The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


justkeepswimming's picture

My first entry in the No Comfort Zone community bake: Berry focaccia with meyer lemon olive oil.

I have never made focaccia, mostly because I haven't been sure what to do with one after I bake it. There is just 2 of us, and we already are on the outer edges of how much bread we can eat without needing to buy larger clothes.And then I got inspired by watching this Italian Grandma make focaccia. Whether or not you ever make focaccia, she is well worth watching - she's the real deal, lol.

I started to write out my recipe/process, but then realized it is the same as many other focaccia recipes. The main differences are that I chose to use frozen berries. And instead of EVOO, I used this meyer lemon olive oil . (They are local to me, and their in store price when I bought this wasn't this high. I am not affiliated with them, we just shop there once in a while.). Dusted with a light dusting of powdered sugar just prior to serving (no photos).

The frozen blueberries held up very well. The raspberries kind of disintegrated and got mushy in the oven, but still tasted great. The crumb photo looks like it came out gummy, but that didn't seem to be the case for most of the focaccia. It may have been an artifact of the juicy raspberry or photo. And the berry flavors combined with the meyer lemon oil made my mouth do quite a happy dance. It is a more rich flavor than lemon zest would have provided. After we grazed our way through half the pan between last night and brunch this morning, I froze the rest. I'm not quite ready to go out into the real world and try on clothes, lol.



kendalm's picture

The one on the left is a torpedo shape and the right a teardrop.  I prefer the teardrop shape but what I am most happy with is the crumb today.  Dropped hydration a little and also scored vertically which seems to help getting double grignes.  Also did a 2 hour autolyse this time which really reduces the mixing so we'll know soon if that had a positive impact on flavor.  Otherwise, I feel like breakdancing ! 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Due to *life* my levain for Maurizio's "best" sourdough I wanted to bake got too ripe, so I improvised a different recipe: more wholegrain (using einkorn), slightly lower hydration:

Simple procedure: mixed, slap&folds, stretch&folds, bulk until increased volume and jiggly, shape, cover in sesame and poppy seeds, retard, bake.

Not huge oven spring, but sufficient to be really pleased with the look (got very nice surface tension by stitching, and scoring angle was on point, so a beautiful ear). Like the crumb as well, and tastes great.

Benito's picture

I found this recipe at and since it had yuzu in it, I had to make it.  It uses the Yuzu Honey Tea which is essentially a yuzu marmalade.  These can be found in Korean grocery stores.  For those unfamiliar with yuzu, it is a type of lemon grown in Japan and Korea, it is quite delicious and has a distinct fragrance and flavour.


This cake turned out really well, we both loved it for dessert tonight.


Lemon-Yuzu Cake

Yield: One 9-inch round cake


For the cake:

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (120 grams) all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt 

1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

1 or 2 teaspoons lemon zest, depending on how much lemon flavor you like

2 large eggs, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons jarred citron (yuja) tea, such as this one (strain out the peel and seeds before measuring, and reserve the peel for garnish)

½ cup (120 grams) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

Scant ¼ cup (40 grams) whole milk, at room temperature


For the yuja cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold

3 tablespoons citron (yuja) tea (strain out the peel and seeds before measuring, and reserve the peel for garnish)

Pinch of kosher salt

For the topping:

Yuja peel from the jarred tea, reserved after straining


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease the parchment. Place the cake pan on top of a baking sheet.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Step 3: In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add the sugar and lemon zest and cream the mixture until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Step 4: Add in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Scrape the bowl once more, then beat in the almond extract (if using), lemon juice, and strained yuja tea until smooth.

Step 5: Sift half of the dry ingredients over the butter mixture and beat until just combined (a few flour patches are fine). Carefully beat in the sour cream and milk, then sift in the rest of the dry ingredients and beat until just combined and the batter is smooth. Take care not to overmix.

Step 6: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a small offset spatula or rubber spatula.

Step 7: Slide the pan and baking sheet carefully into the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then gently loosen the edges by running a small offset spatula or paring knife around the edge. Carefully invert the cake onto a cooling rack.

Step 8: While the cake is cooling, make the yuja cream: Combine the heavy cream, strained yuja tea, and pinch of salt in a large bowl. With an electric hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft to medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 9: When the cake is completely cool, spread the whipped cream on top and garnish with the reserved yuja peel.


Note: If you plan on consuming the cake over a few days, I recommend keeping the unfrosted cake at room temperature tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, then slicing and assembling with the whipped cream and garnish when ready to serve. If you do refrigerate the assembled cake (covered), allow it to soften at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes before enjoying.


_JC_'s picture

Base Recipe by Patrick Ryan of Firehouse Bakery

500g Strong white flour

65g Brown Sugar

12g Salt

5g Ground Cinnamon

5g All spice

5g of vanilla extract

Orange zest - 1 whole!!

200g Stiff starter

300g milk

1 large egg

65g unsalted butter

200g dried fruit(Marinade with orange and lemon juice with cinnamon and clove overnight) drained and save juice for glazing.

Cross paste - this may need to be adjusted(too hard after baking)😂

100g plain flour-Colour or flavour

40g icing sugar

60-70ml milk

In a mixer Mix all ingredients except butter and fruits, once everything is mixed gradually add the butter, mix until gluten is developed, took about 20 minutes mix on medium to high speed with one 5 minutes rest a total of 25 minutes.

Leave to rest for 1 hour, after resting add fruits by folding onto the dough. Bulk ferment for 8 hours @ 23-24c deg. 


After bulk fermentation divide the dough approx 80 - 85g each and shape into a ball placing it onto a prepared tray(with baking paper preferred) 

Let it proof/prove for about 9-10 hours @ 24c Deg 

Pre-heat oven to 220c deg, add your cross paste when oven is ready, load onto the oven and drop the temperature to 200c deg and bake for 12 minutes, then another 20 to 25 minutes at 180c deg.


Use the left over juice from the fruit marinade and add approx a teaspoon of sugar then mix and brush on top while hot..


HeiHei29er's picture

The request for a loaf to go with dinner tomorrow was "something Italian".  So...  Semolina Pain au Levain bake #2.

This one went well and was easier than the first one.  I didn't worry quite so much about degassing while rolling in the toasted sesame seeds, and I think I got them on better.

Starter pre-shaping at 75%.  Didn't degas as hard as yesterday's sandwich loaf, but patted it down enough to make sure I didn't have any big gas pockets.  The crust colored up nice.  Wish I would have made the side scores a little longer and deeper, but that's being finicky.

Will see if this one makes it till tomorrow before it gets sliced.  Those toasted sesame seeds smell good!


Bubbly poolish


Taking the lid off


EDIT: Crumb added...

Danni3ll3's picture

It was time to redo this one! I just changed some of the grains from the last time I made this and reduced the jalapeño amount because that’s what I had. I also couldn’t get fresh chives so freeze dried had to do. 



Makes 3 loaves



55 - 100 g sliced pickled jalapeños (to taste)

250 g old cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

3 g freeze dried chives or 24 g fresh chopped chives


Main Dough

100 g freshly milled Selkirk wheat flour 

100 g freshly milled rye flour 

100 g freshly milled Red Fife wheat flour 

775 g unbleached strong bakers flour

775 g filtered water + 25 g

20 g Himalayan pink salt

30 g local yogurt

250 g 100% hydration levain (procedure for this is in recipe)

Extra whole grain and unbleached flour to feed the levain



The day before:

1. About 8 hours before bedtime, take 2 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 4 g of filtered water and 4 g of wholegrain flour. Let sit in a warm spot. 


The night before:

  1. Mill the grain on the finest setting of your mill or measure out commercial whole grain flour of the various grains if you don’t mill your own.
  2. Place the required amount of each freshly milled flour in a tub and add the unbleached flour to it. Cover and set aside.
  3. Cube the cheddar, add a tablespoon of flour and toss with your fingers to separate the chunks. Place in the fridge overnight.
  4. Drain the jalapeños and chop them into smaller pieces. Mince the chives if using fresh, put with the jalapeños in a bowl, and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Feed the levain 20 g of water and 20 g of wholegrain flour. Let that rise at room temperature for the night.


Dough making day:

1. Feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 50 g of wholegrain flour as well as 50g of strong baker’s flour. Place in a warm spot. Let rise until doubled (about 5-6 hours). Take the cheese and the chives/jalapeños out of the fridge to warm up before being used in the dough. 


2. About two hours before the levain is ready, using a stand mixer, mix the water with the flours, and mix on speed 1 until all the flour has been hydrated. Let this autolyse for a couple of hours.


3. Once the autolyse is done, add the salt, the yogurt, and the levain to the bowl. Mix on speed one for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on speed 2 for 8 minutes. Put in the add-ins and extra water if needed, and  mix until well integrated. This takes 3-4 more minutes at least. 

I tried a bit of an experiment. For the last two batches, I dumped everything into the bowl and set the time for 10 minutes. I read that Hamelman said that it didn’t make a difference if one put the add-in at the beginning or near the end of the mixing. Surprisingly, it still needed time at the end to fully distribute and integrate the cheese. 


4. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes in a warm spot (oven with light on).


5. Do 2 sets of coil folds at 30 minute intervals and then 2 other sets at 45 minute intervals, and then let the dough rise to about 30%. It should have irregular bubbles visible through the sides of the container and bubbles on top as well. This took only another half hour after the last coil fold.


6. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~835 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter.


7. Do a final shape by flouring the top of the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule. Note that the cheese cubes like to pop out so I pulled them off the outside as much as possible and tucked them under the dough. In retrospect, that was a really good idea since it helped to minimize the sticking of the loaves to the sides of the pots.


8. Sprinkle a mix of rice and all purpose flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight.


Baking Day

1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside.


2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 22 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.


Be aware that the loaves might stick to the sides of your pots due to the cheese. I ran a thin knife down the sides to break the stuck spots and with the parchment paper on the bottom, the loaves popped right out.

HeiHei29er's picture

My wife asked if I could make a soft sandwich bread for this weekend, so I did another round of my Pullman pan test loaf.  Just increased the size of the loaf.

For the levain, I used a combination of Raisin Yeast Water and little bit of mother starter in the build.  So...  I guess we'll call it a sour poolish.  :-)

Overall, everything went well, but my dough seemed to be tearing during the FF.  Not sure if the dough hadn't developed yet or if my technique was poor, so I stopped after 200 and switched to some hand kneading.  I had a conference call so I stopped dough development and started bulk fermentation.  Made sure I did some folds to continue development.  

Stopped doing folds when aliquot was at 30%.  I decided to push deep into bulk this time and waited until aliquot was at 90% before pre-shaping.  Aliquot was over 100% when final shaping was complete, and was pushing 150% when it went in the oven.  Will be interesting to see if it is overproofed, but I did get good oven spring.  I degassed hard before final shaping, so I'm hoping to have a relatively tight but uniform crumb.  The feel of the loaf seems like it will be nice and soft.

Ended up being 30 minutes with the lid off and the last 5 minutes out of the pan and on the rack.  I removed the upper element shield when I removed the Pullman lid, but the top of the loaf never really browned much.  The rack was placed in the middle position.  Final internal temp was 205 deg F.

Crumb shot tomorrow!


EDIT: Crumb added...  Not great.  Not terrible.  I don't think I was overproofed, but don't think I could have gone much longer either.  Maybe seeing a little compression on the bottom of the loaf.  Hard to say though because I did degas hard before final shaping, and I was working the final shape pretty hard to get some tension in the dough.  This is one area where I really need to get some consistency.  My shaping techniques are kind of all over the map.  Loaf is still pretty soft though, so I'll take it!

justkeepswimming's picture

After enjoying a few days away, I’m glad to be home and do some baking. This one has been on my list for a while – 100% spelt, based on this recipe. I think I’m finally starting to see progress in my ability to apply the various things I have learned over the last 6 months.

Tweaks I made:

I found this flour at our local Sprouts, which prompted me to finally try this bake. It was actually cheaper than buying spelt berries and milling my own, which is unusual for me. (Usually the whole grains I find are less costly than milled flour, and they last better.) I scaled the levain build so it was enough for this bake, rather than making enough to put in the frig for another bake the way George does. I am only keeping 1 starter right now, and not a very big one at that. George mentioned his bread fermented really quickly, and I wondered if it was because he only used 6 gm of salt, so I increased salt to 7 gm. And I’m not sure what dark honey is…. I had some buckwheat honey that’s dark, so I used that. It had started to crystalize, so after I weighed it out, I heated/used some of the recipe water and stirred it into the honey. After a few minutes, the crystals melted and it was good to go.

Details of my bake: 

Day 1, evening – Begin 2 stage levain build, at 66% hydration:

Spelt 30 gm

Water 20 gm

Starter 15 gm (I used my 100% hydration starter). Mix well and knead into a smooth ball of dough. Ferment overnight (I left mine on the counter).

Day 2 – continue levain build:

Spelt 30 gm

Water 20 gm

Levain from day 1 (65 gm)

Mix well and knead into a smooth ball of dough. Ferment 3-4 hours or until active. Mine nearly tripled in 3 hours (kitchen temp 74-75F)  > stirred down and it nearly doubled over the next hour.

Final Dough: 

Levain 115 gm

Sprouted spelt flour, 388 gm

Water 263 gm (I added an additional 25 gm for this flour, the dough was pretty dry) 

Dark honey 10 gm 

Mix everything except salt. Knead 10 minutes. I added the additional 25 gm water here, dough improved and was smooth and elastic. Dough covered and rested 45 min. 

After rest, salt added and mixed well. Performed 4 coil folds, 20 min. apart. Dough covered and placed inside microwave “proofing box” (it eliminates drafts from the air conditioning) for 3.5 hours (from time salt was added). Dough temp 79F. Aliquot rose about 80%, and dough was approaching ‘jiggly’. Not as jello-like as some, but per the comments in George’s thread it is easy to over-ferment this dough. Shaped dough into a batard, placed into banneton dusted with rice flour, banneton into a plastic bag and placed in frig overnight (13 hours in frig). Frig temp (measured liquid already in frig) 37F. 

Day 3 – bake day:

Banneton out of frig and on counter while oven preheated to 450F. (I misread George’s instructions, he used a convection oven and mine is not, should have preheated to 475F. It worked anyway…) 

After oven preheated, dough turned out > scored > baked covered at 450F for 30 min. Oven temp lowered to 425 and baked at 425 for 10 min (still covered). Cover removed and baked additional 10 min at 425F. 


It may have fermented a tad too long, but it turned out much better than I expected. We had some with lunch today, and my husband loved it! He always enjoys fresh bread, but for some reason this one really tickled his taste buds. I will play with the fermentation a bit to improve the crumb (I think I can coax it into a little more open crumb), but this one will go into my regular rotation. 

Hameed shahul's picture
Hameed shahul

Hi.. Everyone! I've been baking croissants for about 2years and this is the only thing i can't figure it out.. Will you suggest me to make it better


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