The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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rcbaughn's picture

Pretzel Roll/Bun Success

Well I finally overcame my fear of poaching dough and decided to give pretzel hamburger buns a chance. I used Alton Brown's recipe for Soft Pretzels since it seemed to contain most of the elements needed for a good hamburger bun. Strong yet slightly giving and able to hold up to the torrent of juice from the patty. (My patties are 65/35 home ground beef, insanely fatty and delicious!) It is a bit unnerving moving the buns to the baking soda water, so I decided to just sacrifice the parchment and cut it out below each bun so that I didn't deflate them. I was surprised that the outside of the poached dough was so leathery and thought I had ruined them, but after baking the skin got super tight and held onto the salt great. I didn't have pretzel salt, but I did have Celtic light grey sea salt that was pretty course, and it stuck great with the egg wash and since it is a VERY moist salt. Crunches in the mouth well too without being overly salty. Any tips on making pretzel rolls that you have found would be amazing since I plan on making these alot more in the future! 

BTW, can you pretzel any dough? I thought about poaching my regular brioche burger buns but didn't know if that would turn out acceptable. Thanks again! -Cory

breadforfun's picture

Oldie but Goodie

Greetings all.  After returning from a few weeks traveling (pleasure and business), I have been waking up my starter from a prolonged hybernation.  I was looking through some very old recipes for a straight dough bread to make in the meantime, and I found this recipe in an ancient archive.  In fact, I'm guessing it is one of the first (if not the first) yeasted bread I ever made oh so many years ago.  It is Cottage Cheese Onion Dill, and is very tasty and makes a nice sandwich loaf with its tight crumb.  It uses very little water with cottage cheese and an egg supplying most of the liquid.  Sometimes it is nice to have bread in only 3 hours. The recipe follows the photos.  Hope you enjoy it!


mwilson's picture

Improved Loaf

This morning I was on the way to making some lovely artisan bread using a long-fermented Biga starter but unfortunately I over-mixed the dough! Over-mixing creates a horribly sticky mess and it took me half an hour to clean everything, including my hands. Hopefully those that have experienced this will sympathise.

Pressed for time I decided to make a quick loaf with some improving ingredients available in most kitchens.

The result: Ridiculous volume.


  • 550g Flour (250g Hovis bread flour / 300g '00' flour)
  • 390g Water
  • 30g Rapeseed Oil
  • 1-large egg yolk ~18g
  • 11g Non-diastatic malt powder
  • 11g Salt
  • 5g Instant yeast
  • 5g Lemon juice
  • 5g Vinegar


I scaled the water (40C) and placed in a bowl along with, malt, lemon juice, vinegar, egg yolk, yeast and finally the oil. I added the flour and salt and mixed to a shaggy dough. I then turned out and kneaded à la bertinet for 10-15 mins to  reach full development. I left on the counter and balled up a couple of times. When doubled I shaped very, very tightly and plonked it in the tin. Let it rise until passed doubled. Slashed and baked with steam.


Improvers: Acids are for tightening the gluten and therefore increasing dough strength. Egg yolk contains an abundance of lecithin - a natural emulsifier and along with the oil they soften the crumb. Malt is food for yeast.

Slashing was an absolute joy! I made cuts very deep with my ultra-sharp Japanese cooking knife. The dough, even though very highly risen didn't move - no loss of volume whatsoever. The cuts just opened slowly. All this can be attributed to the high degree of dough strength. It was amazing to see the detail of the exposed crumb being so voluminous!

Weight out of the oven: 834g. It will lose some more. I always aim for 800g.



A slice from the end:

You can see a centre circle where it's a tad denser. The rest of the crumb is feathery soft and ultra light.


Centre slice: It's as light as a croissant.
It also toasts very well, due to the improving ingredients. 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Schwarzwaelder Krustenbrot - Black Forest Crusty Bread

For a long time I wanted to bake this bread. It sounds like home, and it tastes like home.

I am from the Black Forest, here a photo taken during my last visit:

Wolfgang Suepke posted the formula in his blog - quite a nice read because he sheds light on some regional eating habits in Germany.

The bread is a 20% rye bread with 80% (almost) white wheat flour, containing 1% of lard. 12.5% of the total flour is prefermented in a rye sourdough, and 40% of the total flour is prefermented in some kind of wheat biga.

The rye sour matures at ca. 26C for 16 hours, and the wheat preferment is put into the fridge after 2 hours (just when yeast activity becomes visible) and left there overnight (or up to 2 days).

Mixing and shaping as usual (folding works well), the dough needs ca. 1 hour bulk proof and 1 hour final proof.

The formula is on google docs. You can export the spreadsheet to excel and adjust the quantities according to your needs:

Mr Suepke uses wheat flour Type 812, which I do not have here in the UK, and light rye flour Type 997, which I get from Shipton Mill.

For the wheat part I use 50% high extraction flour and 50% bread flour (Shipton's No 4).

Here a picture of the bread:

It is proofed in a basket seam side down, and left to crack open at the seams. This creates the characteristic look.

The crumb is niceley elastic, and typically not too open.

The taste is complex with a strong wheaty note, due to the large amount of prefermented wheat. Despite the small amount of lard used it gives this bread a special note that goes very well with the regional meat products, especially with the famous Black Forest ham, see e.g.

A very rewarding bread!

Happy Baking,


PiPs's picture

B-Sides - From the cutting room kitchen floor - Part 3

Please welcome the B-sides Part 3 ...


joyfulbaker's picture

Mixing bagels in new mixer with thanks to all who helped me decide (read on!)

To all of you who helped me decide on a new mixer, thank you!  I did purchase the Bosch Universal from PHG, and I feel it was a good decision for my purposes (large amounts of bread/bagel dough).  I added the stainless bowl, a personal preference.  I "broke it in" by mixing a double batch of the ITJB bagel dough, that is for 24 bagels, and the Bosch came through with flying colors.  To be fair, I did increase the hydration to 55% from the 52% in the original recipe (which I used when I was testing the DLX, to be honest and fair).  I used 80% All Trumps, 20% Gold Medal bread flour, with a couple tsp. of VWG.  After shaping, I bagged them with white plastic garbage bags (blowing air into them so they don't stick to the dough) over the baking sheets, which have no sides and are used as peels, then put them in the fridge for an overnight fermentation.  Now for the camera shots (all but the crumb shot--sorry, but I was too busy chewing):

So you can see the new "big mixer" sitting there proudly, next to "little mixer" K/A Pro 6 (still going strong and doing much better with the spiral hook!)  Next is a shot of the prep, in order, R to L:  baking sheet lined with reused parchment, sprinkled with semolina (or rice) flour, boiling bath with barley malt syrup in the filtered water, 2 TBSP to about 3-4 quarts(?), then the ice water bath, which isn't difficult and cools them down quickly; replenished with ice as needed.  I was able to boil and chill 6 bagels at a time (handy when baking 24).  I placed a smooth cotton kitchen towel on a small cooling rack to hold the wet bagels.  Seeds are placed on salad size plates.  Baked on a stone preheated to 460, per ITJB recipe.  Although the pictures are not all in sequence, you can see the shaped bagels on the parchment lined baking sheet (new parchment on that one) and finally the finished bagels.  I usually mix 'em up, some plain, some with sesame, some with poppy and some with my own seed mix (B & W sesame, poppy, fennel, sunflower and flax, plus a little sea salt).  New trick I learned to keep the seeds from falling off:  brushing the tops of the unbaked, just boiled and cooled bagels with an egg-white/1 tsp water wash.  Also, I have learned there's no problem reusing parchment, even several times.   I'm gearing up to baking about 3 dozen bagels for a birthday brunch (mine) later this month!  Next will be the bialys . . .   Once again, thank you, TFL friends!


ehanner's picture

Non-GMO Foods

I contacted Bob's Red Mill this week to ask about their policy on selling Genetically Modified Foods (GMO). As you may know, Monsanto and other giants in the herbicide/seed/fertilizer industry have made a play to control the corn and soy markets. The have genetically modified for example, corn so that the worms that eat the corn will die after eating the roots or kernel.

It is estimated that 80% or more of the current corn crop is GMO. So it is highly likely that most of the food products made with a corn ingredient will contain this frankencorn. Understand that this is no longer corn. It looks like corn but it is not corn as our ancestors and their digestive systems evolved to consume. Yes, the blended feed made of corn and soy is also mostly GMO. Yep, the milk too.

Anyway, Bob's Red Mill tells me they have a policy of not sourcing any GMO foods. I will attach their response here.  I find it comforting that Bob's has taken this position and I plan on supporting them as much as possible. This GMO issue is a BIG DEAL. The state of California is about to pass a labeling law that will require a warning on the ingredients label if there are GMO ingredients. Everyone except the voters is trying to block this from passing. From what I hear, public support is around 80%, so it should pass. This will have an effect on every aspect of the commercial food business. I'm sure Kellogg's doesn't want to admit the Corn Flakes are made from genetically modified corn. And all that vegetable/corn oil, same thing. This is going to be a shock wave in America that will shake most food processors.

Those of us who enjoy real foods with identity-preserved DNA, and appreciate the value of Organic produce and grains should make a point of supporting companies that feel as we do.  This is a big issue. I suggest if you are concerned about your health and our food supply and want to learn more, Google GMO foods.


Hi Eric,

Thank you for your inquiry. Here at Bob’s Red Mill, we have made a commitment to purchase only non-GMO products. This means, that all of our products are made of ingredients that were grown from identity preserved, non-GMO seed. This will count only for commodities that are commercially altered: corn, soy, rice and flax (all other grains are still identity-preserved, non-GMO by nature and have not been genetically altered).

I will note that we do not guarantee the complete absence of genetic modification in our products because of wind drift, pollinators and our lack of testing equipment.

Best Regards,


Heather Johanesen

Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods

Customer Service

120ThingsIn20Years's picture

Cheese starter culture as a sourdough starter

I just made a loaf from a cheese starter I had in my freezer, because wikipedia tells me the same micro-beasties that make a cheese starter are also in a sourdough starter. 

It worked!

I thought it was going to be a miserable fail, because the milk I was using as liquid in my loaf separated out to curds and whey. Or at least to whey. The curds were mixed up in the (I cant remember the word for the proofed liquid and yeast.) ~ sponge?~ Anyway, there was yeast in there as well. 

I made a loaf out of it using that method where you roll it out and cut it with scissors bending each spike one way and then the other.

I served it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dukkah. 

And it actually worked :)



Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

Vichyssoise (Potato-Leek Soup) Bread

A favorite soup of mine makes a favorite bread of mine.



For Soup:

  • 1 tablespoon butter ( 15 g)
  • 1 leek ( white portion, chopped)
  • 1/4 medium onion ( chopped)
  • 1 potato ( 8 ounces, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth ( low sodium) or 340 g water
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt ( 10 g – reduce for soup alone)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream ( 28 g)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream ( 28 g)

For Bread:

  • 5 1/4 cups flour ( 682 g unbleached all purpose - or 10% rye)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast ( 7 g)


  1. Cook leeks and onions in the butter until wilted and translucent.
  2. Add chopped potatoes, salt and water or broth. Simmer 20 - 40 minutes until potatoes are tender and remove from heat. Salt value is based on making bread.  For soup, adjust by taste.
  3. Puree using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender – carefully. A fine puree is not necessary for making the bread.
  4. Cool to 75 F and add the creams. For bread, pour into the mixing bowl.
  5. Add flour and top with the yeast. Mix well with wooden spoon or with a paddle attachment in a mixer. Once mixed, let rest 5 minutes.
  6. Knead by hand or using a dough hook for 8 minutes until smooth. While kneading, adjust liquids or flour to get a tacky but not sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto counter and stretch into a rectangle. Fold the dough letter-style, top downward, bottom upward, then the sides to the middle until a package is formed. Roll into a ball.
  7. Place in an oiled bowl or container hopefully with straight sides so that you can tell when the dough has doubled in size.
  8. After 20 minutes, do another strech and fold and return to bowl. It should take 40 to 45 minutes to double in size at 75°F
  9. Divide into two even portions and roll into cylinders and place each in oiled 8" x 4" loaf pans .
  10. While rising about 30 minutes to double in volume, heat oven to 375°F.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes until 190F – 200F internally and sounds hollow when thumped.



badmajon's picture

Cannot perfect the crumb... please critique my bread making process.

Hello all,

This is the bread I've been working on for 6 months. I've made it probably about 70-80 times, it tastes amazing, the crust is perfect, and it has a ton of oven spring. However I just can't get that nice open crumb I am searching for. So after many futile attempts I thought someone here might be kind enough to evaluate my technique and recipe and perhaps point me in the right direction.

400g Bread flour (80%)
100g Rye meal flour: (20%)
360g Water (72%)
1.25 tsp salt


1st build (1:4:4): 25g starter + 50g rye flour + 50g water (save all but 40g for next batch)/ 8 hours
2nd build (1:4:4): 40g starter + 80g rye flour + 80g water/8 hours

Starter ends up being 100g rye flour, 100g water

Then, I add the starter to 400g of white bread flour and 260g water. Comes out to 72% hydration.

Then I let rest for 2 minutes, and hand knead for 10 minutes. I let rest for 2 minutes, then knead for another 2 minutes.

One full rise (4 hours), then I stretch and fold, deflating and also redeveloping the gluten, then I put it in the fridge for 16 hours. The following afternoon, I take it out of the fridge, stretch and fold, then let it rise again (4 hours).

Finally, I do another stretch and fold, and then make a sort of package like shape with the dough and do the boule forming trick where you pull it towards yourself and keep repeating while rotating the dough. It gives it good surface tension.

Then I prepare my colander with a couche (heavily floured and oiled cut up cotton shirt) and let it proof for about 2 hours. I've found its better to slightly underproof this bread.

I bake it on a quarry tile at about 500f for about 22 minutes, rotating the boule at 10 minutes into the bake. I give it a good amount of steam for the first 3-4 minutes.

Ideas? Constructive criticism?