The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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chrisf's picture

I've been using an overnight bulk ferment with no more than 10% starter. An early morning shape and proof and then in the oven. Usually the total time for bulk, shape and proof is 14-16 hours.

Hydration is usually 75%. I grind the spelt and sift the larger pieces of bran out to use for cooked cereal or muffins.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Remember last time when I posted an egg bread because of too many eggs? I turned some of those into salted eggs to be used in some dishes. A month has passed and it's time to use them, and what is a better way than to use them in mooncakes! I didn't bother to boil some to be eaten as is because boiled ones are readily available; I made my own because there are no "raw" salted eggs available in the market and those are what I need for dishes I'm planning to make. This style of mooncake is not as popular as the Cantonese one but it is equally delicious. I made this as a preparation for my Cantonese mooncake not because it's easier to make but I want to taste the combination of my salted eggs and homemade bean paste before doing something I've never done before. This requires a totally different skill set than Cantonese ones and I have experience with these before so I made this first as a warm-up.

In our country, these are called Hopia (好餅) meaning good cake/pastry taken from Hokkien dialect introduced by Chinese immigrants from Fujian; they are often smaller, available year round in every bakery and are not considered mooncakes because the term "mooncakes" only refers to Cantonese ones (only obtainable in Chinatown) but in fact they are "mooncakes" in other parts of China. Hopia with salted egg yolks are released as "Hopia Supreme" by a famous Chinese bakery here, you can see the reputation salted eggs have for making something really special; because they are really expensive.These are made with Chinese spiral pastry similar to Suzhou and Teochew style mooncakes. Made with alternating layers of oil and water dough, it has lots of flaky layers earning them the moniker "Thousand Layer Mooncakes" in some areas. Although similar to those styles of mooncakes mentioned, hopia is made differently and I made mine differently too that's why they (other hopia and mine) look different compared to those. I used lard this time and the flavor was elevated several notches higher! Lard has a unique flavor that no shortening can match! I also used it my bean paste, my bean paste improved a lot from the last batch, not just the flavor but the texture too!

I left some plain in case the combination of red bean paste and salted egg yolks didn't work. They love it with salted eggs, and asked why hadn't I made all with salted eggs. Because of this I'm so excited for my Cantonese mooncakes, they will be even better because we consider them "special" here. I made these special hopia/mooncake larger than normal, molded them in my mini llaneras that's why they have this nice oval shape (sort of my signature) and grilled them on a dry pan for that lovely golden brown on both sides. I think they are really lovely especially because I did not measure any of the ingredients. I think I should have used more filling so they are thicker/taller and prettier!

When I say flaky, I mean really flaky! The spiral technique is really incredible! It is the hallmark of a good hopia; messy plate, messy face, and a messy lap all from the crust!

I just don't want to open this post with a sad news but this reminds me of it. A couple of weeks ago, we are having problems on how to store eggs because their laying has become out of control; now there are no more  eggs to be found and almost no more chickens to be heard. Our entire flock was almost swept by a recurrence of a pestilence that did the same two years ago. It was sad to see vigorous and healthy chickens become suddenly lethargic and die in just days. Remember this post last year when I said the new generation of our chickens is steadily growing? All of them are gone now, 4-6 died each day that my dad just made a mass grave for them. In a span of a week and a half, no more was left of the new generation. 

Even this cute tailless one was included. He's special because from all the years of chicken raising, he was the first and only naturally tailless one. Look at how much he has grown in less than a year? We simply call him Kurong because that's how these rare tailless ones are called.

Fortunately the plague has stopped and and left a few survivors just like before. Interestingly, they are the original survivors from the former plague. We have a theory that they carry a gene that is naturally immune from the plague. Aren't they like in "infection" movies where the naturally immune are the few survivors that run away and fight the infected while finding a cure for the infection and formulating a plan for repopulation?! :P I'll stop here. I have a vivid imagination and it's my most feared movie genre!

Ladies and gentlemen, the majestic rooster that made it all possible before and hopefully will make it again this time. He was quarantined for a while to ensure his survival because he is the only uninfected rooster in the flock. He was the father of the entire second generation of the bantams and he outlived all of his children. He is left with four of his original hens and hopefully they will have chicks to raise a new (third) generation of chickens the second time around.

His one eye is even blind! That's how resilient he is!

Okay, back to good food again and salted eggs. I saved the best shot for last! Enjoy!

With the salted eggs I have, I also made Cantonese rice dumplings (Joong). Dried bamboo leaves are only available in Chinatown which is three hours away form where I live and we only go there once or twice a year; I used banana leaves because it's abundant in our backyard. This is not as authentic because of the different leaf used but this a variant and my take on the Cantonese style.

With all the banana leaves, dad made a nostalgic treat for him. Rice wrapped in banana leaves. He said that's what he brings to school back in the days prepared by my grandmother. Warm rice is wrapped in banana leaves sprinkled with a little salt; when opened, the aroma of banana leaf that perfumed the rice perfumes the air. He paired it with stuffed steamed milk fish in guess what.... of course, banana leaf!

Glutinous rice, peeled split mung beans, salted pork and salted egg yolks. No peeled split mung beans available here so I peeled and split them myself; soak them in water overnight then rub vigorously in batches to peel and split them. I used pork shoulder (it should be pork belly but there is no fine belly during that day in the market) and cured it in salt for 4 days. Cantonese Joong does not stir-fry its rice and there is no soy sauce so the dumpling is pearly white and soft.

Wrapping in banana leaf is difficult and needs a different technique than using bamboo leaves and this is just my "REAL" first try at wrapping rice dumplings. Tying is "anything goes until sealed" and is even more difficult than the wrapping. They are then boiled for 4 hours,

The result, one opened and spilled its contents in the boiling water so I ended up with only 3 dumpling in the end.

The rice was properly seasoned and soft, the mung beans are slightly sweet, the salted egg yolk is rich with the right saltiness but the pork is slightly saltier than preferred; I should have soaked it longer.

I grew up eating the Hokkien variety of rice dumplings so this one is good but different. Dad didn't like it very much unlike the mooncakes. I like this one especially the yolk, in fact I can eat it without the pork.

I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I do! Thank you very much! Job


I already baked my Cantonese mooncakes and they are in their resting stage now. Let's see what will happen in my next post. Stay tuned!

                                                                                                                                                           To be continued...

anniechanleong's picture


I am new here and new at trying to start a starter. I did with whole wheat flour last Monday but I am not sure if i did it right. Today is Day 8 yet i do not get the fruity smell or sour smell. yet it does not have a bad smell. It smells like dry cardboard. It grows and bubbles but when i scrape the top the bottom does not look like it has bubbles or honey comb-like look. It looks like a paste. Am I doing it right?I started with whole wheat flour, left it for 48 hours and then fed whole wheat flour again and then the white bread flour.

I went ahead and baked bread with it anyway today just to see the outcome. It just came out of the oven. I let the final rise on a couche in a basket and the dough did get stuck onto the cloth and I think I deflated the dough when i tried pulling the dough away from the cloth. I also cannot get my boule to stay round and puffy. It flatten out in the oven.


Danni3ll3's picture

I had read that Spelt fermented and proofed quickly but I thought that it couldn't be any faster than whole wheat. Boy, was I wrong! I took the combo of flours from Tartine 3 and used the amounts and method of the 75% wholewheat bread from FWSY. 

1. Fed levain local milled partially sifted flour to create 80% hydration levain. Let rise for 6 hours.

2. Autolysed 300 g Rogers No Additives Unbleached Flour, 100 g Brûlée Creek Partially Sifted Flour, 300 g Whole Spelt flour that I sifted, and 100 g whole spelt flour with 660 g of water at 92F for 30 minutes.

3. Added 21g salt, scant 1/2 tsp instant yeast and 360 g of 80% hydration levain. Considering what happened next, I probably did not need the yeast. Used pincer and folds method to incorporate. 

4. Did 3 sets of folds at the beginning of fermentation. Dough should have taken 5 hours to rise 2.5 times it volume  but it was done after 3 and a half hours. 

5. I divided it, shaped and put into proofing baskets. I forgot to put spelt flakes in as I used the sifted bran in the baskets. Into plastic bags and then the fridge they went for a planned 12 hour nap. 

6. Almost three hours later, I decided to take a peek to see how they were coming along. I was shocked to see them fully risen. I did the poke test and the dough slowly sprang most of the way back. 

7. I rushed to turn in the oven and heated it to 500F. I gave it another 15 minutes once it reached temperature before I dropped the loaves on parchment rounds in the preheated DO. Baked at 500F for 20 minutes, dropped temp, waited 10 minutes before removing the lids, and baked for another 25 minutes. 

I think the loaves were very slightly over proofed. I got decent oven spring but not huge. Thank goodness I checked those loaves before I went to bed. These would have been a disaster if I had waited till the morning to bake. I will post a crumb shot when they get sliced. 

mwilson's picture

Since my post regarding dough rheology and the difficulties with durum wheat I have been tinkering...

I purchased 10 kilos of semola rimacinata from Italy and created a new starter spawned from my regular white lievito madre.


DAY1. 2200 - Refreshed and fermented for 8 hours at 28C
DAY2. 0600 - Transferred the now slightly sticky dough, wrapped and tied in cloth and left to ferment for 27 hours at 12C
DAY3. 0900 - Removed dough needed to make a loaf and reserved a piece for refreshment.


2% sea salt
20% starter
70% water
100% flour

From mixed dough to bake was 5 hours. 

The crumb is very soft and fluffy as it should be, see video below. Crust cracked. The texture is there, I just need to work on the flavour.. 


David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Trust me on this -- there may be many ways to make bread pudding, and you may have your favorite -- but this bread pudding is unbelievably delicious and unbelievably simple to make with only a few ingredients. 

The only thing I didn't measure was the cinnamon and the bread.  Here, I used close to an entire boule, just tore it up into chunks.  I used a combination of Saigon and Ceylon cinnamon.  

Recipe Linked here


David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

While making my sourdough I realized that I ran out of all purpose flour. And had only a smidgen of Rye berries left. Fortunately I had a quart of Kamut that served as a nice substitute. 

I did weigh everything to get to the 2000 grams of flour, but I didn't write down the formula. It has whatever a quart weighs of Kamut, whole white wheat, a bit of whole rye and all purpose flour in some unknown ratio. 

Schwa's picture

I have chickens, and we get about three eggs a day from them, so it goes without saying that eggs get incorporated into a lot of the food we make. What's more, I've been thinking about the SD I've been turning out, and while I like it quite a lot, I could go for a little less chew. Olive oil was a thought, butter, and I almost went with bacon fat (which I always have on hand in a chipped coffee mug in my fridge).

Ultimately I was shooting for a great breakfast slice to sop up runny egg yolk, and I couldn't be more pleased with the result. The crumb is just a tad more delicate than my standard SD, making not only a great sponge for my morning egg, but also a softer and more pleasant sandwich bread. 


300g starter (100% hydration)

350g Bob's Red Mill AP flour

150g water

1 egg (50g)

10g salt


Mix starter, egg and water in a large bowl.

Gradually stir in flour with a wooden spoon, then using fingers to incorporate the last of the flour.

Autolyse for 30 minutes.

Slap and fold for 7-10 minutes, incorporating salt as I go, until dough goes from stretchy and sticky to a smooth, shiny, yet still tacky consistency. 

Bench rest 90 minutes, giving the dough stretch and folds every 30 minutes.

Bulk ferment for 3 to 4 hours.

Shape the dough and set it into a proofing container lined with rice flour dusted linen. 

Proof for 90 minutes.

Bake in preheated clay cloche at 500 for 20 minutes, then uncovered at 450 for 30 minutes. 


Danni3ll3's picture

I used a combo of methods for this bread and aside from not much oven rise, I am pretty happy with it.

The recipe is out of Tartine 3 and the methods are from Dabrownman and Trevor J Wison from here. This was my plan. 

1. Build a 2 stage Levain two days before baking and refrigerate to soften the bran. 
2. Mix all flours, cold water, salt the evening before. Put in fridge till bed time when I pull it out to warm up slowly overnight.
3. In morning, mix in Levain. Fold every hour until dough is 30 to 50% bigger. 4 to 6 hours.
4. Divide, preshape, rest 30 to 60 minutes, shape, proof in basket till risen about 80%.
5. Score and bake as usual.

Well life happens and the flour, water, salt mixture spent the night in the fridge. I pulled it out at 6:30 am. Forgot to pull out the levain too so it came out at 11:45 or so. Mixed the levain and dough together at 2:30 pm. Did 6 sets of folds over the next 6 hours until dough had risen about 30%. Preshaped and it rested for 45 minutes. I think I need to work on my shaping as I didn't feel I was getting a nice tight skin on my boules. Anyhow, I shaped the boules, rolled in Kamut flakes and into the proofing baskets they went seam side down. I used a bit of dough in a graduated glass to judge the proofing. 2 hours later, they seemed ready so they got baked in the dutch oven as per my usual method with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom. 

The bread turned out very substantial and moist. A good stick to your ribs kind of bread. It has a slight tangy flavour that both hubby and I like. I am not sure what happened with the oven rise but these have been the flatest loaves I have ever baked. It could have been too much time soaking the flours or my shaping technique or both. Either way, it tastes good and I am learning so it is all good. 

STUinlouisa's picture

 Last week I made a yeast water brick probably due to trying too much for a first loaf by using a yeast water preferment and incorporating a steel cut oat porridge plus misreading the gluten development and the final proof, it just wasn't my day.

This bake, apple fed yeast water was used for the majority of the liquid plus my starter which had just gone through repeated room temperature feedings ( it normally lives in the fridge during the week and I thought it had become too acid). The flour was 50% WW with half of that being Red Fife and the other white wheat and 50% AP. Some olive oil, a bit of honey and salt was added.

It's true we eat with our eyes and thought it was another failure because it wasn't pretty, I didn't taste until the whole loaf was sliced. When tasted this was one of the best wheat only loaves I have made. The true wheat flavor bursts through with a nice lingering aftertaste and little of the sour notes that I think mask flavor.

Next 100% whole grain with maybe some sprouted flour using the same technique. 




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