The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Arlette's picture

Phoenician Gourmet

 This dessert is made with Coarse Semolina , mixed with yogurt , eggs and butter, after it's baked we drizzle cold syrup .Namourah or Halwa Semolina: This dessert is made with Coarse Semolina , mixed with yogurt , eggs and butter, after it's baked we drizzle cold syrup .To all my friends the Bakers ,

I am going to share some of my baking pictures , and mostly they are Lebanese and Middle Eastern Recipes, and later on I will add more pictures .

Enjoy These cookies are called Easter Cookies, they are prepared using Semolina and spices, and Ghee or butter, lots of Middle Eastern Spices are added as well.  the cookies are prepared, the night before , rolled and left on a cookie sheet all night cover with clean towels, and baked the second day.Easter Cookies: These cookies are called Easter Cookies, they are prepared using Semolina and spices, and Ghee or butter, lots of Middle Eastern Spices are added as well. the cookies are prepared, the night before , rolled and left on a cookie sheet all night cover with clean towels, and baked the second day. This is a plate of Lebanese Maamoul, with three kind stuffing dates, pistachios and walnuts mixed with almonds.  These cookies are part of our Easter Tradition and Baking.tPlate of Lebanese Maamoul: This is a plate of Lebanese Maamoul, with three kind stuffing dates, pistachios and walnuts mixed with almonds. These cookies are part of our Easter Tradition and Baking.t

holds99's picture

Petite Pain (rolls) - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton's Recipe

 Petite Pain (rolls) No. 1  - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton

Petite Pain No. 1 (rolls)  - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

 Petite Pain (rolls) Interior - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pain (rolls) No. 2 - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pains (rolls) - S.S. France Note: The following excerpt is taken from Bernard Clayton’s NEW COMPLETE BOOK OF BREADS – REVISED AND EXPANDED, page 633. “The anchor of the cuisine aboard the S.S. France was French bread in its least complicated form---flour, yeast, salt, and water.  These four basic ingredients became something special in the hands of the nine boulangers. It is not French flour that makes the difference, said the bakers.  "American flour” can be used if one understands that it must be treated with deference.  Permit it to relax.  Don't rush it or it will get stubborn.  There is more gluten in American flour and it will fight back when it has been kneaded too aggressively.  Walk away from it. Let it relax, then start again. The bakers also cautioned not to pour hot water into flour because this, too, will toughen the dough.  Use water that is baby-bottle warm---about 97 degrees Fahrenheit. One surprising practice in the France bakery was the use of a piece of well-laundered wool blanket to cover the dough as it rises.  The bakers had cut 6-by-3-foot strips from wonderfully soft white blankets that in earlier times had been used by stewards to tuck around passengers taking their ease in deck chairs.  The names of famous French line ships were woven into many.  Now they were keeping dough warm. My one regret is that I did not ask for one of the old blankets as a memento of the voyage.  I fear they were tossed out when shortly thereafter the liner was taken from French line service. This method can be adapted by the home baker.  I have since cut up an old army blanket to use in my kitchen and have discovered that even the softer doughs will not stick to wool. To allow the dough to grow and mature and to become more flavorful, the S.S. France’ recipe calls for the dough to rise three times and to rest for one 15-minute interval. The petit pain or small bread is nothing more than an elongated roll about 5 inches in length and 1 1/2 inches in girth.  It is a golden brown and crusty on the outside, white and soft inside.  The dough can be cut into four 1-pound loaves if you wish.” 

Note:  Much the same as Monsieur Clayton I regret not having one of those lovely, soft, old S.S. France’ blankets for my rolls to cuddle under.  And to make things worse, my old army blanket got stolen out of the back of my Jeep at the beach a few years back, so that’s option is gone.  Just when things seem darkest there’s always a ray of sunshine…steaming to the rescue… the S.S. Walmart.  Sacrilege that it may be… I cover my roll pans with large, rectangular, clear plastic containers that I purchased at Walmart…and they work great.  I’m fairly certain that the S.S. France’ boulangers would thoroughly disapprove of this method, as in: “mon Dieu, Monsieur Americain!”  Be that as it may, my method works just fine for me... merci.

On a more serious note. I selected this recipe because the rolls are simple, delicious and it’s a good exercise for entry level bakers.  This recipe uses the “direct” method (yeast only, no pre-ferment) and produces very good results.  I made the dough just a little wetter to produce a good interior.  I also used the stretch and fold method rather than knocking down the dough, as Clayton suggests.  I use stretch and fold for everything…well, nearly everything… I am still working to perfect this technique on pancakes J.   Finally, I made round rolls instead of oblong/oval shaped rolls.  I used these two techniques (“stretch and fold” and round roll shaping) because Bill Wraith’s video (available on TFL) shows the "stretch and fold" method and Mark Sinclair’s folding and roll shaping videos (available on TFL and his Back Home Bakery home page) show the “stretch and fold” method and “shaping” round rolls. Mark makes shaping rolls look easy, which reminds me of the old story about a tourist visting New York asking a New Yorker: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” to which the New Yorker replied: “Practice”.  So, here’s a chance to practice.  The two videos will help you immensely.  So, if you’re an entry level baker and want to tackle some “direct” method rolls this might prove to be a good way to GET “ROLLING”.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL


zhi.ann's picture

butter v. oil

Does vegetable oil work as a substitute for butter in baking yeast breads? I use it (or applesauce) in baking other stuff. I don't have access to butter or shortening.

breadnerd's picture

chicago style pizza

I grew up in the chicago area, and a staple in college was the deep dish stuffed pizza. Now I live elsewhere, and it's harder to find. Plus, the whole challenge of making your own is hard to resist. I've been happy enough with varios thin crust pizzas, but the other day on a whim searched on recipezaar for the ubiquitous stuffed pizza.... and I found it!

The main thing I didn't know was the order of ingredients and crust. Here it was---crust, fillings (cheese plus "toppings") followed by another crust, and topped with the sauce. It really works. Since then I've played around with crusts. I've been happiest so far with the BBA pizza napolean crust, which is thin and stretchy. I use a bit of WW flour for flavor/color/nutrition. I've found about 10-11 ounces for the bottom crust, and 5-6 for the top is about right. I'm using my cast iron skillet for the pan, which is a little smaller than the original recipe calls for, but works just great. I'm lucky to still have homemade home grown sauce from last summer, which helps a lot :)

I've been debating whether to prick the top crust or not--tonight I didn't and got a BIG bubble, so I think I'd recommend it.  This week was just pepperoni/mushroom, but I can vouch for the spinach as well--it's very good and seemed to make for a fuller filling after baking.  Tonight's was a bit thinner but tasty anyway...




Trishinomaha's picture

Irish Soda Bread

Anyone here have a Irish soda bread they really like? I'd love to bake some loaves this week-end for gifts for my office mates for Saint Patty's day - I would love your suggestions.



mrpeabody's picture

Chinese steamed sweet pastry (Bok Hong Tay)

OK, so I just posted a recipe for Mochi, which is a non-yeasted dough.  This is "The Fresh Loaf," so I should also give a recipe that is at least yeasted.  Here is my Mom's version of bok hong tay, a sweet steamed rice cake.  Its name is literally "white sweet pastry" in Chinese.  You sometimes see it in Chinese restaurants for dimsum.  My Mom always made it on the thin side, but the restaurants tend to make a thicker version. 

  • 4 c long grain rice
  • water
  • 1 pkg dry yeast (I've made this with regular and rapid-rise and they both work for this)
  • 4 c and 1 tablespoon sugar

Wash the rice well and then drain all water. Add to it 4 c of water and let the rice soak overnight in the water (room temperature).

The next day, put the rice-water mix in a blender and whip it smooth (hint: do this in small batches, with a rice-water slurry that is about 80-90% rice. This allows it to blend very smooth. Add the remaining water after it is all blended).

In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 c of lukewarm water, the dry yeast and 1 tbsp sugar. Wrap bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm spot for approx 1 hr. Then add the proofed yeast mixture to the rest of the blended rice/water mixture and let stand at room temperature for 4-5 hrs.

In a separate bowl, mix 2 c water and 4 c sugar. If necessary, add heat to make all of the sugar dissolve. Be sure that the sugar syrup has cooled to room temperature before adding to the rice/water mixture. After adding the sugar syrup, let the mixture stand for another 1/2 hr before cooking the pastry.

To cook: Pour some of the mixture into a well-oiled cake pan (approx. 1/4 inch deep.  Again, my Mom prefered to make this on the thin side, but if you like, you can make it thicker, just adjust the cooking time). Steam the mixture for 15 min (be sure that the water is vigorously boiling). After the pastry is done, brush some oil on the top (note: if the oil had be previously heated to near smoking temp, and then cooled to room temperature, the resultant oil would taste better for brushing on the pastry.  I don't know why this is true, but according to my Mom that the way she always did it.).  When the bok hong tay has cooled down, cut out wedges of the pastry and serve. 

Enjoy, now I have to get back to work on my grant. 

Mr. Peabody

fsu1mikeg's picture

My bread has fallen and it can't get up...

Hi, I hope this is the right forum to ask a question...

I am pretty new to bread baking, so I get stumped pretty easily.  I have been making Dreikornbrot (three seed bread) from the Local Breads recipe.  First time it came out pretty nice, but I decided it could've used a couple more minutes in the oven.  I used my first rye starter and it didn't even look ready (it was pretty stiff, unlike the "porridge-like" description from the book).  Nevertheless, it made a nice bread.  On subsequent refreshes, the starter looked perfect.  It was creamy and rose and developed the holes just like in the picture.  But the bread that resulted from those seemingly perfect starters didn't come out as good as the first try.  The dough rose great, but was much stickier and harder to handle during the forming stage.  The resulting bread tasted ok, but the roof sort of caved in after it was taken from the oven.  I assume this is because the dough was too moist and and the structure was too weak to keep it's shape?  Do I need to adjust the flour upwards to account for the more liquidy starter that I'm using?  Was the starter more correct in the stiffer form than the "porridge-like" form that Leader described?  I'm just a little perplexed and disappointed, because I love the bread and I want it to come out of the tin with the perfect "dome", and not a sinkhole.  Thanks in advance.

zhi.ann's picture

would Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes work for me? if not, what would? *UPDATED with more ingredients*

I'm new to baking-bread-from-scratch but trying to learn...

I just moved to a rural area in China where they don't sell bread. My husband misses it a lot, so I'm trying to learn to make it. However, what I'm reading on here sounds a bit intimidating. I've baked yeast breads in the states, but I had any ingredient I could want and just did step by step recipe instructions, without trouble. Here, I just have the basics.

I asked around on's bread group about ideas. I was recommended to check into the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes' master recipe and Irish Soda Bread (but I don't have cream of tartar here).

From what I've read online, the master recipe (and maybe some others?) would work for me in some ways, but not others. Here's what ingredients and equipment I do and do not have access to:

*UPDATE* - I looked around and found more available ingredients: soy flour, black and purple rice, sesame seeds, millet, sticky rice flour, corn flour and corn meal, lotus root starch, sorghum (milo) and sorghum flour.


*white flour
*rolled oats (and a small mill if I need to grind them)
*buckwheat flour
*soy oil
*applesauce (can make it)
*fruits of all varieties, inc. dried like raisins
*white sugar
*brown sugar
*cinnamon (can buy the whole bark and use mill to make it ground)
*soy flour
*purple rice
*black rice
*sesame seeds
*(yellow) millet
*sticky rice flour
*corn flour
*corn meal
*lotus root starch
*sorghum (milo)
*sorghum flour


*small countertop oven (with options for turning on both elements, just the top, or just the bottom)
*electric stovetop
*rolling pin
*mixing bowls, spoons, that type of thing

I can get (from a city an hour and a half away):
*baking powder
*baking soda
*packets of dry yeast

I do NOT have & don't have access to:
*whole wheat flour
*bread flour
*sour cream
*cream of tartar
*'coarse' or kosher salt - not even sure what this is
*baking stone

Any ideas? I'm considering buying the book but not if I am lacking something for all the ingredients. General tips about baking without a baking stone, or about alternatives for it, and ingredient subtitutions related to my lists above, and that kind of thing are also appreciated. Thanks!

dolfs's picture

"Bread and baker: From the Source" - podcasts

For a while now I've known about the existence of a set of three VHS tapes: "Bread & Baker: From the Source". It is a 3 tape set (VHS) which has Prof. Raymond Calvel teaching, in detail, the production of various types of bread as part of his visit to the Culinary Institute of America. It was co-produced by the BBGA (Bread Bakers Guild of America).

If you look around the Internet you'll be able to find them for sale (although not easy to find). Right now, there is a set available on eBay for $135. Problem is that many of us don't even have a VHS anymore. Second problem is that $135 may be well over most people's budget, and that is a "good" price. In the past the BBGA made it available to its members only for $150!

CIA comes to the rescue. They have taken the most important segments of these videos and made them available as video podcasts. While this section is about book reviews, I decided these videos should be of enough interest to warrant review here.

This is really a little bit of a misnomer. Podcasts are typically streamed to your computer and loaded on your iPod. These are basically MPEG4 videos you download. You can, however, put them on your iPod if you wish. They are 640x480 resolution, which means they are nearly the resolution of Standard Definition TV. Image quality and sound quality are very good.

The good thing is that you can selectively buy any of the 9 segments (varying in length from 5-17 minutes) for $4.95 each. Here is a description and brief review of each:

  1. Introduction (Size: 52.3 MB, Length: 6:41)
    An introduction to bread and Prof. Calvel and his life and work. Introduction to basics of French Bread baking, technique and quality requirements. Interesting background material. Not much technical information.
  2. Ingredients and Mixing (Size: 96.4 MB, Length: 11:46)
    Gives detailed information about ingredients and their properties. Discusses why you want to use unbleached flours, milling, resting period, baking performance, gluten water absorptions. Water quality is not important except for chlorination (undesirable), or too high mineral content. Amount of water needed and environment. Yeast and its role. Salt and its role. Additions such as ascorbic acid, malt and lecithin. The importance of proper mixing and over oxidation (improved mix vs. conventional mix) and the use of autolyse. Presents his philosophy on great bread. This is all still background material, but well worth knowing.
  3. Fermentation (Size: 38.7 MB, Length: 5:46)
    Importance of correct (and long) fermentation. Direct method with intensive or conventional mix versus using pre-ferments. Discusses poolish, sponge (levain), and pâte fermentée. Short mix. Does not show technique, but teaches the difference and importance between mixing techniques.
  4. Division, Molding & Baking (Size: 43.9 MB, Length: 5:32)
    This is the first segment where you can learn technique that may not always be obvious. Not everything is explained, but watch the hands at work and learn. Discusses purpose of bulk fermentation vs. proofing. Humidity and its importance. Scoring and baking. Crackling or "singing" crust.
  5. Baguettes (Size: 134.8 MB, Length: 16:31)
    While dedicated to a particular bread it shows much generally useful material (fermentation, keeping quality etc.) and useful tips (e.g. put dry yeast in at beginning of mix, before autolyse, but fresh yeast after). It shows the complete process from start to finish. Also shows making of the "Pain Rustique" and "Parisienne", made from the same dough. This segment is really half of a set of two as the formula is not presented until the end of segment 6.
  6. Pain de Campagne (Size: 82.7 MB, Length: 10:20)
    Country bread is the sister of the baquette and is baked in many different shapes. Includes "Pain Fendu," "Couronne" (ring & horse shoe), and "Bouton d'Or" (Butter cup). Comments about excessive application of flour on the outside. Finishes up with the formulas for baguette and pain de campagne. Other comments are similar as to the baguette section.
  7. Pain au Levain (Size: 125.8 MB, Length: 15:31)
    This is the first of three segments belonging together: Specialty Breads. This segment is about the French version of sourdough bread. Shows all steps in producing and refreshing a (stiff) starter and introduces correct terminology (Seed culture, Mère, elaboration, tout-point, Levain). Shows the shaping of the boulot and boule. Other comments are similar as to the baguette section.
  8. Pain de Seigle (Size: 47.7 MB, Length: 5:46)
    Rye bread, eaten in France with seafood and charcuterie (cold cuts). Discusses formula (and use of viral wheat gluten). Other comments are similar as to the baguette section.
  9. Pain de Mie (Size: 68.6 MB, Length: 8:07)
    Pulmann bread, or pan bread, also known as sandwich bread. Includes formula. Shows three different shaping options: round ball shapes (5 balls), pan roll, and "twisted" shape. Advantage of machine shaping: uniform texture. Even shows a bread with a small defect: "Even a pro can good up!" Other comments are similar as to the baguette section.

All together 691 MB of video, just under 90 minutes in length. If you don't want all segments, or can't afford them, I'd suggest getting 2, 3 and 4 together for basic explanations and techniques, and only getting any of the others if you have a particular interest in those breads. Segments 5 and 6 can be used individually, but are part of a combined section. Segment 5 is also useful as a single segment extension to 2, 3 and 4, showing the whole process.

The CIA's online shop is found at: and these videos are found on the podcast page. You may want to explore the online store: there is a lot of other material available. After you order you'll receive an email with links to download the segment(s) you bought. The servers are quite slow and, effectively, you will only be able to download one video at a time. For all 9 videos, and on a very fast Internet connection, this took me about 70 minutes. So beware! (Tip: Download each next segment while watching the previous one).

Conclusion: Great buy for anybody that wants to learn more than baking one recipe all the time and wants to venture into a couple of different styles of bread. Any or all of the segments are well taped and digitized with as good a quality and resolution as may be expected from an original VHS production. The material represents classic knowledge about french techniques that have wide applicability to all bakers. As video material, this is necessarily less complete than Calvel's seminal work "Le Gout du Pain" or its english translation "A Taste of Bread", but at the same time it is much more friendly to the beginning or home baker that wants to learn more. Well worth the money, in my opinion, for each segment that is of interest to you, or for all of them. Unfortunately there is no discount available for getting all of them.


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
dmsnyder's picture

Golden buffalo flour advice?

I ordered Golden Buffalo flour from Heartland Mill after reading several very positive comments about it from other bakers on TFL. I have my first bread using Golden Buffalo fermenting. It is Hamelman's Miche, ponte-a-calliere, which I have made several times before, using King Arthur First Clear flour.


The Golden Buffalo flour seems to be a coarse grind, and the dough that resulted from using the weights of flour and water specified in Hamelman's formula is much less slack than that made with First Clear flour. How the baked bread differs from my past experience remains to be seen.


My question is: Have those of you (bwraith, zolablue, others) with Golden Buffalo experience found you have to add additional water to doughs made with this flour? Any other information about peculiarities of Golden Buffalo would be appreciated, too.