The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Makememycake's picture


In my blog you can find tutorials of how to make different types of cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops, with some amazing recipes. I will tell also the story behind every great cake.

linder's picture

Sourdough Oat Bread Take 2

Okay, I got rid of the baking soda in the bread.  It doesn't taste like baking soda anymore.  I added 1/4 cup honey to the bread instead of diastatic malt, added zest of one orange and one more cup of oatmeal substituted for about that much flour. 

Results- better but still not a loaf to write home about, rather bland in flavor.  My husband says it's not near as flavorful as the 100% whole wheat bread from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.  Hmmm, what to do next? 

A little more salt? I'm using about 2 tsp. for 2 loaves.  I'm thinking of uping the whole wheat flour and doing a preferment of wild yeast starter like the WGB bread and putting together an oats soaker as well a la Reinhart.  Is it the oats that make the bread so ho-hum?

Or maybe just forget this recipe, because it seems like by the time I've tweaked it there won't be much left of the original.  Any ideas for improving the flavor profile of this loaf gratefully accepted.



SylviaH's picture

Irish Buttermilk Bannock

This is an Irish bread very similar to an Irish Soda bread, except an authentic Irish Soda bread only has flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda in it's ingredients.  

Since I have 'Sylvia's Irish Soda Bread' recipe on my blog.  I wanted to add the Irish Buttermilk Bannock as well.  Here it is a very traditional type bannock, which includes raisins or currants and eggs.  Quick, easy and tasty to whip up to enjoy at teatime or anytime.

Irish Buttermilk Bannock

Pre-heat Oven 350F

4 Cups of All Purpose Flour -  125 gms. = l cup AP Flour  - You can use a little less or more.  

3 tsp. Baking Powder - Fresh

1 tsp. Salt

3/4 tsp. Baking Soda

1 Cup  Currants or Raisins  -  I used golden and dark raisins - fresh and moist

2 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk - 1 Cup Buttermilk = 240 grm - 8.5 oz - I used 390 gms and little extra flour

In a deep bowl.  Sift or wisk together your dry ingredients and mix in the raisins.

Mix the 2 Eggs into your Buttermilk.  A large measuring cup comes in very handy.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.

Pour in the buttermilk and egg mixture

Quickly and gently blend until the mixture is moistened and comes just together.

Scrape the mixture out onto a well floured surface.

With floured hands.  Press gently together and give it a very gently kneading...I do about 3, while shaping into a disk.

Shape into about 2-3 inches high disk and place into one lightly greased pie pan.

With a large kitchen knife.  Cut a cross down as far on the sides as you can go.

Bake about 1 hour and a quarter.  Until nice and browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool about 15 min. and remove from pan.

I enjoy a slice, while still slightly warm.  Very tasty with jam and butter, plain or toasted.







Happy St. Patrick's Day!










d_a_kelly's picture

Colomba Pasquale from Iginio Massari

Hi Everybody,

this is my first post on TheFreshLoaf, though I've been starting in amazement at everyone's baking for quite some time. This is my attempt at Iginio Massari's Colomba Pasquale recipe from his book "Non Solo Zucchero vol.II". I'm not sure if this book is available in English yet. I bought my copy in a shop in Milan. This version seems to be quite a bit richer than that found in Cresci, and presented me with a number of difficulties :) Please be kind!

First impasto tripled in volume

1st impasto

sourdough starter (50% hydration) 59

water 69

sugar 72

yolk 50

flour (very strong) 189

butter 79


All measurements are in grams. It took almost exactly 12 hours to triple in volume, held at c.28 degrees C. I then went to the second impasto. This was considerably more difficult, and I didn't get it quite right. The flour I'm using is the strongest I have been able to find in a UK supermarket and it's not a "00". I think it's somewhere in the region of w320 in terms of strength. The second impasto calls for a flour of w360 (something like the manitoba you can find in Italy). I couldn't find anything this strong in the shops. I added a guestimate of vital wheat gluten to try to balance the recipe, which wasn't entirely successful as you can see from the sloppy shaping in the paper case. The dough was still a little too sticky: very usefully "non solo zucchero" has photos in the back of the book showing all of the processes, and I could see that the colomba consistency was quite different from what I had achieved. 

2nd impasto

aroma veneziana 1.2

vanilla: a quarter of a pod

flour (very strong) 51

gluten powder 1.8

sugar 50

honey 22

yolk 35

salt 3.6

water 20

butter 112


I then took 795g of the impasto and added in 205g of candied orange. This version is very rich in fruit! I then split the dough into two balls of 500g and put them in my homemade proving box for an hour, at c.30 degrees C. and humidity of 70%.

Then, with very very well buttered hands, I shaped the two balls and put them in the form:


Back into the proving box for 6 hours and then it was ready to be glazed and go in the oven (170 for 50 minutes).

and then glazed and dusted


When it came out of the oven I suspended it upsidedown for about 12 hours. I was reasonably happy with the oven spring. Most recipes I've seen for colomba use less candied fruit, so I was expecting this not to grow quite so much. Not because the fruit would interfer with the yeast, but simply because there was less dough in the case (only 795g of impasto, rather than the 850g to 870g I've seen in other recipes).

I had a slice of it for breakfast this morning and I was quite happy. Soft and tasty crumb, packed with fruity, buttery flavour. I'd like to try this again using the recommended flours. I've found, from limited experiments, that strong 00 flours seem to produce a more plastic, slack dough, which I'm sure must contribute to the texture and feel of the crumb. However I'm not yet prepared to buy a 25kg bag of caputo rosso or similiar just to make the occasional colomba which only uses... what? 240g? 

Here's the crumb:

One thing I ought to add: in order to save a bit of money and waste, I used powdered egg yolks in this recipe rather than fresh yolk. The recipe here is written for use with fresh yolk. (If using powdered yolk, substitute 48% of the weigh of yolk with powder, and the remainder with water). I've not noticed any difference with quality. I've also used the powdered yolks to make creme anglaise and creme patisserie with success. The only downside is they don't have that extraordinary colour which I've seen in yolks in Italian eggs - something I'm told is a result of the diet and breed of chicken.

dabrownman's picture

SD YW multi-grain Bagels

The quest for the New Your bagel continues.   This time we lowered the hydration 2% to 56%, used more barley malt, used 27% whole grains (the bulk of which was whole wheat in the dough flour to try to mimic first clear flour) and we used AP with VWG since we didn’t have any bread flour.


We also changed the process around a little bit too.  We built a full strength SD starter out of whole grains, stiffened it up to 65% and then let it sit in the fridge for 3 days to get sour.  Then we built a levain from that using 15 g of seed and whole grain spelt, rye and WW.  We made the yeast waster levain separately and replaced the whole spelt with AP flour.


Once the two levains had doubled, the SD levain was placed into the bottom of the container and the YW levain was put on top of that and they were placed in the fridge together for 2 days.

The levains were removed from the fridge to warm up.  While they warming we autolysed the rest of the ingredients, including; the salt, malts and VWG for 2 hours after having kneaded them together.  Dough like this would kill the KA so hand kneading is always the wiser choice but a hard slog.

After the levains hit the autolyse it took a while to work then in the hard dough by squeezing it through the fingers.  Then we kneaded the dough until it was tough but silky smooth.  After a 1 hour rest we shaped the bagels around the knuckles at 135 g each and put them on semolina dusted parchment where they rested for 1hour before gong into the fridge for a 32 hour retard.


Sorry, cut into one for a taste while they were still quite warm.

After coming out of the fridge, we let the bagels proof on the counter for 4 hours.  The bagels doubled over that time and then we refrigerated them again for 1 ½ hours to stiffen them up.  Next time we will put them back in the fridge after 3 hours and let them cool for 2.  The bagels were gently boiled for 30 seconds each side, in water that had barley malt and baking soda in it, just to shock them awake. 


Bagel hole?  Made a little dough ball for floating to see if the bagels were ready to boil and that they too would float!

They were flipped on a kitchen towel to get rid of the excess water and then dunked into the seed mixture.  The 3 mixes this time were white, brown and black poppy, white and black sesame and a multi-seed and salt one comprised of the previous seeds plus oregano and basil seeds, black and brown caraway seeds, nigella seeds and kosher salt.  We made twice as many of the combo salt ones since they are our favorite.


Looks and cuts better when fully cooled,

The steam was supplied by 1 of Sylvia’s steaming pans and a 12” skillet with lava rocks and we used both stones to accommodate the 13 bagels and 1 small roll.   They baked with steam at 450 F for 8 minutes and then steam was removed and they baked for another 8 minutes at 425 F convection until they were deemed done and nicely browned.

Beautiful skies don't have to be sunsets or sunrises.  The sunset was great too!

After deflating in the boil they managed to puff themselves back up nicely in the steam.  These are getting very close to NY SD Bagels and would be way sourer without the YW in the mix to tone it down.  The blistered crust is crispy, the crumb chewy but the taste is near spot on too.  Even my wife is having one for breakfast today instead of Einstein’s.  Now that takes some doing.  We like this batch very much but will make some changes next time as we always do still searching for the perfect bagel that doesn’t exist.

I never eat two bagels at once but did when they came out of the oven yesterday - yummy!  Cream cheese schmear and buttered with minneola marmalade.


SD Starter

Build 1


SD Desem & Rye Sour






Whole Wheat



Dark Rye






Total Starter






YW Starter

Build 1


Yeast Water









Dark Rye
























Levain % of Total






Dough Flour



Whole Wheat






Dough Flour












Dough Hydration






Total Flour






T. Dough Hydration



Whole Grain %






Hydration w/ Adds



Total Weight






Add - Ins



Red Rye Malt



White Rye Malt



VW Gluten



Barley Malt







Wingnut's picture

Bread 3/12/13

Messing around with flavors I like and see if the will work in bread.

the first one is Toasted Fennel Seed and Roasted Carrots Whole Wheat.

The next is Flax and Sunflower Seed Whole Wheat.



gmagmabaking2's picture

We 3 gmas baked potato rolls

Just a bit of family history... we went with potato bread to honor our great grandmother Susan Isabel Congrove Smith... whom we were told was Irish and had flaming red hair... this would be my grandfather's mama on my mother's side.  So the potato rolls had a special meaning uniting the generations of gramma bakers in our family.  Being the one that tends to hurry through recipes... I divided my portions into 12... like I read... but did not then divide each into two or three.  So my rolls are gianormas... (ah, hmm) and Barb's and Helen's are more dinner rollish.  

 These are awesome tasting and big enough for your biggest monster burger... image one with cheddar all melted over it and grilled onions... (can you see the fat bunny??)

Helen made 28 of these beauties.  She said she is glad they will freeze well... I am betting she pairs these up with her homemade chicken soup.  They too taste awesome... we all used the same recipe for "Potato Rolls" from 

Funny thing, right at the top it says 24 servings... hmmm... This dough was very wet and had a great rise and bubbliness to it.  

Barb made 14 rolls weighing them at 3 oz. each... so given our uniqueness ;-) I am sure that size doesn't matter they all taste great.

 Barb added to her dinner plans a great homemade vegetable soup.              


Aww. What fun we had... we love baking together and chatting about recipes and catching up on each other's lives... there are no distances too far, thanks to being able to share here and by phone.  Cooking together has continued an unbreakable thread of family history and sisterly love. 

Thank you my sisters for another great bake.... next week Sunday... St. Pat's Irish Soda Bread. See you here. ;-)


cummingsyachts's picture

I am familiar with Pullman pans and their point is to create square slices. Is there other reasons for their use besides the fun

I have found a half a dozen pullman pans 

I am wondering how to use them and what kind of bread i'll get. Are the pans worth whatever effort they take?

Mebake's picture

Whole Wheat-Spelt Sourdough

There are times when I stare at my pantry and decide to be creative and use leftover flours in bread, this is one of those times.

I had some Whole spelt flour, and Whole wheat flour, and therefore decided to use both in a 50% wholegrain sourdough hearth bread. I made up a formula that benefits from my ripe White liquid starter, here it is:


Bread Flour: 188 g

Water: 188 g

White Starter: 1.5 Tbl



Whole Wheat Flour: 280 g

Whole Spelt Flour: 120 g

All Purpose Flour: 251 g

Bread Flour: 103 g

Water: 470 g

Salt: 1.25 Tbl

Total dough weight: 1600 g

Total Dough hydration: 75%

Wholegrain %: 42%

% of Prefermented flours: 20%

The dough was not kneaded, instead, folded in the bowl 4 times every 30 minutes. The bread fermented as expected, with 3 hours initial fermentation, and 2.5 hours final. I baked the bread on stone, with a another stone on a rack above. The dough was quite soft, but behaved nicely after the third fold.


The flavor of this bread is clean, yet isn’t sweet-sour as i prefer, and is somewhat bland. The crust was chewy, and crumb moist and tender. In retrospect, I believe that with 42% wholegrain flours, I should have used a levain that contains some wholegrains. The bread was also baked on the same day, and not retarded.  DA, and Ian.. and many others here have come up with lovely tasting formulas because they utilize the wholegrain flours in their levain, thereby enhancing the finished product’s flavor. They also retard their doughs, while I’m unable to do so due to timing constrains. The flavor would have been better enhanced if I had used my white levain with a high proportion white flour, but I can’t resist adding more wholesome flours. This explains a lot, as Hamelman’s wholewheat levain (50% wholewheat) recipe calls for a wholewheat levain NOT white.

Therefore, from now onwards, I’ll add wholegrain flours to my levain for high Wholegrain doughs.  

Franko's picture

Working on my list

Like many members of this forum I have a lengthy to do list of breads and pastries that I intend to make at some point in time. Making a focused effort at baguettes has been on this list for far too long and I decided late last year it was time to finally do something about it. Baguettes aren't my first choice for a daily bread because they stale so quickly, but they are great to serve just a few hours out of the oven when we have friends or family over for dinner. I've never been truly satisfied with the results of the baguettes I've made in the past, primarily because of the poor crumb, but shaping and slashing were factors that needed attention as well .

Off more than on over the last few months, this project has taken longer than expected for a number of reasons, work, vacation, etc, but over the last few weeks I've managed to get back on track with it and make what I feel is some progress. The formula I was using was based on Jeffrey Hamelman's Poolish Baguette from his book “Bread”, (pg 101) the one minor change to it initially being my addition of a small percentage, (6%) of either light rye or whole grain spelt to add a bit more overall flavour. After two mixes following JH's procedure the crumb was slightly better than any previous result I'd had but nothing close to what I'd hoped for.

 JH's procedure doesn't include an autolyse in it and I wondered if that might help loosen things up a bit. The next mix was given a 60 minute autolyse which did help open the crumb, showing a few more holes of various sizes, still not as many as I wanted, but better. The white flour I use is from a company here in B.C. , Anita's Organics which is milled from spring wheat and has a protein content of 13.3% with a fairly strong gluten level. I felt this was the most likely suspect for the crumb/hole problem I was having and my suspicion was confirmed after reading Hamelman's section on wheat, specifically paragraph 2-page 36 of “Bread” where he says (paraphrase) that high gluten flours (from spring wheats) in general do not support the long fermentation associated with hearth breads. For better or worse this is the type of flour I had and somehow I needed to find a way to make it work as best as I could. Thinking back to some breads I've made using this flour that had a wide open crumb I remembered that they'd either had a long retarded ferment or high levels of preferment included in the mix. The bread that came to mind first was Hamelman's Pain Rustique, a bread that uses 50% of it's flour in prefermented form and has a crumb with lots of random sized holes and excellent flavour. Since I wanted to avoid an overnight fermentation if I could, I decided for the next mix that I'd increase the poolish from the 33% I'd been using till now, up to 50% and see if that helped in generating more holes. It was one of those classic Aha! moments when I took a slice off the top of a loaf from this new mix and found holes...lots of nice holes! This is better I thought, but just to be sure I did another bake later that week using the same formula and procedure as the last one.

The crumb result was basically the same but neither of these loaves or the ones from the previous bake (top 2 photos) had the right look to them, which I chalked up to not having developed the dough enough during mixing and through bulk fermentation. I'd been doing just light stretch and folds in the bowl during bulk fermentation thinking it would be enough but clearly a better workup was what the dough needed. 

For this latest bake (pictured in the photos below) the dough was kneaded on the counter till smooth and slightly springy before going into a 75 minute bulk fermentation with 2 full stretch & folds on the counter at 30 & 60 minutes. This made things a little easier for molding, and allowing me to get a slightly tighter skin on the shaped dough making for cleaner slashes than on the previous loaves.

 The crumb turned out nicely, creamy, soft, and porous, and it tastes great. Lots of the toasty, nutty wheat flavour that people crave in a baguette, and highlighted by the small percentage of whole spelt included in the mix. The crust has good colour, splinters when sliced and crackles loudly when eaten. I can't ask for more than that.

Ham Hock Terrine with fresh baguette, grainy mustard and cornichons.

Recipe for the terrine from Raymond Blanc's recipe site 

This project is now at the point I can say I'd be happy to serve this loaf to my family and friends, but know that when it comes to bread making these projects are seldom ever finished for me. I'd like to try gradually increasing the level of preferment over a series of bakes to see if I can find the sweet spot, assuming it exists, that will yield a slightly more porous crumb than the one above and with enough dough strength left for proper molding. For the immediate future though I'm planning on making something completely different. As enjoyable and interesting as this project has been, I desperately need to get back to eating bread that has something more substantial to it than flour, water, salt and air. 

Below is copy of the formula that was used, as well as a link to a scalable version of it, and one more link to a detailed description of the procedure for making the baguettes.

Cheers to all,


Link to scalable version of the formula HERE

Link to procedure for Baguettes with Poolish and 6% Spelt HERE

Baguettes with Poolish & 6% Spelt   
Bread Flour100.00%201
ripen 12-16hrs @ 70F  
Final Dough  
Bread Flour90.00%181
Spelt Flour-One Degree Organics12.50%25
Sea Salt4.10%8
DDT- 76F Scale at 340 gr.
Total Formula  
Total Flour100.00%407
Bread Flour93.82%382
Spelt Flour-One Degree Organics6.18%25
Sea Salt2.03%8
Total % and Weight176.78%720
Prefermented Flour 49.36%