The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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fleur-de-liz's picture

After several busy weekends when there wasn't much time for bread baking, I had a nice leisurely weekend when I could experiment with baking some loaves from Daniel Leader's Local Breads. The two small loaves on the left are Meteils au Bleu (Little Bue Cheese Rye Loaves), a very mild and moist rye (made with a white starter) chock full of a regional blue cheese called bleu d'Auvergne. The volcanic looking boulder in the back is Pane Casareccio di Genzano that Zolablue and Bwraith both discussed a few weeks back, a very large open crumb pagnotta style bread. The seeded rye in the front is Chleba, Light Silesian Rye, and the boule on the right is Pain de Campagne, one of my favorite breads. A lovely weekend it was, baking my way through France, Italy and Poland.

wholegrainOH's picture

Finally had a chance to do one of Peter Reinhart's recipes, from Whole Grain Breads.  Did the multi-grain struan, since that's his signature bread.  Here's the result, lightly dusted with black sesame seeds.  Tastes as good as it looks! 


here's the recipe I followed:

Whole grains:




            Oat flakes

            Wheat flakes

King Arthur Whole Wheat

Saranac Pale Ale

Soy Milk

Skim Milk

Kosher Salt


Organic canola oil

King Arthur “New England” starter


more photos, etc., at my blog,


tommy d's picture
tommy d

I love making bagels ! I been a cook my whole life however I started baking bagels 1 years ago and the guy that trained me was really good and on the third day I was doing it all by myself , my boss said she never seen any one learn so quick !

now I'm trying new things cause I'm not tied down with the corprate bullshit ! I am starting to create my own yeast ,new bagels and expanding into other areas of baking ! I feel like I have great desicion making when it comes to baking and I want to start learning other types of breads and pasteries how ever I dont want to go to school for it !

I am also conflicted cause although I want to do these things and I can see myself doing it for the rest of my life I also want to be an addiction speacalist ! well these are my thoughts !

KipperCat's picture

I'm very happy with this big loaf, of mostly white bread flour with some whole wheat and cornmeal for a flavor boost. The taste was fabulous. :~) I think it's my first white sourdough, and it's definitely the first formula I concocted wholly on my own, as opposed to tinkering with an existing recipe or formula. I didn't weigh the finished loaf, but it was 12 inches across. The unbaked dough was just over 3 pounds.

Since my evening's breadwork was postponed by an unplanned movie, I mixed it just before bed using icewater. I left the 68F dough to sit in the 76F room, planning to not look at it until after a good night's sleep. But when the cat woke me up 4 hours later, I had to look in on the bread. The dough and the room were both at 75F.


manuela's picture


For World Bread Day '07 my entry is Parker House Rolls, made according to the 1896

recipe by Fannie M. Farmer

susanfnp's picture

This sweet potato sourdough with pumpkin seeds was my bread for World Bread Day. Something new for me, using sweet potato in the dough. It made the dough very orange and I was afraid the baked bread would look garish, but it was nicely golden. A good October bread.

Sweet potato sourdough with pumpkin seeds Sweet potato sourdough with pumpkin seeds
JMonkey's picture

Working from home has its disadvantages: it's all too easy to blur work into home-life, you're somewhat isolated from co-workers, and it's tempting to try to do chores when work is slow.

But bread baking poses no problems at all. Most of bread baking, especially when you use the stretch and fold method to develop dough instead of traditional kneading, consists of 2-3 minute bursts of activity separated by long periods of waiting. The trouble, of course, is that the timing of those little bursts of activity is really, really important. Working from home, the kitchen is always just a few steps away from my computer, and doing the work of making bread takes about as much time as going to fetch a fresh cup of coffee.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of sourdough baking, even when the bread itself isn't truly a sourdough bread. For instance, here's my results from baking Peter Reinhart's Mash Bread, from his new (and fabulous) book, Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.

The sweetness of the bread was really surprising, and I was astonished by how much oven spring I got. It's easily the best I've ever gotten from a 100% whole grain bread. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and didn't let the sourdough mature fully, so the flavor was less than I'd expected. In short, sweet, but bland. I'm eager to try it again, though, and next time I'll let the sourdough fully ripen, which is especially important, since the sourdough is used almost exclusively for flavoring rather than leavening. If you want to make this bread, I'd suggest heading over to Bill Wraith's excellent write-up.

I had some starter left over, so I made up some sourdough pizza dough -- two of the doughballs went in the freezer, while the others went into the fridge so that I could make them up for dinner the next night. Probably two of the best pizzas I've made. A woman at the Corvallis Farmer's Market was selling wild chantrelle mushrooms, so I got some, sauteed them in a bit of butter, and plopped them on the pizza. They were great, along with some black olives and turkey-chicken sausage:

The crust was nice and holey!

Here's how I made it:


  • Whole wheat flour: 50%
  • AP flour: 50%
  • Water: 80%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Olive oil: 5%
  • 15% of the flour is pre-fermented as starter
Recipe (2 crusts):
  • Whole wheat starter (75% hydration): 100 grams
  • Whole wheat flour: 130 grams
  • AP flour: 180 grams
  • Water: 250 grams
  • Olive oil: 18 grams
  • Salt: 7 grams

Mix the water and the starter, and mush it all up with your fingers until it's a soupy mess. Add the salt and the oil, mix again, and then add the flour. Let it sit, covered, for 1 hour and then give it a stretch and fold. Do two more folds spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart. Let it ferment a total of 4-5 hours at room temperature (about 68-70 degrees F), and then divide into two. Shape each lump of dough into a tight ball, pop them into plastic bags, and put them in the fridge if you plan to use within the next 3 days. Otherwise, put them in the freezer, where they'll keep for at least one month. When you're ready to make the pizza, let the dough sit out for about 2 hours if it was in the fridge, 4 hours if in the freezer. Shape, top and bake on a stone preheated for about an hour in an oven at the highest setting possible. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Last, my standby: whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread.

Always tasty, always reliable.

Next on my agenda: some of those potato-onion-rye rolls from Peter's book!
ejm's picture

wild walnut raisin bread

I do love bread! It really is the staff of life, don't you think?

As far as I'm concerned, every day is bread day. We invariably have buttered toast each morning for breakfast. Sandwiches are not uncommon for lunch. Bread is often the starch we choose to go with dinner. (A crusty French-style loaf is wonderful with stews and soups; cubes of older bread make great stuffing for roast chicken or croutons for salad; corn bread is a must with chilli; one really can't have palak paneer without naan or chapatis!) And if there's no dessert made and someone neeeeds dessert? Cinnamon toast!

Even though we like so many different kinds of bread, when I heard that Zorra (kochtopf) had chosen an open theme for World Bread Day 2007, I didn't have any difficulty deciding what bread to feature. I knew exactly what I wanted to bake: walnut raisin bread with wild yeast.

And how did I come to this decision to bake walnut raisin bread? In September, my sister-in-law sent me some of her bread recipes, including her favourite: "walnut raisin bread" from Beth's Basic Bread Book by Beth Hensperger. I had already had an idea that I was going to have to try making walnut bread after reading about it in Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery but realizing that raisins could be added clinched it. I really liked that it was a multigrain bread as well. This is right up my alley - especially for the fall! There's something about the cooler weather that calls for a stronger bigger tasting bread.

There was only one small hitch. My sister-in-law's recipe calls for commercial yeast. Nancy Silverton's recipe appears to be quite complex, requiring 3 days of preparation! (I do like her book but it really doesn't seem to be aimed at the kind of home baker I am. It's all I can manage to remember to mix the starter one day before baking! Same day bread is really more suited to my scattered temperament....) But again, I really wanted to use my wild yeast that I captured using the recipe in Piano Piano Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant.

So I winged it once more for how to make the alteration from commercial yeast to wild yeast. I'm still fighting a bit with how much to allow the bread to rise (I'm pretty sure that I am letting it over-rise) so the resulting bread was a little bit on the flat side. But still I was pretty pleased and I can really understand why it is my sister-in-law's favourite bread. I only wish she lived closer so I could take a loaf over to their house next time I bake this recipe!

wild walnut raisin bread

By itself, the bread has a decided sour aroma - not overpoweringly so but I would like to lessen it. With sweet butter, the sourness disappears completely and the other hidden flavours of the bread stand out beautifully. There is a nuttiness not just from the walnuts and a sweetness not just from the raisins. It really is stellar bread and imagine how good it's going to be when I remember to turn the oven on early enough so it doesn't over-rise!

It is equally wonderful for dessert with cheese. And day-old bread can be sliced thinly, drizzled with olive oil and made into crostini. Slather the toasts with herbed olive-oiled goat's cheese. It's almost so good this way that I have an urge to make a loaf specifically to be kept over for a day just to make crostini!

Here is the Wild Bread with Walnuts and Raisins recipe.

About Baking the Bread: Thirty minutes before you are going to bake, turn the oven to 450F.

At the time of baking, spray the top of the risen loaves liberally with water.

Note that I do NOT throw water or spray the hot oven before putting the bread in to bake. This just lowers the temperature of the oven and could possibly damage parts of it. (I've heard of the glass door or the light breaking.)

Put the bread in oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400F. Bake the bread for a total of 40 to 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is between 210F and 220F. (I use a meat thermometer.) Half way through the baking, turn the bread around to account for uneven heat in the oven.

check internal temperature

Remove to cool on a rack. Wait til the bread is cool before cutting it. It is still continuing to bake inside! If you wish to serve warm bread, reheat it after it has cooled completely.

To reheat unsliced bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.


World Bread Day 2007 (Photo Sharing)

Zorra (Kochtopf) is hosting World Bread Day (WBD) again this year and is inviting food bloggers to join with her in another celebration of bread. Any bread fits the theme: yeasted or not, plain or fancy, homebaked or storebought. The deadline for posting for WBD 2007 is Tuesday, 16th October 2006 (There is short grace period: only until Wednesday, 17 October 2007). For complete information on how to participate, please see:

Also, if you haven't already, do take a look at


World Food Day 2007

On a more serious note, please note that today is also World Food Day. Not too long ago, I talked about hunger. But it cannot be stressed enough that unlike us privileged few, there are many in the world who go hungry. Please remember to do what you can to end world hunger.

See more about World Food Day on Floydm's blog.


(edited to fix formatting... I'm having a devil of a time with "rich-text" -ejm)

zolablue's picture


Fall is in the air and beautiful blue-violet grapes are in the market and I could not resist the cartons of gorgeous, sweet scented concord grapes.  What better to do with them than to bake a grape focaccia.


The only other focaccia I’ve baked so far is Bill W’s wonderful sourdough raisin focaccia which I highly recommend.  I wanted to do a sourdough version of this one but being a bit inexperienced in this area I was unsure of how the sugar and oil may impact the sourdough so for this first grape focaccia I decided to use a small amount of starter and treat it more as an added ingredient for extra flavor.  (Me too chicken…?)  I also wanted to use some spelt flour and turbinado sugar so here is the recipe.

Concord Grape Focaccia


255g Concord grapes, seeded

310g water

76g liquid levain

300g bread flour
150g spelt flour
8g instant yeast
4g salt

1 tablespoon honey
2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon sanding sugar

Add sourdough starter to the water and dissolve.  In a mixing bowl, add the flour, instant yeast, honey, salt, and water (with starter mixed in).   Mix on medium speed for about 10 minutes.  Place in container and let rise until double.

Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and press into a round a little bigger than the oven form you will be using for baking.   I used a 9” x 2" round cake pan.  Pour 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and swirl around to cover the sides.  Dump any excess oil onto the top of the dough in the center and spread to cover.  Pick up the dough quickly and place it over the baking pan allowing some of the dough to overflow the sides.  You will use this to flap over the grapes inside.

Place roughly 2/3 of the grapes into the form and press slightly into the dough.  Gather the edges of dough hanging over the pan and bring them together over the top of the grapes and slightly pinch together pressing down on the dough in the pan to make sure it is against all the sides.


Add the remaining grapes over the top slightly pressing them into the dough.  Drizzle about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over the top.  Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar followed by 1 tablespoon of sanding sugar over the top of that. 


Preheat the oven to 400°F while the dough begins to rise again – about a half hour.  The dough had reached the top of the cake pan. 


Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown on top. 


Remove from oven and take focaccia out of pan to cool on rack.  Cut into wedges and serve.


This was as if I’d filled it with grape jelly and it smelled amazing.  The dough was very soft and I suppose that was due to the sourdough starter I added.  I’m not sure if the spelt had anything to do with that as I’ve only baked with spelt a few times adding it to other sourdough loaves.  It was really gooey and delicious.



I am going to make this again later in the week but try and press the dough out flatter and bake on a stone so the bottom gets nice and browned as well.  I also think I’ll add more spelt and reduce the bread flour just to see how that tastes.  This was almost like a cake bread, very spongy and soft and moist.  Not too sweet either even with the sugars sprinkled on top. I think for the size and shape I baked the amount of grapes was perfect although I think if I flatten it into a larger shape I will increase the amount of grapes used just to make sure it covers the dough adequately.  Ugh, they’re so much fun to seed…not.  But it is well worth the effort. 


This was really fun and I don’t know how I can improve on the flavor of it but we’ll see. I think it will be a fun recipe to experiment with.  I’ll post more results here as I tweak and see what works best because the concord grapes won’t be here forever.

Floydm's picture

Amazingly nice weather here today. Supposed to be rainy all week, but today was definitely a day to be outside.

That said, while I was planting bulbs I had a loaf rising.

I did a white poolish bread that turned out excellent.

french bread

I gave this about 10 minutes in the Kitchen Aid and very little yeast. I was very pleased with the crumb.

french bread crumb

I also made an apple sourdough bread. It was about 15% whole wheat flour.

apple bread

While I had the autolyse going I took a look in Dan Lepard's book and saw his recipe with oats and apples. That sounded good, so I quickly soaked some oats in boiling water and threw them in too.

apple bread crumb

It is well baked and not at all gummy since I accidentally left it in the oven an extra 10 or 15 minutes, but the oats and apple kept it moist inside.


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