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I posted a thread last week about my failure at sourdough pandoro, I tried again this weekend (going through the whole sweet starter babysitting again!), and got much better results this time! Last time I added butter too fast and the dough collapsed, this time I made sure that butter was added a bit at a time, and my mixer was at speed 1 (slowest setting) when mixing in butter. I still lost some gluten after mixing in the butter (the windowpane test was weaker than before the butter was added), but after several folds, the dough was strong enough.The real interesting part was the final proofing. OMG, it took forever. I followed Foolishpoolish's great recipe, and he indicated 12 hours for the final rise. I put it at room temperature for the first 6 hours, nothing. Moved to my oven and turned pilot light on (so it's about 85F inside) for the evening, after 10 hours (and I actually woke up several times during the night to check it, in fear of overproofing), it still shy of reaching the top of the mold. I had to go to meet my workout partner at that point. Didn't want to risk overproofing, I moved the baby again to room temperature. 3 hours later I got home, it's reached the top of the mold but not domed over, and it's been 19 hours! At that point, I had to leave the house soon, so I went ahead and baked it.

All turned out well, it got enough of a boost in the oven

Gotta say, after one bite of the bread, I thought all this trouble of keepig the sweet starter, multiple long fermentations, hours of mixing, endless waiting were all worthwhile! The taste and crumb was rich but INCREDIBLY light and airy and soft. 


Thank you, FP for you great recipe here:

Several notes:

-I did add cocoa butter, which I found at Whold Foods, cosmetic aisle;

-I used 550g of dough in my 9 cup pandoro pan(here:

-After last week's failure, I halved the recipe this time, what a mistake. The bread was devoured in <2 hours after it's cooled. Much shorter than any of the rising time!

-I made extra dough into little muffin sized rolls. Not as good as the big pandoro one, too much crust, not enough soft airy crumb.

-In order to keep up with the sweet starter, I pulled desperate measures like putting it in a cooler and bring it to work, then add a cup of hot water inside. I got funny questions and looks when I fed the starter.

-Now I want to try the sourdough Pannetone recipe!


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Boy, my oven and I have been busy this holiday.


Firstly, the wreath bread. The dough formula is based on Wild Yeast's cranberry fennel bread here: ,but I used cranberries and pistachio instead for the festive color.

Crunchy crust and a crumb that's full of cranberries and pistachio, yum!


Pumpkin brioche apple tart. The dough formula is from Sherry Yards' "Secret of Baking", the tart concept is from Wild yeast again (

The dough is VERY soft and yummy, rich enough, but not overboard(butter ratio is about 28%). Perfect with the apple, pumpkin seeds filling. I used some fresh cranberries for added tartness. I had leftover dough and made other fun shapes as well.

Babka from Maggie Glezer's "A Blessing of Bread"

Fun shaping method:

Pretty looking and the chocolate filling is very good, if a little too sweet for my family

A rum chestnut pie with some very yummy ingredients: candied chestnuts, chestnut puree, chestnut cream, marscarpone and heavy cream topping with real villina beans... (loosely based on this recipe:

Also made a bunch of cookies to give out as gifts:

Rugelach (VERY loosely based on this recipe:

Linzer cookies (recipe from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: from my home to yours")

Candy cane cookies

Pumpkin oatmeal cookies

Espresso spritz cookies dipped in white chocolate and pistachio (from Carole Walter's "Great Cookies")

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I jumped ahead in my BBA challenge to make this stollen since I figured it makes a lot more sense to have it now, rather than ... next Jan. It's yummy, with all that dried fruits, how can it not be?!

The shaping instruction in BBA is not that clear IMO. After reading and re-reading, and bugging my Germany friends, I think I figured it out. It's basically two folds like a "Z" shape, with the top flap narrower than the bottom ones. I didn't use almond paste since I baked those as gifts and the recipients prefer it without.

I know the taste improves after a few days(weeks?), but they didn't last that long. All gone after only 2 days.


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I used this recipe found right here on fresh loaf: Thanks! It worked great. Found saffron at my local super market, $7 for 0.5gram, ouch! Found quark at whole foods, another ouch, these breads ain't cheap! However, they look great and taste great! Other than the classic S shape, I also made a few other classic shapes.

With the quark addition, and plenty of kneading, the crumb is incredibly soft and moist, even after 3 days.

Very happy to have tried this fun new bread!

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This bread has two sources of inspiration. First is the basic sourdough formula from BBA, which is this week's recipe for the BBA challenge (yes, we are still hanging on, the end is near though); the other is the mexcali heat bread from the ever so helpful sourdough home website:


From past experience, I know it's not easy to adapt flavor combos into breads. For one thing, bread tends to dilute the flavors somehow, on top of that some ingredients may not play well with flour and yeast in the dough. This one is a winner though. Black bean really adds great flavor, as well as makes the crumb very moist. The amount of chipotle pepper and other spices are just right, noticable but not overwhelming.

The crumb is moist and reasonably open, begging for some guacamole or sour cream

I like how the "crown" shape turned out. I must've cracked the top surface accidentally during shaping, which caused some cracks in addition to my scoring mark, but it still looks good.

Here's my made-shift proofing basket, I put the dough inside bottom side up

I basically just halved the recipe in BBA, use black bean cooking liquid instead of water, add porportional amount of black beans and other spices. Gotta say I am not a fan of the sourdough procedure in BBA, it requires making a firm starter the night before, babysitting it until double (4+ hours), putting it in fridge, taking it out the next day for at least one hour to warm, then mixing into the main dough. Much more touble than making a firm starter then leaving it at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours like in other books, or just using the 100% starter directly like what I usually do. 


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This one is from "Local Breads", a book I have love/hate relationship with. All 4 recipes I've tried so far from this book have turned out beautifully, however, with so many errors, I have to do extensive research online before trusting a recipe from there, such a shame, I would've loved to bake more from it. This one is super delicious, how can it not be, since bacon makes everything better, not to mention the already delicous baguette!


I followed the recipe closely, except for two things:

1)I kneaded minimally (2 minutes with my KA at speed 4) after autolyse and did a couple of folds during bulk fermentation, while the recipe instructed to knead the dough a lot longer. I like open crumb for my baguette, so I didn't want to over knead.

2)I put in all of the starter build by mistake (195g rather than 125g), luckily I realized it early on, so I adjusted water, everything ended up OK. With the extra starter, I did manage to get 4 baguettes, each about 310g, while some other posters have mentioned that they could only get 3 of 360g ones.

I put the shaped dough in the fridge for 12 hours, took them out and left at room temperature for 75 minutes before slashing and baking. They had great oven spring and the slash opened up well:

And ears one can lift up with

Fairly open crumb with visible bacon bits

The bacon flavor permeate throughout the bread, the best part is the crust - extra crunch and fragrant with the bacon fat.We ate this one straight without anything else, so yummy!

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Another winner from Dan Lepard's book "The handmade loaf".

The dough was very sticky and wet from soaked oats and grated apples (I used Fuji), but I like wet dough. I used Sir Lancelot high gluten flour because I ran out of bread flour at home (17 different kinds of flour, yet that's the one I ran out), the end result was a beautiful bread with open, moist, and chewy crumb. Intentionally left a few bigger chunks of apple in the dough, which made the apple taste stronger.

The book called for 3/4 tsb of fresh yeast, I used less than 1/2tsb of instant yeast. Even though Dan suggested that the amount of instant yeast should be half of fresh yeast IN WEIGHT, which is equal amount in VOLUME, I found that I only need half of the yeast IN WEIGHT if I use instant, otherwise it fermentate and proof way too fast. Even with barely 1/2 tsb, my proofing time was only 45 minutes, not 1.5 hour suggested in the book. (My kitchen was pretty warm that day though)

I really like the subtle warm/tart/sweet taste of this bread, thanks to the oats and apple, it goes well with jam/butter, great as a sandwich with some ham and veggies too.

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The recipe is from Maggie Glezer's " A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking from Around the World" I got the book from the library and just love it! So much fascinating history and background information, along with many recipes, I had no idea challah breads have so many variations. This time of the year, I am in a pumpkin kick, so I immediately made pumpkin challah. Even though there are many interesting braiding techniques in the book, my shaping/braiding was from Hamleman's "Bread", which consists of 20 strands, 6 sets of six strand braids, and one 2 strand braid in the middle. I have been wanting to try this massive braiding project for a while now, so glad it turned out well!

The pumpkin flavor is quite subtle, I would probably increase the amount of pumpkin puree next time, but the spice combo was on the mark, crumb was soft, and crust was slightly hard from the egg brush.

I love the golden color, combined with the star shape, I think it's quite a looker! And I think I will buy the book, a worthy addition to my already huge bread book collection.


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The picture above shows the 5th Horst Bandel Pumpernickel I made, and the last 4 were made within the span of a month, yes, I am just a tad "obsessive". :P


I've posted twicehere before asking about this recipe. Other than the first time, where I over-corrected the "too wet" problem and made the dough too dry, the other times the bread actually tasted fine. When I posted pictures last time, the kind people here even said it looked perfect for an authentic German pumpernickel. There's only ONE problem, the bread did not rise to the top to fill the pullman pan. No matter how much water I put in, how much I knead/not knead, how long/short I let it rise, the finish loaf was ALWAYS 0.5inch below the lid. Even though it tasted great, the smell was heavenly, and the crumb was just the right moisture, I just couldn't rest until it rose to the top! Finally, I noticed that my pan was 4X4X13, while Hamelman's was 3.75X3.75X13, it's such a tiny difference, I never thought it was a big deal. Then I got desperate and calculated the volume difference, wow, it's exactly 1/2inch below my pan!!!

So for this last time, I adjusted all the ingredients, and made 110% of the recipe, guess what?! It filled the top and came out perfectly square!

After 36 hours of resting, sliced thin:


Yummy with smoked salmon

Phew, finally I can stop baking this bread every Sunday, which taks up the oven space for the whole day (17 hours)! I love eating it, but I think I am just a tad relieved that I can take a break from it for a bit. :P

For those who like heavy dark rye breads, this one is a must try, it's in the "Bread" book by Hamelman. Super yummy, and really not THAT difficult to make, as long as you add enoug water, my dough was plenty wet, so wet that I couldn't really lift the column into the pan, I had to dump it in. I was pretty stingy with the soaking water for the old bread, and used probably 95% of the water in the final dough. Oh yeah, it helps to make sure that your pan size is correct if you are obsessed about the shape like me.BTW, I didn't have blackstrap molasses so I skipped it as instructed in the recipe, that's why the bread is not that dark.

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I make baguettes often, including the Anis recipe from this forum, and some other recipes from other books. I found BBA tends to overknead for lean breads such as baguette, ciabatta, etc. For this poolish recipe, he instructs to knead until pass the windowpane test, sure way to get ride of holes and taste! I changed kneading procedure to: autolyse for 20 minues, knead in my KA for 2 minutes just to kick off the gluten developement, S&F 3 times during the first of 2 bulk fermentations. I am happy with the open crumb in the final breads.

The Interesting thing about this recipe is that there are 2 bulk fermentations, each 2 hours. I've been doing the BBA challenge, other than overkneading, I notice BBA tends to over fermentate/proof too. For this recipe, the first fermentation for me was indeed 2 hours, but that's only because I didn't knead much and did S&F, for a well kneaded dough, I don't think 2 hours would be necessary. For the 2nd fermentation (after punching down, which I translated to "gently pat down"), it was only 90 minutes for me, even that was a bit too long IMO. The extra fermentation helps with the volume of the bread, but not much else.

I am not too happy with my scoring on this one, I think I overproofed a bit. Again the recipe says to proof for 50 to 60 minutes, I did 45, 30 to 40 would've been enough, and the scoring would have opened up more with better blooming.

Now, here's the biggest "modification" I made to this recipe: I used my 100% sourdough starter in place of the poolish. With my understanding, wild yeast starter fermentates a little slower than his poolish, which means if I had used the poolish, the fermentation/proofing should have been even shorter! I love BBA, but for some lean breads, it's tendency of too much yeast, too long of fermentation/proof, too much kneading must be adjusted for me. I like sourdough breads, so I like my starter baguette better than the usual light straight baguette. The flavor is more complex (my white starter is not that sour though), and the crust is a bit more substantial.

A delicious bread, and I am always happy to practice making baguettes, I do recommend Hamelman's poolish baguette formula over this one though.


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