The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Did anyone find the latest issue of National Geographic interesting?  How about Dan Fisher a paleontologist who plays with his food by preserving it with Lactobacteria?


Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Baked Potato Bread Photo

There'll be a better write-up on my blog,, but I wanted to thank Floyd for a good starter recipe. I'm still working on modifying this one. I think that I have the general consistency of the bread down that I want, but I want a bit more tang. I think that there may have to be a sourdough component to really get it where I want it to be. But that's a completely new bread.

This is Floyd's recipe with a few modifications. The first is adding a bit more sour cream. The second was adding cheddar cheese instead of chives. The third is the addition of half & half in the dough and the mashed potatoes.

I think that getting a stand mixer will help me with this type of bread the most. I mixed for 8 or so minutes on speed 2 and then folded twice during the bulk fermentation, giving it an hour at the end to come to full bulk. The crumb is light, fluffy, and very tender.

I'm writing the recipe on the blog now. I wanted to share the photo because I'm so proud of how this one turned out. :)

Yippee's picture

These baguettes were a result of the collaborative efforts of Yippee and Little Yippees. The kids enjoy eating foods that they took part in preparing more.  These turned out to be part of our lunch and dinner of the day.

These are better looking baguettes than my first batch.  However, there were even fewer air pockets than the first time.  May be this was due to excessive gas loss during shaping since I did not follow Mike's video this time.    

 Colors improved since this time I did everything I could to achieve a better color. 

1st, 2nd  and 3rd rises were all done in the fridge and each followed by stretch and fold. 3rd rise was unexpected and was used as a way to delay the process to a later time. Final internal temperature was 205F, a few degrees lowered than last time at which I found the crust was crispier.    

Yippee's picture

Another sleepless night. I almost thought something was wrong with my dough since I did not expect the fermentation would take this looooooooooong.  Next time I'd go to bed while it rises and not check on it every 15 minutes. 

The recipe was done on two builds from barm to final dough. The barm was refreshed the day before, very active.  It's converted from my previous whole wheat recipe.  I wanted to start my wild yeast experience with a recipe which I'm already very familiar with so that I can easily compare the differences. 

1st rise:  retarded in fridge, seemed very active, rose more than double in a very short time.

Final proof:  took 5 hours, barely reached 80% of the regular height.

Q: Should I have skipped all these different rises and shaped the dough once all ingredients were mixed?

Q: This made me wonder normally how long it takes to rise a dough with wild yeast?

 These loaves were moist, springy with a slight tang, but not as tall as their counterparts with commercial yeast. 

Q: Maybe I should adjust the rising time and the amount of starter next time?  

This time I experimented with 240g of 100% hydration starter. It's quite a challenge to maintain the percentage of ingredients in the original recipe without compromising those like eggs and milk which contribute to the softness and good flavors of the bread.    In this case I dehydrated the milk by using dry milk power and spared the extra water from the starter to the dough.  

 My seed culture was made with raisins.   

Q:        Would anyone know if there's a difference in tastes when seed cultures are made with different ingredients?

Q:        Or once the seed cultures are turned into a barm, the tang is indistinguishable?  


Yippee's picture

My seed culture was made with raisins.

Would anyone know if there's a difference in tastes when seed cultures are made with different ingredients?

Once the seed cultures are turned into a barm, will the tang be indistinguishable?

Yippee's picture

I was exhilarated.  Finally, I made my first baguettes.  It's Reinhart's poolish/pate fermentee baguette with a 55.9% hydration.  The crust was crispy, even though I'd prefer a more golden brown color, and the crumbs were very springy and soft.  By tasting these baguettes, we could feel the recipe originator's passion for good flavors.  

New technique learned:  stretch and fold.   Thanks to everyone who recommended Mark's video. It was a big help.  Even though David suggested not applying this technique at a stage where my dough had already risen twice in the fridge, I gambled. I felt that it's under fermented from its lack of flexibility and let it rise two more times in room temperature and stretched and folded after each rise.  It's fun to learn and apply new techniques.

 The pale color of the crust may be related to insufficient steam in the oven (or could it be due to the two extra rises?).  I was trying to circumvent the steps of heating up a steam pan and pouring boiling water onto it by injecting steam from a Scunci steamer.  Probably I didn't pump enough into the oven and I did not spray the dough with water.

 Practice makes perfect and I hope my next batch of baguettes will be less deformed and be of better color.

flourgirl51's picture

Being a certified organic farmer means MUCH more than just not using chemicals. It means a different way of farming altogether than conventional farming. Certified organic farming means you have to leave buffer strips to make sure that adjoining fields can't contaminate your fields with chemical sprays and GMO crops. This is done by tilling under a large section of your fields that are near neighboring fields. We can't use chemicals in organic farming so we have to remove weeds with the tractor and methods called multiweeding and harrowing. These methods also remove a portion of the crops which you lose so you have to seed heavier to compensate for this which makes it more expensive than conventional farming is and also means hours and hours spent in the tractor. Water quality is also checked and soil samples are required much of the time. This all costs money. We have to rotate the crops each year which helps to keep the soils from being depleted of nutrients , which means you can' t grow the same crop on the same field two years in a row. You have to let some fields "rest" or lie fallow for a year which helps to remove weeds by not planting that field that year, you just keep tilling the weeds under to kill them. When a field lies fallow you don't make any money from it that year, but it helps to produce a better crop the next year. We grow a specialty legume crop that produces nitrogen for the ground instead of using a deadly chemical such as annhydrous ammonia. Nitrogen is key to the protein content of the wheat and we are proud of our 14% high protein wheat-produced organically. Being certified organic means that you have to pay to join a certifying agency.THEY in turn choose an inspector to send out to the farm each year to perform an all day inspection. You can't choose your own independent inspection company in certified organic farming. Companies can't do inspections, only certifiying agencies can. The inspector checks the fields and crops, the machinery and grain bins and the mountain of paperwork and records that you have to have. You have to have certificates and affidavits for many things. The machinery, grain bins and trucks have to be cleaned out between crops and be rodent proof and the trucks and combine are checked to make sure that they aren't leaking anything that could contaminate organic soil. The semi trucks that haul the grains to the mills have to also be cleaned out and have affidavits also.If you use any fertilizers such as molasses, you have to provide the paperwork that shows that they are approved by your certifying agency, and also provide the labels for these. If you have too many weeds in your fields the crops can be condemned and are not certifiable. Just because an inspector comes and checks your farm does NOT mean that your farm will be certified organic. All of the certifying agency's requirements have to be met in order to become certified. If they choose not to certify your crops you don't get your money back and you can't sell your crops as certified organic. We CHOSE to be certified organic farmers because we believe that it is so much better for us, our families, the earth and our customers who buy directly from us and ultimately for the consumers who end up with our high quality grains and flours. We work hard to grow these crops while we also try to build up the soils to replace what the crops remove each year. I hope that this has helped to educate some people about what it really means to be Certified Organic. Going the extra mile to become a cerfied organic farm means that our customers can be assured that we have done everything possible to provide them with the highest quality wheats and flours that we can while we also are stewards of the land that is so precious to us. We have been a certified organic farm for almost 14 years.

Manang's picture

This is one of the recipes that I sought to make because of available ingredients. My in-laws just made another batch of maple syrup for this year (they do around March) and gave us some. I still had some from last year's, so I thought I'd look for a recipe to use up the opened jar sitting int he fridge. I found one at KAF, but I modified the recipe. Reading their blog about the recipe, I learned that they originally made use of 1/2 cup maple syrup. and while they made use of water, maple syrup and maple flavoring to brush the top to save on the expensive ingredient, I did not have to do that.

Maple Oatmeal Bread
I had about 1/2 cup from a pint jar of maple syrup, and after pouring that off into a measuring cup, I had maple sugar sediment at the bottom, which I crushed with fork. This was what I used to brush the top of the loaf prior to baking. The blog author was right, the maple flavor was like creeping on you slowly...and toasting it (I do for 5 minutes) brings out the full flavor. Perfect for breakfast with my coffee, even plain or with jam.

And since I was using my bread machine, I changed the flours to bread flour and traditional whole wheat, both KAF brands, and the yeast to BM yeast. Of course, once these ingredients are changed, the method changes as well.

* 3/4 cup warm water (80-100 deg F)
* 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
* 1/2 cup real maple syrup
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 3/4 cup King Arthur 100% Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
* 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

Combine all wet ingredients and warm up to 80 to 100 deg F. Place in BM pan. (Don't forget the paddle!)

Combine all dry ingredients and place on top of dry. Start the dough cycle. Run a timer for 30 minutes (this will be the total time of kneading by the machine before it rests to rise for one hour), after which, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and flatten with your floured palm to a disk. Generously grease your loaf pan.

Roll the dough to a log and place seam side down in an 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 loaf pan (if you use a bigger one, your loaf will not have an overhang and will seem too small for the pan). Cover with cling wrap smeared with shortening on the side that will eventually touch the dough so that dough will not stick when you remove the plastic later. Let rise for 1-1/2 to 2 hours in a warm, draft-free, moist place or until the dough has doubled in size and has about 1 inch overhang.

Heat the oven to 350 deg F. Place rack at the middle.

Remove plastic and brush the top with maple sugar-syrup all over. (I placed the loaf pan on another shallow pan to catch syrup drippings.). Bake for 35-40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when top is tapped with finger.

Let cool down for about 5 minutes before turning onto a cooling wire rack. KAF advises to let it cool fully before slicing. I don't. I think the reason they advise that is that it is easy to compress and deform the loaf with the pressure of slicer. I have, in the past, even as a child, learned to angle the loaf in such a way that my slicer hits the bottom corner first. When done this way, versus hitting the loaf from the top or flat sides, the bread maintains its shape, especially if you are not hastening the slicing.

jleung's picture

Full post here.

Sausage Buns

Ever seen something like this in a Hong Kong style bakery?

The breads I loved as a child were not peanut butter and jam Wonder Bread sandwiches, but the assortment of breads made from Hong Kong style bakeries: cocktail buns (雞尾飽) , raisin twists (提子條), plain sweet bread (排飽) and pineapple buns (菠蘿飽), just to name a few. Baking yeast bread was a complete mystery to me until recently, but it always seems so magical - and comforting - to walk into a bakery and inhale the wonderful aromas of freshly baked, still-warm bread. Hong Kong style buns are often variations on the theme of a basic plain [semi-] sweet dough that is twisted, stretched, stuffed or topped with a number of different fillings.

Sausage Buns - 腸仔飽, or pigs in a blanket (?)

Dough recipe from Food For Tots - Sausage Rolls


-300 g bread flour (I used unbleached all-purpose flour and had to add a bit more to get the right feel to the dough)
- 5 g instant dried yeast
- 10 g white granulated sugar
- 6 g salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten, plus enough lukewarm milk to weigh 220 - 230 g

- 30 g unsalted butter, softened

- 8 pieces of sausages (think hot dogs)

- egg wash: 1 egg, lightly beaten
- sesame seeds, for topping


1. Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add in the egg and milk, and combine, stirring until it comes together in a rough dough.

2. Knead with lightly floured hands for 3-5 minutes until you start to feel the dough coming together.

3. Add the softened butter and continue to knead until it is thoroughly incorporated into the dough.

4.Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise at room temperature for around 1.5 hours, or until roughly doubled in size.

5. Gently deflate the dough and divide into 8 pieces, one for each of your sausages. You'll want to roll these out into little logs, and then let them rest for 5 minutes or so to relax the gluten.

6. Roll out each log again and gently stretch them into thinner, longer logs. They'll need to be long enough to wrap around your sausage.

7. If you want the middle bulge of your bun to be bigger, you could also at this point taper the ends of your dough log by rolling the very ends a bit thinner until they form a point at each end. Wrap the log around the sausage and try to leave both ends on the bottom. That way, you can easily form a better seal by pressing the dough-wrapped sausage down on the ends. You'll want to place the shaped buns on a greased baking sheet, parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

8. Cover the buns with a damp cloth and let them rise until roughly doubled again. When they start to look puffy, brush them lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

9. Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 200C (~400F) oven for 8 minutes, and then 180C (~350F) for 5 minutes or until they're golden brown.

ericb's picture


For the last few weeks, I have moved away from sourdough levain to straightforward yeast recipes. However, this weekend, I decided to revive my starter and try out something new: Eric's Favorite Rye (ici:



As usual, my starter bounced back with alarming predictability. By Monday morning, it was active, bubbly, and delightful to smell. I made the rye starter per Eric Hanner's directions, set the bowl on top of the cabinet (the one the cat can't get to...), and left for work, excited about trying out a new recipe that evening.


Around noon, though, I got a call from my mom: my grandfather of 80 was in the CCU at the hospital. He had been having trouble lately, but we all kind of figured he might bounce back.


I don't know about your family, but in mine, we talk circuitously about death. My parents would never say, "you need to come to the hospital if you want to see your grandfather before he dies." They always try to be optimistic, or at least realistic about the facts as they stand at that moment, never ruling anything out. But when you hear phrases like, "they're talking with the nurse about what they want to... do," it becomes clear that "do" does not include "go home and start building model railroad houses again."


What followed was a typical family freak-out session at the ICU. I've been through a few of these in my life, but not as many as some of you. You know the drill: family start filing into the ICU waiting room, where speculation about the patient's health condition runs rampant. What did the doctor say? But the nurse said this... which one is right? Didn't the cardiologist say something different? Grief builds as the topic turns to "what to do." Grandma and Pappaw always said they didn't want to go on a ventilator... but nothing's easy during the critical time. The family becomes like an Ouroboros, a snake eating its tale, but without the symbolism of regeneration and rebirth. We feed on each other's grief. We took turns making frequent trips to his room, two-by-two, where we held his hand as he struggled in a rage induced by oxygen depletion. In an effort to calm him, I asked him about his first car: a chartreuse Ford. I asked him how to set up his old model railroad trains. I told him how we enjoy using his 1960's-era Central Bell rotary phone, which he wanted to throw out in a recent move. This seemed to help.

To make a long story less long, my grandfather did not die that night. He was given morphine and is now resting comfortably in a hospital room. He will never leave that room, and I think we're all OK with that. He may live another day, or several weeks. Either way, it is a blessing to have the extra time.


This afternoon, after too many hours in the hospital and too much drama to emotionally process anything, I realized that my rye starter was still waiting for me. When I got home, I decided to continue with the recipe, despite the fact that the starter was 24 hours too old. I threw in a bit of extra yeast, and indulged in the therapy of the familiar actions of mixing, kneading, and shaping the dough.


Finally, after struggling with the sticky rye and making a complete mess of my kitchen, it was time to bake. The first loaf slid in beautifully, and I had visions of a tangy, perfect deli rye. The second loaf, however, was a disaster. When I slid it in, I miscalculated and let it slide too far. It bumped up against the first loaf, and instantly combined into a giant, doughy blob.


In that moment, all of the fear and frustration of the last two days exploded. I suppose up to that point, I was in emotional denial about the impending death of my grandfather. Anger is the next stage of grief, and I took it out on the dough. I entirely lost my cool, and with a spatula, stabbed into the seam between the two, forcing them apart, making a racket and cursing my situation. In frustration, I slammed the oven door, which caused the  dough to slide off the baking stone and into the back of the oven. I was able to retrieve the dough before the oven caught fire, but not without ruining the loaf. In my grief, I somehow equated the dough with my grandfather. It made sense at the time.


At the risk of sounding preachy, I have heard that the Christian idea of resurrection does not only apply to death. They say that every loss in life is like a death, and that the recovery from these losses is like resurrection. In that way, they say that they are prepared for their final resurrection throughout their entire life. It's a nice thought. I don't mean to be melodramatic, but it was comforting to think that the death of this loaf was not the end. I can try again tomorrow, this time with more patience and thoughtfulness. In the same way, the pending loss of my grandfather is not the end, either. I can take my memories of him, my regrets and happiness, and carry them with me. Instead of wishing I had spent more time with him, I can choose to actively be with my grandmother, my aunts and uncles, my neighbors and friends. Life, like bread, is more forgiving than we might expect, and is always filled with second chances.



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