The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


dabrownman's picture

We have sausages and hamburger burning a hole in our freezer but we needed buns for both. This recipe makes the best buns especially if you make it like Lucy does.


She starts with Floyd’s recipe that you can find by searching Hokkaido Milk Bread on The Fresh Loaf.  Her changes are few but important.  First, she cuts the recipe in half because we don’t need buns for an army.

Second where ever you see water or milk in the recipe we substituted Half and Half.  The 2 T of butter was increased to 3 T.  we had to put in quite a bit more AP flour, 25% more (100 g), because the dough was just way, way too liquid.  Floyd said his was too dry using the original water and milk.

This was the guy that drew this picture 40 years ago in Drawing 2 class as a 2nd semester freshman

  We changed the process.  We made a 100% hydration poolish with H&H, 75 g of AP flour and pinch of instant yeast and let it percolate on the 85 F degree counter for 4 hours.  We also held back the butter, egg and sugar until the rest of the ingredients were mixed for 10 minutes on KA 4 using the dough hook.

We want the gluten to be at least partially developed and the flour hydrated well before adding fats and sugars to an enriched dough.  Once the egg, sugar and butter went in we beat the heck out of for another 5 minutes and noticed it was way too wet.

We added the extra flour and continued beating it for another 10 minutes – 25 minutes total before it pulled a nice windowpane.  Highly enriched breads are the only ones I ever make sure can pull a windowpane.

Tall, Taller, Tallest  bread

ever!The final changes were that we divided the dough by eye into 3 parts for final proofing in my favorite pan - the tall Oriental Pullman.  Last time we proofed it lid on Pan De Mie style so this time we proofed it lid off to see how much it really would rise and spring.  We did brush it with H&H before going in and coming out of the oven.

Jalapeno double thick double apple wood smoked bacon. 1 year aged hard Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, crimini and shiitake mushrooms, lettuce and tomato hamburger on an onion bun. 

When it had cooled we noticed when we took it out of the pan that the part touching the pan was damp.  As luck would have it the oven was still 200 F because of the 2 stones so we out the loaf back in on the rack between the stones to dry it off.  It worked great

The last change was that we baked the bread for nearly 1 hour at 350 F with steam for the first 30 minutes.  It took longer to bake this bread to 196 F – the perfect temperature for a bread like this one.  It rose sprang and browned beautifully but one has to ask…… what happened to the buns you needed?

This bread is shredably soft, moist sweet and delicious.  It toasts perfectly.  Yummmmm....

I went to the grocery store today and low and behold they had bakery 8 count, Hot Dog and Onion Hamburger buns on sale for 99 cents each – day old.  Lucy can barely make them for that!  We had hamburgers tonight on onion buns and we have some great sandwich bread that is half Chinese, half Japanese with a little French in there somewhere.

Can’t wait to see the inside.

Danni3ll3's picture


My brother asked to add him to my bread list on a bi-weekly basis. Diabetes runs in the family and his doctor has told him to give up white bread in order to stay ahead of the game. So who best to emulate and steal recipes from but our very own Dabrownman! Well, while doing that, I discovered that Lucy is truly an evil creature! A four short legged creature, but evil nonetheless! The things that she puts Dab through in order to produce a loaf is nothing short of torture. No wonder his recipes start on Monday and finish on Friday. I spent a good part of each day this week, dealing with a myriad of different steps and discovering a few things along the way:


  1. Dehydrating sprouts takes a lot longer when you have a thick layer of grains. And using the rack that has the plastic liner for fruit leathers isn’t a great idea. I need to get one more piece of window screen to line that particular tray.
  2. Unhulled buckwheat is not the best thing for making sprouted flour. When you milled this, it leaves chunks of hulls that are very unsightly and huge! Remilling these chunks didn’t help at all! I finally sifted them out and gave them to the birds. They probably won’t eat them either!
  3. Using 12% as the amount of bran that will be extracted from the sprouted flour is too low. I was short 25 g so I need to up the amount of grain I sprout and mill.
  4. I hate toasting flax seeds! They start thinking they are Mexican Jumping Beans once the heat hits them and they fly all over the place. Even putting a screen on the frying pan didn’t help much! It makes it hard to ensure that the sunflower and pumpkin seeds that I put in the pan with the flax seeds actually get toasted. 
  5. Next time, I need to grind at least half of the flax seeds to get a better dough and for better nutrition.
  6. I need to use VWG more. Bread flour in the small 5 lbs bags is expensive and I go through them like there is no tomorrow them I am making 4 batches at once. 
  7. I originally dropped the hydration to 78% from Dab’s 85% but the dough felt too stiff so I brought up the hydration to 80% at the first set of folds. Dab had mentioned that this was quite a wet dough so I decided to be more conservative and add if needed. I should have added even more as the dough felt quite heavy in the end.


So here is the recipe:


Makes 3 loaves



261 g of sprouted flour from Red Fife, rye, Spelt, Buckwheat (use hulled, not unhulled like I did, it will save you a lot of grief and agravation), Oats, Kamut, Selkirk wheat (hard red spring wheat variety), and Einkorn berries. (I used 62 g of each grain for sprouting. Next time, I think I would increase this to ~65 g. Process for making this flour explained below.)

355 g unbleached flour

330 g bread flour

700 g of water + 25 g

22 g salt

35 g yogurt

352 g 100% hydration levain (builds explained below)


88 g pumpkin seeds

88 g sunflower seeds

88 g flax seeds


Making the sprouted flour:

  1. Weigh out the berries for sprouting and rinse them well under water. Leave to soak about 6-8 hours, drain well, and leave to sprout, rinsing occasionally, until the rootlets are just visible on the end of most of the berries. Don’t let the roots get too long. They should be about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. Total time from first washing the grains, soaking and then letting sprouts was 33 hours.
  2. Place grains in a dehydrator and dry until they are completely hard when you bite into a seed. If you crack a tooth, they are just right. ;-) The other way to find out if they are dry enough, is to weigh the berries and see if they equal the initial weight. In the past, dehydrating sprouted berries took only 3 hours but because I was making 4 batches and I had a thick layer of grains on each rack, this took about 7 hours.
  3. Put the grains through the grain mill and freak out because there are huge chunks of buckwheat seed coat in the flour. Decide if you want them in the dough or not. I chose “NOT”! To me, they looked like crushed insect exoskeletons. Ewww!
  4. Sift out the bran with a screen, then sift the bran again through a coarse screen to remove the buckwheat hulls but keep the rest of the bran for the first levain build and for dusting the bannetons. (I did this by first hand sifting the flour through a regular kitchen metal sieve to get the coarsest of the bran. I tried running this coarse bran through the mill on extra fine but the flakes still stayed huge. I even tried buzzing them up in a bullet. No luck! So I gave up on the idea of including these in the dough. The flour from the hand sifting was run through the Komo mill fine sifting attachment to get more bran extraction. Then I put the coarsest screen on the attachment and ran the hand sifted bran through. This got rid of those huge hull flakes but still gave me plenty of bran for the levain and dusting the baskets). 
  5. Save 176 g of the sprouted flour for the levain build and reserve the remaining 261 g for the main dough.


  1. Weigh out the needed seeds and toast them in a dry frying pan. Be prepared to have your flax seeds impersonate Mexican Jumping Beans. Your kitchen will need a clean up after this activity!
  2. Reserve the seeds.

Levain Builds:

  1. A couple of days before making your dough, take 6 g of your starter and feed it 19 g of water and 19 g of bran. Stir every 8 hours or so. You won’t see much activity if any, but have no fear, the little creatures in there are doing their thing and multiplying like crazy. 
  2. Just before going to bed the night before, add 176 g of water and the 176 g of sprouted flour that was reserved for the levain. Stir down in the morning and refrigerate if you aren’t ready for it. Let rise again.

Main dough:

  1. In the morning, mix all of the flours with the add-ins and the water. Let sit for a couple of hours in a warm place (82F). Add the salt, the yogurt and the levain. Mix well to integrate the salt and the levain. I did 50 folds in the bucket. 
  2. Do 4 sets of folds each a half hour apart. Add the 25 g of water with the first set of folds. Let rise until 80-90% (~4.5 hours). Even though the dough had a lot of bubbles, it still felt quite solid. I don’t know if this was due to the add-ins or to the sprouted flour.
  3. Carefully remove the dough from its container (try to not deflate it), and divide into 3 equal portions of about 780 grams. Loosely shape into a boule and let rest for 45 minutes. Reshape the balls into boules and tighten the skin by spinning each ball like a top on a bare spot of the counter. 
  4. Sprinkle some of the bran into the bannetons and then place the dough seam side down. Cover and place in a cold fridge (37F) for the night. 


  1. Preheat the oven and the pots to 475F for an hour. Place parchment rounds in the bottom of each pot and carefully place the boules seam side up. Cover and bake for 25 minutes at 450F. Uncover and bake for a further 20 minutes at 425F. Final internal temp should be at least 205F.

The boules felt quite firm when I took them out of the bannetons and I had doubts about good oven spring. This was justified as the first batch of six had minimal oven spring.  So I took out the other half dozen out of the fridge and let them warm up about 45 minutes on the counter before baking. The second batch had very slightly better oven rise and I got a deeper colour on the crust for some reason.  


So not a bad bake for Earth Day as I don’t think you can get more earthy than this unless you go for a 100% whole grain loaf!

Anne-Marie B's picture
Anne-Marie B

This sourdough loaf owes its colour to activated charcoal. I discovered this bread and heaps of information on the use of charcoal on and could not resist. My dough did not look dark enough to me. I thought it resembled window putty so I added 1/2 gram extra charcoal. I still thought it was too light but resisted the temptation to add black food colouring. It turned quite dark during baking, so I need not have worried. It is a tasty loaf with a good crust and soft as a cloud inside.

To decorate my loaf I cut a stencil with hearts from baking paper both because I love baking and, while preparing it, the radio played Melanie Gardot singing: Your Heart is as Black as Night. An appropriate title for this post. Don't leave out the black sesame. It really complements the taste of this bread. 

Recipe here:

Dink DMB's picture
Dink DMB

This morning I baked off two sourdough loaves that I mixed and shaped last night (2am). I made a 60% WW dough at 75% hydration and add two types of inclusions at the first fold.

The first half got some parmesan and Kerrygold Dubliner cheeses mixed in and the other half was studded with rum soaked dates, toasted pecans, and cocoa.

They both taste great and again, as a newcomer to this whole world, I'd love your input, comments and feedback.


Wapcaplet's picture

I had a great success in sourdough this week, with the most impossibly light and even crumb.

My previous sourdough, and many photos I've seen of quality sourdough, have a preponderance of large irregular bubbles. This is totally unlike that.

The recipe is Flo's 1.2.3 proportion:

200g levain
400g warm water
600g flour (about 1/3 whole wheat, the rest white AP)
12g salt (about 2 teaspoons table salt)

The levain, assembled the night before, is simply a freshly fed starter: 70g mature starter, 70g water, 70g flour, mixed in a smallish bowl, and folded with a spoon a few times before bed.

Day of, combine the levain, water, and flour; stir just to moisten, then sprinkle with the salt (so I don't forget, and to let it start to absorb) - the autolyse. I think I left it for an hour. Knead with the stand mixer for say six minutes. Rest for an hour, stretch and fold in thirds a couple times, then long rise in the "easy bake oven" (oven with the light bulb turned on) until it doubled, which happened surprisingly fast, in less than 3 hours.

I shaped it into 4 nice mini-loaves of French-style bread. Vertical slices are a good size for French toast or just everyday bread/toast, plus you get more heels, a perfect size for sandwiches when sliced horizontally.

Anyhow, after a faster-than-usual final proofing, I finished them in a 450F oven with a pan of water, and liberal spray-bottle for steam and crust.

As noted, I was blown away by how perfectly even and fine the crumb is. The whole wheat flour surely plays a role here, but it's no change from how I've usually baked this bread. I didn't use any bread flour except a couple tablespoons left over in the starter.

The biggest change from my previous sourdoughs is how long I kneaded with the stand mixer. Normally I don't do this, instead mixing by hand and doing only a few stretch-and-folds. The more intense kneading at the beginning distributes the colony and its proto-bubbles more consistently, while stretch-and-fold I guess would result in more distinct layers of more-or-less active cultures, and pockets of larger or smaller bubbles as a result.

Flo's formula is great; easy to remember, easy to scale, and flexible on assembly and fermentation times. When I built this one, I did a sort of "mise en place" with the bowl of levain, a measuring cup of water, and a tub of pre-mixed flours, so I could simply combine them the next morning.
Dink DMB's picture
Dink DMB

 Well, as I wait for the oven to preheat I suppose I can post about what I was pulling from the oven at 1:30am.

This all started from me asking in the forum about what I should try next and it was suggested that I give Hokkaido Milk Bread a whirl! Once I saw the Tangzhong method I knew I was going to have to do it. Next was to study and decide on the recipe, but there are so many versions and I couldn't settle on just one, so I adapted one of my own from several different ways. But I couldn't find anything to write on as the juices were flowing hence my decision to start on a toy until I could track down pencil and paper.

Basically, all I did was make the Tangzhong the night before and then mixed it all up in my KitchenAid and went to town on first proof, folding, second proof, dividing, preshaping, more proofing, rolling, shaping, panning, more proofing, preheating, egg washing, baking, rotating, baking, rotating, baking, cooling, decide I'm too impatient to wait, eat one while it's hot, go to be at 2am, get up at 5:30 am and  play with the two sourdough I left to proof before bed. Ok time to get them in the oven, I hope they come out fine.




lacoet's picture


I was checking the protein content of King Arthur flours and since White WHole Wheat has 13% and bread flour 12.7% I was wondering if I could swap it in a recipe for yeasted bread?

Has anybody tried that, or has any input in pros and cons of doing it?



dabrownman's picture

Abe and others this past week have been posting about doing a bread that can take many hours on the counter with little baker help so that you can go off to work or play and not worry about the bread.  Trailrunner also did a series on her No Touch bread which this one relies on.  Lucy wanted to make one so that she could play and sleep all day and all night.

The key is getting the temperature and the size of the levain correct to allow 12-18 hours on the counter.  We chose to do the bulk ferment outside where it was in the high 50’s and low 60’s last night and to do the final proof in the kitchen where it was in the mid 70’s.  We picked 4% for the pre-fermented flour where 5 g of NMNF rye starter was used to inoculate 20 gr of bran and high extraction 6 grain flour.

This was a 100% hydration bran levain that took 8 hours to ripen.  We also decided that since we are retired and lazy that we would do as little as possible to make this bread so we chose it do an autolyse and use a no knead method.  In order to mix the dough; levain, salt, flour and water we started out doing 40 slap and folds.

That was it.  We oiled a SS bowl, rounded the dough ad plopped it inside, covered in plastic and put it on the patio table for 12 hours overnight.  It looked like it rose about 30% while we were sleeping.  We did 4 folds from the compass points to shape it and placed it in a rice floured basket inside a plastic grocery bag where it final proofed on the kitchen counter for 6 hours.

Grilled Salmon is almost as nice as Shu Mai and Pot Stickers

We slashed it T-Rex style after un-molding it on parchment on a peel and then baking it in a 425 F DO with the lid on for 25 minutes. of steam.  We felt bad about slashing it.  If we had put it in the basket seam side down we wouldn’t even have had to do any work to slash it either.  Being retired, keeping all work as far from Lucy and I as possible is the main theme and unofficial goal of every day. 

OK, we had to mill the 11% whole 6 grains and sift out the bran but we wanted a bread that tasted as good as it looked, at least tasting as good as an 11% whole 6 grain bread made with a bran levain.  The 6 grains were our usual, oat, red and white wheat, rye, spelt and  Kamut.

 Once the lid came off we baked in at 425 F convection this time for another 16 more minutes until it was 210 F on the inside.  This bread took a long time but it was hassle free, nearly no work at all and it sprang, bloomed and browned nicely.  It also smells great.  We will have to wait till tomorrow to see what is under this lovely crust though.  For sure you can do almost nothing making this bread and fit it into anything you are doing without having to worry one iota.

Here is what it look like out of the sun and sliced farther from the middle

It came out fairly open for being about and hour under-proofed even after 6 hours of proofing.  The crumb was very soft moist and sour and tangy.  Amazing how sour this bread came out.  Long proof and bulk really brought out the best in this bread.

Salad and Sunset go together


isand66's picture

  Tangzhong is the technique of heating a portion of the flour and liquid in your recipe to approximately 65C to make a paste (roux).  At this temperature the flour undergoes a change and gelatinizes.  By adding this roux to your final dough it will help create a soft, fluffy, moist open crumb.  It is also supposed to help prevent the bread from going stale.

It is not very difficult to do a Tangzhong.  Use a  5 to 1 liquid to solid ratio (so 250g liquid to 50g flour) and mix it together in a pan.  Heat the pan while stirring constantly.  Initially it will remain a liquid, but as you approach 65C it will undergo a change and thicken to an almost pudding like consistency.  Take it off the heat and let it cool before using it in your recipe.  Some people will refrigerate it for a while but you can use it right away as soon as it cools.

I really liked the way the fresh milled barley flour tasted in the last Guinness bread I baked and wanted to use a higher percentage in this bake.  I added some left-over mashed potatoes skin on along with some freshly made Greek yogurt along with the Tangzhong really made a tasty and moist crumb.  These rolls taste terrific with just some simple cheese or butter but will make a great burger bun as well.  Now if we can only get some nice weather for a cook-out!


Download BreadStorm file here.

Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I usually do this the night before.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Prepare the Tangzhong per directions above and allow to cool to room temperature.

Mix the flours, yogurt, potatoes, and water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), and Tangzhong and mix on low for a total of 4 minutes in your mixer.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 1.5 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1 to 1.5 hours.  Remove the dough and cut into equal size pieces and shape into rolls.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with moist tea towels or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, using a simple egg wash brush each roll and sprinkle on your topping of choice.   Next add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 435 degrees.  Bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is nice and brown.

Take the rolls out of the oven when done and let them cool on a bakers rack before eating if you can wait.



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