The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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isand66's picture

Pumpernickel Cheddar Cheese Sourdough Pretzel Rolls

Today's the Superbowl and I was asked to make some pretzel rolls to bring to the party we're going to.  I made a batch for Christmas Eve which everyone raved about so I used the same recipe I found on the TFL website.  I also couldn't help but try my own variation using my sourdough starter, pumpernickel flour and cheddar cheese.

I wasn't sure how they would turn out, but I do have to say they didn't dissapoint and rival the original.  Come on....who doesn't like cheese?

These are not hard to make except for the food grade Lye bath they go into.  Many people say you don't need to use Lye and can use baking soda.  I have not tried baking soda yet since I still have plenty of the Lye.  The Lye gives the pretzels a hard dark brown crust which is not easy to obtain with anything else. Feel free to use baking soda instead and increase the amount used versus the Lye.

Caution:  When using the Lye make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and protective eye gear. Also, never add Lye to hot water or it will bubble over and probably burn you.

Main Dough Ingredients for 10 rolls at about 110 grams each

145 grams AP Sourdough Starter at 65% or adjust flour and water accordingly

437 grams Bread Flour (KAF)

200 grams Dark Rye (also known as Pumpernickel)

5 grams Seas Salt or Table Salt

5 grams Diastatic Malt Powder

384 grams Water (80-90 degrees F.)

Cheddar Cheese cut into cubes (sorry but I forgot to measure the cheese)

Pretzel Salt (for topping only)

For Lye Bath (3.5% Solution

2 Liters of Cold water

70 grams Sodium Hydroxide Crystals


Add the diastatic malt powder to the water and stir.  Add the flours in your mixing bowl and slowly add the water mixture.  Mix for about 1 minute until combined.  Cut your starter in pieces and lay on top of the flour mixture and cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour so the flour can absorb the water.

Next add the salt and mix for 4 minutes on low.    Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 2 hours.  Next divide the dough into around 10 pieces that are 110 grams each.  Flatten each piece into a circle and place a piece of cheese in the middle and pinch the dough around the cheese.  Next flip over and roll against your work surface while creating a tight ball.  Place on a baking sheet and cover with either a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it rest for around 60 minutes to about 1/2 proof.

While the rolls are proofing, fill a large stock pot with 2 liters of cold water.  Measure out the Lye and slowly add it to the cold water.  (DO NOT EVER ADD LYE TO HOT WATER).  Cover the pot and bring it to a rolling boil and then shut off the heat.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  When the rolls are proofed sufficiently, prepare to dip them for about 15 seconds in the lye bath upside down.  Let them drain on a bakers rack over a cookie tray covered with a towel or parchment paper.  After draining for a minute you can transfer them to a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  You want to use a stainless steel cooking sheet as aluminum may react with the lye and peel.  Note: do not ever use parchment paper as the rolls will get stuck to the bottom.  I know this from experience and I had to cut off the bottoms of half the rolls I made.

When ready to bake, score each roll with an "X" on the middle and sprinkle with pretzel salt.  Make sure you use pretzel salt if you want authentic rolls.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and register about 185 F in the middle.  Let them cool on a bakers rack until you can't wait any longer!

I actually couldn't wait long enough to try one which is why the crumb shot below is a little gummy looking.  It tasted good though!


Let's go Jets!  (Did I really say that?  Must be the alcohol.....)

MANNA's picture

Bouchon Bakery - TKO's

Here is the TKO, I tried making them as double-stuff. The white chocolate was a bit runny, could only find 30%. I added some powdered sugar to thickin it. I also found the cookie a bit to salty so next time I would reduce the salt to 4 grams. I would also add more powered sugar to the white chocolate to make it fluffier. I used semi-sweet chocolate to make the chocolate. I had to add butter to it so I could pipe it. Was a bit thick coming out of the fridge. Overall not an epic cookie for me. I liked the better-nutter more. I will revisit this cookie one day and play around with the recipe, just not anytime soon.

davidg618's picture

Baguettes: sourdough levain and a little Rye

Another go at baguettes. Made this weekend. 70:20:10 (AP:Bread:Whole Rye); 68% Hydration, Overnight retardation at 50°F. Excellent wheaty flavor, with an edge (probably the Rye). All the Bread flour was prefermented feeding the levain builds. This dough is essentially the same as that I mix for sourdough batards; only difference being 45;45;10 (AP:Bread: Whole Rye) flour ratios.

David G

kap1492's picture

Anxious Starter

Before getting to the meat and potatoes of my questions, I want to warn you that I am as green as they come when it comes to knowledge on sourdough starters. I know that these questions have been asked numerous times before but I think I will understand it better if my specific situation is used. I created my starter using the pineapple starter method on 1/26/13. Noticeable activity began on day 5 1/30/13. At this point, I decided to create two different starters: one WW and the other being a white (AP flour) starter. Beginning on day 5 I began to feed the starter at a 2 oz. of starter: 1 oz. of flour: 1oz of water for a 2:1:1 ratio daily. Both starters have risen in a predictable manner and have doubled in size within 4 hours. By the time the next feeding is due, both starters have dropped close to the pre-feeding level. Both starters have taken on a yeasty smell similar to beer and are littered throughout with several small bubbles. The AP starter has a pancake batter like consistency while the WW starter has a cream of wheat texture, neither of them are runny. These characteristics are consistent to date which is 2/2/13 which has been a total of 8 days since first mixed. At this point, I know things are progressing well but this is where all of my questions come into play.

1. At this point should I increase my feedings to every 12hrs instead of every 24hrs and for how long until I can start to use my starter?

2. Should I increase the size of the feedings as well, and if so what amount of starter, water, and flour volumes should I use?

3. When increasing the feedings frequency and quantity do you still remove a portion of the starter with each feeding or every second or third feeding?

4. For example, lets say a SD recipe calls for 4 oz. of starter or 7 oz. of starter. How much do you feed and how often before you have the right amount of starter and enough stater left over to keep your starter going?

5. On average, how much starter do you keep on had when you bake say twice a week?

6. Which AP flour is best to use, should I use a high gluten bread flour or just a general AP flour that doesn't have a high gluten content?

Sorry for so many questions, I just want to get things right the first time and not have to start over if I messed up. Thank you for your responses and patience.

Kneads_Love's picture

Feeding vs Starving -- a new starter

As previously mentioned, I used the WW:Rye:Pinapple Juice method (1:1:2) for 4 consecutive days. My starter never became bubbly but it did move through a series of smells (yeasty, yeasty w. paint thinner) all on the “pleasant” side of the spectrum. Inside my bowl, things were wet and humid with condensation forming on the plasticwrap covering. 

Last night, after a very long day 4 (we had tickets to a thing and did not get back until late), I decided to start feeding it. I reserved 2 OZ of the starter (put the rest in the fridge just in case) and added 1 oz bottled water and 1 oz AP (2:1:1). Then went to bed.

This morning, 2 large bubble wholes and some very minor bubble evidence on the bottom (I switched to a clear glass bowl so that I could see all around.) But still, no major visible activity. (I have no idea if it doubled and reduced while I slept.) The smell is a very faint yeasty-alcohol. My starter is not dead, but it’s certainly not ready to do any heavy-lifting. 

The question now is: what now? Do I feed it just a bit before I leave for 10 hours (adding a bit of flour and water to the existing - maybe a half oz of each to the 4 oz base)? Should I repeat the previous (2:1:1)? Or should I let it starve for the day? I do not want to raise the pH before its ready, but I also don’t want the hungry yeasties to die.


mjbleck's picture

Best Bread Ever, Really

Make a flour mix, 2.5% whole wheat, 10% dark rye, the remainder first clear flour. Grow a starter with said flour mix. Two days before baking bulk up starter sufficient to meet the next sentences requirements. Day before baking mix a dough using 40% starter, 90% hydration (really) and flour mix. Autolyze for an hour, add 2% salt, lazily stretch and fold for a day. Form boules, place into linen lined baskets heavily dusted with 50/50 rice flour/AP flour. Let rise for about an hour and then retard under refrigeration overnight. Heat oven to 450-500 degrees with whatever pots you are used to using for the no-knead trend. I use 1 gallon cast iron pots and 1 kg loaves. Turn dough out of baskets, slash, and bake off 30 minutes in the covered pots, and 20 minutes on a stone. Don’t eat until at least the next day, as the flavors need to develop. If you can bake a better bread than this you got me beat. 

dmsnyder's picture

Hamelman's 5-grain levain

This is certainly one of the most delicious breads I've ever tasted. It is amazing for its complex, wholesome taste. It also has always had astonishing oven spring and bloom for me. I'm not sure why.

I suppose I need to acknowledge that brother  Glenn recently posted his beautiful bake of this bread, if only to claim another instance of Snyder Bros. Synchronicity and deny competitiveness. I did watch out for pixies. They played no role in the baking of this bread. They may be responsible for how much of it my wife ate at dinner, but I do believe that was attributable to how delicious this bread is. 

And, from last week's bake of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with WW, here's a point for Varda:

Happy baking!


kap1492's picture

Sourdough Starter Containers

Was with the wife at IKEA tonight and was browsing their kitchen section and came across these glass jars that I think are perfect for starters: new or old. I know that most people have their preference (glass/plastic) or just use what they have lying around the house. The thing I really liked about these are the lids. They have a silicone gasket that keeps them snug but not too much that under pressure they will either pop off or allow enough pressure to get out. Just a light tug and they are off. 


dabrownman's picture

Another Batch of kjknits English Muffins – 12.5 % Whole Wheat

We love these English muffins and try to make them a little bit different each time we make them.  This time we used some of the left over SD levain for the panettone.  We made them the thickness that is called for in the recipe at 3/4” for the first time.  Normally we make them thinner since the puff so much. 


This is a levain, flour and milk on the counter overnight then sugar, salt and baking soda in the morning is added, 4 minutes of kneading and then shaping, I used a plastic drinking glass, followed by a 45 minute proof and then dry fried.  Ian used an electric skillet for his earlier this week.  After not even being thought about for decades, I saw our electric skillet in the garage the other day and it seems time to put it some good use for a change.


This batch came out the best yet but will make them ½” next time.  The EM’s made a great sandwich for breakfast this morning toasted, with butter, marmalade, sausage and egg on top.  Yummy!


If you haven’t made these yet, put then on the list - they are just too good to pass up and one of the few recipes we make over and over again – like bagels.

Floydm's picture

Yesterday's Sourdough

Fed the starter dark rye flour Sunday evening.  Monday morning combined:

1000g bread flour

680g warm water

Left that as an autolyse for half an hour, then added:

20g salt

180g ripe starter

Mixed it briefly.  Stretched and folded every hour over the next three hours, then put it in the fridge.

Mid-morning Tuesday, pulled it out of the fridge and divided the dough into three loaves.  Shaped them and let them rise for about 90 minutes, then baked them at 465F covered for 15 minutes and uncovered another 30. 

 I'm pretty pleased with the result I get when I feed my starter dark rye flour then bake with bread flour.  The rye livens up the starter and adds just touch of tang, but the loaf is still quite light.