The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


ph_kosel's picture

For some reason I've been daydreaming of raisin bread recently. In years gone by I've tinkered with various orange-raisin-oatmeal formulas but they always seemed too heavy, probably because I was including too much oatmeal.  My objective is to develop a bread formula that has not only the tartness of the juice but also the tang of the peel, rather like a marmalade, but also like raisin bread.


This is my account of my latest experiment, which I consider rather successful over all (although I did slip up a bit on the proofing time).


about 210g of Home-made marmalade of a sort, made (see procedure below) from

1 smallish seedless navel orange and

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

100g of raisins

1 tablespoon SAF "red" instant yeast

1.5 teaspoon salt

450g unbleached bread flour

300g very warm water



I started out by making some marmalade; in the past I've tried just throwing an orange in a blender peel and all, but I wanted some obvious peel in this loaf.  First I halved the orange (which was about 3 inches diameter or so, a rather thick-skinned specimen) and sliced up the halves.  I put the slices in a small sauce pan and scraped as much as possible of the juice left on the cutting board into the pan too.  I added a half cup of granulated sugar to the pan, stirred it up a bit to draw out some of the juice, and heated the mixture to boiling.  I boiled it on fairly high heat until the sugar was well disolved, turned the heat off for maybe 10 minutes, then concluded it was more like orange peel soup than marmalade.  I brought it back to a boil and boiled it rather vigorously until enough moisture evaaporated that it was more like marmalade (no free-flowing liquid syrup) than soup; I stirred it while it boiled.  Understand, I've never made marmalade before although I eat it regularly on toast, crackers, etc.  I was winging it, and I didn't take careful notes, although I've glanced at various recipes for marmalade and candied orange peel over the years.

Anyway, once the marmalade was made I left it to cool uncovered in the pan and my wife and I went shopping.  When we got back and had put all the groceries away I did some other stuff and around 9PM made up some dough, putting all the ingredients listed above into the bowl of my Kitchenaid mixer and mixing it up thoroughly with the dough hook.  The resulting dough was very loose and sticky, presumably because of the sugar and remaining moisture in the home-made marmalade.  It was nothing I wanted to try to knead, so I just scraped it into the pullman pan (which I sprayed with oil first, anticipating possible problems getting the sugary dough out after baking) and spread it out more or less evenly in the pan with a spoon.  I put the lid on the pullman pan and put a folded kitchen towel on top to keep the heat in as I did in my earlier first loaf with this new pan.

Then I left the loaf to proof while my wife and I watched a video (The King's Speech, which runs 118 minutes, almost two hours).

When the movie was over I checked the pan and discovered that the dough had filled the pan and begun to sneak through the cracks past the lid in a mad bid for escape.  Two hours was too long to proof this formula!  I wiped off the escaping dough as best I could but did not pull back the lid for fear of what might happen.  I preheated the oven to 450F, popped the pan in, set the timer for 25 minutes, and had some coffee.  When the timer went off I pulled the loaf out of the oven, managed to slide the lid off despite some "escapist" dough that got quite crispy in the cracks between pan and lid, and managed to pop the loaf out of the pan.  One bit of crust stayed stuck in the pan, perhaps on a spot I did not oil well enough.  The loaf had a thin ridge of dark, crispy  "escapist" dough around the top which I broke off and discarded.


It appears from the uneven browning (see photos below) that although the dough escaped through the cracks it did not fully contact the pan lid.  The crumb is very moist and chewy with a very nice flavor, sweet with a tartness of orange and a distinct tang of orange peel - my wife says it's delicious, and I am inclined to agree.    The crust is rather thinner and softer than I'm used to - a slightly longer bake in future trials might be appropiate.  Overall, this is a formula I'm definitely going to save carefully and use again (but next time with a shorter proofing time)!

Here are some photos.

Loaf and pan^


Crumb shot^


I'm very very happy with this loaf!




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.


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