The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
Owen's picture

Hints for sourdough rolls?

December 16, 2018 - 6:20pm -- Owen

I've been making some good loaves with 100% white flour, 70% hydration (no additives). I decided to experiment with using the same dough making rolls, with mixed results (see photo), baking them at 200deg C for 30 minutes. On one dimension they are fine (good crumb inside) but the crust was a bit hard, so next time I'll do it at 180deg. The other thing is that when I put it on the tray to rise, they tend to slump, and the finished product looks a little odd. I'm used to using a banneton with a dutch oven, so this is new territory. Any hints that you can suggest?

TomK's picture

I decided to do a test run of my planned bake for next week. For the last couple of years I’ve taken loaves around to our neighbors, this year it will be more than ever, 10 loaves. I still have to work out how to manage that, 2 at a time in my oven.  I’ll be studying Danni’s posts for ideas!

When I’ve used cranberries before I thought it was too much, so this time I scaled back the cranberries to 30% of the add-ins and upped the walnuts to 70%. Total add-ins 11% of the dough weight.

I mixed 592 g of CM ABC+ and 254 g of sifted, freshly ground Red Fife with 657g of water and left it for a 90 minute autolyse with 18 g of salt sprinkled on top to dissolve. Then I added 108 g of 100% hydration levain (3-stage bran-fed from NMNF, retarded overnight) and mixed for 6 minutes, rest 15, mix 3 minutes, rest 15, and mix 3 more minutes before putting it into my bulk fermenting container and into the proofer. Overall hydration 79%.

I’ve been experimenting for several weeks with a novel method to get my dough temperature up where I want it for bulk ferment. Especially this time of year, the house is rarely over 66 degrees F and as I usually have to get done in one day due to limited refrigerator space, I want the dough to ferment at 82 to 84 dF.  Because I use an Ankarsrum mixer, I’ve taken to using a heat gun on low power on the outside of the rotating bowl while mixing, keeping track of the dough temp with an infrared thermometer as I go. This works great, I can easily and gently warm the dough 20 degrees in under 10 minutes without getting any of it too warm. Then my cobbled-together proofer-cum-storage box can just barely keep the dough warm for a few hours, it was never able to warm it effectively.

I did 5 sets of stretch and folds on 30 minute intervals, adding 127 g of coarsely chopped walnuts and 53 g of chopped, dried cranberries after the second set. After 3:45 I judged that it was ready so I divided the dough in two, did a pretty tight preshape (the dough was pretty stiff, I’ll increase the hydration next time from 79 to perhaps 81%) and let it rest for half an hour before shaping 2 boules and proofing at 84 dF. My shaping was a bit uneven, I think because the dough was stiffer than what I’m used to. 

I didn’t get the oven hot in time so it was still heating up when I thought the dough was ready after 1:30 and I had to wait another 15 minutes. The dough spread quite a bit when I turned it out and slashed it so I was worried the loaves would be pretty flat as I loaded them into the preheated Dutch ovens. Baked at 475 for 5 minutes, 450 for 15 minutes, then uncovered the Dutch ovens and baked another 17 minutes at 425.

Turns out I got decent if not spectacular oven spring and some small ears. In the morning I was anxious to see how the crumb turned out and was pleasantly surprised. The loaves were less than perfectly round to put it charitably, I guess I could say they have a rustic look. ;-)


Well that’s ok after all. I Won’t. Change. A. Thing. for next week. I’m very happy with the flavor of this bread, the walnut flavor is forward and the cranberries are more subdued but definitely there. Really good toasted with butter.


pmccool's picture

Our oven has been rather busy lately, especially with the Christmas cookies that my wife likes to make at this time of year.  In spite of all of that going on, I still managed to work in three different breads yesterday.  

First up was the Tyrolean Christmas Zelten from The Rye Baker:

These gems are essentially fruit and nut loaves lightly glued together with the smallest possible amount of dough.  Raisins, golden raisins, chopped figs, pine nuts, and any of hazelnuts/almond/walnuts spend the night in a rum soaker.  (I used almonds.)  Right alongside those, candied lemon and orange peel have their own beauty bath in white wine.  The next day, rye flour, all purpose flour, fennel, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, egg, and water after blended into a dough.  After the dough has risen, both soakers are combined with the dough.  The soakers contribute enough liquid that the dough becomes more of a batter but you soldier on and shape three loaves on parchment or a pan liner.  After baking and cooling, the loaves are wrapped or bagged and allowed to ripen for a couple weeks.  These should be ready when the kids come to town for New Year.  

The second bread was Bagguettes with Poolish from Hamelman's Bread, Vol. 2. 

Since my wife wanted these as the base for crostini, the less than stellar slashing isn’t particularly worrisome and the somewhat bready texture will actually accommodate the toppings better than a wide-open crumb.  “It's not a bug; it's a feature!”  Or something like that.  I used the metric quantities, divided by 10.  Per Hamelman, that should yield four 22-inch bagguettes.  Knowing that mine would be 15-16 inches in length, I opted to make six instead of four from the same batch.  

The third bread was a perennial favorite here on TFL, Cream Cheese Braids:

There was a batch of unused blueberry filling lurking in the refrigerator from a recent class, so that was the primary motive for baking these.  Were I making them specifically for a holiday gathering, I might have chosen the cranberry filling, instead.  Since no one has ever turned these down previously, I don’t expect to hear any grumbling about them this evening.  

Sometime in the next week or two, I need to make a rye bread, too.  If anyone has a suggestion for one that would be a good analog for the miniature cocktail rye breads that sometimes show up at the deli, I’m all ears...


albacore's picture

Deck Oven Question

December 16, 2018 - 8:38am -- albacore

In an electric deck oven with stones, are the bottom and top elements in direct contact with the underneath of the lower stone and the top of the upper stone?

Reason for asking is that my domestic oven has top and bottom heat and I wonder if I were to sit my bakestone directly on the floor of the oven, would it emulate the way a deck oven heats, at least at the bottom?


Xaimerafiki's picture

Panettone trouble shooting. What went wrong?

December 16, 2018 - 6:03am -- Xaimerafiki

Hi everybody,

This is my first post so apologies if I make any FL forum faux pas. This weekend I decided to bake my first ever panettone. I decided to use the formula that mwilson posted for "perfect panettone" but almost immediately ran into trouble. I couldn't find the method to go along with it so I aimed to form a dough with the lievito Madre, flour and water before adding eggs, sugar and finally butter. I had refreshed my lievito Madre 3times and it did triple in volume in the last refreshment.

Elsie_iu's picture

Here is a simple formula that I have used after baking a few full-of-add-ins loaves.



30% Sprouted White Wheat 20% Barley Sourdough


Dough flour (all freshly milled):

150g      50%       Whole white wheat flour

90g        30%       Sprouted white wheat flour

60g        20%       Pearl barley flour


For leaven:

26g      8.67%       Starter

27g           9%       Bran sifted from dough flour

27g           9%       Water


For dough:

273g         91%       Dough flour excluding flour for leaven

100g      33.3%       Whey

140g      46.7%       Water

80g        26.7%       Leaven

9g               3%       Vital wheat gluten (can be omitted, I have used it because my white wheat has abnormally weak gluten)

5g           1.67%      Salt



313g       100%       Total flour

253g      80.8%       Whole grain

280g      89.5%       Total hydration


Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, around 2 hours.

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the salt and let it ferment for 20 minutes. Fold in the salt and ferment for 1 hour 55 minutes longer.

Preshape the dough and let rest for 15 minutes. Shape the dough then put in into a banneton. Retard for 16 hours.

The dough looked very under-proofed out of the fridge so I let it rise for 1 hour 45 minutes longer. Preheat the oven at 250°C/482°F. Score and spritz the dough then bake at 250°C/482°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.


The dough had quite a low hydration level considering the grains used. I suspect this was due to the unusual performance of my white wheat berries. It also led to a slightly sticky and close crumb that should be more open if “normal” white wheat was used instead.



Onto the taste: this is the kind of all-round bread that probably suits the taste of most people. It is sweet and nutty from the sprouted wheat and barley but it is not as sugary as bread composed mainly of kamut and durum. It is also a bit tangy and yet it is hardly comparable to that you get with rye.




100% white whole wheat YW flatbread


Shrimps and king oyster mushrooms fusilli in garlicky white wine cream sauce


Shahi soya chunks mixed vegetable curry with YW semola naan (those spongy, curry-soaked soya chunks are the best part!)


Pulled duck enchiladas with roasted peppers sauce and homemade 100% masa corn tortillas


Curried vermicelli mixed vegetables (daikon radishes, peppers and sugar snap peas) and mussels…Spicy in every possible way


aniyahqueen's picture

Bread suddenly rising super fast??

December 16, 2018 - 5:29am -- aniyahqueen


So... I’ve been baking sandwich bread for a few months now and think I’m getting pretty good at it lol.... but I had the strangest thing happen the other day!!


I’m used to waiting around 1 1/2 hours for my dough to rise and double in size — both on the first rise and the second.. I usually use a little bit of black strap molasses or agave to feed the yeast, and I sweeten the dough with stevia and Erythritol. Usually the amounts look like this:


1/2 Tbsp black strap molasses or agave nectar

2 drops liquid stevia


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