The Fresh Loaf

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mcs's picture

This past week was the first anniversary of our bakery's opening.  Of course this wouldn't have been possible without the help of  a few people. Here they are in order of appearance:

This is Mom about to sample a bear claw or two fresh out of the oven.  She's come out a couple of times to help us with both special events and our busy farmers' market season.  We must be doing something right if she keeps coming back.


Here's my "76 year-old migrant worker" and I posing for a picture.  John came up from Spokane, Washington last fall to help me for a week.  We both got a lot out of it and his visit was the inspiration for the 'bakery internship' idea.


Thomas came here from the Chicago area at the beginning of this summer to help out during a very busy 10 days.  Here he is posing with an impromptu sourdough loaf he made with rye starter, flax seed, and other goodies.


This is Sharon a.k.a. "the wife" setting up for our first farmers' market this year back in April.  When things get really busy, she's the one making the Apfelstrudels, doing the stretch-and-folding, and keeping me in line.

Although this is technically a 'one man operation'  we all know that there are people along the way who make any business plan successful.  Here they are.

Thanks everyone for making this past year a success.  I'll keep you Fresh Loafians posted on new developments over here.


BobS's picture


Fred the starter has come of age, and I've been baking sourdough pretty much weekly. This is a Norwich sourdough with the loaves retarded overnight. I got more oven spring than usual (without retarding); want to try it a couple more times to see if it consistently produces this result.



Green Tea's picture
Green Tea

After some successfully delicious baking sessions...

Spinach Cheese Boule - made wonderful sandwich bread

Pain de Provence - absolutely amazing!!!  SO good as toast! (but, yes, I really need to work on my scoring, not just my usual complete degassing of a bread as I attempt to slice...)

...I finally decided it was about time (as I started bread baking last November or so?) to try to develop my own recipe.

And I chose the obvious.

With the reference of numerous other bread recipes, I ended up with my Sweet Green Tea Bread.

(The glaze was stolen and slightly altered from Beth Henspengers Sweet Vanilla Challah (so good!!) in her book Bread for All Seasons)

Anyhow, here was how it was supposed to go:

Sweet Green Tea Bread

1 tbsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water or milk
1 cup all purpose flour

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp green tea leaves
1 cup strongly brewed green tea (with or without the tea leaves)
1 well beaten egg
3 tbsp very soft butter

1 egg yolk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sugar

Sesame seeds (optional)

Preferment: Mix the yeast, warm milk or water and flour together, set aside ½ hour minutes.

Glaze: blend ingredients, set aside.

Dough: In a large bowl blend the flour, sugar and salt. Grind half of the green tea into powder. Blend the (dry) green tea into the (liquid) green tea, add egg and let it sit for a few moments until the (dry) green tea is soft.

Add the green tea mixture into the dry ingredients and then beat in the butter, lastly mix in sponge.  Knead with generously floured surface and hands until smooth and satiny (or until whenever you think it is ready- it was more of a guess on my amateur behalf).

First rise- until double in bulk.
Second rise- mostly degas, shape into one large loaf or two small ones and let the dough rise until double in bulk again.

Bake- Glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds before putting in the oven preheated to 350ºF (with a preheated pan in bottom). Pour water in the pan and spray the oven walls and bake for around 30-50 minutes.

Looks just like one big cha sui bao! (Chinese barbaque pork bun)

And... here was how it really went.  I forgot to put in the butter and went very much off schedule for near the ending moments of the final rise I ended up having to leave the poor bread on its own for around three hours... although I did pop it in the cellar to try to slow rising!

Despite that it turned out wonderfully and the smell that filled the house was heavenly!

Now if I were to make it again... I think I would cut the ground green tea down to only 2 tablespoons, I have to admit there might have been just a bit too much. 

Please, if you have an advice for improving my recipe please, please reply!  It is probably in dire need of improvement!

cake diva's picture
cake diva

My husband woke up Saturday morning to an early morning show featuring the best doughnuts in the country.  So he announces he wants doughnuts for breakfast.  Unfortunately, doughnuts are not like pancakes or waffles that you can just whip up without notice.  He had to settle for sourdough (from starter scraps) waffles with fresh raspberries and cream and of course, bacon.  And then I got off to starting the doughnuts for next day's breakfast.

The recipe I used is Lightest Fluffiest Doughnuts from Country LIving.  Instead of manual kneading, I opted to use my Hobart N50.


  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1/2 cup water, warmed to 110F

  • 4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (2 packets)

  • 3/4 cup + 1/4 tsp sugar

  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used homemade Greek-style yogurt)

  • 2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 4 1/2 cups AP flour

  • Glaze:  1/2 cup confectioners' sugar + 1 tbsp. whole milk


To make the dough:

  1. Combine water, yeast and 1/4 tsp. sugar in large mixing bowl.

  2. After 5 minutes, add warm milk and oil and stir.

  3. Add the remaining sugar, sour cream, eggs, yolks, salt and vanilla and stir.

  4. Add the flour gradually.

  5. Using a dough hook, knead the dough at medium speed until you have a soft, smooth, shiny dough- about 6-8 minutes.  The dough is quite wet and will not completely clear the sides of the bowl to form a ball.

  6. Place dough in a large oiled container and cover.  Let rise at room temp. until doubled in size, about 2 hrs.

  7. After doubling, punch dough down, recover, and refrigerate for 2 up to 12 hrs.

To make the doughnuts:

  1. Turn the dough into a generously floured surface.

  2. Lightly flour the dough and roll out to about 3/4 inch thick.

  3. Cut doughnuts using a 3 inch cutter.  I used a 4-inch tumbler lid.

cutting doughnut rounds

      4.  Transfer rounds to a baking sheet.  Gather scraps, reroll, and repeat cutting doughnut rounds until all dough is used.

     5.  Chill doughnuts for 30 minutes before frying.

To fry the doughnuts:

  1. Heat about 4 inches of vegetable oil in a large deep skillet with a thermometer until oil reaches 350F.

  2. Fry doughnuts 3 at a time until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

  3. Remove doughnuts with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

To make the glaze:

  1. Combine glaze ingredients in a shallow bowl until smooth.

  2. Dip doughnuts while hot then transfer to wire rack to cool.

  3. Try different flavors like lemon, raspberry chambord (raspberry preserves + Chambord to thin), chocolate Kahlua sauce, etc...


Up close...

The requisite crumb shot...

doughnut crumb

Results:  Bite was like getting your teeth down into a soft pillow without collapsing like you would with those doughnut chains, texture was smooth and airy. mouth feel was substantive, flavor not too sweet which is how you would want it with the glaze on top, and simple, i.e., no added flavors, no hint of tang from the longish fermentation.  I'm sure this would be even better with the Kahlua chocolate sauce, or a fruity glaze like Raspberry-chamboard.  I give this recipe a thumbs up for its ease of making and deeply-satisfying results.

dmsnyder's picture


There has been quite a bit of discussion on TFL regarding cold retardation of late. This is a recurring issue, as a site search on “retardation” will reveal. My overall conclusion has to be that, particularly for sourdough breads, there is no hard and fast rule. This is not surprising, since review of several highly-regarding bread books reveals considerable variation in how this subject is approached.

Most home bakers are fundamentally pragmatic. Some groove on the science and want to understand each process in detail, but most just want to make really good bread. Retardation is mostly a matter of convenience – to fit bread baking into a busy schedule – for both the home baker and the professional. For some, retardation during bulk fermentation works better. For others, retardation of the formed loaves is more convenient. But does the choice effect the quality of the bread?

I have generally made my own choice according to the procedures specified in the formula I was using. I've made breads that call for retardation in bulk, like Nury's Light Rye and Anis Bouabsa's baguettes, and I've made breads that are retarded after the loaves are formed, like most San Francisco-style sourdoughs. But I've never switched a recipe from one to the other, until today.

The bread I chose to make was Susan from San Diego's “Ultimate Sourdough.” I have made it several times before. I have made it without any cold retardation and with cold retardation of the formed loaves. I decided to see how it would turn out with overnight cold retardation in bulk.

Susan's formula makes one smallish boule. I generally double the recipe to make 2 small boules. This time, I tripled it to make two somewhat larger (22.5 oz) loaves. For your interest, I have included a table of ingredient quantities for one, two and three small loaves.







1 loaf

2 loaves

3 loaves

Active starter

12 gms

24 gms

36 gms


175 gms

350 gms

525 gms

Whole Wheat Flour

25 gms

50 gms

75 gms

Hi-Gluten Flour

225 gms

450 gms

675 gms


5 gms

10 gms

15 gms

For this bake, I used KAF White Whole Wheat and Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached flours.



  1. I dissolved the starter in the water in a large bowl
  2. Both flours were added to the water and mixed thoroughly.
  3. The bowl was covered tightly and the dough was allowed to rest (autolyse) for 20 minutes.
  4. The salt was then added and folded into the dough using a flexible dough scraper.
  5. After a 20 minutes rest, the dough was stretched and folded in the bowl for 20 strokes. This was repeated twice more at 20 minute intervals.
  6. The dough was then transferred to a lightly oiled 2 liter glass measuring “cup” with a tightly fitting plastic cover and refrigerated (10 hours, overnight).
  7. The next morning, the dough had expanded very little. I took it out of the refrigerator and left it at room temperature. After 3 hours, it had expanded only slightly, and I was concerned how little gas formation was occurring. I transferred the dough to a lightly floured bench and did a single stretch and fold. The dough was then returned to the bowl. From that point, it became more active and doubled in another 2.5 to 3 hours.
  8. I then divided the dough into 2 equal parts. One was preshaped into a round and the other into a rectangle. After a 10 minute rest, I shaped one boule and one bâtard, each of which was placed in a floured banneton and then in a plastic bag to proof.
  9. I proofed the loaves until they were expanded by 75% or so. They were then transferred to a peel, slashed and transferred to a pre-heated baking stone. The oven was then steamed.
  10. The loaves were baked at 480F with steam for 10 minutes, then another 17 minutes at 460F without steam. They were left to dry for another 10 minutes in the turned off oven with the door ajar.


      The dough did not become too extensible during cold retardation. This may have been due to the very strong flour I used. However, I did find the crumb less chewy than expected. The crumb structure, on the other hand, was not appreciably different from what I got when I retarded formed loaves of this bread. There was no significant difference in the flavor. You might note, however, the absence of the "birds eyes" - the little bubbles of CO2 under the crust surface. 

      I would not hesitate to cold retard this bread in bulk again. When I do the cold retardation would be governed by my scheduling needs. The end result is about the same: Really good sourdough bread.





      AnnieT's picture

      I needed to bake something for a neighborhood picnic today and in my trusty notebook I found the recipe for this cardamom braid. I thought it was from somebody here at TFL but haven't been able to find the post. Just want to thank you, if you recognize the name, and to say the loaves are wonderful! It makes two braided loaves and the dough must be from Beatrice Ojakangas because it uses her no knead chilled overnight method. I brushed the braids with egg and milk wash and sprinkled raw sugar, and the great oven spring opened up the braids and made a neat pattern. Definitely a keeper, A.

      devil's picture

      this is my first try,it is very easy to bake.I get the recipe from the web.

      pretzel recipe is refer to:

      Shiao-Ping's picture

      1973, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.  The Taiwan Provincial Symphony Orchestra was coming into town.  I was in my first year of high school.  My father was given free tickets because of his position at the ruling KMT Party.  He pulled me out of the school that day; in my school uniform, I sat on the front roll of the concert hall, listening to the Western symphonic music for the first time ever in my life.  I had never heard anything like it; I was so moved, I had joyous tears in my eyes that to this day I still don't know where they came from.  

      Three nights ago, on the eve of my departure for America, my husband suggested that I read our son's English assignment, entitled "Personal Reflection."  It was late at night and I hadn't even packed my bag.  My son wrote about his reminiscences of Australia, "the sun burnt country."  As my kids were born in South-East Asia, up until 4 and a half years ago before we moved back here, their memories of Australia were mostly from our annual beach holidays.  He describes a fishing experience during one of those holidays: 

      It is ironic that the memories most vivid are those of Australia and our annual pilgrimages back to Noosa for our Christmas holidays.  I would always look forward to these holidays for they were my only experience of what was supposedly my home country.  One particular event that sands out is shore fishing off the rocks of Little Cove.  Late afternoon warranted weakening light and an orange sun low in the sky.  Golden light skimmed the surface of the ocean creating stunning patterns of reflection.  The point was a peaceful sanctuary.  Swiftly, the armies of the seas would surge towards the rock wall and bombard it with all its force.  Occasionally, the ocean would deliver a penetrating blow when a larger wave collided heavily which resulted in troops erupting further into unfriendly territory.  Perhaps, the sea was a relentless warzone.  The smell of eucalypt combined with a salty breeze to form that earthy sent that was comforting yet unique. 

      I would never catch any fish out there; I had enough trouble holding the rod even with two hands.  Also, I had a tricky encounter with our poor choice of bait.  Bloodworms.  I soon found out why they were called bloodworms after I pierced one onto my hook and it spewed a volcano of inferno red all over my long-sleeved white beach shirt that I was made to wear.  What a gruesome experience.  More difficulties arose with actually keeping the pest on the hook.  Casting proved to be another tricky enterprise to undertake.  A five metre cast with arctic winds to aid me would be a heroic effort indeed therefore Dad would usually cast for me.  He would be hauling in fish beside me whilst I, who was sitting just three metres to his left, wouldn't catch a thing.  With my thin forearms flexed, eyebrows crooked and eyes peeled I would concentrate my entire mental wrath just calling, aiding the sea creatures into my domain.  Alas, my mental strain paid off.  I reeled in the line as hastily as my might would allow only to find an empty hook.  At this stage Dad would let me reel in one of his own catch and claim it as my own.  A bear-like hug for my glorious accomplishment was definitely in order.  Despite my bad luck, it was moments like those that put a smile on my face that reached the tip of my ears and a booming laughter that could be heard across the Pacific.  

      It was when I read "... an orange sun low in the sky.  Golden light skimmed the surface of the ocean...." that my eyes became wet with joy - because he could see what I saw. 

      He finishes his "Personal Reflection" with the following:

      I still feel a great connection to Singapore and its unique culture of coconut milk, straw skirts and 'hawker' food markets.  However, reminiscing now I realize just how deep my love for the land down under has entrenched.  It must have grown from my absolute fascination of Australian wildlife and admiration of its charm and care-free way of life.  To me, it will always remain a tropical escape of tremendous adventure.  My bonds to Australia stand Goliath tall; my David attachment to Singapore shrinks into the background.  Thinking back, those bliss Christmas relaxations created a great desire to voyage to my homeland.  Therefore, rather than dread the day I would eventually leave, I was eager to explore this new continent, make long-term friendships and above all, finally reside in the land of my nationality - Australia.


                                                                                                2001 Christmas holiday

      My son, 14, first year of high school. 


      Pablo's picture

      Using Hamelman's 40% rye formula.  I watched several videos on youtube about bread braiding.  Very helpful.  I chose a 5-strand braid for my first one because it looks great and it's pretty straight-forward seeming, compared to a 6-strand braid.  It was easy to do and the result is very satisfying.  I guess it's going to end up more of a pull-apart loaf than something that you would make sandwiches out of.  Since I was poking at challah sites to see braiding, I tried an egg wash while I was at it.  It think it's fine on the braided loaf, but it made the other loaf crust dull.  I won't do that again.

      I made a couple of technique changes to Hamelman's instructions:
      1.  I read that the rye pentosans and the wheat gluten are competing for water, so I mixed the wheat and water together and allowed it to sit a bit before incorporating it with the overnight rye sour.
      2.  I prefer to stick to wild yeasts.  Instead of adding commerical yeast I added a bit more ripe starter to the wheat/water mixture.  I feed my starter at 1:5:5, which translates to 3g starter to 15g water and 15g flour.  I used the ~30g discard in the wheat/water mixture and let it ferment 90 minutes until I saw a little movement before incorporating it with the rye sour, salt and caraway seeds.  It was kind of  a sticky mess at first, but it came together nicely after a bit of kneading, although I kept an eye on the clock and didn't knead more than 5 minutes to avoid overmixing the rye.

      Oh yeah, I don't think that all caraway seeds are equal.  I had some from the natural foods store for my first attempts at this rye and it was great.  Then I got some from the bulk bins at the super market and they were dull.  I'm back to the non-irradiated pack from the natural foods store and they are more full flavoured.  I don't know but what that might have to do with packaging - that is, being packaged as opposed to sitting in a bin for who knows how long.  Anyway, it did make a noticeable difference.

      I tried the 80% Sourdough Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker recently and it came out 100% ugly, I think mostly due to overproofing.  It collapsed when I moved it from the couche and never recovered, so I was gun-shy this time and I think that I underproofed a little and that's why there's big oven spring on the slashed loaf.  I only proofed for 45 minutes.  Maybe the braid wouldn't pull apart quite so much with longer proofing, too.


      Obsessive Ingredient Weigher's picture
      Obsessive Ingre...

      I've been making Gosselin/Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne since last fall, and until a few days ago, I was having a big problem scoring it consistently.  My breakthrough?  I stumbled upon Gosselin's website and saw them scoring loaves that were MUCH less hydrated than Reinhart's recipe was leading me to create.  Oh, Peter Reinhart!  So I cut back on the water, and voila, the lame scores it perfectly (forgive the shallow angle of the scoring, but it's a mini-baguette).  So right now I'm going with this formula: 128g KA French Style Flour, 2.65g salt, 0.95g instant yeast, and 92g water.  I might cut back on the water by a couple of grams - to 89g or 90g; time will tell.

      I've been making single loaves about 5 days a week for the last couple months; they make a great lunch with some butter and confiture.  This loaf baked SO nicely.  I noticed subtle hints of pistachio and framboise as I gave a quick sniff while it cooled on the counter.

      PHOTO #1: Sliced/Crumb Shot

      PHOTO #2: Grigne

      PHOTO #3: Mini-Baguette



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