The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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txfarmer's picture

Laminated Sandwich loaf - best of both worlds

Sending this toYeastspotting.
Click here for my blog index.

After weeks of driving, moving, and settling down, I've finally gotten my new kitchen more or less in order and ready to start baking/bloging again. Loving everything about Seattle so far, the active lifestyle, the urban living environment in downtown, the seafood, the "green" mentality -- I even like the grey weather! It's good for making laminated dough... :P

Now back to bread, this is a very Asian bread, I don't think I have seen anything similar in a western bakery. It's essentially the love child of Danish and Asian Style Soft Sandwich bread, inheriting the best qualities of both parties: nice and crispy on the outside, soft inside, and full of buttery goodness. While still a laminated dough, in order to rise high in the sandwich tin, it differes from croissants(tips here) and traditional danishs in following ways:
1. For croissants and danishs, we usually keep the dough fairly dry to ensure crisp and clean layers. While more kneading would make layers seperate more, resulting in a better crumb, we usually don't knead the dough to fully developement for the ease of rolling out. However, Asian style soft sandwich breads need to be kneaded very well to pass a very thin and strong windowpane test, otherwise the bread volume would suffer, and the texture won't be shreaddably soft (see details here). For this bread, we do knead the dough well (similar to other Asian style soft sandwich breads). In the mean time, the dough is kept pretty wet to have more extensibility, which make it possible to roll out.
2. Since the dough is fairly wet, and shaping procedure is different from traditional croissants, we don't expect as many honeycomb-like holes in the crumb, instead, crumb just need to be fairly even and open. In the mean time, the final dough doesn't need to be rolled out very thin (15mm instead of 4mm for croissants). For those reasons, the amount of roll-in butter is considerably less than croissants.
3. While for this particular batch in the first photo, I did one 4-fold, and two 3-folds, but this bread usually requires less folding than croissants. The most common method is one 4-fold, and one 3-fold, which I tried in another batch with good result.
In summary, since the dough requires less folds, and doesn't need to be rolled out very thin, it's an easier laminated dough than croissants and danishes. However, it does have different challenges: the intensive kneading to full developement, the final shaping which requires concise cutting and weighing, as well as braiding.

Laminated Sandwich Loaf (Adapted from many different sources)
Note: for details and tips on making croissants, please see this post
Note: for tips on kneading soft sandich loaves see this post
Note: this recipe makes about 930g of dough, less or more depending on how much you trim off the edges etc.

starter (100%), 44g
water, 75g
bread flour, 134g

1. mix and leave at room temp for 12 hours.

-final dough
bread flour, 361g
milk, 145g
egg, 77g
sugar, 60g
salt, 10g
instant yeast, 7g
butter, 41g, softened
levain, all
roll-in butter, 245g

1. Mix everything other than butter, knead until gluten starts to form. Add in butter, mix until fully developed. see this post for details.

2. Round, press flat, put in fridge immediately for 2 hours.
3. Make butter block, put in fridge for at least one hour before using.  Take out the dough, roll out, and enclose butter. (see this post for details)
4. Roll out to 20X60CM, fold one 4-fold as in the following pictures. Put in fridge for one hour

5. Roll out again and do one 3-fold, put in fridge for one hour. (see this post for details)
6. Repeat 5. (optional)
7. Roll out dough to 1.5CM-2CM thickness. Length of the dough piece  would depend on the tin you use. Since we are braiding them, you will need the length to be about 2X length of the tin.
8. Cut the dough into thin pieces. This is where experience becomes important. We are braiding 3 pieces into one group, each group need to have a certain weight. Do note that if a tin requires more than one group of dough, each group should weigh the same, otherwise bread would appear uneven at the end. In another word, for each tin, select a weight for each dough group (less for flat top, more for round top),  then stick to that weight for each group of dough.
a) For my bigger Chinese pullman tin (pictured on the left), I need 2 groups, each group has 3 pieces, and each group (all 3 pieces together) weigh 225-250g (225g if cover of the tin is used to make a flat top shape, more if cover is not used to make round top as in the picture).
b) For my small Chinese pullman tin, I only need one group of 3 pieces, each group (all 3 pieces together) weigh 150g (if cover of the tin is used to make top flat).
c) For 8X4 US loaf tin,  I suggest to use 2 groups, each group has 3 pieces, and each group (all 3 pieces together) weigh 250-270g.
d) For KAF 13X4X4 pullman pan, I would suggest to use 4 groups, each group has 3 pieces, and each group (all 3 pieces together) weigh 195-215g.
9. For each group of 3 pieces of dough, braid them. Make sure the cut surface is facing up, to expose the layers. Fold ends under, put into tin.

10. Proof at around 27C until 80-90% full, about 4-5 hours in my case. Egg wash if you are not using the pullman pan cover.

11: Bake at 425F for 10min, lowered to 375F and bake until done. The bigger Chinese tin which took 450g - 500g of dough, needed about 40-45min of TOTAL baking time. The smaller tin which took 150g of dough, needed 30min in total. If colors too much, cover with foil.


If the gluten network is fully developed, the bread should be proud and tall, with clear layers visible.

If the pan cover is used, the dough amount needs to be fairly accurate for the pan, other wise it's each too short (not reaching the top), or bursting out (the cover can literally be blown open). This neat rectangle shape is nicknamed "golden sticks".

The crumb soft but open with honeycomb structor.

In general, I feel it's easier than croissants, since you can fold less and doesn't have to roll out as thin. However, the success does depend on proper kneading and careful piecing and shaping.


Section I: Introduction

There are few things that smell quite as good as a loaf of bread baking in the oven. But there are other benefits beyond just that lovely smell of baking your own bread. It’s cheaper, tastier, and, more often than not, healthier than buying it from the store.

Our goal with this e-book is to help amateur bakers produce the kind of bread that they would most like to pull from their ovens. We hope that it helps you.

mariana's picture

100% sourdough bread from The Taste of Bread by R. Calvel





Formula for bread made with natural levain

(French Pain au Levain)


This formula gives very regular and extremely good results, said Calvel. It includes two successive cultures: a refresher culture and a fermented sponge, and thus is termed ‘work from two leavens’. The volume of refresher should reach at least 3.5 times the beginning volume. Add 5% of light rye flour to the second sponge to improve the taste and keeping quality of bread.


Refreshed Culture

52g starter

67g flour

40g water


Mix at low speed for 10 min until smooth dough stage. Dough temperature should be 77-79F. Proof for 5-6 hours. In my case, this particular batch, tripled in volume in 3 hours and I proceeded to mixing sponge.



160g refresher culture

176g flour

15g light rye flour

115g water


Mix on low speed for 10 min until smooth dough stage. Dough temperature should be 77-79F. Proof for 5-6 hours. It will rise to 3.5 times starting volume. Again, it took only 3 hours this time.


Bread made from a naturally fermented sponge

465g sponge

1900g flour

100 g light rye flour

1280 g water

35 g salt

4 g fresh yeast (occasionally)


Mix wheat flour and water for 5 min on low speed. Autolyze for 30 min. Knead for 6min on low speed, add salt, yeast (if using), rye flour, and sponge and finish mixing for 6 more minutes. Dough temperature will be 77-78F.


Primary fermentation will take 50 min. Take 10 min for division and rounding of loaves, 30 min for bench time and 10 min for molding. Naturally leavened loaves have better oven spring when shaped in round or slightly oblong loaves.


Proof for 4 hours; loaves will increase in volume 3.5 – 4 times. Oven spring is slower with naturally leavened breads, so it is important to get maximum rise before crust formation. These loaves took exactly 4 hours to quadruple in volume before baking.


Bake at 445F for 30-40 minutes.










meedo's picture

khobiz mohala (sweet round bread)



Makes 16.

A traditional bread recipe in Arabic gulf area, bakes in a special tanor build in the ground.

Serve in weddings, special occasions (Eid al adha), or the religion occasions, with coffee and dates.

This recipe is so healthy and full of nutrition.

For the dough:

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour.

1 1/2 cup wheat bran.

1 tablespoon yeast.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

1/4 cup sugar.

1/3 cup date molasses.

A pinch of saffron socked in 2 tablespoon of rose water.

1 cup pitted dates socked in 1 cup of boiling water (let it cool before use it).

3/4 cup water.

In a small bowel mix together:

2 tablespoons boiling water.

2 teaspoons sugar.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

 Toasted sesame seeds.



(date molasses )

1)To make the dough mix the entire ingredient, knead the dough for 10 minutes. Place it in a bowl, cover, let rest for 1 hour.

2)Divide dough into 16 pieces,Shape each into a smooth ball.

3)Flat each to make a flat round square, then brush each with the (sugar and baking soda mixture), make indents with fingertips.

4)sprinkle with sesame seeds, Place on baking sheet, Cover let rise 30 minutes.

5)Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.or until it golden brown.

bwraith's picture

A Hamburger Bun

A Hamburger BunA Hamburger Bun

I just got a new barbecue grill, so hamburgers were in order. As a home bread baker, I've occasionally made homemade hamburger buns, and there is no question that a hamburger is just better with freshly baked buns.

If you've had the same thought, well here's a recipe for a hamburger bun. The recipe uses direct method instant yeast, so it only takes 3-4 hours. The hydration is a little higher than french bread, but still very easy to handle.

A Hamburger Bun

The Dough:

  • AP flour (I used KA AP) 650 grams
  • Water 290 grams
  • milk 200 grams
  • olive oil 30 grams
  • salt 13 grams
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • Mix flour, water, milk together using frisage and a few folds, and let sit for 20 minutes.


Work yeast into the dough, then work salt into the dough, then work olive oil into the dough. This can be done with a mixer or by hand using frisage and a few folds. Then knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes workable, stretchy, and seems like it bounces back when you punch it, or whatever magic you use to tell if the dough is right. Add flour or water if necessary to make the dough elastic and not too stiff, but it shouldn't spread out when placed on a table. Place the dough in a container to rise.

Bulk Fermentation and Folding (about 2.5 hours)

When the dough has risen by about half, which should happen in roughly an hour, turn it out on the counter, spread it out a little, pressing on it gently. Then, pull a side of the dough and gently stretch and then fold it into the center of the dough. Do this for four sides. You will now have approximately a ball of dough again. Turn it over and push the seams created by the folding under it. Place it seams down back in the container. Repeat this again in about another hour when it should be about double the volume of the original dough when you first mixed it. Then, let it rise for another 0.5 hours or so.


Split the dough into ten pieces. I use a scale and break pieces of dough off if necessary. Let the pieces rest for 5 minutes. Take each piece and do the same type of fold as above in the bulk fermentation. You press it down and spread it out gently, and then fold the four sides toward the middle. After folding, turn it over, and make it into a small boule by pushing the sides under and creating some tension on the top surface. Press down on it with your palm again, to seal the seams underneath. Shape all ten buns and place them on a peel or sheet, leaving some room. I had to bake these in two batches in order to have enough room in my oven. Spray them very lightly with oil. Cover them with a towel.

Final Proof

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 450F.

Prepare to Bake

Paint the buns with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Press them down gently with your palm to spread them out a little.


Bake for about 15 minutes at 450F. The internal temperature should be around 207F


Let them cool for a few minutes at least.

JMonkey's picture

Ciabatta Integrale from KAF Whole Grains Baking

For my birthday, my mother bought me the brand-new King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking book. It's well timed. Their first book turned me on to bread baking, but after a few months, I moved toward whole grain breads almost exclusively, and the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion is about 95% white flour recipes. I learned a lot from it, but I wasn't baking much from it. So, suffice to day, I was itching to knead something up out of this book as soon as possible.

 I've made a few of the quickbreads. The Sailor Jack muffins, in particular -- an incredible cake-like concoction with raisins steeped in spices, molasses and brown sugar, along with whole wheat flour and oats, topped with a lemon sugar glaze -- are very, very tasty indeed. But I'd not tried a yeast bread until this weekend.  The first recipe to catch my eye was Ciabatta Integrale, a ciabatta made with half whole wheat flour, olive oil and a bit of powdered milk. I love ciabatta -- nothing is better for a sandwich or simply a bit of oil and balsamic vinegar. But whole grains just don't do ciabatta. Those holes? Forget it. Or so I thought. This recipe isn't 100% whole grains, but it's half, and I'll take it, given the results.  Here's one loaf all sliced up for sandwiches.
   And here's the other loaf, which served as dinner bread with some stuffed acorn squash (stuffed with quinoa, maple syrup, raisins, almonds and cinnamon), fresh corn and a green salad composed of our morning trip to the farmers' market. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are in the gravy boat, natch. 
  I was really impressed with the results, especially since the recipe said it's impossible to mix completely without a stand mixer. I don't own a stand mixer, so here's how I did it, thanks to a little help from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice.  Ingredients  Pre-ferment  1 cup or 4 oz. whole wheat flour 1/2 cup or 4 oz cool water Pinch of instant yeast  Dough  All of the pre-ferment 1 1/4 cups or 5 oz. whole wheat flour 2 1/4 cups or 9.5 oz white bread flour 1 1/4 cups or 10 oz. cool water 1/4 cup or 1.75 oz olive oil 1/4 cup or 1 oz. nonfat dry milk 1.5 tsp salt 1/4 tsp instant yeast  Yes, you read that right. This recipe makes two loaves of ciabatta with less than 3/8 tsp yeast.  The night before mix together the pre-ferment. The next morning dump all the ingredients (including the pre-ferment, which should be spongy and full of bubbles) EXCEPT for the salt and additional yeast into a bowl, and mix it together with a large spoon or a dough whisk until it seems mostly hydrated. Cover and let it stand for 45 minutes to an hour.      

After the autolyse (that's what you're doing when you soak), add the salt and yeast.


                  Get a small bowl of cool water, and dip your hands in it. Shake off most of the water (important, otherwise you'll end up overhydrating the dough and you'll have soup) and then, using your hand like a dough hook, impale the dough with all five fingers. Turn your wrist clockwise while you turn the bowl with your other hand counter clockwise. Continue to do this, occassionally changing direction and wetting your hands if the dough starts to stick, for about 10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but it will stick to the bottom. Adjust the flour or water as necessary. Put the dough in a pre-greased bowl and cover it.  Every hour or so, copiously flour your work surface, remove the dough, copiously flour the dough and give it a good stretch and fold, brushing off as much of the flour as you can before folding. By stretch-and-fold, I mean gently pat out the gas, stretch the dough to twice its length and then fold it in thirds like a letter. Give the dough a one-quarter turn, and then stretch-and-fold once more. Place it back in the bowl and re-cover it. Here's a good lesson on the technique.  After about 3 hours and 2 or 3 folds (depending on how much strength the dough needs), remove the dough, and divide it into two. Gently stretch and pat each loaf into a 12 x 4 inch rectangle, and place them in a baker's couche (essentially, well-floured linen that you bunch up around the loaves so that they rise up instead of spreading out) or on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Cover with greased plastic.  It took mine about 4 hours for the final proof, but then my house is a chilly 62-64 degrees F. If your house is around 70-75 degrees, you may only have to wait two hours or so. In any case, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and put the loaves in the oven either on a preheated baking stone or a cold baking sheet when they're good and puffy. Steam the oven (I keep a cast iron skilet in the bottom of mine and usually toss about 1 cup of boiling water in it) and turn the oven down to 425. The loaves should take 20-25 minutes to cook and should register 205 degrees when done. With all that oil, the crust is not as crisp as I usually like ciabatta, but I find I do like the flavor it adds.  Enjoy!
stgermain's picture

Southern Style Yeast Rolls

My Grandmother's Yeast Rolls

Hi - I am new here but after reading so many comments from knowledgable bakers, I thought I would ask for your thoughts/opinions.  I remember my grandmother baking yeast rolls (with cake yeast) that were approximately 4" high, moist, and with an almost silky texture - not at all crumbly.  Does anyone know of a recipe and techniques that might help me replicate her rolls?  Any comments would be appreicated.

Sourdough Starters

(These instructions have been adapted from a posting at by Sourdolady.)

Procedure for Making Sourdough Starter

Day 1: mix...
2 T. whole grain flour (rye and/or wheat)
1 T. unsweetened pineapple juice or orange juice
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2: add...
2 T. whole grain flour
1 T. juice
Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours. At day 2 you may (or may not) start to see some small bubbles.

Day 3: add...
2 T. whole grain flour
1 T. juice
Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours.

Day 4:
Stir down, measure out 1/4 cup and discard the rest.
To the 1/4 cup add...
1/4 cup flour*
2 Tbs water

*You can feed the starter whatever type of flour you want at this point (unbleached white, whole wheat, rye). If you are new to sourdough, a white starter is probably the best choice. Unbleached all-purpose flour is fine.

Repeat Day 4:
Once daily until the mixture starts to expand and smell yeasty. It is not unusual for the mixture to get very bubbly around Day 3 or 4 and then go completely flat and appear dead. If the mixture does not start to grow again by Day 6, add 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar with the daily feeding. This will lower the pH level a bit more and it should kill off competitors to the yeast, allowing them to thrive.

How it Works
The yeast we are trying to cultivate will only become active when the environment is right. When you mix flour and water together, you end up with a mixture that is close to neutral in pH, and our yeasties need it a bit more on the acid side. This is why we are using the acidic fruit juice. There are other microbes in the flour that prefer a more neutral pH, and so they are the first to wake up and grow. Some will produce acids as by-products. That helps to lower the pH to the point that they can no longer grow, until the environment is just right for wild yeast to activate. The length of time it takes for this to happen varies.

When using just flour and water, many nascent starters will grow a gas-producing bacteria that slows down the process. It can raise the starter to three times its volume in a relatively short time. Don't worry--it is harmless. It is a bacterium sometimes used in other food fermentations like cheeses, and it is in the environment, including wheat fields and flours. It does not grow at a low pH, and the fruit juices keep the pH low enough to stop it from growing. Things will still progress, but this is the point at which people get frustrated and quit, because the gassy bacteria stop growing. It will appear that the "yeast" died on you, when in fact, you haven't begun to grow yeast yet. When the pH drops below 3.5--4 or so, the yeast will activate, begin to grow, and the starter will expand again. You just need to keep it fed and cared for until then.

Once your wild yeast is growing, the character and flavor will improve if you continue to give it daily feedings and keep it at room temperature for a couple of weeks longer.

After that time, it should be kept in the refrigerator between uses/feedings. Every week or so, take it out of the fridge, feed it by retaining only ¼ cup of starter and then feed it ¼ cup flour and 2 Tbs water.

Section II: Bread Basics

You can jump right in and start baking without knowing much about the ingredients or how the process works, but if you'll take the time to learn a little bit about the baking process you'll find baking to be much more rewarding.  You'll also be equipped to modify recipes to fit your taste if you first understand how those modifications will change the results.

ehanner's picture

Norm's NY Style Onion Rolls-OMG- GREAT!

Norm's Onion Rolls
Norm's Onion Rolls
Onion Crumb
Onion Crumb

First off I have to say, stop what ever you're doing now and run to a store to pick up some dry onions so you can make these up tonight. This is an amazing recipe and your home will smell like heaven of roasting onions. Norm, I wish I could shake your hand in person. This is a home run (sorry about the Mets) and the recipe you posted worked perfectly for me, first time. I made a dozen batch and was planning on sharing with the next door neighbors but the sun got in my eyes and I didn't get to it lol.

There are several versions of this recipe on the site and I think I should show the link that I believe was corrected by the baker himself. This batch uses 32 Oz of flour and will make 12-4Oz rolls just like the ones shown above. For clarity, here is the recipe as I made it.

One last thought. Be sure to save the water from hydrating the onions and use it as part of the dough water. The improvement in flavor is amazing. To be honest I forgot that step until I was about to mix the dough. The water had so much aroma I threw the whole liquid part out and started over with the onion water. It only cost me an egg and a small amount of oil and yeast. It was well worth the extra effort.

I hope you enjoy this gift from our friend Norm.


Onion Roll Recipe -- per Norm

1/4 c. dehydrated onion flakes
1T poppy seeds
1/4t salt
1T oil

Soak the onion flakes in boiling water until they're fully hydrated, then drain and add other ingredients; set aside until you need them. (BTW, according to Norm, you can also use this same topping for bialys). SAVE THE ONION WATER FOR USE LATER IN DOUGH

32oz bread or first-clear flour (I used bread flour)
16oz water Use all of the water from hydrating the onion plus make up to 16 Oz.
1.5oz beaten egg
1.5 oz sugar
0.5 oz malt syrup/powder
1.5 oz vegetable oil
0.6oz salt
0.3oz active dry yeast (or equivalent cake/instant yeast) (2 teaspoons IDY)

1. Mix the water/malt/yeast and egg/oil separately; blend dry flour salt and sugar in mixer or by hand;

2. Add the liquids to the flour/sugar and hydrate well. This is a very stiff dough that will work either your back or your Kitchen Aid very hard.

3. Knead for about 10 min until the dough is very smooth and elastic, then set aside and let rise until doubled in bulk.

4. Turn dough, which will be incredibly silky, onto a dry board (no additional flour) and punch down, shape into 3-4 oz boules and let rest, covered, for at least 20 min.

5. Norm suggests spreading the topping onto the work surface and then pressing the boules flat into discs about 1/4"-1/2" thick. This works fine IF you let the dough rest, covered for at least 20 minutes as Norm suggests.

6. Preheat the oven to 450, Cover the rolls and let fully proof until about doubled in size. Just before loading into oven, press a dimple with your thumb in the center. Bake on parchment with a light spritz of water into the oven until they're nice and brown -- 20 minutes in my oven on a sheet pan.