The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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turosdolci's picture

A friend on Foodbuzz was looking for a way to use Ficoco - fig jam with cocoa. In Italy sugar was expensive to produce so many things were made with jams or mosto cotto (grape syrup) to sweeten cakes, cookies etc. Itlians have many jam filled cookies and ficoco would be perfect for raviolo dolci, in fact figs were also used to make mosto cotto. A recipe we make during holidays, Ravioli Dolci is a great way to use different jam fillings and make your cookie different everytime. 



mariacuellar's picture

What is the best artisan bread school in the world?

I'm guessing it's in France, but I can't find ratings anywhere.

cdiggz's picture




1 3/4 cup flour (2 cups if using frozen berries)

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly butter muffin tins or line with muffin cups.


1. Beat egg in small bowl.  Add oil and mix well.


2. Measure milk and add to egg mixture. 


3.  Measure dry ingredients and sift into large bowl. 


4.  Add milk, oil and egg all at once to dry ingredients.  Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.


5.  Fill muffin cups ¾ full.


6. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Yield: 9-12 muffins





Blueberry Muffins


Prepare batter as above.  Gently fold in 1 cup fresh or thawed and well-rinsed blueberries.


Chocolate Chip Muffins


Prepare batter as above.  Gently fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. 


Surprise Muffins


Prepare batter as above.  Fill muffin cups ½ full, drop 1 tsp, jam or jelly in the center of each and add batter to fill cups 3/4 full.


cdiggz's picture

Yield 3-5 servings


1/4 lb. ground beef

2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix (more if needed to taste)

1-2 tsp. ranch dressing mix (optional)

1 tsp. onion powder

1 cup canned, diced tomatoes, undrained

1/4 -1/2 cup corn

1 cup kidney beans

1 cup black beans

1/4 cup water if mixture is too thick


Topping Ideas

cheese, olives, green onions, sour cream, tortilla chips





1. In a large saucepan, brown ground beef over medium heat, stir and break up meat as it cooks.  Drain grease from meat using strainer. 


2. Add remainder of ingredients.  When mixture comes to a boil turn temperature down to simmer.  Cover and simmer for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 


3. Serve over corn chips in a bowl.  Add toppings.

cdiggz's picture

Yield: 5 large pretzels

Preheat Oven: 450 degrees F.



3/4 cup warm water (approximately 105-110 degrees)

1/2 tablespoon yeast

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 cup occident flour (bread flour) (add more if needed)

1/4 cup unsalted melted butter for dipping pretzels in after baking



1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water


DIPPING SOLUTION (use large saucepan):

1/4 cup baking soda

2 1/2 cups hot water





Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil.


1.      In a KitchenAid mixing bowl with dough hook attachment, mix warm water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and let rest for 5 minutes.

2.      While yeast is growing, prepare egg wash and baking pan.  Set aside.

3.      Add flour and mix well until dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and it retains a ball shape.

4.      Let rise in warm place until doubled, at least 20-30 minutes.

5.      On slightly oiled, clean work surface, divide dough and shape into long 'ropes' and shape into pretzels or other "class appropriate" shape.

6.      Prepare dipping solution in large saucepan and turn stove to medium to keep solution hot.  Put shaped dough into prepared dipping solution for 20-30 seconds.

7.      Remove with a flat turner spatula and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Re-shape if necessary.

8.      Brush with egg wash & sprinkle with pretzel or sea salt (salt is optional).

9.      Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Meanwhile, over low heat, melt ¼ cup butter in small saucepan.  Do not allow to boil or brown.

10.  Dip face of pretzel into melted butter. Sprinkle with coarse salt or cinnamon sugar.

11.  ENJOY!

Marni's picture

So, I've tried Susan's newest sourdough - the challenge Eric presented.  I had one barely acceptable boule and one only a tad better.  But I'm having fun, and while the two boules did not get their pictures taken, their baby sibling did. 

I was refreshing the starter and thought, why not - I just added a bit more flour, a little salt and let it rise, shaped then baked it in my toaster oven.  I couldn't find anything to cover it, but I did try to steam it.  I was just being silly, but it rose nicely and tasted great, with a crisp crust and sweet/tangy flavor.  A perfect little roll for lunch.






Marni's picture

I usually make pumpkin challah at least once in the fall, and set out to do so this time.  I was thwarted by the lack of pumpkin in mt pantry.  ( I could have sworn I had at least one large can in there...) I decide that seet potato would substitute just fine, and it did!  I think I might even like this better.

I pretty much followed a new pumpkin challah recipe I found online, but I almost never follow them exactly, and I veered off from the start by using sweet potatoes.  Anyway, they came out nicely and taste great, I added just a tiny bit of cinnamon, and there were occasional specks of sweet potato.

Pmccool's picture

The past couple of months have been something of a whirlwind.  Just before leaving for an internship at Mark Sinclair's The Back Home Bakery, my boss asked if I would accept a 2-year assignment on a project my employer is managing in South Africa.  Without subjecting you to the lengthy discussions between my wife and myself as we considered one factor after another, suffice it to say that we agreed to the assignment.  Since then, we've sold cars, furniture and household goods; located a tenant/housesitter; packed; made lists; checked off lists; etc., etc., etc.  And so, here I sit in the Delta Sky Lounge in the Atlanta airport, waiting to board the 15-hour flight to Johannesburg.

For being a new adventure, its beginning is remarkably mundane.  Sitting in an airport just isn't particularly, I don't know, romantic?  Exciting?  Heady?  Whatever, this isn't the stuff of high drama; although I will admit that the lounge is much better-appointed than the gate area.

With any luck, I'll locate a place to stay in the next few days and be moved in by the time my wife arrives in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, I'll be checking in at TFL from time to time to share vicariously in your baking.  Once I'm settled, I'll get a new starter up and running (can't see the hotel staff playing along with an attempted head start) and start baking again; something that hasn't happened at all since leaving The Back Home Bakery.  The new assignment is going to chew up a lot of my time and energy, so baking opportunities may be limited and cherished.  We'll see how it plays out.

So, if I'm quieter than usual, you'll know why.  See you in Jo'burg.


gcook17's picture

About a year ago my wife, Carol, and I went to my favorite coffee store, Barefoot Coffee in Santa Clara (California). Carol doesn't like coffee so she picked out a pastry from the pastry display. It was something I'd never heard of before called a Kouign Aman. It was crispy, crunchy, sweet and buttery. It was so good that we started making trips to Barefoot just to get the pastry. We eventually found out they're made at Satura Cakes in Los Altos. Now, whenever we're in the mood for a really good pastry we go get a kouign aman.

It seemed like it was a mystery pastry because it was hard to find any information on them and what we could find often seemed contradictory. I don't know if it's true but someone told us the name means "butter cake" in the Breton language.

Today I tried making them for the first time. It is a laminated pastry, like croissants but with a couple of twists. I made a basic croissant dough and laminated it with butter as usual, except the roll-in butter was SALTED butter and weighed 50% of the detrempe weight rather than the usual 25%. The other unusual thing was that on the 2nd and 3rd turns I laminated caster sugar into it. The roll-in sugar weighed 40% of the detrempe (dough w/o roll-in butter & sugar) weight. There seem to be a lot of different, acceptable ways to shape them. I just cut the dough into 6 inch squares.  For each square I folded the 4 corners to the center forming a smaller square. Then I folded the 4 corners of the smaller square to the center. After placing them on parchment I brushed them with softened butter and sprinkled them with more sugar. The kouign aman that Satura Cakes makes look like they're rolled up like sticky buns and I think they are baked in a baking dish that has butter and sugar in the bottom.

It was kind of difficult to laminate the sugar. After spreading sugar on the dough it didn't roll out as easily as croissant dough does. The dough tended to bunch up as I rolled it, maybe because sugar is rough and doesn't spread out like butter does. The other weird thing was that a lot of the roll-in sugar liquified. I think this was due to the long resting time between turns that were needed because I was rolling by hand. With a dough sheeter you could have a much shorter rest between turns and the sugar probably wouldn't have enough time to absorb so much water from the dough. I found that when laminating dough by hand I need a 2 hour rest between the 1st and 2nd turns, a 4 hour rest between the 2nd and 3rd turns, and an overnight rest between the 3rd turn and final shaping. The first hour of each rest is in the freezer, then it gets moved to the coldest part of the fridge. The final 15-30 minutes (depending on the temperature in the room) of each resting period in on the kitchen counter. I adapted the advice I got from hansjoakim and DonD on this forum and from Mark Sinclair while working as an intern at the Back Home Bakery to come up with this resting schedule. Normally for croissants I bulk ferment 1 hour at room temp. and another hour in the fridge (35-40 F). For the kouign aman I bulk fermented 1 hour in the fridge.

They're kind of rustic looking and very, very tasty.  The crusty ledges around the edges are caramelized butter/sugar that leaked out, baked, and hardened.



fenchel2c's picture

Does anyone have a recipe for German brötchen?  These are breakfast rolls usually made in 3 to 3 1/2 inch ovals.  They have a hard crust and a soft chewy inside.  I prefer white over whole wheat for this roll.  I am especially interested in knowing which of the flours available in the USA come closest to the German flour used.


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