The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Jezella's picture

How does the Blog Work.

January 27, 2013 - 4:55am -- Jezella
Forums: 

I hope that this question is okay here as I can't seem to find the answer. But, how does the blog work on this site. Is it a place were you create a blog and can keep updating it. I'm thinking that it may be nice to have a place where I can upload all my experiences in ONE place for other to read. Is that something that I can do in the blog section. Or perhaps it is more like a single forum posting.

Is there a link here that says how the blog work and what can and can't be done.

arlo's picture
arlo

After nearly two good years at my local Great Harvest, two weeks ago I packed up, called it good and moved to a new venture down the road. It was hard to leave good friends and a great boss, but after talking to my Chef/Professor at college and my fiance, I decided I had hit the wall, learned everything I could at the bakery and because of that, it was time to move on from my current bakery. In order to grow and develop I needed to start working on other skills and making different loaves daily.

Talk about a change! From making 200-300 loaves a day and even more during the holidays to making about 30 loaves a day and being in charge of the the whole bread department (just me mind you : ). My two weeks at Aggie Mae's has really made me appreciate taking time to work out the kinks, experiment and get in touch with my cake making, frosting and pastry skills!

The Great Harvest I worked at was wonderful, unfortunately I have had my mind set on my ACF Certification tests and working towards becoming a Certified Executive Pastry Chef down the line in a few years. I love bread mind you, I love it more than pastries, but I understand where the money is at in my area and how pastries can really help me out in this career, so I gladly took the position as the head baker and then helper with cakes. I am certainly glad I did shift jobs.

The first week I began baking in a hearth oven, making entirely new pizzas (asked on the spot, "Ok Arlo, what are some new pizzas you are going to put out this week?") Talk about pressure, but I came through! I made Prosciutto wrapped asparagus with red peppers and Parmesan pizzas. Blue cheese, pear and walnut pizzas and more. I also worked out a new multi-grain bread recipe which went over well enough today the owner asked me to triple the recipe for the Saturday crowd!

From croissants, to mini fresh fruit tarts, country bread, sourdough seed breads, creme anglaise and more, I have certainly learned a lot this week alone and have worked on some great products.

The only rough side, work starts at 2 am now instead of 3 am.

Such is life though : )

 

tsaint's picture

Hello from Cape Cod!

May 6, 2011 - 2:57pm -- tsaint

Hi!


I've been reading this site for a little while. I'm an amateur baker, started last year. I'm so interested in it and some of the science behind it, I started this blog


http://breadnbeer.wordpress.com/


please take a look and tell me what you think! I'm trying to make the best bread that I can, and I emphasize a lot on beer relation in bread. :)


But whenever I'm stuck, I come to this site to find the answer!


Thanks everyone!

leighbakes's picture
leighbakes

If you enjoy my blog, please check out the original at leighbakes.wordpress.com!


Thanks for reading!

leighbakes's picture

New to the forum, new baking blog!

February 17, 2011 - 8:37pm -- leighbakes

Hi there! My name is Leigh, and I'm a professional cake decorator--but I can't bake. I've decided to learn how, and I've created a blog to document my learning process. It's called LeighBakes, and you can get there by clicking below:

http://leighbakes.wordpress.com/

Follow me as I learn the art of measuring and mixing, and feel free to laugh at all the mistakes I make along the way. I'd also welcome any baking veterans who could offer advice when I screw up! I hope you stop by.

Terrell's picture
Terrell

Back in the fall I promised my niece-in-law that I would make kolaches for her birthday at the end of November. Which I did, using the recipe from the point of departure. They were OK, but not quite right. Too dry, a little doughy and the flavor was not quite the same. Wait a minute, you say, not the same as what? What the heck are these kolaches of which you write?


 Apricot Kolaches       Apricot Kolaches


Right smack in the middle of Texas there's an area that was populated by people of Czech descent. Well, a bunch of Germans, too, but right now we're interested in the Czechs. They brought a number of traditions from the home country that have worked their way into local culture, most prominently the sweet roll that makes a true Texan's heart do a little extra thump---the kolache. When I was little, the ladies from the Catholic church in Ennis would come up to our church in Dallas to fundraise by selling home-baked kolaches to the big city folks. We didn't get quite as excited as we would for Christmas that weekend but it was right up there with, say, Easter. Mom would buy six dozen and freeze five of them to be brought out for special occasions during the year. We got to eat one box that morning. Now, you have to realize that there are nine kids in my family. Add two parents and that meant that we each only got one kolache. And I still remember those five or six bites as a highlight of my year.


After a couple of my brothers moved to Austin to go to the University (no need to qualify which university in Texas) our kolache supply got a little steadier. Anyone who made the drive between Dallas and Austin was required to stop in West, Texas (the name of a town, not a region that is in central, not west, Texas) and pick up a couple dozen. It was a regular enough occurrence that we could request certain fillings instead of just grabbing whatever was available. I always went for apricot first, cream cheese second. Or maybe prune. And then, I grew up. Moved away. Lost my source and only ever got a kolache fix if my visits to Dallas happened to coincide with an Austinite's. Joined that community of expat Texans who could only dream. Now and then I'd find a bakery that claimed to make them but they were never anything close to what I remembered. You know, if it's not right, it's just not right.


Now you probably think I'm crazy, just wierd to feel this way about a pastry, but I am not alone. My niece who requested them for her birthday isn't even a Texan, just married to one. When I went looking for a recipe on the internet, the passionate postings about dough and fillings were everywhere. They all seemed to point one direction, however. The recipe posted on The Homesick Texan blog seemed to be the place to go for the real thing. There were 138 comments on the post that all say pretty much the same thing, "Oh my god these are amazing, just the way I remember them." So I used her dough recipe exactly. I subbed in some other fillings since I was out of apricots but that's not important. It's the bread that matters. And now there are 139 comments on that post including mine which says, "Oh my god these are amazing, just the way I remember them."


I'm not going to reprint her recipe. You can go see it for yourself. I will just tell you that I found I had to bake them a little longer than her timing states, more like 20-25 minutes. It may just be that I need to check my oven temp. There are some tiny details that she leaves out that make them even more perfect like you should put them close enough together on the baking sheet so that the oven spring makes them just kiss each other and you wind up with a slightly squared off, not perfectly round finished product. I found the Posypka recipe needs either more butter or less flour/sugar to make it clump properly. She only includes a recipe for apricot filling but it seems more authentic to have a variety so I made three kinds. I used some Trader Joe organic strawberry preserves for some which, while cheating, still came out well. I took some plum conserve my brother made from his home-grown red plums, drained out most of the liquid and mashed up the plum bits. Those, too, were pretty successful. And I really wanted some raspberry ones so I just tried some raspberry jam I had in the fridge. This was way too watery and made a mess on the cookie sheet. They also got the 'best taste' vote from all my testers so I'm going to work on how to make a drier version next time. I also have a request for the cottage cheese/cream cheese filling from my nephew. Can't wait to try it.


Homesick Texan Kolaches

curvesarein's picture
curvesarein

Well I decided to do something good for our health. Something I did 25 years ago and before when my young family was growing. I used to grind my own wheat and make my own bread from whole wheat grain. Everything we ate was fresh and full of nutrition and fiber. Then I married the Italian (half Irish too) and he wanted white bread or Irish soda bread etc. Not gonna touch the brown stuff. So I sold all my equipment to buy a stove! Big mistake. But seemed the thing to do at the time. Make the hubby happy! I wanted a new stove too! So now 25 years later I made a new investment in our health and bought a new model Bosch Universal Plus mixer with 800 watts of power and the ability to knead 4 loaves of bread in 10 minutes. Then I was on the search for the recipe from 30 years ago! Happy I found the website The Fresh Loaf and Old Wooden Spoon gave me the recipe I used back then ( that gave away our age right away!) My first day in the kitchen was like  the I Love Lucy show. Now I don't like to be on camera but this would have won me enough money to pay for my equipment for sure! Did I say it was an investment, not just a purchase.   Here is what I purchased after much research and past experience.     Nutrimill Grain Mill Nutri Mill Grainmill Flour Grinder   Now the first day was quite interesting, all seemed easy enough so I skimmed the directions on the equipment. I set up the Nutrimill to grind my wheat. Obviously I didn't have it quite locked in right as flour started shooting out the side, but one quick stop and we got that under control. Not too much mess to clean up. Then on to proofing the yeast. A little honey, warm water and yeast. It starts to bubble so I know it's working. Yay! Next is to start filling the mixer with water, flour, salt and honey, then I turn to find the yeast. It is starting to bubble forth like champagne out of the cup ! So I add that and proceed to add more flour until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. (that's how you tell it's ready)    Now my first mixer had 2 speeds, this has 4. I think I must have put it on speed 3. Somewhere someone said I should remove the outer rim of the bowl at this stage.     Now I never did that with the old one. But I figured why not, so removed it.    Then turned my back on the machine and went to the sink. I turned around and dough was breaking off and flying around my kitchen, I kid you not! Splat in the dining room, splat on the counter, splat on the kitchen floor. I put that rim on as fast as I could blink an eye. All went well after that and we got some beautiful tasty bread. Next baking day went smoothly with great results, (cinnamon bread) everyone wants to buy it. Not happening, that executive decision was made the first day. I'm not 25 anymore! I used to make 15 loaves a day, babysit and deliver the bread. $1.50 a loaf in the 80's. Now today was my 3rd day baking. I had to grind 20 lbs of wheat into flour that I sold for $4.00 for each 5 lbs. That took a while. Then I had some left over and decided to start a second batch of four loaves of bread. Needed to grind more flour.    Rule # 2 , don't overfill the hopper or turn your back on it. I'm always trying to multi-task. I turned around and the stove side of my kitchen looked like the first snow of winter!    I'm having to learn lots of patience with this new process, but the rewards are warm soft whole wheat loaves of bread. Guess what the Italian is eating willingly now? At lunch he waited for me to slice bread to make his sandwich. The little white rolls nearby were crying! The pictures tell the rest! I hear there really is an episode of I love Lucy baking bread! Gotta get that one from Netflix. Linda McErlean http://picasaweb.google.com/curvesarein/BreadBaking?authkey=Gv1sRgCMK-v5atusP07gE&feat=directlink   "Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains un-awakened."    

Bake Skywalker's picture
Bake Skywalker

I have officially deemed this week the start of my Bread Season.  As the weather gets increasingly colder, I can't think of a better way to warm up the house.



Not long ago, early this year (2010) I became obsessed with teaching myself to be an Artisan Bread maker. Throughout my life I have done this frequently. I'll find something interesting and obsess over it endlessly...well endlessly may be an overstatement. It's more until I find something else to obsess about. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.



Right away I hit the pavement; I went up to my locale library (which is an amazing facility) and checked out several bread making books. The first two that I picked up read like most other cookbook I had ever used, listing the ingredients and then step by step directions that usually lack the critical details to make any dish truly exceptional - enter my culinary education. Low and behold the book I left for last in the group would turn out to be my holy grail of bread making. I had stumbled upon "The Bread Makers Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart, and so my journey began.


I can truly say that while most hobbies that I embark upon fall to the wayside sooner or later this adventure has transcended to something that's more a part of who I am as opposed to what I do. The lessons and fundamentals that I have learned to date have produced some rather exceptional results, in my personal opinion and I can't wait to share these experience with The Fresh Loaf.

breitbaker's picture
breitbaker

Hi everyone...I've been MIA the past few months...certainly not from baking, but mostly from commenting on this site. I still consider this an invaluable resource though!


Somehow, summer overtakes.


I have begun blogging at a separate domain though, so come on over and see what I've been up to! It's my adventures in the kitchen along with snippets of the things I grow and create....


See ya there!     http://www.brightbakes.wordpress.com


Cathy B.pane siciliano.JPG

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