, and turned on my convection oven to 500-degrees. Twenty-minutes later, I was dismayed to see the dough was plaster-stuck to the towel (like an idiot I should have first turned the dough onto my counter and floured it before towel-wrapping it). Getting the dough into the pot was---ahem--an adventure, (and I had to throw the towel into the garbage). There really wasn't enough dough to fill my cast-iron pot properly, and what I managed to place into it looked like it had been torn apart by four fighting pitbulls pulling from all the points of the compass.

Naturally my expectations were low. Who ever heard of waiting for 26 hours to load veggies into a dough, to say nothing of eschewing the time-honoured tradition of inserting them by flattening the dough, distributing the pieces all over it, then rolling it up like a carpet? And to abuse the dough thoroughly (Lahey & Reinhart, excuse me), and pot it in such a sorry, flaccid state?

Well, this bread hardly came out singing Hallelujah --- a lot of the tomatoes gravitated too close to the crust, and the crumb was a wee bit over-moist and closed in places --- but it DID have a truly memorable crust, and the taste was first-class.

Question to anyone who reads this: any suggestiuons for next time, given the same ingredients? Comments would be appreciated greatly, since I am a complete novice. See another picture below.

txfarmer's picture


I have wanted to take classes from SFBI for so long, but TX is not exactly close to SF, and my day job really gets in the way of scheduling. When I saw they started offering some weekend workshops, I jumped on the opportunity. And of course, I picked the baguette class, since that's my main obsession.

Arriving early to be greeted by friendly classmates, teacher, and lots of fresh croissants. While we were going through our class, the students were just producing breads nonstop the entire time, and lucky us got to sample a few.


Hmmm, I wonder if I can ask for this to be my birthday gift? I am sure we can fit one in.... if we tear down our living room and den!


Would anyone notice if I just take a couple?....I AM KIDDING!


Now, let's get to work, 3 types for the first day: straight dough, poolish, and sponge. All done with minimal mixing (hand mixed to incorporate), and 3 sets of S&F.


I have done S&F every weekend, but handling 7.5KG of dough is decidely different from handling 1KG. Note to self, must lift weights.

We had lectures while waiting for the dough, but my favorite part is the hands on part. Look at the big tubs of dough, this  is when I realized that professional baking is a very very very physical job. Oh, I also would like a kitchen that's as big as this!

Teacher Frank is showing us how to divide and preshape. Even pieces, even tension, repeat.

We make 5 pieces for each type of baguette, my preshaping is far from perfect


Many many many trays of dough - 15 pieces per person per day

It's almost 2pm, we are starving. Let's get these babies shaped already! My batch of straight dough baguettes here - with my name on it!

Lunch , thank goodness. We inhaled that one. On 2nd day, we had pizza (yum!) and wine for lunch. Let's just say there were a lot more giggling in the afternoon session.

Well fed, let's check on the dough, ready to be scored and baked!

Loading is "interesting". Frank also showed us the home oven method (baking stone, cast iron skillets underneads to create steam etc.).

Best part, time to taste and critique! These are Frank's, hole-y and beautiful

These are mine. The dough is about 68% hydration, not so wet, so scoring was not difficult, I am semi-happy with the left two, no idea what happened for the one on the right. Seems that I loaded it too close to the right edge, didn't get browned on that side. It's straight dough, poolish, and sponge from left to right.


Not as open as Frank's crumb, need more practice with the new shaping method.


We all like the taset of sponge one the best, but all three are delicious.


We did 3 more formulas on the 2nd day (With teff, with sunflower seeds, and ww with wheat germ), and tried epi too.


All in all, a great experience! A lot of the info were familiar to me thanks to the knowledgable people here at TFL, but it helps tremendously to see close up how a professional handles the dough , and practice on 15 baguettes each day. Frank was very helpful answering questions and helping too. The shaping and preshaping methods are slightly different from what I have been doing previously, I like this new way better, will keep practicing at home for sure. Everyone ended up with loads of bread at the end of each day, since I was from out of town, I gave most of mine away to a classmate, who then distributed to elders in her neighbourhood - makes me happy.


turosdolci's picture

It is said that making pesto requires patients and love. The motion of the wooden pestle against the stone mortar brings out the oils. Trofietti Liguri is a traditional dish in Liguria.



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