The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
timtune's picture

Image hosting by Photobucket

Raisin & rye loaf baked yesterday

ross's picture

i'm not really sure where to begin. i'm not sure of much, really. how about here:

i'm 26 and living in maine, working on a ph.d in physics with a very small bread business out of my kitchen. i only sell once a week and have about a dozen customers each time. and though i baked bread the first time when i was in my teens i have only been baking seriously (frequently) for about five years. it's only been in the last eighteen months that i've delved into the science of it all and quit simply throwing ingredients together as i had been doing for far too long. anymore, i find myself contemplating the possibility that my passion will one day cross into the realm of obsession. regardless, that possible reality i suppose i could easily accept, it is the fear of developing a gluten allergy that haunts me. we all know those shadows of fear, silent and looming, but for a young man, aged 26, to fear the onset of a gluten allergy his passion for bread surely has long been an obsession...

while i was riding my bicycle the other day i tried to imagine what an interview at a bakery might be like for me, answering questions about formal training and professional experience i might seem unskilled and unknowledgable, just let me run through a list of breads and descriptions, dough profiles and chemical processes, techniques and ingredient choices, etc...

oh, i am accepting it as obsession: my eyes, my hands, my nose, my mouth, with these tools i always, always critique the bread i come across.

ahhhhh, bread, let it be the body of every man.

luc's picture

Today the cafe was packed out for lunch. It was a good kind of packed as it seemed to be full of the groups of peoples that I can now somewhat call regulars. Several of them even waited for a table to clear - that meant waiting about 15 minutes... not something Hong Kong people are generally keen on.

The high point was that a table of regulars asked for a loaf of bread. The lady who I see more and more often came up to look at the breads I had on offer and chose my Pear/Walnut Bread. It's a heavy loaf - about 2lbs! She wanted half of it with the meal and half of it to take home with her.

It was pretty cool to see a table of people happily munching away on bread at lunch hour. As well - it was nice to see that she was willing to pay for my loaves what you'd pay for loaves from the bigger bakeries. :)

So I hand sliced half the loaf for her and heated it up a bit in the oven. This loaf can be a bit moist because of the amount of Pear bits in it... so it seems to go over well when toasted. I served it with a side of pure creamery butter and a quick explanation of what was in it. They were thrilled... so was I.

On a pragmatic note I found out that the smaller bread bags I bought work out well - even though they're smaller they fit a half boule in perfectly! :D Make note to self to include an ingredients list and short sales blurb about why this bread is special.

Early morning was time to make Mousse. Long before anyone else was awake I was already down at the shop whipping up an Italian merengue. This time I adjusted from my normal Mousse recipe and added 7 egg whites... I found that the extra whites really help to keep it light. That and I cut the amount of chocolate from 450grams to 400. The mousse seemed to pour better and seemed to settle better. I was happy with the efficient manner in which I knocked out 12 servings of dark chocolate mousse - 6 for dine in and 6 for take-away. Though there has to be a bowl out there made for pouring... with a lip or something. The chocolate can get a bit messy to pour. Though since I started becoming more deft with my spatula there isn't really that much chocolate waste. So by 9am.. it seems that I'd accomplished something. Not too shabby for someone who has spent so much of his life waking at noon.

Tonight I baked up Peaches stuffed with Ricotta and walnuts. Interesting. I had soaked the peaches in dark rum - though since they had been liberally sprinkled with lemon juice prior - they maintained a good color. I let that sit overnight in the fridge along with the ricotta filling that had been mixed. I added a bit more crumble to the mix today just before baking and dusted them with brown sugar just before popping in the oven.

Some notes:

The color of the Ricotta and walnuts isn't very nice
(somehow must get more toasty or golden - but not greyish)
I wonder how much of that was affected by the overnight sit in the fridge?

The Rum may have not been the proper ingredient for them to marinate in. The flavor was just OK.
But didn't really come across like a good Tiramisu comes off. Then again - how can you beat Brandy, Mascarpone and Espresso?!?!

The peaches could have been sweeter. I noticed that after they were baked I found them far more 'peach' flavored if I sprinkled them with regular white sugar. Unitl that point the peach flavor didn't really seem to have much flavor at all.
Strange. Maybe the sweetness is the catalyst for the peach flavor somehow.

This dessert can only be done for in house - these for delivery would be a nightmare. Not only for packing but also the kitchen is far too chaotic most of the time to pull these off - though could they be anymore hassle than the pear/apple crumble?!

Ok - plenty to work on.

litedelights's picture

Hi, I'm new with bread baking and I've learned a lot from the information on this site! One main problem I seem to be having is my breads are coming out too dry. Due to space limitations and the volume of breads I want to make, I'm using batter recipes. I've made cinnamon raisin, herb parmesan, rye and banana. I've used quite a few taste tasters and they're all telling me the flavor is good on all the breads, but they're coming out a little dry. I added a little yogurt to the cinnamon raisin and was told it was too heavy and dry (is that possible??). I added more water and less flour to the herb parmesan and it came out too heavy. The recipe I have for the rye is wet so that one came out a little heavy because it was too wet. I use the hot pan in the bottom of the oven for moisture the first 5-10 minutes the bread is baking. I keep the oven at the temperature the recipe calls for. I don't want to put it any higher because the breads are already coming out pretty brown. Is there a water to flour ratio that would help? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks. --Julie

longlivegoku's picture

We finally got our hands on some mozzarella di bufala when we visited a Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor, MI this last weekend. The olives were yummy as well and from the "olive bar" at WFM. Can't wait to make these in the new brick oven!

Bufala Pizza 1

This one is just a variation, with pesto as the sauce instead.

Bufala Pizza 2

KazaKhan's picture

My starter finally kicked into gear yesterday afternoon (started, Sunday 26th, March). It looked ready so I had a go at a lunch loaf. After a nice and quick first rise I shaped the dough and let it sit for a couple of hours before putting in my little proofer thingy. It didn't seem to be going well so I decided I was going to put in the fridge before going to bed. I forgot about it until I was on my way to bed when I noticed it was ready to bake, so on goes the oven at 12:30 at night. I took it out of the oven around 1:30 wrapped it in a tea towel and went to bed. A little small but I didn't have enough starter which also went into the fridge for the first time last night.

This morning I took the starter out of the fridge put some in a coulpe of containers and then fed them. And late this afternoon I was ready to go again. This was also my first use of my new vienna trays. I'll post a picture of the crumb later when I cut one.

All up not bad results for my first go at artisan bread. I used a 1:1 bakers flour and water starter which was fed irregulary, once or twice a day. I used the following formula and did not take any notice of the various temperatures.

  • 100% -- Bakers Flour
  • 100% -- Starter
  • 35% -- Water
  • 2% -- Salt
  • 1% -- Sugar
  • 1% -- Olive Oil
  • 1% -- Lecithin Granules
  • 1% -- Light Dry Malt
luc's picture

Here is my first attempt at Biscotti. Neapolitan style Biscotti to be exact.
This has plenty of orange zest (3 complete orange peels worth!) and plenty of ground almond in the dough and toasted sliced almonds with just a hint of anise seed.

Like all biscotti they are 'twice baked' - the first time to bake them and and the second shorter baking to dry them out so they'll keep longer.

These didn't 'keep' very long. My staff couldn't keep their hands off of them. The customers hardly had a chance to get at them. They really went well with a proper hot and strong Cappuccino.

I've gotten in the habit of baking these twice a week.

Image hosting by Photobucket

luc's picture

Here is a shot of one of my first rustic boules.
Using basically the same 'rustic' formula as what Floyd has posted here on The Fresh Loaf.
I seem to do OK with this formula and it's given me a great reference point or foundation to build on for most of my recent baking endeavors.

I quite like the classic boule shape. The crumb seamed good and it was tasty so I don't really have any complaints. I managed to use enough steam to get a nice crusty surface that toasted up beautifully. I find myself quite happy to go through an entire loaf with nothing more than a bit of butter.

Image hosting by Photobucket

KP Crumbworth's picture
KP Crumbworth

Pain L'Ancienne is easily one of my favorite breads. I'm applying this technique (delayed fermentation) to the following...

12 oz flour ( 4 semolina, 8 bread )
10.2 oz ice water
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt

I'm interested to see the flavor/texture of this method using the 1/3 semolina flour. I went with 85% hydration figuring the semolina will absorb quite a bit of water. I put it together last night, and it's been de-chilling for about an hour, so I plan to bake in another 2-3 hrs. I'll post pics when it's done. I also have a batch of pain sur poolish going just in case:)


Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

I’d love to have one but since I don’t…

I set out to determine if I could approximate the wood burning brick oven effect by baking the bread in my Cast Aluminum PK charcoal grill. I was hopeful because one of the nice features of the PK is the heat radiating effects of Aluminum. “Aluminum reflects 97% of heat rays


Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries