The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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apprentice's picture

As Mini O said last year, this is a nice easy little loaf. But "easy" belies how much I've learned from working with Tom Jaine's formula. This loaf did its job in teaching me about barley!

First, it taught me how tasty barley can be and what a shame it is that this wonderful grain has been overlooked through much of history and especially in recent years.

Next, it taught me how best to combine barley with other flours to get the volume we are keen on in this period of history. Jaine's addition of whole wheat flour was fine up to a point. But whole wheat itself often needs a little help to "rise to the occasion." I tried adding bread flour at first, then a little vital wheat gluten. But in the end, I didn't need the gluten. The chief answer was in discovering the right percentage of barley versus wheat, a tidbit I found in Andrew Whitley's Bread Matters.

Another discovery related to volume is that the amount of yeast in Jaine's formula led too easily (for me) to over-proofing. He's got it at 4.2% based on the weight of the flour -- not crazy-high for a straight dough in days gone by, but high for current tastes. And probably higher than necessary with my having increased the amount of wheat flour. I have a loaf shaped and rising right now with much less yeast, and it's behaving better than previous ones. In fact, the yeast in my last loaf went wild in the first 30 minutes after shaping, then had nothing left for oven spring. In fact, it fell a little.

My revised formula follows. New amount of instant yeast is equivalent to fresh at 2% of flour weight. Oven spring is happening! Pictures follow. Anyone who's interested in seeing Jaine's original recipe can check it out in P McCool's post here:

Barley Bread

227 grams (8 oz) water

28.35 grams (1 oz or 2 T) whipping cream

3 grams (0.1 oz or 3/4 tsp) instant yeast

136 grams (4.8 oz) stoneground whole wheat flour

102 grams (3.6 oz) whole barley flour

102 grams (3.6 oz) bread flour

6 grams (0.2 oz or 1 tsp) salt

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together including the yeast.

  2. Mix water with whipping cream. (Adjust temperature of water to produce a desired dough temperature of 76F. Over the past year, my water temp has varied from 42.4F to 67F to produce a dough at 76 degrees.)

  3. Add liquid ingredients to dry. Knead for approximately 8 minutes. Leave to rise in a greased bowl covered with greased plastic wrap. Proof in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size. Turn out on to a lightly floured work surface, gently degas, preshape round, cover and wait 5 minutes, then shape to form a simple loaf to fit a greased 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 3" loaf tin. (I like doing "buns'o'bread or pain fesses, as they're called in Quebec). Let rise until almost double in a warm place for 1 hour.

  4. Meanwhile preheat oven to 425 F. Steam is an option when ready to bake, as is a glaze made of a little egg white mixed with a spoonful of cold water. Bake for 25 minutes. Makes one loaf.

A final note: I tried toasting the barley flour in one recent bake. That produced a lovely aroma in my home but not much difference in the taste of the bread. I did note, however, a big increase in how fast the bread went stale. But made according to the formula above, this is a delightful little bread with a creamy crumb and a taste that goes well with most foods both sweet and savory. It's especially nice with apricot jam! :)

dmsnyder's picture

A couple days ago, I baked some baguettes with a new (to me) flour – Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour. The dough was much more elastic than I expected, and the baguettes had a thicker, crunchier crust and chewier crumb than expected from a flour that is supposedly 11.7% protein, the same as KAF AP flour. (The Nutritional Information on the BRM bag specifies 4 gms of protein in each 34 gm serving.)

The BRM flour acted more like a higher gluten flour than it's protein content would suggest. Now, the packaging does say it's made from hard red spring wheat. As Dan has been telling us, that's what bakers look for when they want the strongest flour. We've also heard that “protein content” is not the same as “gluten content,” and also there are differences in the “quality” of gluten in different wheats. Is that what I encountered?

I decided my next step had to be to make another bread with this flour, to be sure my baguette experience wasn't the result of something other than the flour. I wanted a recipe that I had made before and knew how the dough should be, and I wanted one that was meant to be chewy, unlike baguettes.

Today, I baked a couple loaves of Susan from San Diego's “Ultimate Sourdough.” Susan likes chewy bread, and her recipe calls for “High Gluten” flour. I used the BRM Organic Unbleached Flour, rather than the KAF Bread Flour or Sir Lancelot I had used for this bread before.

Again, the flour acted like a high-gluten flour. It absorbed more water than KAF Bread Flour. It made a very elastic dough that was dryer than usual – just barely tacky. I fermented the dough until doubled (7 hours) and formed two boules which were cold retarded overnight after proofing 45 minutes at room temperature.

This morning, I allowed the boules to warm up and proof for 3.5 hours to about 1.5X their original size before baking. I baked them on a pre-heated stone with steaming by pouring boiling water over lava rocks in a cast iron skillet. (Forgive me, Susan! No magic bowl.)


The result was indistinguishable in chewiness and flavor from the other loaves I've baked with this recipe. (And that is very good!) The crumb was okay but noticeably less open than usual.

My conclusion is that this flour, which has a protein content of 11.7% (by my calculation), acts like other flours I've used with 14+% protein. 

If anyone else has more information about this flour or personal experience using it, I'd love to hear about it.

I also wonder if anyone knows if "hard red spring wheat" usually has higher protein content than winter wheat, or is it's gluten content a greater percentage of the total protein, or is it of higher quality.


dmsnyder's picture

I'd have made a killing!

Six weeks ago, I blogged on my Sourdough Italian Bread. I made an offhand remark that "I am pretty sure this is the roll I would choose for a meatball sandwich, oozing mozzarella and dripping marinara sauce."

Well, I obviously stimulated lots of people's cravings. The past two weeks have seen a virtual meatball bombardment, here on TFL and even on SusanFNP's Wild Yeast Blog

I'm slow, but I finally got around to making meatball subs for dinner tonight. 

The rolls were made in the manner previously described, except I didn't coat them with sesame seeds. The meatballs were made using the recipe from Marcela Hazan's The Classic Italian Cookbook, except I used ground chicken thighs rather than beef, and I baked them rather than frying them.

Here are the meatballs after baking at 375/convection for 27 minutes:

After cooking in one can of chopped Italian tomatoes, they looked even better.

I also sautéed some Italian sweet peppers and sliced some fresh mozzarella. 

Mis en place

My wife wanted hers open-faced.

The sandwiches were assembled and run under the broiler until the cheese was melted and the bread slightly toasted.

Dinner's ready


  • Meatball sub with mozzarella and peppers.

  • Fresh corn, sautéed in olive oil with chopped red onion, dressed with lemon juice and lime juice.

  • Mixed cherry tomatoes.

  • Fresno State Barbera.

Better late than never. Way better!

By the way, as predicted, the rolls held up wonderfully well. No sogginess. No falling apart.



alliezk's picture


This morning after my spinning class I stopped by the local farmers market. While I was there I picked up some beautiful dark green zucchinis and immediately thought of the wonderful spicy taste of fresh zucchini bread. This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember - a family friend shared it with my mother ages ago. Hope you enjoy!

Zucchini Quick Bread
This Recipe will make two good sized loaves. I have often doubled the recipe to make four and find that the bread freezes well.

Preheat oven to 350.

3 Eggs
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
2 Cups (loosely packed, coarsely grated) Zucchini *
2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon All-spice
1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves

Optional - 1 Cup Chopped Nuts
* Do not peel! The color of the bread will vary depending on the color of the zucchini. The darker the zucchini, the darker the color of the bread. Personally, I prefer a darker loaf.

1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy.
2. Add the sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla. Beat the mixture until think and lemon colored.
3. Stir in the fresh zucchini.

 Green Mess

4. Sift together and add the flour, spices, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Generally, I tend to ignore the spice measurements and just dump them straight in. I love a strong spice flavor. When I make this bread, the dry ingredient mixture tends to be a light brown and very fragrant.
5. Add the sifted dry ingredients in two portions. Fold in the chopped nuts if desired.
6. Pour mixture into 2 oiled and floured loaf pans and bake for about one hour or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
7. Invert the pans onto a cooling rack and allow the loaves to gradually fall as they cool completely.

Finished =]

gcook17's picture

Trying to figure out what to do with starter discards is a common topic. But, what about pastry dough? I always end up with odd bits of tart dough or puff pastry that are left over from something I made. About a week ago my twelve-year-old niece, Carli, was visiting from Texas and, in addition to numerous loaves of bread, we made several tarts with pate sucree and puff pastry. After she left, the leftover dough pieces sat around in the fridge all week and needed to be used, frozen, or thrown away. This morning I cut out some puff pastry rounds with a cookie cutter and made some little turnovers filled with goat cheese and chives.  As you can see in the pictures they look more like blow-outs than turnovers.  They appear to be laughing at me...Oh well, I'll get even when I eat them.


I had a big set of tiny tart molds in various shapes but I gave those to Carli before she went back home to Texas because she had really gotten into making tarts, especially tiny ones. So, what do you do with small pieces of tart dough when your little molds are gone. Well a brioche mold looks a lot like a tart mold.  Also, a tiny tart needs pretty small fruit so I threw some frozen blueberries onto the almond and pastry cream filling and there you have it.

Shiao-Ping's picture

I found a small piece of Paris in Brisbane this morning.  Today is Saturday and a usual sports day for our household.  After dropping my daughter at hockey and my son at soccer, I gave myself a treat - I went to Chouquette Boulangerie Patisserie for coffee and ... whatever I could find there this morning.  It was a year ago when it has just been open that I last went there ... on the recommendation of my gay friend, the seamster.  He has not been well, and I have not been able to see him.   

The pretty girl at the counter greeted me bonjour!   I didn't know what to respond.   She told me their Baguette Traditionelle and Rustique are sourdoughs (spiked with just 0.2% of yeast).  I bought one each of those, and a Fougasse aux olive.  At A$3.80 (US$3.20), A$4.00 (US$3.30), and A$4.50 (US$3.75) per piece, respectively, they are a good deal.    


                   Baguette Traditionelle and Fougasse aux olive from Chouquette Boulangerie Patisserie, Brisbane    


                                             Rustique from Chouquette Boulangerie Patisserie, Brisbane 

Both the baguette and fougasse have light texture and flavourful crumbs.  With the Parisian music in the background, munching on my baguette and gazing at the sunny spot just in front of me, I was thinking all that I need is a lovely flowering tree to make this scene perfect.  I picked up a book from their bookshelf, Pains de Campagne by Gerard Alle and Gilles Pouliquen , and when I saw this picture I decided I would blog it:  

Georges Cario, Renac, France (page 103 of the above book)     

David, the man's bread (the cut one on the right) looks like 5 times the size of your Miche, Pointe-a-Calliere (or, to put it another way, your Miche, Pointe-a-Calliere is a mini version of his!).   And, check out these giant loaves from the village bakers (I love it!):



                                     page 51 of the above book    

and these worn baskets:  


                  How do you get these holes?  


I once threw away my husband's 15-year old straw hat, full of holes; and he wouldn't talk to me for a week.  I said what's the big deal; it's so worn out and torn.   He said that's precisely it - it takes years and years for a hat to be torn like that!  

He picked up our son from soccer, his last game of the season.  They won today's game 3-1.  With today' win, they won the premiership, and he is a happy Vegemite.  

I collected our daughter.  Her team won 2-0, but she said she played poorly (too much on her mind - the burden of senior year before university!).   I told her about Chouquette Boulangerie Patisserie and that all their bakers are from Paris and so are the girls serving at the counter.  One of the girls even told me that her husband, a baker there, came here last October (and so did she) on a two year contract.   So, there you go.

I said to my daughter the girl said bonjour to me, and I didn't know what to say.  She said, you say bonjour back, or Bonne Matin!  

So, Bonjour to you all!  



p.s.  The boys had a steak sandwich each at the soccer match but were still hungry when they got home.  My son had the leftover fougasse dipped in olive oil and my husband wanted a sandwich of some sort.  I sliced open the Baguette Traditionelle, pretty handsome looking crumbs:  


I had no cold meats in the house, so I made him a salad sandwich with pesto sauce:  


All are happy.

SylviaH's picture

Ciabatta rolls using Flo Makanai 1-2-3 formula.  The hydration was so wet when I mixed the formula using King Arthur bread flour.  I though it best to try making some Ciabatta rolls.  I pre-heated the oven and stones at 485 and baked under a foil cover for 10 min. uncovered and continued till nicely browned.  The rolls were a little warm when sliced to have with our dinner husband said they had a delicious flavor...usually he says very little.  They were very tasty.  I mixed the dough and did stretch and folds with my hand.  I also posted these in Flo Blog where she gives the 1-2-3 formula instructions.


A nice way to use up that left over starter!




jleung's picture

Baked red bean buns

and this is how I like my red beans :)

Molecular biologists love genes, and how different gene products interact with each together to generate many of the complex biological processes that keep our body in one piece (or in the case of disease, how all of this falls apart). Why does someone behave in a particular way? It's because of his or her genetic makeup, some say. Others say there is an equal influence from the environment, or what the individual is exposed to.

I'd like to argue that this is particularly true with first impressions. As a young child in Hong Kong, there were certain smells and sights and sounds that flooded my senses: the freshly steamed rice noodles drizzled with soy sauce, peanut sauce, hoisin sauce and lightly toasted sesame seeds wrapped in paper from the street vendors, the dazzling array of colours from the fruit and vegetable stalls, the constant buzzing and honking from people riding bicycles, buses or taxis, and of course, the aroma of just-baked buns and loaves, wafting from the bakeries.

I'm going to paint in broad strokes and say that Hong Kong bakery-style buns are, in general, very different from those that you can find in European bakeries. True, both place an emphasis on texture and flavour and shaping, but with Hong Kong style buns you're looking for more pillowy-soft crust and crumb, often flavoured with additional ingredients like coconut or sweetened pastes or cubed ham and shaped into individual serving buns.

While I have been on a preferment/sourdough, blistering crust, multigrain kick lately, Shiao-Ping's recent TFL post on Chinese Po-Lo Buns (Pineapple Buns, or 菠蘿飽) evoked memories of these buns that I love so dearly. Some impressions just die hard.

These baked red bean buns (焗豆沙飽) are for those who love Hong Kong bakery-style breads, and for those who sometimes complain that my loaves of bread are "too crackly and crusty." ("How come they don't taste softer, like cake?")

Baked Red Bean Buns

- basic sweet dough, like this one, this one or this one
- lightly sweetened red bean paste (I used canned, ready-to-use paste but you can certainly make your own)
- egg wash: 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- sesame seeds, optional

After bulk fermentation of the dough, I divided it into eight portions of ~45g each, and shaped them based on a great photo tutorial posted by hidehide here.

Final proof: ~30-40 min.

Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 17-20 min. until golden brown.


Full post here.

hamptonbaker's picture


Recently, I purchased plastic bannetons for producing boules. I have tried to spray and then flour them and just flour them. Currently, I am using them to make Pain au levain, using Calvel's formula out of the Taste of Bread. Anyway this dough seems very sticky, I like the bread and don't want to change my method of a secondary fermentation time of three hours; However, I can't get the dough to fall out of the basket. It absorbs all the flour and won't fall out without destroying the shape, is there a trick to this? I really don't want cornmeal on the top of my bread so what to do?

Shiao-Ping's picture

Lang Lang was on the radio this morning (his piano, not his presence).  The English lady, Emma Ayres, hosts a fine, fine classic FM radio show, Teas on Toast, on ABC Radio.  She played Lang Lang's Haydn sonata in Carnegie Hall, 2003.   Lang Lang, 27, is the pride of modern day Mainland Chinese.   His reputation spread so rapidly that a Chinese-language biography appeared before his 17th birthday.  I have no business joining the band wagon in praising him.   But I can feel his sensibility through his fingers (the fastest fingers in the whole of China, his fans will have you believe).   

He comes from Sheng-Yang in the far north of China.  Whenever I think of northern China, I think of the noodles they have and the hot steam buns they have.   They always say that the north has wheat and the men grow tall up there (and ride horses!); and the south has rice.   My father comes from the border line between the north and the south in Mainland China, so we ate both noodles and rice at home when I was growing up.   My father's favourite Sunday lunch was noodles with the best quality soy sauce one could find.   Can you imagine fresh pasta with the best quality olive oil you can find; it is like that.   Plain, with nothing else on, the flavour of flour comes "shining through" (to borrow James MacGuire's words) in freshly boiled noodles.  

We kids didn't appreciate that.   

So, on the way driving home from dropping the kids to school this morning, I thought to myself - Lang Lang, I am going to do a steam bun today, my version.   You watch.   




  1. Roll the dough (formula below) out to about 1/2 to 1 cm thickness.  Sprinkle some olive oil and salt on top (a couple of drops of sesame oil would be GRAND), spreading it evenly, and

  2. Sprinkle the chopped shallots. 

  3. Fold 1/3 of the dough to the center, then the other 1/3 to the center like folding a letter (the dough now has 3 layers).  Slice the dough one inch width apart.  

  4. Place two pieces on top of each other (ie, six layers in total).

  5. With the help of two chopsticks, press the dough down to the bottom to make indentations.  

  6. Slide the chopsticks underneath the dough, lift the dough up, then twist the dough    

I made some smaller ones with just three layers too:  



My formula: this is just any white bread dough; it should pass windowpane test;  let it rest for 3o minutes up to an hour before rolling it out as above.  

  • 300 g white flour

  • 168 g water

  • 24 g olive oil

  • 10 g sugar

  • 6 g salt

  • 3 g instant dry yeast (the reason for this is because this is meant to be a quick rising dough)

  • a big bunch of shallots, chopped up

  • some olive oil (and sesame oil if you wish)

  • some more salt  


                                                               dough resting after shaping  

Let this rest for 3o minutes up to an hour again.   Bring a big pot of water to boil; THEN, place the steamer on top of the boiling water.  The dough will expand rapidly in steaming temperature.  After 5 minutes, turn the heat down to medium.  Boil another 7 minutes.  Total steaming time 12 minutes.   And there we have it:  



                                                       Chinese Shallots Steam Buns  


I can imagine diners in a northern Chinese tea parlour very happily ordering these shallots steam buns for their Sunday brunch, followed by a pot of tea over some gossip.   




p.s.  Lang, the first word of his full name, is his family name, which is not a common one among Chinese.  Lang, the second word of his name, is a completely different Chinese character which pronounces the same as the first character.   His name reads very poetic to a Chinese literary mind.  Many Mainland Chinese names today still retain that poetic-ness about them, whereas the names of Chinese from other parts of the world, especially, those from Taiwan, are as ... oh what should I say...; girls' names denoting beauty, virtue, chastity, etc, and boys' names effecting courage, loyalty, righteousness, and the like, are very common; and for both girls and boys, wealth and fortunes are a forever welcome theme for names.          


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