The Fresh Loaf

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breadsong's picture

Awhile ago I'd found elra's post on about Bara Brith - I've been wanting to try making this lovely-sounding fruit-and-spice Welsh 'speckled' bread ever since.
I've got Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery on loan from the libary; there's a recipe for Bara Brith in her book too.
This is my variation of Bara Brith, based on elra's and Elizabeth's. 
I was delighted with the light, cakey, tender and flavorful! result:

Both loaves, and a crumb shot (top slice separated upon slicing...couldn't wait until it was completely cool to slice and taste!):


Ingredients (for 2 x 450g loaves)

Weight in grams

Baker's %




Bread flour



Red Fife 75% whole wheat flour






Eggs, whole (= 1 large egg)



Yeast instant, osmotolerant



Sugar, demerara






Unsalted butter, 70F






Raisins, dark



Raisins, golden



Orange peel, candied, diced



Sweet spice blend










(1) Soak currants and raisins overnight in strong, cold tea.

(2) The next day, bring milk, egg, and butter to room temperature. Drain the currants and raisins. Add diced candied orange peel to currants and raisins.

(3) Mix together sweet spices to your liking, to equal 2 grams. I used .7 g freshly grated nutmeg, .7 g allspice, and .2 g each of cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

(4) Whisk milk, egg and salt together to combine, in bowl.

(5) Blend flours, yeast and sugar in a larger, mixing bowl.

(6) Add milk and egg mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine. I used a dough whisk to combine the ingredients.

(7) Kneaded on the counter until the dough windowpaned (improved mix).

(8) Kneaded in the spices, and then the butter in five additions, ensuring each addition of butter was kneaded in before adding the next. I tried to make sure the butter stayed inside the dough, so I wasn't touching/melting the butter with my hands while kneading. The dough became sticky as I was kneading in the butter. I dusted the counter lightly once or twice with flour and used a dough scraper to pick the dough up off the counter, as needed.

(9) Gradually knead in the fruit mixture until fruit is incorporated. I tried to keep the fruit within the dough and not have any pieces sticking out.

(10) Bulk ferment at 80F for two hours, with S&F at one hour.

(11) Shape, preheat oven & stone to 425F, proof for about 45 minutes to one hour at room temperature (70F).

(12) Score, bake with steam, 400 for 10 minutes, 375 for remainder of bake (30 minutes total). After 20 minutes of baking, I rotated the loaves and covered with foil to prevent overbrowning.  Let cool on rack before slicing.

I'm very happy to have discovered this bread!
Happy baking everyone,
from breadsong
Przytulanka's picture

Inspired by the recipe from the blog: Discovering Sourdough I baked my English Muffins with Feta.


Sourdough Starter:

172 g whole wheat flour

212 g water

122 g whole wheat bubbling sourdough

Combine the ingredients in a large mixing, cover and let ferment for 10-12 hours.


Final dough:

all of the  sourdough starter

256g water

505 g  whole wheat flour

Mix the ingredients and autolyse for 30-40 minutes. Then add 272 g crumbled feta cheese and work it through the dough.



Set aside for 40 minutes and knead the dough for 1 minute. Repeat the kneading after 40 minutes. Then let ferment for  4 hours.

Preheat your oven with a baking stone and a steam pan to 450F.Using a rolling pin roll the dough out to 11/4cm (1/2 inch) thickness. Cut the muffins out and place on the baker's peel  lined with parchment paper. Bake for  5-6 minutes each side.

I used a large band from a half gallon mason jar to cut my muffins. I baked 15 muffins.



txfarmer's picture


This formula is adapted from Wild Yeast's great recipe here:, with the following changes:

1. Increased the hydration to 85%

2. The original formual requires no machine kneading but does do a bit of hand kneading in the beginning, I don't knead at all, not with machine, not with hand. I used the same technique from my 36 hour sourdough baguettes: a long cold autolyse (4 hours in this case) to develope the initial gluten, then add in the 100% starter and salt, mix until roughly even. At that point, the "dough" looks like following, don't worry, it will be fine.


3. Added a S&F during bulk rise, which makes 4 S&F in total. And look how smooth the dough looks at the end of the 2 hour bulk rise! Magic!


4. After an overnight stay in the fridge and 1.5 hour of warm up at room temp, it full of bubbles, beautiful.


5. I only made 1/3 of the recipe since I didn't have enough starter, so 4 rolls rather than 12. They look very flat and sad proofing, I decreased the proofing time to 1 hour since the house was warm.


6. Flip over one by one then into an hot oven they go. Amazing ovenspring. They sang loud and proud out of the oven.


Nice open crumb. Nice delicious flavor.


I think all that dividing for rolls destroyed some bubbles. Next time I will just make one big loaf with this amount of the dough, I think the crumb will be even more open.


Submitting to Yeastspotting.


MadAboutB8's picture

As part of the plan to try using up 5 kilos of potato that we have, I turned to Bourke Street Bakery cookbook for Mr Potato Bread. 

This was the first time I followed BSB's method of starter built, i.e. number of feedings and amount of starter. In the past, whenever I made the sourdough from BSB, I adapted Hamelman's method.

I usually fed the starter twice before the bake, but I did three for this bake (followed the book's feeding schedule). The dough was much more active. However, come to think of it, it could have been10% of rye in the dough that contribute to a rather active dough or it could be both.

Apart from following the book's feeding schedule, I also didn't substitute the nigella seeds in the recipe for something else  I am usually a serious offender  when it comes ingredients substitution. I'm glad I didn't for this bake as the nigella seeds enhanced the flavour of the bread tremendously. The aroma was fantastic. The seeds together with rosemary gave the bread extra kick, extra flavour. It was really a flavoursome bread.

 Nigella seeds also known as kaloonji in Indian cuisine

This is unusual potato bread, different from the ones I made before that included mashed potato. This bread called for chunk potato, which still can be seen when the bread was cut. It gave the rustic look and provide some different texture to the bread.

BSB's recipe use 62% hydration, I increased this to 66% as I rather like working with high hydration dough. It's easier, more pleasant and fun when it comes to kneading.

More photos and recipe can be found here. 


SylviaH's picture


I made a fresh supply of candied orange peels for my spring holiday baking.  I find the video on you tube, by yanghalying, very intertaining and instructive.  By using her method for candied peels, I have excellent results, firm, colorful and tasty candy peels, for oranges and lemons.  

I made a batch of Orange Aniseed Wheels from Ciril Hitz book 'Baking Artisan Bread'.  They are very tasty and an easy one day bake.  Perfect to try out some of my now fresh supply of candied orange peels...they are so delicious, I have eaten so many, I think I'm having a vitamin C overload, they are addicting!




                                                   Brush the Pin Wheels with Clarified Butter and dust in Sugar - for better keeping!












                                     Crumb appears yellow from indoor light...lost the evening sunlight!  Flavor is lovely of orange and aniseed.









oceanicthai's picture

After I had fried up some onions for dinner the bottom of the pan looked and smelled so good with the carmelized onions.  So I put a little water in it, mashed up some roasted garlic, and used it in my autolyse for this bread.  It smelled heavenly in the oven. 


txfarmer's picture


I went all in. (original recipe here, 3 earlier variations here, 3 more variations here, previous whole grain experiments here, with 60% whole grain here, 80% version here)

barley flour, 75g

ww flour, 375g

ice water, 475g

salt, 10g

rye starter (100%) 100g

-Mix flour, ice water and autolyse for 12 hours.

-Mix in salt, starter, then follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.


Whole grain flour breakdown: 15% barley flour, 10% rye flour (all in starter), 75% ww. Hydration: 105%, yup, you read that right, I think it's necessary in order to get an open crumb and relatively thin crust. Note that the percentage of starter is lower than previous versions, that's because whole grain dough fermentate much faster, I reduced starter amount to maintain the convenient 36 hour timeline without over-rise.


Crumb is open, especially for a 100% whole grain dough, flavor is rich, HOWEVER, it's far from perfect:

1. the crust is a tad too thick for baguettes, and crumb a tad too "chewy", mouth feel is not as light as I would've liked for a baguette

2. the profile is a bit flat, one or two more S&F may give the dough mroe strength to rise higher


All in all a good and delicious baguette, but not our favorite. My husband thinks the 60% whole grain version has the best flavor/texture, I thing the ones with 40% to 60% whole grain all have a good balance between rich whole grain flavor and light mouth feel.


Interestingly, this batch tasted better the next day (baked for another 5min to warm up and re-crisp the crust before eating), the flavor improved, and the texture is less ... "wet", more crisp, this is opposite to white flour baguettes which taste the best fresh. Maybe high ratio whole grain breads need time for the crumb to "set". This is far from the end, I want to keep playing with this dough to see whether I can improve on the rise and the texture.


Submitting to Yeastspotting.

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

Beer Barm Bread, with Spent Grains

Ahhh, beer making. I don't partake of this sport, but my step-mom, Patty, does, with a passion. And I have to say her IPA will put rivals to shame. But here's the thing. She's been brewing this beer for a few years, and even grows the hops in the backyard. I have long wanted to make a bread with the "wort" (that is, the pre-fermented beer) and the "spent grains" (the malted barley soaked in hot water that, with hops, makes the wort). This is the ultimate beer bread and the method goes back to England and Scotland, and probably much earlier historically, considering barley beer and bread built the pyramids.

British baker Dan Lepard explains that the mildly antiseptic qualities of hops prevent the barm leaven from turning sour. This might seem odd, given that hops are bitter, but in a small dose of leaven they actually sweeten the bread.

For the rest of the post on this wonderful bread, see my post on

Beer Barm Bread


oceanicthai's picture

Today's bake was a 3-seed sourdough.  I previously posted all ingredients and the method I used, and had to go, and lost it...sigh.  Next time  :)   Here's the pics...tastes lovely.


The seed soaker added extra water even after I drained it.  I can't tell if I underproofed or not.  The crust was nice but I didn't get as much vertical lift as I had hoped.  My scoring kind of just melted back into itself.  I like this a lot better than the wheat germ one, but I think next time I use wheat germ I will soak it first.  I soaked my terra cotta lid for a couple of hours before I baked it.

rick.c's picture



I have been on a bagel kick recently, I made a few batches of the BBA recipe before I got tired of topped or cinammin bagels.  So, I decided to go out on a limb and try these.

So, here is my madness in making them, measurements in Grams & I don't like to weigh less than 10 Grams so tsp measurements were used

  1. 194   Bread Flour
    231   Water             150*F water was used
    32     Flax Meal
    32     Whole Wheat Flour
    6       Diastatic Malt Powder  (2 tsp)
  2. 2       Yeast   (1 tsp)
  3. 388    Bread Flour
    50      Orange Juice
    100    Water
    13      Salt    (1.5 tsp)
    2        Yeast  (1 tsp)
  4. 6        Orange Zest,  (2.5 tsp)
    130     Sunflower Seeds, roasted unsalted
    100     Craisins
  1. Combine everything in 1. mix with paddle attachment of mixer until well combined.  it should be batter like and ~ 135 - 140 *F
  2. Allow to cool (this took mine 90 min) to ~95 *F
  3. Add 2. mix to combine
  4. Let stand for 2-3 hrs until yeast is active and bubbly
  5. Add 3, mix with dough hook or paddle until combined
  6. Let stand for 30 min
  7. Knead with dough hook for 8 min or until dough is nicely developed
  8. Add 4
  9. Knead for additional 5 min or until ingredients are uniformly mixed in
  10. Let rise for an hour, then place in fridge overnight
  11. Remove from fridge, divide into 9 pieces ~140 Grams each, shape into ball/roll, cover
  12. After 45 min, poke hole through center of ball and enlarge to get bagel shape
  13. Continue to let rise until almost doubled
  14. Boil in Baking Soda enhanced water for 1- 1.5 min / side
  15. Bake at 375 for an additional 25-35 mins until Done

I like the way these came out.  They distinctly tase orangey with a sweetness/tartness when you get a craisin, the sunflower taste is present and there is a marked afternote of the wheat and flax.  I will make these again, though I might play with my "soaker" (step 1) and I think using dried cranberries instead of craisins might be interesting.

More pics

hmm, photos aren't showing, they are here though




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