The Fresh Loaf

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

Percentage of dough mix ins

June 22, 2017 - 3:18pm -- JJDanielsIV

Hi All,


So I am modifying a sour dough loaf to include chorizo. I was wondering if there was a steadfast rule for what the maximum amount of mix ins/ add ins ( meats, cheeses, nuts, fruit, etc....) you can add to a mixed dough before it starts to effect the structure/ crumb of the loaf. It would be great if someone knew of a magic percentage ie, 23% for high fat ingredients and 30% for low fat ingredients.


breadforfun's picture

It is becoming a theme of mine when I travel, I like to seek out excellent breads in the new location, something shared, no doubt, with many other TFLers. It also has become something of an obsession that when I find a special loaf I try to reproduce it. Such is the case with this bread.

Let me step back just a bit. We had been planning a trip to Prague for several months. A couple of months before we left, my wife and I dined at a favorite restaurant, and in the course of the meal we learned that our server was newly arrived from (wait for it) Praha, the Czech name for Prague. Being in the food business, she gave us a list of several restaurants that she thought we might like. As I read about these restaurants before we left, I discovered that one of them was quite well known for their house-made bread. Obviously, that sealed the deal.


      A couple of views of the Charles Bridge in Prague


Eska is a very modern restaurant barely 18 months old when we went there the beginning of June. They are part of a large restaurant group, apparently with enough money to seed the place with a very large space, modern appliances (including a wood-fired oven, but I’ll get to that in a moment), and open architecture where diners can see everything that goes on in the kitchen. They served us as much bread as we wanted with our meal, and it was really tasty and moist.


      Eska's 33 bread, crust & crumb (somewhat blurry, apologies)



They were extremely friendly, especially Niki, who speaks excellent English. We talked for a long time, and she let me watch the bakers as they prepared the loaves and loaded them into the oven.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of the oven, but it was an Italian-made deck oven with 3 individual 30-inch or so wide doors for loading. The wood is loaded into the back corner, and steam is injected manually with a sprayer. They are rightfully very proud of what they make there. Niki then offered to give me a sample of their starter, which I was glad to have. We arranged to go back the day before we left to minimize the time the starter would not be fed. The liquid starter survived the trip back in the checked bags (without leaking I’m happy to report). She also gave me a few details about the two different breads they make so I was able to reproduce a decent loaf without much problem. It even tasted nearly as good as the original.

      Three loaves from my second attempt with only 27% rye flour


About the bread: Eska makes only two types, 33 and 66, named for the percentage of rye flour in the formula. Niki told me that they also use 10% boiled, grated potatoes to keep the crumb moist. The liquid starter they gave me was quite liquid, I am guessing 150% hydration all rye. I don’t know if that is how they maintain the starter or if they use it at that hydration. Clearly some caraway seed was visible in the crumb, as was the potato.  And I tasted some malt as well.

      Crumb of my attempt. If you look closely you can see some yellow potato bits incorporated.


For my loaf I chose to cut back on the levain hydration to 125% and most of the rye flour is in the levain. I also kept the overall hydration of the dough fairly high at 82% since their final product was quite flat. I observed that at Eska, they proofed the loaves in large wooden boxes, possibly as large as 12” x 16”. The 66% rye loaves were baked whole while the 33% rye loaves were cut in half before baking. Here is the formula that I used:


If you ever make it to Prague, I recommend Eska without hesitation. Besides the bread, the food dishes were novel and innovative, ingredients very fresh. It is in the Karlin district so it was a short subway ride to get there, but well worth it. And who knows, you may get to take home some starter, too.



Wallet's picture

Baking in the desert

June 22, 2017 - 10:43am -- Wallet

Our climate (Arizona) is almost always very dry, and sometimes it is much drier than normal.  I always try to compensate for the dryness by having a pan of water in the oven while the bread is rising and baking, but sometimes even that doesn't work (even when the dough seems perfect as I shape the loaf).  I have also tried using more water in the dough, but that is iffy at best.  

On days which are drier than normal, which of these changes should I make to compensate?
--  lower the oven temperature?
--  shorten the baking time?

fupjack's picture

Sheeter type question

June 22, 2017 - 6:45am -- fupjack

I've seen some used sheeters come up for sale recently, labeled as double-pass.  They have the conveyor on just one side, so it feeds in and comes out vertically.  I attached an example image cause that's better than reading my faltering description.

Has anyone used one of these?  Do they work for laminated doughs?  (i.e. croissant, etc.)  I'm curious if they are good for that or if it's just for pizza/flatbread style work.

swissbake's picture

Baker's Yeast has an influential role in the baking process. If the right amount of yeast is not included in the recipe, it will lead to an undesirable taste and improper texture in your bread. SwissBake brings before you some interesting facts about baker's yeast and its importance in bread making.

Baker's Yeast is a natural biological leavening agent that possesses basic attributes of all living things, which are respiration and reproduction. It is a unicellular microorganism found on and around the human body. Baker's yeast is a fermenting agent that belongs to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae species and is actually a member of the mushroom family.

Yeast plays the most important role in bread making. Yeast loves to be able to eat their favorite sugar in a warm, moist environment where they will multiply in numbers. As the yeast munch away on their sugar, a process called anaerobic fermentation begins to take place. The by-products of this process are alcohol and carbon dioxide. In other words, one molecule of glucose sugar yields two of alcohol and two of carbon dioxide gas.

C6H12O6 → 2C2H5OH + 2 CO2

During this time, the carbon dioxide is trapped by a series of strands of gluten in the rising bread. This is what causes the bread dough to rise, or expand on the surface, leaving behind a series of air pockets in the dough. The yeast eventually dies off, from the heat when baking, and any remaining alcohol evaporates. The air pockets left behind are what give baked bread its crunchy goodness.

Traditionally, yeast was known as "fresh yeast" which was a firm and homogeneous paste-like product with a creamy or ivory tint. With almost 70% of the water content in the fresh yeast, leading it has a limited shelf life which was 10 to 15 days at 15ºC (59ºF), or 30 days at 0º C (32ºF). It was advisable to use ASAP, If stored at 20ºC (68ºF).

Further, Two types of dry yeast were obtained from Fresh Yeast by subjecting it to low-temperature drying processes. If compared to fresh yeast, dry yeast has a longer shelf life and can be stored in a refrigerator and used whenever necessary.

The older of these two types are available in the form of small granules containing only 7% humidity. These yeast cells are in the latent state which must be reactivated in advance, in order to use it, as an active leavening agent. This is done by rehydrating the yeast in five times its weight at a temperature of 38ºC (100.4ºF), along with little sugar. After 15 to 20 minutes of rest, the reconstituted yeast can be actively used for baking.

The second dry yeast type is the most recently developed, known as "Instant" yeast which is available in the form of small rod-shaped pieces, similar to vermicelli in shape. This type of yeast is more subtle than fresh yeast, as far as taste is concerned and even more subtle than the granulated dry yeast. The Instant yeast seems to accord more importance to the influence of the taste of wheat flour, to alcoholic fermentation and to the effects of baking, which is beneficial to the taste to the bread.

Baker's Yeast provides the perfect puff and rise in your bread with proper texture and desirable taste which will leave us wanting for more.

The usage of Baker's Yeast in the preparation of bread differs from variety to variety of the bread. For more information regarding usage of baker's yeast with your recipe of baking bread, kindly mail us at and we will get back to you with the exact proportion of baker's yeast required to get a perfect rise and texture for your baking bread.

swissbake's picture

For a layman who is trying to bake bread, the processes of mixing the dough are only mixing all the ingredients together and get a dough. But mixing dough has more scientific importance in bread making which is directly responsible for the quality of bread produced, i.e the final output. So the process of mixing the dough in breadmaking has its own importance, which cannot be overlooked at since it will definitely affect the final output as bread.

Purposes Of Mixing Dough Are:

  • To distribute the yeast cell throughout the dough
  • Distribute food for the yeast which will further lead to the fermentation process.
  • To form and develop Gluten.
  • Hydrate the flour and other dry ingredients 

Bread dough mixing requires a method where all the ingredients are homogeneously mixed and hydrated which will result in a well-developed gluten network. Basically, Gluten is formed when water is mixed with the wheat flour. Gluten is a water-insoluble protein and has a great importance in bread making process. During mixing, a continuous network of proteins forms giving the dough its strength and elasticity. By holding gas produced during fermentation, the protein network allows bread to rise.

Traditionally mixing was done in slow speed only, due to lack of knowledge and technology. But slow mixing results into a low level of physical dough development leading to a longer fermentation process. This style of mixing yield excellent flavours, but resulting the loaves denser.

Three Basic Methods For Mixing Dough:

1. Straight Dough Method.

The straight dough mixing method is the simplest mixing method of all. It consists of only one step. You don't have to think much about this method, combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix. While using this method, there is a possibility that the yeast doesn't get evenly distributed in the dough. Therefore It is safer to mix yeast separately with a little water.

  • Soften the yeast in a little of the water. Ideal temperature is 43.33ºC (110ºF)
  • Combine the remaining ingredients, including the rest of the water, in the mixing bowl. Add the dissolved yeast, taking care not to let it come in contact with the salt. 
  • Mix to a smooth, developed dough.

2. Modified Straight Dough Method or Modified Mixing.

The modified mixing method is basically for rich sweet dough. This is basically the modification of the straight dough method to ensure that the fact and sugar are evenly distributed in the dough.

  • Soften the yeast in part of the liquid, using a separate container. 
  • Combine the fat, sugar, salt and flavourings and mix until well combined, but do not whip until light. 
  • Add the eggs gradually, as fast as they are absorbed. 
  • Add the liquid and mix briefly. 
  • Add the flour and yeast. Mix to a smooth dough.

3. Sponge Method

Many Bakers feel this method of mixing is very effective to achieve a better texture, rise and even the taste for the rich yeast dough recipes. Sponge method allows the yeast to speedily and fully ferment and activate with part of the flour and water in the recipe and later incorporated with the remainder of the ingredients. This method is successfully prepared by following two stages which help the yeast action to get a head start.

  • Combine the liquid, the yeast, and part of the flour (and sometimes part of the sugar). Mix into a thick batter or soft dough. Let ferment until double in bulk. 
  • Punch down and add the rest of the flour and the remaining ingredients. Mix to a uniform, smooth dough.

Importance of Dough Mixing

Mixing of Dough is the most important stage in the entire process of baking. During this process, both the development of dough and temperature of the dough are established. If either of them or both of them are not spot on the processing than the product quality will suffer. If you do it wrong, there is no second chance to correct it later in further processes. Hence, mixing has a great importance and must be performed with proper discipline.

The secret behind the good quality of the baked product is mixing of the dough. If you are not disciplined at it, you will struggle to get the ideal product quality for your Bread.

We hope the information in this blog has been valuable to you. Do share your comments, queries or concerns regarding this blog with us.

Have a topic in mind, you want us to write on? We are open to hearing from you. Kindly write to us on Thank You for reading.

cinnamon's picture

Crust goes soft

June 21, 2017 - 11:30pm -- cinnamon

Hello all,

I've been baking my daily bread for over 6 years using the sourdough starter I've made then. I've had 3 kitchens (and 3 different ovens) since I started baking my breads.

1 - Bought house - existing kitchen, 

2 - Remodelled house - brand new kitchen

3 - Moved to a rental house - basic kitchen

In this new house the oven is somewhat "basic" i.e no steam function, timer, fan etc. My previous was a Neff oven with all the bells and whistles. Missing that oven desperately!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I did another bake of FWSY Overnight White again today, with a couple of differences. One was caused by scheduling difficulties, the other by absent-mindedness! But at least they show that I feel I now have enough experience as a baker to make changes and still feel confident of the results!

I really love this recipe - just flour, water, salt and a tiny bit of yeast. I mixed the flour and water yesterday afternoon, but I had to go into town for a meeting so it autolysed for close to five hours instead of 30 minutes. When I got home I added the salt and yeast (just 1/8 tsp. per 750 gram loaf) and mixed it well in the big mixer (I was doing seven loaves). I didn't like the way it looked, and thought maybe I had made a mistake measuring the flour, so I dumped in some more until the dough was how I wanted it. The original recipe is 78% hydration, I think. This version is probably closer to 75%. It was quite lovely, and after two stretch and folds it was perfect - strong, silky and forming a beautiful big ball. I covered it and left it overnight in the cool basement.

This morning it was well-risen with a nice dome. It was a bit sticky so I had to flour the bench and my hands, but it was very soft and stretchy too. Pre-shape was a double letter fold, and then the loaves rounded into beautiful tight balls. Into floured baskets for about a one hour proof, then into preheated cast iron pots to bake.

Because I had dumped in the extra flour I ended up with a piece of dough about 350 grams, so I baked a little mini-loaf. I'd only pre-heated seven pots in the big oven so I improvised to bake the little guy. I put my little cast iron frying pan into the toaster oven with a steel bowl over the top to preheat, then put the little loaf on parchment into the pan - perfect! It baked at 450F for about 30 minutes.

I removed the bowl lid 15 minutes into the bake - looks good!

The crumb on this bread is fantastic. This is one of those breads that I could eat the whole loaf at one sitting! Moist and surprisingly flavourful for the simple ingredients.

A few big holes, but I wasn't careful about popping all the bubbles when shaping. So yummy!


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