The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

I’d love to have one but since I don’t…

I set out to determine if I could approximate the wood burning brick oven effect by baking the bread in my Cast Aluminum PK charcoal grill. I was hopeful because one of the nice features of the PK is the heat radiating effects of Aluminum. “Aluminum reflects 97% of heat rays

KazaKhan's picture

I had a go at baked yeast doughnuts that were not very good. The baguette here is from some dough left in the fridge on Sunday and baked Friday, it was not good.
Today I thought I'd have a crack at a chocolate sponge roll using the recipe from my cake class I missed last Thursday. The roll didn't work out so I cut it in half and stacked it with some cream in the middle. I think my baking powder might be a little strong I got much more rise then I was expecting.
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I made some bread today too in preparation for a test next week part of which means making some bread rolls. Mine usually are not very good so I need the practice, they came out very well. There was another loaf and a cob but my wife run off with the cob before I could get a photo. I'm sure she and her parents are enjoying it as I type this ;-)
Bread Rolls

Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

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I've been making Sourdough breads for a couple months now from a culture I started myself with water and unbleached flour. The original inspiration and methodology came from OUTLAW COOK by John Thorne. There are two great bread chapters in the book: An Artisanal Loaf and One Loaf Three Ways. The former explores the mystery and delight of making bread from nature, the latter gives practical instruction. Since then I have scoured every sourdough entry Google could locate and have gotten great ideas from the many excellent bread makers who have shared their art and technique. I've had some ups and downs as most people do. My goal is craggy, flavorful, crusty artisanal loaves. No bread pans for me! Initially I wasn't getting the loft in the bread-- they weren't door stoppers-- just not as airy as I would have liked. But the biggest failing in my mind was the lack of dramatic bloom and crests where i had slashed the bread. I've solved those issues with this bread which is 1/5 whole wheat flour. My next effort will be with all white bread flour.

Here is my set up: Flower pot cloche on unglazed tiles

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The recipe:
Rosemary Olive Sourdough Boule

1 ½ Cs activated 100% hydration SD starter (retarded overnight and brought to room temp)
1 2/3 Cs water
1 C WW flour
3 ½ Cs Bread Flour
1 T dried Rosemary softened in 1 T olive oil
1 C Brine cured olives pitted, roughly chopped and oven dried at 275 for about an hour.
1 1/2 t sea salt

Put activated starter, WW flour, olive oil/ rosemary and water in large bowl (I use kitchen Aid mixer). Mix on low with paddle until well blended. With mixer on lowest setting, add bread flour 1 tablespoon at a time until a dough begins to form. Using rubber spatula, scrape dough off paddle and exchange for dough hook. Turn on lowest setting with dough hook and continue adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time while scraping down side of bowl so the dough begins to form into a ball. After each addition of flour, the dough will come together away from the bowl and become dry on the outside. Then as the flour is incorporated, the dough will start to sag again, appear wetter and stick to the bowl. As this happens, add more flour. Throughout this process, use the rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and encourage all the dough to stick together. This should take around 4-5 minutes. Once you have a smooth but still somewhat sticky dough, flour your surface and hands and turn/ scrape the dough out for hand kneading.

Hand knead incorporating flour as needed until you have a classic bread dough. 2-4 minutes more.

Set aside covered in a lightly oiled bowl for 20 minutes.

Turn out again onto floured surface and shape into a rough square. Sprinkle 2/3 of the salt on the dough, fold in half and sprinkle remaining salt. Fold over and knead for another 1-2 minutes until salt is evenly distributed.

Put back into oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside to rise. 4-6 hours.

Turn out onto floured surface, spread out into rough square, sprinkle olives all over, fold and knead until olives are well distributed. Shape into Boule and place top down into floured banneton. Place banneton inside a plastic garbage liner (white kind only) or other plastic bag and place in the fridge for overnight retardation.

Remove from fridge and allow 3-5 hours to proof. Preheat oven, tiles and cloche to 500,
Turn bread onto corn meal dusted peel, slash top and slide onto tiles and cover with cloche. Bake 45 mins: 15 mins at 500, 15 mins at 400, final 15 mins uncovered to brown.

Peeking while it rises, 2 hours out of the fridge, 2 hours before baking (a finger poked 1/2 inch into the dough springs back quickly)

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Suiseiseki's picture

This is just a draft; I have yet to try it. Using the amounts in brackets should theoretically make one loaf with approximately 70g fibre. Please forgive me if I got the percentages wrong; I'm still trying to switch from measuring in cups.

Ingredients 58.75% (240g) All purpose flour 2.08% (1 tbsp) Vital wheat gluten (80% protein) 39.17% (160g) Dark rye flour 77.11% (315mL) Water 0.88% (1.5 tsp) Yeast 1.79% (1.25 tsp) Salt 4.99% (1 tbsp) Honey (will probably use molasses instead as soon as I get some) 3.43% (1 tbsp) Butter 3.00% (85g) Wheat bran

Method (written for one loaf) Sponge 1.2g yeast 125mL water 120g AP flour Combine yeast with water, then stir in flour until evenly mixed. Cover & let stand at room temperature for 5 to 5.5 hours.

Dough Everything else Mix evenly into sponge. Knead until dough passes the windowpane and/or knuckle tests. Let dough rise covered in a greased bowl until doubled in bulk and passes the poke test (dough does not recover from poking/dimpling). Shape into loaf and let rise covered until doubled. Baking time and temperature have yet to be determined because I honestly don't know.

Hockey puck? Door stopper? Slimey pancake? Miraculously wonderful? What do you think?

KazaKhan's picture

I started today with a generic sponge that I used to make my standard white loaf & baguette, flax seed plait and some choc-chip hot cross buns. I wasn't sure at first if it was going to work out today trying a sponge and bulk ferment. So no bread improver and less yeast than usual. I started mixing the sponge at 12:30 and the first loaf was into the oven at 4:00. Now that I'm using two cast iron trays on the bottom of the oven to which I add a tray of ice between them, I'm getting a very nice bloom. Despite the ugliness of the buns they were quite nice. I couldn't post a picture of the loafs crumb, I've used up my monthly quota at flickr :-(

Flax PlaitNice Bloom Choc-Chip Hot Cross BunsBaguette & Pieces Flax Seed Crumb

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

There's just something satisfying about eating a sandwich on bread you've made yourself. Soft, delicious bread. A sense of accomplishment. Anyone can go to the store and buy bread, and sometimes even more cheaply than I can make it for (I don't want to think about how much I spent in molasses on my last pumpernickel).

It's funny, because not that long ago, it would have been completely commonplace to eat your own bread. We've become a society so dependent on having others do things for us.

I'm a woodworker, and there's a similar satisfaction to working with tools you've made yourself. Again, the craftsman of old would have scoffed at such an idea, having made 95% of his own tools. Today, you can buy tools just about anywhere for 1/2 of what it would cost you to make them.

But then cost isn't the point, is it?


timtune's picture

Well, again. It's time to update my blog on what i've been up to.. :P

A few days ago, i decided to try an italian chestnut flour i purchased some time ago. So i made a chestnut bread with 15% WW & rye.
Here's it -

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Today,well...actually about an hour ago, we just had a lil green coloured indian crepe called 'Pesarattu', and fish curry (which was actually fish carcass...but still with quite an amount of meat & plenty filling). The 'Pesarattu' is made entirely with mung beans, or 'green bean'. Spongier than 'dosas' with a nutty/beany flavour. I still like 'dosas' though.

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Kitchen Witch's picture
Kitchen Witch

Well I had ordered a sourdough started from the friends of Carl a while back and never got around to activating it. So I got a coupla containers over the weekend and activated it according to the book Classic Sourdough by Ed Wood,( 7pm) well it took off incredibly fast.....but there was a layer of hooch in the middle by morning. So around 9:30am I decided to wash it also according to the book, by 11am it had risen 1 1/2" and was still on the rise, we went away and when we returned home aroung 4 in the afternoon it had risen a good 2". Well I washed it again at 4 and by 7pm it was ready to be divided again, so I divided it at 7 and by 8 it was cralwing out the top of the containers.(It had risen over 2 cups and 2 1/2 ", in an hour ) So I divided it and washed it one final time at 8pm and tossed it into the frige for the night, over night it had risen over an inch in the fridge. This morning I took one container from the fridge and am making Cinnamon raisin nut Bread also from the book so we will see how it turns out.

JohnnyX's picture

After many months of making french bread, I have finally achieved the results I have been striving for! Delicious open crumb,and crunchy crust. All my practice has finally paid off. For me, shaping has been one of my biggest weaknesses. Now hopeully I can achieve this again.

KazaKhan's picture






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