The Fresh Loaf


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The Fresh Loaf
Loving my new Komo Flocino

Loving my new Komo Flocino

I received my Komo Flocino earlier this week and have been making homemade fresh rolled oats for breakfast everyday since. I also used it to make whole grain oatmeal cookies. Delicious! There is nothing like fresh milled/flaked grains! The flavor is so much more intense and they stick to your ribs unlike processed ones that have been sitting on store shelves for a millenia.

New Sourdough Bread Calculator

New Sourdough Bread Calculator

Greetings fellow sourdough enthusiasts! As I was dissatisfied with the vast majority of sourdough bread calculators floating around I decided to build my own. It's a MacOS X app that includes separate calculators for both sourdough & dry yeast recipes. And I threw in a feature that converts a variety of measurements and values pertinent to baking. In any event, I thought one or two of you might find it useful, or as a useful time saver. It is a for-fee app, $1.99 to cover the cost of development. More here:

Happy Baking! 

Nelson Mandela Challenge Bread or How to make delicious Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed crackers!

Nelson Mandela Challenge Bread or How to make delicious Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed crackers!

Last week, I participated in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Bake and ended up with a delicious if dense bread. We were not eating it very quickly so I decided to turn it into crackers. The density was right and with a few minutes in a 350F convection oven, my dense bread turned into delicious Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed crackers.

Sliced thinly ready to go into the oven

Baked to a golden brown

All ready for eating and storage!

This is delicious with homemade hummus. I discovered an amazing low fat hummus recipe that actually tastes good. I love garlic and this delivers.

1 can of chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), drained

2 Tablespoons of fresh Lemon Juice

3 Tablespoons of PB Fit or powdered peanut butter

1/2 Teaspoon of coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic in oil

6 Tablespoons of water (I use the liquid from the drained chickpeas)

1 tablespoon of ground flax seed (Optional-I skip this)

 Blend and enjoy. :-)



A random selection of bread rolls

A random selection of bread rolls

Sometimes you get tired of the big loaves and fancy something smaller, a housing for a cheese sandwich or a bacon butty. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite bread rolls, in no particular order...

Alehouse rolls

Alehouse rolls: excellent, with toasted oats (try to say it quickly several times…) soaked in ale or stout - the best use of home brew if you ask me ;-). They are dark and quite heavy but hellishly tasty, proper brown bread rolls.

Bridge rolls

Totally different, fluff central. Bridge rolls - or finger rolls - dainty little things, almost brioche-like.


Flutes with sage and parmesan - like really big, fat breadsticks. They are so tasty, probably best just with butter, Parmesan is such a magic ingredient.


Could I miss out bagels? Definitely not and this is a really foolproof recipe. They do spring in the oven massively, go for malt extract to add to the boiling water, I think it makes a difference in the flavour.

Parker House rolls

Parker House rolls, invented in the Boston PH hotel: they look a bit like Pacman and infuriatingly open up whilst being baked. Very, very nice though – all that butter doesn’t go in there for nothing.


Baps, my favourite, soft, floury, white - totally old-fashioned. Replace the butter in the recipe with lard and you're back in the 50s...

Fermented field corn

Fermented field corn


















Look what the Laotian cat dragged home?  

A lonely sack sitting in the corner since yesterday, finally had time to investigate.  Don't quite know what I will find...  could be tamarind and chilli treats ... or something fried from the camp kitchen...  raw vegetables.  I think I see a squash or watermelon.

Chocolate chip ice-cream!  melted, bloated headed for the trash....  little bags of rice in some clear liquid, smells fermented and in portions too.... and what's this... one ear of dark kernel corn?  Wait, it's sticky and I can't tell if it is cooked but it smells fermented too, like the little bags of rice.  Maybe just slopped on.  <wash>  and picking out a kernel if feels like sweet corn, young tender and tastes...  fermented. 

I'm going out to find out where it came from and what is it exactly?   But I think a cornbread is in the making.  ...with squash perhaps.  Starter on a cob.  (I know... out of focus.  will remedy that...)

Mini O

David Snyder Gives Lucy the Sourdough White Bread Willies

David Snyder Gives Lucy the Sourdough White Bread Willies

After seeing David’s sourdough white bread post this week, poor Lucy got the willies for it worse than ever.  When you don’t eat much white bread, the ramifications of missing it can be dangerous when the White Bread Willies strike.  I tried to get Lucy back on her trans humanist project since the sun burns hotter every day and it won’t be long before the oceans boil away and we need to be permanently somewhere else – not that she isn’t most of the time anyway.

But she had the WBW’s bad and just wouldn’t think about more important things.  So she came up with one to get her paws back on earth where they belong….. even though the pavement is so hot she burns them every time she goes outside when the sun is out – poor thing – thank goodness for grass that can handle 114 F heat for months at a tie as long as an ocean of water is poured on it every day.  Better to use it before the sun boils it away.  We really need to get that solar oven set up!

This was a simple recipe.  No sprouted grain, only 10 whole grains, a bran levain, plain old water used for the liquid, an overnight 12 hour, retarded bulk ferment made it pretty straightforward.  The 12 whole grains were rye, spelt, white and red wheat, emmer, einkorn, quinoa, oat, barley and buckwheat = 12 grams each.

The 3 stage 100% hydration bran levain was made with the sifted hard bits that came out at 27% extraction and 20 g.  The 2nd stage was added 2 hours later - 10 g of 73% extraction multi-grains with an equal amount of water.  3 hours later another 10 g each of whole extraction multi -grain flour and water were added for the 3rd stage when the 2nd stage had doubled.  The 3rd stage doubled in 2 hours at the 7 hour mark.  The levain ended up to be 10% pre-fermented flour using 8 g of NMNF rye starter.

The remaining 32 g of high extraction multigrain flour and the remaining dough flour, consisting of LaFama AP flour, were autolyzed with the dough water for I hour, with the pink Himalayan sea sprinkled on top.  Once the levain hit the mix we did 30 slap and folds to get everything mixed together and then 3 sets of 8 slap and folds and 3 sets of 4 stretch and folds all on 20 minute intervals to develop the gluten.  We then placed the dough in the fridge for the 12 hour bulk retard.

The next morning, we took the dough out and let it warm up for an hour before pre-shaping and final shaping 20 minutes later.  We then placed the dough in a rice floured basket and bagged it in a plastic shopping bag and let it proof for 30 minutes before retarding it again for 4 hours.  Once the dough came out of the fridge the oven was preheated to 500 F with the combo cooker inside.


We un-molded it, slashed it straight out of Jurassic Park; T-Rex style.  Since this was only a 700 g loaf, we steamed at 425 F for 20 minutes before taking the lid off finished baking it with the fan on for 5 minutes, before removing it from the bottom of the combo cooker and finishing it on the stone.  When we took it out it read 210 F on the inside.


It sprang, bloomed and browned up well with some blistering.  Now we have to wait for the crumb shot later.  This one is very tangy, just the way we like it.  It is very soft and moist and the crust went soft as it cooled too.  It is open but not crazy open so it holds nti butter and jam.  Can't help but like this bread as least as much as you like your inlaws:-)  It made for some fine toast for breakfast and we know it will make great sandwiches for the week.  This is our kind of SDSF for sure.

There is that breakfast and last nights Chicken, bean cheese and grilled veggie enchiladas


3 Stage Bran Levain - 10% pre-fermented flour @ 100% hydration

18% Whole 10 grain

82% LaFama AP

85% hydration

2% salt

How about a nectarine , peach, blueberry and banana Really Deep Dish Pie  To go with that salad

Not Rising in the Oven

Not Rising in the Oven

I tried making the wheat rustic loaf from the book cooked and did two other breads. Recipe and technique aside (because this happened in three recipes) my bread just will not rise in the oven. Starter, bubbling like champagne and Rave in Miami Beach, first ferment is bubbly like a witch's cauldron, expansion supreme; in the proofing basket it rose over the rim and looked like a basketball or a high school globe. 

Flipped it over into the cast iron and it did deflate, but recovered a bit. But as you can see no splitting, no dome, no nothing- it is all fine except in the oven. What retards rising in the oven? Baked it at 450 (yeah that's a bit, but followed the recipe to the letter. Am I baking at too high a temperature, so crust before rise?

Ideas welcome 

David's SFBI Pain au Levain - as Baguettes, of course

David's SFBI Pain au Levain - as Baguettes, of course

A few days ago David Snyder posted his version of the San Francisco Baking Institute's pain au levain (almost) all AP flour batard.  Seeing this as the equivalent of an open invitation, I decided it was time to strike quickly.  And I'm so glad I did.

Using my 75% hydration levain starter as the base for building the liquid levain, I came up a few grams short of the water, but made up for it in the mix.  After the standard 300 French Folds, I gave the dough 2 hours of bulk rise with letter folds at 40, 80 and 120 before packing it away for an overnight nap in the refrigerator.  A morning shape and afternoon bake directly from the retard.  For a relatively low hydration dough, the crumb is modestly open. 

With an increase in formula yield of 25%, the bake was 340g x 4 demi-baguettes at 460dF, steam for 13 minutes, rotated and baked for another 17 minutes with a final 2 minutes for venting.  The dough was easy to handle and shaped nicely (except for that one slightly bludgeon-shaped critter).  And they scored and opened beautifully.  The flavor is slightly tanged with a crisp snap to the crust and fresh flavor.  Boy oh boy, I love nicking some of the stuff I see on this website.

The other day, just as David was posting, I pulled a set of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with WW out of the oven.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour vs. Graham Flour

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour vs. Graham Flour

I meant to buy whole wheat pastry flour, but instead got whole wheat Graham flour because that was all my grocery store had.  Are they the same thing? 

If not, how different are the two?

Sinclair's Bakery-the latest videos

Sinclair's Bakery-the latest videos

Here are a couple of videos I made at my last two markets, one in Bozeman and the other two days ago in Big Sky, MT.  Enjoy ;)


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