The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dwfender's picture

Beer ingredients = Bread ingredients?

I was in a Whole Foods today. If you're from NYC it was the Houston St one. I came to find out that have an entire section devoted to beer. In this section is about 20 different whole grain barleys and wheats etc that you can use in the beer making process. Some of them looked look very interesting. Caramel flavors, smoked grains, different exotic wheats etc. I dont have a grain mill BUT, I was thinking about getting some of these grains, cracking them, doing a LOOOONNGGGG soak, maybe 2 days, and incorporating them into a dough. 

Has anyone had any experience with stuff like this. I've never done anything like this before so I'm more or less taking an educated guess on whether the technique would be right and the ingredients would be edible. Suggestions?!

dabrownman's picture

With Cinco de Mayo Yesterday - Hope You Had a Happy One! Cinco Sunset, Moon Rise and Dinner

we thought we would publish our masa recipe that folks seems to love more than others.  It is a little different and just plain delicious. Once you make your own masa, tortillas and tamales, and they don't have to be this fancy, you just won't want to buy them - even though you will.


For a dry mix, we swear by Minsa Corn Masa Harina for Tamales (make sure it is for tamales and not tortillas) made in Muleshoe, Texas - but any will do.  Dry mix may be the most available across the USA so this recipe will use it even though some Brownman have been known to make fresh from hominy on occasion, or buy fresh from the Mexican Mercado.

Masa for Tamales and Tortillas

1 C dry masa harina

3/4 C home made chicken stock - have a little extra in case it is dry - I used 7/8 C total

1/4 C  fat.  (use 1/3 bacon and sausage dripping, 1/3 butter and 1/3 lard)

1/2 tsp salt

2 T of chopped very fine Swiss chard - I grow my own

1/8 tsp each dry peppers; mole, chipotle, arbol, ancho, smoked paprika

1/8 tsp each dried oregano, cumin, coriander

1/4 tsp baking powder

Directions - Mix the fat with the harina by cutting it in with a pasrty cutter.  Add the chicken stock, peppers and spices and mix with a spoon until well combined.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  For tortillas I use the bottom of 1 qt sauce pan to smash down a golf ball sized ball of masa into a 1/8" thick tortilla.  Do this between two oiled sheets of plastic wrap  if you don't want get mad and want to harm your baking apprentice.  Then gently peel off the top plastic and then peel off the tortilla with the pal side of your hand making sure to overlap only 50% of the tortilla.  Then lay the other 50% of the tortilla in a small dry Teflon pan heated to medium low while releasing the other 50% from your hand.  I make my tamales in banana leaves, corn husks or parchment paper.  These were made in parchment.

With this masa you can make, tacos, tamales, chips and quesadillas - some of which follow in pictures.  Salmon tacos, pork carnitas tamales and chicken  quesadillas.  All were served with; crema and yogurt chipotle roulade, home made; pico de geudo with corn, guacamole, chili tomatillo verde sauce, red pepper sause, mole sauce, chipotle sauce, seasoned cabbage, Mexican dirty green rice  and puerano, pinto, and black beans with smoked pork jowl.

And a little huevos rancheros for breakfast in the morning with chorizo, chipotle roulade and fake YW pretzel bread after sleeping on typical AZ sunset. 

Cinco de mayo sunset, moonrise and dinner.




mwilson's picture

Panettone - A test of will - A new path

Those who know me understand that Panettone is my thing! I have baked this wonderful bread-like cake countless times and I have pretty much dedicated myself to the art that is making Panettone. The technical ability required to produce Panettone is the pinnacle of understanding bread dough. It forces you to understand all aspects, including; controlling sourdough fermentation to achieve the desired acidity and yeast activity. And most challenging for me, understanding dough rheology, to be able to successfully mix this heavily rich dough. I believe anyone that can make real (sourdough) Panettone can truly make any bread.

I'm still on a high as recently I managed to make what I consider to be the most difficult recipe, entitled 'Modern Panettone'  this comes from master pastry chef Iginio Massari via his wonderful book "Cresci - The Art of Leavened Dough". This is the richest one of all. 40% sugar + another 4% honey. 53% butter and 48% egg yolks.

Making this particular Panettone was no easy feat. I have experienced many moments of despair trying so hard and not understanding why it hasn't worked. Often I would chuck an over-mixed dough in the bin. So many times I declared "I am never baking again" and yet here I am. Baking is clearly an obsession. Even those things that seem impossible at the time can be achieved with endeavor!

These shots don't do it justice but here are some close ups:

Other than uneven fruit distribution and a wild and uncontrolled oven spring this Panettone is perfect. It's so light and yet firm at the same time. Sweet, feathery soft, buttery and just delicious. This truly is a celebratory cake and not just for Christmas!

Many thanks to those that follow my work and to those that have supported me. 

If there are any bakeries out there that are interested in making Panettone, I would be happy to offer my services as a consultant.

Now, where to go from here... A new path / career awaits.

Goodbye all.


Severance's picture

Malt Powder Substitution

I have a few bagel recipes that I want to try, but they require malt powder. I have searched everywhere I can think of locally (grocery stores, health food stores, liquor stores, etc.) and can't find this anywhere. I don't want to spend $12 buying malt powder online and then have to pay for shipping when I only have a few recipes that require it.

My question is this: can I use sugar as a substitute for malt powder?

I ask because I was reading a definition of what malt powder is and it says that malt powder is "made from grain that is fermented, then dried and ground. The process turns the grain's starch into sugar." I was thinking, since I can't find it anywhere, that I might be able to use sugar instead of malt powder. If I can't substitute it, does anyone have any suggestions of where else I can look for it.'s picture

Question: Pourable Pita

Hi Everyone!

So i was recently in greece and saw this guy making fresh pita for his gyro store. 

The pita was made on a griddle and was poured on (he made a premade mix, just like how you would find one of pancakes made)


Any ideas of how to do this?  anyone have a recipe? instructions? videos?

i grill/rottiserie meat all the time... and the concept of being able to produce fresh pita (pourable) and still have it soft and chewy warms me up inside!!!


your help/assistance would be greatly appreciated!  thanks!!!

keebs45's picture

NY Sicilian Pizza dough


Does anyone have a good NY Sicilian style pizza dough recipe?  I've had a craving and living in Boston I've only found a few close substitutes.  I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a shot at home to hold my over until my next trip home.  I know it's all about the dough, it needs to be thick and soft on the inside, a little crispy on the outside and most importantly it has to taste good. 

Thank you in advance!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Question: How to get maximum banana flavour into a (non-quick-bread) banana bread?

I'm going to make a sourdough banana (maybe banana nut) bread that's not a quick-bread.

  • Some of the banana will be dried/dehydrated banana, which has an intense banana flavour (added to final dough(and maybe the preferment))
  • Some of the banana will be very ripe, pureed banana (added to final dough (and maybe preferment))


I've added banana (and other fruits and sugar-laden ingredients) to preferments before, but it always seems like 'a waste': the bacteria/yeast eat the available sugars in the fruit, etc. and the flavour 'disappears'.

Is there any way to use banana in a preferment that doesn't result in lost banana flavour? Use less ripe bananas? Do you have other procedures that have resulted in intense banana flavour in a final loaf. (I'm really trying to avoid repeated failures re: just a hint of banana!).

A search returns 38,000+ results (Banana Pain au Levain looks neat!), so if you've had a recipe or a procedure that's worked particularly well for you, please point me to it. I open to all forms of incorporating banana flavour into the bread. I want a bread that has an intense banana flavour.



badmajon's picture

Determining rye starter "doneness"

I can usually tell when a wheat flour based sourdough starter is ready to use and at a good potency when it doubles and begins to fall after about 4-6 hours. I use a 1:4 build, usually works fine. I just keep repeating it until I get a peak and fall in about 4-6 hours like I said.

However lately I've been having trouble incorporating this logic into my rye based sourdough because my wholemeal rye flour has so little gluten in it that it doesn't really rise. It just kinda bulges slightly. I've now gotten in the habit of tasting it to see how sour it is but its not ideal for various reasons. Does anyone have a technique here for rye based sourdough starters?

My breads are barely rising and I suspect a badly made starter but I have no idea how to fix this...

Szanter5339's picture

Mákos és szilvalekváros tekercs. Plum jam and poppy seed rolls

Mákos és szilvalekváros tekercsMájus elsején sütiverseny volt a falunkban. Ezt a szépséges és nagyon finom kalácsot sütöttem. Mákkal és szilvalekvárral töltöttem a rudakat.  A legkreatívabb süti  különdíját kaptam. A kedvenc kalácstésztából készítettem.
2 dl langyos tej3 evőkanál cukor1 tk só50 g puha vaj2 tojás sárga100 g joghurt600 g liszt20g élesztő+ 1 tojás a kenéshezPlum jam and poppy seed rolls
May Day cake competition was in our village. This beautiful and very tasty cake baked.
I spent the plum jam and poppy seed rolls.
The most creative cake I got the special prize.
My favorite kalácstésztából made.
2 dl warm milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp salt
50 g butter, softened
2 egg yolks
100 g of yogurt
600 g flour
20g yeast
+ 1 egg for lubrication
daveazar531's picture

My take on Nutella and Roasted Hazelnut Challah

I was in the mood for nutella so i started googling what i could do with the stuff and i ran accross this

Steamy Kitchen Article

But i am tring to not use the NK bread as much anymore so i used the BBA recepit for Challah. the only thing i didnt do was let the  4 strand loaf proof for 90 minutes. its getting late and i didnt want to wait. i got some decent oven spring(gas oven, no steam). For a rookie who doesnt really follow the "rules" im really happy with the result.

Up intill the shaping of the braids i followed BBA formula. I scaled and preformed the braids so they would roll easyer then I used a serated knife to open each braid and load it with nuttela.


Pinching them shut can get messy but i realised that if you let the weight of the braid strech the dough as you pinch it is much cleaner

 Considering i only let the loaf rest 10 minutes before putting it in the oven and i didnt bother with steam im happy. I would have liked my if the loaf had a better shine to it. A better glaze then the one I used (egg whites and a little half an half) might be the right move next time

Crumb pictures from this morning