The Fresh Loaf

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hactux's picture

how can i have a nice and smooth surface for my hamburger buns

Hi fellow bakers

I am writing to you as need a good advice. I am trying to make  hamburger buns for my cafe, but the buns I finnaly get are very strange. the surface is cracking. below I will introduce some of the pics I took from my failure. and a pic what I would like to receive. also the introduction how I made my buns. 

this is what I would like to bake. 

this is what I would like to have as a result

this is what i baked




I used 1kg flour

25g salt

130g sugar

12g yeast

25g butter

50g milk 

5g of bread improver 


I mix water and flouer, for 5 mins, then leave it for 40 mins at room temp 23-24c.

then i add the prefermented yeast(water 30c+yeast+little sugar, mix it till it is all as a single mixture for 5 minutes) and the rest ingridients to the dough, mix at the speed1 for 10 minutes and then at the 2nd till I have the ready dough(usually I do the window test with piece of dough).

then i size and shape them, put in a mold, and put into a proofer for 30-40 mins at a temp 30c with high humidity.

when i have the perfect size, I put it into my convi oven, with a starting degree 190c and lot of steem. then i reduce the steam when it starts changeing the color, and get the temp up to 25-210c. 

whean they are ready i take them out remove from the mold and let them cool, when they are cool enough i put them into a plastic bag and keep for use. 

the tast, shape, softness, elasticity, size and color is great, but the surface is cracking. please give me any advice how to prevent the cracks. i tryed adding egg mixture before baking but I dont like this eggy thing. need any advice without it.


please help 

Sjadad's picture


I got a Forno Bravo Primavera 70 about a month ago. After curing (which felt like forever!) I started by trying my hand at wfo pizza. Although not yet proficient, the results are still way better than anything from my kitchen oven, even with a baking steel. I'm still amazed it takes less than two minutes to bake a pizza. 

Today I baked bread. Vermont sourdough to be be exact. After removing the hot embers and ashes, and going over the oven bed with a damp (not wet) cloth, I let the temperature drop to 600 F. Using a garden sprayer dedicated exclusively to water, I misted the interior for about 10 seconds and put the door in place. Next, I scored the 1 lb  loaves and loaded them in the oven, misted above them for another 10 seconds and closed the door.  I checked on them after about 15 minutes.  They had great color and the oven spring was amazing. I left the door off and baked another 3 minutes. The interior temperature of the loaves was 210 F. They were done.  I'll be baking a lot more bread in my wfo. 



WFO 1st Bread

WFO 1st Bread

WFO 1st Bread

Wingnut's picture

Been away

Been away for a bit unpacking still, but I could not stomach the store bought bread anymore so I had to bake.

20% Spelt Potato Rosemay Sourdough.......Lunch Bread

20% Spelt Dried Cherry Sourdough........Breakfast Bread



SylviaH's picture

Preparing for the 4th of July

It's pie month in my kitchen.   That time of year when berrries and stone fruits are the tastiest ever and a great excuse to make a pie or two.

I had my oven all heated up on a warm summer day and, didn't want to let the oven heat go to waste after my two large Sourdough Country Semonlina loaves came out.  I forgot to add the sesame seeds : / to them.  Still they are delicious and made wonderful garlic toast today for dinner. 

There were some raspberries, blackberries and blueberries in the frig, just enough for a mixed berry pie.  So I tossed one together.  Mike loved it.  Blueberry is his favorite pie.  It was throughly enjoyed on his days off from work.  Yes, this pie and bread were baked nearly 2 days ago.


The pie crust texture is a little less layered when I use the food processor method, mixing all except the water, which is added after the mixture is removed from the food processor.

Three even TBsp. of Tapioca Flour gives me about the right consistancy for my  9 inch berry pie to 'set up' nicely, not to dry and not to runny.

I get the best results using dark or clear glass pie pans.  I like to brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with different sugar's.  This one had raw turbinado a nice crispness and added sweetness to my not to sweet pies.  I always use a rim cover, bake on a round pizza pan or cookie sheet...saves for runny messes.  Start out in a hot convection 425F oven for 15 minutes and then bake at 375F-350F convection oven, until I see the filling bubbling.  Remove the rim cover, brown the crust up and remove the berry pie.

I ran short on AP flour and added some cake flour and a teaspoon of vinegar to this pastry crust with Kerry Gold Butter and Crisco, sugar and salt in it.  






I have been wanting to make a good key lime pie for sometime now.  Yesterday I purchased some key limes and baked a KL pie today.  Mike declared it the best KL pie he has ever tasted.


It is a version of a Key Lime Pie recipe I found on 'All' and it's a good one...given 5 stars by well over a thousand testers.  There's no egg in this pie and, that's my favorite way to enjoy a KL pie.  It's very easy to make.  The hardest part is juicing those tiny little key limes.  The best way to do it is with a 'garlic press' an absolutely wonderful way to go about juicing these little buggers.  It was suggested by one who had also made the KL pie.



Just the right texture.  This is just how I like my KL pie to taste.  Mike just loved it...I think he has a new favorite.



Here's the recipe for the KL pie and also the crust I made of gram crackers...or honey grams.  If your in the mood for a good KL pie, give this one a try.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Pre-heat Oven to 350F  (175 C)       -   This KL pie and crust was baked in my Toaster Oven... kept the house cool today.

Honey Gram Cracker Crust - 

1 1/2  cups Honey Gram Crackers

1/2 cup sugar

6 TBsp. Melted Butter

In a processor 'or can be done by hand'.  Process the Honey Gram Crackers broken up a bit with the Sugar and Melted Butter.  Until all holds together and is evenly moistened.

Press with fingertips and I also the smooth bottom of a cup.  Press into a 9 inch pie plate.

Bake for about 8 minutes in your 350F pre-heated oven.

Remove and let cool while you prepare your filling.


Pre- heat Oven 350F - (175 degrees C )


Key Lime Pie Filling

3/4 Cups Key Lime Juice

2 Cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk - 14 oz. each

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

1 TBsp. grated Lime zest

1.  In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, sour cream, key lime juice and the zest.

2.  Mix well and pour into the graham cracker crust.

3.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 5 to 8 minutes.  Mine took the full 8 minutes.  

Bake until you see tiny pinhole sized bubbles burst on the surface of the pie.  DO NOT BROWN YOUR PIE.

Chill throughly before serving with some whip cream and a garnish with some sliced lime or zest.


These are also nice on a hot day. 

Frozen, chocolate dipped banana's with crushed added walnuts.  

Put your sliced banana's on a parchment lined tray with the sticks inserted while you melted your chocolate.

I melted some good quality chocolate in my double broiled and spoon drizzled it over the banana's and rolled them in crushed walnuts.


Have a very Happy Fourth of July and don't eat to much pie : )





SOSP's picture

KitchenAid Steam-Assist?

I've been reading the site for a while, trying to get ideas on how to improve my baking.  We are currently renovating a kitchen and I want to know if anyone has actually used the KitchenAid Steam-Assist ovens?  I saw a thread on the topic about 5 years ago, but wanted to see if anyone has one and can say if the Steam-Assist  in these KitchenAid produces good artisian bread.  

I utilize the dutch oven method for boules but sometimes I want to make other shapes that don't really lend themselves to that approach.  Also I have a very curious 3 year old boy and my wife is sick and tired of the other methods I've attempted to generate steam in the oven.  

So does anyone have any expereince with these KitchenAids?  Also, we have friends that work for Whirlpool so I can get the friends and family discount, which is why we are leaning to a KitchenAid in the first place.


Kyle B's picture
Kyle B

Very hungry starter and some other beginer sour dough questions

Hey everyone,

I'm totally new to sour dough, i've been doing as much reading as time permits, but with all the varried opinions out there I think I need some help.

I started my first starter about two weeks ago using the orange juice method described in The Fresh Loaf hand book. All went well, I switched from whole wheat to white AP flour on day four and "Jethro" has been growing well ever since. After reading an old post by Jmonkey I decided to convert it to a 50% starter around day 7 or 8. I was tired of the mess of measuring cups covered in 100% hydration dough, and I was intrigued by JMonkey's claims that stiffer starter apparently cultivate more of the 'sour' organism than wet starters. I'm surprised however that even though my starter is at 50% Hydration its still pretty sticky when I feed it. I mix it in the container, then kneed it a bit on the counter, but I'm still left with dough all over my hands. I don't at all mind playing with wet dough when making bread, but cleaning up the mess twice a day is less fun. Now I'm not sure which is less messy, 100% or 50% hydration.

Around day 10 or so I noticed that the starter had a rather sour, alcohol smell, and some quick research told me I need to feed it more. So I started a twice daily feeding at 1:2.5:5[s:w:f]. The smell improved a little, but still didn't have any yeasty smell to it. Today when I went to give it its morning feed it smelled pretty sour again, so in hopes of giving it more food I gave it a 1:5:10[S:W:F] feeding to see what happens.I have no thermostat in my house, so I don't know the temperature, but I'd guess its around 25C or a little above with pretty high humidity. I usually bake a 3-4 times a week so I decided to keep my starter on the counter.

I'm essentially trying to figure out what a good starter maintenance system would be for me at this point. I love making bread, but feeding my starter twice a day is a little much given my present life circumstances. So all that said, on to my questions.

1: Do any of you have some some to share regarding "Jethro's" veracious appetite?

2:I'm wondering if storing it in the fridge might be a good idea, I've read of some people keeping their starter in the fridge, then taking some out to the counter to bulk up for baking the day before.

3: Any wisdom regarding ease of maintaining a 50% vs 100% starter? If I kept it in the fridge the mess of a 100% wouldn't be so bad, but as I said my 50% is curiously sticky at feed time. Once needed the dough is fairly dry, but the ripe starter is rather sticky.


Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide


Quigley's picture

Various Questions about crust, "layers", acidity, and more!

Hey all, I’ve been plugging away with my bread baking, altering recipes and times to try and see what I end up with.  It’s like chemistry lab with no grade!  I have not ended up with a horrible loaf yet, but I’ve seen a few interesting things in my loaves, and heard mention of a couple others, that make me curious about a few different aspects of my baking, so here goes, and thank you so much in advance for any and all help!

1. Crackly bubbles on crust exterior: I started my baking education with the Tartine method, and would end up with big round crackly loaves, however with a couple of more recent loves where I’ve lowered hydration, used 100% or close to 100% KABF, and actually kneaded instead of stretch and folds, I’ve seen a smoother crust without the small (1/2 cm?) russet-colored surface bubbles on the crust itself.  Can you tell me what about these loaves is making the crust stay more uniform and smooth?  Is there a aspect of sugar content or some other ingredient of whole wheat that promotes this surface bubbling?  Could I have created a skin of sorts with unabsorbed flour that would prevent liquid bubbling on the surface?  I’m not sure this is a flavor issue, I just like the look of it.

2.  “Layers” within crumb: Somewhat related to number 1, in one of my loaves I knew I might have a problem when I went for final shaping, and stretched the loaf out into a disk.  This was my first time with a lower hydration, and in retrospect, I don’t think I needed to reshape at all…  The dough had a bit of a skin, not super dry, but visible whiteness from unabsorbed flour where I had turned the loaf out onto the counter, and I folded it into the middle letter-style.  The loaf turned out very well, and had great oven spring and very even crumb, but there are clear “layers” where I folded the dough together.  When pulled apart, the crumb feels the same between any two layers as the inside of a normal hole in the crumb.  Is this due to the skin created from driying out?  Could it be from the oil coating the bowl I proofed in? Is it related to the unabsorbed flour on the somewhat dry side?

These next ones are more unique and/or general:

3. Acidity: I’ve heard recently that too much acidity in a starter can lessen the ability of lactobacillus to thrive, and will impact my ability to get sour bread.  Is this true?  Also, how do you recommend testing for acidity, and what methods can be used to lower the acidity of a starter?

4. Rise, “Doubling”, and Oven Spring:  I get very little rise during fermentation (10-15%?) and just a bit more during proofing (20-25%), but I have excellent oven spring with even bubble distribution, and with the wetter dough I usually use, I get very open crumb.  Am I using a good steam environment as a crutch for rising or is this normal?  Should I be concerned about my starter at all? 

5.  In the Tartine recipe, it calls for creation of about 400g of levain, and then has you only use half for the bread itself.  I keep the starter and feed that instead of using the leftover levain as my replacement starter, so in the interest of waste, what factors will be impacted by using ALL of the levain in the dough build?  I’m not interested in doubling the recipe, but if I use all of the levain, can I expect the dough to develop faster?  Would this mean a shortening of the bulk ferment AND proof, or just the proofing stage?  Does twice as much levain in a build equate to half as much time?

Thanks all!


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Whole Rye Whole Wheat Loaves

After an extremely challenging work week, I needed to get my mind back to home.  Nothing does it more for me than a few country style whole grain loaves.  I tried this formula for the first time, and was pretty happy with the results.  Will make some nice veggie sandwiches for today's picnic in the park.

golgi70's picture

Farmers Market Week 6 Pane Maggiore

So I have been mostly creating fomulas for this project with the exception of last weeks Cherry Almond which was just a slight tweak to a common formula for fruit and nut breads.  I scrolled past this formula on Yeastspotting and it looks just like a loaf I always crave titled "Peasant Bread" at a nice Artisan Bakery on the East Coast.  Unfortunately there are so many plays on the theme of Peasant Bread I couldn't just google it.  I've been meaning to contact that bakery and see if they'd be willing to share but just never got around to it.  Then on my last visit they wouldn't even sell me a small portion of levain so i could make bread for my family.  So I doubt they'd share their formula.  

Anyway I used the google translate and gave this one a shot.  Its certainly possible I didn't follow the instructions as I should but I did follow what the translation "said to me"  I wanted to make some alterations but I left it alone and went with it.  I used High Protein as it translated as strong flour (I would just use bread flour next time to help open the crumb), I also used whole coarse ground rye and wheat and I'm betting they use a finer wheat and a medium rye.  Therefor even at 86% hydration my crumb isn't as open as I'd have liked but its delicious and very simliar to the loaf I craved.   I'll further add this dough was a challenge for shaping and I would have also gotten improved results with a tighter shape.  I will certainly make this again.  

Formula can be found here

And for some pictures.  I'm not posting as many but I'll tell you that I got great oven spring but not so much bloom and ears formation and that is due to my shaping.  A little practice with this dough and I'm sure I'd see wonderful results.  It also may be better as a boule and all I have enough of at home are oval bowls.  

* Changes I'd make.  I wouldn't bother changing my grind on the whole grains but I would deffinately go with a good bread flour opposed to the higher protein.  I'd also decrease the yeast even further to slow down the bulk fermentation a bit allowing for the folds to happen before the dough is ready to shape.  Don't get me wrong it went well but had I got this in the retarder a little less ready to go I also would have had improved results.  I would consider cutting the yeast altogether but it was part of the formula and I wanted to try it.  If I did cut it I think the levain would need to be at least doubled to compensate.  


Got some lovely plums, pluots, raspberry jam, cabbage, braising greens, salad greens, ground lamb, and breakfast sausage.  

Happy Baking


dabrownman's picture

Buttermilk and Greek Yogurt Multigrain SD with Seeds and Sprouts

After seeing Ian’s post using buttermilk and Greek yogurt I just couldn’t resist taking one of our normal multigrain breads and having a go at it to see what the taste difference would result.  Plus Lucy is always one to try new and interesting things in bread so that she can DaPumperize them later.


We had made a huge batch of Greek yogurt earlier in the week and was just going to go with that as an add it but noticed the buttermilk was still unopened even if 3 months out of date.  My reasoning was that since buttermilk is sour already, how much more sour would it be and if baking it to 205 F on the inside what could live through that?  The buttermilk smelled fine but was much thicker than usual. 


We used 10 g each of our WW and rye starters to build the levain.  One hour after the 3rd feeding we refrigerated it for 48 hours to bring out the sour.  When we removed the levain from the fridge so it could finish its doubling in volume we started the autolyse of everything else, including the ground flax and sesame seeds, except the sprouts, pumpkin seeds and aromatic bread spices consisting of caraway, fennel, anise and coriander.


This week we ran out of everything so had to make a batch of Toadies and some barley and rye sprouts to make red and white malts out of later today after their 5 days of sprouting.  We pinched off 50 g of these wet sprouts for this bread yesterday.  


All the whole grains were in the levain and we added some potato flakes, semolina and corn flour to the AP in the dough flours.  The whole grains came in at slightly less than 25 % but when including the Toadies and sprouts this shoots up to over 40%.  Toadies are sifted middlings, wheat bran, oat bran and wheat germ that is toasted until golden brown and then reground.


My Greek yogurt is much thicker than the ones in the stores and the buttermilk was very thick so I had to guess at what the hydration was for those items and constructed the formula to have it come out like it felt while doing the slap and folds   It felt like around   75% hydration dough after 12 minutes of slap and folds.


We also did 3 sets of S& F’s on 15 minute intervals and incorporated the sprouts and aromatic seeds on the first set and the pumpkin seeds on the 2nd set.  By the 3rd set the add ins were evenly distributed.  We gave the dough a 15 minute rest and then shaped it into an oval and dropped it into an oval basket and immediately refrigerated it for 21 hours.


It rose about 70% in the fridge during retard and we let it come to room temperature and final proof fro 2 hours before being scored and baked in the mini oven with 2 of Sylvia’s steaming Pyrex cups which were heated to boiling in the microwave. 


The mini was heated to 500 F and the bread was un-molded onto parchment on a peel.  The bread was transferred to the mini oven’s broiler pan vented top, the 2 steaming cups added and the whole assembly was loaded into the mini oven.


After 3 minutes we turned the temperature down to 475 F since we know the oven reads 25 F higher than actual temperature.   After 12 more minutes of steamed baking we removed the cups and continued to bake lowering the temperature to 425 F - convection this time.  In 20 more minutes of rotating the bread 90 degrees every 5 minutes, the bread was deemed done when it reached 205 F on the inside.


It sprang fairly well in the oven and smelled wonderful with those aromatic seeds.  It browned nicely too - but no big blisters that the mini oven is so famous for –just small ones.  he crumb was soft and moist and the crust stayed crunchy shattering when cut.  You can definitely taste the tang of the Greek Yogurt and the buttermilk.  Our bread is usually tangy but this is a whole new and different kind if tang,  You can also taste the aromatic seeds in the background.  It was great toasted with butter and as a lunch sandwich.  I think I like the version using yogurt whey as the liquid better though.  Never really made a bread with Greek yogurt nad buttermilk before,nor have tasted one till now.  Glad I did and thanks Ian for the inspiration.




Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



WW & Rye  SD Starter






















































WW and RyeSD Levain






























Levain % of Total












Dough Flour






Potato Flakes






Semolina 50 & Corn Flour 10












Dough Flour
























Dough Hydration












Total Flour






Buttermilk 287 & Water 94






T. Dough Hydration






% Whole Grain Flour












% Whole Grain w/ Toadies & Sprouts












Hydration w/ Adds






Total Weight












Add - Ins






Greek Yogurt50  12.06%

Aromatic Bread Spices






Ground Flax & Sesame Seeds






Pumpkin Seeds












VW Gluten
























Rye Berries












Total Sprouts












Sprout weight is the wet sprouted weight.