The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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hansjoakim's picture

Pistachio frangipane tarts and some birkes

Summer is most definitely my favourite time of the year. And finally it's here! Few things are better than wandering about outdoors in the early hours of morning, letting the sun shine down on you and inhaling the refreshing scents of wet grass, blooming flowers and the fresh, salty air blowing in from the sea.

Summer also means an abundance of ripe berries and fruit. Yesterday I spotted some lush, perfectly ripe strawberries that a farmer was selling. When you get them just right; blood red, plump, juicy and wildly fragrant, few things outmatch strawberries. Strawberries pair perfectly with pistachios, so this morning I prepared some pistachio frangipane tarts and dressed them up with some succulent berries after baking. Below is a photo of blind baked pâte sucrée shells and pistachio frangipane in the red bowl. For the pistachio frangipane, I mixed 2 parts pistachio cream (just replace almond meal with pistachio meal in your almond cream recipe) with 1 part Grand Marnier flavoured pastry cream.

Pistachio frangipane tarts


The tarts were filled 2/3 the way up with pistachio frangipane and baked at 190C for 15 - 20 mins, until baked through. They were then cut into smaller portions and brought along to the office together with some freshly baked tebirkes. A terrific summer treat :)

Pistachio frangipane tarts and tebirkes


Lisakemr's picture

Independence Day!

This 4th of July the party at my house was my kid's party! As I looked out across my yard at these adults that I watched grow I thought about how independent they are! My son a C.P.A. and my daughter graduating next year from college and already doing her internship. Frank, my son's friend since playschool, working in accounting, living in Philadelphia. He has a really sweet girlfriend and I must say I am proud of him! Ray is on his way to Law School already has a degree in accounting. He also is living in Philadelphia! I am proud of him! Andy working towards becoming a doctor, Wey working in computers! I am proud of all of them!
I am so thankful that after growing up and becoming" Independent " my children still like to hang out with Karl and I! They like to bring their friends over and hang out with my friends! This is a great time for Karl and I, we do not have as much responsibility towards our kids. They have become are friends and we really do enjoy them! I like how "Independent" they are! I like having them around! The day after the Party I noticed someone wrote on my blackboard "Karl and his family Rock". I laughed and thought no! You kids rock and you can come here anytime and hang out!
You are probably wondering what this has to do with a Brick Oven? The party of course was around the oven. We served 20 Pizzas and the oven was the main attraction! We had Lillian, Franks mom, baking pies! George had a shift at the oven! Joe, of course always eager to help me with the pizza!
The Fireworks were awesome thanks to Frankie and K.C.
 I want to thank Craftmetal for making a pizza prep counter for me! I really like the insulated well for my toppings! I love being able to make pizza in the barn next to the oven!

Thanks Craftmetal!

ananda's picture

Fabulous Flickr Changes! Not


It seems as if flickr are bragging about their "bigger, faster, more" photo upload page.

Well, I'm trying to post a new blog entry, and having great difficulty loading photos from flickr to the blog entry using the "grab url" tool.

Do I now have to upload these photos in a smaller size first, as I don't seem to be able to edit to a small size on flickr and then paste these into the blog entry?

Can any photo expert advise me out there please?

Many thanks in anticipation


PeteBlenk's picture

Home Stonegrinding


I recently bought a home stonegrinder in order to max out on the health aspects that come with baking whole-grain breads. I have a couple of questions with which I would appreciate some help.

1) When grinding, should one let the stones touch each other? At this stage I am quite scared of damaging the stones, but i am finding that if the stones have fairly reasonable (i.e not terribly light) contact with each other, I get a very nice medium coarseness

2) Should one partially grind the grain to a coarse grind and then go fine, or should one just go straight for fine? I tried the two step process and found that the flour didn't come out a whole lot finer whilst the bran stayed exactly as is. If the two stage process is better, how coarse should the first grind be?

3) Whilst I understand that the friction will raise the temperature of the flour, what is an acceptable temperature for the flour to come out?

4) What are the signs of a good quality grind, and what are the indicators for having messed it up?


Thanks a lot,


Neo-Homesteading's picture

Bialystoker Kuchen (bialy)

I've recently stumbled upon the tradition of making Polish bialy. This was my first try at the recipe and I found them to be absolutely amazing. Although I am not Jewish and have never had one before in my life I think I gave it a good effort and made my own variation that is wonderful and tasty. (with my sourdough starter of course!)


External Link to blogpost and recipe:

ramat123's picture

Stand mixer / spiral mixer mixing time


I'm baking Mamelman's whole wheat bread for a couple of weeks and want to see if any of you know what is the mixing rate of Hamelman's 3 minutes on a spiral mixer first speed then 2.5 minutes on the second speed in a home stand mixer with what we call here a "knead hook" not a spiral one.

Thanks a lot,


Neo-Homesteading's picture



So this is my first Introduction entry to the fresh loaf site. My name is Cat, I'm a homemaker, wife and mother of two young sons. My primary passion is of course being a mother but my real fascination is being a cook and baker. I run my own blog at, my short term goals are satisfying my families need to eat, and ideally I'd like to publish a cook book. My long term goals well... I'd like my children to be grown with fond  memories of how I tried extra hard to give them cherished food memories, for as long as I can remember I've documented things in my mind by the foods of each occasion. Many years from now I really just want my family to have great memories and to be proud of me. 

Although I maintain my own personal blog regularly I plan to update on this site as well. For a few years now I've become mildly obsessed with all things bread, and sourdough especially. I do bake from scratch and often make every meal as home made as possible but my passion is baking and fermenting. In addition to being obsessed with bread I also home brew my own meads, wines and beers, and I'm fond of home preserving. The absolute perfect supper to me is a glass of home brewed mead, a loaf of crusty bread and sometimes even a home preserved chutney or jam. So this is my hello I hope to offer something to this lovely bread head community! 


Dearest Regards, 


carnub's picture

London bakeries & bread baking utensils



I'm travelling to London for a week later this month and really want to visit a good bakery. Any recommendations?


I'm also looking for a good shop to pick up a few good baking utensils, again any recommendations would be a great help.


Many thanks in advance.

RobertS's picture

pH strips to the rescue!!!

Still working on making a seed culture, using dark rye flour, so I can create my first barm, so I can make my first sourdough loaf. To make a long story short, conflicting information I had read caused two misfires with my first two starters. Both misfires hinged on the problem of knowing for certain when a seed culture has been successfully created. In one source, it said wait for bubbling and doubling. In another source, it said wait for yeasty smell AND doubling. In another source, it said if there is a yeasty smell, it means the yeast are dead!   OK, so I plunged ahead.  Well, on my first starter, I got the doubling and proceeded to next stage, i.e., mixing up a sponge. Nothing whatsoever happened, not even bubbling, for 5 days (not the 4-6 hours I was hoping for!!). On next attempt, I got bubbling and doubling, but understood that was just bacteria action. For 6 days now, nothing further has happened, despite my following instructions faithfully.

Then I whipped up another batch as per BBA seed culture instructions, but ordered in some food pH test strips. Day 3, which is today, I got doubling, and followed Reinhard's instruction to toss 1/2 and feed again, nevertheless. But where, really, really, is this concoction at, anyway, I asked myself? Gas or yeast expansion?  The smell is --- i don't know--- definitely not yeasty, but it is not unpleasant. My nose hasn't told me anything, really. So I dipped in my handy-dandy pH strip and discovered the culture is at 5. And a couple of bubbles are just starting to make their appearance.

Now I KNOW where my culture is at. (Thank you, Debra Wink.) I look forward to tomorrow, when I probably will be ready to make my barm, and definitely will not be tempted to think that maybe any future doubling is bacteria-caused. And yes, I will take another pH reading just to make sure.

I don't know if anyne has used pH strips in their baking, but as for me, I believe they are a great and really cheap tool which I intend to use from now on.




ramat123's picture

My favorite loaf recipe

Hi tfl,

I am baking artisan bread for quite some time now and use your info on this site intensively.
It is now the time to try to return something back to the forum and ask a question.
The recipe is taken from a mix of a few sources and was developed during dozens of loaves in a home oven where my colleges at work who keep buying it twice a week helped me a lot with their comments.
The overall characteristic of the bread is a 33% bread flour, 33% whole wheat flour and 33% whole rye flour. The leaven is 70% hydration with the same mix of flours. The crust is quite thick and stays very crunchy for several hours after the bake. The crumb is somewhat dense and a little chewy. Just a little. It gives the bread a great country taste.

Here is a picture of it. (It's better than the pictures).



Here is the overall recipe:

Dough intergradient's
240 gram whole rye flour.
280 gram whole wheat flour.
280 gram bread flour.
590 gram water.
270 gram 70% hydration starter.
Salt 24 gram

12 hours before the final mix add the following to a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic and put in about 24c for 10-14 hours until it ripens.
60 gram whole rye flour
60 gram whole wheat flour
60 gram bread flour
125 gram water
25 gram of mature starter.

Add all the intergradient's to mixing bowl except for the salt.
Mix 30 seconds after the dough comes together on first speed.
Add the salt.
Mix on second speed for 3 minutes. The dough should be developed and not very wet.
Put the dough in a lightly floured plastic for a bulk fermentation of 2 hours.
Fold once after 1 hours.

Final fermentation
Shape two oval or round loaves. Let rest in proofing baskets for 4-5 hours. 45 minute before the bake start the oven to 230c with a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven.
2 minutes before the push the loaves to the oven steam the oven with ½ cup of water. Then, another ½ cup just before loading the loaves.
Score the loaves and load them to the oven.
Bake for 1 hour.
Slightly open the door 3 minutes before the end of the bake.
Cool down.
Preferably, let rest for at least 4 hours.

Hope some of you will find this bread as good as me.
Please let me know if you know of other recipes with similar characteristics.
Thanks a lot,