The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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CeciC's picture

This really should have been waited till Easter monday, Since I have been craving for it for soooo long, so who cares.

I have used the formula posted by Rossnroller . The only Changes Ive made to his formula is reduced the sugar to 30g instead of 40g and used a 50% wholewheat starter which push the wholegrain to 22%. 

Ive also added a 30min Autolyse and added salt right before the second knead. 

This roll is fantastic, lots of peels and raisin that keep falling out of the dough, with the nice blend of spices. This is a absolute keeper for hot cross buns. 


warren's picture


Every year before Easter, our church's baking guild will gather a group of volunteers, bake Hot Cross buns, and sell them as a Church fund raiser.  This year we baked 60 dozen buns over a 2 day period. We used the recipe from Hammelman's Bread mixing 4 dozen at a time. We nicknamed the volunteers, most who are not bakers, the holy rollers.    It is a great way to have some fun together as well as introducing folks to what baking is about. 




isand66's picture

  I love potatoes in my bread and rolls so I figured it was time to try them in pretzel rolls.  I had to make this recipe twice as the first time I didn't compensate enough for the moisture in the potatoes and the dough was way too hydrated.  The rolls didn't come out the right consistency so I made them again and cut the water back and they came out perfect.

I also added a small amount of freshly ground whole rye flour to give it a little extra flavor and I do have to say these are flavorful rolls with a crazy open moist crumb.  I made some turkey burgers with caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella and bacon for dinner and these held up great.

I made the rolls a little bigger to be used for burgers so instead of the 110 grams below I made them 135 grams, but feel free to adjust the size to your liking.  I also made a few with fresh Parmesan cheese instead of salt just to be interesting.

Caution:  When using the Lye make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and protective eye gear. Also, never add Lye to hot water or it will bubble over and probably burn you.


Main Dough Ingredients for 14 rolls at about 110 grams each or about 13 at 135 grams each

Potato Sourdough Pretzels (%)

Potato Sourdough Pretzels (weights)


For Lye Bath (3.5% Solution

2 Liters (1836 grams) of Cold water

70 grams Sodium Hydroxide Crystals

Make the Levain

Add your seed starter (20 grams) to the indicated amount of flour and water and mix until incorporated.  Cover and let sit out at room temperature of in your proofer until nice and bubbly around 6-10 hours depending on your temperature.  Use immediately or refrigerate for a few days until ready to mix the main dough.



Add the diastatic malt powder to the water and stir.  Add the flours in your mixing bowl and slowly add the water mixture.  Mix for about 1 minute until combined.  Cut your starter in pieces and lay on top of the flour mixture and cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour so the flour can absorb the water.

Next add the salt and potatoes and mix for 6 minutes on low.    Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 2 hours.  Next divide the dough into pieces that are 110 grams each or 135 grams for larger rolls .  Shape as rolls and place on a baking sheet and cover with either a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it rest for around 60 minutes to about 1/2 proof.

While the rolls are proofing, fill a large stock pot with 2 liters of cold water.  Measure out the Lye and slowly add it to the cold water.  (DO NOT EVER ADD LYE TO HOT WATER).  Cover the pot and bring it to a rolling boil and then shut off the heat.

Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees.  When the rolls are proofed sufficiently, prepare to dip them for about 15 seconds in the lye bath upside down.  Let them drain on a bakers rack over a cookie tray covered with a towel or parchment paper.  After draining for a minute you can transfer them to a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  You want to use a stainless steel cooking sheet as aluminum may react with the lye and peel.  Note: do not ever use parchment paper as the rolls will get stuck to the bottom.  I know this from experience and I had to cut off the bottoms of half the rolls I made.  I actually use my Silpat non-stick sheets which work like a charm.

When ready to bake, score each roll with an "X" on the middle and sprinkle with pretzel salt.  Make sure you use pretzel salt if you want authentic rolls.  As I said previously I used some fresh Parmesan in place of the salt on a few rolls and they were awesome.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and register about 200 F in the middle.  Let them cool on a bakers rack until you can't wait any longer!

Note: you cannot store these in a plastic bag or covered really otherwise the salt will react with the moisture in the air and you will end up with soggy tops.  I place them in a paper bag and leave it open so the air circulates.





dabrownman's picture

We try to bake some kind of gefilta fish based loosely on Wolfgang Pucks Passover recipe here.

 Last year’s was tilapia, with various Mexican green chilies wrapped in collard greens and set into cabbage to look like little cabbages that were covered in fish stock and veggies.  We made 6 large ones and they were terrific here

This year we made 8 mini ones with sushi grade swordfish, Vietnamese hot sauce that were wrapped in our garden grown Swiss Chard and covered in home made chicken stock and veggies - also delish.  I still like fresh whitefish and pike the best but can’t get them here.  A good reason to move to Canada!

No whole wheat matzo or whole wheat matzo balls after last year. 


Hope everyone had a great seder and Passover.



emkay's picture

Now that my baby starter is quite active and I've had a few successful naturally leavened loaves, I wanted to try making some Tartine bread. I dined at Bar Tartine recently and the idea of baking my own oat porridge bread was stuck in my head. I used breaducation's formula for the Tartine oat porridge bread.

Let's just say mine turned out nothing like breaducation's beautiful bread. My dough was very wet and sticky and I had trouble handling it. You can see that my loaf hardly rose at all.



Even though it was more pancake than bread, the flavor was very good. In fact, the flavor was very close to the porridge bread they sell at the bakery. I could taste the oatmeal and it had that sourness I've been trying to achieve in my breads.

Thinking that the oat porridge may have been too ambitious, I tried the Tartine basic country bread recipe instead. This did not go so well either. I think I see the Batmobile parked in there.



After searching for clues on TFL, gluten underdevelopment was the most likely culprit. Even though I bulk fermented at room temp (70F) for 3.5 hours with 5 stretch-n-folds during the first 2.5 hours, I was making the newbie mistake of watching the clock instead of watching the dough.

I vowed to be patient during my next attempt at the Tartine basic country. I bulk fermented until the dough volume had increased by at least 30%, the top of the dough was slightly domed not flat, and I could see bubbles along the sides of my container. This took 5 hours at 70F.


My patience really paid off!




I even made pizza with some of the dough.



I hoped that my success wasn't just a fluke. I made another batch of dough the next day.




This time the crumb was even better than in the previous bake.




The take away message is "Watch the dough, not the clock".

:) Mary

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

So, one of the nice things about Tartine Bread is Chad Robertson's recipes for use of the day old bread.  Sometimes one has a half loaf in the bread box and a fresh loaf just out of the oven.  It is difficult to eat that "day old bread" when there is a fresh loaf sitting out calling my name.

His french toast recipe calls for a 1.5 inch thick slice of bread. That is a lot of bread.  But, fortunately, I had enough old bread to make two slices.

He says to soak the bread for an hour. He says nothing about turning it over. So I put the egg mixture into a square baking pan, positioned the bread, and then poured the mixture on top of both slices and eventually filled up the bottom of the pan.  I let the toast soak for 30 minutes in the fridge, and then turned the pieces for the second 30 minutes.

He suggests using 2 Tbsp of butter to grease the pan.  I did not see why so much butter was needed. I took remainder of the butter out of the pan once the pan was well greased.

Here is the soaked bread, just placed in the pan:

The photo up top is of the "bottom", caramelized side, which he suggests be served facing up. You basically fry the bread on medium-low heat for a few minutes and then transfer the pan to the 350F oven for 15-20 minutes.

I found that the french toast was not quite ready enough for me on the top side, and it did not appear like it was going to get ready any time soon after baking for 20 minutes at 350F. So I turned the broiler on low for a few minutes to cook it up some since I am not a fan of wet french toast.  It may very well be that the "custard" is supposed to be wet on top, but I was afraid to try it that way and his directions weren't all that clear.

He says not to turn the toast, but even after putting the broiler on, I wanted the "tops" to be cooked more, so i did wind up flipping them and letting them sit for a minute or so in the hot cast iron pan. Here is the second slice after I cut into it:

I believe that I served it to myself upside down as the darker side is probably on the bottom.

So how did it taste?  I really enjoyed it.  I had it with Grade B maple syrup. It was a lot of bread, delicious and very filling.  Plus, it gave this vegetarian an opportunity to break out the steak knife. 

Mebake's picture

It has been a while since I last posted here on TFL. I have been quite busy, and there was much in my life to take care of, that I hadn’t had spare time to follow the wonderful bread adventures of TFL members.

As some of you may remember, I had missed my chocolate class back in January this year, and planned for a makeup class in order to complete my amateur pastry course. Yes, I’ve finally done it. Enjoyable, could have been. Messy?, you bet, but it is over now. One more theoretical exam in baked goods, and I’ll be officially done.

Lately, I paid a visit to the local mill which I regularly source my bread and rye flours from. I met the sales person and he offered me new flours, many of which were bakery mixes. I explained to him that I need flours that are free from additives and preservatives, so he offered me his (French traditional), or T65. I was ecstatic about the idea, and bought a bag of 25 kg of the T65 in addition to my regular bread flour. Yesterday, I had a chance to open the bag and see for myself how it compares to my bread flour As shown in the picture, the T-65 ( on the left) is slightly creamier in texture than the bread flour due to the increase in ash content. The bread flour was close to T-60 than you’d expect from white flour, so there wasn’t much of a difference. However, I was disappointed when I read the label.  The “traditional flour” had additives, probably to correct the enzymatic content of the flour. I suspect that bread flour from the mill also contains such additives.  I’ll bake with it soon and report the results here.         

As for Dubai’s Arts and crafts market (ARTE) last Friday, I baked 3 types of bread: The usual 80% Rye, Whole wheat multigrain, and the new entry, Roasted Garlic bread from Hamleman’s (Bread).

The day started out slow, and footfall wasn’t as anticipated. The draw landed me next to the organizer’s table, and she was the first to buy a loaf of each. She is a very enthusiastic and encouraging lady, I must say. My cousin, who I began training to be my baking assistant, has joined me on the market day and brought along his sister’s lovely homemade cheese straws.  I walked around the market, chatting with vendors who unanimously agreed that the business was indeed sluggish. I had passing visitors from Finland, UK, Canada, India, and Germany; the latter being most interested in Artisan bread. The bread that sold most was the roasted garlic bread. Baked fresh the day before, it was packed with sweet garlic aroma!

To kick things up a bit, I sliced more bread, slathered with butter, placed them on a plate and stood by my table offering visitors a taste. I had prepared some printed A4 sheets that contain information on the advantages and uses of naturally leavened artisan breads and distributed those too.

By the end of the day, I had sold close to 40% of my breads. I packed and left home. Driving my car through the parking lot away from the mall , I was thankful that I was able to persevere through the physically taxing days of baking , and make it to the market day. I may downside my production for the next market from 18 Kg worth of dough to 15 Kg , due to my limited oven and mixer capacity.


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Since last summer when I first tried making pizza on my outdoor grill using unglazed quarry tiles, I have been itching to try again.  This time I decided to do a simple Margherita pizza so the crust would be the star of the show.  Homemade tomato sauce, bocconcini, basil.  Crust had organic stone ground whole wheat with a touch of rye.  The two medium sized pizza's turned out nicely, with a nice sweet tone in the crust due to the whole wheat flour.  I tend to like thin crust pizzas, with a larger cornicione (outer edge crust).

Enjoyed for dinner with a glass of wine spritzer.


golgi70's picture

A good friend of mine got a chance to work with a very reputable baker and brought me this formula for PDC as he called it.  It was his favorite of the loaves there and I had to give it a go.  Let's start with the fact that I misread my formula and came up short 600 g of H20.  I noticed the dough could take some more hydro and got 200 g in at the mix time but after re-reading the formula I noticed my botch.  So the dough should have been 82% hydration but ended at 73% which is a ways off the mark.  

Of course it didn't matter how the loaf came out.  At this point for me I failed even if a good loaf prevailed.  And based on the feel, action, and smell of the dough I knew it would be a fine loaf even with the error.  It did in the end turn out just fine.  In fact my friend said it wasn't very far off at all from the actual loaf.  Now it's on my to-do list to make it with proper hydration.  The finished loaf was pleasantly sour but not overly so with a very nutty whole grain profile and a soft tight crumb screaming for some PB&J.  

An odd thing with this recipe for me was the feed of the levain.   It's roughly 2 parts levain to 1 part flour.  I believe this was due to filtered water constrictions (they did not have warm filtered only cold) but wanted a levain that peaked in 6-8 hours and was fed 3 times daily.  Just for giggles I did 2 builds at this ratio to stay on target(D'oh).  This starter, 100% whole wheat, peaked in 3 hours for me as I guess the cold water I used wasn't cold enough.  It did have some serious sour notes to it and was vigorous.  In the end a good everyday hearth sandwich loaf. 

Pain De Campagne


Levain should be fed at least twice @ 80% hydration where the seed is equal to 1/2 the total weight.                          It's pretty close to 2 parts seed 1 part flour if that makes this easier.  And the levain is 100% Whole Wheat.

Pre fermented flour = 19 %

43% Whole Wheat, 5% Whole Rye, 5% Whole Spelt, and 47% AP or equivalent.  

82% Hydration (My loaf here is @ 73%)

2%  Salt


Autolyse 1 hour (hold back 5% of H20 to incorporate levain and salt)

Add levain with 1/2 of held back h20 until incorporated

Add salt with remaining water and mix until salt is well distributed and moderate gluten is formed.

Bulk Ferment 2 1/2 Hours with 2 SF @ 50 minutes

Divide, Pre-shape, Rest 30 minutes

Shape and Retard 12-18 hours

Bake @ 500 with steam for 15.  Finish @ 460 rotating as needed for 25-30 more.  


Got some local tuna, local ground lamb (soon to be kofte), leeks, shitakes, farm fresh eggs, greens, Herb starts (parsley, thyme, chives), paid back some barters owed, and sold a couple loaves to others.  



samf526's picture

In my never ending crusade to figure out how to open up my crumb, I have tinkered with every formula, mixing, folding, and shaping variable, with some moderate success, but never consistent.  Yesterday I tried something new: I put my stone on the bottom of the oven, above the flame, where I normally put it for pizza, at 490 degrees, and voilá! 

So, Lesson #1:  Pre heat your oven well, especially your stone.  I should have figured as much from Hammelman's centerfold pictures of 4 different baguettes baked w/ an w/o  stone and steam. The stone is what opens up the crumb!


Lesson #2:  Don't overheat your stone (or don't leave it on the bottom deck after it's at temperature):

Totally charred the bottom of my baguettes.  This picture doesn't quite do the damage justice, but it will suffice.  

Next time I"ll heat the stone up to 475 on the bottom of the oven, and then move it to the center of the oven just before loading the bread.  Hopefully the effect will be the same!

This formula was basically the BBGA's recipe of 40% poolish, but I boosted the hydration to 69%.  The dough was too weak, though, and my shaping was too light to get a good ear. I'm going to see if I can get a similar effect with a hydration closer to 66% or 67%.  Boy do I hope that this is finally the answer I've been looking for!


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