The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Dwayne's picture

Help - How did they do this?



Well it is the catalog season and our mail box is stuffed with them.  We got one from Norm Thompson and it had a "Slovenian Potica Coffee Cake" in it.  The picture of it looks terrific but I can not figure out how they did it.  Maybe one of you know the trick.  I could not grab the image and put it here so here is the link:


Thanks for any help.  I would like to alter my cinnamon rolls to look like these.


Thanks, Dwayne

Mike Como's picture
Mike Como

sourdough starter method

this is an excellent article using purple cabbage of all things to make a great sourdough starter.  I plan to try it next time I'm at the store looking at cabbage!  found on  .........................

varda's picture

Hamelman Mixed Sourdough Starters and Sourdough Pugliese


Several months ago there were a slew of great posts on breads with rye starters - Khalid, Arlo, Syd, Lumos and I've probably missed some.   I didn't have a rye sourdough starter, so I bookmarked a bunch of these posts and forgot about it.  Then I made a rye sourdough starter so I could make Whitley's Russian Rye, but it was only when Joyfulbaker posted on Hamelman's mixed starter formula (p. 162 of Bread) that I realized I could make it with my new rye starter.   In doing so, I found I had extra high hydration wheat starter, which looked so nice I didn't want to throw it out.   So I adapted the Pugliese recently posted by Sylvia to use starter instead of poolish.  

Although it changes the character of the bread, I think the adapted version works pretty well. 

The Hamelman is a delicious, balanced formula.   I tweaked it by swapping out a little of the bread flour for whole wheat.   Other than that I followed instructions.  

Formula for Sourdough Pugliese:
































Mix all but salt and autolyse for 40 minutes.   Add salt.   Mix for several minutes in the bowl by scooping dough from the edges to the middle.  Stretch and fold on counter 3 times in half hour intervals.   Continue bulk ferment for 1 hour after last stretch and fold.    Shape into boule and proof upside down in bowl.   Bake at 450 for 15 minutes with steam, 30 minutes without. 


breadsong's picture

Cranberry Ginger Bread - a work in progress

We stopped in at Mix The Bakery in Vancouver awhile back and picked up a loaf of their Cranberry Ginger bread.
This bread was delicious! (I wish I'd taken a picture of it).
Thinking about holiday 'gifts from the kitchen', I thought of this bakery's wonderful Cranberry Ginger bread.
This is a first try at making this bread, using some local, fresh cranberries and ground ginger (along with a bit of lemon zest) for flavor; if I can get this loaf to the point where it tastes like the bakery's, I'll be happy to give this bread to friends and family this holiday season!
The stenciling is for Susan at WildYeast and her upcoming Holiday Edition :^)

Cranberries were popping out all over the place, giving this loaf a bumpy appearance, and the cranberry is bright, bright red in the crumb:

                                                                                                         beautiful, local cranberries :^)

These cranberries were juicy, and the first slice didn't slice all that cleanly;
here's the next one, looks a little bit better than the first?                                                                  

I tossed the cranberries in sugar prior to mixing them into the dough, but even still, these berries are tart!
A little bit of honey on this bread brings the flavors into balance nicely; but the next time I make this, I will try dried, sweetened cranberries in place of fresh.
The ginger flavor is faintly there in the background, so next time I may add some finely chopped fresh, or candied ginger, in addition to the ground ginger. I remember distinctly tasting ginger in Mix The Bakery's loaf; it tasted really good but was not overpowering, so it will take a little bit of tweaking in the next attempt.

I used some locally-grown whole wheat flour in the poolish and levain, and was so happy with the flavor
this contributed to the loaf!

Happy baking, and wishing everyone the best this holiday season,
:^) from breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting for Susan's Holiday Edition :^)


Carb Junkie's picture
Carb Junkie

Running new bread machine empty before using to make bread?


I have just purchased a West Bend High-Rise Horizontal breadmaker through Amazon.  I bought it because of the many good reviews.  A few of the reviews said that one should run the breadmaker through a whole cycle while the pan is empty, prior to baking any bread!  Has anyone heard of this practice?  It is not mentioned in the manual.

Thank you!

leenaud's picture

Artisan or Rustic bread

What is a fool proof way to make a high % hydration loaf with large irregular holes. I've tried a lot of recipes, some of Peter Reinhart and also Jeffrey Hamelman, but so far no luck. Thanks in advance for any feedback

PMcCool's picture

Gilding the lily

Believe it or not, Floyd's Sweet Potato Rolls can be made even better.  And I wouldn't even have known that but for a bit of Thanksgiving serendipity.

My youngest daughter and family had been in town for a visit the weekend prior to Thanksgiving.  For one of our meals, she made Elizabeth Karmel's Sweet Potato Bourbon Mash.  Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite things and they play very nicely with a bit of bourbon.  Needless to say, the dish was delicious!

A few days later, I was planning to take some rolls to our older daughter's home for Thanksgiving dinner and decided that the sweet potato rolls would be in keeping with the day.  As luck would have it, there was about 3/4 of a cup of the sweet potato bourbon mash left over; just the perfect amount for the rolls.

The dough came together nicely and the rolls baked up prettily, filling the house with their fragrance.  They tasted even better than they smelled!  As our daughter put it after taking a bite, "It's like Thanksgiving in your mouth!"  

So, if you feel the need for a bit of self-indulgence, I'd highly recommend this.   In effect, you get a two-for-one deal, since the sweet potato mash is worth doing in its own right.


Beyondthebread's picture

Working with Pan au Lait / Milk Bread

Hi, this is Daniel Rios (Beyondthebread).  Here is a photo from my latest blog entry using a pan au lait (milk bread) recipe.  I used the dough to make monkey bread, shown here, and will be posting Friday and Monday with 2 more uses for the same dough.  Here is the recipe I used --> . I hope to find bakers who love to talk bread and can add their expertise to my posts.  Come check out the recipes and pictures on  Let me know what you think and share your stories of baking.

I have been a professional baker for over 7 years now and have now started my own website to share everything that I can about my experiences and whatever experiments I decide to try out.  You will be seeing me on this site more often, now that I have found it.  I hope to meet other professional or baking enthusiasts who share my love for all things baking. 

joyfulbaker's picture

Levain with 2 starters redux

Just baked my "regular" sourdough yesterday and decided it truly is the best bread ever.  It's Hamelman's 'Levain with 2 starters,"on pp. 162, 163 of Bread.  It makes keeping that second, rye starter worth every minute it takes (not very many at that).  We just cut into it last night after it had cooled about 3 hours, and hubby and I (just two bread-loving retired folks) went through at least a third of a loaf that weighed 2 pounds!  I shaped it as a chubby batard.  I didn't photograph the second loaf (which was a little under 1 1/2 lbs., more of a baguette-like shape but a little chunkier) because it went into the freezer right after it cooled.  I slashed both loaves with a single center cut.


I hesitate to reproduce the recipe because of copyright restrictions.  (If anyone has knowledge of getting around that, let me know and I'll see if I can comply.)  I pretty much bake it as Hamelman directs (there are no errata listed for this recipe).  My only tweak is the sprinkling of seeds on top, which I often do.  I combine sunflower, sesame (black and white), fennel, flax and poppy, along with freshly ground sea salt (not too much), which I keep in a small plastic container in the fridge.  I use that as a bagel topping as well. 

This is our regular table bread, and I often retard it overnight (up to 18 hours at 42 deg. F., Hamelman advises), which makes it a 3-day affair, with the starters being mixed the night before mixing the dough.  We had visiting relatives from Israel in October who said this is the best bread they ever ate (my sentiments exactly)!  This time I felt like baking it the same day as mixing, and it was at its best!  So delicious!  I think it may be because the flour was very fresh (K.A. bread flour and B.R.M. whole rye, both just opened yesterday).  My autolyse time was short (15 minute), as I had a dr. appt.  in the middle of it all.  I did two S & F's (somewhat sticky dough, manageable with wet dough scraper and wet hands), and I baked it on a stone (preheated in 500 deg. oven 45 minutes before loading) with the usual steam (pan of steaming hot water beneath and spritzing 4 or 5 times the first 10 minutes).  After 15 minutes, I turned the oven to convection (my K/A electric oven automatically converts Hamelman's 460 F. to 435 F.) after removing the steaming pan--carefully.  I actually lowered the oven 10 degrees for the final 10 minutes, as it sometimes gets a little too dark.  Total baking time is 40-45 minutes.  So, if you have Hamelman's book (or a copy from the library) and if you're willing to whip up two starters (he has directions in the book for both white and rye starters), it's worth it!  The flavor is unbelievably delicious, and it keeps in a paper bread bag for the better part of a week (I bought 500 of them from a local supplier recommended by a local bakery) and then makes great croutons.  I'm saving the second loaf for a dinner party hosted by a member of my book group (an amazing cook and former caterer).



alabubba's picture

Structural Gingerbread for Gingerbread House

I am looking for a structual gingerbread recipe that tastes good. It will only set for a day or too. Plan on having the grandbabies decorate it on christmas eve, then eat it on christmas day. I have a good recipe for structual gingerbread but its not anything you would want to eat. 

Anyone have a delicouse and sturdy gingerbread recipe they would like to share.