The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


probably34's picture

I've just started experimenting with sourdough. I have an active rye starter and wheat starter. anyone have any really good formulas?

sourdoughboy's picture

I saw a recipe for Bath Buns--a traditional sweet, glazed bun from Bath, England--in Richard Bertinet's "Crust." The buns looked rather like the baked char siu bao of dim sum, so I thought I'd tart up the traditional dim sum dish with a higher-end bun. 

The result was eerily reminiscent of the dim sum dish--I'm now thinking that the dim sum dish is likely a descendant of the Bath Bun (by way of the British in Hong Kong). Any food historians out there? According to Google, I'm the first to advance this poorly supported theory. Anyhow, onto the baking...


The results:




Bath Bun recipe adapted from Bertinet's "Crust" (I only had soy milk on hand, and no fresh yeast, so I fiddled a bit)



125g bread flour

125g water

2 g active dry yeast



4g active dry yeast

375g bread flour

113g butter (1 stick0

75g sugar

150g unsweetened soy milk

2 eggs

7g salt



150 g soy milk

75 g sugar


Night before:

1. Mix preferment together. Let rest for 90 minutes.

2. Mix preferment + dough list. Knead until smooth (it's soft and sticky, I used this technique.) Fold/tuck dough, rest in greased bowl for 1 hour.

3. Make filling (below). 

4. Press out dough, tuck into ball. Place in greased bowl, Cover. Refrigerate


Morning of:

1. Divide dough into 12 parts (approx 75 g). 

2. Press out dough on lightly floured surface. Put 1 heaping teaspoon in center. 

3. Place in palm of hand. Pinch together into ball (4 pinches should do the trick: 1. Pinch top to bottom. 2. Pinch left to right. 3. Pinch top left to bottom right. 4. pinch top right to bottom left.)

4. Place seam-side down onto parchment lined baking sheet.

5. Cover, proof till doubled in size (2 hours).

6. Preheat oven to 375.

7. Make glaze: dissolve sugar in soy milk on stove top.

8. Glaze buns. Put in oven for around 20 minutes, till they look scrumptious.

9. Glaze buns again while warm. I'm generous with the glaze--the bun should be sticky.


The filling:

1/2 lb boneless pork country-style rib

3 tb hoisin sauce

1 tb ketchup

2 tb water

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon five spice powder


1. Slice pork into 1/2 inch strips.

2. Marinade in 1/2 of the marinade for an hour.

3. Roast for 15 minutes at 350, glaze with remaining marinade, and finish for 5 minutes under broiler.

4. Cool in fridge overnight.

foodslut's picture

Retaurants have house wines - the reasonably decent go-to when you can't make up your mind - so why can't I have a "house bread" as a fall-back standard when I can't figure out what else to make?

I'm trying (so far unsuccessfully) to get onto the sourdough/levain train, but my strength so far seems to be straight dough formulas.  Nonetheless, I wanted a bit of pre-ferment action, so I've adopted a dual-use strategy with one of my previous fads.

I love the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes" concept, and I've baked  some very decent (for the technique) bread from it.  I've outgrown the concept (even though I heartily endorse it for people who are afraid to bake their own bread because it seems so finicky), I got into the habit of keeping a batch in the fridge.  Well, since it's a 70% hydration dough, with salt, proofed and gluten developed, I now use it as a pâte fermentée (PF) pre-ferment to help boost the flavour of other loaves I do.

I have a range of flours around the house, so I thought I'd throw together some of what I like together:  1/2 all purpose (I use Robin Hood unbleached, but better flour=better results), 1/4 locally grown and stone ground whole wheat, and 1/4 locally grown/stoneground dark rye

I mixed some seed and other crunchies (flax, sunflower, millet, cracked rye and cracked wheat) to give the bread a bit of character.  LESSON LEARNED:  I throw them dry into the mix because when I tried soaking the seeds (cold water, overnight in fridge), it made the dough WAY wetter than I was happy with.

My straight doughs tend to be around 70% hydration.  Because the pre-ferment is a 70% PF, I thought I'd keep the math dead simple with my straight doughs, so that's what I settled for.

The resulting formula for 2 x 750g/24oz loaves is here (PDF).  I "melt" the pâte fermentée in the water and use a kitchen stick blender to blend it even more before adding it to the dry ingredients to make it an easier, more uniform mix.  Autolyse for about 10 minutes, knead until smooth, and ferment for about 60 minutes at room temperature (sometimes, when I ferment it overnight in the fridge, I cut the instant yeast by 1/2).  Next, shape and bench proof for another 60 minutes.  After the slash, into a 500F oven (sprayed with the ketchup bottle full of water for steam) for 5 minutes, followed by 40 minutes at 400F.  The loaves should be around 200F internal temperature when done.

The results:


I like the crumb, and it's a nice, wheaty taste.  I may fine tune it a bit, but I love this as an easy-to-do everyday bread.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I got to playing with pepper jelly. 

Ingredients:  gelatin, sugar, one orange habanero, assorted sweet garden peppers, one garlic clove, water, and one glass 250ml.   Method: slice everything colorful and thin and mix with sugar, gelatin and a little water to let all the vegetables shrink and curl up for about 6-10 hours.  Amazing how they do that!  Bring to a light boil until passing the gel test on a cold plate.  (about 10-15 minutes)  Pour into hot sterilized jar and cap, let cool. 

The color of the jelly is not as dark as this picture, it barely has color at all, a light clear hint of orange with red, green, yellow and orange squiggles.



hansjoakim's picture

As days grow shorter and colder, I tend to opt for more wholesome breads in my baking. This week, I've enjoyed a wonderful rye loaf, studded with seeds and heavy on flavour. The dough for this bread is wet, and the baked loaf keeps well and improves as days go by. Here's a copy of my formula. Please note that proofing time will vary according to your starter activity and your final dough temperature.

Try to fill your loaf pan about 2/3 - 3/4 the way up: About 1100 gr. dough should be ideal for a 1L loaf pan. Here's what I'm looking at after a 1hr 45mins proof, seconds before the pan is placed into the oven:

Proofed Schrotbrot


Give it a bold bake, and wait at least 24hrs before slicing into it:



Apples are great for dessert this time of the year, so this weekend I prepared some apple tarts. The apple tarts are similar to the hazelnut tarts I blogged about some time ago, with the addition of poached apples. Key ingredients below: Poached apples (left) and hazelnut frangipane (right):

Swedish Apple Tart


Although the frangipane is a thick filling, I recommend blind-baking your tart shell to ensure that it stays crisp. Below are my blind-baked shells, filled with frangipane and apples, just before baking:

Swedish Apple Tart

... and the finished tarts:

Swedish Apple Tart


A simpe and delicious autumn treat: Yum!!

Swedish Apple Tart

dmsnyder's picture


I can't believe six months have gone by since I made Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grains. (See Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain, from Hamelman's "Bread") I liked it so much the first time, I promised myself I would bake it again soon to see if was consistently so good. So, I forgot about it. I'll blame the NY Baker's test baking pre-occupation of the Summer.

A few days ago, I was thumbing through “Bread,” deciding what to bake this weekend, when I re-discovered this formula. A happy moment.

My second bake of the Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain confirmed the wonderfulness of this bread and my personal preference for it over the basic Vermont Sourdough.




Bread flour

1 lb 11.2 oz.


Whole Rye

4.8 oz



1 lb 4.8oz



.6 oz



3 lbs 5.4 oz






Bread flour

6.4 oz



8 oz


Mature culture (liquid)

1.3 oz



15.7 oz.




Bread flour

1lb 8 oz

Whole Rye

4.8 oz


12.8 oz

Liquid levain

14.4 oz

(all less 3 T)


.6 oz


3 lbs 5.4 oz



  1. The night before mixing the final dough, feed the liquid levain as above. Ferment at room temperature overnight.

  2. Mix the final dough. Place all ingredients except the salt in the bowl and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover the bowl and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix using the paddle of a stand mixer for 2 minutes at Speed 1. Add small amounts of water or flour as needed to achieve a medium consistency dough.

  5. Switch to the dough hook and mix at Speed 2 for 6-8 minutes. There should be a coarse window pane.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and ferment for 2.5 hours with one stretch and fold at 1.25 hours.

  7. Divide the dough into two equal parts and form into rounds. Place seam side up on the board.

  8. Cover with plastic and allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes.

  9. Form into boules or bâtards and place in bannetons or en couch. Cover well with plasti-crap or place in food safe plastic bags.

  10. Refrigerate for 12-18 hours.

  11. The next day, remove the loaves from the refrigerator.

  12. Pre-heat the oven at 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  13. After 45-60 minutes, pre-steam the oven. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them.

  14. Load the loaves onto the stone and pour ½ cup boiling water into the steaming apparatus. Turn the oven down to 460ºF.

  15. After 15 minutes, if you have a convection oven, turn it to convection bake at 435ºF. If you don't, leave the oven at 460ºF. Bake for another 25 minutes.

  16. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack.

  17. Cool completely before slicing.

I got the same crackled, crunchy crust and moist, chewy crumb as I did the first time. The flavor was more assertively sour than I remember, which is fine with me. The overall flavor was delicious. The sourness did not detract from the lovely complex wheat-rye flavor that is my favorite.

This is indeed a wonderful bread, and I promise to not let so much time go by between bakes again! I heartily recommend it to those seeking a “more sour sourdough.”


Submitted to YeastSpotting


GSnyde's picture

Today was my best baking day yet, and not just because it was a gorgeous day on the Mendocino Coast. It was a sweet and sourdough day.  Last night the San Joaquin Sourdough dough was mixed, stretched, folded, grown to 150% size, and refrigerated.

This morning, I complied with a spousal edict: Make Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread! One is well advised to comply with such insistence from The Loved One. Using the BBA recipe, and hoping it came out somewhere near as good as Brother David’s, I found the recipe to be simple and satisfying. I admit, I hadn’t eaten anything but an apple all day when the C-R-W Bread was cut at 12:30, but it was about the best bread I ever had (ok...I was really hungry). Just a bit sweet, great moist texture. totally delicious. And kinda pretty.



The two loaves were baked in different types of pans. The bigger poofier one was in Pyrex, the other in a non-stick metal pan. The two loaves were exactly the same weight and formed the same way. Interesting difference. The first loaf is half gone. The second went into the freezer for next time.

By 2 p.m., it was time to pre-shape the SJ SD. After my last (repeated) batard-shaping mistakes, I used the technique in Floyd’s video (, and the batards came out more or less the right shape. Not so symmetrical as to make me feel like perfection was anywhere in reach, but generally ok.


The real question this weekend was whether my recurrent lack of oven spring and grigne and the blond bottoms my loaves usually had were due to a bad stone in our San Francisco house.   Our some-day-retirement house up the coast has a newer and better oven and a pizza stone that David ordered for us from NY Bakers. The answer is Yes! The SJ SD got nice spring and by far the best grigne I’ve achieved yet. And the bottoms are toasty brown. As you see, one was scored a lot better than the other.



I guess I’m going to have to retire the SF stone and get another from NY Bakers.

Crispy crust, moist chewy crumb with good hole structure. Totally delicious. You can see this dough would make great baguettes. Maybe next time.


The SJ SD was great for BLTs (another spousal edict…don’t you just hate that?!) . She calls BLTs the perfect food. And who can argue. You got the most delectable form of carbohydrates, Bacon (“The Candy of Meats”) and lots of Vitamin Red.


I might some day find a sourdough formula I like more than this, but I’m not in a hurry to start looking.

Happy Baking!


Truffles's picture

I have usually followed the instructions to oil the bowl lightly very poorly. Having had some dough stick to the container a long time ago I would pour oil into the bowl and spread it around with a paper towel. A number of the breads I tried would flatten out or at least no trise the way it seemed they should. So when I tried to make the bread in question I first of all made the mistake of grabbing the High Gluten container instead of the high extraction flour. When I turned out the dough from the brotforms (I doubled the recipe) the loaves out but did rise in the oven although not as they should. So this time I went to TFL and asked about flattening and in among the various suggestions someone mentioned that they used very little oil ar none at all. I thought this would make a change in the shaping and maybe also help the flattening. This time I used high extraction flour, put a little oil on the paper towel and rubbed it around the bowl. I had also been unhappy with the browning of the loaves so I set the oven at 550 instead of 500 and lowered it to 460 after the first 25 minutes instead of right after the first steam. The loaves came out with nice lift and color but the insid e was a little dense but made great pannini sandwiches So I decided to try bread flour instead of high extraction in the soaker but with the whole wheat mother starter and whole wheat in the final dough. I was happy with the bread although I probably could have left the bread in the oven for more color. The scoring was not as nice eitherI think I will try using some rye flour maybe try to do the loaves with 40 % rye soaker.   Herb

foodslut's picture

I've tried Bertinet's beer poolish bread in the past (also seen here), so I thought I'd try a bit of a variation on the theme - adding just a bit more non-white flour.

Here's the formula I ended up developing:

  • AP flour                85
  • WW flour                  5
  • Dark rye flour          5
  • Whole spelt flour     5
  • Water                    54
  • Beer                      14
  • Salt                        1
  • Instant yeast        0.5

Based on that formula, I calculated these figures (PDF) for 3 x 750g/24oz loaves of bread.  Here's the beer I used for the poolish, a darkish Alexander Keith's Red Amber Ale:

I prepared the poolish and let it develop at room temperature for 11 hours overnight, then mixed it with the rest of the ingredients and let it all ferment for about 90 minutes (it was about doubled in volume).  Shaped the loaves, let them proof another 90 minutes, slash, then into the oven - 500F with steam (ketchup bottle water squirt X 2 to the oven walls) for 5 minutes, then down to 400F for another 40 minutes.  Loaves came out with an internal temperature of between 200F and 205F.

Here's the results:

Nice grain flavour, with only the very slightest hint of beer taste.  Nicer crumb than I've had in similar breads I've done.  I'm planning on trying this toasted on a grill with raw garlic rubbed on it, followed by some olive oil and salt, with home-made pasta tonight.

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Sorry for the late update of this post...  This is my attempt at a no knead ciabatta a la Jim Lahey.  It's basically his same ciabatta recipe at 87.5% hydration but with a little more salt, and some improvisations with technique.  I am very happy with my result except that I should have squished them down with my fingertips during the initial stages of the final proof to prevent the cavern that you will see in one of the crumbshots.  This result though is the most aerated crumb that I have ever gotten...  Ever...  I got a 28% water loss after bake...


400g AP

350g Water

10g Kosher Salt

1g ADY

761g Total



11:07pm - Mix all ingredients in bowl, cover.

11:54pm - Stir again, cover.  Go to bed...


8:15am - Dump dough out onto well floured surface, turn dough, place onto well floured iinen couche, cover and let rest.

8:40am - With a bench knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise, flour more, pull up couche to separate the two loaves, cover and let proof for 1 hr.  Arrange baking stones in oven along with steam pan.  Fill pan with water and lava rocks, Preheat oven to 500F with convection.

9:40am - Turn off convection.  Turn loaves carefully onto floured peel and place them into the oven directly on the stone.  When last loaf is in, pour 1 cup water into steam pan, close door.  Bake for 10 minutes at 450F, no convection.

9:50am - Take out steam pan, close door, bake for another 30 minutes, rotating loaves half way through bake.  Loaves are done when the internal temp reaches 210F, and are about 15% lighter than their pre baked weight...

Note: Here is my kitchen set-up.  I have a gas/convection oven, which vents out.  In NYC, we don't have exhaust systems that exhaust to the outside.  Instead, they exhaust into your face...  Fortunately my stove/oven is near the window.  I have a big fan that I point towards the outside.  When I start preheating the oven, I turn the fan on full blast...

10:10am - Let loaves cool before cutting...  At least 1 hour or so...  Notice the crackly crust, and the slug like shape...

Here are a bunch of crumbshots...

Oops!  That hole is big enough to put a sausage into...

Playing with bread...

Notice the crispy crackly crust...  This was so messy...  But really yummy...

Some more parting crumbshots...  Enjoy!



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