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SylviaH's picture

Buttermilk Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday

Buttermilk Hot Cross Buns        


If you would like the recipe I used it is referred to on my blog HERE.   I add extra homemade candied orange and lemon peel.  I also use golden raisins a little extra spice of nutmeg and cinnamon.  I like to up the hydration too, by adding a little extra buttermilk.  I glazed the buns with beaten egg yolk with about a TBspoon of milk.  I also towel steamed my buns for the first 12 minutes.  I made a Royal Icing for the baked on crosses, I've tried them before and I don't care for the flavor or texture of the baked crosses, IMHO, the baked on crosses are for the benefit of commercial baking and selling of the HCB, so the crosses don't melt or disfigure...IMHO!  I think the added little sweetness of the lemon flavored icing crosses goes great with the buns.



                                        These are very large buns.  





                                                   Very tender crumb, pulled apart still warm.



                                             These were frosted still a little warm....the Lemon Royal Icing will harden nicely and not melt away on the buns when covered for

                                    later eating.








steelchef's picture

Has anyone used or considered wine/beer yeast as a sourdough starter?


I used to make wine in the basement and had great success with natural sourdough starter. It has been six years since moving the wine making to a U-Brew. Now I can't get a natural starter happening.

So, has anyone used a wine or beer yeast to start a poolish?  Any info would be appreciated. I intend to give it a try regardless.


Elagins's picture

Wood-Fired Bagels

I just finished up a really interesting consulting engagement, helping the owner of a new bagel café in Brooklyn perfect their Montreal-style wood-fired bagels. All in all, it was a great experience that I thought I'd share with the TFL community.

First some background: The café, which is located at a great retail intersection in downtown Brooklyn, is in the process of construction and won't open for another month or so. Its centerpiece is a floor-to-ceiling wood-fired oven that the owners had built by folks who specialize in commercial WBOs. The working hearth is 5 feet wide by 6 feet deep, and the fire-bed is about 1½ feet wide and runs along the left side for the full depth of the hearth.

They knew nothing about either bagels or WBOs when I came to work on Tuesday morning. They'd had a partner who apparently knew something about baking, but for some reason left before the café was up and running, so it was my job to bring them up to speed.

To say that first day was challenging is an understatement. Because the café was still under construction, we only had electricity from one outlet. There was no hot water, no gas, no stove, no refrigeration. The ingredients they'd bought were completely wrong - AP flour when they should have had high-gluten, no yeast, no malt, no sugar and five gallons of vegetable oil (a good thing).

Worst of all, that beautiful beast of a used 140-quart Hobart floor mixer they'd bought had the wrong beater: because bagel dough is so stiff, that flat beater would have burned the motor out in no time. During the three days I was there, the owner did manage to order a dough hook and call a mechanic to give it a thorough check-up. Fortunately, they had a brand-new 20-quart mixer that turned out to be a great workhorse for the next few days of practice.

The crew was equally challenged. Their kitchen manager was mainly a cook, with some baking experience and no bagel experience, and their assistant was a 19-year-old kid who'd had some restaurant experience but no baking or cooking background. Fortunately, he turned out to be extraordinarly smart, hard-working and a fast learner, so that by the end of my three days there, he really understood the oven and could make some pretty passable bagels.

Now, the challenge of Montreal bagels is that they have very little bulk ferment time and virtually no proofing time, so the idea is to develop the gluten and strike a balance between the amount of yeast, sugar and malt in the dough so that there would be enough fermentation to develop a crumb, but not so much yeast that you could taste it.

As I said, the ingredients were all wrong, so our first order of business was to go out on a shopping trip to a local wholesale grocery outlet. The good news was that the store carried All Trumps; the bad news was that all the flour they sold was bleached and bromated: not a bag of unbleached to be had anywhere. Okay, suck it up and remember that this was only for practice. Once they're up and running, unbleached All Trumps is what it's going to be. The yeast was a nightmare: no fresh, no instant, only 2-pound bags of Red Star Active Dry. I hate active dry yeast, but again, our choices were limited. Malt, either dry or liquid? Forget it. At least they carried honey and sugar. And oh, yes, a hot plate so that we could set up a 5-gallon stock pot as a boiler (that lovely 35-gallon 200,000 BTU commercial boiler wasn't set up either).

Back to the café to get things started. The oven had been lit the night before and was chugging along at about 570 in the rear corner closest to the heat, tapering off to 450 at the far end of the hearth. The hearth itself was lovely: tightly jointed blocks of cordierite 2" thick by 18" square. Whoever built that oven knew what he was doing.

Our first mix was a challenge, but it was small, since (a) the 20-quart really can't handle more than about 10 lbs of flour at a time and (b) we were mixing just enough so I could show them how to hand-roll bagels. Needless to say, those first efforts were pretty dismal: uneven sizes, poor seals, dense crumb because of the deadly combination of that @#@^#%$ active dry yeast and cold water. Oh, and did I mention the peels were all wrong? Fortunately, the owner immediately ordered a new set of ¼" maple peels that we had the next day.

So that Tuesday was really a day of learning the oven and building some basic skills. We had an electronic thermometer that could give remote readings from a distance, and during that afternoon, Derrick, the assistant, really developed a feel for the oven - when and where to add wood, where the hot spots were and how to manage the heat in general. Iggy, the kitchen manager, showed some real promise and hand rolling and was as frustrated with the yeast as I was. Luckily, he knew a baker not far from where he lived who sold us a pound of fresh yeast the next morning.

Wednesday morning was a bit easier. Still no electricity besides that one outlet, no cooking surface except the hot plate, but the refrigerator was working and we had determined the right mixing time for the dough. Plus, we had that lovely fresh yeast to work with.

We spent the morning baking. First, I had them divide the dough into 3½ oz pieces and hand-roll those so they'd get a feel for the right size of the bagel. Derrick brought the oven up beautifully, and Iggy manned our makeshift boiler. Our first mix was a bit over fermented because I hadn't corrected for the fresh yeast, but that first batch of bagels was just gorgeous.

That morning, we had our first reality-check. The owner's wife had picked up several bagels from a place nearby that brought Montreal bagels in from St Viateur, one of the two major Montreal bagelries, and we sampled ours against theirs. The consensus was that we were pretty close in size, shape, taste, texture and color, but we wanted to do better.

Thursday was our day to shine. We increased our mix size from 5 lb of flour to 10 lb, and added malt, which the owner had picked up the day before. The guys rolled by eye and by feel, and came up with a pretty consistent-sized product. Derrick did magic with the oven. Everything was chugging along on all cylinders. Even the undersized boiler, although it was a bottleneck, really didn't bother us too much.

By the end of the day, we'd produced about 20 dozen really beautiful bagels. When I left that day, I felt as though all of us had become part of one family, and the guys, over the space of three short days, built a foundation of competence that will stand them in good stead once the café opens and business begins to build.

I have to say, it was one of the best experiences of my baking life.

Stan Ginsberg


RuthieG's picture

My Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

One of our favorite sandwich loafs is a Honey Whole Wheat that my friend Annie passed along to me and has become the regular go to bread in this household.  However I am always looking for a new loaf and wanted to try the Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf  mentioned in this thread  and compare it with my regular loaf only because I love trying new recipes and have a goal of trying as many different varities as I can. 


I followed the recipe to the letter.  My belief is that before you start adding and subtracting from a recipe you need to first make it completely as is and then experiment later.  The result was a wonderful light loaf that was an immediate hit.  I usually can resist the urge to slice a hot loaf but I honestly couldn't when my husband walked in and said, "Let's sample it.  We did and it was absolutely delish.......


The rise was so beautiful and honestly when I slashed it for the oven, I knew that I could have left it to rise longer...It was almost like a small explosion.  I ended us with a slash that was probably 1/2 inch deep instead of the 1/4 that I was looking for.  I use a very sharp single edge blade made for straight razors and it was a brand new blade and made a beautiful slash.....It blossomed as I finished the slash and the obvious rise in the oven was amazing.  One loaf, see the crumb picture below, actually ended up with a weird little top puff/crowne.  (Notice loaf on the right in picture below)  The other loaf, though. had a beautiful crown/top.   I was out of real butter and had a butter/oil combination stick that I used to glaze the top.


The recipe was easy to follow, easy to knead, no adjustments at all and came out amazingly good.  It isn't better or worse than my regular Whole Wheat loaf, just different.  I would encourage you to try the recipe. 

The crumb.


I think if you try this recipe, you will not be disappointed....I certainly felt that since I had never made a blog entry, this bread was worthy of my first blog.


PMcCool's picture

Clayton "Wake": Pain Seigle

This is the second bread from this weekend's bake that is from the late Bernard Clayton Jr.'s New Complete Book of Breads, as both an expression of gratitude and a memorial of sorts.

Mr. Clayton's Pain Seigle is one that I have not previously made.  It is an interesting bread, from the standpoint that approximately 50% of the flour is in two preferments: a "starter" made with commercial yeast and a sponge.  It also has a high rye content, with 2 cups bread flour to approximately 5 cups of rye flour.  


1 cup rye flour [I used the only rye flour available to me, a finely milled whole rye]

1 teaspoon dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105º-115º)

Mr. Clayton recommends a fermentation period in a covered bowl running from a minimum of 6 hours up to 36 hours.  I let mine ferment from Friday evening to Saturday evening, about 26 hours.


All of the starter

1-1/4 cups warm water (105º-115º)

1 cup bread or all purpose flour

1-1/2 cups rye flour

Blend the water with the starter, then blend in the flours.  Cover and allow to ferment 8 hours or more.  I let this ferment overnight, then mixed the final dough around 11:30 Sunday morning, a total of 14 hours.  The sponge ballooned, at least quadrupling its original volume.  Plan accordingly.

Final Dough

All of the sponge

1/2 cup hot water (120º-130º)

1 tablespoon salt

2-1/2 cups rye flour, approximately

1 cup bread or all purpose flour

Stir the hot water and salt into the sponge, then add 1 cup of each flour.  Mr. Clayton's instructions say to mix by hand or machine for 15 minutes, adding the remaining rye flour until the dough is a shaggy mass that can be kneaded.  Here's where I took a slightly different path.  Mr. Clayton's descriptions and directions, while acknowledging that the dough will be sticky enough to warrant kneading with a bench knife or bowl scraper, still reflect a wheat-flour-based mindset.  Kneading, if by hand, should be done on a floured surface; "it will gradually lose its stickiness and become soft and elastic."  With all due respect, no.  I found that the white flour in the sponge had developed a very strong gluten network from its overnight hydration.  Adding the last cup of bread flour increased that.  However, the more rye flour that was added, the more this became a rye dough insofar as its handling characteristics went.  Being mindful of rye's fragility, I did about 3 minutes of stretch and folds in the bowl (as opposed to 5 minutes of kneading), then turned the dough out onto a wet countertop so that I could shape it into a rough ball.  That also let me clean and oil the bowl for the next fermentation which, per instructions, was timed at 40 minutes.  No indications were given for the dough's expansion or appearance at the end of this bulk fermentation, so I watched the clock.

Mr. Clayton instructs to "punch down the dough" and "knead for a minute or two to press out the bubbles."  I didn't see a significant change in the dough at the end of 40 minutes, certainly nothing to warrant punching down or kneading.  Clayton recommends forming into 3 boules of about 1 pound each.  I elected to form 2 boules.  This was followed, per instructions, by a 30-minute final ferment on the baking sheet. 


1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon milk

The egg yolk and milk are blended together and brushed on the loaves.  Mr. Clayton recommends glazing before slashing.

The bread is baked in a 400º dry oven for about 45 minutes, until a finger thump on the bottom crust produces a hollow sound.

Here's how it looked:

Clayton's Pain Seigle

And a somewhat closer view:

Clayton's Pain Seigle

It is a handsome bread.  The glaze imparts a lovely sheen.  It is also obviously underproofed.  My kitchen temperature today was in the low 70's, perhaps not as warm as Mr. Clayton's "room temperature."

As noted in a previous post, my cup of flour probably weighs less than Mr. Clayton's cup of flour.  Therefore, it is likely that these are somewhat higher than his in hydration.  Now that I have this bake as a baseline, I would probably extend the bulk ferment and the final ferment to a point that I could see more obvious indications of inflation in the dough.  These may be somewhat dense and tight-grained when I get around to cutting into them.  That won't be until later this week, since they will go into the freezer once they have cooled thoroughly.  They don't feel like bricks, so I will keep my fingers crossed.  I can't remember whether I've made an unseeded rye before, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the rye tastes all on its own.


dmsnyder's picture

Large bâtard made using the formula for the SFBI Miche


This bake was inspired by the very large bâtards Chad Robertson bakes, but the formula is that of the miche we baked in the Artisan II Workshop at the SFBI last December.

I've now baked this bread using the original formula and using all high-extraction flour rather than the mix of “bread flour” and whole wheat. I've made 1.25 kg miches and 2.0 kg miches. I have been curious how the SFBI miche would be as a bâtard, and I wanted to keep the size large, to be better able to compare crumb structure and flavor to the miche/boule shapes I've made with the same dough.

An additional point: This was my first bake using a large, linen-lined oval brotform for proofing.


Total formula




Wt (g)

Baker's %

AP Flour



Whole wheat flour






Wheat germ (toasted)













Wt (g)

Baker's %

AP flour



Whole wheat flour






Liquid starter






  1. Dissolve the starter in the water and mix in the flour. Desired Dough Temperature: 78ºF.

  2. Ferment for 8-12 hours.


Final Dough




Wt (g)

Baker's %

AP flour



Whole wheat flour






Wheat germ (toasted)














  1. In a very large bowl, dissolve the levain in the water. Add the other ingredients, except the salt, and mix thoroughly by hand.

  2. Cover tightly and autolyse for 30-60 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix thoroughly to incorporate.

  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

  5. Ferment for 3-4 hours with 4 folds at 50 minute intervals. (I did this by the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique.)

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Pre-shape as a log.

  7. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the gluten.

  8. Shape as a bâtard and place, seam side up, in a floured banneton.

  9. Cover with plastic and retard overnight in refrigerator.

  10. Remove the loaf from the refrigerator and allow to warm and complete proofing for 1-3 hours. (Watch the dough, not the clock!)

  11. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the over to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  12. When the loaf is proofed, transfer the loaf to a peel. Slash the bâtard as desired, and transfer it to the baking stone. Steam the oven and reduce the temperature to 450ºF.

  13. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove any water remaining in your steaming apparatus.

  14. Continue baking for another 30 minutes or until the loaf is darkly colored, the bottom sounds hollow when thumped and the internal temperature is at least 205ºF. (If you have a convection oven, switch to “Convection Bake” and reduce the oven temperature to 425ºF at this point.)

  15. Remove the bâtard to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Bloom and Ear

Crackly Crust

I rested the loaf overnight, wrapped in baker's linen, before slicing and tasting.

Sliced loaf profile

Crumb close-up

The crumb was moderately open. She crust was crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The flavor was moderately sour with a lovely wheaty flavor but without any harsh grassiness from the whole wheat. This flavor is as close to my notion of a "perfect" sourdough bread flavor as I can imagine. Those who prefer a less assertively tangy bread, might enjoy it more without the cold retardation.


Submitted to YeastSpotting


bread_house's picture

How Do You Use A Nonstick Perforated French Bread Pan

I just purchased a Non Stick Perforated French Bread Pan .... Only thing is I forgot to ask the sales associate how to use it? 

Do you just stick it in the oven to bake the bread?  Or do you have to put it on a baking stone or cookie sheet?

Do you have to preheat the pan?

Any help would be great .... Thanks .....


dmsnyder's picture

More on scoring, ears and bloom

These are a couple of 755 gm bâtards of Hamelman's Pain au Levain I baked today. I think they illustrate the points made recently in discussions of scoring, ears and bloom, for example in Varda's topic To ear or not to ear.

To quote Michel Suas from Advanced Bread and Pastry again,

If the angle is not achieved and the cut is done with the blade vertical to the loaf, the two sides of the dough will spread very quickly during oven spring and expose an enormous surface area to the heat. The crust will begin to form too soon - sometimes before the end of oven spring - penalizing the development of the bread. If the cut is properly horizontal, the sides of the loaf will spread slower. The layer of dough created by the incision will partially and temporarily protect the surface from the heat and encourage a better oven spring and development. (Suas, pg. 116.)

These loaves were scored with a razor blade mounted on a metal lame. The blade was held at a 30º angle. The cuts were about 1/2 inch deep. I think the coloration of the bloom attests to the slow spread to which Suas refers.

I think you can clearly see three distinct colors in the bloomed crust, progressively lighter in color from right to left, with the lightest color being that under the ear. As the cut opens up during the bake, it does so slowly over a prolonged period. The darkness of the bloom demonstrates the length of time each area was directly exposed to the oven's heat. The ear keeps the area under it sheltered from the heat so it doesn't form a crust, but, as the bloom widens, the previously sheltered area becomes uncovered by the ear, and it begins to brown.

Scoring with the blade perpendicular to the loaf surface thus results in less bloom, and the blooming is terminated sooner in the bake. The coloration of the bloom is more uniform. An example - a Vermont Sourdough I also baked today:

I hope this helps clarify the point of the ear - how you get it and why you might want to.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

LeeYong's picture

Looking for a Roasted Garlic Sourdough bread recipe...

Hi everyone!

I would love to try a roasted garlic sour dough recipe for Easter. Does anyone have a recipe to share using a starter? Thank you kindly!

Happy baking!


markmcc's picture

Tartine Basic Country Bread driving me insane

Hey all:

Been lurking here for months, but finally moved to see if anyone has any ideas. 

I've spent the past few weekends trying to bake the Basic Country Bread from the Tartine book, and have run into nothing but failure. 

My starter is going great guns, rising and falling regularly, no problems. Make the levain, and does great. Expands about 30% overnight, and passes the float test.

Mix the dough, let it rest for autolyse, add remainder of water and salt. And then...nothing.

I just don't get any rise during bulk fermentation. Been following the directions to a T, except for my room temp at home, which is in the 70 degree range (or, it was this weekend). Do the turn in the container, but just don't get any action. 

Let it go for 12 hours (!) on Saturday, and had about 5% rise after that time. 

I'm a little bit at the end of my rope on this -- I see people saying that the proof times in the book are long for them, and I'm just not seeing any action at all, really. Which is a total contrast to what seems like a thriving starter and levain. (Like, that same room temp with the levain gives a great expansion).

Any ideas? I'm about to give up on this recipe.