The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

susanfnp's picture

If you love to bake rye sourdough, or, like me, are intimidated by it and need a kick in the pants to help you overcome that, you should enter BreadBaking Day #3. Come on, you know you want to...

I made this rye-ww sourdough, and it was actually fun.


Rye Whole Wheat Sourdough



beenjamming's picture

So for the second time this summer, I moved this past weekend. I decided to given my oven a test run just to get a feel for it. First, I baked a bunch of 75% hydration rustic loaves with ~20% whole wheat. The dough was built on a 12 hr poolish. I usually don't use such a high percent of whole wheat flour and as a result the bread tasted a bit earthier than mine usual pain sur poolish. Oven performed well; it only got up to 450F, which was just enough.


I also baked a potato pizza,inspired by the Sullivan St potato pizza in Artisan baking, with some friends tonight. On top are some red creamer tots(salted, drained) sauteed with red onions in rosemary olive oil, roasted garlic and some montasio cheese. I got the crust exactly how I wanted it, but the topping combination could use a little work. I think I need to add either more potatoes or something creamy; with a hard cheese it tasted a bit too dry. It was still tasty enough for me to eat!

and the underside:


This weekend is looking pretty exciting as well. I have gotten some folks together here at Cornell to create an artisan baking club: Better Bread, Better World. A few of us know how to bake decently well, and a few are new to the game, but I'm very excited to get things off the ground.This weekend everyone is in town and we're going to get together and bake, eat and talk about our plan for this year. Hopefully by the spring we will have a stand at the Ithaca Farmer's Market to sell bread and donate the profits some where in Thompkins county. Have any of you taught others how to bake? I've shown a few curious friends how to make bread, and I like to start with challah because it can be made pretty easy and looks and tastes great, then start with a basic hearth loaf and move on. As kind of the leader of this club I think it's going to mostly on my shoulders to come up with things to do and if any ideas come to mind, please do share them!

Floydm's picture

Weighing in at 2 pounds 8 ounces, is the mega semonlina loaf.

semolina bread

semolina bread

This was a sourdough w/ a half a teaspoon of instant yeast thrown in. About... 65% hydration with about 40% of the flour semolina. It turned out pretty good.

I've been meaning to mention that I have been using the Steam Maker Bread Kit when I bake something like this. In fact it is part of the reason I baked such a monster loaf: the small sized kit I have makes it very difficult to steam two small rounds or baguettes longer than about 12 inches long, but one large round fits quite well. I find the size extremely frustrating and would not recommend purchasing the kit in that size, but I have to admit that when I do make loaves that fit into it the resulting crust I get is very, very good. Very thin and crackly. I stand by my opinion that the larger stone and kit are a worthwhile investment if you are a crust junky and you don't have a steaming solution that you are satisfied with yet.

Previous discussions of the Steam Maker kit is here and here.

AnnieT's picture

I have been wanting to make the White thyme bread from Dan Lepard's "The art of handmade bread", and today was the day. I bought some fresh thyme last week at the farmer's market but didn't buy olives until this last Friday. Naturally the store didn't have the picholine olives this week, so I bought kalamatas because all of the others had "stuff" in them. DL calls for fresh yeast which I have never seen here and although he gives a way to replace it I decided to use my instant yeast along with the starter and it worked just fine. I learned it isn't easy to do the French fold with a dough full of olives so I tried his oiled counter method. Thumbs down. Ended up with a dusting of flour and the dough was much easier to manage. Several stretch and folds later I had a nice soft dough to dimple on an oiled baking sheet. Cornmeal on the sheet and on top of the loaf so the crust was crisp. I will definitely make it again and hopefully with the picholine olives as the kalamatas hid the flavor of the thyme. Some friends went home with a chunk of the loaf - I figured they could snack on it if the ferry line was too awful, A

cabbagehead's picture

Well I made the most amazing  4 loaves of whole wheat bread today. It was quite hot out and I was expecting company so I decided to turn on the air conditioning. I then realized it would be better for the bread if I had a warmer and more humid environment so I placed the rising dough out on the patio under the umbrella and covered with a damp towel.  That must have been a perfect scenario for the bread because it rose like crazy. I also think it had something to do with the actual recipe. For the first time I used my Five Roses cookbook which called for a lot more yeast than I was used to (16 grams for 4 loaves). I also prepared a mixture of the yeast, some sugar, some scalded milk and water before hand then mixed eveything together. I've never seen yeast froth up so much! The result was 4 wonderful large loaves of delicious bread that had soft crusts (coated with melted butter just before oven time). The flavour is quite intense and perfect for sandwiches a well as toast (with jam or honey). Tonight my supper consisted of fresh bread, ancient cheddar cheese, red wine and great music. Life is pretty good.

Christina's picture

I haven't been making bread much lately so I decided to start again with pizza dough. I didn't have the time to let it rise as much as I wanted but it came out really well regardless. The dough was much slacker than I have done in the past and that's why it turned out so wonderfully this time.

Rising dough:

Pizza dough

Ready to form crusts:

Balls of dough

Crusts, ready to top:

Ready to top

Turkey meatball and olive-spinach:

Pizza, pizza

This is my favorite part:

Looky the hole!

AnnieT's picture

For the first time in my entire baking life I got ears!!! OK, they aren't the most elegant ears I have ever seen, but for me this was a big deal. I made Susan's Norwich Sourdough loaves and nearly ruined the dough by trying to knead in kosher salt by hand. Had to do some extra kneading and stretching and folding to get the dough to what I thought it should be, and eventually it was a delight to work with. So my four dear little loaves weren't picture perfect but to me they are beautiful. Made pizza with some of the leftover dough, and also baked a fine steelcut oats version of the NKB. A happy baking day, A

AnnieT's picture

KipperCat, a friend of mine asked me whether I could remember seeing a round cooling rack on TFL - she saw it and couldn't remember where. I went back through some blog entries and noticed that you have one. Could you tell me where you got it, please? I am assuming that is the one she meant and she really really wants one. I led her astray into the breadmaking world and she says she may never forgive me - but she is making sourdough bread with my starter. I would love to put her on the right track for the rack, many thanks, A

Floydm's picture

I killed another spammer's account this afternoon. While cleaning up the mess he made I noticed an inefficiency that I think has been the main issue behind some of the slow page loads here. My first attempt to fix it briefly locked up the site, but my second attempt appears to have gone smoothly.

I've eliminated a database query that was happening on every page load. I don't see it causing any problems, but if you experience any weirdness please let me know.

Thegreenbaker's picture

Just another lot of photos of my baking. :)


Below is a batch made from a poolish I made around 9pm last night and then fermented on the counter (at around 10-13 degrees celcius most of the night) until around 11am today.

Just a simple mix of approx 750g sifted wholewheat (wholemeal) flour, water, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. (with gluten flour added)


Then this morning, I added around 750g fine durum semolin. about 70-100g unbleached white flour, salt, 1 teaspoon of yeast, 1/3 cup rice bran oil and about 2 cups of butter milk.

It ended up being tooooooooooo wet so I added another 150g semolina-very fine.

mixed and left for an hour then kneeded and left for another hour. Folded a few times and left to ferment on the counter. I then folded it a few times again and then left it to rest for 15 mins, spllit it in two and plopped one piece on a oiled/semolina'd baking sheet

and smothered it in flour.

The rest I divided into 3 pizzas.


The photos show the result!


Raw Pizza


Cooked Pizza with various vegies (Courgette, red onion, loads of garlic, Paneer cheese, parmesan cheese, Pineapple, tomato (fresh and sundried) and olives) The top pizza is the same but with Salami for the meat eaters in my house. ;)


Rustic bread...sooo pretty....moist with a lovely crumb!


Crumb close up! Dang camera...takes terrible photos!


An angled profile shot :) Just to show my skill with a camera :) (kidding)

Sorry, no wine shots this time.......................

OH! that reminds me.....*goes off to crack open a bottle of nice 2004 pinot noir*


Till next time....which will be a while as I am moving to the UK. My house will be all packed up on monday and tuesday and then I will be a nomad for a few months till the visa come through!

SO, till then.

Happy baking everyone!


Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries