The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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xaipete's picture

Hi to everybody. I've missed not being on this forum over the past few months. My husband was diagnosed with early Parkinson's disease mid-August and that really threw us for a loop. I've had MS for 40 years and although I am very active and strong in many ways, I can't walk very fast any more. Anyway, we've had to make a lot of decisions about whether to stay where we are or move, plan for the future, get educated on his disease, etc. I just felt too distracted to continue participating.

Plus I think I literally wore my oven out testing for PR's new book. I finally got a new oven installed last month.

Anyway, we're over the shock and awe of our situation now, and I have an oven again, so I'm looking forward to participating again in this forum.

I haven't made any bread since mid-August. I hope my SD starter can be revived.


yozzause's picture

Recently there have been some postings about wine bread with some interesting colours coming from the inclusion of red wine. And who could forget Shiao-Pings Praline Almond bread. 

Well i decided to have a go with the inclusion of Beetroot on 2 counts first it makes an excellent  BEETROOT & CHOCOLATE pudding which is a lovely and moist. The 2nd being the vivid colour.

The duty chef was keen to give the idea a run so we produced dinner rolls for the evening restaurant crowd

The dinner rolls are pictured above and show a vivid outside colour but the inside was an orange tint which interested me some what.

I decided to make a Beetroot sour dough, i have been maintaining a sour dough culture here at the college for over 6 months now so it was a good reason to try it at home as i had beetroots left over.

The total flour was 500g, 400 being white and 100 wholemeal (ran out of white)

over night ferment featured 250g of the flour  100g of grated beetroot and and all the water 250ml and 50g of the sour dough starter , i kept this low as i wanted it to take the night to ferment.

I started it at 5.00pm see the pretty mix in the bowl, 12 hours later 5.00am i made up my dough adding the other 250g flour and 10g salt and 50g of oil and made a dough on the bench by hand.

The dough came to work and bulk fermented till about 9.30am  when i added 100g of pistacchios and divided and handed up into 2 boules .

1 of my colleagues took a pic with his mobile phone (hence poor quality) but what a lovelly colour!

After a further 3 hours i turned the boules  out onto a sheet and baked in the deck oven. The crust colour had changed somewhat  and lo an behold when i cut into the loaf, some one had pinched the colour or changed it just like a CHAMELEON.

My taste team all had some with only one person describing the sour as too much for their liking but i already knew that would be their viewpoint. but for me superb taste.

I would have like to have tried some as toast but alas with a large taste team it didn't see the next day. i wll be trying a larger batch soon. 

ehanner's picture

This is the first recipe I baked from my new copy of Dan Lepard's "The Handmade Loaf". The book is beautifully illustrated and has breads from all over Europe that are unique and well described. The official name of this bread doesn't do justice to the ingredients list. Lurking in the list are 100g of olives and olive oil that help make the dough smooth and delicious. I thought the final dough was a touch dry, so I added a couple Tablespoons additional water. In the end I might have added a little to much but it was quite a nice dough by the time I got to the stretch and fold part.  The method calls for final shaping on a baking sheet coated with oil. I used parchment with a small amount of oil rubbed in. Dan calls for semolina or corn meal to be sprinkled on the top. That gives the bread a nice texture on the surface.

I baked this at 420F for 30 minutes and then lowered the heat to 390F when I turned the loaf for color. It was browning nicely at that point. My finished bread is quite a bit darker than the one in the book and the profile isn't as flat as shown. I did dimple the top with my fingers just before loading but I was taking care not to deflate the dough. Still, you can see by the pre-bake image, it did spring nicely.

The flavor is delicious. I would say the predominate taste is from the olives but I can taste the Thyme in the background. The Thyme may improve with time if it lasts that long. This is a keeper and I know will be a hit with the family.

This is the second bread from Mr. Lepard I have baked that tastes unique and better than the ingredients would lead you to expect. I think I am going to enjoy exploring here.


audra36274's picture

If anyone remembers, I intended to make a Spooky Gingerbread House to go on top of a cake for our Halloween party. Well, I got carried away and it won't fit. Who cares, the kids like it. I know it shows up a little over the top in the photos, but in person it does not. Don't know why.... Oh well, Happy Halloween Ya'll!

breadinquito's picture

Hi to every reader of the site, I found out that I 'm member of the site from 33 weeks and, inspite of it, I never, really introduced myself: Paolo, born in Italy (near Torino) 44 years ago but living the last 21 years in Quito (Ecuador), married with a dentist, father of three good kids, I run a small hotel (our hotel) and started to bake bread about 6 or 7 years ago but during the last 2 years I just used  100% sourdough. In the keyword I mentioned passion and soul: to me, are the most important ingredients for baking and, most in general, for cooking, I speak italian, spanish french and english, so if someone need help, wellcome..I wanted to post a few photos of my breads but haven't a photobuket (or similar) account so I'll keep you waiting a bit longer...Any supporter of using chat-like programs (skype, for instance) for discussing or comments about the wonderful world of bread? Before getting boring, I wish a happy baking day to everyone. Hope to post again pretty soon and to give a link where you could see my loaves....Happy day. Paolo

jj1109's picture

It's been a while, but baking never stops. It's just finding time to post about it!

Here's a couple of loaves I made in the last few weeks.

First is my standard sourdough, which is 25% WW and 25% high protein flour. The crust is wonderfully crunchy and the crumb is tight and pillow soft.

(bit of a hole in the middle of the loaf, I was not paying attention whilst shaping the loaf!)

The second set of loaves are Reinhart's sandwich rye. These are 1250g loaves.


At some point I'd like to post my comparison of 0, 24, 48 and 72 hours cold fermentation. Interesting. But I am time poor at the moment.

This weekend I'm planning on some WW pita, seeded crackers and chocolate panettone (Susan from wildyeast). Looking forward to it :)

inlovewbread's picture

For this loaf I roughly followed Daniel Leader's "Quintessential French Sourdough" formula and added Kalamata olives and fresh rosemary from my garden. 

Very tasty, and even more so on the second day.


and crumb.


inlovewbread's picture

Well, this is really "Idaho Sourdough". I loved finding this formula because I wanted to cold retard the loaves overnight (to bring about more flavor and to make slashing easier) and also it fits perfectly into the 2 (and only) brotforms that I have. 

The flavor was great and I think this will end up being a regular at our table.

Tiny bit of an ear? 

inlovewbread's picture

This past week I tried "Chad Robertson's Country Sourdough" as relayed by Shiao-Ping here:

Her formula (of course) turned out perfect. My attempt? Well, not so much. BUT- I was still very pleased with the results. :-)

On the last leg of the levain build, I was to add flour/water and ferment for two hours only. However, I was called away and had to cold retard again at this step so I resumed the next morning. So in all, I ended up with refereshing starter (of which I combined half of my 50% hydration starter and half of my 100% hydration starter to end up at the 75% hydration starter used in the formula) and then two more levain builds. Whew.

I used my couche for the first time, that was exciting! I do wish though that I had weighed each piece of dough before shaping as one ended up a bit larger than the other two. Practice makes perfect...

As for the slashing- hmmmm. I reallly tried here. I have even been practicing! I made a huge batch of AB in % dough just for the purpose of practicing shaping and slashing. I have both a lame and another scoring knife (kinda like an exacto with a handle) from King Arthur Flour. I held it at a 30 degree angle and went 1/4' to 1/2' inch deep but still can't seem to get an ear. I'll keep trying.

They tasted great but I'm starting to seriously consider some type of "sourdough" flavoring in my sourdoughs as my starters seem to be very mild. Just kidding, but I am having fun exploring how to get more sour from my starters. I had high hopes for the "levain builds" but it didn't seem to do much. 

Overall though, great fun with this formula. 

Nathan's picture

I have to say that I'm a sucker for a nice piece of walnut bread topped with a slice of goat cheese and a dribble of honey. Although I have tried a few other formula's for this bread, I always seem to come back to this one from p. 111 of Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf. For those of you that aren't familiar with this book, I highly recommend it. Dan's photography and written word are beautiful. The formula's are clear and concise and the information on how to create a natural leaven is straightforward and supported by step-by-step pictures of the process. Many of you might also find his mixing technique quite interesting. It was The Handmade Loaf which initiated me on the sourdough journey I'm still on today. Thank you Dan for the inspiration.

In my humble opinion, what sets this walnut bread apart from the rest is the addition of a walnut paste made with walnuts, honey, water and a bit of butter. It infuses the bread with a rich walnut flavor. I basically follow the formula as written, except that I've increased the hydration a tad and I leave out the fresh yeast. I also substitute my white levain at 60% hydration which I use for all my naturally-leavened breads.

As with the other sourdough breads I make, I always follow the same hand-mixing procedure. An hour before my levain is ready, I mix the flours and liquid and autolyse for an hour. I then weigh out the corresponding amount of levain on top of the previosuly mixed dough, setting aside the remaining levain to feed while my bread is bulk fermenting. I lift the mixed dough and levain out of the bowl and place it on my working surface. At this point I fold the dough over on itself a couple of times to inclose the levain. After patting out the dough a bit I sprinkle the salt on it. Thanks to the 1-hour autolyse the dough has already begun to develop and all it needs is around 2-4 minutes of streching and folding for it to reach a moderate gluten development. I then bulk ferment for around 2 1/2 hours (depending on the temperature in my flat) with two folds at 50-minute intervals. Finally I divide, rest and shape dough and immediately put it in the refrigerator for a retarded final proofing. Given my schedule, I always do the mixing and bulk fermenting in the afternoon so I can do the final retarded proofing at night. The following morning, once my oven is pre-heated, I take the bread out of the fridge and stick it directly into the oven.

Here's a shot of the the bread cooling:

...and the crumb:


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