The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


jennyloh's picture


Here's my version of Hot Cross Buns, adapted from Ananda's Hot Cross Buns recipe ,  changed it to a chocolate version.  made with white and dark chocolates.

This was an interesting bake,  as I read the recipe wrongly and had to correct it,  at least it turned out to something edible and actually a soft bun that rose really nicely.

Here's my write up in my blog:


SylviaH's picture

Buttermilk Hot Cross Buns        


If you would like the recipe I used it is referred to on my blog HERE.   I add extra homemade candied orange and lemon peel.  I also use golden raisins a little extra spice of nutmeg and cinnamon.  I like to up the hydration too, by adding a little extra buttermilk.  I glazed the buns with beaten egg yolk with about a TBspoon of milk.  I also towel steamed my buns for the first 12 minutes.  I made a Royal Icing for the baked on crosses, I've tried them before and I don't care for the flavor or texture of the baked crosses, IMHO, the baked on crosses are for the benefit of commercial baking and selling of the HCB, so the crosses don't melt or disfigure...IMHO!  I think the added little sweetness of the lemon flavored icing crosses goes great with the buns.



                                        These are very large buns.  





                                                   Very tender crumb, pulled apart still warm.



                                             These were frosted still a little warm....the Lemon Royal Icing will harden nicely and not melt away on the buns when covered for

                                    later eating.








honeymustard's picture

I have had a lot of difficulty lately with hot cross buns. What an insane notion. A simple sweet bread, which I never normally have issues with, was driving me insane. I don't have a solution as to how or why. The yeast I'm using is completely fine in other recipes, and I'm quite a meticulous and careful baker most of time. And now it is Good Friday, and if there's any time in which I should make them properly, it's now.

The success was in the timing.

Hot Cross Buns

I chose an orange glaze instead of the traditional powdered sugar icing. The tops aren't as nicely browned as I'd like, but still browned. The rise was exactly as I'd like it to be. And wouldn't you know? It was from a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. Sometimes the easiest recipes are the best ones.

Next time I'd do it by hand instead of the stand mixer. The recipe calls for using the stand mixer, and since I've failed with hot cross buns twice this spring, I didn't dare stray from the recipe for fear of a third time. But as much as I love my KA, it pulls and tears the dough in a way I don't like, especially for forming rolls later. Maybe this upcoming Easter sunday would be a good time. And also, I'll be using currants instead.

But for now, I'm just glad they (finally) turned out.

freerk's picture

I think my Easter Doves came out a bit...... nazi germany eagle :-/


What do you think;


Would putting a green twig in their beak bring it back to the coming festivities?


Thanks txfarmer for the insightful pics!


recipe and shaping pics by txfarmer can be found here


I haven't been on TFL for some time, but HAVE been baking. Take a look at my "baking gallery"


warm greetings from Amsterdam





MadAboutB8's picture

Now that I finally found (the elusive) durum flour (after been making semolina bread with fine semolina all along), I wanted to find out what differences between fine semolina and durum flour would produce in a finished product. I wanted to try this with the bread that I made using fine semolina before, Semolina Bread from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread cookbook.

Taste-wise I couldn’t tell or feel the differences. They both have lovely flavour and nice chewy texture (though the bread I made with fine semolina was a distant memory).

The differences were more in the dough structure. I found durum flour absorb the water better and easier to work with. Fine semolina hardly absorbed any water and the dough was really wet and slack from my memory.

Bread made with durum flour also got better crumb structure, it was more open and rise well during the bake. The one made with semolina were rather flat, the crumb was relatively open and all but it just didn’t rise and dome nicely.

This bread has 60% durum flour and 67% hydration. I was surprised that the crumb wasn’t creamy and yellow as I would expect from durum flour. It was only a tad creamier than an all-wheat bread.

This bread is one of my favourite. I love the aroma and texture of sesame seeds in bread (or in anything really) and the durum flour also add sweet creamy flavour to the bread, and tender crumb. I used black sesame seeds instead of white as I find the black sesame seeds are more flavourful. I love its smoky flavour.

Full post and recipe can be found here.


ph_kosel's picture

I recently bought a 9"x4"x4" pullman pan and a pound of SAF instant yeast from Amazon.  Other stuff kept me busy for a few days and I didn't get a chance to try em out, but then I (shudder) ran out of bread. Only one thing to do do when that happens!

I washed out the new pan, lubed the lid a bit with a spritz of olive oil (after which it was much less inclined to stick), and whomped up some dough as follows:

400g unbleached bread flour

100g dark rye flour

1 Tablespoon SAF "red" instant yeast

1 Tablespon brown sugar

1.5 teaspoon salt

1.5 teaspoon dill seed

1.5 teaspoon caraway seed

333g very warm water

I put all the dry ingredients in the bowl of the Kitchenaid mixer, added the water, and mixed it up.  I let it sit a minute or so to hydrate, mixed it a bit more, then made a nice warm log out of it, plopped it in the pan, put the lid on and a towel folded up on top of that to keep the heat in, and left while I watched an hour of television with my wife.

I checked the pan after the tv program and was surprised to discover the dough had risen to fill the pan!  Admittedly I doubled up on the yeast to get a fast rise, but I was mucho impressed - the active dry yeast I've been using previously just doesn't rise like that no matter how much I goose it.

Anyway, I quick preheated the oven to 450F, popped the pan in, and set the timer for 25 minutes.  When the timer went off I pulled the pan out, took the lid off and popped the loaf out of the pan with no problem (even though I only oiled the lid, not the rest of the pan).


loaf and pan^

crumb shot^

For a first try at a pullman loaf I'm happy as a clam with the way it looks!  Tastes good too!



Mebake's picture

This is the usual Hamelman's Wholewheat Multigrain, only i baked twice the recipe yield, and kept the hydration untouched.


Mebake's picture

This is yesterday's bake: Hamelman's Pain Au levain With Wholewheat. I adhered to the recipe, save for the levain which was pre-maturely mixed, Ripe but not sufficiently so. This lead to extended final fermentation. Dough was mixed at 7:00 p.m. and the dough was in the oven at 2:00 a.m!! I feel you, Tim (breadbakingbassplayer). i've also increased the hydration to 75% from 68%.

The flavor is nothing much to talk about, just an ordinary pain au levain, with a wholewheat twist to it, certainly not worth all the time spent in preparation and baking.

I stretched and folded in the bowl (a la Shiao-Ping) in hope of obtaining the open crumb i desire in this type of bread, but this dough was dertermined to defeat me all the way to the end.

I wonder whether (20% baker's)Wholewheat addition to the diet of a Rye-bread flour - fed starter and levain, caused a stagnation in the fermentation speed of the dough! Any ideas?

The Wholewheat is from freshly milled Pakistani (Chapati Type) flour. Rye was doverfarm's and rest is a mixture of bread flour, and AP.

One final thing, though, this is the recipe for two large Loaves. I decided to bake one boule out of it, so the resultant weight of the dough was 1.8 Kg, Technically a Miche.



txfarmer's picture

I have been making mini's favorite rye (posted here) several times now , this last batch was my best so far with good volume, somewhat even distribution of small air pockets, and of course great flavor and moist mouth feel.


Baked in 3 mini moulds: one mini pan de mie pan (from China), two mini (0.25 quart) cast iron pots. Very cute and gave me an opportunity to test out different shapes.


While I am mostly happy, there are still imperfections and questions:

1) Since rye doesn't have gluten, everything I read says 100% rye dough doesn't need any bulk rise. However, mini's formula not only has a bulk rise, but a 3 hour long one, followed by a proof (mine was only 80min long). I have made high percentage rye with no bulk rise before, I think mini's method gives me better crumb results. Why? What does this bulk rise do? Are the bulk rise and proof in fact just a very long rise, interrupted by shaping and redistribution of air pockets? Which then leads to a more even crumb?

2) I steamed the breads by covering the moulds with another mould/pot

I baked them at 460F for 10min, removed the lids, gradually lowered the baking temperature until done. When the lids were first removed, I noticed that all three doughs rose very high, well above the moulds. However, after that, as they got baked more, they shrank somewhat. In the end, the bread still domed well and had decent volume, but I am wondering what caused the shrinking? And what can I do to prevent it? Is it because rye dough has no gluten to trap all the air gas? Should I have removed the lids later/earlier? Or maybe higher/lower heat?

3)While crumb was mostly even, but the following picture does show that the bottom layer was a bit denser than the top. How can I fix the bottom? Longer/shorter proof? Higher/lower temp? More/less steam?


Anyhow, you may think I am nitpicking, but in fact I am super happy with the breads, just want to make them even better. The crumb shot in mini's post is my dream goal!


Sending this to Yeastspotting.

ananda's picture


Three Flavoured Breads and a few Fruit SconesDSCF1880

I realised that the weekend's baking only produced enough bread to see us through the first week of our Easter holiday.   It is possible I could do some baking next week, up in the North West of Scotland, but I do not want to be beholden to that.

Additionally, I remembered there were a few nice ingredients lurking in the cupboard, which were ready for using up.   Here's a flavour of what I made today:


•1.    Tahini Bread

This is one made by SteveB: which Eric blogged on not too long back, here:   See Steve's post for the recipe and formula.   I made one or two alterations, but stayed sufficiently close to the recommended recipe and instructions.

Instead of using King Arthur All Purpose flour, I used Carrs Special CC flour, but included 5% Coarse Semolina to give more bite to the loaf.   I also increased the pre-fermented flour from 16 to 20%.   The bulk proof time was shorter, at 2 hours, but it was hot and sunny here again today, and I put the dough out in the sunshine, covered.   The dough mixed up strong, as seen in the photograph.DSCF1870DSCF1886

I was a little disappointed with the shaping of the final dough, and the result in the finished bread.   I guess fendu shapes work best with oval brotform, and I only have a round one.   Anyway, the split made in the dough piece with the dowel pin ended up completely lost.   The finished dough texture was really pleasing.   As regards taste, I found the bread to be very much as described in Steve's post.   Thank you to both Steve and Eric for posting on this in the first place.



•2.    Cheese Bread

This is loosely based on Jeffrey Hamelman's formula in "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes", pp. 180 - 181.   I have made this previously and you can see the blogpost on it here:    I did make quite a few changes along the way, but kept to the methods and most of the material proportions, ending up with just over 1.5kg of dough.   I increased the pre-fermented flour to just short of 30%.   I used light rye flour at nearly 11% of the total flour, where Hamelman uses just white flour.   I did use a small amount of dried yeast, as his formula directs, and this was very helpful in achieving the full volume in the Pullman Pan.   I used Paprika @ 1.2% on flour, which was very effective in terms of dough colouration.   I used a small amount of Strong Cheddar Cheese, plus Spanish Manchego Cheese, in the proportion and form Hamelman suggests.   I made a small boule, and a large loaf in a Pullman Pan, using 4 piecing.   A video is attached here to give more information on how this technique works.   See here:

There are also some photographs below showing the finished loaves.   Notice the high volume achieved in the bread, and the lovely moist crumb.   This is far too open for the type of Sandwich bread sold in UK supermarkets.   However, it is exactly what I had set out to achieve using a lengthy fermentation procedure, including a stiff levain, and just a tiny amount of dried yeast in the final dough.



•3.    Toasted Almond, Fig and Prune Bread

Again, this uses Hamelman's idea on pp. 185 - 186, and I have made it before; see the same post referenced above.   But I used almonds instead of hazelnuts, and, added some figs as well as the prunes.   The proportion of fruit and nut is accurate to the formula, but the amount of each ingredient does not fall into line with the Hamelman recipe.   I had no wholewheat flour in stock.   Instead, I used all white bread flour, but included wheaten bran as 2.25% of the flour content.   I made just one loaf from this dough, at a whopping 1.58kg.   I have attached a video of how I incorporate fruit and nuts into ready-mixed dough:


Some photographs of this very dramatic bread are also attached below.   The flavours in this are just amazing.




•4.    Fruit Scones

I made a really small batch of scones as an afternoon treat to have with a pot of Green Tea.   This is based on the formula I tweaked recently when mentoring Kieran in the Scone entry for the NECTA Competition.   We had a lovely fruit and nut mix in the house, including pistachios, pecans, almonds, brazils and cashews, as well as raisins, golden raisins, cranberries and sultanas.   I added some chopped stem ginger as extra good measure.   Ordinarily I mix scones using 60% soft flour, and 40% strong flour.   As I only had strong flour in the house, I used a small proportion of light rye flour to reduce the gluten content.   I also used the baking powder kindly supplied by my colleague Dinnie Jordan, who owns Kudos Blends, and is a specialist on chemical aerators.   These scones are soooo light: many thanks Dinnie!

Formula and method below; this yields 7 scones:


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

Marriage's Organic Strong White Flour



Doves Farm Organic Light Rye Flour



Skimmed Milk Powder



Pell Baking Powder [specialist blend]



Organic Lightly Salted Butter



Golden Granulated Caster Sugar









Fruit and Nut Mix with Stem Ginger








  • Crumb the butter with the flour, milk powder and baking powder
  • Dissolve the sugar in the water and add the egg. Then add the fruit and nuts
  • Add this to the crumb and combine until just clear.
  • Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut out the scone shapes.
  • Place the scones on a baking sheet, and brush the tops with beaten egg
  • Rest for 15 minutes to allow the gluten to relax, and to ensure the chemical reactions take place largely in the oven
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven [200°C in my fan oven], for 15 - 17 minutes
  • Cool on wires
  • DSCF1877

    Best wishes to you all


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