The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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AnnieT's picture

I had some cooked red potato chunks and some fresh sourdough starter discard and decided to combine them in a bread. I grated the potato "innards" and mixed them with the starter, about a cup of each, and added salt, water, bread flour and 1/2tspn instant yeast. Left the mixture to autolyse for 30 minutes and found it was pretty sloppy when I checked. I added a little more flour and did a french fold, then three stretch and folds over the next 2 hours. When the dough had doubled I cut it into three and made small boules. When they were ready I baked them on a hot cookie sheet under my roaster for 15 minutes, then another 15 minutes uncovered at 450*. They were up to 205* and I gave them another 5 minutes with the oven turned off, but when they were cool I cut one and found that the crumb was almost gummy. The good news is it made a great chicken and lettuce sandwich - the crust was crunchy and the soft crumb really went well with the filling. There were flecks of potato on the crust but no potato flavor in the crumb. I imagine it will keep well and make good toast, A.

Janedo's picture

Tuesday morning, we decided to go visit the Duc de la Chapelle, Anis Bouabsa's bakery in Paris. As you probably know, he won this year's Best Baguette. The bakery is situated in a modest neighborhood, far from the typical tourist traps and chic areas. We entered the bakery and asked he woman behind the counter several questions before buying a selection of breads. She was very nice and helpful. As we left the bakery, we took some pictures of the young baker/apprenti who was scoring baguettes and sliding them in to the oven. Disappointed by the quality of the photos through the window, Florence returned and asked if we could go inside and take just a few pictures. The woman showed her the way, no questions asked!

Once inside, who came through, but Anis himself! I felt like a teenager who was getting a real-live view of her movie star hero. He looked at me through the window and asked Flo who I was. I think he thought I was a bit idiotic because I had such a huge grin on my face! He opened the door and told me to come on in.

So, here you have two passionate home bakers in front of a master, and may I say the sweetest, nicest and most generous master. We started asking him questions and he told us EVERYTHING! He explained from A to Z how he makes his famous baguette. He adapted the recipe for home use for us and explained how we could do the steps at home. He showed us how to form the baguettes, slide them in the oven, what temperature.... EVERYTHING!

We even asked him if we could come and have a real lesson and he didn't say no, he said in September it could be possible.

Now, what he told us was actually quite surprising! The baguette dough has a 75% hydration, very little yeast, hardly kneaded, folded three times in one hour then placed in the fridge 21hrs. They are not fully risen when placed in the oven, it is the wet dough and the very very hot oven (250°C) that make give the volume. 

When I get some time, I will be trying his recipe. I feel success is near!!!!

Anis gave me permission to publish his pictures. They were all taken by Florence, "photographe extraordinaire".


Anis Bouabsa


Baguettes à cuireBaguettes à cuire




foolishpoolish's picture



Chavi's picture

All out of whole wheat flour, I searched my bread library for a recipe that at least incorporated grains for this week's loaf. I settled on Reinhart's Yeasted Multigrain from Crust and Crumb- a recipe I happened to have had my eye on for awhile.

So.. today before I went to class, I assembled the biga and came back to find that it had risen really well. The intense Israeli summer heat does wonders for rising bread dough! I put together the dough as called for using 1.5 ounces each of oats and cornmeal as I was out of bran and 2.5 ounces honey instead of the brown sugar. Due to the weather (I assume), I needed to add more flour for the dough to cohere. The first rise was pretty quick and I subsequently shaped it into a pan loaf for its proof which also went faster than the suggested time. I baked it until a thermometer hit the recommended time.. The resulting bread had a really nice oven spring and developed a nice brown color. After it cooled, I cut a slice and tasted to find a really satisfyingly crunchy crust and creamy looking interior. The crumb was nice.. as for the flavor.. I found it to be pretty mild but with a pleasant honey undertone.. I think this time I should have added all the salt but overall it was really good. Looking forward to having it for breakfast tomorrow morning!

foolishpoolish's picture



Chavi's picture

One of my more recent acquisitions to my bread library is Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. I try to bake bread at least once a week, but as a college student, that isn't always feasible- especially with our tiny ovens. So to inaugurate the book I decided to make a sandwich loaf (hearth baking is nearly impossible in these ovens) and because Im trying to stick to whole grains as much as I can (yes, I sometimes resort to white breads!) the first whole wheat bread in the section it was!

The night before I made the soaker using 1 percent milk (Im baking in Israel, not sure exactly what the American equivalent is). Once that was finished I made the biga- the texture of the dough was exactly right. The next morning my biga had doubled, even tripled beautifully. I put together the dough, which was alittle difficut to assemble- incorporating liquids and solid dough isnt easy. I let the dough rise and then baked in a sandwich shape in a loaf pan (after another rising!) without steam. The bread had beautiful oven spring and developed a beautiful brown color and the most intoxicating bread smell ever.

The bread had beautiful color, crumb, oven spring, and texture...........but I thought it was too salty. I measure everything by weight, including the salt. Either the salt here is different, or I didnt mix it in well enough. Oh well, my sister and brother in law didnt detect the salt and spread with jam it was barely detectable to me.

Overall, good experience.. will try again...maybe try another recipe... Bottom line... I think Im going to like this book...

MaryinHammondsport's picture

Hamelman's Oatmeal BreadHamelman's Oatmeal Bread

This is my second try at Hamelman's Oatmeal Bread.

We're really pleased with it for sandwiches. My husband prefers a pan loaf but I think it would make a good hearth bread as well.


boredhumor's picture

The last few times I've made chocolate chip or sugar cookies, they turn out flat and crispy, not at all puffy or soft, and sometimes they're all brown and burnt on the edges and white in the middle. I don't mind a little crispy, and I definitley don't want a cakey chocolate chip cookie, but I do want a cookie, not a cracker! They still tasted good, but they're all flat and icky. What's wrong with them?! The only things I can think of are too much butter or too little flour.


Sugar cookies

3 cups powdered sugar

2 cups butter

3 tsp vanilla

5 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cream of tartar

Cream sugar and butter. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients and add to wet mixture. Blend thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough and cut out shapes. Bake 7-8 mins or until edges get color.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 and 1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 pkg (12oz) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Blend butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda; blend into wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 7-10 min.

holds99's picture

Yesterday I made Rose Levy's Cinnamon Raisin Loaf from her Bread Bible.  It's an enriched dough, using a sponge and lots of butter (no eggs, except one beaten as a wash for the interior of the rolled dough.  It gets rolled out, an egg wash applied, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and rolled into a loaf.  It's somewhat labor intensive but the recipe produces a really good bread.  However, there's a mistake in her recipe, which if you have Bread Bible, you should note.  On page 261 - "Flour Mixture and Dough", she lists the ingredients: flour, dry milk, instant yeast, unsalted butter, and salt.  In Step 2 she tells you "Combine the ingredients for the flour mixture and add to the sponge."  She fails to tell you to reserve the salt until after the flour, which you cover the sponge with, has bubbled through and you have mixed the butter into the dough.  She later tells you (Page 262, Step 3), after adding the butter and mixing it into the dough, then add the salt.  So, make a note on page 261 to hold the salt out of the Flour Mixture until Step 3: "Mix The Dough".

Anyway, for the "scoring artists" out there, the crust/exterior "look" of this bread is unexciting, but it's great tasting bread.  I mixed it by hand, as I have been doing each time I make a new recipe lately, and I'm going to do it again later.  My "unprofessional" opinion is she over handles the dough a bit.  After 1 hour in the fridge the dough gets divided, rolled out, egg washed sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, rolled up and put into baking pans.  At this point (make a note in your book) the dough needs about 2- 2 1/2 hours at room temp to allow the butter to soften sufficiently so that cold butter (in the center, doesn't inhibit the oven spring/rise).  So, I'm going to try making some changes to the mixing technique and final proof it longer next time and see how it works out.

Instead of using only raisins (per the recipe) I used a mixture of half golden raisins and half dried cranberries and that worked out nicely for both color and taste. 

 Cinnamon Raisin Loaf No. 1

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cinnamon Raisin Loaf: Cinnamon Raisin Loaf No. 1 

 Cinnamon Raisin Bread No. 2

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cinnamon Raisin Loaf: Cinnamon Raisin Bread No. 2

shimpiphany's picture

with the help of my dad and sister, i finished the insulation layer on the oven. the only thing left to do now is a plaster layer - which won't affect the performance. that means baking can begin as soon as this layer is dry enough.

before we applied the final layer, though, i ran a cook of four pizzas.

we gobbled the pizzas after they came out, so this is the only "cooking" photo.  i used parchment paper because i don't have all the oven tools yet, and couldn't clean out the ash.  my sister is fabricating most of them for me (she is an artist and metalsmith), so i should have all i need soon, well under my $200 budget:

a few days later we put on the insulation layer, a 5 inch thick layer of mud, sand and straw.

here we are mixing:

here's the final layer. we were all covered in mud with no one to take pics of the process, so i only have a photo of the end result:

i'm going to build the door this week, and with the weather as hot as it has been, it should be ready to bake by friday.

wish me luck, and thanks for all your support.


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