The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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KNEADLESS's picture

Well we just made our annual trek from the Chicago area down to Fort Myers where we will ride out the winter until May. I am into day 5 of a pineapple juice/whole wheat flour sourdough system and so far, so good. Today I made Floyd's rustic bread recipe again and it turned out very good. What I really want to talk about is a new tool, which I haven't seen mentioned by anyone else. That is, an electric knife.


Like most of the people participating on this excellent site, I have periodic problems slashing. I have had my best success with serrated knives, but for very wet doughs they are too grabby. Today I tried an electric knife and it was like cutting butter. The tops of the loaves were stationary as the blades sunk in.


I would be interested to hear if anyone else has tried this approach.



beanfromex's picture

Today I have tried a new recipe. It is from the "great british kitchen" website and is called cottage loaf: recipeand photo as follows:

Cottage Loaf
Bread-making is soothing and enjoyable, although you do need a lot of time to allow for the rising process. This loaf can be made with wholemeal or plain flour, and as it is baked in the traditional cottage loaf shape, you will not need a loaf tin but just a baking sheet.


15 Gram Fresh yeast, or 2 level tsp dried (1/2 oz)
300 ml Warm milk (not low fat) (1/2 pint)
450 Gram Malted brown flour, strong wholemeal flour (1 lb)
1 Teaspoon Salt
Beaten egg to glaze
Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling


Makes 1 large loaf
Dissolve the fresh yeast in the milk. If using dried yeast, sprinkle it into the milk and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes, until frothy. Put the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the yeast liquid. Beat well together until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Cut off one-third of the dough and shape into a round. Shape the remaining dough into a round. Place the larger round on to a greased baking sheet and brush with a little water. Place the smaller round on top. Push the lightly floured handle of a wooden spoon down through the centre of the loaf right to the bottom. Using a sharp knife slash the dough at 5 cm (2 inch) intervals around the top and bottom edges to make a decorative pattern. Cover and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes, until doubled in size.

Brush with a little beaten egg to glaze and sprinkle with poppy seeds, if liked. Bake at 230 °C / 450 °F / Gas 8 for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200 °C / 400 °F / Gas 6 and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


I found this dough wonderful to work with, quicker due to onloy two risings and very tasty. The crumb is dense without being heavy and would make a great addition to a food like stew or chili, I image toasted this bread would be excellent. The bottom crust was crusty and chewy. The egg wash helped with the colour of my loaves.

I did everything as suggested in the above recipe, including the poppy seeds. The only difference was sprinkling cornmeal on the greased baking sheet.

I took pictures and will try to get them uploaded.

I will definately make this loaf again.

Other than that, it has been a slow baking week. I started a sourdough starter on thursday night, feeding every 8 hours and so far I am happy with the results. It was 1:1 AP flour and water with a .5 cup flour and water feeding. I HOPE to have this ready come monday or Tuesday....but that really isn't up to me is it???

Be well everyone.

zorra's picture

Recently I baked the following bread with chickpea flour. This recipe is my own creation. The chickpea flour gives the bread a light sweet taste.

chickpea bread

100 g chickpea flour
150 g white flour
5 g fresh yeast
~110 g water
1 TL honey
5 g salt
50 g refreshed sourdough

Dissolve yeast and honey in 20 g water. Mix the two flours and salt. Add sourdough, yeast and rest of water, mix and knead your dough (by hand or mixer) until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and leave covered for 1 hour or until double in size. 
Shape and leave to prove for another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 230C. Mist inside with a spray. After 10 minutes reduce heat to 190 C and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove and cool.

Recipe in German:

beanfromex's picture

Life finally caught up with me and the taking of pictures hasbeen set aside until I manage to figure out what th problem is with my uploading pictures...the good news is I have more time for experimenting with the favorite recipes (to your left).

I made the cinnamon raison oatmeal cluster , but prefer my original recipe which is a version of "white bread from the Joy of cooking cookbook". 

I also have sucessfully changed the wheat content to a ration of 2 cups WWF to 4 cups AP flour.  I am very happy with the height and the crumbs of the loaf, so it reamains my tried and true favorite.

Yesterday, I made the pizza and sauce from Floydm's recipe. My husband and I enjoyed the crust and the sauce. I made the thicker crust version, with milk and more oil. I found the dough to handle very well and put it onto a greased and cornmeal dusted pizza pan, and the second pizza onto a non stick cookie sheet with minimal cornmeal dusting. The non stick had better release than the pizza plate.

 The crust was thick and chewy. The only think I would change for the next time is perhaps having a slightly thicker crust into the center, which was almost too thin.

 I am teaching Ramona to bake. (maid). She kneaded the oatmeal raison bread by hand to learn the technique. Southern mexico is not known for its bakers, preferring to buy the products from the local grocery store and due to the fact some years ago many of the poorer people did not have access to ovens. When I replace my oyster kitchen center mixer with the new one, I will give it to Ramona, so she can continue making bread easily. She took the last few loaves home to her children, and they seem excited about learning "bread making".  Thefirst loaf she took on the combi ride home, she received all sortsof comments about its wonderful smell, imagine the odour of freshly baked bread within the confines of a van...

I am still investigating the mixers, but am leaning towards a Delongi.

I am also preparing a list of things that I would like to enhance breadmaking that are unavailable here, parchment paper, a cloche, and an oven capable of getting hotter than 450F...

Hasta luego.

Tabasco Mexico 

JMonkey's picture

I had ambitious goals for the weekend. I'd try a sourdough version of the whole-wheat ciabatta, try the "stretch-n'-fold, no-knead' technique with my weekly sourdough, and make a pizza, using regular yeast.

The ciabatta turned out OK. There wasn't much of a sour flavor, surprisingly, and I'm not sure why that was. Perhaps the powdered milk interfered with the bacteria's growth? I also didn't get big holes, but rather got rather uniform small holes. Still, it was a nice bread and made killer sandwiches, but I was disappointed that I didn't have the same success with sourdough as I did with the yeasted version.

The whole-wheat bread I made didn't turn out so hot. Flavor was fine, but I didn't get nearly as much rise as I usually do and the crust was abnormally pale. I think I know the culprit, though -- I let the sourdough starter over-ferment. My daughter didn't want to take her nap, which delayed me for about two hours making the bread. I'll have to try the new technique again some other time (essentially, I kneaded it for about 3-5 minutes until everything was evenly distributed, and then did a fold once every 30 to 45 minutes until I'd done six. The dough was definitely gaining strength, until near the end when it suddenly got soft. As I said, I think the starter went too long, got too acidified and weakened the gluten network).

Pizza? Fantastic! I used the whole wheat recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking book, which, surprisingly enough, is almost identitcal to how I've been making my pizza for the past year -- roughly 4 ounces whole wheat bread flour, 4.25 ounces semolina flour and 4.25 ounces white bread flour, 10 oz. water with 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbs olive oil and 1 tsp yeast. Knead it gently, let it rise 45 mins to an hour, fold it and then stick it in the fridge for 8-18 hours. Make the pizza, put it in a piping hot oven on a stone, cook for about 12 minutes. Delicious.

I've tried Peter Reinhart's pizza formula, and I've decided that I like this one much better. For one, this recipe uses about 12 oz dough for a 12-inch pizza, whereas the BBA uses half that much. I like a thicker crust and also find the dough is much easier to shape. The BBA's crust gets so thin, that I'm constantly struggling not to tear it. Plus, the whole wheat and semolina flours in the KAF formula give it a wonderful buttery, rustic flavor. As for the toppings, though, I go with BBA all the way. Three cheeses (2 parts melter, one part hard cheese, one part optional -- which is always a goat cheese), mix herbs with the cheese, and a less is more approach to toppings. Just delicious.

Sorry, no photos. I was kind of demoralized by the non-holey ciabatta and the ugly (but fine tasting, so we'll eat it) whole wheat sourdough, so I didn't have the heart to take photos of that. As for the pizza, my family was hungry -- had I made them wait for a photo to eat it up, I'd have faced serious recriminations. It would not have been pretty.

breadnerd's picture

We had plans with friends for a mud oven pizza party, and the weather was extremely cooperative. A lovely fall afternoon! We built our mud oven this spring/summer following Kiko Denzer's book, and after a few runs I'm now getting the hang of baking with it.


Today's baking, besides the pizza, was three kinds of bread: Sourdough (I used the basic Bread Alone formula, which is a pretty standard sourdough recipe). I was quite happy with how these turned out, and they smell really good. I shifted my sourdough culture over to whole wheat since I've been trying out a few whole wheat recipes, but used white flour for the final dough--the result was a lovely colored dough--just a touch wheaty but still light.


some plain ol' french,

and a test recipe for Reinhart's 100% whole wheat Struan (a multigrain).



The baguettes were not my best! Loading off the peel didn't go as smoothly as it could have. Then, I took them out a little too early and the crust softened up after they cooled. They'll still be tasty, but I can do better! The oven was a bit too hot when the Struan went in (probably close to 450) so they're a little dark. I haven't tasted them yet (too full on pizza) but I'm looking forward to it.


After bread baking, we let the oven cool down a bit and then roasted some pumpkin seeds from our jack-o-lanterns. Finally, the temp was down to about 325 degrees, and I threw in some granola. This has been a surprising good use of the oven, and I'm so fond of it I have to make a batch every time so I don't run out! I'll add some dried fruit to it one it cools off--usually cranberries and raisins.


Floydm's picture

This weekend's sourdough.

sourdough crust

sourdough crumb

I was afraid that it wasn't going to rise, but it came out quite well.

breadnut's picture


Has anyone ever taken a loaf out of the FRIDGE after it was proofed overnight and put it directly in a preheated oven WITHOUT bringing it back to room temperature? If so, what were the results? Any additional comments or ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot

Floydm's picture

I'm returning a neat looking book to the library because I just don't have time to do it justice right now. That book is Celebration Breads: Recipes, Tales, and Traditions. It has celebration breads from all over the world and throughout the year. It looks like it has some very good recipes. I'm blogging it so that I don't forget about it when I have more time to experiment.

I'm also returning Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. Definitely a classic, just really not up my alley. Too many recipes that make my wife go "ew" when I read the name, like "Mediterranean Garbanzo Bread" or "Soybean Bread." For folks with wheat allergies it looks like a real good one though.

I baked a buttermilk bread last night, trying another loaf of sourdough today. We're having red beans and rice with collard greens for dinner, so I think I'll also have to whip up a batch of corn bread to go with it. Yum.

breadnut's picture

I have read that a shaped loaf can be taken directly out of the fridge and immediately put in the oven for baking without leaving it to return to room temperature, and the interesting point was that the loaf can be scored easier that way.

Any ideas about which method is better? I have never taken a loaf out of the fridge and put it directly in the oven. Any comment regarding this is appreciated.

One more thing. I bake with poolish all the time. I normally leave the poolish for 12 hrs, then mix, knead, ferment for 2 hours, shape and a final rise for 45 minutes and then bake. comes out good, but with a tight crumb.

I'm thinking about expanding the whole process: poolish for 12 hours, autolyze flour and water, then add salt and starter, ferment for about 6 hours (with 4 foldings in the middle), shape, final proof in the fridge overnight for 12 hours, bake in the morning.  The ingredients are flour, water, yeast, salt; only, and around 73% hydration. any comments or ideas or concerns regarding this procedure would be greatly appreciated, and if it works, could it be scored and baked right out of the fridge, or should I leave it out for 2 hours prior to baking? Thanks. The reason I'm going about this procedure is to fit it in my schedule, and improve quality of taste, texture, crumb, etc...


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