The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Floydm's picture

It is still cold here so I made a big pot of black bean soup this evening.   I also made whole wheat rolls with organic stone ground whole wheat flour that grown and milled by flourgirl51.

The rolls were great.  I was really surprised... the flour felt much courser than the whole wheat flour I usually buy and the dough seemed pretty rough, not silky.  But the rolls rose beautifully and had a wonderful wheaty flavor.  No complaints from my kids, which is usually my test of whether I've gotten too organic for my own good.  So thank you, flourgirl51, so much for the flour.  I will be looking forward to baking with the rest and trying your rye flour as well.

Rosalie's picture

I've been asked (via Messages!!) to post the recipe I used for Pitas.  I made two recipes, but I'll post the one that was designed as a Pita recipe.  Apparently just about any bread recipe will work, although I don't know about high-hydration doughs.

In my experimenting, I've become curious about the role of the yeast.  My conjecture is that the yeast just helps with the development of the gluten and of the formation of a gluten skin (as I think someone called it).  I don't think it has much of any role in the puffing up.

This recipe was taken from Beatrice Ojakangas' Great Whole Grain Breads.  It's on page 277 and is called "Whole Wheat Pita Bread".

  • 1 package active dry yeast (I'm sure I used considerably less)

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (warm if you go the proofing-of-the-yeast route - I don't - instead, I go for long refrigerator rises, usually overnight)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 tablespoons salad oil

  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups whole wheat flour

I won't go into the details of making the dough.  Do it however you usually do it.  Develop it into a smooth ball, but it doesn't need to rise.  Ojakangas has you let it rest about 15 minutes after the mixing and before kneading 10 minutes on a board.  Then you cover it and let it rest 20 minutes.  Then you "punch dough down" and divide into four parts, and each part into four more, for a total of sixteen.  So the dough for a single standard loaf of bread will make about eight standard pitas.

Shape each piece of dough into a small ball and roll out to make a 6-inch circle.  I don't know how thick this is, but I suspect it's 3/16 of an inch.  In my subsequent pita trial, I used the special rubber bands for rolling pins and rolled them out to 1/8 inch, and they were quite a bit thinner.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Here's where the Ojakangas narration gets confusing.  I'll adapt.  While the pitas are rising, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a stone in place (for 30 minutes).  Arrange six pitas at a time on parchment paper.  With the assistance of a cookie sheet - a rimless one or a rimmed one turned upside down - transfer the pitas and the parchment to the stone.  Bake 4-5 minutes "or until rounds are puffed and tops begin to brown."  But don't wander off.  Turn on the oven light and sit on the floor to watch.  Mine started to puff up at about the two minute mark, and they were fully puffed up about a minute later.  Quite a show.


vtelf03's picture

Last night I made two loaves of Honey Wheat Bread that I found on - it is really good, although it didn't rise quiet like I'd hoped. That said, it's still very good. I went "simple" for dinner tonight and made Tuna Melts on the bread I made yesterday...mmm, yummy! I need to get my camera working so I can take some pictures. I'm looking forward to doing a lot more, and sharing with you all. This site looks great - I'm glad I came across it.

My ultimate idea is to cook as much of the food as my family eats as possible - we've recently started doing things like beef jerky etc. Bread is the next thing on my list I want to start doing much more often (as my title implies, last nights batch was only my third attempt at a yeast bread, although I love making apple bread and things). At this point, I have no desire for a bread machine - I'd like to figure out what I'm doing by hand first, and there is just something ... soothing for me when I'm kneading dough (and I can tell myself it's a great upper body workout!).

I hope to making another attempt this weekend, and then maybe get some pictures going and try out some of the wonderful looking recipes on this site! I'm glad I'm here.

SylviaH's picture

This is a very basic simple recipe that came with my Bell La Cloche...recipe by Chuck Williams of Williams-Sonoma. 

This is a straight dough...1 pkg. ady, 1 tsp. sugar, 1-3/4 c. warm water '110' degrees F., 5 cups hard wheat unbleached flour or All-Purpose flour, 3/4 tsp. salt. 


SylviaH's picture

My husband is out with his bike cycling team today and Im doing my favorite thing 'baking' of coarse! : ) I've taken a favorite recipe from the site and made a few changes to convert it into a sourdough cherry scone recipe...the original recipe is called Grandma Johnson's Scones...tested by over 1000 bakers and given 5 star rating.  Instead of sourcream I used sourdough a little buttermilk, cut the butter in half added some vanilla and almond extract with some lovely extra fancy sour cherries from a specialty market, I also added a 12 grain flour from K.A. flours.

The scones turned out wonderful....they had a lovely flavor and tender...I mix in the butter with my fingers and like using a gentle drop shaped scone!


Brushed and baked with egg glaze and decorator sugar.

These scones have a lovely flavor without any topping!  In fact I was enjoying the taste of the raw dough : O !! 


Jw's picture

Megapretzels, sunflowerbread and carrot-almond bread

Last time I made pretzels, I received a request for megapretzels. So I made twice the batch of dough this time. But once I was done shaping for the first batch (normal size pretzels), the dough of the second batch became too hard to handle. The result is in the picture (upper left). Taste is still fine, form goes nowhere. The normal size ones turned out fine. You can see how I cut them in half to include e.g. cheese (Edam or Gouda, after all I am from Holland...!)

The sunflowerbread is from a slowrising dough, no mix, 100% wholewheat. Now I know I should put in 1/3 of standard flour and rise no longer then 8-12 hours in the fridge. This could become my new 'no brain bread' (meaning just standard, nothing fancy). Shaping and form is not up to my standard..

The last bread certainly was not boring. I found the recipe in a small booklet "Das kleine Brotbuch" (the small breadbook), which I received some 10 years ago. It mentions a carrot-almond bread, I sticked to the recipe. The taste is pretty strong, this is almost cake-like. It just got out of the oven, so I don't have a real opinion about it yet. BTW the introduction of the booklet reads: "if you read this booklet carefully, it will be easy for you to become a succesful "Baeckerin" (lady baker)". The smell is incredible. Recipe on request!

Happy baking!



ejm's picture

caraway rye bread

The last time I made caraway rye bread, I used the recipe in The Joy of Cooking. We really like it. But as I was leafing through The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, I noticed her recipe for rye bread. A recipe that looked too good.

Whenever my father had an excuse to return to the Bronx, he'd never come back without a freshly baked loaf from his favourite bakery. I liked the rye bread, studded with constellations of caraway seeds, best. My grandmother, who lived with us, would serve it to me spread thickly with unsalted btutter, the top paved with rounds of sliced red radishes. - Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Bread Bible, page 324

How could I not try this bread?

As it turns out, this is the best rye bread we've had. Thank you, Rose Levy Beranbaum!!

caraway rye bread

I would love to have tried the bread with butter and sliced radishes. But we didn't have any radishes.... Initially, I had thought we would be making Reuben sandwiches with it. But my husband was so thrilled with how light it was that we decided to serve it with goulash and steamed broccoli. It was brilliant!


vtelf03's picture

Hi. My name is Leigh, and I consider myself a pretty expert cook. I've been teaching myself for almost 4 years now, but I come from a wonderful line of cooks and bakers. I've made a few breads over the past few months, but I'm definitely still learning.


I made some amazing dinner rolls for Valentines Day last week, and I have some Honey Wheat Bread rising now - it's taking forever, but I have good hopes. It looks yummy, at least! And I guess that's all for now!

pmccool's picture

I wanted to make a bread for a recent gathering of friends.  My preference was for something sweet but not a sticky, gooey kind of sweet.  After paging through a number of books, I came across a recipe in Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible for a sweet vanilla challah that sounded like it would fit the bill.  The recipe called for just 1/2 cup of sugar in a two-loaf batch of bread, so it wasn't excessively sweet.  The flavor, though, was driven by 1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract in the dough and another teaspoon of vanilla extract in the glaze.  How could it be anything but good?

The dough ingredients include:

1 tablespoon yeast (instant or active dry)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon salt

6-1/2 to 7 cups of flour

1-3/4 cups hot water (120 F)

4 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

The glaze ingredients include:

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sugar


Combine the yeast, sugar, salt and 2 cups of the flour; mix by hand or by mixer.

Add the hot water, eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Beat hard until smooth.  Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time.  Continue beating until the dough is too stiff to stir.

Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and springy and a layer of blisters shows under the skin, about 4 minutes.  (Note: I did not see any blisters forming, but kneaded until the dough was smooth and elastic.)  The dough needs to be slightly firm for free-form loaves.

Place the dough in a greased deep container.  Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.  (Even with room temperature at a relatively cool 65F in my kitchen, it did not need this much time to double.  I could see this doubling in less than an hour with warmer, summer-time temperatures.)

Grease or parchment-line 1 or 2 baking sheets.  (I went with 2 sheets, not wanting to risk the two loaves growing together while they baked.  It turned out to be a good choice.  Note that Ms. Hensperger also offers the option of using springform pans.)  Gently deflate the dough.  Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured surface.  Divide the dough in 2 equal portions.  Roll each portion out into a smooth, thick strip about 30 inches long, with one end 2-3 inches wider than the other.  (Picture a shorter, thicker billiard cue stick.)  Roll to to lengthen and taper the thinner end.  With the wide end on the work surface, lift the tapered end and wind the rest of the dough around the thick end 2 or 3 times, forming a compact coil.  Pinch the thin end to the body of the coil and tuck it under.  Place the coils, with the swirl pattern facing up, on the baking sheet(s).  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until nearly doubled in bulk, about 30-40 minutes.  Because of the eggs, this loaf does not need to double completely; it will rise enough in the oven.  (And how!  It sprang up to double or treble its original height.)

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350F.  To make the vanilla egg glaze, whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl.  Beat until well blended.  Gently brush the dough surfaces with a thick layer of the glaze.  Place the baking sheet(s) on a rack in the center of the oven and bake 40-45 minutes, or until a deep, golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped with your finger.  Carefully lift the turbans off the baking sheet(s) with a spatula and transfer to cooling racks.  Cool completely before slicing.

The finished bread looks like this:

Sweet vanilla challah

Sweet vanilla challah

Now, any bread smells good when it's baking.  This bread's fragrance while baking is over the top; our whole house was perfumed with vanilla. 

The flavor is also marvelous.  The crumb is fine-textured, smooth and moist.  It's good all by itself, with a dab of butter, with jam or marmalade, and toasted.  It will never last long enough to go stale, but it would make a wonderful base for either French toast or bread pudding.

The results were every bit as good as I had anticipated and a big hit with my friends.


mcs's picture

OK, I know you're out there.  Maybe those Birks are getting dusty or they're hidden in the closet along with your beaded vest and shrunken tie-dye, but you're really hankerin' for some good ol' fashioned hippie bread.  Just like the kind you used to eat while working on your macrame choker and groovin' to Cat Stevens before he became public enemy number one.  Here you go.
A friend of mine was looking for something all-too-healthy, and I came up with this recipe.  It is primarily whole wheat with buckwheat flour, flax seeds, toasted almonds, and other goodies.  It's not exactly airy like ciabatta, but it sure has a lot of flavor.  Plus, if you need to, you can put some loaves over your wheels in the bed of your truck in the wintertime to get some extra traction.  I've tried a few different shapes, and the boule seems to help the loaf out the most because you can give it some height in the shaping for a boost of confidence in the proofing stage.  Try it out and hope you like it!  This is a link to the recipe in PDF format.


PS, I'm about 2 weeks from finishing a couple of instructional DVDs. If you're interested, I can email you when they're ready, or you can stay tuned here since I'll be posting about it on TFL when they're done.



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