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The Bread Bakers Guild of America recently hosted a class, “Introduction to Artisan Bread”, at SFBI on June 18-19. I signed up for this one - it was a really good class!, with theory and lots and lots of hands on. SFBI generously donated their space for this class, and SFBI instructor Mac McConnell and assistant David were both volunteering their time.
Big thanks to the Guild, SFBI, Mac, David, and the cooks at SFBI who took such good care of us while we were there; the instruction was outstanding, as were the snacks and lunches!

The course content covered a lot: different mixes and preferments for baguettes, sourdough with two different levains, hand-mix ciabatta, and sourdough multigrain, sourdough semolina and sourdough rye.

Each student baked approximately 50 loaves over the course of the weekend. Lots of chances to practice shaping and scoring! There was a nice mix of home bakers and professionals and it was a fun group to be working with :^)

Here are some pictures:

Sourdough 50% Rye:  

  ...Sourdough boule


  ...Sourdough Multigrain (flax, oats, sesame, sunflower)

Sourdough Semolina (no crumb shot):  Pretty hand cut stencil!:

Thanks once again to the Bread Bakers Guild and SFBI for this wonderful learning opportunity!
Happy baking everyone,
from breadsong

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There are a couple of herbs in my garden, that thankfully, come back each year –
I so look forward to when these fresh herbs have started growing!
Chervil is one of the first things to start growing in spring. It reseeds itself, and there will be new chervil in the fall also :^).
I love the tender, lacy leaves and delicate anise flavor.
Golden sage, which I am so grateful made it through our cold winter, is now producing some pretty
golden-and-green variegated leaves.

Time for some herb rolls! 
(the image is an experiment with merging photos):

This idea I first saw in a Better Homes and Gardens ‘Holiday Cooking’ magazine, from December 2000.
After proofing, the rolls are gently brushed with egg white; the herbs are applied; then the rolls are gently brushed with egg white again, making sure the whole herb leaf is covered; then the rolls are ready for the oven.
Parsley (Italian flat leaf) is another nice herb to use for this technique.

Susan at WildYeast also made a lovely! version, using parsley, for her Roasted Garlic Bread.

The chervil rolls were the herb version of this recipe:

The golden sage rolls were based on Sylvia’s excellent ‘buns for sandwiches’ recipe (Thanks, Sylvia!).
The potato adds such a nice flavor and texture to these rolls!


The chervil rolls were baked in a pan on a rack in the oven (no baking stone). The chervil didn’t brown at all and kept its green color through the bake :^)

I was a little worried about the golden sage browning as the leaves are thicker and wanted to lift off the roll a bit after being brushed with egg white. Also, these rolls were baked on a baking stone, starting out at a hotter temperature but baking in a reducing oven. After 2 minutes of baking I covered the rolls with foil, turned the oven down to 325F convection for the last two minutes of baking and removed the foil, so the tops of the rolls would finish browing (but hopefully not the sage!).

Crumb shot, Sylvia's sandwich bun:


I want to try making a big loaf using some Italian parsley – Susan’s loaf was so pretty!
Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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These are three bakes using chile (jalapeno or chipotle) and cheddar cheese (I've had a craving lately for some spicy things!).

The first bake is a Cornmeal Biscuit with Cheddar and Chipotle, an old favorite from Bon Appetit Magazine, March 2006:

The baked biscuits (cheesy, oniony, with some background heat from the chipotle); we love these!:

It mixed up into a wettish dough; I folded the dough a few times incorporating some extra flour.
I froze the biscuits before baking:

The second bake is Sourdough Cheese Bread from Advanced Bread and Pastry (scaled to 1500 grams for two loaves, including 212 grams cubed sharp cheddar and 90 grams diced, seeded jalapeno slices (from a jar)).  Lots of gooey cheese melting out during the bake! I’ve been wanting to try making a cheddar and jalapeno bread for a long time.
We couldn’t wait to let this cool down before cutting into it to try. Mmmm, good!:

The third bake is Southwest Corn Bread, from Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads by Ciril Hitz.
With thanks to Mr. Hitz for this lovely corn bread formula! This is a Cheddar, Corn, Chile and Lime version.

I included the zest and juice (50 grams) of one lime, and 60 grams of crème fraiche, in place of some of the milk called for in the formula.  The lime flavor really came through and was very tasty.

I added four roasted, diced jalapenos and although my husband thought this was fine!, some parts were very spicy
(I thought sometimes the heat overtook the lime and other flavors). Next time, I might just add two jalapenos.
I roasted four peeled cobs of corn, and took the corn off the cob, to add some deeper corn flavor to the bread.
The tops of the corn breads are decorated with roasted red pepper. We really enjoyed these too!
Here is the crumb shot:

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong




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I've been wanting to try making Mr. Hamelman's / Mr. MacGuire's Miche, Pointe-à-Callière.
This is the third of three tries, based on Andy's recent post on his beautiful Miche (thank you Andy, for your beautiful example of a Miche, and for the helpful instruction in your post!).
Given the historical note in Mr. Hamelman's book regarding this bread, this miche was stencilled to try and mimic
the Quebec flag:

I used a combination of 53% bread flour, with the remainder evenly divided between 75% sifted Red Fife whole-wheat, and coarsely-ground whole-wheat (Cliff's flour from fol epi bakery). The hydration ended up being 80% overall.
My first two tries I overfermented the dough. This time, to try to slow down fermentation, I used Andy's method for cold autolyse, but first sifted out the larger pieces of bran from Cliff's flour, soaked the bran in twice its weight of water. (Thanks, Mini!, for that idea). The bran soaker was refrigerated for same length of time as the water/flour autolyse.  When building the levain, I used only bread and Red Fife flour.
The dough was much easier to manage using Andy's method for the mixing / cold autolyse.
This miche had the best oven spring of the three, and measured 10" across.
The crumb (not outstanding!):

The was the first one (made with 85% coarsely-ground whole wheat and 15% bread flour); the dough started to spread after turning out of banetton onto the peel, and there was virtually zero oven spring while baking; measured 13" across!:
Four things I can identify that went wrong (I'm sure there were more, that I'm not aware of!):
-underdeveloped dough
-not the right substitution for high-extraction flour
-forgetting to reduce water in the final dough for the ounce of so of water I used to dissolve the coarse sea salt
-over-proofing (two hours for final proof was too mich, I think, for this dough)

This was the second one (made with same flour mix as the third try, above, but without separating/soaking the bran); this one spread out more than the first, overflowing the peel. As the dough was spreading, I couldn't stencil fast enough! And what a mess I made of it :^)   This one had a bit of oven spring, and measured 12" across:

This time, my levain was over-ripe by the time I could mix the dough, and I think the dough was underdeveloped too.
I also decided to bulk ferment a little longer, to try and get lots of bubbles in the finished crumb, and shortened the final proof to 1 hour. Given how the dough behaved after turning out of the banetton, this method was not successful.

Thinking about what I liked about each miche:
First try: best flavor of the three
Second try: best crumb of the three
Third try: best oven spring of the three

I'll be happy to keep trying this formula in hopes of improving on the finished bread, as actually each time, we've really liked the flavor!

Happy baking everyone,
from breadsong



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Hello, I tried making Chive Blossom Bread this week.
A lucky venture to the local mill yielded a new-to-me flour product: purple wheat flour (sold as Anthograin).
Purple chive blossoms and purple flour are combined in this bread, with no resulting purple color in the finished bread whatsoever :^)

The baked breads (I tried scoring chives on one loaf and stencilled chives on another; the loaves at the front were scored to make them look like chive blossoms (the little one was snipped with scissors) – didn’t really turn out like I’d hoped!):
 The purple flour:


My chive patch is just coming into blossom, with pretty little purple flowers.
Individually, the chive flowers look like lilies to me :^)

Chive blossoms have a very delicate oniony flavor; I've infused vinegar with them and enjoyed the blossoms sprinkled over salads.  Not sure how their flavor would hold through a bake, I also added chopped chives to the dough.
These are the chive blossoms I added to the dough:
The base dough is Pugliese, from Advanced Bread and Pastry, using 20% purple wheat flour both in the sponge and final dough, an extra ounce of water, and a generous teaspoon of chive blossom vinegar (thanks to Karin for this idea; her recent post, using vinegar as an ingredient, is here).

The sponge and final dough had some nice purple color:

Here are some crumb shots. The flavor is nice and oniony!
 bits of chive in the crumb:  

see the little chive blossom peeking out?

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong




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I wanted to try making this bread for Mother’s Day.

I was reading about an ale and cheddar bread on TFL, and someone replied to that post about making bread using a cherry wheat ale.
This seemed like a great idea to me!

I’ve been holding onto this idea, waiting for cherry blossom season.
Our Kwanzan cherry tree has just come into blossom, just in time for Mother’s Day; what a welcome sight!

Shiao-Ping just posted a lovely flower-stenciled miche; she wrote a beautiful introduction to her post,
about plum blossoms, and using flour to paint. This got me thinking, wondering if you could successfully stencil (‘paint’) a colored image on bread.
I decided to try using a mixture of flour, beet powder and water, to try to make pink cherry blossoms.
Here is a picture before baking; the pink color held for about 20 minutes. While finishing baking, the blossoms turned brown (not ideal!), so I re-stenciled with flour after baking:

I wanted the bread’s crumb to be ‘soft as a cherry blossom’.
With thanks so much to Syd, for his post on how to get soft, tender-crumbed sourdough:
Although this bread is not a sourdough bread, I followed his helpful suggestions.

I made this bread with a water roux, cherry wheat ale poolish, a combination of bread, all-purpose, whole wheat, rye and spelt flours, a bit of almond oil, 72% hydration, with the addition of these beautiful! BC dried cherries:

This dough was very wet and I did stretch and folds to develop the gluten.
If the crumb had turned out to be really open, I might have been tempted to call this bread 'cherry ciabatta'.

I am grateful for these posts, also; they were helpful for ideas for the ingredients, and water roux (thanks again, Syd!):

I baked at a lower temperature, and a shorter time period, as Syd recommended.
The crumb certainly was soft – just what I was hoping for, and the crust is nice and tender too:

Happy baking, and Happy Mother’s Day everyone!
from breadsong

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I tried making sourdough semolina this weekend, after getting some pointers and help from Franko (Thanks, Franko!).

I mixed up a batch of dough, enough to make 4 big loaves, and was happy to have this opportunity to practice scoring.

The scoring on the top loaf was on a whim, wanting to see how diamond scoring would look on a batard.
The scoring on the left loaf was inspired by something I saw on The Back Home Bakery’s video, “Three Breads from Start to Finish” (0:57 mark). I am grateful for all of the helpful information in Mark’s videos, including the batard shaping in this one (Thanks, Mark!). 
The scoring on the right loaf was on another whim, trying for “basketweave” scoring (thinking of Easter baskets this weekend!).

 The shaping on this loaf was an attempt at an “Easter egg” shape.
The scoring was to try to replicate something I saw in the second photo David shared in his post about his
Artisan II class at SFBI (the small, dark oval loaf, at front, second from left). The cuts on the SFBI loaf opened up so beautifully; I hope to try this one again, to get a result more like the SFBI loaf.
There are a wealth of scoring ideas in that post of David’s. (Thanks, David!)

Happy baking everyone,
from breadsong


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This bread is from Mr. Clayton's book, New Complete Book of Breads. Wanting to try something new for Easter,
this recipe sounded wonderful, with the fruit, nuts, rye and cardamom.
(Sue posted recently about her beautiful and cardamom-spiced hot cross buns; then Andy baked up some yummy-sounding scones, with fruit, nuts and rye; I wanted to taste cardamom again and was curious about the effect of rye in a sweet dough; this Pääsiäisleipä recipe seemed to be just the right thing to try!
With thanks to Mr. Clayton, Sue and Andy for continuing inspiration for flavored bread!

Mr. Clayton writes, "The Finnish call this festive loaf that celebrates Easter and the arrival of spring, Pääsiäisleipä, a cylindrical bread that is traditionally baked in milking pails to celebrate the arrival of new calves".
The instructions are (for the quantities listed in his recipe) to bake one large loaf in a 4-quart pail.
I wanted to make a bunch of gift-sized breads, so baked in deep muffin pans (pictured here) (the muffin wells in the pans are 'pail-shaped' - perfect!).   

I tried to find out more about this bread but couldn't find a whole lot, but did come across an old article on the New York Times about Easter Baking; Pääsiäisleipä is mentioned. 

Here are the pictures; the dough was divided in to 200g pieces (I was guessing for size but it worked out ok; the muffin wells measure 3-1/4" deep, and 3-1/2" across at the top, 2-1/4" across at the bottom):

Here's how the breads rose in the pans:

I pretty much held to the ingredients identified in the recipe, but changed the mixing method. I mixed by hand and this was a really sticky business. If I was making a smaller quantity, I might have tried mixing in my stand mixer. I was happy with how the dough came together in the end...but there was some effort, to get there! Here are the ingredients, and the mixing process.

Pääsiäisleipä (Finnish Easter Bread), adapted from Mr. Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads




Bread flour




Medium rye flour




Cream (half & half)








Milk (20g milk powder + 206g water)




Egg yolks (3 large egg yolks + a bit of egg white, to make 65g)




Yeast, osmotolerant








Sugar, divided (62g+120g)












Ground cardamom




Grated lemon peel (from 2 large lemons)




Candied orange peel, finely diced




Golden raisins




Chopped almonds















1. Measure cream into small saucepan; scald by heating cream to 180F. Remove pan from heat. Pour cream into a bowl, add water, and cool to 100-105F.

2. Meanwhile, combine flours and osmotolerant yeast in a large bowl.

3. When the liquid has cooled down to 100-105F, add liquid to dry mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are hydrated.

4. Cover bowl, or transfer sponge to a covered container, and ferment at 80-82F, until doubled and just starting to collapse back on itself. This took 3 hours, although I was expecting the sponge to be ready in an hour (trying the 'flying sponge' method).


Final Dough:

1. While sponge is fermenting, prepare ingredients: finely chop candied orange peel, chop almonds, soak raisins in some hot water; set all aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine flours, milk powder, salt, cardamom and 62g sugar. Grate lemons directly over the flour mixture, then stir grated lemon peel around so it's evenly distributed in the flour.

3. Measure remaining sugar (120g) into a separate bowl.

4. Separate three large eggs. I added a bit of egg white to the yolks to make 65g (reserve remaining egg white for another use). Add egg yolks to the 120g of sugar, and whisk to combine.

5. Measure butter and soften to 70F.

6. When sponge is ready, place in large bowl and combine with 95F water; I used a dough whisk to do this.

7. Add flour mixture and mix with dough whisk; turn out onto counter and knead to finish hydrating the flour and the dough comes together. Continue kneading and working the dough until the gluten is moderately developed (improved mix).

8. Place the dough back in the bowl, and add in half of the egg/sugar mixture. Work the egg/sugar mixture in by hand, using the 'stretch and fold in the bowl' technique.

9. Turn dough out onto counter and continue kneading and working the dough to keep developing the gluten.

10. When the dough feels stronger, place it back in the bowl, and add the remaining egg/sugar mixture. Work the egg/sugar mixture in by hand, using the 'stretch and fold in the bowl' technique.

11. Turn dough out onto counter and continue kneading and working the dough to keep developing the gluten, until the dough feels strong and windowpanes.

12. Gradually knead in the butter, a bit at a time, waiting until butter is incorporated before adding more.

13. Drain the raisins.

14. Spread the dough out on the counter, and sprinkle over half of the raisins, orange peel and almonds. Fold the dough like a letter, and knead for a bit to distribute the fruit and nuts. Spread the dough out again, sprinkle over the remaining fruit and nuts. Fold the dough like a letter, and knead again, continuing until all of the fruit and nuts are evenly distributed in the dough.

15. Bulk ferment for 2 hours at 80F, with a stretch and fold after one hour. If desired, make a some simple syrup to brush on breads after baking. Set aside to cool.

16. Divide into 200g pieces. Preshape tightly, as boules. Shape and place in greased tin. Cover with plastic, proof at 80F until risen 1" above pan.

17. Preheat oven to 375F.

18. Remove plastic wrap, and place pans in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake for approximately 25 minutes, until done.

19. Remove from oven, remove breads from pans, and while hot, brush tops with simple syrup; sprinkle on coarse sugar if desired, for decoration. Let cool.



Happy Easter everyone! from breadsong



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Hello everyone, I had the opportunity and pleasure to try making these breads today!

The first is Pain Hawaiien Fauchon (hazelnut and coconut bread), from Mr. Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.
I had purchased Mr. Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads recently and shortly thereafter was sorry to hear of his passing.
With gratitude to Mr. Clayton for his book, this recipe and for the many wonderful-sounding breads and starters he's written about.

For this bake, the shaping and filling are Russian-braid-style, and inspired by Sue's marvelous-looking! Coconut Babka.
Here's a picture (rich flavor from the toasted hazelnut and coconut, and not too sweet):

Last weekend I was out scouting for wild edibles, as part of a hike led by the grower at our local herb farm.
I was able to (carefully!) pick some nettles to bring home. After washing, I dried some of the leaves and steeped some leaves in water, to make Faye's Award-Winning Nettle Bread, that Andy posted about (Thanks to Faye for her formula, and to Andy for sharing it!).
Faye's bread was lovely; I really liked Karin's bake of this bread too, and am glad I had the chance to make this.
This bread has an amazing, almost floral aroma from the crushed coriander and cumin, and deep flavor from these spices. The steeped nettle water was a nice deep green color, but the dough did not pick up any green tint; bits of nettle leaf were quite visible in the dough prior to baking, but after baking, less so - the coriander and cumin seeds are easier to spot in the crumb.
The dough mixed up really nicely and was a beautiful texture to knead.

Before baking, I tried stenciling again - trying for a 'nettle leaf'. Fortunately, the side blowout that happened during baking didn't affect the stencilling on top, although the crackled crust did a little bit. I didn't mind a bit and was happy to hear these singing loaves when they came out of the oven :^) :

For a long time now! I've wanted to try making Andy's Pain de Seigle, and am very grateful to him his formula, and for kindly writing about leaven building and refreshment when replying to queries in his post.
The rye levain for this bread was built up from a white 100% hydration starter, over two refreshments and 26 (instead of 36) hours. I think I missed the mark on the second refreshment - the levain had peaked before I was up this morning to mix the dough.

I made this bread with 75% sifted rye - the baked bread has a light-colored crumb and the flavor is a bit sour and tangy, completely delicious - I love the flavor this rye sour brought to this bread.
These loaves sang very loudly after baking, and the escaping moisture was knocking little bits of flour off the crust here and there (I haven't seen that before! :^) ). I was hoping for a nice open crumb like Andy's - it was not to be - but I was happy with the crackled crust. Here are the loaves after baking (the scoring was inspired by a beautiful loaf in this post of Franko's):


Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong

breadsong's picture


I tried making the Semolina version of Tartine Country Bread a few months ago.
I'm pretty sure I messed up on scaling (overhydrating) and then overproofing the loaves.
When I turned over my banettons, the dough flowed like lava...running over the edge of my peel and almost right over the edge the countertop.
Moving quickly! I grabbed a couple of pans, scooped up the runaway dough and dropped it into the pans, and then baked.  
Warm from the oven, the resulting bread was heavy and dense, but intensely aromatic and flavorful with the combination of toasted sesame and fennel - despite the baking disaster, it was some of the most delicious bread I've ever tasted.

Working up the courage to bake with durum again, this is Mr. Hamelman's Semolina (Durum) Bread with a Whole-Grain Soaker (coarse cornmeal, millet seeds and sesame seeds for the soaker - with the durum flour, so much pretty yellow color!).  
I substituted a combination of toasted sesame and fennel seeds (based on Tartine's Semolina formula) for the untoasted sesame seeds called for in Mr. Hamelman's whole-grain soaker.

Inspired by the beautiful, single-scored batards baked by hansjoakim, Mebake, prijicrw, Franko, GSnyde...(just to name a few!) I wanted to try this shape and method of scoring. My loaves didn't open up as nicely as theirs; I may have not scored deep enough, or may have overproofed again?; this dough was really moving along:


The crust is wonderfully crunchy, and the flavor of the bread just what I was hoping for.

Happy baking everyone,
from breadsong



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