The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


  • Pin It
turosdolci's picture

I spent my summers on Cape Cod where there were cranberry bogs in our back yard. After the harvest was over there were often many berries just lying on top of the bog that got missed in the harvest and we would collect them and make muffins, cranberry bread and mix them with apple pie - they add a little tartness to the pie that I really like. 

View my recipe for Cranberry Walnut bread  at

breitbaker's picture

gave Reinhart's Pane Siciliano a go yesterday...followed formula pretty much to the letter...I absaloutely LOVED the flavor of this loaf...something about it was remniscent of hot buttered popcorn....of course there was no cornmeal, or butter involved in the formula. So i'm guessing it was the combo of the 3 day fermentation/proofing process and the sesame seeds and semolina, that evoked that flavor........

the crumb was a (i think) a little more closed than what I could see in the picture of BBA...but I baked straight out of the refrigerator on the third morning, and Reinhart mentions that you may have to let the bread proof at room temp for a bit before baking if the bread hasn't fullen risen...however, I am far from being a pro at judging over/under proofing and I tend to err on the side of underproofing....the whole "poke and spring back" thing I "sorta" get...but it seems that each formula responds a bit differently...oh shoot, guess that means i'll just have to bake more bread...awful trial, isn't it? :) :)

oh, and i forgot to mention that the recipe makes 3 loaves...I made 2 loaves in the morning  and stuck the remaining dough back in the fridge...pulled it out before supper and shaped into 2 baguette-style loaves...let them rest while i heated the oven to 500...sprayed loaves with water and slashed...then baked with steam for a total bake of about 20 min. or til nice n brown...After 2 min. in the oven i turned it down to 450 for the remaining bake...served 'em up at supper and they were GONE. Thin crispy outer crust and creamy insides.. Reinhart mentions that this dough makes great breadsticks..which is essentially what this was (albeit a single, long breadstick)..i would definitely make this again and serve them with a good pasta dish!

Shiao-Ping's picture

Wine is abundant in our household; a day rarely goes by without some consumption of wine.  When I read Erzsebet Gilbert's post: A winemaker wants to be a wine-baker, I thought what a good idea.  There was a lot of discussion there whether or not alcohol kills off the yeasts.  I thought the only way to find out is to try.  Recently I have been making mainly Pain au Levain breads, so I took my formula and simply replaced 60% of hydration with wine.  This number was a matter of convenience and also because I felt any less than 50% the wine flavor might not come through.  As my starter is normally 75% hydration and my Pain au Levain is normally 68% hydration, when I substituted wine for the hydration for the final dough, the wine worked out to be roughly 60% of all hydration. 

I did four doughs in the following order (my starter was the same for all four doughs):

(1) dough one with red wine previously boiled and cooled down to room temperature of about 20C / 68F;

(2) dough two with white wine previously boiled and cooled down to room temperature of about 20C / 68F;

(3) dough three with red wine as is from a bottle at room temperature; and

(4) dough four with white wine as is from a bottle in the refrigerator but warmed up to 20C / 68F. 

The boiling was supposed to take off the alcohol in the wine (14.5% for my red, Australian Shiraz, and 14% for my white, Chardonnay).  

My formula for all four doughs are the same as follows: 

  • 300 g starter @ 75% hydration

  • 285 g bread flour

  • 15 g medium rye flour

  • 192 g wine (for dough one and two above, I measured at least 220 g of wine to allow for evaporation from boiling)

  • 9 g salt

Total dough weight (each) 800 grams and total dough hydration 68%

  1. In a large bowl, mix wine and flour only until just combined

  2. Autolyse 40 minutes

  3. Add salt and starter, and knead by hand for 3- 4 minutes (alternatively, stretch and fold in the bowl for 100 times to thoroughly mix all ingredients to a homogenous whole)

  4. Bulk fermentation 2 1/2 hours with two sets of stretch and folds, each set 20 - 30 times (dough temperature about 20 C/68 F, adjust fermentation time longer or shorter depending on room and dough temperatures)

  5. Pre-shape to a boule, rest 15 - 20 minutes, then shape to a tight boule

  6. Proof for 1/2 to 1 hour then place in the refrigerator for overnight retarding (I did 19 hours)

  7. Bake next morning with steam at 240C / 460F for 20 minutes and another 20 minutes at 210C / 410F


Below are the first and second Pains au Levain with wine (previously boiled to take off the alcohol): 





             red loaf on the left and white loaf on the right



             Pain au Levain with boiled red wine





                   crust of Pain au Levain with boiled white wine





Both loaves have very open cell structure as above; the white one tastes to me no difference to a normal Pain au Levain, but the red one seems to taste more flavourful (I don't know if I am imagining flavors because of the color).  Both crumbs are mildly chewy and not very sour, just like normal Pain au Levain.  As the alcohol was taken off, the breads do not taste to me to have any trace of wine, save for the color in the red loaf.  The breads are lovely just the same but I don't know if I can say for sure that the wine improves the bread in these two instances. 


Following are breads made with wine straight from the bottle (dough three and four descriptions above).  The doughs looked noticeably smaller after fermentation compared to the first two; however, it did not appear that the yeasts were completely killed off, there were some activity but far less compared to the first two loaves.  The crumbs are very dense but extremely flavourful.  When the breads were being sliced open, you could smell the strong alcoholic aroma from the wine.  The white loaf has a hint of bitterness about it, but the red one has none of it (I don't know why but I can only guess that other flavor compounds which have come through the red wine have masked the bitterness). 



               Pain au Levain with red wine (straight from bottle)


                                                         By the time I took this shot, the natural light was out so the color here is not exactly true. 



               Pain au Levain with white wine (straight from bottle)



As someone says, flour is for baking, and wine is for drinking, and so perhaps it's best to keep the two separate?!  Or, as Erzsebet says, they are delicious together too?!  

I guess, it's your choice.



SumisuYoshi's picture

Tabatière shaped Pain de Camapgne

This bread ended up being somewhat abused, but it still turned out very tasty and nice looking! I had planned out the day and while I had a meeting at school, that I was expecting to take quite a bit of time, things still ended up funky. My best estimate for when I would get home left the dough for this bread with about 2 to 3 hours left on the bulk ferment. As it turned out, I had to have my mom give the dough a quick stretch and fold for me and stick it in the fridge. But of course then things started moving fast, so it never should have gone in the fridge...

Why don't we go back to the start... The recipe for Pain de Campagne in the Bread Baker's Apprentice calls for a pate fermente, however, as I am wont to do, decided to make it as a sourdough (my first time making this recipe too, I always tell people not to do that). So I started the recipe out with a sourdough adaptation of the pate fermente, added some of my starter and subtracted an equivalent amount of water and flour from the recipe. I keep a stiff starter these days, I've found it easier to keep, work with, and get the flavor I want than a liquid starter like I used to have. Usually I put the starter in the water for the recipe and mix it fairly thoroughly to get a milky looking fluid with small bits of dough still in it.

Pate Fermente Ingredients

Well, the next step is obviously to mix those ingredients together! I gave them a quick mix with my dough whisk, scraped the dough down into the bowl and left it to rest for 10-20 minutes. Not quite an autolyse since the dough has salt and wild yeast, but I find it still helps to make the dough more evenly hydrated and develop the gluten.

Mixed Pate Fermente

After the rest, time to turn it out and give it a quick kneading to make sure everything is well incorporated, and it was!

Kneaded Pate Fermente

I forgot to take a picture of this step, shame on me, but I left the pate fermente to rise until about doubled, degassed it, and stuck it into the fridge to wait for making the final dough the next day. I purposely removed it from the fridge right before making the dough as I wanted the bulk ferment of the dough to proceed rather slowly. The recipe calls for bread flour, with a small portion of either whole wheat or rye, my starter already has some whole wheat flour in it so I decided to use rye flour in the final dough.

Risen and Degassed Sourdough Pate Fermente Pain Campagne Ingredients

As with the pate fermente, I mixed the dough loosely and let it rest for a while to incorporate.

Mixed Dough left to rest

After kneading I wasn't sure if the dough was going to get bigger than the container it was in or not, so I stuck that container without lid in another larger bowl.

Kneaded and set aside to rise

Around that picture is where I left from school, and well, I wasn't there for the stretch and fold so no pictures of that. And I was rushing too much for most of the rest of the baking process (I was also making prebaked pizza crusts for my dad), and sending good rise vibes to the dough. What helped a little bit was putting some hot water in the larger bowl the dough bucket was sitting in, sort of a little dough sauna.

Risen Pain de Campagne Risen Pain de Campagne

Looking through the book, I opted for 3 different loaf shapes. Auvergnat, Tabatière, and Fougasse.

Auvergnat shaped Pain de Campagne Auvergnat shaped Pain de Campagne Auvergnat crumb Tabatière shaped Pain de Camapgne Tabatière shaped Pain de Camapgne Tabatière crumb Fougasse shaped Pain de Campagne Fougasse Crumb

So, for dough that really got abused with the attempted retardation, then right back out of the fridge shortly thereafter, and baking after midnight when I needed to get up early, I was really happy with how this turned out! The flavor was really amazing, the second day after it was baked it was starting to get a bit more sour than what I generally prefer, but it was still really good.

And again, submitted to YeastSpotting this is becoming quite addicting!

Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge


Susan's picture

Here's the AP version of my usual sourdough.  It's 61% hydration. Next time I'll stretch the hydration to 65%.  Trial and Error.  It includes 20g of dry brown sesame seeds and 25g of whole wheat flour. 

I like a more chewy crumb than this loaf provides, but for those who want a crispy crust with a soft crumb, here you go:


turosdolci's picture

In Italy desserts are often flavored with honey, chestnuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Cantucci originated in the Tuscany and it is thought that they were flavored with almonds from Prato. They can be found in every pasticceria in the Tuscany. Cantucci are mostly eaten with a glass of “Vin Santo” a sweet wine. Many restaurants serve small almond biscotti with coffee and some will have a bowl of them on the table at all times. It is probably the most well-known and popular biscotti in Italy.

Following is our family recipe for cantucci. Make a full recipe and stored in a metal container, they will last a few weeks. They can be frozen up to two months – they defrost very quickly. You will always have biscotti to serve with coffee when friends drop by. 

If this link doesn't connect, go to“cantucci”-recipe/




chouette22's picture

Recently friends asked me to bring an appetizer to their dinner parties. For the first one I prepared Gougères, French cheese puffs, made of a savory pâte à choux, very easy to make but I’ve heard that some people are intimidated by this type of cooked dough.

I used David Lebovitz’ recipe (American pastry chef, living in Paris, with an excellent blog) with the only two changes that I upped the salt a bit and added finely chopped, fresh rosemary to the dough.



The Gougères were gone in no time.

For the other party I made this stuffed Fougasse, a bread I have baked often for get-togethers, and everyone always loves it.

The picture is terrible, I didn't have time anymore to snap a picture at home and at the party there was not enough light.

Dough for one big Fougasse:

350g AP flour
150 ww flour
2 tsp instant yeast
300g milk
45g water
40g olive oil
1 ½ tsp sea salt
Mix and let rise until doubled. The dough needs to be quite moist.

In the meantime, caramelize one big, chopped onion in a little olive oil. Add salt and pepper.
Sauté a small zucchini (or mushrooms, or whatever you fancy) cut into little cubes, add salt, pepper, a variety of herbs.
Chop some baby tomatoes into small cubes, drain the liquid from them. Add salt and pepper.
Chop a few olives.
I basically just put whatever I have around – it always comes out good.

Flour your surface well and roll out the dough into a big rectangle.
Spread about 120g cream cheese (room temperature, you can use full or reduced fat) onto it.
Sprinkle whatever you have prepared as toppings evenly over the cream cheese. You may want to add a few more herbs at this point.
Now fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. Turn the entire rectangle over so that the back is now on top. Take scissors and make slits. Open them a little bit with your fingers. Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let rest/rise for 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F and bake for about 25 min. Enjoy!

I got the recipe from this website. It’s in French, but if you want to make this Fougasse, I recommend that you take a look at it, since there are very good pictures explaining the filling and folding process. 


ehanner's picture

Black Pepper and Thyme Gourgéres is a wonderful light and airy appetizer I love to make. I was in the mood today for a savory quick and easy bread product to go along with a soup mix I had in the pantry. I think the soup was the motivation for the cheese puff but it could of been the other way around.

I got the recipe for the Gourgéres from the very excellent website. Chef John is a very accomplished Chef and his short videos are terrific. If you want other recipe there is a search feature at the top. This basically a cheese puff made with the same process as a eclair or cream puff. Water salt, butter, whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes. Whisk in a couple eggs, add the spice and cheese and scoop out the balls to bake. They come out hollow usually or very airy unless you go overboard on the cheese, which I usually do.

While the puffs are baking, I decide to take a stab at a package of soup I got from my Brother-In-Law, who travels to Finland frequently. I can't read a word on the package but fortunately there some pictures for us dummy's who don't read Norwegian. I'm hoping hansjoakim will help me out here to tell me this was great mushroom soup and not reindeer testicles. Either way it was delicious! I guessed at 2 cups water, simmer 5 minutes and add 2/3 cup of light cream.

So I had a great lunch and was going to share a photo of my Pomeranian, "Archie" enjoying his Gourgéres. He snapped it up and was gone before the focus locked, so no photo of Archie practicing his French.

Give these a try, they are delicious!


breitbaker's picture

My latest bake........and no, I don't usually bake 24/'s just that I had the time and the urge the last few days to bake a slew of breads.. and decided that now, was as good of a time as any, to start a blog, since I would have a smattering of photos to post...Also Mondays tend to be my big bake day for the week..but enough excuses for all the bread:)...I took the advice to bake a bit longer on this one....glad i did.....yum!

add about 25g semolina and 40 grams soaked 7 grain cereal to this one. Remainder of flour was Wheat Montana Natural White Hi-Protein

and here's the crumb shot:

Any helpful questions or comments are appreciated!

 P.S. Yes....this was another big reason why i felt like holing up and baking bread today....can you believe the sight that met our eyes as we peeked out the windows of our cozy lil house this morning? Behold the weather on Oct. 12 ...if you live in N. Wisconsin!!!



breitbaker's picture

last night I pulled these out of the oven...and then headed outside with my husband for a foray into the woods....leaves crunching underfoot and a crisp 38 degrees!  Made it absaloutely wonderful to come back in to the smell of these babies....:)  

I realize that somewhere i must have  crossed over into artisan baking territory, when I consider a recipe like this to be almost "pillsbury pre-made" in its simplicity.........simply because I used commercial yeast!!! :)  

I also think this baby should've stayed in another 5 min. or so to deepen her "tan"..but I was getting impatient to head out into the woods before it got dark, so I skimped just a bit on bake time...

decent crumb.. perhaps a bit more closed than i would prefer, but I tend to get pretty firm with my shaping on these babies, as I despise the spirals separating.....I normally flatten out dough, then spritz with water...sprinkle w/ cinnamon and sugar, spritz again with water...then long as I am firm with my shaping they stay soon as I try a gentler hand, they if  any of you out there in loaf-land have any better methods to keep the spirals from separating, while maintaing the air...let me know...

final shot....

yes, it's made with commercial yeast...and yes...I do love my sourdoughs......but sometimes there's nothin like a good ole slab of cinnamon swirl bread...:)

formula: (mom's recipe, so still in volume....I WILL convert to weights here sometime, as I go mostly by "feel" on this dough, as the formula is very simple. I normally half this for us, making 2 9x5 loaves)

5 cups water

12 cups flour(i use wheat montana unbleached)

3/4 cup butter (very soft)

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 T yeast

2 T salt

*I generally do the following for better flavor:

Whisk together all of water, half of flour, half of the yeast, and 1T of the sugar. Probably about 2 min. til frothy. Do this in a very large bowl or tub. In a seperate bowl whisk together the remaining flour, yeast, and sugar.  Sprinkle over the top of your frothy mixture, just so it is like a blanket.  Let sit for 1 hr at room temps. Then refrigerate for at least 8 hrs.  Take out of refrigerator and dump all of mixture into mixer along with the butter. Mix until rough. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.  Add Salt and knead for  6-8 min. or until dough windowpanes.  Put into greased container and ferment about 1 hr. low 70s or til almost double.  S&F, return to container and press gently down, to even out the dough. Cover and ferment until doubled.  Divide into four portions, if you handle it gently you  can shape immediately..otherwise let relax, then pat out into rectangles, spritz with water, sprinkle with cinnamon and white sugar, and spritz once more with water.  Roll up tightly from short side, and seal ends. Place in 9x5 loaf pans and proof til almost double.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven.  I spritz tops lightly wiht water before loading into oven, and i place them in the lower third of the oven, on top of my baking stones. Bake around 40 minutes.....your house will smell heavenly, too! :)


Subscribe to RSS - blogs