The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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korish's picture

Semolina sourdough baked in my wood burning oven.


This is my first bread ever so I'm proud of my achievement, beginning of this year I set out on a new adventure of bread baking in wood burning oven. About a month ago I completed my wood oven and 3 weeks ago started my starter going. Yesterday was the glories day of baking, the bread turned out OK had a great pop in the oven and tastes great. Had it with dinner yesterday, made French toast today and enjoying a slice of bread and honey with my tea.

ChrisH's picture

Well, it's been a while since I've gotten on here, and I've had plenty of time to mess up my kitchen with my experiments and ideas. For the holidays, however, I made something everyone likes: Pumpkin Bread and Triple Chocolate Fudge Cookies.


I've done the cookies before, but this was my first time doing pumpkin bread, but it still turned out FANTASTIC. It was tastey in a spice way, warm, just a little bit crispy on the outside, and a little moist on the inside.

pumpkin bread miniloafs and regular loaf

I have a pan which makes 8 mini bread loafs and a small sized loaf pan I used to make these. The iciing is a store-bought white icing.


For holiday desert, I also baked a double-dozen batch of triple chocolate and fudge chunk cookies, which were a pain while I figured out how to inorporate everything in amounts decent to keep them as cookies and not chocoltae lumps and leave them nice and thick with chocolate.

Chocolate and more chocolate


All in all, it was a very tastey Christmas!

Floydm's picture

I found a copy of January/February issue of Saveur today, the one that includes TFL in the 2010 Saveur 100.

TFL gets better exposure than "Cantonese Roast Meats" or "Harumi Kurihara," less than the "Tuna Melt" or "Pyrex Glass Measuring Cups."  I can't complain.

Let me also put out a reminder to Americans that we have one final day to make contributions to charities if we want to be able to take the tax deductions in 2009.  TFL members have been extraordinarily generous when we've done fundraising in the past, and, as The Chronicle of Philathropy reports, this year charities are having a very tough time raising funds.  The needs both domestically and abroad are greater than ever and even small gifts can have a significant impact, so if you can afford to help, please do.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve.  See you in 2010!

ananda's picture


This is my first ever attempt at a blog.   I have been a member of the Fresh Loaf just over a couple of weeks; that's all.

By way of introduction, I am from the UK, and I lecture in Bakery in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North of England.   I have industrial experience as a craft and artisan baker going back to 1987.   I gained distinction in my bakery qualifications in 2005, and then went on to gain full teaching qualifications as well.   Currently I am studying for a Masters Degree in Food Policy.

I planned to post a series of blogs using content and materials I share with my students in college.   I have tried to pick recipes which will be of interest; if anyone has a particular request, please let me know.

First  Product is......  


[Plaited Festive Bread]










Strong White Bread Flour




Water @ 38°C




Fresh Yeast




















Strong White Bread Flour




Milk Powder
































Oven profile: bake in the deck oven at 175°C, top heat 6, bottom heat 5 for 28 minutes.   No steam, draw the damper for the last 5 minutes 


  • Whisk all the ingredients for the ferment together in a steel bowl.
  • Cover with cling film and set in a warm place for half an hour.
  • Mix all the ingredients, together with the ferment, in an upright machine with a hook; 2 minutes on first speed, then scrape down; 6 minutes on 3rd speed. A spiral mixer is a good alternative.
  • Rest, covered, for 15 minutes, then scale into 970g pieces and divide each into 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 equal sized pieces, depending on the number of strands in your plait. Try to avoid using any flour on the bench during this and subsequent stages.
  • Mould round, cover and rest 5 minutes.
  • Line trays with silicone paper. Roll out strands to 9" and plait according to instructions.
  • Double brush with beaten egg. Top with poppy seeds. Set to prove.
  • Prove 50 - 60 minutes at 35 - 40°C, 85%rH.
  • Bake as oven profile.
  • Cool on wires.


This is a video demonstration I used with my students to assemble an 8 strand plait:


hansjoakim's picture

Some dough this week, but no loaves!

I wanted to indulge in something special, and found a delicious recipe for salmon en croute in a cookbook. The recipe called for shortdough, but I wanted to pack the fish in puff pastry instead. I didn't have any leftover puff in the freezer, so I had to get an early start and haul out the rolling pin. I tend to opt for five single turns whenever I make puff; two single folds back to back immediately after enclosing the butter block. The dough is then chilled approx. 45 mins., before a series of three single folds is given. I usually give the dough 45 mins. resting time between folds, perhaps up to an hour before the final fold. Below I'm in the middle of the fifth fold, giving the dough a brief rest before finishing.

Rolling puff pastry

And below's the completed puff (*phew!!*), right after the fifth fold. I try to keep a 1cm thickness of the rolled out dough during lamination.

Completed puff pastry


Some hours later (giving the pastry a chance to relax), I roll 400 gr. puff pastry into a rectangle, 3mm thick. Two salmon filets, sandwiched with herb butter and coarse mustard, are placed smack centre:

Salmon on puff pastry

...and the dough is folded around the fish. Get the seams underneath, then chill briefly to relax the pastry:

Salmon en croute


The package is baked for approx. 30 mins. at 200dC. I enjoyed the salmon with broccoli and herbed potatoes:

Salmon en croute

Absolutely delicious...!!

liza2's picture

This was my third attempt at this bread and my best result.

I again followed Susan's recipe exactly, except I used a 100% hydration starter rather than a firm one. I used 300 grams of Pam's flour (New Zealand - 11.0% protein). I followed Eric's recommendation to lightly slash once across the top of the bread. Instead of using scissors I used my newly sharpened knife. I think that was good advice about the slashing; thanks Eric.

I retarded the loaf in the fridge for 8 hours. After taking it out of the fridge I let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour and 45 minutes. I baked the loaf for 40 minutes at 190 degrees celsius (fan bake). I used two cookie sheets - one pre-heated in the oven and then the second one with the loaf on it on top of the pre-heated one. I followed Susan's advice and covered the loaf with a pyrex bowl for the first 20 minutes. The oven spring was very good this time.

I was very pleased with the way this loaf turned out. The crust was crispy and slightly blistered. Once again the texture was light, springy and spongy and the flavour was very good with a slightly sour after-taste.


ericb's picture

Pain Rustique with Whole Wheat

The inspiration for this formula derives from Hamelman's Pain Rustique, which is a high hydration dough made with a commercial yeast poolish. The crumb is very open and moist, much like a ciabatta, perfect for dipping in olive oil.

I had some neglected starter in the fridge which I decided to use in place of the yeast in the poolish. I suspected that it wasn't strong enough to raise an entire loaf, but I knew it would add a little extra flavor. Also, I used whole wheat flour in the poolish. I think this lends a mild sourness without covering up other flavors. This is especially true in bread made primarily with white flour.

The end result was as you would expect from a high hydration dough: open crumb, soft crust, and almost-buttery overtones. It was very much like a no-knead loaf, or Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne.

Bread Flour 21 ounces 84%  
WW Flour 4 ounces 16%  
Water 17 ounces 68%  
Salt 0.5 ounces 2%  
Yeast 0.35 ounces 1% (2.7 tsp)
Total 42.85   171%  
WW Flour 4 ounces 100%  
Water 4 ounces 100%  
Starter 1 ounces 25%  
  9   225%  
Bread Flour 21 ounces    
starter 9 ounces    
Water 13 ounces    
Salt 0.5 ounces    
Yeast 0.35 ounces    



1. Mix poolish and ferment in a warm place for 8-12 hours. Should be bubbly.

2. Autolyse: Mix poolish, flour, and water, let rest for 20 minutes.

3. Mix final dough: add salt and yeast, mix well until gluten strands form. I did a few impromptu "slap and folds" in the mixing bowl. This requires wet hands.

4. Primary Fermentation: 70 minutes. Fold at 25 and 50 minutes.

5. Turn out dough onto well floured bench. Cut in half and shape loosely. I make boules, but you could also just leave the dough as rectangles.

6.a Preheat over to 500F.

6b. Proof: Let dough rest for 20 minutes. I placed my floured-side down (seam side up) on a proofing towel, and covered with mixing bowls to prevent drying out.

7. Carefully turn dough onto parchment paper, seam side down. Score with a simple square or single cut.

8. Slide into oven, steam, and turn oven to 460. Bake for 15 minutes. Open oven to let out steam, bake for another 15-20.

HunterS's picture

Greetings Freshloafers. . . 


I've been lurking on this site for way too long without making a post and for the first time I took a pictures of a bake I had this past weekend!  The loafs are 10% whole rye 10% whole wheat 80% general mills gold medal bread flour.  There were all leavened with a 100% hydration sourdough starter made with bread flour.  This is the first time I used white rice flour to dust my bannetons/baskets and I it worked wonderfully, no sticking at all after proofing overnight!


 I proofed the loafs overnight at approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours and used cornmeal for dusting the peal.  I am lucky enough to have family members that have a 50+ year-old Baker's Pride stone lined pizza oven in the their kitchen which I cranked up to 500-600 degrees to bake the loafs:

Oven closed

The Oven takes about 3 hours to get fully heated and can get as hot as 800 degrees. . . great for pizzas! 

Oven inside

Since it is a pizza oven it only has a height of about 12" so no huge loafs. . .   In order to create steam I placed a tin bowl filled with river stones in to which I poured into after the loafs were loaded.  I was also sure to bake all four loafs off at the same time since a full oven produces its own steam.

unbaked loafs

Two of loafs were proofed in cheap 1 dollar baskets:

and two were proofed in nice willow bannetons.  The dough was made using only one build.  I mixed all the ingredients in a 20 quart hobart mixer on speed 2 until the dough was ready then I let the dough rest for a few hours folding it every hour or so.  I used 2 lbs of dough in the cheap baskets and 1.5lb in the nice willow bannetons.  I forget to mention that I added some soaked wheat berries into the mix as well to give the crumb some texture.  Before presenting you with the next pictures let me explain that I have never had the opportunity to bake directly on stone in a very hot oven and therefore was not prepared for the crazy awesome oven bloom I got on my loafs!  I only put very smalls cuts into the loaf which led to this:

This loaf was the most affected by the heavy oven bloom.  


In case you are wondering I baked them this dark because I like my bread that way.  

Here are the rest:

circle cut FAIL haha

Super bloom!  Next time I will make deeper cuts. . .

Oh yes. . . 

I learned from this bake that baking good bread is most affected by the oven you are baking in then anything else in my opinion.  It is hard to beat baking a wood fired stone oven or even a vintage stone lined pizza oven like the one that was used in this bake.  Also cheap dollars baskets work just as well as imported german willow bannetons. . . . I forgot to take a picture of the crumb but it was very nice! Maybe I will add it later.




moxiemolly's picture

Day 3

I started with a poolish last night and today made another batch of KAF baguettes in boule form. I spent the morning reading blogs and watching videos on TFL and learned a lot. This time I headed some advise earned from my last blog and kept the dough very wet, handled it very gently, folded and stretched the dough every 45 min or so during the first rise and added steam to my oven. What a difference! They are tender, crusty and chewy all at the same time! Thank you to every one for the advise, I feel like I am well on my way already thanks to this site. Next up, eight hour exam tomorrow, baguettes on Wednesday!

The dough, autolysing:


The Loaves, Singing:


The wonderful,chewy crumb:

txfarmer's picture

Boy, my oven and I have been busy this holiday.


Firstly, the wreath bread. The dough formula is based on Wild Yeast's cranberry fennel bread here: ,but I used cranberries and pistachio instead for the festive color.

Crunchy crust and a crumb that's full of cranberries and pistachio, yum!


Pumpkin brioche apple tart. The dough formula is from Sherry Yards' "Secret of Baking", the tart concept is from Wild yeast again (

The dough is VERY soft and yummy, rich enough, but not overboard(butter ratio is about 28%). Perfect with the apple, pumpkin seeds filling. I used some fresh cranberries for added tartness. I had leftover dough and made other fun shapes as well.

Babka from Maggie Glezer's "A Blessing of Bread"

Fun shaping method:

Pretty looking and the chocolate filling is very good, if a little too sweet for my family

A rum chestnut pie with some very yummy ingredients: candied chestnuts, chestnut puree, chestnut cream, marscarpone and heavy cream topping with real villina beans... (loosely based on this recipe:

Also made a bunch of cookies to give out as gifts:

Rugelach (VERY loosely based on this recipe:

Linzer cookies (recipe from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: from my home to yours")

Candy cane cookies

Pumpkin oatmeal cookies

Espresso spritz cookies dipped in white chocolate and pistachio (from Carole Walter's "Great Cookies")


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