The Fresh Loaf

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cake diva's picture
cake diva

One of the consequences of being unemployed is that you have all this free time to do whatever your heart wants to do, and my heart wants to cook and bake and spend my waking moments in the kitchen (if I'm not in front of the computer trying to look for long-lost high school classmates).  This makes my college-age daughter, home for the summer, happy as a clam for about 3-4 days, then she starts to plead with me to stop else she tips the scale more than she wants to.

So I thought today I might try to back off a bit by making a brown wheat bread (it's got to be healthful, right?) that's also delightful to eat.  The following is a recipe that a fellow TFL'er pointed me to when I inquired about a honey wheat bread similar to the one The Cheesecake Factory used to make.  The recipe is called Outback Steakhouse Honey Wheat Bushman Bread from


  • 1 1/2 cup water, warmed

  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 2 cups bread flour

  • 2 cups wheat flour

  • 1 tbsp. cocoa

  • 1 tbsp. sugar

  • 2 tsp. instant coffee

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 2 1/4 tsp. yeast

  • 1 tsp. caramel color (optional;  I used raw buckwheat honey instead)


  1. Place all the ingredients in the bread machine and process on dough setting.  The dough will be a litte on the wet side and sticky.

hw in bread machine

     2.  Let rise for one hour.

before bulk ferment

    After one hour bulk fermentation....

post bulk ferment

    3.  Punch down and divide into 2 large or 4 medium or 8 small portions.  Shape into logs.

shaping hw

    4. Cover and let rise for one hour.


Oh wait!  While I was in the kitchen, my husband had sneaked into the car dealer's in the guise of taking advantage of the Cash for Clunkers Program, and brought home this beauty to test drive. Hearing my shriek, my next door neighbor gave a thumbs up and said it would totally look good on me!  So off we went!

    5. About an hour later, after dough has doubled, place logs in parchment, slash, mist, then bake in hot stone at 350F for 20-25 minutes. 

final rise

      6. Serve warm with butter!


The requisite crumb shot.  Don't be fooled- crumb may look tight, but this is one soft bread, slightly sweet from the honey, and just delightful for snacking even unadorned.  I'd try doing a preferment next time to inject some flavor complexity to the finished bread if I weren't the impulsive, down-to-the-last-minute type of baker.


hansjoakim's picture

My trusted sourdough starter is a firm white one, that I've had for just under a year now. We got off to a shaky start, but it's become amazingly reliable and flexible. It seems to respond very quickly to feedings and has a great leavening capacity. My only minor complaint would be that it's very mild in flavour, and imparts only a slight tanginess to the loaves. So, as an experiment, I decided to start a new rye starter from scratch, and see if this would result in more sour breads. I had lots of rye flour on hand, and rye starters are said to be among the easiest to get going (in addition to e.g. spelt starters or rice starters). I used the recipe in "Bread": Equal weights of whole rye flour and water, mix and let sit 24 hrs. I went with 50 gr. each of flour and water:

New rye starter

After 24 hrs., keep 50 gr. of the original mix, and add 50 gr. each of flour and water. Let sit another 24 hrs., and then continue this regimen, but with 12 hr. intervals instead of 24.

Nothing much happened the first 24 hours, but on the second day I got hit pretty badly with leuconostoc. The mix had tripled in volume, looked dark brown with hints of green, it was very runny and smelled rather pungent. *yuck* Well, soldier on, I say. The activity dropped markedly during day 3, and the odour became a lot milder, and smelled more of yogurt than of the leuconostoc madness. Nothing much happened in volume until the end of day 4, when the mix all of a sudden started tripling again! Phew! The culture started to smell healthy, looked greyish in colour (as I expected it should), and had a fragile, but not runny consistency when ripe and ready for new feeding. Below is a photo taken sometime during day 5. You can see some small patches of rye flour on the top - I usually sprinkle rye flour over the mix after each feeding, so that it's easy to gauge the level of activity:

New rye starter

I followed Hamelman's directions, and kept feeding out day 6, and then two more days to ensure that things are stabilized and healthy.

Today I decided to try it out, and devised a simple multigrain loaf for it. This one's approx. 33% whole rye, the rest bread flour, with a soaker of oat bran, flax, sunflower seeds and rye chops. I used equal amounts water and yogurt in the final dough, and added a tiny spoon of honey for good measure. I didn't use any commerical yeast, but prefermented 25% of the flour (new rye starter). I went with a 2 hr. bulk ferment (fold after 1 hr.) and retarded in fridge for 8 hrs. It could probably have gone a bit further in the fridge for the final proof, but I got scared with a third rye in there. It kept up well, and rose remarkably during baking:

Sourdough multigrain new starter

It was a lovely loaf, and I must admit, slightly tangier in taste than what I get with my firm white starter. A bit more sour, not overwhelmingly so, but pleasantly tangy. I think I'll keep both for the time being, and see how the new born develops in flavour as the weeks go on. In the meantime I need to come up with a name for it... I'm thinking about Aladdin, but it's far from settled yet.

To celebrate the new starter and nice tasting multigrain, I decided to have a go at a caramel cake from Friberg's second pastry book. It's a delicious concoction of a thin shortdough bottom, and two sponge cake layers sandwiching a rich caramel cream. Here I'm folding caramel sauce into the cream:

Caramel cream

And below is the cake before icing. It looks pretty cool if you ask me: You make one almond sponge and one cocoa almond sponge. After they've cooled, you use a cookie cutter to cut out the middle of each sponge, and interchange the middle cut outs. You only use half of each sponge in this assembly, so the remaining sponge layers can be frozen. Lovely thick caramel cream in the middle:

Assembling caramel cake

The caramel cream is set with some gelatin, so after a few hours in the fridge, you're set to ice it. Cut the protruding shortdough bottom, then ice with whipped cream. Decorate with some chocolate shavings on top:

Caramel cake

And here's the first slice:

Caramel cake slice

The taste is absolute caramel heaven! I really like the unusual look given by the two sponges, and the shortdough bottom gives a nice constrasting crunch to the creamy rest of the cake.

AnnieT's picture

Happy to say my bread won two blue ribbons and the Scali got a merit award too! Have to admit that there was no other sourdough entered, and it is a small enough fair that nearly everyone gets a ribbon. My sourdough looked pretty sad and it didn't appear to have been cut, but we found a small piece had been removed from one side. All of the other loaves had been cut in half so maybe the judge couldn't get a knife through the crust! A fun experience and I wouldn't be so uptight about it another year. Thanks for all the good wishes, A.

97grad's picture

Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone here at TFL for this amazing community. With the help of all your comments and post I have been able to enjoy baking a variety of bread. Still taking baby steps but very excited. The handbook is also very helpful.

I know I have a long way to go still but I'm enjoying the ride at the moment.

Tereze, Sydney


This is a Wholemeal seeded loaf


And this one is my First Sourdough light Rye mini loaf


judy and john's picture
judy and john

I was curious if anyone knew how to get that "spiral" look of the flour on top of the bread; would love to give it a try on my artisan breads!

Chef Bart's picture
Chef Bart

Hi everyone,


I just wanted to take a minute and introduce myself. This is my first foray into the world of online baking communities…


I completed pastry school and earned my Grande Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris many years ago.  In addition, I hold multiple professional certificates in bread baking and venoisserie.  In other words, I’m a pastry chef.  


Like a lot of you, for years I have tried to make high quality venoisserie, brioche, croissants and baguettes using domestic flour, but I couldn’t seem to make it work with the flour we have available to us here in the States.  After all that time and money spent learning how to make them, needless to say, it left me more than a bit frustrated.  I searched and searched the internet and found many people trying “add a little of this or a little of that or try this or that”.  None of it worked to my satisfaction.  Actually, no one posted that they had great success either. 


I went to the top of the mountain, Grands Moulins de Paris (GMP), in a little town north of Paris by the name of Gennevilliers.  They are the largest mill company in Europe and arguably the best food and grain laboratory in the world.


My good friends and chefs in Paris tried to help me figure it out. The people at GMP tell me the flour that we have now developed is superior to type 45 and 55 French flour in every aspect.  


Knowing that there was no real solution for bakers in the States, I decided to turn my passion into my life’s work to provide this flour.  After all, we deserve high quality breads as much as Europeans.

The flour is not bleached.  The protein content is 11.5%.  There is ascorbic acid added as a preservative.  The deactivated enzymes, lipids and proteins, etc., added make the difference.  I believe one of the major benefits is derived from the enzymes that allow the starch to be broken down to complex sugars and the complex sugars to be broken down to simple sugars in the second proof.  Kind of complicated but really simple. The enzymes let the yeast live and the starches work as nature intended. Other than the vitamin C, everything added appears naturally in wheat.  Domestic mill companies buy the wheat and mill it so it has maximum shelf life.  We add the good stuff back. Just take a look at the breads on our website  The beautiful color on the exterior of the breads come from the caramelization of the sugars, and of course, a good egg wash.


So, for the pastry students returning to the States, the product offers the opportunity to actually recreate what they learned to make abroad.


For the professional baker, the product will help you save money while creating a superior product possessing unmatched taste, texture, smell, appearance, and quality. Here’s a good example of how it saves you money: typically, American croissants weigh approximately 100 grams. B & D Croissant Flour creates a stronger dough, allowing for the same size croissant to weigh around 60 grams. This means that you not only use half the flour per croissant, but you use half of all other ingredients as well.


And for the at home bakers, well, the product allows you to make the best croissants, brioche and breads that you’ve ever tasted.


I’m excited to join the community of online bakers, and I welcome your questions and comments.  I encourage you to check out the website at, and, of course, hope some of you will venture to try the product.





Salome's picture

I've packed all my stuff, cleaned everything, thrown so much out . . . I'm moving to Basel on Sunday and I'm getting read for it! Yeyy. That's why I stayed the whole day at home. I had to get all these rather annoying things done. Now my room looks very clean and rather empty. Well done, Salome!

Still, I had to make my day somewhat more fun, and a full day at home is perfect for bread baking. Unfortunately, I realized this just after breakfast, so I didn't have time to get my sourdough ready.

That lead to the first requirement: I wanted to use a yeast formula with no pre-ferment.

Secondly, I had some buttermilk which had to get used.

Thirdly, I wanted some whole grains - baking white bread is fun, because of all the nice holes you can achieve, but it always causes me bad stomach-sensations, because I end up eating to much. So, third requirement, a whole-grain recipe!

Tadaa tadaa: I found a nice Buttermilk Whole-Wheat Bread formula!

I just had this bread for dinner, and it is a big hit. You've got to try it, it's so incredible light, even though its 100 percent whole-wheat. And the dough is simply a dream to handle, I never had a whole-wheat dough that behaved like this.

But it requires an effort: I kneaded for 30 minutes by hand, using the bertinet technique. during the last ten minutes I added gradually more water, the dough was able to absorb at least 50 ml, I'd guess. After the kneading the dough felt very smooth.

The dough has to rise twice before it gets shaped. It's a pleasantly warm day today, around 75° F - maybe that's the reason why this dough rised so beautifully. It was a real joy to watch it. It rose as high as many white flour doughs do! First rise: ~1 h 45 min, second rise ~1 h. After shaping, I wettened the dough slightly and rolled it in coarse wheat.

The next time, I'll add less honey. (The bread is subtle sweet, which is tasty and you'd think that it's the natural sweetness of the wheat if you wouldn't know better. But I found something about this subtle sweetness disturbing, too.) And more important, I'll bake it at a higher temperature. When I checked the loaves after 30 minutes, it was still incredibly soft on the outside. So I gave it 10 more minutes at 230°C, in order to achieve somewhat of a crust. This worked, but I'd still prefer a somewhat crisper crust. Next time I'll start baking at 200°C, take the loaves out of the pan after 20 minutes and maybe lower the temperature if required.

The recipe is originally from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book and got posted here on I did the version without a biga. (but I'm planning on trying it with a biga soon as well.)

Jw's picture

I've been far and away, hence a lot less active on TFL. That will change again soon. I received 'Crust and Crumb' in the mail (wanted to buy it in a store in the US, no such book available). This is a serious book, I really enjoy reading the first chapters. It is the mise-en-place before the actual work start in the rest of the book.

I updated my breadcollage, which I use to ask people to 'read' before they can pick a bread for me to bake.

In case you like to know: the questions I ask:

Which bread is the most 'work'?
Which bread is the easiest to make?
What is the relation between shape (looks) and taste (content, inside)?
Which bread is slowrising, which is multicomponent?
Which type I got right first time around, and which one am I still struggling with?

A few of the questions I get (apart from the 'you got to be kidding you can do this'..)

- what do you do after you knead to bread? (what do you mean with knead?)
- how much does a bread baking machine cost? (I don't know, don't have one).
- is this way too much work? (if time is your only perspective, buy bread in a store)
- what about the costs? (this is actually cheaper then buying quality bread, but don't count the labor costs...)
- why would you do this? (as mentioned before: taste, healthy food, sharable, care for my family, learning experience, 'chemistry')

Happy baking, 'I'll be back' with Pain de Michelle.



SylviaH's picture

I just received my book 'Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking' and was looking at the recipe and photos of this bread.  I have been wanting to make this loaf ever since David 'dmsnyder' told me how wonderful it tastes and it's his favorite semolina bread.  He also has the recipe and photo's on his blog.  I have made a few breads using the Semolina and Duram flour'. I love breads made with Duram wheat!

This bread is absolutely delicious!  I love the golden creamy color of the crumb!

I mixed completely by hand.  Baked the loaf on preheated stones...for 10 mins. under my largest dark blue enameled roasting pan...I have 3!


Balsalmic Glaze and EVOO.  with tonights roasted chicken dinner.



AnnieT's picture

Shortly after I joined TFL just over two years ago, Susan from San Diego kindly gave me her basic sourdough recipe and it has become my "go to" loaf. When my son was rude enough to ask why I kept making the same loaf I claimed that I needed to get it right so that I could enter a loaf in the County Fair. Well, in a classic senior moment I completely missed the deadline! So in effect I have been practising for two years, and tomorrow is the day to deliver the loaf. The dough is in between stretch and folds and I am cautiously optimistic. Please wish me luck and I will report back with good or bad news, A.


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