The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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suzisweet's picture

Please help with sweet bread issue at my bakery!!

Good day all!

I have a very small town bakery. We have been open for just 5 short weeks. Things have been going well if you do not include lack of sleep and family time!! 

Seeing as I and one other person do all of the making and baking; we have tried hard to come up with ways to save time and produce more. Things aren't bad there either with one familys' prized recipe and creation called the "Birdie Bun". (Picture is a mini version of our bun.) It is a sweet yeast dough that is allowed to rise, then is shaped into a bird, proofed, egg washed and baked. We also use the same dough for a handful of other items....sticky buns, cinnamon rolls and our very well selling tomato rolls. 

Here lies the problem....

In trying to trim time we make a weeks worth of dough for all products. We portion and wrap and let the first rise occur in walk in fridge on racks. The next day we shape items and birdie buns. We then freeze them immediately, well wrapped I might add. We then take them out as needed, leave in fridge over night to thaw and proof in our proofer for 30-45 minutes. We have had success on all of our items made this way with the exception of the birdie bun. They seem to be forming a skin that allows for very little rise in the proofer and when egg washed and baked they have now been covered with tiny little wart like bubbles....they look hideous! BUT the worst is that they are no longer soft and feathery inside and they have even seemed to loose some of their sweetness. I must fix this problem ASAP. We thought maybe a quick freeze, then spray with water so that they get a coating of ice on them then put back in the freezer. Once into the fridge the ice melts and they stay moist. Any thoughts on this? We have not yet had the time to test this but any suggestions will be very much appreciated!! I do not want to loose our following on this roll! We make some of our breakfast and lunch sandwiches on them and lately (probably because of what they look like) people have been choosing to have their sandwiches on bagels and croissants instead!!! UGH!! PLEASE any help....any!!! Maybe a spray of oil?????

namadeus's picture

Deflated Loaf

Hi - I do not often bake yeasted bread but last night made a small white loaf with unbleached white flour. Ingredients 500gms U/B White Strong flour / 330gms water / 8 gms fresh teast / 8 gms salt.

Mixed and kneaded for approx 12 minutes then into bowl to rest. Rested for 1hr 20 mins (double in size plus a bit) and then into small loaf tin. Allowed to prove for 1 hr and 10 mins until double.

Then cut top with razor just before going into the oven. The loaf sank slightly and never produced any oven spring !


Any thoughts on problem would be appreciated.


Thanks and regards

Littlebrooklyn's picture

Hello from London

I'm new to the forum although I have been reading the posts on it for a little while.  

I am really enjoying baking cakes, bread and also making soup, but I find bread the most satisfying and sometimes the most confusing too.

I am not a very experienced bread maker and only started a few months ago with one of those bread mixes you buy in the supermarket.  As that turned out so well I decided to make my own bread from scratch and haven't bought any bread from the shops since October.

Mainly I bake plain white bread but I have also tried wholemeal, granary, spelt and rye.  In fact I made my first sodabread with rye flour yesterday and it was my first real disaster as I followed the recipe on the packet which was just for rye flour, milk, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and oil.  There were no instructions to knead the bread, just to mix it, shape it, leave it for 45 mins, then bake it.  My other half said it looked more like a small bread roll than a loaf of bread and I think he was right!

Hoping I will get some ideas and inspiration on this forum and look forward to trying out some new recipes too.


aguats's picture

Kürbiskernbrot -- Pumpkin seed bread, 100% whole grain sourdough

I lived for a few years in Austria, including one year in the south where pumpkin seeds are especially loved and are frequently incorporated into deliciously moist, soft, airy loaves. This is my favorite rendition of that bread. I use an organic pumpkin seed oil (made from Styrian seeds) that I buy from a health food store here in California. I love the flavor the oil imparts, but be warned that it does give the bread a bit of a green color. I don't mind that at all, and try to balance the green with some yellow corn flour that I bring out with a gentle bake. The photo below was taken with some daylight and pretty accurately represents the color of the crust.

The loaf is composed of soaked wholegrain spelt and corn flour with a rye starter. I soak the spelt and fine corn flour overnight with salt and then mix the soaker, starter and pumpkin seed oil for the initial fermentation. After some folds I incorporate the pumpkin seeds and put in a greased pan to proof.

The pan is baked with a lid on to give it a good steam. Here's a shot of the moist, fluffy crumb:

My daughter loves it in the evening with some butter and honey. Guten Appetit!

WoodenSpoon's picture

Corn Grit Sourdough

Formula: 615g bread flour, 35g whole rye flour, 460g warm water, 110g chef (100% hydration), 141g coarse ground cornmeal (thats the dry weight), and 13g salt.

Yesterday afternoon I boiled some water and added it to the 141g cornmeal, I continued adding water until all the corn was hydrated, added just a touch more and let it sit for two hours. Next I weighed out my flours and whisked em together, weighed out my salt and set it aside, weighed out and combined my chef and warm water then added the water/chef mixture to the flour grits. I gently mixed with a bowl scraper then with a spoon and once the dough came together I let it autolyse covered in the bowl for an hour.

After the autolyse, I gave it a gentle set of slap and folds and let it rest, after 3 or 5 minutes I spread the salt out on the counter and gave the dough six minutes of slapping and folding on top of the salt so it pulled a little up at a time. After those six minutes I let it rest for 5 or so minutes and gave it anther 3 minute set of slap and folds. After another short rest I gave it another very short set of slap and folds (1 minute or so) a stretch and fold then put it in a clean bowl and let it ferment at room temp for an hour or so. During this room temp fermentation I gave the dough 3 sets of stretch and folds in the bowl, first after the 20 minutes and the second after forty and the third around the hour mark. then I covered the bowl and popped it in the fridge. An hour later I gave it another gentle stretch and fold then another a few hours later.

This morning I removed the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temp for two or so hours, scaled/preshaped/shaped and proofed for around 3 hours,

Getting on baking time I preheated my oven, stone and sheet pan to 550. then I presteamed the oven with an ounce or so of hot water on the sheet pan, scored and slid the loaf in, gave it another small steam, about a minute later I gave it another small steam waited a minute and turned the oven down to 470. after around 10 minutes I turned it down to 460, after another ten or so I turned it to 450 for the remainder of the bake.

I am extremely happy with how this bread came out, Its got that overnight bulk ferment tang blended wonderfully with the sweetness of the corn and the barely perceptible (maybe placebo) earthiness of of the rye

sawyerc's picture

Poor volume with natural levain version of 36hr baguette from Txframer

I have great result with commercial yeast 36hr version 


( I may need to proof longer as the hole tend to be vertical in steads of in a round shape?)

But I cant get as opened as above with the sourdough version, volume is much lower

I feel the dough is more "tight" right after mixing ( probably due to the acid )

The bulk fermentation take much longer ,but my dough never triple in volume(where the stage I end my bulk fermentation in commercial  yeast version) even a 4-24-2hr of bulk fermentation. 

When I  shape it into a baguette, it is not extendable enough. I have to roll it with some force.

even they look similar before putting into the oven. The sourdough version's one dont have a large oven spring and the volume suffer a lot.

I have used my starter to make tartine bread with no oven spring problem

1. Am I overproof the dough?

2. the starter too acidic / not having enough yeast? should I use younger starter? but I doubt young starter dont have enough yeast cell too and the LAB still win over yeast in the long bulk fermentation period.

3.Should I not S&F at all? The dough is so tight and it can pass the window plate test right after mixing. But I heard less S&F may lead to less volume?

4. Should I look for different "feel" of each stages for the sourdough version? 

5. I heard sourdough bread have slower oven spring. Should I need to lower the oven temp to prolong the oven spring?  but my oven cant trap the steam that long anyway..

6.other factors I neglected?

PS. the breads from sourdough version is more  sticky to my teeth . Is this caused by the acid too?

Sorry for grammatical mistakes, non-native but too lazy too proof-read. Too busy trying and trying this recipe over and over. 

Thank you for reading this messy thread 

clazar123's picture

Malicious Ad on TFL??

Heads up for all . I have an ad appearing that says I have a message and unthinkingly clicked on it.For that microsecond before my brain engaged, I thought it was a PM in my account on TFL. It instructed me to download something and by then I snapped to attention and quickly left the site. Hopefully nothing happened (I HAVE to stop clicking so quickly!) but this ad has appeared again a few times.

Floyd? Is it legit?

ElPanadero's picture

Holey Moley

Some advice needed please.

Last couple of loaves have had holes like these which I initially thought was my failure to de-gas/knock back however I took extra time here to ensure I pressed out any large pockets at the shaping stage.  I'm guessing therefore this is a result of the hydration and proofing times?

These were the Pain Natural and Pain Rustique loaves from

Poolish: Wheat 115g, Water 115g, starter 15g (100%)

Dough: Wheat 340g,  Water 180g, Salt 7.5g

Mixed, 20min autolyse, 4min knead, rest 50min, (S+F, rest 50min) x2,  shape, proof 2.5 hrs, bake

Oven spring is fine, taste is fine just too many large holes.




golgi70's picture

Crisper/Crunchier Crust

My experience with sourdough hearth breads is that after cooling and some time they have great shelf life but after a certain amount of time after cooling the crisp crunchy crust begins to become chewy.  I suppose the amount of time before this happens depends on many variables from the formula and the environment the bread is held.  I for one live in a temperate rain forest on the cost so lots of moisture in the air.  Is there a way to lengthen the crispness/crunchiness of a crust on a sourdough bread via formula or baking.  The bread is baked with steam for 18 minutes and finished in a convection oven for 20-25 minutes with added venting during the last 5-10 minutes.  The loaf is baked to a deep red with just a bit of "boldness" as a burnished crust is not desired. So baking longer/darker is not a solution.   

The loaf in question is a SF style sourdough with 15% pre-fermented flour (in a 12 hour 100% hydration levain) that is about 67% hydration.  Autolysed for 30 mintues.  Mixed to 78-80 deg F.  Bulk ferment for 4 hours with 2 stretch and folds.  Then it is shaped and retarded for 21 hours before being baked cold.  450 with steam for 18 minutes then 400 convection for 20-25 more.  

I tend to think this :"softening" of the crust is the nature of the beast but welcome any/all suggestions.



clazar123's picture

Bosch Universal comment

I acquired a used Bosch Universal at a local thrift store for a ridiculously low price. It was a well used machine but worked. I was making my Whole wheat Breakfast bread and thought I'd use the Bosch to see how it worked. This is a Whole wheat loaf with fruit and nuts so I like to mix the dough very well before I add the fruit and nuts. I have been making it so long that I rarely use a recipe and sometimes have to adjust the dough as I go with either a little more water or a little more flour before the final mix/knead. What I learned is that this mixer has some idiosyncracies you have to pay attention to.

1. It really is designed for larger batches or stiffer dough (powerful motor!). My recipe has about 6 cups flour total. With that "small" amount of dough in the large plastic bowl, it tends to swirl rather than knead the dough. There is not enough volume to allow the dough to catch firmly enough on the sides of the slick plastic bowl to  tumble over itself. I wonder if the stainless steel bowl would have a different action?

2. If you add water to the already formed dough, it just slides around and around and around and  around......etc...etc.... I had to stop it and break up the dough clump so it would mix the added liquid into the dough. Perhaps if there was more dough in the bowl (10-12 cup flour) it would be less likely to perform this way?

3. I added the 2 cups fruit and nuts and it mixed in quickly and finally I seemed to have enough volume and friction that it caught on the bowl side and actually kneaded. The dough felt great when I put it to rise.

4. The bowl is harder to grip and handle when trying to remove the dough.Some of it is just not being used to the bowl and my hands are rather weak since surgery a few years ago. I can use a plastic rectangular dough scraper  and remove the dough with a single swipe while holding the handle of the SS kitchenaid bowl. The Bosch bowl has to be gripped by the rim while full of heavy dough or held in the crook of the elbow. Awkward for me and none of my scrapers matched the bowl contour so it was awkward to remove the dough.

I am used to using a K5A that is 30 yrs old and going strong.  The 2 machines really do handle dough differently. The K5A does not have as powerful a motor but it does a great job for me. I think for now I will keep the Bosch but I will use it for larger batches or if I ever travel into the bagel world.