The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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I'm more and more convinced that flour was born to be used as butter  carrier!

The formula for this bread is very simple:

100% bread flour (13% proteins) (300 gr)

83% whole eggs (250 gr)

40% sugar (120 gr, something more wouldn't hurt)

28% firm starter (80 gr)

83% butter (250 gr)

3% milk powder (9 gr)

2% salt (6 gr)

flavors (I used 10 gr of Marsala liquor). Orange zest and vanilla are very good candidates. Flavors are essential.

As usual: mix everything together with the paddle at high speed until the dough comes together, mix in butter in 6 portions waiting until each block is embedded, develop gluten than replace the paddle with the hook and perfect gluten development (still at high speed) until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. It took me almost 1 hour.

The dough should rest at room temperature for 3 hours with few folds every 60 minutes, then retarded at 10°C. After   4 days fold once more and insert the dough (seams down) in the mold until the sides reach the rim. Bake  at 170°C in static mode starting from cold oven until a skeeter inserted in the middle comes out clean and dry, then hang head down until the bread is completely cold, just like for panettone. Don't bake too long of teh crumb will be too dry.

The glaze requires 20 gr of hazelnuts and 20 gr of almonds ground with 80 gr of sugar and mixed with enough egg whites to get a smooth paste.


 Before baking

baked and cooled




Rather than oven spring I should speak of oven burst:). The dough weighted 980 gr, supposedly perfect  for a 1 kg mold, but evidently it was too much.

The crumb is ethereal, weightless, the taste is rich, very buttery (guess why?). It's dangerously good!


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This is my favorite brioche dough. Not as dull as french brioche that contains almost no sugar and too much butter, not as "dietetic" as italian brioche that has a touch more sugar but too little taste overall. It's very sweet and buttery without excess (at least for my tastes) and especially the crumb is very very soft (did i ever write how much I detest chewy crumbs?:-) ). The crumb I want is as soft and light as cloud, leaving you with the doubt of having even bitten something. In a word: ethereal.


500 gr flour (50% bread flour and 50% cake flour)

300 gr divided between 3 eggs + water: (60% liquids). Replace water with milk if you want a tighter crumb (as in my picture)

150 gr sugar (30%)

8 gr salt (1.5%)

200 gr butter (40%)

flavors (generally I use dried and sifted orange and lemon zest, but instant coffee is an alternative that I love more and more ). I find that adding flavors make a lot of difference, they may make the difference between a so-and-so and an excellent result.

Preferment with 50 gr flour, 50 gr water, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 10 gr of wheat starter. All ingredients subtracted from the total.

I always preferment 10% of the flour with equal weight of water and a teaspoon of sugar, plus some of my wheat starter. When it has at least tripled in size I prepare the dough as I always do: all ingredients except butter mixed together  at high speed with the paddle attachment; when the dough comes together I add the butter in 8 pieces adding the next block only when the previous has been completely incorporated. When the dough comes completely together I mount the hook attachment to take the dough to complete gluten development, still at high speed. The dough must pass the windowpane test, it's the most fundamental part as txfarmer explained so well in several occasions.

3 hours at room temperaturem, than 2 days in the fridge at 10°C. Such a long rest in necessary to get an extremely soft dough. With shorter rests in the fridge I never obtained the same result, meaning that the crumb always had a tougher feel.

At this point the dough should be spread, divided in 6x2 cylinders, eached rolled without pulling tight. When the cylinders have tripled in size bake in preheated oven at 200°C in static mode or  at 180° in convection mode until the top gets a golden brown color. Other people reported better results at 180° in static mode or at 160° in convection mode. In my opinion the best would be a simple fan-assisted mode, that my oven doesn't have.

This is the crumb of one of my brioche


Other brioche, done by my friends and better looking than mine:-)

nicodvb's picture

Recently I received a lot of cracked rye (actually I hoped it would be a batch of rye chops, but unfortunately it's not the case...).

I put it immediately to work to prepare my preferred rye bread, something in between frisian rye and this one done from my friend Gi.


The night before I prepared a soaker with:

-320 gr of cracked rye (there are a lot of barely broken berries and some very coarse flour)

-80 gr of old bread broken dried in the fridge  and broken in the mixer

-340 gr of boiling water

mixed very well, but quickly, and left to rest in a closed plastic container enveloped in a pile.

At the same time I would have generally prepared prepared a poolish with

-200 gr of dark rye flour

-170 gr of warm water (40°C)

-10 gr of rye sourdough

but this time around I prepared (1 day in advance) a three-stage leaven as in my post of Detmolder rye. For this kind of bread a three-stage is not necessary, but I tought I should mention it for the chronicle. Total hydratation is the usual and magical 85%.


After 12 hours I mixed the two compounds and added 12 grams of salt, kneaded well and put the dough in a 12 inches plum-cake form, left to ferment for threee hours at ~28°C. This kind of douh doesn't rise a lot, generally never more than 1/3 in height, but the acidity developed will improve the flavour of the bread and protect it from molds.


I cooked the bread totally enveloped in aluminum foil (3 rounds) at 120°C for 10 hours, then I put the bread in a linen sheet and waited 2 days before cutting it.

The taste is fantastic, sweet and sour with a remarkable caramel intensity; moreover -and contrary to my previous long bakes- there's something remembering a faint taste of liquor that I never tasted before, it's totally new to me.

The crust is absent and the crumb is moist as it should be. Contrary to most my other breads it dosn't even crumble when sliced thinly.


I also noticed that when sliced in advance the taste seems to improve sooner and seems to get sweeter in shorter time. Does it make any sense?



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