The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Melana's picture

To all of you searching for yet another bread recipe, I came across this in my research.  It is a french site but many of the recipes are translated!



PMcCool's picture

This weekend's baking exercise focused on sourdough Enlish muffins, using the recipe from King Arthurs Flour.  The taste is wonderful!  Even my 4-year old grandson polished his off and he is at a stage where he is developing some very strong opinions about what flavors are or aren't acceptable. 

The crumb was moist, tender and fine-textured.  I had hoped for a more open texture with large, open cells.  A couple of observations: First, with 1 cup of starter (mine is approximately 100% hydration) and 1.5 cups of milk providing the moisture for 5.5 cups of flour, this isn't exactly a slack dough.  Would a wetter dough be more likely to produce a more open crumb?  Second, would the use of water, or a water/milk combination, be more likely to produce a more open crumb?  (The milk I used was 1% milkfat.)  Third, this dough gets a lot of handling, especially since it is rolled out before the muffins are cut.  Would portioning out balls of dough and then gently flattening them into rounds by hand be better for open crumb formation?  Any ideas or suggestions will be cheerfully accepted.

The notion of leaving the sponge overnight, even in a cool basement, when it contains that much milk had me somewhat concerned.  Thankfully, it did not develop an off flavor or odor from any milk spoilage, as I had feared it might.  Could it be that the sourdough starter prevents other not-so-welcome bacteria from getting a toehold?

One adjustment that I will make for future batches is to lower the amount of salt.  The recipe called for a tablespoon of salt, which made the flavor rather more salty than I enjoy.  I think that I will try cutting it in half the next time and see how that works.

I will need to focus on balancing the temperature and time on the griddle in future batches.  While I managed to avoid burning them, the griddle was probably at too low a temperature for the first group; it took a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time for the first side to brown.  So I turned up the heat a little and was surprised at how quickly the second side baked.  Practice, practice, practice!

This recipe makes a large number of muffins.  In this case, 16 muffins that are approximately 4 inches in diameter.  We'll be freezing some of these for use later.  And when they are gone, I'll be making more.

Floydm's picture

I'm trying to make a few improvements here to make things easier for the non-techy user. You'll notice I've installed TinyMCE, a javascript-based editor. I think this will help most folks, but if you don't like it you can go into your account settings and turn it off.

I've noticed a few quirky things about it, like that you must have a chunk of text selected before the link button activates. It also is a little weird about deletes, at least in Camino.

Which reminds me: TinyMCE doesn't work in Safari, so Mac users will need to use something else. I recommend Camino. It is a lighter weight version of Firefox. I use Firefox all day when I need to get work done, but when I am browsing for pleasure I use Camino.

Please send any feedback you have about the recent changes I've made to me, either via the feedback link or by posting your thoughts on the site.

On the topic of bread, I baked Rustic Bread and a Whole Wheat Bread last weekend. I'm not sure how much baking I'll get in this weekend. Hopefully some.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

July 28, 2006 Found Buckwheat berries in the market.
They are hulled, meaning I can crush them between a finger and fingernail. This ought to be fun, one more whole grain without gluten to experiment with. The locals mix and cook them with rice to enrich it. I will first wash and soak them and add to my Poolish. They are shaped like little hearts with three sides reminding me of Austrian Löffel Kraut, a sort of nutty herb that grows everywhere there, picked for salads and high in vit C.
Having heard of Buckwheat flour for pancakes, I made a dough ball of fine buckwheat flour, water, salt, com. yeast and kneaded it. More like "play dough." It rose minutely for gas escaped in tiny little cracks all over the surface. I tweaked it and practiced my kaiser roll folds with it and left it in a little ball to rise. When I had had enough, I painted it with milk to seal the cracks and baked it. I managed to trap some bubbles and I like the taste but the dense grey puck cannot stand on its own. I cut it up and dried it.
My neighborhood dogs love me, by the way, they get all kinds of bread snacks. I'm not exaggerating when I say I've taught them all to sit. The ladies laugh as dogs of different sizes sit in a row like rice paddy ducks as soon as they see me coming. :) Mini Oven

PMcCool's picture

My wife purchased a copy of BBA as a birthday present some weeks back and I finally got around to using a formula from the book; in this case, the New York Deli Rye sandwich loaf. It is a definite keeper. I have been admonished to put a big star next to that particular formula.

The bread is a wonderful base for a corned beef and swiss cheese sandwich, to start with. We'll keep experimenting and see what else works, too. The onions in the bread are a a delicious complement to other savory flavors, but somehow manage not to overwhelm the other components.

Since it was my first attempt for this formula, I made sure to follow the instructions closely. I opted out of the use of caraway seeds, since my wife does not enjoy that flavor. Next time I may try either dill or fennel seeds, since it seems either of those would make a good flavor complement.

The use of commercial yeast, brown sugar and buttermilk in the formula were a bit surprising. I think that the buttermilk (and the shortening) contributed to the finished bread's moistness. For the next attempt, I will probably skip the yeast. My starter seems to have plenty of boost, so the yeast really isn't necessary to ensure an adequate rise. I do need to follow some of JMonkey's recommendations for increasing the sourness of the starter. Mine is more mild than wild in the flavor department, even with having refrigerated the second build of the starter overnight. A longer, cooler rise with no commercial yeast would probably increase the sour flavor.

The other thing that I should have done was keep a closer eye on the dough during the final rise. When I came back in from some outdoor chores to check on it, it was almost 2 inches above the edge of the pan, instead of the recommended 1 inch! Warm day plus commercial yeast--who'd have thought it? Anyway, I got lucky in that there aren't tunnels and that the bread holds together instead of crumbling in the middle of the slice, like some other over-risen breads that I have made.

All things considered, this was a very satisfactory experiment with a new recipe. And it will definitely be back for an encore.

longlivegoku's picture

I have been on a quest for several months now to build a brick oven. I bought Alan Scott's book and also ordered some building CD's from a guy in Australia named Rado. While Alan's book was amazing (I will be re-reading it here soon) I ended up going with Rado's plans for what he calls a Masterly Tail oven. He gives amazingly detailed pictures of each step along with instructions for the mixtures needed. I think in all, I received 1000 photos of him building an MTO. Anyhow, I'm less than a month away (hopefully) from finally being able to bake and thought I would post some pics of the progress so far. It's been fun and a challenge to build. Fireclay was the only ingredient I've had trouble finding locally. I ended up running out yesterday while building the arches or there would be more done at this point. So it goes!


Hearth with wall

One arch

maggie664's picture

Have made this 3 times for my cafe and it sells rapidly. Blueberry and cream cheese combination is a new flavour combinatiion for New Zealanders. I drizzle a little lemon juice icing over the braid which adds to ita appeal. Thank you for the recipe as muffins are becoming passe

JMonkey's picture

A comment from Joe Fisher in this lesson I put together got me thinking about trying a really wet starter to see how it turned out. I usually make my sourdough with a 50% hydration starter (1 part water to 2 parts flour) which makes a really stiff starter. What if I reversed it? What if I had a starter at 200% (2 parts water to 1 part flour)?

Well, I tried it. On Wednesday, I converted part of my stiff starter to a 200% hydration starter and fed it about three times before making bread.

The result?

It was still sour, but a different kind of sour. Less tart, more smooth. I liked it. Now, it's possible that my starter hadn't fully adjusted to the super wet environment and I had some stiff starter microbes hanging out, I dunno. But I'm beginning to think that time and temperature may be much more important to the sourness of one's bread than the starter itself.

Anyway, I'm still keeping my starter stiff. Less chance of a spill in my cramped fridge, and it's easier to give away as a solid dough that a liquid. Fun experiment though!

Pat_T's picture

I finally overcame my anxiety and made bread dough in the food processor. I have the KA 11-cup (red, of course). I had purchased a book off eBay called the Food Processor Bread Book by the Editors of Consumer Guide. I was just too scared to try it. But seeing all of the pictures that another friend had taken of breads she had made in her FP encouraged me greatly.

So yesterday evening, I decided to make some cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning, as I am taking a vacation day today.

I made the dough - just whizzed it right up. And was totally astounded at how easy it really was. Let it rise for about 2 hours (we keep it kinda cold in our house). Rolled it out, buttered it, sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar, and sliced into rolls. Placed them onto a silpat-lined 17 x 10 baking sheet and covered them with Saran wrap. Stuck them into the fridge.

I pulled them out about 5:30 this morning and sat them on top of the stove. While the oven was preheating, they rose a bit. Baked them for 20 minutes and had a lovely icing ready to spread on them while hot. Oh, the aroma was heavenly.

I only wish I had a digital camera so I could post a picture of how pretty they were.

Here's the recipe:


This handy recipe really is a basic for many breads, coffee cakes, and rolls. You can add nuts, candied or dried fruits, and spices to the dough. Shape it any way you like - in rolls or buns, regular or round loaves, braids, twists, pretzels, rings, wreaths - whatever suits your fancy or the occasion.

1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water (105° to 115° F.), divided
3 Tblsp. sugar, divided
1 pkg. active dry yeast
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tblsp. instant nonfat dry milk
2 Tblsp. butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten

Combine 1/4 cup of the water, 1 Tblsp. of the sugar, and the yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast and let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

Fit processor with steel blade. Measure flour, dry milk, buter, remaining 2 Tblsp. sugar and salt into the work bowl. Process until mixed, about 20 seconds.

Add yeast mixture and egg to the flour mixture. Process until blended, about 15 seconds.

Turn on processor and very slowly drizzle just enough remaining water through feed tube into flour mixture so dough forms a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl. Process until ball turns around bowl 25 times. Turn off processor and let dough stand 1 to 2 minutes.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Shape into ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease all sides. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place (85° F.) until doubled, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

    To make Cinnamon Rolls:

Punch dough down. Roll out dough into a 15-inch square.

Spread 1/4 cup softened butter over dough. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tblsp. ground cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Roll up dough jellyroll fashion. Pinch seam to seal. Cut into 1-inch wide slices and place cut side down in greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Brush with oil. Let stand in warm place (85° F.) until doubled, about an hour.

Heat oven to 375° F. Bake rolls until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove rolls from pan and place on wire rack. Drizzle with sugar glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Sugar Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar 1 to 2 Tblsp. milk or strong coffee (I used half-and-half)

Mix sugar and enough milk to make a smooth mixture thin enough to pour.

    To make rolls for the next morning:
Prepare, shape, and refrigerate the dough the night before. Let stand at room temperature in the morning while the oven is preheating. Bake as directed above.

From Food Processor Bread Book, by the editors of Consumer Guide.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Boy was this a busy weekend! Had the day off today, so I spent part of it baking.

First, the 'basic' sourdough recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Always a big winner.

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Had a bit of a blowout on the boule ;) It probably could have used some more rising time before going into the oven. The oven spring was beautiful!

Here's Pane Siciliano, also from TBBA. It's a wonderful recipe. The interior is soft, almost fluffy, and the exterior has a nice crunch to it. The sesame adds a welcome nuttines.

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The one on the end was supposed to be a spiral, but rose into something that looked remotely beehive-ish, then fell over :)

And here are my favorites in the looks department. I butchered a Pain de Campagne recipe in a bread book. The recipe was a 4-day recipe that told you to make a starter from scratch. I decided to use my rye starter (Clyde!) as the base, and modify the recipe to suit. Recipe follows.

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It's comforting to know I can basically wing a recipe, and the experience from dozens of loaves lets me come out with a finished product.
The one that looks all knotted up is just that - it's a square knot made with 2 long pieces of dough. I put shallow slashes in it to make it look like rope. I think it came out pretty cool! I'm bringing it to my father-in-law who is a Boy Scout Scoutmaster.
Oh, and the donut is an off-cut from making the square knot :) It was delicious! teehee

Starter recipe:

9oz rye starter
5oz flour - bread and whole wheat in about a 4:1 ratio
4oz water

Mix, let sit overnight.

Bread recipe:
6cp bread flour
4tsp salt
1 1/2 cp water (+/- 1/2 cup or so to suit the flour)

Mix everything together, knead about 10 minutes until dough passes the windowpane test, proof 3-4 hours until double. Punch down, shape, proof 2-3 hours until double. Preheat to 450F, bake on a stone 25-30 minutes.



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