The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dmsnyder's picture

Mother's day breads

Today, I baked a couple boules of Susan's "Ultimate Sourdough," a batch of Anis Bouabsa baguettes with sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds and a Polish Cottage Rye.

I've blogged about Susan's sourdoughs before. What else is there to say? I love both her "Original" and "Ultimate" sourdoughs. I can't say I prefer one over the other. The one I baked today was from Susan's recipe, but I left out the olive oil ... I think. At the moment, I can't recall whether I forgot it or not. Hmmmm ....

The seeded Bouabsa Baguettes were made at my wife's request. I've been making different breads with mixed-seed soakers recently. My wife has enjoyed them, but has told me she likes the seeds on the outside more than on the inside. Being it's Mother's Day, it seemed a good time to make something special for her.

I followed the Bouabsa formula about which I've blogged several times before. This uses Bouabsa's technique but adds 100 gms of active sourdough starter. I also substituted 10% white whole wheat flour and 5% whole rye flour. The remaining 85% was Giusto's Baker's Choice. I mixed the seeds (30 gms sunflower, 30 gms sesame and 15 gms poppy) and rolled the shaped baguettes in the mix, spread on a sheet pan, before proofing on a linen couche.

They turned out well, with a nice crunchy crust, open crumb and very tasty flavor. 

The Polish Cottage Rye is one of my favorite breads from Leader's "Local Breads." I have made it using First Clear flour with results like the photo in Leader's book. The last couple of times, I have followed the recipe and used bread flour for the wheat flour. The crumb has been very open and nothing like that pictured in "Local Breads." Using bread flour, it makes a very slack dough that requires extensive, intense mixing to develop the gluten sufficiently to allow one to form a boule that holds its shape. Leader's mixing instructions should be followed and yield good results. Both versions have been delicious. 

I made this bread today with bread flour. It just came out of the oven and "sang" at the top of its lungs. 



Jw's picture

ever tried baking on a bbq?

anyone every tried that? I have a webber bbq at home, never tried it for bread. Wouldn't it be too hot? Do I need to add woodchips (oak?) for better taste?

Any tips are welcome, before I start that adventure.

Happy baking!


xaipete's picture

Suas' Buckwheat Walnut Pear Bread

I've been on a buckwheat kick lately and wanted to try Michel Suas' Buckwheat Pear Bread. Suas' book, Advanced Bread and Pastry, poses some problems for me in that its recipes all assume the baker knows what he or she is doing. While I generally know what I'm doing, I don't always remember to do what I know.

I made the levain yesterday, soaked the pears in riesling wine for an hour this morning, and then completed dough. The recipe didn't specify whether to dice the dried pears, but fortunately I was able to find some information about it on the SFBI site and figured out they were suppose to be diced. Still, I didn't know whether the weight of the pears was before or after soaking. I used the before soaking weight, and that was probably a mistake. The final dough was pretty sticky, and although not unmanageable, I think I would have been better off if the dough had been a bit firmer. Another thing that the formula doesn't tell you is how to assemble the final dough. After I had dumped everything in the mixer bowl, I thought, "I should have mixed the water with the levain before putting in the rest of the ingredients." That was a good thought but unfortunately I thought it a little too late. Anyway, I mixed everything up as best I could, but had trouble getting the pears and walnuts incorporated during the final minute of mixing and had to work them in by hand; the final dough was pretty sticky. The dough took about 2 hours to double. I shaped it into 3 rounds and let them rest 30 minutes, then formed them into loaves for my mini pans. I wasn't interested in making my loaves into the recommended pear shape--I'm way too utilitarian for that. I let my loaves proof for 1 hour and then baked them with steam at 400º for 35 minutes.

The crumb is a slightly spongy and a little wetter than I think it is suppose to be. Perhaps I under- or over-mixed the dough. You can see darker and lighter parts in the crumb; I think that is probably owing to my failure to incorporate the levain and water at the beginning. The pear taste is very prominent but not overwhelming; the buckwheat taste is very subtle. If nothing else, these little loaves will make great toast.

buckwheat pear bread


39 g buckwheat flour

138 g bread flour

174 g water

1/8 t yeast

1/8 t salt


Final Dough:

280 g bread flour

135 g water

11 g salt

3 1/2 g yeast

39 g toasted walnuts

92 g dried, diced pears reconstituted for 1 hour in white wine


My interpretation of how to put this bread together:

Make the levain 12 hours beforehand. Mix the levain with the water for the final dough, add in the remaining ingredients except the nuts and pears, and knead on speed 2 until you achieve improved mix (window pane forms but breaks when stretched). Add the pears and walnuts on speed 1 after the dough has been developed.

Let ferment at room temperature until double, about 2 hours. Preshape into 3 pieces and let rest for 30 minutes. Form into mini-loaves and let proof for about 1 hour. Bake in a 400º oven with steam for about 35 minutes.


jisgren's picture

BBA Poilane-Style Miche


Third weekend of baking.  This is the Poilan-Style Miche from BBA.  Will post pics of crumb once we cut into this tonight!!  My three week old sourdough starter is superactive and raised this in record time!

xaipete's picture

Buckwheat Crepes (Crêpes de Blé Noir)

I've been lucky enough to travel to Paris a few times. One of the new foods I experienced there was buckwheat crepes or galettes. The little bistro I ate them in was just across the bridge from Notre Dame. These crepes were served flat with an egg and ham in the middle of them. You just break the egg on top of the cooked crepe with the heat on low and cook until the white is set and the yolk is very warm. (Quail eggs would be especially delicious here.) When you bite into the crepe, the egg yolk gets absorbed by the crepe. These were fun to make although I had to add some milk to the recipe this morning to loosen it up (it really thickened overnight). I found the recipe in the LA Times. I'm going to fill some of them with creamed spinach as a side dish for tonight's dinner.

buckwheat crepes

buckwheat crepes

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons butter, melted
Softened butter for the pan

1. In the jar of a blender, blend the flour, eggs, milk, salt and melted butter with three-fourths cup water at high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides midway with a spatula. Strain the batter through a fine-mesh sieve.

2. Cover and let rest, refrigerated, for at least an hour, or overnight.

3. Heat a crepe pan or nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until a sprinkle of water sizzles when you throw it on the pan. With a paper towel, spread butter over the pan, being sure to wipe most of it off.

4. Using a bowl or a measuring cup with a spout, pour enough batter to just cover the pan (for a crepe pan, a little less than one-fourth cup), immediately swirling the batter around until it covers the whole surface. The batter may be thicker than basic crepes once it has been resting and may need to be thinned a little; if so, add up to one-fourth cup water and stir until blended. It will have a different consistency than sweet crepes (more like honey than pancake batter) and will cook slightly differently, forming bubbles and lacier edges. Adjust the heat, if necessary, to medium-low. As with pancakes, the first one or two galettes are usually experiments.

5. When the edges of the galette begin to turn golden and move away from the pan, about 3 minutes, lift the edge nearest to you using a spatula (an offset spatula works best). Flip the galette over. Cook the second side of the galette only long enough for it to set, less than a minute. Remove from the pan and start a stack of galettes, using wax paper to layer between each galette as you cook more. Add more butter when needed with a paper towel.

Each of 24 galettes: 71 calories; 3 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 3 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 41 mg. cholesterol; 65 mg. sodium.

Cooking202's picture

Korean Rolls

I can't think of a better place for hard to find info.  Years ago there was a Korean Bakery that made the best rolls I think I have ever tasted.  They were football shaped with an indention on top that was filled with about a tablespoon of butter, scallions and salt that had been simmered until tender and simply placed in a puddle on top.  I have searched the net for years and haven't found anything that even sounds close.  Any help would be appreciated.  There might be a time when I don't have to ask so many questions, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.


sybram's picture

Questions regarding Debra Wink's starter formula and procedure

I'm doing Debra Wink's pineapple starter formula.  I'm on day 10 and still feeding just once per day.  The starter is bubbly and is expanding, but doesn't smell as nicely tart as it did earlier--much blander now.  Is that OK?  She says to start feeding two or three times daily after it gets yeast, but not before.  What tells me if it's yeasty?  How long do I continue the 2-3 daily feedings?  What do I do with it then?  Put in fridge between bakings?  Leave out and feed often?  Obviously, I'm new to sourdough.  Also, how can I determine the ph?  Is there a tool?  meter?  Go ahead and add anything else you think I need to know. <snicker, snort>  I'm sure I'll understand this more as I go along, but it's sure Greek to me now, although I've read so much already on TFL.  You're great to share such a wealth of knowledge.


xaipete's picture

Suas' San Francisco Sourdough

I've been experimenting with various method of making San Francisco Sourdough for some time now. Suas' SF Sourdough loaf came out pretty well. I baked it with steam instead of under a cloche and didn't get as much oven spring as I hoped for. This loaf underwent bulk fermentation on the counter and was proofed in the refrigerator. It isn't quite as sour as I would like. I achieve the degree of sourness I'm looking for only when I do both the bulk fermentation and proofing in the refrigerator.

Suas San Francisco Sourdough

                      The crumb of this loaf is medium open and doesn't have a glisteny wet look about it.


2 1/2 oz. bread flour

1/8 oz. rye flour

1 1/4 oz. water

starter (stiff) 2 1/8 oz. (50% hydration)

Mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Allow to ferment 12 hours at room temperature (65º - 70º).


Final Dough:

14 7/8 oz. flour (I used bread flour)

10 7/8 oz. water

3/8 oz. salt

6 oz. levain (all of the levain)

My Method: mix water and levain in mixer with paddle to loosen levain (about 1 minute). Add remaining ingredients and mix for an additional minute. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes so flour can hydrate. Resume mixing with dough hook for about 4 - 5 minutes to achieve a medium consistency (gluten structure is developed, but not fully--window pane forms but breaks upon stretching). Put dough into an oiled container with a lid. Let ferment for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Do a stretch and fold. Let ferment for another 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Form into a ball and let rest 20 minutes. Shape into batard, put into a banneton, cover with a plastic bag sprayed with pan-spray and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours. Turn out onto pan-sprayed parchment and bake on a stone in a 450º preheated oven for about 25 minutes with steam.

Makes a single two pound loaf (weight before baking).

Below is a picture of a loaf I baked several days ago. This loaf underwent overnight bulk fermentation in the refrigerator after the stretch and fold, overnight proofing in the refrigerator, and was baked with a cloche; it got much better oven spring and had better sour flavor. I'm sold that this is the way to go. I don't think it is so much the particular formula as the method. Additionally, in my experience, loaves that undergo this much refrigeration, tend to be pretty wet (slack, extensible, whatever you want to call it), but seem to bake up well in spite of this characteristic. I'm not sure how you go about successfully scoring such a wet loaf, but perhaps that isn't as important as the taste. Yesterday I read in Local Breads that wetter doughs have bigger holes. Based on my experience, I'm a believer.

San Francisco Sourdough

                      The crumb of this loaf is very open and has a glisteny wet look about it.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Look Mom & Dad, it's sprouted flour!

I picked up a kilo of sprouted universal (all purpose; AP) wheat flour today! Wow! a normal supermarket! I'm so excited!  Why?  As I get older, I eat less, I want more nutrition from my food ingredients, sprouted flour could be an option.  Being curious, I'm investigating.

Let me back up a little.  I live just outside of Linz, Austria.  Our flour normally comes in kilo size paper bags and there are several brands to choose from.  One popular brand is Fini's Feinstes  (or Fini's Finest).   I had noticed there was a "New" red label in the corner.  I grabbed my w700 bread flour and some whole spelt flour and started rolling the packages over looking for something more than w480 which is AP.  Proteins are listed and what is this new one?  With Keimkraft..... keimkraft... sprouts!  I grabbed a package and hurried home to investigate.  Here is the site in English.  I have never seen sprouted flour here before other than malt.

There are pictures of the sprouts at the site, 10 of them and they make up 10% of the flour.  That was a little bit of a let down, I was hoping for 100% sprouted flour.  Barley is not included which is the known "malt" grain.

So now I'm wondering...why only 10%?  Enzyme action?  Dan mentions 5% malt maximum..... (my brain gears are turning remembering malt sprouts have long tails).  In my web searches I ran into interesting definitions, sprouts vs germination.  The words are often used interchangeably but germination happens first and then the sprout appears and grows.  What I'm trying to understand is .... as the sprout gets longer or older with time, do the enzymes get stronger and concentrated?  Are freshly germinated seeds milder but still as nutritious as older sprouts?  The sprouts are stopped at a particular stage, dried, and milled into flour.  Which stage?  (If I were to germinate my own and stop the process to dry them, when is the best time to catch the sprouts before they interfere with my dough?)

Will the flour behave itself when I make bread?   Protein is 11.9   not bad...  

Nim's picture

bread knife and matters slicing

How can we slice bread so that in the end we are not left with a piece that is too wide on one side and just enough for a single slice on the other. All of my loafs almost invariable end like that, at which point, I just cut it into squares and share it with my 3 yr old who doesn't care that it is not a slice anymore.

Also, what do people here recommend for buying a good bread knife? Till now, I have just been using the serrated knife from my very ordinary set of knifes on a wooden block. I think after three years of never buying bread from a store and baking at least once a week, I should buy a good bread knife. (I tend to be a minimalist in the kitchen!) Don't want to spend a fortune though...