The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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flour-girl's picture

Pretzel rolls -- perfect for grilling season

I went on a quest for pretzel-roll recipes yesterday and ended up adapting a few to come up with what I think is a pretty darn tasty pretzel roll -- perfect for sausages or burgers this grilling season.

You can check it out at Flour Girl.

Happy baking! And happy weekend!


gothicgirl's picture

Grilled Mushroom and Ricotta Pizza on Sourdough Wheat Crust

Posted on on 6/12/09

I have been on something of a pizza kick lately, and not those commercially prepared pies with flavorless cheese and mushy veggies.


I can directly pin-point when this all started.  It began at the Mushroom Council lunch when Chef Kent Rathburn made us a grilled mushroom pizza.  I knew in that moment that I would be making a pizza with grilled mushrooms.  This is the result.


I used mushrooms that were available at the grocery store, portobello and white button, and added some red pepper for extra flavor.  I will say this, grilling mushrooms is an easy way to add a soft smoky flavor and meaty texture to a pizza, and it may be the only way I do it from now on!


I decided that instead of sauce I would just put diced tomato on my pizza, and along with some lovely fresh mozzarella cheese I would add some creamy ricotta.  Of course, I added some pepperoni.  It is my favorite topping.  I'm not ashamed to admit it either.


The crust is homemade, and I decided almost at the last minute to add about 1/4 cup of my sourdough starter to it.  The starter added a nice tangy bite to the crust, which has a crisp exterior and a soft interior.  If you do not have any starter do not fear.  It is entirely optional, and the crust is still beautiful with out it.

Grilled Mushroom and Ricotta Pizza on Sourdough Wheat Crust   Serves 4-6

Sourdough Wheat Crust:
1 cup water heated to 95F
2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup sourdough starter, optional
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white bread flour
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the bowl
1 teaspoon salt

Grilled Mushrooms and Peppers:
1 pound portobello mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

Other Toppings:
Ricotta cheese
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Diced tomatoes
Fresh oregano, minced
Fresh Basil


Prepare a sponge by combining the water, yeast, starter, sugar, honey, and what flour in a bowl.  Stir to combine and allow to sit covered, at room temperature, for ten minutes.  The sponge may not be terribly foamy or bubbly.


To the sponge add the remaining ingredients and mix with the dough hook on low speed for 3 minutes. Adjust the hydration as needed (the dough should be tacky but not cling too much to your fingers).  Increase the speed to medium and mix for 8 minutes.   Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a ball on a lightly floured surface.


Transfer to a bowl coated with olive oil, turn once to coat, and proof for two hours, covered, at room temperature.  After the initial proof, degas the dough and store, covered well, in the refrigerator for 24 hours, or up to three days. 


Pull the dough an hour before you are ready to bake it.  While the dough warms up prepare your toppings and heat your oven to 500F with a pizza stone on the bottom rack, if you have one.  


With the flat of a knife crush two large garlic cloves.  Mix them with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Add the sliced mushrooms and bell pepper strips and allow sit five minutes.


Transfer to a perforated grill pan and cook, over a very hot grill, until starting to soften, about five to ten minutes.  Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.


Divide the dough into two large or four small balls and, using your hands, stretch it into a thin circle.  


Transfer the dough to a pizza peel that has been dusted generously with corn meal.  Top the pizza with a thin layer of ricotta, diced tomatoes, oregano, mozzarella, pepperoni, and the grilled mushrooms and peppers.


Cook the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and brown and the cheese has melted and begun to brown as well.


Allow the pizza to rest for five minutes before slicing.  Top with torn fresh basil.



sdionnemoore's picture

Windowpane test

I have made a few of the recipes in PR's BBA book. Tonight, as I was mixing for the Anadama bread, I had a problem with the dough being too wet. So during knead time I was forced to add probably a cup of flour, little by little, in order to get something akin to the dough he describes. But when I go to do the windowpane test, the dough, as it has once before, kind of rips and tears apart. It's not smooth and thin and light, like I've seen in videos of the windowpane method.


Does this mean I am not kneading enough? Should I wait and get the dough as close to workable before starting knead time? And why am I having to add so much extra flour anyway? I did make a few changes. *gulp* I used regular cornmeal instead of coarse and had to use 4 T honey because I ran out of molasses. The only other thing I did differently was to use a mix, about half and half, of bread flour and white whole Wheat, instead of the all bread flour he suggests. Did those changes have huge impact on the dough consistency? 

davidg618's picture

Herb bread ideas?

Except for the parsley, which I cut back big time, my herb garden is at its peak. I'm looking for something outside the box to try, I'd like to marry herbs with sourdough, but that's a wish, not a contraint. Anyone have any off-beat, and flavorful herb bread ideas to share? I have lots of fresh basil, thyme, dill, mint, rosemary, french tarragon, chives, marjoram, Greek oregano, sage, and a little new growth flat leaf parsley. If your bread calls for dried herbs, no problem, that's just an extra twenty-four hours with the dehydrator.

Thanks up front.

David G.

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Coffee Roasting

So I figured there might be people in here into other artisan sorta stuff.  Here's some coffee I roasted this morning.  I was going for a City+ roast and this coffee particularly has a strong aroma and flavor of blueberries when roasted.  Ethiopian Harrar Horse.  This is a particularly fruity lot I had stored away from a few years ago.  The uneven color is a characteristic of this bean.

lezlishoemaker's picture

What can I substitute for a cake mix???

I have a few recipes from my mother-in-law, who I always thought baked from scratch... Come to find out that EVERY SINGLE ONE of her ecipes start with "1 yellow cake mix" or "1 white cake mix"

The problem with this is that I don't recall ever buying a cake mix. I am 25 and grew up baking with my grandmother, who never used a cake mix. I have every other ingredient you could want to make 30 or more cakes, but no CAKE MIX!!!

Can anyone please tell me how to substitute this ingredient?!?

ClimbHi's picture

What's the difference between cake/cookies

Backstory: A local (?) baker supplies cookies, etc. to many of the local coffee shops here in da "Burgh. One of the treats they make is a carrot cake cookie with cream cheese icing -- needless to say, what's not to like?

My wife, a super baker, agreed to attempt to replicate these gems. She's done pretty well by starting with a carrot cake recipe and cutting down on the liquids, but she's still not there. Still too "cake-like".

How would you convert a cake recipe into cookies that have a bit of crunch as opposed to a more brownie-like texture? Enquiring wastelines want to know!

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Simple Bread: A Tribute

I was inspired by David (dmsnyder) and his 5 hour baguettes. I needed a sandwich bread that was as lean as I could get it but was still very much soft crusted and soft of crumb. I've found it, I think, by slightly modifying the 5 hour baguette idea and adding one enrichment: olive oil.

Stephanie’s Simple Bread
Makes 1 small loaf

225g AP or bread flour
10g rye flour
15g white whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
170g water

Mix ingredients in the bowl for your stand mixer until you form a shaggy mass. Mix, on low, for 5 minutes, then increase speed to medium for 3 or 4 more. I left this in a clean bowl for 75 minutes for a first rise, folding at 25 and 50 minutes, and 60 minutes for a second rise. Shaped carefully and proofed for 40 minutes, scored, and spritzed with water. Baked for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.

I posted the recipe on my blog, too.

So thank you David. Thanks also have to go out to Susan of Wild Yeast for inspiration due to the fact that I was browsing the Wild Yeast Blog when I thought about how good a simple bread would be with the locally homemade ham salad I bought today.

bread lover's picture
bread lover

question about high extraction flour

I have been reading about high extraction flour on this forum and I want to make Thom Leonard's country french, but I have a question.  In the book "artisan baking" it tells of a way to make a kind of pseudo high extraction flour by sifting whole wheat, but in "the bread bible" RLB talks about reduced bran flour.  It sounds similar and she states one way of getting reduced bran flour is to sift whole wheat, but another way is to add wheat germ and bran to bread flour.  My question is, is reduced bran, and high extraction in fact the same.  I added bran and germ to white flour and I really liked the texture of the big flakes of wheat bran.  I just want to make sure they are about the same so I don't get bad results. 


thank you in advance.

SylviaH's picture

What I did with my frozen pizza dough today!

I hope I'm not the only one who does some strange experiments?  Like useing frozen pizza dough for a pate fermentee!!  I made french bread and another Daisy Ring yeasted coffee cake this time with Almond Paste filling.  They both tasted very good, lots of pleasing flavors in the both the bread and the yeasted coffee cake!

I used JH Baguettes with Pate Fermentee / tweaking the recipe to use my pizza dough!

Next time I will  need to make my Almond Paste filling a little more dryer.  I made a sourcream sugar glaze.

Delicious yeasted coffee bread I make in an assortment of flavors.  It's usually made as a straight dough recipe!

Lots of flavor in the tender crumb!