The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
gmmace's picture

Chinese pork buns question

Hello all,

I made some Chinese pork buns using a bun recipe I found on this site.  The bread came out nice and fluffy, though I need to tweak my filling recipe a bit.  But I'm wondering how to make the kind of rough textured pork buns you sometimes see at Chinese restaurants.  They look like they have burst open, a bit like popcorn.  It seems like the secret is probably in the shaping of the dough, but I haven't been able to find any recipes that will yield this kind of result, most recipes just form the buns into a round, or pleat the top.

Here's a pic of what I mean:


wassisname's picture


*Edited to add formula.  Pretty sure this is what I did.  Now that I look at it again it could probably stand some tinkering.

I’d heard that freshly ground coriander seeds were altogether different from the prepackaged powder, but… Wow!  Now I get it.  And, as for what freshly ground coriander does to a hearty rye, I have not the words.  But I do have the bread.

This is a half whole rye, half whole wheat loaf.  I fed my WW starter with rye to build it up with a long, long fermentation time, leaving it with loads of flavor but not much leavening power.  A bit of instant yeast solved that problem.

The result was just what I’d hoped, a hearty loaf with an aroma that is permanently imprinted on my brain.

Oh, and I generally avoid using traditional names for my bread (I just don’t have the energy to argue over “authenticity”) but since I tested this one on actual Germans, who did seemed pleased with the result, I’m going for it on this occasion. 


Dark Rye Flour150100% Mix 3-4 min
Water11577% Ferment at least 12 hrs
Initial Starter5033%  
Starter31534% autolyse flour and water 20 min
Whole Wheat Flour50054% mix all 
Dark Rye Flour42546% Alternate kneading/resting 10-12 min
Water64069% Ferment 1 1/2 hrs
Salt161.73% shape (2 loaves)
Instant Yeast121.30% Proof 1 hr
Ground Coriander121% bake w/ steam
total1920  475F 8 min
    425F 40 min
Whole Wheat Flour50047%  
Dark Rye Flour57553%  
Ground Coriander        121%  
Initial starter contribution   
Whole Wheat Flour2957%  
% of flour in starter3%  
starter as % of finished dough16%  
salt in tsp2 3/4   
yeast in tsp2 1/4   

dmsnyder's picture

SFBI Miche - another variation - and a SFBI Sourdough

This weekend, I baked another miche using the formula from the SFBI Artisan II workshop I attended last December. The SFBI formula and method can be found in my previous blog entry: This miche is a hit!

I amended the formula and methods as follows: For this bake, I used my usual sourdough feeding mix of 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% dark rye for the levain. The Final Dough was mixed with about 1/3 Central Milling "Organic Type-85 malted" flour and 2/3 WFM Organic AP, which is also a Central Milling flour. The SFBI method does not include an autolyse, but I did one. (Mixed the water, liquid levain, toasted wheat germ and flour and autolysed for an hour. Then mixed in the salt and proceeded.)

The bread flavor was the best yet, to my taste. I tasted it about 18 hours after baking. I had left it on the counter, wrapped in baker's linen overnight before slicing. This is the sourest miche I've baked. I like the sour tang and the flavor of the flour mix I used a lot.

SFBI Miche crumb

I also baked a couple loaves of one of the sourdoughs we made at the SFBI workshop. This one uses a firm levain fed at 12 hour intervals at 40% (by levain weight) of the final dough flour weight. After last week's trial of different methods of forming bâtards, I wanted to try the method portrayed in the KAF videos ( See Shaping) I think this method will become my method of choice.

The other loaf, which had an essentially identical appearance, was gifted to a neighbor before I took the photos.

SFBI "Sourdough with 2 feedings and 40% levain" crumb

This bread is meant to be a French-style pain au levain with little sour flavor. My wife's assessment sums it up pretty well: "It's just good bread."

Happy baking!


littlelisa's picture

percentage whole wheat in a white sandwich loaf formula

In my ongoing adventures with Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb, I decided to try one of the sandwich loaves. However, PR only presents a 100% white and 100% whole wheat in this book, and I really wanted to do a half-half. So did a  biga starter today using 2 cups white and 1.5 cups whole wheat flour, figuring I'd use the white sandwich loaf recipe and adapt it using around 40% ww flour. Any advice on this?



fminparis's picture

Tips and Techniques for Bread Baking

Having baked well over a thousand breads over the years, I thought I’d write some things I’ve discovered while baking baguettes, batards, and boules.  I’ve used techniques from many people – Bernard Clayton, Greg Patent, Julia Child, Peter Reinhart,  Jim Lahey, others.  I still change and experiment but, for better or worse, here are some things I’ve discovered. I’m not here to argue; just presenting.  Take it or leave it.

 1) I don’t bother with no knead bread.  I don’t want to have to decide the night before whether I will want bread the next night.  Total time for me is 4 hours, from entering the kitchen to taking the loaves out of the oven.

 2) Best hydration for my boule is 70%; for baguettes 65%.  The baguettes have less water so they can be rolled and shaped. I don't overdo the boules with water because I like them high, not spread out.

 3) For best consistency, use a good, accurate  scale.

 4) I never found the need for a poolish.  No argument, I’ve done it with and without and don’t find a difference.  I don’t bake sourdough.

 5) The best kneading is with the Cuisinart, metal blade. One minute is all it takes. I find that the bread is, in all ways, a better, more consistent product than with a standing mixer and dough hook. I never tried all hand kneading - no patience for that.

 6) Autolyse is necessary.  After adding flour and yeast and processing for a second or two to mix, pour in warm (90’) water slowly while running the processor.  After a few more seconds shut off and let sit 20 minutes so flour can absorb the water. With  a spoon spread the dough around the bowl. Then  sprinkle salt over dough, so you don’t forget to add it.  After 20 minutes, process for one minute.

 7) Immediately after kneading, dump dough out and do stretch and fold. I used to flour a large wooden cutting board.  Now I just smear a little olive oil on surface of table - no need for messy flour all over. Dough won’t stick at all.

 8) If making baguettes or batards, after dumping out dough and doing stretch and fold (oiled table), divide dough, form balls and then allow each to rise in a separate oiled bowl covered by plastic wrap, rather than dividing after first rise.

 9) Best shaping for baguettes is by following:    

 Other good stuff there also. Unfortunately, batard demo doesn’t work.

 10) I bake my boules in a La Cloche which is very convenient, with parchment paper round on the bottom.  I used to use a parchment covered cookie sheet with a pot turned upside down over the boule and that was fine.  The important thing for me is to allow the final rise to take place on the surface I’ll be baking on, so that there is no deflation moving it from one location to another. Slash, cover, bake. If I wanted to slide it onto tiles, I would let it rise on parchment covered cookie sheet, then use cookie sheet as a peel and slide paper and  dough onto tiles. Paper would slide smoothly and easily. I give 32 minutes covered, then 20 minutes uncovered turning loaf 180 degrees halfway through (my oven).

 11) My baguettes I bake on the same parchment covered cookie sheet that they have risen on with an aluminum "disposable" roasting pan turned upside down. Slash, cover, bake. I give 30 minutes covered, then 20 minutes uncovered switching loaves halfway through (my oven). Same remarks as boule if use tiles.

 12) I never found any difference whatsoever between using a heated cover or cold cover and since the cold one is more convenient to handle, that’s all I use.

 13) If bottoms burn, use two cookie sheets. One can be left in the oven.

 14) I never tried using a cold oven so can’t comment. I preheat to 450’ and bake at 450’.

15)  Give boule 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cool. Give baguettes an hour.



butterflygrooves's picture

Ways to create steam?

I have a gas home oven and am wondering what the best way to create steam is. 

I have a small pan that sits on the oven floor that I dump boiling water into but I'm not sure it's doing the job well enough.  I have to have the oven door completely open to get the water into the pan and slide it back before closing the door.  I don't feel like enough steam isn't trapped inside when doing this.

I've heard of others on here using lava rocks or spraying the inside of the oven, or going so far as to MacGyver their home oven into a steam injection oven.

What is the best method for getting steam?  I just want a shiny, blistery crust every now and then...

hanseata's picture

Korntaler - Crunchy Bread from a "Floury German Kitchen"

10 g rye starter, 100% hydration
60 g water
100 g bread flour

115 g whole rye flour, or medium rye
120 g whole wheat flour
30 g flaxseeds
30 g millet
4 g salt
210 g water

all soaker and starter
105 g bread flour
6 g salt
60 g dried soybeans
40 g water, or more as needed


Mix together all ingredients for starter. Cover, and let sit at room temperature for 14-18 hours.

MIx together all ingredients for soaker. Cover and let sit at room temperature.


Pour boiling water over soybeans and let soak for 15 minutes. Drain, let cool, and chop coarsely. Dry on kitchen paper towel, and toast slightly at 170 C/325 F for ca. 20 min. Let cool.

Combine all dough ingredients, mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes, until ingredients come together, then 4 minutes on medium-low speed. Let rest for 5 minutes, then continue kneading for another 1 minute.

Ferment sough for 3-4 hours, or until it has grown 1 1/2 times its original size.

Shape dough into boule, place into banneton, seamside down, and proof for ca. 2 hours, or until it has grown 1 1/2 times. (Preheat oven after 1 hour.)

Preheat oven to 250 C/500 F, including steam pan.

Bake bread at 240 C/475 F for 10 minutes, steaming with 1 cup of boiling water. Reduce heat to 220 C/425 F, and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove steam pan and rotate loaf 180 degrees. Continue baking for ca 20 minutes more (internal temperature at least 93 C/200 F). Bread should sound hollow when thumped on bottom.

Let cool on wire rack.

The recipe was adapted from Nils Schöner: "Brot - Bread Notes From A Floury German Kitchen".

pixielou55's picture

Good Shortbread


I bought some Shortbread made in Scotland and want to make something that good (I think the brand is Walker). Very dense and full of butter. I have been looking online and see some very different recipes:  1 says only use brown sugar, many call for about 2-1/2 cups cornstarch (?? - can that be right - they call it corn flour, is that different?), others have the 4-2-1 ratio and some call for salt, some not.

I'm dying here at work thinking about trying to recreate those wonderful morsels! Any TAT recipes would be appreciated.



Conjuay's picture

Baking Stone Too Hot

I put together a propane fired pizza/bread oven from a used Bar-B-Que.  My first attempts indicate that the stone is getting much hotter than the upper half of the oven. Pizzas will get a bit of charring underneath while the cheese on top has hardly bubbled. Baguettes will hardly brown while the bottom is over crisp- bordering on hard.

There is space around all sides of the stone, approx 1.5" to 2", so the heat should be circulating.

The upper 'clamshell' of the BBQ is lined with mortar and fireclay to retain the heat, and I decreased the size of the upper chamber by adding firebrick to the "warming rack" that sits about six inches above the baking stone.

Did I simply go too large with the stone?  Do I need better (more) insulation up top?

Thanks for any advice,





jcking's picture

Altamura Volcano Loaf

100% Durum loaf with balck and white sasame seeds and Sterile Sourdough X.