The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
Plane1's picture

Pizza Boy trying to perfect pizza dough at home

Hi Pizza Dough Enthusiasts!?

I work at a local pizza shop, not a chain, and after mastering the assembly of the pizzas. I decided to try making some of the specialty pizzas at home, instead of paying the specialty price, but I'm having issues with the dough/crust. the dough is very firm, not as in over toasted, just near to impossible to chew, making the pizza less enjoyable. Iv read some othe posts talking about similar issues, but what they suggested was using a stone, and raising the heat as high has possible 500, 750, claming pizza shops heat theirs to 900-1000 degrees. well at the pizza place I work at we use pizza pans and heat to 425, taking about 15 mins to finish a pizza.


The recipe I used:      Note: I used all purpose flower, and I might have used extra virgin olive oil or somr variation of oil not sure right now
* 3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling (Chef's Note: Using bread flour will give you a much crisper crust. If you can't find bread flour, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour which will give you a chewier crust.)
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 envelope instant dry yeast
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees Fy
* 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons

Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.

I asked around at the pizza shop to compare recipes and they use the same basic ingrediants, to what ratio I do not know, Im still knew. I had one batch that came out superior, but not perfect and I think with that batch I used hot tap water instead of just normal tap water. that batch of dough seemed way softer than the dough we have in the shop, the shop has dough that holds its basic form instead of pulling into a string when you try to pick it up.

Id like to mention that I am a college student, which directly corilates to the amount of "Dough" I have. "Haven't heard that one before in the 'Bread Forum' geez" so any suggestions or recipes please keep in mind a low budget.

I now have new pans to test out, similar or the same as the shop has. they use crisco on the pans, not sure if that has a huge difference I was just spreading butter on the cookie pans I was using.

My intention are to have an high quality easy dough, just something that isnt rock hard. I hope to be able to create a somewhat resturant looking pizza at home. I know how to top it, and I dont really want to experiment with different alterations a whole lot, but some good dough advice or recipes would be greatly appreciated. just imagine all of the new friends that would want to hang out knowing I make the best pizza around. 

Thank you in advance,
Pizza-Maker Paul

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Schwaebische Seelen (spelt rolls)


A commuter-friend travelling with me to London on the train used to live in Ravensburg, in a region in Germany called Oberschwaben.

One day he told me he really misses a speciality from there called Seelen.

They are rolls with an open crumb and a slightly chewy crust, sprinkled with caraway and coarse salt.

Searching the internet I found a number of recipes, and some descriptions of the "original": a roll made with spelt, using high hydration, long fermentation, and a wet, hot bake.

The recipes I found were all nothing like the original description, so I decided to improvise, and I am very happy with the result:


Here the formula and instructions (1000g for 6 rolls):

Google spreadsheet

Schwaebische Seelen
Expected Yield1000 
Wholegrain Spelt Flour30165.2
Yeast (Instant)0.21.1
White Spelt Flour46253.3
AP Flour / Strong White Flour (UK)24132.2

Processing instructions
Dough temperature was about 22C all the time
Mix Preferment, leave at room temperature for 2 hours and then refridgerate until used, best is overnight,
Let Preferment come back to room temperature, mix with other ingredients and work dough gently. It is very slack.
Let the dough rest for amout 2 hours, with 3 sets of stretch and fold during the first hour. Towards the end big bubbles should be forming.
Make your work surface thoroughly wet and turn out the dough onto the wetness. Prepare some baking parchament for the rolls.
Forming an oval with your wet hands scrape of a chunk of dough, then make a circle with your thumb and index finger, pull the dough through and put it onto the baking parchament.
Let it rest for another 30 minutes,
Sprinkle with Caraway seeds and coarse salt,

Bake in a very hot oven with steam, ideally on a stone, mine needed 20 minutes at 230C

** UPDATE **

Here some pictures of the production process from a bakery in Schwaben:

txfarmer's picture

Sourdough Pumpkin Rye Rolls -- and other holiday treats

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

Phew, it has been a busy holiday, and just turned into an even busier Janurary. Still baking a ton though, here are some stuff I have baked during the holiday but didn't get to post about before.

The formula for these rolls were based on Kaisor rolls from BBA, however, I made it into sourdough, used some rye, added pumpkin (must use pumpkin during holidays), and adjusted water accordingly. By the end, it probably is nothing like the BBA formula but still delicious.

Norm once posted a video here on TFL on how to shape Kaisor rolls, he made it look so eas, well, but I just can't get that method to work. Then I bought the Kaisor stamps to try, they worked, sorta, but not really. In the end, the following shaping method was what worked consistently for me to get that five petal look.

Pumplin Rye Rolls
Note: makes 9 medium rolls

- levain

rye starter (100%), 18g
water, 29g
rye flour, 54g

1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (73F) for 12 hours.

- final Dough
bread flour, 357g
oil, 21g
egg, 50g
salt, 8g
pumpkin puree, 150g
water, 85g
levain, all

1. Mix everything until stage 3 of windowpane (-30sec), see this post for details.
2. Rise at room temp for 4 hours until double
3, Divide into 9 portions, round, rest, shape as following: roll out to long stripe, tie the first knot

Take the long end and do the 2nd knot

Take the long end and stick back into the middle

4. Rise at room temp for about 4 hours.
5. Brush with egg, spread chopped green onions or leeks
6. Bake at 375F for 20min. Take out of the oven and brush with melted butter.

This formula doesn't have sugar, fat ration is pertty low, however pumpkin still kept crumb moist and light. I'd say the mouthfeel is very close to Kaisor rolls -- soft yet still got some bite.


Also made some gift box cookies(recipe here), incredibly time consuming but my friends' kids totally were in love with these.


A pumpkin chocolate marble pound cake. Did I mention I heart pumpkin?


Still practicing my pie crust. Got the best crimped edge on this chocolate pecan pie (recipe here) so far.

Just like baguette and croissants, pie crust is my current obsession project. I am practicing to make it more tender, more even, prettier, yummier....

Oh, the pie itself is pretty delicious too. How can you go wrong with lots of dark chocolate, lots of toasted pecans, and quite a bit rum?!

theluckyfox's picture

Starter Trials

I found Debra Wink's pineapple starter writings (which appear to be the same recipe you're using), and inspired by her findings, I started my own trials.  Now on day nine, the results are interesting.  I have three batches going: one with distilled water and a blend of 50/50 whole wheat/bread flour; one with tap water and the same 50/50 flour blend, and another starter with pineapple juice and whole wheat flour that I'm now feeding with only bread flour.  Now on day nine, I see no measurable difference, though that wasn't the case up to this point.

If you're interested in following the process (with detailed photos), you can do so on my blog:  Just click on the category "Starter Trials" to the right.

Debra Wink's starter writings are impressive, and I highly recommend them.  They can be found on TFL here:

Debra clearly understands this process.

rcoplen's picture

Multi grain

I can't find a supplier to make multigrain bread. I need a multigrain mix to add to dough. How can I do it myself?

Born2Bake's picture

Young Culture vs Mature Culture - Question

Hello, I'm a little unsure of how each of these differ exactly. Please let me know if this is correct.
I use 100% hydration, 45%ww-45%unbleached white-10% whole rye, Temp 70-72 degrees F

Also: Can anyone tell me the difference between a Levain and a Culture??

Used at the early stages of yeast production.
Mixed with a 50% discard and feed.
Used at about 3-4 hours after being created. Times vary on Hydration, Flour, and Temp.
Favors subtle lactic acid production (flavor similar to yogurt acidity)


Used at the later stages of yeast production.
Mixed with a 80% discard and feed.
Used at about 12-16 hours after being created. Times vary on Hydration, Flour, and Temp
Favors a more pronounced acetic acid (vinegar acidity) and less lactic acid flavor.

Any comments or help would be greatly appreciated,

Thank You,

Bake On.

varda's picture

Boston area TFL Meet Up - Parking

Meeting room location:   The main entrance to Cary Library is on Mass Ave.  A rear entrance is down a level, behind the building.   Our meeting room is on the lower level, to the left as you walk in the rear entrance.

Parking :   The small lot behind Cary Library is often full on Saturdays.   There are a couple 15 minute parking spaces right next to the lower level entrance, where you can stop to drop off your stuff, and then find longer term parking.     Two public lots in Lexington Center are within a block or two of the  library.   There is also on street parking.    All of this is metered at 25c per hour, quarters only - two hours max.  Meters can be refilled after the two hours are up.   You can also park on street in the residential neighborhoods behind the library with no meters.   Any questions, please let me know. 

A local reporter and/or photographer from the Lexington Minuteman may stop by sometime in the afternoon.  See you tomorrow. 


The list of attendees keeps shifting as some are unable to come and others decide they can.    Sorry that some who had hoped to attend will be unable to do so.    It looks like we'll have around 15 people attending, give or take last minutes changes.    It's almost time to start baking. 

Just to get us geared up for our get-together Yozza sent me this link to an earlier TFL real life meet-up.    Of course ours won't involve a WFO or baking 28 loaves of bread at a time, but it will still be epic! 


Our Boston area TFL get together is coming up soon - on March 30 from 1-4:30 at Cary Memorial Library 1874 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, Massachusetts.   Looking forward to meeting everybody.   We have plenty of room for more attendees, so if you have been thinking about coming but haven't responded please let me know.    If you want to come but have an issue with getting there, also let me know.    Other issues? 

If you want...

*  Bring something a little out of the ordinary that you use for making bread.   We'll set up our objects/ingredients/whatever on a table for browsing.

*  Bring some of your starter to exchange.

*  Be prepared to say a few words about  how you made your bread (hopefully accompanied by recipe copies to hand out.)


Things to Bring

* Your bread (of course) and accompaniments

* Cutting boards and knives - the more the merrier

* Plates, knives, forks, spoons, cups, napkins - Varda

* Trashbags for cleaning up - Muskoseev

* Name tags, marker, little cards to identify bread - Carol

* Water to drink - HotelPhyllis


Attendees and Bread

---BobS - rosemary-olive levain and some cheese

---Bostonphotobill (Bill) - baguettes

---Brotfan (Kirsten) - hot cross buns and maybe volkornbrot

---Carol (Bill's wife) - Peter Reinharts bagels

---Colinm (Colin)

---Dobeda - vegetarian dish, bread or baked goodie

---Hotelphyllis - dinner rolls and jalapeno cheddar sandwich rolls

---Isand66 (Ian) - Roasted corn with Feta Loaf and Guacamole bread, cheese and olive oil

---Ian's wife - cake

---Jong Yang and family - multi-seed bread and egg tart

---kzic - levain

---Mukoseev - ryes and some home made pastrami and new pickles

---Varda - 80% Rye loaf with rye soaker, butter and creamcheese, herring


Cary Library Rules:

1.  No cooking on site

2.  No liquor

3.  Must remove all leftovers at the end and clean up

See the policy page here




davidg618's picture

Mostly White Flour SD, and Salt

When I first began baking sourdough I followed the experts formulae to the letter. Most prescribed 2% salt. Frankly, I was disappointed with most of the mostly (or entirely) White Flour formulae, especially those that included up to 10% Whole Wheat flour in the mix. They were too bland for our palettes. Along the way I discovered overnight hydration, at cool temperatures, developed both flavor and the desired crumb.

Ultimately, as I continued exploring, my "go to" sourdough is a 10% Whole Rye flour (preferably Hodgson's Mill), 90% White (a 50/50 mix of KA Bread and AP flours), 2% salt, 68% hydration, DT 54°F and 15 hours retarded at 54°F. A typical loaf's flavor is neither Rye nor Wheat but an amalgam, perhaps enhanced by the levain acidity.

Along the same journey, we've come to enjoy the distinct wheatiness, and nutty flavors of overnight retarded baguettes leavened by commercial IDY.

Today I baked two loaves wherein everything was identical to our routine sourdough bakes, except the flour mix was 5% Whole Wheat, and 95% the usual White flour mix. I also upped the salt content to 2.25%. My intent was to achieve a wheaty flavored SD.

The flavor is, as hoped, wheaty; not the in-your-face wheatiness of baguettes but certainly the high note, modulated, softened, by the levain's acidity. All the flavors seem crisper which I attribute to the increased salt.

Coincidentally, I also finished simmering a 5-day-brined corned beef.  I think today's dinner has come together.

David G



HappyHighwayman's picture

First attempt at brioche

Came out really dark but hopefully the inside will be good. I think I baked it 25 degrees too hot. 

Inside is perfect though and tastes great!

BrianOD's picture

Whole wheat Sourdough starter behavior

I've been SD'ing for a couple of years now and I've never been happy with my results. I am beginning again with a revived starter. (6 months since last baking) My question concerns the activity of the starter and if it is active. The starter, which is a 100% whole wheat from SD International, is at 100% hydration. It will begin growing about 2 hours after feeding, grow to about double, maybe a bit more, and then stay there for about 6-8 hours. All at 75deg. There is no "bubbling" on the surface but the starter is almost a "foam-like" consistency, small irregular bubbles imbedded in the material. This is identical to the behavior it has exhibited in the past, including when it was first activated from the package so I think it has been revived successfully. Is this what I should be looking for, or should it be a little more effervescent? My loafs have not risen well in the past and usually turn out dense. Right now, I'm trying to determine if the problem lies in the starter or somewhere further down the process. thanks for ANY help!