The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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hansjoakim's picture

Hi all,

After a great laptop-and-internet-free vacation the last couple of weeks, I've now pulled my starter out of its refrigerator retirement and given it a couple of feedings to get it back to its former self. The first couple of loaves I've baked after coming back, have been some pain au levains with toasted seeds. This bread is based on my pain au levain formula with slightly increased whole-flour amount, and roughly 7.5% - 10% toasted seeds. You'll find a copy of the formula here (written for 7.5% toasted seeds).

For the loaf pictured below, I used 10% toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and applied some oat bran to the top of the batard after final shaping:

Seeded pain au levain

Here's the crumb:

Seeded pain au levain crumb

The loaf is similar to Hamelman's seeded levain in terms of flavour and crumb. After some bakes and trials, I've found that I prefer adding toasted seeds to the dough directly without soaking them first (for seeds where soaking is not necessary, of course). The flavour is stronger, more nutty, and the crumb turns out more open, at least for me. The crust stays fresh and crunchy for longer due to the lower hydration of these un-soaked seeded levains.

Vacation's been great - I've enjoyed hiking, fishing, cooking and reading at my parents' cabin, and the weather's been pretty decent as well. Some favourite books from this summer include Herta Müller's "Atemschaukel" (haunting), McCarthy's "Blood meridian" (how the west was won and where it got us...terrifying), "Sons and lovers" by D. H. Lawrence and some brilliant novels by Finnish writer Kjell Westö. I miss vacation already so I'll have to put some pastry-things together for my next blog post (comfort food). In the meantime I've got a lot of TFL reading to catch up on...

jonalisa's picture

Today's bread was Dutch Crunch. I had never heard of it before and although I've only been baking bread for about 2 to 3 months now, it was pretty simple. Unfortunately, with a late start, the bread came out of the oven after everyone was in bed. (They went to bed early - not that I bake at ungodly hours). It's such a bummer when you can't have *someone* enjoy your bread as soon as it's ready or at least the same day. Oh well, I enjoyed it immensely...crunchy and slightly sweet crust, soft and fluffy crumb. So good. I used the recipe here:

Dutch Crunch RollNote: Update: When I stored these overnight in plastic baggies, I found they had lost their crunch. I recommend baking and serving the same day. ~Joan

Kingudaroad's picture

I'm excited to have this book. I see so many on TFL using it. This seems to be a popular bread so I thought I would give it a go.

Used the book instructions to the letter except I mixed by hand, which I will say, was quite the task with this dough.

I'm happy with the bread out of the oven and it smells as good or better than any bread I have baked. Be back with a crumb and taste update after a bit.

Wow! this bread is amazing. So many subtle flavors all in one place. A very hearty bread but hard to stop eating.

Here's the crumb.

Kingudaroad's picture

I needed cracked rye berries to do my first bake from "Bread" by Jeffrey Hammelmann. All I could find were whole berries so here's what I did. First I froze the berries for about an hour, then a bit at a time, pulsed them in a coffee grinder, ran them through a strainer and kept saving the big pieces.

Made a big mess also. Got my version of cracked rye berry.


Happy Baking, Keith

ehanner's picture

A few Months ago, SteveB posted his work using Tahini in a bread to improve the flavor of sesame. His post on Breadcetra can be found here. As usual Steve does a great job detailing the procedure and makes a wonderful bread.

Steves formula calls for about 6% by bakers percent Tahini. My loaf was 400 grams of a combination of 5% WW and 10% Rye and 85% AP, to which I added 10% (40g) tahini paste. I used 2% milk for the liquid, warmed to arrive at a dough temperature of 76F. The IDY was added with the flours (1/2 tsp) and the 8 grams of sea salt was held until the dough had absorbed the liquid for 30 minutes. Mixing and folding was done by hand.

This dough was mixed to 70% hydration but with the whole grain flours it felt like a 65% mix. I was shooting for a soft crumb sandwich bread with a hint of sesame. I decided to leave the seeds off this first time so I could tell if the amount of tahini had any appreciable effect on its own. The oil in the tahini paste plus the use of milk made for a very nice soft crumb with just a hint of sesame aroma. Next time, I'll use seeds on the crust and get the full effect. I think I'll switch to using water instead of milk also as the crumb is softened by the oil in the paste.


evth's picture

A modified version of Cafe Azul's Pastry Dough makes a terrific pie crust. This recipe will yield enough dough for two 9-inch double crusts or four single crusts. Yes, it is a lot of dough so make a few pies or freeze the extra. Use four sticks of butter as the original recipe states for an insanely rich - think puff pastry - pie crust. Or knock the butter down like I did to two and half or three sticks (this is my only change to the crust recipe). Divide the dough into four mounds and wrap them individually before putting them into the refrigerator. Let it rest for at least 1+1/2 hours. Be prepared to be amazed with how easy it is to roll out beautiful pie crust that is flaky, tender and buttery. Click below for the dough recipe:

Now let's turn to the main part of the apple pie recipe (i.e. filling, baking times, etc.). I followed Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe from the except that I substituted her pate brisee (short crust pastry) for a modified version of Cafe Azul's Pastry Dough. Click below for the apple pie recipe:

To briefly sum it up (click on above link for the entire recipe), Rose's way is to first, let the seasoned apple slices sit in their juices. Next, drain them and keep the juice, cooking it down with butter. Finally, mix it all in with the slices and pour the filling into the pie shell. After you top it with the other half of the crust, crimp the edges. *Here's a variation I made to the recipe: brush the top crust with a lightly beaten egg (egg wash) and give it a sprinkling of raw sugar (e.g. Washed Raw, Turbinado or Demerara). Place the pie in the refrigerator for about twenty minutes before baking it in the pre-heated oven (425°F) for 45-55 minutes - baking time will depend upon your oven's temperature and any hot spots. Good tip from Rose: bake the pie using a pizza or bread stone on the bottom rack of the oven. Place a baking pan/sheet between the pie and the stone to guard against filling overflow. The stone ensures that the bottom crust is baked through – crispy and golden! *If you are using a glass or ceramic pie pan, and you are worried about it cracking or breaking after placing it on the hot stone, make sure the baking pan/sheet is at room temperature before placing it underneath the pie pan, or you can just forego chilling the pie altogether. Keep a foil ring handy in case the pie edges brown too quickly. 

As for apple varieties, I used a mixture of Fuji and Granny Smith apples. The filling was a tad runnier than I cared for (even after the pie rested) but made up for it with lots of nice concentrated apple and caramel flavors. Next time around I will use a greater assortment of apples in the pie. I will try cooking the apple slices and then cooling the mixture before adding it to the pie shell. 

Here's to a bountiful autumn harvest and more apple pies on the table!

Next post: Pain de mie

chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

Hello dear friends....really i missed you all I am..sharing with you my latest bakes...Eid al fitr will be tomorrow..I was preparing for it one week ago may be more I had a lot of work...I baked 55 kilos of these goodies for some customers, for friends, and of course for us at home....It was too hard for me i am tired, ill, and need really a long vacation...but the most thing made me feel better that the people really loved it called me back to thank me and told me that they never tasted such great cookies before. Mmmmm but i think that i will not be able to continue , I am working in a my house in a very small kitchen. It was too hard really.

Here you are the pics...

sortachef's picture

Here's one of those quick bread recipes that pops out of my folder when I see burstingly fresh zucchini at the produce stand. It's adapted from a recipe that's been passed around in my family as 'Doris Fenton's Zucchini Bread' for donkey's years and so, when I lightened up the oil and tweaked the quantities to suit, it only seemed fair to carry on the name.

Doris Light Zucchini Bread in the pan

Makes 2 loaves 

3 large eggs

2 cups sugar

½ cup canola oil

½ cup apple juice

1½ teaspoons vanilla


2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (see note)

1½ teaspoons cinnamon

2 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoons baking powder


3 cups grated fresh zucchini, loosely packed, about 1 pound (see note)


Note: If the zucchini is not fresh - either days old in the fridge or store bought - decrease the flour to 2 ½  cups.  Zucchini fresh off the vine has more moisture. To grate zucchini cut in thirds and put through the cheese grater of your food processor. 


  1. Set rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375º.

  2. Using a flat beater, beat eggs until frothy.  Beat in the sugar. Add oil, apple juice and vanilla and beat until thick and lemon colored.

  3. Mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a bowl.  Add along with the zucchini to the egg and oil mixture and beat until blended.

  4. Pour evenly into 2 buttered and lightly floured glass loaf pans.

  5. Bake for 10 minutes at 375º. Lower heat to 350º degrees and bake for 1 hour longer.  The loaves should have a dark skin with splits along the top, and a toothpick inserted into one of the splits should be nearly clean, with no batter buildup.

  6. Cool in pans on rack for 15 minutes.  Gently remove from pans, using a sharp knife if necessary, and then cool for an hour or more before serving.

Freezing note: Make this zucchini bread now, when the zucchini is at its most flavorful, and freeze some for later. Wrap half loaves tightly in plastic, label and freeze in loaf bag. It's great months later when thawed for a feast!

For original blog, please go to or search for 'Sortachef'

Copyright 2010 by Don Hogeland

Doris Light Zucchini Bread slices

Leandro Di Lorenzo's picture
Leandro Di Lorenzo

Hello everybody!!! It's been a long time since my last post!!!!!

Here I wanna show you this way of making bread...

I got some cancelation on my daily program. And I was without any pre-ferment what so ever!!!!

Then I decided to mix all the flour water yeast and a bit of malt (70, 2 and .2 %) and let ferment for at least 5 hours. A long time. I could have done a pre-ferment I know lol...

After this time I put into the dough the salt and a bit of ascorbic acid, since due to the long fermentation the dough was laking in strength.

I have to kneed the dough just a little bit to have a good gluten development. (very good for the flavor[carotenoid pigments]). After that I let the dough ferment for one hour, whit one fold after 20 min. divide, more 20 min rest mold, 1:30 h for the second fermentation and bake whit steam in a 470 degree oven for about 35 min...

I got some pics of the procedure... There it is:

After mix to incorporate flour water yeast and malt

After 5 hours of fermentation

Just finish kneading

the dough is very wet and elastic (the way I like it to be)


This is my fold, I always fold till I feel that the dough have the proper strength (sometimes more sometimes less tight)

After the fold i make it into a ball again ( very important to fell the dough at this stage)

After one hour the dough is ready for the division. Note that now I'm using flour on the bench.

Dough divided. In 2 couse is the max capacity of my oven lol

Pre shaped dough ( more 20 mim of rest after)

molding by hand

Still molding rsrsrsss

Molding finished

on the towel for the second fermentation.

Now some photos of the final result.....Hope you like it!!!

Crumb shots

The taste "was very good"....

I'm a poolish kind of guy, but this one was very good to.........

Note that due to the lack of strength of the dough I could not achieve a bigger volume on the final product. But I preserve the true flavor os the flour. KA AP by the way!!!!

Anyway that's it!!!! hope you like it!!!!








breadsong's picture


I was looking a library book this past long weekend - Amy's Bread - and this one piqued my interest. We've had some drizzle and it looks like we're going to have a wet week ahead here in the Pacific Northwest - I thought it might be nice to bake a little sunshine.

This recipe actually made three loaves. I took pictures of two of the three baked loaves; I think the last one turned out the nicest as I got some foil on top before it browned too much. The dough has a nice yellow color from the durum flour. The boules are misted then rolled in medium-grind yellow cornmeal before shaping. Love all that yellowness, and the apricots that taste like sunshine to me... I'm also thinking of Daisy_A's Sourdough Wholemeal Lemon Bread and wondering how this dough might be with lemon zest and other fruits and/or herbs.

I am learning so much reading other people's posts on this site and am grateful to all of the writers and the website manager who contribute so much.  Regards, breadsong




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