The Fresh Loaf

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GSnyde's picture

Not a lot to report this weekend.  The highlight was the Saturday morning bread handoff from David.  We adopted a dozen or so wayward loaves from his SFBI adventure: a baguette, an Italian bread in baguette shape (Stirato?), an olive bread, a raisin walnut bread, a couronne, several airy decorative loaves, and--best of all--a miche.  Here's the haul, minus the five loaves already in the freezer.


We haven't tasted all of them.  We've been concentrating on  the miche--it was perfect for chicken sandwiches.  We did make wonderful french toast with part of the couronne--seemed a shame to "waste" such a gorgeous thing, but it was an embarassment of riches.

Anyway, I couldn't bring myself to bake bread this weekend, but I had to bake something.  So I tried Breadsong's wonderful lemon turnover recipe (, which had been high on my list since she posted it.  I am no pastry baker, but it came out pretty well.  Her instructions were good.  The dough was indeed very flaky and delicious.  I didn't know what filling to use, and I chose badly.  I used a lemon pie filling and it was too liquid, and leaked a lot.  It probably also kept the bottoms from getting as done as they should have been.

But I can't complain.  They are yummy.



Next week, I'll be on vacation and baking lots of old favorites and new experiments.


SylviaH's picture

For the family dinner tonight at my daughters home.  I was asked to bring velvet cupcakes.  I've never made a red velvet cake so I decided this morning to add a Yule Log, this is a first also, as you can probably tell a lot of last minute baking on my part.  It has been a very busy week.  My family 'not including myself and husband' are leaving to spend Christmas in Hawaii in a few days.  So we planned some holiday celebration early.  They are very much into red velvet cake lately...I didn't want to make cupcakes so make cakes.  Hopefully they all taste ok...everything is from scratch...lots of heavy cream, eggs, chocolate, cream cheese, not to much sugar, plenty of red food color ;)! 

 They adopted a new shelter rescue, a tiny little pom-chihuahua is on medication for kennel cough and has been doing very good, and is as all the animals extremely pampered!  So grandma 'me' is in charge of her till they return home.  They also have six other dogs, horses, birds, goats and chickens...but I'm just watching the pup...I have 3 dogs of my own.

So here's dessert!  Ready to go!




                                         Happy Baking, Happy Eating, Happy Holidays!



hansjoakim's picture

Hi all,

It's been a while since my last blog post, but that doesn't mean I haven't been baking. It's mostly been variations on my favourite recipes, however, so I have not bothered blogging about them. Over the weeks, I've baked my favourite pain au levain at different hydrations and with different flour combinations. I've found that I prefer a 80% bread flour: 12.5% whole rye flour: 7.5% whole-wheat flour combination (similar to my original formulation, from way back), mixed to a hydration of approx. 76%. I've previously used 70% as base hydration, but noticed over the time that the dough could use more water. At 76%, the dough is wetter and slacker, but still not very difficult to work. Below are two snaps of the a loaf that I baked yesterday:

Pain au levain @ 76

... and crumb:

Pain au levain @ 76 crumb


There are few things I enjoy more than working in the kitchen. Each December, I reserve time during weekends for some traditional Norwegian Christmas cooking. One such meal, is the (in)famous lutefisk, a dish based around stockfish. The stockfish is first soaked in cold water for five days. Afterwards, it's soaked in a solution of water and lye for a day or two. This soaking gives the fish a squishy, jelly-like mouthfeel. After the lye treatment, the fish is soaked in water another five days before it's turned into a real meal. Often served with potatoes, various pea stews, mustard, bacon, flatbreads and liberal servings of Aquavit, a strong liquor flavoured with herbs and spices. The homecook usually buys lutefisk that's already gone through the various soaking stages. I've not come around to making a lutefisk meal so far this year, but there's still time left.

This weekend I prepared another traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner, the also (in)famous smalahove. This is a dish made from salted, smoked and dried sheep's head, and hails originally from the area around Voss, in western Norway. It was originally something poor peasants ate, and has for a long time been something reserved for die-hard enthusiasts. The dish has gone through something of a reneissance/revival over the last couple of years, and is now quickly becoming a trendy thing to eat before Christmas eve. In the western Norwegian dialect, "Smalahove" is the word for "sheep's head". It's not something you can easily find most parts of the year, but the heads usually turn up in well-stocked grocery stores sometime in late November. The heads are usually split in half and sold vacuum-packed.

Preparation of smalahove is very simple: Place your sheep heads in a large pot, cover with water and boil for a few minutes. This step removes some of the intense salty, smoked flavour. (Alternatively you can soak heads in water overnight instead, but that can quickly draw too much salt out of the heads.) Pour out the water, refill the pot with new water, and put some vegetables and herbs in with the sheep heads. I used a leek, some carrots, shallots, garlic cloves and thyme (the garlic and thyme are decidedly un-traditional, but I have some Francophile tendencies...):


Bring the water to a boil, and let simmer between 2 and 3 hours, until the meat on the heads are tender and comes off easily. Serve with freshly boiled potatoes and rutabaga stew. The traditional Aquavit drink is required to enjoy smalahove:


The dish is really delicious and quite unlike any other parts of the sheep that I've tasted. One usually starts eating near the ear-region of the head, where there is most fat. You want to eat this part while it's still smoking hot. Then gradually work your way down the jaw bone. Some 45 minutes later:


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

If you've been following this series of posts, you might be wondering, "what happened to week 11?" Well, last Saturday my mother in law invited us over for a Chrismas cookie baking day.  I was distressed at the notion of missing my regular baguette bake, and foolishly decided to mix the dough at home, then bring the dough with me and bake it at my in-laws.  Long story short, it did not go well.  Moving on.

This week brought three changes to my baguette routine.  First and most importantly, I switched by to KAF Bread Flour from the Stone-Buhr flour I had been using.  Partly this was because I ran out of Stone-Buhr, and my local stores have stopped stocking it.  But I think the flour is to blame for the sub-par results I've been getting.  Last week I was looking through my past blog posts, and was struck by the stark difference between, say Week 4, or Week 6, and more recent bakes.  Ever since I started using the Stone-Buhr flour (Week 8, if you're keeping track), my crumb has been underwhelming, flavor has oven been lacking, and I've struggled to get the baguettes to color sufficiently, even as the bottoms reliably burnt.  Not that I was hitting all those points every time with the KA flour, but I was getting much closer.

I also tried two suggestions from comments from last week:  I used Ciril Hitz's rolling technique for final shaping (thanks to Daisy_A for the pointer), and tried leaving my steam pans in for 13 minutes instead of 10 (thanks to realcasual for the suggestion).

Results: Exterior


Results: Crumb


I was really quite pleased with these baguettes.  I didn't quite get the hang of Hitz's rolling method, although I might with more practice.  As a result, the baguettes were a little lacking surface tension, baking up somewhat flat and resisting slashing.  Despite that, the crumb was decently open, and the flavor was good.  The crust was simply fantastic.  Crisp, thin, flavorful just enough chew to hold together--perfect.

Next week (well, next time--between Christmas and New Years I may end up taking a couple weeks off of Saturday baguettes), I'm going to try the Hamelman "over the thumb" shaping method again with the King Arthur Bread Flour side-by-side with the Hitz method, see which I like better.

Happy baking everyone,


MickiColl's picture

this is (finally) the recipe that appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser sometime in the early 70's

for sure it's nothing that is sold in the stores as "Hawaiian Sweet Bread"


MickiColl's picture

I've been trying for 2 hours to load the Portugese Sweet Bread recipe that was in the Honolulu Advdertiser sometime in the early 70's and it keeps kicking me out saying the file is too big. I have downsized it to 580 x 760 and it still won't load

can anyone help me ? lshould I use the "thumbnail" setting ? I am, to say the least, frustrated to the max



bottleny's picture

I had tried again baking these two weeks (I'm a weekend baker). My first goal is to bake a very good baguette like what I saw in the bread books and in France.

Failed sourdough baguette

Last week, I used Carl's starter and the no-knead bread recipe, but tried the baguette shaping. The later didn't go well as you can see below.

The recipe is similar to this one in breadtopia but use longer fermentation in the fridge (37 hrs), followed by 11-hr fermentation at room temperature.

Just mixed. At that time, I measured the flour by volume, since my digital scale had not arrived yet. When compared with the one below, I think this was wetter.

After the first rise, did the stretch & fold (very difficult because the dough tended to stick onto the chopping mat) and 2nd proof (1.5hr). Following Ciril Hitz's demonstration, I managed to have three long sticks.

Initially I proof them on the floured towel. But they were still very sticky and hard to handle, I then decided to rest them on the roaster pan .

Baked at 475F (didn't know the exact temperature in the oven then). I tried to create the steam by SylviaH's method. But most of the steam came out from the ventilation hole on the top of the oven.

When I took this photo, I realized that I forgot to score the dough! Not much oven rising either.

The sourdough sticks. The bottom(not evenly brown; the one in the center was darker)


As expected, the crumbs didn't have big holes.

The taste was very sour, a little over what I would like. I'm not sure whether that's normal since this was my first time to have sourdough bread. These were dryer on the 2nd day.

Kind of Successful Stirato

This week I decided to try Lahey's no-knead Stirato recipe. I thought I would have better chance to succeed with his method.

Besides, my order of some baking tools finally arrived, including the digital scale and oven thermometer. This time I used weight rather volum for measuring flour.

Just mixed (Lahey's recipe is 75% hydration). And fermented in the fridge for 11 hr and then at room temperature for 12 hr.

Again, it's very sticky (Question 1). I finally managed to create a rod and divided it into two.

After resting for 40min (Question 2), then stretched them about 13-14in long and put them in the preheated roaster pan (at 475F). I sprayed a little water on top and inside the Al pan (as cover). By the time when I closed the oven door, the temperature already dropped below 400F. :-( Well, I still need to practice more.

Baked with cover for 20 min and without for 10 min (at 450F).

I knew it's a success when I took them out.

The bottom was very dark (Question 3).


The crumbs

Very nice for sandwich for today's lunch

Thoughts & Questions

Lahey's "cover" method is easy to succeed even for a newbie. No matter what kind of tools you use for the cover, it works. I wish I can find a way to create enough steam in my oven. Before that, his method is the best I can get.

Question 1: How do you handle a very wet dough? Maybe I didn't put enough flour on the surface? Is it not a good idea to use chopping mat even sprayed with flour?

Question 2: This recipe (Stirato) is different from the basic no-knead bread. For 2nd rising time, Lahey calls 30 min for Stirato but 1-2 hr for the basic no-knead bread. Why is that? I didn't get the double volume for 40 min but I went ahead to bake anyway.

Question 3: The bottom of the bread came out very dark and thick. How can I make it not so dark?

SylviaH's picture

Testing for a little personal satisfaction!  Today I baked a single large loaf of my usual - 100% levain Country Boule...I use my variation of a recipe from Northwest Sourdough,  for a 100% hydration starter, sourdough country bread.  It was proofed in the frig from 4pm until 9am.  I don't usually proof this long, but I was out for most that evening and had to leave the house at 4pm. 

I have been wanting to see my largest loaf baked in the LCC without topping out.  My loaf fit great, without 'topping out' with what I think will be very close to my fullest ovenspring for this type of loaf.  No crumb shot included.  This loaf is going to a family dinner!


                                                 Oven spring just reached under the top of the cover






                                                           Slashed with a V 'name of slash ?' on top/ Sprung up nice




                                                                                                 Apx. 4.5"H X 7" W - Correction: 1lb. 14oz baked                                                                                 


                    Happy Holidays!









turosdolci's picture

Candied Fruit is often used in desserts in Italy. Candied fruit biscotti is a colorful addition to a Christmas biscotti tray.


aldecrust's picture

Hi all,

I am contacting you from across the pond in the UK and looking for some tasty breadstick recipes that really do hit the button.  I have made two types so far. Sundried tomato, parmesan and herbes de provence and the same again but with black olives.  They are always very popular so am looking to expand on the range.  I use a white dough mix, but i am open to anything.

thanks and look forward to hearing from you


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