The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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celestica's picture

Help with Chocolate Pots de Creme - Any Pastry Chefs Here?

I made the chocolate pots de creme from Joy of Cooking and they turned out granular even though I kept the temperature below 165 F.  I used Camino's fair trade cocoa and subbed a square of unsweetened chocolate for the 2 semisweet ones the recipe called for.  Any ideas?

6 yolks

2 c milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

pinch salt

1/2 c sugar

2 oz. (squares) semisweet chocolate

1/4 c. cocoa. 

Here's what I did.  Heated milk in double boiler. Grated fine the chocolate and added when milk hot.  In order: Mixed together yokes, salt, sugar, vanilla, cocoa.  Then added this mix to the hot milk/chocolate mix.  I used a hand held mixer for the mixing.

The final product, while delicious tasting, had tiny brown flecks and a slightly granular texture.  I was hoping for more silky smooth.

Any ideas on what went wrong?




Aljorma's picture

Portuguese corn bread




O pão do norte é a Broa, feita de milho umas vezes branco outras amarelo, com mais ou menos centeio. É o acompanhamento das sardinhas assadas ou fritas, de pratos de bacalhau ou do caldo verde. O milho, outrora trazido do continente americano, depressa entrou nos nossos hábitos alimentares devido ao seu fácil cultivo e por ser mais saboroso do que o centeio com que se fazia o pão até então.

Ver receita3 kg de farinha de milho
250 gr de farinha de centeio
30 gr de sal grosso
100 gr de crescente (resto de massa com uma semana)
água q.b.

Misture as duas farinhas e peneire-as, junte o sal à água e adicione ao crescente (fermento) com cerca de 500 gr de farinha. Deixe levedar cerca de 3 horas.
Escalde então a farinha com água a ferver e misture tudo com o fermento.

Molde uma bola com a massa e faça uma cruz ao centro. Cubra com um pano e deixe levedar até duplicar de volume.

Tenda então a massa com a ajuda de uma gamela de madeira e leve ao forno bem quente.

fotos - João Paulo Sotto Mayor
texto e receitas - Chefe Hélio Loureiro

dsoleil's picture

How To Taste Bread

Hi All,

I love all the discussions on TFL.  One I haven't seen yet is a primer on how to taste bread in the same vein as how people learn to taste wine.  Not sure if there are any competition judges that want to weigh in here, but here are a couple things I came up with that contribute to the overall bread experience.

First smell

Overall color of crust and crumb

Holes and airiness



Taste and complexity



It all depends of course on what kind of bread you are tasting, but in general what should one look for when tasting truly excellent breads or evaluating breads?  All thoughts are welcome.



bohogal's picture

Sweet dough problems

I followed the recipe for sweet dough from "Artisan Baking" by Maggie Glezer, but by the time I got everything kneaded in something didn't feel right.  The dough was quite dense and heavy.  In addition, the dough didn't rise in the pans at all.  The loaves I'm using the sweet dough for is also in the same book - Acme's Cinnamon-Currant Bread with Walnuts.  They are in the oven right now and I just rotated them.  The dough has risen some.  Any thoughts out there?  This is my first attempt at a sweet dough.  Thanks!

louie brown's picture
louie brown

100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Baguette

These are part of my ongoing 100% whole wheat projects, originally inspired by a photograph I saw here quite some time ago posted by Jane. I am unable to find the link right now, but I recall being astonished with the beautiful slices and Jane's unaffected, matter-of-fact approach. 

Over time, I was unable to produce a fair approximation of Jane's loaf:

This led me in turn to think about taking another step further and trying to produce a 100% whole wheat baguette. The ones pictured below were made from a dough of about 75% hydration using Bob's Red Mill flour. The flour was hydrated with the water but without the starter for about 36 hours. The final dough was given a series of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals, then rested, shaped, proofed for about 45 minutes and baked at 500 degrees.

First time out (not pictured,) the long narrow loaves did not expand much, so I chose to call them ficelles. This time, there was a little more surface tension in theloaves and I formed them to be a little fatter, but not much. I cut one to approximate an epi.

While I may try a baguette with more volume in the future, I think the narrower profile suits this bread, which has a very intense wheaty, nutty flavor, with no hint of bitterness. The sourdough is present as a deep, mellow background, not at all tangy. This bread is excellent with cheese.

What remains is to improve the scoring. In a sense, no scoring is necessary; the loaves will come up to fine form in the oven without any. But I have seen photos ofsimilar loaves showing beautiful cuts that nicely expose the grigne. It is just showing on one of the loaves pictured. Perhaps slightly deeper cuts would have helped.

beautifuldisaster's picture

Chocolate cakes

Hi everyone,

I find it hard to bake chocolate cakes. The texture is always good, but my cake is never even and it always cracks. Any advice on baking chocolate cakes? Thank you!



mountaineer cookie company's picture
mountaineer coo...

Hello, New here, love it!!

Hi My name is Karen, I operate a small bakery out of my home in West Virginia.  I started my bakery as a cookie company, but I also do a lot of breads.  My specialty is Salt Rising Bread, I can say that I have finally completely mastered it, and will post a blog about it soon.  I have just started teaching small baking classes.  I'm so happy to find this sight, lots of great info!

rolls's picture

couple videos on scoring baguettes

okay if these don't work u can easily find them with a search on

they're titled, 'scoring french bread' and ' scoring baguettes'

also, practice, practice, practice!

hope these help, enjoy!

heidet's picture

The Uncommon Loaf

Living in southern Japan, where even the most basic of ovens, beloved from childhood , are rare and extraordinarily expensive makes a baker's life challenging, and a home baker's more than just a bit frustrating. In need of crusty, heavy, unsweet breads, my sweetheart of a husband purchased  an 'oven' for me quite a few years ago. At least he thought it was an oven. Really its internal measurements are about double of an oven toaster, and it can- microwave, top and bottom electrically heat, convection heat but only if the round microwave ceramic plate is used, top toast, grill, heat sake to the exact temperature required, proof bread, and yes, talk to you. I never would have believed then how comfortable and devoted to this bizarre machine I have become. Together, we have baked as many as 20 loaves in a day, a therapeutic response to having left my work in Europe and wanting to keep my skills on par, I sent my spouse to work with paperbags full of breads almost every week for months .

And then I found them, after weeks and months and constant vigilence lest they close suddenly; bakeries making quite good baguettes, whole grain malt breads, rye breads. The sad part was they closed often, unable to find a wide enough market willing to part from supersoft, superwhite supersquare 'bread'. Those that did not close modified their recipes to meet the taste and texture that would sell better and in some cases, simply stopped making the breads I craved. I special ordered one bread in particular- Pan d'Fruilli was their name, pronounced as padufrui.And I experimented at home, until I got it almost exactly as remembered,but not perfect. And then, one day, I went to order and they had closed. In its place was a German bakery, which often made one or two very nice creations but! not my rye bread that barely rises and is filled with chopped nuts, cherries, peel and spices.

Unable to give up my morning ritual of thinly sliced and toasted bread with butter and a cup of tea, I set out to recreate it once again, only half the standard size so it might fit inside my oven. I searched recipes high and low, Laurel's KitchenRustic European Breads to name a few of many,  and hours on the internet. I even wrote my fellow bakers overseas,and finally I sat down with my very first bread book I ever used, Tassajara's Bread Book and significantly modified their recipe . I cut the measurements in half so it would fit in my little oven and waiting for the results. After much tampering with the recipe, and allowing for vast variations in the supplies of flour and ingredients  that were available, I am happy to say, I now have my bread and tea again.

  •  3c.warm water            

  • 1tsp yeast

  • 1/4c.corn syrup/honey mixture

  • 1/4c. dry milk powder

  • 2-5 cups unbleached white flour

  • 2-4 cups rye flour

  • 1/4 cup melted butter or oil

  • extra white and rye flour for kneading

  • 1 cup dried marinated mixed fruits(cherries, raisins, orange and lemon peel)

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts-walnuts

  • orange liquer/rum as soaking agent for fruit

  • cinnamon

  • 1tsp salt

Dissolve the yeast in water. Stir in sweetener and dry milk. Stir in enough white flour  mixed with salt until a thick batter is formed. Beat well (I use the kitchenaid mixer).Let rise 60 minutes until frothy and spongey.

Fold in salt and oil and additional flour-rye, until it comes away from the bowl. Knead in machine or on a board until smooth. Alternatively, the throwing method works well. Let rise until double,about 50 minutes. Punch down.

take 3/4 of the bread and flatten, mix fruits and nuts with cinnamon, spread on dough and roll up. Make a round shape and wrap remaining dough around it.

Let rise about  until 2/3rds about 25 minutes.

Bake at 175 c.350f. Bake until hollow sound and hard tapping, nicely browned, about one hour.

rest and cool.





judiandjeff's picture

Best Stand Mixer for Bread, not KA

About to replace my KA 5 qt. Want the best, but Hobart too expensive. Need advice among Bosch, Electrolux (are they still made?), Viking, and any other I missed. I assume these are in the $600 range or so, a little more is ok.

I searched here, and other sites online, and no one seems to be willing to say which they think is the best.