The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


pmccool's picture

Last weekend had me going.  My work schedule gives me every other Friday off and last weekend was one of my 3-day weekends.  First up, repairing some of the heat and drought damage that my yard suffered.  Lots of weeding and raking and seeding and watering, followed by loudly protesting muscles and joints.  But it's done.  In another week or so I should be seeing new grass growing in areas that were entirely killed.

Saturday was pretty low key, given the ongoing protests mentioned earlier.  Still, I did manage to get in a batch of the NY Deli Rye from the BBA for this week's sandwiches.  Love that stuff!

Sunday afternoon, protests or no, was given over to some further test bakes in preparation for the classes that I will be teaching in a few weeks.  First I mixed up a batch of Bavarian Christmas Braid.  It's a beautiful dough, slightly sweet and redolent of mace and lemon zest.  The almonds and brandy-soaked raisins don't hurt anything, either.  The bread is made up as a small braid stacked on top of a larger braid, which makes for a very pretty loaf.  In the hands of a competent braider, it would be downright beautiful.  After coming out of the oven and cooling slightly, it is drizzled with a light glaze flavored with almond extract.  

Here is how it looked just out of the oven:

And after glazing:

Not being particularly fond of candied cherries, I elected not to garnish the loaves.

While the braid dough was fermenting, I got to work on candying some orange peel that would be needed for some stollen (currently fermenting as I write this).  I'd never done it before and was pleasantly surprised to find how simple it is.  A bit tedious, yes, but not difficult.  Since the Web is rife with instructions, I'll not duplicate them here.  However, I will share some pictures of how they turned out.

Just out of the syrup:

Starting to dredge in sugar:

And all done:

Last but not least, some savory muffins rounded out the day's baking:


PaulZ's picture

Hi all,

Can someone pls inform  me why it is suggested that we use cornflour or cornmeal on the peel, transfer paddle or the couche cloth instead of AP flour or regular bread flour? What's the difference?

nicolesue's picture

Baking Stone - How to Transfer?

May 19, 2010 - 12:14am -- nicolesue


I've recently purchased a ceramic pizza baking stone. What's the best way to transfer the bread dough (like a boule) to the baking stone while it is pre-heating inside the oven. I don't have a peel.

At the moment, I proof my dough on a thin silicon mat. Prior to baking, I'll remove the baking stone from the oven, and slide the whole thing (silicon mat and dough) onto the baking stone, before putting it back in the oven again for baking. I do not remove my silicon mat until the baking is complete.

Doc Tracy's picture

Help with loading bread off peel onto stone!

January 28, 2010 - 9:02am -- Doc Tracy

Help! I'm just learning to use my new peel and stone. Trying to break away from putting all my breads on or in a pan. So, today I had a beautiful loaf of Multi-flour miche ready to load into the oven. Thought I did everything right. I put cornmeal on the peel. Had the stone blazing hot. Went to load it and the darn thing stuck to the peel. I used my pastry cutter to push it off the peel and it ends up as a squished up mound at the front of the stone, stuck to the stone and the door of the oven.

mabaker's picture

need some help before doing my first bread workshop!

January 5, 2010 - 10:26am -- mabaker



Iv'e graduated from a culinary school and started to do some workshops.

My next one is breads. At home I'm using parchment papaer- to put the shaped and pre-shaped doughs

After that I transfer them to a sheet pan that has been already heated in the oven (otherwise the bottom will burn).

I had success moving the parchment with breads to the oven, and using the sheet pans.

I don't use cloth nor special baskets....but I want this workshop to look more professional.

What would you advise me to get?

Doc Opa's picture

8" utility peel

December 7, 2009 - 8:02am -- Doc Opa

Hi everyone,


I've have a 14" metal peel with wood handle, an old weed cutter I've modified for a moving hot coals, a commercial cotton mop with wood hanle, metal snow shovel for scooping coals and a five foot long fishing gaff I've modified for a bubble popper.  I'd reallu like to have a 8" utility peel but i'm having a hard time justifying paying $70.00 plus dollars for one.  Does anyone know of a utility peel out there with a little more reasonable price tag?



Gunnersbury's picture


September 10, 2009 - 2:13pm -- Gunnersbury

I am not very advanced: as my question will indicate. I have two types of cornmeal at home usually: the coarse ground, and the flour. Can I use either one when sprinkling on the peel?  And if the coarse is okay, then are grits okay?  Thank you. 

hsmum's picture

who needs a pizza peel when you've got one of these babies?

March 17, 2009 - 6:30pm -- hsmum

I'm really still very new at this bread-baking thing, so I hesitate to say it, but I may have discovered a tolerably good and low-cost alternative to a pizza peel! 

Today I tried making pizza for the first time.  I realized last-minute that even my rather large spatula (roughly 6"x6") was just not going to transfer these little babies onto my baking stone.   Silly of me. 

Subscribe to RSS - peel