The Fresh Loaf

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AnnieT's picture

I'm not sure who mentioned this loaf recently, but many thanks to whoever it was. Just took the loaf out of the oven and it is lovely, and I have to admit I was a bit sceptical when I had to refrigerate it overnight. It seemed like a long time for the starter to keep working with the overnight on the counter too. Oh ye of little faith! Another first - I refreshed my starter and put it in a small jar and it overflowed. What a mess, but I guess it is getting stronger? There are HUGE snowflakes falling past my window but so far it isn't sticking, A.

BrotBoy's picture

i am looking for a receipe for russian black bread.. Does any one have a  tried and true receipe?

JMonkey's picture

I was concerned that my success with the whole grain hearth bread that I posted about early last month was just a one-hit wonder. Thankfully, it seems I can repeat it. Here's a few loaves that have come out of the oven in the past weeks:

I've also used the same technique for a 60-40 whole wheat to whole rye batard, and it, too, turned out well, though the crumb was, naturally, much tighter than in the loaves pictured here. I'd have taken pictures, but the camera was full and, by the time I got around to downloading them off of the camera's video card, the loaf was just a little nubbin.

umbreadman's picture

Inspired by the Chocolate Cherry bread from Zingerman's Bakery down the street, and spurred on by a fellow FreshLoafer's (JMonkey) post on the matter, I've finally made it my own!


I'll admit it. Asthetically, it's a brute. Shaping didn't really happen, clearly there are no slashes, the sharp chocolate corners broke through the dough because I wasn't thinking about how I was handling it, it oozed, and the chocolate on the outside was mildly charred.

None of that matters.

The smell was incredible. The essence of sour cherries and dark chocolate mingled beautifully and delighted the nostrils of everyone in the vicinity. I dare say it was very seductive. 

It tasted great. The little bit of honey I added to the dough helped connect the ingredients better. Otherwise, I wonder if there would have been too much contrast between the fruit/chocolate and bread flavors...

There is though, much room for improvement. I did not develop the dough adequately before folding in the additives. And I think it showed. I also made the mistake of not fully reviving my starter before introducing it to the dough; while it worked, it was rather weak. Also, the crust colored very quickly, and I pulled the loaf before it was fully baked, let it cool slightly, cut it, noticed it was underdone, and rebaked it. Next time, lower temp.

Still though. Very tasty. All the mistakes are rendered, at least temporarily, insignificant by the wonder of this creation.

Dark Chocolate Tart Cherry Levain

1.5 lbs Bread Flour (I used Golden Buffalo)

1lb 2ozs water

.5oz salt

Small amount of refreshed s.dough culture (adjust depending on taste/rising time preference)

~8ozs dark chocolate, broken into small bits

~12ozs dried tart cherries (if sugar is added, its okay. They will come out during soaking)

1) Soak cherries for at least 30 minutes to remove any added sugar and prevent burning

2) Mix flour, salt, and water until fully hydrated, let autolyse/sit for ~30 minutes (can do while cherries soak)

3) Cut up levain, add to dough with cherries, mix until fully distributed, knead to develop gluten (which I did not do), but be gentle not to destroy cherry integrity

4) Bulk ferment until approx 1.5x volume increase, folding once* halfway through.

*During fold, add chocolate bits inbetween each fold over. JMonkey's blog illustrates this well, here.

5) Very gently shape the loaf, trying not to puncture the future crust. While it's not tragic if it does happen, if there's a leak, chocolate can leak out and burn, and it might make you a little sad. But you'll be fine! It's okay!

6) Bake on a preheated stone with steam at ~400-425F (I did 450F and forgot to turn the heat down [it was a busy day in the kitchen], so the crust darkened very quickly. A lower temp would give a more thorough bake without the crustular trauma)until internal temp reaches 200F.

LET COOL BEFORE CUTTING. Molten Chocolate is very hot! It will burn if you, so it is imperative that you resist the nearly irresistable urge to eat this bread. Even after about 25 minutes, it was hot enough to burn my friend a little, so be careful. 

7) Devour. It will probably not last very long. Not because it won't keep. But because it's too tasty. Even if you mess up a bit. 

AnnieT's picture

Has anyone made this bread from the BBA? I was so thrilled with the dough which was easy to handle and shape, and they went into the refrigerator overnight. I was totally amazed when I pulled them out this morning because they were what I imagine was overproofed. I am so used to chilled sourdough breads being rock hard. I tried to gently move the loaves apart and one began to deflate, horrors. So I went ahead and baked them and followed PR's instruction to gently part the loaves halfway through the bake time - and the dent had filled out. They looked great and this time I didn't scorch the sesame seeds, but the crumb is a total disappointment. Instead of big holes it is almost tender and fluffy. Good flavor but not what I was hoping for. So am I correct in thinking they were overproofed? If so I will have to make them later in the day or get up earlier! Any comments and suggestions welcomed, A.

KipperCat's picture

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

My Entry in Bread Baking Day #04, Bread with Spice

I’ve been wanting to make these ever since I saw Floyd’s beautiful sweet potato dinner rolls. There were only two left when I went to take a picture. These are a decadent treat, great for special occasions. Here’s the finished dough. Even this gloppy dough will make a nice windowpane if the gluten is well-developed.

Here’s me just starting to tease the windowpane from the dough. An earlier attempt obviously failed, but showed the dough was getting close.

I scraped the dough into a sort of ball, and left it to rise. It rose quickly, and was probably a bit overproofed in the next picture.

The dough was still quite soft, so I did a set of envelope folds to the dough, then cut it in half to make it a bit easier to work with.

Each half was rolled into a square, buttered, and topped with brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.

The left roll was rolled a little loosely, which is why half of the rolls don’t make a pretty spiral pattern – I had to tuck in the loose dough as I placed them in the pan, resulting in an extra little loop. You can see it very plainly in the baked rolls.

Here are the rolls tucked up in their pans. I only baked one pan, the others went into the freezer for a holiday morning treat. The rolls might have risen higher if I hadn’t overproofed the first rise. I don’t know, but they were ready to go in the oven.


Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Time – based on my equipment, my kitchen – YMMV!

Soaker - 30 minutes to 24 hours

Final Dough – 30 minutes (including rest)

Primary Fermentation – 90 minutes

Forming Rolls and Final Fermentation – 3 hours

Baking – 35 minutes



1¼ cup milk, scalded (heated to about 185F)

1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar

200 grams WW pastry flour

100 grams WWW flour

Final Dough

All of soaker

1 sweet potato, roasted, cooled, and peeled

4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. Ground cardamom or ground seeds of 12 pods (optional)

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons salt

2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast

450 grams AP flour

8 ounces light brown sugar, about 1 cup packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup chopped pecans


4 tablespoons soft butter (or cream cheese)
3 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, about 1 1/2 cups

Prepare Soaker Put flour into bowl of stand mixer. Stir the lemon juice into hot milk, and pour over flour. Mix well. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 24 hours. Refrigerate if soaking for more than a few hours. (A long soak will yield a softer roll.)

Prepare Dough and Filling Add all remaining ingredients to soaker, and mix with paddle until thoroughly combined. Let rest for 15 minutes. Knead with dough hook until smooth and satiny, with a nice windowpane. This will be a soft, gloppy dough. Cover dough and let rest until doubled..

Butter your baking dishes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. The dough will be extremely soft at this point, so do a couple of envelope folds (one each direction.) Divide the dough in half, and let rest a few minutes if you’ve folded. (Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.)

Form Rolls Gently shape the dough into 2 squares. Roll each into a 12-inch square. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the pecans over the filling. Gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding about 16 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Baking When rolls are ready to bake, place in a cold oven and set to 350. Bake until interior temperature reaches 190F, about 15 to 30 minutes. I checked in my toaster oven at 20 minutes, and they were already at 212F!

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

For frozen rolls, place in buttered pan and let thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place on the middle rack in an oven that is turned off. Place a shallow pan on the rack below the rolls and fill 2/3-full of boiling water. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look ready to bake. They should be more than slightly puffy; This should take 30 to 45 minutes.

Turn the oven on to 350F and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190F on an instant-read thermometer, somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes.


After the first few, I got a bit careless cutting the rolls. So I ended up with 22 instead of the 16 I expected. The two in the first picture were cut at about 1 inch instead of 1 ½ inch.

If you’re uncomfortable working with a sloppy dough, go ahead and add more flour during the mix. Be sure to keep the dough soft though, as too much flour will affect the rise and tenderness.

I omitted the cardamom, but only because I didn’t have any. A lack of powdered sugar meant no icing either.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! Even my sweet potato adverse husband loved them.

AnnieT's picture

I have been rushing to finish a quilt and haven't baked since last week. The quilt is nearly done and I just couldn't stand it another minute - I started the pate fermentee (I LOVE those words!) to make the PR Pane Siciliano. I made it when I first bought the book and managed to overbake the loaves. They tasted good but looking back I don't think the dough was right. Probably not proofed long enough which is one of the things I have learned here. One of the neighbors is having an open house on Saturday and if the loaves are presentable I will take one with me. May have to trudge throught the snow which is forecast, brrrrrr. A.

--pk's picture

I work weekends. Sat. 0000-1200, Sun. 0000-1200, Mon. 0000-0700. This is an insanely great schedule for most purposes. But, like all schedules, it complicates and contorts things at times. So begins our story for today. Two weeks ago on a Friday at approximately 1300 CST there we sat with 3 hours to kill before needing to go to bed. I decided to break out the flour and make a quick loaf for test purposes. I began with the following.

  • 2c water (115 F)
  • 2 1/4t yeast
  • 2c flour
  • 2t sugar
  • 1T oil

Mixed this until it was the consistancy fo spackle (or Gumbo for those from Alabama). I then covered it with the following and let it set for a half hour:

  • 2c flour
  • 1/ 4c dry milk
  • 2t salt

In the past, this normally turns out a standard loaf of sandwich capable bread, But this time, it was personal. After the initial ferment, I mixed in the dry ingredients that were on top. But the dough was far too wet. I added 3 add'l cups of flour and the dough was still too wet. I could not get the dough to set up or become anything other than a sticky mess no matter what I tried. So bedtime came and I decided to ditch it into the fridge and let it think about what it had done. At this point there was a small ball of dough in the bottom of a large (4qt) rubbermaid container).

Saturday 1200 CST. I returned to examine the offending dough to notice that it had nearly filled the container while in the fridge. I told my partner to keep an eye on it that night, so it would not eat the entire contents of the fridge. We went to bed. About 0200 Sunday, George completely filled the container it was placed in. My partner contiued to drop the container to deflate it and bought another 24h but again it filled the container. As punishment for its crimes, we left the demonic spawn in the fridge until Thursday at 0600.

We removed it from the fridge and divvied it up to make rolls and to preserve part as a culture to test hardiness. Below are images following feeding and at 1 and 2 hours post feeding. The rolls were delicious.

George after feedingGeorge @ 1hourGeorge @ 2 hours

umbreadman's picture

Semolina (Durum) Bread - From Hammelman's Bread, only without the sugar for the "flying" sponge.

I would have used my sourdough except it's whole wheat-ish and i didn't want to mix that with the creamy yellow semolina.

Hooray! Huzzah!

This used a sponge preferment consisting of semolina and bread flour. I adjusted the final flour amounts to be closer to 80-85% semolina, 15-20% bread flour. I like the color, smell, and texture of semolina and didn't want it too diluted. This recipe also calls for some olive oil, which i think is a great addition.

This beauty is going to be sacrificed to the french toast gods in the morning. All shall rejoice!!

Finally got a full loaf shot, and the key to a good oven spring is really coming through. That final proof, when the dough doesn't really kick back after being makes so much of a difference. And investing in a cheap glass-scraper to use as my one-sided lame was a great decision. The thin, sharp edge on a razor blade like that makes slashing a breeze. The days of the flat, dense, paper-cut french breads seem so far behind me now...

There's always that point in a learning process when things start to click together and make sense in your head, start becoming second nature, and I feel like i'm reaching that point. I may not be an expert, but i'm not bumbling fool anymore either. I can whip up something with a few calculations of proportions, use one of a few trusty procedures, and have something pretty good in the end.

This sense of confidence has spurred me on a baking binge, this is my third batch in...two? no three days, and bagels are in the fridge right now. I also plan to make some dark chocolate/cherry bread like someone posted here before. I'm inspired by Zingerman's version of the bread; not only is the place just down the street from me, but a guy who lives in my house sells their bread, and often brings home some day-olds. While they're great to eat, they're inspiring me to emulate and extrapolate on their creative mixes. It's made me want to try making a cranberry-walnut bread, maybe with a little orange zest.


Bread! Wooooooooot! 

--pk's picture

Ok, so not day 1, but sort of. I have baked bread for a few years now, but not with any sort of structure. I mixed some water, yeast, sugar, and enough flour to make a dough. Kneaded it until it felt right, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise, shape, let it rise and bake until it sounded hollow.  About 6 months ago something went wrong and for some reason the bread that I was turning out just did not taste good.I blamed the flour change (had previously used only gold medal bread flour, then switched to a local store brand AP), but I realized that I could not actually narrow it down to this as I had not documented the process when it was not working. So began a long period of frustration where I cannot seem to get anything right and I end up tossing about half the bread I am baking out because it does not look/feel/taste good to me. I have resolved over the next year to get to the point where I am a decent baker and can tell why my bread is doing what it is.  I have picked up several bread books and am doing as much research as I can. So anything that you see here is from my understanding only. Not law. If it is incorrect, let me know. I appreciate any help that can be afforded.




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