The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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SylviaH's picture

My first attempt at some loaves from my 'bourke street bakery' book.  A bakery in Australia and their book was discussed in Shiao-Ping's blog posting.  It's a beautiful book filled with lovely color photos and recipes from this Australian bakery.  My first attempt at the 3 sourdough boule's and one large Apple and Oak battard, listed in the derivative breads chapter.


  My husband was very happy with the flavor and crumb of the boule and I loved the Apple and Oat with cream cheese for a nice breakfast toast.


Ingredients for the plain sourdough boule's

405 g (14 1/4 oz) white starter

765 g 91 lb 11 oz) organic plain flour - I use KAAP

400 ml (14 fl oz) water

20 g (3/4 oz/2 Tablespoons) sea salt


                    Mix the dough in the afternoon and retard in the refrigerator through the night.  Placed the loaves in warm humid place for 1-4 hours and bake to have fresh bread for lunch/ in our case early dinner.  Baked and steamed in a hot pre-heated oven on stones for 30minutes.




                               Three nice little sourdough boules


Apple and Oat loaf  -  I experimented ' because we were going out for the evening and I had no time left for bread making'  with this loaf by mixing and bulk retarding the dough and shaping the loaf the next morning before baking.  All in all it turned out tasting very good.  The stones were pre-heated at 500F before the temperature was reduced for steaming and baking. They were a little to hot for the loaves as the bottom was browned a bit dark.

If you wish, you can play around with the ratio of oats to dough in this loaf and change its texture.  Reducing the quantity of oats will mean it will not be as dense and can be cooked for a little less time.


70g (21/2oz) organic rolled oats

40 ml (1 1/4 fl oz water) This water is to soak the oats in for about 5 minutes.

715 g ( 1 lb 9 oz) sourdough  dough

185 g (6 1/2 oz) apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2-3 cm (3/4-1 1/2inch) pieces

Alternately, you can place the loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper, seam side down.  Place in the refrigerator loosely covered with a plastic bag for 8-12 hours.

   Baked on stones in a pre-heated steamed oven 450F reduced to 425F for 35 minutes for two loaves.  I baked a little longer for the single battard.  For not getting all the attention this recipe deserved it turned out pretty tasty.





Julie J's picture
Julie J

Rene,  I am glad you liked the pulla!  I love it a lot too!  I know there is a large population of Finns living up in your area and you might be able to get fresher cardamom seeds in Michigan!  In NH, we have cardamom seeds at my health store, but cardamom loses flavor really fast, and I am always wondering how long it has sat at the store and lost some flavor!  Not that many people buy cardamom in that form!  I bring mine from Finland anyway, so I don't have that problem, thankfully!    Take care, Julie J

And to the Red Fox!

Thanks for the article about the lent buns!  I saved the recipe!  My husband has made them too and they are good too!   He said he just takes whipped cream and chopped almonds and cuts cardamom buns in half (pulla) and takes out some dough to leave room for the whipped cream and almonds!  He said you can use strawberry jam too, for a different taste!   The Finns use pulla as a base for a lot of different recipes!  I know my husband pats out little tarts with the pulla dough and fills them with cooked fresh blueberries!  This is good too!   Take care and thanks for the post!  Julie J

txfarmer's picture

if pizza and savory monkey bread meet and have a child, it will be this dangerously delicious bread. Recipe can be found here:


Very easy to make, a departure from my usual sourdough and lean artisan breads, but if it tastes so good, it can't be a bad thing!


Fresh mozarella cheese in each dough ball, wrapped in butter and more cheese and herbs, layered with bacon (bacon!), sundried tomato, olives, and green onion, trust me, no one can say no to this bread. OK, maybe vegetarines can, know what I mean.

xd's picture

Hi All,


I have been baking sourdough each week at home and I just had the opportunity to make bread for a supperclub.  Here in San Francisco chefs will get together to make a pre fixe dinner for any number of people.  I offered to bring bread to this event for 40 people.  It was a Spanish Tapas menu so I made lavash crackers, potato boules, and black sundried olive torpedo/baguette rolls.

Thanks to the great people on TFL I had the confidence and know how to pull it off.  Thanks to everyone who either asked a question or took the time to answer one.  I found most of my questions already answered and this made things a lot easier.


Xan deVoss


Marni's picture

I'm documenting the results of the help my wonderful family gave me this past month while I recovered from a bicycle accident in which I broke my left wrist.  Fortunately, I'm right handed, but the cast/brace severely limited my baking.  I'm not the only one who suffers if I can't bake - my family wants their bread, cookies and cake - and I now know without question that I am a baker for the love of it.  I missed baking!

Anyway, there was no kneading or shaping for me, (typing with one hand too!) so my family stepped in and did pretty well:

   He did the shaping above and we finished them together.

   Here he is rolling challah into ropes; we all had fun braiding.

The challahs below were shaped by my daughters who are    seven. One was a first braid accomplished alone and the other is an interpretaion of a rose.

My husband and I made the braid from a video we watched of Ciril Hitz.






The finished products:


He also helped form a couple sandwich loaves ( very sticky - very funny and sweet) and the girls helped with pizza one night too.

As one of my friends said, the kids gained some good life skills during these weeks.


Now, my wrist is healed and I have two sourdough rosemary boules coming out of the oven!



turosdolci's picture

Zuccotto is light Italian cake full with pastry cream, fruit and soaked with rum. Fill it with fresh fruit such as, strawberries, raspberries or peaches.



jennyloh's picture

I think I'm being ambitious here.  Building starters, and started with 3.  Actually no,  I didn't start with 3.  I started with 1 full rye.  50g/50g,  following by a 1:1 ratio and then 1:1:1 ratio by the 3rd day.  I realised too late that I was going to build a giant and alot of wastage. I decided to split them into 3.  

I wonder if they are ready or I should just go on feeding them? Looking for advice.


Rye Starter - Day 5 without refreshment yet.

I took out about 160g from this rye starter and then added 50g/50g.  I think I should have thrown out more.  It's not as bubbly as the one that I added whole wheat.


Starter 2:  Added White flour - Day 5 without refreshment (using Dan Lepard's % of white leaven formula)

80g of initial rye starter/100g white/80g water

It's more bubbly and seems to have tripled.  Is this ready?


Mother Starter (Peter Reinhart)

I actually read wrongly and used Reinhart's formula on the 4th day.  But it's also very bubbly.  Should I continue with this formula to create the mother starter as per Reinhart's formula?

80g rye starter/60g whole wheat/20g water


Looking for suggestions and advices.

DonD's picture


For the past 15 years, my wife Barbara and I and our best friends Jeff and Barbara have marked our annual rite of Spring with a visit to Barboursville Vineyards in Virginia as guests of Luca Paschina, the General Manager and Winemaker of the Estate which is owned by a consortium of Italian wineries based in Tuscany and headed by Gianni Zonin, the patriarch of the Zonin Family. The vineyards and winery are situated on the grounds surrounding the old estate of Governor Barbour where winemaking was first introduced by Thomas Jefferson. This Celebration of Spring is marked by an annual Morel Dinner that the Winery and its Restaurant 'Palladio' organizes usually the first Saturday in May. As longtime wild mushroom foragers, we are responsible for a morel talk and slide show as an introduction to the all morel dinner paired with various wines from Barboursville Vineyards. But the highlight of the weekend has always been the informal Friday evening before the main event get-together with Luca, his wife Patty and children and assorted friends from near and far.

 Entrance to Barboursville Vineyards

 Barboursville Vineyards

Al Fresco Dinner:

This past Friday, we took off from work early and drove down to Luca's house just in time for an Al Fresco dinner in his backyard with his family, his assistant winemaker Daniele, Domenico Zonin (eldest son of Gianni) and Christophe, a visiting French Wine Consultant. In anticipation of this get-together, the day before, I had baked a Pane Casareccio di Renzano loaf from Daniel Leader's 'Local Bread' to go with a whole Prociutto ham made from the leg of a pig named 'Spike' that was raised for a caterer friend and that I had cured for almost two years. The weather was gorgeous, the fellowship was excellent, the morels were plentiful, the wines were flowing and the prociutto and bread were not bad either.

 Pane di Genzano w/ Prociutto and Tomato

 Fresh Pasta w/ Sauteed Morels 

Pane di Genzano:

I followed Leader's list of ingredients and proportions exactly but downsized the loaf to a manageable 500 gms total of KA Bread Flour. I modified the procedure to include a 30 minute autolyse and a light 4 minute kneading with a dough hook on low speed followed by a 2 1/2 hour fermentation with stretch and fold in the bowl every 30 mins. I shaped the dough into a boule and proofed it in a banneton for 1 hour before scoring and baking. I baked it at 450 degrees F with steam for 1 hour and at 400 degrees on convection without steam for 25 mins. The loaf snapped, crackled and popped when removed from the oven and the crust developed nice cracks and remained crunchy until the next day. The oven spring was tremendous and the crumb was tender and open. The dark crust was nutty and the crumb flavor was sweet and complex with no trace of sourness. I read that this bread would last for several day without staling but I would never find out because the loaf was gone in no time thanks in no small measure to Luca's kids.

 Crackly Crust

 Tender Crumb

The Main Event:

We capped the weekend festivities with the Saturday evening Dinner in the Banquet Room of the Winery. The dinner which is always sold-out was a 5 course dinner featuring Yellow Morels from Michigan and Black Morels from Oregon paired with a selection of wines from Barboursville.

 Frisee and Grilled Asparagus Salad w/ Pancetta and Roasted Morels

 Braised Pork Belly w/ Cauliflower Gratin and Glazed Morels

I cannot wait until next year...

Happy Baking (and Eating)!


rossnroller's picture

Last Thursday evening I met up with Yozza, another resident of the eternally-just-unwrapped city of Perth, Western Australia, who has a wood-fired oven at his workplace. After some PM exchanges during which I expressed in pining tones that I would love to try baking my sourdough pizzas in a WFO, Yozza suggested a bake-off: he would bake some of his dark ale wholemeal/white bread with molasses and sprouted wheat, and I would bring along some SD pizza dough and toppings.

I’d learned through our PM correspondence that Yozza is a pro baker who has sensibly elected to extricate himself from the long hours and pressures of baking for a living, and who now has things very well worked out – he works on campus at a technical college in a non-baking capacity, but spends whatever time he has spare haunting the Hospitality and Commercial Cooking section, where he is able to keep in contact with baking in a commercial context, while contributing his knowledge and experience to the staff and students…not to mention his bread, which he hides in secret spots on site, lest it disappear before he can make good his promises of a loaf or three to multiple grateful staff members, with a couple in reserve to take home!

I’d never met Yozza in person until last Thursday, but I would have had no trouble picking him out of a line-up – he looks exactly as I imagine a baker should look! I’m not going to elaborate unless specifically pushed…but if your image of The Baker archetype equates with mine, there is really no need!

Yozza led me through a warren of rooms and corridors to a courtyard outside the Hospitality student restaurant, where a handsome wood fired oven takes pride of place. Yozza is justly proud of the oven; it was his brainchild, built by the college’s engineering students. He had fired it up earlier in the day, ready for our bake-off. It glowed beautifully from within, radiating the ancient heat of the baking ages and the promise of the pizzas and bread to come.

Back in the kitchen section, Yozza mixed his bread dough in a commercial mixer – enough for 28 loaves of 500gm each (pre-baked). This was my first glimpse of commercial baking. It struck me that the worlds of the professional and amateur baker are far apart – further than I had imagined. That gulf widened for me as the evening progressed.

The obvious difference, of course, is one of scale. I keep my starter in the bottom of a small glass peanut butter jar in the fridge, and do a build for a single loaf of sourdough bread from a couple of teaspoonfuls, culminating in 2-300gm or so of active starter in a small glass mixing bowl. Yozza’s starter, by contrast, sits in a container about the size of a large can of paint!

Mixing my bread dough, I add water out of a Brita filter jug, using a little plastic medicine-measuring cup to finish off to the nearest gram – Yozza pours in water by the bucket!

When the proofing of the dough was complete, Yozza divided it into 500gm balls, which he pre-shaped with a deft motion I couldn’t easily replicate. That was nothing - his final shaping was so fast and tricky-looking, it seemed like sleight-of-hand! I tried to do a few loaves under his patient tutelage, but my efforts were clumsy and slow by comparison, and the results were as amateur as I felt! I was a bit taken aback, to be honest. Having carefully followed along with Hamelman’s directions when shaping my loaves at home, I thought I was on top of the shaping game. Uh uh. No time for my careful folds and finicky dough-nudging final shaping rituals when you’ve got 28 loaves to bake!

And the pizzas? Well, I have to admit to a little disappointment. Perhaps unrealistically, I had expected the WFO to take my pizzas to dizzy new heights. I have arrived at my pizza dough over many months of tweaking and experimenting (see this post), and the pizzas I turn out of my domestic oven at home take some beating. The WFO did give a light airiness to the rim that can only be achieved with a fast rise driven by high heat, and added a nice char to the edge, but for some reason the overall flavour was not as good as that I achieve at home. Not by my reckoning, anyway.

We shared the pizzas out among the staff, and I was surprised to learn from Yozza later that the feedback was very good. One staff member apparently declared her sample the best pizza she had tasted! Maybe I am my own harshest critic, but I am sure I can do a lot better. As with anything new, no doubt there are aspects to WFO baking that take some getting used to. All part of the mysterious, wonderful wide world of baking…

And Yozza’s bread? In a word, delicious! Soft elastic even crumb, thin but tasty crust, and lovely as open sandwiches for my lunch next day. Great spread with butter and honey, too – as you’d expect, the molasses and honey spoke eloquently to each other.

All in all, a terrific insight into the commercial world of baking for me, and a rare chance to get up close and personal with a WFO. Many thanks to Yozza for making it all accessible to me.

Following are a few pics taken during our bake-off. Not the best of quality – digital photography is not a strong point of mine – but it’s nice to have some visual record of the night, and to be able to share it here.

Cheers all!


Q: What beats a stoked-up wood fired oven ready to rock?


A: A stoked-up WFO with pizza bakin' inside!


My first wood-fired sourdough pizza margarita!


Do I need to tell ya who's who?


Derek's malted, sprouted wheat yeasted/SD bread


And yes, it IS as good as it looks!



Doughtagnan's picture

After watching the UK TV programme In Search of the Perfect Loaf, following the progress of baker Tom Herbert who goes on an epic quest for the perfect loaf, and so the Shepherds Loaf was born. Tom’s journey helps him to come up with an enormous, two kilo, white, spelt, sourdough loaf made using his family’s 55 year old sourdough, organic spelt flour from Somerset, Cornish sea salt and Cotswold water from a local spring.

Well, I thought it would be fun (as you do) to create a smaller offering at home with my 18 month old rye starter, filtered tap water and hardly any salt. I did source the same reassuringly expensive white spelt, Sharpham Park (£3.50 a kilo!) so my 1st attempt is a 4-500 gram boule just to see if it works okay as I am not in the habit of using such expensive flour! test bake will be later today and I will post a pic of the crumb etc tomorrow and the basic recipe........ see also the links to Tom's bakery and the Sharpham Park websites.

Well..... the loaf turned out fine, 




As this was a test bake I only used 275grams of the Refined Sharpham Park White Spelt,  about 52% water to flour weight and a couple of tablespoons of rye starter. I mixed 125 grams of the flour with all the water and starter, left overnight and added the rest plus a little salt the next day, I did not leave to mature in the fridge overnight as I have been doing lately but it still came out fine and i'm tempted to try mixing the refined flour with some wholegrain spelt next time. 


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