The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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RobynNZ's picture

Tartine Book No. 3: Modern Ancient Classic Whole

Was surprised to see Chad Robertson's new book included in the Food52 Piglet list, as I didn't think it was out yet.

Checking the link to amazon discovered that it will be released next week, on  Dec 17. No doubt it will be found in the christmas stockings of some lucky TFLers.

Enjoyed reading through the 'look inside' pages. 

Was interested to note the use of Sylvia's steaming towel method for the spelt and toasted corn flour baguettes.

He explains more clearly his choice of not including the levain flour in the overall flour. That will still grate with many of us here (RIP Eric), but I guess I see his point.

When I am in the city over Christmas New Year will enjoy looking for some 'ancient grain' flour. 

Looking forward to hearing how people get on working with the new formula. 

jim baugh's picture
jim baugh

Sourdough Calzone

Here is the recipe we just posted for our sourdough Calzone. It is a winner for sure. WOW does the dough make a HUGE difference! Jim Baugh


Abelbreadgallery's picture

Mon gâteau à l'orange

We've done it! Next time I'll prepare two cakes, because this one it's not for me. It's an order.

Abel Sierra.

isand66's picture

Pain au Levain with Barley Flakes

   This past weekend I decided to make 2 different styles of bread, with one being a classic Pain au Levain and the other a new higher percentage Jewish Rye.  I will post on the rye separately shortly.

I have made different versions of Pain au Levain in the past with moderate success so I wanted to change-up the flour a little and also add some barley flakes to hopefully add another layer of flavor.

I used a high percentage of KAF French style flour which I love baking these hearth style breads with and one of my favorite whole wheat flours called Turkey Whole Wheat.  I also added some white rye to make it interesting.

The final bread turned out just as I was hoping for with a nice thick chewy crust and an open crumb.  The taste was just enough sour tang along with the whole wheat nutty flavor profile.  My wife who tends to be very picky about my breads, ate more than half the loaf herself over the last few days, some even with no butter or cheese which is a major compliment to yours truly.

This is also a great bread to eat with a nice hearty soup or use to make a grilled cheese sandwich for the snowy cold days that have already arrived.  My apprentice Max gave it 2 paws up and was eager to taste another slice after his first romp in the snow.







Levain Directions

Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I usually do this the night before.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, and 275 grams of the water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces) and mix on low for a minute.  Add the rest of the water unless the dough is way too wet.   Mix on low-speed for another 5 minutes.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.  I made 1 large boule shape.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.


After 1 minute lower the temperature to 500 degrees and after another 3 minutes lower it to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 210 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.



aptk's picture

Sourdough English Muffins

I've not made English muffins for years and years. I chose the King Arthurs's recipe here:

They are very good, not quite the crumb texture I was looking for, I wanted it a little more open, so I will try adjusting my fermentation and proofing times. I really don't want to change any of the ingredients because they are so good, especially with Candy Apple home made jelly!

Which by the way can be found here:

ratatouille's picture

My thanksgiving sourdough loaves

Hey guys sorry it's been forever

Been busy with work and what not


I got the chance to fly home for thanksgiving so I quickly revived my starter and baked up a couple loaves!


Here is how they came out


hanseata's picture

Best Mexican Conchas

When I first caught sight of these pretty rolls in a Mexican bakery, I was totally smitten. But my enthusiasm quickly deflated when I took the first bite - the cute little shells were overly sweet, but other than that: no taste whatsoever! 

Sadly, this was the case with almost all the pastries we had at the Riviera Maya: they looked very appetizing, but tasted only bland and sugary.

 Conchas in Mexican bakery: pretty but bland

But shouldn't it be possible to bake Conchas whose attractive exterior matched a delicious interior? The idea intrigued me and kept me thinking. Back from our trip, I started searching for a recipe.

A Little Cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate didn't only have a recipe for this Pan Dulce, it also had a very entertaining story about a nightly encounter with a mysterious woman and her ardent desire for revenge! 

Before we flew to Mexico this year, I finally wanted to tackle the Conchas. Remembering the "Mujer Misteriosa" and her dark desires, I dug through several pages with recipes until I finally rediscovered Clementina's blog post.

Mexico's Mayan ruins are worth a trip - here the recently discovered Ek Balam

Mexicans seem to have a real sweet tooth. All Concha recipes I had googled, contained lots of sugar. Being a gringo, I cut it down drastically, and, also, exchanged some of the flour with white whole wheat.

And how to force taste into even the lamest bread dough? Two words: overnight fermentation! I reduced the yeast, stretched and folded the dough, and put it to sleep in the fridge.

Rolling and cutting out the chocolate and cinnamon toppings evoked an early Christmas spirit, but with a little patience (and the help of a large cookie cutter) this was achieved, too (though some misshaped cookies had to be crushed, cooled and re-rolled.)

Baking brings out the pretty two-colored pattern

After their rise the Conchas looked already quite attractive, the cuts in the toppings had opened, and after baking the two-colored pattern had fully emerged.

Of course I was extremely eager to see whether my Conchas had escaped their compañeros' fate of bland and boring sweetness. We tried them, and - here they were, delicate rolls with a hint of cinnamon, topped by a crisp sugar cookie: a real treat!

Delicate rolls with a hint of cinnamon, topped by a crisp chocolate or cinnamon cookie


You find the recipe on my blog "Brot & Bread" here.

MANNA's picture

Tzanghong observations

I have a bread that my family enjoys. The parkerhouse roll recipe from KAF made into one big loaf. Since its a straight dough it does have some issues with starting to dry out after a few days. Not that big of a deal since theres not much left by then. I wondered what the tzang method would do to it. It didnt produce a big shreddable loaf. Out of the oven it didnt look much different than normal. I was a bit disappointed. After cooling I cut into it. Crumb looked normal and it tasted the same. I know what your thinking total failure or I did something wrong. It wasnt a failure. The difference was subtle. The crumb thats normally crumbly when cut held up much better. It was tough but still tender. It has been a couple of days since I made the loaf. I keep it in a plastic bag in my pantry. I took it out this morning for breakfast and tested the cut end for dryness and was surprised to find it moist and springy. Taste is still very good. The method has helped the shelf life of the product. Since the crumb is more robust, it stands up better to making PB&J. That is the only alternative in my house if you dont like whats for dinner. I do need to adjust the hydration up some. After my next bake if its right I will post the modified recipe. I want to explore some cajun cooking recipes on roux making. I know if you cook the roux to varying levels of brownness it effects the thickening ability of it but imparts flavor. This has some far reaching possibilities both in flavor and texture.

Mebake's picture

My first borodinsky, and Pastry #8

I have finally bought a Pullman pan! two, actually. For bread, my first natural choice was a Rye; my first  Borodinsky  from Andrew’s book: (Bread matters).

I’ve all but given up on finding a Pullman pan in Dubai, until I overheard a discussion among my Pastry class peers  and the Chef about  commercial sources of  the ingredients and tools used in the institute. Alarmed by the possibility of finding the pan, I took the address from the Chef and headed down to the warehouse. The two story warehouse sells different hospitality and catering equipments at somewhat reasonable prices. I’ve found two sizes for Pullman pans, all from the Italian brand Paderno, I was so excited. The one I bought for us$ 27 each, was an  11.75 *4 inch pan. There is a much longer version, but it was too much for domestic use. The pan had a sticker that says: blue steel ..etc. The pan was properly washed with detergent and warm water, but it had a slight oily layer, and a distinctive rusty aroma. I searched though google, and learned that blue steel is a steel that has undergone a deliberate oxidation prior to the final non stick coating. I shrugged my shoulders and wiped them clean.

For borodinsky, I mixed my ripe rye sour with rye flour molasses and salt with a fork, scooped the lot into my greased pan  sprinkeled with cracked coriander seeds. I had no barley malt syrup, so I skipped this ingredient. I wanted to try Andrew’s advocated method of no bulk fermentation for rye bread, and the bread rose in 2 hours. Total dough weight was 1346g which was more than twice the recipe’s yield. After two hours, the dough has risen to almost the top rim of the pan, and started to crack. I slid the pan’s cover on, and baked the bread for 10 min. at 420F and 30 minutes at 400F.

My regretful mistake was to bake it according to Andew’s recipe, which is to a total of 40 minutes, failing to remember that an extended bake is needed for larger dough. After 40 minutes, the dough was unmolded and steam escaped from the loaf. The loaf’s crust was very tender and the color was lighter than a rye should be. I didn’t take a hint, Ugh! I guess I was too captivated by the square-ish cross section that the Pullman pan was capable of producing.

When cooled , the loaf was wrapped with a cloth, and left for 12 hours. Next day, I couldn’t resist having a peek and I sliced a few squares. The loaf was moist and gummy. Ops, I’ve underbaked it!

I wrapped it once more, and left it to rest for another day. Today, I’ve sliced it, and it was still moist and slightly gummy (cutting shreds still evident). The flavor is typically rye with a faint sweetness, and a good dose of spice that complements the overall flavor. The crust was soft, and the crumb was softer. There is a subtle mouthfeel of rust at the end, but generally tolerable. I don’t know how to deal with blue steel rust mouthfeel, but I’ll wait to see whether the pan becomes seasoned as I bake on. Overall, the bread was really good, and improved when slightly toasted.

As for Pastry, I’ve skipped my two day marathon class of Chocolate. By the end of last week, I was completely worn out. My Pastry class 8 of the week before went well, though. We made frozen desserts, such as ice gateaux, cheese cake, tiramisu, fried ice cream.



CB85's picture

Traditional Swiss bread?

Hello, I have a question that I'm not sure has an answer, but I'm hoping someone here can help me out. My friend is hosting an exchange student from Switzerland for the year. She loves bread, and I thought for Christmas I could make her a traditional swiss bread.

Problem is, I don't know if such a thing exists? I have only found one type in my searches and I don't know if it's real or any good. I don't have a lot of experience with commercial yeast bread, I really only usually bake sourdough, so I also can't analyze the recipe very well.

Anyway, if anyone has any formulas they would like to share, I would be really appreciative. Especially if the formula was in weights, as the only one I've found is volume measures. Thanks!!