The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Jamila's picture

Sourdough Blueberry PancakesSourdough Blueberry Pancakes #2Blueberry Sourdough Pancakes #3

Thanks for all the help at The Fresh Loaf! Now I can make my favorite pancakes anytime I like. :-) 

mbecktel's picture

Well, I finally did it. For a long while now, I have been growing highly suspect of the foods around us. It just seemed like there was too much convenience, and many of us just didn't seem to be getting any healthier. Then I saw the movie The Future of Food (it's on Netflix) and that got me going on frankenfoods, you know, genetically modified foods that hold farmers ransom and put genes of different things where they are not supposed to be. My mother just died of ischemic bowels, which means the arteries to her digestive system were totally blocked. It is the same as a heart attack, but kills your intestines (painfully - like angina of the gut). She had been eating healthy by conventional standards since she beat lymphoma 20 some years ago. My dad died of prostate cancer, even though he never passed up a plate of spaghetti or tomato sauce on anything. So much for the lycopene connection. And my younger sister died of cancer three years ago at age 49, and it started in her lung, spread to her brain, then suddenly after being biopsied, found it spread everywhere, even though the original cancer was supposed to be slow spreading. Yes, she did smoke, but never had a smoker's cough (I sure did when I smoked) and could run up two flights of stairs and not be winded. She ate healthy foods all the time.

With a background like this, I started to delve into the not-so-mainstream literature for all those hints I had been picking up on what is and is not healthy according to conventional wisdom powered by the agribusiness and pharmasutical factions, and what science was unearthing. This is a fascinating journey. My bible is Real Food by Nina Planck (

White bread and refined sugar are the antichrist, and refined salt is no saint either. Seems that industry likes to reduce everything to its base elements, take the parts and sell them at a premium, then replace some of the things lost by artificial means and tout them as good for you. And when it is not, and despite your best efforts you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anemia, and fat, there are PILLS for that. (don't say much of anything about the side effects tho...)

On the other side of the coin, there are those who say to go back to the natural. I have already witnessed the miracles that homeopathics can do (but there's no money in them so it appears the FDA is being paid to find ways to supress them and other natural cures and healthy things). I have learned a lot, and so I am embarking on a journey back to REAL FOOD.

I have purchased a Nutrimill and grains from a place called BreadBeckers ( They also have a co-op that periodically delivers nearby. I am going to make my own bread becasue I hate commercial whole wheat bread - it tastes dry and bitter to me. I am hoping that this forum will help me develop the talent to make interesting and delicious breads that are healthy for us.

I also have discovered they have started a CSA farm nearby (that's Community Sustainable Agriculture). (for more info see The way is works is you buy a share of the farm for a season. And you live and die with the fate of the farm. They are successful? You get loads of fresh healthily grown veggies and eggs every week. Bad weather? Growing problems? You also share the hardships. And then we found out our farm was going to divide grass fed cattle. The bottom line is that we can get totally naturally raised beef, high in omega three and other goodies, for about $2.50/lb. Can't beat it! And our farmer made a connections so we only have to invest in half a half, so we can realistically store it (and afford it).

Raw milk is another pursuit. ( We have some leads on some, tho it is sold only for animal consumption in Florida (sort of a wink,wink, nudge,nudge, knowhwatImean affair). We may have to settle for vat pasturized, but non-homogenized.

And coconut oil. ( I am amazed how nice virgin coconut oil tastes. Am sampling several sources.

Sounds like I am going back to my hippie days (no I never lived on a commune or even went vegetarian), but I intend to see if I can make healthy choices according to this new/old wisdom, and then see if I really do feel better, lose weight, and overall become a better person. We'll keep you posted

Floydm's picture

Weighing in at 2 pounds 8 ounces, is the mega semonlina loaf.

semolina bread

semolina bread

This was a sourdough w/ a half a teaspoon of instant yeast thrown in. About... 65% hydration with about 40% of the flour semolina. It turned out pretty good.

I've been meaning to mention that I have been using the Steam Maker Bread Kit when I bake something like this. In fact it is part of the reason I baked such a monster loaf: the small sized kit I have makes it very difficult to steam two small rounds or baguettes longer than about 12 inches long, but one large round fits quite well. I find the size extremely frustrating and would not recommend purchasing the kit in that size, but I have to admit that when I do make loaves that fit into it the resulting crust I get is very, very good. Very thin and crackly. I stand by my opinion that the larger stone and kit are a worthwhile investment if you are a crust junky and you don't have a steaming solution that you are satisfied with yet.

Previous discussions of the Steam Maker kit is here and here.

AnnieT's picture

I have been wanting to make the White thyme bread from Dan Lepard's "The art of handmade bread", and today was the day. I bought some fresh thyme last week at the farmer's market but didn't buy olives until this last Friday. Naturally the store didn't have the picholine olives this week, so I bought kalamatas because all of the others had "stuff" in them. DL calls for fresh yeast which I have never seen here and although he gives a way to replace it I decided to use my instant yeast along with the starter and it worked just fine. I learned it isn't easy to do the French fold with a dough full of olives so I tried his oiled counter method. Thumbs down. Ended up with a dusting of flour and the dough was much easier to manage. Several stretch and folds later I had a nice soft dough to dimple on an oiled baking sheet. Cornmeal on the sheet and on top of the loaf so the crust was crisp. I will definitely make it again and hopefully with the picholine olives as the kalamatas hid the flavor of the thyme. Some friends went home with a chunk of the loaf - I figured they could snack on it if the ferry line was too awful, A

cabbagehead's picture

Well I made the most amazing  4 loaves of whole wheat bread today. It was quite hot out and I was expecting company so I decided to turn on the air conditioning. I then realized it would be better for the bread if I had a warmer and more humid environment so I placed the rising dough out on the patio under the umbrella and covered with a damp towel.  That must have been a perfect scenario for the bread because it rose like crazy. I also think it had something to do with the actual recipe. For the first time I used my Five Roses cookbook which called for a lot more yeast than I was used to (16 grams for 4 loaves). I also prepared a mixture of the yeast, some sugar, some scalded milk and water before hand then mixed eveything together. I've never seen yeast froth up so much! The result was 4 wonderful large loaves of delicious bread that had soft crusts (coated with melted butter just before oven time). The flavour is quite intense and perfect for sandwiches a well as toast (with jam or honey). Tonight my supper consisted of fresh bread, ancient cheddar cheese, red wine and great music. Life is pretty good.

Christina's picture

I haven't been making bread much lately so I decided to start again with pizza dough. I didn't have the time to let it rise as much as I wanted but it came out really well regardless. The dough was much slacker than I have done in the past and that's why it turned out so wonderfully this time.

Rising dough:

Pizza dough

Ready to form crusts:

Balls of dough

Crusts, ready to top:

Ready to top

Turkey meatball and olive-spinach:

Pizza, pizza

This is my favorite part:

Looky the hole!

AnnieT's picture

For the first time in my entire baking life I got ears!!! OK, they aren't the most elegant ears I have ever seen, but for me this was a big deal. I made Susan's Norwich Sourdough loaves and nearly ruined the dough by trying to knead in kosher salt by hand. Had to do some extra kneading and stretching and folding to get the dough to what I thought it should be, and eventually it was a delight to work with. So my four dear little loaves weren't picture perfect but to me they are beautiful. Made pizza with some of the leftover dough, and also baked a fine steelcut oats version of the NKB. A happy baking day, A

Jamila's picture

I am starting to like the flater bread more than the thicker one. Tastes change I suppose.


I still haven't gotten down this whole picture adding thing. It really isn't that user friendly, any pointers would be helpful!


Khobz Eddar

AnnieT's picture

KipperCat, a friend of mine asked me whether I could remember seeing a round cooling rack on TFL - she saw it and couldn't remember where. I went back through some blog entries and noticed that you have one. Could you tell me where you got it, please? I am assuming that is the one she meant and she really really wants one. I led her astray into the breadmaking world and she says she may never forgive me - but she is making sourdough bread with my starter. I would love to put her on the right track for the rack, many thanks, A

Floydm's picture

I killed another spammer's account this afternoon. While cleaning up the mess he made I noticed an inefficiency that I think has been the main issue behind some of the slow page loads here. My first attempt to fix it briefly locked up the site, but my second attempt appears to have gone smoothly.

I've eliminated a database query that was happening on every page load. I don't see it causing any problems, but if you experience any weirdness please let me know.


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