The Fresh Loaf

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Kistida's blog

Kistida's picture

I did more cooking than baking these last 3 weeks. But I did manage to squeeze in some bakes. My husband said he likes oat and honey breads too (this is after telling me he liked the swirly soft loaves and crusty ones, flat ones..) So, I set out to make him something to taste test, so far I've made these loaves with and without discards; 5 loaves later, it's safe to say he likes this bread! I love the hint and smell of honey in this bread. Also, they keep me full! Baked at 160-180°C 45-50 minutes (I use a glass loaf pan).


In between these loaves, I managed to make a lightly sweetened Cozonac (also baked at 160-180°C 45-50 minutes) and steam-baked sponge cakes.

Adapted from: For the Cozonac filling: Over medium heat whisk together milk, sugar and walnuts. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens slightly. Add the *rest of the ingredients and continue stirring until it thickens to a sticky paste. 

*adjust espresso or cocoa powder to taste. 


Orange sponge on the left used a 2-egg recipe, was mixed a little bit too carelessly (white spots here in there due to unmixed egg whites) while the coffee one on the right, 3-egg recipe, rose beautifully as I was gently folding the mixtures. Both were steam baked in 6" round pans. 3-egg version is loftier (also gives more cake!) So happy these were soft and spongy! Baked at 160°C in a water bath for 50-60 minutes.

Steamed rice cakes for next week, when I find some ingredients in Ottawa. :) Happy weekend everyone.    

Kistida's picture

This week, I made an olive and cheese loaf, Queen Elizabeth cake (twice), and non-baked breads: steamed flower buns and horseshoe fritters (these are fried). 

For the loaf, I wanted a soft bread that stays soft until the last slice. I used pepper-stuffed olives - these gave specks of red together with the orange bits of old fort and marbled cheddar. I wasn’t sure if my starter was strong enough for this bake since I used it passed its peak. 



  • 15g starter (100% hydration)
  • 45g water
  • 80g all purpose flour


  • 100g milk
  • 20g all purpose flour 


  • all of the starter
  • all of the Tz
  • 260g all purpose flour 
  • 40g whole wheat flour 
  • 5g salt (reduce if using more filling)
  • 160g milk
  • 15g light olive oil 
  • 60g pitted olives and sliced/chopped
  • 60g grated cheese (100g would be better?)
  • Butter - to brush on loaf after the bake

 After baking 4 carrot swirl loaves for people, I finally found time to learn how to make the Queen Elizabeth cake. The recipe I used as a reference is here:

I was tempted to make a small cake but it was my husband’s birthday so I made the recipe as is. Be warned, the original recipe has a ridiculous amount of sugar. So, after that cake is over and done, I decided to make it again as a mini sheet cake (mini as in a 1/8th sheet pan) and with a lazier, no mixer required way of mixing (I like easy mixings!)



  • 60g dates, pitted and chopped
  • 80g water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda


  • 110g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg/allspice 
  • 50g unsalted butter, soft
  • 10g light olive oil
  • 40g coconut/brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 40g heavy cream

Coconut Frosting 

  • 50g brown sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 50g shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 40g heavy cream 
  • Optional: 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped 


Cook dates and water over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir the dates and place the pot over low heat until the mixture boils again. Continue stirring and let the mixture boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter and line a 1/8th sheet pan with parchment paper. 

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, mix butter, oil and sugar until the mixture is pale - 2-3 minutes. Then, mix in the egg and vanilla extract. 

Then, alternate adding flour mixture and cream into the egg mixture. Fold in with each addition until just combined.

Fold in cooled dates and then transfer to prepare pan. 

Bake at 180°C 15 - 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, turn on the broiler. 

While the cake is baking, prepare the coconut frosting. Melt butter with coconut, brown sugar and cream in a saucepan. Stir until sugar and butter are melted, then bring the mixture to a gentle boil for 3 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts if using. 

Poke holes all over the warm cake and then spread the frosting all over the cake. Return the pan to the oven and broil the frosting for 2 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Be sure to watch the cake during the broil. Remove the cake and let it cool completely before slicing. This cake can also be cooled completely in the fridge. 

I let the frosting caramelize for a full 2 minutes leaving a light crunchy topping. 

The other two: steamed flower buns (hua juan) and horseshoe fritters (ma kiok) are two kinds snacks I enjoy back home. 



Kistida's picture

I made this carrot swirly bread as one of the things to do with a big bag of carrots. 🤣

Here’s the recipe, just prepare the yudane a few hours ahead of time (some recipes call for it to be chilled overnight). Also it’s easily modified to exclude the sd discard. 



  • 100g all purpose flour 
  • 100g boiling water 

use 100g for white dough, 70g for carrot dough 

 White dough

  • 100g yudane
  • 120g sourdough discard 
  • 180g all purpose flour 
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 5g salt
  • 20g sugar 
  • 3g instant yeast 
  • 1 large egg (50g), beaten
  • 80g milk (I used 2%)
  • 20g lght olive oil
  • 30g unsalted butter, softened 

 Carrot dough

  • 70g yudane 
  • 100g *carrot purée
  • 180g all purpose flour
  • 30g whole wheat flour 
  • 3g salt
  • 20g sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2g instant yeast
  • 20g egg, beaten (to the balance egg, add 1 tbsp milk and pinch of salt - use as egg wash)
  • 15g milk (I used 2%)
  • 15g light olive oil
  • 20g unsalted butter, softened 

*carrot purée: steam carrot chunks for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, mash the carrot. Weigh and mix 80g of mashed carrot with 40g water (2:1). Blend this mixture until smooth or with tiny pieces scattered (adds nice specks of bright orange). Use 100g in the recipe

180°C Loaf pan (9x5”) 45-50 minutes; freeform loaves like braids, 25-30minutes. Braided version here where one is folded under to make a small loaf and the other not folded 👇🏻

This past week, I made some of my favorite baked goodies: crostata with a woven crust and home made jam, mocha cake and espresso Swiss roll (did a fantastic mess cutting into this one), with espresso ermine frosting and rum raisin sandwich biscuits - lil things I miss baking back home in Malaysia.


Kistida's picture

I remember clearly when I wrote down the ingredient list that I was to use coconut milk in this bread. But I mixed 2% milk instead 🤦🏻‍♀️ Still it came out as a fragrant tasty bread! I braided the 5-strand loaf too tightly too. 

  • 140g sourdough discard (100% hydration)
  • 100g coconut milk 
  • 2g instant yeast
  • 30g whole wheat flour 
  • 250g all purpose flour 
  • 50g sugar
  • 6g salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 40g coconut oil
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp coconut extract 


The other bake was a spelt + coconut loaf. I made it small just to see how this flour feels in a dough. The dough was very soft and I think maybe the hydration should be lower for the next bake. We love the nutty fragrance and taste of spelt + coconut now. 

  • 120g sourdough starter
  • 210g water
  • 300g spelt flour
  • 6g salt
  • 30g brown sugar 
  • 20g coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract 

Kistida's picture

Has anyone baked the little dough used for gauging fermentation? 🤣 This is my baby dough (sitting on a teaspoon) from today’s sourdough cheese-stuffed fougasse (adapted from Maurizio’s) - this lil one took 18 minutes to bake. 

There were also baked potato skins with butter chicken filling and ..

.. my test bake: 6” lemon blueberry cake with walnut crumble. Usually whole berries are tossed in flour and folded into the batter but I wanted to see what happens when the batter is tinted with the fruit. This time the pigments changed slightly during the bake with blue most intense on the skins. As suggested by Benny, maybe I should use a lil bit of *ascorbic acid when working with such pigmented fruit. 

The lemon cake is tasty on its own without any other fruit inclusions. No syrup for this cake today since I’ve a crunchy walnut crumble on the top. 


6” lemon cake

  • 130g all purpose flour 
  • 5g cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 60g sugar
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 20g light olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 60g fresh lemon juice
  • 60g milk
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • Optional: mixed berries tossed in flour 

 Blueberry reduction (for swirls/batter)

  • 150g blueberries 
  • 40g sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon 

 Walnut sugar topping 

  • 30g chopped walnut, untoasted
  • 15g sugar
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 15g unsalted butter 

*For canning and dehydration of fruit/vegetables, it’s suggested that the cut fruits/vegetables be soaked in a solution of ascorbic/citric acid for about 3-5 minutes to prevent discoloration/oxidation: 1500mg to 1 cup of water. I’ve to test this method followed by a 180-200°C bake. :)



Kistida's picture

I enjoy same day bakes but I think impatience got me on this chocolate+espresso + butter toasted oats swirl loaf (adapted recipe from Guess I was just eager to see how the swirls turn out. ;) Still the entire process was rewarding, especially the smells from baking this (the extra espresso powder, butter toasted oats, yum)

The next swirly bake was a mix with discard, mashed potatoes, some strawberries.. This morning, I decided to find out the water content of the strawberries I have despite websites telling me they might be 85, 90, 92%.. I figured I’m gonna just use the purée instead of water for my dough. Two samples, 3 hours at 95°C later I got my readings and it’s 91.3%. So, I made the recipe: a potato+sd discard dough and a strawberry one. This is what came out of my little experiment. I figured my 5g lemon juice may not be enough to keep the brightness of the red or maybe the purée should’ve been reduced to 1/3 to concentrate the color OR I’ll just make strawberry powder instead.

That said, I must redo these two bakes. 

Anyone here with experience keeping strawberry bright red enough in a bake before?


Kistida's picture

Usually my sourdough discard ends up in Dutch baby pancakes or flat breads but this week I used the discard (just over 200g) in a Garlic Herb & Cheese Pull-apart loaf and remade my orange cake with dark chocolate.

There is a little egg wash in this recipe but I prepared it with the egg meant for the recipe so that I won’t have to use an extra egg: Whisk the egg with 2 tbsp milk. Then, remove 2 tbsp of this mix into a container, cover and set aside (in the fridge). The rest of the egg mix is then used in the recipe.

The dough is prepared like most yeasted loaf, with a first proof of 60 to 90 minutes. The assembly of the loaf is tedious but the end result is definitely worth it: no need to slice or butter the bread!

There are several ways to assemble the loaf – roll the dough out, use a round cookie press, or cut into many smaller pieces. I divided the dough to 12 equal pieces, then flatten each to a small oval. The reserved egg wash was then brushed* on each flatten piece of dough followed by spreading half the dough with filling. Each piece is then folded in half and placed up right in the greased pan.

After a 30-45 minute 2nd proof, the loaf is baked for 30 minutes at 180°C.

Cool for about 10 minutes before turning the loaf out to cool a lil bit more.

*I've made a similar loaf without the egg wash and even though that loaf was fully cooked, certain parts were soggy from the butter.


For the orange cake, I changed the recipe a lil bit due to the extra flour and liquid. It's also baked in a 6" round pan.

The preparation steps are the same as before (just a spatula no mixer required). The discard is mixed into the orange-milk, then mixed into the egg mix with the dry ingredients.

To make the chocolate batter: Melt dark chocolate with cocoa powder and espresso powder in the microwave – 30 seconds on medium or over a Bain-marie. Stir continuously to cool about 1 minute.

Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the orange batter into the melted chocolate. Mix until smooth.

To make marbled version: simply spoon dollops of orange and chocolate batter into the pan. Then, swirl a knife or a skewer in any pattern - just 1-3 times. Any more swirls and the batters will combine into a chocolate version.

To make a zebra version: Spoon or pipe a dollop of orange batter to the center of the pan. Follow with a smaller amount of chocolate batter in the center of the orange batter. Continue doing this until all the batter is in the pan.

Tap the pan lightly on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles.

Bake at 180°C for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

I like how this version is taller than the original one. The zebra effect isn’t symmetrical since I spooned uneven amounts each time. It’s still a tasty treat, despite looking like a cross between a zebra and a marbled cake. The dark chocolate and espresso blend really well with the orange flavors here.

Kistida's picture

I'm not a fan of very tangy/acidic sourdough bread, that's why I normally don't proof my loaf for extended periods in the fridge. The only time an overnight loaf didn't taste very sour was when I used a stiff starter and there were cinnamon sugar and raisins in the loaf.

My liquid starter Prune is slowly getting back to normal but it’s not peaking at its usual 4 hours yet. For this loaf, it almost-peaked at 6 hours but I used it anyway. I used Maurizio’s all-purpose sourdough but adjusted it for a smaller loaf with a bit of spelt flour, cranberries, walnuts and sugared orange zest.

The inclusions were added in the 2nd hour of bulk fermentation. I rubbed 1 tbsp of sugar with the orange zest and mixed this into the dough with the chopped cranberries and toasted walnuts.

Because I started mixing late (blame Prune ?), the final proof started only at 7pm. So, the loaf stayed at room temperature for 2 hours and then, left to chill next to the milk on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

For some reason my oven did not stay at 230°C (reduced from 250°C preheat) after the loaf was placed in it early this morning (kitchen was 21°C). It dropped to 230° then, hovered at 220°C so I timed the bake anyway – 45 minutes.

And, the zest use was worth it! The acidic tang was there yet mild but barely noticeable thanks to the aroma from the orange zest. The next time I make this loaf, I will add the zest and sugar at the beginning of bulk fermentation so the zest gets incorporated thoroughly. Probably better to preheat my oven more than 45 minutes, and bake longer for a thicker crust.

Like my 6" small cake pan, I use a small 8" banneton for such small loaves (enough for 6-8 slices). I cover this with a sewn double layer cover from high thread-count cotton pillowcase (we've way too many for 2 people!) and trusty shower caps (I gather them from our travels). The cotton cover and shower cap are also used for my mixing bowls.

Help: can anyone tell me how do I adjust my posts to eliminate those extra spaces?

23 Apr 2021 update: I've got it! it's a little tedious but the Insert file feature works better than the media browser. :)

Kistida's picture

I simply added ingredients to make a small single layer orange cake for dessert today. The 6” pan is preferred because it provides enough cake for 2 human beings without guilt of over-stuffing our bellies or having to cope with leftover dessert. :D 


  • 115g all purpose flour 
  • 5g corn flour 
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 60g sugar 
  • 25g unsalted butter 
  • 20g light olive oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • 60g fresh orange juice 
  • 60g milk
  • Optional: chocolate chips, nuts, sugar 

Orange syrup 

  • 1/4 cup orange juice 
  • 4 tbsp sugar 
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Sift dry ingredients in a bowl.

Rub the zest into the sugar (releases fragrant essential oils and lightly tints the cake yellow). Then, butter, oil and beaten egg. 

Weigh juice and milk in a measuring cup (this makes an orangy buttermilk). Then, alternate milk and flour mixtures into the sugar mixture. 

Pour into grease and lined pan. I used chocolate chips and a sprinkling of about 1 tsp sugar. 

Place the pan on a quarter sheet and bake for 28-30 minutes at 180°C. After baking, let the cake cool for about 10 minutes then loosen it out onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper on its base, flip the cake topside up and poke the cake all over with a toothpick/skewer and drizzle/brush orange syrup over the warm cake. About 45 minutes (couldn’t wait any longer), I took a little slice and was pleasantly surprised by the citrusy burst of flavor. So happy with this first time bake. 

A few days ago, I tried making the Invisible Apple Cake (Gâteau Invisible is its fancy name). I guess the Ambrosia apples I used were overly juicy because the cake stayed relatively wet even after the batter had set. And the cake shrank a little once cooled too. 
I checked with Bea (the owner of that El Mundo Eats site) and she said it looks fine and just to bake a little longer with a foil tent. This was a very tasty cake but I will make it again when I get new bags of apples. ??

Kistida's picture

My starters were fed more than usual the amounts of ‘food’ just before my husband and I left for a family emergency in eastern Quebec. This morning I mixed both liquid and stiff discards to make 100% hydration, then recalculated the recipe for a cinnamon raisin swirl loaf recipe from KAB. I’ll probably attempt this again (the hubby loves cinnamon raisin anything!) with ripe sd and some spelt flour.

Dough (all at room temp)

  • 160g sourdough discard 
  • 300g all purpose flour 
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 3g (1 tsp) instant yeast
  • 6g (1 tsp) salt
  • 15g sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 70g water
  • 80g 2% milk
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • Olive oil for bowl and counter 


  • 80g raisins (soaked and drained)
  • 50g granulated or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour 
  • Egg wash: 1 large egg + 1 tbsp water, lightly beaten

After baking

  • 1/2 tbsp butter, softened  

Proofing in my oven at about 28°C

Baked in a glass loaf pan at 160°C/325°F 


Soak the raisins: To plump the raisins, soak them in equal weight of hot water for at least 3 hours (or overnight). Drain and pat dry before use. 
Prep the loaf pan: Grease a 23 x 13cm (9 x 5”) loaf pan with butter.  

Make the dough: Combine milk, water, egg, sugar, sourdough starter, flours, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl and mix by hand or in a stand mixer until a shaggy dough forms.  

Then, add the softened butter and continue to mix and knead until the dough becomes soft and smooth - about 8 - 10 minutes.   

Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough to grease all sides of the dough.  

Cover and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 hours.  

Make the filling: Stirring together sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Set aside.  

Shape the dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly greased counter.  

Deflate, roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle about 15 x 50cm (6 x 20”) - the smaller figure being slightly shorter than the length of pan’s base. 

Brush the surface of the dough beaten egg wash. Then, sprinkle cinnamon filling all over it leaving about 2.5cm (1”) wide along one short edge bare - this edge will be make it easier to seal the rolled log. Sprinkle the drained raisins evenly on top of the filling.  

With a dough scraper, start rolling from the short edge (covered with filling), into a log. Pinch the ends to seal, and turn the log seam-side down on the counter to seal the seam. Let it rest for about 5 minutes.  

Next, gently transfer the log, seam-side down, to the prepared pan. Cover lightly and allow it to rise until it's about 1" over the rim of the pan, about 45 minutes.  

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. 

Bake the loaf: Bake the loaf for 45 to 50 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 30 minutes.

Bake until crust is golden brown and the internal loaf temperature measures 88°C/190°F on a thermometer.

Remove the bread from the oven, and let it rest for a about a minute. Then, gently turn the loaf out - if the pan was buttered/greased well, the loaf will easily come out. Brush the top of the loaf with softened butter. Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing - about 2 hours. 


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