The Fresh Loaf

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Skibum's blog

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I found with my last bake, that by coating the dough with melted butter, then the chocolate filling, that as the dough rose in the proof and baking stages, it squeezed most of the chocolate to the top of the loaf.

With version II, I omitted the melted butter and think it bonded better to the dough and this version has more veins of chocolate than the first bake. I also used a little more than half a batch of pulla dough and found 525 grams properly filled the loaf pan. Pulla is a dough enriched with milk, sugar, eggs and cardamom.

Baked at 350F for 15 minutes with steam and another 20 minutes no steam. I forgot to add chopped nuts this time and will do so next time.

This loaf is pretty decadent and sweet, but it goes great with really strong coffee -- espresso from my little Bialetti espresso maker!

Happy baking Fresh Loaf friends! Ski

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I baked a half batch of bagels this morning following Peter Reinhart's recipe fro "Artisan Breads Every Day." Boy did they ever turn out good! I should have made a full batch. It was my first time attempting bagels and this recipe will definitely be a regular in my baking rotation.

I enjoyed my first home baked bagel for a late breakfast with cream cheese. Now I need to go out and find some lox!

Happy baking! Ski

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Greeting fellow bakers. I have not been here for a few months and am poorer for it. My baking was in a rut, so I came here for some inspiration and it paid off in spades.

My first bake out of the rut was NY Style Deli rye from P. Reinhart's, "Bread Baker's Apprentice." This is one excellent sandwich bread and keeps well on the counter.

I have been baking pulla religiously every couple of weeks and thought, why not use the pulla dough for babka?

I rolled the dough out, brushed with melted butter being careful to leave about a 3/4" border of plain dough. I then spead on a chocolate filling and sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts, (filberts). Next, I rolled the dough into a tube and sealed the seam and rested in the fridge for a half hour or so. The theory is that makes the dough easier to work.

I then cut the sough in half lengthwise and formed a crude braid, cut side up and placed it into the loaf pan to proof. Baked at 350F with steam for 20 minutes and a further 35 minutes to finish. Delicious!

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Greetings Fresh Loaf friends. I continue to bake every week but have been negligent in posting my results. This is my weekly sandwich loaf:

I have been making this recipe for a year now and have it dialed. I am also fortunate to be able to buy the best bread flour from my local bakery. Boy does great flour EVER make a difference. I also use a sweet levain at 100% hydration. This is essentially a sourdough starter that isn't sour, hence sweet levain.

Here is the recipe:

445 grams fine bread flour

250 grams whole milk scalded and cooled

85 grams sweet levain starter

11/2 tsp active dry yeast

58  grams honey -- boy did the wildflower honey EVER kick up the flavour!!!!!

3/4 tsp salt

50 grams melted butter

2 egg beaten

After mixing and developing the dough, I let it bulk ferment for about two hours. I then pre-shaped and shaped a pan loaf, let rise for about two hours, then egg washed and scored.

The loaf baked for 18 minutes at 375F with steam and an additional 20 minutes with no steam.

Best sandwich bread I have ever baked. Try it you'll like it!

Happy baking. Ski

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Merry Christmas fresh loafers! This has been my go to recipe for sandwich bread for some time now. It freezes well sliced and each loaf keeps me for 2 - 3 weeks in sandwich bread. The recipe is a version of Peter Reinhart's recipe for soft sandwich bread and rolls from Artisan Bread's Every Day. I use a natural yeast, a sweet levain at 100% hydration. The current levain is at least three years old.

To finish the loaf, I brushed with an egg glaze and then scored the top, finally getting a good score and a nice grigne. It tells me I judged the proofing right. It is nice to get a great bake in a relatively new kitchen and new oven and at a new altitude and humidity. I am figuring it out.

May all of your Christmas dreams come true and happy baking! 


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I bake infrequently now, but continue to maintain a sweet levain @ 100% hydration. Today was pulla for breakfast in the morning. Second bake, rising is P. Reinhart's soft sandwich bread. It is an bread, enriched by butter, milk and eggs. I modified Mr. Reinhart's recipe to use my sweet levain, which is a sweet version of a sourdough starter. I don't care for the sour taste in my breads.

Beautiful flavour and a nice crumb. A successful Christmas bake! Merry Christmas!!!


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Since I moved to my new home 31/2 months ago, I have eaten little bread. Now that the cold weather is setting in, I have had cravings for grilled cheese sandwiches. I actually bought a store loaf of sliced white bread and it made a pretty good grilled cheese. I figured I could do better.

I did a sweet levain version of Peter Reinhart's soft sandwich bread and rolls from Artisan Breads Every Day. I used his recipe, but used 150 grams sweet levain, adjusting the milk and flour to compensate. I also added 1/2 Tbs active dry yeast. It was nice to be working with an active dough once again. this is also the first loaf I have done in a loaf pan for some time. Very please with the results! Nice crust and crumb and great flavour! A nice slicing bread for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.


And here is the sandwich, made better by adding bacon!

Happy cooking, baking and eating folks! Ski

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Well with record breaking heat this summer in my new town, I haven't baked much. The blueberries and jalapeno mixed well together. A simple easy, quick recipe.

Heat oven to 400-410F and heat an eight inch cast iron skillet in it.

1/2 C each cornmeal and flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 Tbs sugar

1 egg beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk soured with vinegar

2 Tbs honey

1 jalapeno minced, I will use 2 next time

3/4 cup of blueberries

Combine dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine, stirring the pepper and blues in well. When the oven is up to temp add 2 Tbs to the hot pan and coat all sides well with butter. The excess butter can be added to the mix.

Pour the batter into the buttered CI skillet and back 25 minutes, turning at the half. Now I say 400-410F as I am adjusting from 400F in a convection oven and find I need either a little more temperature or time in my non-convection oven. Very happy with the results today!

Happy baking friends! Ski

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My first bake was soft pull apart dinner rolls and they didn't turn out well. Now I have moved from a kitchen elevation of 4,420 ft above sea level to 2,600 feet. I was not getting the rise with the same amount of levain. Also moving from an electric convection to a non-convection oven gave different results.

I made two adjustments that worked out will for this bake. First I increased the liquid levain by 50% fromn66 grams to 102 grams for the same recipe. I also raised the bake temperature from 350F to 375F. I baked for 14 minutes with steam and 10 without. Next bake, I will back down to 12 minutes of steam. The rolls were a little over baked today, but with all the enrichment's, milk, honey and butter, they were still quite moist.

The extra levain gave me rise similar to what I had in Canmore. Two simple fixes and I am settling in to my new kitchen and oven!

Happy baking, cooking and eating friends! Ski

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Well, I have neither baked much nor had time to visit this site for the last couple of months. Moved from Canmore AB to Golden, BC. Moving is a HUGE pain, but I am very satisfied with the result. I love my new home and town!!!

Check out my new kitchen. It is easily 4 times as large as my last kitchen. There is a full pantry unseen to the right of the fridge. Now, I have a well equipped kitchen, but so far have used a little more than half the cupboard space. LOADS of counter space for working dough! Lots of space for my new toys, a FoodSaver and a Sous Vide Supreme. Floyd, you have seen my old kitchen and boy is this a serious upgrade

The biggest change for me is going from a gas cook top, electric convection oven to a non convection electric oven with induction cook top. I love the induction top.  However my bake results for the oft pull apart dinner rolls were different. Certainly I didn't get the nice brown on the crust, I got with the same time and temperature with convection. So far, I figure I will need to bump up my baking temperatures a bit and I have had to add extra time to the first bake.  I have also moved from 4,420 feet above sea level to 2,580' and will have to make adjustments for this.

If anyone has any comments or suggestions on how to get a browner crust, I would most appreciate any suggestions.

Happy baking friends, from a happy old ski bum at home in Golden, BC!


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