The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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emmsf's picture

Pain de Mie Formulas

I was recently given two pain de mie pans, one 9.5 inches and the other an enormous 16 inch version.  But I'm having a hard time finding good formulas for them.  I have one pumpernickel formula, and a pretty decent white.  And I was able to adjust the quantity of ingredients so they both work in either size pan.  I'm eager to try new ones, but they're surprisingly difficult to find.  Does anyone have a few good formulas they'd be willing to share?  Or, better yet, does anyone know a technique for converting standard formulas to pain de mie formulas?  I've tried a few times to convert, but it's incredibly hard to get the quantity accurate so it fills the pan just right.  Suggestions?

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Nancy Silverton's Hamburger Buns...

...minus the yeast, with a hand chopped 100% skirt steak burger and her friend onion rings.

This is essentially a savory brioche dough. I didn't see the need for the yeast. There's a 24 hour preferment (I did most of it in the fridge,) another one for the dough, which is very highly developed by mixer. The long fermentations contribute a lot of flavor that would be missing due to the intensive mix, which is the thing that strengthens the dough and gives it its beautiful even crumb.

This is a great bun or roll for a special filling of commensurate richness. The skirt steak filled that bill. If I wanted a bun for pulled pork or brisket, it would be a different one.

Sourdough makes a fantastic batter for frying. Add club soda, salt, that's it. The results are super crisp. I'm planning to use this batter again in a couple of days for whole clams.

Dwayne's picture

Bread Baker's Apprentice (BBA) Recipe Recommendations

I've owned this book for a while now, thanks to my daughter, and I've baked maybe a quater of the recipies.  I have a list that I keep of breads that I want to bake from it.  After seeing GSnyde's post on "Vienna Bread with Dutch Crunch" that bread has now gone to #1 on my list.  Thanks GSnyder.


That got me thinking what are the favorite breads from this book for other people?  There are a lot of breads that I am not familiar with.


So please let me know what your top 3 to 5 favorite breads are from this book.  When the answers stop rolling in I'll summarize.


Here are mine:

1. Focaccia - this is really a fantastic bread!

2. Ciabatta

3. Bagels


Thanks, Dwayne

yaunae1432's picture


Ok, so I just made my first ever sourdough bread.  My pet (starter) took over a week to ferment since it's cool up here.  Surprisingly, my starter was perfect (thanks to some advice from my grandpa).  I let it sit in the fridge for about a week and, once we ran out of our other breads (I have a sister who bakes bread also), I decided it was time to bust out the starter and test my skills.  I followed some recipe on the Internet...probably not that smart but it seemed pretty legit and it was made in a really old-fashioned way.  I know alot about the chemistry of baking, the gluten and yeast, the ethanol and carbon I was really careful making this.  I let it rise about 12 hours, turned it out, and let it rise another 5.  The baking was a different story. I wasn't sure about the temperature because the recipe I followed called for an iron-cast dutch pan and I don't have one of those and I can't buy one (college) so I kind of browsed around. I baked it at 325 for about 30 minutes and when it was still really doughy I upped it to 425 (the original temp it called for) and it took about an hour to cook. It's still kind of doughy in the middle but it's nice and crunchy! I wish I cuold use steam in my oven but it breaks a seal on the outside and just lets the steam out. Better luck next time? 

MadAboutB8's picture

Green Tea Bread Roll with Red Bean Filling - great looking bread with little effort

I'm back to making my favorite green tea bread bun again. Having a mentality like a Japanese (trying to as I'm making something sort of Japanese) that food appearance is as important as its taste. I am thinking to make a nice looking bread roll instead of simple bread bun.

I also got lots of green tea powder I bought during my trip to Japan late last year that is asking to be used. And again, I'm on to my favorite food pair, green tea and red bean, a food pair that is made for each other. A match made in heaven!

The recipe I used is a typical sweet bread recipe but I use sourdough starter and reduce amount of yeast. I also included 20% wholewheat flour.

This type of decorative bread roll is quite common in Asia and Asian bakery in Australia. It is not difficult to make but provide a great looking bread roll. It was fun to make different bread shape and learn about new pastry techniques.

Recipe and more photos are here.



GSnyde's picture

Me and My Mini-Miche.



I generally follow trends slavishly, but I can’t get into the nine-pound-miche thing that seems to have taken TFL by storm.  In fact my one and only complaint about miches is they are too large for my small (albeit voracious) family of only two carbovores.  I know they can be divided and a piece frozen, but they’re never as good thawed as fresh.

So what does one do if one loves the flavor and texture of a miche but wants smaller loaves???  I pondered this for several long minutes, and then I settled on the idea of trying a radical experiment.  What if one made a miche dough, and then (gasp!) divided it into two boules!!??   Though I risk the disapproval of the Mega-Miche adherents, I took the risk in the spirit of bread science and the quest for the perfect loaf. 

I am among the seeming thousands of TFLers who have tried and admired the SFBI Miche my Big Brother David posted about five weeks ago (   It has a magnificent caramel flavor and an admirably chewy crumb.  My favorite variation on that formula is to use 50% Central Milling Organic Type 85 high extraction flour and 50% Central Milling Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft (Malted) white flour, as described in my 1/30/11 blog post (

So this week, I used the SFBI formula but with that flour combination (and no wheat germ), and then after primary fermentation I divided the 1250 gram dough ball into two boules and plunked them into small brotforms.  After a night in the fridge and 150 minutes on the counter, they were baked with Sylvia’s magic steam towels for 20 minutes at 450F, and then dry for 35 minutes more at 430F.


Besides having loaves of a size we can eat, the shorter bake time produced a rich dark crust with no burned spots.  And who can complain about the higher crust ratio of a mini-miche?

The flavor is more-or-less the same as the full-sized version, wheaty and moderately sour.  And the crust is similarly crunchy.  The crumb may be a bit more airy. 


A successful experiment. 

And here’s my day’s baking output, the mini-miches with the Vienna Bread Dutch Crunch rolls.


A good baking day.



GSnyde's picture

Continuing the Quest for Great Sandwich Rolls—Vienna Bread Rolls with Dutch Crunch



Since the start of my baking adventure (only six months ago), I have been searching for the perfect sandwich roll, one with a thin, crispy crust, a tender crumb so it’s squishable, but dense enough so it holds together with a burger or saucy filling, and airy but not too holey.  I had good success with SylviaH’s excellent bun formula (  

Then, Dvuong posted about Reinhart’s Vienna Bread rolls with Dutch Crunch topping (from BBA) a few days ago (   And I baked them today.  The formula made enough dough for eight potato-shaped rolls of 4.5 oz each.



I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered this formula before!  It’s even in a book I’ve been enjoying baking with.  It’s a tasty white bread with a little egg , a little sugar and a little butter, using a good proportion of pate´ fermenteé.  The texture is just what I’ve been looking for.   The Dutch Crunch topping adds a nice …ummm…crunchiness.

They were perfect for turkey sandwiches.  I also think this formula would be good for dinner rolls or a pan loaf, maybe topped with sesame seeds.

My Number One Taster says I’ll be baking these rolls again.  And  so I know I will.  Pretty soon she’ll have so many favorites I’ll need to stop experimenting with new things.

Thanks--again!!--Professor Reinhart.  And thanks for lead, dvuong!  This is a winner!



davidg618's picture

Whole Wheat Sourdough: a new quest

After two years following the directions and/or advice of Dan DiMuzio, J. Hamelman, a bit of Reinhart, and a lot of TFLers, e.g., dmsnyder, SylviaH, Susan, Debra Wink, proth5, hansjoakim, ehanner, ananda, and a host of others, I'm comfortable that I can consistently bake satisfactory sourdough loaves, reminiscent of Vermont, Norwich, San Jouquin, etc., while at the same time, feel they are subtly my own.

Of late, flavor-wise, I've been leaning more and more into sourdoughs with modest, but noticeable, percentages (15% -- 50%) of Whole Wheat flour. I've been concentrating on developing flavors we like: intensely wheaty, and for me, a sour presence, not overpowering but distinct. My wife prefers those with the in-your-face wheatiness, but much milder tang.

From an enlightening discussion between proth5 and dmsynder, and proth5's replies to a question about holeyness, i.e., open crumb, my own and TFLer Syd's observation about sour development in preferments vis-a-vis bulk fermentation, and just baking and tasting I'm satisfied I'm getting the flavors we want manipulating the levain's building (precentage flour prefermented, build schedule, time, and temperature) and bulk fermentation (time and temperature).

I've also encountered subtle, and not so subtle, changes in the final dough's gluten development seemingly dependent primarily on time and temperature during bulk fermentation. Although the 100% hydrated levain has been 1/3 of the final dough in all cases--30% of the flour (so far, all Whole Wheat) prefermented in the levain builds--bulk fermentation appears to have the dominant influence on two factors: wheaty flavor, and the dough's extensibility. On the other hand, how I develop the levain, especially time between feedings  clearly controls the degree of sourness in the final loaves, irrespective of the time and/or temperature of the bulk fermentation. However, I've not found a noticeable difference in the dough's gluten development whereing three batches were bulk fermented for 3.5 to 4 hours, but the levains were built differently: 1) a single feeding, fermented twelve hours; 2) Three progressive 1:1:1 feedings over twenty four hours; and 3) three progressive 1:1:1 feedings at 8, 8, and 12 hours respectively. All were fermented at 76°F. Flavorwise, the 12 and 28 hour levains had distinct sourness, more in the 28 hour levain; the 24 hour levain was quite mild.

In one case, made with the 24 hour levain,  I retarded half the dough overnight at 55*F (~12 hrs.). The other half I fermented at 76°F for 3.5 hours, and final proofed for 3 hours. That dough was well behaved. yielded good flavor, and modestly open crumb. The retarded dough was extremely slack, and I had considereable difficulty shaping the loaf--shaping is not my strong suit. Final proof took four hours, and I may have still underproofed slightly. Slashed and in the oven, it's oven spring expended itself horizontally. The flavor was excellent with no noticable acidity; the crumb was closed but not dense.

Today I'm building a levain (28 hour schedule) timed to start mixing tomorrow morning at 8 AM. I've changed the levain build flour to a 50/50 KA AP/ KA whole wheat. This halves the whole wheat content in the final dough. Once again, I'm going to retard half of the dough. I'm specifically looking for, if not answers, at least guidance for answering two questions:

Does reducing the amount of Whole Wheat effect the acidity in the levain?

Does halving the amount of Whole Wheat seriously reduce the wheat flavor in the final loaves?

I'm expecting the retarded loaf to have less extensibility' i.e., stronger gluten, because the Whole Wheat content is reduced.

I'm also expecting that the loaves will be edible, even enjoyable, even if all I come away with is more questons.

David G




Emelye's picture

50% Spelt Bread

I bought a bag of Bob's Red Mill spelt flour a number of weeks ago and let it sit in my cupboard for longer than I should have, mostly because of a lack of confidence but also because I couldn;t decide what kind of bread/roll/muffin I wanted to make with it.  I finally decided to try a 50% spelt/wheat flour loaf.

From reading the posts here about spelt I noted that it doesn't require as much kneading as regular AP or bread flour so I decided to use the white flour in a biga, to let it sit for a number of hours to allow it to develop some gluten over time, as in a no knead loaf.  Here's the formula:

• Bread Flour     8 oz    224 g   50.0%
• Water               8 oz    224 g   50.0%
• Inst Yeast 1/8 tsn
• Spelt Flour      8 oz    224 g   50.0%
•Milk                  2 oz      56 g     12.5%
• Salt            0.32 oz        9 g        2.0%
• Honey          1.5 oz      42 g        9.4%
• Inst Yeast 0.16 oz        4 g       1.0%
• Butter        0.24 oz        7 g        1.5%

Makes one 1½ lb. loaf

Mix the bread flour, water and 1/8 tsp instant yeast together. Allow to ferment at room temperature for about 8 hours, or for about 4 hours then refrigerating overnight. Let sit at room temp for at least an hour after removing it from the fridge before mixing the dough.

Put the biga into a 4 qt bowl and add the milk, honey, yeast salt and butter. Mix together, then add the spelt flour. Knead for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the spelt is fully incorporated and the dough is soft and pliable.

Let the dough ferment for about 90 minutes or until it's doubled. Shape into a loaf into a boule or bâtard and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap. Retard overnight in the refrigerator.

The next morning, remove the loaf from the fridge at least an hour before baking it. Prepare the oven for hearth baking and preheat 450ºF. Score the loaf just before sliding it into the oven.

Bake for 5 minutes, spraying the oven walls with water at roughly 1½ to 2 minute intervals, then drop the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for another ten minutes. Rotate the loaf and bake for another 15 minutes of so, or until the crust is a golden brown.

Here's what it looked like (I had to rush to get the pic before it was all gone).  Not the prettiest crumb but the flavor was exceptional!

50% Spelt Bread


fish4food1's picture

need a bit of help

I am new to this website and forum....and also new to making sourdough bread.   I am attempting to create my own starter using Peter Reinhart's pineapple juice recipe   from his " The Bread Bakers Apprentice".    I have followed the recipe to a "T" using weight rather than volume for the ingredients.  I am currently in day 5 of the process and the starter has lots of bubbles on top and the smell is sort of sour.   There are no foul smells coming from the starter.   My problem is  the starter has not risen.  I have had bubbles for three days,  but it refuses to rise.    The ambient room tempeture over the last five days has been 68-70 degrees.  I have kept the starter in a glass jar on the counter and have been replacing  ingredients every 24 hours according to the recipe.     I think the starter is still alive????   Can anyone help with some tips, suggestions , etc that would help it rise and form a good starter?   Any help would be appreciated!