The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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hanseata's picture

German Red Berry Dessert - Rote Gruetze

In this hot summer I find myself less eager to crank up the heat in our oven - thereby turning our kitchen into a sauna - my mind is more on something cool, tangy and refreshing. North German and Danish traditional cuisine has a treat just for this season: Rote Gruetze or Roede Groede (it's Danish name). Literally translated the name means "red gruel". That may not sound very enticing, but it's an old fashioned dish with an old fashioned name and soooo good!!!

My recipe is a modern version, using vanilla pudding powder instead of starch or tapioca, it's fast and easy to prepare. Enjoy it with cream, vanilla sauce or, even better, vanilla ice cream.

Roo's picture

1st bread

Finally was able to make my first loaf of bread in over 3 months.  Well at lease since we were up at Mary G's taking CanukJim's bread and wood fired oven class.  Made his Potato, chive cheddar bread in the WFO this weekend.  We have been firing it up and making pizza for the last three weeks, people started calling it the pizza oven.  Had to show them that it could make more than just pizza.

So the menu was a goat cheese in tomato basil sauce served with pita's

The potato Chive and cheddar bread

Roasted chicken

Roasted spaghetti squash with cherry tomatos and feta cheese

All of this was cooked in the wood fired oven.  Unfortunetly only got a picture of the bread.  Over all it was good.  The oven was a tad to hot and I thought I could control the timing.  It came out a bit dark and sounded like a rock when first out.  After a 1/2 hour rest though the crust was soft, the crumb was a bit soft but the flavor was outstanding.  Here it is just out of the oven.  Will try to get a crumb shot next time we cut one open.  Good thing about the WFO is we have to accept we will eat burned food for awhile and we have to keep trying to get it right.

Bhutanbaker's picture

Flatbread in a frying pan?


This is a wonderful website, and i've been trawling in search of flat breads that might work in a frying pan. I don't have an oven, grill, toaster oven etc and am not going to be able to acquire one up here in the Himalayan foothills (I'm in Bhutan). What I do have is a gas burner and a frying pan, and I can get instant yeast, baking powder and white or brown flour. Yoghurt / curd is not available and my attempts to make it end up in with curdled sour milk. However, I may yet master the art!


Can anyone suggest a flat bread recipe that might work with what's available? I do miss bread ....


Thank you!

Bhutanbaker's picture

Hello from Bhutan & a question


This is a wonderful website, and i've been trawling in search of flat breads that might work in a frying pan. I don't have an oven, grill, toaster oven etc and am not going to be able to acquire one up here in the Himalayan foothills. What I do have is a gas burner and a frying pan, and I can get instant yeast, baking powder and white or brown flour. Yoghurt / curd is not available and my attempts to make it end up in with curdled sour milk.


Can anyone suggest a flat bread recipe that might work with what's available? I do miss bread ....


Thank you!

PanDulce's picture

How to adapt a recipe for using a sponge


I've been reading a lot of posts here and learning about bread baking. I'm new to this and I learn with every post. :) Love this site!!

I'd like to adapt a recipe my grandmother used to make. I'd like to use a sponge to increase fermentation time and develop flavor. It's a brioche-like bread and it uses A LOT of yeast! (Sorry it's in cups, it's the original recipe).


30 g instant yeast

1/4 cup of water

6 cups flour

5 eggs

1 can of condensed milk (the one that has sugar)

5 yolks

250 g butter

2 tablespoons orange blossom water

1 Egg (for eggwash)

Dissolve yeast in water and add 1/2 cup of flour. Let rest for 15 min. To the rest of the flour add eggs, condensed milk, yolks, butter and orange blossom water. Add the yeast mixture. Knead until it doesn't stick to the table. Ferment until it doubles. Divide in 4 pieces. Shape and proof until it doubles. Apply eggwash and bake (200ºC/390ºF)

I'd like to know how to adapt it for using a sponge. Rose Levy Beranbaum uses eggs in her sponges for brioche. Should I? How many? How do I go about the yeast? I know I need to use less yeast if using a sponge, how much? (I'd like to use less yeast anyway).

Thanks in advance




ananda's picture

Too Much of a Good Thing?



On Tuesday lunchtime we'll be boarding an aeroplane at Newcastle Airport to take us to Crete for a long-awaited, and hugely necessary fortnight together on holiday in the heat.   For much of this time we'll be relaxing in a small seaside villa on the South Coast, away from pretty much everything.   I'm told there's a dusty road with a taverna at the end of it....about 3 miles away.   Otherwise; nothing, except 2 other villas above ours, and a lot of beach and sea.   Oh! I almost forgot to say; there is a barbeque and wood-fired oven on the veranda just to the side of the house, and a pergola nearby, to sit under and drink wine and eat tasty food, staring out to sea.

So, I've been working out how to successfully transport a small portion of my levain to use for baking purposes...afterall, it's going to be mighty tricky getting fresh yeast, and I've yet to source good dry yeast over here which actually works for me.   I know that's silly, but there is little point investing in it without faith.

First call, therefore, was to strengthen my leaven up with prodigious feeding sessions.   Thought I might as well do this for both rye and wheat, even though the wheat specimen is the only one bound for a holiday.   The result is that I end up with over 2kg of wheat leaven and 600+g of rye sour.   "Better do some baking, I think!"   At least we'll come back to a freezer stocked with plenty of bread, and any family coming to stay at our place, in the meantime, for a brief spell in the country can enjoy lovely bread too!

So I devised a formula for mixed leaven bread which I thought would be easy to make, and tolerant to an overnight retard, on account of making the dough in the early evening.   This is the formula:


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

  • 1. Wheat Levain



Strong White Flour









  • 2. Rye Sour



Dark Rye Flour









  • 3. Final Dough



Wheat Levain [from above]



Rye Sour [from above]



T65 Farine de Tradition



Strong White Flour



Strong Wholemeal Flour



Dark Rye












Pre-fermented flour: 25%; Overall Hydration: 65.9%

To use up all the rye sour, except for the small amount needed for regeneration, I calculated I should multiply the formula by a factor of 45.   This is what I did, and you may have noticed the rather scary amount of dough I was therefore challenging myself to home, with no mixer, and no bowls anywhere near capable of holding the amounts of flour and water called for here.

So, it's back to the traditional way of mixing dough sufficient to provide bread for the whole household, by piling the flour onto the bench, making a well in the middle, and carefully incorporating the liquid to form the dough.   What I actually did, was to mix the liquid rye sour with the rest of the dough water.   I then piled all the flour needed for the final dough onto the bench and incorporated liquids as described for a short autolyse of half an hour.   From there I added the salt and the wheat levain, working up a reasonably soft, but strong dough.   The leaven was in perfect condition, and it was a treat just to smell the fresh and subtle aroma of this dough.   Good job too, as I reckon it took the best part of an hour's hard graft to actually assemble the fully crafted dough from flour, salt, water and the 2 levains.   I scaled off 2 pieces immediately, and moulded them, depositing them straight into bread pans.   The remaining 5½kg was divided into 2 equal sized pieces and stored in plastic bowls, covered with oiled cling film, overnight in the chiller.   On top of all this, I STILL had an excess of wheat leaven.   So, I made some ciabatta dough too, somewhat disastrously, as it turned out; another story.

It's now nearly 4pm, and I finished baking just after 3pm.   I started about 9 this morning, although I was up at 7 to turn the oven on and get everything else ready.   I've ended up with 7 large loaves; 3 made in bread pans, and 4 fermented in bannetons and baked directly on the bricks in my home oven [ordinary electric fan oven].....and 2 slabs of foccacia.   We had a good few courgettes in, so I sweated them down in olive oil flavoured with garlic, then added a few sun-dried tomatoes.   The neighbours had one slab, plus a loaf, as a "thank you" for painting our shed door at the same time they painted theirs too.   We ate the other one [or most of it, anyway] for lunch.   Foccacia worked just fine, but had a big learning curve today.   Making ciabatta with wheat levain only, and then retarding it overnight produced very tasty dough, but the quality was abysmal.   I had a small amount of dough leftover, and tried to bake it off as ciabatta, by pouring it onto a hot tray to bake off directly on the hot bricks.   Only one place that's going: the bin [trash]!

Still, I now have a stack of lovely tasty bread [6 large loaves], and wheat levain which I can turn into something which will stand the stresses and strains of a few days of intense heat before I can revive it ready for another baking session; this time in our own little paradise, far away from the norms of the everyday, and computers too!

Bye for now


breadsong's picture

Sun-Dried Tomato and Asiago Cheese Sourdough

Hello, This is from Eric Kastel's "Artisan Breads at Home". I baked this bread and froze it, and we tasted it tonight with dinner. YUM. With many thanks to the author!!! I tried slashing the bread in a starburst, as I saw someone else do quite beautifully on this site. I wish I could remember who that was, so I could go back and take a look at their handiwork and pay them a compliment here - I will keep trying until I can make mine look as nice!

For 48 ounces of dough, there were 6.6 ounces drained, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 3.2 ounces cubed asiago cheese, tossed with 1.3 ounces whole wheat flour, kneaded in by hand after the final mix.

I am so pleased with how tasty this loaf is, and how pretty the crumb is, marbled with tomato.

Regards, breadsong

dmsnyder's picture

This weekend's baking ... so far.

I'm getting ready for a sizable family gathering in about 10 days. We are descending on my baby brother, who has a vacation home on the Northern California coast. We expect 15-20 hungry Snyders. I'll be baking while I'm up there, but we'll need something to snack on while the levain is ripening. So, I baked a few things to fend off starvation ... 

A couple Gérard Rubaud sourdough bâtards

Some San Joaquin Sourdough, of course

To go with appetizers, a few San Joaquin Sourdough mini-baguettes with seeds

I'm promised corned beef, if I bring the Corn Rye

And, if there's room, for dessert ...

Sour Cream Spritz Cookies, a New York Baker's test recipe (They go well with tree-ripened peaches.)

Lucky there's another day left to bake this weekend!


BettyR's picture

Why does my meringue weep?

It’s a very small problem but I wish I knew how to make it stop. If anyone knows I would appreciate any help I can get.

HokeyPokey's picture

Peter Reinhart Whole Grain Bread Recipes - too wet and too sweet

I live in the UK, and purchased a copy of Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain recipes book as soon as it came out on sale. I was really looking forward to his book, and trying out complex, wholegrain flavour breads.

However, every recipe i have tried so far has came out too sweet, and my biga and poolish always come out too wet, much wetter than the consistency in his pictures.

Has anyone else had a similar problem with Peter's recipes? Am I doing something wrong?