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Yolandat's picture

Euchre Rolls

 I saw the blog as I was wondering though TFL for Bridge Rolls. I didn't know what they were or what they should look like so I checked it out. I am playing euchre with some of the women that I work with. it is an excuse to get together and drink lots of wine and nosh and gossip and yes play a little euchre. Hopefully these little Euchre Rolls with go with the Port Salut cheese and whatever anyone else has brought along. 

Tuirgin's picture

Bagels from The Bread Baker's Apprentice—Updated

I just posted a blog entry discussing the bagels I've been making and wanted to follow it up over here in the forums with a couple questions.


I've used longer boil times and have compared KA Sir Lancelot HG flour to bagels made with KA's Bread flour and find there's only a slight difference in chewiness. These bagels are good, but the inner bagel is still surprisingly soft. What aspects of bagel making can affect the chewiness outside of boil time and gluten content of the flour?

Surface Texture

After increasing the amount of baking soda, and adding malt syrup to my water, the exterior is getting much closer to what I expect from a bagel, but it's still quite soft/chewy. Shouldn't a bagel have a bit of a crackle or crispness to the outside? Is this something that only moving to a lye bath is going to achieve?


Since these are the best bagels I've ever had, I'm guessing that I've never really had a good, traditionally made bagel. What should the crumb look like? Should it have a tight crumb, or should there be some noticeable holes to it?

That's it for now, I think. Although I can't recall all the various posts I've found that have helped me this far into my bagel making, I want to thank the members of The Fresh Loaf forums as a whole for all the great info. I've been lurking until now, but have found the site incredibly helpful. It's helped me improve my bagels, fix my sourdough starter, and given me some ideas on how to deal with kneading and pain in my hands and forearms. Much thanks to all of you!


UPDATE—2010-06-12 10:26 AM

I made a batch of dough up Thursday afternoon using King Arthur Sir Lancelot (High Gluten). I retarded it while the bagels were still extremely sluggish to float. Rather than spraying the bagels with oil to keep them from sticking to the plastic bag they were stored in, I sprayed the plastic bag, itself, and arranged it so that it wouldn't make contact with the bagels; i.e. the spray was just insurance in the event that the bag was moved so that it touched. This morning I boiled them for 90 seconds per side. And rather than sticking the whole tray of bagels in the oven, I removed the bagels from the tray and cooked them directly on my quarry tile. I cooked them for approximately 15 minutes.  The bagels were a rich brown with a slight reddish tinge. They had crust—there was a discernable crackle as I passed the knife through them. Biting into them, there was resistance—at first a slight crunch and then chewiness. The upper half which was covered with my everything mixture—Maldon sea salt, black and white sesame seeds, dehydrated garlic granules, and poppy-seed—was less crusty, both because of the seed coverage and because my range just isn't able to achieve an ambient temperature beyond 450ºF. The bottom, which was in contact with the baking stones, was perfectly crusty. There was a slight pretzel-like flavor to the bottom crust. I assume that's because pretzels and bagels both have a gelatinized crust from an alkaline bath. At any rate, the bagels were as close to perfection as I think I can come with this particular formula and my existing range. In fact, they were so good that my wife and 3 daughters wouldn't shut up about them and some of the sounds being made were rather alarming.

Next I'll try some different formulas. I should have Jeffery Hamelman's Bread any day now, and I picked up Mike Avery's small book, Back to Bagels. I want to thank everyone here for your comments and suggestions. It was a huge help. Thank you!


Tuirgin's picture

Bagels from The Bread Baker's Apprentice

 Plain, Asiago, Everything, and Rosa al Bianco

Back in March my wife sent me to a food blog to read about the "Best Pizza Dough Ever Recipe." In the post, Heidi Swanson gives some background to her discovery of Peter Reinhart's Neapolitano pizza dough along with an adapted version of the recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It seemed a bit detailed, but it sounded good and a few days later I gave it a go.

I'll admit I had a rough time of it. It was my first time working with wet dough—to date I'd only made some quick breads and some rather disappointing bread sticks, and this was a whole different beast. The first pizza went everywhere. The second was little better. Did I mention the smell of carbonized semolina flour? Altogether the pizzas were a mess, but they were still good enough that it showed promise, and it got me interested in checking out Reinhart's books.

Ten days later my wife surprised me with copies of The Bread Baker's Apprentice and American Pie. I switched to the AP Neapolitano dough and I've now made the pizzas 3 times. It's the best pizza I've ever had. Our favorite pizza so far is the Pizza Rosa al Bianco.

In the same time, I've been exploring a variety of bread recipes from BBA. For myself, the European style breads, and for my wife a variety of sandwich loaves. But one of the formulas has overshadowed all the others. First I made bagels for us. My entire family raved. Then I made bagels for my wife's co-workers. And then my mom wanted some for her school. I have been making between 2–3 dozen bagels per week for the last month or two. And thanks to some snooping around the forums here, my bagels have consistently gotten better with each batch. I have to admit it does feed my ego when people constantly tell me that my bagels are better than anything in town and that I should open up a shop. Most of the bagels I've had around here don't even begin to compete with these. Panera comes closest, but there are a few people insisting that these are better yet. I agree that they're good, but I'm still hunting for the perfect bagel.

In the meantime, I'm very proud of these and love making them with a couple tweaks to Mr. Reinhart's formula. The few changes I make are as follows:

  • Liberally add more flour—I need to measure this, because I'm consistently adding more flour as the dough seems fairly wet

  • Toss the proof times out the window—since I have to hand kneed 1-2 batches at a time, the bagels are often ready to be retarded just as soon as I have them shaped

  • Increase baking soda to 1/4 cup per pot of water—1 tbsp wasn't sufficiently gelatinizing the outer dough

  • Add malt syrup to the water until the water is tea colored (with thanks to those who have posted Jeffrey Hamelman's techniques)—without the malt, the bagels come out of the oven very pale

I've also experimented with some different toppings. I liked the ginger, garlic, sesame bagels I turned out, but my wife wasn't a fan of the ginger zing. The favorite topping, by far, has been my adaptation of the Pizza Rosa al Bianco from American Pie. I mince the red onion—is there any reason why everyone seems to use rehydrated onion for bagels?—and chop the pistachio nuts and rosemary smaller than I would for the pizzas. It still gets a huge heap of parmigiano reggiano and gets spritzed with olive oil before going into the oven.

Bagel Rosa al Bianco

There are still a few things I'd like to figure out. No matter what I do, the bagels don't have the texture I expect—the inside isn't quite a chewy as I think they should be, and I've tried using KA Sir Lancelot HG flour as well as boiling longer. The crust is also surprisingly soft. Chewy, yes, but shouldn't the crust have a crispness about them?

Regardless, these bagels are certainly satisfying. Everyone from my 2 year old daughter to my recently-vegan parents begs for them. And this makes me very, very happy.

dmsnyder's picture

Mid-week baking

I usually don't get to bake during the work week, but this was a slow week so I got some afternoon time at home. Last night, I made pizza with dough I froze a couple weeks ago.

I had used Peter Reinhart's formula from BBA. I'm going to get the hang of stretching pizza dough yet. My wife generously consented to eating pizza once a week or so, providing me more opportunities to work on it. She is so supportive ... at least in agreeing to eat one of her favorite foods.

Yesterday afternoon, I also mixed the dough for San Joaquin Sourdough and baked it this afternoon.

San Joaquin Sourdough with peaches and nectarines from this afternoon's farmers' market


 I made this with a firm (50% hydration) starter that had been refrigerated for 6 days. I did not refresh it before mixing the dough. It was plenty active.

Because I used a firmer starter than my usual 75% hydration, I increased the water by 10 gms to get my usual dough consistency. I kept the same ratio of starter to flour by weight, so the actual amount of pre-fermented flour was higher than usual. The flavor that resulted from these variations was slightly but noticeably more sour.

It's been fun, but I'm back to my customary work schedule for the rest of the week.


wassisname's picture

Whole Wheat Sourdough Focaccia


That fits into my after-work-weeknight schedule?  And is almost impossible to mess-up?  Sure, why not?

My daughter of nine calls this, "The best bread in the whole world... mmmm!"  That's compared, I should note, to the crusty whole grain hearth loaves I usually try to force on her.  She is not a fan of the crusty bread.  Maybe someday. 

 Until then, this is the opposite of that... but still in keeping with my fascination with whole grains and sourdough. 

 Anyway, here's a pic:


And here's a recipe:

Based on the Focaccia recipe in Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads that I originally only used for pizza.

Day 1 - make the dough

350g WW Flour

200g WW starter (mine is 75% hydration)

300g water

1 tsp salt

Up to 1 tsp instant yeast (Not necessary, but if it makes you feel better...)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil


-Mix everything except the oil, knead for 3-4 min

-Add the oil - knead 15 seconds

-Rest 5 min

-Knead 1 min

-Put in an oiled container, cover and refrigerate.


Day 2 - make the Focaccia

About ¼ cup olive oil

Corn meal (optional)



-Generously oil a 8x12 Pyrex pan with about half the olive oil.  Sprinkle a little corn meal in the pan.

-Take dough out of refrigerator and put it in the pan.

-With oiled fingertips slowly press the dough out to fill the pan (it will be slack so this is usually pretty easy).

-Pour remaining oil over dough, or don't if you're not as big a fan of olive oil as I am.

-Let rise 45 min. if pressed for time, or longer if you can (90 min. is the most time I've ever had).

-Add toppings (I like fresh rosemary, a few shreds of parmesan and mozzarella, and a bit of coarse salt.  The one in the pic has cheese, oregano, corn, coarse salt)

-Place pan on middle rack of cold oven.  Start oven for 500 F.  Bake about 15 min. (depending on how fast your oven heats up).

-Reduce heat to 350 F and bake another 10 min.

-Remove from oven, let cool on rack for a few minutes.  I like to throw a little extra mozzarella on to melt as it cools.


The best part?  Change almost anything in this recipe and it still works.

I've tried:

-Substituting half whole spelt flour, half whole white wheat flour, half 85% flour, all WW bread flour.

-Preheating a stone and baking just above it at 425 F for 15-20 min.

-Various amounts of instant yeast.

-Various rising times

-Recently refreshed starter, starter that's been in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

-A little sweetener in the dough

It may not come out exactly the same each time, but it's always tasty! 



CoveredInFlour's picture

Weird "Crack" Inside Loaf

Hello. :)


I've made the Tassaraja Egg White Bread recipe twice now, and both times I've gotten this kind of weird "crack" (for lack of a better term) inside the loaf. It's not a tunnel as I know it, I took some pictures tonight after cutting into the fresh loaf I made today:



The first time I made it, the side of the top ripped and  had a huge backward "J" shaped crack that started in the centre of the bread and went up to the side on the top of the loaf. So this time I used less flour to shape it, the dough was slightly sticky when I put it into the pan for the final rise and let it rise 10 minutes longer than I usually let the dough rise. This time I also skipped the second rising after punching down, just went on to shape it and let it rise in the pan (I don't know all the technical terms for these various steps, I'm a newbie. :)).

Both times I slashed the top and used an egg wash. I roll my dough before I put it in the pan as I would for Cinnamon Rolls, pressing down on the dough in the pan to flatten it and making sure that it's all smooshy. After the first loaf of this bread where the cracking was severe, this time I *definitely* made sure I sealed the seam. Both sides of the crack are smooth, so they haven't ripped when coming out of the pan.

I haven't had this problem with any of the other recipes I've made, only with this particular recipe. I'm very frustrated, I don't know what I'm doing wrong so I can't learn from this and not happen again. It's a big problem when I slice it and it breaks apart at that point.

I'm sorry if this post is scattered, I'm fending off my kids trying to involve me in their lives while I gather my thoughts. I hate that. :)

Thanks so much for reading!



ginnyj's picture

Can I use aluminum covered baking pan to bake recipes calling for 500 degree oven?

I picked up at a garage sale, a  large aluminum, baking pan and lid with the label "Household Institute" on the bottom.  I see it's an oldie but a goodie.  Would it be ok to use for the recipes that call for putting the pan in a 450+ degree oven to preheat and then placing the bread in the pan?

I don't have anything else that would work, expect possibly a covered pyrex bowl, and do not want to buy something new for $50+++ dollars.  I don't do a lot of bread baking.




christinepi's picture

Why won't my dough rise much?

I've baked a number of loaves now with Jim Lahey's No Knead method, white flour and whole grain. The crust and flavor are superb; but one thing that never seems to happen is an appropriate rise. No matter how long I let it rise (up to 24h at 70 degrees), the dough never doubles in size, is rather flat and also won't darken, like it says it would in the book. The finished product never has these wonderful big holes inside like on his photos and is somewhat dense as well as pretty flat.  I do everything according to the recipe (second rise 2 hours, preheat cast iron pot, take lid off after 30 minutes etc). So what gives?

txfarmer's picture

Mr. Potato Bread from "Bourke Street Bakery"

Another bread from the book "Bourke Street Bakery", using the same white sourdough dough as this hazelnut current bread. The potatoes were roasted until barely soft and chopped to big chunks, so that they don't get lost in the dough. I have had too many potato chunks disappearing into the bread, I might have over-compensated and chopped them "too big", however they are delicious though.

The book has quite a few breads using the same basic dough, with different add-ins. The flow is very easy: 2 hours of bulk rise, shape and into the fridge overnight, take out and rise again next morning, then bake. Last time I let it warm up for almost 2 hours, this time it was 1.5 hours, judging from the scoring mark and crumb, I think 1.5 hours is better in my case. Other than roasted potato, there's also fresh rosemary to complement the flavor. Original recipe also used a little soy flour and nigella seeds, I have neither, so I used equal amount of buckwheat flour and poppy seeds, a nice subtle effect.

I am still trying to get up enough courage to try the pie and tarts formulas from this book. It's 100F+ here in Dallas, not the best time to make pastry dough, but cool weather is 4 months away, sigh...

Blue Skies's picture
Blue Skies

People asked, so here goes...

I posted over in the Artisan Bread discussion, and people asked that I post photos.  This seems to be the place for that.

These are photos of breads that I've made as well as a couple of photos of the results of a course I took from Carl Shavitz (namely Grissini and Bagels).  Enjoy (I certainly enjoyed eating them)...

3 Challah Buns

3 Challah Buns

Ciabatta in the Sky



Grissini from the Artisan Bread Course


Basket of Sourdough

Sourdough Loaf

Another Sourdough

Challah and Savory Challah Rolls

Challah and Savory Challah Rolls