The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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bobku's picture

Best method for freezing and defrosting Artisan breads

I'm  going to be making some breads for the holidays what are some the best freezing and defrosting methods for artisan breads. Including some breads that will have some cheeses and fruits in them

jafwiz's picture

New member question on San Joaquin Sourdough

I am new to this group and would like to try this sourdough recipe but i have a few questions from a novice. I have been making Italian bread only and have just started using a Biga and the results are good so now to try this. I see the recipe but it calls for Liquid Levain? I am making a starter from scratch using peter reinharts method whole wheat flour with pineapple juice and it's been a couple of days not there yet but still waiting. Being a home baker i don't understand bakers percentages but i can convert the recipe from grams. I use a Bosch universal mixer and i have figured out the window pane technique finally was never kneading enough hence a heavy loaf but much better now. So any help you could give a newbie would be great.

MANNA's picture

A short video for your enjoyment.

A short video for your enjoyment.


Ihr Landbäcker - Backen wie früher...


aptk's picture

About Pizza

I'm still working on my challenge to provide before and after pictures of all the breads I posted in a collage. This is not the pizza in the collage, but it's the only pizza pic I have that somewhat shows the crumb of my pizza dough. And all my pizzas are the same basic dough, so here's to substitutions!

Pizza is such a customizable dish that it's difficult to produce an exact recipe. My basic rule of thumb is to use a crust recipe you like, the sauce of your choice and the toppings that you prefer. You can cook it on a stone, in a pan or a dish. In the oven, on the grill or over a campfire. Make it small, medium, large. Thin crust, hand tossed, thick or stuffed crust, deep dish.

The one I have shown is a deep dish version, Alredo Sauce, chicken, broccoli, and all the other goodies we like. The only thing I'm going to include here is my recipe for the crust.

Pizza Crust

SIZE            WATER               YEAST               OIL              SALT               FLOUR

Small            1/2 cup                 1/2 tsp             1 tbs              1/2 tsp             1 1/2 cups

Med              3/4 cup                 3/4 tsp             1 1/2 tbs        3/4 tsp             2 1/4 cups

Large             1 cup                   1 tsp                 2 tbs              1 tsp               3 cups


The water should be warm. Pour water into bowl, sprinkle with yeast and allow to bloom. Add salt, oil and half the flour. Beat with a fork until smooth. Knead in the rest of the flour and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Oil dough, cover lightly, and put in a warm place until doubled in size.

Punch down and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Shape dough to fit your needs and you can let it rest again and even rise again, or you can add your toppings and put it in the oven. I bake mine at 425F until it's as done as I like it.

Now the conditions in your kitchen are probably different from the conditions in my kitchen, and I don't know what kind of yeast, oils and flours you use, so amounts my differ according to your needs, tastes and preferences. I tend to use all purpose flour, Red Star dry active yeast, either vegetable or olive oil, and regular table salt.

Explore your options with this one, I've never had anyone turn down pizza hot out of the oven. Enjoy!



aptk's picture

Flauta Follow Up

This is a follow up to the flauta blog from yesterday. This shows a little bit more about how they go together.

Fillings can be made of whatever you like, I generally use whatever leftover meat I have on hand be it chicken, pork, beef, or even moose. Next I add a spicy type sauce or chile that I also usually have on hand, but even sriacha sauce will work. The third component is always some kind of shredded cheese.

In this picture I'm using chicken and a red chili salsa, Mix it all up together and spread a row of the filling mix on a rolled out tortilla. I have been making tortillas for over 50 years and still cannot roll out a perfectly round one, but it doesn't really matter in this case.

Then you roll them up. What keeps them closed? Some flour and water paste! Let it dry a little bit before you fry them.

I roll all mine up and then let them dry while the oil for frying is warming up. Drain on paper towels.

aptk's picture

Flautas - Fried Stuffed Flour Tortillas

I'm still working on the pictures and instructions for a collage I posted earlier.

It had never occurred to me to try and capture the crumb of a flour tortilla! Ever!! So mostly what I have is a picture of the gooey, melted cheese that's on the inside.

And this particular batch is pork and green chile. Next time I make them, I'll do up a much better set of instructions!

Basically, its a stuffed generic flour tortilla that is deep fried. Any flour tortilla recipe will work, you have to use raw tortillas though, not the already cooked ones from the store. The fillings can be what ever you want, but my family likes meat, cheese and some kind of chile.


aptk's picture

Basic Sourdough White Bread

Before I go any further I want to talk for a minute about my sourdough starter. This is a very "wet" starter, and I measure by cup rather than by weight. It resembles the flour paste we used to make as kids.

Here's the basic recipe: 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 1 packet yeast. Mix together and let it sit out on the cupboard until it develops a sour smell. Feed it half a cup of flour, and just short of a half a cup of water every day while it's sitting on the cupboard. When you get too much, dump about half of it out and feed it again. Once it's got an odor you like and it's nice and bubbly it's ready to use. When I'm not baking every day I keep it in the fridge and feed it every 4-5 days. Then when I'm ready to bake again I take it out, feed it and give it a day to come back to life. Next night I set the sponge for as much starter as I'm going to need and go from there.

This makes a good sandwich bread, although the loaf shown has a couple of big bubbles which will make a mess if you're having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

aptk's picture

Dinner Rolls

I have been called out!! I posted a collage of some of my recent favorite breads, and was challenged to show my results. So I'm going to try it! I am also including the recipe I used. And if it's not one of my original throw things in bowl efforts, I will post a link.

The recipe included with these dinner rolls, is my most dependable basic white bread recipe. This will make one regular loaf of bread, or a dozen good size rolls. It shapes well too.

Dreasbaking's picture

Hello from Illinois

Hi everyone!  I have been lurking this site for several years and am finally creating an account and making my presence known!  Thanks for having me!

I have been baking our family's bread for the last three years, exclusively. Within the last year, I became a home demonstrator with The Grain Pantry, and now I have the pleasure of teaching people how to bake bread in their homes.  I'm living a dream!

I mill my own flours and am constantly amazed at the difference between freshly milled and store bought flours.  I have a goal of completely eliminating processed flours from my baking - this is my 2014 New Years resolution.

I also love sourdough baking and have goals to improve my artisan loaves.

Thanks again for hosting this site.  It is wonderful.

NanusT's picture

substitute for dry milk (powdered milk)

Hi all and happy holidays!

I want to bake simple rolls which call for 3 tsp of dry milk (0.9 oz). I don’t have dry milk at hand and in the stores it comes only in big packages which I don’t need because I never use it.

So my question is how can I substitute it?


Thanks a lot