The Fresh Loaf

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dhedrick's picture

I was just playing with some ingredients on Sunday afternoon, and this is what I came out with - it wasn't perfect, but is probably my favorite breakfast/dessert bread that I've made to date.


1.5 cups water (80-85 degrees)
1.5 cups freshly brewed coffee (allowed to cool to 80-85 degrees)
.5 cup whole milk
1.25 cups chocolate chips
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1.5 cups all purpose flour
2-5 cups bread flour (enough to give a good dough consistency - slightly tacky, but not wet)
1 packet instant yeast
1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt

Combine the water & the yeast in a small bowl.

Combine the coffee, milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, & all purpose flour in a large bowl. Once combined, add 1.5 cups of bread flour along with the water/yeast mixture, and combine completely.

Slowly add more flour to dough until it moist and tacky, but pulls into a ball (I begin by adding the flour 1/2 cup at a time, and then taper the addition when it's getting close to the correct consistency)

Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes. Return to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and allow to rise at room temperature for 90 minutes.

Punch down dough and divide into 2 equal pieces. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Form dough into desired shape and allow to rise for 60 minutes. Put dough into oven and cook for 30-40 minutes until the top is a dark brown.

Allow to cool on rack for 45 minutes before cutting.

I have made this dough into rounds with great success - it should work in a pan too, but I have not tried it this way. Do not place dough directly on a baking stone - use parchment paper to cover or the chocolate chips will melt all over your stone

If you try this bread and have any comments, please e-mail me - I would love to know how it turned out for you!

timtune's picture

For the Lunar New Year, aka. Chinese New Year, which was yesterday, i made a batch of steamed buns with sweet black sesame fillings. They were soft and fluffy, except for the age of my flour, which gave a yellowish tinge to it, i think. :)

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Happy Year of the Dog!

Floydm's picture

So today I am pretending to camp in our living room with my three (almost four) year old son. At one point, while he is pretending to be a daddy, he turns to me and says "Now, I have to bake some bread and make some pizzas. You stay here and play with mommy and your sister for a few minutes" and marches off to the kitchen.


Floydm's picture

I baked my butt off today.


Starting at the top, going clockwise:

  • Sourdough rustic bread - I haven't tasted this one yet. They turned out a little pale and spotty. I think I was too gentle while shaping them, so they didn't have enough surface tension and were a bit "over the hill," developmentally. They look edible though.

  • Hybrid sourdough - I can't bear how much flour I have to throw out to keep my starter going. Today I took the starter I was going to dump and added it to a basic French bread dough with 1 teaspoon of instant yeast in it. It was interesting: it rose like a yeasted bread, but it baked like a naturally yeasted bread, with it springing in the oven for a good 10 minutes. The taste is mildly sourdough like, though not as good as a pure sourdough.

  • In front, pain sur poolish. Dstroy's favorite.
  • Banana bread with chocolate chips.

  • Finally, in the back, chocolate chip cookies. I have to admit I cheated on this one though: these were from a tube of dough that was premade that we picked up on sale at the grocery store.

On top of that I made 2 quiches and a goulash, so dinner for the week is prepared. It was a rainy day today, so we were around the house anyway. Why not bake?

ryan's picture

Hey Guys,
Lucky me I am going to Paris in the spring of this year and I plan on hitting at least one of the bakeries/ patisseries I know of, that being Poilane. However, I want to know pf any others I should hit. Any ideas anyone?



Floydm's picture

Sourdough photos:





Floydm's picture

I had an unmitigated success with my sourdough starter today. Two round loaves of something resembling my rustic bread but with my starter instead of yeast.

I pulled the starter out and started feeding it every 12 hours beginning Thursday evening. During that time I kept it in my oven with the light on so that it was in a 80 to 90 degree environment. It seems to require that: without it, I don't even get a doubling in 24 hours. With it I get nearly a tripling in size in about 8 hours. We must keep our house too cold.

I made my final dough Saturday night and placed it in "the cold room," a poorly insulated room in our house that stays between 45 and 50 degrees this time of year. In the morning I gave it a fold and put it in the oven with the light on again to take the chill off. Gave it two hours, folded, two hours more, then shaped them. After a three and a half hour final rise I baked them. Amazing how much pop sourdough loaves get in the oven. They came out great.

Thanks for all of the advice and encouragement everyone, particularly Sourdolady. The continued effort paid off.

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

This recipe comes from "Home Baking-The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World" by Alford and Duguid. I don't know if this book is known on this board as I recently got involved with this site. It is available from and is well worth it. They have 3 excellent books that have 3 of my passions-food, travel, and photography.This is not the speediest bread to make,but it is great.

Portugese Mountain Rye

Poolish 1/2 cup warm water tiny pinch of yeast 1/2 cup unbleached flour

Give the poolish 24 hours at least.

Starter All of the poolish 1 cup water 2 cups dark rye flour Stir the water into the poolish and then add the flour. Mix well. I use a wisk to aerate it. Let it sit loosely covered overnight on the counter.


Next day, add 3 cups warm water to the starter and mix well in a large bowl. Sometimes, I just use my hands at this point, as it can be pretty tough using a spoon. I take a couple of cups of this mixture as a starter for my next batch. Keep it covered in the fridge and it lasts for a long time.

Add another 1 cup of water to the bowl and 4 tsp salt.Mix. Add 2-3 cups flour to this and add a touch more if you need it. It should still be sticky, but not goopy.

Here is the hard part for me. Knead it for 10 minutes-set the timer, no cheating here. It really does make a difference! You'll need to add more flour as you go, at least one cup, but add slowly.It should still have a definite stickiness if you want to get any rise.

Put the dough into a slightly oiled bowl and make sure it is evenly coated. Wrap it in plastc and set it into the fridge overnight.

Next morning, form 2 boules and let them come to room temperature, then let them rise, covered. They should not double, but maybe 40%. I'm always surprised how long this takes, so be patient as it'll take 4-6 hours at least. You may be able to speed this up by putting it in the oven with the light on, but I've never tried.

Make a few slashes before baking at 500 for 15 min, then 45-50 at 425. I rotate them at least once. The internal temp will be around 205 and the loaves will have a definite thump. Cool on racks-the first piece is a moment of heaven.

timtune's picture

Continuing my bread exploration, i decided to try the Sweedish Rye aka Limpa recipe in the BBA.
The loaf was too big to fit in my rather..too small oven, so the loaf look like a snake tht've swallowed too many chickens. In fact, one end was falling a bit from my baking sheet (covered all of it in the photo though) :P.

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I reduced the sugar content and used blackstrapp molasses instead. I regretted it. I should have added more sugar.
However, a touch of caraway seeds was added besides the other spices. That went well.

Floydm's picture

With the site turning one year old, I decided it was time to finally put together an article on French Bread. Regular readers probably have noticed that while I bake some kind of French Bread (rustic bread, pan sur poolish, etc.) almost every week, I've yet to do an article on it. It isn't because I haven't wanted to, I just haven't thought I was good enough at it to offer any advice.

Well, I'm still not great, but after a year of baking and chatting with folks here I have gotten better, good enough that I feel like it isn't presumptuous to offer some advice to newbies, particularly if they are offered in the grain of "Don't make the same mistakes I did. Because, believe me, I've made some doozies."

Initially I thought it'd be a short piece, but as I started writing I realized it is going to be longer. I was going to write them all and then drop them here with a big "tah dah!," but then I thought it'd make more sense to open them up for scrutiny to other community members. After all, probably a majority of the tricks I've learned I've learned from folks here.

So here is what I've got so far. The other tips will follow as I write them up the next few days. Please, add comments to offer advice, suggestions, corrections, criticisms, whatever tickles your fancy.

Once all of the tips have been written up and your suggestions and corrections have been incorporated into the text, I'll publish this article to the front page of the site. I think it'll be a good one, and I'm looking forward to hearing people's comments. I'd love to see this one be more of a collaborative effort.


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