The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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CaptainBatard's picture

I was given Maggie Glezer's book Artisan Baking many years ago from a friend  who received it from the publisher to review. She is chief with too many books on her shelf already....she knew i was interested in bread, so she passed it along to me. I was a closet  baker for many years...but never touched the white stuff. I liked the idea of bread but that is a far as it went. I read the book from front to back and then started over again and then it sat on my shelf for a many months more. I don't know what the turning point was ...but i took the book off the shelf and made my first starter and haven’t looked back since! Every week I go through the same dilemma....what shall I bake this time? This process starts early in the week and then a decision must be made to wake up the starter. The bread of week was going to go to one of my all time favorite loaf...Thom Leonard's Country French Bread with a twist... from Glazer's book. So i took out my liquid levain and mixed up a 1:3:5 stiff starter. I haven't worked with a stiff levain in many months...and i forgot how much like it. There is no question if it is active....none what so ever. It gives me a lot of confidence to see a lemon sized piece of dough transform and fill a bowl. Now the twist was I had purchased a bunch of cheap over ripened apricots at the produce market that I had dried in the oven and were ready to be put to use along with some roasted hazelnuts. With the exception of using 175 grams of white whole wheat flour and not sifting out the bran from the 100% extraction whole wheat flour the rest of the recipe stayed the same. After letting it cool, which was very hard to do, I was left wanting something more from the loaf. I am not sure what exactly that is.... I guess I will have to tinker some more!


This is being submitted to Yeast Spotting


xaipete's picture

This tart made a delicious dinner. The tart was lighter than a traditional quiche because of the yeasted crust. We really enjoyed the Chard and saffron filling. (Hans: I’m thinking this is right up your alley and that you will come up with some magnificent variation!) I used crème fraîche in the dough but will use butter next time. Although the crème fraîche made the dough very tender, I think butter would have made the dough easier to work with and given the finished product a more flavorful crust. In other words, I thought the crust was a bit on the bland side.

The tart, dough and recipe, were adapted from The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison.

Yeasted Tart Dough

1 teaspoon instant yeast

¼ cup warm water

1 large egg, room temperature

150 to 200 grams flour (I used Guisto’s Baker’s Choice)

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons crème fraîche or soft unsalted butter

Dissolve the yeast in water. Combine 150 grams of the flour and salt in a medium bowl, and make a well. Break the egg into the middle of the well and add the crème fraîche or soft unsalted butter (I used crème fraîche, and an extra large egg, so had to add additional flour), and dissolved yeast.

Mix everything together with a flexible spatula, shape into a loose ball, cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Chard and Saffron Tart

1 large bunch of chard, enough to make 8 cups of leaves roughly chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, medium diced (about ¼” dice)

2 cloves garlic, finely diced or pressed

¾ teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 ½ cups milk or cream or a combination of both (I used regular cream-topped milk)

Large pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon of hot water

½ teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest

6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)


2 tablespoons parsley, chopped


3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan

Prepare the yeasted tart dough and set aside to rise in a warm place.

Cut the chard leaves away from the steams and chop the leaves into pieces about 1 inch square, wash well, and drain in a colander.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and soak the saffron threads.

Heat the butter and oil in a large 12-inch skillet. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent (do not brown), about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chard leaves and salt. Turn the leaves over repeatedly with tongs until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Set pan aside.

Prepare the tart shell: Flatten out the dough and place in a quiche pan (I used a 10” x 2” deep tin quiche pan with a removable bottom sprayed lightly with pan-spray)*. Press the dough out to the edge using your finger tips and up the sides. You can let the dough relax for 20 minutes if it starts shrinking back on you. I was only able to coax the dough about half-way up the side of the pan which was just high enough to hold the filling. The dough should be thicker on the sides and thinner on the bottom. I was pleased to see that as the tart baked both the dough and its filling rose up to the top of the pan.

Make the custard: beat the eggs, stir in the milk or cream, infused saffron thread liquid, orange zest, Parmesan, a few shaving of nutmeg, and the parsley. Stir in the chard and onion mixture, taste, and season with more salt if needed, and pepper.

Pour the filling into the tart shell and scatter the toasted pine nuts on top.

Bake until the crust is nicely browned and the custard is set, about 50 minutes. (I placed the quiche pan on a baking tray. If I had placed it directly on the rack, the baking time might have been shorter.)

Unmold and serve with a salad (I made a salad of butter lettuce and fresh navel orange slices tossed with a herb shallot walnut oil vinaigrette).

Serves 4 to 6


*If you don't own this type of deep quiche pan, I think you might be able to use an 8" inch spring-form cake pan. You don't have to worry about the filling leaking out because the tart dough is like bread dough.

txfarmer's picture

Another winner from Dan Lepard's book "The handmade loaf".

The dough was very sticky and wet from soaked oats and grated apples (I used Fuji), but I like wet dough. I used Sir Lancelot high gluten flour because I ran out of bread flour at home (17 different kinds of flour, yet that's the one I ran out), the end result was a beautiful bread with open, moist, and chewy crumb. Intentionally left a few bigger chunks of apple in the dough, which made the apple taste stronger.

The book called for 3/4 tsb of fresh yeast, I used less than 1/2tsb of instant yeast. Even though Dan suggested that the amount of instant yeast should be half of fresh yeast IN WEIGHT, which is equal amount in VOLUME, I found that I only need half of the yeast IN WEIGHT if I use instant, otherwise it fermentate and proof way too fast. Even with barely 1/2 tsb, my proofing time was only 45 minutes, not 1.5 hour suggested in the book. (My kitchen was pretty warm that day though)

I really like the subtle warm/tart/sweet taste of this bread, thanks to the oats and apple, it goes well with jam/butter, great as a sandwich with some ham and veggies too.

Elagins's picture

It occurred to me that I wasn't clear about how the NYB free shipping offer works, and that anyone who orders will see shipping added onto their total. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to figure out how to turn off the Paypal shipping calculator, so as I've explained to those who've phoned me, you need to pay the full amount, including the shipping, which I will then immediately refund. It's a bit roundabout, but for the moment, it's the best I can do. NYB is a work in progress, and I apologize for any misunderstandings.

Stan Ginsberg

LeadDog's picture

I call them sourdough sticks because I they are bigger than the bread sticks I have eaten.  They turned out great and I'm thinking about making them again for Thanksgiving.  Making them was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  I took a bunch of them to work and my coworkers gobbled them down.  The lumps and bumps gives them a nice rustic look.  They are really simple to make with just flour, water, and salt.  The crust was nice and crispy with a soft and chewy crumb.  There was a bunch of nice big irregular holes in the crumb for getting filled with what ever you ate with them.  You can read about what I did to make them here.

Sourdough Sticks

avants's picture

I need to make Italian bread and have a thinner crust. Normally, I make batards, use steam, and bake at 400 for 25 min. for an internal temperature of 200 degrees. If I omit the steam, as some suggest, would raising oven temp. result in a thinner crust? I am unable to determine whether cooking longer at a lower temp. produces a thicker crust. I also may wash the bread before baking with egg.



gcook17's picture

These pastries are made of croissant dough and filled with a fig filling.  Apparently lunettes are, among other things, eyeglasses in French.  You could use any croissant dough you liked, but the dough I used for these was whole wheat with a sponge from ABAP, by Suas.  2 lbs. of detrempe (dough before adding the roll-in butter) made 12 lunettes.  I rolled out the dough to about 18" x 12".  After spreading the filling on the whole surface I rolled the dough up from each end lengthwise.  The resulting roll was 12" long and I cut it into 12 1" slices with a serrated knife.  It was necessary to clean off the knife after every two cuts because the fig filling stuck to it.


This amount of filling is plenty (or maybe too much) for a dozen lunettes.  Suas warns against using too much filling because it will make the makeup difficult.  I used about 1/2 to 2/3 of the filling described below.  The taste of the filling is subtle--next time I will try using a bit more.  I used the almond meal from Trader Joe's which comes in 1 pound bags.  It is made from unblanched almonds (peel and all) so it's not good for things that need a light colored almond paste.

The fig filling formula in ABAP called for almond paste which I took to mean marzipan so I approximated it with the following.

Fig filling
Part 1 - Almond paste
Mix together the following:
6 oz. Ground almonds or almond flour (don't need to be blanched because the filling will be dark anyway due to the figs)
6.5 oz. Powdered sugar
1 egg white
¼ t. vanilla extract
½ t. almond extract
½ t. lemon or lime juice

Part 2 - Fig filling (somewhat based on ABAP)
5.5 oz. Dried figs that were chopped very fine in a food processor
¼ t. orange extract (or equivalent amount of orange zest)
2 egg whites
2 t. brandy
Combine these ingredients with the almond paste and after several hours, when dried figs have had time to hydrate, add enough water to make the filling spreadable. It should be like fairly thick jam, but without chunks of fruit. The amount of water needed depends on how dry the figs are--the amount of water needed depends on how dry the figs are.

SumisuYoshi's picture

Purple Multigrain Loaf Crumb

This bread is heavily inspired by the Multi-grain Extraordinaire recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice and really, it came out of my desire to stuff even more grains and grain flavor into that bread. I first made the Multi-grain Extraordinaire back in late September, and while I liked it quite a bit I was really looking for a bit more graininess, so to speak. I hadn't thought about that again until this weekend, as I knew I needed some lunch bread but I wasn't sure what to make. When I was digging in the cupboard for the pasta I needed for a pumpkin stew (more on that in a later post!) I saw the forbidden rice and purple barley I got a while back. Suddenly I had it, time to rework the recipe in search of more 'graininess'! In light of the supposed royal nature of the forbidden rice (although that is probably mostly marketing) and the similarity in color of the cooked rice to the ancient Royal Purple, I decided to name this Royal Grains Bread.

Purple Multigrain Baked Loaf

Royal Grain Bread Recipe

Makes: One 2 lb loaf or 6-12 rolls

Time: 2 days. First day: soaker and starter. Second day: mix final dough, ferment, degas, shape, final rise, bake.

Ingredients: (baker's percentages at the end of hte post)

Grain Soaker:

  • 4 oz. assorted grains (I used 1 oz. amaranth, 1 oz. millet, 1 oz. whole oat groats, .5 oz. corn meal, and .5 oz. flax meal)

  • 3-4 oz. water (enough to just barely cover the grains)

Stiff Sourdough Starter:

  • 1 oz. 66% hydration levain

  • 6 oz. bread flour

  • 4 oz. water

Final Dough:

  • 11 oz. of above starter

  • 4 oz. bread flour

  • 4 oz. other grain flours (I used 1 oz. forbidden rice flour and 3 oz. purple barley flour, both home ground)

  • 1.5 oz. brown sugar

  • 1½ teaspoons salt

  • 1 oz. cooked brown rice

  • 1 oz. honey

  • 4 oz. milk

  • 1-2 oz. water (this will depend on how much your grains absorbed)


  1. Mix the grains and water for the soaker together, use just enough water to cover the grains and then cover the container and leave it to sit at room temperature overnight.

  2. Mix the 1 oz. of levain (if you aren't using a stiff levain you can adjust the quantities for whatever hydration levain you are using) with 4 oz. of water until well integrated and nearly homogeneous looking. Incorporate the water and levain mixture with the bread flour until a ball starts to form. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes covered. Knead the dough briefly, just enough to get it well mixed and smooth, no need to develop the gluten yet. Return the dough to a covered bowl or container and leave at room temperature to ferment. Depending on the strength of your starter and room temperature this could take from 3-12 hours. When I made it the room temperature was about 63 degrees and it took nearly 12 hours. If you know your starter will develop fairly rapidly, start this early enough to degas the dough and refrigerate after it has doubled, otherwise leave it at room temperature overnight.

  3. The next day remove the starter from the fridge ( if it was put in the fridge) about an hour before you plan to start making the bread.

  4. Stir the rest of the bread flour, the alternate grain flours, salt, and brown sugar together in a medium large bowl. I like to mix the starter in with the liquid so it incorporates into the final dough more easily, so stir together the milk, honey and 1 oz. of the water (reserve the rest in case needed later) and then mix with the 11 oz. of starter. Now pour the starter and liquids, the soaker, and the brown rice into to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix all of the ingredients together until they just begin to come together in a ball.

  5. Turn the dough ball out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 6-10 minutes, or until you get adequate gluten development (check with a windowpane test). In my experience making this bread the dough will generally be stickier than you would expect from the hydration level and stiffness of the dough, I think this has to do with the grains from the soaker. Try to avoid adding too much flour during the kneading, as long as the dough is stiff enough that it seems to be able to hold a shape it will turn out fine, just use a bench scraper to recover any bits that stick. Lightly oil a bowl big enough to hold the dough when doubled, form your dough into a ball, roll it around in the oil, cover the bowl and set the dough aside to ferment at room temperature. Again, the time on this will vary depending on your starter, but 2-6 hours is a good estimate. No matter how long, when the dough has nearly doubled it is ready.

  6. If you want to make a freeform loaf: Now that your dough has doubled, or nearly doubled, turn it out and gently degas the dough, flattening it into a vaguely rectangular shape. Give the dough a letter fold (folding it into thirds along the long side) and seal the seam with the edge of your hand if needed. Now you have a preshape for a batard, fold once again to ensure good surface tension. Give the dough 3-5 minutes to rest before rolling it with your hands on the bench to make the ends thinner and extend them. If you have a couche use it to support the loaf as it rises, otherwise you can use parchment paper dusted with flour or sprayed with spray oil, just put objects to the side of the loaf to hold the parchment in place during the rise, and cover the loaf with oil sprayed plastic wrap. If you want to make a sandwich loaf: Starting just after the letter fold, flip the dough and gently roll it back and forth with your hands to even out the loaf shape. Once your loaf is more evenly shaped, tuck the ends underneath and briefly roll it again before placing the dough in an oiled 8½x4½ loaf pan. Cover the loaf pan and set it aside for the final rise. If you want to make rolls: Divide the dough into 6-12 of evenly sized pieces of dough, briefly preshape them into rounds and let them rest covered for 2 minutes so the gluten relaxes a bit. After the rest, shape the rolls into nice tight little boules. The method I use is to put my hand over the ball of dough, surround it with my fingers and thumb. Then while applying slight downward pressure and slight pressure with my thumb and pinky, rotate my hand a quarter turn counterclockwise, release the pressure slightly and rotate back to the home position. Repeat this until the dough forms a nice tight little ball. Place the shaped rolls on parchment paper on a baking sheet, cover, and set aside to rise.

  7. The final rise should be shorter than either of the previous two, and be careful using a poke test on this bread as the inclusion of flours with no or little gluten will make it a bit more delicate. For me, the final rise took about 90 minutes (but I had also moved to putting it in an oven with just the light off because I was going to need to go to bed!). If you are making the loaf in a loaf pan, it should rise to about 1/2 to 1 inch above the edge of the pan. The freestanding or loaf pan loaves would benefit from a very light scoring, no more than 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch deep. Preheat the oven to 350° with the rack on the middle shelf. If you wish to top your loaves or rolls with seeds or some other garnish, spray them lightly with water and top shortly before putting them in the oven.

  8. Bake for 20 minutes, at which point if you were making 12 rolls there is a good chance they will be finished. If you are making larger rolls or loaves rotate 180º (or earlier if you know your oven heats very unevenly) and continue baking for another 10-20 minutes on freestanding loaves and 25-40 minutes for pan loaves. As usual, the loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom if they are finished and be around 185-190º. The color of the finished loaf will vary widely depending on the grains and grain flours you have used.

  9. Remove the baked loaves to a cooling rack (taking pan loaves out of the pan) and allow to cool for 1-2 hours before slicing.

  10. Enjoy the delicious graininess!

Note: If you wish to make this loaf without levain, skip the levain step and in the final dough use: 10.5 oz. bread flour, 5.5-6.5 oz. water and add in 2¼ tsp. instant or active dry yeast (add the instant to the dry ingredients and the active dry to the water and stir well). The rise times will of course be very different, probably around 1.5 to 2 hours for the first rise, and 1-1.5 hours for the second rise.


Some more photos:

Forbidden Rice and Purple Barley:

Forbidden Rice and Purple Barley

Shaped and Panned Loaf:

Purple Multigrain Shaped Loaf

Risen Loaf:

Purple Multigrain Risen Loaf

Baker's Percentage: Soaker:

  • Grains 100%

  • Water 75 to 100%

  • Total: 175-200%


  • Bread Flour 100%

  • Water 66.7%

  • 66% Levain 16.7%

  • Total 183.4%


  • Starter 137.5%

  • Bread Flour 50%

  • Alternate Flours 50%

  • Brown Sugar 18.8%

  • Salt 4.8%

  • Honey 12.5%

  • Cooked Brown Rice 12.5%

  • Milk 50%

  • Water (about) 12.5%

  • Soaker 100%

  • Total: 448.5%

Straight Dough Version:

  • Bread Flour 72.4%

  • Alternate Flours 27.6%

  • Brown Sugar 10.3%

  • Salt 2.6%

  • Honey 6.9%

  • Cooked Brown Rice 6.9%

  • Milk 27.6%

  • Water 41.4%

  • Soaker 55.2%

  • Total: 250.9%

janij's picture

Here in Texas the weather is cooling off and here in Houston we are catching up on some much needed rain.  Go figure the summer I get a wood fire oven there is a burn ban in effect from, oh, June til mid September.  So this summer I spent most of my time drooling and plotting over my new oven.  We did have time before the burn ban to get some experience with firing it, maintaining temperatures and such.  We still have disasters.  Like the burnt sanwich loaves from last weekend.  My hubby, the fire man, said I needed to put the pans in the oven, but the oven was still upwards of 600 deg.  I knew better but also knew arguing with him was pointless and he could learn the burnt way! 

So in essence I wanted to show off some pictures from some of our recent baking both in the WFO and in the regular oven.

Last weekend we fired the oven Saturday and baked a beef roast (forgot a picture but was very good) and the 5 loaves of burn bread.  Sunday we refired the oven in the am and had pizza for lunch.  Said pizzas are pictured below.  The small ones in the back were made by my 5 yr old and 2 yr old.  Our new favorite homemade pizza is Pesto, sliced romas, cooked chicken and parm mixed with mozarella. And our current favorite dough is Reinhart's Roman Dough from American Pie.

Pizza Bottom

As the oven cooled from the pizza I baked 6 new loaves of sandwich bread.  This time I made my hubby wait til 400 deg to load the bread.  After they baked we refired the oven a little and cooked 2 chickens.  When you cook meat in a wood fire oven the meat gets a great smoky, bbq flavor.  In this picture you can see the chickens and 1 1/2 of the sandwich loaves.

The last one I wanted to add was the sourdough ciabatta I made today.  I am so proud of it!  I used the recipe from here

Anyway, I was proud because this was the first straight wild yeast bread I have made that was open and not gummy.  So all in all I was happy.  It went well with out butternut squash soup tonight.  The first pic is of the loaves, the second the crumb.  And there were cooked in my regular oven.

I just wanted to share. :)

Floydm's picture

My son's 2nd grade class toured Franz Bakery today.  I chaperoned this trip, naturally.

Franz is a landmark in Portland, in part because it has been here over 100 years but also because of the giant rotating loaf of bread on the roof (only a few blocks away there is a giant rotating quart of milk).  Franz Bakery bakes all of the buns for Wendy's, Arby's, Burgerville, and a bunch of other fast food joints out here as well as thousands of loaves of bread each day.

The tour began in an area that had information about how you make bread, where wheat and flour come from, how yeast works, those sorts of things.   It was pretty cute but my son didn't find it terribly interesting, probably in part because his dad has told him these things 20 times already.

After that, we had to get on our hair nets and the tour began.

Unfortunately cameras were not allowed on the tour.  I noticed other parents surreptitiously taking shots but I was too concerned with keeping small fingers out of the machinery to take photos once the tour began.  A few things I noted though:

  • Franz is a bread factory, not a bakery as I think of bakeries.  I'm not making a value judgement in saying that, just noting that everything I saw was done by machine with operators tending to the machines, not bakers tending to the dough.

  • Ingredient-wise I saw palettes full of different flours including those from Cargill and Pendleton Flour Mill.

  • Dough was mixed in 1,000 pound batches, then dumped into troughs where it fermented for an hour or so.

  • Machines shaped the buns then slid them into a proofing machine that is kept around 100 degrees where they stayed for 50 minutes.

  • Buns travel through a 100 foot long oven for about 8 minutes to bake.

  • The buns are cooled on a track that travels all around the building before heading into the packaging room.

  • Watching the loaves fly around, I got this song stuck in my head (if you've watched Looney Tunes you'll know what I'm talking about).

The kids enjoyed the tour a lot, frankly a lot better than they would have enjoyed a tour of an artisan bakery with a single small oven and a dedicated group of earnest bakers talking about the nuances of fermentation.  I enjoyed it too and gotta admit it is impressive that they can automate so much of the baking process.  I was also pleased to hear that there is increasing demand to use local and organic ingredients even when baking on an industrial scale.

Finally, one knick knack I saw on the tour that I liked:


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