The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

vienna bread

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

It seems that all that was required was to step back, breath deep, and allow time to create a little distance.  As I started to bake this again my wife asked "So, what are you baking?".  After I answered she asked "So, what are you going to do different?".  I said "I'm going to bake this like I never saw it before and see what happens."  She just smiled and left me to it.

I approached this bake as if there were nothing different about it, and (almost) as if I had never made it before.  The only intentional deviation I made from the recipe as printed was to reduce the yeast by 1/3, as I always do these days when a recipe calls for IDY.  Some day I must do a test bake with bottled water because something around here makes IDY go crazy!

The dough developed fully in only 11 minutes in my old Bosch.

Shaped, panned and proofed.  I was as careful as I could be with the shaping on these, and got a pretty good result for each.  The pan on the left is a shiny one, and the one on the right is a non-stick dark one.  I brushed both with my usual home-made pan release.

I kept the top tiles out of the oven for this bake (and he nods at the commitment to forget previous bakes) and I kept the middle rack where these loaves baked just above the level of the lower tiles (and he nods again).  After baking it was clear that I should have proofed them a few minutes longer.  Both ruptured along one top edge, and there was no seam there on either loaf.  Both the bottoms are nice and brown, and there is a slightly darker tone on the nearer/dark-pan loaf in the following shot.


The crumb is more open than that described in the book, but it is nice and tender, and there is no evidence of doughy crushed layers on the side verticals.  There is also no pronounced hourglass shape evident.

There was another, unintentional, deviation from the published recipe.  I forgot to turn the oven down from the preheat of 375F to 350F when I loaded the loaves, so these baked a little hotter for a while, until I finally remembered it.  I'll find out one day if that contributed to the openness of the crumb.

It is finished.  It is not perfect.  It tastes wonderful, and I'm thinking, maybe, french toast for breakfast.  And on to other things. 

Thanks for stopping by.

pmccool's picture

OldWoodenSpoon has been chronicling his adventures and misadventures of baking the Vienna bread from the Inside the Jewish Bakery book.  Partly out of sympathy and partly out of curiosity, I decided to bake the same bread this weekend to see what would happen.

In a word (or three), not very much.

Things to note:

- I'm using a no-name AP flour

- The yeast was Fleischmann's IDY from a new package.

- Since I had no malt on hand, honey was subbed for the malt in equal amount.

- Ambient temps in the kitchen Saturday started out in the mid-60's and got all the way up to about 71 or 72F, so fermentation times were perhaps 50% longer than those noted in the book.

- The bread was baked in the specified 8.5 x 4.5 pans (in this instance, some cheap steel pans with a bright tinned finish, very lightweight).

- No egg wash was applied.

- As directed, the bread was baked in the center level of a 350F oven after the fermenting dough had just crested above the brim of the pans.  There were no stones, steam pans or other appurtenances in the oven.

The resulting bread was...ordinary.  So ordinary, in fact, that I haven't bothered to take a picture.  The slash bloomed nicely with the modest oven spring, the crust color is a light golden (I'd prefer it to be darker), the crumb structure is very even, maybe 3/4 of the mass is below the rim of the pan and the other 1/4 is above the rim, there are no gummy/compressed/underbaked zones in the loaves, and they stand upright without external support.  In other words, about what one would expect to see in a typical loaf of white bread.

From what I read in OWS' accounts and from what I see in my bake, I would opine that the biggest differences are in the use or non-use of malt and in the oven setup.  Which is the biggest factor, I can't guess, but I am confident that the two are combining to make OWS' experience so thoroughly frustrating.  It would have been nice if I had had some non-diastatic malt on hand just to see if the bread had responded differently.  However, since I used no malt of any kind in this bake, it suggests that the at-least-partially-diastatic malt used by OWS may have had a negative effect on dough structure by converting an excessive amount of starch to sugar and may have led to hyperactive yeast growth for exactly the same reason.  I'm less clear about how the presence of both upper and lower baking stones in OWS' oven might have influenced the outcome, especially since I have previously plunked bread tins down on a baking stone with no noticeable ill effects.  Based on OWS' experience, it appears that the presence or absence of the stones does have an effect, as does the location of the pans in the oven.

For what it is worth, that's my report from the field.  I hope it provides some useful information for OldWoodenSpoon and others who are working with this bread.


ehanner's picture

When I saw the strong proofing OWS was getting from his attempts at baking the Vienna Bread from Inside the Jewish Bakery.  I baked this as a tester a long time ago but this is the now released version so I thought I’d give it a whirl. It's a fast rising enriched dough that just takes a few hours to complete.

The first thing I noticed is that the volume amounts an gram measurements don’t line up just right for me. The flour I scoop and level weighs 135g per cup. The recipe calls for 4-1/3 Cups. In my kitchen that would be 584 grams where the gram number is 620g. The oil is 2 T at 3.0 grams. I measured over 3 T of oil to be 30 grams. I didn’t go down item by item to see how they all worked out, I figured these are really Norms recipes and he would have kept notes in percents, Cups and pounds/ounces. I chose to use the gram weights and ignore everything else.

Another variable I had to make a decision on was the dough temperature. The recipe calls for warm water. I figured if the water was 82F the dough would come out near 78F after adding a cold egg and the other room temperature ingredients. That worked out perfectly. My dough temp was 77F.

My standard bread flour is Gold Medal, Better For Bread in the bright yellow bag. I think it’s right around 12% protein. The recipe calls for bread flour so my BFB should be OK.

One other thing that caught my attention was the use of malt and sugar. I only added 1 heaping teaspoon of dry malt powder where as the recipe calls for 2 T of dry or liquid malt or 20 grams. 2 T seems like a lot for under 4 cups of flour.

I used my Kitchen Aid mixer for this 2.3 Lb batch. It took 10 full minutes to reach a semi smooth consistency and a decent window pane window.  I think I could of continued a little longer and fully developed the dough in retrospect. After removing the dough and manually kneading it for a minute or so, I shaped it in a ball and returned it to the mixer bowl and put it in the proofer, set at 78F. The dough was at 78F and after the rise it was still just where I wanted it, 78F. It took just 1 hour to double as you can see. I divided and shaped it into 2-534g logs. The recipe calls for 510 g pieces but this is what the recipe gave me. I don’t think the additional 24 grams will cause any serious over flowing of the dough. But considering what OWS has been seeing, it’s worth considering.

I egg washed after slashing and baked for what turned out to be 30 minutes at 350F to get an internal of 205F. I’m a little surprised the top tore open so much but It looks nice. The crumb is soft and tight grained as would be expected. The crust has a little bit of crunch where the egg wash came in contact with the sides of the pan. Sugar is caramelized slightly. I followed the directions pretty near right like the recipe called for, except for holding a little malt back. Looks OK to me and tastes great. This would be a great French Toast. Actually I almost made rolls out of half the dough and stuffed them with stewed onions. The girls loved this bread.

NOTE TO OWS: The only thing I am aware of that I did differently than you did is change the flour and held a stable dough temperature so I could judge the oven spring fairly. The spring seemed about right to me. Oh, and the malt may have been lower.


No collapsing here. Just a great enriched dough loaf.

After 8 minutes the dough looks about there. Total mix/kneading was 10 minutes

I would call this the right size pan for 534 grams of dough. 8.5X4.5 inches

Finishing proof at 78F at one hour.

Divided and shaped

Back in the 78F proofer for another hour.

Proofed to just over the top of the pans. Looks good.

Better lighting, proofed.

Egg wash and slash.

They look pretty good to me here.

Not overly expanded. Just right. They didn't collapse after cooling



ehanner's picture

A few days ago, dvuong posted a beautiful image of Vienna bread with a Dutch Crunch topping applied. It was so beautiful I just had to try it for myself. I went straight to my copy of Reinharts BBA and followed the instructions for Vienna Bread and the following add in for the history and suggestions for Dutch Crunch. I learned that there are several variations including corn meal and farina that will work, providing different flavors. I thought I would stick with the white rice flour this time and try to duplicate the results posted by dvuong.

As you can see, I didn't get quite the same degree of cracking but never the less, still quite nice. Since there is yeast in the crunch topping, there are some controls available that I have to tinker with in future bakes.

So for anyone thinking about this bread, go for it. The crunch topping is easy to make up and if you don't have rice flour, try fine cornmeal.


GSnyde's picture



Since the start of my baking adventure (only six months ago), I have been searching for the perfect sandwich roll, one with a thin, crispy crust, a tender crumb so it’s squishable, but dense enough so it holds together with a burger or saucy filling, and airy but not too holey.  I had good success with SylviaH’s excellent bun formula (  

Then, Dvuong posted about Reinhart’s Vienna Bread rolls with Dutch Crunch topping (from BBA) a few days ago (   And I baked them today.  The formula made enough dough for eight potato-shaped rolls of 4.5 oz each.



I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered this formula before!  It’s even in a book I’ve been enjoying baking with.  It’s a tasty white bread with a little egg , a little sugar and a little butter, using a good proportion of pate´ fermenteé.  The texture is just what I’ve been looking for.   The Dutch Crunch topping adds a nice …ummm…crunchiness.

They were perfect for turkey sandwiches.  I also think this formula would be good for dinner rolls or a pan loaf, maybe topped with sesame seeds.

My Number One Taster says I’ll be baking these rolls again.  And  so I know I will.  Pretty soon she’ll have so many favorites I’ll need to stop experimenting with new things.

Thanks--again!!--Professor Reinhart.  And thanks for lead, dvuong!  This is a winner!



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