The Fresh Loaf

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Nettie Baker's picture
Nettie Baker

Chinese Bread Recipe Question

I have come across a recipe and I have questions about it. I have posted it here. I am wanting to know why a high protein and a low protein flour are combined in the recipe. I have searched for information online and cannot find any, as to why the two flours are combined. I have found a number of other Chinese bread making recipes that call for high protein flour and low protein flour in the same recipe. It appears to be something that is common in Chinese bread baking.  Since so many of their recipes are like this, there has to be a reason. I was wondering about the quality of their flours? Is it for texture? What is the food science behind this?

Can anyone help me understand why two different flours are used?  Let me post the one recipe that started my questions. Here it is:


  • High gluten flour (210 g) = 7.4 ounces
  • Low-gluten flour (90 g) = 3.17 ounces          
  • Yeast (6 g) = .211 ounces      
  • Water (240 g) = 8.465 ounces
  • Fine sugar (24 grams) = .846 ounces

Main Dough

  • High gluten flour (210 g) = 7.4 ounces
  • Low-gluten flour (90 g) = 3.17 ounces
  • Water (54 g) = 1.90 ounces
  • Fine sugar (96 grams) = 3.386 ounces
  • Milk powder (24 g) = .846 ounces
  • Salt (1.5 teaspoons) =
  • Whole egg (90 g) = 3.17 ounces
  • 72 g butter (to taste) = 2.539 ounces
  • Melted butter (small)


marinus's picture

best machine/breadmaker for sourdough? Also: probiotics?


Howdy folks-

The only machine that seems sourdough-friendly is the Zojirushi BB-CEC20W [has a sourdough starter feature].

Do you know of a better machine?  I'm guessing that it's at least as good as any other brand, and it's touted as both high-quality and still-in-business [spare-parts exist!].

I've just read that sourdough has a bonus- some probiotic benefits.  Any comments on this, anybody?

Thanks for your time!


Eagles fly, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.If you don't like that, try: Skeleton walks into a bar, orders a beer and a mop.

birminghamtom's picture

Tips and Hints for rise improvement and easier maintenance of dough...


I have some problems and information I need to source for my sourdough baking, I am still hitting a few brick walls and I would like to hear some opinions or improvements and perhaps ideas or things to consider.

One of the issues I face is that I don’t think I am getting the right rise and I have a feeling that it is due to my preferment and then bulk ferment temperatures, this week I am working at an ambient temperature of 20c in my kitchen and I am refreshing sourdough starter at around 40c as it is coming straight out of the fridge for refreshment. I use a rye starter as this is easier for me to maintain, my wheat starter is in the freezer at the moment as I was constantly getting a soupy starter and it was becoming impractical.

I have followed a few recipes, I believe my better results have come from the Weekend Bakery pain naturel sourdough and then another recipe which is not as detailed and follows a more simple route of no s&f’s etc.

Weekend Bakery – this needs more maintenance and looking after, I can't leave it for long. (latest bake)

Other Sourdough Recipe – less maintenance (latest bake)

I am looking for big rises, a good ear and a professional looking loaf – crumb structure would be a bonus.

100g of starter, 100g of strong white flour, 125g water refreshed at 40c then a bulk fermentation of 200g of preferment for 8 hours. Then I add 520 strong white flour and 275g of cold water plus 10g of salt. This is hand kneaded, bulk fermented for 8 hours and then proved for 3 hours at the maximum. 

What would you do? What do you think of the proportions should I be refreshing at a higher temperature to get the right kind of preferment? My preferment this week didn’t have a lot of bubbles but some, it’s not the bubbliest I have seen it. Also I feel that the final prove isn’t doing much; it looks like the dough is sluggish and doesn’t really have much rise in the final proofing. The taste is there however. It’s the aesthetic side I am not happy about.

Obvious answers would be stick with the Weekend Bakery bake but I am keen to learn more, the reason why I prefer the first recipe is due to the fact the s&f isn’t there and I can carry on with my other activities. Last weekend I built a cob oven as you can see.

I would prefer once it has dried and firing that I can concentrate on my oven to use it for its temperature range rather than be in the kitchen working on dough development. Maybe I am cutting too many corners?

Advice is welcome !

alschmelz's picture

Quark Bread Recipe

Here is the recipe for the Quark Bread that I posted in the pictures forum a few days ago.  This recipe will make 1 large loaf. 

  • 300g All-Purpose flour
  • 150g Whole Wheat flour or Oat flour (For the oat flour I simply took some old fashioned oats that I eat for breakfast and ground them in my food processor until they were a flour consistency and VOILA, you have oat flour), possibly extra for dusting
  • 100ml Warm water
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 170g Quark cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 7g salt (I like kosher salt but regular table salt works just as well.  It's really just personal preference)
  • About a tablespoon of sugar (you can add more if you like a sweeter bread)

In a large bowl combine your dry ingredients: flours, yeast, salt, and sugar.  In a separate small bowl mix together the quark and egg.  Put that and your water into the dry mixture and combine everything until there is no more loose flour in the bowl. 

Turn your dough out onto a clean surface and begin kneading!  I don't usually flour my surface because I don't want to mess with the hydration ratio.  The dough shouldn't be too sticky but if it is you can go ahead and add some flour.  

I don't usually time how long I knead it.  I just go off of how the dough feels under my hands.  I knead until it is smooth and springy and really feels alive under my hands.  I guess it would be about 8-10 minutes.  If you are using an electric mixer, use the dough hook attachment on medium speed until it clears the sides of the bowl and is smooth and springy.

Now I like to add some extra strength to my dough by taking the edges and folding them into the middle.  I just keep rotating my dough as I fold the edges into the center until I get a strong ball of dough that has a smooth top. Pop that ball of dough into a clean bowl, cover it, and let it rise until it has doubled in bulk.  This will take about an hour.

Turn out your dough now and punch it down.  Again, I don't usually flour my surface but you can if you like, very lightly though.  I like to let it rest for 5-10 minutes after punching it down but you don't have to.  I'm not sure if this step actually affects the final bread or not. 

I like to preheat my oven early so it has time to regulate it's temperature correctly and it gets nice and hot.  Preheat it to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius).  You don't have to right at this moment but at least give it a good 30 minutes before you put your bread in.  Personally I like to bake my breads on a hot pizza stone to simulate an old fashioned stone oven so I preheat my oven with the stone in for an hour before hand to allow the stone to get nice and hot!

Pat the dough out into a square probably about the size or your hand with your fingers spread out.  Fold in the far edge of your dough about 1/4 of the way and press the seam.  Continue folding and pressing until you have a nice log.  Pinch the ends shut.  I like to get about 4 folds out of my dough but 3 works just as well.  I also like to pat out my dough a second time and fold again, usually getting only 3 folds the second time.  Make sure the seams are closed, pinch the ends, and lightly tuck them under so you get a smooth rounded edge to your log of dough. This is the same kind of technique you would use for a baguette. 

Now for the second rising portion you have some options: 

  1. You can place your loaf, seam side down, on a sheet pan.  Lightly flour the top with all-purpose or oat flour (I prefer oat flour).  Cover, and just let it rise as a free-formed loaf.  Let it rise for 30 minutes to an hour (until it's the size you would like your loaf to be), slit the top diagonally 3 times with a sharp knife or razor blade, and put the whole thing (pan and loaf) into the oven.  IMMEDIATELY throw about 2 handfuls of ice cubes onto the bottom of your oven to create steam.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES AFTER SO TO KEEP ALL OF THE STEAM INSIDE.
  2. If you would like to make a tin loaf out of this bread lightly grease a 9x13 loaf pan and put your loaf in seam side down. Lightly sprinkle the top with some flour, all-purpose or oat flour (I prefer oat flour).  Cover it, and let it rise in a warm place until it is your desired size loaf (I like it to be bulging about an inch up from the pan).  This will take about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature it is rising at.  Now uncover your loaf and pop it into the oven.  IMMEDIATELY throw about 2 handfuls of ice cubes onto the bottom of your oven to create steam.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES AFTER SO TO KEEP ALL OF THE STEAM INSIDE.
  3. ***Now here's the way I like to do it: I line an oval shaped basket with a smooth, clean dish towel.  Sprinkle some all-purpose flour or oat flour (I prefer the oat flour) around the sides and on the bottom of the lined basket so it won't stick to your towel.  Place your loaf in the lined basket seam side UP.  Lightly sprinkle with some flour.  Cover it, and let it rise in a warm place until it is your desired size loaf.  This will take about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature it is rising at.  When you're ready to bake it I think the best way is to lay a sheet of parchment paper onto a flat sheet pan with no edges.  Place the parchment paper side of the pan on top of the basket (on top of the bottom of the loaf) and quickly and carefully invert your basket so your loaf is now seam side DOWN on the parchment paper.  Very carefully lift up your basket and towel off of your loaf.  If your loaf looks like it is deflating a little let it rest 10-15 minutes before putting it into the oven.  If you are using the pizza stone method, slide the whole sheet of parchment paper right onto the stone.  If you aren't using the stone just put the whole sheet pan into the oven.  IMMEDIATELY throw about 2 handfuls of ice cubes onto the bottom of your oven to create steam.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES AFTER SO TO KEEP ALL OF THE STEAM INSIDE.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until your bread is a deep brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool on a wire rack and enjoy! 

Bob S.'s picture
Bob S.

White Bread

This loaf was made using the "Sponge and Dough" method.

66.7% Bread Flour
3% Dried Buttermilk Powder
0.5% Salt
0.6% Instant Yeast
0.18% Soy Lecithin Granules
62.5% Water

33.3% Bread Flour
4% Sugar
2.8% Shortening
1.5% Salt

The sponge was fermented at 78°F for 8 hours. Remix was performed in a Cuisinart DLC-2007 seven cup food processor equipped with a plastic dough blade. Total remix time: 45 seconds. The photos shown below were taken while the remix was in progress.

The weight of the dough was just shy of 2 pounds at 31 ounces. After remix, the dough was rounded and given a short rest before being shaped and panned. An over-sized 10" x 5" x 3" pan was used. The bread had a rich aroma and pleasant taste due to the 8 hours of fermentation during the sponge stage.

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

Self Rising Flour

I am always searching the net and cookbooks for muffin, quick bread, biscuits, and other breakfast and desert recipes. I rise very early to go to deliver newspapers (my "retirement" income), and when I get back home I want something hot out of the oven for breakfast.

Now lots of these recipes call for self rising flour, which has baking powder and salt already mixed in. Up until recently, I never saw the point of it for my purposes. For one thing, none of the self rising flours I know of are unbleached, the kind of flour I prefer.

For another, I already stock multiple flour varieties. All purpose, whole wheat, bread, cake, rye, and corn come to mind. There may be others. I saw no reason to add to my already overstocked pantry. <!--break-->

One morning, on the way home from work and with a taste for blueberry muffins, I stopped at Walmart.  With the berries in my super jumbo cart, I wandered over to the baking isle. Looking at the two pound sack of self rising flour marked 99 cents, I thought: "what the heck."

Long story short: got home with the berries and the 99 cent sack of flour.

Squeezed the juice of a lemon, and a tsp. of vanilla into 3/4 cup of slightly warm milk. Added an egg.

Whisked 3/4 cup of sugar, zest of the juiced lemon, and about a tsp. of baking soda into 1 3/4 cup of the flour.  I cut in 3 Tablespoons of butter and added about half the carton of berries.

Mixed the liquid with the flour, scooped the batter into 6 jumbo muffin cups, and had muffins for breakfast.

Ever since then I've baked biscuits, peach cobbler, and several varieties of muffins using cheap Walmart self rising flour with excellent results. Not having to add salt or baking powder means there are two less ingredients to forget to add. Too bad I still have to remember the sugar.

Another advantage is, I'm certain, that this flour is lower protein than the varieties of unbleached A.P I normally use, resulting in better texture.

I'm curious to hear the thoughts of any other home bakers out there.

ibor's picture

Round Braid Bread.Parallel Double Strands

The right hand side insert shows the braided dough and the main picture represents the baked bread.

From "The Art of Baking Bread"

hanseata's picture

Worthy of a Knight - Götzenburg Bread

Before I present you with the amazing bread collection you submitted for my Knight with the Iron Hand challenge, I owe you my own creation!

These goals I had in mind when I thought about the formula. I wanted to create a bread with grains and seeds used in German breads, preferably growing in the Baden-Württemberg region.

Though worthy of Schloss Jagsthausen's long tradition and its noble, iron-fisted ancestor, my bread should meet modern baking standards, not authentic medieval bread tradition (weevil-count over 100/kg!)

I also aimed for a bread that was not too fussy, and could be prepared either by the pastry chef of Schlosshotel Götzenburg's fabulous restaurant or outsourced to a local bakery. Therefore no holey loaf à la Tartine, and no overly complicated procedure.

Introducing a porridge to power up the hydration without making a whole grain dough too wet - this idea I happily took from Chad Robertson's "Tartine No. 3". It would work its magic in my less holey bread, too.

BreadStorm did the math for me, and this is the result (re-directing you to my Blog "Brot & Bread")


thegrindre's picture

So, just what is yogurt, anyway?

I haven't found anything that goes with this stuff. It reminds me of sourdough but there isn't anything to put it in.

I don't eat it very often cuz of its cost but I did like Dannon's Fruit on the Bottom versions occasionally.

So, what is this stuff? Just a fancy expensive desert?



thegrindre's picture

My sourdough is too sour!

Hi all,

My recipe calls for 1 cup starter and 2 cups flour. After baking, this bread has a real bite of its own to it. Sheesh!

Question I have is, is there a way to tone it down some? I would like a much more milder smother twang.