The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


lumos's picture

As I said in my first blog entry, I made a new WW sourdough for the friend, this time with CORRECT amount of salt. And this is how it came out.

 …..with a better ear…..


I also baked two other breads; cocoa flavoured sourdough with cranberry and walnuts (top right) and my friend’s favourite sourdough (top left).


Today, I’d like to share the recipe for the cocoa sourdough with you.


Cocoa Flavoured Sourdough with Cranberry and Walnut

(For 2 loaves)

Very active S/D (75% hydration)  120g

Strong Flour  300g*(See 'Note1' below)

Plain Flour  150g*(see 'Note1' below)

WW Flour  50g

Instant active dried yeast  1/4tsp

Skimmed Milk Powder  2tbls

Cocoa powder  25-30g

Salt 9g

Clear honey  1tbls (or more if you like it sweeter)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil  1 1/2 tbls

Water (Filtered or bottled)  370 - 380g

Filling … Dried cranberry and walnuts *(See 'Note2' below)  total 120 – 150g 

  1. Feed S/D twice during 8-12hrs period before you plan to use it.
  2. Mix flours, skimmed milk, cocoa, dried yeast and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Put S/D, water, honey and olive oil in a separate bowl and mix to loosen S/D.
  4. Pour S/D water mix onto the bowl of flours and mix until no dried bits is left. (Cocoa powder seems to have a tendency to stiffen the dough, so you may want to add a little more water)  Cover and rest for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Stretch and Fold in a bowl for 3 times at 45 minutes intervals.
  6. Bulk ferment overnight (or 10-16 hrs) in a fridge.
  7. Take the dough out of the fridge and leave for 30 minute-1 hr to bring it back to room temperature.
  8. Take the dough out onto a worktop and spread into a large rectangle.
  9. Sprinkle 2/3 of cranberries and walnuts (broken into small pieces) onto 2/3 of the surface of the dough. Letter-fold the dough, the part without the filling first. Sprinkle the rest of the filling onto 2/3 of the folded surface of the dough, again, the part without the filling first. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
  10. Divide the dough into two and pre-shape. Rest for 15-20minutes.
  11. Shape and put in banettons. Final proof.
  12. Bake in a pre-heated pot/pyrex casserole with a lid at 240℃ for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, lower the temperature to 210℃ and bake for another 20-25 minutes.

Note 1 :  I think US TFLers can use  450g AP flour instead of the combination of strong & plain flours like me.

Note 2 : I usually dry-roast walnuts in a frying pan before I use it to improve the flavour, but it’s optional.


Here’s a close-up pic of the bread.

 I sprinkle quite a generous amount of rice flour into a banetton, as you can guess from this picture. It’s partly to prevent cranberries from staining the banetton and partly to prevent the surface from becoming too dark and sometimes too bitter during baking because of high fat content of cocoa powder.

 This loaf was for the friend so obviously I don’t have the crumb shot, but I made another loaf for ourselves a couple of days ago (of which I forgot to take picture, of course…) and I miraculously remembered this morning to take some pictures of the very last few slices (phew….).


(Excume me for the blurred picture. It was very early in the morning...)

This bread has a really lovely deep flavour thanks to cocoa powder and, of course, you can enjoy many variations by changing the fillings;  another friend's children love chocolate chips (milk chocolate for them) in it while their mum likes only with walnuts.  White chocolate works very well to contrast the not-sweet-cocoa-flavoured crumb, and a combination of dark chocolate chips and almond is rather good, too.  In other words, the world is your oyster, you mix-in whatever filling you fancy! :)


Will post the recipe for the other bread (the friend's favourite sourdough) in a few days time.

Happy Baking!....with correct amount of ingredients.:p



yozzause's picture

We were invited to join friends on their caravaning holiday in Darwin this year, we did a similar holiday meeting up in Broome 2 years ago and had great fun. Bob and Joan are retired and are part of a large number of Australians known as grey nomads, they tend to travel north to the tropics  to avoid the cold weather and head south when the weather gets hot.

Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory or the TOP END as it is often refered to, we flew up to Darwin on a flight that lasted 3.5hours and into a different time zone 1.5 hours ahead of Perth which is GMT+8. As soon as we landed it was time to break out the shorts and tee shirts, a far cry from the torrent of rain that bucketed down on us when boarding the plane from the tarmac (no covered elevated walkway) not even a brolley to be had.

Darwin is quite a nice city and fairly easy to get around with a good bus service and lots of places to eat at reasonable prices.

I did not dicover any particularly good bakeries or see any breads of note, pretty much the same old fayre that we would get back in Perth at shopping centres. We did visit the air museum that has a B52 bomber  inside and dwarfs everything else, we went on a sunset cruise too that was well worthwhile.


We also took a light plane flight over Kakadoo which was quite exciting as they had a record wet season just past, the top end is home to some very big salt water crocodiles

(sweetheart 4,5 metre exhibit in the museum) NO SWIMMING means NO SWIMMING


Kakadoo (world heritage listed) from the air, we landed and had a boat trip on yellow water billabong to see the wildlife up close. 

The bread was going to have to wait until we got to Adelaide the capital of South Australia (but here is a preview, to be continued)

ehanner's picture

Last week HeidiH posted about her Heavenly Hard Rolls. I've made lots of rolls but I don't think I ever went after an actual hard roll with a soft chewy crumb before. So I called Stanley Ginsberg at and ordered some Pivetti 00 Rinzfornato flour since Heidi was so excited with her results. I really like that I have access to what I consider exotic ingredients at a reasonable price with Stan. The couple extra bucks for shipping is a bargain to be able to use premium flours for a special project in my opinion. 

Anyway, I followed HeidiH post exactly except for I only applied one coat of egg wash and seeds. Those of you who know me, know I almost always doctor up the recipe. It's a over powering urge I find hard to control. This time I was good. The rolls were scaled at 100G's each and just about filled up a 1/2 sheet pan perfectly. I baked at 375F for 35 minutes with normal steam and left the sheet pan in the oven an extra 7 minutes with the door cracked open with a wooden spoon.  The crust is crusty and the crumb is soft and delicious just like Heidi promised. Thanks!

HokeyPokey's picture

This is a bit of a cowboy post, a cake blog rather than a bread blog. I took a holiday, flew to Moscow for a few days, meaning I had to put my bubbly starter to sleep for a few days. I am eagerly waiting for it to wake up now, but I wouldn’t wait another day without baking something.

I decided to make a version of Lemon Pound cake from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. I got this book about a year ago and have been steadily testing out all the different recipes. The lemon cake is definitely a favourite – the cake comes out nice and light, with a great lemon flavour, and makes a nice treat for breakfast or tea time.

Full recipe and more photos on my blog here

Apologies for the photos, they are a bit blurry and out of focus, using my iPod instead of a proper camera, and there isn’t much of the cake left to justify getting a big camera out

pmccool's picture

Two weeks ago, we were nearing the end of a week's vacation along South Africa's southern coast.  We had stayed in Kenton on Sea, Port Elizabeth and Plettenberg Bay.  On our way back to Plett from a day trip to Knysna (who knew it would be in the middle of their Oyster Festival?!), we passed a clearing beside the road with a large banner proclaiming "Saturday Market".  Not knowing quite what to expect, we made plans to return the next morning to see what might be available.  As it happened, we arrived at the market slightly ahead of opening time, so we wandered around the various stalls to see what there was to see as the artisans finished setting up.  There were paintings, beaded work, wire crafts, wood work, clothing and lots of other items to drool over.

Let us not forget the food!  We bought a big chunk of some absolutely wonderful cheese; something in the Emmenthaler / Swiss vein.  There was a place that had the most wonderful apple strudel, studded with raisins, bits of green fig preserves, nuts, and I'm not sure what else.  And they piped whipped cream over it at no additional cost, if you please.  I was pleased.  There were purveyors of olive, avocado and grapeseed oils.  Fresh herbs. Preserves.  Confits.  Pates.  And breads!

Le Fournil, a bakery from Plettenberg Bay, was represented that day.  Their focus was more on pastries, although they had lovely breads, too.  We purchased pain au chocolat from them.  The lady behind the counter spoke more French than I and I spoke more English, American style at that, than she so our conversation was limited.  Still, we got along.  Here are some pictures of the Le Fournil stand:

Ile de Pain, a bakery located in Knysna, was just a few booths to the right.  They featured a broad range of breads, all levain-based.  That was impressive, especially since the brioche I purchased was not just buttery but somewhat sweet, as well.  The brioche also contained nuggets of orange peel and golden raisins, with a sprinkling of coarse sugar on the top crust.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was delightful with a smear of butter but absolutely intoxicating when toasted.  Here is how their booth looked:

And a closer look at the breads:

Baguettes are on the left and ciabatta front-center.

From the left: Vollkornbrot, 100% rye, brioche and (I think) a pain de compagne.

If you wanted, you could also buy your breakfast by the slice:

I will definitely miss these small weekend markets that are so common in so many places in South Africa.  There really hasn't been anything quite like them in the various places I've lived in back in the U.S.  Maybe it's just as well.  My waistline couldn't take too many shopping expeditions like this!


varda's picture

Last year, I built a WFO platform and hearth,  and a dome out of sandy dirt that I dug up from a pile in my yard.   I had hoped (and convinced myself) that there was enough clay in the dirt to make the dome hold together.   That was not the case.   The dome slowly crumbled over the course of the summer.   I patched it up and patched it up again and finally wrote it off in the fall.    Amazingly the platform survived intact through a very difficult winter.   This summer I decided to build a new dome using real instead of imagined clay.    So I bought fire clay from a potter's supply and with help from my husband mixed up 600 pounds or so of clay, sand and water and built a new dome.   Then my husband, who finally took pity on me taking on a project like this with no building skills whatsoever, decided to make me a good door.   He built an offset with the leftover clay/sand mix which perfectly fit a door made of thick plywood.   This morning after waiting forever for the oven to dry, it was time.   I fired it up (and up and up and up) and finally loaded it with a loaf of bread.   After 30 minutes, I checked it, and the loaf was pale, so I closed the door and let it bake for 15 more minutes.    

The loaf was still pale, but I checked the interior temperature and it was 210degF.    Then I paced around in the yard pulling weeds and thinking this over, and finally figured out that the door was so carefully fit that no steam was escaping from the oven at all (I didn't add steam but there is plenty of moisture in the dough) and the crust simply hadn't baked even though the bread had.   By that time I had opened the door so much that the heat was way down, so I took the loaf inside and baked it for 15 minutes at 450 to brown it up.    I certainly didn't have this problem last year, when the door was just a piece of plywood leaned up against the opening with plenty of room for steam (and heat) to leak out.   Fixing this isn't as easy as you would think - the door is fit so tightly (and the bottom beveled so that it's flush with the hearth) that you can't just move it over a bit.   Undoubtedly a precision venting system is now on the drawing board.

But anyhow, the bread.   I decided to go back to yeast water, since I didn't think I had much chance for success today, given that i was just getting to know the oven.   I continued reducing both the hydration of the yeast water based starter and decreasing yeast water as a percentage of total water.   I also interpreted an earlier post by Andy (on enzyme issues in high ash content flour bread) pointed out to me by Juergen Krauss and added salt with the first mix instead of autolyzing.  All this seemed to get the enzyme problems I've been having with yeast water doughs under control.   But perhaps not completely so, as you can see below.   But (as seems to be a feature of yeast water) this is a delicious bread and more successful than I expected under the circumstances. 

Syd's picture

This recipe is from The Bread Book by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake and it was the second serious bread book I bought about 17 years ago.  It was quite forward thinking for its time as all the recipes include weight measurements (metric and imperial).  It is still one of my favourite bread books and it is definitely worth a buy.  It has really good photographs. 


230g whole wheat

230g water

Ferment in a bowl at room temp for 3 days.  Keep bowl covered with a damp tea towel.  After 3 days, it should be smelly, grey and slightly bubbly.


140g water

230g unbleached bread flour

Beat (using hand) together with starter until well incorporated.  Once again cover with damp tea towel and allow to ferment at room temp for 24 - 36 hours. (In practice, for me at any rate, this step only takes about 5 or 6 hours).  I let it sponge until it peaks, then I make the final dough.  Don't let the sponge collapse.  The bread will be dense if you do.


55g water

20g salt*

230g unbleached bread flour,

* I find this amount of salt to be too much.  It works out to be about 2.5%.  I prefer using 2% so I use 13 or 14g.

Mix water with sponge,  Add salt.  Beat well.  Add enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Bulk ferment until almost doubled in size.  *Cut off 170 - 230g piece of dough to make the next starter.  Pre-shape.  Rest 15 mins.  Shape.  Place in cloth lined banetton.  Allow to final proof.    Preheat oven to 220C (425F).  Score.  Bake (with steam) for 20 mins.  Lower oven temp. to 190C (375F) and bake for another 35 - 55 mins longer.  I have always found 35 mins to be sufficient. 

*  Because this dough was removed after the salt was added, you now have salt in your starter.  It has its advantages.  It keeps for a long time in the fridge and slows down enzyme activity. 


This was the only way I made sourdough until the arrival of the internet and my discovery that  there were other ways of making it!

Remember the second time round your starter will have salt in it, so you need to subtract that from the total amount or just add 2% of flour added.

This makes a really good sourdough with a very mild (unless you retard) tang, but an excellent flavour.



JC1957's picture

Hello All,  I am new to this site and have found it very informative.  I have been away from baking for a little while and returned this week to try the 1,2,3 formula I found here.  The dough ended up a littlte to loose for my liking but tasted great.  The pictures below of those loaves.  The pictures at the bottom are from my 2nd batch baked Saturday morning with a much better shape.

Saturdays Baking:

The one thing I've noticed is that I'm having no problem getting voluteers to take some of this bread off my hands.

Batch 3 is in the fridge now to bake in the morning.

GSnyde's picture

There was much discussion recently about TFL t-shirts and good logos and tag lines and the like (

I like the motto "Make Loaves, Not War".  Here's a couple pictures.  Maybe with some photoshop magic, this could be a t-shirt design.

These are also delicious loaves, Tartine BCB.

I think they'd be good with Peacetrami.

Oh, and here's a crumb shot.



wassisname's picture

     This is a bread that came from having too many different flours in the house at once.  I went to the freezer intending to make another bread altogether but saw these flours and thought, "beans and corn, classic!" Beans and corn and chiles?  Even more classic!  This was to be my sourdough salute to the American southwest, except... the bread never really worked like I wanted it to.  It's not a bad loaf, it just isn't making me as happy as I thought it would.  Hmmm... maybe therapy is what I need.  I could analyze this bread all day, but here are the highlights:

What I like about it - The color contrast between the yellow tinted crumb and the reddish paprika tinted crust gives it a nice look.  The flavor works for me - a nice "something different" - particularly good when very fresh with butter and honey.  It looks better in photos than it actually is... maybe that's not such a good thing.

What I don't like - Stales very quickly, though the up-side to this is it makes very tasty melba toast-style crisp bread.  The corn flour seems to wreck the structure of the dough, which leads to this problem:  as you reduce the corn flour and the structure improves, the flavor goes bland; when there's enough corn flour for a nice balance of flavors the crumb starts to go flat, weak and crumbly - and stale even faster.  The dough is slack, sticky and feels like it is broken down almost immediately after mixing.  Worst of all?  I keep thinking, "Maybe it's me...?"  But, no other dough I make behaves this way so I don't think it's just me.

 The Final Attempt

The formula - This is the final formula I used to try to improve the structure.  It is not the one that produced the best flavor.  For better flavor the corn flour should be about 15-17% and the garbanzo (potent stuff, by the way) should be about 8-9%.  The WW comes from my starter and would not otherwise be necessary.  I tried this with a little more WW but it just got in the way of the other flavors.

A retrospective:

     A promising start



Even when they looked good there was just something missing.

  The tendency to go flat.

     Pretty, but...

Where to go from here - In a word:  Polenta.  I have a good feeling about polenta.  Forget the fine corn flour.  Otherwise, this dough as it is could make a good roll, or flatbread, or even a full loaf if it will be eaten very fresh.





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