The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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cabbagehead's picture

Well I made the most amazing  4 loaves of whole wheat bread today. It was quite hot out and I was expecting company so I decided to turn on the air conditioning. I then realized it would be better for the bread if I had a warmer and more humid environment so I placed the rising dough out on the patio under the umbrella and covered with a damp towel.  That must have been a perfect scenario for the bread because it rose like crazy. I also think it had something to do with the actual recipe. For the first time I used my Five Roses cookbook which called for a lot more yeast than I was used to (16 grams for 4 loaves). I also prepared a mixture of the yeast, some sugar, some scalded milk and water before hand then mixed eveything together. I've never seen yeast froth up so much! The result was 4 wonderful large loaves of delicious bread that had soft crusts (coated with melted butter just before oven time). The flavour is quite intense and perfect for sandwiches a well as toast (with jam or honey). Tonight my supper consisted of fresh bread, ancient cheddar cheese, red wine and great music. Life is pretty good.

Christina's picture

I haven't been making bread much lately so I decided to start again with pizza dough. I didn't have the time to let it rise as much as I wanted but it came out really well regardless. The dough was much slacker than I have done in the past and that's why it turned out so wonderfully this time.

Rising dough:

Pizza dough

Ready to form crusts:

Balls of dough

Crusts, ready to top:

Ready to top

Turkey meatball and olive-spinach:

Pizza, pizza

This is my favorite part:

Looky the hole!

AnnieT's picture

For the first time in my entire baking life I got ears!!! OK, they aren't the most elegant ears I have ever seen, but for me this was a big deal. I made Susan's Norwich Sourdough loaves and nearly ruined the dough by trying to knead in kosher salt by hand. Had to do some extra kneading and stretching and folding to get the dough to what I thought it should be, and eventually it was a delight to work with. So my four dear little loaves weren't picture perfect but to me they are beautiful. Made pizza with some of the leftover dough, and also baked a fine steelcut oats version of the NKB. A happy baking day, A

Jamila's picture

I am starting to like the flater bread more than the thicker one. Tastes change I suppose.


I still haven't gotten down this whole picture adding thing. It really isn't that user friendly, any pointers would be helpful!


Khobz Eddar

AnnieT's picture

KipperCat, a friend of mine asked me whether I could remember seeing a round cooling rack on TFL - she saw it and couldn't remember where. I went back through some blog entries and noticed that you have one. Could you tell me where you got it, please? I am assuming that is the one she meant and she really really wants one. I led her astray into the breadmaking world and she says she may never forgive me - but she is making sourdough bread with my starter. I would love to put her on the right track for the rack, many thanks, A

Floydm's picture

I killed another spammer's account this afternoon. While cleaning up the mess he made I noticed an inefficiency that I think has been the main issue behind some of the slow page loads here. My first attempt to fix it briefly locked up the site, but my second attempt appears to have gone smoothly.

I've eliminated a database query that was happening on every page load. I don't see it causing any problems, but if you experience any weirdness please let me know.

Thegreenbaker's picture

Just another lot of photos of my baking. :)


Below is a batch made from a poolish I made around 9pm last night and then fermented on the counter (at around 10-13 degrees celcius most of the night) until around 11am today.

Just a simple mix of approx 750g sifted wholewheat (wholemeal) flour, water, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. (with gluten flour added)


Then this morning, I added around 750g fine durum semolin. about 70-100g unbleached white flour, salt, 1 teaspoon of yeast, 1/3 cup rice bran oil and about 2 cups of butter milk.

It ended up being tooooooooooo wet so I added another 150g semolina-very fine.

mixed and left for an hour then kneeded and left for another hour. Folded a few times and left to ferment on the counter. I then folded it a few times again and then left it to rest for 15 mins, spllit it in two and plopped one piece on a oiled/semolina'd baking sheet

and smothered it in flour.

The rest I divided into 3 pizzas.


The photos show the result!


Raw Pizza


Cooked Pizza with various vegies (Courgette, red onion, loads of garlic, Paneer cheese, parmesan cheese, Pineapple, tomato (fresh and sundried) and olives) The top pizza is the same but with Salami for the meat eaters in my house. ;)


Rustic bread...sooo pretty....moist with a lovely crumb!


Crumb close up! Dang camera...takes terrible photos!


An angled profile shot :) Just to show my skill with a camera :) (kidding)

Sorry, no wine shots this time.......................

OH! that reminds me.....*goes off to crack open a bottle of nice 2004 pinot noir*


Till next time....which will be a while as I am moving to the UK. My house will be all packed up on monday and tuesday and then I will be a nomad for a few months till the visa come through!

SO, till then.

Happy baking everyone!

AnnieT's picture

Today I made Will's baguette again because I love the tender crumb and the good flavor. I held back some of the water and was really proud of the dough. Did the French fold, yay, and 2 stretch and folds and made 2 batards on parchment with rolled towel "couches" The dough was full of big bubbles and I kneaded each piece to degas them. I slashed pretty deeply and baked them on the stone and turned them and removed the parchment halfway through the baking time. So far, so good. I used my handy dandy instant read thermometer and they were 205* and looked ready, but almost as soon as they were on the rack the crust softened. I know this has been covered before, but can anyone explain why this happens? Should I have left them to bake longer? The crumb is great with nice holes, but the crust isn't crunchy. Not a big deal as far as eating them, but I don't think I have ever had a crust that crackles. Maybe one or two of my NKB loaves. Maybe I am too timid and need to let the crust really brown, European style. Any comments gratefully received, A

Floydm's picture

July was a very busy month. I had family in town, the Open Source Conference to attend, many things to take care of at work and many summer activities to participate in. I have been baking, I just haven't had the time to post about what I've baked.

In the past couple of weeks I've baked:

  • my standard white sourdough

  • a light rye and a dark rye from Daniel Leader's new book, served with roast pork

  • my baked potato bread, served with a grilled steak

  • blueberry muffins and blueberry coffeecake and blueberry pancakes and blueberry waffles. Guess what is in season here?

Today I baked an Italian white loaf with biga from Leader's book and Hamelman's sourdough semolina bread:

italian breads

I didn't do a good job shaping the semolina bread so I got the lazy baker cavities, but they tasted great. Wonderful with manicotti, a bottle of Barbera Montferrato, and spinach raspberry salads.

I know I said I was going to post a full review of Daniel Leaders's Local Breads, but I don't know when I'm going to have a chance to. Let me just say for now that it is a very nice book: authentic formulas from European bakers (France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic) that includes helpful shortcuts for the home baker. I can't think of another book that does a better job of providing useful instructions for both amateur and advanced bakers: if you want to execute a recipe authentically this book tells you how, but for every complex step or difficult-to-find ingredient Leader provides a shortcut. It has helpful FAQs, beautiful photos, nice layout and typography, and is probably the most professionally executed bread book I've read. As I mentioned before, it reminds me of the now out-of-print Village Baker, but coming 15 years later in the artisan bread revolution than The Village Baker (and after the Internet became mainstream) it is much more mature. I know the last thing many of us need is another baking book and most of recipes are traditional European recipes that can be found elsewhere, but it is worth checking out the next time you are in a bookstore. If nothing else, it'd be a good one to give a friend for the holidays rather than trying to track down a battered old copy of Village Baker.

susanfnp's picture

I recently returned from a trip to Japan, where I encountered melon pan, a sweet enriched bread encrusted with cookie dough. Here's my version of it, not authentically Japanese but good anyway. The recipe is here. Although July is not the best month to go (hot and humid!), Japan is a wonderful country with amazingly hospitable people. Everything they make is exquisitely beautiful, and my bread cannot do justice to theirs, but it was fun to make!

Melon pan



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