The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Floydm's picture

There is a good article in today's Oregonian on challah.  Good timing, since I was thinking about challah and holiday breads in the shower this morning (yes, sadly it is true that some days I think about breads and baking pretty much around the clock). 

I was thinking about holiday breads this morning in the context of updating the home page of TFL to replace the Thanksgiving breads with Christmas breads.  Whenever I update the homepage with holiday breads, I get concerned about the possibility of a perceived geographic or cultural chauvanism here.  I realize that this site has readers and members from countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America; members who celebrate Jewish holidays, Islamic holy days, Christian holidays, Chinese festivals, or a combination of more than one of the above; members who are devotely religious, others who celebrate these festivals in a less religious but no less significant manner, others who celebrate none of the above.  Even secular holidays like Thanksgiving run the risk of alienating readers from elsewhere in the world who either don't celebrate the same holidays or celebrate them on a different date (yeah, that's right, I'm talking to YOU, Canada!).

Bread is significant in so many traditions and celebrations that to ignore the rituals surrounding bread would miss a tremendously important aspect of the history and meaning of bread.  Whenever I've felt like I understand and can share the meaning and history of a ritual bread, I've tried to post about them and share those stories.  Even for non-participants in those traditions, it is enjoyable to learn those stories.

I share the stories and traditions that I feel like I can do justice to, but there are many more stories I do not feel comfortable telling.  The ritual significance of challah is one such example.  Though I've read a great deal about it, as someone outside the Jewish tradition I don't feel like I can do justice to its significance and explain its ritual context appropriately.  The same is true of the breads and baked goods that are baked when breaking fast at the end of Ramadan.  These simply are not rituals I've participated in.

But you may. 

In the next few weeks I'm sure this site will be featuring Christmas breads and trying to explain the background and significance of some of these recipes and traditions.  In the appropriate season, I'd love to see members of other faiths and cultures share their stories and recipes so I and others can learn more about their traditions.  It is great to see photos after a holy day, but it is even better if stories, photos, and recipes can be shared before hand.  The best posts are along the lines of "A week from now people in my part of the world (or of my faith) are going to be celebrating ...  We celebrate this because ...  We'll be baking ... because ... "  I will gladly highlight those on the homepage if they are accessible, well put together, and have photos and recipes to support them.

dstroy's picture

Because I never post anything, but I do sometimes take pictures....

Cream Cheese Snail Madness! (as per recipe here.)

Here are some action shots of Floyd making cream cheese snails for our afternoon tea yesterday:


snails in progress...


rolling out a snake shape...




Adding delicious filling...



Baked, out of the oven....add some sugar glaze...




holds99's picture

I finally got the ingredients I needed to make Norm's onion rolls.  I made them for Thanksgiving dinner and they turned out great.  Everyone enjoyed them very much.  These are the REAL THING!  Thank you, Norm for the great recipe.  I'll be making these regularly.  And thanks to Eric Hanner for his detailed description, in his post, of how to make these rolls and the very helpful pictures.



dstroy's picture

oh my gosh, you guys!

This morning I awoke from a dream where Floyd had taken the family to a Thanksgiving Bread themed Amusement Park.

We even went riding on a roller coaster called "The Buttermilk Clusterbomb".



Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

DaveS's picture

Hi everyone.

I'm here to learn a bit more about bread. I've been baking my own for about five years now, using hand-kneading rather than a machine. I've recently bought a flour mill (Schnitzer Pico) and am making flour which is kind of 3 parts wheat to 2 parts rye to one part spelt.

My recipe is dead simple -- flour, yeast, salt and water.  I use a teaspoon of dried yeast per 1500g of flour and a teaspoon of salt per 500g. I don't really measure the water -- just add it to suit, making a dough that is fairly sticky.

I've also recently been adding some dough improver to get it to rise a little better, due to the lack of gluten in the rye.

Anyway, it's lovely. Turns out wih a great flavour and good texture.

My only problem is that it is quite often undercooked in the middle.

I make it into buns, each about 80g in size. Then cook 6 of these on a sheet in an oven pre-heated to 200C or so. I do that for 15 - 20 minutes, until the crust gets a good  colour on it, but still the inside seems slightly under-done and a bread knife gets sticky residue on it.

Any suggestions?

SylviaH's picture

Pizza quick and easy before the big T.Day!


siuflower's picture

I try to post some pictures and still have problem to do it right. I did posted my pictures on Flick.



corkysmom's picture

What is a bakers stone ?  Can someone please send a pic of one please!!

SylviaH's picture

My first attempt at the baguette monge recipe posted by Jane...thank you Jane....I did add a little more water.  I should have proofed them a little longer I think.  My slashing needs improvement.  I slashed one with the little red tomato knife and the others with my razor...I went really fast with the razor on the last one and it does make it so glide so much easier.  Next time I would like to make them a little fatter and shorter.


chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

Hello dear friends,

It is my first time to try bagels, the result was not bad, actually I can not judge because I have never taste it, I'll send you some to tell me how much did my recipe succeed.

Another question please , should bagels be a little bit chewy ,or I did knead too much my dough,,I am confused,anyway, it is not bad to try new recipes.

Thank you all and have a very nice day!!!


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