The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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golgi70's picture


I've been lurking, posting, and questioning The Fresh Loaf for some years now and I figure i could share for the holidays. 

Christmas Stollen: 

This is an odd recipe but man it is delicious.  I guess the only odd thing is all the yeast goes into the sponge.  Usually I see this and make adjustments to a forumla immediately but this one is just so good in the end I haven't changed a thing.  

Makes 12 - 500 gram - loaves


Diced Candied Lemon Peel                                   100 g

Diced Candied Orange Peel                                  100 g

Orange Zest                                                           from 3 oranges

Lemon Zest                                                            from 3 lemons

Raisins                                                                    1350 g

Almonds, sliced (toasted)                                       300 g

Walnuts (toasted)                                                   150 g

Pecans  (toasted)                                                     150 g

Vanilla Beans                                                          2 

Spiced Rum                                                             1/2 Cup


Mix All together and let stand at room temp 12-24 hours.  

(Don't forget to remove the vanilla bean husks.  I add to my vanilla sugar or my bottle of rum. 


Whole Milk, scalded and cooled                               666 g

Malted Bread Flour                                                   666 g

Yeast, instant                                                              40 g


Mix together and let sit at room temp between 1-4 hours pending temps of room and ingredients.  I look for it to double and then proceed as I think this is mostly a kick start for the yeast to get going in this heavy bread.


Malted Bread Flour                                                      1333 g

Butter, unsalted and softened                                       900 g

Sugar                                                                              270 g

Sea Salt                                                                            40 g

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Place Sponge in a mixing bowl with hook attatchment.  Add Flour Butter and Sugar.  Mix on Speed 1 until all is incorporated.  

Add Salt and continue until blended in.  Raise speed to medium and mix until medium development.  (showing elasticity but not passing the window pane test)

Add soaker and let rest a few minutes.  Now mix on speed 1 until fruit is getting incorporated.  Turn to speed 2 and continue until dough is smooth and the fruit well dispersed.  

Bulk Ferment:  2 hours

Shape:  See online tutorials on stollen shaping (its really easy)

Proof: 2 hours

Bake at 325 for 25-35 minutes.  As soon as they come out brush with melted butter and toss with vanilla sugar (regular sugar works too)

Now dust top, bottom, sides with powdered sugar while still warm.  

Let cool comepletely.  

Now heavily dust the entire loaf with powdered sugar and wrap tightly in parchment.  Place in an airtight container and age up to a month.  

This is delicious fresh but becomes creamier over time.  

Happy Baking



varda's picture

Chewy bagels - help!

Hi,   I just made bagels for the first time in a while, and the first after experiencing the quintessential New York bagel at Ess-A-Bagel.    I don't know if my consciousness is raised or what, but I realized the the exterior of my bagels are too chewy.    I used Hamelman's formula with two changes to make my life easier.   1.  No bagel boards.   I didn't turn the bagel in mid-bake.  2.  After boiling, I rinsed in very cold water and then put into a cold bowl of water for a few minutes.    Calling it ice water would be a bit generous.    Other than that, I tried to follow exactly.    I used KA Sir Lancelot.    Did my simplifications cause the chewy crust?    Of the many beauties of the Ess-A-Bagel bagel is the contrast of the crisp crust and the chewy interior.    Is there a secret way to get this?   Thank you.  -Varda

RunningBadger's picture

When is proofing done using stretch and fold?

I'm new to using the stretch and fold method and can not figure out when the bread has finished proofing?  Before with traditional kneading I would knead till window pane and then let proof tildoughty doubled, or about there depending on the recipe.  Im not sure with S&F if I should do one morotu cycle or shape for baking.


Thanks for the help.

greedybread's picture

Hoots Man!! Scottish Baps for Kiwi Burgers….

That’s if they make it that long.

Luckily I made these in the afternoon and they are going to be our burger buns…

Should I have said ” Oooouch man?’

I was trying to remember what Oor Wullie said….


Greedy fingers will be looking at pinching buns until dinner!! but if they do…. they will be starving at dinner…

A lovely simple recipe to make and relatively fast in the yeasty beasty world. 

You could even make the dough the night before, prove and shape them, retard it overnight and then take them out of the fridge about 3 pm (or get children to do when they get home from school).

They will be ready when you get home between 5-6 pm,  to pop straight into the oven.

Bap fresh from the oven..

These are best eaten the day of making but still ok the next day….

But they are not called morning rolls for nothing:)

These baps are special as I could not find my pastry brush soooooo…..

I used one of my Bobbi Brown make up (never used) brushes as a pastry brush:)

No other bap can say it is so privileged.

I am sure Bobbi would cringe but would know it was all in a good cause.

Shhh, don’t tell Bobbi!

So let’s get yeasty!!

What will you need?

3/4 cup of warm milk

3/4 cup of warm water

2 tsp sugar

4 cups of Plain flour

Pinch of Salt

17g of dried yeast

Little oil for brushing bowl

Little extra milk for brushing

Extra flour for dusting or durum semolina.

Dough ready to prove..

Warm milk and water and combine together, mix in the sugar and then the dried yeast.

Combine well and allow to become frothy, usually about 10 minutes.

Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix through.

Add the wet yeasty mix to the dry, forming a nice dough.

Knead for about 6-8 minutes until smooth and elasticy.

Lightly oil a bowl and place dough in there, cover and allow to prove for 90-120 minutes.

Ready to roll

Turn dough out onto a floured bench/ board.

Cut dough into 10 pieces and roll into balls.

Allow balls to sit for 15 minutes and then roll out into ovals.


Place ovals on a well floured baking tray, i also used baking paper.

Allow to rise, covered, for 45 minutes.

Pre heat oven to 210 Celsius.

Brush baps with milk and then dust with flour or as I did with 2 of them , durum semolina.

Ovals before proving

After proving and dusted

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Do not over bake as you want them to remain soft.


Remove from the oven and allow to cool on racks.

When cool, slice and enjoy stuffing them with bacon, egg, cheese and avocado!!

very nice!!

Or coleslaw, pork, bit of apple and cheese..

Roast beef, gravy, onion and cheese…

Hmm bit of a cheese thing going on here..

Just cheese alone with bit of pickle or chutney…

Or with sausage, onion, tomato sauce???


Ready to fill

Few baby baps there!!


My only quibble with the lovely recipe is it says Britsih baps...

Baps have through out time, always been attributed to the Scots.

HA AH HA..Most Scottish people would lynch the Author for that one....

HA ha ha, bake him in a Haggis!!

Scotland is part of the British Isles but they are SCOTTISH...hence so is their baking:)

Yumminess adapted from recipe from

Garyd's picture

I Need a good recipe for chewy yeasty rolls

I need a recipe for chewy yeasty rolls. Just like the ones we had back in school. 

grind's picture

Classic Croissants by Jeffrey Hamelman

I hope it's cool to post these links - not sure what the etiquette is -

Slide show -

linder's picture

Time for Anicini (Anise Biscotti)

Christmas time is coming, time for cookie baking galore.  Anise biscotti are one of my favorites - if you want to gild the lily, dip them in melted dark chocolate after they've been completely baked (twice) and cool them on parchment paper -heavenly.  I use a recipe form Franco Galli's The Il Fornaio Baking Book - they are tasty with lots of almonds and anise.  Remind me so much of my Grandma and a glass of anisette.


2 1/3 cups AP flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 TBSP. anise seeds

1 1/2 c. sliced raw almonds

1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter, room temperature

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. anise extract

Additional flour for workarea

Additional butter for baking sheet (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F. 

In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, almonds, salt and anise seeds. Set aside.

In a  large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar.  Using a hand-held or stand mixer, beat until the mixture is light, fluffy and pale yellow in color (about 5 minutes).  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla and anise extracts.  Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture one third at a time, beating after each addition until thoroughly incorporated (don't get carried away here of the cookies could turn out tough). 

Turn the dough out onto lightly floured work surface using a bowl scraper. Flour or oil your hands with vegetable oil.  Divide the dough into four equal (or three if you like bigger biscotti)pieces.  Roll each portion into a log 12 inches  long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Line a 12 inch by at least 18 inch baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter.  Place the dough logs on the baking sheet and with the palm of your hand flatten to about 1/2 inch high.  Bake the logs in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes, until light, golden brown (do not overbrown the bottoms).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so until they are cool enough to be handled.  Leave the oven at 375F. 

Transfer the logs to a cuting surface, with a sharp knife, cut them on a slight diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange the cut pieces cut side up, on a baking sheet.  Return the cookies to the oven for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely on the baking sheets before serving.  Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to two weeks.  (If they last that long, LOL)

greedybread's picture

A bit of Arán Sóide Gaeilge ?

Time for some of the FAMOUS Irish soda bread!!

I have been meaning to make it for ever but keep finding other things to distract me...

All equally delicious and I can't say no!!

This is a fruity one, given my pennant for fruity breads:) but you could easily make it plain .

Irish Soda bread

There is as you can imagine, hundreds of recipes and variations...

Now we could argue semantics and say this is not bread as it has no yeast in it .

However we all know that there are many breads with no raising agents in it...not even baking powder...

Plus I am NOT going to argue with hundreds of years of tradition:)


So without further ado...You will need.....

3 & 1/2 cups of Pure flour

1 tbsp salt

2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

50 g melted butter

1 & 1/2 cups of raisins

2 tsp of carraway seeds

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups of buttermilk

Brush with BUTTER and bake!!

What do you do?

Pre heat oven to 175 Celsius.

If you have a big high sided frypan (skillet) then grease it well.

If you have a good, well used  & heavy skillet/frypan, you won't need to paper it.

I used a charlotte tin, greased and lined with baking paper.

Slice while still warm

Combine flour, salt, caraway seeds, baking powder, sugar and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs and add in buttermilk.

Combine altogether, don't over mix this!!

Melt butter and leave a little aside to brush on the top of the batter at the end.

Put raisins and melted butter in the batter and quickly mix through.

Place batter in the tin/ skillet , gently brush the top and place in the oven.

Bake for 50-60 minutes and remove from oven.

It will be quite a deep brown.

Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes and then place on a rack.

Mmmm, nice alone or with apple and cheese
yummmmm, pint of beer and piece of soda bread..
bit of cheese and apple...
Take a bite...
have a piece or slice...

Recipe of gorgeousness adapted from Smitten Kitchen recipe.

P.S. I also made it with my current getting the grain in kick, with one cup of flour omitted and a cup of wholemeal put in....

Just as scrummy and barely noticeable...

A darker color and a slight tangy taste .

Both versions gorgeous with the apple and cheese as suggested!!

HMMMMMM maybe i need to make a beer bread....

judikins's picture

freezig sweet dough

I am really having trouble with my frozen sweet doughs. They don't rise well after defrosting!  I like to have frozen sweet dough on hand to make cinnamon rolls, sweet buns etc more easily.  So I make a double or triple batch, let it rise once, divide it into batches, then put it in my freezer-only (no defrost cycle) in gallon freezer bags- no air left inside.  Then I defrost in the fridge when I want to use it, shape it and let it rise.  But it BARELY rises at all!  I use instant yeast (NOT rapid rise) most of the time and I give it plenty of time to rise- no go.  very frustating.  Can my freezer be too cold?  Is active rather than instant yeast better?  Does this process just really not work well with sweet doughs?  I would love to hear your ideas!

JOHN01473's picture

A little help went a long way.

Since getting some great advice from Janetcook and dabrownman my baking is well back on track.
I was inspired to bake some sourdough inspired variations.
The first is my sourdough trencher.
In Suffolk, England the trencher is a local bread normally made with yeast and shaped oval - I went sourdough.

Looking in my store cupboard I found some grains - kibbled wheat, cut malted rye grains and some malted wheat flakes. So I decided to go for a rye soaker - I went for the " Any grains you like..." by " PiPs". Rather than Linseed I used toasted pumpkin seeds. Just before baking I rolled it in malted wheat flakes. I baked it in a Dutch oven - rather pleased with the look - cant wait to slice and eat it.

The dried apricot and walnut sourdough was inspired by the pack of walnuts in the stock cupboard -
the dried apricots are always present - used as sweets instead of chocolate.
I used the fruit content weights from " Walnut Raisin Sourdough Bread from SFBI Artisan II" recipe from "dmsnyder".
I toasted a slice then used butter - decadence abounds - it was superb. Think this will be a bit regular on the list to make.


The final sourdough loaf was a poppy seed and pumpkin seed sourdough.
I used 50g of toasted poppy seeds and 25g toasted pumpkin seeds.

The basic recipe for my sourdough is:

Making the sponge


100g strong white bread flour

100g wholemeal flour

Two large spoonfuls of starter

200ml warm water - 70f


Bulk up


200g strong white bread flour

200g wholemeal flour

400g of sourdough sponge

12g salt

200ml warm water - 70f


Baked at 220c for 25 minutes then removed from the stone and flipped over and baked just on the rack for another 5 minutes.

The rest is history as they say - I weigh, time and monitor temperatures carefully. The maturing times for the starter and final proving times of the various loaves create good time management slots. A good day baking.

Thanks a lot to all recipe contributors and advisers.
The Baking Bear