The Fresh Loaf

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Shiao-Ping's picture

Many years ago I went to South India with a group of Taiwanese friends to attend Dalai Lama's annual congregation.  It turned out to be a bad idea for me as I never liked group activities.  I deflected half way through the event and years' later I still felt embarrassed by it. 

It may sound funny but one of the things I missed about the trip was the Tibetan butter tea that they served throughout the congregation.  Dalai Lama is a very personable leader; he made sure that everyone gets his share of butter tea.  I first read about this strange salty tea from Alexandra David-Neel's My Journey to Lhasa.  She was French and the first Western woman to ever step foot in Lhasa early last century.  When there is nothing else to eat, this butter tea can be a meal on its own.

The second thing I missed about the trip was the vegetarian lentil curry soup that they served for lunch with Nan breads.  It was so delicious that I asked to have a tour at their kitchen facility and see how they cooked this dish.  But it was many years ago now and I have never been able to replicate it.  In memory their soup was a lot more soupy and flavorsome than mine.

Anyway I made a big pot of lentil curry soup with chicken the other day and I was wondering what bread I would make to go with this soup until I saw my husband juicing an orange.  I had decided that I wanted to make some sort of yellow/orange colored bread and so the issue was how to get that color into the bread and what the dominant flavor it would be in the bread.  I have been making Pain au Levain variations and I knew this bread would be no exception.  I thought orange and a mild curry flavor using Turmeric powder would go well together - orange would soften the taste of turmeric and gives it an extra dimension.  Hence, Orange Turmeric Pain au Levain.




My Formula 

  • 465 g starter at 75% hydration (5% rye)

  • 465 g flour (5% rye flour and the balance white flour)

  • 155 g orange juice (about 2 medium oranges)

  • 120 g water

  • 6 g (2 tsp) turmeric powder

  • Very fine zest (from one orange)

  • 14 g salt

Total dough weight 1.2 kg and dough hydration 65%

Bulk fermentation 2 hours with 2 stretch and folds and proofing 2 hours (assuming dough and room temperature around 23 - 25C / 73 - 76F).  Retardation in the refrigerator 9 hours.  Pre-heat oven to 250C / 480F.  Bake with steam at 220C / 430F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 210C / 410F for another 25 minutes.  








I always love orange zest in baked goods; the aroma is very refreshing.   Turmeric, like ginger, is a root vegetable and is an important ingredient for curry.  Turmeric and coriander go very well together.  Dipping a slice of this Orange Turmeric Pain au Levain into a lentil soup which is garnished with fresh coriander herb, you pick up some beautiful coriander aroma as you bite into the bread.

We were watching the latest series of Great British Menu on TV while we were having our soup dinner.  In this series the chefs in Britain competed to honor the returning soldiers serving in Afghanistan with a homecoming banquet that captured the authentic tastes of Britain.  One of the dishes that were chosen was a curry dish.  What was interesting to me was that one of the judges said that curry is an authentic British taste.  Hmm... how interesting.



dmsnyder's picture

Today, I baked Hamelman's "Normandy Apple Bread" for the first time. This bread is a pain au levain spiked with instant yeast. It uses a firm starter and bread flour and whole wheat in the final dough. The apple flavor comes from chopped dried apples and apple cider.

Jeff (JMonkey) posted the formula and instructions for this bread May 19, 2007, so I won't duplicate them here. For those interesting in making this bread, Jeff's entry can be found here: Hamelman's Normandy Apple Bread

I followed Hamelman's instructions pretty much to the letter. I machine mixed for about 7 or 8 minutes and did a French fold before bulk fermentation. I did one more fold after one hour of a 2 hour bulk fermentation. I had to refrigerate the formed loaves for about 3 hours to work around an afternoon outing. I then let them proof about 60-75 minutes at room temperature before baking.

The loaves smelled wonderful while baking. The crust was crunchy. The flavor was somewhat disappointing. The apples do give pleasant little bursts of sourness, but the crumb flavor was not my favorite. It was basically like a light whole wheat levain, and that is not a type of bread I particularly like.

Your taste (undoubtedly) varies, and you may enjoy it more than I.

Then again, the Vermont Sourdough had such spectacular flavor, anything else would be hard to compare. Again, that's my taste.



DonD's picture


Having a number of high school friends living in Montreal, I have had the opportunity to visit this city quite a few times over the years. I have always enjoyed its cosmopolitan charm and the French influences that have permeated its history and culture especially in the area of gastronomy.

Recently, my wife and I drove to Montreal to visit a close friend. He and his wife always treated us to the best breakfast of baguettes and croissants with farm fresh butter and raw milk cheeses, the kind that came closest to what you would find in France. Being the avid baker that I am, I came up with the idea to do a tasting of the best baguettes that Montreal has to offer.


We decided to taste a traditional baguette each from four of the most popular artisanal bakeries in Montreal. The tasting took place within three hours of the purchase and our tasting group consistted of six people.

From the top down, the baguettes were from Au Pain Dore, L'Amour du Pain, Le Fournil Ancestral and Premiere Moisson.


The results were unanimous and the rankings were as follows

1- Premiere Moisson

Good overall appearance. Nice golden brown crusy exterior. Smell of toasty wheat. Slight flaw with one undercooked side probably caused by the loaves being baked too close together. Creamy color and very soft open crumb with just the right amount of chewiness. Sweet tasting and a little tangy. Overall an outstanding baguette.

Probably the largest bakery in Montreal with multiple outlets throughout the city. The flour comes from Meunerie Milanaise, an organic mill in Quebec that also supplies to Daniel Leader's bakery in upstate New York.

2- L'Amour du Pain

The darkest of all the baguettes with a sweet caramely smell. The crust is a litlle bit hard but the crumb is creamy with huge irregular holes. The taste is sweet with a hint of acidity. A very good baguette.

This is a Retrodor baguette made with flour imported from the Meuneries Viron in France.

3- Au Pain Dore

A close second in appearance to the Premiere Moisson Baguette. The crust has a wheaty smell but is not as crackly. The crumb is nicely open with good balance of softness and chewiness. Overall, a good baguette.

This baguette is made from unbleached, untreated flour and is fermented for 6 hours.

4- Le Fournil Ancestral 

Good appearance but the lightest in color. The crust is on the soft side with no noticeable smell. The crumb is white, tight and cottony probably due to an intensive mix. Although called artisanal, this is a forgettable industrial type baguette.


Following the tasting, I set out to find the flour from Meunerie Milanaise and was able to buy and bring back three 20 kilo bags of different grades of flour. I have been experimenting with the flours and will publish the results on future postings.



ques2008's picture

It's been awhile since my last blog (late spring this year) so I promised Floyd - during his fund raising campaign - that I'd be back with another blog soon.

I haven't been "bloggingly" active as I wanted to owing to work mandates, although I stay tuned regularly and admire the works of the active and not-so-active bloggers.  There has been so much to admire here on TFL - the bakers, the baked goods, the insights, the "rhapsodies in blue", not to mention the tips and suggestions from members who are generous with their time and effort so that others may learn.  I have also hesitated a few times about posting a blog because compared to the talent pool of fresh loafers, my baking skills are nothing to write home about.  I must say though that the slow and sometimes painful journey into bread making has had its rewards. Since I started my love affair with dough I've only gone as far as making rolls, breakfast buns and sweet breads.  My sacred promise:  I'll start my second journey into sourdough next year.

Speaking of buns, this is an abbreviated version of my blog at  When it comes to recipes, I know of only two kinds:  keepers and poopers.  This King Arthur Flour recipe is a keeper.  It's the second time I've made it, and each time I've varied the shape.  KAF says to form burger buns, but I was in a playful mood and twisted them instead.  That was the first time.  The second time, I got more ambitious.

Here's what I ended up with:

boule 1


Of course like a dunderhead, I stared and stared, toying with the idea of pouring cement over it to hang as an "objet d'art" in my kitchen.  The wonderful thing about this KAF recipe is that the dough is pliable.  At first I thought I might have to use scotch tape to hold the braids in place, but no - the dough cooperated and followed my nervous fingers without any resistance.  Charming.  As I prepped it for the oven, I felt a strange bond forming, like that of a school-girl crush.

Thank you, KAF, for a winning recipe.

You need not go to my blog to get the recipe because I'll post it right here.  But I did mention Shiao-Ping's valuable insight about coloring.  In one of her posts, she said something about beet coloring that doesn't take kindly to oxidation.  I mentioned it because two fun activities that I indulge in when I'm not banging away on my keyboard are shaping and coloring bread!

dmsnyder's picture

These were made with the San Francisco Sourdough starter from 

Vermont Sourdough on the left. San Francisco Sourdough on the right.

Please note the 3 distinct shades of browning of the Vermont Sourdough bloom. This is a sign that the blooming occurred gradually over a large portion of the bake. To me, this is an indication that the stars (loaf proofing, scoring, baking stone temperature, oven steaming, etc.) were all aligned propitiously. The oven gods smiled on these loaves, as you can see from their smiles' reflection on the loaves. (Eeeeew ... That's corney! Well, that 's what writing while listening to Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 does. Consider yourselves fortunate I wasn't listening to the Dvorak Cello Concerto!)

Okay! Enough, already! On to crumb shots ...

San Francisco Sourdough from "Crust & Crumb" 

The crust was crunch-chewy. The crumb was a bit less open than expected. (The loaves were a somewhat over-proofed and collapsed slightly when scored.) The flavor was inoffensive but had no particular wonderfulness. It was mildly to moderately sour, which was what I'd wanted.

Vermont Sourdough from "Bread"

The crust was crunchy and nutty-sweet. The crumb was about as expected. It could have been more open, but I'm not unhappy with it. The crumb was quite chewy and the flavor was marvelous! Complex, sweet and moderately sour. It was close to my ideal for sourdough bread. 

The Vermont sourdough did have whole rye (10%) and the San Francisco Sourdough was straight white flour (except for a trace of whole wheat and rye in the starter feeding). Both of these formulas can make blow your socks off delicious bread. I credit the rye with the superior flavor in the Vermont Sourdough today. I certainly recommend a flour mix of 90% white and 10% rye to anyone who hasn't tried it. You don't taste "rye," but it does enhance the overall flavor greatly.


LuLu B's picture
LuLu B

             The Hungry Ghost Bakery is a wonderful sourdough bakery in Northampton Mass. Along with many sourdoughs they make granola, bake pastries and make a great double chocolate cookie. They sell local honey and organic and local fresh pasta. They attract kids (they are located next to the elementary school) and college students, Northampton is a college town. They opened the year I was in kindergarden and we made tiles for the brick oven. The breads they have are listed here:


a classic sour dough white, batard refers to the bread shape more stout than a baguette. It is delicious with most any dish as well as cheeses and dipping oil - organic white flour, water, sea salt

whole “grainy” bread, fantastic with soups, salads and chicken. It also is great as toast or as sandwich bread - - 60% organic whole wheat flour, 40% organic germ retained white flour, water, flax seed, sesame seed, sunflower seed, corn grits millet, soy flour, triticale flakes, oats, sea salt

popular with people who suffer from wheat sensitivities, this bread holds its own with very diverse foods such as spicy Indian or garlic and wine sauces. Try it toasted with orange marmalade - organic spelt flour, Chamomile flowers, water, sea salt

Truly an old world bread, beautifully dense and delicious. This is a great bread to have with soup, meat, eggs or as toast - 50%,rye flour, germ retained white flour (50%), caraway seeds, water, sea salt, topping is toasted black onion seed know as kalanji or charnushka

The tale of annadama bread states that a fisherman's lazy wife always gave him steamed corn meal mush and molasses for dinner. One day when he came in from fishing, he found the same corn meal mush and molasses for dinner and being very tired of it, he decided to mix it with bread flour and yeast and baked it saying, "Anna Damn Her." The bread was so delicious that his neighbors baked it calling it Annadama Bread. - 60% Organic white flour with retained germ, 40% whole corn flour, molasses, salt starter

an aromatic herb bread made of white flour this is a classic bread perfect with Italian food and red meat. Toast it and spread on some blueberry jam for a real breakfast treat - organic white flour (50% germ retained), water, dried rosemary, sea salt
savory fold

Part stuffed sandwich, part calzone, savory folds are loaded with sundried tomatoes, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, onions and spices. They come with a choice of either 8-grain or french bread. Try it as a one handed lunch if you've got a good appetite or share it or combine it with a salad or soup for a light supper. (usually available after noon time.)
olive and semolina fougasse

Totally addictive; crunchy, chewey, the scrumptious flavor of calamata olives and a hint of onion, it is entirely possible to nibble nearly the whole fougasse before you get home. What's a fougasse? Think foccacia, think flat bread, think delcious! -semolina flour, white flour, calamata olives, onion, water, salt, starter

semolina fennel

a unique and delicious bread with semolina flour and fennel seeds, it has the pleasant taste of licorice and works well with garlic and wine sauces or a more traditional tomato sauce. If you are really adventurous try it as french toast - 25% semolina flour, 75% organic germ retained white flour, water, fennel seed, sea salt

a versatile peasant bread great for sandwiches or toast and perfect with soup -90% organic white flour, 10% rye flour, water, sea salt, sesame seeds on top

double wheat

our most whole wheat offering. Not only is this loaf made with all whole wheat flour but it is laced with wheat berries as well. Light in texture it compliments just about anything you pair it with and kids love it, too - organic whole wheat flour, water, organic wheat berries, sea salt

This is more than Saturday morning toast, it’s true the raisins are a sweet treat when dripping with butter but dare to be different match this bread with a tomato curry dish or go ahead and layer on the Gorgonzola - organic whole wheat flour, water, organic raisins, sea salt

this is not your supermarket challah, made with eggs and honey it is slightly sweet with a crisp crust, available plain, with poppy or sesame seeds or a combination of both seeds and plain with raisins inside. Enjoy this bread for shabot or as a great start to Saturday morning – yummy French toast - organic white flour, honey, eggs, olive oil, water, sea salt

The owner Jonathan along with baking writes poetry. Here is my favorite of his poems:

Wet Cosmic Bloke
I am FLYing through the
soup of summer, doing
what? The backstroke, of
course… Mirroring birds and
bats here on the swimmer’s surface of
the pond. The ripples are my feathers
fluttering through this joke being told
by an immeasurably vast waiter. Maybe it’s
the blue of his eyes reflecting back the color
of water, paralleling the atmosphere’s trick. Just
like I’m echoing the customer’s incredulous query
-what is this bowl doing around my broth?

Once a year they have a bread festival.

The festival has local honey, jam, seaweed, cheese, butter, spreads and lots of freshly baked bread and sweets.

They are also involved in local wheat.

The Little Red Hen’s Wheat Patch Project The bread flour we had been using, as organically labeled as it might be, is road-weary and carries a carbon-heavy burden. Grown in the Dakotas, milled in North Carolina, trucked to us in Massachusetts, it is high-quality but high-priced (in more ways than one) and that is rising every day. Displaced by ethanol-bound corn and soybean crops, the price of wheat is growing in the way the grain should be. Local cultivation, though historically significant, is presently negligible. We need new strategies to address this. According to some records, Massachusetts was the site of the first wheat harvest in North America in 1602. Within living memory of Amherst resident Steven Puffer (age 93), farmers brought local wheat, rye and corn to his family’s mill on Old Montague Road (now Route 63). Thanks to some discussions and a local grain conference at Hampshire College last spring, two local farmers have seeds in the ground at present –rye and spelt- and some varieties of spring wheat. In addition to these efforts we are proposing a radical notion: that bread customers begin to grow a portion of the wheat they consume. Imagine receiving a handful of wheat berries along with your loaf of bread and going home to plant them in the backyard -or the front yard or the side yard! The concept is simple, participants with a small amount of garden space receive a specific variety of wheat seed and with simple instructions and some readily available helpful advice, these newly made micro-farmers will then be harvesting the fruit for local flour sometime in late July/early August.. Students from Hampshire and Smith Colleges under the guidance of Hampshire Farm Manager, Leslie Cox are ready to collect scientific data on the progress of the growing wheat. The goal of the Wheat Patch Project is more than a gimmick but a radical approach to food production, economic participation and agricultural re-integration. In experimenting with numerous seed types, dozens of different conditions and soils, we can collectively discover which kinds of wheat (there are tens of thousands) may best be adapted to our region. The project is long term and within a year or two the idea is to then enlist the participation of larger local farms to begin growing locally sustainable wheat. Pre-testing the varieties helps to reduce the risk a farmer takes in development of a new crop. The experimentation will continue into the fall when varieties of “winter wheat” will be trialed as well. Hungry Ghost Bread is proud to sponsor this project and we are currently distributing seed some of which are already in the hands, lawns or gardens of more than 70 bread lovers. The goal of the Wheat Patch Project is not just a gimmick of decentralization, but a radical approach to food production, economic participation and agricultural re-integration. In experimenting with numerous seed types, dozens of different conditions and soils, we can collectively discover which kinds of wheat (there are tens of thousands) may best be adapted to our region. If you have further questions or would like to pick up some seeds please contact us. We also appreciate any monetary donations large or small in order to facilitate the next step in the process, the development of a grain cleaning and milling facility. Coordination with a local nonprofit is underway to further establish this grain cooperative. Thanks for your interest and support.


Floydm's picture

While out running errands this morning I stopped at St. Honoré Boulangerie in NW Portland.  I took a bunch of photos but it was dark and crowded.  These are the only two shots that came out.

St Honore Breads

St Honore Sweets

The croissant, pain au chocolat, and pain au raisin we split were all good.  Nice treats on a rainy day.

In baking news, I just came *this* close to ruining a batch of Wild Rice Onion Bread I'm making. I'm using the formula from Peter Reinhart's new book but changing the rises to fit my schedule.  I did a preferment while we were out this morning and once we got back from errands I made the final dough.  It was running about half an hour or an hour behind dinner schedule -- I'd love to have the rolls with the pot of split pea soup I'm making, though I also got a ficelle at St. Honoré as backup -- so I put the bulk dough in the oven and turned the light on to try to speed things up a little bit.  I also turned the burner on for just 20 or 30 seconds to get some warmth in there, then got distracted and ran upstairs... Next thing I know my dough has been sitting in a 250 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.  Happily, aside from the very outer bits that stuck to the metal bowl, I think it is going to be fine.  I split the now quite warm dough into two loaves and they appear to be rising fine.  Fingers crossed.


Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

Okay, I admit this post has nothing to do with strumpets, but I couldn't resist the ridiculous rhyme!  

But this has everything to do with crumpets!  I've read other users' posts about Rose Levy Berenbaum's English muffins, and I know there's been debates about what the proper boundary between the muffins vs. the crumpets.  I've tried her English muffins, but her crumpets are in my bumbling opinion by far the finest of the two.  I love the wet batter and the stove top process, and the texture is so fluffy, classic, and moist.  We enjoy them with omelets and jam...  

The batter...

The griddling...

The finished display...

And darn it, I forgot the picture of the crumb, and the little red toaster that makes it complete!  And there were no crumpets left to tell the tale...

inlovewbread's picture

This year I hope to make Pain de Campagne shaped as pain de epi for the Thanksgiving table. I did a run-through to practice the cuts....

The one in the middle fit on my baking stone, the other did not- so I cut that one in two. Next time I will make skinnier baguettes before cutting and will probably make 3. Little individual epi rolls would be cute too.

The one in the middle also went a little long in the oven...but I'll say I was going for a more "european bake". 

inlovewbread's picture


I've become somewhat obsessed lately with Durum flour. It adds such a sweet, buttery flavor to the bread, which is good- because then I don't add butter when I have slice after slice of this bread!

The boule on the left is the sourdough with durum. The loaf on the right is a vermont sourdough (a la Hammelman's formula). The scoring pattern didn't quite turn out as planned...anyway, the percentage of durum flour in this particular boule came to about 15%. That's only because I am rationing out my durum flour until I can find a less expensive source :-) Otherwise I would have it at about 25%.


When I feed my firm starter, I take the "waste" and make a teeny-tiny little sourdough boule- it's so cute and fun to make because it's so small. It's also a good one because I bake it the same day I mix; skipping the overnight retardation step (forfeiting more flavor, I know, but sometimes it's nice to not have to wait). I think the formula ends up:

25g firm levain

130g bread flour

20g durum flour

103g water

3g sea salt

I baked this with the "magic bowl" method, same as for the loaves above. But for some reason, due to the size, it doesn't come out with much of a crust. It's more thin and chewy instead of thicker and well, crustier. Still good though. Perfect size for 2 people! Okay, perfect size for one person to eat- by themselves.....

The small size is also nice for experimenting with different additions/ formulas. For instance, I attempted a chocolate cherry sourdough (which turned out really yummy) and didn't want to waste the cherries and the time if it wasn't going to taste good. Now that I know it does, I will make a larger loaf.





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