The Fresh Loaf

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SylviaH's picture

I was so inspired by Beth Hensperger's recipe for making a 'Shallot and Poppy Seed Braid' it's in her book 'Baking Bread Old and New Traditions'.

I love the sourdough challah by M.G. and the recipe is posted on dmsnyder's blog Here.  It's a wonderful recipe and I'am thankful to David for posting it as I have not yet purchased M.G. book. I have made a sweet version with golden raisins that is posted on my blog Here and now wanted to try it with a savory touch.  With summer approaching I thought this bread perfect and it's described under 'Picnic Breads' in B.H. bread book.  I used the recipe she posted for the filling.  The recipe for the bread in B.Hensperger's book is a one day enriched bread that sounds and looks delicious.  I haven't made it yet but I can tell just by looking it has be fantastic.  I have been wanting rustic, savory and summery breads.  This is a great tasting combination!


My first go at this combination and will definately be making it again.


  The filling of Shallot and Poppy Seed

1.   4 TBsp. unsalted butter

2.   2 TBsp. olive oil

3.   2/3 cup (about 6 medium to large) chopped shallots -  I thinly sliced mine

4.   2/3 cup (4 small) chopped white onions -  I used all Shallot's - they were plenty sweet after the saute with butter and oil

5.   3 TBsp. grated Parmesan cheese 

6.   5 Tbsp. poppy seeds

I highly recommend to increase these measurements a little so you can eat some and there's enough left for the two loaves!

Egg Glaze -  I used one egg with 2 TBsp. water - dash of salt would be nice though I didn't add it.

1 TBsp. poppy seeds for sprinkling

While your dough is rising prepare your filling -

In a medium skillet or saute pan, melt the butter and oil.  Add the shallots and white onions.  Saute until just limp and translucent but not browned, or the filling will be bitter.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and poppy seeds. Set aside to let cool to room temperature.

Try not to eat to's addicting!   



I used a 3 rope braid.  To fill two braided loaves -  roll each section into 3 to 4 inch wide strips and carefully spread the filling down the center leaving about a one inch margin of dough all the way around.  Fold over the edges and pinch them together, encasing the filling.


                              Savory and very delicious with all kinds of good flavors going on and even a little added crunch. 



            Beth Hensperger has a 'Picnic Menu' to go with her would be fabulous with this sourdough version.

                  Beet, apple, and endive salad

                  Cold roast Cornish hens stuffed with grapes and garlic

                  Pecan tartlets

                  Chilled sparkling wine 

                                                                  Submitted to Yeastspotting  


daysi's picture


I baked white bread and WW bread last week, and both doughs lacked elasticity, one I kneaded in the same bowl I mixed the ingredients in, and the second on the counter. For more stretching of the dough I did and kneading for the recommended time (10 min) they still seemed to be very tough. Both of them during the first rise double in size, after shaping and panning them they stop rising. Here are a few pictures I hope you can get an idea of what I am talking about and could perhaps give me some advice. By the way both tasted very good, the white bread had a crusty crust and a soft crumb, and the WW bread had a bit of a hard crust mmmm not that hard, probably "dry" is a best description, the crumb is very soft a bit dense though.

this is the white dough, I forgot to picture the WW but it was pretty much the same.

The breakage is what happened when I pulled the dough... windowpane test? hum....


gol's picture

I am after a good european bread book with good european recipes. I have been baking bread for a few years now and have a number of good american bread books. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should get and why?


Bee18's picture

Hi everybody

That it's! now that I know how to pin my photos I can try and write my own blog !  after one year on TFL it was about time. My thanks to Ananda who helped me to sort the problem photo uploading.

Until now I was baking rye bread using the method of no knead/dutch oven bake. My recipe was based on approx. 200 gr. Rye SD, 400gr water and 600gr bread flour, and salt. Sometime I would subsitute 50 or 100gr of bread flour for Rye flour to make the Rye flavour stronger. Once I mixed 75gr. of Zäthar (mix of thyme, olive oil, sesame seeds and other herbs imported from Jordan or Lebanon) the bread turned green and I didn't really enjoy the flavour result..Although I like Zäthar very much with pitas or sour white cheese named Labané in arabic, humus etc...

I'm limited with the bread I can bake as my oven is not working properly and burn every thing on the back side, which mean that I gave up trying to bake baguettes, bâtards or any bread on the open. No white bread allowed as my partner has diabete. Our diet is very strict about what is good for him ( which after all is also good for me..) and the bad stuff is out. Not that we lost weight with all the bread we are eating!

Lately we began to buy Pumpernickel made after a Dutch recipe, it's almost black and sliced very thin, it's wet and pretty sweet... A piece or two without anything on it and you feel full enough to go from breakfast to lunch. This pumpernickel reminded me that in my younger years we were buying Jewish Pumpernickel bread in Paris and it was not at all the same. I looked at TFL under pumpernickel and found the recipe by Greenstein reviewed by Dsnyder. After I resolved the problem to find cracked rye which was not very easy since the last 2 years the crops of rye had been very small in Australia, but I got Rye in grains or berries and I crushed the quantity I needed in the coffe grinder : the only one of my grinders that doing it.I ground it very shortly just to crack it and some grains stayed uncrushed. I then put this in water and leaved it for the night. The next day I took the extra water off and after about 15 minutes of draining I weighted the rye to know how much water it had taken in (thanks again Ananda for the tips)and could adjust the water I needed to add.

This is a second try, with the quantities indicated by Dsnyder, but instead of caramel powder I put 3 tablespoons of molasses which made the bread dark, but a bit too sweet for my liking. The bread is moist and very good. Next time I will reduce the molasses to 2 tablespoons or use barley malted extract which is not so sweet. I didn't spread any cornflour on the top to make tha glaze David did on his bread.Not feeling well I baked it in a bread machine, but next time I will bake it in the oven, in a tin, or in my closed cast iron pot.

The photos have been taken with flash and no flash : it's why the color of the bread is different, the real one is the dark. I even took one outside on the veranda trying the natural light..

The big difference in tast is that a normal rye is much more acidic than the pumpernickel and I liked this acidity, but the pumpernickel is really tasty..



with a bit of early sun on it...                                               no sun no flash = the real color


the crumb from short distance - you can feel the cracked rye when you eat the bread but it's soft and nice. you don't brake a tooth on it !


A rye bread baked few weeks ago                                  and its crumb, the color is not too bad even with the flash on.

Wow, the editing of this first blog  was a long journey for me! Bea

Sedlmaierin's picture

I apologise already..I don't really seem to be able to create such nice and well thought out entries as some of the fellow bakers here. They always end up having to be wedged into my life and suffer from such rough treatment.

So, here are pictures from my second try at the baguettes. I feel they were slightly more succesful than the first ones but still just so far from GOOD....they tasted nice, but they also just haven't tasted the way I remember baguettes tasting in Paris.

I shaped and retarded them overnight......I let them rise a bit more in the morning and then onto a pre-heated baking stone they went, for just a bit longer than Hamelman calls for.It is weird but I feel like I seem more comfortable with higher hydration doughs......the baguette dough and the rustic bread dough feel more unfamiliar in my hands that for example the miche doughs I have tried. I don't know why that may be...rye doughs are pretty moist but otherwise nothing like wheat.

Anyways, pictures here......if anybody has any constructive criticism please share!


Then the Rustic Bread! The taste is amazing-it is so deep and juicy from that little bit of whole wheat and rye flour. This bread I retarded in bulk and then folded, shaped and let proof for about another 1.5 hours. The shaping seemed to me to be very tight-scoring was a disatser for some reason. I just don't seem to be able to get an even, deep cut.......that led to a blowout on the top or possibly I did not let it proof enough once it came out of the fridge.

There are two crumb shots-one from the very side of the bread and one from the middle of the can see the difference. I obviously have tons of room for improvement on this one,too, but I do have to reiterate that the taste was surprising in its nuttiness and epth. Very enjoyable!


Any comments greatly appreciated!

Am now working on the Horst Bandel Pumpernickel and very excited about it!


ilan's picture

This time, I wanted bread that brings more aroma and character of its own, something that can accompany a simple meal or to be used for a not too spiced sandwiches.

The combination of black olives and thyme is not new and since I love olives in both meals and sandwiches (depend on the dishes) I decided to have bread with it.

When I opened the fridge to get the olive paste, I saw a jar of dried tomato next to it. Olives and tomato is a good combo as well and I added the tomato paste to the mix but to keep the olive base of the bread I added only small amount of it.

Olives are very salty and call for salt reduction in the recipe. The dried tomato paste brings the acidity of the tomato in the game as well and it’s better to negate with a bit of sugar. So instead of salt reduction, I added ¼ teaspoon of yeast and ¼ teaspoon of sugar to the mix.

(The dough base is the same as the one I posted in the Baguette Attempt)

The recipe:

Preferment (15 hours in advance)

-       1 cups flour

-       2/3 cups of water

-       1/4 teaspoon yeast

The Dough:

-       2 1/4 cups flour

-       2 teaspoons yeast

-       1/2 teaspoon sugar

-       3/4 cup of water

-       1 ¾ teaspoon of salt

-       3 teaspoons of black olive paste

-       1 flat teaspoon of dried tomato paste

-       Handful of fresh thyme

Preferment was mixed the evening before and let rest for 15 hours

For the dough – mix the flour, yeast, sugar and water into a unified mixture and let rest for 20 minutes.

Add the salt, olive paste, dried tomato paste and thyme and knead for 10 minutes and let rise for 70 – 90 minutes (depending on the weather).

I made two batches of this bread. One of them I folded during the rising time and one I did not. The folded dough yielded better bread (texture) 

The result: (the colors in this pictures came out all wrong for some reason)

Until the next post


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you my bake from 4/15/10.  70% rye with caraway seeds.  I'll post my recipe shortly.  Enjoy.


Total Recipe
2310g Organic Rye Flour (70%)
990g Bread Flour (30%)
2574g Water (78%)
60g Kosher Salt (1.8%)
20g Active Dry Yeast (0.6%)
52g Caraway Seeds (1.6%)
6000g Total Dough (approx)

Rye Sour
1155g Organic Rye Flour
924g Water
10g Kosher Salt
4g Firm Sourdough Starter
2089g Total

Final Dough
1155g Organic Rye Flour
990g Bread Flour
1650g Water
50g Kosher Salt
52g Caraway Seeds
20g Active Dry Yeast (6 1/2 tsp)
2089g Rye Sour
6006g Total

Evening before baking
8:22pm - Mix rye sour, cover and let rest on counter at room temp for 23 hrs.

Bake Evening
7:55pm - Mix final dough ingredients with wooden spoon for about 10 minute or until well combined.  Cover and bulk ferment.
8:45pm - Divide in to 8 equal pieces (750g each), shape into boules, place in floured linen lined bannettons, cover and let proof for 1 hr.  Place baking stones on 2 levels along with steam pan in oven.  Preheat to 550F with convection.
9:45pm - Load oven (4 per stone), add 1 cup of water to steam tray, close door.  Bake for 10 minutes at 480F, bake for another 50 minutes at 410F. Shift loaves between stones halfway through bake.  Turn off oven, leave loaves in for another 5 minutes.  Loaves are done when internal temp reaches 210F. Cool 12-24 hrs before cutting.

SydneyGirl's picture

So, on a mad impulse I bought a bread mill, the Schnitzer Pico, and it arrived at the same time as Hamelman's "Bread", Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads" and Leader's "Local Breads" (I think I might have overdone it on the books). Sourdough is fermenting, a mother starter is in the making and I ate my a whole lot more soaked bran in my first home-ground muesli concoction (oats, wheat bran sifted from the flour that fed the sourdough and amaranth/quinoa) this morning (delicious- no more horrible bitter whole wheat aftertaste). 

I've made bread before but really became obsessed over the last month, particularly since joining this site. Now I'm wondering whether I'm cut out for serious bread baking. How daunting. 

In the past couple of weeks I've made a nice Jewish Rye (per Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe), a no-recipe cobbled together malty dark rye and white Austrian rolls which all tasted lovely, even though the oven let me down most terribly. Did I really need all those book? Yet, I find the science behind the baking fascinating, and learning why stuff works is always great. 

I do feel a little daunted by Reinhart. It's not the recipes or my ability to follow them but scheduling. It would have been nice if he had mapped out a more specific timetable for each bread, one that allows for me to be away from home for 10-14 hours at a stretch while I earn the money to buy more bread books and grain! Will all my weekends be taken up with squeezing in dinners, movies & theatre, shopping, etc etc in between bread making steps?

Will I have to start kneading at 8pm and then get up periodically through the night to stretch dough at intervals? Exhausting just thinking about it. How do other people manage a regular bread making schedule? 

It just dawned on me that I've never thought about the fact that my mother, who bakes a load of sourdough loaves every week, generally doesn't get out much on Saturdays. Hm, how could I have missed that? 


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Took a cheese making class this week. Learned to make fresh mozarella, ricotta, creme fraise, mascarpone and queso blanco. I couldn't believe the difference between fresh made cheese and store bought. I know I will be using these recipes a lot in the future. I can hardly wait to make my blueberry braid bread with mascarpone cheese, using the fresh version. I might make it with ricotta this time too. One of each, just to compare.

The cheeses were so easy. The only one that was the least bit fussy at all was mozarella and that is only because you have to stretch it. That was so easy after making bread. The others were stir, strain and go.

I also bought a nutrimill today. Now I'm looking for grain bins for the 50lbs of hard red spring wheat and 25lbs of rye that I picked up at the baking store this morning. Man, can hardly wait to get back into the house and have a real kitchen!!! I was looking at all those bags of kamut, spelt, soft wheat, durum, etc. I'm going to be dangerous when I have a full sized house!

jstreed1476's picture

Followed one click after another to find this amazing article, courtesy of the National Park Service, describing baking, baking ovens, and other aspects of breadmaking in the middle of the 19th century. Seriously, it's worth your time.

The Baking Process in the 1840s





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