The Fresh Loaf


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The Fresh Loaf
Just saying hello

Just saying hello

I got interested in baking again after having seen the New York Times article on no knead baking. Then I stumbled on this wonderful website. I've been lurking for a bit and learned quite a bit from various posts.

Now I am into sourdough and other breads and love it.

Thanks to all for your wonderful and helpful contributions.


We 3 gmas (+1) made lemon bars

We 3 gmas (+1) made lemon bars

Barb's lemon bars lead in... actually our sister Barbra has the blessing of a mini family reunion this week. Her son and his wife and kids are up visiting from CA and so, her daughter-in-law chose the "bake" today... good job, Margarita! Barb used link below for these amazing looking lemon bars.  


Helen went the healthy route... from Fitness Website... Lighten-up, Lemon Bars... Look Great to me!!!

 and they look even better cut and plated.



My Lemon Bars, are called "Perfect Lemon Bars" , quite a lofty goal... but not too far off the mark actually, the crust is very much a shortbread, with powdered sugar and cornstarch, different from a pastry crust... I love it!!!

And like all the rest they look best after they are cut 

Actually they all look best on a plate along side a cup of coffee or a nice hot tea!

A fun bake... good times with sisters and nieces and nephews and kids and grandkids, etc... Looking forward to next time! Happy Baking.

Barbra, (with Margarita), Helen and Diane




   For those of you old enough to remember Mel's Diner, this bread pays homage to Flo who was happy to tell you to "Kiss My Grits" as she deemed necessary.Flo

I had bought some home made Ricotta from Fairway Market the other day to use for pizza and wanted to use the balance in a bread.  They just opened up a new Fairway Market closer to where we live and we went shopping over the weekend.  I picked up some Grits which is similar to Polenta but is white corn instead of yellow.  Grits by themselves are pretty bland unless you add some cheese and butter.  For this recipe I left out the cheese since I was adding Ricotta to the main dough but added a couple of tablespoons to the grits.

I ended up making way too much grits for the bread so I warmed it up on my barbeque and added some cheese and ate it as a side with dinner last night.  I was going to grill it but I didn't cook it long enough for it to thicken up enough.

I used my trusty AP starter and added some freshly ground whole wheat flour and some Bob's Red Mill Semolina along with KAF Bread flour.  I did not calculate the water used in the grits into the overall hydration but it definitely affected the final dough which was a little wet but more than manageable after a couple of stretch and folds.

The final bread ended up perfect with a nice dark crisp crust and moist light crumb.  The crumb is not too open but is perfect for sandwiches and grilled bread with some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes from my garden.

If you get a chance you should definitely try this one.  Max and Lexi guarantee you won't be disappointed!



Kiss My Grits Ricotta Bread (%)

Kiss My Grits Ricotta Bread (weights)

Download BreadStorm .BUN file here.


Grits Directions

Boil water in heavy duty pot and add grits and simmer for 5 minutes until soft and thick.  Cool completely before using.

(Note: you want to mix 1 part grits to 3 parts water.  I made a lot of extra grits but you can try and make the exact amount if desired)


Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours with the main dough water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, grits and salt and mix on low for 5 minutes and then add in the Ricotta and mix for one additional minute.   You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but  manageable.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  (Note: since I made one large Miche I lowered the temperature to 435 degrees for 2/3's of the bake to prevent the crust from getting too charred).  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.



Tartine sourdough with olives, lemon zest and herbes de provence

Tartine sourdough with olives, lemon zest and herbes de provence

I have wanted to make this recipe for some time, and I have finally done it.  Very exciting. There are just so many on the list to do!  My husband and I love olives, and I make so many dishes with lemon zest that this seemed a natural for me.  My starter was getting a bit tired, so I refreshed it just before beginning this recipe. I have adapted this recipe from a blogger, foodtravelthought.

Makes two large loaves. (The one below was 2 lbs. 6 oz).

You can see those olives in there!

I used my LaCloche baker, as usual.

The crumb turned well, and the crust was very nice. The taste was very tangy and the olives strongly flavored the bread. I probably added more flour than I wanted during the shaping due to the high hydration of the dough.

It sure made great sandwiches.

The dough autolyzing.

Speaking of olives, these are some of the seasoned and marinated ones I used. Many recipes say not to use these as they add too much flavor to the dough, but this is what I had on hand after using a whole bottle of non-seasoned kalamata olives (make sure you drain these thoroughly before using.  You don't need any more hydration in this dough, believe me!) I would say that the olive taste was strong in the final bread due to the marinated olives, but both my husband and I appreciated the flavor.

You have to love how this smells...yummy.

Add in the herbes de provence and mix well.

The dough at rest. At this stage, I thought there might be too many olives, but that is not what I saw in the final dough.

Pre-shape. This is not an easy dough to work with!

As the oven pre-heated, I took the dough out of the refrigerator after the overnight proof.

Here is the recipe I used below.


  1. 55g ripe starter
  2. 200g water
  3. 200g whole wheat flour ( actually used sprouted whole wheat)

Mix the starter and water together in an medium-sized glass bowl until the starter is fully absorbed.  Add the flour and mix well.  Cover and leave on the counter at room temperature overnight.


  1. 250g (25%) leaven
  2. 800g (80%) white bread flour
  3. 200g (20%) whole wheat bread flour
  4. 20g (2%) salt
  5. 730g water and 50g water in reserve for after you add the salt (step #5 in Method below)
  6. 3 cups pitted olives (I used 1-1/2 cups kalamata and 1-1/2 marinated kalamata and green spicy olives from our farmer's market) halved
  7. 2 tsp herbes de provence
  8. Zest of one lemon


  1. Add the 250g of the starter to a large mixing bowl
  2. Pour in 730g water and mix until the water and leaven are completely mixed and dissolved
  3. Add 800g bread flour and 200g whole wheat flour and mix until all the dry flour is incorporated
  4. Cover your bowl with a towel and let autolyse for 40 minutes
  5. After 40 minutes add 20g salt to the dough and slowly pour your 50g reserved water on top.
  6. Use your dough scraper to turn the dough several times.

Now, leave this on the counter covered with a towel for the bulk fermentation phase of about four-five hours with frequent turns. For the first step, let it sit for 45 minutes. While it is sitting, zest your lemon and add it to the olives and mix in the herbes de provence.  After 45 minutes, add in the olive mix, incorporating well.  (I actually added mine in after the third turn, but the recipe says do it earlier). Now, turn the dough with your scraper every 30 minutes for two hours.  After that period, leave the dough to rise untouched for another two hours.


As many of you know, Tartine bread has high hydration and can be difficult to handle, so this is where it gets tricky. I lightly floured my surface and eased the dough on the top of it and then floured the top as well.  I split the dough in half using my scraper and then roughly shaped the dough into two balls.  You'll need to add some flour as you go, but try to limit it as much as you can so that the final loaf will have that wonderful crumb. At this point, let the dough rest for 30 minutes.


After the dough has rested, shape into a ball, getting the dough as smooth as you can.  Place into a banneton dusted with brown rice flour and retard in the refrigerator overnight.


Preheat your oven with your covered baker inside at 500 degrees.  Remove the tray from the oven, use a bit of cornmeal at the bottom to prevent sticking, place the dough into the tray and score.  I sprayed with just a touch of water to get the nice crust.  Bake with the dome on for 30 minutes at 500 degrees, then remove the dome and bake at 450 for 15 ir 20 minutes or so.  I usually bake a bit longer to get the bold crust.  Just check it during this phase and thump the bottom to be sure it is done.

If you don't have a covered baker, place your baking stone in your oven pre-heat to 500F. You can take your loaves out of the fridge to warm up while the oven is preheating.

Place the dough onto the stone, score it, get your steaming apparatus in place and turn the heat down to 450ºF, bake for approximately 45-50 minutes until you have the crust color you desire.

I actually froze the other loaf, so we will see how that turns out when I bake it.  I had lots of fun on this bake.  Best,  Phyllis

Oh, I made one of my husband's favorites, pizza, last night.  I put pesto in the sourdough crust I made, per dabrownman's recent post.  I don't think it turned out as well as his pizza, however! I did use some of the olives that I used in the bread, as you can see.

What happens when you forget to preheat baking stone

What happens when you forget to preheat baking stone

I thought I would share what happened today when baking my most frequently baked bread- the whole wheat levain a la Hamelman.

i did an overnight rise in the refrigerator, as I usually do (about 16 1/2 hours) and then preheated the oven this morning for an hour. I slashed and sprayed my loaves, and when I was about to slide the loaves into the oven, lo and behold I discovered that I had forgotten to put the baking stone in the oven! I didn't know what else to do, but to put the cold stone in the oven and bake the bread and cross my fingers that the loaves would rise.

Well, my unintended experiment demonstrated that the bread worked fine anyway. I did bake the bread a bit longer, but the bread seemed to do fine.

sourdough starter - high altitude

sourdough starter - high altitude

I've been trying to bake sourdough bread for quite some time now. High altitude bread baking is quite different. I want a really sour bread, as well. I'm keeping the starter really firm, and when I create a sponge, it's really active. I've resorted to using a bread pan, and refrigerating (Otherwise, it's tough to get it to rise in the oven, especially during summer months). That helps. Nice crumb, etc. The issue is that the bread is really tangy, but not really sour tasting. (I've heard the word 'immature' used). Trying to figure out how to bake sourdough bread was the first challenge. Now I'm concerned with the flavor. I'm using yeast I got from My starter is about a year old now. I've started over several times. I really like the behavior of this starter, but not the flavor. I keep the started refrigerated and feed it once a week. 

I make croissants, cinnamon rolls, shortbread, etc. Not a novice. But this......This is a real challenge.

Any suggestions with the flavor of sourdough will be greatly appreciated.



HELP! Need starter in Cleveland, OH

HELP! Need starter in Cleveland, OH

Sorry for starting of with a question w/o contributing. I'm in  a bit of a bind. I have family coming in this weekend for a special occasion and need to bake some bread. I follow the tartine country loaf pretty closely but my starter has been neglected and I've been feeding it for the past week, typically it bounces back real quick, no luck this time. 

Is there anyone here in the Cleveland Ohio area that has some starter to share?

I'm heading to a bakery to see if I can score some starter from them. 


Thanks for the help!!


Pumpkin Brioche Sandwich Loaf

Pumpkin Brioche Sandwich Loaf


Recipe is based on

I baked two loaves. One without chocolate chips, one with.


HELP! I spilled down into my Bosch Universal Plus. How do I get it clean without ruining it?

HELP! I spilled down into my Bosch Universal Plus. How do I get it clean without ruining it?

I have a Bosch Universal Plus mixer with blender attachment.  The base wasn't properly secured on the blender while making a smoothie.  The sticky liquid poured down through the blender/mixer casing.  How can I get it clean inside without ruining the motor?  Does it open?  How?  Suggestions?  I don't want to ruin my bread mixer!

Bread shape help

Bread shape help

New to this breadmaking stuff.
Have a bread machine.
When I make my bread I transfer dough into a normal breadpan and bake in the oven.
My bread always seem to raise ok but the loaves are mushroom or muffin shaped, way wide on top by 1-2" on each side and about the same in height above the pan.
How do i get it to a more consistent shape? Ie; does not spread as much or raise higher.


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