The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


yy's picture

After having delicious lobster rolls with New England style buns at RM seafood in Las Vegas, I became obsessed with soft, toasty rolls with just the right amount of crunch. I decided to buy a New England hot dog bun pan (of course, the buns can be made with an ordinary sheet pan, but I just felt like purchasing a unique piece of equipment).

I used a 3/4 recipe of the  golden pull-apart butter buns on King Arthur Flour's online blog, replaced all the liquid with milk for flavor, and increased the hydration to about 70%:

314 g ap flour
16 g potato starch
15 g dry milk
18 g sugar
43 g soft butter
220 g milk (scalded and cooled)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast

I followed the instructions on KAF's blog, but I divided the dough into 10 equal pieces, and in the shaping step, I rolled each piece out to a thin sheet and rolled them up into logs. Each log was placed into a groove in the pan:

Here they are, fully risen and just placed into the oven. A 3/4 recipe makes a pretty good amount of dough for the size of pan. The proper amount of kneading will allow this dough to triple, almost quadruple in size.

Immediately after taking them out of the oven, they were brushed generously with butter to soften the crust:

Just before eating, they were sliced apart and then slit in the middle, like so:

Toasted them on each side with a little butter

The crunchiness of the toasted surface went perfectly with the snap of the natural casing hot dog. The king arthur recipe is very rich, buttery, and sweet.

I love how these buns stand up so straight:-). I'm pleased with how this pan makes a bun that's not too big and not too small. One of my pet peeves is a hot dog that's drowning in a mountain of bread. Personally, I'm addicted to the toastiness of the New England style roll. I don't think I'll go back to regular soft hot dog buns. Was it worth the $25 to buy this special "unitasker?" I would say yes, but I just wanted a new toy. I'm thinking of it as a pre-moving gift to myself, before I make the great schlep from San Francisco to New Haven, CT.  Maybe there are other uses for it, too. Enchiladas?

There are 2 of us in this household, so the 10 buns give us enough for dinner and plenty for leftovers tomorrow. I'll probably use the remaining 6 buns to use up the leftover chicken meatballs in marinara and the leftover Italian sausage.

txfarmer's picture


The formula is from Wild Yeast's blog, there really isn't that much rye in the dough, but has quite a lot of ww flour, as well as cracked wheat and flax seeds - two of my favoriate bread add-ins. The addition of molasses adds a subtle sweetness, makes a very flavorful and satisfying whole grain bread.


Crumb is relatively open for such a dough, not difficult to make either. With the method of "baking upside down", you can even skip scoring!


This is probably my shortest, least wordy blog entry ever, but when you have a perfect formula, no need for more words, thank you Susan!

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

cranbo's picture

After being intrigued for a while about it, decided to give it a shot this evening. 

  • 1 organic Fuji apple, washed, cored and chopped
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • Enough water to just cover
I put everything in a plastic quart container, on top of the fridge, at about 915pm this evening, Day 0.So is that it? Just fruit and water? Nothing else necessary? 

Two questions:

  1. how often should I feed it, and what do I feed it? Do I need to feed it on the same kind of intervals as I do for sourdough starters (i.e., 2x per day)?
  2. Also, are the effects of refrigerating a fruit water starter the same as sourdough (slowing of yeast & bacterial activity)?


ananda's picture


DSCF2125Baking with All-British FlourDSCF2144

Given that Rye Flour is not so common in UK shops as Wheat Flour, when one finds it, it is far more likely to be of British origin, and often, Organic too.   The Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour from a Welsh watermill is now the only flour I use to keep my rye sourdough culture properly fed.   It is very dark, coarse, highly fermentable and thirsty, and produces breads of outstanding flavour.   The Doves Farm Organic Light Rye is less impressive in these areas, but, its performance in producing a better dough structure is undeniable.


I'm trying to work towards using my local miller as a source for all the wheatflour I use at home.   It means karting 7kg of flour at a time on the train back home, but I am feeling the need to move away from relying on industrially-milled flour, and come up with exceptional bread quality on all levels, using locally-grown organic flour from traditional sources.   I achieved mixed success with this round of baking, but have produced much that I am very happy with, and a clear direction of the changes needed to induce improvement, and ultimately, fulfilment in the project.


•1.    All-British flour and 2 LeavensDSCF2138

Here is the formula for a bread dough raised with 2 leavens, and using only British Organic flour from traditional sources.


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1. Rye Sour Elaboration 1



Stock Rye Sourdough



Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour












2. Wheat Levain Elaboration 1



Stock Wheat Levain



Gilchesters Organic Pizza Flour












3. Rye Sour Elaboration 2



Elaboration 1 [above]



Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour










 400g retained

180g returned to stock

4. Wheat Levain Elaboration 2



Elaboration 1 [above]



Gilchesters Organic Pizza Flour










 480g retained

54g returned to stock




Rye Sourdough [above, 3.]


[11.11flour, 18.52water]


Wheat Levain [above, 4]


[22.22flour, 13.34water]


Gilchesters Organic Pizza Flour



Gilchesters Organic Farmhouse Flour












Overall % Pre-fermented Flour



Overall % Hydration





  • Elaboration One on Saturday evening, 19:00. Elaboration Two Sunday morning 09:00
  • Dough mixed Sunday 17:00. Initial Bulk Proof for 2½ hours. Retard overnight.
  • Divide and shape 08:00 Monday. Set to prove in Bannetons
  • After cutting, bake using steam and masonry at 13:00
  • Cool on wires.




  • Too much pre-fermented flour, all-told in the formula. The rye sour needed rescuing, but was good by the time of dough mixing, and added at the right quantity. The wheat leaven was too ripe, and too much added. There is need to take account of the greater ash content in this flour; even though it is labelled "Pizza/Ciabatta" flour, it can hardly be described as "00"! The colour is a greyish white.
  • I did not want to retard overnight, but had little choice. The rye sour needed some care and attention. As a result the wheat leaven was over-ripe, and it was early evening, so I had to retard, rather than stay up until 4 in the morning!
  • I miscalculated the salt! At 1.8% on flour, there should have been just over 24g added. This is extremely significant in terms of the dough performance.
  • I adjusted the water level upward, only slightly, but feel 70% is the best proportion of water to be adding to this flour
  • Some information from the flour bags is attached in photographic form. Please do not take any notice of the claim that this is "Strong" flour. High protein [and mineral content], most certainly. High in gluten forming proteins, definitely not! Personally, I wish this claim had never been included in the marketing of this flour. It may well cause numerous customers to be seriously put-off from buying in the future. I want to learn how to make good bread with this flour, and I know it does not possess some of the properties most often associated with strong bread flour. However, I know it is possible, and now know and understand the significance of the notes I have listed above.
  • I have been further reflecting on the use of utterly untreated flour. Thus creating a thoroughly different animal for the baker to deal with. How to up the ante, and increase skill and knowledge levels to retain control of the fermentation and dough development when adding in all the further variables of a less consistent performance in the flour. This is to be the new "bar" to jump over.
  • Onward and upward in the future!



•2.    BorodinskyDSCF2149

Once rescued, I gave the rye sour dough one further elaboration, prepared a scald, and readied myself to make a large batch of this paste; very nearly hand!


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1. Rye Sourdough [elab 3]



Stock after Elaboration 2



Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour







80 [30flour, 50water]


Note: further leftover for stock






2. Scald



Doves Farm Organic Light Rye Flour



Organic Barley Malt Syrup



Organic Blackstrap Molasses



Coriander [ground fresh]






Boiling Water









3. Final Paste



Rye Sourdough [from above]



Scald [from above]



Doves Farm Organic Light Rye Flour



Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour



Gilchesters Organic Pizza Flour






Overall Pre-fermented Flour



Overall Hydration





  • Give 3rd elaboration to rye sourdough and leave to ferment through for 14 hours. At the same time make the scald. Add molasses and malt syrup to boiled water in a pan and return to the boil. Pour this onto the flour, salt and coriander and mix to form a stiff, gelatinised paste. Cover well, and leave to cool overnight.
  • Mix the final paste by combining the liquid sour with the stiff scald. Add the remaining flour and form a paste. See photographs for texture.
  • Bulk prove 1 hour, then scale and mould into tins using wet hands to shape.
  • Proof for 3 - 4 hours before baking in a moderate oven for 2 hours and upwards
  • Cool on wires
  • Note that I made one loaf in a Pullman Pan scaled off at 2kg, one loaf in "Farmhouse" tin, scaled off at 1.3kg, with the residual 650g proved in a small brotform, although it did, sadly, stick somewhat!

Photographs of the finished loaves are all attached.


Best wishes to you all


MadAboutB8's picture

I still had some leftover home-grown apples (not from our home, unfortunately). These apples were delicious, juicy and slightly tart. I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of apples they were. My guess would be ‘Golden Delicious’ because of its golden colour and sweet yet tart flavour.

We quite enjoyed the apple bread I made couple of weeks ago, from Dan Lepard’s Exceptional Bread. This time I wanted to try different recipe and my heart was set at apple and oat sourdough from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook. The apples that we had would be just enough for the bread.

I changed the recipe a little by substituting 10% of bread flour with rye flour. I also increased the amount of water a little (hydration ratio) my dough hydration (not including water in oat soaker) was 65% comparing to 62% in original recipe.

BSB sourdough recipe includes high ratio of starter, over 40% against total flour. Now that I was making bread during cold autumn mornings and nights, I found it worked out quite well with the fermentation and flavour. I also followed the book by feeding my starter three times at 8 hours interval before the final mixing, which, I believe, enhanced the flavour and gave better bread texture (the crumb were more open).

This is great tasting bread. I was amazed how flavourful it was. Oats contributed to moister crumbs and earthly flavour. The chunks of apples inside the bread also enhanced the flavour significantly. They gave such a nice aroma, and sweet & tart flavour to the crumbs around them. It felt like we were having a fresh fruit toast for breakfast. What a nice change from dried fruit toast, not to mention the real flavour and no added-sugar from dried fruits.

Comparing this bread to Dan Lepard’s I made the other week, we loved the BSB’s better. It’s is simple and clean flavour with fewer ingredients. It tasted simply better, or should I say it matched more with our taste buds or it was more Australian:P.

It also made me wonder what the bread would really taste like at Bourke Street Bakery itself. Sometimes, I just felt like flying to Sydney and find it out once and for all.

Full post and recipe is here.


pmccool's picture

My wife and I took a few days this past week to visit an area of South Africa that we had not seen before: the Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) in the KwaZulu Natal province.  While there, we arranged for a trip over the Sani Pass into Lesotho, a small, mountainous kingdom entirely surrounded by South Africa.  And why would I be mentioning this in a bread-dedicated site, you might ask?  Well, because of something that we did not realize was part of the tour: a visit to a small village just a few miles past the border.

Getting up Sani Pass is a challenge, whether for bikers, hikers, or vehicular traffic.  The pass itself tops out at 9,470 feet.  The route there is an unpaved road that twists and turns as it snakes its way up the mountainside.  4x4 is the order of the day for vehicles.  The following picture was taken about half-way in and about a quarter of the way up:

As you get closer to the top, the going becomes even more challenging:

After reaching the crest, there's the obligatory stop at Immigration:

After leaving Immigration, we drove across a plain whose tallest features were the shepherds and their flocks.  Vegetation seemed to consist primarily of knee-high tussocks of grass and heather.  We eventually arrived at a village consisting of perhaps a dozen stone huts:

Notice the white flag flying at this hut.  No, the occupants haven't given up.  The white flag indicates that bread and beer (a sorghum-based brew) are available for purchase.  A green flag would indicate vegetables and a red flag would indicate meat for sale.  

You might think from looking at the hut that the kitchen facilities are far too limited to support a bakery/brewery operation.  Limited, yes, but not too limited.  The "kitchen" is a battered wooden table against the wall opposite the door.  It holds a few bowls, some enameled metal drinking cups, and not much else.  There are a couple of larger plastic containers to the right of the table; that's the brewery.  The oven is a Dutch oven that rests on the hearthstone in the center of the hut.  The bedroom is a single bed against the wall to the right of the door; the living room is a stone bench built against the wall to the left of the door.  There are no interior walls.  Nor are there windows.  The local thinking is that windows make the hut harder to heat.  Smoke from the fire escapes through the doorway, if the door is open, or through the thatched roof.

The available fuel for fires:

The pile of "bricks" on the left is dried cow manure.  It is the primary fuel, supplemented with brush from the bundles on the right.

Despite what many of us would view as absolutely impossible conditions for turning out anything other than a flatbread, or maybe a bannock, Miriam (the hut's owner) makes some beautiful bread that she sells to flatland tourists like ourselves and to her neighbors.  And I'm not being patronizing in the slightest when I use the word beautiful.  See for yourselves:

Miriam's bread is both elemental and artisanal, in the best sense of that overworked word.  The ingredient list is limited to flour, water, salt and yeast.  She has no scale, yet each segment is wonderfully uniform in shape and size.  I'd guesstimate that each section weighs around 400g, perhaps a little less.  She regulates the heat by the quantity of coals beneath the DO and on its lid.  As you can see, the crust is a lovely brown; neither underbaked or scorched.  The crumb was moist and soft straight out of the DO.  I think that the flour used was mostly white, although some flecks of bran were visible.  The flavor was exactly what you want from bread: wheaty, yeasty goodness.

After a brief tutorial on Lesotho, in general, and life in the village, more specifially, we bought some bread and some handcrafts and then bid Miriam goodbye.

Before heading back down the pass, we stopped at the border for lunch at the highest pub in Africa:

Somehow, the pass looked even scarier as we started down than it did on the way up:

However, our driver got us back safe and sound.  And with a much greater appreciation for the so-called necessities that I think are required for making bread.  Knowing the difference between essentials and conveniences may be Miriam's biggest gift to me.



ph_kosel's picture

I recently "discovered" an absolutely marvelous eatery fairly near me here in Sacramento called Ravenous Cafe.  We first tried it a couple weeks ago and had a delightful meal, but as a bread freak I was astounded at the really great bread they served, unlike nothing else I remembered.  I called them a few days later to learn more about that surprising bread and had the chance to talk to the chef, Mark Helms, who described it as basically a "Country Bread" inspired by Chad Robertson's book Tartine Bread.  He offered to give me a bit of his starter which I gratefully accepted (consuming another great meal at Ravenous Cafe on the way).

I tried the starter out this past weekend using a version of the recipe from Martha Stewart's website (link) .  The dough is basically a moist sourdough (75% hydration) made with a 90/10 blend of unbleached bread flour and whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur brand).  The recipe calls for a 100%-hydration starter made with a 50/50 blend of unbleached bread flour and whole wheat flour.

I'm not used to working with dough that moist but I muddled through as best I could - shaping the loaf was problematic for me.  The starter I mooched from Mark Helms performed beautiifully, and I wound up with a moist tasty bread with a very open crumb.


I didn't have a cover big enough to put over the loaves and they wound up toasty on the top and barely done on the underside, but it's pretty good for a first attempt.  Never made bread like this before, it's a real eye opener for me!

asfolks's picture

In baking, like in life, when you think you have a pretty good handle on things something comes along that reminds you that you have a lot to learn. Today's lesson was that I don't yet have the skills for excessive handling of generously hydrated loaves.

The bake today was Hamelman's Semolina Sourdough with sesame seeds inside and out. I thought I could lay my loaf in a tray of seeds without something bad happening, but it left me with a wiggle in my batard.

I mostly stuck to the recipe on this one, just bumped up the hydration a little and added a 20 hour retard and made two 29 oz loaves. All in all, a nutty, fragrant and tasty bread.

Next up, Pain Meunier from Advanced Bread and Pastry, sourdough style.

rolls's picture



no holes really, made a nice sandwich though

Hi all, i tried the baguette recipe for the first time from Dan Lepard's 'Exceptional Breads', the 'pain blanc', this might be my best scoring for baguettes so far, although i know its far from perfect, and its mostly due to it being a 64% hydration dough. i usually work with more wetter doughs.

I've only tried baguettes a few times and would really love some feedback, advice. please feel free to criticize my baguettes, lol, i know some look like they've got their guts spilled out ;)
i just really love making these, and would love to master it :)

i had to leave the dough in the fridge for over a day as i didn't have time for it then.
i also underproofed the shaped baguettes. i then sprayed lightly with canola oil (i had to improvise as my water spray bottle fell out of reach,lol), scored, placed them in the oven and turned it on to maximum heat (250 degrees celcius for my oven)

i've read that if you underproof your shaped loaves, and bake from a cool oven, you get great oven spring. i've tried this several times, and it really works :D





Shiao-Ping's picture

It is a glorious day in Brisbane today, the air is crisp and the sky is clear.  Where I came from it would be plum blossom raining season now.  Have you ever wonder exactly what you miss about a place when you are missing it?  My pen is blunt but I have flour in my hand to paint:








Since my last post, I had made a dozen of these Miches, each time a two kilo loaf.  Yes, a dozen of these.  I have had a fixation on Miche-style breads and I need to wean myself off it.  Last year I made a day trip to Sydney to visit some of the bakeries down there and I found my dream Miche with that beautiful translucent crumb: Sonoma Bakery in Paddington, Sydney.  I wrote up a post about it.  

The combination of flours that I have been using for my recent Miche plays is: 

  • 65% bread flour

  • 15% organic stoneground whole wheat flour

  • 10% organic stoneground spelt

  • 5% organic stoneground rye

  • 5% organic buckwheat

My results have not been to my satisfaction.  It is not the holes that I am looking for: 










It is each and every cell that I am focusing on.  There is a certain translucent crumb quality that I am looking for, similar to the T110 Miche that I made more than a year ago (but that Miche was only 1.5 kilo).  There is a Chinese character,, describing a mellow wine beautifully fermented from the best grapes available.  I don't know the comparable English word for it (Ron, can you help?).  Fermentation is a complex process that cannot be hurried.  While it is not easy to achieve a delicate balance bringing all factors together beautifully in fermentation, more and more I find that if the flour is not right, there is no chance for to happen in bread.  Not all flours have equal fermentable qualities. 

I find it is quite important for me to have the flour malted at the miller level to achieve the crumb quality that I look for in a big Miche.  David and Glenn make beautiful Miches using Keith Giusto Bakery Supply's Organic Type 85 malted flour which is similar to the French T110 flour that I used, both being 90% extraction.  (I didn't enjoy the French T80 flour that I used for My T80 Miches.  In memory, I had some tough time working with the flour; I may be wrong but I think that particular T80 flour was not malted.) 

Any good ingredient is a two-edge sword; it can also harm your result.  James MacGuire wrote that fava-bean flour, a sauce of malt, is allowed as an ingredient for the bread to be called "Pain de tradition" under French consumer protection laws because it has long been used (whereas ascorbic acid is not permissible as the latter's use was only since the 1950s).  He cautions against oxidation of the dough with malt.  This is no so much a problem for us if we are careful not to over-ferment our dough.  These days we go for a slightly under-proved dough for better oven spring anyway.   

Next, I find dough size and shape do make a difference in outcome.  A big round Miche is about the hardest for a home baker to perfect as any other shape.  It wouldn't be as hard if the shape is a batard because the thickest part is smaller.  Given the same shape, i.e., the round shape, there is a big difference between a 1.5 kilo dough and a 2 kilo one.  It is a lot easier to achieve a great result with a 1.5 kg dough.  My baking stone measures 34 cm by 34 cm.  It can take a 2 kilo dough which will bake to 30 to 32 cm in diameter depending on how tall the volume.  Several times when I didn't load my doughs dead-set in the centre of the stone, they baked with bits hanging on the edge of the stone.  Scary to watch.

I normally love a challenge, but I am losing steam fast.  I need good whole grain flour for a good old Miche.  White flour just won't do.  I read that in the States and in Europe there are many good millers who would work with bakers to produce the best flours for the bakers to use.  I have yet to find one such miller in my area.  I am invited to visit an organic mill, 170 km from where I live, next week.   I hope to have good news to report. 




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