The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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lakshmi's picture

i went through a lot of recepies,

i find some words like sponge, poolish and sourdough being repeated quite often will some one enlighten me on the meaning  of these words and the purpose it serves,


lakshmi's picture


im from indiaand this is a fabulous site.

i had given up on baking bread after a lot of unsuccessful attempts

but this is the first time i could actually do it and tasted good.

the crust was a bit too brown.. i guess i kept it in the oven for  a bit too long.

how do i know that the bread is done from inside and also is not too hard/ brown onthe outside.

also i need to know what the measurements of a standard loaf tin are.

i have a small one 22 cm* 7* 7 cms.

so if i make the doughwith 3 cups of flour, and put half of it in the loaf tin and let it rise.

can i put the other half in hte freezer and use later after 2 days?

if yes then how long do i thaw it  and after what time can it go in to the oven?

let me know.



amethystrosemaiden's picture

Ahmmm... I can't really remember what date I'd baked these but it's definitely after I'd baked the Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal loaves.

I loved Floyd's version of the Sweet Corn Raisin Bread & I thought to myself since I have a huge package of sunflower seeds sitting around waiting to expire, why not add some nutty flavour to an already delicious recipe.  The cornmeal certainly added a wonderful  golden colour to the crumb & an unusual grainy crunch to the crumb.  As usual, my favourite raisins is always the yellow raisins, it's just simply so sweet & has this sweet & sour like nectar that somehow is superior to all the other variety of raisins IMHO. The sunflower seeds definitely added additional crumb design & scrumptious nuttiness but then again, I'm always a bit fan of sunflower seeds, can't really remember when I've acquired the taste.  Definitely late in life as it seems.

I tried scoring a star shape on this boule but looks like I overdid it a bit that it's kind of distorted. This loaf was certainly heavy hence my photo taken by my webcam was a bit out of focus. Colour of crust was a little too dark, will have to note down a shorter baking period next time.

Now this next regular pan loaf  finally had the perfect middle scoring that I'd been trying since forever to get that perfect cut just under the crust of the loaf to open up beautifully. Hmmm..may be I have to give credit to my using my new serrated bread knife that could finally cut instead of using my other knives that keeps dragging across the loaf like a shark's bite not to mention deflating all those nice bubbles that I'd worked so hard to get. I'm also very pleased to add that my fiance thinks I'm improving on my scoring, not too much of Shark tooth's overbite..:)

 Now these look like a poor sister or brother to the perfect Hot Dog Rolls. I was trying some elaborate scoring on top but looks like the rolls were a bit too short to be Hot Dog rolls..oh well... I'll know better next time & get a measuring tape ready just to be precise. Nevertheless they tasted absolute deliciously when I stuffed them with tuna scrambled eggs & baked beans for dinner.  No complaints from my aunty there.  She'd gobbled up 2 of them all one go.

Flourgirl's picture

Well, here goes:

I have had a love of baking for quite a while now.  I really didn't get a chance to actually do much baking because of my lifestyle.  So, I changed all that.  I went from driving an 18 wheeler over-the-road, to driving a bus locally, to working in a small bakery.  I am also going to school for a Certificate in Baking.  it's just a small community college, so all my training is in the form of an apprenticeship in a local bakery/restaurant.  It's not a Artisan bakery, but I am learning about small scale production baking, which is more then I knew before. 

I'm doing my on-the-job-training apprenticeship at the bakery three to four days a week, from around 4 a.m. till about 9 a.m.  This gives me time to attend my on campus classes in the afternoon.  On a weekday, I usually make three batches of bread, Swedish Limpa, Oatmeal and White.  Then I make four batches of Cardoman dough to be used the following day for forming cinnamon rolls and braids.  While the bread is in the proofer, I bake braids and rolls formed the previous day and take dough from the previous day and form rolls and braids for the next day.  Then, in between breaths, I squeak out a pie or two, some pie shells and some rice or bread pudding. 

So, when it's all over, this is my day:

I will usually have about baked about thirty loaves of bread from scratch.

Baked ten to fifteen rolls and ten to fifteen braids formed the previous day. 

I will have prepped for the next day by making four batches of Cardoman dough to partially rise in the cooler.

Formed ten to fifteen each of cinnamon rolls and braids from the previous days dough.

Blind baked four or five pies shells from scratch.

Made one or two pies from previously baked shells.

Made a pan of pudding from scratch.

After all that, I go home and take a nap, if I am lucky, before I go to my classes.  It makes for a busy day.  The weekends are even more intense, as the bread production is doubled.

But, this kind of production baking isn't my big dream.  While it's a good learning experience, it basically has taught me what I don't want to do with my life.  There is no room for experimentation or a desire to do so by the bakery's management.  So, I trudge along at my apprenticeship, knowing that I can take what I learn to a place that better suites me.  In the evenings, I go home and leaf through pages of books and websites, looking for that special something that will breath some life back into me. 

Then, on some evenings, I bake that special little something for myself to fill that artistic desire.

And hope it turns out...

amethystrosemaiden's picture

Hello Everybody,

I simply do enjoy coming here regularly to read everyone's post on different variations & methods of baking bread.

Just a few hours ago earlier this morning on the 20th Sept'06, I'd attempted to bake my first time; a wetter & slacker dough for my Poppy seed hot crossed buns.  I had changed the recipe I got in my recipe to use yellow raisins/glace red cherries/glace mixed peel and added poppy seeds & wholemeal bread flour too instead of the regular traditional recipe.

Thanks to Floyd's recipe of Pain de Provence using cointreau which I may add is an excellent option to soak all the fruits in overnight. Thanks to everyone's input on handling wetter & slacker dough, my first attempt produced a heavenly mouth watering aroma of Cointreau soaked fruits when sliced opened.

Oven spring was fantastic, the texture was soft & fluffy although it didn't have the irregular holes that I'd wanted in a slack dough. I reckon it's due to the fact that I didn't do any poolish/preferment/sponge first nor did I handle the dough gently when I was shaping it.




Here is the picture showing the fluffy texture of the crumb. You can also see the little bits of glace cherries/yellow raisins/mixed peel peeking out. Unfortunately, the poppy seeds aren't too noticeable.

Thanks to Floyd for helping me out with posting my photos.  



PMcCool's picture

In case you are thinking that there is no way that particular sequence of dots can be connected, stay with me. You may want to send for the nice men in the white coats when I'm done explaining, but until then, think of it as a case study in aberrant psychology.

It began, innocently enough, with Floyd's suggestion (challenge?) to submit some ideas for harvest breads. Some of the things that I have long associated with Autumn are the late-season vegetables like winter squash, pumpkins, and parsnips. Squash can add moisture and texture to breads, as well as a low-key sweetness. Combine that with something savory, like sage, and you have the flavor foundation for a knock-out loaf of bread. Ah, you begin to see where this is going . . .

As I was rummaging around on the internet to see if there was a recipe that I could adapt or just plain steal, I came across a couple of interesting possibilities. Here is one of them: And here is another:

The thing that really grabbed my eye, though, was this recipe: I hadn't been aware of the site previously, but I'll definitely be back to browse some more. Sorry, sidetracked again. Anyway, I had a new recipe to try, a fresh-from-the-farmers-market butternut squash on the counter, and a note with the recipe that suggested serving the carbonara with ciabatta. Hmm, ciabatta. That's been on my list of things to try for a while now. There was a stiff starter in the refrigerator that would serve well as the biga for the ciabatta recipe in BBA . . . (Are you paying attention to the dots?)

Saturday dawned, rife with possibilities. My wife was away all day, conducting a seminar. The grass was in need of mowing and there were bare patches to reseed, now that the weather has cooled. And bread to bake. Actually, there was enough starter, after doing 3 builds, to do two batches of bread. First things first: run to the lawn and garden center for 5 pounds of grass seed. Get home, prep the squash and put it in the oven to roast. Mix the ciabatta, set it to bulk ferment. It's definitely a sticky dough, but not nearly as wet as I expected from others' descriptions. First time to follow a recipe by weights instead of volumes.

Back outside to mow the yard. Pop back in to check on progress of ciabatta and do first stretch and fold. (Yes, I washed my hands first!) Took squash out of oven. Decided to make just a plain sourdough bread from BBA. After further looking, decided that one loaf would include walnuts and blue cheese, since my wife loves blue cheese. Mixed mixed and kneaded the dough for that and set it to ferment.

Back outdoors to rake and seed the front yard patches. Headed back in for second stretch and fold with ciabatta. Sourdough rising slowly but steadily. Decided to break for lunch. After lunch, devised couche from heavily floured dish towel and shaped ciabatta loaves per Reinhart's pictures in BBA. Wound up looking like this:

Before heading back out, I put the stone and a steam pan in the oven to preheat. Oh, and separated the squash flesh from the skin and innards now that it was cool enough to handle. Put it in the refrigerator for later.

Then I went back outdoors to rake and seed the patches in the back yard. Afterwards, back in to check on breads. Oven was ready, so gave the ciabatta a final stretch, per BBA instructions and popped them onto the stone, riding on some parchment paper. Filled the steam pan and winced to see some of the spatters landing on the oven window. Somehow escaped causing any damage. Shaped sourdough loaves and placed them in the now-vacant couche.

Went back outside to make sure the seed was properly covered and then started the sprinkler. Next, started putting up new hangers for tools in the garage (that's a follow-up from last weekend's project. Checked the ciabatta when it was close to time. Internal temp read at 202F, so whisked them out of the oven. Sourdough loaves were still rising, so shut off the oven.

My wife got home about this time, so after chatting about our respective days, I ran to the store for carbonara ingredients that weren't on hand at home. (Pancetta isn't part of my standard batterie de cuisine.)

On returning home, after reading the carbonara recipe again, decided that it might take a while to pull everything together, so started working on that. A couple of notes from that process: 1. The recipe calls for 2/3 of the herbs at one point, 2/3 of the herbs at second point, and the reserved herbs in yet a third step. I suspect that the amounts should have been 1/3, 1/3 and 1/3, respectively. 2. The recipe directs you to "sizzle" some of the sage leaves in butter and olive oil as a garnish. I managed to scorch them (literally too many things in the fire at that point), but wound up not missing them in the finished dish. They are a garnish, not an integral part of ingredients, so if you want to simplify by skipping this step, go for it. Fortunately, everything else came to gether successfully. 3. Although the recipe specifically calls for butternut squash, I don't see why other winter squash (buttercup, Hubbard, acorn, etc.) or pumpkin or even sweet potatoes couldn't be substituted.

In the middle of all of this, I noticed that the sourdough was about ready for the oven, so I started the preheat. Since it hadn't cooled completely yet, it got up to temperature fairly quickly. Eventually, the carbonara came together and the bread baked as it should.

The carbonara was fantastic and, yes, pinot grigio is a very good accompaniment. This recipe is definitely in the "keeper" category. It will probably also be a once or twice a year event, because of its complexity.

The ciabatta, however, is going to require some further practice. I don't know if it was the use of the stiff starter for the biga, a too-low hydration, my inexperience with and/or mishandling of this bread, or some combination of those elements, but it wasn't a thing of beauty. Like most sub-par bread experiences, it was, at least, delicious. The crumb was, well, bready. I was looking for an open and big-eyed crumb and wound up with a relatively close-textured, soft crumb. And the shape--well, I'll keep trying.

Here's a photo:


The two ciabatta are on the right. You might be able to make out part of the crumb of the nearer loaf. Sorry that the view isn't clearer. The front loaf on the left is the plain sourdough; the rear loaf on the left is walnut/blue cheese sourdough. I was braced for a strong cheese flavor in the walnut/blue cheese loaf, since I'm not especially fond of blue cheese, but was pleasantly surprised that the cheese flavor was subtly blended with the other flavors. I haven't cut into the plain loaf yet.

A long day, lots of work done, good bread and a fantastic dinner to wrap it up. Not bad at all. And, needless to say, Sunday was a quiet day. Thanks, Floyd, for triggering my pinball progression.


Darkstar's picture

I've been passionately lurking on this site for a few months now. I have baked up a few dozen loaves and have been meaning to start up my baker-blog but never could get the stars to line up with a lovely loaf, my digital camera, AND the motivation to write down what I've done. I figured this is the easiest way to get my own personal ball rolling so without further ado, my impressions of the Fibrament baking stone.

I read all the opinions presented in this site and my head was sent twirling. I decided that after seeing the tremendous oven-spring a simple round loaf of wheat bread got on my pizza stone (now broken due to steam) I should look into a larger, more robust piece of masonry.

I couldn't wrap my brain around anything that wasn't a large slab (IE: quarry tiles, bricks, very small rocks) so my choices seemed to be kiln-bottoms or Firbrament. I'm pleased to say I placed my order on Fibrament's WWW site very early on a Thursday morning and received my stone mid-afternoon Friday using standard shipping. (Keep in mind I work by O'Hare airport in Chicago and the Fibrament company is located on Chicago's south side but it still was GREAT turnaround)

After I seasoned the "stone" I whipped up my second attempt at FloydM's pain sur poolish and made two of the ugliest shaped loaves I've ever seen with some WONDERFUL oven spring, crust, and crumb. The ugly part was my fault as my dough stuck to my cutting board (AKA fake Peel) in spite of the corn meal I had sprinkled down to avoid such an outcome.

Bottom line, my oven fits the $66 stone and I consider it money well spent. My bread is turning out markedly better looking and I'm enjoying the "brick oven" feel without the expense of building one. To anyone trying to decide whether or not to invest in ANY type of "baking stone"-like apparatus I whole-heartedly recommend it! It will make your baking experience all the more satisfying.


This post and all my others are just my $.02. Thanks to the FreshLoaf community for turning me back on to a hobby that my mother started me on when I was a wee little lad with a tiny little loaf pan making bread with her.


Floydm's picture

World Bread Day is coming up. On my birthday, October 16th, in fact.

Last year I baked a pumpkin french bread for it.

I may have to try that again, because it was good.


Floydm's picture



rverjean's picture

Just found this wonderful site - and I don't know where to start searching! So much to see! I am a full-time RVer so don't do as much bread baking as when I lived in a stick house and I miss the flavor, texture, etc of home made bread.


I am currently struggling with high cholesterol so am particularly interested in a recipe for really healthy bread now. Probably oat, wheat, flax seed, seseme seed, or ???? Would welcome suggestions. Also, are there any known websites that can give you the breakdown on the health benefits/values of the ingredients in a recipe?



My goodness! I just previewed my msg - and see the date posted noted as December 31, 1969 5:00pm! WRONG!!!

How does the date get there? Today is September 23, 2006! 


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