The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


AnnieT's picture

Late last night I checked on TFL member M.C's Farine site and found the most interesting report on her visit to Orchard Hill Breadworks in New Hampshire. Lots of video of Noah Elbers and his crew at work making the shaping look so easy. As it was late I couldn't take it all in and plan on viewing this great write up again, and I strongly urge members to check it out. Thank you M.C., A.

sortachef's picture

Homemade Hoagie Rolls fresh from the Oven


Real Italian Hoagie Rolls


After a week in the Philly area rediscovering my local sandwich joints, I came back to Seattle with the fresh taste of hoagie rolls lingering in my mouth. Over the next few weeks, with some hints from the folks at the Conshohocken Italian Bakery, I managed to replicate them.

I'd had Conshohocken Bakery's rolls at Pudge's, famous for steaks and hoagies in Blue Bell, PA. My first attempts came out more like baguettes, and so I tweaked the humidity and the flour content, but once I got close the cross-section of my rolls were not super round, and the bite was still too dense.

One morning I called the people at Conshohocken Bakery (voted #1 Italian bakery in the region) and told them what I was doing. Their head baker listened to my techniques and sorted a few things out.  

So here you go, sandwich rolls that are as close to authentic East Coast sandwich rolls as you're ever likely to get in a home kitchen. Call them what you want: torpedos, hoagie rolls, subs or zeps. In any case, I think you'll agree they make the best sandwiches around!


Makes 6 rolls, 9" long

14 hours for overnight rise (8 hours for fast rise)


2 teaspoons dry yeast (+ 1 teaspoon for fast rise)

4 teaspoons sugar

½ cup water at 100°


14 ounces (2 ¾ cups) unbleached all purpose flour

6 ounces (1¼ cup) High Gluten flour

2½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid, available as Fruit Fresh

2/3 cup whey*

2/3 cup water at 100°


½ cup extra flour for bench work

2 Tablespoons of cornmeal or semolina to coat pans


Necessary for producing high-rising rolls:

2 heavyweight cookie sheets or jelly roll pans

6 quarry tiles to line oven rack, or a pizza stone

A good spray bottle to create steam in your oven

A humid 80° environment


*To make whey: 32 ounces of plain low-fat yogurt will yield 2/3 cup whey in about 2 hours. Line a strainer with paper towels or several layers of cheese cloth and set it over a pan or shallow bowl. Pour in the yogurt, cover lightly and set it to do its stuff in the refrigerator. The whey will drain from the yogurt and collect in the bowl. Measure carefully before adding.

(The resulting strained yogurt is great drizzled with honey for breakfast. You can also mix it with shredded cucumber, salt, garlic and thyme to make tatziki - our favorite Greek dip.)


Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, stir together yeast, sugar and ½ cup of warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes until foam forms on the mixture. Add 20 ounces of flour, salt, ascorbic acid, whey and water and mix to form a cohesive mass, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary.

Knead for 10 minutes, using as little extra flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking to your counter and hands. Clean out the mixing bowl.


First rise: You can start these rolls in the morning (using an extra teaspoon of yeast in the dough) and let rise, lightly covered, for 4 ½ hours at room temperature. In order to have the rolls ready for lunchtime, however, it's best to make your dough the evening before and let it rise, covered, in a 55° environment overnight. Set the dough at room temperature for an hour or two in the morning before continuing. By this time either method will yield dough that has roughly tripled in bulk.


Second rise: Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Push the dough into a fat snake and fold it into thirds. Gently push the dough into a fat snake shape again, letting it rest for a few minutes as it resists. This method will elongate the gluten, yielding the best rolls. Fold in thirds, put back in the mixing bowl, cover lightly and let sit at room temperature (70°) for 1½ hours, until nearly doubled in bulk.


Shape the rolls: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape into a snake again, tucking the long outer edge over itself and squeezing in to the bottom seam by using your fingers. Your emphasis from here on out is to create a gluten cloak, a continuous skin on the top and sides of the rolls.

When the snake of dough is about 2 feet long, cut it in half. Form each half into an 18" snake and cut it into three equal pieces. You will now have 6 portions of dough, each weighing between 6 and 6½ ounces. Tuck into cigar shapes and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle cornmeal onto the cookie sheets or jellyroll pans and have them handy. Warm your 80° humid environment. (See Creating an 80° Environment at the bottom of Aunt Marie's Dinner Rolls.) Your environment should include a pan of hot water.

After your rolls have rested, flatten them somewhat to expel the largest gas bubbles, and then fold them gently into torpedoes of dough that are 9" long. Pull the gluten cloak over each roll evenly and tuck into one long seam. Put three rolls on each pan, seam-side down onto the cornmeal.


Third rise and preheat: Let finished rolls rise for 1 hour to 1 hours 10 minutes in an 80° humid environment. Line the center rack in your oven with a pizza stone or quarry tiles and preheat the oven to 450° a half hour into this rise. Have a good spray bottle with water in it beside the oven.


Bake with steam: Put a pan of the fully risen rolls directly on the quarry tiles or pizza stone and quickly spray the hot sides and bottom of the oven with 6 or 7 squirts of water. Clap the door shut to keep in the heat and the steam. Bake rolls for 10 minutes without opening the oven door. Turn oven off for 2 more minutes, and then remove rolls to a rack to cool. (As oven temperatures and spray bottles vary, your results may as well. Rolls are ready when the crust is medium brown.)


Repeat with the other pan of rolls.


When rolls have cooled, split them and pile on your favorite sandwich ingredients. My favorite Ham Hoagie is shown below. Enjoy!


Many thanks to the Conshohocken Italian Bakery for advice on this recipe. If you live nearby, run - don't walk - to their bakery.


Copyright © 2011 by Don Hogeland.  For original post, sandwich stories and more photos go to


Ham Hoagie made the a Real Italian Hoagie Roll

txfarmer's picture

Hope everyone had a great holiday! We took the days off between Christmas and NYE, rented a RV and drove 3000+ miles round trip to Key West. It was super fun, as we were counting down with the crowd in front of Sloppy Joe's, I felt it was one of the best NYE celebrations we've had.


Before we took off, I needed some bread to take with us - there's no oven on the RV, just a microwave and stove. Being super busy, I didn't have time to do a pure sourdough loave, and this black bread from Hamelman's "Bread" was fast (it uses instant yeast, in addition to rye levain), fragrant, delicious, healthy (by that time, we needed SOME fibre to combat all the sugar and butter in my holiday baked goodies), and uses up some of my leftover rye breads, perfect!


The old bread was toasted to very dark, then soaked in coffee and boiling water overnight, I knew the bread is going to be delicious when I smelled the soaker. Coffee flavor was not prominent in the final bread, but the flavor of rye was very enhanced.

A full flavored 60% rye, went perfectly with the smoked salmon and aged gouda cheese we brought along. Beats fastfood burger anyday!

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Wishing you all a very happy 2011.  Here's my first loaf of the year.  It was for my friend Sarah's birthday on January 2nd...  I've been baking pretty much the same bread for the past few months save for few high percentage rye breads which I will write about when I have some more time and energy...  This bread is one of my best recipies of late...  Here's the recipe and process:

Total Recipe:

750g Total Flour

540g Total Water (approx 72% hydration)

16g Kosher Salt

40g Storage Sourdough Starter @ 80% Hydration

1346g Total Dough Yield

**Storage Sourdough Starter at 80% to 100% hydration fed within a few days and kept in fridge.


Digital Scale

Oven with convection

Oven thermometer

Instant read thermometer

Large mixing bowl

Rubber spatula

Plastic scraper

Large plastic bag

Linen lined 8" to 10" banneton/brotform/colander lined with tea towel (non terry cloth)

2 baking stones

Wooden peel, or some way to get the loaf into the oven directly onto stone

Cheap loaf pan filled with lava rocks

Bowl of water to wet your hands/scraper/spatula

Rye Sour:

76g Rye Flour (Arrowhead Organic)

76g Water

20g Storage Sourdough Starter (I am keeping mine at about 80% hydration these days)

172g Total


38g WW Flour (Whole Foods 365)

38g AP Flour (Whole Foods 365 and/or Hecker's)

76g Water

20g Storage Sourdough Starter (I am keeping mine at about 80% hydration these days)

172g Total

Final Dough:

598g AP Flour (Whole Foods 365 and/or Hecker's)

388g Water

16g Kosher Salt

172g Rye Sour

172g Levain

1346g Total Dough Yield




12:30am - Weigh out ingredients using a digital scale, mix starters in separate bowls, cover and let rest on counter at room temp...  Go to bed.

10:30am - Weigh out final ingredients using a digital scale.  In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients in the following order: water, starters, flour, salt.  Mix with rubber spatula into a rough shaggy dough, then with wet hands squish out any dry clumps, scrape down bowl sides with wet plastic scraper, place bowl in plastic bag, close and let rest.

11:30am - Using a wet dough scraper, scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl, then with wet hands stretch and fold the dough 4 times.  Pick up the dough mass from the center, lift and let the front part flop under, and release.  Turn the bowl 180 degrees and repeat.  Each time, you can squish the dough down with lightly wet hands.  cover and let rest.

12:00pm - Turn dough using method above, return to bowl to plastic bag, close and rest.

12:30pm - Prepare proofing basket by generously flouring the linen/cloth.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface/board, shape into large boule/round, and place into proofing basket seam side up.  Lightly flour the dough, cover with cloth towel, place into entire basket into plastic bag, close and place in top shelf of refrigerator.

10:00pm - Take dough out of fridge and place on kitchen counter.  If using an 8" basket, dough should be domed over top of basket.  Do the poke test to see if the intentation springs back slowly, but a small impression still remains.  Prepare oven by arranging one baking stone on the lowest level, and the other on the highest level.  Place bottom baking stone with the length going front to back.  Prepare lava rock loaf pan, fill 3/4 way with water.  Place steam pan on bottom rack to the side of the baking stone.  Place oven thermometer on bottom stone and turn on oven to 500F with convection.  Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated, open the windows and run fans.  This is especially important if you are using a gas oven.

10:45pm - Remove oven thermometer with tongs/oven mitts so you don't burn yourself.  Turn off convection.  Lightly flour wooden peel, gently loosen dough from basket and turn onto peel.  Slash as desired and place into oven directly onto bottom stone.  Close oven door.  Bake 10 minutes at 500F with steam pan.

11:00pm - Remove steam pan, turn oven down to 450F and bake for another 40-45 minutes.

11:40pm-ish: Check weight of loaf and internal temp of loaf.  If weight is approx 15% less than the pre-bake dough weight, and internal temp has reached 210F, then loaf is pretty much done.  You can turn the oven off and put the loaf back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

11:50pm-ish: Take loaf out of oven and let cool overnight on a wire rack...  Go to sleep...


Loaf profile

Close-up of crackly bottom crust


Bad crumbshot picture from friend's iPhone camera...




Submitted to Yeastspotting on 1/4/2011

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

To be updated...



MickiColl's picture

I'm about to give up on sourdough. I have been trying for six months with different formulas and they all wind  up smelling like fingernail polish revmover.

they look horrible .. not pink, but almost. and the acetone smell is overpowering. help please .. if there is to be any.

Ewabaker1's picture

Well!  this is my first post,  HMMMM!!! What do we talk about, well let's start out with Viva la Difference! 

I have been trying to find a pie dough recipe that would be consistent, and come out like my Nana's pies.  Always good!  Anyways my mom and I have been kicking aroung the family butter and shortening see if it could be more consistent, we agree that shortening and Lard both add the "flaky factor" but often find just one of these fats tends to not add much in the way of that Umami for pies.(exception is homemade lard, but a lot of work). 

So after exhaustive googling...I've discovered an old classic technique to enhance a classic Butter crust. 

I know it's been mentioned for baguettes and breads.  But it is the most wonderous technique for Pie dough...and I haven't had a tough or doughy pie crust since. The Cook's Illustrated technique is great, but I guess I am too lazy to use shortening and vodka with my Butter.

"FRAISAGE":  is the Key, a butter only bruddah long on flavor and texture....and truly not that much more work to guarantee sucess time and time again.

Here is a link to a photo step-by-step of options and technique for a pie crust using fraisage:

Bon chance and Bon appetit!  Great baking in 2011 to all!

dmsnyder's picture

A couple days ago, I tested my new KitchenAid Grain Mill's output with a formula calling for about 30% whole grain flour. It was very good. In fact, the flavor of that bread has improved over two days. Even as I dipped my toe in the home-milled flour waters, I knew that the real test, for me, would be how the flour performed in a 100% whole wheat bread.

Most of my breads are made with levain, but my favorite whole wheat bread has remained the “Whole Wheat Bread” from BBA. This is made with a soaker of coarse ground whole grains and a “poolish” made with whole wheat flour. I have used bulgur for the soaker in the past. Today, I used coarsely ground fresh-ground hard red winter wheat, the same wheat was used finely ground for the poolish and final dough. The formula can be made as a lean dough (plus honey) or can be enriched with oil and/or egg. I used both.

The KitchenAid Grain Mill does a great job with coarse grinding. I found that, with the first pass, the particle size is rather variable. It seems to even out by putting the flour through the mill again at the same setting.

I ground the rest of the grain at the next to finest setting. I put it through 3 passes of increasing fineness, actually. The flour ends up somewhere between semolina and AP flour fineness, at least by feel. This slightly coarse flour, fresh-ground, seems to absorb a bit less water than the KAF WW flour I usually use. I ended up adding about an extra tablespoon of flour to adjust dough consistency during mixing.

Bulk fermentation, dividing, shaping and proofing showed no differences I noticed from the behavior of this bread made with KAF WW flour. However, there was a remarkable difference in the aroma of the bread during baking and cooling. It filled the kitchen with a wheaty smell that both my wife and I found absolutely lovely. (As I write this, the bread is cooling. I hope it tastes as good as it smells!)

Another remarkable difference is that the color of the loaves is quite a bit lighter than loaves made with KAF WW flour and exactly the same other ingredients and the same baking time and temperature. I thought this might be because the KAF WW has malt added, but it is “100% hard red whole wheat,” according to the ingredient list on the bag.

The flavor of the bread is just perfect, to my taste. It has a wonderful whole wheat flavor with not a bit of grassiness. It is very slightly sweet. I used a very mild-flavored clover honey, and I cannot find any distinct honey taste in the bread. The flavor is bolder and more complex than this same bread made with KAF WW flour. I'm sold!

As I've written, above, Reinhart's whole wheat bread from BBA has been my favorite. I've made other whole wheat breads from formulas in Hamelman's “Bread” and Suas' “Advanced Bread & Pastry” that I found less tasty. I am now wondering how they would be if made with fresh-ground flour. Hmmmm …. This is shaping up to be a project.


louie brown's picture
louie brown

I had some starter left over from the blinis, and this formula looked manageable. I love caraway, so it was a no brainer. 

At the end of the entry for this bread, Hamelman suggests alternately shaping the dough as "fingers," ("salzstangerl") without further guidance. I chose 6 ounce, long sticks. Googling only too late, I see that a typical shape for these is to roll, stretch or flatten the dough and then roll it back up, croissant-style, then slightly curved, with tapered ends. Oh, well. They were delicious and even showed a decent interior, despite less than the most delicate handling on my part. I say were, because they are already gone, having served as the basis for the smoked salmon not consumed this morning.

As for the loaf, I was inspired to try Sylvia's elegant curved scoring, but the spring with the towels-and-brick-in-a-pan setup was so strong that the loaf almost came apart. Besides, I don't think that such a beautiful curved scoring is really suitable for the rough surface of this loaf. It really wants to be shown off on a cleaner surface. 

I can see fairly simple fixes for the flaws in this bake, but it will be a little while. I need to lighten up on the carbs for a while.

wally's picture


I must have been a good boy this past year, because Santa was very generous to me.  Under the tree I found a new brotform, a fabulous new baking stone - a FibraMent that measures 15" x 20" x 3/4" - a Lodge Combo Cooker and a new peel!  And although nearly felled by a terrific head cold, I could not resist the temptation to play with the new toys.

I bake baguettes at work every day - usually in the neighborhood of 140 or so - but I rarely attempt them at home anymore because of the steaming issues (I've bored everyone at TFL to death with) with my gas oven.  But....since using Sylvia's patent-pending (I assume!) steaming method involving wet towels in glass bowls brought to a boil in the microwave, I've had really nice results with my batards and boules, so it seemed only right to stick my big toe in the water of baguette-baking again.

I chose Hamelman's poolish baguette recipe which I've slightly upped to 69% hydration and slightly higher poolish content.  I think it yields a very workable dough in terms of handling, and I learned long ago that you don't need superhydrated doughs to achieve open crumb - just proper mixing, fermentation and handling.

Although my stone allows a 20" baguette, alas, even my peel only goes to 17 1/2", so I had to be content with something that is still a good half-foot shorter than the true thing.  I scaled his recipe to give me two baguettes at 284 g apiece - just about 10 oz which seems right to me for the size.

The paraphernalia involved in creating steam is: cast iron frying pan in bottom of oven loaded with lava rocks, and, Sylvia's (nearly patented) glass bread pan filled with wet towel and boiling water.  The procedure is to add the bread pan about 5 minutes prior to loading the dough, and then as soon as it is loaded  immediately and carefully pour a cup of hot water onto the lava rocks, close the oven, and repeat twice more at 1 minute intervals.  The pan with boiling water I take out after 15 minutes.

The FibraMent stone requires initial seasoning, which amounts to heating the stone to 100 degrees F for one hour, and then increasing the heat by a hundred degrees for one hour until reaching 500 degrees, where it remains at that temperature for two hours.  I realized that this would coincide nicely with the fermentation schedule for the dough, so as soon as I began mixing the dough I also started seasoning the stone.

Because the stone is a full 3/4" thick it requires a longer preheating period to build its thermal mass from my previous pizza stone that was only 1/2" thick.  But, as I've discovered from my initial bakes, it retains heat better and longer: both baguettes bent upwards at each end and interesting, both twisted slightly in the same direction as you can see from the picture at the head of my entry.  This greater retention of heat will require adjustments in my baking temperatures - downwards I think.

Anyhow, here are the results of the baguette bake: I'm generally pleased with the crumb but exhuberant over the open grignes the steaming created.


That night they served as a wonderful sop to a Thai green curry soup that I made with P.E.I mussels, Crisfield oysters (a special treatment of the famed Chesapeake Bay oyster) and a lobster tail.


A nice supper on a cold evening.

The next day I decided that I'd return to one of my favorite everyday breads: Hamelman's pain au levain using mixed starters.

(Also a good excuse to resurrect my refrigerated rye and white dough starters which needed feeding and use).

I scaled the recipe to yield two 680 g (about 1.5 lb) loaves.  One I allowed to proof in a banneton, the other in my new brotform.  This is a nice bread to make when you have a lazy day and don't need to accomplish the baking in a hurry.  Between the mixing and autolyse, its long fermentation (two-and-a-half hours) and equally long final proof, the process lasts about 6 hours before baking.  But since there's very little you actually need to do over this period (except for the mixing, one fold and then the final shaping), it's one of those breads that takes a long time but leaves you with lots of time to do other things while waiting on it.

I preheated the oven to 450 F, and put my new Lodge Combo Cooker along with its lid onto the FibraMent baking stone.

After going through my pre-loading steaming procedure, I first scored the loaf that I proofed in the banneton and plopped it into the Combo Cooker, put the lid on and left it on the stove.  The second loaf that inaugurated my new brotform I turned onto my semolina-dusted peel, scored and immediately slid onto the baking stone, followed by the Combo Cooker and a cup of hot water.  The steaming procedure was repeated twice more at one minute intervals.

After 15 minutes I removed the lid of the cooker and continued the bake for both loaves for another 25 minutes, removing the boiling pan of water 15 minutes before the end of the bake.

Here's the results:

The one of the left was baked in the Lodge Combo cooker, while the other sat directly on the baking stone.  Now some contrasts:

It's pretty easy to tell from their bottoms which was baked in the cooker (and the little peak-a-boo split on the bottom of the one on the right tells me I slightly underproofed them).  I think in future experiments I will either reduce the baking temperature, or more likely not preheat the cooker quite as long.

As for profiles, however, the two are essentially the same:

And finally, a crumb shot:

Many new toys for me to enjoy in 2011, and a reason to return to baguettes and old favorites.



Subscribe to RSS - blogs