The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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d_a_kelly's picture

Pandoro a sfoglia

This one isn't very seasonal at the moment, but I love eating it for breakfast. It's so buttery and soft that I really don't think it needs an accompaniment. The recipe is taken from "non solo zucchero vol.II" where it is called pandoro evolution, but it is very similar to the pandoro a sfoglia from Cresci. 

Main impasto - in grams

sweet starter (50% humidity) 45

dry active yeast 3

very strong flour 179

sugar 36

unsalted butter (soft but not melted) 27

egg 107

salt 3.5

half a vanilla pod 

melted butter flavour 0.3 (I've made this before without the flavouring and it tasted exactly the same - but it's in the recipe so I've included it here).


mix all the ingredients together and work it until it forms a smooth, elastic dough. It should be strong and windowpane, but still very slightly sticky. Wrap it in plastic and put it in the freezer. I left it in there for an about an hour, but the book actually recommends overnight at -10C. While this is firming up, I worked on the butter for lamination:

softened unsalted butter 147

icing sugar 39 


mix the two ingredients together thoroughly, then pat into a square, wrap, and put in the fridge to firm up. When both parts are at the right consistency, take 362 of the dough and laminate it as if you were making croissants - 3 simple turns in total, with at least half an hour between each turn. It ought to look something like this when you've finished:


the total weight is 550g.

The difficult bit is then forming this into a ball without breaking the laminations. The book gives absolutely no guidance here whatsoever! I usually fold the ends underneath and then roll it around until it looks more or less spherical. I doubt very much that this is the best method! The dough by this point is really quite resistant to being shaped. 

It looks so tiny in the tin - it's hard to believe that it can possibly fill it!

Leave it to prove at about 27C and at least 60% humidity for about 10 - 12 hours. I left mine for 10 hours. 

I think it could easily have grown even more than this, so next time I might put less dough in the pandoro tin. As it was, it was just about to start spilling over the edge. If my shaping of the ball had been better then I also think this might have helped.

Leave it in the open air for about 30 minutes in order to form a skin on the dough and then it goes in the oven for 30 minutes at 170C. Leave it in the tin for a few hours after cooking before turning out. Mine stuck a little bit - I should have used more flour and butter to grease the form. 

When it's ready to eat (after a few days), dust it in icing sugar and enjoy! 

I was very happy with the crumb on this one - really light and shreddy, with a wonderfully complex buttery taste. It just fell to pieces as I was cutting and eating it. 



varda's picture

Boston TFL Meet Up Report - Link to Lexington Minuteman Article

Update:   A photographer and reporter from the local paper stopped by our meet-up.   Here is the link to the article.   In the print version we were the top front page story.  

On Saturday, we had our Boston Area TFL meet up.   Ten intrepid bakers plus family members broke bread together.   Lots of bread.   Lots of really amazing, delicious, and varied bread.    We all had a great time chatting, and each had a chance to describe their bread, show and tell, and so on.   Ian and I took a lot of pictures, so I'll let the pictures do the talking.   (Ian's are the wider ones.   I shrunk mine down.)

The scene

Kristen's Volkornbrot and Hotcross Buns,  Colin's scrumpy buns

Ian's guacamole loaf

Jong Yang's multi-seed sourdough

Mike's many breads

Barb's dinner rolls, Bill's bagels and baguettes

Varda's breads

Ian's corn feta

Barb's Jalapeno rolls

Kirsten's Volkornbrot

Kristijan's Levain

And not just bread:

Jong Yang's egg custard tarts

Mike's pastrami

Lisa's chocolate chip and raspberry bread

Kristijan's salt cod salad next to his Levain

And people too:

Bill, Ian, Kirsten

Vinni, Mike, Bob

Kristijan and Olga



Me and bread

Jong Yang speaking


Colin, Bill, Kirsten

And stuff:

Jong Yang's homemade brotform next to Bob's Olive Rosemary Levain, Kristijan's Levain behind

Another Jong Yang wooden brotform

Jong Yang's homemade on top of stone steamers

Some of us brought starters to trade and smell

What else?   Probably more updates later and hopefully other attendees will chime in.

rossnroller's picture

Lazy, simple and utterly delicious Easter Sunday lunch

Made a pain de campagne first thing, and had some slices for lunch with some of the best smoked salmon I've tasted.

Followed up with a cuppa and a serve of my partner's incredible (and lethally rich) Easter fruit cake, which she made back in November, and has been feeding fortnightly with brandy ever since. We've been away in Thailand for the last month, and she was a bit worried that not feeding it during that time might have resulted in some drying out, but those fears were groundless. Just superb. Unfortuneately, didn't take any pics of the cake. Will do so when we have some more in the coming days, and will post a pic or two.

For now, here's the bread and salmon component of our modest but oh-so-delectable Sunday lunch.


BTW, my starter roared back into baking readiness with one feed after sitting in the fridge neglected for the 4 weeks we were away. What a trooper!





Best to all!

JoeV's picture

Easter Breads

Dinner rolls...


Old fasion egg bread...


Cinnamon swirl egg bread...

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Vancouver Sourdough Loaves & New Baking Equipment

Sometimes you pause and wonder why it took so long to do some things.

In the last week, I finally gathered some important tools that for no reason other than being busy and perhaps lazy, completed my home bread baking needs.

I had been struggling with scoring, more specifically the lack of blooming and ears.  With some help from David Snyder and these new tools, it looks like I have finally overcome these issues.

These are the three items I picked up.

1. Unglazed Quarry tiles:  Till now, I had simply been baking my breads directly on my trusty roaster pan.  I was not getting the proper burst of surface heat required for a proper bake.  $3.50 at a local tile supplier.  I hope in the future to find a larger square and have it custom cut to fit the roaster.

2. Razor Blades:  Till now, I was using a utility blade to score my loaves.  I realize now that the utility blade was much too thick compared to these Wilkinson Sword blades.  The scoring came effortlessly and helped in producing a nice swift, clean cut.

3. Local mill organic bread flour:  Till now, I was using Robin Hood Bread Flour.  A brand similar to King Arthur Flour in the states.  I finally picked up some good quality, freshly milled bread flour.  I will never go back to brand name, store bought flour.  Flavour was FAR superior and price cheaper per pound.

For many of you, these items are nothing but common sense and obvious items for successful home bread baking.  For me, it now a revelation and a must.

Here is today's bake that utilized these new tools for the first time.  It started out as Vermont Sourdough, but due to mishaps in the mixing stage, I made all kinds of additions and deletions to the original formula that I decided to call it a Vancouver Sourdough.  No offence to the JH original.

My trusty steaming method of a roaster, with 4 6"x6" stacked, and a tin can to hold the boiling water.

greedybread's picture

Happy Greedybread Easter!!! Pizza di Pasqua!!

This bread of gorgeousness is from Rome....

Happy eating!! Errr easter:)

Pizza di Pasqua is common throughout parts of Italy, each region having their own special way of making Easter bread, often with different names.

I made this last year, I made it in August as I was too greedy to wait till Easter:)

It was delicious, I ate most of it myself...

 BUT I felt I could make it better as there were a few tweaks I felt it needed.

My errors, not the wonderful Carol Fields!!

I didn't like the tin I made it in either....

It is a very rich almost cake like recipe, very delicate once baked.

Similar in cakeyness to Panettone and Pandoro but this is definitely more delicate than the other two and I feel more cake like than bready.

NB: All these breads are very dangerous as all are exceptionally delicious .

Because they are not overly sweet breads yet light, they are easily eaten in VERY large quantities....

And I never feel guilty either...

A bit ashamed of quantities consumed though....

Anyhow enough blithering.....


 Buona Pasqua!

So what will you need?

You really need a mixer here……….some patience………

 2 rises with about 4-6 hours rising time….

Get the yeasty going...
Waiting, Waiting....
Almost batter like...

For the sponge:

4 tsps dried yeast

1/2 cup of warm water

1/2 cup strong bread flour

Stir the yeast into warm water and allow to get creamy/ frothy usually 10 minutes.

Mix in flour to yeasty mix and combine well.

Cover tightly with gladwrap and let rise for one hour.

It will be very foamy/ soupish and needs to have big bubbles in it.

Ready for Rising....
Sneaky Peek...

For The Dough:

4 cups of strong bread flour

pinch of salt

10 egg yolks

1 cup of castor sugar

1/2 cup of milk

zest of 2 lemons

Zest of 3 oranges

2 tsp vanilla

150 g butter softened to room temperature.

Going in the oven....

You really need to use mixer…..

I was mixing for about 2-4 minutes per ingredient unless specified.

Place dry ingredients in a bowl.

Grate zest over the dough so all the oils go into the dough.

Add milk and vanilla to the spongey mix and combine well.

Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl and then add to spongey mix.

Combine well and then add to dry mix forming a soft dough.

Add in butter, 2 tbsps at a time, mixing through each addition.

Beat at low-medium speed for 10 minutes with dough hook if not already using!

I did this in 2-3 goes as not to over use the mixer but my greedygirl is older:)

Dough will be very soft and elasticy.

Mine was like a thick batter but you could see the elasticity in it...

Make sure your molds are very well-greased!!


I placed my dough like batter into the mold and placed on a tray, covered in warm place.

Allow to rise for 3 hours or until dough is doubled in size.

30 minutes before rising finishes, preheat oven to 205 celsius.

I did not do this step below this time but you can if you wish....gently , gently....

Lightly brush top with egg white and sprinkle with raw sugar or full granulated sugar.

In NZ coffee sugar would be good.

Look at the crumb!!!
Gorgeous crust!!

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Cover tops with tinfoil if too brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 30-60 minutes before removing from tin and be very careful with it.

Set on rack to cool finally...

It is sooooooo nice warm but not the best to slice then:)

I will let you make that choice....

It would be divine with a lick of mascarpone whilst warm:) 

I toasted a piece in the oven the next day and had some ricotta on it....Heavenly!!

Don't forget to ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY!!

Happy Greedybread Easter!!!

Big Bite!!

Interested in a little more info on Pizza di Pasqua?

Check out Pizza di PasquaFlavia's Flavours or .......

My bread hero (and where the original recipe came from) Carol Fields book, "The Italian Baker  

And my prior post on Pizza di Pasqua.
Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Swedish Seed Rye

After a short break from posting in my blog, I am back at the helm.

This weekend I thought I would try a seeded rye that, at first sight a while back, had me drooling since.  Breadsong's post of this bread inspired me to try, bake, devour.

I adjusted the formula to include organic spelt flour, as I did not have any barley flour on hand.  Also, instead of barley malt, I used 50% molasses 50% honey.  This bread may surpass my love for Danish Rye.  It has a dense texture, very pleasant, light flavour, with a touch of sweetness.  I am not usually one for any sweet hints in my bread (unless dried fruit used), especially rye, but it works nicely in this one.  Definitely a new addition to my regular bakes.

The only adjustment I would make is the total amount, as it overflowed a bit in my bread pan.  The original formula is meant to fit into a 9" pan, I only had an 8" on hand.



PiPs's picture

Oven Progress - the 4th week

Waiting ...

Our oven builders have all packed up and left ... and now the oven sits still and quiet except for the faint hum of small fan heater running day and night within its walls ...

... after Easter we hope to have the chimney connected and the granite stone laid at the mouth of the oven ...

... until then I continue to experiment with my sourdough and practice patience ...


Marc Brik's picture
Marc Brik

Black Pepper Bread

I was curious (again) .... I was wondering if pepper, if baked, would hold its flavour and heat... well it holds it heat a little there is a nice tinge on the tip of the tong after a few bites. But I was supprised what a nice flavour black pepper actually has. 

The bread is light,soft with a nice crumb. So; all with all, it worked really well.

Black pepper bread

You can make this dough without the sourdough starter, remove the sourdough and increase the dried active yeast to 20gr. The sourdough just gives that nice extra flavour.

Almond ground raw                             20 gr

Black pepper corn toasted                    10 gr

Anise seed toasted                                 5 gr

12% white flour                                     850 gr

Rye meal stoneground                         50 gr

Semolina                                              100 gr

Gluten flour                                           25 gr

Water luckwarm                                  650 ml

Yeast active dried                                  10 gr

Sourdough starter 60% hydration      107 gr

Salt                                                         20 gr

a)      For a starter: mix rye, semolina, water, starter, yeast, 300 gr flour. Activate to double volume

b)      Meanwhile: dry toast pepper &  anise seed, cool and ground in spice grinder

c)       Once the starter has reached the volume, quickly mix ALL ingredients together

d)      Auto lease for 20 minutes

e)      Kneed to fine window pane test, this takes a while

f)       And yes the dough is sloppy

g)      Let it rise to double to triple the volume.

h)      Divide in 450gr portions

i)        Round up, roll out, roll up, quarter turn, roll out and roll up

j)        Place on baking tray, I use baking paper

k)      Preheat the oven to 200°C, top and bottom heat no fan

l)        Make incisions  any pattern you like, dust with rye flour

m)    Cover with a light cloth, and rest until double in volume

n)      Pre-steam the oven with a spray bottle and a little container of water in the oven for 2 minuteso)     

o)      Bake the loafs for 20 minutes

p)      Check by tapping the baked bread on the bottom, it needs to sound hollow

q)      Cool on a cooling rack

r)       Very nice with some old cheese, like mature Gouda.

s)       “Eet smakelijk” 

PDLarry's picture

Ciabatta rolls

First time making ciabatta, second time using a pre-ferment. Craisins added.

The results made me smile...