The Fresh Loaf

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dolfs's picture

Today I made Norm's recipe for Irish Soda Bread. Discussion here and elsewhere has me convinced that his Americanized version is more appropriately called Spotted Dog.

Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread)
Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread)

I made 4 loaves. Two loaves were in 7" cake pans, but I used 1 lb 5 oz of dough instead of Norm's suggested 1 lb and 2 oz. The other two were in square pans a little larger and I guesstimated 1 lb 10 oz each. Otherwise I followed Norm's formula to the letter. Mixing was done by first mixing the shortening with the flour, and then adding the remaining dry ingredients, mixing again, and finally the buttermilk and water. I did this by hand using a dough whisk. Since I had 4 pans in the oven at the same time I baked at 350 convection (my oven's thermostat is on the low side so this is not as bad as it seems). Towards the end I even cranked it up to 375F convection to get some more browning. Start to finish (cooling time not included) a little over 1 hour.

Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread) Crumb
Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread) Crumb 

Never made this before, nor tasted it before. The crumb came out really nice and soft, but I think it could have used a little more raisins. Tasted delicious with a little (lot) of butter on top! Thanks Norm. 




See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

AnnieT's picture

I walked over to a local thrift store while my car was in for an oil change and was thrilled to find a copy of The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz - for $2! I was able to do a quick scan while waiting for my car and it looks like a keeper. Does anyone have this book? Any comments, favorite recipes, errors? Now if I could only find a used (slightly) DLX mixer... A.

rainbowbrown's picture

Onion and Poppy Seed Purim Ring


Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrating the story told in the biblical Book of Esther, when the Jews living in Persia were saved from being massacred. In celebration of Purim, one is commanded to “eat, drink and be merry”, festivities are held and fun is had for all. My contribution to BBD #8 (celebration breads, hosted by susanfnp at Wild Yeast blog) is an onion and poppy seed Purim ring from Maggie Glezer’s _A Blessing of Bread_. The following is excerpted from Glezer’s book:

As for the Purim connections: The twisted ring looks like Queen Esther’s crown, and the onions and poppy seeds are not only delicious but honor this queen’s bravery and piety. Queen Esther observed the rules of kashrut in King Ahashuarus’s palace by eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Despite its extravagant looking nature this was quite easy to make. Ok, shaping was a bit tricky, but not that bad. I don’t generally make enriched breads, so this one was intense for me. It’s very rich and quite delicious. I love the flavor of safflower oil which is why I chose to use it here, but I think next time I’ll go with a more neutral oil, the intensity of the oil flavor really comes through in the end. Make sure you have enough counter space to shape this stuff. My workspace is about 20” in length and the strands of dough need to be 30” long. I didn’t take this into account beforehand and ended up doing some tough maneuvering, but it worked.




· 7 grams(2 ¼ tsp) instant yeast

· 500 grams (3 ¾ cups) bread flour

· 170 grams (¾ cup) water

· 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus one for glazing

· 110 grams (½ cup) vegetable oil (* I used safflower oil)

· 8 grams (1 ½ tsp) salt

· 55 grams (¼ cup) sugar



· 275 grams (1 ½ cups) finely chopped onions (about one onion)

· 70 grams (½ cup) poppy seeds

· 3 grams (½ tsp) salt

· 85 grams (6 tbs) melted butter



(* This wasn’t called for in the recipe, but I think it worked out pretty well)

Use 160 grams of the flour, all of the water and ¼ teaspoon of yeast and mix until combined. Let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours until some activity is apparent in the dough. Refrigerate overnight.


Mixing the Dough

Take the poolish out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before mixing the final dough. Then mix the remaining 2 teaspoons of yeast, the salt and the sugar with the remaining 340 grams of flour in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the eggs and oil into the poolish, and then combine this mixture with the flour mixture. Stir until vaguely combined. Turn out and knead for no longer than ten minutes (* I kneaded for about 8 minutes, the dough was firm, soft and very easy to knead).



Put dough into an oiled container and ferment for about two hours or until doubled in bulk. Alternately you can refrigerate now until the next day. When the dough is almost done fermenting mix the filling ingredients, divide in half and set aside.


Shaping and Proofing

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough in two and roll each piece to about 30” in length. Working one at a time, flatten each strand with a rolling pin to about 4” wide. Spoon half the filling along the center of each strand. Pull the long edges up over the filling and pinch them together (* Pinch well! This dough with want to split open). Turn the strand so the seam is down. Lay both strands along side each other and cross them in the middle. Twist them over each other down both ends and then bring ends around to form a ring and pinch shut. This will make a spiral circle. Carefully (* I made someone help me here) transfer to the parchment. Cover and proof for about an hour. It will rise to about one and a half times its size. Or you can retard overnight if you wish.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Glaze the proofed dough with egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 45–50 minutes until well browned, turning half way through. *Prepare for butter leakage, perhaps use a sheet pan with a lip all the way around, mine spilled a little in my oven. *Don’t use steam when baking this bread, I imagine the fillings would just burst out.


*Has anyone ever noticed that when you type the word "poolish" in Microsoft Word it changes it, without telling you, to "polish" ? I've had quite a time with that...

holds99's picture


I tried your recipe for the baguttes/batards (using starter) and I had some problems that maybe you can help me understand.  First I refreshed my starter at 6 hours intervals for a day and a half before I started.  It's the Nancy Silverton starter I made years ago and still use when making some of her sourdough recipes.  It was bubbling nicely when I started the recipe.  Anyway, following your recipe I used 167g starter, 375g K.A. French style flour (supposed to be the equivalent of French T55), 225g water, and 10g salt.  Mixed it all together, let it rest for 45 min. did a fold and placed it in a lightly oiled gallon size plastic container, turned it over (smooth side up), covered it and set it aside at room temp. for 12 hours.  After 12 hours I didn't have any rise to speak of in the dough.  So, i left it for another 3 hours, thinking maybe the room temp. was cooler than 78 deg. and after 3 hrs. still very little rise.  At this point I figured I better do something or I'm going to lose it.  So I stretched the dough out on the counter sprinkled 1 tsp. instant yeast over the surface and kneaded it for about 8 minutes giving it a good workout to fully incorporate the yeast.  Then let set it into the fridge for about 3 hours, removed it to room temp. and let it rise until doubled.  Removed it from the container did a couple of folds, returned it to the container for about an hour, then put it on the counter divided it in two and let it rest for 30 min.  I then shaped it and placed it in a well floured couche and let it rise for about 1.5 hours.  Flipped it from the couche onto my floured transport board, placed it on parchment lined pans, scored it and baked it.

The only thing I can figure is that my starter was not working properly.  Can you tell me what you do to your starter in this recipe to bring it up to speed and get the proper rise without having to resort to yeast?  The exterior of the loaves look o.k. but the interior, well it needs "big time" help because it sure doesn't resemble the interior of those lovely loaves you made.  I feel like the gods must be angry :-)    Seriously, I really want to understand where I went wrong. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.




Batard Interior

Batard Interior

zhi.ann's picture

This is from before I actually joined this site - actually this is the reason I joined this site.


In the States, I baked yeast bread. I had one recipe - from a craft, not a cookbook, so it used terms I was familiar with rather than the terms I more often find in baking recipes now that I'm looking around. It was a honey-whole wheat bread. I found all the ingredients in my local grocery store, used that recipe with no alterations except substituting applesauce for half the butter, and I baked it every Saturday, never with a problem.

Now, I live in rural China. I didn't bring the recipe with me. I don't have access to whole wheat. When I look at recipes, they confuse me. And yet my husband really misses bread. I am at a high altitude, but right now it's not dry at all, rather, close to 95% humidity most days. And, without air conditioning, heating, or well-sealed/insulated windows and walls, what it's like outside is a whole lot what it's like inside.

I found this recipe (I can't now for the life of me seem to find it anywhere!! I have it on a notecard) last week and tried it.

Oat-Nut Bread

830 ml flour
830 ml oats, ground to a flou
180 ml finely chopped walnuts
180 ml raisins
60 ml brown sugar
14 ml yeast (1/2 oz.; 14 grams)
10 ml salt
460 ml water
160 ml yogurt (I used vanilla unintentionally)
60 ml oil

1. Combine half the flour, all the oats, nuts, fruit, brown sugar, yeast, and salt.
2. In a saucepan heat water, yogurt, and oil over low heat, just until warm.
3. Add wet to dry ingredients, beating until smooth.
4. Add enough remaining flour for a soft dough.
5. Knead about 4 minutes, or until soft and elastic. Form to a ball.
6. Place on greased baking sheet, cover and let rest for 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight to bake in the morning (I did it overnight.)
7. Bake at 200C for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cool on a wire rack.

Unfortunently, this didn't work out for me so well. I did step 1, step 2, step 3. In step 4, I kep adding flour until I'd added way, way more than the recipe called for, and it still was a dough I could barely handle, it was so wet and sticky. I ran out of flour, and began adding oats, hoping to save it - I ground most of them but out of desperation began throwing them in there as whole rolled oats until I could finally knead the bread. Even then, it stuck to my hands, the cutting board, etc. In step 5, I formed it to more of a blob than a ball, since it was runny, and stuck it in a covered bowl in the fridge. In the morning, it was conformed to the shape of the bowl, so I dumped it on a baking sheet, stuck it in the oven, and let it bake.

The result was a very dense bread, tasty enough to eat mostly because of the raisins, but so dense I had to eat the whole thing (my husband didn't like it at all).

dough as I took it out from the freezer 

I tried the other loaf (this was supposed to make two) leaving it out all night after having frozen the dough (based on something I'd read online, somewhere). It came out just as dense, though it rose a bit in the oven whereas the first never did.

 piece of the bread

I'm munching on the second loaf now, hoping to get rid of it so I can bake something decent.

The only other note is that I won't be doing the walnuts again, even if I do come back to this recipe, because I couldn't taste nor feel them, and they cost the equivalent of $1.50 for so little!!

Any ideas, anyone, on what I can do better? 


dmsnyder's picture

SF SD with WW from C&C

SF SD with WW from C&C

SF SD with WW from C&C - crumb

SF SD with WW from C&C - crumb

Having been raised on San Francisco Sourdough, if for no other reason, I prefer sourdough bread that is ... well ... sour.

 Peter Reinhart's formula from "Crust & Crumb" was the bread with which he won the James Beard prize, and it is my favorite SF-style sourdough. There are two overnight cold fermentations - One with the chef, which is a very dry levain, and the other of the formed and partially risen loaves.

 I have been adding some rye flour most times I bake this. This particular time, I left out the rye but used KA Organic Whole Wheat flour entirely for the levain. Then I used a mix of 1/3 high-gluten and 2/3 bread flour for the dough.

 There are two 690 gm boules retarding in my refrigerator, but I wanted to bake one loaf without the cold retarding, just to compare. I made this loaf into a batard, as you can see.  I baked it at 475F with steam for about 7 minutes, then at 425F with convection for another 25 minutes. I think it could have come out a couple of minutes sooner.

 The crust is still crisp and crunchy. The crumb is quite chewy from the high-gluten flour. (I think I'll use less next time.) It has a lovely taste. I like what the whole wheat does to the flavor. I'll use more next time I bake this bread. The sourness is less than usual, probably because i skipped the overnight cold retardation. You know, I like it either way. This is just good bread!



Arlette's picture

 This dessert is made with Coarse Semolina , mixed with yogurt , eggs and butter, after it's baked we drizzle cold syrup .Namourah or Halwa Semolina: This dessert is made with Coarse Semolina , mixed with yogurt , eggs and butter, after it's baked we drizzle cold syrup .To all my friends the Bakers ,

I am going to share some of my baking pictures , and mostly they are Lebanese and Middle Eastern Recipes, and later on I will add more pictures .

Enjoy These cookies are called Easter Cookies, they are prepared using Semolina and spices, and Ghee or butter, lots of Middle Eastern Spices are added as well.  the cookies are prepared, the night before , rolled and left on a cookie sheet all night cover with clean towels, and baked the second day.Easter Cookies: These cookies are called Easter Cookies, they are prepared using Semolina and spices, and Ghee or butter, lots of Middle Eastern Spices are added as well. the cookies are prepared, the night before , rolled and left on a cookie sheet all night cover with clean towels, and baked the second day. This is a plate of Lebanese Maamoul, with three kind stuffing dates, pistachios and walnuts mixed with almonds.  These cookies are part of our Easter Tradition and Baking.tPlate of Lebanese Maamoul: This is a plate of Lebanese Maamoul, with three kind stuffing dates, pistachios and walnuts mixed with almonds. These cookies are part of our Easter Tradition and Baking.t

dmsnyder's picture

Banana Bread
Banana Bread

In addition to all the yeast breads, including sourdoughs, Peter Reinhart has also provided us with recipes for other types of baked goods. In Crust&Crumb, he has a Banana Bread recipe I tried for the first time yesterday.

Reinhart gives two methods of mixing: one if you use butter as the fat("Creaming method"), the other if you use oil ("Batter method"). I had an attack of self-restraint and used oil. I also cut down the sugar by about 1/3, because most recipes call for more sugar than I like, and cut down the walnuts by 1/3, because I didn't have as much walnuts as I thought I did. Reinhart does not call for toasting the nuts, but I did - 5 minutes at 350F.

Next time, I am going to try using less oil (Canola).

The past and future tweaks aside, this made a very nice quick bread. It is very moist and tastes delicious.


proth5's picture

As promised I did a test loaf with my home milled high extraction flour.  I used .01% of diastatic malt by weight of the flour and baked using my standard "test loaf" formula.  Once again, I went by the numbers - strokes, folds, dough temperature, and fermentation times as for my other loaves.

The results of the .01% malt are posted here:

For comparison a non-malted loaf is posted here:

My observation is that except for some minor variations in shaping and slashing, the loaves were pretty much the same.  If anything, I would say that the malted loaf rose a bit more and was a bit more lively during shaping, but that might be my imagination.  I didn't notice any significant gumminess in the crumb - again, I didn't notice much difference at all.  .01% is a very small amount of malt and perhaps I will run a second test with a higher percent in the future.

But for now, I just don't think I need to malt the home milled.  It may be that there is a balance within the parts of the grain that are used that tends to compensate for the relatively high Falling Number or just...well, I don't know anymore.  Any comments that can shed light on this would be much appreciated.

My next test bake will be home milled that has been aged for 2 months - which is the recommended aging for whole wheat type flours.  We'll see if my patience pays off.

Happy Baking!

holds99's picture

 Petite Pain (rolls) No. 1  - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton

Petite Pain No. 1 (rolls)  - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

 Petite Pain (rolls) Interior - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pain (rolls) No. 2 - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pains (rolls) - S.S. France Note: The following excerpt is taken from Bernard Clayton’s NEW COMPLETE BOOK OF BREADS – REVISED AND EXPANDED, page 633. “The anchor of the cuisine aboard the S.S. France was French bread in its least complicated form---flour, yeast, salt, and water.  These four basic ingredients became something special in the hands of the nine boulangers. It is not French flour that makes the difference, said the bakers.  "American flour” can be used if one understands that it must be treated with deference.  Permit it to relax.  Don't rush it or it will get stubborn.  There is more gluten in American flour and it will fight back when it has been kneaded too aggressively.  Walk away from it. Let it relax, then start again. The bakers also cautioned not to pour hot water into flour because this, too, will toughen the dough.  Use water that is baby-bottle warm---about 97 degrees Fahrenheit. One surprising practice in the France bakery was the use of a piece of well-laundered wool blanket to cover the dough as it rises.  The bakers had cut 6-by-3-foot strips from wonderfully soft white blankets that in earlier times had been used by stewards to tuck around passengers taking their ease in deck chairs.  The names of famous French line ships were woven into many.  Now they were keeping dough warm. My one regret is that I did not ask for one of the old blankets as a memento of the voyage.  I fear they were tossed out when shortly thereafter the liner was taken from French line service. This method can be adapted by the home baker.  I have since cut up an old army blanket to use in my kitchen and have discovered that even the softer doughs will not stick to wool. To allow the dough to grow and mature and to become more flavorful, the S.S. France’ recipe calls for the dough to rise three times and to rest for one 15-minute interval. The petit pain or small bread is nothing more than an elongated roll about 5 inches in length and 1 1/2 inches in girth.  It is a golden brown and crusty on the outside, white and soft inside.  The dough can be cut into four 1-pound loaves if you wish.” 

Note:  Much the same as Monsieur Clayton I regret not having one of those lovely, soft, old S.S. France’ blankets for my rolls to cuddle under.  And to make things worse, my old army blanket got stolen out of the back of my Jeep at the beach a few years back, so that’s option is gone.  Just when things seem darkest there’s always a ray of sunshine…steaming to the rescue… the S.S. Walmart.  Sacrilege that it may be… I cover my roll pans with large, rectangular, clear plastic containers that I purchased at Walmart…and they work great.  I’m fairly certain that the S.S. France’ boulangers would thoroughly disapprove of this method, as in: “mon Dieu, Monsieur Americain!”  Be that as it may, my method works just fine for me... merci.

On a more serious note. I selected this recipe because the rolls are simple, delicious and it’s a good exercise for entry level bakers.  This recipe uses the “direct” method (yeast only, no pre-ferment) and produces very good results.  I made the dough just a little wetter to produce a good interior.  I also used the stretch and fold method rather than knocking down the dough, as Clayton suggests.  I use stretch and fold for everything…well, nearly everything… I am still working to perfect this technique on pancakes J.   Finally, I made round rolls instead of oblong/oval shaped rolls.  I used these two techniques (“stretch and fold” and round roll shaping) because Bill Wraith’s video (available on TFL) shows the "stretch and fold" method and Mark Sinclair’s folding and roll shaping videos (available on TFL and his Back Home Bakery home page) show the “stretch and fold” method and “shaping” round rolls. Mark makes shaping rolls look easy, which reminds me of the old story about a tourist visting New York asking a New Yorker: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” to which the New Yorker replied: “Practice”.  So, here’s a chance to practice.  The two videos will help you immensely.  So, if you’re an entry level baker and want to tackle some “direct” method rolls this might prove to be a good way to GET “ROLLING”.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL



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