The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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trailrunner's picture

Chocolate sourdough enhanced bread

This is the Balthazar's Bakery's chocolate bread. I first ate it in 2007 at $9 a loaf. When I got home I searched and found the recipe online. It is a fantastic bread...but I took it up a huge notch with my starter instead of theirs. Wow..what a shreddable fantastic crumb. I also added dried cherries to 3 of the loaves.  An amazing bread. You will need a mixer to fully realize this dough. It needs 5 min and then 10 min and then about 2 min . It has the butter beaten in like a brioche but there are no eggs...lots of chocolate. Here are some pics...sorry I can't share the fragrance...or taste:) 








starter 100% white with apple yeast water to feed:  photo IMG_6795_zps974c943b.jpg before adding the butter...lovely gluten:  photo IMG_6799_zpsffa15435.jpg after the butter and salt added :  photo IMG_6800_zps9c1ec17c.jpg ready to rise:  photo IMG_6804_zps6951f257.jpg risen:  photo IMG_6805_zps0e52c796.jpg topped with cream/egg yolk/turbinado sugar :  photo IMG_6807_zps083922ca.jpg out of the oven:  photo IMG_6810_zps963debb7.jpg shreddable crumb:  photo IMG_6811_zps191e3543.jpg  photo IMG_6812_zpsb0e323db.jpg

dabrownman's picture

Sinclair’s Bakery Potato Rolls - Made With Poolish

We needed some Hamburger Bun for Friday night’s monthly HB feast and have also wanted to make Mark’s rolls found here:

I’m pretty sure that these aren’t supposed to be HB Buns but they looked close enough to me to give them a try and I’m glad we did.  They turned out great – s good in fact I didn’t even get a crumb shot or a HB picture either,


We were so hungry the burgers so good - they just disappeared.  We cut the recipe by a factor of 6 to get 6 rolls instead if 36 and used a 50 g each flour, water and a pinch for yeast for a 6 hour poolish instead of a straight dough hoping to improve the flavor some. 


The attached formula is the same as Mark’s otherwise and the method the same except for out slap and folds in place of kneading and we baked the rolls in a Pyrex pan instead of on parchment which extended the bake time quite bit.


If we were going to do it again I would up the temperature to 350 F instead of 325 F in baking in Pyrex to bake them faster and improve the browning.  but it is probably better to just bake them on parchment as individual rolls like Mark does.


Regardless, these are some fine tasting rolls and I’m glad there are 3 in the freezer for next month’s Burger Night. Thanks for the recipe and video Mark!  Love your rolling bakery too.



Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



Pinch of ADY Yeast






























Multigrain Poolish






























Levain % of Total












Dough Flour












Dough Flour


















Milk 25. Potato Water 25






Dough Hydration












Total Flour






Milk 100, Potato Water 25






T. Dough Hydration












Total Weight












Add - Ins





































Hydration w/ Adds59.73%
Total Weight591
CAphyl's picture

White and spelt flour sourdough

I have been experimenting with different flours, different hydration, refrigerated proofing, etc. to see if I can improve my sourdough baking.  This one turned out well, using a three-day method and primarily unbleached white flour and spelt flour.  There is a touch of whole wheat as well.  I liked this try and will continue to try and refine my baking!

jmhp's picture

Different rising times affect baking 2 loaves together?

Hello! I'm new here, and returning to bread baking after many years of absence. What got me back to baking was finding the book "Bread in Half the Time" by Eckhardt and Butts. The method the authors use produces a wonderful loaf of bread in just over an hour.

I have a question, though...I want to bake two loaves at once. To do this using the book's method, one loaf will have to rise/rest  6-7 minutes more than the other. Will the different rising/resting times affect the baking when I put the two loaves in the oven together?

Thank you for any help you can give me!

markf1988's picture

Bertinet "Dough" question

Hi all

Im just starting out and am amazed at all the ideas and spending endless amounts of time on this forum learning

A really basic question is that Im getting confused with yeast quantities

Ive got Bertinets Dough recipe book and he specified an amount of yeast to use (often 10g). Im assuming this is fresh yeast but he doesnt clarify that really

But then Ive read around that if you re not using fresh yeast, the quantity should be adjusted (I use instant yeast so 1/3 should be used instead?)

Ive found that I use instant yeast to the quantities Bertinet has listed for fresh yeast and sometimes my bread comes out with a slightly bitter taste? So Im assuming this is a problem with yeast quantity cos my house is cool and I dont allow it to proof to long.

So question really is... Do I need to adjust yeast quantities in Bertinets Dough as I am using instant rather than fresh!


Thanks all!

varda's picture

Pulla Straight Dough and Sourdough

I have been meaning to make pulla for awhile, ever since various intriguing posts on the subject.   I followed a combination of jarkkolaine (formula) and Julie J.  I only had cardamon pods, so sort of stripped them and crushed them in my coffee grinder.   Not so easy.   The cardamon makes this incredibly tasty.    I am guessing that adding either a poolish or making these sourdough would make these even better, but that could be gilding the lily.     

I tried this with infusion and sourdough today.   They look pretty similar to the above, but definitely prefer the sourdough version.   These were alarmingly delicious.   This is a simple change to Jarkko's formula and uses Julie's finishing instructions.

Cardamon buns     
Milk125 12550% 
Water 333313% 
Butter45 4518% 
Sugar38 3815% 
Eggs13 135% 
Crushed Cardamon2 20.8% 
Salt2.5 2.51.0% 
67% White Starter83    
Butter dabs     
Egg wash     
Powdered Sugar     
Heat milk (microwave 1 minute)   
Add crushed cardamon and let sit around 20 minutes
Mix all ingredients but butter until strong  
then add chopped room temperature butter  
bit by bit until incorporated    
(I used Bosch compact for all mixing)   
Bulk Ferment around 2 hours with 1 S&F  
Shape into 6 balls     
and proof on tray with parchment around 30 minutes
Press thumb down in middle of each bun  
Put a dab of butter in the indentation   
Eggwash and then sprinkle with white sugar  
Bake for 14 minutes oven preheated to 360  
then reduced to 325    
with convection on     


dosco's picture

High Hydration Dough ... how much kneading/folding is enough?

Recently I've been trying lower hydration doughs with more kneading in order to get a "smooth" dough. Also try the "windowpane" test ...

So how does one know when a high hydration dough has been worked enough? When I use the stretch and fold method, the dough gets stretchy, elastic, etc., which I assume to be a sign of gluten development. Is there a way I can determine on a batch-by-batch basis if I've done enough? Can't really windowpane a 70-something-percent dough because it's just too slack.


rottenfood's picture

Starter Selection

Despite years of SD baking, I remain confused about which/why/how much starter is used - mainly the selection of flours.

I've used high and low hydration white and whole wheat flours, but not a rye-based starter. Maybe there are others to try, but I'm most curious about the rye. For white/wheat, I'll usually use 12-19 oz of starter to raise 5 lbs of dough.

Would the rye starter bring a noticeable difference in flavor? Rise? Crumb?

Would I use roughly the same amounts?

Is it better to supplement another starter w/ some rye starter - rather than all rye starter?

Many Thanks for your kind help.

Nomad Bread's picture
Nomad Bread

Baking with Spelt - help

hi all

never thought my first post would be about spelt, but here goes.

I bought some wholegrain spelt flour (by mistake..) so I looked up some (alternative) recipes and found a decent one on Susan's wildyeast blog. the finished product looked very nice and appealing so I said why not.

I did look up some background info on spelt and how it feels to work with and bake, and I knew I've got a challenge on my hand. I went ahead and followed the recipe to the dot and prepared the oven like I usually do (I make some great rye sourdoughs so my method is fool proof with the available equipment).

now, the taste is no doubt fantastic,  and it's a great replacement for wholemeal, however the consistency and workability,  oven spring and keeping quality I struggled with.

 it was almost impossible to keep its shape as a boule, since it flattens out as soon as you take it out of its proving basket. oven spring was almost an inch, so not great. and it went hard after less than a day... really frustrating.


so, what's the secret? should I use less of it when baking with AP mixture? would using a high gluten flour work better? what can I do to avoid my problems above?


any advice much appreciated.


shreyjagma's picture

Head Over Heels for Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Squares Recipe

Everyone wants a new and different dish for their kitchen menu and a menu consist of something sweet for sure. Now what special and different to be added with all the ingredients available is a big question. Here is chocolate peanut butter shortbread squares recipe which is simply superb and easy to cook and enjoyed with friends and family.


For shortbread

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of flour

For caramel

  • 25 unwrapped caramels
  • 2 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream.

For chocolate

  • 1 ¼ cup of milk or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • ½ cup of mini Reese’s pieces (optional)

Steps to be followed:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350F
  2. Take an 8x8 inch pan and line it with foil and spray it with cooking spray.
  3. For the shortbread cream the butter and sugar with the help of a hand or a mixer till it becomes fluffy.
  4. Mix the vanilla extract in it and then stir the flour. Take the prepared mixture and press it in the pan.
  5. Bake it for about 16-18 mins until it becomes golden brown from the top. Keep it aside and let it cool.
  6. For the caramel add the caramels, peanut butter and cream in a bowl and microwave it. Set the microwave on high and heat it for 40 seconds. Stir it and the again melt it for 10-20 seconds. Stir it again till it becomes smooth.
  7. Now pour the mixture on the top of the shortbread.
  8. Take a spatula and coat it with cooking spray and evenly spread the mixture on the shortbread. Chill it for 10 mins.
  9. For the chocolate topping melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together in the microwave for about 35-40 seconds. Stir it continuously till it is smooth enough.
  10. Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel and spread evenly and carefully. Top it with Reese’s pieces if required. Chill it until it becomes firm.
  11. Take the bars and warm them a little as the caramel would be hard and won’t be able to cut easily.
  12. At room temperature attained cut the bars.

Chocolate peanut butter shortbread squares are ready to be eaten but eat them at room temperature so that the caramel doesn’t hurt your teeth.