The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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jennyloh's picture

I was in for a pleasant surprise when I made the beer bread from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread book.  It was sweet and tasty.  I had my fun turning this into rolls.  

I've adapted the recipe a little,  reducing whole wheat,  and using the diastatic malt powder as I just couldn't find barley that I could sprout.  

I'm beginning to appreciate the stretch and fold method,  as I do see the impact on the crust.  I'm also learning how to steam my oven such that I get the thin crispy crust.  

Check out my full blog here.  



varda's picture

I just finished making my first edible bread in my cob oven.   In May I had no kitchen so wasn't able to bake at all.   Then in June, I got my kitchen back, but I started the process of building an outdoor oven.   Since I am not a handy person this was very challenging.  I read Kiko Denzer's book from cover to cover, did soil testing on the dirt around my house, bought some materials, scrounged some materials and made some materials, and got some great advice on the forum here.   I heard a lot of things about how you could make this sort of thing in an afternoon.   Maybe if you have a team of oxen or a lot of friends who want to help.   Suffice it to say it took me a lot longer than that.   I have tried for the last few days to bake in it.   The first day it wasn't quite dried out - I left some wood in it - so half of the bread got smoked and the other half didn't cook.   It all got dirty.   The second day, I cleaned it out properly before baking, but I didn't quite get just how long or how hot the fire had to burn.   So the loaf was as mushy as it went in an hour later.   Today, I stoked the fire for three hours to make sure it was hot enough, did a thorough cleaning, and then cooked away.  40 minutes later I had this:

and this

and finally the oven ad hoc and unlovely as it may be


txfarmer's picture

This is a bread from "A handmade loaf" by Dan Lepard. Good thing I googled before making it, the formula has a mistake, the levain amount should be 75g, not 150g. You can see the thread about this issue, as well as the whole formula here.


This is a bread went beyond my expectations. Lemon was a prefect match for barley, bringing out its slightly sweet flavor. Crumb is soft and chewy. It's not delicate and sweet like normal lemond dessert breads, it's hearty with a nice summery undertone.


I did adjust the levain/water amount to accomodate for my 100% starter, also cut the yeast amount by half (in volume) since I used instant and the book used fresh. The dough still proofed a little faster than what the book suggests


Hey, it kinda looks like a lemon huh?

darren1126's picture



I'm going to try a recipe I found on this site for Kaiser Rolls. I have a couple of questions and know that someone out there would know the answers.

What is the importance of the Malt Powder and is there a difference between this and the Malt powder you would put in Malt (ice cream)?

The recipes calls for 1 tablespoon malt powder. I'm wondering if this is a significant step in the process and what would happen if I left it out..

I asked my wife to pick up malt powder at the store and she came back with the powder that's used to make malts. I've looked at a couple of stores myself and cannot find it.



saumhain's picture

I am leaving to Austria for two months, there will be no baking... Can't possibly imagine how it must feel: no kneading, no feeding your sourdough, no messing up in the kitchen. And my poor starter... I have just thrown it away in the bin, since none of my relatives seemed eager to look after it.

Anyway. I obviously could not leave my family without fresh bread, so I baked 5 loaves in just a couple of days: 2 pain au levain with whole-wheat, dark silesian rye,

rye with walnuts and

yeasted spelt loaf with mixed nuts and seeds

(original recipe belongs to Zorra from and I should thank her for that!). However, I used a mixture of nust and seeds and since I had only dinkelvollkornmehl, that's what I used. Probably that is why I ended up with using about 200 gr of water in the final dough.

Even though, I have become quite a fan of sourdough breads and avoided baking with yeast only for a long time, I really enjoyed this one. It had a slightly sweet flavour and mixing the dough was really fun - I love the fact that it goes kind  of purple due to spelt.

gcook17's picture

Every summer we're faced with the pleasant task of trying to figure out how to use all the fruit from our trees.  Most of the fruit gets ripe at the same time and it's not possible to eat it all fresh.  Right now the apricots, apriums (cross between apricot and plum), plums, and sour cherries are almost all ripe.  The fig tree, which usually has 2-3 crops per year, is also beginning to have some ripe fruit.  Carol doesn't like jams or jellies so that rules out one method of preserving them.  I like jam but I rarely eat toast, so I don't go through the jam very fast.  Besides, my brother keeps sending us his homemade blackberry jam that's better than anything I ever make.  The obvious solution then, is to make lots of pastry with fresh fruit.  Yesterday it was puff pastry tarts, today it's apricot and plum danish.  And they're just in time for lunch.

The Danish dough is the Danish with Biga from ABAP.  I left the fully laminated dough in the refrigerator an extra day because I was too busy to use it yesterday.  In addition to the fruit, they are filled with pastry cream (also from ABAP) flavored with li-hing powder (1/2 teaspoon of li-hing powder to 2 pounds of pastry cream).  This dough had a mind of its own.  They were supposed to be shaped like the one in the left front in the photo but most of them unfolded themselves while proofing.




Sedlmaierin's picture

Catching up again.

I made the Brioche a while back-since I don't have a mixer it was all hand kneaded and I thought I would fail miserably for while, since following Hamelman's instructions when kneading by hand proved-ahem-difficult. Incorporating a gigantic amount of butter into hydrated dough made me want to cry, but then, once I decided I was just going to half-knead,half frissage the thing into SUBMITTED. And it was worth every moment of doubt....................we ate most of it while still slightly warm-definitely the best way to eat it in my opinion. Sublime!

Then I made a loaf that I found on the Chilli und Ciabatta website( on a BBA Poilane style Miche.I made my own flour mixture(using rye,ap,ww,and buckwheat),added a tad more water,watched my loaf rise in the most beautiful fashion-it was going to be perfect.Until one part of it stuck to the HEAVILY floured kitchentowel, when taking it out of the bowl after its final proof.Deflated like a balloon, of course.Oh, well....the stenceling was a disaster ,too. Am getting worse rather than better at that-the bread tasted great, though. A bit flat but yummy!

Then I made the Soft Butter Rolls from "Bread" but they were devoured so quickly that there is no photographic evidence.Next time........

I also tried my hand, for the first time, at David's San Joaquin SD-wow what great taste! I am making it again -dough retarding in the fridge. Nicely sour loaf,amazing oven spring. I prepped myself for another flat loaf when I realized I had only preshaped it and forgotten to shape it(yeah, absentminded me),but it really rose nicely in the oven.Scoring-terrible.....will I ever learn how to score bread I wonder.I used KA AP ,replaced 50g of it with White Whole Wheat ( I read that in the European Style flour David was using there is a small percentage of WWW.....thought I'd try it),stone ground rye and a AP starter.

That's all.......folks! Almost time for another pretzel bake, me thinks....................


turosdolci's picture

Tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil and farfalle are all that is needed for this fresh pasta salad that you can prepare a day ahead. Great for a a July 4th cookout.

It can be fast and easy, or it can take a LITTLE MORE TIME.



moldyclint's picture

So , I finally have one I want to share in my first post!  I have only been baking steadily for a couple of months now, and since I successfully captured some wild yeasties, have been using them exclusively.  I have also tried to simplify things as much as possible, hence have tended to keep my sourdough starter roughly the same hydration as my final dough.  As I have a regular day job, but don't want to limit my baking to weekends, I have been working on a means of fitting my baking into a regular day's schedule, and have come up with a technique that seems to work for me (made specific for this loaf):

The night before baking, I take the ~1 cup of starter that I have in my fridge out, and add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water and ~1/3 tsp salt.  I typically use rye or whole wheat, but this time I used organic spelt (the existing starter was ~80% spelt, 20% AP).  Mixed alltogether and left on the counter overnight.

Morning, 5:45am before going to work, added 3 cups organic AP flour, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 and a bit tsp salt.  Mixed together, and put down in the basement where it is a bit cooler.

Went to work.  Returned ~5:00pm.

Had roughly doubled.  The challenge has been to find a spot in the house that is the right temperature to leave the dough all day.  This has been a cool spring, so some days the basement is too cold, and I get almost no rise. Recently it has been a lot hotter, and I can get over-fermentation.  This still to be refined.  Nevertheless, today things worked out perfectly!

Cut ~1/2 cup of dough off to save as my next starter, stretched/folded/rested/formed a boule and let it sit in the colander for a couple hours to proof.  Next used the handy cast-iron dutch oven method, and results were most satisfactory.  The starter got fed (tripled) and immediately put in the fridge.

I have varied quantities of starter from batch to batch, and this quantity (~1 cup doubled the night before and then more than doubled the next morning) has given me the best flavour yet!  Not so sour that the wife won't eat it, but not as lightly-flavoured as I have been getting with half the quantity of starter.  Mmmmm.

semi-demi-spelt sourdough

Bit of an explosion on the crust, despite a cramped (as it was in the dutch oven) slashing with my handy straight razor.


tracie's picture

At the beginning of the year, when I was a complete novice, I went to the half price book store, in the hope of finding some inspiration and help.  I couldnt find anything specific in the cookery section, so I meandered off to the discount shelves in hope of finding a novel in order to utllise my time doing something other than filling my freezer with dough items.  I noticed one book had been replaced backwards.  Imagine my excitement as I pulled it out, to find the title was simply 'BREAD'.  Eureka!  I have since made and adapted (oh yes, I said adventurous streak now knows no boundaries!) many recipes, one of which is the 40 minute hamburger buns. 

Admittedly, the first time I attempted these the reception was not marvelous.  They were a little too doughy to be the traditional 'baps' that are served at the fast food joints, but they sufficed.  Then, last night, a stroke of genius hit me.  I could 'adapt' the recipe.  The dough makes 12 rolls but I managed to eek it out to 14.  To the first four I added chopped jalpeno, the next three olives, the next three carraway seeds and finally a mixture of italian herbs, majoram, parsely and rosemary.  Before putting them in the oven, I sprinkled cheese on the jalapeno four. 

The fact that four of us demolished them before the meal was over, I thought, was a positive sign.  If anyone wants the recipe here it is.

1 cup of warm water; 2 tablespoons (american) of fast active yeast; 1/4 cup sugar; 1/3 cup oil; 1 egg; 1 teaspoon salt; 3-3.5 cups of flour.

Add yeast to warm water, then add sugar and oil.  Mix together and leave for five minutes.  Add egg and salt, mix, then add enough flour to form soft dough.  Kneed for 3-5 minutes.  Divide into 12 pieces an roll in hands to form a 'roll'.  Add whatever you like to each roll and put on baking tray.  Cover and leave for 10 minutes.  Bake in a hot (425) oven for 8-12 mins. 



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