The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

jaltsc's blog

jaltsc's picture

I came across a recipe for "Pugliese Bread" years ago and used to bake 600 gram loaves due to the size of my kitchen oven. A few years ago I bought a bread oven that is able to handle larger loaves, and has holes on top which make it possible to use a pressure sprayer to produce steam and then be closed off. I recently started to bake 2+ kilo loaves and my friends love the results. I bake them for 85 minutes. This results in a very dark crust that crackles for 5 minutes after being taken out of the oven, and a very tender crumb. Whatever is not eaten that day, I halve the bread, let it rest for 5 hours and then slice and freeze it. When the slices are warmed, the crust retains its original crispiness and the crumb is remains tender. I use a little yeast along with sourdough starter. The yeast was in the original recipe, but I reduced it, and I substituted sourdough starter for the biga in the original recipe. The 2 day slow retardation  in the refrigerator develops a lot of small bubbles in the dough. 


 2 x 2361  gm.Round Loaves  

       2   t                       Yeast

1474   gms.                Water (68%) 

1000   gms                 Sourdough Starter

      2    Kg.                  AP Flour

  100   Gms.               Rye Flour

  100   Gms.               WW Flour 

      3    T+ 1t               Salt

      2    T                      Diastatic Malt


  1.  Combined all ingredients except salt
  2.  Mixed until combined
  3. Added Salt on top of dough
  4. Autolyzed for 20 minutes
  5. Mixed additional 8 minutes
  6. Wet and solid structure. 
  7. 4796 Gms.
  8. Divided in two 2350 Gm.(Appx.) pieces
  9.  Placed in 2 oiled plastic containers .
  10.  Refrigerated for 2 days

11. Took out and let warm for 3 hours

12.  Formed into 2 Round Loaves

13.  Placed on 2 bread peels (Can also place on large sheet pans)

14.  Let rise for 2 hours

15. Scored with straight blade…5 scores in each direction

16.   500 F Degrees – Sprayed with water for steam.

17. Reduced to 450 F Degrees

18. Baked 85 minutes

jaltsc's picture

Yesterday I shared my recipe for Bronx bagels. I also make bialys, which might make me one of the last 4 or 5 bialy bakers left.  For some reason bialys never became as popular as bagels. One reason might be that they get very stale and hard quickly. If not frozen and then toasted, it's like eating a hockey puck. The process is less complicated than that for bagels. Making bialys is like making cocktail size pizzas. The onion "schmear" prevents the entire piece of dough from rising.

So, expats in my small village in northern Thailand have access to both fresh bagels and bialys, where in NYC it is almost impossible to find both. That is unless you want to make the trek down to Kosar's, Russ and Daughters or a few other specialty delis. 

Also, is civilization as we know it coming to an end when spell check doesn't recognize "bialy" and"schmear"?


13-14 x 70 gram bialys.

Onion Schmear

2 1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil
12 tablespoons (3 ounces, 90 grams, ¾ C) onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper to taste


Final Dough (65% Hydration)

600 g  Bread Flour

390 g Water

12 g Salt

1 tsp. Instant Yeast

 Added 50 gms of the dry ingredients to the water in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix the ingredients on speed 3, using the whisk attachment, until a light froth is obtained, about 1 minute. 


Used spiral dough hook and add the remaining dry ingredients. 

Mixed at the lowest speed (“Stir”) until all the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes.  

 Increased to medium/high speed 3 for 6 minutes until the dough is mixed to full development.  The desired final dough temperature is 76-78ºF. (The dough will weigh about  980-1000 gms)

 Placed dough in a lightly oiled, covered container and allowed to ferment at 78ºF for 1 hour and 40 minutes. 

 Made 65-70 gm rolls. Proofed for 2 hours. Flattened rolls twice during proofing. At one hour and at 1 ½  Hours.

 Placed on baking sheet lightly dusted with flour and cornmeal. Flattened into 4″ in diameter, resembling mini pizza shells.  Pressed center hard with cap from a prescription bottle.and made a few hash cuts with a knife (To prevent center from rising during baking) Put 1/4 teaspoon of the onion schmear in the center of each dough piece. :

Placed the baking directly on hot oven stones (I use non glazed ceramic floor tiles). Baked @ 450-475 F degrees for 15 minutes. Had a nice mottled brown color.

Let cool for 15 minutes. Sliced and froze whatever I wasn't going to eat immediately. 

jaltsc's picture

I remember the old fashion bagels from my youth. Today's bagels, even those in NYC, are much larger, paler, and not as dense as the ones I remember. Contrary to popular belief, the original bagels were much smaller than today's. They were 2-3 ounces. I make mine around 3 1/2 ounces (90-95 grams after baking). I grew up in the Bronx and use to watch the union bagel bakers from local shop 338 forming and baking bagels at the Nelson Avenue bagel bakery. The guy who formed the bagels would cut a two inch square section from a large block of dough. His left hand would roll the piece into a cylinder shape, wrap the dough around his right hand snap off the right size piece and roll it into the proper shape. I don't have their skill. However I use the rope/dog bone method (described in the following recipe) and get quite good results. The hole is large after forming and after the boiling. It shrinks during bakes as the bagel expands during baking. I find the hole necessary for proper baking. I also bake the bagels on wooden slats. I use 1/3" (1 cm) teak wood which fit into sheet pans. The original wood used was redwood. I find this prevents the bottoms from becoming flat, harder and browner than the tops. I turn the bagels over when they reach the proper color. If I put on toppings, I dip the bagels into the desired topping right after boiling and place them with the topping side down until I put them on the wood, right side up. This helps the toppings stick. The results I get are bagels with dense and crisp surfaces and a slightly softer interior.  The process is a bit complex, but the results are excellent. Luckily for the diaspora who have decided to retire in my small village, smoked salmon and Philadelphia cream cheese are now available at our local market.


 1500 Gms +3/4(70 gm)  C          Bread flour

       2                              T          Wheat Gluten (Much better texture)

  900                               Gms      Water    (57.6% Hydration)

      2                              T          Diastatic malt powder  

      2                              T          Salt      

 100                               Gms.     Sourdough Starter

     1                               t           Yeast


Combined all ingredients including salt. Autolyzed  for 15 minutes

Mixed for 8 minutes.

Dough was dense and smooth. Good window pain.

TOTAL WEIGHT:     2675 gms.

Let rest for 90 minutes in refrigerator Dough was very smooth.

Divided each batch of dough into two pieces (4 batches altogether).

Left half in refrigertator to keep cool.

Weighed out 12 bagels @ 110gms.

Formed rolls and then formed into logs.

Rolled into 14 inch dog bone shaped rope.

Formed bagels by wrapping rope around my hand and rolling the thicker ends until they blended into each other.

Placed in pans, with moderate dusting of cornmeal. Covered with plastic

Let rise for 20minutes.

Repeated with other batch

Refrigerator was at very cold setting. Dough was very chilled, solid, but not frozen.


Placed trays into freezer for 20 minutes to get full chill and make dough more solid. 


Added 2 T blackstrap molasses (To help with coloring during baking) and 4T baking soda (To produce a tougher surface).

Boiled, starting with flat side down.Removed as soon as they floated to the top.

Put on toppings and set them face side down.

Turned them face side up and placed on boards.

Keeping Bagels extra cold had very positive effect on maintaining the proper shape and density.

Baked @ 400F+ degrees on middle shelf.

 Turned trays around after 5 minutes. Maintained 400F Degrees.

Baked until bagels turned medium brown. About 10 minutes. (Times may vary depending on oven used)

 Turned turned bagels side down. 

Turned trays around after 7 minutes (19 minutes total time).

Baked additional 12 minutes, for total time of  34 minutes.


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