The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ratatouille's picture

My thanksgiving sourdough loaves

Hey guys sorry it's been forever

Been busy with work and what not


I got the chance to fly home for thanksgiving so I quickly revived my starter and baked up a couple loaves!


Here is how they came out


hanseata's picture

Best Mexican Conchas

When I first caught sight of these pretty rolls in a Mexican bakery, I was totally smitten. But my enthusiasm quickly deflated when I took the first bite - the cute little shells were overly sweet, but other than that: no taste whatsoever! 

Sadly, this was the case with almost all the pastries we had at the Riviera Maya: they looked very appetizing, but tasted only bland and sugary.

 Conchas in Mexican bakery: pretty but bland

But shouldn't it be possible to bake Conchas whose attractive exterior matched a delicious interior? The idea intrigued me and kept me thinking. Back from our trip, I started searching for a recipe.

A Little Cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate didn't only have a recipe for this Pan Dulce, it also had a very entertaining story about a nightly encounter with a mysterious woman and her ardent desire for revenge! 

Before we flew to Mexico this year, I finally wanted to tackle the Conchas. Remembering the "Mujer Misteriosa" and her dark desires, I dug through several pages with recipes until I finally rediscovered Clementina's blog post.

Mexico's Mayan ruins are worth a trip - here the recently discovered Ek Balam

Mexicans seem to have a real sweet tooth. All Concha recipes I had googled, contained lots of sugar. Being a gringo, I cut it down drastically, and, also, exchanged some of the flour with white whole wheat.

And how to force taste into even the lamest bread dough? Two words: overnight fermentation! I reduced the yeast, stretched and folded the dough, and put it to sleep in the fridge.

Rolling and cutting out the chocolate and cinnamon toppings evoked an early Christmas spirit, but with a little patience (and the help of a large cookie cutter) this was achieved, too (though some misshaped cookies had to be crushed, cooled and re-rolled.)

Baking brings out the pretty two-colored pattern

After their rise the Conchas looked already quite attractive, the cuts in the toppings had opened, and after baking the two-colored pattern had fully emerged.

Of course I was extremely eager to see whether my Conchas had escaped their compañeros' fate of bland and boring sweetness. We tried them, and - here they were, delicate rolls with a hint of cinnamon, topped by a crisp sugar cookie: a real treat!

Delicate rolls with a hint of cinnamon, topped by a crisp chocolate or cinnamon cookie


You find the recipe on my blog "Brot & Bread" here.

MANNA's picture

Tzanghong observations

I have a bread that my family enjoys. The parkerhouse roll recipe from KAF made into one big loaf. Since its a straight dough it does have some issues with starting to dry out after a few days. Not that big of a deal since theres not much left by then. I wondered what the tzang method would do to it. It didnt produce a big shreddable loaf. Out of the oven it didnt look much different than normal. I was a bit disappointed. After cooling I cut into it. Crumb looked normal and it tasted the same. I know what your thinking total failure or I did something wrong. It wasnt a failure. The difference was subtle. The crumb thats normally crumbly when cut held up much better. It was tough but still tender. It has been a couple of days since I made the loaf. I keep it in a plastic bag in my pantry. I took it out this morning for breakfast and tested the cut end for dryness and was surprised to find it moist and springy. Taste is still very good. The method has helped the shelf life of the product. Since the crumb is more robust, it stands up better to making PB&J. That is the only alternative in my house if you dont like whats for dinner. I do need to adjust the hydration up some. After my next bake if its right I will post the modified recipe. I want to explore some cajun cooking recipes on roux making. I know if you cook the roux to varying levels of brownness it effects the thickening ability of it but imparts flavor. This has some far reaching possibilities both in flavor and texture.

Mebake's picture

My first borodinsky, and Pastry #8

I have finally bought a Pullman pan! two, actually. For bread, my first natural choice was a Rye; my first  Borodinsky  from Andrew’s book: (Bread matters).

I’ve all but given up on finding a Pullman pan in Dubai, until I overheard a discussion among my Pastry class peers  and the Chef about  commercial sources of  the ingredients and tools used in the institute. Alarmed by the possibility of finding the pan, I took the address from the Chef and headed down to the warehouse. The two story warehouse sells different hospitality and catering equipments at somewhat reasonable prices. I’ve found two sizes for Pullman pans, all from the Italian brand Paderno, I was so excited. The one I bought for us$ 27 each, was an  11.75 *4 inch pan. There is a much longer version, but it was too much for domestic use. The pan had a sticker that says: blue steel ..etc. The pan was properly washed with detergent and warm water, but it had a slight oily layer, and a distinctive rusty aroma. I searched though google, and learned that blue steel is a steel that has undergone a deliberate oxidation prior to the final non stick coating. I shrugged my shoulders and wiped them clean.

For borodinsky, I mixed my ripe rye sour with rye flour molasses and salt with a fork, scooped the lot into my greased pan  sprinkeled with cracked coriander seeds. I had no barley malt syrup, so I skipped this ingredient. I wanted to try Andrew’s advocated method of no bulk fermentation for rye bread, and the bread rose in 2 hours. Total dough weight was 1346g which was more than twice the recipe’s yield. After two hours, the dough has risen to almost the top rim of the pan, and started to crack. I slid the pan’s cover on, and baked the bread for 10 min. at 420F and 30 minutes at 400F.

My regretful mistake was to bake it according to Andew’s recipe, which is to a total of 40 minutes, failing to remember that an extended bake is needed for larger dough. After 40 minutes, the dough was unmolded and steam escaped from the loaf. The loaf’s crust was very tender and the color was lighter than a rye should be. I didn’t take a hint, Ugh! I guess I was too captivated by the square-ish cross section that the Pullman pan was capable of producing.

When cooled , the loaf was wrapped with a cloth, and left for 12 hours. Next day, I couldn’t resist having a peek and I sliced a few squares. The loaf was moist and gummy. Ops, I’ve underbaked it!

I wrapped it once more, and left it to rest for another day. Today, I’ve sliced it, and it was still moist and slightly gummy (cutting shreds still evident). The flavor is typically rye with a faint sweetness, and a good dose of spice that complements the overall flavor. The crust was soft, and the crumb was softer. There is a subtle mouthfeel of rust at the end, but generally tolerable. I don’t know how to deal with blue steel rust mouthfeel, but I’ll wait to see whether the pan becomes seasoned as I bake on. Overall, the bread was really good, and improved when slightly toasted.

As for Pastry, I’ve skipped my two day marathon class of Chocolate. By the end of last week, I was completely worn out. My Pastry class 8 of the week before went well, though. We made frozen desserts, such as ice gateaux, cheese cake, tiramisu, fried ice cream.



CB85's picture

Traditional Swiss bread?

Hello, I have a question that I'm not sure has an answer, but I'm hoping someone here can help me out. My friend is hosting an exchange student from Switzerland for the year. She loves bread, and I thought for Christmas I could make her a traditional swiss bread.

Problem is, I don't know if such a thing exists? I have only found one type in my searches and I don't know if it's real or any good. I don't have a lot of experience with commercial yeast bread, I really only usually bake sourdough, so I also can't analyze the recipe very well.

Anyway, if anyone has any formulas they would like to share, I would be really appreciative. Especially if the formula was in weights, as the only one I've found is volume measures. Thanks!!

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Fresh! Hot! Deli Rye just out of the WFO


Well  it's Sunday 12-8-13 and we have freezing rain. My world is cold and covered with ice...except the wood fired oven that is nice and hot.

What a better time to do some baking. Work has been bogging me down so baking was forced on the side lines.  With the onset of winter I should have more time for baking :-)

My bread stores are low so I figured I would bake some of my regulars. This is a Deli Rye bread with  20% preferment.  I got the formula from King Arthur Flour when I took the rye class with Jeffery Hamelman.

I have more bread in the proofer, (4) VT sourdough's  and (6) cheesy breads I like to make.  So more pictures later with some crumb shots.

Happy baking!!!


Kevin_000's picture

DIY Dough proofing oven

OK - It's not DIY - It's easier than that.

Here in the UK I sometimes struggle to keep my dough warm enough to rise properly. A warmed oven often gives my dough a crust.

I could buy a home prover like the the Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer - at £100 plus shipping.

But I used this: A seed germinator from the garden centre with thermostatic control - £30.00.

A cup of water in the base keeps the atmosphere lovely and moist and it keeps the dough at the sweet spot of 24 deg C.

It will also take a big mixing bowl for the first ferment.

I am probably the last person on the planet to know this trick - eh?








Foodzeit's picture

37.8°C oder wie ich das Topfbrotfieber bekam – how I got infected with the pot bread fever



Bread baked in the "dutch oven" (?)

A while ago all the food bloggers suddenly started to bake bread in a roasting pot. The baking result was being compared with the bread that is being baked in the Manz oven (semi-professional bread baking oven for the ambitious amateur with humidity function). The bread made in the pot received very good reviews on all sides, but I was sure of myself and my advanced baking skills so I told myself that I am resistant against this phenomena, my crust and my crumb are near to perfection, I don’t need all of this. But that was yesterday.
Tonight I slept badly and most likley some tse-tse fly must have slipped under my moskito net. She must have happily devoured my blood as a great thank you she left me with an infection. When I woke up this morning to pop my retarded bread in the pot, little did I know that about 50 minutes later I will be having the pot bread fever. Even if the bread got a little burnt on the outside (I will put some work on finding the right timing and the temperatures). But anyhow, it already is decided that I will abuse my roaster more often in the future to bake bread in it.
So I am happy and I want to thank Zorra from the blog and Sandra from Snuggs kitchen, who are organizing the bread baking day and who had the great idea to ask for bread that is made in a roaster. Without them I would have not been infected; an infection that I would not miss for anything in the world. Now I am curious who else got infected with the same infection after this BBD.
Here now the recipe of my specially created bread for this bbd. I decided to go with a rye bread mixed with some whole wheat flour, featuring walnuts and some grated Pran Padano cheese, which I left in the fridge overnight for some retarded fermentation in order to intensify the flavors.


Finished bread in the breadbasket
  • Sourdough
  • Rye Flour 153.33 g
  • Water 153.33 g
  • Sourdough starter 15.33 g
Mix everything together to smooth dough without any clumps inside and let it rest in a covered bowl at 24-28°C for 12 – 16 hours (please also compare the timing below). After your sourdough is ready, don't forget to take some starter away and keep it in the fridge for your next bread.

Nut piece  
  • Walnuts 50 g
  • Rum 50 g
Crush the nuts in pieces, add the whole seeds. Roast those pieces / seeds in a pan and the put them in a ceramic bowl. Pour liquid it over the nuts / seeds. Let the nuts / seeds soak for 4 – 16 hours in the water.

Main dough
  • Sourdough 322.00 g
  • Nut piece 100.00 g
  • grated gran padano cheese 50.00 g
  • Rye Flour 357.78 g
  • Whole wheat flour 127.78 g
  • Water 307.78 g
  • Salt 12.78 g
  • Dried yeast 2.46 g 
Start Duration
  • Mixing bread ingredients (not the salt and the sourdough) 0:30 h
  • Mix ingredients + salt + sourdough. First rise (stretch and fold every 40 minutes). 2:00 h – 2:30 h
  • Pre shaping the bread and resting 0:30 h
  • Final shaping the bread + proofing (rise to a double) 1:00 h
  • Pop everything in the fermentation basket and pop it in the fridge for overnight retarding 12:00 h
  • Pre heat the oven and the roasting pot inside at 260 degrees Celsius
  • Pop the bread in the preheated roast, close the lid
  • Lower the temperature every 15 minutes for 10 degrees Celsius
  • After 30 minutes, open the lid of the pot
  • After 20 more minutes of baking, take the bread out and let it cool down
Bread slices cut open with crumb view
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