The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yippee's blog

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To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here





Before I show you my bread, let me introduce my new friends to you.       I've started a new hobby - vermicomposting - during the COVID quarantine.  These red wigglers will produce "black gold"  that will be very beneficial to my plants.

       Hopefully, I will show you more beautiful flowers from my garden next time.      Now, back to the durum bread.  My formula and procedures are straightforward, and the bread is very delicious.  By now you probably know my trick - CLAS.  I bought a bag of durum berries, which cost me an arm and a leg, to make a durum CLAS so that my bread is 100% durum.     Given the speedy one-day delivery and the successful outcome of the durum CLAS, I'd say the 13 was well spent.      I have lots of durum flour.  It would be nice if I can make CLAS out of it.  Then I don't have to buy another bag of berries that takes up storage space. I'm making a batch of CLAS using flour to see if it works.  
       I autolyzed the dough overnight. Therefore, it was very easy to handle. The rest of the procedures are just like making a regular white loaf.This loaf is 60% hydration. I don't think it needs higher hydration for the simple shaping and scoring that I did, but I probably will increase the hydration a bit when I shape it into a hat-like loaf next time.      




  Total dough weight ~ 1.1 kg  Autolysis  overnight at room temperature, 97% extra fancy durum, 55.5% water, After autolysis, the dough became very pliable, smooth, and silky after a few folds.   Dough Autolyzed dough, 3%  durum CLAS, 4.5%  water, 0.6%  yeast, 2%  salt,  Mix in KA 600 speed 10! x 2 minutes to fully incorporate all ingredients, a few folds to smooth and tighten the dough,  Bulk 88F ish x 150 minutes, Two sets of folds in between,  Shape,   Proof 88F ish x 20 minutes  Bake Preheat @ 550F, 482F x 10 mins with steam, 374F x 40 mins w/o steam,   
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To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here





Today, I made a lovely round bread with "growth rings" on it. In Hong Kong, we call it "wheel bread"(車輪包). When I was a kid, I was often responsible for buying freshly baked "wheel bread" for my family from a nearby bakery. Back then, the wheel bread was either plain or with raisins.  For a child, it smelled delicious no matter which flavor. Sometimes I couldn't help but started nibbling it on the way home.


Today, decades later, the "wheel bread" has become less popular in Hong Kong. However, to my surprise, it still appears on the menu of Japanese bakeries. In addition to the "original" flavor, the unique Japanese matcha-red bean combination is also a popular choice. Some bakeries such as Moashikisaikan use wormwood for coloring.




Since I didn't have wormwood, I used matcha powder for coloring and replaced 5% of the flour in the formula with CLAS.  




Cutey "wheel bread" brings back childhood memories.





It's made in this heavy-duty mold. 





My mom sent it to me from Hong Kong. The shipping was super expensive. Fortunately, you can buy it online now, or if you are in Canada, you can check with this store in Toronto. This store is a branch of a well-known Hong Kong cutlery/baking equipment company. It's a fun place to visit. I shop there every time I am in Hong Kong.






95%  Ultimate Performer

5%    WW CLAS

63%  water

10%  heavy cream

5%    whole eggs

5%    butter

1%    dry yeast

2.2%  salt

11%  sugar

3%    matcha powder


Total dough weight without filing ~ 550g



55% cooked red beans ~ 150g, made in the following ratio (independent of the flour weight)


100% water

50%   raw, unsoaked red beans

10%   honey

20%   sugar


Instant Pot high-pressure x 90 minutes + natural release to the doneness shown in the pictures

Cook longer if you like mushier red beans. 




77F x 45 minutes





86F x 90 mins



482F x 30

I probably would lower the temperature in the future to reduce browning.






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Here's another delicious chocolate bread from Chef Michaud's book, "La Boulangerie Baking at home".  I made it with CLAS, of course. I followed the original formula except that 3% of the flour was from WW CLAS. To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here


97% Beehive AP


1.7% yeast

5% milk powder

13% white sugar

10% egg

1.7% salt

41.7% fresh milk

25% liquid cream

21.7% chocolate 

10% icing sugar

8.3% pearl sugar

egg wash as needed


Total dough weight ~ 600g for a 9x4x4 tin



89F/32C ish x 45 minutes 





89F/32C ish until doubled



374F x 34 minutes, no steam













































Semisweet chocolate tastes better than the bittersweet one that I used in the previous chocolate bread.







































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To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here




Lance and Pul had asked me how acidic the bread made with CLAS is.  My answer: It depends.   One can create aromatic, full-flavored, but mild-tasting loaves by using a small amount of CLAS.  One can also make sour bread by manipulating the amount of CLAS used, temperature, timing, and ingredients. And the critical control is straightforward--the temperature.


Because all the sour loaves I previously made with CLAS contained a high percentage of rye, to compare apple to apple, I used only wheat flour in this bake to experiment.  What I made was the mild-tasting Ukrainian loaf that I had made before.


The plan of this bake was:




30% Beehive AP

50% water


Main dough


67% Beehive

10% water (I forgot to add the remaining water, so the bread ended up with a 50% hydration)

2% salt

0.8% dry yeast




Preparing the pre-dough the night before, the pH of the mixture was 5.1.






After ~ 10 hours @ 30C/86F (it might have been ready in less than 10 hours, but I wasn't checking in the middle of the night), the pH dropped to 3.7.






pH 4.7 - fully-fermented main dough after about three hours @ 31C/88F - 33C/91F ish.






The 50% hydration loaf had less volume than the 60% hydration loaf.






The crust was more crackly because of the lower hydration.






This loaf had a much stronger and long-lasting tangy aftertaste than the one made without pre-dough. One can easily create a sour loaf with CLAS by playing with the variables. 








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When you see the title of my blog post, you might wonder, "Who is Yvonne Chen?" You may not know who she is, but you must have heard of Tangzhong.  Ms. Chen is the author of "65C Tangzhong Bread", which had generated a rave for Tangzhong bread making in the Asian baking community over a decade ago. Back then, I just started learning bread making.  The first bread I ever made was the Hokkaido Tangzhong milk bread from her book, and this was also the first bread I shared on TFL!  Today, I will share with you another excellent bread recipe from her book--the ham and cheese toast. 


From my experience, I know that Ms. Chen's formulae produce delicious bread.  Therefore, I want to maintain her recipe's integrity as much as possible--I only changed her formula minimally to suit my procedures. As you know, lately, I have "CLASified" all the bread I make; this one is no exception. CLAS is a life-saver for a busy mom like me--generating flavorful loaves has never been easier. I can't tell you how much I enjoy the peace-of-mind in breadmaking that CLAS has brought me.  Here it is, another excellent loaf made with CLAS:


95% Ultimate Performer


39% water

24% egg

5% butter

10% sugar

0.9% salt

0.9% yeast


Total dough weight ~ 390g for 9x4x4 tin



ham, diced

Havarti cheese, diced



lightly rehydrated chopped onion


Mozzarella cheese

chopped parsley



88-91F ish x 30 minutes



3 pieces, split each into 2 after incorporating the filling







91-93F ish x 120 minutes



365F x 35 minutes




















 Place the dough cut-side up after you cut each piece in half



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To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here


This bread is from one of Chef Michaud's books, "La Boulangerie Baking at home". 





My family finished the 2-lb cranberry walnut bread that I made yesterday. So, I made another dessert bread today. I used good quality chocolate and cocoa powder. The loaf turned out very chocolaty just as I like. The crust was very crispy, and the crumb was so moist that its mouthfeel was almost like a brownie. However, it did not taste sweet. Instead, it left a slightly salty, buttery aftertaste. It was tangier than any of the CLAS white bread I have made-- maybe because I used a whole rye CLAS and rye flour in this bread. My family loved this bread. Half of the loaf was gone before I had a chance to take pictures. 



I followed Chef Michaud's overall formula as much as possible. I only reduced 5% of the water and substituted 3% of the rye flour with whole rye CLAS. Oh, I also reduced the amount of yeast.


85%     Beehive AP

12%     medium rye

3%       whole rye CLAS

8.5%    cocoa powder 

7.3%    butter

0.7%    dry yeast

3.39%  salt

70%     water

23%     dark chocolate trunk 

17%     frozen cherries


Similar workflow as yesterday- finished in about three hours. 





I can hardly keep up with the demand if my family continues to eat bread like today and yesterday. 





I am a chocolate addict.  I love King Arthur's Bensdorp Dutch-process cocoa--I can't live without it.  I mix it with KA's espresso powder and Guittard's dark chocolate to make hot chocolate--at least two cups a day.








Can someone please explain why generally the formulae of this dessert bread use so much salt and no sweet ingredients (the dark chocolate is not sweet)?


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To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here




A super delicious dessert bread made in about three hours with CLAS!






Whenever I see how much my family appreciates and enjoys my bread,  my heart is filled with gratitude. I cannot thank Rus enough for teaching me how to use CLAS to effortlessly create yummy bread. How lucky I am to have learned this invaluable technique!






CLAS is truly magical!




90%  Beehive AP

  7%  WW 

  3%  WW CLAS

61%   water   

0.7%   dry yeast

38%    dried cranberry, plumped

38%    walnut, toasted


Bulk: ~ 100 minutes at 88-91F ish


Proof: ~ 30 minutes at 91F ish



need to perfect it next time, as a few cranberries on the surface were burnt.


440F x 10 + steam

425F x10

400F x20


Yippee's picture

To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here





Chef Michaud is the founder of Baking Elements and Bakehouse in Hong Kong, and he is also a member of TFL!  You can learn more about him herehere, and here.


This bread is from one of Chef Michaud's books, "La Boulangerie Baking at home". 





I followed Chef Michaud’s overall formula as much as possible, but since my flour could not absorb more water (and I did not push it), I reduced the hydration from 75.7% to 64%. Because CLAS works at higher temperatures, I also reduced the amount of yeast. The whole process took about three hours. My formula is as follows:


Beehive AP (ash .56%) 97%

whole wheat CLAS 3%

water 64%

yeast 0.7%

sugar 0.7%

salt 3%

milk 3%

olive oil 3%

Provence herbs, dried 3%

chopped sundried tomatoes 7%

black olives 4.3%

ham 4.3%


My final dough weighed about a pound and yielded one fougasse. 



When I decided to bake a bread that is not in Rus's collection, I was a bit hesitant. Because for a long time, I didn't need to worry about anything when baking Rus's bread---his formulae are so precise and reliable, the quality of bread is guaranteed as long as I follow his procedures! Rus has definitely spoiled me with his formulae!


However, to explore white bread that suits my family's taste, I must be independent and accustomed to working with CLAS alone. So, here it is,  my first CLAS bread without Rus's "supervision". 



The crispy crust, the savory ingredients, and the aroma of olive oil and Provencal herbs are undoubtedly a delicious combination that one enjoys. Also, there is an invisible flavor enhancer, CLAS, which brings the taste of this bread to another level. CLAS has never let me down!










































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Same bread made with CLAS, but using a different flour. 


I'd been a loyal customer of another brand of flour for over a decade, but I felt being ditched during this time when flour is so difficult to source.  So, I "deflected".  Maybe it's about time to change, and I love the new flour!






The color is more even, and the crust is more crackly---I heard the bread "sing" after it's out of the oven. 






 My family loves this bread.  It's going to become one of our staples from now on. 






 No more "begging" for flour from store to store every week!






Rebaked the same bread...






to make sure that the crackly crust I got last time was not by accident.





The result is consistent.






I am very happy with Beehive.


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Now I am the only baby in the house, Mommy hand-sewed this mask for me using PJs my brothers wore when they were toddlers.  She misses them! To make more cute masks, she needs to get a new sewing machine because she just donated her Singer not too long ago!






Mommy has started baking and sewing again because of COVID!







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