The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
SylviaH's picture

My daughter, her husband, 3 children and Moochie, one of their dog's just returned back home here in San Diego from a 4 day sightseeing trip to New Orleans.  This was one of their many stops.  Moochie goes everywhere..see his little ear and foot in the photo!  I bet he even got to enjoy some Beignet!

 Beignet at the Cafe Du Monde



Roger A Hoffman's picture
Roger A Hoffman

Has anyone offered info re: yeasted doughnuts? I'm new here and since I just made a batch of great baked doughnuts, I thought I'd ask.

tssaweber's picture

It has been quite some time since I posted on my favorite website. But (un)fortunately the business and consulting world is holding me up from blogging and bread baking. But before I disappear again in the offices of the corporate world in upstate NY, I wanted to share this picture I found by accident in one of my old bread books today.


My in-laws from Switzerland have celebrated New Year with us here in the super cold Midwest and brought a crown for the 3 Kings Day (1/6/2010) with them. Of course it was their expectation that I bake the traditional "Drei Koenigs Kuchen". I had to find a recipe for this to happen, but I guess I was successful.


I still have to work on the formula to fine tune it, but it is more or less an enhanced Zopf dough. If done I will post the formula. If some of the Swiss TFLer have their own it would be great if they could share. During the search for this recipe I found the page shared above. Of course now my quest begins to find all this cantonal formulas, bake and adapt them to the US environment.


Happy New Year to all.


occidental's picture

Hi all, I've been enjoying all your posts over the last week or so, it looks like many of you produced great breads for the holidays.  I did some baking over the holidays I need to catch up on blogging about.  I was away from home so in other words, away from the mixer, the baking stone, my arsenal of flours and the sourdough I am used to working with.  Add to that new brotforms I received for Christmas and you don't know what will happen.  Thankfully I have been reading up here at the fresh loaf and this gave me the opportunity to experiment with new methods and get out of my comfort zone.  My bakes included Vermont Sourdough, Susan's Simple Sourdough and Anis Bouabsa's baugettes.  Many of the things I tried came after reading ehanner's great post of eye opening techniques .  If you have not read that post I'd suggest you do.  You may develop a new technique or be led to many other great posts that challenge your routines.  I did all my mixing using stretch and folds and all my baking started with placing the loafs in a cold oven using the no preheat method.  I was pleased with most of the results.  The exception is that my overnight proof of the Vermont Sourdough stuck in the new brotform I received and getting it out deflated it such that it was nearly ruined.  The flavor was good but the crumb was pretty much non-existent.  Now that I'm home I've tried them again with rice flour with better results.  One bread I had not tried that I will be baking often is Susan's Simple Sourdough - just the right size for a household of 1 - thanks Susan!    Anyhow, Happy New Year to all.  A couple pictures follow...

Vermont Sourdough (not the loaf that stuck):

From bread


Susans Simple Sourdough:


From bread
trailrunner's picture

When nothing seems to be rational in my life and I have lost all of my center I can always turn to baking...and so it has been for 37 years or so. I made my first Challah in 1976 or it is again...almost every week since then. I had some extra "discard" starter and bananas and applesauce that I made last summer and lo and behold it becomes bread and muffins. My freezer is full and for a little while the demons are held back.

Photobucket Photobucket The formula for the "discard" banana bread has been posted before in this blog and also elsewhere on TFL. I would be glad to tell you how it came about if you like. The Challah are from a formula for this...cups and measures...if you like that too can be posted. c

laceyloo's picture

Hi Everyone!

My name is Lacey and I've got a three year old daughter (Gracie) that has a wheat allergy. I've been experimenting with sprouted wheat flour and no knead baking for about six months now and to be honest haven't had much luck with it. I don't know technical baking terms, but sprouted wheat flour seems to come out more dense than when I make the same recipe with regular un/bleached bread flour. I'm talking no bubbles inside, thick thick crumb on the outside, etc. Kindof blah tasting. And frankly, that stuff is expensive. We're talking $4 for 1 lbs, when you can get 5 lbs of king arthur for the same price. So there've been some major disappointments along the way. but now I'm experimenting using other flours and have had some luck in the baking front.

I bought myself Jim Lahey's book about No Knead baking for Christmas. He is my own personal baking God. I've made some Stecca baguettes last week using organic amaranth flour and king arthur flour. And today I baked my carrot juice bread. The smell was amazing! I haven't cut it open yet  but it is singing like songbird and that is a good sign. Here is the result:


No Knead Carrot Bread



3/4 cup organic amarathn flour

2 1/4 cup king arthur bread flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 cup freshly juiced carrot juice. (I did this using my newest gadget - Jack La Lanne juicer) It took a small bag of carrots to make this much.

1/2 cup water, plus some if needed

1 1/4 tsp salt

~1/2 cup or more chopped dried cranberries. I didn't measure them out.

~1/2 cup chopped pecans. Again, didn't measure. I eyeballed it.

wheat germ, sunflower seeds and more flour


Combine flours, salt and yeast together. Add in carrot juice and water. Mix with a wooden spoon. Add pecans and cranberries. Dough should be really sticky to touch. Scrape stuff off side of bowl back into the dough. Cover with saran wrap and a thick kitchen towel and store in a warm place for 12-18 hours. On a well floured surface, dump and scrape out dough and fold over on itself several times until you form a ballish shape. Coat a tea towel with wheat germ, sunflower seeds and flour enough so the dough won't stick. Place dough seem side down in towel and cover up to let rise for another hour or two. Once dough has risen enough to hold a finger imprint - heat oven to 450 and place your 4-5 qt stock pot with lid in oven to heat up. Once oven and pot is completely heated pop dough in pot, cover and bake for 20 minutes. Take lid off and bake until brown and golden, more if you want a thicker crust.

Take out of oven, place on cooling rack and let it sing away. And wa-la. Delicious and healthy bread!

calliekoch's picture

I received a copy of "Breads From La Brea Bakery" for Christmas and today made the bagels from it. I have made bagels from other recipes 3 or 4 times before and had reasonable results. These were by far the best looking ones. I have yet to taste them but they are also the first bagels I have made using sourdough so I think they will be good.

The recipe calls for both white starter and all white flour. I always keep my starter whole wheat and also replaced half the flour with whole wheat. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. For toppings I used poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon & sugar, and a couple were left plain.

For anybody interested in making these, the Wild Yeast website has a post based on the La Brea bagel recipe.Bagels

Bagels close


smasty's picture

Oh my, oh my, oh my.  I finally made Shiao Ping's Chocolate Sourdough.  Let me first say, SP--you really need to publish a cookbook.  It would be full of great recipes and fun, witty stories.  I thank you so much for bringing us this recipe.  Words just don't describe how good this is.  "Epic" is a good starting place...kudos to your son.  I made this as written.  All I had in the pantry were milk chocolate chips (large chips, about double the size of the regular bittersweet chips).  The biggest challenge I had was chips popping out of the dough as it was folded...I just poked them back in. The crumb is delectable...light, fluffy, but substantial at the same time.  Nice crunch to the crust, but delicate as well.  All my SD breads have used a 125% starter, so I needed to convert my liquid levain to a semi-stiff levain for this recipe.  This makes 4 nice-sized loaves.  Perfect for sharing!  This is just so incredible...everyone needs to make it!!

Shiao Ping's Chocolate SD Page

Shiao-Ping's picture

What do you do when you bought the wrong grapes and your children and house guests don't eat them?  I don't mind the odd seeds in the grapes; I chew them and swallow them.  They are good for you.  Plenty of anti-oxidant in the grape seeds!  But do you think I can get my family to eat these beautiful grapes? 

Holiday seasons at our household seem to come with endless sessions of drinking every day.  When the sun is setting and the western sky is showing multiple rosy hues, it's time to have a dip in the pool and put on fresh clean clothes for the nightly drinks.  The housewife of this household is ever ready to put on an Hors d'œuvre or two to go with the wine. 

Grapes are the best friend to accompany cheeses.  So as the succulent juicy cherries!  How often do you get to eat them?  I don't know about you, but where I come from, cherries are decadent.  After many years of draught in Queensland (Australia), we have just had a bumper year of rain.  The draught seems to have broken.  What seemed to be expensive fruits in prior years are now very cheap.

Anyway, the long and the short was I had too much of grapes and cherries in my household.  So what did I do?  I made them into a fresh grapes and cherries sourdough:




My son had her girl friend visiting for the day.  The shape of the sourdough is for him but the taste combination is for her.  I used a brotform that I have which has a boy playing soccer engraved on the bottom of the basket to get the stencil effect on the crust.




Unfortunately, cherries and grapes sourdough is not a boy's thing.  My son didn't like it.  But both his girl friend and I loved it.  She said it is very "springy," and she is right.  




The making of this pain au levain was a bit tedious but I enjoyed it.  

(1) First, I pureed 1/2 kg of non-seedless purple grapes (skin, seeds, and all), put the pulp through a fine sieve and got 345 grams of grape juice.  I let this stand overnight along side my starter which was refreshed.  (I secretly hoped that some yeasts might develop out of the grape juice.  A long while ago I cultured a grape starter.  It was very powerful.  I had to put it to sleep by making it into dry powder.  I haven't used it since.)

(2) I took the stones out of 160 grams of cherries and got 145 grams of small diced pieces.

(3) I chopped up 160 grams of green seedless grapes.

(4) The next morning, I was ready to mix the dough.  I had a sip of the grape juice and found that it was too sweet to use all of it.  Too bad.  I had wanted to use it to color my dough.  The little beasties in my starter might drawn and die of thirst if I used all of it; who knows.  I ended up using only 200 grams.

(5) I aimed for a dough of 65% overall hydration before the fresh fruits were added.  Once the fruits were incorporated, the overall dough hydration would increase as some liquid would be squeezed out during the mixing and folding.  




Here is my list of ingredients :

  • 338 g ripe 60%-hydration starter

  • 50 g medium rye flour

  • 100 g whole wheat flour

  • 553 g bread flour

  • 267 g water

  • 18 g salt

  • 200 g purple grape juice (as above)

  • 145 g diced cherries (as above)

  • 160 g diced green seedless grapes (as above)

Total dough weight was 1830 g and the overall dough hydration felt like 72 - 73%.  (Note:  if your starter is 75% or 100% hydration, reduce water to 237 g or 198 g, respectively.)

  1. Mix all ingredients except the fruits.  Autolyse 30 minutes.

  2. First set of stretch and folds of 20 - 30 strokes.  Rest 30 - 45 minutes.

  3. Spread 1/2 of the cut fruits on a work bench, stretch the dough to cover the fruits, then top the dough with the remaining fruits.  Fold the fruits into the dough with a plastic scraper or by hand (50 - 60 strokes). 

  4. Rest 30 minutes.  As some liquid is squeezed out of the fruits, the dough is now wetter and may require two more stretch and folds of at least 30 - 40 strokes for further dough strength.

  5. The rest of the procedure is standard.  (As my room temperature was warm, total fermentation time was slightly less than 4 hours.  I retarded the shaped dough overnight in the fridge and baked it the next morning.)


I recognized something very similar in the crumb structure of this bread as in the Pain au Levain with Praline Rose that I did in mid October.   I think the presence of a relatively high level of sweetness in both cases resulted in very open interior structure.  The little yeast beasties really liked what I fed them in the final dough.  They were able to digest the foods (the sugar) and, you know what, the bread did not taste sweet at all!  In fact, this bread tastes pleasantly sour (apart from being very "springy;" i.e., chewy, as my son's girl friend said).  This sourness to me is not like the normal acidity that we get in a very sour dourdough.  It is different from when we say a Miche is sour.  To me it is halfway in between lactic acidity and fruity sourness. 

(Where has the sugar gone?)



txfarmer's picture

I posted a thread last week about my failure at sourdough pandoro, I tried again this weekend (going through the whole sweet starter babysitting again!), and got much better results this time! Last time I added butter too fast and the dough collapsed, this time I made sure that butter was added a bit at a time, and my mixer was at speed 1 (slowest setting) when mixing in butter. I still lost some gluten after mixing in the butter (the windowpane test was weaker than before the butter was added), but after several folds, the dough was strong enough.The real interesting part was the final proofing. OMG, it took forever. I followed Foolishpoolish's great recipe, and he indicated 12 hours for the final rise. I put it at room temperature for the first 6 hours, nothing. Moved to my oven and turned pilot light on (so it's about 85F inside) for the evening, after 10 hours (and I actually woke up several times during the night to check it, in fear of overproofing), it still shy of reaching the top of the mold. I had to go to meet my workout partner at that point. Didn't want to risk overproofing, I moved the baby again to room temperature. 3 hours later I got home, it's reached the top of the mold but not domed over, and it's been 19 hours! At that point, I had to leave the house soon, so I went ahead and baked it.

All turned out well, it got enough of a boost in the oven

Gotta say, after one bite of the bread, I thought all this trouble of keepig the sweet starter, multiple long fermentations, hours of mixing, endless waiting were all worthwhile! The taste and crumb was rich but INCREDIBLY light and airy and soft. 


Thank you, FP for you great recipe here:

Several notes:

-I did add cocoa butter, which I found at Whold Foods, cosmetic aisle;

-I used 550g of dough in my 9 cup pandoro pan(here:

-After last week's failure, I halved the recipe this time, what a mistake. The bread was devoured in <2 hours after it's cooled. Much shorter than any of the rising time!

-I made extra dough into little muffin sized rolls. Not as good as the big pandoro one, too much crust, not enough soft airy crumb.

-In order to keep up with the sweet starter, I pulled desperate measures like putting it in a cooler and bring it to work, then add a cup of hot water inside. I got funny questions and looks when I fed the starter.

-Now I want to try the sourdough Pannetone recipe!



Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries