The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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ArtisanGeek's picture

I have relocated my Bread Baker's Toolbox (Volume Conversion Formula Tool , Custom Batch Formula Tool) to one of my hosting servers at Now I can finally shut down my server at the house. I hope you can get some use out of these tools and I will be making more of them soon. If you have any suggestions for formula or conversion tools that would make your life easier, just let me know.

audra36274's picture

    I couldn't let Sylvia and Pamela have all the red stained shirts! I did use Sylvia's meatball recipe, but instead of rolling the out by hand used and ice cream scoop to put the meatball in the bread crumbs. NEXT time I will only use a cookie dough scoop. They were way too big! I was scooping, rolling and putting them straight in the oil when I stopped to count. Sylvia had 18 or so and here is 10,11, 12. Uh oh. Too late. Good thing I have a big mouth. They were great ya'll. Thanks for the inspiration. My bread crumbs vanished somehow, but they were great.

hansjoakim's picture

Here's one of my favourite rye loaves:

70 percent rye with hot soaker

The loaf is a 70% rye with a hot rye meal soaker. The hydration is around 80%, and I put approx. 15% of the total flour in the soaker. The pre-gelatinized flour contribues to a very soft, moist and tender crumb, and gives the loaf excellent keeping qualities. The rest of the flour is whole rye (about 55%) and ordinary bread flour (30%). I make it with a firm white starter and a tiny speck of fresh yeast, about the size of a small pea (just under 2 gr.), so the loaf develops a nice, round flavour during a 2 hr bulk fermentation. Final proof is approx. 1hr 15 mins.

70 percent rye with hot soaker

This loaf is a decent compromise: It has the nice flavour of rye, and the added bread flour contributes significant strength and  lightness to the loaf. You could add different bread spices or herbs to it, but I think I prefer it plain.


For dinner, I opted for the feuillete with salmon tartar from Roux' pastry book. Well... I have been out of puff pastry for a couple of weeks, and I needed a good excuse to make some more ;-) Besides, I'd just seen a video of a chef making the quick/blitz/rough version of puff pastry, and I would like to have a go at it myself. I've made the classic version before (and I'm still blown away by the puffing power of classic puff), but never the quick version. The procedure is simple enough: Basically a buttery pie dough that is given turns, and brief rests in the fridge in between. One shouldn't do too many turns with quick puff, as that tends to break down the rough layers and diminish the volume of the end product. Enough of that... so I did four single turns on the pastry while the rye bulk fermented. No pain at all, and I was thoroughly surprised over how quick (and dirty) the method is.

I cut off a bit of the dough this afternoon to make dinner. The dough is rolled into a thin circle, and this is then rolled in granulated sugar. The sugar caramelizes in the oven, and adds a unique sweet crunch to the feuillete at each bite. Sweet sugar crunch, fresh salmon and buttery feuillete went down remarkably well in my book :)

Feuillete with salmon tartar

Roux writes that the rough version bakes up to about 75% of the volume attained by correctly rolled classic puff. Doing the rough version felt a bit like cheating, I'll gladly admit it, but for such savoury applications, I don't think it matters that much. I'll definitely go with the classic one for any ambitious dessert, but the rough version is very handy and comes together very quickly.

The inevitable: Left overs and scrap puff. Oh boy. What to do? Can't throw it away, can you? It's all butter and flour-y goodness, innit? My local grocery store had some perky raspberries the other day, so I thought a mille-feuille would finish off a long day.





Added June 27: I still had some of the rough puff pastry in my fridge, and figured I could use the rest to make some apple turnovers and a dessert this weekend. I picked up a nice batch of Royal Gala apples at the local grocery and made an apple filling. Instead of the usual vanilla/cinnamon flavoured filling, I tried a recipe flavoured with lemon juice and a liberal sprinkling of Calvados. *Yum*

Apple filling

So, for the turnovers, I sprinkled them with sugar and some chopped almonds just before baking. I think they turned out alright, but you can see that the rough puff version doesn't puff up as much as the classic one. Still tastes good, though.

Apple turnover

For the dessert this weekend, I opted for a recipe in Friberg's pastry book that I've been drooling over for a long time, but not had the opportunity to make before now. It's something he calls puff pastry apple points, and it's an interesting variation on the usual mille-feuilles. The puff pastry is baked as a thin sheet (i.e. weighed down by a second baking sheet on top for the first 15 mins.), and is cut into three consecutively thinner strips. The points are then made by stacking layers of puff, the Calvados apple filling and a Calvados cream. The whole thing is iced with ordinary whipped cream, and decorated with crumbs of left over baked puff. I think it turned out alright! It tasted great anyway, with a marked Calvados taste due to both the filling and the Calvados cream. By the way, here's how it's supposed to look: Photo from the book. Note that I took the photo before cutting into individual servings... slicing these mille-feuilles tend to become... messy. Pressing through the cream and cutting with a serrated knife through the pastry strips should do the trick.

Puff pastry apple points

audra36274's picture



What is the weather where you are? Here is what is going on in the south. We can't seem to get ripe tomatoes because we enjoy them green . Early in the morning it is already 84 with high humidity. I start my bread and sit it out to rise. Then we pick and prepare for canning. Go knead. Start canning before it gets any hotter. Go shape for final rise. Take hot jars out and sit aside to be undisturbed. Bake and cook.  The days are busy, long, and hot but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wish you all good food and happy baking. Anybody else have that first ripe tomato yet? Luckily my friend has a greenhouse and we have really had them all winter.



dmsnyder's picture

The rolls I made with the Sourdough Italian Bread  dough were so good, I made a bigger batch today. I thought about making them larger than last time, but my wife said she wanted hers smaller. So, I made half of them 4 oz and half 3 oz. I guess you could call them "His and Hers Sourdough Italian Rolls."


One of our favorite breads is the Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread from Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice." I don't know why I don't bake it more often. Just "so many breads, so little time," I guess. Anyway, my wife has been lobbying for me to make it for a few weeks. So ...



xaipete's picture

When I saw Sylvia's sandwiches I immediately knew what we were having for Father's Day! I made BBA's Italian Bread. Thanks to information gleaned from David's posts I knew to increase the mixing time. I think it took about 10 minutes on medium speed in my KA to pass the window pane test.

I used a regular biga (is there really any such animal?) that I made the day before and held overnight in the refrigerator. I made one loaf and 4 hoagie-style rolls (each roll weighed about 5 ounces).

Note to self: whenever putting sesame seeds on the outside of loaves, rolls, etc., brush the target with egg white wash or most of them will be on the floor and not in your mouth. I can't tell you how many times I swept the kitchen floor yesterday! Before bagging the breads, Jim said, "Why don't we just scrape the seeds off!" I agreed whole-heartedly!

My meatball recipe is oddly (just kidding) similar to Sylvia's. It comes come foodtv's Ina Garten. You can read it here if you are interested.

I, like Sylvia, really think San Marzano tomatoes are the best and use them in all my special dishes.

The meal was a winner and the bread held up very well to the meatballs and sauce. I dressed the meatball with a semi-firm whole-milk mozzarella and popped them under the broiler for a few minutes.

I wanted my picture to look like just like Sylvia's but was out of parsley, so I had to substitute a sprig of cilantro :-) which I threw away after taking the photo.

Happy Father's Day to all,


Susan's picture

I TOLD myself to be ready for the change in weather, but it tripped me up once again.  I wasn't taking the warmer weather into account when refreshing my starter.  So lately it was way on the downhill side before I was using it.  Big mistake, as my loaves have been somewhat flatter and somewhat more dense, though certainly edible.  But I'm back on track now, as evidenced below.  Thought I'd better document this here so others can learn from my errors.

 80g firm starter, 200g water, 275g HG flour, 25g WWW, 7g salt

Your somewhat slow bread buddy,


Shiao-Ping's picture

This recipe is from page 130 of Eric Kayser's Beyond The Bread Basket.  It is part of a dessert called Strawberries in Wine with Pink Caramelized Almond Bread.  As winter is now in full swing down under, strawberries are everywhere in fruit & vege stores and supermarkets; I thought it would make a relatively healthy dessert for after dinner.  

Formula for Pink Caramelized Almond Bread 

250g bread flour

a pinch of salt

2.5 g active dry yeast (or 5 g fresh yeast) dissolved in 4 tsp lukewarm water

20 g granulated sugar

45 g butter 10 g powdered milk

20 g whipping cream

125 g water

75 g pink caramelized almonds*  

* I belive this is pink pralines, the same ingredient in Eric Kayser's other recipe, Brioche with Pink Pralines in his book, Eric Kayser's New French Cuisine.  When I spoke to G. Detou, they did tell me there are two types of pink pralines, one with whole almonds (20%, 30% or 50% to sugar content) and the other with pre-crushed almonds (only 20%).  I find it odd that the sugar content could be so high but it is really not easy talking to a French man over the phone.  Maybe I misunderstood him somewhere, typical me.  As I have a bag of raw almonds in my pantry, I thought I could try to make my own pink almonds (like pink almond candy).  Into a large bowl, I put 122 g icing sugar and started adding pink and red food coloring and a little bit of water until I got a sticky paste.  I chopped up 215 g almonds into small pieces and add them into the paste.  They were baked in 160 C oven for about 25 min.  The ratio of my almonds to sugar is 176%, way higher than the information I got from talking to G. Detou, but it will do for now.  Here is a picture of my my homemade pink pralines look-alike:    



                                                  home-made pink almonds  


This is a very easy bread to make.  Place all ingredients except pink almonds in the mixer, knead for 5 min at low speed and 8 min at high speed.  Add the pink almonds, kneading them in by hand.  Set aside the dough to rest for 30 min, covered with a damp cloth.   Shape, then leave to rest at room temp for 2 hours.  Preheat oven to 210 C and bake for 25 min.  (The book says to bake at 160 C for 25 min, but I wonder how the crust gets brown at this temp.)


Pink Caramelized Almond Bread                                                                  


                                                                     The crumb  


The recipe for the Strawberries in Wine follows:  

300 g strawberries*

75 g red wine*

75 g granulated sugar*

2 black peppercorns

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 vanilla pod, slit lengthways  

* Note: These three are the key ingredients; the rest are there for more depth in flavors and are not essential.   

Bring the red wine to the boil and flambe it.  Add all the other ingredients except strawberries to the wine and simmer.  Cut strawberries into quarters and add them to the liquid and simmer for a further 2 - 3 min.  Remove from heat and allow the flavors to blend.   

To serve:  Cut the bread into cubes.  Spoon the strawberries with wine into a desert bowl and add the bread cubes.



                               Strawberries in Wine with Pink Caramelized Almond Bread (page 131 of Beyond Bread Basket)  

This dessert is simply divine.  My son loves the bread on its own too.   For a slightly different texture in mouthfeel, lightly toast the pink bread before cutting it into cubes to go with the strawberries. The Strawberries in Wine would also be wonderful with a scoop of home-made vanilla ice cream:  

300 g milk

300 g cream

1 vanilla pod, slit lengthways and scrape the seeds out   

5 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

300 g mascapone  

Heat up the milk, the cream and vanilla seeds to almost boiling.  Whisk the egg yolk and sugar.  Pour the hot milk/cream over egg yolk and sugar, whisking vigorously, so the lumps don't develop.  Return to heat until a custard is formed.  Remove from heat, stirring to let custard cool down then place in freezer for 30 min.  Mix in mascapone, and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.  (Note: Dip your scoop in hot water before using it to scoop the ice cream out; alternatively, let ice cream stand in room temp for 15 - 20 min.)  



                                                                                                                         Pink almond candy

                                                                                                                         my trick to lure kids to drink tea



naughtyprata's picture

Pan De Sal

Having migrated to Singapore five years ago (that long already?), I miss comfort food I grew up with back in Manila. The food which evokes the most memories is this Filipino breakfast bread. It's named Pandesal, or Bread of Salt. The name itself is a misnomer as over the decades it has become sweet than salty to suite the Filipino palate. They say that this breakfast roll is a barometer of the economy as it is common breakfast fare among the lower-income masses. You would know that the economy is bad if the roll gets smaller and sweeter (as the there would be no need to purchase filling and it will be a meal by itself). This breakfast roll is normally taken plain and dunked in coffee. It also serves as a sandwich carrier for everything from butter, cheese, sardines, corned beef, etc. It has also evolved into some gourmet variations baked with traditional Philippine meat fillings.

I had been craving for this the past few days and had been planning to bake it. Unfortunately, I never really found a good recipe until a few days ago. I read through a dinner roll recipe on a flour pack and thought I could modify it. And let me share this with you.


Makes 16 rolls

500g strong bread flour

50g barm starter

7g sachet Rapidrise Yeast

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

175 ml tepid milk

150 ml tepid water 

50g bread crumbs

Mix together the flour, yeast, salt,sugar and the starter until it just gets mixed well, Then add the milk and water. It is best to hold back on a little water and just add as needed. Knead in a mixer using a dough hook for 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and leastic.

Shape into a ball and let rest on a lightly floured counter for about 10 minutes.

Shape into a rope (like a baguette in diameter). Roll the dough on a bed of bread crumbs. This addition of bread crumb coating is a signature finish of the roll. Once the rope is evenly but lightly(!) coated in crumbs, use a plastic bench scraper to cut the into 16 equal pieces.

Place on lightly-greased baking sheet with the cut-side up. If you examine the picture closely, you will see an oval rim on the top of the roll due to the cut. the top part will have little or no bread crumbs on it.

Cover the rolls with a damp tea towel for 15 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220C for 12-15 minutes, spraying oven with water to create steam for the first 3 minutes. Bake until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes and enjoy with butter, scrambled eggs or just with strong plain black coffee.

Brings back many memories...

dmsnyder's picture

Today, I baked a couple of boules of San Joaquin Sourdough. The dough was 75% hydration. I used Guisto's Baker's Choice flour and 10% KAF White Whole Wheat. 

I baked the boules on a stone with my usual steaming setup. However, I poured more boiling water than usual over the hot lava rocks, because I wanted to see the effect of heavier steaming. As I had suspected from previous bakes, the effect was good oven spring and bloom but reduced grigne and a shinier crust.

The flavor is good, but I do think I prefer the rye over white whole wheat in this bread.


By the way, this dough makes very satisfactory pizza too.

Pizza made from a previous batch of dough, frozen for about a month.



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