The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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davidg618's picture

Wine pairing with biscotti: A final update

As most, if not all, of you know Italians traditionally dip biscotti into their coffee or wine, i suspect, in part, to soften it a bit before chewing. October, November and December of year, along with holiday baking, we're putting the finishing touches to plans for our annual January open house wherein we serve only our homemade wines, homebrewed beer, and a cornucopia of food, all made from scratch.

This year's theme is Wine and Bread.

Technically, biscotti is not a bread, but it fits so well, we've added it to our list that includes sourdoughs (wheat and ryes), pain de mie, ciabatta, lavash, fougasse, and of course baguettes. I'm also going to try Hamelman's Vollkornbrot; if successful it too will join the list. It should pair well with a pilsner finishing its fermenting as I write.

Today I experimented with a parmesan-black pepper biscotti thinking it will pair well with white wine, especially the sauvignon blanc we're offering this year. My wife and I shared the small corner pieces, and froze the rest. We opened a bottle of sauvignon blanc. It pairs wonderfully.

We're also planning a dried-cherries and pecans biscotti to pair with a Cabernet Franc ice wine (sweet)--a first; always dry wines prior--and a craisins and pastachio biscotti that should pair well with both reds and whites.

David G

turosdolci's picture

Statistics on the baguette consumption in France question

Does anyone know how to get recent statistics about the consumption of baguettes in France over the last 10 years

or so. I have tried contacting the The Association of Bakers in France in both English and French as well as other sources and never get an answer. There has been deep reduction in comsumption of the baguette and it has had a very negative effect on the bakers who prepare it from scratch ("a La Masion") a classification defined by the French government. I have been wanting to write an article "Save The Baguetts" but can only find old figures. 



Patricia Turo

cdiggz's picture





1 3/4 cup flour (2 cups if using frozen berries)

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly butter muffin tins or line with muffin cups.


1. Beat egg in small bowl.  Add oil and mix well.


2. Measure milk and add to egg mixture. 


3.  Measure dry ingredients and sift into large bowl. 


4.  Add milk, oil and egg all at once to dry ingredients.  Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.


5.  Fill muffin cups ¾ full.


6. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Yield: 9-12 muffins





Blueberry Muffins


Prepare batter as above.  Gently fold in 1 cup fresh or thawed and well-rinsed blueberries.


Chocolate Chip Muffins


Prepare batter as above.  Gently fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. 


Surprise Muffins


Prepare batter as above.  Fill muffin cups ½ full, drop 1 tsp, jam or jelly in the center of each and add batter to fill cups 3/4 full.


pattycakes's picture

Sourdough Went to Sleep and Won't Wake Up

I was so proud to be baking good sourdough bread here in Italy, having figured out the flour, made a starter from local flour, and gotten the steaming and baking up to snuff. (Well, I had baked three days in a row successfully after 5 days of making my starter.) Then my starter started looking dead. Not grey, just white and lying there like a slug. Asleep. I put it in a warmer place, as it's been very cold here. No luck. I found a Peter Reinhart link that said to add pineapple juice if you had used pineapple to start the starter. I hadn't, but I did it anyway (to half the starter). The other half, I have been stirring a lot, another of his suggestions.

It seems that a rogue bacteria can get in that makes bubbles but suppresses the natural yeasts. I suppose that's what I've got. Can anyone help?



ApplePie's picture

Anyone in the SF bay area interested in whole wheat flour from Central Milling?

Hello Fresh Loafers!  Long time lurker, first time posting.

In my quest for sourcing good whole wheat flour, I called Nicky Giusto at Central Milling ( asking about prices and shipping.  I knew that Central Milling produces Whole Foods 365 Organic Unbleached All Purpose flour, and that Frank Sally at SFBI highly recommended flour from Central Milling so I figured I'd give it a try.  To my surprise he said I could swing by their warehouse in Petaluma and buy flour directly (gotta love that!)

I'm planning a run to their warehouse tomorrow to buy whole wheat flour, specifically Organic Whole Wheat Hi Pro Flour Fine, and anything else that catches my eye.  This is the whole wheat flour they developed for Acme bakery's whole wheat products.

Someone at the warehouse might be able to break down a 50 lb bag into something more manageable.  But if not, is anyone out there interested in splitting a 50 lb bag?  I'm sure it's great flour, but I still prefer to try out a smaller quantity.  If you're in the SF Bay Area (I'm in San Jose) and are interested, let me know.


maggiem's picture

Roasted Garlic

Hi, I am roasting some beautiful cloves of garlic (the house smells wonderful) and I am also in the process of warming up my starter for a couple of loaves. I was thinking of crushing the roasted cloves and adding them to my bread during the last few minutes of kneading. Does this sound like a good plan?

Thanks, Maggie

Susan's picture

Simple AP Sourdough

Here's the AP version of my usual sourdough.  It's 61% hydration. Next time I'll stretch the hydration to 65%.  Trial and Error.  It includes 20g of dry brown sesame seeds and 25g of whole wheat flour. 

I like a more chewy crumb than this loaf provides, but for those who want a crispy crust with a soft crumb, here you go:


txfarmer's picture

Still struggling with Horst Bandel’s Black Pumpernickel

I made this bread for the 3rd time this past weekend, and it still didn't rise up to fill the pullman pan during the bake. I've tried all sorts of hydration levels, the latest dough was the wettest one, but it didn't make any difference in terms of the height in the bread. I tried to let it proof to 3/4 inch below the pan lid like instructed in the recipe, also tried to let it proof higher and lower before, no difference, the bread just does not get to the top. So my question is: has anyone baked this bread and have it filled the whole pullman pan to the top, WITHOUT adding any extra flour? What's your trick? I held back water during mixing and add as needed, this lst time I added 10 oz of the final 12.8oz water, I don't think the dough can take any more water than that. The first two times I kept the dough drier, no difference. 

Since it's a big batch of dough, KA doesn't do a good job of mixing it. I actually mixed the high gluten flour with some water first to get the gluten started, then added in the rest of the soakers and rye chops. I am obsessed to get it right but running out of ideas!

I used:

13X4X4 pullman pan (the recipe indicated 13X3.75X3.75 pan, but I think they are the same thing? Really don't think that 0.25 would make such a big difference)

Sir Lancelot high gluten flour

my rye starter was active and double every time after I feed it


What gives?

Susan's picture

Prescott Flaxseed Sourdough

Same old recipe, tweaked a little for the seeds.  I keep learning more and more, thanks to everybody here.  This one's named Prescott, as we're up the hill in Arizona for a short while. 

Here's the way I did it. It's only one way, so bake how it suits you and your location, temp, flours, etc.

20g whole flaxseed and 55g warm water, soaked for about 30 minutes before starting dough

50g firm starter

175g water

275g KA Bread Flour

25g whole wheat flour

6g salt

Mix starter and water, add all of flaxseed mixture, then add flours and salt.  Mix minimally by hand just until flour is wet, rest for 30 minutes, one Stretch & Fold, two more S&Fs at 1-hour intervals, let rise to double.  Keep the dough temperature in mid-70'sF during fermentation.  Pre-shape, rest 15 minutes, shape, then overturn into linen-lined basket.  Put in plastic bag, then into fridge for overnight.  Out of fridge for two hours before scoring, loading into oven, and covering. Oven preheated to 480F, then lowered to 440F after 3-5 minutes.  Bake 20 minutes covered, 15 minutes uncovered, 5 minutes in turned-off oven.

Note:  You can retard this dough in an oiled bowl after folding, if you like, and continue in the morning.

Raymowick's picture

Software for new retail operation

Afternoon everyone,

Been crawling the net looking for all the guidence I could get but thought it was about time to reach out to those with the passion in the field. I am working with a few others to get a bakery started up in our area and in turn need a good software solution. We will be doing both artisan breads as well as custom cakes.....both retail and wholesale. Our community has a nice void with regards to bakeries, we all have the passion and its a leap of faith we are willing to take.....despite being relatively green.

Would any small business sorts have any software to recommend that helps provide a good foundation?