The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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althetrainer's picture

Bread sculptures

Little man has been asking to make bread sculptures so I am going to just keep the pictures here.  We've made a crab bread two day ago and his monster bread yesterday.  Today, I made an alligator bread, stuffed with ham and cheese.  This one is a bit different than the other two because this is a unbleached sourdough alligator.  Took about 6 hours to rise before baking.  Very fun to make.



Sedlmaierin's picture

Hamelman's Roasted Potato Bread with Onions

This bread seemed really easy to make and it has an excellent flavor! After quizzing my family and friends they all voted for the version with onions, so that's what I made. Not having made or eaten potato bread before,I had no idea what to expect and the only thing that surprised me was how relatively soft the crust turned out to be-it was nice and crunchy when coming out of the oven, but softened upon cooling.I assume that is because it is relatively moist,with the potatoes,onions and oil. I really enjoy the effect that the olive oil has on the flavor-it makes it fruity,rich and creamy!

I left the skin on my one, huge potato and just chopped it fine-that means there are very small pieces of potato still visible in the bread and the skins gives it a nice marbled effect.

The one thing that did not work out that well-or let's say it only worked well on one loaf-was the fendu shaping.And it was entirely my fault-on the succesfully fendu shaped loaf I really used a lot of flour,which I then had to knock off before folding and final proofing.Which made me think,oh I won't use as much flour on the next one, just a little bit..lo and behold, it just didn't turn out that well-it didn't open up as nicely and the rolling pin stuck just a tad when I tried to get it out.Live and learn.

Here are pictures:

So far this challenge has been a lot of fun-I would have never made the potato bread otherwise! It is a lovely bread that I will definitely make again.


ilan's picture

Pecans and pumpkin seeds sandwich bread

My path of research in bread making led me another step. This week I made yet another sandwich-bread and added different stuff into it.

I saw that in the several recipes most of the liquid in such bread consist of milk. It should make the bread richer in flavor as milk in oppose to water have a taste and in addition it contain some percent of fat.

All is good and well in theory. I already baked bread with water and bread with milk.

This time, I made two batches of the same recipe but in the second I replaced 2/3 of the liquid with milk.

Both bread looked almost the same. If there was any visual difference I failed to see it.

The crust on the milk bread was softer while the one with water was crunchier. There is a meaningful difference… I like both.

Another thing I wanted was thinner crust. So instead of baking at high temp with steam for 15 minutes (as I done in my previous bread) I reduce the time to 10 minute. The crust was good but thinner.

 To enrich the bread I added Pecans and Pumpkin seeds to the dough and sprinkled the top of the bread with Sunflower & Pumpkin seeds.

I didn’t use any preferment here, It was aimed to be a quick bread making. So, I used 3 teaspoons of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. This reduced raise time to 1 hour + 1 hour. I must try this same bread with the longer method to check the flavor difference. But this will be my project for next week J

I didn’t punch down the dough after the first rise. I just roll it out of the bowl and formed it. It looses enough air in any case.

Additional thing I tried with both loaves was to score them right after I formed them into loaves. This is because when I try to score the bread right before baking, it loose height. I should look for a razor blade as my knives (sharp as they are – 8” knife is too big) are not good enough for this job.

The Dough:

-       3 1/4 cups flour

-       3 teaspoons yeast

-       1 teaspoon sugar

-       1 ½ cup of water (replace 1 cup of water with milk)

-       1 ¾ teaspoon of salt

-       ½ cup of chopped Pecans

-       ¼ cup of Pumpkin seeds

-       ½ egg

-       ½ egg for glazing

-       Sunflower seeds for topping

Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, egg and water (or milk) into a unified mixture and let rest for 20 minutes.

Add the salt Pecans and Pumpkin seeds knead for 10 minutes. Let rise for 60 minutes.

Form into a loaf and let rise for another hour.

Bake in high temperature with steam for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat (180-170c) and bake for another 40 minutes.

Until the next post




nfierman's picture

What are the principles for a lighter/softer crumb?

My whole wheat breads, even with 1/2 or more general purpose flour, come out pretty dense.  I am looking for a lighter, softer crumb.  What are the key principles for doing that?  Thanks

SylviaH's picture

What I baked today-All day!

This is what I baked today!  I started out this morning making some sourdough waffles for the freezer.  Mike likes to have a ready snack of frozen waffles.  While I was making some of J.H. Vermont sourdough bread I spotted a couple of pears that were just perfect for poaching, aahhh a pear tart for dessert tonight.  Since I was going to busy baking, I saved one portion of the bread dough for a pizza dinner tonight..the oven and the stone all would be nice and hot and it would be an easy dinner so I could tend to my baking.


                                                                         Pear Tart with Amaretto Liqueur 





                                                              J. H. Vermont Sourdough 

                    One very large Pepperoni Pizza made from some saved bread dough!







Futterbudget's picture

Can you dry sourdough starter to preserve it?

I have a wonderful sourdough starter that I got from a friend, and I'd like to know if it's possible to dry some of it so I don't loose it if I forget to feed it.  If so, then how should I reconstitute it?

00Eve00's picture

Black Pepper Rye

I was reading the baker's blogs and came across txfarmer's entry about Dan Lepard's Black Pepper Rye.  I didn't have poppy seeds, so I sprinkled sesame and caraway seeds on top.  I haven't gotten to try the bread yet, but I was rather happy with how it looked so I thought I might post some pics.  Knowing my luck, I'm jumping the gun and I'm going to be disappointed when I cut into it.  Cutting into a new loaf is always a surprise...sometimes just not a pleasant one. Hehe.

What I really need to do is get my butt in gear and start a sourdough culture.

MmeZeeZee's picture

Levain Angst

I don't know if this is the right place, but I just baked my first loaf with a new levain.  I made it according to Dan Lepard's instructions in "The Handmade Loaf".  It looks exactly like the pictures in his book, and did rise.  However, my bread did not.  Well, it rose a little bit over four hours (not doubled in height, that's for sure, but I put it in because I needed to go to bed!) and it rose and spread out a bit more in the oven.  Certainly those babies are active.  But perhaps not active enough?

On the other hand, this is my first bread from The Handmade Loaf and it felt way, way too sticky.  I should mention that I can usually get an open crumb, or at least, I have achieved this in the past until I started with my new oven.  And I did get a perfect open crumb even with a 66% whole wheat bread recently (Hamelman's Rustic Loaf as posted here).  And I have been improving with that.  However, this dough was so sticky I couldn't even really shape it.  And I have shaped many a loaf.  Perhaps my hydration was off in the levain, leading to an over-hydrated dough?

Which do you think is the culprit?  Or both?

Edited to Add:  Holy smokes.  Just tasted it.  It is amazing.  Open crumb, with holes up to 1 cm... the crust is rather over-crusty, probably because I kept it in the 70 minutes because it was such a moist loaf.  But the taste, the taste... it's like sourdough!  Like something else.  Like a really amazing bread I had somewhere once.  Gosh I hope I get replies here so I can make a properly shaped bread because that is just amazing.  My husband will go nuts.  But it is literally as flat as two pancakes.  (So the holes in the crumb take up like, 1/4th of the height of the crumb on average... heh.)

KneadToKnow's picture

How much starter to keep?

I want to get a handle on my new starter. This was begun on April 1 2010 (1 month ago). My current starter is ~2 cups or so and I'm realizing I am throwing out a LOT of flour. I've seen some videos where folks pull out what look like 1 quart jars of starter (that seems like a Huge amount!).

On the opposite side of the quantity scale, I just read one page where the author described a 1:5:5 (Starter:water:flour) method she uses. That sounded reasonable, so I decided to follow her advice. Reading further, she said she discards all but 10grams of starter, then adds 50g each of water and flour. Since I just got my scale, and have never used metric weights, this sounded fine till I weighed out 10 g of starter.

10 grams looks like a very sad little puddle to start with so I didn't discard anything yet.

My two questions to you good folks, are...

1) How much starter should I keep on hand? I'm single and -most likely- will only be baking a 1-2 loaf recipe once or twice a week, if that.

2) What ratio is "best" 1:1:1, the 1:5:5 mentioned above or.....?

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

4/30/10 - Malted Tourte de Meule

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you a potentially successful bake.  This is my variation of Eric Kayser’s Tourte de Meule.  I was inspired by Don D’s bake here:

I will post a crumb shot tomorrow.


300g WW

130g AP

50g Malted Barley Flour

350g Water

12g Kosher Salt

1/8 tsp ADY

962g Total Dough Yield


9:00am – Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl, autolyse covered for 30 minutes.

9:30am – Knead 3 minutes in bowl with wet hands.  Do not add any extra flour.  Rest 30 mins.

10:00am – Knead 1 minute, rest for 1 hr.

11:00am – Turn dough, rest 1 hr.

12:00pm – Shape dough into boule, place in floured linen lined banneton/basket, proof for 2 hrs.

1:00pm – Arrange baking stone and steam pan in oven.  Preheat 550F.

2:00pm – Turn dough out onto lightly floured peel, slash as desired, place in oven directly on stone, pour 1 1/2 cups water into steam tray.  Bake 15 mins at 450F.  Rotate, bake for another 40 minutes at 425F.  Loaf is done when internal temp reaches 210F.  Cool completely before cutting.