The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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
John's picture

100% Whole Sprouted Wheat Loaf

I stumbled on an unfamiliar flour at a Wholefoods before Thanksgiving:  One Degree Organic Foods (ODOF) Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour (Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with ODOF and am just a new and satisfied customer).  I was intrigued by the "sprouted" part, impressed with the packaging and bought a 5# bag to try for a couple of our weekly 100% WW sandwich bread (Reinhart) bakes. 

 Here's the email I received from my wife (a 100% whole wheat bread aficionado-connoisseur) at lunchtime the other day:

Subject: we have a problem....

.....we need to go back to a Wholefoods ...soon!  That latest WW bread you made is fantastic!  Really, really tasty.....


Made my day. 

As I was setting up that bake however, I was disappointed to find that, even though ODOF's slogan is, "Every ingredient has a story", nowhere on their ziploc re-sealable packaging did it indicate whether the contents was hard or soft wheat, spring or winter, white or red (although I could see through the package it was red), or what "sprouted" actually meant in terms of the process (where on the continuum of tempering -->-- malting?), besides its claimed nutritional benefits.  The flour is quite fine (I'm NOT going to sieve it :-), smells very fresh and works up nicely at PR's 73% hydration.  It turns out that "The (ingredient) Story" refers more ODOF's invitation that the customer scan a QR code on the package to ID the farm(er) from which(whom) the contents originated (like meats @ Marks & Spencer Food Halls that give the stock/poultryman's name -- v. reassuring).  I emailed ODOF to comment on this disconnect between the ingredients' touted "story" and the missing hard/soft/spring/winter/etc. on the packaging.  I very promptly received the following generous reply from Danny Houghton, VP of Marketing & Sales @ ODOF (that he subsequently approved of my sharing on TFL):

Our process starts with Organic Hard Red Spring Wheat.The reason that we choose to go to the work of documenting the farm and showing you, as a customer, exactly who is growing the organic ingredients we sell is to engender a level of trust in the food that we're selling. My guess is that the wheat milled into the flour you bought was from organic farmer Roy Brewin in Taber, Alberta. Chances that other organic whole wheat flours next to ours on the shelf might originate in China, where organic certifications are rather suspect and handed out to the highest bidder. The narrative of the farmer that we share with you can build confidence that the One Degree products you buy are sourced in North America, where our organic standards guarantee that you're getting a quality product. If we have to go outside of North America to source, we show you exactly who and where those products come from, and do an on-site inspection visit to ensure that their organic crops are safely grown.

Once we purchase the hard red spring wheat from a farmer (in your case, Roy Brewin), it goes through our sprouting process, which involves a series of 5 washes and a soaking time of approximately 32 hours (varies a bit depending on the nature of the wheat crop). This washing process eliminates many of the dusts and molds that often cause allergic reactions for end consumers, and releases a burst of vitamins and minerals that make the sprouted grains more nutritious. Complex sugars are also reduced to simpler compounds that make the grains easier to digest, and the level of phytic acid, known to bind to natural minerals and eliminate them from the body, drops significantly, allowing your body more time to absorb those nutrients.

Once the sprouting is complete, we gently dry the grains down and then mill them into flour. Temperatures in the drying process are always kept below 104 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that all of the nutrients generated in the sprouting process are retained before milling. When milling, no germ or any other part of the resulting flour is removed, ensuring that the end user receives all of the nutritional benefits inherent in the product.

You had asked about how our sprouting process differs from malting. While we're bakers and not brewers, I think the difference probably lies in the type of grain used, the amount of time its allowed to soak, and the additives (like yeast) used during and after the sprouting process is complete.

He went on to say they are a small start-up and appreciate customer feedback, etc.  And was anxious to know how my bread turned out (it was fermenting at the time).

I don't recall what the 5# bag cost, but I'm sure it's up there with the more expensive wheat flours on the shelf, though not off the charts like the specialty flours at W-S, D&dL or other high-end victual purveyors.  And in ODOF's case, I paid for business practices I consider worth supporting.

I'll definitely look for more of this flour on our next visit to a Wholefoods.

Happy Baking!


MrsBrown's picture

Two great articles to read

I found these two great articles this morning and I thought they would spark up some great conversation.  Any thoughts?

 - Microzap technology effectively micowaves bread to remove mold spores, increasing shelf-life to 60 days.  The company says it would reduce the amount of additives in commercially available bread, decrease waste and save money.

- Although this story is written using British statistics, I think it is applicable in the US as well.  Is the general public losing touch with the bread machine process?  Do they no longer value "factory bread"?  Does this mean that artisan bakers and small-scale commerical operations have a fighting chance?  When does a small-scale operation become a "factory"?  How does a small-scale operation balance quality and volume?



greedybread's picture

Pane al Latte...

My yeasty mojo is back, I think!!

Should that be I hope?

pane al latte

What with Sundays cunning slipping in of the wholemeal and todays yummy little morsels....

 I have even started looking at the "Must try " list again...

Think its a definite!!

round or....

the beasty mojo is back!!!

baton shaped....

These little darlings are simply yummish!!

A little sweet but not overly, you could even eat them with salami or a fruity chutney...

or a lovely hard cheese...mmmm pecorino.......ARGH!!

Great for greedyboy lunches and fantastic for brekkie and mid morning snacks...

You could be very bad like me and toast them, butter and jam and then a big dollop of greek yoghurt...and a VERY hot strong black coffee

Any way I know you are going "hurry up, give us the recipe and stop blathering..................."


So you will need......

3 tsp dried yeast

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 cup warm milk plus 1 cup milk for later

2 eggs

60g butter

Pinch of salt

4 cups of Strong bakers flour.

2 tbsps brandy or rum.

sponge for pane al latte

Combine the warm milk and sugar together, then add in the yeast and stir well.

Leave to stir until creamy and frothy- usually ten minutes.

Add in 1 cup of the flour and combine.

Cover and allow to stand for one hour.

Batons ready to rise...

Add to the spongey mix, the remaining cup of warmed milk, brandy or rum and the egg.

Mix well and then add in flour and the salt.

When combined, mix in the butter and mix until well combined.

Knead for 5-6 minutes .

It should be a nice elastic dough, a little sticky maybe:)

Risen, glazed and ready to bake!!

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover and leave for 90 minutes.

hot from the oven...

Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured bench/board.

Chop dough into 16 pieces and roll/mould into the shapes you require.

I did half round and half baton like.

Place on baking tray with baking paper, allowing 9 per tray and enough space to rise.

Cover lightly with tea towel and allow to rise for one hour.

which one do I eat first?

Preheat the oven to 200 celsius.

Beat remaining egg and glaze the buns and place in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Gorgeous hot from the oven......ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY!!!

Gorgeous texture..
Lovely crust too!! slightly buttery...

Creme fraiche or mascarpone with apricot conserve....

A big dollop of stewed rhubarb and cream...

Lovely wedge of cheese and picante salami...

Spread of Nutella....


Loveliness adapted from the wonderful Carol Field " The Italian Baker" 2nd ed 2011

neilc's picture

No knead rye: "flat" (pancake-like) loaf

The last few times I've made rye bread (using Jim Lahey's recipe for no knead rye from his book), I've been quite happy with the crust, crumb, and taste, but the shape hasn't been perfect: rather than a boule, the loaf came out wide, thin, and almost circular. The loaf is maybe 1.5-2 inches tall, versus 6 inches wide and 8 inches long.

Can anyone suggest what I'm doing wrong? When I place the dough into the dutch oven to be baked, I've just been scraping it out of the bowl with a spatula -- would it help to form the dough into a ball in my hands first, and then place the ball into the oven? Or is it more likely that the lack of height caused by something else? Right now I just let the second rise happen in a mixing bowl -- would it help to get a proper proofing basket/brotform/etc?

BTW, rough outline of my technique: 300g bread flour, 100g rye flour, 2g yeast, 300g water, 8g kosher salt. Mix and let rise overnight in a mixing bowl, then refrigerate for 3-4 days. Fold dough and place back in the mixing bowl, let it come to room temperature and do the second rise over 4-5 hours. Then bake in preheated 475F dutch oven for 30 mins covered, 15 mins uncovered.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


FlourChild's picture


This is my first go with Maggie Glezer's Pandoro (from Artisan Baking), and all things considered I'm quite pleased with it.  There are two amazing things about this bread.  The first is how something with that much sugar and butter can be so light and ethereal-  I'm stunned by the texture.  The second is the balance of flavors.  It doesn't come across as too eggy, it doesn't taste only of butter or vanilla, and it isn't obviously a sourdough.  But put them all together in just the right balance, and they add up to a beautiful, rounded, perfumed and complex flavor.  I was so very happy when this bread was baking, I don't think I've ever smelled something quite that good from my oven.

The dough largely followed the schedule in the book, with the exception that the first build took about 50% longer (6hrs vs 4) than it was supposed to, but I attribute that to my tendency to feed starters a little too early, so it needed a bit of time to catch up.  Once it did, the rest of the stages proceeded right on time.  I used my folding proofer set at 78F.

The only other issue I had was that my paddle attachment was just not capable of mixing this super-sticky yet strong dough.  I have a KA 600, and this dough only worked when I switched to the dough hook.  With the paddle, it just wrapped around and would not come off for anything, not with a spatula, not with high speeds.  I finally had to slice it off with a sharp knife.  

I used a large tube pan (16 cups capacity) instead of two eight cup pandoro molds, as I wanted to see how the bread was before buying more pans.  Looks like I'll be in the market for some star-shaped molds this season:)  

The final proof takes the dough up by more than quadruple, from the picture above to the one below.  Not bad for a naturally-leavened bread with just 0.2% yeast.

I don't want to post Maggie Glezer's recipe, but Artisan Baking is a lovely book to read or check out of the Library.  This bread was the reason I made a starter last year, and though it's taken me a while to collect all the ingredients (like cocoa butter, high-gluten flour and osmotolerant yeast), I'm glad I finally got around to making it.  

The top is prettier than the bottom, if I make it in the tube pan again I think I'll keep it right side up.

The ethereal crumb, so soft and light.  It even had a bit of shreddability.  Next time, I'll try a bit longer/slower mixing to see if I can get more shredding.

This would be the perfect seasonal viennoiserie for anyone who isn't crazy about the fruit in a panettone, or who appreciates light textures.  The bread has 17% of its flour pre-fermented, more  than 42% butter/cocoa butter, 0.2% osmotolerant yeast, 68% eggs/yolks, more than 41% sugar/honey, and hydration of 73% (taking into account the water content of eggs, honey, butter, etc.).  

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Berliner Landbrot - Got it now!


Got it right, at last!

Berliner Landbrot -

70% Dove's Farm light rye

30% Bacheldre Organic Stoneground Strong White Flour

During his apprenticeship the baker Tom Roetz investigated the behaviour of machine-prepared rye preferments vs hand-prepared rye preferments using  a standard "Berliner Landbrot" formula.

My version of "Berliner Landbrot" is adapted from his paper, which is available online:

I tried to bake this bread several times with mixed sucess. Now I managed to get it just right for my taste:

A fairly open crumb, combined with a dark, caramelised crust.

Here the formula:

Expected Yield1600 
Light/Medium Rye Flour (Type 1150)25232
Mature Starter (not in final dough)1093
Strong White (AP) Flour (Type 550)30278
Light/Medium Rye Flour (Type 1150)45417
Yeast (Instant)0.474.4


Mix the preferment and leave it for about 14 hours at 28C. It should have a pleasant smell and taste.

Mix the preferment with the rest of the ingredients, the dough is easy to handle as it ought to be onthe stiffer side.

Knead for about 5 minutes, the dough wil become a bit smoother.

Rest the dough for 30 minutes at 28C

Shape with wet hands.

Proof for another 45 minutes at 28C.

I used bannetons this time, but this can also be baked freestanding or in tins.

Bake in a very hot oven  (Roetz says 290C!) for 10 minutes, then at 200C for about 50 minutes (750g loaves).

Things to watch out for

Temperature: During the preparation of this dough I managed to keep the dough temperature constant on 28C. 

Shaping: I did it quite gently this time, just gently forming a smooth roll with very wet hands.

Baking: My oven was as hot as it can be, with a new 3cm stone, and about 2 hours preheating (I did another bake just before)

Roetz used in his studies two decks: one heated to 290C for the first 10 minutes of the bake, and another one at 200C to finish the bake. I think it is most important for this bread to behin the bake hot.

My challenge now: to get these results consistently.

Happy Baking,


sourdoughnut's picture

Bosch mixer question

Hi all, just blew through my 3rd Kitchen Aid artisan POS mixer in under 2 years, and the good folks at whirlpool have offered my $$$ back. Hobart is out of the budget (even old,used ones in ontario are in the $800 range), so was thinking about a Bosch based on the positive reviews from so many on this site. Here's the question; can it do anything else? I make bread, but my wife is more of a sweets baker. Noticed that a paddle is not part of the set up, so was wondering how it does with cakes, cookies, and other batter based things. Thanks in advance.