The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sam's blog

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It shouldn't matter much, but in case any of my old bread baker friends was wondering, a few months ago Floyd agreed to change my online name to Sam (my name), instead of 'gvz', which was a reference to the pink floyd track of the grand vizier's garden party in ummagumma.    Anyway, I wanted to be me instead of some alias.   So I am Sam.  Nice to meet you.   Maybe some day I will put my picture on here.

After two years of keeping my liquid SD culture fed every day, a year ago, due to various reasons I ended up killing it.    It is sad, but it happened.  Life has been challenging but I'm keeping my chin up and I hope to make some breads again, but maybe without the SD.  



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I decided to try making onion rolls, and of course the first thing I usually do when trying something new, is search TFL.   This isn't an exact replica but there are several wonderful onion roll recipes and ideas here

All the flour I used was king arthur high gluten flour.  I did not have any malt syrup, I only had diatastic malt powder, so I used that instead.  I paid attention to the recommendation by others to re-use the infused onion water in the final dough.  I soaked the dried minced onions with an assortment of various types of seeds which I got from king arthur as well.  It has flax, toasted sesame, black caraway, midget sunflower, poppy, and anise.


Flour Weight: 177 grams
Water Weight: 177 grams
Yeast Weight: 0.35 grams

Final Dough:

All Poolish
Flour Weight: 529 grams
Water Weight: 273 grams (use the leftover onion-infused water)
Eggs Weight: 35 grams
Sugar Weight: 35 grams
Vegetable Oil Weight: 35 grams
Salt Weight: 14 grams
Malt Powder Weight: 7 grams (I only had diatastic malt on hand)
Yeast Weight: 14 grams


The night before the bake, mix poolish, and soak the dried minced onions + seed mixture.

Next morning, when the poolish is ripened,  drain the excess water from the onion-seed mixture but save the water and use it for the final dough.  

Bulk ferment 2 hrs, with stretch + fold half-way through.

Shape into little balls scaled to appx 100 grams. Let rest a few minutes to relax. To apply the onion-seed mixture, I used a flat clear pyrex plate, and smushed the balls flat into the mixture using the plate.  Using a hard surface to mush the balls into the onion mixture seemed to be effective because you can apply an even solid force.  You may need to grease the plate a bit.  Flip over the dough discs and place onto baking tray or bun-pan.

Bake with steam at 400F for 30 mins or until done.


First, the onion-seed mixture after being rehydrated.  Looks kinda like white rice.



Next, the flattened discs just at the beginning of the final ferment.  I decided to use my burger bun pans:


After a while of final fermenting, I had thought these were fully proved and ready to bake:


But I was wrong, as they did increase in size fairly well in the oven.  I guess I was too impatient.  No blowouts though.  



Happy baking!


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Miracles happen.  Regardless of differences of beliefs and/or religions in the world --  please remember to give a hug to the ones you love, and always love your brothers and sisters.   Every day.

And make good bread.



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This time I decided to try out 100% whole wheat rolls, and added more butter + honey + milk than my previous white rolls.  The home-milled whole-wheat is pretty thirsty, so I increased hydration.  I estimated this around 78% hydration.  The dough was a little bit sticky, but easily manageable.   Overall, I am happy with the outcome, these are quite tasty w.w. sweet rolls.   :-)

Yields about 1200 grams of dough.

Milk poolish:

222g ww flour

308g milk

0.4g instant yeast


All Poolish

452g ww flour

135g eggs

101g butter

101g unfiltered honey

67g whole cane sugar

88g milk

30g instant yeast

13g salt


1) Make the poolish, ferment until ripe.

2) Cream the butter + sugar

3)  Mix everything except for salt+yeast, let rest/autolyse for 30 mins.

4)  Add salt+yeast, mix in thoroughly, then develop to near-full gluten development.

5)  Bulk ferment 1 - 1.5 hrs

6)  Shape, final ferment of 1 - 1.5 hrs

7)  Brush with standard eggwash (water+egg), bake at 350F for 30-40 mins.


Started with the hard red spring wheat berries..


Milled it on the finest setting..



The ripened poolish:


Get all the goodies ready!


The dough after mixing/development:


A diversion..  

Spring has arrived in my corner of the world, and while it's been raining a lot lately, today the sun peeked out for a couple hours this afternoon.  While the dough was fermenting, I checked out some of the new sprouts in the backyard.


After the ferment, I shaped the rolls, and had some leftover for a small loaf:

Here are the happy rolls, ready to bake!


The result.  Yum!

Tears off easily..


Happy baking!


(edited to correct milk weight for poolish)

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Here was some rolls I made today.   I started with a poolish because I did not want any sour at all, and dumped a bunch of real sugar, honey, butter and milk into it.    Came out great, and these are very tasty.

The recipe I did:


140 grams whole-grain flour mix (I did a mixture of WW + rye)
167 grams white bread flour
338 grams whole milk
0.6 grams instant yeast

Final Dough:

All poolish
622 grams white bread flour
186 grams eggs
93 grams whole milk
93 grams butter
93 grams unfiltered honey
93 grams cane sugar
23 grams instant yeast
19 grams salt

Simple procedure:

1) Mix poolish, and let ripen.  12 hrs or so.
2) Cream the butter + sugar.
3) Mix everything together.
4) Bulk ferment 1 hr.
5) Shape into 40-60 gram rolls (I was not exact).
6) Let rise fully.
7) Brush with egg-wash, then bake at 375F for 30 mins.
8) Enjoy. :)




Delicious.   :)

Happy baking!


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This was my first attempt working with flax seeds.  I got a bag of brown whole flax seeds from the grocery store, soaked them at 300% hydration for 12 hrs.   Separately, I made a 3lb / 1362g dough at 68% hydration using 90% AP flour, 10% einkorn flour, and a touch of honey (5%).   20% of the flour was a liquid levain at 125% hydration, 50% of the flour was a cold flour soaker at 80% hydration.   For the flax seed soaker, I wasn't sure in advance how many seeds I'd want in the dough, so I just soaked a bunch of seeds, more than I'd need.  

For some reason I had thought I could treat the seeds as a hydration-neutral component.   After soaking,  the seeds had absorbed most of the water, but what remained was a gelatinious, kind of slimy, soupy mixture.   I tried straining them but not much drained.   So, I went ahead and began spooning them into the final dough and incorporating by hand, until I had a lot of seeds in the dough to my satisfaction.    This also significantly increased the hydration of the dough.  I spent about 30 minutes attempting to develop the dough by hand, slap + folds, kneading, etc., to no avail.  More of it was glued onto my hands than in a cohesive dough on the workboard.  :-)  

So I ended up adding 4 heaping spoonfuls of additional AP flour.  I hated to do it, but I had to.  :-).  I let the dough rest for 30 mins, then resumed stretch / slap / folding for another 20 mins.  That helped, but the dough was still very sticky and felt more like an 80% hydration dough.   After a long bulk ferment and more S&Fs, the dough did come together more, but relaxed very quickly.  I probably should have baked in a pan, but instead I tried it in the brotform and free-standing in the oven.   Upon the end of final-ferment and removing from the brotform, it blobbed out horizontally quite a bit.   To my surprise, it did get some upward spring in the oven, but next time I definitely need to factor in additional hydration being added by the flax seed soaker.

So that's all the bad parts.  The good part is -- tastes great!   :)  I couldn't remember what flax seeds tasted like beforehand, but once I tried it -- "ahhhh...  I remember now.".   They do taste very nice, and I see why people put them in bread, quite complementary.

Here's some pics.




Happy baking!


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Here is another attempt of soft butter honey rolls.  I used the following hydration estimates for the following ingredients:  Butter = 17%, Honey = 75%, Eggs = 75%, Milk = 90%.   My targeted overall dough hydration was 66%, and fortunately the dough was spot on.  Nice and pliable, not sticky at all, but not too stiff/dry either.

Here was the recipe I made w/pics.    All flour was KA bread flour, all weights in grams.

Total Dough Weight: 950
Targeted Dough Hydration: 66%
Total Dough Flour Weight: 572
Total Dough Water Weight: 378

Leaven Percentage: 39%
Leaven Hydration: 100%
Starter Percentage: 20%
Starter Hydration: 125%

Butter Percentage: 20.0%
Eggs Percentage: 10.0%
Whole Milk Percentage: 10.0%
Honey Percentage: 10.0%
Salt Percentage: 1.8%
Baker's Yeast Percentage: 5.0%

Levain Sour:

Flour Weight: 203
Water Weight: 198
Starter Weight: 45
Final Dough:

Flour: 349
Butter: 114
Eggs: 57
Whole Milk: 57
Honey: 57
Salt: 10
Baker's Yeast: 29


1) Mix ingredients for levain and ferment until ripened.
2) Mix all ingredients into final dough.
3) Bulk ferment 90 mins, folding the dough once half-way through.
4) Scale rolls at 50 grams, I could fit 15 in a 13x9 pan, with an initial space between each roll (they will join together as they rise).
5) Final ferment 60 mins, or until fully risen.
6) Make an egg-wash + butter glaze, brush before bake.
7) Bake at 375F for 40 mins.


I made 15 rolls for a single pan, and some extra which I made a small loaf from.  The crumb is shreddably soft and light, the crust is also light and flakey.


First one is about 15 mins into the final rise, the first balls I shaped had just started to join together:






I cut open the loaf to sample it.   (Saving the rolls for now..)



Happy baking!


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I have yet to try any higher-percentage whole grain breads with a poolish and no sourdough levain, so here was my first attempt.   It is a 70% whole spelt flour milled at home (unsifted), the rest white bread flour.   Overall dough hydration was 70%.  All of the spelt was a poolish at 100% hydration, fermented until ripened (took appx 10 hours for me).   I did a quick 1hr bulk-ferment because so much of it was already prefermented, and then a final ferment of appx 30 mins.   The spelt dough relaxes very quickly.   I was able to get a tight shaping with plenty of strength, but after 15 mins it is very relaxed again.  I used a brotform for the final ferment, but it still lost it shape quickly when I emptied it onto the peel.   I thought this was going to be a frisbee for sure.   Turns out, it wasn't totally a frisbee, but not quite as tall as I'd like.   I will try again, maybe use high-gluten white flour instead of bread flour for the white flour component, and/or maybe lower hydration a bit.


Ripe spelt poolish, smelled great:



Oops.   I cut it down the middle before taking the picture.   :)



The taste is fantastic, and without any sour.    Yum!    Plus, you can make it in a day. 

(edit:  actually, after resting for a while, there is just a tiny little tinge of sour, but it is not totally unwelcome.  :)).

Happy baking!


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Here is my most recent attempt/experiment of baguettes.   Even after reading articles, watching youtube videos, I am still pretty horrible at shaping a baguette properly.  :-)  I haven't given up, but after the last 3-4 attempts, I may go back to simpler shapes for a while.

This one is a 33% poolish, 33% sourdough levain, no flour soaker or mash, overall hydration 66%, everything at ambient room temp.   All flour was organic KA AP flour.   The crumb is decently open, and the flavor is good.

I took two pictures of the same thing, in different lighting conditions in my kitchen at the time..




Happy baking!


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I've never yet made a poolish bread, and wanted to try it, so here was my first one.  20% of the flour was the poolish w/baker's yeast (0.2%) at 100% hydration (fermented appx 10 hours).  57% of the flour was a cold flour soaker at 80% hydration in parallel while the poolish was fermenting.   Final dough hydration was 66%.   All flour was KA AP flour.   (I did not cold retard the dough, or make a mash for this bread).

I wasn't expecting much, so I took the opportunity to practice slashing - mainly speed of slashing.   I sort of went to town on a couple of these, just randomly slashing it all over.   :)  

The bread actually tastes much better than I thought it would.    Had a bit of a time buttering it... the melting butter just formed pools inside of the holes.   

Needs some finesse, but here are pics:



Happy baking!



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