The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


raqk8's picture

Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones

March 3, 2012 - 8:07am -- raqk8

This quarter is almost over! (!!!!!) Spring break is just around the corner and I can feel it. The weather is getting warmer (and windier - that's San Luis for ya), and it's starting to smell like spring. I can't wait to have some lazy mornings, some days on which I'll do nothing but hike and ride bikes and lounge around.

joels's picture

debugging bread recipe for better results

January 14, 2012 - 10:02pm -- joels


I was originally posting before looking for bread solutions for our hotel and happily came to a few conclusions as a result of the great help from this board, as well as a base recipe to work from to achieve the bread we need. I've tested things out (mostly testing the recipe + our new oven) in a slightly different way than the recipe was mainly intended and have come across mixed results that maybe a few people can fix up based on the details of the prep and baking. 

I'll post the recipe first followed by the results after (courtesy of Ford--Thanks!!):

breadforfun's picture

I like experimenting with different flours to see the nuances they bring to breads.  Here is a recent bake using a small amount buckwheat flour.  It is a large batch that I built for the amount of starter that I had made the night before using the Hamelman method for Vermont SD.  It made 4 loaves that averaged about 750 gm after cooling.  Besides the beautiful color it brings to a loaf, it adds a nutty flavor that, it turns out, works surprisingly well with brie and camembert cheese spread on it.  The crumb is moist and chewy and the crust has a great crunch.  If you like dark baked loaves, this one's for you.


Scored and ready to go:

Finished loaves:



freerk's picture

Rudolph's antlers; Pepernoten versus kruidnoten

Each year, here up North,
a man comes forth from Spain.
Train nor plane he uses;
a boat is what he chooses,
as well as a white horse,
and (to make matters worse)
travels together with guys
(I tell you no lies)
who paint their faces…

The Dutch embrace it all
and make their way to the mall
to shop till they drop
and return home with many a gift,
that plenty a spirit will lift.

Does this tradition ring a bell?
Well, maybe if you hear his name
your X-masses will never be the same;

Sinterklaas is what he's called...

Please don't be too appalled
Dear Santa and elves
When you see yourselves
reflected in this feast
that is politically incorrect to say the least.

For Sinterklaas - indeed- is the reason why
A guy who goes "ho ho" stops by
on your shores; his boat is now a sled,
the horse became reindeer with noses red.
All devoid of that annoyed
"black Pete", made obsolete by elves
who can show themselves
without any accidental tourist dropping jaws
'cause they see their Santa Claus
fretting in such an anachronistic setting.

Here in the old world, tradition reigns
and black Pete, alas, remains...
However racist it may seem;
rest assured the theme
at the root of all of this, is equal
and Santa is just a better sequel
to a storm of giving and sharing,
so let that be your bearing!
Give and share, share and give,
and live a full life void of strife!

Rudolph's antlers

There are many traditional baking goods associated with Sinterklaas. Butter fondant, chocolate letters, chocolate fondant frogs and mice (nobody seems to know where they came from) and pepernoten. There are three varieties of them floating around, going from rather chewy and lebkuchen-like, to crunchy and easy to eat. The traditional pepernoot is right in the middle and made with harshorn salt (yes, we use Rudolf's antlers to make cookies). This is the king of all rising agents when it comes to strength.

Since baking with hartshorn salt involves a chemical reaction to cause your kitchen to smell like ammonia for about a minute during the bake, many people are a bit wary to use it. Rest assured that there is no harm done; open your kitchen window to get rid of this volatile gas even faster. No traces of it will be left in the pepernoten. For those interested in trying it; King Arthur sells Hartshorn salt as "baker's ammonia" on their site.

Here's the video recipe.

Traditional Pepernoten (big batch)

1 kg. all purpose flour
500 gr. honey
300 gr. sugar
3 eggs
15 gr. hartshorn salt
1½ ts cinnamon
¾ ts cloves
1 ts white pepper
pinch of:
all spice
100 gr. confectioners sugar
a little water.


Warm the honey on a low heat together with the sugar, the eggs, hartshorn salt and all the spices, untill the sugar has melted. Mix well. Sift through the flour in parts and mix well until the stiff dough comes together (be careful not to wreck your KitchenAid on this dough!).

Preheat the oven to 190° C and grease two sheet pans. Form 2 cm balls out of the dough, place them on the sheet pan, keeping enough space between them (at least 1 cm). Bake the pepernoten for about 15- 20 minutes in the middle rack of your oven until golden brown.

Right after baking let them cool on a rack. Bring some confectioners sugar diluted in a little water to the boil, mix until smooth and brush the pepernoten with it to give them a nice finish.

Please endorse my BreadLab initiative on Facebook and help me raise funds just by clicking the like button!

grisdes's picture

Aunt'Lillians Apple Cake

November 21, 2011 - 3:14pm -- grisdes

Hi everyone:


First of all, thank you so much for the responses to my inquiry about "powder bakers milk", like someone already said, this site is a wealth and well of useful information.

I came accross people talking and raving about Aunt Lillian's Apple Cake, is it possible to kindly share the recipe? I have quite a bit of different apples.


Again thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving!

NetherReine's picture


November 3, 2011 - 5:01pm -- NetherReine

Hello.  Today I received my free sourdough starter (thank you NY Baker!).  In a few days it will be ready to go.  Can anyone offer suggestions on a sourdough bread recipe for a beginner?  I understand it is wise to stick with one recipe while you learn the ropes.  Which "one recipe" should that be?

Breuer's picture

For 4 small baguette and 1 big loaf:

The “poolish” ferment:

175gr water

25gr rye flour

150gr Wheat, tipo -00-

2,5gr organic fresh yeast


For the final dough:

All of the “poolish” ferment

650gr fine spelt

350gr water

10gr organic fresh yeast

15gr salt


  • Refridge the “poolish” overnight.
  • Mix the final dough and autolyse for 5min.
  • Knead the dough for about 10min, add salt and finish the kneading.(I used the RICHARD BERTINET technique by hand ).
  • Let the dough proof for about 1½ hour.
  • Shape the dough into equal pieces.
  • Let them rest for 15min.
  • Now do the final baguette shape.
  • Let them proof about 80-100%
  • Bake them in a 250c preheated oven with steam.
  • Remove the steam after 4-7min and bake the bread 20min in total.
  • Cool down on a rack.


This is my first try and it can only be better, but after all i´m quit happy now that I know the technique. I want a more crisp crust and bigger holes in the crumb.

I used Richard Bertinets recipe with one BIG change, all of the fine white flour had to be extra strong wheat flour..

Breuer's picture


600gr. Cold water

200gr.  Cracked rye

100gr. Cracked barley

100gr. Cracked spelt

200gr. Flour mixture

2 table spoons. Sourdough (from wild yeast)


500gr. Cold water

650gr. Flour mixture

22g. Salt

2 table spoons. Malted barley syrup

2-3 table spoons. Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Seeds: I use, pumpkin, sunflower and linseeds.

The flour mixture consists of:

550gr. Fresh grounded rye

150gr. Fresh grounded barley

150gr. Fresh grounded spelt.

Start mixing the pre-dough before you going to bed, its quit easy you just have to mix everything to a nice, soft and airy dough.

Next morning, just add everything from the final dough into the pre-dough and mix by hand or machine to a very sticky dough, it will take about 10 minutes by machine.

Then add all of the seeds (as much as you like), and mix short.

Oil and butter a form, fill it with the sticky dough.

Now let it proof about 2cm. and bake it in a 200 degrees Celsius  pre-heated oven for 2 hours.

Remember to let it cool down 100%, before slicing.




Breuer's picture

This is my sourdough spelt bread with fresh grounded oat and barly.

For 2 medium loafs at 60% hydration.

600 gr.  Ischia island sourdough starter- 100% Hydration

150 gr. Fresh grounded barley

50 gr. Fresh grounded oat

400 gr. Fine spelt

300 gr. Cold water

18 gr. Salt

*Mix the sourdough and the barley for around 1 minute to a sticky “heavy” dough.

*Then mix water, salt and spelt for 3-5 min. to activate the gluten.

*Autolyse for 20 min.

* Add the oat and knead for about 5 more minutes, make sure that you don´t knead the spelt to much (Otherwise you ruin the spelt), but the gluten has to be activated perfectly.

* Add the sourdough/barley dough in to the spelt dough, the dough have to be homogeny.

*Let the dough rest for 30 min. and then do the stretch and fold method in a bowl, about 10 times every 30min.  Do this 4 times in total.

*Now rest the dough in the fridge over night.

The day after:

*take out the dough and let it temperate at room temperature for about 3-4 hours.

*Do 2 stretch and fold, then half the dough and shape it by hand.

*Then put them in to a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a mixture of 25% fine spelt and 75% whole grain durum.

*Let them proof about 50%.

* Bake them on a baking stone at 275 degrees Celsius whit steam, for 10 minutes.

* take away the steam and continue the baking at 230C in 20 minutes.

* turn of the oven, and let the oven door stay open for a few minutes.

*Cool down the bread at least 60% before slicing.



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