The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

beanfromex's blog

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With living in a humid and hot country, I find my desire to bake dwindles when the hot weather is upon us.

Here, in southern mexico, by mid february, we are into the high 90's usually. In march ,105 F is usual. Kitchens are traditionally not air conditioned, as that is where the maid works. (Read "me" for maid when it comes to baking and cooking)

So last night, I could not go without bread any longer. I mixed up a huge batch (12 c) of AP flour and did the NYT method overnight, in the fridge. I discovered that a high sided oval plastic container I have would easily hold 24 cups of flour for the next time I do bread for the neighbours.

This morning, at 5 am, I started folding and bringing the dough to room temp.

I now have two 6 cup loaves in the oven. Both covered with bran.

The kitchen at 6:45 am is 30C.

One of the only ways I can get my brad "fix" is by reading the recipes and comments from the various participants of this forum..

Thank you everyone.


Regards from southern mexico

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One of the grocery stores here in southern mexico has just brought in REAL hershey's chips in milk and semi sweet.

I thought this was an excellent time to try the Silpat (tm) cookie sheet liners I received from my sister for christmas. I had heard of Martha Stewart endorsing them along with several others,

My oven here is gas and very unstable when it comings to holding a temperature without fluctuating. The end result in cookies always seemed to be a slightly to moderately scorched bottom.

The result, no scorching but a stange consistency. Slightly dry, and almost crumbley as opposed to soft and chewy. I took the recipe right off the package, so the results should have been the same.

 I am hoping it was something to do with the flour, hope in this case NOT being the "thing of feathers" but the desire that my sister did not waste her money buying me something I do not like.

The bread news in Tabasco, is that it is almost non existant.  I only baked a couple of times in January. 

I tried a "beer bread" recipe...absolutely ghastly. I expected something not quite "bread like" as per my definition. but the end results were so far below my expectations that I considered the entire experiment a waste of time.  A dinner party guest had spoken about this procedure...different strokes for different bakers I guess....

One of the friends I introduce to the NYT methods ended up buying a fish poacher to make her bread in. I did not see her first results, but she was happy with it. She wanted a long loaf so the fish poacher was perfect. Though the price of a cheap enamel from the market is 20 US and she spent 90 US in the expensive anchor store here.  

That is all for now,

Hasta luego. 


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Last week I continued the experiments I have been doing since I learned about this method of bread baking.

I doubled the original recipe and followed the rest of the instructions but for using cornmeal instead of wheat bran ( I had none ).

I was even happier with this loaf. Doubling the recipe will be the norm for me from now on. I might even try tripling it.

I also kept the oven temperature as high as possible, probably about 500F. The crust was deep golden brown tinged with dark brown bits and looked great.

The four women to whom I served this bread have since asked me to teach them to do it. They also devoured the entire loaf, this kind of bread not easily being available here in southern mexico.

For ease, I cannot imagine improving on this method and recipe.

Now that we are going into a warmer season, my bread will be in the fridge, as my kitchen is now about 80F.  

now, if only I can get my ciabatta to work as well......

 Hasta luego.

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I returned from my three week vacation in Canada late on wednesday morning.

Yesterday I baked two loaves for neighbours and today I bake a 18 cup batch of dough ( ciabatta.) I will take this to the neighburs midnight dinner to celebrate.

I did not get to bake too much at my families homes..I was too busy cooking chicken enchilladas for my nephew, who at 18 can inhale them.

Tomorrow I have two couples coming for a traditional turkey dinner. so...Iwill keep this short as the brownies are due out of the oven in any moment..

Happy Hoidays to all,

Be well


beanfromex in southern mexico

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I am sitting at my sister,s dining room table trying to type on a laptop..  I have never done this before and the keys are sooo narrow!!!

 I baked yesterday, twice in a week!! I did the ciabatta and my brother in law took pictures with a great camara, pictures to come soon. He does part time camera work for hockey teams, so shooting bread gave him a whole different goal.

The flour worked differently again, and the crumb is once again different We had to open the windows as the cornmeal was burning and she was worried about the fire alarm going off..

The first loaf was a raison cinnamon loaf, with hardly any cinnamon as she was out...note to self-always check ingredients in the pantry before starting baking.

I picked up some baking tins, one for english muffins and the other for individual loaves.

I have not bought the BBA yet, and it was on back order from the I will have to wait until I get into Chapters...canada's verrsion of barnes and nobles.

It is gently snowing here and looks very christmassy...

Hasta luego and hello to all.

ps two more weeks left in the north!!


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This last batch of the NYT bread has worked out wonderfully for me. Kitchen temp a brisk 26C.

I used 3 cups AP flour and 1 cup WW.

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp yeast

1 7/8 cups of room temp water.

Mixed as per the video,then into oiled bowl and covered with plastic and refrigerated 24 hours. 

Removed from fridge and brought to room temp for three hours.  

Folded twice at 1.5 hour intervals., after the above 3 hour climatizing.

Preheat the oven to 550F. Place dough onto cormeal covered baking sheet (non stick). Minimal shaping. Bake for 15 minutes, brush with melted butter. Return to oven bake another 10 at 450 F and then 20 minutes at 350F. Remove to rack and cool before cutting.

The bottom crust was crunchy and wonderful. The top crust was the best browining I have had in awhile due to butter, and temperatures that I am able to get now in my oven since the gas people removed a blockage. Previously 425F was the best I could hope for, and that was unstable and did not last. The oven spring was great.

The bread was full of holes and reminded me of a crumpet taste and texture.

Ramona, my husband and myself really enjoyed this version and will continue to make it. I found the ration of WW and white to be perfect . 


 Hasta luego..

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This is Ramona proudly showing her first ever loaves. Nobody in her family has ever made bread this way. Mexico is not a country where loaves would have been easily accesible some years ago. The corn tortilla reigns. This is now changing with more people having access to stoves, and wheat.

Ramona has now cooked bread at her mothers home in Macuspana. She is eager to learn and cant wait to experiment with the loaves .

This recipe is from "the joy of cooking" Basic white bread.

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This is a puffed up roti that we cooked at Sabrina's. This puffing is what you want when cooking roti.

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In preperation  of the "times loaf experiment tomorrow,
we went to "el centro" (downtown) to a store known for its selection of enamel pots. I bought a wonderful 4 qt. baby blue one with lid and a handle for the equivalent of $7 US.  There were larger ones that may have been 20qt pots for 17 US dollars.

I thought this store had a great selection of enamel and cast iron, but I saw no cast iron. The other material was some sort of incredibly lightweight aluminum pot.  There was also a 8 qt heavy weight type of steel pot for $37. but it was quite heavy and without knowing if this is a technique  worked, I dcided against it.

We then went to the "home depot" store. I was looking for natural flowerpots that I could use as a cloche. I did not find any plain ones, they were all painted. Most with enamel. The other selection was plastic. Plastic is quite popular here as the terra cotta ones tend to mold in an unpleasant way, not the lovely green that I have seen in canada and the USA. Here it is a murky browny black and quite thick. This is quite noticable in the rainy season.

As I write this my "times" dough is in the fridge until tomorrow afternoon. I followed the direction as the video said. It felt strange not to oil a clean bowl.... 

Tomorrow I am planing on continuing with the "times" bread and making the cottage loaf again but using a third WW . I also want to play with the shape...

 Hasta luego

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I used the starter than I have been carefully feeding since last thursday night. All indications were right, smell, bubbles etc..and baked somethng that looked great, and felt like a doorstop. It was a VERY dense loaf, not what I would choose to have again. So I fed the starter and popped it into the fridge...perhaps I will try again next week.

However, today I taught Ramona how to do the cottage loaf from last weekend. Again, excellent colour and crust and a reasonable crumb.  I sprinkled cornmeal onto a greased baking sheet and the bottom crust is wonderful. And used poppy seeds over the egg waah.

Ramona did not get the wash evenly around the lower loaf, so you can see where it dripped and where she missed. ...but she will see this tomorrow and learn from it...

Perhaps I should get her to have a try at the sourdough....

I am going to play with this recipe and introduce whole wheat and seeds into the loaf ..

stay tuned... 


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