The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


txfarmer's picture

I was up at 3:30 to bake sourdough pannetones last night, thanks to my starter that has a mind of its own and dislike preset schedules. It was a sucessful bake, the breads are being hung upside down at home as I type, will take pictures and post about my yearly sourdough holiday bread "torture" in a few days. In the mean time...


I had about 600g+ brioche dough leftover from my Tartine Kugelhopf (or Gugelhupf as Mini prefers :P), defrosed overnight (it had been frozen for about a week) and made two recipes from it. The first one is based on this recipe, with different dough obviously. I didn't retard the proof either, just proofed the shaped dough at room temp for about 2 hours. Used 450g of dough (in 12 pieces) for a 9inch pie pan. Gooey and delicious, butter and sugar melted and coated the pecan pieces, turning them into "candied pecans". Combined with "soft-beyond-belief" brioche dough, it was perfect for the brunch I was hosting.

Still got about 200g of dough left, and I made tarts with some FuYu persimmon I had on hand. The presentation was based on Wildyeast's post here. Each 4inch tart pan took about 80g of dough. Very delicate flavors, perfect for a light dessert or snack.


I am in love with shooting pictures in natural light!

---------------- Other holiday baking ---------------------

Over the past months also, I have been baking up a storm, most of these are for gifts, but I did sample plenty to make sure they are good!


German Springerle, took me quite a few tries to get right.

The molds are about "Twelve Days of Christmas", adds another dimension of fun!

Scotch shortbreads, made with cake flour + rice flour, velvety smooth and crumbly.

Chocolate version, dipped in chocolate ganache, just in case there's not enough chocoalte or calorie!

Chocolate cookie with peanut butter "surprise" center, recipe here

Another peanut butter cookie with PB chips and choc chips, recipe here


Submitting to Yeastspotting.

breadsong's picture

Hello, I made a big batch of Sourdough with Liquid Levain from Advanced Bread and Pastry, adding about 23% dried cranberries and homemade candied organic orange peel. I had tried to make a similar bread earlier this month, and wanted to try again, to give as gifts - thought friends and family might like this bread for making turkey sandwiches next Sunday! Will be freezing these in the meantime.
Here are the pictures, first, the dough (about 4750 g after the fruits were added), and then the bake,
2 x 1000g, 5 x 350g, and 4 x 250g):

(Took Larry's advice, and cut into this is good stuff!)

With thanks to dmsnyder for posting notes from his recent class at SFBI - based on that instruction, I held back the levain until after autolyse, as I wanted the dough to do as much of the work as possible developing gluten. I mixed by hand, folding the dough in the bowl for a bit then moved it to the counter to finish mixing. It was a good workout.

Happy holidays everyone! from breadsong

sergio83's picture

since we're having a lovely cold winter here in florida in spite of la ninia i've started baking again. i've just got done with my second baguette and the thirds in the fridge-- the first one stuck to the pan i was using to shift it into the oven but it was still tasty. this last one stuck to the couche because i'm trying to be a bit more conservative with adding flour since i think my loaves have been too dusty. i may not be able to post pics since my cameras giving me grief, but when i took this one out, well, after i took it out it was crackling so loudly i could hear it at the other end of the kitchen! ... hmmm, let's see what that meant...


apparently not very much, at least at the ends... hmmm, needs salt...

dstroy's picture

Stumbled across this link today and thought you guys might enjoy it:


Let It Dough! <-- Creation according to Dough


Admit're all going to be playing a bit the next time you're in the kitchen, aren't you ;)

GSnyde's picture

Not a lot to report this weekend.  The highlight was the Saturday morning bread handoff from David.  We adopted a dozen or so wayward loaves from his SFBI adventure: a baguette, an Italian bread in baguette shape (Stirato?), an olive bread, a raisin walnut bread, a couronne, several airy decorative loaves, and--best of all--a miche.  Here's the haul, minus the five loaves already in the freezer.


We haven't tasted all of them.  We've been concentrating on  the miche--it was perfect for chicken sandwiches.  We did make wonderful french toast with part of the couronne--seemed a shame to "waste" such a gorgeous thing, but it was an embarassment of riches.

Anyway, I couldn't bring myself to bake bread this weekend, but I had to bake something.  So I tried Breadsong's wonderful lemon turnover recipe (, which had been high on my list since she posted it.  I am no pastry baker, but it came out pretty well.  Her instructions were good.  The dough was indeed very flaky and delicious.  I didn't know what filling to use, and I chose badly.  I used a lemon pie filling and it was too liquid, and leaked a lot.  It probably also kept the bottoms from getting as done as they should have been.

But I can't complain.  They are yummy.



Next week, I'll be on vacation and baking lots of old favorites and new experiments.


SylviaH's picture

For the family dinner tonight at my daughters home.  I was asked to bring velvet cupcakes.  I've never made a red velvet cake so I decided this morning to add a Yule Log, this is a first also, as you can probably tell a lot of last minute baking on my part.  It has been a very busy week.  My family 'not including myself and husband' are leaving to spend Christmas in Hawaii in a few days.  So we planned some holiday celebration early.  They are very much into red velvet cake lately...I didn't want to make cupcakes so make cakes.  Hopefully they all taste ok...everything is from scratch...lots of heavy cream, eggs, chocolate, cream cheese, not to much sugar, plenty of red food color ;)! 

 They adopted a new shelter rescue, a tiny little pom-chihuahua is on medication for kennel cough and has been doing very good, and is as all the animals extremely pampered!  So grandma 'me' is in charge of her till they return home.  They also have six other dogs, horses, birds, goats and chickens...but I'm just watching the pup...I have 3 dogs of my own.

So here's dessert!  Ready to go!




                                         Happy Baking, Happy Eating, Happy Holidays!



hansjoakim's picture

Hi all,

It's been a while since my last blog post, but that doesn't mean I haven't been baking. It's mostly been variations on my favourite recipes, however, so I have not bothered blogging about them. Over the weeks, I've baked my favourite pain au levain at different hydrations and with different flour combinations. I've found that I prefer a 80% bread flour: 12.5% whole rye flour: 7.5% whole-wheat flour combination (similar to my original formulation, from way back), mixed to a hydration of approx. 76%. I've previously used 70% as base hydration, but noticed over the time that the dough could use more water. At 76%, the dough is wetter and slacker, but still not very difficult to work. Below are two snaps of the a loaf that I baked yesterday:

Pain au levain @ 76

... and crumb:

Pain au levain @ 76 crumb


There are few things I enjoy more than working in the kitchen. Each December, I reserve time during weekends for some traditional Norwegian Christmas cooking. One such meal, is the (in)famous lutefisk, a dish based around stockfish. The stockfish is first soaked in cold water for five days. Afterwards, it's soaked in a solution of water and lye for a day or two. This soaking gives the fish a squishy, jelly-like mouthfeel. After the lye treatment, the fish is soaked in water another five days before it's turned into a real meal. Often served with potatoes, various pea stews, mustard, bacon, flatbreads and liberal servings of Aquavit, a strong liquor flavoured with herbs and spices. The homecook usually buys lutefisk that's already gone through the various soaking stages. I've not come around to making a lutefisk meal so far this year, but there's still time left.

This weekend I prepared another traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner, the also (in)famous smalahove. This is a dish made from salted, smoked and dried sheep's head, and hails originally from the area around Voss, in western Norway. It was originally something poor peasants ate, and has for a long time been something reserved for die-hard enthusiasts. The dish has gone through something of a reneissance/revival over the last couple of years, and is now quickly becoming a trendy thing to eat before Christmas eve. In the western Norwegian dialect, "Smalahove" is the word for "sheep's head". It's not something you can easily find most parts of the year, but the heads usually turn up in well-stocked grocery stores sometime in late November. The heads are usually split in half and sold vacuum-packed.

Preparation of smalahove is very simple: Place your sheep heads in a large pot, cover with water and boil for a few minutes. This step removes some of the intense salty, smoked flavour. (Alternatively you can soak heads in water overnight instead, but that can quickly draw too much salt out of the heads.) Pour out the water, refill the pot with new water, and put some vegetables and herbs in with the sheep heads. I used a leek, some carrots, shallots, garlic cloves and thyme (the garlic and thyme are decidedly un-traditional, but I have some Francophile tendencies...):


Bring the water to a boil, and let simmer between 2 and 3 hours, until the meat on the heads are tender and comes off easily. Serve with freshly boiled potatoes and rutabaga stew. The traditional Aquavit drink is required to enjoy smalahove:


The dish is really delicious and quite unlike any other parts of the sheep that I've tasted. One usually starts eating near the ear-region of the head, where there is most fat. You want to eat this part while it's still smoking hot. Then gradually work your way down the jaw bone. Some 45 minutes later:


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

If you've been following this series of posts, you might be wondering, "what happened to week 11?" Well, last Saturday my mother in law invited us over for a Chrismas cookie baking day.  I was distressed at the notion of missing my regular baguette bake, and foolishly decided to mix the dough at home, then bring the dough with me and bake it at my in-laws.  Long story short, it did not go well.  Moving on.

This week brought three changes to my baguette routine.  First and most importantly, I switched by to KAF Bread Flour from the Stone-Buhr flour I had been using.  Partly this was because I ran out of Stone-Buhr, and my local stores have stopped stocking it.  But I think the flour is to blame for the sub-par results I've been getting.  Last week I was looking through my past blog posts, and was struck by the stark difference between, say Week 4, or Week 6, and more recent bakes.  Ever since I started using the Stone-Buhr flour (Week 8, if you're keeping track), my crumb has been underwhelming, flavor has oven been lacking, and I've struggled to get the baguettes to color sufficiently, even as the bottoms reliably burnt.  Not that I was hitting all those points every time with the KA flour, but I was getting much closer.

I also tried two suggestions from comments from last week:  I used Ciril Hitz's rolling technique for final shaping (thanks to Daisy_A for the pointer), and tried leaving my steam pans in for 13 minutes instead of 10 (thanks to realcasual for the suggestion).

Results: Exterior


Results: Crumb


I was really quite pleased with these baguettes.  I didn't quite get the hang of Hitz's rolling method, although I might with more practice.  As a result, the baguettes were a little lacking surface tension, baking up somewhat flat and resisting slashing.  Despite that, the crumb was decently open, and the flavor was good.  The crust was simply fantastic.  Crisp, thin, flavorful just enough chew to hold together--perfect.

Next week (well, next time--between Christmas and New Years I may end up taking a couple weeks off of Saturday baguettes), I'm going to try the Hamelman "over the thumb" shaping method again with the King Arthur Bread Flour side-by-side with the Hitz method, see which I like better.

Happy baking everyone,


MickiColl's picture

this is (finally) the recipe that appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser sometime in the early 70's

for sure it's nothing that is sold in the stores as "Hawaiian Sweet Bread"


MickiColl's picture

I've been trying for 2 hours to load the Portugese Sweet Bread recipe that was in the Honolulu Advdertiser sometime in the early 70's and it keeps kicking me out saying the file is too big. I have downsized it to 580 x 760 and it still won't load

can anyone help me ? lshould I use the "thumbnail" setting ? I am, to say the least, frustrated to the max




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