The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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varda's picture

It seems to me that if you are trying to gain proficiency in baking bread that it helps to pick a formula and make it over and over again until it starts to seem natural and easy.   I'm not there yet with Hamelman's pain au levain but it ain't for lack of trying.  My biggest difficulty with it so far has been something that should be simple - following the instructions.   When I first started making it I viewed the rise times as something like suggestions.   2 hours seemed like a ridiculously long time to do the final rise, and I would do 1 hour and then wonder why the bottom split.   Last week I did an experiment.   I split the dough into three 1 lb loaves and tried doing a final ferment of 1.5 hours, 2 hours, and 2.5 hours respectively.   The 2.5 hour rise won the looks test, but the 2 hour tasted the best.   And surprise, surprise, the 1.5 hour loaf was a mess.   Today, I followed all of Hamelman's times with 2 hours for the final ferment (the book says 2 to 2.5 hours.)   I still can't get as pretty a loaf as my model in all this (and the post that set me off on this particular quest)   But that doesn't mean I can't keep trying.   And the great thing about practicing on a bread like this is you get to eat it. 

breadsong's picture

Hello everyone,

These buns are from CIA Artisan Breads at Home by Eric W. Kastel.
I replaced some bread flour with whole wheat and topped with sesame seeds.
The egg glaze gave them a nice shine! ...mmm...burgers...can't wait!

Regards, breadsong



turosdolci's picture

Smothered with spices and baked to perfection this is an all American apple pie. Baked with red, ripe juicy apples straight from a New England farm.



wassisname's picture


It was time to clear out some of the flotsam and jetsam of flour remnants.  It was  also time to unwind after several weeks of "disciplined" baking. 

So, into the dough went WW bread flour, WW turkey red flour, whole white wheat flour, pumpernickel  rye, medium rye (I think), molasses and caraway seeds.  And to top it off I dug out the ancient bottle of Jaegermeister that has been lurking in the dark depths of my freezer for more years than I can remember and threw in a shot of that as well.  I seem to have reached a point in my life where actually drinking the stuff has really lost its appeal.  But, the first time I combined German breadspice and molasses in my rye bread I noticed that the sweet, herbal flavor was very similar to the black stuff in the green bottle... and also Ricola cough drops now that I think about it.  So it was only a matter of time before it ended up in the bread.  The Jaegermeister, not the cough drops.

So I doubled the recipe, threw it all together and made a big, ol' loaf of this:


 And it actually turned out really tasty.

To follow-up on a previous post:  Sometimes it really is enough just to show up.

These two loaves went to the fair.  Embarassingly underproofed and really dense.  But they won their classes.  I'm pretty sure they were the only breads in their classes!!  Because I couldn't find a second place entry in either one.  There is no shame in cherry-picking!!

And more bagels!  This time with almost all KA whole white wheat flour to lighten things up a bit.  I was also able to locate the one jar of barley malt syrup in the area and make it mine.  Then underestimated the oven-spring and all the holes closed up!  But oh, what a difference in flavor


shepherdess's picture

Hello, this is officially the first time I have ever written on a "blog". I found a wonderful recipe from I believe this site for everyday white bread. Part of the rise included turning the mixing bowl upside down on the counter and allowing the bread to rise underneath it. I have looked as best I can in all the old spots for this one but can't find it. Could someone let me know if they have any idea of what I am talking ??? Thanx for the time.

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

This experiment was inspired by Farine's post on her blog about the Meteorite...

No process pics or anything as I probably screwed this thing up totally along the way...  This dough is "impossibly" wet...  I even decreased the hyration to 95%...  It's like trying to bake poolish...

So here's the question...

Is it a meteorite or a cow pattie?  You be the judge...

Crumb shots tomorrow...


ooofence's picture

Let me start by saying I am a HUGE fan of this site....great tips, recipes and ideas.  I found a simple wheat bread recipe and tweaked it a little bit and wanted to share it with the rest of the class :).  It makes a great loaf for sandwiches and is super simple to make.


Ingredient List:

4 - 4 1/2 oz Lukewarm Water

3 oz Milk

2 tsp Active Dry Yeast

1 Tbsp Sugar

6 oz AP Flour

6 oz Whole Wheat Flour

1 tsp Salt

1 Tbsp Barley Malt Flour (optional, if you do not have it, use 2 tbsp sugar)

3 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten

2 tbsp Canola Oil


Add the water and milk to a mixing bowl and add the yeast and sugar to dissolve (I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer bowl).  After letting the mixture stand for 5 minutes add the rest of the ingredients.  I then use the dough hook and knead the dough fo 15 minutes on speed 4.  Let rise for one hour, punch down and form the loaf (I use square off and roll technique..not sure that is the proper technical term LOL).  Let rise again.  I have a super hot electric oven so I get the oven up to 500 degrees for the first 5 minutes then bake at 425 until done.

I am an amateur baker and if there is anyone out there that can see this and make any suggestions as to how to improve on this recipe I am all ears :)

I have pictures but I need to downsize them..I will post them shortly :)

txfarmer's picture

Just got back from my 2 week vacation in Kenya/Tanzania last weekend. It was our first time visiting Africa (one more continent off the list, Antarctica is the only one left to tackle now), so much too see! We did 10 days of safari trips, 4 parks in Kenya and 2 in Tanzania.


Saw all  Big Five. Lions are lazy, especially the male ones. Both my husband and I are leos, I told him: no, I am NOT going to hunt and do everything for him while he sleeps and poses. And NO, he can't have 4 wives. :P

African Elephants are BIG. And gentle. In the lower right picture, two baby elephants are napping, 3 big ones are guarding them. :)

Cheetas, very hard to see since they are so alert and fast. We got lucky on the last day, saw them twice! They are my favorite animal.

African Buffalo, I think their horns look comical.

Black Rihno, even harder to see than cheetas, since there are so few of them. Also saw it on the very last day. Stretching the zoom on my digital camera to the limit here.

Lots of other animals and birds to see. Hippos, apparently they are dangerous and lethal. I just can't comprehend since they are huge and move soooooooo veryyyyyyyyyy slooooooooowly.

We were there to witness the annual wildebeest migration, boy there are a lot of them. 2 million in Masai Mara alone.

Flamingos, so pretty when they all fly, but so hard to catch that with my crappy camera

Look at me, look closely, are you getting sleepy?

Don't raise your head too quickly, might get dizzy

These are blue monkeys, because they are an unmentionable area, neo-blue too, I at first thought they sat on some paint!

Yeah, the little one looks cute, but don't be fooled...

Bald Eagle, my favorite bird

Hippo's personal massage therapist

Vulture, and their breakfast

Ostrich, they are allover the place

I like this one's "headpiece"

For the last 4 days, we went to Zanzibar, a tourist island off Tanzania's coast. Superb beach and water, one of the best scuba diving locations in our experience. So many fish, and they are not afriad of people.

Between beaching and diving, we visited the historical stone town on the island

Doors from past

Great vacation, there are so much more to see, we definitely want to go back. One day I will climb kilimanjaro!


before we left for vacation, I baked Hamelman's hazelnut and prune bread from "Bread", easy and straightforward formula, delicious too.

Since the formula is quite easy, I played with shapes to make it fun. The oval one is cut into pieces then proofed and baked with the pieces together, nice effect without having to score.

The other one was just 3 triagle pieces proofed and baked together

Nice open crumb studded with yummy hazelnuts and prunes

Due to the butter in the formula, the crumb is quite soft, so the dough can be made into buns or sandwich loaves.

Floydm's picture

I think I fed my sourdough starter once this summer.  I thought for sure it was a goner, but I fed it last Saturday night and, lo and behold, Sunday morning it had nearly tripled in size.  It baked a great looking loaf.

Floydm's picture

As I mentioned the last time I posted, after a visit there I decided I needed to figure out how approximate the scones at Murchie's in Victoria, BC.  I tried two recipes last weekend that were very similar except one was yeasted and the other was unyeasted.  The unyeasted one came out very good and, while light and creamy, had the crumbly consistency I typically experience with scones.

I used the cream scone recipe here but substituted currents for the cranberries.   

For the yeasted recipe, I came up with something like this saffron bun recipe, leaving out the saffron and using cream instead of milk and butter.

These were delicious but too rich and heavy.  Next time I'd use maybe half cream and half milk and bump up the amount of yeast I use.

I'm pretty sure now that Murchie's scones are not traditional baking powder raised scones but instead yeasted cream buns.  They really nail it so that they both taste light and rich at the same time.  It is going to take a few more tries, but I think I'm heading in the right direction.


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