The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

JDYangachi's blog

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I've been cultivating a sourdough starter, and it was finally time to try to make some bread using it.  I made a small amount of dough (350g), enough for a demi-baguette and a very small boule.

I used a 100% starter and ended with a 75% final dough with 2% salt.

The dough rose for 8 hours at room temperature.  After shaping, I let the loaves rise for 1 hour before scoring and baking for about 20 minutes at 450F.  Two ice cubes provided steam.

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Well, I decided to try to make baguettes.  I loosely followed dmsnyder's instructions and Anis Bouabsa's formula (scaled to 80%) from here, with some adjustments based on my schedule and my laziness.  Specifically, I mixed the dough but did not knead it, let it rest at room temperature for about 45 minutes, then parked it in the refrigerator for about 12 hours without any folding.  I portioned the dough and did a very cursory pre-shaping step consisting of simply forming some rough rectangular blobs.  After a 30 minute rest, I formed the loaves and let them rise for about 1 hour.  I attempted to score the loaves without much success (I guess my knife wasn't sharp enough).  Then I baked with some steam at 450F for 20 minutes.

Super lazy pre-shaping step.  I did not find the dough to be too sticky or unmanageable.  These were 175g (~ 6 oz.) portions.  I figured smaller loaves might be easier to handle.

After watching a couple of videos on youtube, I was ready to go. There may be better/more helpful videos out there.  These are the two I happened to watch.

I did these very quickly, as I didn't want to obsess and end up overworking the dough.  The smaller amount of dough made it slightly difficult to form a good seam with the side/heel of my hand. 

I proofed directly on a parchment lined baking pan, without couching.  The loaves spread out sideways as a result and  the spacing of these was awful.  I should not have loaded more than three on this pan.

Scoring was a disaster.  First I tried with a paring knife, then tried 2 different serrated knives.  As as you can see, the blades were dragging and pulling the dough.  I finally gave up.

Yikes! After 15 minutes at 450F, the tops were golden brown but they didn't look quite done.  I decided to go for 5 more minutes.  In retrospect I should have dropped the temperature.  The loaves look a LOT darker in the photos than in person.  I guess the lighting was too cool and my phone's camera picked up too much blue.

I had to run out the door, so I left these to cool and then sliced one open 2.5 hour later after I got home.

Despite the problems with scoring and the overly browned crust, I'm pretty happy with the results.  The crust is somewhat crispy (maybe not cracklingly crispy) and has a nice chewiness.  I didn't get a ton of oven spring, but the crumb is still somewhat open and tender with a slight chew.  I must have liked it, because I finished a loaf within a few minutes.

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I've been playing around with enriched dough lately.  I modified my sweet dough formula from here, basically replacing 1 egg with milk and decreasing the amount of butter slightly.  I should note that I have been Inspired by many recipes and photos for Hokkaido Milk Bread using tangzhong (including Floydm's).



20g AP flour (I use King Arthur unbleached)

100mL whole milk


Final dough

380g AP flour (about 3 cups)

200mL whole milk

75g granulated sugar (about 6 TBSP.)

50g egg (1 large)

5g instant yeast

5g salt

28.5g butter (2 TBSP.)

all of the tangzhong


This yielded around 850g of dough for me.  I cut off and shaped 3 x 200g* portions and arranged in a small loaf pan (25.4cm x 11cm x 7cm).

No egg or milk wash this time because I was feeling lazy. Yes, I realize the irony of that statement given that I was making homemade bread.

I baked at 325F for 30 minutes.

NOTE: I had long suspsected that my oven was running hot, so I finally picked up an oven thermometer.  With the oven dial set to 325F, the temperature reading on the deck near the heating element was indeed 325F. But when I hung the thermometer from a rack so that it was roughly around the top of a baking loaf, the temperature reading was 350F.  I don't know if this means my oven is at the right temperature or if it's running hot, but I think this bread should probably be baked at 350F.  In any case, when I say I baked at 325F, I mean that the oven dial was set to 325F with the intention to achieve an oven temperature of 350F.




* The astute reader will note that I had 250g of dough left.  This I formed into 50g balls and baked in muffin tins at 325F for 15 minutes.  The top left one was sacrificed for a temperature check. I realized later that I could have just as easily poked the side or bottom of the roll.

(Whoops, a little bit out of focus)


EDIT: June 30, 2013

I made this again, and got some better results (taller, fluffier loaf) in my mom's kitchen where it's warmer.


EDIT July 4, 2013

Additional crumb shot of sliced bread.


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I was visiting my sister in Aspen, Colorado last week and baked these.  I didn't have a scale, so the following are volume measurements. The weight measurements I've given should be pretty close. I will also note that the dough was mixed by hand and there was no kneading involved (except for some turning of the dough to incorporate the butter).


1 c. whole milk (240mL)

1.5 tsp. instant yeast (5g)

2 large eggs (about 50g each)

6 TBSP. granulated sugar (about 75g)

3 cups AP flour (guessing around 400g)

1 tsp. salt (5g)

3 TBSP. softened butter (42.5g)


I did an autolyse for 30 minutes then added the salt and butter and let rise for 1 hour.



After rolling out the dough to about 1/4" thickness, I added the following


2 TBSP. melted butter (57g), brushed on

1/2 c. loosely packed brown sugar (sorry, no equivalent weight measure)

cinnamon (sorry, I did not measure this as I just shook it out of the can, maybe 2 tsp.)

Then rolled and cut 2 inch pieces.

In a 9 x 13 pyrex dish, I made the following topping:


3 TBSP. melted butter (42.5g)

1 c. loosely packed brown sugar

2 TBSP. maple syrup

1/4 c. whole milk

1 c. roughly chopped pecans


I placed the rolls on top and let rise for 1 hour (things rise quickly at 8000 feet)

 I baked at 350F for 30 minutes

I let them cool slightly (~ 2 minutes) and quickly inverted onto parchment




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I'm visiting my sister in New York and decided to make these last night for today's breakfast.

I have not yet tasted them (I'm still waiting for everyone to wake up) but I think they turned out pretty at least.

The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, although I omitted the poppy seeds.

I started on a silpat

but then changed to parchment. Baked for 10 minutes at 450F with convection.

I didn't use a pizza stone or a hot baking sheet.  Two rather large ice cubes provided steam.


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Hi all. This is my first post.

I baked these and I thought they turned out pretty good, except for a little bit of excessive browning on top.  I will probably tent next time.

A few additional pictures:


60g balls


After a long rise.  I didn't actually intend for these to be pull-apart rolls.



Crumb shot



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