The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

After having drooled over Floyd's Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid for a long time, I finally made it yesterday. I made half a batch and am glad I did. I would recommend at least 3 braids if you make a whole batch. The half batch was so big it was hanging of both ends of my 15" sheet pan. That being said, after breakfast this morning there is a big piece missing! It was great.

Changes and observations.

  1. The dough was too wet using my 120 gr/cup flour measuring, so I had to add quite a bit of flour (and I am no longer afraid of sticky dough, but this was thick batter).
  2. I mixed it in the bread machine using the dough cycle but didn't let it finish because the dough felt done.
  3. I used 1/2 of a 21 oz can of blueberry pile filling.
  4. Didn't do the overnight so I let the sponge ferment for a couple of hours and then mixed/kneaded the dough, let it more than double, then filled and shaped, rise again for about 45 min, then baked.
  5. Toppled with confectioners sugar (1 cup plus 1/4 t vanilla, 1 T milk) glaze after cooled.

This makes a beatiful presentation and has so many options for fillings. I cannot wait to try some others. This is so much better than anything I ever bought in a store.

Here is the braid after filling and shaping, ready to apply egg glaze.

Filled and Shaped

With egg glaze.

Egg Glaze

And here it is ready to bake.

Risen and ready to bake

Just out of the oven.

Just baked

Confectioners glaze.

Confectioners glazed

Crumb shot (makes me start drooling again.

Crumb shot

Crumb close up.

close up

Thank you Floyd and everyone that commented on that thread. I think I'll go have another piece. :-)

Submitted to YeastSpotting

10-01-10 update to add YeastSpotting link

evth's picture




Tried my hand at baking gluten-free bread, and it was indeed a learning experience for me. Having met a number of folks who are celiacs or who have given up wheat, I was compelled to start baking gluten-free goods. For background to my endeavor, an acquaintance of mine highly recommended that I try a gluten-free bread baked by a small Denver company called Udi's Handcrafted Foods. And I will say that this stuff is fantastic, despite the fact that it came out of the freezer aisle of a health food store. No disappointment here - just more inspiration for me to bake wheat-free.  After the summer months whizzed by, I noticed that my pantry boasted a gluten-free cache of sorghum, millet, chestnut, almond, sweet rice, quinoa, flax, corn, tapioca, arrowroot, potato and oat flours/starches (can't forget the xanthan gum or guar gum!!!).  That's all in addition to my usual glut of flours: unbleached or bleached all-purpose, cake, pastry, semolina, and the almighty bread. (Technically, it is not considered hoarding if you keep everything organized and eventually use it all.)


Continuing with this gluten-free bread story, I finally met up online with what I thought was an impressive recipe. I have only a simple understanding of why gluten-free breads are so dense and do not rise: without the gluten a "real" rise cannot occur. Well, in my bleary-eyed efforts the bread did not turn out like how I had hoped. Not that my hopes were completely dashed. It certainly was a special kind of bread - dense beyond recognition. No open crumb here. A cross between Irish brown bread and hard tack. Crude, I'll say. On the other hand, think captivating desert topography with its striking crackle of a crust and rich nut-brown color. As for another redeeming quality, it had an unusually wholesome and pleasantly nutty flavor. 


While the taste of this bread grows on you, unfortunately, it can weigh you down. Density was the culprit and may have gotten the better of this loaf. My friend, Eileen, calls this bread "gluten-free lead." I have to agree!


I still have my gluten-free stockpile and welcome any suggestions or recipes.





dmsnyder's picture



I based the formula and procedure for these ficelles on Pat Roth's (Proth5) baguette formula, which I have made several times. These are entirely levain raised and use a 65% hydration dough. The dough is entirely hand mixed. It employs a long bulk fermentation. The bread develops a delicious, sweet baguette flavor with no noticeable sourness when made following Pat's procedure. See Baguette crumb - 65% hydration dough

I wanted to make baguettes this weekend, but didn't have a block of time long enough. Also, I had a 125% hydration levain but not time to convert it to Pat's 100% hydration levain. So, I improvised.




Baker's %

AP flour

11.25 oz


Water (80ºF)

6.25 oz



0.25 oz


125% hydration levain

3.0 oz



20.5 oz


Note: Taking into account the flour and water in the levain, the Total Dough hydration is 63%.


  1. Prepare the liquid levain and let it ripen at room temperature until the surface is all bubbly (8-16 hours, depending on how active your seed starter is and the room temperature).

  2. Refrigerate the levain for a day.

  3. In a large bowl, dissolve the levain in the warm water. Add the other ingredients and mix to a shaggy mass.

  4. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

  5. Stretch and fold in the bowl for 20-30 strokes. Re-cover the bowl. Repeat every 30 minutes 3 more times.

  6. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

  7. Bulk ferment 1.5 hours. Do a stretch and fold on the board.

  8. Bulk ferment for another 2 hours.

  9. Refrigerate overnight (8-12 hours).

  10. Take the dough from the fridge and immediately divide it into 3 equal pieces.

  11. Pre-shape each piece loosely into a log and cover them.

  12. Let the pieces rest for 1 to 1.25 hours. The should feel a bit puffy but should not have expanded much.

  13. Shape into ficelles and place en couche, seam side down.

  14. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with baking stone an steaming apparatus in place.

  15. Proof the loaves until they spring back slowly when pressed with a finger tip.

  16. Pre-steam the oven.

  17. Transfer the loaves to a peel (making sure that they are seam side down on the pel) and score them.

  18. Load the loaves onto the stone. Steam the oven and turn it down to 460ºF.

  19. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until the loaves are nicely browned and the bottom sounds hollow when thumped.

  20. Transfer the baguettes to a rack.

  21. Cool completely before eating.

The ficelles had a crunchy crust. The crumb was sweet and tender with a very slight sourdough tang.

There is frequent discussion on The Fresh Loaf about how to fit baking into a busy schedule. I share this experience as an example of adaptation of a known recipe, usually made in one day, to a two-day procedure. I think it was reasonably successful, and I may very well do this again when I don't have an 8 hour block to babysit dough.


Submitted to YeastSpotting


proth5's picture

 Yes, yes, I know that now that my life has resumed its "normal" rhythm, I should get back to baking.  (And I did do a pretty good first bake in the new oven - which was eaten before pictures could be taken - but which showed me just how many adjustments I was making for my old oven and what kind of better results I might get with one that actually works.) But believe it or not I had never been to Las Vegas and in one of those jet lagged induced flights of fantasy that I sometimes get, I had booked the tickets and registered for some lectures, and well, here I am at the IBIE (International Baking Industry Exposition.)

Sadly, in my quick turnaround at home, I packed my bags with the standard "four day domestic commute" accoutrements - which does not include a camera.  I'm sure that official photos will soon be available and they will be much better than those I could have taken (not that it's hard to take better pictures than I do...)  We all have lost opportunities to deplore.

My primary mission today was to cheer on the USA Baking Team at the Louis LeSaffre Cup.  For those of you who don't follow this closely (Mark!) this is the preliminary competition that decides which two countries from the Americas region will compete at La Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie at Europain in 2012.  As you recall, the US placed out of the top three last Coupe (you are all keeping track of this, right?) and instead of getting an automatic ticket to Paris, needs to compete its way back.

IBIE is first and foremost, though, a trade show and there are always ripping good things to see.  With all apologies and with due respect to those who see bread baking as a spiritual quest, I just love the big machines with the robotic arms that automatically mix, shape, and with the aid of tiny water jets even slash breads before conveying them to the oven.  I could watch those big machines all day.  While the artisan in me is suspicious of the bread that they produce, the engineer in me just thinks "Cool."

On my way back to the competition area, I passed the LeSaffre Yeast booth, where a very nice man gave me a one pound brick of LeSaffre's new "High Power" instant yeast.  That should be interesting to try.  The same very nice man also gave me a several lifetime's supply of plastic scrapers (and those who really know me know that I will travel vast distances and attend expensive classes just to get a free plastic dough scraper.)

I also scored a chocolate covered brownie - on a stick - from the Callebaut booth.

But, on to the competition.  Team USA is:

Michael Zakowski - Bread

Jeremy Gadouas - Viennese pastry

Harry Peemoeller - Artistic piece

Today team USA, Team Canada, and team Mexico were baking.  One of the advantages of attending these competitions is that one gets to see and taste the output from bakers who are at the top of their craft.

By applying my talent for infinite patience, I managed standing room within feet of the judging area and very near to that legend of baking Christian Vabret.  I will have to say that it was a bit unthinking of the event organizers not to provide M. Vabret with a translator.  Although I understood him, I could see him become visibly discouraged that so few people comprehended what he was saying.  He deserves better.  I was also puzzled that with Canada and Brazil in the competition that materials and signage were in English and Spanish only.  Oh, well.

I'd have to say as a completely unbiased spectator that Team USA rocked!!!

Team Canada's (and Mexico's) and Team USA's breads were very different in style.  Mr. Zakowski tends to bake his breads very boldly and includes a small amount of levain pre ferment even in his baguettes.  Tasting is believing.  I need to give some serious thought to bolder baking (now that I have an oven that works) and the hybrid baguette. 

Mr. Gadouas' pastries were excellent.

Mr. Peemoeller produced an artistic piece celebrating the role of immigrants in the diversity of America and its breads.  He included a highly abstracted version of the Statue of Liberty( with the flame made from a piece of croissant), a silk screen on dead dough version of the Declaration of Independence and a laminated live dough Constitution along with many examples of breads and allusions to the hard work building this country that was done by immigrants.  It was brilliant.  The two French gentlemen behind me remarked on the irony that the great symbol of America was really French.  But I think that's what Mr. Peemoeller (with an accent that makes one think he might have moved to the US from somewhere else) was really trying to say.  That America has the ability to take the best of the world and shake it up until it is all part of our identity.  (I spent a lot of time watching the Armed Forces Network - I break out in public service announcements sometimes.)  Which goes to show the power of his bread creation, that it actually could move one to deeper thought.  It rocked!

Canada is a strong contender also, with really delicious pastries.  M. Dumonceaux, who did the pastries made pain au chocolat where he laminated a cocoa butter and cocoa layer right into the dough (plus added the chocolate batons.)  That was just too much (and I mean that in a good way.)

Sorry, but your feckless correspondent could stand no longer and left before Mexico's breads were judged.

For the individual looking for deck ovens for the home, Team USA had a Miwe Condo deck oven.  It was extremely compact and had a mini loader integrated into the oven design (sooooooo cool...).  I have spoken to an individual who has a Miwe in his RV.  This seems interesting.  I will go to the Miwe booth tomorrow.

But hey, I'm in Las Vegas!  Enough of this blogging stuff - someone get me a martooni!

probably34's picture

I've just started experimenting with sourdough. I have an active rye starter and wheat starter. anyone have any really good formulas?

sourdoughboy's picture

I saw a recipe for Bath Buns--a traditional sweet, glazed bun from Bath, England--in Richard Bertinet's "Crust." The buns looked rather like the baked char siu bao of dim sum, so I thought I'd tart up the traditional dim sum dish with a higher-end bun. 

The result was eerily reminiscent of the dim sum dish--I'm now thinking that the dim sum dish is likely a descendant of the Bath Bun (by way of the British in Hong Kong). Any food historians out there? According to Google, I'm the first to advance this poorly supported theory. Anyhow, onto the baking...


The results:




Bath Bun recipe adapted from Bertinet's "Crust" (I only had soy milk on hand, and no fresh yeast, so I fiddled a bit)



125g bread flour

125g water

2 g active dry yeast



4g active dry yeast

375g bread flour

113g butter (1 stick0

75g sugar

150g unsweetened soy milk

2 eggs

7g salt



150 g soy milk

75 g sugar


Night before:

1. Mix preferment together. Let rest for 90 minutes.

2. Mix preferment + dough list. Knead until smooth (it's soft and sticky, I used this technique.) Fold/tuck dough, rest in greased bowl for 1 hour.

3. Make filling (below). 

4. Press out dough, tuck into ball. Place in greased bowl, Cover. Refrigerate


Morning of:

1. Divide dough into 12 parts (approx 75 g). 

2. Press out dough on lightly floured surface. Put 1 heaping teaspoon in center. 

3. Place in palm of hand. Pinch together into ball (4 pinches should do the trick: 1. Pinch top to bottom. 2. Pinch left to right. 3. Pinch top left to bottom right. 4. pinch top right to bottom left.)

4. Place seam-side down onto parchment lined baking sheet.

5. Cover, proof till doubled in size (2 hours).

6. Preheat oven to 375.

7. Make glaze: dissolve sugar in soy milk on stove top.

8. Glaze buns. Put in oven for around 20 minutes, till they look scrumptious.

9. Glaze buns again while warm. I'm generous with the glaze--the bun should be sticky.


The filling:

1/2 lb boneless pork country-style rib

3 tb hoisin sauce

1 tb ketchup

2 tb water

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon five spice powder


1. Slice pork into 1/2 inch strips.

2. Marinade in 1/2 of the marinade for an hour.

3. Roast for 15 minutes at 350, glaze with remaining marinade, and finish for 5 minutes under broiler.

4. Cool in fridge overnight.

foodslut's picture

Retaurants have house wines - the reasonably decent go-to when you can't make up your mind - so why can't I have a "house bread" as a fall-back standard when I can't figure out what else to make?

I'm trying (so far unsuccessfully) to get onto the sourdough/levain train, but my strength so far seems to be straight dough formulas.  Nonetheless, I wanted a bit of pre-ferment action, so I've adopted a dual-use strategy with one of my previous fads.

I love the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes" concept, and I've baked  some very decent (for the technique) bread from it.  I've outgrown the concept (even though I heartily endorse it for people who are afraid to bake their own bread because it seems so finicky), I got into the habit of keeping a batch in the fridge.  Well, since it's a 70% hydration dough, with salt, proofed and gluten developed, I now use it as a pâte fermentée (PF) pre-ferment to help boost the flavour of other loaves I do.

I have a range of flours around the house, so I thought I'd throw together some of what I like together:  1/2 all purpose (I use Robin Hood unbleached, but better flour=better results), 1/4 locally grown and stone ground whole wheat, and 1/4 locally grown/stoneground dark rye

I mixed some seed and other crunchies (flax, sunflower, millet, cracked rye and cracked wheat) to give the bread a bit of character.  LESSON LEARNED:  I throw them dry into the mix because when I tried soaking the seeds (cold water, overnight in fridge), it made the dough WAY wetter than I was happy with.

My straight doughs tend to be around 70% hydration.  Because the pre-ferment is a 70% PF, I thought I'd keep the math dead simple with my straight doughs, so that's what I settled for.

The resulting formula for 2 x 750g/24oz loaves is here (PDF).  I "melt" the pâte fermentée in the water and use a kitchen stick blender to blend it even more before adding it to the dry ingredients to make it an easier, more uniform mix.  Autolyse for about 10 minutes, knead until smooth, and ferment for about 60 minutes at room temperature (sometimes, when I ferment it overnight in the fridge, I cut the instant yeast by 1/2).  Next, shape and bench proof for another 60 minutes.  After the slash, into a 500F oven (sprayed with the ketchup bottle full of water for steam) for 5 minutes, followed by 40 minutes at 400F.  The loaves should be around 200F internal temperature when done.

The results:


I like the crumb, and it's a nice, wheaty taste.  I may fine tune it a bit, but I love this as an easy-to-do everyday bread.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I got to playing with pepper jelly. 

Ingredients:  gelatin, sugar, one orange habanero, assorted sweet garden peppers, one garlic clove, water, and one glass 250ml.   Method: slice everything colorful and thin and mix with sugar, gelatin and a little water to let all the vegetables shrink and curl up for about 6-10 hours.  Amazing how they do that!  Bring to a light boil until passing the gel test on a cold plate.  (about 10-15 minutes)  Pour into hot sterilized jar and cap, let cool. 

The color of the jelly is not as dark as this picture, it barely has color at all, a light clear hint of orange with red, green, yellow and orange squiggles.



hansjoakim's picture

As days grow shorter and colder, I tend to opt for more wholesome breads in my baking. This week, I've enjoyed a wonderful rye loaf, studded with seeds and heavy on flavour. The dough for this bread is wet, and the baked loaf keeps well and improves as days go by. Here's a copy of my formula. Please note that proofing time will vary according to your starter activity and your final dough temperature.

Try to fill your loaf pan about 2/3 - 3/4 the way up: About 1100 gr. dough should be ideal for a 1L loaf pan. Here's what I'm looking at after a 1hr 45mins proof, seconds before the pan is placed into the oven:

Proofed Schrotbrot


Give it a bold bake, and wait at least 24hrs before slicing into it:



Apples are great for dessert this time of the year, so this weekend I prepared some apple tarts. The apple tarts are similar to the hazelnut tarts I blogged about some time ago, with the addition of poached apples. Key ingredients below: Poached apples (left) and hazelnut frangipane (right):

Swedish Apple Tart


Although the frangipane is a thick filling, I recommend blind-baking your tart shell to ensure that it stays crisp. Below are my blind-baked shells, filled with frangipane and apples, just before baking:

Swedish Apple Tart

... and the finished tarts:

Swedish Apple Tart


A simpe and delicious autumn treat: Yum!!

Swedish Apple Tart

dmsnyder's picture


I can't believe six months have gone by since I made Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grains. (See Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain, from Hamelman's "Bread") I liked it so much the first time, I promised myself I would bake it again soon to see if was consistently so good. So, I forgot about it. I'll blame the NY Baker's test baking pre-occupation of the Summer.

A few days ago, I was thumbing through “Bread,” deciding what to bake this weekend, when I re-discovered this formula. A happy moment.

My second bake of the Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain confirmed the wonderfulness of this bread and my personal preference for it over the basic Vermont Sourdough.




Bread flour

1 lb 11.2 oz.


Whole Rye

4.8 oz



1 lb 4.8oz



.6 oz



3 lbs 5.4 oz






Bread flour

6.4 oz



8 oz


Mature culture (liquid)

1.3 oz



15.7 oz.




Bread flour

1lb 8 oz

Whole Rye

4.8 oz


12.8 oz

Liquid levain

14.4 oz

(all less 3 T)


.6 oz


3 lbs 5.4 oz



  1. The night before mixing the final dough, feed the liquid levain as above. Ferment at room temperature overnight.

  2. Mix the final dough. Place all ingredients except the salt in the bowl and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover the bowl and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix using the paddle of a stand mixer for 2 minutes at Speed 1. Add small amounts of water or flour as needed to achieve a medium consistency dough.

  5. Switch to the dough hook and mix at Speed 2 for 6-8 minutes. There should be a coarse window pane.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and ferment for 2.5 hours with one stretch and fold at 1.25 hours.

  7. Divide the dough into two equal parts and form into rounds. Place seam side up on the board.

  8. Cover with plastic and allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes.

  9. Form into boules or bâtards and place in bannetons or en couch. Cover well with plasti-crap or place in food safe plastic bags.

  10. Refrigerate for 12-18 hours.

  11. The next day, remove the loaves from the refrigerator.

  12. Pre-heat the oven at 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  13. After 45-60 minutes, pre-steam the oven. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them.

  14. Load the loaves onto the stone and pour ½ cup boiling water into the steaming apparatus. Turn the oven down to 460ºF.

  15. After 15 minutes, if you have a convection oven, turn it to convection bake at 435ºF. If you don't, leave the oven at 460ºF. Bake for another 25 minutes.

  16. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack.

  17. Cool completely before slicing.

I got the same crackled, crunchy crust and moist, chewy crumb as I did the first time. The flavor was more assertively sour than I remember, which is fine with me. The overall flavor was delicious. The sourness did not detract from the lovely complex wheat-rye flavor that is my favorite.

This is indeed a wonderful bread, and I promise to not let so much time go by between bakes again! I heartily recommend it to those seeking a “more sour sourdough.”


Submitted to YeastSpotting



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