The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


txfarmer's picture

Right after I made and posted about lye pretzels last time, arlo brought this article to my attention - ah ha! Who knew lye pretzels are "in fasion" again, does that make up for my 10 year old jeans? :P Still having that whole big jar of lye to use up, I made pretzels again, but the recipe is a combo of the NY Time recipe and Nancy Silverton's Sourdough pretzel recipe, then at the very end, I added my own "TXFarmer spin". I had some cooked red bean left from making mooncakes, so I filled a few of those prezels with sweetened coarsely mashed red bean paste. Delicious! I do apologize if it offends any German TFLers though. :P


Sourdough Pretzel (NYTimes+Nancy Silverton+my own craziness)

-makes 12 pretzels, each about 110g

water, 218g

starter (100%), 207

bread flour, 567g

barley malt syrup, 21g

salt, 2tsp

lard, 23g (Yes lard! Butter would work but lard gives a better/more authentic flavor, as well as whiter crumb. I have a big container of lard in my fridge at all times, embrace pig fat!)

1. Mix and knead very well. This is a dry dough, similar to bagel, but do knead well. I kneaded by hand since my mixer was doing other more important things like whipping 12 eggs, it' took some elbow grease but could be done.

2. No bulk rise, divide dough into 12 portions, round, and rest for 45min.

3. Shape into pretzels, do keep middle portion fat, and two ends pointy.

To add filling, first shape the dough into a batard, then roll into a long oval, add filling (not too much though!), roll up, seal well, roll out to desired length

4. Rise at room temp for 1 hour, the dough would've visibly expanded, then put in fridge for 12 to 24 hours.

5. mix 30g of lye into 1000g of water, wait for 10 min for it to completely dissolve, the water would become warm. Dip each pretzel in lye water for 30 sec, put back on baking sheet, score at the "fat belly" (if you have filling inside, score at an angle so the filling won't leak out), spread coarse sea salt on top (not for my red bean paste ones).

6. Bake for 20 to 25min at 400F.


Tight even crumb, just what I like. I didn't wait for the lye water to dry before scoring, so if you look closely, the edges of the cuts are yellow, need to improve on that.


The ones with filling are REALLY good, this way I don't have to dip the pretzel in other stuff. There are many other filling possibilities, PB&J? Nutella? Pumpkin pie? Maple cream? BBQ pork? Curry chicken? Endless.

----------------------------Completely unrelated-------------------------------

Here's a great coconut cupcake recipe I made a few days ago for my running friends,


I highly recommend this epicurious recipe, I did use cake flour rather than AP flour in the recipe, and used a cream cheese icing rather than the original one, both the taste and texture are really good.

The key of the recipe is "reduced coconut milk", I have some leftover, and I will be dunking everything in it! Even if you don't make the cake, make this!

Submitting to Yeastspotting

BerniePiel's picture

I've been doing a lot of baking the last few days to help me meditate and leave the worries somewhere else.  Baking bread is such an enjoyable, fun, healthy and nutritious thing to do for yourself and your family and/or friends.

Today, I decided to try my hand at a semolina-whole wheat sourdough loaf that was infused with darkly toasted sesame seeds in both  the dough and on the crust.

Here are the ingredients, mixed in this order:

  • 700 g of spring water;
  • 200 g of starter, roughly 75% hydration;
  • 200 g of leaven consisting of 2/3's APF, 1/6 whole wheat; and, 1/6 pumperknickel flour; 

[I've had this starter for some time and I'm pretty unorthodox from the scientific baker in that I pour out whatever I think will do the job to keep my starter going, mix in a combo of flours given in the portion listed by volume and mix with spring water till I have the consistency I think works best.  It works for me and I like things to  be simple, enough said.]

  • 900 g of flour, consisting of:
  •  650 g of KA Durum semolina flour;      
  • 250 g my milled whole-wheat flour, somewhat coarse;
  • 20 g sea salt - I used Irish herer, but I doubt it makes a huge difference. ( I'm sure open for comments about this);
  • 50 g spring water (I actually used this to dip my fingers into to do the S&F's and found I used almost all of the water which became well incorporated into the dough and saved the usual sticky mess I've had at other times.


  • Pour the starter in the water, all at room temp, slightly cool;  mix the starter so that it almost disolves in the water;
  • pour in the whole wheat and mix;  by mixing it first with the water, it has a bit longer time to autolyse which is necessary since it is a whole grain product;  I usually mix either by hand or use the Polish bread mixer.  I injured my right wrist tendon playing tennis a few weeks ago and it still hasn't quite healed so I used the whisk to help ease the pain of mixing and not unduly exerting stress on the ligament.
  • Mix all of the flour thoroughly so that there is an even moistness throughout and no dry flour is left on the sides or underneath.
  • Let the dough sit for 20 minutes add the salt and seeds and do several strech and folds and moisten your hands so the flour doesn't stick to them.  When I stretch and fold I usually use a plastic or rubber dough scraper and scoop it down the large glass bowl that I use to mix with.  I then reach the bottom and slip under the dough with the scraper and scoop it up and into the center of the flour.  After a while of doing this, the dough starts to get shaped into a boule/ball.  I do between 10 and twenty of these, just till the dough feels manageable.
  •  My other method is a little more tricky and requires some exercise.  I use the scraper and go under the dough then lift all of the dough out of the bowl and let the weight of the dough stretch out the flour to about a foot or 18" in length.  I then fold the dough over itself as I lower it back into the bowl; rotate the bowl and pick up the dough again so that the new fold is to the side rather than to the top or bottom of the length of dough.  Imagine picking up a kitchen towel from a long end, holding it up so that the towel is straight up and down.  Then put the dough, or fold the dough, i.e, towel in half as you are lowering it into the bowel.  Pick up the towel again, only this time use a side, not the fold, nor the open ends that make up the folded towel.  Again, let the dough stretch itself out and when it reaches about a foot and a half in length, fold it again as you put it back into the bowel.  I  think this procedure helps build structure to the loaf and glutten which is the building block of the structure in the dough.  I will do this five or six times.
  • Next let the dough rest for 30 minutes, and do the stretch and fold again, rest, do it again in another 30 minutes..  But wait, isn't that the standard litany used by most of the bread makers?  Well, that's what  I did for months and months, until today when I was kept from doing so by important telephone calls that went on and on and then a client visit.  I managed to get two stretch and folds and added 3/4s cup of darkly toasted sesame seeds with the salt and mixed very well to spread the seeds evenly thoughout the mass.  Because of complications, I then had to let the dough sit covered on the counter for 5 hours because I just couldn't get to it.  I was surprised to find that it was just fine and doing quite well.  I did one more stretch and fold, put it in  the fridge for two hours, and came back and decided to see if it was really all that necessary to ferment the dough overnight.  Well, it wasn't and  the taste and complexity of the dough was very nice.  But, of course, a true test would be to let it sit in the fridge overnight and shape and bake to see if the taste improves.

Here are the photos.  Sorry no crumb shot of the batard because its a gift, but I'm sure the boule is representative.  The boule was baked in a round covered clouche for 15 minutes at 525 and then uncovered for 25 at 470.  The batard was cooked at 550 on the stone and steam was injected from a garden sprayer on the sides and top of the oven about every 4 minutes for a total of 4 times and the spray was for a duration of about 20 to 25 seconds each time.

This is the resting dough after being pulled from the fridge.  You can see there are a lot of sesame seeds in the loaf which contributed to the nutty flavor given by this bread.  That, along with the texture and taste created a wonderful combination.

resting dough

The next shot is a photo of the sesame seeds which were baked in a pizza pan till dark.  Be certain to stir them around after you take them out of the oven because the pan will continue cooking them and could burn them.  There is an amazing amount of oil in these little seeds.  These seeds were saved to go on the outside of the loaf.  I must ask what is the best way to affix these seeds to the loaf so that they will stay on the loaf.  As I'm cutting the loaf all of the seeds on the outside just pop off.  I had a similar loaf at the Farmer's Market in Prospect Park in Brooklyn a few weeks ago and it was divine and the seeds stayed on the bread slice.  How do you make this happen?  Anyone, please.

The following are the finished loaves and the usual crumb shots.  I hope you will try this bread some time, as it is delicious.

The boule.

I will be the first to admit my batard shaping is woefully lacking.

The batard

BTW, that's my jar of starter in the background.  Just an old mason jar and when I extracted the starter for these loaves, the jar was at half the level you see.  The starter had replenished its growth that I had used in these loaves.  I will take about half of this amount, discard the rest or use it to make pancakes, etc., and then mix with spring water to dissolve and add one cup each of AP or BF and WWF which I mill myself from some local hard winter red wheat.


Here are some crumb shots.


The crust was not crackly, but chewy and crunchy, perhaps from the seeds, but it had a good texture for the flours used.  There was a nice moistness to the crumb, but not wet or damp.  The internal temp was 209 when removed from the oven measured from the bottom of the loaf.



Surprisingly I was eating this bread at 6 pm and had started it about 9:30 a.m.  Very easy bread to make, not a wet dough at all, and quite manageable.  Just have a good strong starter.  I will say this that I'm guessing but I suspect one of my stretch and folds are equal to about two of most other bakers because I really work the dough by letting it stretch from its own weight and fold it over at least ten times, maybe more, just till it feels like it has a good consistency and strength.  Then a longer rest, but at least 30 minutes, but I'm not overly concerned if its 45 minutes or 60 before I do the next S&F.  I think I should call this my "No Anxiety" bread.  It takes care of itself with a little guidance from you.  Happy Baking.

stevenboos's picture

does anyone have any knowledge of why my breads seem to float.  The bottom area around the entire circle elevates far above the bottom.  The bread turns out fine but I have never seen this in any pictures before.  thanks for the help, steve

Franko's picture


A few weeks ago I was reading Hamelman's recipe for brioche when I noticed in his side notes that a feuillete or laminated dough can be made from a brioche dough. While I realized that of course it can be done , it's just something that had never occured to me before. Brioche is such a rich dough to begin with, the idea of laminating even more butter into it just seemed a little over the top. Sometimes though over the top can be very good and this looked to me like it might just be one of those times. Although I had Hamelman's base formula for brioche as well as others I've used before, I didn't have any for making the feuillete. Specifically what I was looking for was the ratio of roll-in butter I would need to do the folds. Web searches turned up very little, however one site did have some actual photos of a class at King Arthur being conducted by Mr. Hamelman making up a pastry using brioche feuillete, so that was helpful in giving me some idea how to use it. Link to site:


I put a query into Andy/ananda asking if he had any ideas on it , and while he'd read about it in Bo Freiberg's book on pastry, he'd never made it himself. I decided to just wing it, see how it worked, and adjust the ratio if necessary. The first attempt I made was based on a 91% butter to flour ratio, down from the original 110% butter-108% flour ratio I'd first shown Andy when I started putting a beta recipe together. Andy thought I was a “brave fellow” for wanting to try it , which I thought was a very polite way of him saying that I might just be a little too over the top with those numbers. Having made brioche dough on numerous occasions over the years this one mixed up well with no surprises for me and I gave it a 1hr bulk ferment and put it in the refrigerator overnight. Next afternoon while I laminated the bulk of the dough for feuillete, I took a portion of it and made up a few brioche tete to bake off and see how they turned out.   They turned out fairly well I thought, not having made them for a few years and I was very happy with the flavour. Unfortunately I'd run out of time that day to do anything more with the feuillete and decided to leave it for the next day. When I got home from work the next afternoon I set about rolling out the dough to a 14x9 inch rectangle and dividing that into 3” wide strips of dough that I piped a 3/4” strip of filling (recipe to follow) along the length of each, then alongside the length of that strip I placed blueberries side by side. These were then rolled string fashion, or like you would a cinnamon bun roll, to 15 1/2” and then made into a 3 strand braid and placed in a loaf tin to rise.  It took about an 1 ¼ hrs to rise and 25-30 minutes in a 380F oven to bake. When it came out I immediately applied a thin apricot glaze to seal it and help prevent staling, then sprinkled it with toasted almond slices for garnish. When it had cooled sufficiently I drizzled the loaf with some white vanilla fondant I'd made a few days before.  The braid didn't rise quite as high as I would have liked since by this time the dough had lost some power from the additional day it'd had before I could use it, but it turned out well enough that I knew I had to try it again . As far as the flavour went?... pretty incredible. I'll get into that more a little later in this post but for now....Wow! Some photos of the the finished loaf.


The second dough was started the night before I finished eating the first loaf, (about 48 hrs..or less ) my wife being slightly appalled at how quickly I'd devoured this large, ultra rich pastry. A few muttered comments were made regarding possible repercussions were this to become a regular habit. Something about being married to a fat guy.. but I can't say for certain. Seriously though, this sort of thing is something I rarely eat, being in my 'once in a blue moon' category of food. With the second mix I wanted to make the dough a little stiffer so that I could hopefully get a high and more defined look to the braid. Other than decreasing the hydration slightly and dropping the roll-in butter ratio to 72% overall, I made the dough as I did before, following the same length of bulk fermentation, same amount of degassing and overnight retardation in the fridge. This time though I had the next day off from work and was able to do the lamination and product make up in one day, which I think resulted in a better looking product. The dough doesn't suffer from the lower ratio of roll-in butter, in fact I think you could reduce it another 5%-10% and not notice any appreciable difference in the finished product. OK , now about the filling and flavour. This seems like a natural sort of pastry that you could use a cream cheese filling of some sort in,.. and it is, but I've just never acquired a taste for the stuff. I wouldn't try to dissuade anyone from using it as a base for a filling if they like the flavour, but I think there are more elegant options available for a pastry like this. The choice I made was to use Brie, combined with honey, toasted almond meal, puff pastry crumbs, and beaten egg white to bind it into a consistency that can be easily piped. Brie works well with the fruit and nuts , not overpowering them, and also melting into the soft cells of the bread itself.

  • room temp or soft Brie-114 gr

  • lightly toasted almond meal-25 gr

  • liquid honey-20 gr

  • puff pastry crumbs-15 gr

  • beaten egg white-5 gr

note: cake crumbs can be substituted for puff pastry crumbs

egg whites should be beaten lightly till they run fluidly without lumps


The fruit I had at the time, and still have the most of, is blueberries. We have a couple of very prolific blueberry bushes in our backyard that challenge us every year in trying to figure out how to use them all up before the next years crop comes in. I think we're about six months behind at present, so it's just an ongoing problem for us every year , but we try to make the best of it. The beauty of a dough like this is it's versatility. It will accept a wide variety of fillings ranging from sweet to savoury, (with some adjustments to the sugar ratio for savoury fillings being necessary) so it really depends on what flavour you want to have, or what you have on hand at the moment to use as a filling. Off the top of my head I can't think of anything within reason that this dough won't lend itself to and enhance. The flavour is of course predominated by butter, but also with that great taste of a long fermented yeast dough that permeates every bit of the silky soft crumb. Very similar to a croissant or danish dough, just a long shot!













Bread flour




High gluten flour




























Total Weight








Butter block for Feuillete












Total Weight




Procedure: Place all ingredients except butter in the mixing bowl and mix on 1st speed until all the ingredients are incorporated. Mix on 2nd speed for 8-9 minutes until the dough is strong and resistant

to the touch. Take the cold butter and beat it flat with a rolling pin until it's pliable and add in chunks

continuosly until all of it has been absorbed. This will take some time depending on your mixer. I

found that I had to work the dough by hand on the counter for about 5 minutes using the slap and

fold technique until the dough was developed enough that it would 'sheet'. To test for sheeting you

should be able to gradually stretch a small piece of dough out very thinly until it's almost transparent.

Let stand, covered at room temp for 1 hr then fold the dough, recover, and refrigerate overnight, degassing 2-3 times over the next several hours. The next day the dough is ready to use as a traditional brioche dough or for doing the roll-in and folds for feuillete.


To make brioche feuillete: Add cold pliable butter and flour to mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on 1st speed for 3-4 minutes , then on 2nd speed until all the flour is incorporated. Shape into a square or rectangle (depending on what lamination method will be used) and chill to the same temp as the brioche dough in the refrigerator. Roll the butter in using preferred lamination method and give a

total of 3x3 folds plus 1x4 fold, resting the dough for 30 minutes in refrigerator between each fold.

The dough is ready to use at this point.

Note: For a more thorough description of the lamination method see ananda's blog



Pate Brioche Feuillete is not exactly health food but it is good for the soul , being one of those special occasion additions to a baker's repertoire that can be useful to have come Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year.


All the best,



Mebake's picture

For a change, i decided to lay a side my beloved "BREAD" by Hamelman, and go back to my first baking companion: "Peter Reinhart's" Whole GRain BReads.

I always wanted to bake the Struan, but the laborious and tedious preparation for this bread deterred me. Yesterday, i took a deep breath and gave it a try.

The Recipe (750 g loaf) calls for butter, sweetner, and cooked and uncooked soaked grains. This is a 100% wholewheat bread.

I deviated in two places: 1) folded the dough once after the first 30 minutes of the total 1 hour bulk fermentation. 2) I did not add the extra flour, so the dough was wetter than suggested by Reinhart.

Now that i did Baked it, i realized that i should have either added the extra flour called for, or shortened the final 1 hour final proofing time to 30 minutes max. The Loaf was overproofed.

The taste of the bread is absolutely superb, sweet soft interior with chewy soft grains, and wheaty after taste.

 Highly recommended!!

teketeke's picture

When I prepared to make "36 hours + sourdough baguette" that is posted by Txfarmer  last night, I mixed the sourdough culture and flour instead the water and the flour by my mistake because I was ready to feed my starters in the same time.  The sourdough culture that is my keeper was taken out from refrigerator.( 6 ℃)    I didn't want to throw it away, so I continued ...

1 Baguette 

The day before:

100% white hydration sourdough starter 75g ( from refrigerator : The was my keeper. I keep my 100% starter at the roomtemperature and feed it twice a day )

Ice water                                            160g

* Mix them and put it in a refrigerator for overnight.

The final day:

flour  53g

salt  5g


1. The final day- mix the starter mixture and flour →Autolize 30 minutes →Add the salt and mix ( strech and fold way while giving it strokes)

2. Fermentation ( I did  3 hours  )    Strech and fold every 30 minutes ( as Tyfarmer's recipe)

3. Shape

4. Proof  ( I did 2.5 hours)  Temerature was 68F.

5 Bake   470F for 7 minutes, 450F for 13 minutes , and shut off the oven  left the baguette for 5 minutes in the oven.


  In fact, I tried her recipe a couple days ago, but it was a failure because it was burst on the bottom.I think that was under-prooved. It was very tasty and it was chewyer than this baguette above. it was also cruncher, too. I really thank Txfarmer who sharing the best baguette's recipe I ever tasted. 


 Last night when I made the mistake, I made another batch of the baguette.  I hope that it will be successful tomorrow...

---Next day---

The result was good.  But it was still underprooved. I should have let it rise for the final fermentation.

And, I set up another one last night to use my mistake version.  I took 4 hours for bulk fermentation and 3 hours for final fermentation. I let it rise double in bulk in the test dough. I usually bake when it is 1.5 times in bulk.  I enjoyed to make these baguettes.   Thank you so much, txfarmer.  She is an amazing baker.



-----Our family's favorite bagels------------

When I have a lot of starter that is keeper in a refrigerator, I make Susan's bagels .


I will try the other Susan's bagels soon.


This is the bagels that I used 100% white wild yeast by Sourdolady.


My daughter who is 4 years old made a special one. She call it " A human bagel" One of my friend said " It looks like a frog!"


The bagels are that I used 100% rye sourdough culture by Hamelman.

I think they are softer than the other one. But I like them too.

They are made by my daughter again. From right on the top, a car, a regular bagel, and a christmas tree.   I like to make bread with my daughter who makes me laugh while making.


Thank you, Susan!

Happy baking,





copyu's picture

Hi everyone,

This is my first 'blog' and I'm so nervous...I want to include a spread-sheet in my post, but I haven't got a clue how to do that! Here we go!


Copyu's Xmas Cake Estimator
Ingredients 15cm round   6" round 17cm round    15cm square 22cm round    19cm square 25cm round   23cm square 28cm round 30cm round       28cm square
Raisins 125g/4.5oz 160g 250g 375g 500g 625g
Sultana raisins 375g/13oz 560g 750g 1kg 1.125kg 1.75kg
Dried currants 60g/2oz 90g 125g 185g 250g 315g
Mixed peel 60g/2oz 90g  125g 185g 250g 315g
Glacé cherries 60g/2oz 90g  125g 185g 250g 315g
Marmalade 1 Tblsp 1½ Tblsp 2 Tblsp 3 Tblsp 4 Tblsp 5 Tblsp
Brandy (Rum OK, too) 50ml/1.7floz 65ml 100ml 150ml 200ml 250ml
Options: replace some of the raisins with chopped dates, apricots, dried cranberries or blueberries, fruits preserved in rum, etc. Angelica can replace some of the cherries, if you like the taste 
Butter 125g/4.5oz 160g 250g 375g 500g 625g
Brown sugar* 100g/3.5oz 130g 200g 300g 400g 500g
Plain flour (APF) 120g/4oz 180g 240g 360g 480g 600g
Mixed spice ½ teasp ¾ teasp 1 teasp 1½ teasp 2 teasp 2½ teasp
Orange/lemon zest 1 teasp 1½ teasp 2 teasp 2 teasp 1 Tblsp 1 Tblsp
Eggs 2 3 4 6 8 10
Bake time (hours) 02:30 2: 30 to 3:30 3 to 3:30 4 hours 5 to 5:30  6 to 6:30
*NB: there are many types of 'brown sugar', so feel free to vary up/down by 20-25% according to taste

Oh, my gosh! It worked!

Above is the basic formula that I've used for many years...TOO many years! If you're interested in 'rich fruit cakes', [aka "wedding cakes" and "Xmas cakes" in the British Commonwealth] then this is must-read for you. If you've never made one of these rich, boozy, dense cakes before, then have a go and relax...there's nothing here to intimidate anyone over the age of 10. Everything here is very flexible, unlike the 'persnicketiness' of a lot of bread-baking and pastry-making, where everything has to be 'just-so'. Don't have an ingredient? Then substitute, within reason. Can't buy that stuff where you live? Then make your own, right at home! Don't have time today? Then do the next bit tomorrow! It's October, now, so it's not too early to be planning one or more of these scrummy items. Xmas cakes are traditionally made a month or two before eating, anyway...Once baked and cooled, they were usually coated with a thick icing and stored in air-tight 'cake tins' for a month or two. [In the 21st century, that means wrapped in aluminium foil and kept in an air-tight plastic container.] The un-iced cakes can also be stored for many weeks. People often pierce the cakes with a skewer and drizzle a little brandy on them once or twice a week before re-wrapping them in their foil 'cocoons'

Last year, I made this 'recipe' at least 6 times, but no two batches were the same. They were all good, but I will go into the gory details of my odd failures, as well, with some comments on what NOT to do. For non-metric bakers, I've estimated the ounce equivalents from the metric weights, but only for the 15cm (six-inch) ROUND cake form. If you want to make this cake in an 8"-9" round form, then you just need to double the ingredients of the 6" recipe. For the others, eg, square forms, you might need a metric tape measure or a calculator, or just look at the beautiful 'ratios', say, of the flour or the sugar and do things 'by feel'. If the sugar is 3 or 4 times higher than the first column, then the other weighed ingredients will be 3 or 4 times higher as well. What could be easier? It's not really difficult at all, with the spread-sheet to help you. Additionally, the cake form sizes are just a 'guide-line', so be flexible and use what you have on hand


Before baking time, your cake pans should be lined with one or two layers of brown paper and then some baking parchment (/wax-paper/silicone paper) that comes about 5cm (2") above the edges of the pans. Your oven should be set to a fairly 'slow' seting...150°C/300°F (or 20°C/50°F lower for fan-forced ovens)

The night before baking, decide on your dried fruit contents and chop coarsely, where necessary. Place into a large glass bowl and add the marmalade and brandy (or rum). Mix thoroughly with a spoon and add another little splash of the booze, if you like; cover with cling-film and refrigerate until it's time to make the batter. An hour or three would be enough, but I like to steep the fruit for a long time—12 hours or more. It's completely up to you, however! I've left my fruits for 24 hours with no damage

At your chosen time, beat the butter, sugar and citrus 'zest' together (with an electric mixer, if you have one) until they're just barely combined; add eggs, one at a time, and mix until just barely combined; then add this butter mixture to the steeped fruits and mix by hand, with a spoon, for a couple of minutes. Add sifted flour and spice to the contents of the bowl and mix again, by hand. Your batter is done

Push spoonsful of the batter right into the bottom edges of the cake-forms and then spread the rest of the batter evenly into the pans. Tap the cake-forms several times on a chopping-board or the counter, to 'settle' the ingredients. (If you're fussy, you can flatten the top of the batter with a wet spatula.) Bake for the times recommended in the spreadsheet. To test for 'done-ness', push a paring/fruit knife right into the centre of the cake to the bottom and remove it, slowly. If the knife is clean, it's done. If it has uncooked batter on it, return it to the oven for 15 minutes longer and test again

To cool the cakes, snip the paper level with the tops of the cakes, invert them onto a cooling rack covered with foil and wrap the whole thing in the foil, leaving the forms in place for about 20-30 minutes before trying to extract the cakes from the forms. This technique is used when you want to ice, or otherwise decorate the cakes...the cooling in foil makes a nice, flat surface to work from. [The 'bottom' of the cake becomes the 'top' that is destined for the decoration.] Otherwise, you can just flip them back over and dust the tops with some decorative icing sugar and add some holly leaves, or whatever you fancy 

Notes on ingredients:

'Raisins' means red California raisins, but can be any type you have available. I found 'Jewellery' raisins today, which are a golden colour...'green' raisins are quite cheap here in Japan. 'Sultanas' are just raisins made from seedless grapes and are fairly cheap, flovoursome, lighter in colour and somewhat juicier than other types. You can play with the different amounts of each, as long as you stick 'roughly' to the weights. I would encourage you to replace some of the raisins with other dried fruits and berries

'Citrus Zest' is best prepared fresh, with a micro-plane or another type of cheese grater. For best taste, I make mine with the rind of half an orange and the rind of one whole lemon

'Mixed Peel' is a standard supermarket item in Australia, NZ and the UK. If you can't find it, mix your own from any dried, candied or other preserved citrus peel. It may need chopping, if you buy the whole, dried type

'Mixed Spice' is another British item that may not be popular in some's a combination of the 'sweet' ground spices that you can find in any grocery—allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, <also mace, cardamom, coriander seed>...a half-teaspoon of each of the first five, shaken together, would make a very nice 'mixed spice' for this recipe. You can google for traditional mixes (and there are dozens!) with very minor variations

"As nutty as a fruit-cake" is a good old English expression. You can add nuts to this recipe as an option, without substitution for other dry ingredients...almonds, whole, blanched or slivered; walnuts; pecans; and cashews would be the top choices. You can add them to the 'boozy fruits' or leave them until making the batter...30g/1oz wouldn't affect anything in this recipe. Chopping is optional, as well...

'Icing' usually means 'marzipan' or 'royal icing'. These make an almost impenetrable barrier to air, preventing the cakes from going moldy. There are various ways to make an icing for a Xmas cake, but these are almost 'canonical' and any recipe you find through google will work. Completely optional, however...

I need to get some 'shut-eye' post, I'll give some weird mixtures that I tried last year with commentary...I don't think there are any pics available. They will come after this year's bake.

Best to all,







wassisname's picture

 Here's something that doesn't work...

Another attempt at WWSD without a bulk ferment.  It went less well this time.  I had to get these ideas out of my head, and now that that's done I can go back to methods with better odds. 

The formula follows, but I do not recommend it.  It is just there for the record.  And don't be fooled by the photos, they make it look better than it was.  I did eat it, the flavor was good, but the texture was marginal at best.  Really hard crust, really dense, slightly gummy crumb.  After a couple days on the counter all but the biggest holes in the crumb closed-up tight.  It went well with soup after a good toasting, but that was about it. 

STARTER:  288g WW bread flour, 216g water, 58g starter, ¼ tsp salt.  Refrigerated for the first 10 hrs then room temp for the next 10 hrs.

SOAKER:  175g WW flour, 25g whole rye flour, ½ tsp salt.  Room temp for 20 hrs.

FINAL DOUGH:  All of starter and soaker, 25g WW bread flour, 19g water, ¾ tsp salt.  Kneaded 5 min, rest 5 min, shaped.  Proofed 2 ¼ hrs.  Baked 475F w/ steam for 8 min, baked 425F about 40 min.

I'm not even going to get into the "why" of any of this.  Let's just say it seemed like a good idea at the time.  I could actually feel the dough breaking down, which was interesting.  It started to feel almost like a high% rye dough after just a few minutes of kneading even though there was hardly any rye in it.  Nothing makes me appreciate good bread like bad bread.


hmcinorganic's picture

Not sure that this is going to last long enough to make sandwiches out of...... its good.

I followed the 123 recipe here.

mixed 9-10 oz starter, 18 oz bread flour, 9 oz regular flour, 18 oz water and 1 Tbsp salt (remembered to add salt this time!)

did 2 stretch and folds, retarded in fridge overnight.  Did one more stretch and fold, shaped, and put in loaf pans.  Let sit in fridge for 8-10 hours.  Let it warm up to room temp for about 60 minutes while oven preheated;  put it in even though it was still cold.  I was worried it wouldn't rise much, but it seemed to do ok.  Cooked at 500 for 10 minutes and 425 for 30-35 more.  

Crust is nice and chewy, and check out the crumb!

I had a piece with butter for breakfast.  Yummo.  I doubt it will last the day :)

Franko's picture


Last week my wife Marie asked me if I could make her a loaf of Spelt bread without using any regular wheat flour in it since she has problems digesting typical wheat based breads. Up till now she's been buying a spelt bread available at our local supermarket that's one of those flash frozen par-baked things that have become so common in supermarket bakeries these days. Not being a bread purist, she been quite happy with it despite my looks askance, but I wonder if maybe some of the things I've been learning from TFL and discussing with her might have rubbed off. At any rate I've been wanting to make a bread for her that she could enjoy, and happy she asked me since spelt is a grain I've never used previously and was interested to try it out.

Richard Bertinet's new book 'Crust' has a recipe for a pure spelt bread in it which I showed to Marie, and she thought it sounded fine, but asked if I could include some nuts and/or seeds, maybe some oatmeal as well for a little variety. I think if she hadn't asked me first I would have suggested it, as the recipe seemed a little plain for our tastes. I picked up a bag of 100% whole grain spelt flour from our local health food/organic grocery that's milled by Nunweiler's Flour Co out of Saskatchewan, and a certified organic mill. They have a line of various whole grain flours including, dark rye, buckwheat, as well as whole wheat and AP. Link included below for anyone interested, although I doubt you would be able to find it outside of Canada.


Bertinet's formula is pretty straightforward other than using a poolish of spelt flour, which I made up the night before, as well as an oatmeal soaker to be included in the final mix. Next morning I toasted some sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a 380F oven for about 8 minutes, and let them cool before proceeding with the mix. I thought I might have to increase the flour ratio somewhat because of the extra water I included to the formula from the oatmeal soaker but the oatmeal absorbed almost all the water, contributing little to the overall mix, with just the water called for in the recipe being added. The dough had a bulk ferment of an hour, followed by a light rounding and a 15 minute rest, then shaped and placed in a floured brotform. The rise took just under an hour, which after having made long rising levain style breads for the last few bakes kind of took me by surprise. I think it made a good loaf, but more importantly Marie really likes it, saying it has so much more flavour and texture than the stuff she was buying from the store, which I told her was a result of having used a preferment in the mix. The technical details aside, it seems I'll be making this bread on a regular basis from here on, the only change being to increase the percentage of seeds by double or more. Recipe and photos below.

Note: the recipe below has been edited from the originaly posted formula due to some errors and miscalculations recently brought to my attention. My apologies for any confusion this may have caused anyone.


Richard Bertinet's Spelt Bread-adapted and halved







Spelt flour






Instant yeast






Oatmeal Soaker






Warm Water






Final Dough



Spelt Flour



Mixed toasted sesame, sunflower,and pumpkin seeds






Oatmeal Soaker









Instant Yeast



Total Weight




Mix Poolish ingredients together and rest overnight in the fridge.


Combine poolish with remaining ingredients and mix on 1st speed for 3-4 minutes. Mix on 2nd for 2 minutes then knead on counter for 2-3 minutes, or just until the dough is smooth and uniform. Put the dough in a lightly floured bowl , cover, and let rest/bulk ferment for 1hr. Dough temp 71F-74F .


After the dough has rested for an hour , remove from the bowl and round it lightly and let rest for 15 minutes, then shape as desired. Preheat oven and stone to 500F .


**Note: this dough rises very quickly and should be monitored very closely during the final rise. It is easily overproofed. The times and temperatures listed below are based on my kitchen environment at the time and my oven. Adjust accordingly to your own situation at the time of final proof and baking.

Let dough rise approx. 30-40 minutes. then slide the loaf onto your hot stone, with normal steam and bake for 10 min. Turn the heat down to 440 for 25-30 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped . Cool on wire racks for 6 hours or more.




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