The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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penguinpants's picture

Hamburger Buns

Because sometimes you just want a basic bun. From Instead of 8 I made 6 extra large buns. 

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Ilocos Empanada ~ Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free

This is the style of empanada in the Ilocos region of northern Philippines. Living in a former Spanish colony; I've seen and tasted empanadas here close to the ones in Latin America, those with flaky crust filled with minced meat and potatoes and either baked or fried, just tweaked to the local palate but the people of Ilocos adapted the empanada like no other. The dough is made with rice flour filled with green unripe papaya, mung bean sprouts, longganisa (local garlic sausage), and a fresh egg then deep fried which makes it closer to a taco or spring roll. Fillings can be customized and can be vegan or a meat lovers delight; vendors are very creative with the names of the various combinations of the fillings like regular, special, seedless, jumbo, double double; refer to this blog for more information, it also tackles the difference between the two styles of Ilocos empanada namely Batac and Vigan style empanadas; more here.

I've never been to Ilocos and from the first time I saw it, it really got my interest and I really want to taste it. Luckily a friend recently had a trip and brought me some. It wasn't freshly fried but oh my! It was really awesome, what more if I had it fresh in Ilocos! I know it will still be a long long time from now before I can go there so to taste it again, I made my own! My Ilocos empanada is closer to the Batac style.

Finding a recipe for this is even more difficult than my previous posts. Most that I read used mochiko but I never heard of a glutinous rice making its way to an Ilocos empanada; it's the ONLY fact that I know, it is made with ordinary non-glutinous rice. Without finding a clue I just designed my own process, this is just my adaptation and does not necessarily mean it is the way they make it in Ilocos.  The dough has only two main ingredients, rice flour and water. You can also add annatto for color which is what I did here, I will certainly add more next time for a lovelier colour. Rice flour behaves very differently from wheat flour and being gluten free is very tricky to roll out thinly without tearing. It is only possible to roll them between sheets of wax paper which I don't have so I rolled them between banana leaves which is also traditionally used in Ilocos. They make it really look effortless making you think it will be the same at home but it's not! For my first attempt I ended up with fillings and torn dough pieces swimming in a pan full of boiling hot oil! It was a disaster! It's quite an ambitious project after all! This post is already my second attempt and I was quite surprised because I managed to slip them in the oil whole without cracks! Another proud moment for me! Still not as pretty but tastes the same. 

When you watch real empanada making, you'll be really amazed with their speed, coordination and efficiency. Watch here, here, here, here and here.

*When I cut my banana leaf from the tree, I noticed a banana heart! Looks like we'll have a bunch of bananas in a week!

Also, the cold northeastern winds are blowing now so it means purple yams! Unlike other yams, our yam does not grow underground instead they grow on hanging vines. This is the first yam of the year.

Back to the empanadas, this is the process that I did for what is called special empanada in Ilocos: (It's difficult to take pictures with oily hands! :P)

1) I rolled the rice dough between banana leaves. I just used a glass bottle because I don't have a proper rolling pin. A crater is then made with the green papaya to contain the egg.

2) Crumble sausage meat is added on top.

3) It is folded with the aid of the banana leaf.

4) The excess dough is trimmed with a plate to form a neat empanada shape.

5)It is flipped onto the hand and then slipped into the hot oil.

Maybe the oil was too hot that's why it had a lot of blisters, still pretty for me!

The crust was crispy and flavorful that you can even eat it alone, the papaya provided crunch, then there's the meaty flavor punch from the sausage and the creaminess of the egg; very delicious! It's really one of the best empanadas! It's even great with rice as a viand. Next time, I will even try to make the egg runny! It is best paired with vinegar with chilies optional but highly recommended! Ilocanos swear by cane vinegar but I and the whole family prefer palm vinegar. If you will be in Ilocos someday, definitely do not miss this along with their other delicacies!

After enjoying the empanada, we had a nice sunset that day too!

Thank you very much!

dmsnyder's picture

Last weekend's bake: Fig-Pecan Sourdough & San Francisco-style Sourdough breads

I have made a variety of sourdough breads with nuts and with nuts and dried fruits. For some examples, see:

San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Figs

San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Sour Cherries

Potato-Nut Bread from South Tyrol (Thanks, Salome!)

This weekend's breads (mountain dog's formula seen here: Cherry Pecan Pain au Levain.)

I have liked them all. For the past couple of years, when I bake these I have used just a bit less than 20% (baker's percentages, of course.) fruit and the same percentage nuts. Looking through some of my newer bread books, I noticed a number of sourdough breads with nuts and dried fruits that used 1.5 to 2 times the proportions of them as I had been using. So, I thought I would take one of my known formulas and simple double the nuts and fruit. How could it be bad? 

My base formula was the one for Walnuts and figs. (See the link, above.) But I had just bought some lovely pecans, so I weighed out 200g and toasted them for 6 minutes at 300dF and made Sourdough bread with pecans and dried figs.

The dough looked awful lumpy, even when the loaves were proofed and ready to bake. I dunno about this ....

The bake took about 10 minutes longer than usual for a bâtard this size, presumably because the extra figs evaporated more water, thus keeping the loaes cooler. Maybe. But, the loaves had better bloom than usual for this type of bread, the crumb looked pretty nice, and the taste was wonderful. (It passed the critical "Susan leaves the dinner table to cut herself another slice" test.)

I also baked a couple loaves of My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 4.

A good baking weekend. I hope yours was too.

Happy baking!


victoriamc's picture

Lower GI bread

Bread is carbs and contrary to recent diet trends carbs, if they are whole grain and low glycemic are should not be avoided.  Anyway, even though all TFLs are carbo-fans, being bread -fans I am happy to share with you a bread I developed with the aim of making a reduced Gycemic bread.  I was also keen to make sure that this lower GI bread still maintains its identity as bread.  This lower GI bread, made from whole wheat and whole barley flour and enhanced with gluten and sunflower seeds is definitely a nice and tasty bread and definitely a lower GI bread.  If you would like details please stop by


Recoil Rob's picture
Recoil Rob

Soft crust from Dutch oven?

I've had some experience with bread in the past and done OK with it, mostly from the BREAD ALONE book. I was recently given a copy of FWSY and decided to try Ken's methodology with the Dutch ovens. I followed the recipes religiously and while the bread tastes great I find the crust too thin  and flexible for my taste, almost like a tough outer skin. I properly cooled my loaves on racks but after several attempts always the same result, any advice?

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Spelt loaf #1

I made a spelt loaf from 100% spelt including the starter.  I built the starter from an existing rye starter with an initial 4 g subsequently building to 100% hydration 100% spelt starter.  I then used 5g of that to build to the 165 g required for the formula.  I used the suggested formula that dragon posted in the thread "Spelt Starter" in October 2015. 

The caution that is emphasized from dragon and anyone working with spelt is the speed of proofing.  It is well to pay close attention to the loaf both in the bulk ferment and the final prove.  Fortunately I did note that part because  I was surprised at the speed.  I put the dough in the basement (apprx 18°C - no higher than 20°) at 9:00 pm to bulk ferment.  By 4 am it had risen considerably.  I folded and pre-shaped at 5:00 am and shaped and placed in the oven (very clumsily- hence the very odd shape.  Halloween? ) at 5:30 am.  The finished product is above.

Despite the fact that I ended up juggling the dough on the transfer to the baking vessel, the rise was far more than I expected from the thin starter that spelt seems to produce.  I am looking forward to the taste test.

flynnboy's picture

How do I get more/better holes in my crumb ?


I am reasonable happy with the Rustic bread I've been baking recently but pictures show it has bigger holes.

What is it in the process that gives bread its holes and how can I encourage bigger holes in the crumb structure ?


Thanks !

atollkuci's picture

whole grain bread does not rise

Hello everyone,
I've been recently experimenting with homemade whole grain bread. It's quite tasty but it does not rise very well and also does not bake well (I'm using a Kenwood machine,

I'm using one of the standard recipes of the machine:

- 300g whole grain flour
- 300g white flour
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
- 380 ml water

Initially I dissolve sugar, salt and yeast in warm water and select program 3 (for whole grain bread).

Any suggestion of how to improve the result?

mcs's picture

Magazine Article about Sinclair's Bakery

Hey Everybody,
I haven't been very active here lately, but thought the Freshloafians might appreciate a recent article that was written about me and my mobile bakery in Bread Magazine.  Click on the photo below to see the article.

Photos are by: Tim Goessman, Stephanie, and yours truly ;)





flynnboy's picture

Really slack and wet dough ?


I am in the process of trying out this Rustic bread recipe:

I have followed the recipe exactly and the final dough is really wet - is it supposed to be like this ? I think it will be very difficult to 'fold'.