The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dans's picture

Hello everybody out there!

I just made my own Sourdough Starter, 100% hydration. I feed it twice per day, every twelve hours. It seems pretty active to me, but when i refresh it to bake the next day, the dough won't rise, it tend to spread...i get a little oven spring and nice color...i let it ferment 2.5 hours, 20 min. resting on the table and then 2.5 hours of proofing.

I baked Norwich Sourdough, english mufifns, and a Bordelais....same results: nice color, crumb and smell, but they are flat.

Can anyone may light my path...i am in darkness here..

Thanks in advance,


alliezk's picture

I am brand new here. Just baked my first sourdough last weekend, and then a rye rustic loaf this past weekend. Before that I made pretzels and pitas. Loads of bread for my sisters and I. I go through phases with my baking, and right now making beautiful (healthy) breads is my goal. I am currently suffering from lack of a kitchen scale and even worse, a terribly unsharp knife. When I figure out how to post picture I will get them up. Hopefully in time for my challah attempt this weekend.

Thanks to all for creating this wonderful community.

rayel's picture

  Hi everyone, ist post ever, so I am not sure I am doing this right. My question is:

Does anyone know where to buy untreated parchment? That is,

 no silicone etc.  Thanks, Ray


gothicgirl's picture

Posted at on 4/1/2009

It's April Fool's Day ... but I am not fooling around when I tell you that this pound cake is about the best I have ever had. 

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake

I had half a bag of coconut sitting in my pantry since I made my Carrot Coconut Cupcakes and I didn't know what to do with it.  For a while I considered making coconut candy, but I was not in the candy making mood.  As much as I enjoy candy, I prefer eating it to making it.  So, it was back to the drawing board.

 Lime Curd

Now, I should say that the last few days here in my part of Texas have been warm.  The trees are turning green and the grass has transformed from straw brown to vibrant emerald.  I have been feeling decidedly 'Spring-ie' and I decided I wanted something that sort of said, "Hey Spring!  How you doin'?" 

I also had a glut of limes that I needed to use, and lime curd seemed just the thing to make.  Well, If you have curd you need something to spread it on, and I love lime and lemon curd on pound cake.  Why not, I thought, make a coconut pound cake? 

 Toasted Coconut Pound Cake with Lime Curd

So, I did, and it was really, really tasty.  The toasted flavor of the coconut added another layer of flavor to the buttery cake.  It also added a lovely texture to the cake.  There was the fluffy part, the nutty crusty part, and now this chewy, sort of crispy part.   It was, for me, the perfect way to welcome Spring!

Lime Curd    Yield 1 cup

2 oz sugar
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 oz lime juice
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

DSCF1789Sugar Rubbed with Lime Zest

Rub the lime zest into the sugar until it is fragrant and the sugar is tinted pale green.  Pour into a heavy bottom pot.

Juiced Limes

Juice the limes and add the juice to the pot with the sugar.  Stir in the egg yolks and cook over medium heat until thick.  Stir in the butter and cook until melted.

Pour through a strainer into a heat proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Make sure to press the film down on the curd to avoid a skin.

Lime Curd

Chill for two hours.

While the curd chills, make the cake.

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake Fixins'

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake   Yield 12 servings

1 cup coconut
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the oven to 325 F and grease a 10″ loaf pan very well.

Allow your butter, eggs and sour cream to come to room temperature.

Toasted Coconut

Toast the coconut for 10 minutes, or until brown and fragrant.  Set aside to cool.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed for five minutes. 

Scrape the sides of the bowl down and add the eggs, one at a time, blending for one minute after each addition and scraping down before adding the next.

Add the vanilla and blend to combine.

Sift the dry ingredients and add them, along with the sour cream, in three alternating installments, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Do not over-mix.

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake  - Ready to Bake

Fold the toasted coconut in gently and pour into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 60 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center.  You may need to tent the cake with foil to avoid over browning.  Do not over-bake.

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake - Fresh from the OvenToasted Coconut Pound Cake - Cooling

Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

  DSCF1834 copy 

Slice and eat as is or ....

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake with Lime Curd  

Spread a tablespoon of the lime curd over the cake, and while we are at it some softly whipped cream.

Your taste buds will thank you. 

vincent's picture

now it's perfect this time very soft to eat and buttery

Ingredients (3-lb dough):
1 3/4 cup milk (evaporated)
1 egg
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tsp salt
6 cups allpourpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp instant dry yeast

Topping: softened butter(margarine), granulated sugar

Add dry ingredients in a bowls the 6 cups flour,instant dry yeast,salt mix together.. in the pan mix evaporated milk together the 1 3/4 cups sugar and the butter and heat the pan to boil. then cool to warm about 90-100 F. then poured into the flour and mix slowly , then knead about 5 minutes. let it rise for 1 hour. Once done, punch the dough, knead again then lay on the table and roll with a rolling pin to make it flat.  To keep the surface of dough from drying up, cover with clothes while you work on the ropes.)
Using dough cutter, make long ropes (about a foot long) about 1/2 of an inch thick, and coil. at the end of the coil press it tight so that it will not break the coil. some of mine i bake got loose note this...
Apply melted butter(brush) on coils and let rise for 1hour 1/2 inch apart on the tray
You may apply egg glaze prior to baking (if you want it darker brown upon baking). Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes when finish...
You may apply melted butter as soon as they get out of the oven. Helps keep them soft by preventing too much moisture loss. Then apply softened butter and roll in sugar when ready to consume. or you may mix cinnamon together with the butter then dip in the sugar...

if you want to see more recipe visit the site: link :


Floydm's picture

I baked two loaves today.

Two loaves of bread

The white loaf is a sourdough dough I prepared on Wednesday while working from home.  I wanted to see if I kept a sourdough in the fridge for 4 days would it still bake up well.

For the most part, it did.  You can see a bit of compression near the bottom, and in the center there were definitely some thick gummy parts.  I think if I tried it again I would make a smaller shape, but I was impressed that it came out so well after all that time. 

The other loaf is a 100% whole wheat loaf I made using a recipe from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.

whole wheat bread

The whole wheat flour was sent to me by flourgirl51, who sells freshly milled organic flour at  The bread is good.  100% whole wheat is a bit much for my kids, so I probably will have to eat most of this loaf myself, but I certainly can see how if you are into whole grain breads you'd want to either mill the flour yourself or find a good vendor that mills it fresh.  The freshly milled flour is significantly more flavorful.

dmsnyder's picture

In 1904, Sir William Osler, one of the greatest physicians of his time, was asked to address the graduating class of The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine on the topic, “What is the most important personal attribute for a physician to cultivate in himself?” Sir William's address was entitled “Aequanimitas,” which roughly translates into modern American English as “Chill, dude!” I have always tried to follow Sir William's wise advice.

This afternoon, I made a batch of baguettes, according to Anis Bouabsa's formula. I thought they were the most perfectly shaped and scored baguettes I've every made. As I was loading the three baguettes into my pre-heated and humidified oven, one fell off the back of the baking stone. As I tried to grab it, the other two baguettes fell off the peel onto the oven door. What a mess!

Uttering a few words which my wife has asked I not speak in the presence of our grandchildren, I scooped up the twisted heaps of formerly gorgeous baguette dough. Should I scrap the bake as a lost cause or attempt a salvage operation? What could I lose by trying?

Aequanimitas, aequanimitas, aequanimitas ... 

I was able to separate the three pitiful pieces from each other. I reshaped them quickly – one folded as one might fold a ciabatta, one coiled and one formed into a figure 8 knotted “roll.” I immediately loaded them onto the stone and baked for 10 minutes with steam at 460F and 8 more minutes dry.

Anis Bouabsa Not Baguettes

Anis Bouabsa Not Baguettes - Crumb


I hope you all have a great week and that all your "disasters" are really "opportunities," when you look back at them.


chi's picture


Pumpkin Bagel

Adding pumpkin makes the texture very tender and moist, still chewy though.  You don't taste pumpkin really, taste just sweetness of it.  

I like to use a Japanese pumpkin which is sold as "Kabocha Pumpkin" at a store.   Cut in half, toast lightly, put salted butter and bite!  Mmm...


proth5's picture

For the few and the brave...

 The time has arrived to bake the second batch of hand milled white flour.  This flour was the "pure white" flour that was milled on 27 Feb.  This has been aging in an uncovered container since then.

 Once again, I used my standard baguette recipe.  However after using the last of my last batch of white flour to make a pizza on Friday, I had some thoughts.  The last batch of flour performed very poorly for pizza.  Not that the crust wasn't crispy and tasty (because it was) but the rise had no oomph.  I considered that white flour is usually malted and that this lackadaisical rise bore all of the signs of a lack of alpha amylase action.

 So this batch of flour was malted.  I used a scant 1/8 teaspoon of diastatic malt to 15 oz of flour and blended it thoroughly.  I then proceeded to do my levain build for my baguettes.

 This time the levain was very comparable to that prepared with commercial flour.  If I was forced to find a difference, it would be that it was ever so slightly darker in color.

 The mixing of the dough went as I would have experienced with commercial flour.

 The bulk fermentation was also very much like what I have experienced with commercial flour, and, truth be told, it was a bit more lively than my last week's batch.

 During shaping, I felt no real difference this time; it felt like what I bake every week.

 After an hour for the final ferment, the loaves felt properly "proofed" which is what I would expect from commercial flour.  They were loaded, the oven steamed "as usual" and baked.

 The final result is pictured below.  Alas, the passing week has not improved my photography skills.

Hand Milled Crust

Hand Milled Crumb


Compared to last week's loaves these are much better balanced.  The sacrifice in grigne comes from a more thorough final ferment.  The more thorough fermentation process has produced that good old open crumb that I have come to expect from commercial flour.  It had the proper translucent quality and was not a bit gummy (as it would be if I over malted.)

 The taste?  Like I baked with commercial flour.  I like it, but it really isn't much different than what I bake every week.

 Would I mill this flour again?  Perhaps.  With a yield of 15 oz of flour from 2 pounds of wheat berries, one must regard this as a luxury flour.  The increment in taste - except for that sweet, sweet taste that comes from knowing that I can hand mill a flour that is every bit as good as a high quality commercial flour - is not really worth the effort.  The dramatic change in fermentation behavior must be attributed to the malting of the flour.  Remember it is less than .05 oz per 15 oz of flour - as we see; a little goes a long way.  What I may work at is developing a semi-white flour and make sure that I malt it properly.

 When I pick up a sack of all purpose flour, I handle it gently.  I have a deep appreciation for what this really means.

 Happy Milling!

Manang's picture

I received an email several weeks ago about this contest to come up with original recipes with sweet potatoes as the main ingredients. While I grew up in a country where sweet potatoes were more commonly used than regular potatoes in cooking, the contest prompted me to experiment in baking with sweet potatoes.  Whether I win or lose, I have come up with several definite keepers.  I came up with 5 recipes (recipes should be easy, and quick enough to make it to mealtime and be a part of daily meals).  There was no limit to the number of recipes to submit. Deadline is March 31st. I have made 5 and to me, that's enough, although I will still cook and bake with sweet potatoes. It was a pleasant learning experience.

Sweet Potato Rolls (Pandelimon)Sweet Potato Breakfast Rolls (Pandesal)

 On the left is pandelimon (as we call it in the Philippines), which is what we would refer here in the US as some dinner rolls. The softness and taste is unbelievable; it rivals the rolls served in one of our favorite family restaurants here.

On the right is pandesal (a Filipino breakfast staple). The only difference is the way they are cut, and that pandesal is rolled in breadcrumbs.


Both can be enjoyed with butter or jam, or just plain, dipped in hot cocoa or coffee.

Recipe can be found in my blog.

Next thing I made was the Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Wheat Bread.Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Wheat Bread

It is a dough (of course, made using sweet potato again), with cream cheese filling combined with sweet potato (inspired by a pumpkin cream cheese filling).

While the photo looks tempting, I was not too happy with it.

Sweet Potato BakeThen I made this dessert of baked sweet potato. While this entry will not qualify for  a "baking" post here in freshloaf, this delightful and rich dessert would pave the way for a baked "Hot Pockets" inspired sweet potato snack.


But first I had to make another dough to be able to make those sweet potato pockets.

Enter the Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls.Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

It was probably the best dough I have ever made for any cinnamon rolls.  So moist and soft, even after refrigeration!  And the best thing was that, the recipe could make a batch of three logs. A log could be frozen for use in another day. Everything is described in my blog. So the recipe I have there is good for 3 batches of 7-8 pieces cinnamon rolls. Sweet Potato PocketsBeing able to freeze them enables me to have them for at least 3 meals.

Since I had some leftover Sweet Potato Bake and I had enough dough from Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls to experiment with, I came up with a sweet vegetarian version of Hot Pockets, which I called Sweet Potato Pockets.  One or two pieces of this delightful snack is enough to fill my tummy in between meals.  They are also good as accompaniment to my evening coffee.

These are all the 5 entries I submitted to that contest. And like I said, whether or not I win or lose, I have already several keepers here, that I feel like a winner. One of my blog readers already tried the Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls, which happened to be her first ever baked bread/rolls, and she was so thrilled that everyone liked it. I guess I "recruited" her now into the world of baking. Maybe I should recruit her to the fresh loaf as well.


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