The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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beanfromex's picture

Life finally caught up with me and the taking of pictures hasbeen set aside until I manage to figure out what th problem is with my uploading pictures...the good news is I have more time for experimenting with the favorite recipes (to your left).

I made the cinnamon raison oatmeal cluster , but prefer my original recipe which is a version of "white bread from the Joy of cooking cookbook". 

I also have sucessfully changed the wheat content to a ration of 2 cups WWF to 4 cups AP flour.  I am very happy with the height and the crumbs of the loaf, so it reamains my tried and true favorite.

Yesterday, I made the pizza and sauce from Floydm's recipe. My husband and I enjoyed the crust and the sauce. I made the thicker crust version, with milk and more oil. I found the dough to handle very well and put it onto a greased and cornmeal dusted pizza pan, and the second pizza onto a non stick cookie sheet with minimal cornmeal dusting. The non stick had better release than the pizza plate.

 The crust was thick and chewy. The only think I would change for the next time is perhaps having a slightly thicker crust into the center, which was almost too thin.

 I am teaching Ramona to bake. (maid). She kneaded the oatmeal raison bread by hand to learn the technique. Southern mexico is not known for its bakers, preferring to buy the products from the local grocery store and due to the fact some years ago many of the poorer people did not have access to ovens. When I replace my oyster kitchen center mixer with the new one, I will give it to Ramona, so she can continue making bread easily. She took the last few loaves home to her children, and they seem excited about learning "bread making".  Thefirst loaf she took on the combi ride home, she received all sortsof comments about its wonderful smell, imagine the odour of freshly baked bread within the confines of a van...

I am still investigating the mixers, but am leaning towards a Delongi.

I am also preparing a list of things that I would like to enhance breadmaking that are unavailable here, parchment paper, a cloche, and an oven capable of getting hotter than 450F...

Hasta luego.

Tabasco Mexico 

Kelly Burgess's picture
Kelly Burgess

I have many favorite recipes, following is one of them. "T" is for tablespoon, "t" is for teaspoon, "G" is for grams.


Kelly's Christmas Stollen

Makes 16.

Here you're basically making a sponge that will proof/rise for 1 hour. A kitchen aid mixer fitted with the paddle works nicely for the process. First combine:

2 T Yeast

1/2 C warm water

Let the yeaest dissolve in the water (the water should be approx. 95 - 100 degrees) and then mix the following ingredients together in a separate large bread bowl:

1 1/2 C warm milk

100 G sugar

120 G butter

4 beaten eggs

Now add the dissolved yeast mixture, and:

420 G flour

Mix well and let rise 1 hour in a warm spot.

While the sponge is rising, chop and grate some extras:

1/2 - 1 1/2 C nuts (I use almonds that I've roasted myself, but other roasted nuts would work)

1 - 1 1/2 C raisins or dates or dried apricots

Whip up some cream cheese with a hand-held mixer or in your kitchen aid, adding icing sugar to sweeten to your liking. I tend to use a whole package and if there's left-over, I keep it in the fridge.

Once the hour is up, add:

420 G flour

Knead well and then chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes is up knead in the chopped nuts and raisins, cut into pieces weighing approx. 130 G each (your goal is 16 remember, so weigh the entire ball of dough first and then divide that number by 16 to get an exact figure for your batch), and roll each portion out into a round. Fill one half with a sensible amount of cream cheese and fold the dough in half, sealing in the cheese.

Bake your little stollens for say, 10 -15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. The time will vary slightly, but bake until golden (take one out and check until you've got the idea). You can do the typical "brush with butter" when they come out but I rarely do. Hope you like these. I've made, sold, and eaten many thousands.



JMonkey's picture

I had ambitious goals for the weekend. I'd try a sourdough version of the whole-wheat ciabatta, try the "stretch-n'-fold, no-knead' technique with my weekly sourdough, and make a pizza, using regular yeast.

The ciabatta turned out OK. There wasn't much of a sour flavor, surprisingly, and I'm not sure why that was. Perhaps the powdered milk interfered with the bacteria's growth? I also didn't get big holes, but rather got rather uniform small holes. Still, it was a nice bread and made killer sandwiches, but I was disappointed that I didn't have the same success with sourdough as I did with the yeasted version.

The whole-wheat bread I made didn't turn out so hot. Flavor was fine, but I didn't get nearly as much rise as I usually do and the crust was abnormally pale. I think I know the culprit, though -- I let the sourdough starter over-ferment. My daughter didn't want to take her nap, which delayed me for about two hours making the bread. I'll have to try the new technique again some other time (essentially, I kneaded it for about 3-5 minutes until everything was evenly distributed, and then did a fold once every 30 to 45 minutes until I'd done six. The dough was definitely gaining strength, until near the end when it suddenly got soft. As I said, I think the starter went too long, got too acidified and weakened the gluten network).

Pizza? Fantastic! I used the whole wheat recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking book, which, surprisingly enough, is almost identitcal to how I've been making my pizza for the past year -- roughly 4 ounces whole wheat bread flour, 4.25 ounces semolina flour and 4.25 ounces white bread flour, 10 oz. water with 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbs olive oil and 1 tsp yeast. Knead it gently, let it rise 45 mins to an hour, fold it and then stick it in the fridge for 8-18 hours. Make the pizza, put it in a piping hot oven on a stone, cook for about 12 minutes. Delicious.

I've tried Peter Reinhart's pizza formula, and I've decided that I like this one much better. For one, this recipe uses about 12 oz dough for a 12-inch pizza, whereas the BBA uses half that much. I like a thicker crust and also find the dough is much easier to shape. The BBA's crust gets so thin, that I'm constantly struggling not to tear it. Plus, the whole wheat and semolina flours in the KAF formula give it a wonderful buttery, rustic flavor. As for the toppings, though, I go with BBA all the way. Three cheeses (2 parts melter, one part hard cheese, one part optional -- which is always a goat cheese), mix herbs with the cheese, and a less is more approach to toppings. Just delicious.

Sorry, no photos. I was kind of demoralized by the non-holey ciabatta and the ugly (but fine tasting, so we'll eat it) whole wheat sourdough, so I didn't have the heart to take photos of that. As for the pizza, my family was hungry -- had I made them wait for a photo to eat it up, I'd have faced serious recriminations. It would not have been pretty.

breadnerd's picture

We had plans with friends for a mud oven pizza party, and the weather was extremely cooperative. A lovely fall afternoon! We built our mud oven this spring/summer following Kiko Denzer's book, and after a few runs I'm now getting the hang of baking with it.


Today's baking, besides the pizza, was three kinds of bread: Sourdough (I used the basic Bread Alone formula, which is a pretty standard sourdough recipe). I was quite happy with how these turned out, and they smell really good. I shifted my sourdough culture over to whole wheat since I've been trying out a few whole wheat recipes, but used white flour for the final dough--the result was a lovely colored dough--just a touch wheaty but still light.


some plain ol' french,

and a test recipe for Reinhart's 100% whole wheat Struan (a multigrain).



The baguettes were not my best! Loading off the peel didn't go as smoothly as it could have. Then, I took them out a little too early and the crust softened up after they cooled. They'll still be tasty, but I can do better! The oven was a bit too hot when the Struan went in (probably close to 450) so they're a little dark. I haven't tasted them yet (too full on pizza) but I'm looking forward to it.


After bread baking, we let the oven cool down a bit and then roasted some pumpkin seeds from our jack-o-lanterns. Finally, the temp was down to about 325 degrees, and I threw in some granola. This has been a surprising good use of the oven, and I'm so fond of it I have to make a batch every time so I don't run out! I'll add some dried fruit to it one it cools off--usually cranberries and raisins.


anthony's picture

HiJust windering if anyone can help me out.  I have had very little experience with baking, but have been playing around with freshly milled whole wheat.  My problem is that the loaves always come out qite hard, and loose about 1/3 of their size in the last 15 minutes of baking.  I have tried the same methods using whole meal flour from the supermarket and there were no problems at all...  i've been told that commercial flours have had the oils removed and that the wheat germ in my flour may be causing the problem.  Any advice would be appreciated.Thanks

Floydm's picture

This weekend's sourdough.

sourdough crust

sourdough crumb

I was afraid that it wasn't going to rise, but it came out quite well.

breadnut's picture


Has anyone ever taken a loaf out of the FRIDGE after it was proofed overnight and put it directly in a preheated oven WITHOUT bringing it back to room temperature? If so, what were the results? Any additional comments or ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot

Floydm's picture

I'm returning a neat looking book to the library because I just don't have time to do it justice right now. That book is Celebration Breads: Recipes, Tales, and Traditions. It has celebration breads from all over the world and throughout the year. It looks like it has some very good recipes. I'm blogging it so that I don't forget about it when I have more time to experiment.

I'm also returning Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. Definitely a classic, just really not up my alley. Too many recipes that make my wife go "ew" when I read the name, like "Mediterranean Garbanzo Bread" or "Soybean Bread." For folks with wheat allergies it looks like a real good one though.

I baked a buttermilk bread last night, trying another loaf of sourdough today. We're having red beans and rice with collard greens for dinner, so I think I'll also have to whip up a batch of corn bread to go with it. Yum.

breadnut's picture

I have read that a shaped loaf can be taken directly out of the fridge and immediately put in the oven for baking without leaving it to return to room temperature, and the interesting point was that the loaf can be scored easier that way.

Any ideas about which method is better? I have never taken a loaf out of the fridge and put it directly in the oven. Any comment regarding this is appreciated.

One more thing. I bake with poolish all the time. I normally leave the poolish for 12 hrs, then mix, knead, ferment for 2 hours, shape and a final rise for 45 minutes and then bake. comes out good, but with a tight crumb.

I'm thinking about expanding the whole process: poolish for 12 hours, autolyze flour and water, then add salt and starter, ferment for about 6 hours (with 4 foldings in the middle), shape, final proof in the fridge overnight for 12 hours, bake in the morning.  The ingredients are flour, water, yeast, salt; only, and around 73% hydration. any comments or ideas or concerns regarding this procedure would be greatly appreciated, and if it works, could it be scored and baked right out of the fridge, or should I leave it out for 2 hours prior to baking? Thanks. The reason I'm going about this procedure is to fit it in my schedule, and improve quality of taste, texture, crumb, etc...

tomsbread's picture

Made a sourdough walnut raisin with added rye and atta this weekend. Its been a really busy weekend and by the time I got home to bake bread with the ready starter, it was already 10 pm. There was no choice but to mix the dough and put it into the fridge, no folding. I continued the process the next morning but the dough seemed a little sluggish even after 2 hours in the warm tropical environment. I resisted the temptation to add instant yeast and let Carl's Starter do its work. Fortunately, it delivered as usual. It has never failed once and I am glad it didn't disappoint this time.


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