The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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txfarmer's picture

I had a big bag of carrots (I just should not go to Costco unsupervised), a 3lb block of cream cheese (did I mention I was at Costco?), and a life time supply of raisins and pecans (they seem so reasonablely portioned at the store!). No more costco trips for me! Well, until probably next week. :P

To consume all that ingredients, first, there's this sourdough carrot cake I have been wanting to make for a while. Recipe is from KAF.

When putting together the ingredients, I discovered that I only had one egg (of all things I bought at Costco, I forgot to buy eggs, ugh), so I only made one third of the recipe, in a 6X6 squre tin. Used raisins and pecans instead of pineapple and walnuts. Very moist and delicious cake.

The extra nuts in the icing was delicious. I did cut down the sugar, used only 1/2 of what's called in the recipe, I think I can use even less next time.

A good way to use up leftover starter, as well as any impulse buys at Costco. :P

---------------------Then there comes bread--------------------

Having thoroughly enjoyed the carrot cake, I decided to make a sourdough bread, using the same ingredients as the cake. There will be LOTS of shredded carrots in the dough, with a cream cheese filling. I want the bread to be soft and airy, like a good roll, or an Asian style soft sandwich bread, so raisins and pecans would be added to the filling, not the dough, in order to keep the smooth soft texture. For a total out of no where experiment, they turned out great!

Made 7 rolls as above, as well as a mini sandwich bread

Both the sandwich bread and rolls had perfectly soft texture

The bread part is slightly sweet from LOTS OF shredded carrots, matched perfectly with the filling. Not too sweet, just enough to make this a nice breakfast roll or a snack. Sourdough brings a slight tanginess, which we love, especially in a sweet, relatively rich bread. The golden color is just lovely, and it's so "shreddy" soft.

Carrot Cake Sourdough (my crazy creation)

Note: The following recipe as written has 200g flour in total (including what's in the starter), enough for 6 to 7 3.5inch rolls. I actually made more dough than what the recipe specified, for the mini sandwich loaf, I used mini loaf pans (5-3/4" x 3-1/4" x 2-1/4"), each would need 90g of total flour(in addition to the 200g in the recipe). If you use a standard 8X4 sandwich loaf pan, I think you need about 270g of flour for each pan.


milk, 17g

bread flour, 33g

starter (100%), 11g

1. Mix everything into a dough, leave for 12 hours at room temp.

-final dough

levain, from above

bread flour, 162g

butter, 20g, softened

sugar, 20g

salt, 3g

milk, 77g

shredded carrots, 100g


cream cheese, 113g

corn starch, 19g

sugar, 40g

vanilla essence, 2g

chopped pecan



2. mix together every except for butter and salt, autolyse for 30min, add salt, knead until dough pull away from the mixer bowl, add butter, mix until passing window pane. Note that with all that carrots, the dough is VERY sticky and wet, so it took a while for it to come together, don't give up, keep kneading. I got  a very strong dough at the end: (Note that I am aiming for a very fine, soft, and even crumb here, which is why I did such intensive kneading. This is the same technique I use for soft Asian style sandwich breads, and enriched breads like brioche. However for lean hearth breads, i don't knead, I S&F. I think different style of breads requires different techniques, depending on what kind of crumb you are after.)

3. Round into a smooth ball and rise at room temp (22C) for 2 hours, S&F at the end, then immediately put in fridge for overnight. By the time I pulled it out of the fridge, it has doubled.Note: there were questions regarding why dough would always be stuck to the bowl during bulk rise, no matter how well the container is oiled. I think it has something to do with how well you round the dough before putting in in the container. if the surface is taunt and smooth, even for such a sticky and wet dough, it would not get stuck. Flipped right out.

4. Roll out into a 9X9inch squre, spread cream cheese filling(beat together cream cheese, corn starch, sugar, and vanilla until smooth), then spinkle raisins and pecans.

5. Rolled up like a jelly roll, but into 6 to 7 rolls, each about 1.5inch thick. Here I put them in some 3.5inch paper molds, but you can certainly bake them directly in a pan.

6. Leave to rise until double(when I lightly press it, it barely springs back), being pure sourdough, it took 6.5 hours at 22C. Which was perfect, since I needed to be away for that time, came back in time to bake them! Note that I usually proof rolls longer than sandwich breads since too much ovenspring would destroy the shape, if you make filled sandwich bread with this dough, you might want to proof less.

7. Bake at 350F for 25 to 30min until golden. The mini loaves took 35min. I am guessing a standard loaf would take 45 to 50min. It's a very moist dough, needs to be baked longer.

This truely a pretty and delicious bread, even if you don't have sourdough, you can easily convert the recipe to use dry yeast. The result would be slightly less flavorful than the sourdough version, but still yummy.

Still have a lot of carrots left, I am considering to make a German style rye bread with seeds and carrots, like this one. Anyone here have a favorite recipe to recommend?

Sending this to Yeastspotting.


amolitor's picture

This is a new bake of the recipe I discussed in this post.

Minor chages:

  • sour sponge was 1/2 cup white, 1/2 cup rye, 1 cup water

  • "old dough" starters were each somewhat bigger, using 1/3 cup water each and "enough" flour.

The main difference is that I accidently added about 1 cup too much water, so:

  • the loaf was bigger (about 3 pounds)

  • there was less sour flavor (since I used the same 1 cup water/1 cup flour sour sponge, for more bread)

  • I worked at higher hydration, somewhere between 65 and 70 percent (it started wet, but I worked more flour late in kneading, and some more during stretch and fold)

Then I baked it for a full hour, hence the dark crust.

Also, I chopped some of the nuts fairly fine to get more nut distribution throughout the bread. The purple coloration of the crumb is more thorough and even, but not up to Acme Bakery standard yet! This loaf is outstanding with jam, especially toasted.

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

Fifth attempt

I am such an excited little bread maker right now!  Look.... Sourdough!!!  Thanks for all advice from TFL members.  I will add to this blog later this evening, but for now I have to go finish a painting.

Okay, now that I'm feeding my poor little starter the right amount, I'm sure it's happier, but I don't know if that's the reason for this sudden improvement.  I've tried several new things with these loaves.  

1.  A well fed starter.

2. Still used the 1,2,3 recipe.  This time I used half unbleached white bread flour, and half multi-grain bread mix (no added yeast).  Autolyse for 30, then add salt.

3.  The dough was still way too wet for my liking, but I followed Richard Bertinet's 'thwapping' method of kneading.  I did this for at least 15 to 20 minutes with great improvement in the smoothness of the dough, but still way too sticky!  I added just enough flour to end the sticking and then let it sit in the fridge overnight.

4.  I let it rise all by itself, instead of trying to speed it up with steam baths etc.  It was covered in a nice sunny spot though.  Would you believe it was 16 degrees C (that's about 61 degrees F) where I am even though it's supposed to be spring!  That took a long time, about 5-6 hours.

5.  I heated the oven as hot as it would go AND I put a terracotta tray in as well.  (I don't own a pizza stone).  I also had a tray in the bottom of the oven to which I added a cup of water.

6.  The boules probably weren't fully doubled before I put them in (kudos to a TFL member for that tip) and hoped like crazy to see some oven spring!

7.  I spritzed at 10 min intervals after the first 20 mins.  (I've done for all previous loaves.)

I sit in front of the oven with a torch (my oven light doesn't work! ha) and watch for oven spring.  I gave up after about 7 minutes cos nothing happened, sat down to play with my iphone while waiting.  Next time I look, wow!  I actually have bread rising in there!  Et voila!


fishers's picture

I froze 1/2 a recipe of dough before final shaping with the idea of shaping and baking within a week.  I thawed for 24 hours in the refrigerator and noticed some rise as it thawed.  Let it come to room temp and then carefully shaped so as not to degas.  That was it - no further rise after 3 hours.  I hate to throw out the dough.  Can I use it as a starter or something?

Mebake's picture

This is a late bake from Hamelman's WW levain, only with yeast being left out. I have done bulk dough retardation for the first time, and it was successful, though it took 8 hours to be reeady to bake following its exit from the 18 hour refrigeration.

The result: The sweetness the recipe usually produces was reduced, and a slightly sour tang replaced. Yummy.

Jaydot's picture

Over the past couple of months I have been learning how to bake sourdough bread. I have produced a fair share of pale crusts, scorched bottoms, dense crumbs and one terrific doorstopper. I've spent hours on TFL looking for explanations and solutions (and finding them! Big thanks to all of you!). I think I'm slowly getting the hang of it. Last Sunday I tried my first sourdough with fruit and nuts and it all seemed to come together: it was delicious! As good a reason as any to start using the TFL blog :).

Loaves in the Big Green Egg



  • 170 gr starter (I have a 100% hydration starter, maintained on roughly 1/3 rye and 2/3 wheat),

  • 230 gr water

  • 510 gr flour (about 20% wholemeal)

  • 10 gr salt

  • 250 gr dry ingredients for soaker: 100 gr raisins, 50 gr dried apricots chopped to raisin size, 50 gr hazelnuts crushed with a hammer, 50 gr rolled oats

  • zest from one medium orange, and some Madeira wine.


  • Start with the soaker: cover the dry ingredients with water and a generous splash of Madeira wine in a small saucepan, heat up to "nice and warm", leave to cool for 6 hours, stirring now and then. Put in a sieve to drain off the liquid before starting on the dough.

  • Mix flour, starter and water. Autolyse. Add salt and orange zest and knead gently (about 5 minutes). Rest a few minutes, add soaker and knead some more.

  • Bulk ferment, do a stretch&fold at 50 and 100 minutes.

  • Retard in fridge overnight.

  • Take out of fridge, allow about two hours to get back to room temperature (my fridge is very cold), divide and preshape. Benchrest. Shape (if any raisins have worked their way out of the dough, remove them or push them into the bottom of the boule) and proof.

  • Heat oven with stone to 220C (430F).

  • Slash and bake covered for the first 13 minutes. Let oven temp drop to 200C (390F) and bake another half hour.


I use a spreadsheet I made to calculate quantities and to keep track of when I need to do what. You can see it here (I'd be happy to share the original spreadsheet). My house if fairly cool (room temp around 66F), hence the long proofing times.

Crumb shot


My basic bread formula is Flo's 1.2.3 formula, with just a bit less water, because I do all dough handling except the final shaping with wet hands. For final shaping I use flour.

I cover my loaves in the oven with a tinfoil hat shaped around an upturned banneton. Works like a charm.

250 grams of dry ingredients swells up to a much bigger and heavier load after soaking (smells nice, though). It was quite scary to tip that quantity onto the dough; hydration went up too, obviously. Still, I got a good windowpane after the second stretch & fold and the dough was still manageable (just).

Funny thing was that we couldn't find a trace of the oats in the finished loaf, but I think they did contribute to the taste.

The crumb was more dense than in my "daily" loaf (which is made using the same method, but without the soaker), there were no big holes. Still, it looked and felt lovely, pleasantly moist.

We had a loaf for lunch, even though it was still so warm that butter on a slice melted almost immediately. My lunch companions are very critical foodies, and they loved it (one of them is my brother, and believe me, he wouldn't say so just be polite :)).

It really was delicious - on its own, with butter or with strong dutch cheese!


sortachef's picture

A good sandwich deserves a good roll.  Enter the Cemita, a slightly sweet bun that gives its name to a whole style of street food in Puebla, Mexico. Crackly thin crust on the outside, with a lightly firm but airy center, and fresh! - made every morning in just one bakery, following a closely guarded recipe.

So what would a Philly boy find so enticing about a Cemita? A beaten pork and avocado sandwich, piled with sweet marinated peppers and topped with strands of panela cheese, is certainly different from the cheesesteaks of my youth. And yet, there's something similar enough there, in the way it has grown with the city into a culinary icon best eaten locally. And as with the cheesesteak, a Cemita really is one great handful of a sandwich!

For a variety of reasons, I've taken liberties with the sandwich filling. Some real ingredients are impossible to find while others (like the quarter pound of cheese) I can do without. I have, however, made the recipe for the rolls very much like the real one. If you follow it closely and bake on a pizza stone or quarry tiles, your sandwiches will be the envy of the neighborhood. Enjoy!

Pork and avocado Cemitas (Seattle style)

Visit Sortachef at to see the original post

Cemitas: Great Sandwiches from Puebla, Mexico

Recipe yields enough dough for 8 sandwich rolls 


For the rolls:

12 ounces water at 100°

1½ teaspoons dry yeast

1½ teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons sugar

2 Tablespoons Spectrum shortening or lard

11 ounces (rounded 2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 egg

6 ounces flour (1¼ cup) flour for mixing

¾ cups flour for bench work

Water and sesame seeds to finish


For the filling (quantities per sandwich):

¼ ripe avocado

1 boneless pork chop, marinated in 1 teaspoon each vinegar and sugar, smashed with a hammer and coated with some masa harina or breadcrumbs

Oil for frying

Salt and pepper

A few sprigs of basil

2 marinated sweet cherry peppers

¼ cup shredded lettuce

White onion

Mozzarella cheese


Make the dough: Put 12 ounces warm water, the yeast, sugar, shortening, salt and 11 ounces of flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Break in the egg. Whisk with a wire attachment for 5 minutes on medium speed until the dough is very smooth and has the consistency of a cake batter. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary.

Switch to the dough hook and add 6 more ounces of flour. Mix on low for a further 5 minutes or so to make a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or more. Put the dough into a big bread bowl and cover the bowl with plastic or a damp cloth.


First rise: 4½ hours at 65°. Punch down the dough, turn using a dough scraper, and let rise again.


Second rise: 3½ hours at 65°. I prefer at this point to put the dough in its bowl on ice packs overnight. Take away from the ice and punch the dough down early in the morning.


Shape the rolls: Shape the dough into a snake, and cut into 8 equal pieces, about 4.5 ounces each. Form into round doughballs, stretching the skin over the tops. Let rest for ½ hour, covered with a floured cloth.

Lightly butter a jelly roll pan or large cookie sheet. Flatten the dough pieces somewhat (to about 1" thick) and space them evenly on the tray. Let rest for a further ½ hour.


Preheat the oven: Turn oven to 450°. Use quarry tiles for best results. Set rack at the halfway point in the oven.


Finish and bake: Brush the top skin of the rolls with water, wait 2 minutes and then brush them again. Lightly sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Put the sheet pan directly on the hot quarry tiles and bake for 18 minutes, or until the skin on the rolls turns golden brown. Let rolls cool on a rack for an hour before filling.


To make the sandwiches: In a large frying pan fry the smashed pork chops one or two at a time in a Tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Turned once, the chops will be cooked through in about 5 minutes or when browned on both sides. Salt and pepper to taste and leave chops to drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, shred the lettuce and mix with some sliced onion and mozzarella cheese. Slice the avocado and sweet peppers.

Build sandwiches with (from the bottom up):

  • Sliced avocado

  • Smashed, breaded and fried pork chop

  • Sprigs of basil

  • Sliced sweet peppers

  • Shredded lettuce, onion and mozzarella cheese

  • Hot sauce, if desired


Final Note: At Cemitas Las Poblanitas, the cemitas café that takes up the whole northeast corner of the Mercado del Carmen in Puebla, more than 1000 cemitas are created every day. To sample an authentic cemita - in their case topped with about ¼ pound of cheese and finished with a slice of ham - do give them a shout if you're in the area. You'll be glad you did.

And if you happen to see my friends Alonzo and Lizbet sitting at one of the tables there, raise a beer to them. And tell them Sortachef says 'hi'!

Cemita Rolls in basket

Copyright 2010 by Don Hogeland. See original post at

wassisname's picture

Back to basics in my quest for a whole wheat sourdough that doesn't take over my weekend or keep me up half the night.

The method this time is about as conventional as it gets, except for the long, refrigerated pauses.  Some of my previous attempts were so far from my usual routine that simply getting my head around them was a chore, and the bread suffered as a result. My brain will only put up with so much! 

The guiding premise of this attempt did turn out to be "less is more".  The dough sits around for so long that it tends to get worn out by the time it goes in the oven.  So, this batch was subjected to less kneading, less bulk ferment time at room temperature and less final proof time.  And it feels like I'm moving in a better direction.  It's not perfect, but it's something worth tinkering with.

This formula is for 2 loaves - approx. 2 kg total final dough.

Day One - starter build

286g whole wheat bread flour

50g whole rye flour

252g water

110g whole wheat starter @ 75% hydration

Mix everything, knead for 5 min.  Ferment @ room temp (65F) for 12 hrs, then refrigerate 10 hrs.

Day Two - final dough

700g whole wheat bread flour

525g water

All of the starter

2 ½ tsp salt

+20g water for kneading

Mix flour and water. Autolyse 20min

Add starter and salt, knead gently with wet hands 7-8 minutes.

Bulk ferment 1 hr at room temp. then 21 hrs in refrigerator.

Day Three - proof and bake

Flatten out the dough and let it warm (covered) 1hr at room temp.

Divide and shape.

Proof  1 ½ hrs at approx 75F.  Preheat stone to 500F.

Bake 475F 15minutes - 10 minutes covered to steam.

Bake 425F another 40 minutes.


Next steps -

Leave out the rye.  As much as I love a little rye in everything I fear that it may be working against me in this case.  Maybe my reasoning is off, but I'm trying to protect the dough during its long, cold fermentation and rye generally encourages more fermentation, right?  We'll see.

Lower slower bake.  The bread is a little dense and takes while to bake through.  It improves considerably after a day or two on the counter, which makes me think a little more oven time could help.  I'll keep the hot, steamy start then drop the temp a little more and bake a little longer.  I'll give it a bit of drying time with the oven off as well.

I think that will be enough tinkering for one bake.  Except maybe I'll also try... =) 

Side experiment - photos below

As I was shaping the first loaf  I decided to try something different with the second.  The loaf  on the right was shaped in traditional  batard fashion:  flattened into a rectangle, long ends pulled to the middle, then folded in half.  The loaf on the left was shaped along the lines of the boule method described in dmsnyder's excellent tutorial.  I gave it three foldings instead of one (not because I thought it would be better, but because I couldn't quite remember how it went, I just knew there was folding - now it is locked in my brain for next time!) and then gently coaxed it into an oblong shape.  There was no visible difference while proofing, but when they hit the oven they sprang very differently.  The boule shaped loaf clearly tried to return to its original shape, resulting in what I think was a better spring and a more attractive final loaf.  Thank you David!


breadsong's picture

Hello, I wanted to try making something different for a birthday dessert.

I made a recipe of Ciril Hitz's Basic Sweet Dough & divided in two, one half for each 'number'.
Each half was rolled out and covered with roasted hazelnut paste, then rolled up and shaped.
I extended the first roll a bit to make it longer, so it would be long enough the shape the '8'.
I used two metal rings for the '8' and an oval cake pan for the '0' to maintain shape while proofing and baking.

(My recipe to make enough hazelnut paste for this experiment: 1.5 cups roasted, skinned, ground hazelnuts,
1.5 cups sifted icing sugar, a pinch of salt, 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, enough egg white to make the paste spreadable).

These turned out rather large! In the picture, the 'rolls' are sitting on a 12x18 pan...

A decorated birthday cake would have been prettier but it was well received anyway!
Regards, breadsong


dmsnyder's picture


Chad Robertson's Basic Country Bread from “Tartine Bread” has been a hit among TFL members, and with good reason. It's a wonderful bread, and Robertson's description of how to make it is clear and detailed. He not only describes what to do but also why. He provides variations on his procedures in recognition of the realities of the home baker's scheduling issues and describes their effects on the end product.

Robertson recommended a baking procedure that replicates the result of baking in a commercial gas oven for the home baker. His procedure utilizes a cast iron covered Dutch oven. This particular equipment dictates that the loaves be shaped as boules.

I have made Robertson's Basic Country Bread once before and found it delicious. Its most amazing virtue, to me, is how long it stays moist. I made 2 boules before. However, at the bakery, Robertson shapes this bread as bâtards.

Today, I made the Basic Country Bread as bâtards. They were proofed on a linen couche. The oven was steamed using the SFBI method I've described in another entry(Oven steaming using the SFBI method.). I baked, as prescribed by Robertson, at 450ºF but switched to a dry oven at 15 minutes and baked for a total of 35 minutes.

The crust was very firm initially and sang softly while cooling. It softened with cooling. The crumb was very open – as pictured in “Tartine Bread.” The aroma was very wheaty, and the flavor was very nice, with mild sourdough tang.

This is a bread I'll be making again, no doubt with variations in flour mix and steaming methods. I would like to get a bread whose crust stays crisp longer.




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