The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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txfarmer's picture

Fresh Fig Bread - And other fig things

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

After a long summer of record high temperatures, I am so very ready for fall. Fresh figs in store, that's surely a sign of good things to come right? Like double digit "cool" weather? No matter how hot it is, I know fig season is fleeting, better hurry up and make the best of them.

First some fig jam.


Then a fragipane fig tart with pine nut crust.


Finally with the last 8 figs I have on hand, and that delicious fig jam, I made some bread rolls.

Note: makes 8 bread rolls

Note: total flour is 250g

- levain

starter (100%), 13g

water, 22g

bread flour, 41g

1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (73F) for 12 hours.

- Final Dough
bread flour, 203g
sugar, 10g
salt, 5g
butter, 15g, softened
powdered milk, 13g
milk, 50g
water, 107g
levain, all
fresh fig, 8
fig jam, some

1. Mix everything but fig and fig jam until stage 3 of windowpane (-30sec), see this post for details.
2. Rise at room temp for 2 hours, punch down, put in fridge overnight.
3. Takeout, round, rest for 1 hour.
4. Roll out into 10X12inch rectangle, cut into 8 stripes along the short side, each is 10X1.5inch. For each stripe of dough, spread fig jam, then roll up with a fresh fig in the middle. The fig in the middle can be left whole, or peeled, or cut and put into patterns.

4. rise at room temp for about 5 hours. The dough would have double or even tripled by then, if it can't, your kneading is not enough or over.


5. Bake at 400F for about 25min.


Soft and fluffy bread dough matches well with the clean sweet taste of fresh fig.


I don't like it too sweet, so the amount of fig jam in the rolls was pretty modest. I figure that I can always add more jam when I eat it.


ramat123's picture

Different Flours Sourdough Starters Charateristics

Hi Bakers,

After baking for a couple of years I want to revisit the different sourdough starters charateristics. Can you point me to books / links / posts that compare the different starters and their impact on the final dough and bread?

All the best,


PMcCool's picture

Prepping starter for travel

As part of my preparation to move from South Africa back to the United States, I dried my sourdough starter using two different techniques.  The first was to simply smear a thin layer of batter-consistency starter across some parchment paper and allow it to dry at room temperature.  The second was to mix flour into some starter until it was reduced to crumbs.  I found that a mezzalune was very helpful in the latter stages of incorporating the flour by allowing me to chop the progressively stiffening starter into smaller and smaller pieces while blending in more flour.

The finished product, two bags of crumbed starter and three bags of flaked starter:

That gives me one packet per suitcase.  Each will be appropriately labeled.  Hopefully, at least one and maybe all will arrive home with me. 

I'm interested to start rehydrating a bit of each to see which one comes back to fighting trim more quickly.  I'll post follow-ups when I can.


loydb's picture

Experiments in Pasta #2: Spinach-Garlic Fettucini

Last night was my second attempt at homemade pasta using home-milled flour. While my first attempt ( was delicious, I tried a few new things based on comments there and reading elsewhere.

 I started out milling a 50/50 mix of durum wheat (14%) and hard white wheat (13%). After milling, I used a #30 mining pan (yes, as in 'gold mining.' It fits perfectly on 5 gallon buckets and large containers like the one shown) to sift out some of the bran, ending up with 85% extraction by weight. I ended up with a little more than 2 cups of flour.

Next, I medium-chopped three cloves of garlic and sauted them in a tablespoon of butter for 5 minutes or so, then added 6 oz of fresh spinach, sprinkled lightly with kosher salt, and cooked 3-4 minutes, until nicely wilted. Moved to a seive and let drain and cool a bit for 20 minutes.

After draining, I put the spinach/garlic mix into a blender, added two room-temperature eggs, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil (remember there's butter and salt from the spinach). Blended up, and poured into a well with the flour.

I worked this in with a fork until it became too much to stir. After ending up with an excessively wet dough last time, I was determined to sneak up on the proper hydration this time. I dumped the still-dry mixture onto my board, and began working in water by hand until it just came together.

After about 12 minutes of kneading, it came together into a nice dough that felt like Play-do. It wasn't at all sticky, nor was it noticably dry. I sprayed it with olive oil, put the lid on the container, and then went about my day. I got back to it four hours later. I put it on a lightly floured board, rolled it out to about the thickness of a pencil, and fired up the Atlas.

This time, I only had to add a tiny, tiny bit of flour to the sheets between setting 3 and 4, and they cut perfectly. They got to dry for right at an hour while I worked on everything else.

Here's the final dish. Toasted almond slivers, mushrooms, onions, garlic and green peas with shrimp. The pasta was cooked for around 4 minutes, then mixed in with everything for a couple of minutes in the pan. It had a great flavor, and was sooooo soft, almost like udon.


freerk's picture

parker house rolls

Dear TFL-ers,

Time for another American Classic

Dainty and small, buttery and fluffy on the inside, with a nice crisp crust. They must have been all the craze back in the days they were created: Parker House Rolls. Coming from the same place as the Boston Cream Pie, created around the 1870-s, allegedly by a baker who threw a fit and clenched the dough he held in his hand before throwing it back on the counter. By happy accident the rolls, folded over themselves, bloomed into  little delicate rolls during proofing. Whether this story has any truth to it....

The Parker House roll has evolved since then. When googling some of the images, you see a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The BreadLab likes to proof them with the "backbone" of the roll on the sheet pan, going up instead of sideways, pinching the dough ever so lightly together to create that nice "blooming effect"during the final proof, almost like you would do with dumplings. Make sure not to pinch them too tight, or they won't get "undone" during final proofing!

Parker House in Boston (click the picture, to go to the video!)

More than on their own accord, these rolls were made world famous by Fannie Farmer. A great name to begin with (once heard, never forgotten), and a perfect name when you're in the food business, or so it seems. Her cookbook "The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook" triumphed as soon as it hit the market. The rest is history: by now about 4 million copies have been sold. Good for Fannie, because the publisher at the time didn't want to take the chance and made her pay for the printed copies, so she kept all the rights to her self! Go Fannie!

The original online! (click pic to go to the video)

The original publication is  online as part of The Historic American Cookbook Project and makes great reading for bake crazy people, but knowing you TFL-ers, you probably have a pdf copy on your hard drives already! If you don't; download it for free, it really makes good reading, and is a great source of inspiration. Whenever I feel like "an American classic", I turn to Fannie (okay, and sometimes Julia as well, but I think that is more because I just can't resist her voice).

There are some videos out there that show how to make Parker House Rolls. The BreadLab takes on the challenge of getting more views than Martha Stewart though, so if you would please give me a helping hand ;-) Looking for the link? Click either of the two pictures in this post and you will be taken there!

Happy Baking!


P.S. If you are on Facebook, check out my "BreadLab" page. If you "like" it, hit the like-button and help me get my bread-project funded. One second of your time, and a big difference for me :-)



update: it seems it can be done:

here here! wanna see the vid: click te play button :-))) thanx Floyd!

PiPs's picture

Bakery Photography

Found some nice photography of a couple of Australian bakeries from a photographer by the name of John Reyment.

He is working on a project for a milling company producing documentary style images of the bakeries they partner with.

Thought they were nice...

Cheers, Phil

alexlegeros's picture

Why I Started Baking Bread

Greetings fellow bread bakers and bread lovers,

I have been thinking all morning about what led me to bake bread, and I think it might be fun to share some stories and experiences about how we all came to this really rewarding activity.  I think we all come to breads in a very personal and meaningful way, and I'd like to hear from you what it was like. 


Here's the link to my blog where this post is hosted.  Hope you don't mind my attempts at MS Paint illustration!  Be kind--all I have is a touchpad!

PiPs's picture

Morning storm with walnuts

We had a bleary eyed start to Saturday after a late evening celebrating my birthday. A dinner out with friends at a fantastic bistro

Taste sensation of the night was baked fresh dates stuffed with gorgonzola, mixed cress salad, pedro ximinez dressing…OMG!!!

Anyway … bleary eyed today.

This week’s bake was about sifted flour and walnuts. I kept it simple, no tempering, no focussing on multiple passes…
The night before mixing – one pass then sift and remill caught material then sift again. Combine the sifted flours. I caught about 10% weight of my original flour, but I am not focussing too much on the extraction rates.

The weather here for the past few days has been very erratic, making my starter builds and bread planning a little dicey. This morning was no exception as a thunderstorm rolled through Brisbane at around 6:30am, dropping temperatures dramatically.

I mixed two doughs today, one with walnuts and the other using two starters (a rye and a firm sifted wholewheat). The rye starter originated from my desem starter and has been refreshed over a week with freshly milled rye flour.

Walnuts and oil

Walnut Bread
Total dough weight: 2kgs
Hydration: 85%
Prefermented Flour: 10%
DDT: 22-24°C

Sifted wholewheat starter @ 60% Hydration: 172g
Sifted wholewheat: 900g
Fresh milled rye: 73g
Water: 855g
Salt: 21g
Lightly roasted walnuts: 3 cups
Walnut oil: 2tbps

Autolyse flour and water for 1hr.

With wet hands squeeze and incorporate starter, salt and walnut oil into dough until smooth and feel no lumps then place in oiled container.

Bulk ferment roughly 4hrs with four stretch and folds 30min apart in the first 2hrs and another gentle stretch and fold at 3hr mark. Walnuts are squeezed through dough after 2nd stretch and fold.

Divide and preshape. Bench rest 20min. Shape.

Bench resting Country Bread and Walnut Breads

Final proof was roughly 1hr at room temperature (22°)…was surprised how fast this proof was.

Bake with steam on stone for 10mins at 250°C then a further 35mins at 200°C.

The walnut oil was mentioned in the “Tartine bread” book and is something I have always wanted to try. It is aromatic and rich, almost intoxicating. A fine walnut bread toasted, spread with honey and ricotta is amazing.

Walnut Bread

Walnut Crumb

Walnut gringe


Country Bread with two starters
Total dough weight: 2kgs
Hydration: 82%
Prefermented Flour: 15%
DDT: 22-24°C

Rye starter @ 110% Hydration: 115g
Sifted wholewheat starter @ 60% Hydration: 180g
Sifted wholewheat: 933g
Water: 773g
Salt: 25g

Country bread with two starters

Autolyse flour and water for 1hr.

With wet hands squeeze and incorporate starters into dough until smooth and feel no lumps then knead for 10mins (I use slap and fold). Rest dough for 5mins. Incorporate salt and knead for a further 10mins.

Bulk ferment 3hrs with three stretch and folds 30min apart in the first 1.5hrs.

Divide and preshape. Bench rest 20min. Shape.

Final proof was roughly 30min at room temperature (22°) then into fridge for 2hrs and back onto bench for 1hr before baking…it was a messy proof, but the oven was busy….slightly underproved…I love the dramatic look :)

Bake in preheated dutch oven for 20mins at 250°C then a further 20mins at 200°C removed from dutch oven and placed on stone for even browning.

These were baked boldly.

Country breads

Country bread crumb

The country bread was fantastic, I love the dark flavours of the crust. Brittle and thin due to dutch oven baking.

Well ... the desem starter is again happily snoozing in the fridge ... but …

… I now have a rye starter sitting on the bench taunting me …

All the best, Phil




jamesjr54's picture

Swiss Bernese Oberland

Baked a version of Lumos' Swiss/Bernese Oberland today. I think hydration was a little too high, and gluten not developed enough. Still happy with my progress. And tastes great!

2.5 hrs w/ 2 S&F bulk ferment

14 hr cold retard

3 hr final proof

20 minutes in combo cooker in non-preheated 550F oven. Uncovered and cooked 35 minutes at 475F.

And it's already gone for lunch! 


Floydm's picture

Canadian Thanksgiving

Monday is Thankgiving Day in Canada.  I'm listening to CBC 1 and they are talking all about turkey, cranberries, and stuffing.  Yum.

For Canadians looking for recipes to bake this weekend, a few of the more popular Thanksgiving recipes here:

 Buttermilk Cluster

 Sweet Potato Rolls

 Wild Rice & Onion Bread 

I think the latter is my favorite, though I bake them as rolls rather than loaves.  Just follow the technique used in the Sweet Potato Rolls recipe.

Happy Thanksgiving!