The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Skibum's blog

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Well this is the nicest loaf of pulla I have baked in some time. With this being ski season, I began taking shortcuts. I assumed that because I was using a sponge, I could use less than a fresh starter. I did and the previous two bakes had about 1/3 less oven spring than this bake. For this bake I refreshed my 100% starter 1:1:1 and left it on the kitchen counter overnight to double or more and then fall back. I then began the sponge and the bake and easily +1/3 more oven spring. With the additional oven spring the crumb was lighter and less chewy. So much for shortcuts.

Three or four pulla bakes ago, I absent mindedly used 100% strong bread flour. Prior I used about half and half BF and AP. To my surprise the 100% BF dough was more extensible when rolling out the braids than the blend. So all of my pulla is now 100% strong bread flour which I buy out the back door of our local artisanal bakery JK Bakery.

One of the things I love about cooking and baking is that is an ongoing learning experience. Oh yeah, my baiding is getting a little better with each loaf.

Happy baking! Ski

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I baked some cookies for Christmas, from recipes I discovered on the net and thought I would share. The big ones on the bottom are lemon ricotta cookies with a lemon glaze. Easy and yummy!

The smaller cookies on top are almond shortbread. These cookies carry a WARNING. I cannot stop eating them!  I baked a half batch of each for Christmas and still have some lemon cookies. In the mean time I am up to 5 batches of the shortbread and will soon begin a sixth!  Great recipe, but please heed the warning.

Happy baking and Happy New Year! Ski

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We have apple, walnut, cream cheese on the left and a mixed dark berry cream cheese on the right. Both of these braids are based on Floyd's excellent Blueberry cream cheese braid in the most bookmarked section. My only change was to up the fruit to 11/2 cups per loaf and then try to shoehorn it all in. I used my beloved pulla dough for the braids. In behind my obligatory pulla loaf which I bake at least once a week. Okay time to stop baking. With the onion rolls and these three large braids, my small freezer is full. All of these loaves freeze AND reheat nicely.

Happy baking, Ski


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I enjoyed these rolls so well, I made a second batch. The big change? I used 3 Tbs granulated onion rehydrated in 2C boiling water rather than 2Tbs onion. I have enjoyed these rolls for sandwiches as dinner rolls or just on their own with a schmear of butter. One of my favourite recipes from any source. Bless you Norm!

Happy baking, Ski

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One of the great things about this site is the volume of great recipes to try. One of my favourites is Norm's onion buns:

My two key changes were using a liquid levain and upping the hydration to about 68% The dough hydration as written would be not workable at my elevation and I hand mix all my breads, so no big mixer to help.

Start with 2 Tbs dried onion rehydrated in a couple of cups of boiling water. I used the re-hydrated onions to top and the water to mix the dough.

I needed to feed my liquid levain after 4 or 5 days of neglect in the fridge and used 75 grams of what would have been discard to make a sponge:

75 grams (old) liquid levain

21g sugar

7g malt syrup

21g beaten egg

150 g strong bread flour (BF)

150g onion water

I let the sponge get happy for a couple of hours, then into the fridge overnight.

After a couple of hours on the counter in the morning, I added

110g H2O

265g BF

21g canola oil

7g salt

I mixed and used Peter Reinhart's S&F method, let rise for 1:20 then shaped 125g balls and baked off at 450F, 8 minutes with steam and 12 minutes, turning a couple of times.

These rolls are excellent by them selves with just a schmear of butter. For sandwiches, I am now torn between apple wood smoked chicken or hickory smoked pulled pork, both of which I have cached in the freezer AND can actually find. Votes?

Happy baking, Ski

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Well I thought I got the seams well sealed and the skin taught and did. Still, this is the most dramatic seam explosion I have ever had on this Forkish style loaf. I scored a classic cross, just to be safe.  This loaf has such a complicated bloom, I am unsure where to make the first cut!

What is better than a beautiful blooming boule? A blooming boule and the BEST chocolate mouse I have ever made, from the best recipe I have ever found!!!

Served with fresh raspberries, raspberry whipped cream and grated chocolate. I used this recipe, have made this three times and it is the BOMB!

Enjoy and happy baking, Ski!

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From top left, the obligatory weekly pulla braid, country blonde, apple, walnut, cream cheese bread and Italian semolina, sesame loaves!

I used a single batch of pulla dough to make both the braid, 60%  dough volume and apple, cream cheese bread, 40%dough volume. My goal with the fruit, cream cheese bread was to pack as much goodness into each bite as possible. Mission accomplished!!!

Happy baking!  Ski

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My first Forkish style boule in a few months. I proofed seam side down and baked seam side up. The last time I did one of these the seams didn't open, so I did a classic, cross score. It looks like both seams and score lines opened up for an interesting loaf.

This was a back of the envelope loaf, similar to SJSD and Overnight country blonde. 500g total flour at 73% hydration, 15% liquid levain, 5% each whole wheat and rye flour and the rest strong bread flour. I only used 6 grams salt and think it needs more next time, say 11 grams.

After trying and failing this summer to master both the overnight country blonde, SJSD and batard shape with mixed to poor results, I decided to take my baking back to an earlier time and process. I used Peter Reinhart's S&F method with 10 minutes rest between folds, then just watched the dough.

After about 2 hours bulk on the counter it had developed to 1.5x bulk and it was into the fridge for overnight as per PR. I let the dough warm up and finishing rising to about 2.5x bulk on the counter the next morning. At this point I shaped a boule and proofed for about 55 minutes in a well floured brotform. This was baked @ 500F in a lodge cast iron combo cooker for 17 minutes covered and another dozen uncovered turning at the half.

Nice bread with an almost shred able crumb and good crust snap. I am happy with this bake. Nice flavour, crust, crumb and good loft in this loaf.

Happy baking, Ski

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Oh my! I had to share this recipe!

As a single ski bum, I have been feeding daily on cream cheese, fruit braid and pulla for nearly three weeks now. I have also discovered parts of long ago baked breads in the depths of my freezer. Some still excellent and a couple over time. Time to start baking loaves again and time to feed my starter.

I have baked these cookies a couple of times with great results and this time decided to spike things with a little chipotle powder and some almond. This recipe just called out for some nuts!

Here is the mix:

85g semi sweet chocolate, ( I used 15 g unsweetened and 70g semi)

1Tbs butter

1/4 cuo + 2 Tbs sugar

2Tbs fine ground expresso coffee

1/2 cup flour

1 Tbs cocao pow

1/2 tsp baking pow

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs water

1/2 -1 tsp chipotle powder

Mix all of the above ingredients, then fold in:

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips.

The batter looked lacking, so I added:

1/2 cup slivered almonds

I spooned about 1.5 Tbs onto a baking parchment lined baking sheet, then rounded, flattened and shaped the cookies before baking.

Bake 300F 18 - 20 minutes and allow to cool on baking trays. This is a half version and take off of Giada's recipe and I believe credit where credit is due:

Happy baking! Ski

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Well friends, I enjoyed the berry cream cheese version of Floyd's Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid so much, I tried a new filling version first suggested by scarlett75 in July of '05. This is a really great filling for this bread! 

Again I used pulla dough, brushed with a double egg wash after proofing and sprinkled with sugar/cinnamon, then some more sprinkled sugar.

A really nice filling variation on an excellent recipe!!!

I am wondering about savory variations. Perhaps a non sweet dough with an Italian tomato gravy, fresh mozzarella and Italian pizza cold cuts would work. Has anyone tried this???

On this holiday weekend, it has been raining for two day and nights straight, with snow on the lawn in this mountain town this morning. A good time to stay in my kitchen and bake. Here is yesterday's pulla from my now fave formula:

So today I had the pleasure of mixed berry cream cheese bread, pulla and apple, walnut cream cheese bread with a double shot of expresso coffee. Heaven!!!

Happy baking! Ski


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