The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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RiverWalker's picture

Whole Wheat cookies? (Melon Bread)

My fiancee and I are anime fans and a while back I felt adventurous and tried making Melon bread, based on a recipe I believe I found on this site.  (for those who don't know, Melon Bread is basically a bun type thing, that has a sweet bread, with a sugar cookie sort of crust laid over it.)

it came out pretty well,  definitely able to see the reason its popular in japan.

but health-wise, they aren't so hot.  by weight watchers points, they werel like, 4-6 points each or something like that.

so I thought of trying to make a version thats healthier.   now for the bread-portion, I am fine, I have been experimenting with substituting WW flour for regular and such.

but for the cookie portion...  it seems a bit trickier.  (I mean, how often do people make COOKIES with whole wheat flour?)

I tried doing two main things with my first attempt at making healthy melon bread, I substituted part of the sugar, with Splenda, and used 100% whole wheat flour.   while it did not end up BADLY, I was profoundly unimpressed with the cookie crust.   while it did seem to prevent the bread from crusting up early(quite well, in fact, the bread portion was wonderfully soft and fluffy) and never got remotely crispy, in fact it was hardly distinguishable from the bread portion.

the regular flour cookie portion of the recipe I am using is:

1c Flour (with the straight recipe, I mixed AP and cake flour, though I'm not sure the distinction mattered that much)
1/2 tsp baking powder
3Tbsp Butter
4Tbsp Sugar
1 egg

(sugar/buter creamed, mixed with egg,  then the baking powder/flour mixture mixed in.  portioned and refrigrated, then rolled out and put on top of the mostly proofed buns)

is it possible to do something like this with whole wheat flour and it work better than I experienced? larger volume overall? more baking powder?  would using only half WW flour improve it greatly or would the WW flour weigh it down too much even then?

I'm not averse to experimenting if thats what it takes, but if I can get a direction thats more likely to work, that would be appriciated.

also, how does Splenda interact with bread baking or cookies like this?

Feelin Crumby's picture
Feelin Crumby

Quarry Tiles ("Baking Stones")

I recently bought unglazed quarry tiles (floor tiles) to line my oven with for "hearth" baked breads. Does anyone know if there is any preparation that needs to be done to the tiles before use, other than washing?

Thanks, Jim

turosdolci's picture

Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Maple Cream

A carrot cake with an Italian twist, this is a light moist cake that is an old recipe of my family. Sorry folks I forgot to add the bolg address.

Jahosacat's picture

starter from yeast or not?

I'm ready to start my first starter and I'd like to try making one myself instead of buying one. I've looked at recipes for starters and see some that have yeast and some that don't. I'm curious about others opinions and/or experiences with making starters that include yeast and ones that don't include yeast.



moxiemolly's picture

Day 35, Floyd's Blueberry Braids, WOW!

Wow, I made Floyd's blueberry and cream cheese braids today (started them yesterday) and they are AMAZING! I did one by the book and made the other with a smear of the cream cheese filling sprinkled with chocolate chips, YUMMY! In case you haven't come across his post here is a link:

I highly recommend trying it. One note, my oven cooks a little fast because it has a convection option so this bread only needed about 25 minutes. Here are some pictures of the process:

The braids before going into the oven, the large one is blueberry:


The braids right out of the oven, it was really hard to wait 30 mins before cutting:


A close up of the delight:



A slice of blueberry heaven:


And a shot of chocolate loveliness:



Thanks Floyd!

trenz's picture

Italian Baking Secrets / The Italian Baker

Hi, I am new to baking and have been reading this site while deciding which couple of books to buy.( awesome site by the way ) I have read the threads  about recommendations and have a question. I can not find The Italian Baker in the bookstore and my librarys copy is lost. I wanted to take a look before purchasing and came across a book called Italian Baking Secrets by Father Giuseppe Orsini. This one I can get at my library. Here are quotes from two of the amazon reviews

This book appears to be very closely related to 'The Italian Baker' copyright 1985 by Carol Field. In fact this may essentially be a "new edition" of that quarter century old book(?) The overall length is reduced, apparently by omitting some of the most obscure material and replacing or substantially rewriting chunks of the rest. Yet the similarities are huge. At least pages 18-55 are reprinted word for word (in the process changing the anecdotal "I" from a she to a he). And the table of contents is almost the same. I wish I knew more about the relationship between the two books and between the two authors so I could better compare the highs and lows.

I guess I didn't need this book because I already own Carol Fields' 1985 "The Italian Baker." I don't know if the joke's on me, but huge portions of this book (including the personal anecdotes) are copied verbatim from that volume. What the heck? To be fair, the recipes are excellent, especially the regional and rustic breads - I'm just not sure this guy should get the credit.

Does anyone know anything about this book? Is it even worth checking out of the library or is it no good?





hutchndi's picture

Coconut Buckwheat Injera or Pancakes

I was making my wife some special pancakes this morning that are gluten free - egg free and dairy free (she is allergic to all) and the recipe I am always using and tweeking got much better. I usually have to use soy or rice milk in place of dairy milk, but this time I tried canned coconut milk. This worked really well and I also thinned the recipe and made a very nice injera type flat bread at the end. I wanted to share it with anybody that might want to try it, or give suggestions. I do add fruit sometimes, but am always working on getting the consistancy and flavor best before masking it with those additions. I usually make the following double batch so that she can have some ready made for later in the week.

3 cups buckwheat flour

2 cups coconut milk

2 tsp baking soda

3 tsp baking powder

3 tsp sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

4 flax egg substitutes (each = 1 tablespoon flax meal mixed with 3 tablespoons boiling water, let sit for a few minutes till gooey)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

enough water for runny pancake batter

ladle a scoop of batter onto medium hot lightly greased skillet.  When the batter stopps bubbling but is still steaming, flip


For a nice injera type flat bread or roll up, add more water to the batter so that it can spread out nice and thin. Cook on one side until the top is dry to touch. Don't flip, injera only gets cooked on one side, this leaves the other side flexible for rolling. There will be alot of bubble holes and be nice and soft inside.

Russ from RI



jacobsbrook's picture

Another "version" of the Rubaud Miche :)

Thank you Shiao-Ping for sharing your wonderful skills as both a baker and a true artist!  Also thanks to MC for sharing with the "inspiring" story from Vermont.  After reading the blogs from Shiao-Ping and Farine I decided why not try???  Maybe the flavor will be what I am seeking. 

I followed as best as I could the formula that Shiao-Ping described, with only timing and my lacking a standmixer being an issue.  Therefore I used an autolyse of the flour, water, and starter, minus the salt for 30 minutes.  Then 6 stretch and folds one every 30 minutes.  After pre-shape and shaping, the dough was placed into the couche  and off to the fridge.  It remained in the refrigerator close to 14 hours.  In the morning the the cold dough went directly into the pre-heated oven at 500F with steam for the first 15 minutes and dropped to 450F for the remaining bake.  I am happy with the resulting loaves.  The flavor is mild and light and I agree with others that the resulting loaves are surprisingly light. The best description I can think of is "YUM". 

I cannot wait to see how they "age".  As usual my scoring leaves much to be desired, but you can't see that when it is sliced for a sandwich.  :)  

Once again thank you to the Artisans of TFL.

Best regards and well wishes.


Agamemnonsmom's picture

When to freeze dough?

I am making the french bread recipe here and need to know if I should cook both loaves and then freeze one. Or can I freeze a shaped loaf (not risen for the final time) and cook another day.  Two loaves will be too many for my small family.


Thank you so much!




Here's the recipe if it matters:



1 cup water
1 cup bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

All of the preferment
5 cups bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon malt syrup, malt powder, brown sugar, or sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water


To start the preferment, mix together the flour, water, and yeast in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature for at least 4 hours and as long as 16 hours.

To make the dough, mix together the preferment, water, olive oil, yeast, salt, malt powder, and dry milk in a bowl with 2 more cups of flour. Mix thoroughly. Mix or knead in the rest of the flour a half a cup as a time until you have a slack dough but one that is no longer sticky. Total mixing time should be in the ballpark of 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the dough in a well-greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature until at least 2 times in size, approximately 2 hours. Punch the dough down and let it rise again for half an hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in half. Shape the dough into a ball or log, cover with a damp towel, and allow it to relax for another 20 minutes.

Shape the dough into its final shape. Cover again and allow to rise for another hour until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven and baking stone, if you are using one, to 425 degrees.

Right before placing the loaves in the oven brush or spray them lightly with water. Place them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes before rotating them. Bake them another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the loaf reads 200 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least a half an hour before serving.


cognitivefun's picture

I don't bother to refresh anymore

Storing my starter in the fridge. I just take it out, take half of it and use it to start my loaf, add flour and water and put back in the fridge.

No waste.

Seems to be fine without feeding, "activating"...