The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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SylviaH's picture

Peach Daisy Ring for Easter.

This is our Easter Sweet Bread.  Glazed with homemade peach jam, almond icing dotted with slivers of fresh almonds.


dmsnyder's picture

I have continued to play with my formula for what I call "San Joaquin Soudough." This continuing series of experiments started with my curiosity as to whether the baguette formula of Anis Bouabsa could be applied to other types of bread than baguettes. The short answer is, of course, "yes."

The basic approach I have been using is described in detail in the following blog entry: 

The present variation used 10% KAF White Whole Wheat flour, 90% KAF Bread flour and a slightly higher hydration - 76%. The techniques for mixing, fermentation, etc. were as I have described before. So, the ingredients were:

Ripe 65% hydration sourdough starter....100 gms

Water........................................................380 gms

KAF Bread Flour.........................................450 gms

KAF White Whole Wheat Flour...................50 gms

Sea Salt.........................................................10 gms

Instant Yeast................................................1/4 tsp

The combined effect of the different flours and the higher hydration was to yield a dramatically different bread with a much more open crumb structure - really ciabatta-like.

Now, I did bake these loaves under an aluminum foil roasting pan for the first 12 minutes and then for another 18 minutes uncovered. The oven spring was massive. My scoring was obliterated. Examination of the crust coloration of the bloom revealed that the bloom occurred very early in the bake and very rapidly. (The coloration was even and not different from the rest of the crust. See my Scoring Tutorial in the TFL Handbook for further explanation.)

With the higher hydration and covered baking, the crust softened quickly during cooling. The crumb was like a good ciabatta - very tender yet still chewy. The taste is very mildly sour, even on the day after baking. It made a delicious sandwich with Toscano salami, Beaver Brand Sweet Hot mustard and lettuce. (Sorry, Mini. It definitely would drip mayonnaise in your lap.)

This bread presented me with a number of surprises, but I'm far from disappointed. I'm happy to have a "new" bread in my repertoire. 


absolutelyeve's picture

I have tried to recreate a delicious roll made at the Smith and Wollensky restaurant in Washington, D.C.  The rolls are served piping hot with melted butter and sprinkled with coarse salt and rosemary on the tops.  Delicious! When I did the same, my rolls appeared cloudy, kind of messy on the tops.  The salt was OK: It didn't melt.  Is it the butter?  I can't figure out what's wrong.  I've got a batch rising right now and I'd like to use the salt and butter but I don't want the messy look.  Any suggestions? Eve

SylviaH's picture

Well it's Good Friday and time for some Hot Cross Buns and good memories!  Mom made Hot Cross Buns all year round.  They were a favorite to take on their weekly fishing trips.  Back in the 70's I gave her a recipe for them I found in my Sunset Magazine's Bread recipe book...I still have it!  Today I tweeked the recipe and added some K.A. Organic White Wheat, Brown Sugar, some very fresh veitnamese cinnamon, grated nutmeg and cloves along with my home grown citrus lemon and orange candied peels,organic currants and a little orange juice.  The cross is made with a lemon glaze.  They were basted with egg yolk just before baking...Mom would have been pleased!  They are very tasty...Oh yes, and saved one for the tradition/superstition that hanging a hot cross bun on Good Friday assures it will never mold and protects the home from fires and your breads will always rise!....We need all the protection from fires we can get here in So. Calif.  and of coarse who doesn't want their bread to rise! Ha, Ha...I have the perfect place for my bun.

I had 30 buns...29 to eat!

Very Tasty...but not as good as Mom's!  She made hers a lot bigger!

This was my husbands 'Mike' mothers little house she brought back many years ago from Mexico!  Being Irish and being somewhat superstitious...why not...I'll let you know if it molds!  ; )

 note:  His little pan of buns!

bblearner's picture

My first try to use a starter to bake a sourdough bread was Mountaindog's Cherry Pecan Pain au Levain which was so dense and almost unedible.  I was sure something was not right with my starter.  So I requested MD post some pictures of his levains for me for guidance, which he did with nice illustrations.  I followed that to feed my starter for over a week and tried to build a levain with bubbles that would match those of MD's and finally I thought my starter was ripe enough to make breads, I tried the Country French Bread (Thom Leonard's), also from MD's blog :

The crumb was still a little dense because I overlooked the part on folding.  So a week later I had another try and followed the recipe as closely as possible and this was a better one :


I was so happy that my starter finally is working and the following one is Richard Bertinet's sourdough bread with a small touch of spelt flour :

Honestly, I like the flavour of the Country French Bread more.  My next exercise will be the Pecan Cranberry Pain au Levain, again. 

I would like to thank everybody on this site for their generosity of sharing techniques, experiences, recipes, etc. and a special thanks to Mountaindog's encouragement!

audra36274's picture

I had taken a few loaves (my first attempt) Paul's Sweet Vanilla Challah from the oven and was working on my photo's. I went back to get the smaller loaf to re- do the shot and it had been assaulted! My shaping was out of practice on my challah, but the taste is fantastic. 

koloatree's picture

greetings all!


retried the raisin walnut sourdough recipe from my previous post. i am pleased with the results, however, i am still trying to achieve a better scoring and ear curl. i think i was slashing too deep. i will try the suggestions that i recieved from the discussion thread. thanks members of freshloaf!





next up at bat was another susan sourdough attempt. i made a mistake during the shaping phase which caused me to shape again and again and again. in doing so, nice bubblies were let loose. time i will try to shape a better batard. even though the looks lack, the taste was on point. soft in the inside, and a nice exterior crunch. total time of the first and second proof = ~13hrs @ 86 degrees. this was double the recipe btw.




next up was another attempt at baguettes using anis method with sourdough starter. i am still striving for the nice crispy crusty explosive looking baguette. i 'think' it may have something to do with the flour. i am going to give the king authurs artisan flour a shot. supposedly its ~11.6 protein content. also, i forgot to turn down the temperature after placing the baguettes into the oven, i used KA AP which is around 13% protein?





next up is pizza using anis bouabsa mixing method. it is by far my favorite crust i have achieved to date. the only thing i would improve is using a starter for a little sourdough taste.








gothicgirl's picture

Posted on  4/8/2009

I am a bacon devotee.  I'm not sure if you have noticed, but I love the stuff!  That's why when I was challenged to create a sweet and savoury bacon muffin I jumped at the challenge!

Maple and Bacon Muffins 

But, this is a tale of sadness, regret, but eventual triumph! 

Two months ago, on a cold January evening, I was contemplating new ways to use bacon in my baking when my husband asked, "Can you make a bacon cupcake?"  A cupcake?  No, not that, never that.  However, a muffin I could do!  So, off to research.  I formulated a recipe with a brown sugar crumble and gave it a whirl.

Maple and Bacon Muffins 

They tasted great, but looked about as pretty as homemade soap.  Not a shining moment for me, but I moved on.  Next I tried no crumble and more maple.  They were far too sweet and had the texture of sticky cornbread.  BLEH!   Long story short (too late, right?), after a few more failures I struck the right balance of salty and sweet in a tender, bulging muffins!  It is this that I present to you, the perfect brunch bread. .. Maple and Bacon Muffins!   

Maple and Bacon Muffins   Yield 1 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup real maple syrup

Heat the oven to 400 F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners, or grease and flour the pan well.

Dry Ingredients 

Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt well.  Mix in the crumbled bacon.

Wet Ingredients 

In a separate bowl mix the milk, eggs, oil, and maple syrup.

Complete Batter 

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it.  Fold gently until the dry ingredients are wet.  It will be lumpy.

Scoop into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

 Maple and Bacon Muffins - Cooling

Serve warm.

Maple and Bacon Muffins

slothbear's picture

white spelt sourdough bread

Eric's latest video masterpiece at Breadtopia is a whole spelt sourdough.  I was anxious to try it.  So anxious that I didn't notice that I had white spelt flour, not whole spelt.  No matter, the flexibleness that is bread took over, and it came out fine.

SamG's picture


I have been trying to find information about how bakers used to mix and knead large amounts of dough by hand? What were the batch sizes and optimal amounts of dough that were worked before mixers were around? Anyone out ther that can help me with this information?




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