The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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jennyloh's picture

I had an interesting bake today. Using the 5 minutes a day fresh baked bread recipe, I decided to try my hand on baguette again. 


The result was quite satisfying. Large holes,  crunchy crust,  and when I press down,  it bounces back.  The taste is quite interesting,  even though I didn't put much salt,  it is quite salty on the crust.
check out the details of the recipe and method here.

Shiao-Ping's picture

It was Dan DiMuzio who first brought to my attention that people who came from a pastry background are more sensitive to ideas about design and fashion when they become bread bakers.  I regularly visit a Brisbane specialty chef and bakers store to see what's new.  I was there last week looking for a gigantic stainless steel bowl for long batard or gigantic miche baking one day.  Just about I was leaving, I glanced over the New Arrival books section.  I was almost sure I had already had all the books in the world that I ever wanted to purchase, but no harm browsing.  Bourke Street Bakery?  Hmmm, what's that?  Um, the sourdough on the cover page looks gooooood, deep score with very rustic exterior. 


                                                Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam & David McGuinness 

What? A bakery in Surry Hills, Sydney!  That's near where we used to live (well, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge).   I read, on page 10, "Baking is part science, part stoneground milling and part river-running romance.  But it's not the romance that will keep your baking consistently good, it's the science....  If you take our electric deck oven and mixer from the production process, you are not far away from how bakeries would have operated in the 16th century."  Just those few words would get in into their bakery! 

Courtesy of Paul Allam, following are a couple of photos from the book: 


                                                Page 110                                                                                     Page 104 

This is the exact book that I've been waiting for from a bakery - full of bread pictures and unpretentious, rustic, and mouth-watering pastries for a home cook.  Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt's Tartine Bakery cookbook is very good but it is only cakes and pastries.  I have been waiting for their bread book.  Now I won't have to.  

For this post, I have made the humble beef pie, page 194.  As Paul and David said in the book, "If you ask most people, 'What is Australian cuisine?' they will often answer, 'The meat pie.'  ... A bad pie is just un-Australian."  They gave their pie to Paul's father, the chief "pie eater," to try; his father claimed that it had "too much flavour!" (page 197).  Well, just how I like it.  The following are my pies based on their recipe with minor variations: 





I told my husband about these pies; he asked for one to be reserved for him.  I quickly shuffled two into the freezer before my children gobble them up.  Yozza, if there were same-day freezer courier service for home cooks (as in Taiwan), I would have loved to send one (no, I would send two) for you to try.   For these pies, I used the best available puff pastry: Carême all butter puff pastry, handmade, from Barossa, South Australia.   I had not wanted to make my own puff pastry.




Also in this post, I have included pictures of a bread that I made last week to try to finish up some old flour that I had.  This levain bread is 1/3 golden semolina flour, 1/3 WW, and 1/3 bread flour (72% overall hydration):  






I find semolina gives a tough texture to the bread, not to my liking.  I should have added olive oil (3% will do) to soften the crumb.  Honey would also have benefited the crumb as semolina has sort of a bland taste. 

As I was slicing the bread, Polly was waiting ever so patiently for her share: 




It has been very wet for the last few days where we are.  Our dam is finally back up to 80% capacity, last seen eight years ago.  Some remote towns are flooded and the radio reporter couldn't even pronounce their names.  Our lawn is now moss green.  The bamboos outside my tea room are alive to have been bathed in rain.  I felt like in Japan over the last few days where some parts of the country rain for two-thirds of the year.  Outside my windows I saw squirrels coming out to stretch and leap.  And, a baby goanna came to visit my lawn!  He was not scared of me.  As I moved closer to take the shot, he stood still, turned his head and smiled.  What a fine showing.  Is he a dinkum Aussie animal




How often do you hear people say that the best view from their house is from the worst spot of the house?  Maybe not in Australia, but certainly in Taiwan where apartment buildings are so congested.  I never forget one day, one of the high school teachers, with whom I still keep in contact, led me to the side of her meditation room to sneak a view of the mountain against which her apartment is situated.  The containment and satisfaction on her face!  Well, it was a clear night some months ago, one of those drought weather nights, which seems so far away now that the rain has come back to us in Queensland, Australia.  I was getting ready for bed; for some reason I stuck my head out of my bathroom window, facing south-west.  And, WO!, there were a cluster of stars as bright as glistering tinsels from my childhood Christmas card, which I had never seen before.  What was going on in the night sky?

I ran out to my front balcony.  As I saw more and more stars, I went closer and closer down the steps to my front lawn, and in the end, standing in the wide open, with my jaws dropped, looking at the ... Milky Way.  

I had never looked at that side of the night sky before.  I had always looked at the other side for... the Southern Cross.  That night the Southern Cross wasn't there. 

When I came back up my balcony again, what I saw 10 - 15 minutes ago had largely disappeared - how fast had the Earth spun just in that time.  But that night I went to sleep with Milky Way in me.



breadinquito's picture

Hi folks, it's a long time since I wrote my last post....from i got the link of a shocking video! in youtube you just have to digit: michael voltaggio makes bread in the microwave..At first I was speechless, now I feel very sad and even a bit insulted : you can be an amateur or a pro, but if you bake it's because you have passion, soul and love for this ! Newbies home bakers might think making a good loaf is easier than in the true life! If Saint Honore, the baker's saint could say something, what do you think he'd say?

I wait for your reaction and wish happy baking to everyone! Cheers from Quito.Paolo

txfarmer's picture

The recipe is from right here on this site: , thanks, Floyd! I kept the dough a tad too wet at first, but easily corrected by adding a bit of flour.



This is not bread, it's cake!


Pablo's picture

A friend asked me about my bread baking technique and so I made a Youtube video.  It's pretty homey and casual.  Maybe someone will get something out of it.

Errors: "baguette" should be "batard", baking time 525 10 minutes, 470 20 minutes.


ehanner's picture

Last week nicodvb posted his most recent trial of 100% Rye flour bread. He declared it as good so I thought I would try it out and see if I could follow his steps.

I did stray off the green line just a wee bit when I used boiling coffee to scald the rye the night before. I also added some rye meal and some boiled rye berries that had been rinsed and strained after a 30 minute softening on the stove. And I just couldn't help myself from adding 2 T of German bread spice. So my version is a little darker than nico's due to the coffee.

There was so much going around the house today that I missed the step where he covers the dough for the first 20 minutes. I gave it an extra steam injection to help move the bar in the right direction. It smelled wonderful during baking. Rye has a deep full healthy smelling aroma when baking. I checked the internal temp once at 45 minutes and found 160F so I gave it an additional 15 minutes at 350F.

My loaf doesn't look as pretty as nicodvb's but let me tell you, it is tasty. A very sweet and full flavor. I think once the moisture settles down it will be perfect but slightly dense. Thanks nico for posting your results.


Proofed and ready to bake.

Just out of the oven. It isn't as dark on the top as this.

The crumb is a little dense, but delicious never the less.

trailrunner's picture

I am biking from St. Augustine FL to SanDiego CA. I am using this as an opportunity to raise awareness of hunger in this country . My local Food Bank, Food Bank of East Alabama, is helping me by placing barrels in local spots in my town of Auburn/Opelika AL. I am trying to raise 3100# of food as well as $ 3100 since the trip is 3100 miles. We will take about 60 days to do this so it is also a personal celebration of my 60th year on this earth. I am in Day 7 today and we are in Marianna FL. at the library. I will check in periodically. Here is my log so far . If you want to follow my progress you can get on Face Book for the Food Bank of East ALbama and see the updates. It would be wonderful if any of you would like to make donations to your local food banks in honor of my "Pedaling for Food". Caroline Donnelly


here are the updates to today. We decided that since it is so cold and windy STILL we would take a short day and a break. Only 22 miles today. Here is the log. 

Day1 Feb 26th-44 miles/avg 11 mph with loaded trailer from St Augustine to Palatka FL. windy and cold. camping in the cold.

Day 2 Feb 27th -61.34 miles/avg 10.7
wind and cold for the first part till the last 14 miles and then the sun came out and we hit the lovely bike path into Gainesville. What a treat. The overlook of Lake Alachua was beautiful. Stayed at the Zen Center Hostel.

Day 3
Feb 28th we in rode from Gainsville to a campground Ichutucknee Springs.. instead of Live Oak.
Was 45 miles/avg. 10.2. mph w/ trailer loaded. Head wind was 20 again to today with gusts.

Day4 March 1st----Great ride 57.69 miles/11.8 mph avg.we are staying Perry Fl/Days Inn.

Day 5---First 1/2 of day was wanderful heading out of Perry then HILLS/RAIN/ WIND WIND...50 miles/avg was a very hard day into Tallahassee. Days Inn again as it is supposed to get very cold again at night. What happened to warm flat Florida !!????? Had Sonny's BBQ and it sure tasted good.

Day 6 --started so hard as we took ONE HOUR to cross Tallahassee...there is a wide shoulder for part of but not all of it. T..hassee drivers DO NOT like cyclists. I "took a lane" and Pete and I simply made them stay over and out. It worked great as they can't crowd you to the curb. It is an essential riding technique I learned in NYC...thank goodness. WIND WIND all day and hills and more hills...50 miles and only 8.8 avg. It was so bad for one of our riders she gave up and went back to the hotel and called her husband to come from KY to get her...sad sad day. We didn't find this out till we were at the end in Sneads FL. . I had been carrying her tent and drop cloth ( 9#) she had the poles and so I abandoned the tent in the post office w/ the drop cloth ( postmaster said someone will want it) and I emptied and sorted and mailed 7.5 # of stuff home ! I am so LIGHT now. Yeah! Motel Seminole Inn in Snead FL.

Day 7---- decided to have a short day today . It is COLD and WINDY and HILLS....huh...have I said this before !!??? Ah well 22miles to Marriana FL avg 10 mph. We are at the library catching up on emails etc. Will probably Days Inn again. It is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend and into next week. We are all still bummed by Diane's leaving the group. We are adding a gal in Pensacola. So rest and regroup today. Pretty little town. c

bakinbuff's picture

My husband and and small boys quite like whitish sandwich bread, and although they like my sourdough boules and batards for dipping in soup, it is difficult to convince them to eat sourdough in any other form.  I have read in a few places that the long fermentation times plus the lactobacilli in sourdough improve the digestibility and lower the GI rating of bread (in comparison to bread prepared commercially with the shortest possible rises, etc).  Seeing as the family like toast and sandwiches from time to time, and I always make a instant yeasted loaf for that, I thought it couldn't hurt to try a sourdough sandwich loaf and test out the family's reaction.  So, today I am baking a sourdough sandwich loaf which is all white bread flour except half a cup of fresh ground whole wheat flour.  Of late, my starter has been less sour than it was before, so perhaps that will help, too.  Anyway, here are the pics of the crust and crumb.  While it was baking it filled the house with a delicious almost buttery smell which I find utterly irresistable!  Let's hope they like it too....

A cool loaf and two slices of toast later...

The children gobbled it up!  It is not sour, is quite light and fluffy, and very much what I was after.  Success!


msmarguet's picture

          if patience is a virtue, then let's just say i've spent most of my life striving for it . . . this is an oxymoron, i know, because being patient is the exact opposite of striving. but, i am not good at sitting still, calmly waiting for anything. i go when i'm awake, and i stop when i'm asleep, and there is not much in between. so for me there is a lesson in making bread: it is the valuable, heart warming activity of tolerance and the acceptance of what is to come. it requires me to give up most of the control to the bread, which is basically making itself, and needs only my humble service to keep it comfortable and tend to its care. 

         still, i have not learned even after years of making bread, and anxious with anticipatince is how i spent a day at work after the morning i made a sponge from my own wild yeast starter. i was so excited to have succeeded in growing yeast with nothing other than flour and water, that i couldn't wait to see the end result. oh, but confucius says, "desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly". isn't that just the truth when it comes to baking bread with yeast that isn't "fast-acting". there are no short cuts, no quick tricks, no set timers that will make this bread rise any faster. it is like watching grass grow. you simply have to submit to the yeast and the dough until they tell you it's time to bake.

scored and ready for baking.

          my forced patience over the 24 hours that it took to bake these patty-cake loaves was a reward that filled our home with a comforting smell, and my heart with a sense of accomplishment. it feels like i have been an assistant in the creation of something good, and now i anticipate, with serenity, the opportunity to do it over again.

patty-cake bread

• 1 cup of ripe chef starter click here to learn how to make a natural starter

• 2 cups of lukewarm water

• 1 cup of whole wheat flour

• 2 to 2 1/2 cups of white bread flour

• 1 tbl. of olive oil

• kosher salt


1. mix all the ingredients in the bowl of the kitchen aid just until combined. cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest about 20 minutes–this is called autolyse and allows the flour to absorb the water and for the gluten to start to develop.

2. knead the dough on the first setting about 6-8 min. until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

3. cover the bowl with the towel and after 20 minutes fold it click to learn to fold a wet dough

4. fold it two more times after allowing it to rest for 20 minutes each time.

5. rub olive oil on the inside of a large bowl and put the dough in it, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise until double in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

6. gently remove the dough onto a lightly floured counter with the pastry scraper– you don't want to push out all of the air pockets that have developed.

7. cut it in half, and then each half in half again. cover it with a towel and let it rest 30 minutes.

8. gently form the pieces into rectangles with the long side nearest to you.

9. to form baguettes, work with one rectangle at a time and fold the top and bottom to the center. gently seal the two edges. fold the top edge to the bottom and seal. gently roll out to a long baguette shape, and put them seam side up onto a wooden peel dusted with corn meal. place rolled up towels or place-mats between the baguettes.

10. cover the shaped baguettes with the towel and allow them to proof until about double (that's when you make an indentation with your index finger and the spot holds instead of springing back).

11. raise the top rack in the oven to about 6-7 inches from the top and lay a baking stone onto it. put the bottom of the broiler pan on the bottom rack and fill it with water. preheat the oven for 1/2 hour to 450 degrees.

12. slash the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife or razor to about 1/4 inch deep.

13. push the loaves off of the wooden peel just like you would a pizza crust with one clean jerk.

14. bake them for about 30-35 minutes until the tops are dark brown and crispy– rotate them about half way through to make sure they bake evenly.

15. let them cool completely on the grate of the stove top before cutting.


turosdolci's picture

Ricotta torta is a much lighter cheese cake then the traditional NY cheese cake. It is a traditional Easter dessert.




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