The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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davidg618's picture

Let's face it: you can look at a Google's worth of Baking Powder Biscuit recipes, and with the exception of small variations in flour, shortening, and liquid ratios they are pretty much carbon copies of each other.

Here's the one I've finally settled on after baking a few hundred buttermilk biscuits with small tweaks in the flour: shortening ratio.



Buttermilk Biscuits


480g             All-purpose flour (4 cups)

4 tsp            Baking Powder

½ tsp             Baking Soda

2 tsp            salt (10g)

85g            Unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

85g            Lard*, chilled and cubed

1-½ cup Buttermilk (368g)


Preheat oven to 425°F/218°C.

Combine dry ingredients and wisk to distribute evenly.

Using a pastry cutter, or two table-knives cut in chilled butter and lard until shortening is reduced to pea size and smaller.

Add buttermilk and combine just until dough forms a rough ball. Let dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes to hydrate the flour.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Fold dough, gently, 4 or 5 times and  roll dough ¾ to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits, without twisting cutter. Place dough rounds on a parchment-paper lined sheet pan. Reshape dough scraps as necessary to complete.

Bake** for 18 – 20 minutes until tops are golden brown.

Makes 12 to 14, 2-5/8 inch diameter, dough rounds.

* Leaf lard is preferred, but natural lard can be substituted. Commercial hydrogenated lard can also be used, but substituting with all butter shortening may be a preferred choice.

**Some convection ovens dry out baked goods unevenly (baguette loaves, and rolls especially).  If you’ve experienced uneven oven spring when baking multiple, lengthy, or distributed rolls baking in “Convection” mode, consider using conventional “Bake” mode alternately.


My primary purpose for writing this post is to defend a much maligned fat: Lard. The 50/50 mix of butter and lard yields bicuits with a balanced buttery, wheaty flavor and surface crispness that survived freezing. I've recently acquired 2 kg of leaf lard. I generally reserve this extraordinary shortening for pastry doughs and shortbread cookies only, but this time relinquished 85g for our "go to" baking powder biscuits. The difference, compared to a batch made with butter only, is incredible. Leaf lard is pricey, and difficult to find but worth the search and cost if your passionate about flaky pie crusts, and pastries--and, of course, biscuits.

dabrownman's picture

This isn’t like our usual Kitchen Sink Banana Bread because it isn’t iced and doesn’t have the usual snickered fruits.  So this is just plain Chocolate Chip and Walnut Banana Bread but it did have an extra banana in it making 4 total.


These bananas came out of the freezer which I where they go when they get perfect for bread and no one wants to eat them.  Banana bread is one of out very favorites but we usually make his recipe into cupcakes for portion control and then just eat two of them!


This batch came out well and after tasting it to make sure it wasn’t poison, we packed of the rest of it tour daughter’s Boyfriend’s parents as a partially eaten Easter gift,  Well, we didn’t know we were going to sent it until after we had tasted it for poison.  We sent a quarter of one of our SD bakes of late that was a little on the white side too.


If the daughter wouldn’t have already flown the coup to New Mexico, I would have sent some uncut hot cross buns Lucy and I made today.  They smell tasty.  I think I have published the recipe for this BB before and all you have to do is leave out the snockered fruits and don’t ice it.  But I can’t remember so will put here again.

Lucy says don't forget to have a salad with that Banana Bread


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dry Mix:

1 ½ C plus 2 T flour

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp each ginger, cloves, allspice

1 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

1 C chopped walnuts

1 C chopped chocolate chips 

Bourbon Fruit – add bourbon to below dried fruits in a Pyrex 1 cup measuring cup covered with plastic wrap.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds and set aside 15 minutes to plump up fruits.

2 T bourbon

¼ C raisins or sultanas

¼ C dried cranberries

¼ C dried apricots cut into raisin size pieces 

Wet Mix:

 3 mashed up ripe bananas

1/8 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

½ C vegetable oil

½ C each brown and white sugar

Add ½ C sugar, ½ C brown sugar and Bourbon fruits to wet mix and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Mix the wet into the dry and stir 50 times with spatula until the flour is incorporated.

Quickly fill cupcake paper liners 3/4th full or put into PAM sprayed large bread loaf pan.

Bake cupcakes for about 12-16 minutes until wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Loaves will take 45 minutes or more for wooden skewer to come out clean. 

After 20 minutes remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.  Ice both with cream cheese vanilla icing and put sprinkles on each to decorate per the holiday or special occasion.  Makes about 21 cupcakes or 1 large bread loaf pan.

Cream Cheese Frosting


1/4 C butter, softened

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

8 oz. package powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

You can cub the juice of ½ of a lemon and the zest if you prefer that to vanilla 


Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended; stir in vanilla. 

Skibum's picture

The skiing has been fantastic and I am down to one bake a week for three weeks running now. This is the third go around of my yeast water pulla/babka dough. Again another take on the ITJB yummies! I actually have a store bought loaf of bread because it was free. We will see. This loaf was filled with a mix of walnuts and hazelnuts on top of a chocolate buttercream. OH MY! 

I doubted I would get this loaf out of the pan, but most of it came out okay. So half the dough batch was used to make the babka and the other half a traditional pulla braid. These pair last me about a week. It is a good thing I have 80 days of skiing under my belt this season. Yummy goods!


Life would not be complete without an orange chiffon layer cake spread with apricot jam and chocolate butter cream and iced with said chocolate heaven!

Happy baking folks, Brian


Floydm's picture

Nothing fancy, but I baked a few days ago.  First time in quite a while.  

Overnight poolish, slow rise of the final dough the next day, not a scale or measuring cup in sight. 

Not one of my best efforts but, all things considered, still quite good.

I hope folks here are having a wonderful spring.

Wingnut's picture

Attemtped some Ciabatta, this time not such a bold bake was requested by the sainted Wife.

okay crumb but not quite there, back at it.

Made some Gnocchi the other day too.

Gnocchi with fresh sage, chicken in a brown butter sauce topped with shredded Parm

Cheers all,


bakingbadly's picture

About a month ago I began my quest of making Brötchen (German bread rolls). There was a demand in town for such rolls and I had to fulfill it. I mean, I had to. I'm opening a German-ish bakery albeit in Cambodia. And a German bakery without Brötchen is like a poem without words.

Thanks to Karin's (Hanseata) blog post and detailed descriptions from German expats, I knew what I was aiming for. I adapted Karin's recipe and baked the first few test batches of Brötchen.

Too hard, too heavy, too dense, too yeasty, too light, too... too many problems.


Three weeks later my freezer, my business partner's freezer, and my parents' freezer were full of experimental bread rolls. But behold, I was finally satisfied with my results: 

Thin, delicate, crispy crust; soft yet substantial crumb; and a pleasant yeasty, nutty aroma. 

One of my Swiss-German friends sampled my Brötchen, with a boiled Depriziner (spiced sausage). To my surprise he said, "It was the best meal I had in months," with much enthusiasm for the Brötchen. Of course, thinking it was an anomaly, I had others taste-test my bread rolls---friends and acquaintances. One after another, they all gave positive reviews, some of them rather lofty.


Some tips and suggestions:

The crust contributes a lot of flavour to Brötchen. Thus, to improve its flavour profile, I shaped the rolls into "ovals" instead of "balls". This way, the ratio of crust to crumb is increased.

Also, for my rolls, I reduced the oil / fat amount and did not fully develop the dough's gluten. Personally, I like my rolls with larger holes and a shreddy texture for one sole reason: it holds heavy sauces and condiments better.

Another tip: If you want seeds to stick to your bread, without an egg wash, I recommend brushing your dough with a mixture of flour (or anything starchy) and water, then adding the seeds atop. The majority of the seeds will stick, even when the bread is frozen, re-heated, and / or dropped onto the floor from chest-height!

From April 13th to April 16th is the Cambodian New Years. During this time, major festivals occur across the nation. One of these events is a three-day concert in the Angkor Wat complex (i.e., the largest religious monument in the world).

My business partner Michael requested that I produce something special for this event. My idea: Curry Rolls.

This idea was inspired by the Japanese "Yaki Kare Pan" (Baked Curry Bread). It's not uncommon for Cambodians to eat curry with bread as separate entities, so I thought it would be nifty to combine the two.

The bread roll wasn't a big deal. I used the same recipe for my Brötchen. The curry, on the other hand, was out of my expertise. Collaborating with Michael (a seasoned, professional chef) and his wife's family, we adapted a traditional Cambodian curry and transformed it into a bread filling.

Today marks the end of the Cambodian New Years. Truth be told, the Curry Rolls didn't sell as well as we wanted. Why? Perhaps a variety of reasons: poor location, too many competitors, lack of details...

But I have good news. Two bars in town have expressed keen interest in our Curry Rolls. We're confident that we'll attract other clients and will eventually produce the Curry Rolls by the hundreds, including other fillings, on a daily basis. 

One final comment. Last Friday our upcoming bakery was featured in a local news article, which you can view here:

This publication has garnered much attention from hoteliers, restaurateurs, and bar owners in Siem Reap. That's right, my dream of running a sourdough bakery is coming into fruition, and I have to say, it's surreal. How did I get to this point, I know. Without encouragement and assistance from my family and friends, including this community (a tremendous source of my inspiration), I wouldn't be where I am today.

With my utmost gratitude, I thank you all!


jkandell's picture

with rye soaker

mwilson's picture

These buns were a make it up as you go along effort. I was still deciding on the numbers with the mixer running, working the dough I had thus far and I liberally added spices in the style of a well seasoned chef.

Having worked up a sweat mixing this dough partly by hand as well as in the mixer and the dough complete I saw I could have added more liquid. I knew the dough would tighten up a bit upon adding the dried fruit but I didn’t compensate enough. Still I was fairly pleased with finished dough considering this was an off-the-cuff, part improvised endeavour.

In keeping with the theme of improvising I picked a random weight at which to scale these. At circa 85 grams I had enough dough to make 18, more or less equal buns.

First dough:
300g flour
100g milk
75g LM (Lievito madre), refreshed 3 times
75g sugar
68g egg (1 large)
50g butter

Second Dough:
300g flour
150g milk
50g egg (1 medium)
75g sugar
125g butter
30g honey
9g salt
180g mixed fruit
# 1n orange zest
# 1/4tsp clove oil
# 1/4tsp orange oil
# 1/4tsp all spice
# 1/4tsp nutmeg
# 1/8tsp ginger
# 1.5tsp mixed spice
# 1.5tsp cinnamon

Traditionally the crosses should be made of just flour and water but I added some butter in there to shorten the flour slightly. And I used juice from the orange which I zested with some sugar to make a sweet glaze for the buns.

Happy Easter!


CeciC's picture

This really should have been waited till Easter monday, Since I have been craving for it for soooo long, so who cares.

I have used the formula posted by Rossnroller . The only Changes Ive made to his formula is reduced the sugar to 30g instead of 40g and used a 50% wholewheat starter which push the wholegrain to 22%. 

Ive also added a 30min Autolyse and added salt right before the second knead. 

This roll is fantastic, lots of peels and raisin that keep falling out of the dough, with the nice blend of spices. This is a absolute keeper for hot cross buns. 


warren's picture


Every year before Easter, our church's baking guild will gather a group of volunteers, bake Hot Cross buns, and sell them as a Church fund raiser.  This year we baked 60 dozen buns over a 2 day period. We used the recipe from Hammelman's Bread mixing 4 dozen at a time. We nicknamed the volunteers, most who are not bakers, the holy rollers.    It is a great way to have some fun together as well as introducing folks to what baking is about. 





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