The Fresh Loaf

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Skibum's blog

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I have recently been seeking out new recipes to try, both for the flavour of new breads and the fun of trying new things. One of my favourite recent bakes is P. Reinhart's Many Seed bread which has become my favourite toast bread:

After a year of trying to make "artisan breads," I tried PR's Hoagie/ Cheesesteak buns and I love these! It is a super easy recipe -- beautiful dough to work with, the buns freeze well and toast up great for a grilled Bratwurst from my local Swiss deli.  I have done these twice now and both have been easy, fun bakes:

Hoagies proofing on my ragged linen couche. I support the couche with the counter backsplash and anything handy for the other end.

Proofed, scored and ready to bake.

Voila! A most tasty result and I will repeat, a very fun bake!  Beautiful, easy dough to work with and tasty results.

Regards, Brian

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I have been for the last couple of weeks using a nearly pure rye sourdough starter and have baked nothing but the New York Deli recipe from P. Reinhart's BBA.  I love the addition of the fried onions.  So far I have added the onions to the final dough and at some pont I will try adding them to the starter to see if it makes a difference.  For my last bake, I reduced the fried onion and added garlic to cook lightly, but not brown.  With the heat off, I added the caraway seed and fresh rosemary.

This bread has a really nice subtle garlic, onion and rosemary flavour and just screams out for a large pile of corned beef or pastrami lathered with both hot and grainy mustard.  Darn, that could have been an apres ski dinner, but the deli is closed . . .

I had incredible oven spring from this loaf.  Next bake I will also include a post proof, pre-bake photo.  I have now had 3 consecutive success's baking with my rye sourdough and will share what has worked very well for me.  Pre bake I refresh the mother rye starter as follows:

25 g seed

50 g light rye flour

40 g water

This is mixed well in a measured container and left to at least double.  This has taken anywhere from 4 to 28 hours depending on when the mother starter was last refreshed -- I do it weekly now.  After the initial build had doubled or more, I went to a second build:

115 g first build

60 g light rye flour

60 g strong bread flour

96 g water

The second build has consistently doubled or more in about an hour.  For this bake I had to put it in the fridge after a half hour as it was a ski day.  Six hours later, I removed the second build from the fridge and it had nearly overflowed the container.  Time to get baking!

NY Deli Rye w/ garlic and rosemary

151 g second starter, (it is hard to hit 150 perfectly and decided not to be anal about things.  bread is so forgiving in that way!)

50 g light rye flour

151 g bread flour

30 g greek yogurt, full fat

30 g whole milk

100 g water

1 Tbs brown sugar

1 tsp caraway seeds, pounded in a mortar and pestle, they didn't reduce much

90 g finely chopped onion, fried, weighed before cooking

20 g coarsly chopped garlic, fried, weighed before cooking

1-11/2 tsp fresh minced rosemary, less than 1 g, my scale only weighs to full grams, not fractions and I should have spent the extra 5 bucks . . .

1 Tbs canola oil for frying the savourys

1/2 Tbs EVOO for the main dough mix

11/4 tsp salt

I have been adding the salt in the final couple of S&F's of late, thanks to reading Carol Field's The Italian Baker.  So mix well, rest for 5, mix well again, rest 10, then 4 S&F's with 10 rest.  After a 1 hour bulk rise this dough had more than doubled.  This starter works faster than commercial yeast!  Pre-shaped, rested 5 then shaped a loaf.  After 30 minutes it was oven on to my 500F max, then another 30 minutes proof.  Scored and baked with steam for 20 turning and removing the steam pan at the half.

This was a fun bake I was able to fit around my schedule and am enjoying the whole sourdough leavening process.  The sourdough preferments add great flavour, I find the final dough develops strength quickly and the finished bread keeps surprising well on the kitchen counter.

BakeON!  Brian

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Okay this is now the best thing that I have ever baked:

I have been baking a recipe for lemon, poppy seed muffins for some time now.  I improved on this one by using lemon flavoured yogurt along with the lemon extract and zest.  It was this recipe that inspired me to try my 2 favourite field berries, field berry yogurt, along with fresh berries in the muffin mix.  For a half of the above recipe I mashed 1/4 C rasps into the dough and added 1/4 C blueberries gently later in the mix.  I filled the muffin cups not quite 3/4 full and then pressed a full, firm, fresh raspberry into the dough, covering it with a Tbs or so of dough.  Oh my!

I know I always say this is the best thing ever baked, but I really, really like these!!!!

Regards, Brian

1 C flour

1/4 C + 1 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs poppy seeds

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Sift together the obove ingredients.

1 large egg

1/2 C fieldberry yogurt -- highest fat % I can find!

2 Tbs oil

1/4 cup raspberries

1/4 tsp lemon extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix wet and dry and make sure the raspberries are mashed into the dough.  When well mixed, add:

1/4 C fresh blueberries, stirring in gently

This recipe makes 6 muffins and can easily be doubled.  As above, one whole, fresh raspberry was added to each muffin, whcn in the muffin cup.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400F turning at the half.

Enjoy!!!  Did I say I realllly liked these???

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Double chocolate and sweet biscotti:

It ws time to bake another batch of DaveG's fabulous double chocolate, hazelnut, chipotle biscotti  and also try the seeet biscotti recipe he provided.  To the half batch of 2x choco, I added 1 tsp of expresso coffee powder, was out of hazelnuts, (aka filberts) and used alsonds instead.  The hazelnuts provide a better flavour balance to the cocolate and chipotle, but hey, almonds work too!

I have been working through Carol Field's, "The Italian Baker," and checked her biscotti recipe also, which looked much like Dave's.  In the end I used the TIB recipe because, horror of horrors, I had no lemon zest -- my only lemon had been previously zested!  Now the TIB recipe is forgiving in that you can use either lemon extract or zest and/or orange exract or zest. I used lemon extract and orange zest for half the batch and baked according to Daves's loaf style 2x bake instructions, rather than shape the TIB cookie rounds.   I have not been able to stay away from these biscotti, oh my do I love the subtle flavoring!

Today I added lemon zest and some chopped almonds to the last half of the sweet biscotti dough and baked it up.  The lemon zest kicks the flavour up a good notch or two.  I think next batch, I will do half with lemon zest and half with orange zest.  At the pace I am eating these things, I may have to do another batch in the morning, (oink, oink).  The TIB biscotti recipe is listed at the end of this post.

A little ciabatta and salami by the campfire:

The last camping days of the season are now but a distant memory that ski season.  The photo was taken at a campsite along The Icefields Parkway, in Banff, Alberta Canada.

Bake ON TFLoafers!  Brian

Biscotti, from The Italian Baker, by Carol Field

160 g unsalted butter

200 g sugar

1 Tbs honey

2 eggs room temperature

Cream sugar and butter and add eggs one at a time and cream.

1/3 C + 3 Tbs milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp orange extract or zest of 1/2 orange

1/2 tsp lemon extract or zest of 1 lemon

500 g flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

11/2 Tbs or so coarsly ground almonds to top

1 egg for glazing

I bake @ 300F 20 munites turning halfway, chill 15 munites or so then slice on the diagonal 3/4" thick, turn on sides and bake for 20 munites @ 300F turning halfway, then turn the slices over and bake for another 20.  Yumm

Skibum's picture

Pulla, or Nisu as it is known by some Americans of Finnish extraction is my all time favourite sweet bread and has been all of my life.  The recipe I still have in my file was hand written by my mother, from my granny's original recipe.  I have loved this bread as long as I can remember --  back to my grandmother's lap!

I won't post the recipe here as a search of this site turned up identical, authentic recipes.   These loaves are great with coffee or tea for breakfast.  I particularly like a cafe con leche, or a spanish expresso shot with hot milk!  Both the finished loaves and proofed dough freeze well.  I'm afraid I can't comment on the keeping properties of this bread as it simply disappears before your eyes!

Traditional is an egg glaze and sprinkled, crushed sugar cubes.  The chopped almonds are not traditional, but once I tried it, almonds are now an in-dispensible part of the recipe! 

This recipe makes 3 loaves.  I proofed all 3, baked 2 and froze the third loaf, glaze, almonds and all, wrapped in heavy foil, then in plastic.  The night before baking, the frozen pulla goes onto the counter, resting on parchment and supported by a linen couche, covered with plastic and a towel.  In the morning, bake as usual.  Un-frozen dough, above, ready for the oven  Voila:

I could not tell the difference between the fresh baked and baked from frozen pulla!  This is an easy recipe and doable by novice bakers on the first try.  Braiding the loaves is not really difficult.  If you can braid hair or rope, you can braid dough . . .

Bake ON TFLoafers!  Brian


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One of the things I have noted about TFL, is that most of the seriojus bakers have a blog.  I decided it would be a good place to document my various success and failure in the kitchen.  Since I baked my way through 20 kilos of strong bakers flour in 5 months, I now consider myself a 'serious' baker and so goes my blog.

I have had the original version of The Italian Baker from the library for a while now.  I have had some spectacular failures, along with some gratifying success.  The 'como Antica' is the best tasting bread I have ever produced.  Ariving there took a fairly significant departure from the printed sintructions!

The recipe calls for a 11/2 - 2 hour bulk rise, followed by shaping and proof for another 11/4 - 11/2 hours.  The above mis-shapen loaf is my first try.  I got very little bulk rise in 21/2 hours and little rise during the proof, but some pretty good spring, heartth baked.  The loaf split part way along the seam, which was baked up as per instructions.  Behind is pane di Como, a simple recipe from this book which ueilds great sandwich bread with little effort.

This was not a good result, so I thought I would make a new biga and start again in the morning.  Re-reading the recipe carefully, I noted she recommends using half the yeast in the biga for this bread.  The next morning after 14 hours or so the biga was bubbly and smelled great!  I proceeded to mix and knead.  After 21/2 hours of bulk ferment I didn't have an iota of rise, nor after 3 hours.  Rather than toss the effort, I did a stretch and fold, to re-distribute any available yeast and then forgot about it for the afternoon and evening.  By bed time it had risen 11/2 times and by the next morning had doubled or more.  I rested shaped and hearth baked and scored along the top of the loaf, trying to match the seam:

Nice crust, chewy crumb and great flavour!  I didn't need butter to savour this bread!  In the end, it needed a 24 hour bulk ferment and the patience was worth it.

I made a second attempt at the pane di Como Antico the next day with the 2 day old biga.  The result was the same:  a 24 hour bulk ferment, followed by a normal proof time and hearth baked.  Wonderful rich wheat flavour in this recipe!  This is my favoroute bread so far:  great fresh, toasted or for sandwiches.

Bake ON TFLoafers!  Brian


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