The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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SylviaH's picture

Freezing bread can be a very good thing!  We loved the P Reinhart's Panettone so much at Christmas, I made another batch for New Years. Knowing we would enjoy this bread anytime, I carefully wrapped one up in foil and plastic wrap.  What a treat. We had it this morning with Mascarpone cheese.  Some breads really are so good it's understandable why they are kept for that special time.  Though still delicious. It was a tad dryer and is best enjoyed freshly baked while still very moist and tender.   




tattooedtonka's picture

Because I always like the books with the pictures, I also like to take lots of pics for instructional purposes.  Its always easier to understand if you can see it for yourself.

This is double batch of SD Bagels....

My recipe is from BBA...

I start with 70oz. of SD starter to which I add 3 teaspoons of Instant Yeast and mix in.

To this add in 34oz. of High Gluten flour ( I use KA Sir Lancelot)

1.4oz. Kosher Salt

1.0oz Honey

I then mix all together to get a rough mass.


I then dump contents out onto counter to begin mixing by hand.

Mix well by hand and then begin kneading and folding.

I will do this until most of the sticky dough has pulled back off of my hands and it all looks like this (about 6 minutes).

Next step- I let dough just sit on counter while I take a 3/4 sheet pan and line in with parchment paper.

I will now go back to dough and begin cutting 5oz. pieces off with a bench knife.

Take the 5oz. pieces and shape them into a ball like making dinner rolls, or any other rounds.  I dont worry about being perfect as long as it is round-ish..

Take the dough ball and place it on the sheet pan.  Let the balls touch each other as you are placing them.

Now take a dish towel, get it soak and wet with warm water.  Ring out excess water and drape over rounds.  This will prevent dough from drying out while you finish.

Once all rounds have been made cover entire thing with towel and let sit for 20 minutes.

I will use this time to now clean my workspace and prepare my pans for the shaped bagels.

On this sheet pan however I spray a thin layer of EVOO.

Now to uncover your bagel rounds once your 20 minutes is up.

Begin shaping the bagels.  To start out I roll a ball into a log shape rolling it on the counter to slowly stretch.

Take this piece and wrap it around your hand and overlap.

Now roll your hand on counter forward and back to seal bagel.

Place these shaped bagels onto your lightly oiled parchment papered pan.

Do this until all your bagels are shaped, then cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Now these go right into my cold storage.  I do not rest them on counters or anything else that would delay.  They go right into cold storage.

At this point you can wait until next day to do the boil and bake, or in my case since I made this batch 4 hours ago, I will do the boil and bake stages about 4 hours from now.  See you in 4 hours bagel buddies...



pmccool's picture

Between last weekend's experiments with varying hydration levels, locating rye flour, and tuning up my sourdough starter over the past few days, things took a turn for the better with this weekend's bake.  If I had to rank the importance of those three, it would be a difficult choice.  I'd probably nominate the improved starter as the most important but that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't obtained some rye flour.  Of course, having a notion where things were headed because of the hydration experiments gave me confidence in what to expect, so, I suppose I'm back to where I started...

I'll start with the starter.  It was initially propagated with whole wheat flour and orange juice (didn't find pineapple juice at the store until several days later) and has always had an intense acidity.  It's residents may also have been a little too active in pumping out enzymes because it tended to go gooey after a few hours at room temps (it's summer here in South Africa) in spite of being maintained at approximately 50% hydration.  I took a tablespoon or so of the starter, mixed it with another couple tablespoons of mineral water and enough rye flour to make a soft paste.  I repeated this regimen with morning and evening feedings for two days.  Over the next 3-4 days, I introduced bread flour until the mix was mostly bread flour and a couple of pinches of rye flour, always discarding all but a tablespoonful before the feeding.  By the end of the third day, the starter was much bubblier and the odor and flavor were much less acidic.  The starter now has more of a yeasty/fruity odor.  

With a now lively, less-acidulated starter in hand, I decided that Leader's pain de compagne looked like a good candidate for a trial run.  The hydration level is approximately 67%, which is right in the sweet spot of the previous week's hydration tests.  All of the required ingredients were on hand, so I mixed up the liquid levain on Friday evening before going to bed.  The next morning it was evident that the levain had more than tripled overnight and was already subsiding, so I mixed the dough before breakfast.  Here's where I have a slight quibble with the process.  Leader directs you to mix up the final dough, sans salt and levain, let it autolyze for 20 minutes, then mix in the salt, followed by the liquid levain.  Nothing unorthodox there, except that the final dough without the levain is about 50% hydration.  Try mixing a liquid levain into bagel dough!  By hand!  At least I had the good sense to chop the dough into small pieces before starting to mix in the levain (the directions do not suggest this step).  Still, it was a long, slow, laborious process to mix the dough and the levain into a uniform mass.  Toward the end, I was effectively doing stretch and folds with the dough in the bowl, trying to get everything folded in and combined.  Needless to say, I settled for a few rounds of French folds instead of the recommended 12 minutes of kneading on the bench.  I can attest that the dough was well developed by that point.

Bulk fermention, shaping, final fermentation and baking all proceeded pretty much as advertised in the book.  It was extremely gratifying to see strong oven spring with this bread, after having had a few less-than-stellar bakes.

Here's how the finished bread looked:


I like the coloration of the crust.  Apparently I'm starting to get better acquainted with the oven, too.

The crumb, shown below, has a mix of smaller and larger alveoli.  Not classic pain de compagne texture but it will work well for sandwiches, which is how most of it will be consumed.

The crust, though thin, was more chewy than crunchy.  After sitting overnight in plastic, it has softened considerably.  The flavor is definitely more French than San Francisco: only slightly tangy and thoroughly wheaty.  The crumb is somewhat moist and feels slightly cool upon the tongue.  Very pleasing to the palate.

All in all, a very pleasing outcome.

tattooedtonka's picture

One of the families favorites, pizza..

Pizza is extremely easy to make from scratch, better than delivery, and a great way to impress guests.

Average time of making 3 pizzas from scratch about and hour and a quarter start to finish.

My recipe is simple.

  • 908 grams bread flour (I use KA special)

  • 14 grams instant yeast

  • 29 grams Kosher salt

  • 600 grams spring water (since my tap water is yucko)

I place weighed flour in large bowl, and whisk in yeast.

Once whisked in I then whisk in the salt.

Once done pour in 3/4 of water and mix with bare hand.  When dough in starting to form from mess, add in rest of water and mix by hand until flour is all off of bowl and you have a pretty sticky mess in your hand. 

Dump all onto bare counter (no flour).  Continue mixing with bare hands until you have a good incorperation.  Then start kneading.  I knead until most of the dough has pulled off of my hands leaving my hands fairly clean (about 8 minutes).

I then cut into 3 equal weighing pieces.  I then take pizza proofing pans and spray EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) all around insides of each pan until nice even coating. 

I shape each dough piece into a dough ball and place each in seperate pan and swirl around until evenly coated with the oil.

Then stack pans and let sit about 45 minutes.

At 30 minutes I place my baking stone in oven and preheat to 500'f.

At 45 minutes I will dump out first dough onto floured work surface.

Once dough  is dumped out I flatten into about an 8-10inch round.

At this stage I will start hand tossing pizza dough until large enough to fill a large pizza screen.

Now the easy part, top with your favorite toppings..

Tonight I started with a Turkey Sausage, Mushroom, and Onion.

Top this with hand shredded Mozz. cheese.

Place pizza and screen on stone and bake for 5 minutes, at this time I will open oven and pull out screen from under pizza (I use a pizza peal to aid in this move.  I then continue to bake for another 5 minutes this way it has a nice brown bottom to the pizza.

At ten minutes pizza is done and here you have it.

I do this all over again 2 more times with a pepperoni version, and a plain cheese.


Now everybody has a full tummy, even my side kick Tonka

Though his tummy is filled with mostly Pedigree dry food with some left over turkey sausage, but he seems just as happy...

O.K. So to all my friends out there, I have been watching at times, even when I wasnt posting.  Last year was a great year, I built raised garden beds in my back yard to replace my regular garden, and we had great harvests.  Pic's are on my smugmug site, check it out if you would like.  Its much easier on the back, and there is no weeding to be done, my favorite part.

Thanks for checking out my latest,


korish's picture

Today I'm baking 4 different breads and I decided to write about my bake as I go. Also I created a new adventure that perhaps we as bakers can all have fun in it's called Bake-n-Blog Triathlon.

Please check it out and tell me what you think.


For info on Bake-n-Blog Triathlon


To follow my bake

hansjoakim's picture

I'm still patiently working my way through the Schrotbrot, but with a bubbly and ripe rye sourdough on the counter, I decided to try out a new formula. I love my everyday pain au levains, and I wanted to see how it would work out with a rye sourdough and an increased amount of rye flour. This loaf is 30% whole-rye flour, 70% bread flour and is made with a whole-rye sourdough. You'll find a snapshot from my spreadsheet detailing the formula by clicking here!

With a modest 30% rye, the overall dough behaves very similar to any other pain au levain dough, but slightly stickier. You notice that it's not quite as strong when you tug at it, and the cuts tend to tear easier and be less well-defined than in straight wheat breads. Still, I think it turned out well! Although it looks pretty much like your everday pain au levain, there's a distinctive rye character to the bread - you'll sense that both by the smell of the baking loaf and most definitely in the flavour of the finished bread. I'd say it brings about a surprising lightness to the crumb, even though it still wholesome and filling. A most agreeable accompaniment to many cheeses.

30% rye


This week's dessert is a delicious chocolate mousse cake with bananas: A rum-flavoured chocolate mousse on top of some ripe bananas, sandwiched between two thin layers of a cocoa-almond sponge. Very tasty!

Chocolate mousse cake with banana


dahoops's picture

Does anyone know where I can buy Dakota Maid bread flour in 25 or 50 lb bags in the metro Chicago area?  I live in the far southwest suburbs (New Lenox) and am willing to drive!  I see it on Sams Club website, but not available in my zip.


wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

This has been a day of firsts.

  • Actually started last night by making the sponge for my "Wayne Thomas's English Muffins" and leaving it in the fridge overnight for first time.

  • Finished and cooked the muffins this morning, they look great.

  • Decided to try the #111 Romertopf clay baker (that my wife scored at a local thrift shop a couple of days ago for $6 !!) for the first time so I made a simple white bread from a recipe on called One Perfect Loaf.

  • This resulted in the first real "ear" I have managed to get (at least from one of the two slashes). I have started to slash with the double-edged razor on kabob stick thanks to this site. Some work still required.

  • I decided all these firsts were worth my first blog post.

I hope this tastes as good as it looks. It was far and away the most oven spring I have had. As soon as the bread cools I'll get a crumb shot and then post the pics. I imagine some would say this should be a little darker. I agree, but the wife likes it this way for sandwiches. Also, I am baking this in an anemic gas oven on our boat. I followed the recipe as far as soak bottom, proof in bottom, soak top, place in COLD oven. After removing the top for the last 5 mins, I realized it was never going to brown (always a problem in this oven) so I stuck it in the microwave/convection on broil for a few minutes. I think next time I'll remove the top sooner, as it was still moist inside after 45 mins (at an attempted 450+).

Comments and suggestions always welcome. Love this site.






jombay's picture

Had another go at Bouabsa baguettes. I probably could have kept them in for another minute but I decided I would try a lighter crust today. These only had about a 12h bulk ferment.






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