The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

Floydm's picture

You know you've got the baking bug bad when you find yourself making a sponge on a Saturday night not even sure what you'd want to bake the next day, just figuring it is a good idea to have one ready.

I think I may try a ciabatta again, but who knows? Still, I'm glad to have my poolish handy.

timtune's picture

Yesterday i tried making croissants for the 2nd time.
The first time wasn't tht good becoz the butter burst through the dough and i just threw part of the dough and simply made some badly/oddly shaped croissants.

So yesterday, i rolled out the dough and thought mebbe if i use pieces instead of a block, the results will be better. Instead, the pieces were too frozen and it pierced right through the dough!.. :S... I got frustrated and kneaded the pieces in the dough and roughly crushed it while i kneaded it. Then i quickly threw it in the freezer.

I took it out and did a business letter fold but the butter burst through the other side again. So i just folded tht part over and froze it.
I got an idea suddenly, instead of doing the business letter fold, i rolled out into a long rectangle and rolled it up like a swissroll. Then rolled it out again after freezing it. I tot tht could incorperate more folds in less time...and it did! ...
It came out to be quite good, with layers and a lot of volume. :)

I shared it with my church group and they found it hard to believe i made it.. :P hehe
( do u attach a photo??? )

hellonwhls's picture

Floydm's picture

I forgot to mention that I baked kaiser rolls again yesterday. They were mighty tasty, though they still don't look like professional kaiser rolls. I actually like the rough look of them though.

Anyone have any kaiser shaping tips?

Floydm's picture

before and after bread

I tried making the poolish ciabatta from the Hamelman bread book today. I was not paying much attention when I added everything to the mixer and I must have added too much flour or too little water, so it was clear it was not going to be a ciabatta after all. So a french bread loaf it turned out to be.

One thing I did do was focus more on the scoring. I did a few things better this week:

  • While shaping, I got the surface tension tighter and kept the loaf supported between towels so that when I scored it it didn't just spread out like a pancake.

  • I scored at an angle, not straight down. Something around 45 degrees.

  • I scored quicker and deeper, somewhere between 1 and 2 centimeters deep. See?

scored loaf up close

Definitely one of the nicest grins I've gotten on a loaf yet:

loaf grin

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I found an iron pan at Goodwill this week. I used it to create steam and, yes, iron definitely holds its heat. The crust was very nice tonight.

I may try again Sunday.

Floydm's picture

I finally bought Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread book the other day. I baked the poolish baguettes from it today and following his instructions on mixing, shaping, scoring, and baking. It was largely successful, though I made a few mistakes.

The dough seemed pretty sticky, but Hamelman is correct that folding the dough during rising tightens things up nicely. I probably should have given it an extra fold and an additional hour to rise before shaping.

before baking

Hamelman's instructions on shaping are quite good. I think I did a better than average job of shaping today.

When it came to scoring, Hamelman cautions about scoring too deeply. So, against my own better judgement, I underscored the loaves.


I suppose he is correct, that one can overscore a loaf, but I don't think I've ever done it. My cuts were under a half a centimeter deep here. I don't think I've ever gotten a nice looking loaf without scoring at least 1-2 centimeters deep. Alas.


The bread tasted great. The crust was a bit on the soft side because I added too much water to the oven, trying to create steam, and not all of it evaporated. And it is interesting to note how the top one looks quite different from the other two. I'm not certain if it is because I had a difficult time loading it into the oven and I damaged it then or if I hadn't shaped it properly. I'll just have to keep trying.

Floydm's picture

Back to work tomorrow.

During my week off I managed to bake pain de Provence, bagels, chocolate chip banana bread, kaiser rolls (recipe to come, after I try it a few more times), pain sur poolish, and an apple pie. Not bad consider everything else we did (3 days at the beach, a day hiking, lots of visits to the local playgrounds, and so on).

I'm finally pleased with the way the site (this one) is looking. It has taken me a month or two to work out most of the design kinks. It is finally getting there.

Erithid's picture

Today is my birthday, and for my birthday my friends and familiy got me baking supplies. With my new baking stone (bed bath and beyond is having a great deal on them, fyi), I went to work on some baguettes. I followed the recipe in the king arthur flour's online baking lesson found at:
They turned out excellent. This was the first time I could actually hear the bread crackling as it came from the oven. That was quite an experience. I also got a silpat mat and some new cookie sheets, so I will let you all know what I think of them when I get to work on some pumkin cookies. :-)
ps, sorry no pictures, but I don't have a digital camera. ~Erithid

Floydm's picture

I've been on vacation this week. Of course I have to be a bakery tourist. I came across Bread & Ocean in Manzanita, Oregon (see map).

A nice little place, that makes some interesting sounding breads: fig-walnut bread, potato-rosemary leek bread, spelt bread, german seeded bread, as well as the standard french bagettes and sourdoughs.

I tried one of their sweets, an almond-poppy seed bun. It was excellent.

Erithid's picture

Hello! For my first entry I will talk about a recipie inspired from a show called Yakitate Japan. Yakitate Japan, which means "freshly baked Japan" where Ja-pan is a pun on the japanese word for bread "pan", is an anime about a young boy's journey to create a bread that culturally represents Japan. It is hysterical, tounge-in-cheek, and chock full of interesting bread ideas. On one episode they discussed a recipe for microwave bread. Since I don't speak japanese or cook in metric, I devised my own recipe using the same basic concepts. It is still a work in progress, but everyone should try it. It amazed me with how well it turns out.
Microwave Bread:

about 2.5 cups flour
2 tbs butter
1 cup milk
1.5 tsp salt
2tsp yeast
2 tbs sugar

1. Add the butter to the milk and microwave until it just melts, about 30-60 secs. You want it melted, but not boiling or anything.
2. Add the yeast, sugar, salt, mix well
3. Add the flour until you get a sticky dough that you can handle.
***** Important******
Do not knead the dough, just mix it. Trust me, if you knead it it will not rise. There is a reason for this, but I forget. It has to do with the gluten formation interfering with the rise.
4. After you mix the ingrediants, cover the bowl with parchment paper and a wet towel and microwave for 30 seconds on high
5. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Shape into balls, put on a microwave/oven safe dish (I use a plate w/ parchment paper)
6. Cover with paper and towel, let sit 10 minutes
7. Microwave on low(plevel 30%) for 30 seconds
8. Let sit for about 45min- 1 hour
9. Bake at 375 until golden brown, about 15 min I believe
Total time 1.5 hours, but I think I actually let the rise go longer than neccessary

For a real treat, follow steps 1-7, then fill with chocolate ganache. I make these for breakfast once a week or so. Let me know what you think, or if you have any suggestions. Enjoy! ~Erithid


Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries