The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Eli's picture

Scones have become a popular item in our house these days. Henry, another member of TFL was kind enough to share his recipe with me and his scones are wonderful too. These scones are incredible and contain no butter but rely on the heavy cream for the fat content. They will melt in your mouth! Rich and silky and they freeze well. This batch was inspired by the last of my wonderful fresh blueberries. How I'm going to miss them till next year. But I have these scones for now and will be content. Life is good!

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I'm a simple girl.  My only requirement of my kitchen appliances and untensils is that they work, and work well, for the application I intend to use them.  This, among other things, is why I replaced the oven that came with this house as soon as financially possible.

I'm a gas person.  Always have been and always will be.  I can't cook very well on an electric stove.  When we went looking for houses before our baby was born, I looked at the range in every house and said no to almost every house that had an electric one.  We didn't really have the money to get a new one right away at the time.  Almost every house...except this one.

There were other very nice things about this house, though.  4 bedrooms.  1.5 bathrooms.  Big dining area that could, someday, turn into a very dreamy kitchen for yours truly.  Big patch of rhubarb on one side of the garage.  Big patch of blackberry bushes on the other side.  A peach tree in the backyard.  Plenty of room for a garden, and a patch that was partitioned off with beams of wood that could easily be turned into some sort of melon or strawberry patch without the rest of the garden being overgrown.

The not-so-nice things were many as well.  Electric range.  Carpet upstairs that didn't look as though it had been changed since the 70's.  A kitchen floor with linoleum so old that it had little bits of dirt permanently ground into it.  Very little counter space.

We got it anyway due to the aforementioned very nice things.  I've always wanted a space for a garden.

Fast forward a few months.  I'm about 5 months pregnant and the annual friends and family sale is going on through Electrolux.  My boyfriend works at the plant here in town, and his sister works at the Beam plant.  So we get the list of things and start perusing, not really thinking of getting anything.  Lo and behold, on the last page, sits my dream: a 5 burner gas range with 5 cubic ft. convection oven.  Big enough to do 4 9" cakes in.  Big enough to bake even the biggest batch of bread that I felt I could handle.  If we'd gone to Lowe's to pick up the same oven, we would've paid close to $1200. In the sale, it was less than $600.

My grandparents wanted to get us a housewarming gift anyway, and so we asked both sets to chip in and then we paid the rest.  I *cried* the day I used it for the first time.  Cookies come out perfect.  Bread bakes up so beautifully.  I thought the crying thing was just because I was pregnant, but sometimes I still get a little teary-eyed when I think about how great it is to have a range that won't burn things on the bottom and leave them raw on top.

So I wanted to say thank you to my oven.  I feed it good dough and it gives me good bread.  Such a harmonious relationship.

gmask1's picture

Here's my attempts from last night and this morning - Rye Loaves 8 (back two loaves) and 9 (front two loaves) by my journals reckoning.

During the oven bake, Rye Loaf 9 used the tenting method suggested by Mini Oven in a comment on my previous blog entry, and has produced a nicely rounded loaf top, with no tearing save the score line across the top. Rye Loaf 8 is my previously method (ie. putting the pans in the oven, and nothing else), and is the more... erm... 'rustic' looking style. The loaves are the same size as previous attempts, so I expect the interior will be much the same. Rye Loaf 9 is a bit smaller, however I put that down to the dough fermenting right over the top of the mixing bowl, and into a generous puddle beside it!

I was absolutely dumbstruck by the differences between the two bakings - same dough, same temperature and baking time (about 75 minutes at 180C - 356F), same internal temperature at the end (200F - 93C). Both loaves looked totally unremarkable after proofing - neither showed great amounts of rising, nor had the scoring been pulled apart. In my eyes, the proofing time of about 2 hours had little visible effect on the loaves. Once in the oven though... that's when they took off.

Now that I have a better understanding of creating a less manic looking loaf, my next experiment... what kind of seeds (sesame, poppy, etc.) would go well on top of the loaf! Any suggestions are always appreciated.


dmsnyder's picture

San Joaquin Sourdough & Friends

San Joaquin Sourdough & Friends

San Joaquin Sourdough

San Joaquin Sourdough

San Joaquin Sourdough Crumb

San Joaquin Sourdough Crumb

This boule is made with my Pain de Campagne formula. ( I used KAF French Style Flour with 5% KAF Organic Whole Wheat and 5% Giusto's whole rye flour. I formed one boule which weighed 860 gms baked. I baked at 480F for 18 minutes under a stainless steel bowl, then another 22 minutes at 460F uncovered. The shine on the boule is real. I assume this is gelatinized starch from the covered baking. I thought it was a nice effect.

 The "friends" are baguettes made with the Gosselin pain a l'ancienne formula.(à-l039ancienne-according-peter-reinhart-interpretted-dmsnyder-m) There were 4 of them, but I devoured one with dinner. It did not have as open a crumb as my last batch, but the taste was wonderful - very sweet, classic baguette flavor.


holds99's picture

This week I tried Michel Suas' whole wheat sourdough bread for the second time.  I made four pounds of dough and divided it into 2 loaves (2 lbs each).  The leavening is an overnight levain.  After reading Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads I decided to take a little different approach and prior to mixing the levain into the final dough I mixed the whole wheat and bread flour (for the final dough) together and mixed in the water and let it stand for 5 hours.  It became very soft and creamy.  Then I when the levain was ready I mixed it into the final dough mixture and let it stand for about 20 minutes.  Then added the salt and gave it a good 8-10 minute hand mixing using Richard Bertinet's "slap and fold" method.  During bulk fermentation I did three stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals.  Then divided the dough into 2 equal sizes, shaped it and placed them into heavily floured (50% rice flour/50% AP flour) unlined willow brotforms.  I belief soaking the combined final dough flour with the water really made a difference.

You might be interested to know that I used a different knife to score each loaf, which are sitting in front of their respective loaf.  The left loaf (right photo, top) was scored with a PureKomachi 5" high carbon stainless steel serated tomato knife.  The loaf on the right was scored with a standard serated 5" kitchen knife.  I think the PureKomachi does a hugely superior job. I also have the PureKomachi bread knife, which is also a great knife.  Hey, I sound like Ron Popeil selling Vegamatics :>).

Anyway, if you like whole wheat bread, well, it doesn't get any better than this.  It has great taste, nice mouth feel with a tinge of sourness after swallowing---and terrific flavor. 


2 nd try at Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - Advanced Bread and Pastry

Michel Suas Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread - Advanced Bread and Pastry

chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

Dear friends,

In the occasion of our feast , i made a lot of cookies and biscuits , some are pure egyptian , some from the gulf area , chocolate chips cookies ,european biscuits, so that is a variety , so every one of you can choose the one he likes.

if you are interested to share the recipes , i am ready.

Eli's picture

I made Norm's Onion Rolls back in April and wish I had posted them then. That bunch seemed to be a little more aesthetic. These were great tasting and Norm's Onion Rolls, along with Henry's Scones have made me quite popular with the neighborhood.

Burger with Norm' s Onion Roll and Mr. Stripey tomatoes! Delicious!!

Thanks Norm and Henry!! ehanner's made me covet that onion poppy seed explosion again!

Thanks for making them look so good again!


AnnieT's picture

I just got my used copy of this book which I had thought of sending to my son in Paso Robles as he is talking of building a clay oven. I thought maybe the brick oven would interest him, but having started to read it I may keep it. Fascinating book with lots of information, but I found one point that confuses me. The author claims that the internal temperature of a loaf should be at least 195*, though 200* is ideal. Then he goes on to say that bread baked to a higher temperature does not keep as well. Here I have been carefully baking to at least 205*! Who should I believe? I searched and found that several members have the book and like it - did anyone else notice the comment? A.

dolfs's picture

Baking Challah is a weekly thing in my kitchen. I have blogged about it extensively. For the holidays I did something a little "special" inspired by a long ago post by Mariana (I think).

 Rosh Hashanah Challah (yud bet)
Rosh Hashanah Challah (yud bet)

Maggie Glezer in "A Blessing of Bread" describes this as a yud (ten) bet (two), an originally Hasidic bread that represents the twelve tribes. I added double twisted ring on the outside symbolizing the world, unity, or the circle of live (the completion of a year), take your pick. The resulting Challah is thus also round, a traditional shape for the holidays.

A particular challenge came with the fact that no recipe I could find would tell me what size/weight to make each of the twelve balls and how much was needed for the two outside ropes. I started with my own recipe of a 1.7lb Challah that I make each week. Figuring I could do with a larger bread (guests for dinner tonight), but not being sure how much dough I would need, I made 3lb of dough starting last night (overnight ferment in the fridge). I also added raisins.

In the end I decided to make the balls 2.5oz each (30 oz) and use the remainder for the two ropes: 9oz each. Once I shaped the balls and placed them on parchment in two triangles of six (bases touching), I used a tape measure to figure out how long my outside ropes needed to be: 40 inches. Now I was very happy with my new 36" maple countertop (see other posts). I could just roll these out on the diagonal. Without it, on a smaller board, or the tile countertops this would have been a no-go. Stretching/rolling the dough that far requires a little patience and one or two rests before you get there. I was in a hurry because my wife needed the oven and broke one of the two, but with some repair its not too bad. The "break" is on the back left in the picture. So, all this worked out perfectly so you can use these ratios: 60-65% of the dough for the 12 balls, the rest for the ropes.

Taste was delicious, but my formula has now proven itself many times so I was not worried about that. Next challenge will be bread sculpting for Halloween. Don't know yet what will top last year's pumpkin and turkey



See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

dolfs's picture

Same party with neighbors (see Eliopsomo), different bread. From the book "Savory Baking from the Mediterranean" (Anissa Helou), page 133. This was definitely an interesting a delicious treat. Two loaves did not last very long.

 Tortano Ripieno - Savory Baking from the Mediterranean
Tortano Ripieno - Savory Baking from the Mediterranean

This "torta" "no", or not quite pie, is very interesting. A Tuscan bread, it is filled with several kinds of cheese (some of it seen having oozed out above), salami and, of all things, hard boiled eggs. Savory indeed, and very delicious.

Tortano Ripieno - Inside
Tortano Ripieno - Inside 

I went through a similar recipe transcription process as for the Eliopsomo, but this time things came out too dry. I was suspicious of the 52% hydration that came out of the conversion effort, and added more water to bring it closer to 64%. In the end, I think I could/should have brought it up a little higher even. On the other hand, the low hydration did make the bread have some characteristics of a pie crust. The recipe starts out by thoroughly mixing lard (or butter), with the flour before doing anything else. Again a technique more akin to pie crust than bread dough.

I ended up putting three hard boiled eggs inside each loaf. The recipe calls for cutting them in 6 parts, which I did for one loaf, but for the other loaf I used a slicer and put the slices in. The first method gives nice, recognizable chunks in some bits, the second method distributes the egg better. If you like the egg in it, I'd put in 4 eggs in 6 parts. Concerned about health? This bread is not for you, with 3 or 4 eggs!



See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 


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