The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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txfarmer's picture

Nancy's Silverton's Chocolate Sour Cherry Bread


I have made Italian chocolate bread before using the SFBI recipe: , this one is from Nancy Silverton's book "Breads from the La Brea Bakery" (I have the book but you can find the recipe here: . Note that the original starter is 145% hydration, I did adjust starter and water amount to use my 100% stater. The original recipe uses 0.6oz fresh yeast in addition to the starter, I used 2 scant tsp of instant yeast, which made rising time a bit shorter than what's in the book - 1hr and 45min before retarding in the fridge, and only 2 hours of proofing.). Silverton's version also uses commercial yeast (fresh yeast, but I adapted to use instant) in addition to a liquid starter, but it's a lot more decadant. A lot more chocolate pieces and a lot of sour cherries in the dough, which means messy kneading, cutting, and eating, but tastier results IMO. The recipe link author thought the bread was too dry and crumbly, but I didn't think so, the crumb was soft and moist to me.

It got good rise during fermentation and in the oven, but since the chocolate pieces and sour cherries were screaming to get out, the bread looks a little "messy".

Made one boule and one batard. The sour tastes of dried cherry complements chocolate well, I used organic imported chocolates, not a cheap bread to make!

Happy with the taste, I am going to try for a chocolate bread with no commercial yeast. Silverton says in the book commercial yeast is necessary otherwise coca powder would make the bread too dense. I wonder whether more starter would do the trick. I see several people here on TFL already tried, I am going to do some research on those.

UnConundrum's picture

Rosetta Stamp

Guys, I'm looking for a rosetta stamp for making rosetta rolls.  I believe it's cast aluminum, not plastic like a lot of the roll stamps now available.  Does anyone have an idea where to buy one?  I'll gladly pay postage from overseas.  Thanks :)



Mr. B's picture
Mr. B

French terms

Daniel Wing in the book "The Bread Builders:......." mentions that he prefers the dough be on the stiff side, adding water to make it the consistency he feels is right. He says the water is incorporated into the dough much more easily than flour. He mentions a French term for this process of adding water to flour. Does anyone know what that term is? I had the book, but after a renewal, I thought I should let someone else have a chance to read the book.



rolls's picture

maintaining scoring implement

Hi, like many of you on this site, my 'lame' is home-made, a choptick threaded through a double-edged razor blade actually  :)


was jus wondering, how do i look after it/clean/store etc and how do i know when it needs replacing. 


also, when i score, do i go fast or slow? ive seen bakers do it both ways, with me though it usually drags.


thanks heaps

ananda's picture

Vienna Flour, and bread types


Brief Post on Vienna Flour

Uberathlete posted asking about Vienna Flour, see:

Elizabeth David (1977; pp.76), in her "English Bread and Yeast Cookery states the following: " 'Vienna' flour was in reality high quality Hungarian or Romanian flour, roller milled, fine, of medium strength and creamy white, good for 'Vienna' bread and puff pastry and yeast cakes."

She also quotes from Frederick T. Vine, "Savoury Pastry" from 1900: "undoubtedly the best flour for the purpose [puff paste] is the first place, flour for paste should be of good colour and finely ground, not too soft or harsh.   It should have a good percentage of gluten, but that gluten must not be so strong that it will pull the rounds into ovals and the ovals into rounds."   Vine goes on to say he found American flour sent for the purpose, to be best suited to making bread only.

David concludes, with reference to England, that "The import of Hungarian and Vienna flours virtually ceased with the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the First World War."

I offer up photographs below of typical breads which may have been made with Vienna-type flour at the time.  These were made during my time studying for my baking quals at Leeds; ostensibly to investigate different methods of manufacturing the same type of bread.   My tutor always used to look very carefully into the bag of Whitworth's Strong bread flour; he always called it "Springs", but that was the old name, and I can't remember the new one.   Whitworth's site is being renovated, so I can't find the right bag, sorry.   Anyway, it had great water absorption, but my tutor explained that by showing us the tiny dark particles in the flour, saying "they are cheating us".   Well, I always thought the bread made that day looked very fine; you can make your own minds up.



Best wishes


kdwnnc's picture

My Favorite Cornbread

So there was a really big batch of chili made last night, so there was cornbread last night, and there will be cornbread tonight.  And, frankly, I don't get tired of it!  I know that there have been several cornbread recipes posted here, but I just have to share this, which is my favorite.  It comes out the oven so nice and tall, is perfectly delicious, and is extremely simple.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/4 cup canola oil

2 eggs


Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add milk, oil, and egg.  Stir just until combined (do not overbeat).  Turn into a greased 9x9x2 inch baking pan.  Bake at 425 F for 20-25 minutes.  Serves 8. 

caseymcm's picture

the value of practice

I was just responding to a post about how baking has been a great lesson in the value of practice for me and decided to make a general post about it. Please indulge me a little.
(I'm a lurker and infrequent poster so consider this an introduction of sorts)

I had said:

One of the amazing things about baking to me is how much it's a concrete lesson in the value of practice. I used to do some outdoor sports and played music in school but never had much patience for practice. Maybe I'm just old enough to be more patient, maybe it's that life only allows me enough time to have practical hobbies with practical results like baking. Don't get me wrong, I've taught myself many things in life (like, auto mechanics of old cars, beer brewing...) and I've definitely improved at my career over the years, but I think baking is very demonstrative of the concept. You get very concrete results of your improvement if you stick with it, and people can be so impressed. And even as you learn and gain skill, it still doesn't seem that hard. It seems like, I just throw a few ingredients together, wait a while, manipulate it like this or that, and POW, this amazing loaf of bread pops out! It seems easy, like anyone could do it; and yet there was a time when I couldn't do it.

It's kind of funny, but one of the things that has improved my baking the most, is the fact that I can take bread into work and it will be eagerly devoured. My family couldn't possibly eat as much as I want to bake, we actually don't eat that much bread. But I can try any experiment, taste a slice or two to see what I think and take the rest in to work where it will be appreciated.


To expound on this...I work for a startup in silly-con valley designing chips. When I started we were tiny and the company would order you lunch and dinner every day, as we got bigger and the economy got weaker it turned into lunch delivered twice a week plus a fruit box once a week and bagels and pastries twice a week. This went down to lunch once a week, and eventually lunch was eliminated completely except for special occasions and it's only fruit and bagels twice a week. I'm not complaining or bitter about it, it's better than laying people off, but it's a bummer and a hit to morale. So over a year ago I made the commitment to myself that I would bake something to bring in every Tuesday, and I have without fail.

The best thing about this arrangement, and one of the reasons I'm so faithful, is that it has helped my baking ability SO MUCH. If I'm not feeling that creative I make a favorite fallback, like Pain Au Levain or Pain A l'Ancienne, but sometimes I try something new that I found in a book or read about on TFL. Sometimes if it's complicated I try new things out ahead of time for my family, but as I've gotten better I'm more able to just wing it.
It's not much, just a few loaves every week, but the repetition has been so beneficial. Of course the appreciative feeback of my coworkers doesn't hurt, a lot of them say they really look forward to Tuesdays; and of course (as I know many people here have experienced) everyone says I should open a bakery. One guy even seriously offered up funding and knows the perfect place (near his house of course).

A few months ago my family started a soup swap with our best friends. We trade off making a big batch of soup and passing back and forth a giant jar full of whatever hearty concoction we come up with. Of course I bake bread to go along with it...every week, even if it's not our turn <grin>.
So for any new beginning bakers on here (aren't we all beginners really) the best thing you can do to get better is to bake like mad, freeze some, and give the rest away to friends/neighbors/co-workers. They'll really appreciate it, and you'll get better. I started buying bulk flour at Costco, and a pound of SAF yeast lasts me months, so it's pretty cheap. The hardest part for me is time, so I mostly do recipes that involve long fermentations and retardation in the fridge, you only need a few minutes here to mix things; a few hours there to do some stretch and folds; and an hour or so at the end in the oven. I don't generally do straight doughs that need several hours to do mixing + bulk + proofing + baking all in a row.

Anyone care to share similar experiences?


kolobezka's picture

Which grain mill?


I would like to mill my own wholegrain flour at home but do not know which grain mill works best. Is it better to buy a separate mill - a wooden one from Komo or something like Nutrimill. Or is the grain mill attachement to KitchenAid or Bosch mixer or Champion juicer doing the same job?

It would be great if it would grind also some legume flours, would not be too noisy and would not destroy the nutritional value by overheating.

Any advice and recommandation are welcome!



klmeat's picture

starter weight

I have a question that is driving me crazy , how can a stater be 166% hydration . 100%  would be the total or complete weight . would it be for every 100 oz of flour , I add 166 oz of water ? any help be appreciated , how any thing can be over 100% escapes me . thanks

rick.c's picture

Anis' Baguettes, Question @ dmsnyder &/or mcs &/or you


OK, so I have made this recipe several times and, well, I have not been wholly impressed.  The flavor is delicious, but the dough is in general difficult to work.  I don't and up with anything that resembles David's las post, nor a dough that resembles Mark's in his baguette shaping video,

Not that I would consider myself in a league with Dmsnyder or MCS, I just end up with a dough that sticks to everything, is nearly impossible to form, and slashing it is kind of useless.  I have tried ranges of KA AP & bread flours with no apparent change in the loaves. 

My question is, should I just hold back on some of the water, or is there something I am doing to not develop the gluten enough?

The recipe I used this time is...

300g KA Bread flour
100g KA AP flour
300g Water
8g salt
1/4 tsp yeast

Procedure was

  1. Mix to combine, rest for 20m, kept in fridge from this point on

  2. "knead" I do this by using a fist to spread the dough as far up the sides of the bowl and the folding back in, probably 6-7 times

  3. stretch and fold after 20m, I do this in the air-kinda like stretching a pizza, then folding it back onto itself

  4. retard 20ish hours, remove from fridge and S&F again

  5. let come to temp, usually ~ 2 hrs

  6. pre-shape, rest 20 m, then shape

  7. Let rise about an hour, bake under steam for 10m then dry for 15m

Note:  I don't use any flour for kneading or stretch and fold, or pre-shaping.  These pissed me off some so I rolled them in flour for the final shaping.

This made these 3 loaves


You can see the scores have nothing but color difference going for them, I knew they were going to be this way in such a slack dough, so I went a little overboard.  Also, a crumb shot for david, since I have asked for his input

Sliced too soon, but I was hungry.  It is interesting that the crumb was most open where I couldn't 'tuck' the dough because it was too sticky.  The left side of the front loaf in top picture is what is shown split above.  There was sporadic flour on the counter when I was shaping them and this end didn't get any.


Anyway,  Thanks in advance,  Rick