The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

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This is a lovely sourdough, my current favorite. I found the recipe on the now-defunct Dan Lepard forums,  and unfortunately cannot credit the original baker who posted it.  Beautiful golden yellow and with just a bit of a kick from the chilies, you can also add a teaspoon or so of cardamom and fennel for added flavor and interest, but it is utterly charming without. I have assumed in the instructions that you have a basic knowledge of sourdough technique--if not I am happy to field any questions.

I never have got the beautiful open airy crumb that many bakers seem able to produce, but nevertheless this is a tender loaf with an excellent texture, just enough chewiness for your teeth to feel as though they were being useful. I use store brand unbleached or a mix of regular unbleached and one of the higher protein all-purpose flours like King Arthur.

starter {twice refreshed} 240g
water 264g
pumpkin (cooked weight) 320g
strong white flour 840g
salt 18g
sunflower seed 100g
crushed chili

Called Pumpkin Sourdough but any winter squash will do and butternut
squash is particularly nice. Because squash can vary a lot in water content you have to be
prepared to juggle the amount of water in the recipe. Halve and seed squash.
Splash with olive oil, sprinkle with crushed  chili to taste and bake til soft.
Cool. Puree with the water.

Mix and knead using your preferred method. I fold twice at fifty-minute intervals. Bulk fermentation about 4 hours, although it can be a bit lively.
Form into two boules or batards, let rest 15 minutes, shape and set in proofing baskets.
A few sunflower seeds and a sprinkle of crushed chili in the bottom of the basket looks pretty
on the baked loaf.
Prove 3-4 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
Carefully turn out onto a floured baking sheet. Slash and bake using preferred steaming method. I bake under rinsed stainless steel bowls for 20 minutes, then remove the bowls and another 20 minutes does the trick.
Bake in preheated 440 degree oven for about 40 minutes.






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Grandmother's Apple Cake

5 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup AP flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 medium baking apples

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Set the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 10 inch cast iron skillet with cooking oil spray. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the pan.

2. In a bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder.

3. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla.

4. In an electric mixer, beat the butter with 1/4 cup of sugar for one minute or until light. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Stir in one third of the flour, then one third of the milk. Add the remaining flour and milk in the same way.

5. Use the back of a spoon or your fingertips to spread the batter in the skillet - it will be thick and sticky.

6. Peel and core the apples. Slice them 1/8 inch thick. Starting at the outer edge, arrange the apples on the cake in slightly overlapping concentric circles.

7. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 3 tablespoons with the cinnamon. Sprinkle over the apples.

8. Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the apples are tender and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes.

9. With a wide metal spatula , loosen the edges and bottom of the cake from the pan. Place a large plate on top and invert the pan and cake together. Lift off the pan. Place another plate on top of the cake and invert it again, so the cake is right side up. Serve warm.


Be careful not to burn this cake!

Heirloom apples are a palette of the past. Their names reach across centuries: Ashmead Kernel, Cox Orange Pippin, Lamb Abbey Pearmain, Reine de Reinette, Sheepnose or Black Gilliflower. Their flavor does, too--either one in the mouth takes you to a tree in a stone-edged field, discussing apples with a man in leather and homespun.

Hudson's Golden Gems

Our neighbor Willis Wood makes cider from antique apples on a press bought new by his family in 1882.

The best cider comes from knowing the apples and how to combine them.

This cake uses 3 cups of it.

Willis boils fresh cider into syrup and jelly.

A little more than half way along the forest trail that leads from my house to the cider mill, the scent of apples meets us, pungent, sweet and vinegary, odd against the smell of fallen leaves.

Beth Hensperger's Fresh Apple-Walnut Loaf


1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 cup warm water (105-115 F)

1 cup warm milk

6-6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour

2 medium-large tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and coarsley chopped (2-3 cups)

1/2 cup dried currants

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsley chopped

2 tablespoons walnut oil

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspons ground mace

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon salt


1. In a large bowl using a whisk or in the work bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast, brown sugar, warm water, warm milk, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl loosly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 1 hour.

2. Add the apples, currants, walnuts, oil, eggs, cinnamon, mace, allspice, salt, and 1 cup more of the flour. Beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl is formed. Switch to a wooden spoon when necessary if making by hand.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and springy yet firm, about 5 minutes, dusting with flour only 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to prevent sticking. Push back any fruit or nuts that fall out during the kneading.

4. Place the dough in a greased deep container. Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

5. Gently deflate the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Grease two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans. Shape into two braided or regular loaves. Let rising pans till tops are an inch above rim of pan, about 45 minutes.

350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.



A wild apple tree is as gnarled and angular as an elderly aunt.

Most evenings deer gather beneath this tree, till the snows bury the remains of the season's apple crop.

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Here is an adaptation of an adaptation. The original recipe was featured in a bed & breakfast cookbook, adapted and published by the Boston Globe, and tweaked once again by me.

Cranberry Nut breakfast Rolls

1/4 c orange juice

1/3 c sweetened dried cranberries

1/4 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 c buttermilk or 1 c water + 2 tbsp buttermilk powder

2 eggs

1/4 c granulated sugar

1/2-2/3 c marmalade

1 1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp active dry yeast

3 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 c coarsely chopped roasted pecans

6 tbsp butter, softened

(This is a good place to use up some starter discard if you have it. I used 50 grams firm discard and reduced the liquid by 1/4 c initially, then added a little more during kneading to make a tacky, silky dough.)

1. Combine juice and berries in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid.

2.Warm your buttermilk, add yeast to proof, then combine with the melted butter, eggs, 1/4 c sugar, and salt. Stir thoroughly.

3. Add flour and knead til dough comes together. Add cranberries and nuts, continue kneading til dough is smooth and elastic.

4. Let rise til doubled. Grease two 9" cake pans. Divide dough in half. Roll one half into a 12x8 rectangle. Spread with 3 tbsp soft butter, then enough marmalade to cover in a thin, even layer. Roll up from the long side and seal seam well. Cut into 12 even slices. Place the slices cut side down, in one of the cake pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. 30 minutes before bake time, remove from refrigerator and set in a warm place to rise til doubled. Set the oven at 375. If desired, drizzle 1/4 c heavy cream over each pan of rolls. (My Puritan up-bringing would not allow this.) Bake 20-30 minutes, til golden brown.


1 c powdered sugar

reserved juice

additional milk as needed

Combine, stir, and spoon over rolls. Serve warm.

Note: Not needing, for a family of three, 24 rolls to face first thing on a Saturday morning, I chose to make and bake the same day a small pan loaf with the remaining half of the dough. I spread the dough with butter and marmalade, rolled it without slicing and baked it for about 30 minutes. Lovely. The original recipe did not call for marmalade but a quarter cup of granulated sugar and half an orange's worth of zest. I found the marmalade to donate a fine bit of texture and piquancy.

And with this entry I'm pleased to be part of Bread Baking Day #2.

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(This is a continuation of a discussion started here.)

I was starting to feel guilty hijacking weaverhouse's beautiful sourdough thread, xma, so I thought we could step over here. I agree about the potential for pan size--fantes carries a couple types of $7 7x I think 9 cookie sheet, you might take a look at that. I quite like their selection and service, I use them often when I want kitcheny stuff. I've just started baking my rounds on seperate sheets, a 12" pizza pan and my 10" cast iron griddle. It's working well for just the two, and there's still enough room to pop a bowl over them if I want.

The fresh loaf is so terrific--Asian, huh? and tiny? Well, me too, 5'1" right after a good stretch. I saw a movie (all right, I admit. Shaolin Soccer, it was) where an Asian, Chinese in this case, steamed bun featured somewhat prominently in the script. The bun was a kneaded white bread sort of thing, it looked delicious, though as you say, who connects bread with Asia?

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My cousin's well-tended garden boasts the company of a clump of chives descended from our great-uncle's plants of about a hundred years ago. My garden is simpler and consists of what grows by inclination in the fields and forests near my home. Much of what I find was not here when Europeans arrived- New England was arboreal then, and the man-made grasslands are eternally trying to revert. Of the flowers in my vases only the common fleabane and a bit of madder are native.vsd

My starter was not begged from the ether like so many of yours, but given to me by a friend who, now in the riper reaches of five decades, was given it by his mother when he left home for college. It's been sluggish, fretful company and I a reluctant keeper til I found tfl which is a little like finding bread religion..multidenominational of course..So anyway my starter woke up recently with a flower in its hair and a song in its heart, don't ask me why, I just thought I better use it and not ask any questions. The wind could and probably will change directions any day. These are a couple loaves of Vermont Sourdough, and an edition of Dan Lepard's White Leaven bread.

and with the fresh discard:

This is an adaptation of Hamelman's Golden Raisin bread, obviously unbound by particulars... Oatmeal bread is typically snugged up with sugar, fat and spices--this loaf is so warm and country without those things that it should have pigtails and a checkered shirt.

-brown dog, white horse.

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vienna rye w/ beer & cardamom

Yesterday was a spring day so pretty it made your heart hurt, sunny after days of storm, air so sweet and gentle on your skin it made you feel five years old. I baked a Vienna rye to use up leftover beer (yes, leftover beer) and tried my hand at pain rustique, which other people have dispatched so credibly around here. Having also lately tiptoed into Ciabatta territory, I'm amazed to find myself not utterly defeated by these somewhat wetter doughs, in fact there's a real charm to their water-balloon nature. Like picking up worms or climbing on a plane, I feel I've faced a demon and survived. Texture and consistent results are still birds in the bush but this handful of feathers has got me feeling jaunty..






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Dutch Crunch 2

Meteors...or morels? Dutch Crunch makes an odd and intriguing loaf, and I don't pretend to understand the mystery behind the results. A thick coating of yeast and rice flour transforms your loaf into something other-worldly, and it was with more than passing surprise I saw it turn up on redivyfarm's no-knead loaf uninvited, a wild version of this domestic specimen. Honestly I find Dutch Crunch in the eating to resemble nothing so closely as grit in its Sunday best, however, my family is taken with it and it makes a spectacular presentation. The bread itself is a basic white loaf to which was added leftover mashed potato and brown rice flour. With more than a little chagrin I must allow this to be the tenderest crumb ever to emerge from my oven, presumably due to the combined effects of potato and rice. My son on taking a bite exclaimed, "Oh, I'm eating Wonder bread!", but I let him live.

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white mountain, whole wheat, shortbreadsLoaves and puppies have this in common, that more is invariably better, so long as you find good homes for them all. An attribute that doesn't hold for everything- mice and snakes are best in sedate groupings of no more than two or three, for example, and I suspect that even bunnies have their tipping point. (Nah, prob'ly not...) I had the remarkable good fortune to find myself handing out bread to nearly a dozen people this weekend. Since any home-baked bread is generally enough to inspire gratitude, I kept it straightforward with a basic all-white loaf and a 100% whole wheat. The wheat worked a treat (God I love that phrase.) The person it was earmarked for is of that rare breed who prefers his bread only a very little removed from the wheat field. I hybridized from recipes in Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible and King Arthur's 200th Anniversary Cookbook, and the dictates of what was in the cupboard. I added a quantity of cooked cracked wheat so as not to be accused of being wimpy, yet the crumb was so, well, edible, that I might've fallen short...oh, the cookies are a couple varieties of shortbread, and now watch carefully as I insult an entire people, I needed cookies of a British heritage, and when I searched for recipes what did I find but shortbread, ginger-nut biscuits, and something alluringly referred to as digestive biscuits... 100% whole wheat w/ cracked wheat white mountain white, 100% whole wheat

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Submitted by browndog5 on April 19, 2007 - 10:18am.

After being graciously guided through the process of starter CPR by BWraith, I found myself with a significant (and growing) stash of starter cast-off. Thought I would save it for the next batch of dog biscuits, but a remark of Mini Oven's that the discard can be pressed into service as poolish gave me paws. (I am SO sorry...) So instead of actually making sourdough bread with my born-again starter, I took the spare and made some yeasted oatmeal bread. (About 5 cups of flour, about a cup of rolled oats, about a third cup of maple syrup, a handful of raisins and some other stuff.) That's a pretty anemic spiral, I agree, but further in it blossomed a little . The other loaf is a spiral-free zone.

Oatmeal About Bread
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