The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Tanya's picture

What is a better choice: an aluminized steel loaf pan that has an oily/non stick surface or a stainless steel pan?  We've been using the former kind for a while and are happy with it, but I'm concerned with how long they'll last.  I have no data on the stainless steel pans.  How well do they work, how long will they last?  We're about to order a large quantity (for us) and I would rather not make any foolish mistakes.  Any help is appreciated.

Thanks, Tanya

Floydm's picture

Very wet here this weekend.  Good for rainbows...

and also good for baking!

I made buttermilk cinnamon rolls this afternoon...

and a couple of loaves of my daily bread to eat with a big pot of soup this evening.


gothicgirl's picture

Have you ever craved something, let's say a cookie, and could not find a recipe that looked like it would be any good?


That is the predicimate I found myself in when I came up with this recipe.  I was fresh off my Lime Bars and I had lime on the brain, but I wanted a cookie.  Something subtle, sweet, and creamy with a hint of lime tang.  So I searched the internet, looked in various baking books, but I could not find a recipe that met my specifications. 

White Chocolate Lime Cookies Fixins, Pt. 1

What is an ingenious baker to do?  Why, make up her own cookies, of course!  I fully expected my first try at this recipe to be a failure.  Most of the time my first go at any recipe requires a fair bit or tweaking, but this time was different.  I would not add one single tweak.  They were crisp at the edges, chewy in the center, creamy from the white chocolate chips, and had a subtle underlying note of lime.  Visually, they were really pretty with golden edges, pale centers, and just the right amount of puff.  In short, perfect!

White Chocolate Lime Cookies Fixins, Pt. 2  

I had my husband and co-workers taste test these for me, lest I be blinded by 'mother's love' for my cookies.  My husband had four cookies, strictly for quality control purposes he assured me, and declared they were really good and I should not change them.  My co-workers did not say much because they all went for seconds with cookie still in their mouths.  There were a couple of moans.   I took that as a good sign!


White Chocolate Lime Cookies 

So, break out the zester and bake a batch of these refreshing cookies!!

  White Chocolate Lime Cookies   Yield 5 dozen cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 - 12 oz bag white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, sugar and butter until combined but not fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla, lime juice and lime zest.  Mix to combine. 

Whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

White Chocolate Lime Cookie Dough

Mix into creamed mixture until just combined.  Fold in the white chocolate chips.

White Chocolate Lime Cookie Dough 

Shape the dough into 1″ balls, and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the centers just set.

White Chocolate Lime Cookies - Cooling  

Allow to sit on the pan for three minutes before moving to wire racks.

White Chocolate Lime Cookies


Posted on - 3/15/2009

Jw's picture

Actually just 'pain de provence', using Floyd's recipe from years ago, with a local liquer from the town which is a.k.a. "Bois le duc"/Duketown. I went easy on the herbs as well. This is one of the best breads I have made so far, I am really proud of it. Also, I almost gave up half way, the dough was too sticky and I was under time pressure. Never a good thing with 'new' breads.

The pain de provence is the larger bread, just as big as the basket itself. Wish I could make a closeup..
The smaller is just a sourdough, which is finally rising a bit. Great taste.

I have added a few pictures of the production breads. Mostly with some seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc).
All week baking is too much work for me, I will go back to once of twice a week. I do enjoy experimenting more that production baking and I am searching for the most 'healthy' mix.


gavinc's picture

I usually only have time to make our favourite sourdough each weekend, but this weekend we have had rain and cold winds which cancelled some plans.  So I decided to make a recipe I hadn't tried before -Golden Raisin Bread - from Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread".  This took me out of my comfort zone somewhat but I enjoyed the challenge and will try to take on a new recipe regularly.  I think I've grown in confidence thanks to this site.

I was very pleased with the result.  I experimented with the scoring pattern between the two loaves and also made them in a pan rather than free form batards.  The taste was very nice and sweeter than I expected.  The crumb is denser than my usual Vermont Sourdough, but I guess it's the type of loaf.  Couldn't wait until it was completely cool before I tucked in....

Edit - I forgot to add that this was made using my new two week old starter (Debra Wink version).

Stephmo's picture

Tragedy struck last week - I stripped the worm gear in my mixer and while the part's on order, it's out of commission.  So today I was looking for a nice, simple by-hand bread recipe.  You know, because supposedly people do bread all the time without the benefit of mixers.  =)

I turned to Savory Baking from the Mediterranean by Anissa Helou and found a recipe for French Country Bread that had only 3 ingredients - 4 if you count water-based ingredients:

1 ½ teaspoons (2/3rds package) active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and shaping
1 ½ teaspoons fine kosher salt or sea salt
10 to 15 ice cubes

So, I got my ingredients together and got ready to go by hand:

I went with Kosher salt and obviously the ice cubes are hiding out in the freezer since they won't be used for a few hours.

From Savory Baking:

1. Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup warm water in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup of the flour. Mix with a spoon to make a very wet dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 3 hours. This is the poolish.

This was easy stuff.  The only adjustment I had to make was in the rise time.  Since I was using a quick-rise yeast, I cut the rise time down to 1 hour 45 minutes - the pooish was big and bubbly at that point.  The mixing photos:

From Savory Baking:

2. Combine the remaining 1 2/3 cups flour and the salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the poolish to the well and gradually and ½ cup warm water, bringing in the flour as you go along. Knead briefly to make a rough, quite wet ball of dough.

I treated this as if I were folding in egg whites to the flour.  It worked really well up until the end, at which point it could only be done by hand.  It wasn't so much that it was "wet" as it was sticky, but definitely workable:

From Savory Baking:

3. Remove the dough to a floured work surface and sprinkle the dough with more flour. Knead for 3 minutes, sprinkling with more flour if necessary. Invert the bowl over the dough and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough for about 2 to 3 minutes more, until it is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly floured clean bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour. Fold the dough, cover again and let rise for 1 hour more. The dough should have doubled in volume.

The kneading was smooth and as promised:

BUT after the first rise - which I cut down to 30 minutes instead of an hour due to the quick rise - I had already doubled:

At this point, knowing the instructions are calling for yet another rise, I decided to not risk tiring out my yeast.  My dough had huge air bubbles at this point already.  I skipped the 2nd rise from the previous step and I moved onto step 4.

From Savory Baking:

4. Return the dough to the work surface. Shape gently into a tight ball, taking care to deflate as few air balls as possible. Place on a large nonstick baking sheet or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone pastry mat. Cover with a wet but not dripping kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour, until doubled in volume. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a medium baking dish on the bottom of the oven.

I made quite a few adjustments.  I decided to heat up my pizza stone for baking, so I didn't bother with baking sheets, parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  I used my pizza peel as a resting/rising surface, dusting it like crazy with flour.  I warmed a cake pan in the oven at the same time I was warming my pizza stone.  The construction for my ball was rather quick since I was trying to be careful with the dough.  My rise seemed to go mostly up:

From Savory Baking:

5. Sift a little flour over the bread. With a lame, preferably, or with a razor blade or very sharp knife, carefully cut a square pattern over the top. Immediately before baking, toss the ice cubes into the baking dish onto the oven bottom to create steam. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes more, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, or reheated.

At this point, I'm on point with the instructions.  I actually use a very sharp fish fillet knife to score bread - and for fun and games, find the ones where I did not apply a light enough touch!

Baking goes well and the rise up seems to continue:

Even better, a nice substantial bread without being overly heavy:

The taste?  Suprisingly good for so little!  The poolish gives the bread a little bit more oomph in the flavor department with an extra amount of fermentation.  By mixing in just enough flour, the little bit of kosher salt comes through as a plesant suprise.  The steam from the ice cubes, while no steam-injected oven, still offers up a nice chewey crust.

Sure, this guy's a little time-consuming, but when you realize you'll use 3 cups of flour and a little yeast and salt...and you've got to freeze some water...well, what have you got to loose?

bnb's picture

Had some dough leftover from making pizza using Peter reinhart's recipe. Made a loaf of bread with it. Loaf was baked at 400 F for 25 mins and stayed in after the oven was turned off for 5 more mins. The crumb is airy, light, moist. The crust chewy.



bnb's picture

Made these dinner rolls using the Hokkaido milky loaf recipe I blogged about here. The dough was, of course, made minus the sugar. Rolls were baked for 20 mins at 400F and then brushed with melted garlic butter and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Both crust and crumb are very soft and moist when eaten warm. 



SylviaH's picture

Semolina Sandwich Loaf from DL Local Breads.

I love my sandwich loaves with a bit of semolina flour 'pasta flour' added to I can't say enough how lovely this bread looks, smells and tastes using the Duram fancy semolina flour!  It sure blew it's side off...but  didn't hurt the flavor...I did again as instructions stated'let it rise just until it crowns just above the rim of the pan' instead of following that little voice that said to give it a few more minutes..but I knew I was useing a 100% D.semolina flour and wasn't sure what to expect...I thought even maybe a little larger pan!!  Better safe than sure so I did what it instructed!  This bread is said to have one heck of an oven spring and it does! 


Talk about oven spring!

A Beautiful Golden Color makes it even more appetizing.  This is a keeper for me. 



Susan's picture

Sprouted Wheat SD

Here's an example of another loaf using the same basic recipe as the ones below.  In this case, I used all white flour and added barely sprouted wheat berries which I ran through a mini food processor.  Turns out it won't be a favorite of mine, but that's okay.  I tried it.  (My fav, so far, is white flour with 25g rye or whole wheat and 2-3 Tablespoons of dry steel-cut oats thrown into the mix.)

It doesn't take much to make a decent loaf of bread.  I own a KA mixer but never use it for my bread, I just threw away my baking stone, and I let the bread do its own steaming by covering it with a bowl or roaster lid for the first 18-20 minutes of baking. 

My usual implements are a scale, a cheap round plastic tub with lid, an old bamboo chopstick, a bench knife, a plastic colander with a linen cloth laid inside (sprinkled with flour and a bit of rice flour), parchment (used for more than one loaf), a heavy 14" pizza pan, a large ovenproof bowl, and my oven.  Many of these items came from thrift stores.  I feel fortunate to have a Miele oven, as it really holds the heat.

The first and most important item is your starter.  If it's not fresh and active, then you've begun with a huge handicap.  The rest is practice, practice, practice.  Try not to get frustrated when a certain recipe doesn't work for you. Your temperature, humidity, starter, flour and water are all different from everyone else's, so just relax and go with the flow.  Make the same recipe over and over until you get it just like you want it.  Then try different flours.  I use mostly high-gluten flour because that's what I like.  You might like All Purpose, Bread flour, or Whole Wheat or Rye better.  But each of these will require changes in water and/or handling, so be prepared.

If you've hung around this long, thanks, and I hope my words help you.



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