The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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mcs's picture

I'm back from The Trip :)

It's a double post of my blog entry, but I thought it would be appropriate for 'advanced' and 'off-topic' also ;)

Hey everyone!  I'm back from my big trip and I've got some stuff to share with you, mostly coming in the form of links to stuff I posted along the way on my phone. Lastly is a short video I made of the baking session I had in Moscow in the middle of May. 

Here are a bunch of photos I took, both personal and professional along the way.

These are some photos from when I was working at the Black Dog Bar & Grill outside Prague.

And this is my bakery FB page that provides a little bit of narrative on some of the photos (if you look hard enough)  :)



Master Classes at Sub-Zero & Wolf Russia

FrugalBaker's picture

Pizza Stone, Baking Stone or Dutch Oven?

I have been thinking a lot of late of getting one of those in order to achieve the crust for my sourdough bread that I longed for. Not sure which would yield the best result though. My bet at this point would be a Dutch oven but I do not have a big budget unfortunately....

Also, I read a blog on TFL sometime last month and he was using a big stainless steel bowl to replicate what a Dutch oven could do. Appreciate some feedback on this. 


Many thanks in advance,


KathyF's picture

SF Sourdough: Crust & Crumb version

In my last blog, baybakin suggested I try Peter Reinhart's SF Sourdough from Crust and Crumb. I looked at the recipe and actually, his timing works well with the summer weather as you end up baking in the morning. So I decided to try it out. This is the first time I tried retarding the final proof. I let it rise a bit like it said in the book and then put it in the fridge. I panicked a little when I observed that it kept rising for a while until it finally chilled down. I worried for a bit that I would be baking in the middle of the night! But it slowed down nicely once it was chilled. I scaled it down to 2 loaves. Here is the other one:

And the crumb shot:

It was maybe a tad over proofed. The first one deflated a bit when I scored it. Next time I think I will put it in the fridge a bit sooner and if it needs it, let it finish proofing the next morning.

There is a bit of a tang, but not quite as much as I hoped for. The texture of the crumb turned out very well. And this was the loudest I have ever had the crust sing to me. Very nice.

pmccool's picture

You just never know what might happen

I received a note recently from Amy Goldman, who had attended one of my sourdough classes.  She and her partner, Sean Galloway, are in the process of planning a business combining a brewery and bakery in the KC area.  Right now they plan to call it The Brewkery.  Amy is already baking, using starter that I provided to each of the students.  It's a treat to think that my starter might be the base for a bakery's sourdough breads someday.


PalwithnoovenP's picture

Flaky Scallion Buns

I should have posted this a long time ago since I've made this during my practicum but my laptop gave up as I was writing this while doing my practicum report. It is one of the greatest challenges I've ever faced, after typing nearly a ten page report a message just flashed saying my laptop is corrupted two days before the deadline! (What makes it worse is the policy "submit it on or before the deadline or GRADUATE NEXT YEAR!"). I had to retype my report relying only on my memory but it did not deter me, in the first place what's in my report came from my mind and just a little more push t will be my graduation so I wouldn't waste all my efforts from the past four years. Thank God I was able to finish it and even got a 1.0! These are the lessons college taught me for the last time: Learn to prioritize; plan for the worst; and if I can do something now, do it now so I'll have plenty of time doing what I love. My parents were very proud of me as I was able to graduate and also make it to the dean's list.

Fast forward to months later after graduation, my dad gave me a new laptop as a graduation and birthday gift so now I can post again! He also gave me a huge table whose sole purpose if for bread, MY BREAD! He says no one can touch it except me so it is always clean and ready for kneading and shaping breads. Maybe someday he said we will have an oven and a mixer and all other equipment necessary for baking. I am very lucky because I have parents who are very supportive of my craft. Of course if I will have a job I will try hard to provide those myself for my family and for my bakery as it is really my dream and their dream for me.

Back to the bread, I made this in my dormitory when I was longing to make bread without my clay pot. It made me sleepless for nights thinking of what bread can I make and how I will make it. During those times I was thinking of a street snack, the kind that when you're walking and your tummy rumbles you buy some then carry on with your business. I thought of A RUSTIC SANDWICH WITH A RUSTIC BREAD because earlier I've seen post on breads like the shao bing, scallion pancake and rou jia mo; though they are cooked in different ways they all have a rustic personality but what captured me is the flakiness of the first two I mentioned, I want to replicate that. I married their characteristics for my ultimate bread: flaky and yeasted like a shao bing; crispy, full of scallion flavor and cooked in a frying pan like a scallion pancake; and sturdy enough to hold up to wet fillings.

The dough is the most basic with just flour, water, yeast and salt with just the slightest touch of sugar and oil for softness. I only made a small amount so I won't waste a ton of ingredients if it fails. After the bulk fermentation I divided it into four then proceeded to do some "Oriental style lamination" where you have laminate one by one. I rolled each one flat, spread some oil and sprinkled some chopped scallions, toasted sesame seeds, a little salt and optional white pepper. I then rolled them like spring rolls, coiled them and flattened them. After a 20 minute rest, I cooked them on lightly oiled pan for 7 minutes on each side on low heat. I don't like their pale sides so i cranked the heat up and browned them quickly but I don't think it's necessary as we can see in English muffins. I was rolling on a small chopping board so I have not rolled them thin and big enough, if I have done so they could be flakier with more layers, that's just a theory though. Also, for the first two i cooked the heat was too high so they were burnt slightly.

They were crispy and flaky on the outside as you can see on the first picture shards were all over the plate. They were soft and substantial inside with some visible layers. They were a bit sweet but very savory full of scallion flavor with a hint  of toasted sesame. When I brought some leftovers home, my mom said she could eat them alone everyday without tiring of it but I think she's exaggerating a bit though. 

This is how they look inside:

I filled them with some braised chicken thighs fragrant with ginger and garlic with just a kick from chilies the flaky scallion buns are the prefect complement to it. The buns and chicken are good alone but the textures and punch of flavors they deliver when when together is sublime.

It's so good I forgot that the oils and juices are dripping down my fingers and just let myself fall into the world of good food.

The photos were taken at night when I returned to my dorm after my training inside my bedroom under a fluorescent light which is a first time for me since I'm used to taking photos in the afternoon at our home using only the light from the sun. I also cooked the braised chicken myself because I cooked my own meals there, therefore allowing me to experiment with my food because of the small quantities. Now that I'm back home, I'm so excited to try and share many of my "no-oven" bread baking ideas.

This was a long post mainly because of the stories behind this bread. Can you think of a better name for them? in fact, I don't know what to call them so I just stick to calling them flaky scallion buns. Thank you very much!

greedybread's picture

Gateau des Rois..../ Cake of the King


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I know, no Turkish or Italian bread…

I thought I would confuse you….

I love this, its my new favourite!


Well, that changes each recipe, I am a fickle bread lover, faithful to no bread.

Give me eggy sweet breads and I am your slave.

I have been reading Allyson Gofton’s Year in France book and saw the recipe in there.

Then I investigated some other recipes, had a fiddle and voila!

Sweet, yeasty bread cakes, that is me!!

Orange Blossom water, its is a sign!!

I had to do a few substitutions and I have been on a mad search for some ingredients.

But we got there in the end.

Smudge says " Yes Please"

Smudge says ” Yes Please”

1 cup of chopped cherries (I used red and green as could not get angelica to start with).

1 cup of chopped candied orange peel or mixed peel.

2 tbsp (I did a big splash) of orange blossom water.

3 Tsp of dried yeast.

4 cups of bakers flour

4 eggs

200g of butter

1/2 a cup of warm milk

1 cup of sugar, prefer castor.

pinch of salt.

Sugar pearls of possible.

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You could use flaked almonds on top but would alter the taste, be nice though.

In a small bowl place warm milk, stir in 2 tsp of the sugar and stir in the yeast.

When this is mixed well, add in 1 beaten egg and 1/4 cup of flour , mixing until relatively smooth.

Leave to stand for about 30 minutes or until the yeast mix is frothy and smooth.

It has to be smooth!!

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Place flour, remaining sugar and salt in a bowl and combine well.

Beat remaining eggs, splash in orange blossom and set aside.

When yeasty mix is ready, add in beaten egg mix and add to dry ingredients.

Add in butter and beat well, then add in the glace fruits etc when the butter is well combined into the mix.

Stir through.

This is like stiff batter, it’s not a dough as such.

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Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave for 3-4 hours.

The slower the better as the flavour develops over time.

Place gloopy dough batter on a well floured bench/area.

Divide into 2 portions and roll into a ball.

Flour your fist and poke a hole in the middle of the balls.

Work it round a bit and enlarge the hole so its 1/3 the size of the entire cake/bread area.

Place on a baking tray lined with paper.

Cover and leave for an hour.

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Pre heat oven 15 minutes before to 160 Celsius.

Brush rings lightly with egg and place decorations on the ring.

I did red and green cherries and then pearl sugar.

Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes.

Not too brown…cover with tinfoil if need be.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest on the tray for 5 minutes.

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Gently place rings on a wire rack to cool.

Best eaten within the day but I was eating it a day or so later and still great!

Mmm warmed with lemon curd and greek yoghurt!

Very unfrench but nice!

Great for breakfast.


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There 2 versions of King Cake, a pastry one with almond and the one above.

My one is from the Southern France region.

David Lebovitz has a gorgeous Puff pastry version called Galette des Rois.

Here is a nice historical piece on the Galette des Rois.

Christopher Hoffman's picture
Christopher Hoffman

Using a bakers table as a cutting board

I'm putting a new, coved hard maple bakers table in the bakery for my bread making. There is a pastry staff who might use it sometimes. Is it ok to use a chefs knife/pastry knife on the surface or better to restrict it to the bench knife for bread making? 

FrugalBaker's picture

The Rising Sun aka Custard Bun

Stumped upon PDLarry's blog on TFL the other day and thought of having some fun in the kitchen. Couldn't achieve the nice swirl like Larry did as I think I let the custard cooked for too long, so it was too thick of a consistency to be piped out. Though, it tasted great...not too sweet for my liking : ) Thanks for sharing the recipe, Larry! 

Skibum's picture

Laser engraved rolling pins! Who knew???

WOW! A friend just shared this link with me. This opens up a lot of creative possibilities!

Happy baking, Ski

sharhamm's picture

what mixer to buy

Had a kitchenaid stand mixer but the gears stripped.  Now looking for something else.  Have a zojurushi (sp?) bread machine that I use mainly to mix and knead bread dough.  The trouble is I like to use a biga once and a while and this taxes the machine.  I miss my kitchenaid mostly for making cookies, cakes, and cheesecakes.  There is only the two of us with occasional company dinners.  I've been looking at the bosch compact.  Is this doable for cookies and cheesecakes?  Any improvements in the kitchaids that I should be looking at?  Any ideas out there would be helpful.