The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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chera's picture

Bakeable Cream for Danish

I need a recipe for a bakeable custard/pastry cream to use on Danish pastries.

Looking for one that will hold its shape, not "explode", or get completely absorbed into the pasty.

I've used several commercial ones that work great (Puratos) but I need one made from scratch.

If not available, any ideas on how I can keep the pastry "dented" so I can deposit the cream after baking?

varda's picture

Fig Anise Bread

Recently a customer asked me to bake a fig anise bread.   She had bought a loaf from Standard Baking in Portland Maine, and loved it, but doesn't get up there often.   At first I was a little reluctant to go down this road, as I thought figs?   anise?   really?   but then decided to see what I could come up with.   A search on TFL revealed that there was just such a bread in Nancy Silverton's La Brea book.    As this has been on my list forever, I bought a copy, procured some dried black mission figs and anise seed, and put it together.   This morning I baked the loaf, cooled it and then dug in.   I have to say this bread is incredibly delicious.   The anise helps instead of hurts as I had worried.  The figs are absolutely decadent.   Sometimes it is good to listen to people (not always of course.)  

The crust of this bread comes out almost black.   Fortunately Nancy Silverton warns of this, or I would have thought I was burning the bread after only 30 minutes.   The only bread I've seen darker than this is Syd's squid ink bread.   But I didn't use any of that.

I must have read this somewhere on TFL as I'm hardly a gourmand, but this bread is just made to go with goat cheese.   What a treat.  

So two questions.   Has anyone been to Standard Baking?   (Karin?)    Any chance that this is the same bread as they sell there?    What is your favorite bread from  Silverton's book?   I can't wait to try something else.

golgi70's picture

Olive Levain

Made with 35% fresh milled local Hard Red Winter Wheat (Hollis).  I miscalculated with the olives and after pitting came up short but proceeded.  I will post my formula but I'd double this for sure.  The addition of an herb could also be nice but my olives were a mix of three green varieties brined with garlic and oregano.  Had I used enough maybe I wouldn't need any herbs.  I'll find out next time around. 

Olive Levain:                              Makes two large or three smaller loaves                                                                                                                                         

Total Flour       1120

Total H20           813             72.5%

Olives                 150            13.5 %

Levain: 3-4 hours @ 72.5% hydration DDT 78F (20% prefermented flour)
90 Wheat Starter
180 Wheat, fresh milled
118 H20
200    Wheat
32      Rye
663    Artisan (malted bread flour @ 11.5% protein)
650.   H20
150    Olives, herbed (a mixed variety of garlic oregano green olives)
16      Salt


Total Dough = 2132   3 loaves at 705 or 2 loaves at 1066  

Drain and dry olives on paper towels when you make the levain. 

Autolyse 2 hours

Add levain and mix on speed 1 for 3 minutes 

Add salt and continue mixing on speed 1 until well incorporated. 

Turn to medium speed and devlop dough to medium development.

Add olives and mix until evenly dispersed.

Bulk ferment 2 1/2 hours with stretch and fold at the 30 minute and 1:15 minute mark

Divide, preshape, shape to bowls.  Retard for 8-12 hours

Bake 500 w/steam and turn down to 460 and continue for 20-30 minutes pending size of your loaf. 


Liverpoolbaker's picture

Top and Bottom heat

I'm wondering about top and bottom heat, and effects on oven spring.

As a self taught baker I just sort of worked out what I like, but I can't find much about it in books or on the internet. What settings do people use for their ovens, does increasing the bottom heat increase the spring? Can anyone point me in the way of some good articles or books that may cover this? Or is it one of those things you just figure out. 


JamieD's picture

Two things -- Dough too liquidy and what is the importance of the seam?

Hi there,

I'm baking bread according to the tartine method and have gradually been getting better. My starter is healthy and can raise bread with half a tbsp of starter (after making a leaven of course). I know there are a lot of posts on the tartine method but I've gotten so frustrated recently that I felt i had to post something more specific to my actual situation. The main problem i'm having is that my dough is too liquidy and isn't getting enough surface tension to properly shape - it's the stickiest thing in the world!

This is a bit odd because i'm baking 85% white and 15% wholegrain, and at 71% hydration (the recipe in the book is 75!). I'm using allison strong white flour at 12% protein and am bulk fermenting/proofing at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. So I don't understand what's going wrong.

I know people say don't back off on the hydration and that I should learn how to "work with wet dough" but honestly this dough is IMPOSSIBLE to work properly - it sticks to counter whether it is covered in flour or oil, and it even sticks to my bench scraper. Every time I try to handle it and try to remove my hand/scraper the resulting tug distorts any shape i have tried to make. I have made do by scraping my bench scraper around the loaf in circles in order to build tension which works okay. And when it comes to after the bench rest I try to shape as suggested but the dough is so sticky that no real "seam" is created as the dough just merges (and by the way - why do we need a seam anyway?).

After proofing the dough is so liquidy if you shake the banneton it wobbles like jelly - hence when you put it into the pan it loses all shape.... The bread itself tastes nice but is rather ugly (as scoring is impossible) and flat. 

I'd really appreciate some help from you guys because this is getting incredibly frustrating.

Thanks a lot,


mcs's picture

Homemade Proofer

This is a recent project of mine using plywood from a previous project.

Some of the details:
-1/2" hardwood plywood finished with glossy polycryclic
-1/2"x1/2"x1/8" angle iron runners on the inside
-1"x1"x1/8" angle iron on the top to put hot pans on as they come out of the oven
-xenon lights on the inside middle
-for humidity I put a damp towel on the griddle with the griddle set on 'low'
-this proofer holds 6 full size sheetpans with room for the bread to rise

There you go, let me know if you have any questions.



This is the thermostat I got through Amazon with a switch for the lights below it.



The griddle is this cheapie from WalMart.

trailrunner's picture

Sweet Potato YW SD with pepitas

I have been traveling since Oct 5th. No baking but lots of eating of great breads from Canada to NYC ! I got home and found my YW and SD happily resting in the fridge. I fed everything and restored all to working order. I noted Ian's sweet potato bread and had an extra baked one so decided to try a variation using what I had on hand. Wild Yeast Blog has a formula from 2007 and I used it as a base to begin. I used 200g AYW stater and 200g RYW starter each at 100% hydration and made up the rest with my SD 100% hydration . When Ian mentions "wet" sweet potato he is correct. The dough was like ciabatta for sure. I beat it in the KA like a ciabatta until I noted some gluten development. I then placed it in an oiled bucket for 40 min. removed and did a lot of s&f's with a floured counter and gingerly movements. Rested 50 min and did the same...had really nice development at this point and it had nice air bubbles. Divided in two and made no attempt to shape...simply sprayed the top with water and pressed on pepitas and tossed into floured cloth lined baskets seed side down. Proofed for 1 hr and the loaves had filled the baskets. Retarded approx 12 hrs in fridge. Baked straight from fridge as per my usual...500 preheated pans ,place bread in pots lower to 460 , bake 20 min and remove lids and bake 15 min til 210 degrees. Crust snapped and crackled. Amazing fragrance from the pepitas. Lovely crumb but no spring to speak of.Glistening crumb and very tender due to the YW. This is going to be served with a black bean soup tonight . RYW ready to go :  photo IMG_6695_zpse1a8a521.jpg AYW ready :  photo IMG_6696_zps117997ab.jpg "shaped" and seeds on ready for basket to proof:  photo IMG_6697_zps593635ac.jpg straight from fridge:  photo IMG_6700_zps267cefc7.jpg finished:  photo IMG_6701_zpsa15ce6fc.jpg crumb shots:  photo IMG_6702_zps0e9ad8ea.jpg  photo IMG_6703_zps5988ccb8.jpg  photo IMG_6705_zps64ff31a5.jpg

dabrownman's picture

What is the Best Thing You Can Put On Pumpernickel?

I’m not sure exactly but Pate Maison has to be one of them.  The great thing about Pate Maison is that it is true to its name.  As master of your house, you can put what ever you want in it so it is like your favorite loaf of bread you invented and like the best.


I only make this rich dish once a year, right before Thanksgiving, and it is a large one made in Lucy’s largest soufflé.  Before baking it weighs over 4 pounds, just in various sausages, bacon, ham, beef and chicken livers alone.


The other ingredients are a caramelized mix of 1 large onion, 8 oz of crimini mushrooms, 1/4 of a bell pepper, 1 small carrot and rib of celery all cut into cut into sticks.  The greens are a mix of parsley, 2 green onions and a little bit of arugula and chopped Swiss chard.


 A half a stick of butter is used to sauté 3/4ths of the 1 pound 4 oz of chicken livers in (3minutes only) with some thyme and 2 tsp of pepper and 1 garlic clove.  Cut; 8 oz of your favorite ham  into sticks and 2 hard boiled eggs cut in half.  The sausages were 8 oz each of fresh; Mexican chorizo, hot Italian, beef boudin, andouille and pork country breakfast all home made.


You hold back 1/4 of the ham sticks, 4 chicken livers that are uncooked and chopped in half and the eggs so that you can decorate middle of the pate so when sliced it is a stunner visually.  The remaining bulk of chicken livers are liquefied in a food processor.


To assemble you mix, the caramelized onion  and mushrooms, red bell carrot and celery sticks, green onion, arugula parsley, Swiss chard,  3/4 ths of the ham sticks and the liquefied sautéed chicken livers in with the sausages with a large heavy spoon along with 2 T of brandy and 1 T of dry sherry. 


Line the soufflé with the 12 oz of smoked bacon slices making sure they are long enough to cover the top when the soufflé is full of pate.  Put half the mix in the bottom and then decorate the middle with the reserved egg, ham sticks and raw chicken livers and then cover with the rest of mix and fold over the bacon to cover the top.


Make sure to place the covered soufflé (I have a lid but you can use foil) in a jelly roll pan to catch the copious amounts of fat that will be rendered as it bakes at 350 F for 2 1/2 hours.  Take the lid or foil off with an hour to go to brown the bacon on top.


As it cools put a plate on top and turn the soufflé over squeezing out as much fat as you can. Then leave the pate on top and weigh down with something heavy, I used large enchilada sauce cans.  When cool, keep the weight on and refrigerate overnight.


Un-mold after 12 hours in fridge and cut the huge pate into 8 wedges and freeze them to be ready anytime during the Holidays!  Now if Ski was like me he would take half to the smoker for an hour of smoke just to put the cap in the bottle and have a different pate to choose from!


 My favorite topping for my favorite bread - it must be close to the holiday season for sure!  Happy Holiday Baking!

 And yes.....You can have it for breakfast if no one is looking!  The innocent looking lunch has a sandwich what I am sure is even illegal in Canada - A Pate, Pastrami, Pumpernickel, Paddy Melt with Brie.  It might be the most delicious sandwich Lucy has dreamt up lately - certainly the most decadent.

flourgirl51's picture

La Cloche or Bread Dome?

I am thinking of getting a stoneware baker and am undecided between the LaCloche and the Bread Dome, both made by Sassafrass. 

Has anyone compared the two as far as size and functionality?

Floydm's picture

Thanksgiving Baking Ideas

Many wonderful Thanksgiving recipes have been posted on TFL over the years.  Here are a handful:



Lunch Lady Rolls




Thanksgiving Multi-Grain Marble Chacon



Sourdough pumpkin cornmeal buns



Pumpkin breads




Sweet Potato Rolls




Cranberry nut rolls




Buttermilk Cluster



Struan Bread



Cranberry-Orange Walnut Bread




Light Rye Bread



Pumpkin Quick Bread



Wild Rice & Onion Bread



Searching for Thanksgiving here turns up a bunch more wonderful looking recipes and photos.


Link to you favourites below!