The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ilan's picture

It’s been a while since my last post. I didn’t post anything because I was lazy… I did bake, a lot. From bread, flat bread, pizza and more (next blog entry will be on one of them).

Today, I will continue with my sandwich bread. The recipe is not so different from the previous one, but this time I reduced the amount of yeast by half, added more sugar, and changed the ratio of water & milk. Nothing fancy here, but it taste good.

I love sweet basil, and a pesto made out of it is an excellent addition to a lot of dishes.

So bread filled with it, will be fantastic to eat with a tomato salad with some mozzarella cheese.

In the past, I did add pesto to my dough during kneading, but the bread was not as good as I expected.

This time I decided the filling will go into pocket in the dough. 

What I did is basically braided bread and each of the braids is filled with my pesto. This time, to fulfill my curiosity, I went for 2 halves, each is braided out of two strands and then shaped into a circle. Both halves were placed together to create one bread.


The Recipe:

The filling:

A bunch of fresh sweet basil leaves

1 claw of Garlic

Few pine nuts

A walnut or two

A pecan nut or two

2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup of Olive oil

Salt and paper (prefer the coarse salt – will help grinding the other ingredients)

Crush all ingredients in a food processor (or pestle and mortar) until you have a smooth mixture.

The bread:

-      3 1/4 cups flour

-      1 ½ teaspoons of yeast

-      1 tablespoon sugar

-      ½ cup of milk

-      ¾ cup of water

-       1 egg

-       3 tablespoons of olive oil


Mix the yeast, milk and sugar, wait 5-10 minutes

Add the flour and water and kneed for 5 minutes, add salt, egg and olive oil, kneed for another 5 minutes.

Let rise for 60 minutes

Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, egg and water (or milk) into a unified mixture and let rest for 20 minutes.

Add the salt Pecans and Pumpkin seeds knead for 10 minutes. Let rise for 60 minutes.

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces, form a long strand from each.

Use a rolling pin to spread each strand (make some room for the filling), fill each with the pesto and roll (see pictures below).

From each pair of rolled strands, form a braid, and then roll it like a snail.

Put both parts in the form, let them touch, we want them to become a single bread.

Let rise for 40-60 minutes or until it doubles in size.

Bake in high temperature with steam for 15 minutes (240c)

Reduce the heat (180-170c) and remove the steam, bake for another 40 minutes.

The process:



The outcome:

Until the next post



cranbo's picture

I make a 60% rye bread, and I use a buttermilk & rye soaker. Hydration is around 65%; remainder of flour is generic bread flour. I knead in a Kitchenaid for about 7-10 minutes total. I also stretch and fold 2-4 times, depending on how lazy I am. 

The unbaked dough of the last 2 I've made starts to "rip" after I start to fold it. I doubt I could windowpane it. Is that typical? I know rye is low-gluten, but could I be overkneading it? Seems unlikely, but I'm looking forward to feedback.


Elagins's picture

hi all,

thought you might be interested in what i've been up to lately, so here are some recent pics.

the book is moving along.  the editing is done and i'm going over the corrected manuscript and getting some more photos together.  our publisher has a designer working on the internal design, and i gather that the finished book is going to run somewhere around 320-360 pages.  we're moving toward the prepublication home stretch and i can't believe it's actually happening.

besides all that, some of you have probably noticed that we did a radical redesign of the website.  after over a year in business, we decided it was time for a more polished look ... the idea being that we're pretty sure we'll be in business for a while.  thanks to everyone in the TFL community for your support and encouragement.

Stan Ginsberg

so here are the pics:

French cookiesCheckerboard cakeRainbow cookies

SylviaH's picture

This is one of my favorite whole grain breads, Miller's Loaf @ 100 'sourdough hydration' for the added wholegrains.  I added the 'harvest grains blend' from KAF, I often order this mix when they have free's very convenient and always very fresh.  The Miller's Loaf with whole grains is a recipe from the Northwest Sourdough breadsite.  Since I was baking today I decided it would be a good opportunity to make a French Apple Tart by Sarah Moulten, it is featured this month in Saveur Magazine's 100 Chefs edition.  

I also made fresh ravioli for Mike's carb's boost, before his bike race tomorrow.  I have been enjoying making fresh pasta with the new electric pasta roller attachment's for my KA mixer.  I love this set and glad I went electric attachments, rolls very thin pasta with ease. 












            Recipe calls for:                       Small disk of pasty for an 11 inch tart pan.  The dough is rolled very thin.  Less fattening!



                                Tender and moist apples, with a lovely very thin buttery crust and not overly sweet, the taste of fresh apple is delicious!


          1.  1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting

          2.  tbsp. unsalted butterk cubed and chilled

          3. 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

          4. 7 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and halved - I used a combination of apples I had in my crisper.

          5. 1/4 cup of sugar - I used bakers sugar with 1 tsp. instant clear jel powder

          6. 1/2 cup apricot jam

               Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving... the whipped cream was very nice with this tart


1 - Combine flour, 8 tbsp. butter and slt in a food processor and pulse until pea-size crmbles form about 10 pulses. Drizzle in 3 tbsp. ice-cold water and pulse until dough is moistened, about 3-4 pulses.  Transfer dough to a work surface and form into a flat disk; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Unwrap dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface.  Using a rolling pin. flatten dough into a 13" circle and then transfer to a 11"tart pan with a removable botto; trim edge; chill for 1 hour.


2.  Heat oven to 375F.  Working with one apple half at a time, thinly slice into sections, keeping slices together.  Press sliced apple half gently to fan it out; repeat with remaining apple halves.  Place 1 fanned apple half on out edge of the tart dough, pointing inward; repeat with 7 more apple halves.  Separate remaining apple slices.  Starting where the apple halves touch and working your way in, layer apples to create a tight rose pattern.  Fill in any gaps with remaining apple.  Sprinkle with sugar (combined with gel or sometimes I use tapicoa flour - if used) and then dot with remaining butter.  Bake until golden brown, 60-70 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, heat apricot jam in a small saucepan until warmed and loose; pour through a fine strainer into a bowl and reserve.  Transfer tart to a wire rack; using a pastry brush, brush top of tart with jam.  Let cool completely before sicing and serving with whipped cream.


I set my tart onto a pizza sheet, while baking, or you could use a cookie sheet, to save any mess that might happen.










Jo_Jo_'s picture

Ok, hope I am doing this right, just making an entry to my original blog. 

I really really was hesitant about making this bread, since normally I don't really care for corn bread all that much.  It's usually to sweet for anything but chili.  Boy was I surprised, it really turned out awesome!  I actually ate a little bit of peanut butter on a piece today, and was again surprised with how much flavor it had and the sweetness was not overwhelming at all.  Here's a couple pictures with a link to more pictures of how I made this bread.  It also has some explanations:

From Anadama

I noticed a while back that the photos seem to have trouble loading form this site, so I am hosting my photos on another site and linking to them.  It seems to fix this problem, and has the added advantage of allowing me to post a lot more pictures in case someone wants a closer look at how I made these.  Next week I will be making the "Alien" bread that my family saw in my book.....


Jo_Jo_'s picture

I thought I would try creating a blog of my bread making, starting this new year with my new Kitchenaid 600 pro and a new book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  I am also determined to learn how to use baker's math, although I find it rather confusing especially when I am so used to looking and feeling the dough to see if it needs more water or flour. 

I made 3 batches of bread this week.  The first was my sourdough using a 100% starter of all purpose flour and water.  Here is a picture of my active starter, plus a link to more pictures of how I feed the starter:

From Feeding Starter


I used this fancy recipe.... 

From Sourdough Batch day 2

What can I say?  Basically when I measured out a cup of flour it gave me 148 grams, and I simply used that as the starting point for my bread.  I've been making this same loaf for years and it works for me.  My newest starter is about 3 months old and really starting to get some good flavor to it.  I have pictures etc of the first days batch here:

Just click on the link for all the pictures and explanations.....   From Sourdough Rolls

Since if you click on Sourdough Rolls above right under the picture, and it takes you to a zillion photos and exactly how I made this bread I thought I would leave it at that.  I made a second batch also, but when I scored the tops I didn't do it well enough and while they turned out nice with good crumb inside I didn't like them as well.  As with all good things, can't have great results every time....

Sidenote:  I love whole wheat bread and used to make sourdough bread using 100% whole wheat, but it upsets my tummy now so I pretty much stick to bread flour and all purpose flour.  I usually only make small rolls, since I make a 1/3 whole wheat for my husband who has trouble with white flours.  I have been thinking of trying the whole wheat recipes again to see if by some miracle I can eat them again. I so miss the taste of a really good whole wheat bread.

More later..... Anadama bread

davidg618's picture

The microwave oven is a fine proofing box. With the door ajar, to keep the light on, its internal temperature is 78°F. Two small, round brotforms, or two oblong ones fit snuggly, but forget baguettes, or family size challah. And if I want 89°F I'm stymied--until now.

I've been working on a proofing box since late summer, but had to put it aside for a couple of months, due more pressing things. However, I finished it last week, tested it, made one modification and really finished this morning with the door pulls. Of course it still needs a coat of stain and varnish, or tung oil, but that's just for its looks. It's functional now.

I considered insulating it, but didn't think it necessary. It's heated by a 75 watt, halogen spot light, and the heated air is circulated by a small fan--normally used for cooling electronic devices.

The light's power is controlled by a plug-in thermostat, on the side of the box, through the power plug emerging from its case. The thermostat's temperature probe penetrates the side of the box, and monitors the return air temperature. With the box empty, the circulating air maintained temperature +/- 2°.  When the box contained three pounds of dough (two loaves) +/- 2°F remained the temperature range. The lower plug powers the fan, which circulates the air regardless of the heating light's power. The fan operates at USB low voltage, so I had to provide a 120 VAC to 5 VDC power supply, the small, black box partially hidden by the light's power cord. The box's top supporting the fan and light box, is removeable, and is replaced by a smooth top; it will serve as a storage box for banneton's and brotforms when not proofing.

The box can accomodate a variety of  proofing basket shapes and numbers, a half-sheet pan, and will be used to couche proof 20" baguettes, the maximum length my oven can accept.

The one modification I had to make was build and attach a diffuser to spread the air delivered by the fan; without it the interior box maintained too large a spatial temperature gradient.

My wife is delighted. Now she can reheat her coffee in the microwave without having to first remove proofing bread, and replace it following, which she's prone to forget.

I'm delighted because I can now proof all the differing shapes I push dough into.

Davd G

dmsnyder's picture

Chicken, brie and apple panino

My brother, Glenn, and his wife gave us a panini press a few years ago. I confess to using it infrequently. Every time I do use it I wonder why we don't use it more often, because we really love panini.

Last night, I took a huge loaf of Country Rye Bread made from the formula in Tartine Bread out of the freezer for this morning's breakfast. As I left for the office this morning, I suggested to my wife that we make panini for dinner, to use this delicious bread while it was relatively fresh. She concurred. We made them. They were good.

Ingredients (for 2 panini)

  • Two baked chicken thighs seasoned with salt, pepper and dried herbs. (You could also grill or broil them and season them to your taste). Bone the thighs.
  • 6 thin slices of a quartered tart apple, skin on (braeburn, granny smith).
  • 8 thin slices of good brie about 1 x 4" each.
  • Chopped parsley (or water cress).
  • 4 slices Country Rye Bread from Tartine Bread (or any good country bread)
  • Olive oil (or walnut oil or olive oil infused with garlic and/or herbs).
  1. Lay out the slices of bread so the outsides of the sandwiches are up. Brush the slices with the oil and turn them over.
  2. Add the other ingredients atop each of two slices of bread, in this order:
    1. 2 slices of brie
    2. One of the boned chicken thighs.
    3. 3 slices of apple.
    4. A sprinkling of chopped parsley.
    5. 2 slices of brie.
    6. Top each sandwich with another slice of bread, oiled side up.
  1. Pre-heat your panini press on high.
  2. Place the panini on the grill and close the top.
  3. Grill for 30 seconds with gentle downward pressure on the upper grill handle.
  4. Grill for 3-5 minutes more without pressure until the cheese is melted and the bread is crisped and well-marked by the grill
Serve with a green salad or side dishes of your choice.

Mis en Place
Panini, assembled and on the grill
Panini ready to serve. (Cheese is definitely melted!)
David Submitted to YeastSpotting


a1usteuton's picture

I have attempted making sourdough bread three times in the last week and a half.  The first time, the starter failed, due to tap water and temperature.  The latter starters I have made I used both rye flour and un-bleached AP flour separately.  They rose and responded like gang busters!  I fed them and they grew very well.  Three times I have mixed the pre ferment and it did poorly the first time ( I think from temperature).  The second time, I got through the pre ferment and tried to raise the total mixed dough.  It sat in a warm spot for 10 hours and did nothing and I set it on a pan of warm water and it took off, but then wouldn't get the second proof or rise.  The third time, Everything went well until the final proof and I am still waiting on the rise and to avoid cooking the dough, I am setting it on a thermostatically controlled heating pad.  What am I doing wrong??? 

Miick's picture

Why are there so many repeat posts? The post regarding the baker with bad working conditions was posted here a few month age.


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