The Fresh Loaf

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hansjoakim's picture

Last week I've been enjoying a variation of the pain au levain I blogged about in my previous post - I'm really loving the bite the breads get by the rye sourdough. For the loaf pictured below, I raised the whole-grain amount slightly and added a healthy dose of walnuts. I'm such a sucker for walnuts; only bad thing about them is that they're not a "local food" around these parts. The ones I find in the stores are pricey and have travelled all the way from California... Still my favourite nuts, though. Here's a link to the recipe, and here's the loaf:

Walnut levain

...and here's the crumb:

Walnut levain crumb

A delicious bread!


I also baked a batch of croissants this weekend. I'm not sure exactly what beats the smell of croissants baking...

I split the dough in two after rolling it out, and used one half to make large-ish croissants and the other half to make smaller, regular sized croissants. Photo below:


And here's the crumb shot:

Croissant crumb

I was really happy to see how they turned out - probably my best batch so far! One of these with a cup of freshly brewed coffee makes the morning routine bearable :)

dmsnyder's picture


When I blogged on my last weekend's baking, I threw in a photo of the pasta batch I had also made. Well, the pasta generated as much discussion as the breads … maybe more. So, I thought I'd write up the pasta dish we had for dinner tonight. (I know it's not bread, but I hope it's okay to post it on TFL anyway.)

Fettuccine with Turkey Sausage and Kale

I use Marcella Hazan's recipe for fresh pasta. It calls for 2 large eggs and 1 ½ cups of AP flour. I used Caputo tipo 00 Italian flour and found I had to add a couple tablespoons of water for the dough to come together.

I mix the dough in a food processor. It ends up in the bowl like coarse cornmeal, but, when pressed together and kneaded, it forms a firm dough. I roll the dough into a log, wrap it in wax paper and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. This works like an autolyse to evenly hydrate the flour.

I then divide the dough log into 4-6 equal pieces with a sharp knife and make pasta sheets with an Atlas, hand cranked pasta machine. After drying these for a few minutes until they are leathery, I cut them into the desired widths with the Atlas attachment. If the dough is sticky, it should be dusted with flour before cutting. The cut pasta is then dried completely (12 hours) before placing in plastic bag for storage. If completely dried, it will keep at room temperature for months. When rolled to the thinnest setting, this cooks in a couple minutes, tops.

The sauce comes from the March, 2006 Gourmet Magazine. It can also be found on here.

I make my own turkey sausage, using a recipe for home made Italian Sausage, substituting ground turkey thigh meat for pork shoulder. Here's my recipe for the sausage:

This is the original recipe scaled down for 1 lb of meat and with my notes in italic:

1 lb. ground pork shoulder. I use ground turkey or chicken dark meat.

1 clove crushed garlic.

¼ cup cold water. Omit if using ground poultry.

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp fennel seeds (preferably ground)

1 T grated pecorino romano cheese. I use parmesan.

1 T chopped Italian parsley

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (Optional)

Mix all ingredients together.

This freezes well. It is wonderful in sauces for pasta and on pizza.

Since Kale is unfamiliar to many, a few words about it seem called for. Kale is a green, leafy member of the cabbage family. It has been cultivated in Europe as long as history has been written. I have read that it was among the most common vegetables eaten in Europe prior to the late Middle Ages. It has many nutritional virtues, including powerful anti-oxidants and lots of vitamins and minerals. (For more information, see Wikipedia on Kale.)

Recipes using kale generally neglect the basics of preparing it for cooking. It has a fibrous central midrib that is not edible. After washing, the edible leaf is cut away from the midrib. The kale is often parboiled before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.

Kale, washed before removing stems

I cut along each side of the central stem with a sharp paring knife, then pull the stem free

Kale after removing the stems

So, with that introduction, here is my version of the recipe for Fettuccine with Turkey Sausage and Kale (Note: This recipe serves 4 as a main course):

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb turkey Italian sausage, crumbled

1/2 lb kale, tough stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

1/2 lb fettuccine

2/3 cup home made chicken broth

1 oz finely grated parmesano reggiano cheese (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned and no longer pink inside, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanch kale in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water , uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove kale with a large sieve and drain.

Keep the cooking water in the pot and return it to a boil, then cook pasta in boiling water, uncovered, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

While pasta cooks, add kale to sausage in skillet and saute, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Sausage and Kale, at this point in the recipe

Add broth, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water to skillet, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and thin with additional cooking water if desired.

Serve immediately, with additional cheese on the side.

Buon appetito!




earth3rd's picture

I just made this bread the other day after watching Michael Smith on Foodtv. He was going on about how good the crust comes out if you bake the bread in a covered pot. The recipe can be seen at:

I used the pot method. Also the recipe I used was the "city bread" recipe. Followed the recipe to the letter. The dough was very wet, exactley the same as a poolish for french bread, a little hard to handle but I was gentle.

There is only 1/4tsp. of yeast, 16 hours for the first rise, 2 hours on the second rise. The bread tasted pretty good to me, much more flavour than a plain white bread.

Here are a couple of pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Just out of the pot


The crumb

txfarmer's picture

The recipe can be found here: - thank you David!

I used a bit more than 375g of water, so I am guessing the hydration is around 76% to 78%. For flour I used whatever left in my stock: 50%+ Gold Medal bread flour, ~25%KA bread flour and the rest is GM AP flour. Stuck to David's procedure pretty closely. Took forever for the dough to double, I think next time I will add warm water with the yeast and salt. I preshaped into batards. The dough looked wet then, but not scarily so, probably because I have been handling a lot of wet doughs lately. I did shape them as normal baguettes rather than the "stretching" method, since I was afraid there wouldn't be enough surface tension otherwise. I also tried my hands in scoring these. With such a wet dough, I was just aiming to make a smooth cut, so I held the knife more vertical than usual. It worked as expected - not that much ears, but decent scoring marks. The best part is the crumb, very open and hole-y:

Can you see the shine on the wall of the holes?

They do have a sweet taste like David describled, benefiting from the long autolyse no doubt. Comparing to Mr. Nippon's baguette, which has a similar autolyse schedule, but at a higher temp, I would say Mr. Nippon's is slightly sweeter. Both are very delicious.

In the first picture, do you notice that the bottom baguette's bottom side is not brown? That's because when I took out the parchment paper after the first 10 minutes, two of the baguettes slid too close together, the almost touching sides didn't get browned properly. Another lesson learned. Next I will try this formula with cold retarding, first suggested by a few TFLers here.

dstroy's picture

"Le Pain" by comic artist John Martz


jsk's picture

About two months ago I was in a trip to the US. During my staying there I've bought some flours I can't get my hands on here in Israel. One of them was Graham flour. I read quite a bit about it and I've found that a lot of people said it made a hard and unpleasant crust and the coarse pieces of bran and germ made it difficult to develop the gluten.
In that in mind I've decided to scald the Graham flour and make a mash, as I read someone here did successfully. So I started reading about scalding flours (WGB is a great source of info about that). I wanted to make a mash using 2:1 water to flour ration. The process was basicly bringing the water in a pot to about 150F, adding the flour and leaving it coverd for 1.5 hours to gelatinize some of the starches and to start the enzyme activity. After the hour and a half I adedd about 2% salt to inhibit the enzyme activity (a little like in a grain soaker). From ther it went to the fridge overnight.
I've worked up a formula for some sort of a Pain au Levain using 28% Graham, 5% rye and 67% AP flour. The intended hydration was 75% but I needed to add 2% more water as the dough was a little dry (probably because of the mash). I used a white stiff starter (65% hydration). I autolysed for 30 minutes and the kneaded in my KitchenAid for about 8 minutes. Fermentation was 2.5 hours with 2 folds. I then shaped the dough into two 1.75 lb batards and proofed the in a couche for 1.5 hours.
Here are some pics:

And the crumb:

I was very happy with the results. The crust was chewy and delicious and the crumb was open and light. The flavor was very good, slightly tangy and wheaty. If anyone has any questions or want the recipe, please comment.
Happy baking!

ananda's picture


This is just a quickie to show how I prefer this bread; as a steamed "pudding".   The "Pullman Pan" is ideal to make sandwiches, but I prefer not to bake this loaf.   Steaming time for a 600g loaf is about 8 hours!   Cool, then wrap in linen for 24 hours.   Finally, this loaf can now be sliced for eating; AND, it's so good!

Photographic evidence attached:

Best wishes


wally's picture

I love fresh bagels and croissants, but being a household of one, these present a challenge: I can't (and more important, shouldn't) sit down and eat my way through a half dozen at a time.  The other side of the challenge is the impracticality of making up either dough for just a couple bagels or croissants.

The solution that sort of forced itself upon me, but which I like more and more, involves making each dough up and then freezing it and taking out what I need the night before, where I allow both to thaw in my refrigerator.  An early attempt at freezing fully proofed croissants and pains au chocolat that I wrote about failed because I tried baking them without allowing much thawing at all.  I found that fully proofed croissants will rise nicely if they're given a hour or two at room temperature after being thawed in the 'fridge, but this won't work for pains au chocolat which lack enough yeast power to rise around the chocolate batons. 

So I've taken to shaping croissants and pains au chocolat and then freezing them immediately.  The only drawback is that they need close to 3 hours at room temperature after being taken out of the refrigerator before they've risen sufficiently.

Bagels, on the other hand, are easy.  You simply shape them, allow them to fully proof, and then freeze.  The day before I want some, I just take a couple out of the freezer and put them into the refrigerator where I allow them to stay until I'm ready to boil them.

So, today I decided that a carboholic brunch was in order - why not some of each?

The bagels were boiled in water with some honey for their sheen and a little salt.  A 45 second boil on each side and then topped with sesame and poppy seeds and allowed to dry for about 5 minutes.  Then into a hot oven (about 480 F) for 15 minutes and voilà! 

The 3 hours the croissants needed were perfect for brunch-time.  As you can see, the shaping of the croissants is pug-ugly (apologies to pug owners), but the lamination looked pretty good to me.  And they are deliciously decadent - no need for butter!

Mimosas are my usual brunch drink of choice, but I picked up a wonderful bottle of a pear 'port' from a local vineyard (Fabbioli Vineyards) that they made blending their own pear wine with pear brandy that my friends at Catoctin Creek Distillery made for them using Fabbioli's pear wine. (I can't wait to try the brandy!).

Who says port has to be an après dîner affair? 

All in all a splendid brunch that has me carbo-loaded for the day.

daysi's picture

Hello all!!

Has anybody ever tried to make the recipe at the back of the package of Rogers Rye flour??

Well, I am making it right now, it's on its first rise. As always there is something wrong with my dough, it was very very super wet, the recipe calls for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups of white flour in addition to the 3 cups of rye flour. Although the recipe does not call for sifting the flour prior to measuring, I did it, (for the first time, I took the time to sift the flours). By the way I used 3 1/2.

I have no idea if the pre-sifting has anything to do with this disaster, but after mixing all the ingredients I was ready to start kneading, and as I said the dough was waaaay too wet, it was all stuck to my hands and to the table, there was no way I was able to form a ball, after kneading for 5 min I decided to add more WF, I ended up using about 2 cups more and still the dough was super sticky I had to lift it with the scraper 'cause it would not leave my hands and the board, Anyway I put it to rest I don't know what the final product is going to be like, so in the mean time why is this happening to me I mean why is the dough so so so wet?

did this happen to any of you as well.


dmsnyder's picture

Nothing new in today's baking, but these are two of my favorites.

The San Francisco Sourdough is from Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry." I fed my stock starter to make a firm levain with KAF Bread Flour and BRM Dark Rye. The final dough was mixed with KAF AP. The San Joaquin Sourdough was made as previously described (many times). This batch was made with a 73% hydration dough.

I feel my bâtard shaping is coming along. I'm using the technique described in Hamelman's "Bread."

San Francisco Sourdough crumb

San Joaquin Sourdough crumb

I also made a batch of tagliatelle. I use Marcella Hazan's recipe which calls for 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 cups of AP flour. However, I have been curious how it would be made with Italian doppio 0 flour. I used Caputo red label. To my surprise, it was much thirstier than KAF AP, and I had to add a couple tablespoons of water to the dough for it to come together. Even with the added water, the dough was drier than usual. I was surprised because Marcella says the recipe usually used in Italy is 1 cup of flour to one egg. I wonder if Italian eggs are usually larger than our "large" eggs, or if there is another explanation. Maybe one of our Italian members has an explanation.

In any event, the pasta, made with an Atlas crank pasta machine, sure seems lovely. I'll see how it tastes at dinner tomorrow, with a sauce of home made ground turkey Italian sausage and kale.



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