The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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rcornwall's picture

Hello, my name is RYan and I am a professional chef looking to become a professional boulanger. I am looking for someone with an intimate knowledge of regional european breads. I have many excellent books, but I am looking for some info on harder to find loaves. Does anyone know any one that may be able to help. I am about ready to start making international phone calls.



PMcCool's picture

In spite of the crazy, rainy weather of the past week or two, farmers in Kansas and other Great Plains states are trying to get the wheat harvested whenever field conditions allow. On my way home from work this evening, I saw these guys making their way across a field:

Wheat harvest, Johnson County, KS

As soon as I got home, I gathered up my camera and my 5-year old grandson and headed back to the field so that he could see what a combine looked like and what it did. And to grab these pics, too. Yes, those are office buildings in the background of the picture, above. Johnson County is home to a number of Kansas City suburbs and more farm land gets paved every year for subdivisions, shopping centers, office parks, etc. Hard to complain about it too much, since I'm part of the problem.

Here's a closer shot of the combine as it crossed our line of sight:

Wheat harvest, Johnson County, KS

This last shot shows one of the two combines at work in the field stopping to unload into a waiting semi-truck trailer:

Wheat harvest, Johnson County, KS

In this shot, you can see a traffic light and part of a house in the background.

My grandson was quite impressed by the big machinery, even though he didn't completely understand what was going on. I tried to explain how the kernels from the stalk of wheat that I plucked for him were the part of the wheat that was being harvested and that it would be milled into flour for breads, cookies, pies and so on. I know he understood the food end of it and he knows what flour is; I just don't think he has a concept of how something growing in a field could be turned into those things. It will come, eventually. At least he has had an introduction to one of the steps in the process.

Oh, and for the curious among you, it's winter wheat. It was planted in October or November of last year.


meedo's picture



Makes 16.

A traditional bread recipe in Arabic gulf area, bakes in a special tanor build in the ground.

Serve in weddings, special occasions (Eid al adha), or the religion occasions, with coffee and dates.

This recipe is so healthy and full of nutrition.

For the dough:

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour.

1 1/2 cup wheat bran.

1 tablespoon yeast.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

1/4 cup sugar.

1/3 cup date molasses.

A pinch of saffron socked in 2 tablespoon of rose water.

1 cup pitted dates socked in 1 cup of boiling water (let it cool before use it).

3/4 cup water.

In a small bowel mix together:

2 tablespoons boiling water.

2 teaspoons sugar.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

 Toasted sesame seeds.



(date molasses )

1)To make the dough mix the entire ingredient, knead the dough for 10 minutes. Place it in a bowl, cover, let rest for 1 hour.

2)Divide dough into 16 pieces,Shape each into a smooth ball.

3)Flat each to make a flat round square, then brush each with the (sugar and baking soda mixture), make indents with fingertips.

4)sprinkle with sesame seeds, Place on baking sheet, Cover let rise 30 minutes.

5)Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.or until it golden brown.

AnnieT's picture

After a few disappointing efforts I have to report that yesterday the dough fairies were on duty. I really like the firm starter PR calls for, and as I dropped the pieces into my mixing bowl the flour flew! Next time I will be more careful. I mixed all together and left it alone for 45 minutes and then did a Mike Avery fold and left it again. The dough was already feeling good and I attempted a French fold which went pretty well. Not sure whether it is allowed to mix methods like that? Then I went out and planted some new perennials and watered eveything - MiniOven did tell me to do something else, and I now know that I haven't been letting things ferment long enough. After lunch I shaped the dough and used the TT rolled towel and parchment couche, and again went off and let things take care of themselves. Baked the loaves on my stone with steam and got terrific oven spring. Need to work on the scoring - I thought I had cut deep enough but didn't get any ears. Baked the loaves until good and dark and 205*, but the crust didn't stay crisp. I was so tickled I had to share all of this - the family get the glazed eye look when I rave on, so I thought the bread fanatics would understand. Thanks for listening, A

mmcadory's picture

Started last week trying my hand at capturing the elusive wild yeast using an approximation of the method espoused by, and it worked.

  • Day 1 started with 3 Tbsp King Arthur unbleached bread flour (KAubf) and 1/4 cup pineapple juice (paj) in a tupperware container stirring until the flour was hydrated. The consistancy could best be described as"stringy" and the odor was distinctly flour and pineapple. Left on counter top with lid laying but not fastened. Ambient room temperature at 75F.
  • Day 2 remembered to stir the experiment. Pre-stir looked pretty bad. Ever seen spoiled milk seperate into curd and whey? Very similar, but the smell was still raw flour and pineapple, with a bit of a sour odor. Continued ambient temp 75F on counter w/o lid snapped.
  • Day 3 still no visible action, looking bad but smelling more like I remember my previous attempt. Added another 3 Tbsp of KAubf and 1/4 cup paj. Decided the environment might need an adjustment in pH to help any wild beasties in the neighborhood get more active, so I added 1/4 tsp of apple cider vinegar (acv).
  • Day 4 looking fizzy and clumped. Definately have some yeast action. Now I really smelled what I felt to be the "right" smell. Thin crepe like consistancy with some minimal gluten strings. Added 3 Tbsp. more flour and tried to eyeball 1/4 cup of filtered water, but got a little over zealous and probably poured more like 1/2 cup. So to readjust I added another 3 Tbsp of flour.
  • Day 5 woke early and was in the kitchen futzing around and remembered the capture experiment. Looked frothy! Disco! The starter had lost the "sour" smell from earlier and I decided to add another dose of half a cap of acv. I also felt that maybe a little honey, like 1 Tbsp, might give some results. You know give those hard working beasties a little easy food.
  • Day 5 late afternoon and boy what a difference a few hours makes. Triple in volume very frothy and looking like all the pictures on the web. Decided I had enough of a head start to begin moving the from the Starter stage to bulking up to making bread. Took 200 g of the starter and added 200 g of KAubf and 200 g purified H20.
Now awaiting the results.
mse1152's picture


There are a few of us living in San Diego. Susan (of upside down Pyrex bowl cloche fame) and I (of no particular fame that we can talk about here) have gotten together a couple of times. Last week, we did a field trip to a place called Lakeside Poultry that no longer sells poultry (???), but does sell restaurant supplies, including 50 pound bags of flour. Susan bought a bag of Gold Medal Harvest King, and I bought a bag of Eagle Mills organic bread flour (from ConAgra, not exactly your old time mill).

I have been using Bob's Red Mill flours for years, so I decided to do a side-by-side bakeoff, making one loaf of sourdough from Bob's (BRM) and one from the new Eagle Mills (EM) flour. BRM is organic unbleached flour with a protein percentage of 11.75. The EM flour has 11 percent. Neither is malted. I used the recipe I've posted earlier here, except I used all unbleached flour in the sponges. I started a sponge for each batch of dough with one teaspoon of my 100% hydration white starter, created from the BRM flour. Due to yet another brain lapse, I neglected to photograph the sponges. For the record, BRM looked a bit more robust, thicker, but both had very good bubble populations. Here are pics of the two doughs just after the initial mix (BRM is on the left):














I did four stretch and folds, with 45 minutes between each (and before the first one), for a total fermentation time of about four hours. Both doughs were a bit tacky, and the EM dough rose a little more throughout than the BRM. After the fourth S&F, the dough rested for about 25 minutes before shaping. The BRM dough looked and felt smoother after shaping, as seen here (BRM on the left):


The loaves rested 30 minutes after shaping, then went into the oven at 425F (convection). I poured boiling water into a cast iron pan at (well, almost) the same time. I wasn't happy with the look or feel of the BRM loaf; it didn't take the scoring well, and the knife just dragged through the dough. It was also flatter looking than the EM. But the oven spring fairies were on duty! Here's the BRM loaf:















And the EM loaf:
















I haven't used that center slash before, and I think I like it better than 2 or 3 diagonal ones. Both loaves had very good oven spring and color. They had decently open crumb for a 65% hydration bread.

Here's the BRM crumb:















And the EM:
















So I'm not seeing much difference so far, are you? The biggest difference is the price; I order the organic Bob's Red Mill flour online, and the shipping doubles the cost of the flour ($12.00 for 20 lb. of flour plus $14.00 shipping). The 50 pound bag of Eagle Mills cost just over $18.00. Duh...

After all this, how did they taste? Well, in a side by side tasting, the clear winner, well I think I, uh, actually, they tasted very similar! And this is actually good news, because I don't have to spend so much on flour anymore.

It was a fun experiment, and I was even able to keep track of which dough blob was which throughout the whole thing.



mluciano's picture

This bread fever is contagious! After seeing me baking bread for two weeks, my husband decided he too was going to make bread. Because he loves baguettes so much, he decided he was going to try lesson 2 from floydm's tutorial... So, while I was making my Honey Wheat Bread, he was making his own bread... Here's the result...

My husband starting his project

That's my husband starting his first baguette...

The huge loaf...The huge loaf...

The result...

The result of both my Honey Wheat Bread and his first baguette....


It is absolutely delicious!!!!!!!!!!! And like good PR's we are enjoying it with a good cup of coffee.... I LOOOOOOVE BAKING BREAD!!!!

helend's picture

I posted this in respose to quip from Paddyscake on th boiled fruitcake thread but know I will forget where I put it so am creating a new blog

adapted from a Terence Stamp wheat, dairy and sugar free recipe and can be made using a single dried fruit eg apricots, plums or sultanas.

My wheat version (note dairy option) here as follows:

  • 2 tsp easy-blend yeast
  • 6 oz white or wholemeal flour (spelt in my case)
  • 3 tsp mixed spice
  • pinch salt
  • 3 oz ground almonds
  • 3 tbs rapeseed oil or melted butter
  • 1 grated eating apple
  • 1 grated carrot (or small courgette)
  • 8 oz dried fruit
  • approx 6 fl oz water or milk

Preheat oven to 170c (fan oven). Line a 7" round cake tin.

Sift flour, spices and salt into a large bowl. Stir in yeast and almonds, then grated apple, carrot and dried fruit.

Drizzle ove oil, then use enough water or milk to make a soft dropping consistency mixture.

Turn into tin, level and bake for approx 1 hour until skewer comes out clean. Take out, wrap tightly in tea towl and leave until completely cool.

To take in to work on my birthday I made this using dried plums cut small and shaken with 2 oz sugar, a tsp almond essence and whole almonds on the top - oh and a good splash of Amaretto liqueur. It seemed to go down well!

zainaba22's picture

milk mixture:

1 cup milk.

1 tablespoon olive oil .


450 g Feta Cheese .

chopped fresh mint.

1 teaspoon sumac.

1/2 teaspoon olive oil .

 *mix the Filling ingredients.

For dough :

2 1/8 cups white flour.

1 cup whole wheat flour.

1 1/4 cups warm water.

1 tablespoon dried mint.

1 teaspoon dry yeast.

1/4 teaspoon sugar.

1/2 teaspoon salt.

1/4 cup olive oil .

1)place all ingredients in the bowl of mixer ,beat 10 minutes to make a soft dough.

2)Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

3)Divide dough into 8 pieces.

4)shape each piece into a ball.

5)Roll each piece through pasta machine set on thickest setting,fold dough in half,roll through machine,repeat rolling several times,dusting dough with extra flour when necessary.

6)Roll dough through machine ,adjusting setting so dough becomes thinner with each roll,dust with extra flour,when necessary.roll to second thinnest setting (1 mm thick),making sure dough is at least 12 cm wide.

 7)Cut into 2 pieces.

8)Brush it with milk mixture.

 9)Place 1 tablespoon of Cheese mixture,roll pastry over filling.



 10)Brush the top with milk mixture.Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.

6)Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.


helend's picture

I've ben practising this recipe for a while. I syill can't quite manage the same crumbly texture as the famous McVitie brand but getting closer ...

They aren't that pretty to look at but taste good

For approx 2 dozen biscuits:

10 oz wholemeal flour

6 oz fine oatmeal

2 tsp salt (nec for the sweet/savoury balance but you could use less)

2 tsp baking powder

6 oz butter/marg

3 oz dark brown/muscovado sugar

5-6 tbs milk

Preheat oven to 150c. Sift dry ingredients together, rub in butter, stir in sugar, use minimum milk to make a dough. Roll out just under 1/4" thick, cut out with a 3" cutter, prick and bake on greased baking sheets for 18 minutes until just browning. Shift to a cooling rack asap.

PS You can use about 10 oz of chocolate, melted to cover the tops.




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