The Fresh Loaf

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These are two breads I've wanted to bake, for quite awhile. Really glad now that I have, as both of these breads are so delicious, each in their own way! With thanks to Shiao-Ping and Mr. Leader for their lovely recipes :^)

Shiao-Ping's Banana Pain au Levain <------>Mr. Leader's Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread

I so enjoyed reading about Pane casareccio di Genzano in Mr. Leader’s book, Local Breads.
This was a really nice post, too, with great photos of that beautiful and dark crust:

This is a try of the whole wheat variation, Pane lariano, with some variations; I reduced the instant yeast to 1 gram, mixed by hand, divided the recipe amount into two loaves (instead of one large loaf),  and retarded the dough overnight (for convenience)…so this is not the bread Mr. Leader intended…but I am very pleased with the resulting flavor (it’s a delicious, delicious crust!).

The loaves were baked in a hot oven, preheated to 500F; then 475F for 15 minutes, 465F convection for 15 minutes, 450F convection for 7 minutes, then left in the oven (turned off/door ajar) for 10 minutes.
The loaves sang and crackled :^)

                                      The bran-flecked crust

  After cutting the end off of one loaf, 
                                                                                                                  I was nervous about the crumb, 
                                                                                                                  but really happy with the crust!

          The crumb, a little further into the loaf

The crust could be darker yet! (yearning for my own WFO :^)  )

The second bake today, Shiao-Ping's Banana Pain au Levain, makes a beautifully moist and fragrant loaf; I used a combination of fresh and frozen (defrosted) banana, ripe and sweet. The sweetness and flavor of the banana really carried through to the baked bread - great flavor!

I tried to score a 'banana' on the top of the loaf; here is the crumb (the gorgeous aroma of banana bread filling the kitchen at the moment this photo was taken!):

What wonderful discoveries these two breads were, today.

Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong

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This bread is from Beth Hensperger’s book, Bread For All Seasons.
Each ‘season’ in the book has a marvelous introduction discussing breads baked to celebrate various holidays
and occasions, in different countries.
Browsing through the book, I found Ciambella Mandorlata, an almond ring bread; it was noted the French call
a ring-shaped bread la baisure, or ‘kissing crust’ – this seemed like a perfectly sweet thing to bake for Valentine’s Day! :^)

Instead of shaping round rings, for each bread, two tapered batards were curved, and joined at the ends, to form each heart (stopped worrying about the less than perfect surface of this dough, remembering the sugared almond topping the bread would be covered with!):

The bread is has about 15% sugar which we didn’t find too sweet, with soft crumb and tasty crust from the roasted almond, caramelized turbinado sugar and cinnamon topping.
This bread was made with approximately 50% bread flour and 50% soft whole wheat flour (that had a bit of spelt mixed in with in when it was milled). 
Here is a crumb shot:

We enjoyed this bread topped with a little bit of good butter, and apricot jelly (so tasty with the almond) –
and a wonderful cup of El Corazón (‘the heart’) coffee!  (so good to have on Valentine's Day - thanks, K! :^)   )

With many thanks to Beth Hensperger for her lovely book (interesting reading and beautiful breads!)

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
:^) from breadsong

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I’ve really been enjoying baking over the last few weeks, with local flour and eggs.
Here are a few things; I'll try to keep it short :^)

Today's bake was based on Whole Wheat Pitas, from Mr. Reinhart's book Whole Grain Breads.
Recalling the delicious barley flour pita sampled at Kneading Conference West (thanks to Andrew Ross and Leslie Mackie), I substituted 50% Red Fife wheat flour (75% sifted) and 50% Fairhaven whole grain barley flour, to try to replicate.
I was delighted! to receive the Fairhaven whole grain barley flour as a gift and to have the chance to try it out in these pitas (with many, many thanks to the one that kindly gifted this barley flour to me!). 
The flavor and texture of these pitas are just what I hoped for.

I got my firebrick baking stone up to 550F to bake these!

Yesterday's bake was German-Style Many Seed Bread, also from Mr. Reinhart's book Whole Grain Breads.  After Khalid posted about his beautiful version of this bread, I was inspired to make some. We all loved it here, and I was happy to make more this weekend. Both bakes were made with 100% whole wheat flour grown by my local wheat farmer (there's a bit of whole rye in there too).
I caught Andy's post yesterday and wanted to try shaping my pan loaves like his lovely sunflower-coated loaf!

Yesterday's bake, and crumb shot:

This bake was inspired by MC's posts, Winthrop Whole Wheat Loaf  and Meet the Baker: Scott Mangold.  
I was so happy to see these posts, having the pleasure of  meeting Mr. Mangold and visiting BreadFarm bakery last September.  What a lovely bakery - incredibly beautiful loaves and cookies.
For this wheat loaf, I substituted 75% sifted Red Fife for the soaker and final dough, and my local farmer's farm-milled 100% whole wheat in the levain.
I loved the acidity and flavor from the whole wheat levain in the wheat loaf, and the bloom this loaf got in the oven!

                                                                                                        ... crumb 

My local wheat farmer raises the most beautiful chickens, and has been giving me lots of perfect eggs…I used some to make chiffon cake and a flourless, butterless (almost unheard of in my kitchen!) cake of Nigella Lawson's.

The chiffon cake, a 'chai chiffon', is based on this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine.
¾ cup brewed chai tea for the water, lemon juice, lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder for 1.5 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract for ½ tsp vanilla extract
about 20% of the cake flour with local soft whole wheat flour
Chai spices to equal 4 tsp: 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, ¼ tsp each allspice, clove, nutmeg, cardamom
Chai tea leaves (one teabag), ground in mortar and pestle, added to dry ingredients

Lastly! Nigella Lawson's Clementine Cake (using some organic  Satsuma mandarins)

I whipped the eggs and sugar in the mixer until it was good and thick, then folded in the pureed mandarin, almond meal and baking powder (and a bit of salt, ¼ tsp).  I baked the batter in three pans (two small tube pans and a small round cake pan). I thought the tube pans were better choices for a good thorough bake for this batter. This cake wasn't one of my husband's favorites, but I liked it and enjoyed chance to try something different (a cake with no flour and no butter!).

Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong

Submitted to Susan's weekly event, Yeastspotting :^)

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freerk posted in December about Levine's Divine Speculaas Rolls; they certainly did look divine to me,
and perfect to bake for Christmas gifts. They were so delicious!, I baked them twice, wanting to share these :^)

Update: I wanted to include the link to Levine's original post (another lovely photo),
and the link to Mis Recetas Favoritas (where more shaping photos can be found);
don't the rolls featured in these posts look incredible?!

For spice, I increased the quantity a bit and used Penzey's Baking Spice (thanks, K!); this spice mix contributed a lovely flavor, and I bet Syd's Hot Cross Bun spice mix would be really good for these rolls too!
(MC offered some nice thoughts about spices in this post (lovely Almond-Orange Honey Cakes, or pain d'épice)). 

The almond paste recipe freerk linked to in his comments was a breeze to make; the  inclusion of lemon in the almond paste filling is outstanding. I used candied lemon peel and was delighted with how the filling tasted. 

For the second bake, I added some whole grain flour and a preferment, used a firmer filling, and took more care in sealing the bottoms of the rolls (I had some almond paste leak out in the first bake).

These pictures are not as nice as freerk’s video of the process for making these rolls; they were taken the second time around (the letters for each photo correspond with the method below):

                           (a)                                                            (b)                                                         (c)

                            (d)                                                          (e)                                                          (f)

                             (f)                                                            (g)                                                       (g)     

                              (h)                                                         (i)                                                         (j)

...and here's the whole bunch (18 rolls):

If you want to see an incredibly nice job of shaping these rolls, please see these rolls made by dawkins!

Here is the quantity, for 18 rolls (note, the dough weight total includes the weight of the almond paste):

Thank you, freerk (and of course to his baking friend Levine), for these delicious, pretty rolls.
They were a real treat!

Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong

Submitted to Susan's weekly YeastSpotting event :^)


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Hello and Happy New Year everyone!

I thought it would be fun to open up a bottle of something bubbly (a bottle of Guinness) and bake a loaf
for New Year’s…started on New Year’s Eve, and baked on New Year’s Day :^)

Katie’s Stout and Flaxseed Bread (thanks to Andy for originally posting about this, and to Karin for the reminder):

Crisp crust, delightfully delicious flavor, rich and nutty. (Why did I wait so long to try making this?!)

Last October, I used Guinness beer in another bread, trying a recipe for Dark Malted Bread with Dried Fruit from Martha Rose Shulman’s book, Great Breads (this bread had a terrific depth of flavor from the Guinness barm (poolish) and blackstrap molasses). (Thanks to MC for posting about Martha Rose Shulman’s beautiful breadsticks, another reminder for me, of Ms. Shulman’s book I had been neglecting):

I adapted the formula, including a preferment:

One last bake with Guinness!: this cake, Sticky Toffee “Pudding” from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Heavenly Cakes, also included Guinness beer. This cake was really delicious, with the Guinness-soaked dates and butterscotch toffee sauce :^)
(my apologies in advance…unfortunately I did not get permission to share the recipe but if this cake interests you I hope you can get access to the book):

Best wishes to everyone, for Happy Baking in 2012!
:^) from breadsong

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Hello and happy holidays everyone!
Here are a couple of things under the tree for Santa :^)

"Walnut" Cookies:

                                                      ...and a Sourdough Loaf :^)

This is the cookie recipe (super-tasty); the cookies were baked in walnut cookie molds.
The shaping idea for the sourdough is from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads (shaping for the Anise Kuchen), using strips of paper loosely fastened around the loaf prior to proofing then left on during the bake. Indentations remain, leaving a place for ribbon :^)

Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season!
:^) from breadsong



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We stopped in at Mix The Bakery in Vancouver awhile back and picked up a loaf of their Cranberry Ginger bread.
This bread was delicious! (I wish I'd taken a picture of it).
Thinking about holiday 'gifts from the kitchen', I thought of this bakery's wonderful Cranberry Ginger bread.
This is a first try at making this bread, using some local, fresh cranberries and ground ginger (along with a bit of lemon zest) for flavor; if I can get this loaf to the point where it tastes like the bakery's, I'll be happy to give this bread to friends and family this holiday season!
The stenciling is for Susan at WildYeast and her upcoming Holiday Edition :^)

Cranberries were popping out all over the place, giving this loaf a bumpy appearance, and the cranberry is bright, bright red in the crumb:

                                                                                                         beautiful, local cranberries :^)

These cranberries were juicy, and the first slice didn't slice all that cleanly;
here's the next one, looks a little bit better than the first?                                                                  

I tossed the cranberries in sugar prior to mixing them into the dough, but even still, these berries are tart!
A little bit of honey on this bread brings the flavors into balance nicely; but the next time I make this, I will try dried, sweetened cranberries in place of fresh.
The ginger flavor is faintly there in the background, so next time I may add some finely chopped fresh, or candied ginger, in addition to the ground ginger. I remember distinctly tasting ginger in Mix The Bakery's loaf; it tasted really good but was not overpowering, so it will take a little bit of tweaking in the next attempt.

I used some locally-grown whole wheat flour in the poolish and levain, and was so happy with the flavor
this contributed to the loaf!

Happy baking, and wishing everyone the best this holiday season,
:^) from breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting for Susan's Holiday Edition :^)


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This bread I tasted for the first time last August (swoon).
After baking this bread in September, I kept remembering the wonderful aroma and flavor.
Time flies, and already it's the middle of November; time to make some more of this delicious rye.

The crumb, after 24 hours:

a close up:

I thought the bottom of the loaf was kind of pretty:

With many thanks to Mr. Hamelman for his formula and instruction!
I was very happy, tasting this bread again today :^)

Happy baking everyone,
:^) from breadsong


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Mr. Reinhart’s Wild Rice and Onion Bread is back on the front page; the picture and the recipe tempted me to try making some :^)

Not having any wild rice, black-and-mahogany short grain rice (a blend) was substituted, and a mixture of caramelized sweet onion, leek and shallot used in place of raw/dried onion.
In place of all bread flour, I used 1/3 each bread, 75% Red Fife, and 100% whole-wheat (locally-grown) flour.

I added some (golden) sage from the garden, recalling the beautiful use of the herb in this post (Pine Nut and Sage Sourdough – thanks Marcus!).
The bread  was shaped as a crown with a ‘wreath’ of golden sage leaves on top (crispy after the bake).

Mr. Reinhart’s instructions are for overnight fermentation, but wanting to bake this bread today, I mixed a flying sponge (1.25 hour ferment, as per Mr. Hamelman’s technique), then mixed the dough using less yeast overall, then a
2-hour bulk ferment, and 45-minute proof.

My kitchen smelled like Thanksgiving as these breads were baking and cooling.

With thanks to Mr. Reinhart for his very flavorful recipe, and also to Floyd for featuring it.
It is a very-good-tasting bread, and a new favorite.

Before baking, and the crumb (sliced while warm, had a hard time waiting for this to cool!):

Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong

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lumos made the most beautiful sourdough wholemeal bagels, and then I saw Susan's amazing-looking bagels, with the addition of dried blueberries; Eric wrote recently about his bagel journey, and the bagels he made looked really great too; the combination of flours he was using sounded interesting and I liked how he hand-mixed his bagel dough.

I decided to give sourdough bagels a try, using Susan's quantity of sourdough levain and no commercial yeast, whole wheat and some other ingredients like lumos used, the addition of some rye flour and mixing as both lumos and Eric suggested, and baking according to Mr. Reinhart's instruction in BBA. 
Thanks to all for their formulas, ideas and instruction, so helpful to me for this bake!

My bagel-shaping needs work but I am happy to practice so more yummy-tasting bagels like these continue to emerge from the oven! I wanted to try the shaping method lumos referred to in her post but it wasn't working out so well with dried blueberries in the dough.
I've never tasted a sourdough bagel before this morning; I just love how these taste; it was so nice to pull these out of the fridge, and with a quick boil and bake, have fresh bagels for breakfast :^)


sourdough bagels are really good! :^)

Mix first levain; when mature, mix second levain; when this has matured, mix dough.

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Mix levain and water in a separate bowl and stir until levain is dissolved into the water.               

3. Pour the levain mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a dough whisk until dry ingredients are hydrated. Rest the dough, covered, for 15 minutes or so to let the flour absorb water.

4. Stretch and fold in the bowl (20 folds); let dough rest 1o minutes; knead on counter for 7 minutes.
Add dried blueberries and fold/knead to incorporate into dough.
Let dough sit in bowl on counter, covered, for one hour, with stretch and fold after 20, then 40 minutes.
The dough got to an 'improved' stage of development.              

5. Divide the dough into 12 pieces of about 100 g each.

6. For shaping the bagels, I tried flattening each dough piece into a small rectangle, then rolling into a cylinder, then extending a bit.  After this was done for all 12 pieces, starting with the first piece, I rolled each piece again to lengthen, overlapped the ends and rolled on the counter to seal and shape the bagel.
The dough had just enough tackiness so the ends stuck together easily, but not so much that the dough was sticking to my hands or the counter. I didn't have to use any additional flour when shaping these.

7. Place shaped bagels on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Cover the bagels, so the surface of the  dough will not dry out during proofing and retarding.
Proof at room temperature until the bagels look like they've puffed up a bit.
My kitchen was cool, and after 1.5 hours at room temperature it didn't look like the bagels had proofed at all, so I moved them to a proof box at 78F, and proofed for another two hours.

8. Retard bagels in fridge overnight.

9. Preheat oven to 500F (no baking stone).
Prepare baking sheet(s) for baking by lining with new parchment paper, spraying lightly with oil, and sprinkling with semolina.
Add water to large, wide saucepan, add 1 Tablespoon barley malt syrup, and bring water to boil.
Add 1 Tablespoon baking soda to boiling water (contents in the pan may foam up).
Remove bagels from the fridge. With slotted spoon, place bagels top side down in boiling water. Place as many as will fit in one layer.
Boil 1 minute, turn top side up, boil 1 more minute.
With slotted spoon, lift from water, let excess water drip off, and place top side up on prepared baking sheet.

10. Bake bagels at 500F for 5 minutes. Rotate pan(s). Reduce oven temperature to 450F, and bake for 5 minutes, or possibly a bit longer until the bagels are browned to your liking.
Remove to cooling rack to cool.

Happy baking everyone,
:^) from breadsong

Sending, with gratitude, to Susan @ YeastSpotting


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