The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

Outdoor bread baking, gas grill and attempt #1

I tried my hand at baking bread on the grill this past weekend.  With summer upon us, and daily temps at 100 degrees, sometimes higher, it is necessary to forego the kitchen oven and hone my breadbaking skills in a 'cooler' environment. 

Since I normally do the grilling, I had an idea of my hotspots ahead of time.  I'd researched the web, and the many links of TFL to understand that this was a venture where I shouldn't expect perfection, but as with an bread baking, note that with due time I might surprise myself with the results. 

Remember my pizza stone that was unfit for the kitchen?  I'd thrown it out into the garden to use as a stepping stone.  Oh yes!  It's true.  I went for that gem, scoured it with a non-suds steel wool pad, doused it with organically compounded dish soap, washed it some more.  Returned it to the outdoors to air dry, retrieved it and slathered it with olive oil.  Placed this little gem outside to bake in the sun and returned a couple hours later.  Rubbed a paper towel over it and placed it on the center rack of the grill, over an old toaster oven rack.  (I wanted to build a bit more insulation around the stone and grill rack.) Shut the grill door and fired up all four burners to the low setting.  I allowed them to heat for 15 minutes, while back in the kitchen I was proceeding with last minute details for the first loaf:  egg white/cream wash, slashing and a covering of sesame seeds.  (Next time I will slash first, wash and then apply seeds...the wash made the surface a bit tricky to cut).

Back out to the grill, carrying the loaf (set upon a bit of parchment for easy slide to the stone), and my old stew pot I planned on using as a cover/cloche.  Open the grill, slid in the loaf, covered and went inside for a cooler 20 minutes.  Back at that time, removing the cloche item, I would find the loaf burnt on the bottom, but a lovely golden brown on the top.  (what to do, what to do....surely it can't be done in a mere 20 minutes?).  Carried the cover into the kitchen and with furrowed brow set about to panic.  Threw caution to the wind and went quickly to retrieve the loaf.  Picking it up I discovered how hollow it sounded, and the wonderful camelized smell.  I knew I was on to something.

Round two, or, loaf #2.  I turned two of the four burners off, leaving only those in the center on low, dusted the crispy-fried remnants of parchement off and allowed the oven to build even heat for about ten minutes.  Redux of earlier loaf final prep and I am back to the grill for a second attempt. Slid the loaf onto the heated stone, this time leaving the cover/cloche in the kitchen.  Returned the cover on the grill and went to time this prize for 15 minutes.  ... tic, tic, tic.....Lift the cover and note that the loaf is NOT burnt, but a beautiful golden color on the bottom, yet the top is far from being browned.  Quietly lower the lid on the grill and continue to bake for another 15 minutes.  Final result?  Not a golden browned loaf atop, but none-the-less an absolute in all other ways.  I had an open crumb unlike anything I've ever accomplished in all of my prior baking attempts.  With such success I had concluded that I'd never eaten better bread....I truly was a convert to this new way of baking.  Today I will be attempting trial #2.

The camera battery is recharging as I type. 

Joe L's picture
Joe L

Italian Lard Bread

Anyone have a recipe to make this bread that was made in some Italian Bakeries back in the 60's in Brooklyn.

I'll describe it from memory- Round loaf with hole in the middle. The bread was braided and included the following

ingredients: pork fat ?, pepper. I have not seen it in years, I believe a few bakeries in Brooklyn still make it.

Does not include ham or salami.


ehanner's picture

Jewish Rye re-visited

I had promised to bring 4 loaves of Jewish Rye to a 4th of July party this weekend so I dusted off my Favorite Rye recipe. I've been thinking about Norm the last few days and thought I remembered he had made some suggestions on Deli Style NY Rye. After digging around I found his suggestion for a max 40% rye sour component and a warmer oven than I usually use for this.

The bottom line is I made a last minute change and cut my sour to 40% of the dough flour weight and kicked up the temp to 410F. Usually I use about 60% sour. The finished loaves didn't blow up as much as usual so they look better. I still got a nice rise and good color and they smell great. I won't see the crumb for a few hours but everything looks good so far. I did have one loaf blow out in the center that I don't know how to deal with. I stopped slashing these since it didn't seem to help. I gave them a light wash of corn starch in the middle of baking and again at the end with a sprinkle of Kosher Salt as you can see.

One other change. Norm suggested using light rye which I did with these. Normally I use whole rye. The light rye seems more refined and the dough was smoother. Over all the changes I think make this a better bread. We'll have to wait for the corned beef to know for sure!

EricNY Rye-revisitedNY Jewish Rye-revisited

Mac's picture

How to maintain a starter that is in the refrigerator

Hello all:

New to sourdough so this, I'm sure, is a basic question.  I have a great starter and made two, really tasty, loafs of sdb.  I put the starter in the refrigerator but am unclear on how to maintain it while it's in the cooler and not being used.  The next question is when I'm ready to bake again what is the procedure to get the starter out of the refrigerator and ready for baking.

 A point in the right direction would be most appreciated.



fredsambo's picture

French Bread

Well I finally went ahead and signed up, I have been a reader for quite some time. I am a professional baker by trade, but love to mess around in my conventional kitchen as well. I needed some old dough for my next adventure, so I decided to make a nice straight yeasted bread. I also noticed that some of the bakers cover the loaves in the oven to simulate injected steam, so I decided to try it!


The formula for the dough is pretty simple and based on Joe Ortiz's Direct-Method Compagnon:


1/4 ounce active dry yeast


1 3/4 cups cold tap water


3 2/3 cups King Arthur Bread Flour


1 3/4 teaspoons salt


I mixed the yeast with a little bit of warm water and then poured the rest of the water into the wet mixture. After adding two cups of the flour, using my Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer, I mixed with the paddle on first speed for two minutes. Then added the salt and the rest of the flour, graduating to the hook. Then I mixed on first speed until the flour was somewhat incorporated, and then 12 - 15 minutes on 2nd speed. The doulgh was velvity and somewhat slack when it came off the mixer.

Next I cut three small pieces out and shaped them into little boules. I set all three boules in the fridge, in glass bowls, coverd with plastic wrap.


About four and a half hours later I grabbed two of the boules from the fridge (the other is my old dough for tomorrow), flattened and reshaped them, and then covered them with a cloth, on a floured board, for about 45 minutes to an hour.


I scored them and put them right on the stone in my oven at 450 degrees, covered by a large cooking pot. I prepped this "cover" by pouring hot water out of it right before I put it in the oven, being careful not to touch the boules with the cover. After 12 minutes I carefully removed the cover and then baked them for another 15-17 minutes.


So here is the result:




I am pretty happy with the look of the crust, the crumb is dense as I expected from such a short proof time. Overall it is dense and chewy but with zero taste:


Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Electrolux DLX - WOW!!! It CAN do things other than make bread!

This weekend I was teaching a Sourdough Quickbreads class and for the first time in a class got out my mixers.  I'd never used my DLX for anothing other than making bread, but today it was time to make cupcakes, cake, muffins and frosting - LOTS of frosting.


After a bit of hunting I found the smaller bowl, the beaters, and the drive extension rod.  WOW!!!  It was GREAT!!!\


It didn't have any trouble with a whole bowl full (3 packages of cream cheese and 14 cups or so of confectioners sugar).


I'd been using my KitchenAid for everything except making bread, but now I know that the new kid on the block CAN do it all!




MaryinHammondsport's picture

Pane Siciliano - from BBA

Count me in. It will probably be toward the end of the week however, Maybe Wednesday or Thursday at the latest for me. I want to take another shot at Pain de Campagne tomorrow.

I have both durum and semolina flour and and notice the recipe says you can use either. I'll use whichever you don't want to try.

Anybody else wany in on this experiment? I know you'd be welcome.


erina's picture

Starter Sluggish after Frozen

Hi all,

I froze my starter to preserve it somehow when I was away.I now am trying to revive it, but it looks sluggish. I have fed it with Ehanner method (doubling method), twice a day, with no sign that it is active. So far it smells great and bubbles a bit (very little), but no rise whatsoever.

Has anyone encountered the same problem? And how do I get my beloved starter back? I miss it... :-(


dmsnyder's picture

Rustic Baguettes made with Nury's Light Rye Dough

Rustic Baguettes made with Nury Light Rye dough

Rustic Baguettes made with Nury Light Rye dough

Rustic Baguettes Crumb made with Nury Light Rye dough

Rustic Baguettes Crumb made with Nury Light Rye dough 


As promised, I made some baguettes using Nury's Light Rye dough from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads." I followed Leader's recipe except for using a couple tablespoons less water, thinking it might work better for baguettes. In hindsight, I don't think this improved the product.

For those not familiar with the recipe, it is documented in Zolablue's original posting of her baking of this bread.’s-rustic-light-rye-leader

This was an excellent thread. It led me to make this bread myself for the first time, and it remains one of my very favorites.

Leader's recipe calls for patting out the mass of fermented dough into a 10 x 10 inch rectangle, cutting it in half with a bench knife and gently transferring the cut pieces to floured parchment, then immediately baking it on a stone with steam. For these "baguettes," I simply sliced off 3 portions, about 2.5 cm wide each, and stretched them gently to 12 inches as I laid them on the parchment. I baked with steam at 500F for 10 minutes, then removed the skillet and loaf pan with the water and turned down the oven to 440F. The bake time was 17-20 minutes, total.

The baguettes are beautiful, in a very rustic way. The crust was very nicely crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The taste was wonderful, as it always is with this recipe. The main difference between these baguettes and the "proper" Nury Light Rye is that the baguettes have proportionally much more crust, and the crust stays crisp rather than softening.

 My efforts to make traditional baguettes will continue, but this version is one I'll be making again. 



Marni's picture

What kitchen scale do you have?

I guess I'm convinced.  I have never baked with scales, but the folks here that do make it sound like the very best way to go.  The clincher for me- someone said there will be fewer things to wash up!!

So please- what scale do you have, do you like it or not and why?  Any other advice?  Brands  or styles to avoid? Tips on use?

Thanks in advance,