The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Breadandwine's picture

Fun with mincemeat

Found a large tub of mincemeat in the care home I teach in on Thursday mornings - so, using this in varying ways, we made a selection of different breads:

Chelsea buns, German apple cake, Bialys, doughnuts (baked, of course), Swedish tea ring, large tart.

This is a much under-used ingredient, generally only used at Christmas, but it is very tasty - and always welcome in our house!

Here's the story and pics (you might have to scroll down to Thursday, 23rd August):

Cheers, Paul

MANNA's picture

Almond - Honey Tart

Here is my attempt at the Almond - Honey Tart from Nick Malgieri's Perfect Pastry.

It is very rich and flavorful, absolutly wonderful.

mwilson's picture

Soft & Voluminous Loaf

Whenever I make bread my main goal is volume. Admittedly this isn't the most rewarding feature of bread but I am a technical junkie and love taking things to the limit. Not to mention, I love super-light bread.

This loaf is somewhat akin to the improved loaf I made a few months ago but uses acidity from sourdough to boost volume. Milk and diastatic malt are used to soften the crumb.

320g Very strong Allinson flour (High gluten)
200g Water
200g Skimmed milk
153g 00 flour
~77g Italian sourdough (~45% hydration)
55g Wholemeal flour
22g White spelt
22g Red malt
10g Salt
6g Diastatic malt
2g Instant yeast

Mixed dry to wet. Fermented 3-4hrs @ ~30C until tripled. Kneaded by hand until satisfied, 5-10 mins á la Bertinet.

Rounded and left to rest for 20-30 mins at which point it was significantly swollen.

Shaped tightly and placed in the tin.

Proved for 45mins-1hr. Baked with steam, oven off for first 8 of a total 45mins.



isand66's picture

Very Cherry Sourdough Cheese Bread

I recently returned from my 3rd trip to China for work this year and the first bread I attempted to make was this one.  I think I must have been suffering from a bad case of jet lag since I ended up with a puddle of cherry cheese which resembled a flat bread.  I like to work with wet dough but I went overboard on this attempt and didn't take the extra cherry juice from the cut up cherries into consideration.

I am happy to say that my second attempt of this bread was much more successful as I ended up with something that actually resembles a bread rather than a pancake.  I still can't find my wife's cherry pitter so I had to de-pit the cherries by hand which is a messy job to say the least.

I used a nice Havarti style cheese in this bake which melts nicely and compliments the cherries very well.  I used fresh cherries since they are still in season and reasonably priced.  I pureed 218 grams of cherries and cut the balance of 134 grams into pieces.  I used my mini Cuisinart to puree the cherries but you can use a blender or stick blender as well.

I used my standard white flour AP SD starter which I keep at 65% hydration and I added some Oat Flour to give it a little bit of nutty flavor.  I think the next time I make this bread I would add some walnuts or pecans to make it even better.

The final dough came out terrific with a nice moist open crumb with cheese and cherries oozing from its pores.  It smelled amazing with the flavors of cherries and cheese while it was baking and it took all my self-control not to tear into it until the next morning.



71 grams Seed (Mine is 65% AP Flour Starter)

227 grams AP Flour

151 grams Water (85 - 90 degrees F.)

Mix seed with water to break up for a few seconds and then mix in flour until the starter form a smooth dough consistency.  Put it in a lightly oiled bowl and loosely cover and leave at room temperature for at least 10 hours.  The starter should double in volume.  Put the starter in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days or use it immediately.

Main Dough


425 grams Starter from above

340 grams Bread Flour (King Arthur Flour)

161 grams Oat Flour (King Arthur Flour)

63 grams European Style Flour (KAF--you can substitute bread flour or a little whole wheat)

218 grams Cherry Puree

134 grams Pitted Cherries Cut Up into Small Pieces

200 grams Havarti Cheese or Similar Style Soft Cheese

220 grams Water (85 - 90 degrees F.)  (Note: the Cherry Puree Counts as the Balance of the Liquid)

16 grams Sea Salt (or table salt)


Weigh the cherries and remove the pits either with your hands, knife or if you are lucky a cherry pitter.  Puree the 218 grams per above in your food processor or blender and set aside. Cut the remainder of the cherries into small pieces and set aside in a strainer to drain.

Cut the cheese into small cubes and set  aside.

Mix the starter with all the water except for 20 grams just to break it up along with the pureed cherries.  Next mix in the flours for 1 minute on low in your mixer or by hand and let them autolyes for 30 minutes up to an hour.    Next add the salt and then add the remainder of your water unless you feel the dough is already too hydrated.  Mix on low-speed or by hand for 4 minutes.  Remove the dough from your mixing bowl to your work surface.

The dough will be very sticky so you may want to use a bench scraper to help you do 4-5 stretch and folds.  Leave the dough uncovered for 10 minutes on your work surface or put it in a slightly oiled bowl.  After 10 minutes either on your work surface or in your bowl do another stretch and fold, cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Repeat this S & F procedure one more time and let it rest another 10 minutes.  Do one last S & F  and flatten the dough out into a rectangle.  Add the cherry pieces and the cheese pieces and fold up the dough onto itself.  (Note: I goofed up and did this step after the first stretch and fold which made it very difficult to do additional ones.)

Let the dough sit in your bowl for another 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the temperature of your room ( my house is usually at about 70-72 degrees F.).  Next put the dough into your refrigerator overnight up to 24 hours or longer if necessary.  I usually only wait about 24 hours but you can do 36 hours if necessary.

The next day when ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and  let the dough sit out at room temperature for 1.5 hours - 2 hours until it starts to come to room temperature and is growing slightly. You can now remove the dough from your bowl or dough bucket and form into your desired shapes.  Be careful not to handle the dough to  roughly or you will end up degassing the nice gas trapped in the dough.  Place formed loaves in floured baskets (I use rice flour to make sure they don't stick which works every time).

 Let the dough rise at room temperature for around 2 hours until they pass the poke test.  (When the dough is poked your finger should leave a small indent that springs back very slowly.)

Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.

I then baked on my oven stone with steam at 450 degrees until both loaves are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 205 - 210 degrees F.

Let the finished bread rest on a wire rack until cool and try to resist the temptation to cut into them until thoroughly cooled.

Please feel free to visit my other blog at for all my bread recipes.

loafgeek's picture

Pullman Sourdough Loaf -- No-Knead & 70% Hydration

Has virtually the same crust/crumb texture & flavor as my no-knead sourdough boules.  But this is a handy dimension for slicing for sandwiches, which is what I've been wanting--I love my new pullman pan (baked on a preheated pizza stone @ 450F for 25 minutes covered and then 11 minutes uncovered).

9x4x4 pullman, 70% hydration dough, 750 grams of sourdough.  I'll try 800 grams next time.

(See to see how I did this loaf with a Pullman Pan.)

loafgeek's picture

Pullman Loaf Form DIY

I just got this pullman pan the other day and want to use it for a loaf.  I got creative with a little thread, needle, dish towel, and 2 plastic hangers (cut into sticks):

 (I don't know what I'm doing but I'll give it a try lol.)

Whygee's picture

Redhead (NYC) Pretzel recipe? (first try)


I've just watched the S13E05 (Scratch made classics) of DDD and there's good pretzel recipe: (see at 14:00). However, I cannot find the recipe on Food Network's website and was wondering if anybody was able to figure out the proportions for the ingredients.

I'm guessing she's doing some kind of cold ferment because they say the pretzels were in the fridge before they put them in lye water.


nycbaker11's picture

Calling on all Master Baguette Bakers

Hello Bakers...2 years ago I gave baguettes a try and I was so intimidated that I retired them from my baking list right there after lol.  Last week I got the urge to finally give it another try and I went with the Bouabsa version, pretty simple and straight forward but the outcome was eh... pretty lame . 

Crust color was dark but yet pale-ish and thick. crumb was very tight for a 75% Hydration formula, one thing I was proud of was my shaping, these were small ficelles so they are difficult to shape.  I used KA AP flour and maybe that's part of the issue with the thick crust.   I"ll list the formula below  for those not familiar with it and I would appreciate some feedback as to how I can correct this.  

Some things that might've gone wrong -  Underproofed?  they looked fully proofed to me after 1 hour on couche on a warm August morning in NYC.

500 Gr. flour

375 Gr. water

10 Gr. salt

1/4 tspn instant yeast, 

Mix and hand knead for a few min. Richard Bertinet style followed by S & F in bowl at 20 min. intervals for 1 hr.  Left the dough for 48 hrs, instead of the recipe's called 24 ( I don't see anything terrible here but the masters can chime in).

Out of the fridge directly to scaling and preshaping with a 45 min rest, to shaping and 1 hr. proof en couche and baking at 480 deg. with steam for 20-25 min.   I thank you all in advance.



Bara1's picture

Alkali for making noodles


This is my first post here.  I was drawn here by doing a search on Kansui Water in Google.  I've been trying to find a suitable Alkali for including in a dough recipe to make Hand Pulled Noodles aka La Mian.  In China they use a compound called Peng Hui which is some kind of Ash.  It's not available in Europe so I'm looking for an alternative.  Would anybody here have  any suggestion for an alternative which would act on the dough gluten and make the dough more 'stretchy' and indeed hold together better when boiled?  Thank you for any replies.

Matt Edy's picture
Matt Edy

how to know sufficent bulk fermentation?

When bulk fermentation is said to be in most cases, until doubled in volume.... is this mandatory across all types of dough? I allow all my doughs to double in volume, but still have issues around poor oven spring, overall dough strength and a dense crumb. My dough always passes the window-pane test after mixing. My dough also passes the finger poke test before going into the oven, but I feel that the dough should rise a lot more.

Am i correct in thinking that bulk fermentation increases the doughs extensibility and ability to hold more gas, resulting in a higher rising loaf during the final proof?

I mainly make traditional panned english loafs, such as white, wholemeal, and granary (malted grain) with a 12 hour sponge

Maybe i'm not de-gassing my doughs enough? I don't know....

Any help will be much appreciated...

Many thanks