The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
Floydm's picture
I did more work on the recipe calculator (or whatever it should be called) last night. It is getting pretty neat.
Recipe:    Scale Factor:    Base Unit kg lb

Please select a recipe from the menu above.
I'd love to be able to flip this around and let people enter their ingredients and have it calculate the baker's percentages for them. Just a matter of finding the time to work on it.
PMcCool's picture

Variety is good.  Even with all of the different types of bread to try and to enjoy, sometimes it's nice to do something a little different.  So, when my wife asked if I would make some Rocky Road Fudge Bars, I was happy to oblige.  This recipe was a Pillsbury Bake-off winner some mumble-mumble years back.  I've been making ever since I was in college.  It starts with a brownie base:

The base is then topped with a cream cheese filling:

The pan is then put into a preheated oven.  At the end of the baking period, 2 cups of miniature marshmallows are scattered over the top of the bars and the pan is put back in the oven for 2 more minutes to soften the marshmallows.  It comes out looking like this:

A warm, fudgy frosting is then poured over the marshmallows.  After swirling the frosting and marshmallows together, it looks like this:

This is when things get difficult.  Unless you want to eat it with a spoon, you have to let the bars cool until everything is solid enough to cut into bars.  Best to just put it somewhere out of sight until it is cool so that you aren't seeing it every time you look toward the kitchen counter.  Oh, and cut the bars small.  One is enough to induce a sugar rush and two could push you in the direction of a diabetic coma, even if you aren't insulin-dependent.

You can find the recipe at the Pillsbury site, here:

Floydm's picture

Last night, triggered by an IM from JMonkey, I started developing some toys for this site. Here is what I've come up with so far:


Scale Factor:

It needs some work still. I want to add more recipes and also convert units, but I think it could be pretty neat.

Lisa Johnson's picture
Lisa Johnson

My first post.  Apologies in advance to those who need specific measurements. I don't measure and make my bread "instinctively."  I used Raisin Bran flakes and orange juice to make a yeast starter.  Added a little sugar each day for 5 days.  Put it in fridge and forgot about it.  Took it out, added a little sugar and at days end when it was bubbling again, made an excellent loaf.  Because I like moist, rich bread and do not want to have to knead dough, I mixed some starter with warm water, sugar, a pinch of commercial yeast, half a stick of melted butter, and enough flour to make sticky dough that just begins to pull away from bowl. Dumped into well greased loaf pan, brushed with butter and covered overnight to rise.  In the morning, I baked in 400• oven 20 minutes.  Mmmm Mmmmm good. Preparation took 10 minutes.  An almost effortless way to make moist, dense, spongy homemade bread with a wonderful yeast smell. I can't guarantee you'll get my results, but it works for me. 

breadnerd's picture

I almost forgot it was World Bread Day! But, my weekend baking actually applies pretty well to the holiday.

Yesterday I baked bialys. I learned about these breads from an employer, who wanted me to develop them as a product for their bakery. She loaned me her book The Bialy Eaters: The Story of a Bread and a Lost World by Mimi Sheraton. The bialy is a small yeast roll, similar to a bagel, which was invented by jewish bakers in Bialystok Poland. Unfortunately, after the holocaust and World War II, the bread was mostly lost to Poland and exists only in adopted countries where survivors immigrated and recreated traditional breads. In the book, Mimi Sheraton travels to Bialystok and talks to people about their memories of the rolls. It's a rather sad book, as she often discovers how much was lost from the traditions of Poland, and is really more of an anthropological tale more than a food book, but it's still an interesting read.

This batch I used the recipe from Artisan Breads Across America, by Maggie Glazer. Supposedly it is adapted from Kossar's Baker in New York, who is famous for their Bialys.

Bialys are made from a stiff, lean dough, and Glazer recommends a food processor for kneading, which I didn't find necessary (my DLX was fine with the workload). When I baked these at the bakery, I used to retard the dough overnight, which worked great. This time I just made them in a single day: a 2-3 hour first rise, then formed them into 2.75 ounce rounds, and let them proof another couple of hours unti large, soft, and puffy. My house was a little dry so I spritzed the rounds with water to keep them from forming a skin.

Once the rounds are proofed, the special shaping comes into play. You pick up the round, stick your thumbs in the middle and gently pull outward, creating a thin depression (but not a hole!) in the middle. The center dough will be nearly see-through, and will bake up crispy. An onion/poppyseed mixture is schmeared on top of the rolls, and they are then baked in a very hot (450 degrees+) oven. They will brown up nicely in 8 or 9 minutes: watch them closely and pull them out when they are brown. Unlike Bagels these rolls are not boiled first: they have a nice chewy crust right out of the oven but can lose a little something with age--reheating or a quick toasting helps with that! It's a little tricky to get the center "hole' big enough so that it doesn't close up during baking--every roll turns out a little different!



We ate them plain right out of the oven, and later on split them and ate them toasted with cream cheese.



Floydm's picture

Happy World Bread Day, one and all!

Being a Monday, there is very little likelihood I'll get to bake. So I baked Sunday instead. I baked two Blueberry Cream Cheese Braids.


A sourdough loaf with my new starter (I haven't had a chance to post about that yet).

sourdough crust

sourdough crumb

Without question, this was the best sourdough loaf I've ever made.

I also baked something like the Pugliese from The Bread Baker's Apprentice with some left over mashed potatoes I had.

Pugliese loaves

So tomorrow, to celebrate, I'll eat them up, and perhaps share some at the office as a World Bread Day gift.

beanfromex's picture

Last week I had 11 people over for dinner to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving..Food becomes a focal point for most ex pats (living outside their birth country). My ex chiropractor for example, would get misty eyes when he spoke about his mothers roast France.

And for dessert, I made an english trifle, a sour cream and raison pie and a cherry pie. My husband, a week later is still craving cherry pie, claiming he did not get enough of last he BUYS a frozen one yesterday...claiming he didnt want me to go to "any extra trouble" and that a frozen one would "be almost the same". Now I am not a food snob, but Hades will freeze over before I eat a piece of this frozen pie, pictured below. Also I had alterior motives... the previously mentioned "doubts about the oven temp"

The good thing about it, was that it almost burnt, prooving again that there is something seriously out of whack with the temperature guage somewhere in my oven...

But, as beauty is in the eyes of the is taste...

beanfromex's picture

After last weeks failures of french bread...and the previous weeks sourdough fiasco, I have decided to move onto something that is tried and true in the kitchen. The thought was to check the oven's ability to remain at a constant temperature since they moved the gas tank and laid new lines on the roof.

The cookies came out of the oven "as normal". I had moved my only rack into the top position for the french bread attempts, so the first cookie batch came out a little crispier than normal, no photos of those ones!! This was the last of the Nestles pre chocolate chips, I have a single bag of hersheys minis left...But we prefer the Nestles.

I have also noticed that my key board is not spacing correctly...Most electronic appliances seem to deteriorate quicky in this humid enviroment..and I have experienced first hand its wonderful effects on french bread crusts....


ojuice's picture

Well the last batch of starter didn't make it, but I have a new batch of starter which is doing very well.  It's at the point now where I need to feed it twice a day while it sits on my desk.  I don't plan on using it until next week and of course I don't want to waste that much flour keeping it going until then.  So, if I put it in the fridge, how much should I feed it before doing so, and how long should I let it sit out before I put it in?  I assume when I take it out I should feed it as I normally would after it comes up to temperature.


In regards to my feeding questions in my last post, feeding 1/4 cup old starter with 1 cup flour and ~1/2 cup water is working great!

PMcCool's picture

It's been a long week already, and it's only Thursday! I actually did bake last weekend, but am only now getting around to posting about it.

Beatrice Ojakangas' book, Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand, has been languishing on my bookshelf for nearly a year and I finally got around to trying one of her recipes. Ms. Ojakangas hews mainly to straight yeasted breads and does not appear to have an interest in or experience with artisanal breads. That isn't a slam, just an observation, since I didn't happen to see any references to baking on a stone or using steam during baking. If the recipe I tried is any indication, her breads are definitely worth making.

I selected a buttermilk rye with fennel seeds. During a recent trip to the store, I had picked up some buttermilk with no particular recipe in mind, so I had some on hand. My wife does not enjoy caraway, but she does like fennel and it goes well with rye. So, when I happened across that recipe, it was an easy pick. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished loaves:

Buttermilk Fennel Rye

Buttermilk Fennel Rye

And another of the crumb:

Buttermilk Fennel Rye

As can be seen in the photos, I should probably have given it a little longer to rise, although it was already doubled in size. That may have reduced some of the splitting. It might also have helped to use some steam during the first few minutes. The recipe calls for baking the bread on a baking sheet but I baked it on a preheated stone, which probably contributed to a larger than expected oven spring. Whether in spite of, or because of, my tweaking, the bread is delightful to eat. The crumb, while close-textured, is not dense. The bread is moist and chewy and makes a great base for sandwiches. The fennel contributes a pleasing crunch, in addition to it's fragrance.

I'm looking forward to trying more recipes from this book.



Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries