The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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KMIAA's picture

Freh Vegetables, Blanch & Freeze?

My neighbor gave my husband fresh okra, fresh green beans, fresh, jalapeno peppers, fresh tomatoes, and fresh red peas.  There are only 2 of us in the family and I have never dealt with how to handle fresh vegetables.  What do you do with the peas after shucking them and you want to freeze them?  Do I blanche the vegetables first and then freeze?  Tomatoes will be eaten right away.  No problem there.  Hot peppers I normally don't buy them until I need them for a recipe and I don't want them to go to waste so wonder if they can be frozen.  Okra, never ate it and don't know what to do.  Fresh string beans,  blanch & freeze.  If someone could either let me know if blanching & then freezing is the right way.  I would hate to waste any of these fresh vegetables.  Thanks!

maxwellion's picture

The Sourdough for the Working Parent

OK, so I don't have kids (yet), but at the moment I'm pretty much treating my 3-week old starter like it was my own flesh and blood (I need a dog!).

Can anyone recommend a recipe suited for busy schedules? I'd hate to keep my baking to the weekends only, and I have a lovely starter that I'm itching to use all the time. I'm at work for 8 hours of the day,  so anything I can leave for a long time, and that doesn't require much dough nursing would be great. It would also be a perfect opportunity to ditch the not very successful recipe i'm using at the moment.

NB: I'm using a white 50/50 starter with 100% hydration if that helps.

Thanks for your help


CSBaker's picture

oat flour tortillas?

So. last time I was at Whole Foods I  bought a bunch of oat flour, thinking in my    Newbie brain, that I would make some oat bread.  Turns out, oat bread is made with oats (learn something new every day).  Anyway, now I am looking for something to do with all of this oat flour, so I was thinking tortillas.  I usually make my own tortillas with half AP and half bread flour, and I like those results.  Any idea what would happen with oat flour? 

wassisname's picture

A Very Different Result

     I've been hung up on this line from Tartine Bread regarding the Country Rye ever since I read it:  "Use a medium-fine grind of whole-rye flour as opposed to a course pumpernickel rye, which will yield a very different result."  And that's it, end of paragraph, end of story.  He just leaves that hanging there like I'm not going to wonder day after day just what sort of "very different result" it would yield.  Yeah... no, that won't do at all.
     It just so happens that I have a large amount of stoneground whole rye in my freezer.  I don't know where it falls on the official grind-o-meter, but judging by the big flecks of bran and the fact that it is described as "Graham" rye I'm thinking it's a ways away from medium-fine.
     I re-worked the formula a bit.  I increased the rye and all of it went into the starter.  My ww starter doesn't always react well to sudden white flour feedings, and since the numbers worked out nicely as well... why not.  I stayed pretty true to the process in the book so I won't post that here, but I will say that, since I don't own a Dutch oven of any kind, I baked on a stone and steamed according to the wet towel method described in the baguette section of the book.  This has become my steaming method of choice - simple, safe and effective.

The numbers:

The result - Yum.  A little over-proofed maybe (I cut the timing too close with the bread that went into the oven before this one) but still got a nice spring in the oven.  The crust shattered and flew when I put a knife to it.  The crumb was very light and moist with just enough sourdough spring.  The flavor was very well balanced.  Caveat: I've never baked a light rye like this so I don't really have much basis for comparison, but I could eat this all day long.

So, was it a very different result?  I don't think I care so much anymore, I'm too busy devouring this bread!
This one I will be baking again.



tarade's picture

Help with Ingredient Adjustments PLEASE!

Hello All,

I've done *very* basic recipes, but got feeling ambitious this weekend and wanted to re-create a sandwich from Panera Bread, their Turkey Bacon Bravo sandwich.  It is made with a tomato basil bread with a slight sugar/honey glaze on the crust, turkey, gouda, bacon, and a thousand island-like dressing.

I found a recipe online for the tomato basil bread but when I made it, it came out like a dense brick.  It still tasted alright and the house smelled wonderful, but not something I could make a sandwich on.  I've tried it 2x already, hoping a little tweaking will get it right but so far, no dice.  It doesn't rise a lot so I think I need to adjust the amount of yeast in the dough, but not sure how much or what else I need to I'm hoping a knowledgeable bread enthusiast will be able to help me get it right the third time.

My goal is a soft but durable sandwich bread with a chewy if not slightly crunchy (and not overly browned) crust.  I only have the option of either a glass standard 9x5 loaf pan or metal one, and a aluminum cookie sheet - which is the best for my needs?  I know if I want "sandwich" bread I should probably get one of those covered pans but I just don't have anywhere in my area that sells them so I can't get one right now.

As for the recipe:

  • 2 1/4 t. yeast
  • 1/4 c. warm water
  • 1/2 c. warm milk
  • 1/4 c. minced fresh basil
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder 
  • 1/3 c. minced sundried tomatoes
  • 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 c. flour (1 c. all purpose, 1.25-1.5 c. unbleached white whole wheat) 

After mixing/kneading, I let it rise about an hour in the bowl, knead again a little, put in a greased bread pan and let rise another hour before popping in the over and cooking at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temp of at least 190 degrees.  It also has some sugary glaze on it but I'll worry about getting the bread right first before tackling the glaze.

Any pointers you could offer would greatly be appreciated, thank you so much!!!Tara


SallyBR's picture

Hoegaarden Beer Bread

A small boule, perfect for 4 people, or two with leftovers... :-)

I could kick myself for not writing down the source, I had it in my computer as a text file, so I share with you  - I changed a few things, instead of kneading for 10 minutes I just used stretch and fold at 30 min,  1h, and 1h and 30 min.   First proofing 3 hours, shaped, rose for 90 minutes (should have been longer, but life got in the way). Baked at 450F covered  for 20 minutes, reducing the oven to 435F after, baking 15 min more.

For the sponge:

  • 120 g 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 60 g white bread flour
  • 45 ml Hoegaarden white beer

For the final dough:

  • 235 g white bread flour
  • 65 ml Hoegaarden white beer
  • 40 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped



Hoegaarden white beer, fennel seeds and rosemary sourdough bread


Place the sponge, flour, beer and water in a salad bowl. Mix for a few minutes until combined, then add the salt. Knead for about 10 minutes, adding a little flour or water if necessary. Add the fennel seeds and rosemary, then knead again for a couple of minutes until well incorporated.

Shape in a ball, transfer to a lightly oiled container, cover with a damp towel and leave to ferment for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Shape the dough. Place on an oven tray lined with parchment paper or a non-stick mat. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof at room temperature for 90 minutes to a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to 250°C. When ready to bake, place an small oven-proof dish filled with boiling water on the sole of the oven. Dust the loaf with a little flour and slash its surface with a knife. Place the tray in the middle of the oven. Throw a small quantity of cold water on the sole of the oven to generate steam and immediately close the oven door.

Bake with steam for about 15 minutes then remove the small oven-proof dish. Lower the temperature to about 225-230°C and continue baking for a further 15 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack for 2 hours before serving.

dmsnyder's picture

New YouTube videos on baguette shaping and scoring.

Excellent new videos from Ciril Hitz and Mitch Stamm.

Baguette Shaping

Scoring a baguette with Mitch Stamm



rossnroller's picture

Wanted: a great recipe for a classic American Apple Pie!

Pls excuse this excursion from breads, pizzas and thangs generally yeasty. Still on the baking page, though - so not the worst of transgressions, I trust.

After the great response to my request for an authentic Jewish New York deli rye, I'm thinking there is no better place to put out a call for a GREAT classic American apple pie recipe (with home-made pastry, of course). Sooo...anyone? I promise to toast you with a slice piled high with whipped cream and icecream (well, that's how I like to have it...but open to correction from the culture of origin, although I should declare I can't promise to mend my evil ways in this respect).

Best of baking!



shanenian's picture

need help for sandwich bread texture

Hello, everyone


I try to bake sandwich bread but can't get the right texture. There are various sizes of holes in my bread and the structure of the sliced bread is quite loose, when I sliced the loaf, there are many little bread crumbs falling from the surface of the sliced bread. My recipe are 400g white strong flour, 240g water, half teaspoon of yeast, a little bit of salt and olive oil. I knead for about 15 to 20 minutes and the dough can pass windowpane test. First rise for 2 to 2 and a half hours and second rise for 1 hour.The bread texture I want is uniform little hole and the bread structure would be stronger than what I have now. Does any one have any idea how can I do it.


Looking forward to your replys.


Thank you!


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Baking with Italian flours, first experiences

Inspired by the recent blogs about Pane di Altamura by Franko

and David Snyder,

and by the then hot weather I decided to try out this intersting bread.

In Britain I found three suppliers of Italian flours, so I ordered some.

I got semola di grano duro rimaccinata (the semolina used for bread) by Divella, from near Bari. The grains seem to be a blend from European countries.

I also got tipo 00 soft wheat flour "La Farina di Don Arcangelo", and durun semolina by the same make, both from Altamura. The semolina is coarser and makes wonderful pasta.


Here a picture of the flours:

No 1: TRS fine semolina (durum), which is availlable in Asian shops. Origin: EU countries (to compare)

No 2: La Semola di Don Arcangelo, from Altamura

No 3: Semola di grano duro rimaccinata by Divella, milled near Bari

No 4: La Farina di Don Arcangelo, from Altamura (tipo 00)

No 5: Shipton Mill No 4 organic strong white flour (my current standard flour, to compare)

To try out the Italian flours I wanted to make a bread I knew well: I used the Pugliese formula I learned at the Lighthouse Bakery with two changes:

1. I used 20% semola rimaccinata and 80% tipo 00 (for biga and dough)

2. I found an interesting baking profile in Italian bread blog: Preheat at maximum temperature, bake for 60min with no steam and turn to 200C immediately.

The result is quite amazing, my best Pugliese yet. The taste is not as sweet as the one made with English flour, but it has more depth, and an amazingly elastic yellow crumb. A good contrast to the thick crunchy crust.

Next I tried an Altamura style bread, but I got rushed, and the temparature in our kitchen dropped.

Not quite understanding the durum leaven I mixed too early. The resulting bread took a long time to raise, the crumb is uneven and it tastes very sour. But I am satisfied with my first attempt, I really like the consistency and feel of the semolina dough.

Here a picture of the loaf:

All in all it is great fun to work with these flours,

and it is really wonderful to find so much inspiration here on TFL.

Special thanks to Franko and David,


 /* UPDATE */

The inside of the Altamura bread:

I think the main problem here was fermentation control: The temperature in the kitchen dropped by about 5C during the last elaboration of the starter, and the effect was more drastic than on wheat or rye starters. I used the starter far too early. Lesson learned

The sources for the flours: for the Divella semolina for the altamura flours - they seem to be out of stock now (as of 8 July 2011)

DeCecco has an online shop (for European countries) where they sell Semola di grano duro rimacinata. They are based in Puglia,but like Divella they seem to use grains from all over the place. I didn't try that (yet).