The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


stephy711's picture

For more cooking adventures, check out Garlic Knots


  • 3 cups (480 grams) bread flour
  • 1 pack active yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp lukewarm water
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp melted salted butter
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley or 1 Tbsp fresh chopped italian parsley



  1. Mix sugar, yeast and ¼ cup warm water to let yeast proof for 10 minutes
  2. Combined flour, yeast mixture, salt, olive oil, milk and remaining water in a large bowl, stirring until it comes together.
  3. Knead for 8 minutes on floured work surface until dough passes the window pane test.
  4. Form dough into a lose round and let proof in a greased, covered bowl for 1 hour until doubled in size.
  5. Divide dough into 8 pieces and shape into knots. Roll dough into a long rope like you would a pretzel. Tie a knot in the center.
  6. Fold the rope underlying the knot over the top, and fold the rope overlying underneath, securing in the center.
  7. Let rise another 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  8. While dough is rising, melt butter and combine it with garlic, oregano and parsley
  9. Brush butter over knots just before baking. Bake around 15-20 minutes until golden
tssaweber's picture

I spent another 10 days at [Professor] Mark's The Back Home Bakery. Other then working hard I had a great time up in the Rockies and enjoyed my time with Mark and his wife Sharon very much. It was great to see how he was able to organize his process to multiply his output and meet the demand of his divers clientele. I was not surprised that we sold out at all three Farmer's Market I participated. 

I leave it up to you to decide if I learned something!!


Thanks Sharon and Mark for you hospitality!


Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

Yay! Thank you! After much research and tips and narrowing down the problem (via videos from King Arthur flour and seeing their dough in each step), I figured out that I wasn't kneading it correctly in the bulk fermentation step. I was doing the push-down and quarter turn method. No folding or stretching, because I wasn't even aware of that at all! Interesting how even the end result in bread can point to a problem much earlier in the process. With just folding and stretching, the dough became dramatically different, and the bread held its nicely curved lofty shape during baking! yay!!!!!!!

Now on to invest in a thermometer...

txfarmer's picture

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

Chocolate croissants, we all love them. When I saw in a Japanese baking book where they put cocoa in the dough as well, I knew I must make it. These are the bread equivalence of "a dark and mysterious stranger".

At first I thought it would be straightforward to adapt my previous croissant recipe: just add some cocoa powder and wrape in a chocolate baton right? Wrong. Nothing in croissant making has been straightforward for me. Before diving into the gory details of my 3 months struggle, you might want to check out the following two earlier entries for some tips and guildlines:

Lesson re-learned #1: Natural cocoa powder is acidic. I knew that before from caking making - you add baking soda to react with acidic cocoa powder to raise cakes, however, I didn't know it was THAT acidic. After adding cocoa powder, the dough was too weak to rise properly, they ended up like sad chocolate pancakes. I changed natural cocoa powder to dutch processed cocoa, immediately saw a difference. For the batch I am showing I used Herseys Special Dark Cocoa (hence the very dark color), which is a blend of dutch processed and natural cocoa, I imagin the volume would even be better if a pure dutch processed cocoa is used.

Lesson re-learned #2: Firm levain gives dough more strength then liquid starter/levain. Knew that one before as well, but the effect is really obvious here. I made a firm levain rather than adding 100% starter directly into the dough, the volume of croissants was further improved.

Lesson re-learned #3: Croissant dough needs to be cold. In my last croissant post, I wrote about how to make croissants in TX summer by rolling quickly and putting dough in fridge frequently. Well, since then, temperature has climed to 110F. Even at night/early morning, my kitchen (especially the counter top by the window) doesn't drop below 85. That's simply too hot, butter is melting into the dough as soon as it hits the counter top. To solve that, this is the setup I am using (a shoutout to my hubby who thought of and implemented the whole thing): frozen ice packs under a big baking tray, and a metal rolling pin which is filled with water then frozen.

The rolling pin and ice packs need to be put back into the freezer between rolling, which is a bit troublesome, but did I mention it's 110F outside?

Lesson re-learned #4: Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure. Knew that one before too, but not until my mother, who usually has high blood pressure, had two croisssants and started getting dizzy - her blood pressure was too low! We then tested with just the valrhona dark chocolate batons used for these croissants, apparently, just one was enough to lower her blood pressure to normal, any more would be too low! This is more effective (and yummier) then medicine!

Double Chocolate Croissant with Natural Starter

Note: makes 12 croissants


100% starter, 35g

water, 59g

bread flour, 105g

1. mix and let mature for 12 hours.

-Final Dough

bread flour (KAF), 422g

dutch processed cocoa, 20g

water, 85g

milk, 128g

sugar, 73g

salt, 10g

osmotolerant instant yeast (SAF gold), 4g, 1tsp+1/4tsp

butter, 21g, softened

levain, all

roll-in butter, 287g

1. Mix everything but the roll-in butter, knead until gluten starts to form. In my KA mixer, 3min at first speed, 5 min at 3rd speed.

Then following the procedure illustrated here. Do remebmer to enclose a chocolate baton while shaping, just place it at the bottom of the triangle piece, and roll up as usual.

 Very very very delicious, it takes so much work to make, be sure to use the best chocolate to ge the maximum impact!

For this earlier batch, I rolled the dough out thinner, did more turns while shaping, to create more layers. Well, more layers alright, but I don't think it's airy enough.

Anyway, I am happy my 3 month chocolate croissant battle is near the end, still not perfect, but I think they are quite sexy!


lumos's picture

In my previous entry, I blogged about the latest attempt in my years-long desperate journey of trying to make baguettes, as closest as possible to the real thing, only using a mixture of various flours easily available in UK (without having to buy real Type 55/65 in bulk to save P & P and risk of all the bags get infested by flour bugs, again).

The result was not too satisfactory; the crumb was nice and light but too soft-ish and fluffy to my liking and not enough random large holes, though it had a lovely crisp crust and quite agreeable flavour. We had one of them (less of a looker) for dinner on that day and I froze the other one. This frozen one had much better grigne and more volume, so I was hoping the inside would be better than her ugly sister.

Today, I defrosted and sliced it horizontally to make sandwiches for lunch. The inside had slightly more open texture and a bit more large holes than the other one......

(…nor the holes evenly spread through the crumb. Blame my handling not the flour…)




……but not that much more as to send me to the baguetty-heaven. No. However, the crust remained very crisp even after it’s defrosted (@ room temperature for 1 1/2 hrs), much crispier than my regular baguettes would be when defrosted. This was a happy surprise…..No.1.

Today’s filling was Parma ham and watercress with generous dollops of French mayonnaise by Maille, with a hint of Dijon mustard, naturally. Then came the second happy surprise. I'd really want my baguettes to have lots of large, random holes all over, but the problem with this kind of ‘superior’ baguette is it’s not really a good disign as a recipient of spread when you make a sandwich with it. Butter, mayonnaise, mustard or whatever you spread on it tends to disappear into those huge abyss and, as the result, you end up eating too much spread which often overwhelms the filling. But, because this one didn’t have so many large holes at all, spreading the mayonnaise was a piece of ca…….bread. 


But those two happy surprises was nothing to compared to what I discovered next. The softish airy crumb and its subtle sweetness, which I’m usually not keen on to find in baguettes, was actually very good vehicle for sandwiches, complimenting the fillings very well, without that unmistakable self-assertiveness a very good baguette tends to have (“Eat me! I’m here! I am GOOD!!”). ……I think I might find a new raison d'etre for this flour in my kitchen. Not quite Cinderella, but still it’s a nice discovery that even a humble pumpkin can be a reliable carriage.



So… long journey in search for a formula of perfect home-made baguettes will still continue….


codruta's picture

In the last 2 weeks, I baked a lot of breads. I hope I'll have time to write about every one of them, and I start with these two loafs.

The first one was 50% whole-wheat with roasted wheat germ using a liquid levain. The hydration is 75%, and prefermented flour is 20% of the total amount of flour. I kneaded only by hand, with folds in the bowl, then I transfered the dough in a lightly oiled container and I did 2 S-F at 50 minutes interval for 2h:30 min fermentation time. Shape a batard and refrigerated for 21 hours (I didn't intended to ferment the dough so long, but I had a busy day). I loved the aroma of this bread, tangy with a nutty flavor. My boyfriend took a half of it on a mountain trip and it held very well, in sunny and rainy weather. I ate the other half toasted, and this increased the nutty flavor. It was a simple formula, with a good result.


The other loaf, made two days later, was 50% rye with roasted fennel seeds, using a liquid levain. The hydration was 80%, prefermented flour 20%. I thought I could refrigerate the dough overnight, but I checked the dough after 4 hours in the fridge and it was proofed, so I had to bake it in the middle of the night (bad planning, sleepy eyes, ugly scoring). The aroma of rye and fennel filled the room. The bread was light (the huge amount of water evaporated during baking?), and I was surprised to see the open crumb, given the fact that was so much rye and the dough was at the limit of overproofing. I loved eating this bread, especially with goat cheese and olive oil.

Here is a picture with a comparative section of this two breads.

Complete recipes and more pictures can be found on my romanian blog,  Water.Flour.Salt., first one, here, and second one, here.


Winnish's picture

Spelt challah and rolls

A friend of mine cannot eat anything made with white flours (it's not the gluten it's the flour itself), so every now and then I bake a special challah with spelt flour for her.
Spelt flour is very low in gluten so no long-kneading.  and less rising time is needed.
Actually you have to make sure the dough does not rise too much, otherwise it loses it's strength and the challah "falls down" in the oven.



370 g spelt flour 
4-5 g dry yeast 
210 ml of warm fluids  - I use a mix of vanilla soy mild + water
30 g light brown sugar or cane sugar 
1 Tbs vanilla sugar (
¼ teaspoon salt 
4 tablespoons sunflower oil / canola oil (a little less than ¼ cup)1 teaspoon vanilla-pudding-powder (not instant) 


You can check my post for more details and photos (translators are at the left top side-bar), and if you have any questions - please feel free to ask me(!)


breadsong's picture

I was captivated by Sylvia’s Sourdough Fig Focaccia, and grateful to her for her recommendation of Carol Field’s book Focaccia. I have it on loan from the library, and I’m certain after the book goes back to the library I’ll be shopping on Amazon :^)

Wanting to make something similar to Sylvia's lovely bread, I tried making Ms. Field’s Schiacciata Bursting with Grapes (Schiacciata All’Uva), as fresh figs aren't ripe here yet.
Ms. Field's recipe makes two Schiacciata, so I made one with red seedless grapes, and one with fresh sour cherries:
 ...bursting with juicy goodness!

I pre-ordered some fresh sour cherries from a local grower (rare! and a luxury where I live) and was able to go pick them up yesterday. Some are now in the Schiacciata, some have been frozen for future pies, and some are marinating in the fridge for homemade eau-de-vie :^)

                                            ...the sour cherries!

Ms. Field’s dough recipe looked awfully attractive, as it has anise seed and Sambuca as flavorings for the dough.
The photo in her book of the grape-studded Schacciata is gorgeous, and the bread's flavor lives up to the photo -
it is incredibly delicious!
The grapes and the Sambuca are a fantastic flavor combination imho. We like the sour cherry version too.
Ms. Field notes another filling/topping option…raisins soaked in Vin Santo. Wow!

I found a similar recipe for this bread on the King Arthur Flour site. Compared to the King Arthur Flour recipe, this dough is based on a 150g sponge, 350g flour in final dough, uses butter instead of olive oil, and has 3 Tablespoons of Sambuca liqueur and 2 teaspoons lightly crushed anise seed added to the dough. Each Schiacciata used 1.5 pounds of fruit.

I took a quick look here on TFL and saw these beautiful breads, also:

Here are some pictures of the layering for these filled Schiacciata:

The dough (one of four doughballs):

Filling (the fruit was sprinkled with Turbinado sugar):

Layering (pressing the dough to seal):

Topping (sprinked again with Turbinado sugar):

After 15 minutes of baking, the breads were brushed with more Sambuca!

Some crumb shots:

....and Sour Cherry      

Thanks so much, Sylvia, for reference to Ms. Field's wonderful book!

Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong

txfarmer's picture

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Index for my blog entries:

First the bread, then we'll talk about cakes, sinful delicious cakes...


I love hummus, delicious, healthy and so easy to make. I don't really follow any specific recipes, but there are many good ones online - just trust me, go heavy on garlic, very heavy!


This last batch was really tasty, so I decided to make a rye sourdough with it. I want the hummus flavor to shine through, so there is a lot in the dough, along with some roasted sesame seeds to complement the flavor. The shaping method is again from this video site:


Hummus Rye

- levain

whole rye, 57g

water, 45g

rye starter (100%), 6g

1. Mix and let rise 12-16hours.

- final dough

bread flour, 340g

salt, 8g

hummus, 264

water, 152g

roasted sesame, 40g

all levain

2. Mix everything except for salt & sesame seeds, autolyse for 20 to 60min, add salt, mix @ medium speed for 3-4 min until gluten starts to develope. Add sesame, mix @ slow speed until evenly distributed.

3. Bulk rise at room temp (~75F) for about 2.5hrs. S&F at 30, 60, 90min.

4. Shape as following:

5. Proof bottom up in basket, put in fridge overnight right away. Take out from fridge next morning to keep proofing until it springs back slowly when pressed, about 30min for me and my July TX kitchen.

6. Bake at 450F with steam for the first 15min, lower the temperature to 430F, keep baking for 30 to 35min.


To my satisfaction, hummus flavor is very obvious, and sesame seeds make the loaf so fragrant. Oh yeah, crumb is very open for a rye bread loaded with stuff.


Didn't last long...



This past Sat (7/30) was my birthday, and 6th anniversary. It's the year of "iron", I got cast iron pots as gifts, aren't they pretty?


Made a white chocolate opera cake as our celebration cake, the "chain" decoration on top was my desperate attempt to relate to the "iron" theme. :P


My recipe is loosely based on this one here:


It takes quite a few steps and components to finish, but if you divide the work into a few days, it's not so bad.


Since about a year ago I joined the Daring Bakers challenge, it's been a great journey to broaden my baking horizon. This beautiful Frasier was done in July.


Finally, some creamy desserts in case there isn't enough sugar, butter, and cream in our system.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Pumpkin Flan

dmsnyder's picture

Two months ago, after enjoying Phillipe Gosselin's “baguettes tradition” in Paris, I attempted to replicate this delicious bread in a sourdough version. (Baguette Tradition after Phillip Gosselin) My wife and I actually preferred my version to the original. In fact, I felt they were the best tasting sourdough baguettes I'd ever made.

 Yesterday, I made them again. This time, I omitted the little bit of instant yeast I had used with the first bake. Interestingly enough, my fermentation time was just about the same as with the added yeast.

The other difference was I used a new (to me) flour from Central Milling. According to brother Glenn, Nicky Giusto told him this is the flour Acme uses for their much-admired baguettes. I hesitate to generalize from a single bake with it, but it made a very chewy baguette crumb with good flavor. I'm looking forward to using it on some other breads with which I am more experienced.



Baker's %

Central Milling Organic “ABC” Flour

400 g


Ice Water

275 g



8.75 g


Liquid Levain

200 g


Instant yeast (optional)

¼ tsp



883.75 g


Note: Accounting for the flour and water in the levain, the total flour is 500 g and the total water is 375 g, making the actual dough hydration 75%. The actual salt percentage is 1.75%.


  1. The night before baking, mix the flour and levain with 225 g of ice water and immediately refrigerate.

  2. The next morning, add the salt and 50 g of ice water to the dough and mix thoroughly. (I did this by hand by squishing the dough between my fingers until the water was fully incorporated.)

  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl with a tight cover.

  4. Ferment at room temperature until the dough has about doubled in volume. (3 hours for me) Do stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first two hours.

  5. An hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF, with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  6. Divide the dough into 4 more or less equal pieces and stretch each into a 12-14 inch long “baguette.”

  7. Score and bake immediately at 460ºF, with steam for 10 minutes, and for about 20 minutes total.

  8. Cool on a rack before eating.



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