The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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.

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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.


eschneider5's picture

Need help figuring out formula for this bread.

July 24, 2011 - 11:01am -- eschneider5

I wanted to start a new thread for this.  I need to find out the formula for this bread which is also a sandwich roll.  The roll has a slight sour taste to it, the crumb is soft and chewy, the crust is thin and crunchy.  The crust is the big mystery for me as it is unlike any baguette that I have made or eaten before.  This crust is much thinner than a baguette which makes it great as a sandwich roll.  Help please!

rtchic's picture

Sweet French bread used for subs... What could it be?

April 7, 2011 - 5:58am -- rtchic

Hello lovely people,

I'm new here and not sure if this is the place to post this...?

As a surprise birthday gift this year I want to try to duplicate the recipe for a "sweet french bread" used by a sandwhich shop in my fiance's old college town (owner of the shop claims it's a secret family recipe). My guy has long since moved hundred of miles from this place but he speaks of that bread like it's a long lost love. I've tasted this bread and I understand. Here are some actual images of the bread:

Virtus's picture

I have just read some comments posted by 'Frelkins' about Jeffrey Hammelman's 'Horst Bandel's Bread' and a pumpernickel by Claus Meyer. The comments were posted awhile back, but the long, slow bake described sounded wonderful! I was hoping this baker could post a recipe using the long slow bake they described. Thank you.

ToniYoz's picture

Bouabsa Starter Recipe

February 2, 2011 - 2:05pm -- ToniYoz

I am having difficulity in finding the recipe for the "Bouabsa Sourdough Starter"  after many atttempts in searching the internet and also  searching on The Fresh Loaf, I am still uncertain

of a correct recipe.  If anyone can directed me to a link I would appreciate it very much.  I am a bread baker for many years and have successfully used starter mixes, however never

baked a baguette.   Thanks and happy baking to all...Toni


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