The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Don't understand difference between Strength & Tension

In the Tartine book under Shaping and Bench Rest (pg75)

I don't understand what he means with this statement;

"Should I give the dough a long bench rest to develop more strength, or should I shape the dough twice to give more tension?

Can someone explain to me in the most simplest terms what he means by this?


Thanks for you time!

isand66's picture

Hamburger and Super Size Hot Dog Buns

RollcloseupIt's Memorial Day this weekend believe it or not.  Doesn't feel like it's almost June, but it is certainly time to grill some hot dogs and hamburgers.  I hate using store-bought rolls since I know I can make ones myself that are far superior.

My wife insists that the only rolls worthy of using for hamburgers and hot dogs must be light white bread rolls.    I have been real busy at work so it's been difficult to find time to bake as much as I would like so a quick yeasted roll recipe would have to do.  With that in mind I adapted a recipe from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Dayand added a few twists.

I decided to add some parmesan cheese powder and some dried chives just to make it a little interesting.

I used the overnight retardation method which helps build some extra flavor.

I must say that overall these came out nice and flavorful and were perfect for our hamburger and hot dog dinner the other day.




Mix flours with yeast to combine.  Next add remainder of the ingredients keeping about 30 grams of milk back.  Mix on low-speed or by hand for 1 minute and let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes to absorb the flour.

Add the balance of the water if needed and mix for another 4 minutes.  The dough should come together and be scraping the side of the mixing bowl and be nice and fairly smooth but still tacky.

Remove the dough to your work surface and knead by hand for 1 minute.  Do about 3-4 stretch and folds and put in a well oiled bowl or container with a cover.  Put it in your refrigerator immediately.

You can keep it in your refrigerator for about 24 to 36 hours.  I ended up baking it in the morning so it was only in my refrigerator for around 14 -15 hours.   The dough should double while in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake the rolls or bread, take it out of the refrigerator and immediately weigh out your pieces or loaves and shape as desired.  I made simple round rolls and some hot dog buns.  I think it is time for me to buy a hot dog pan since I can't seem to get the size right and ended up with gigantic size hot dog rolls.  Next, let them rise for 1 hour on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

After 45 minutes turn your oven up to 350 degrees F. and prepare your rolls as desired.  I beat 1 whole egg mixed with a little water and put an egg wash on each roll.  At the 1 hour or so mark pop them in the oven with steam and turn once after about 15 minutes.  These should take about 25 minutes to cook thoroughly.

Let them cool on wire rack for at least half an hour before digging in if you can wait that long.


BNLeuck's picture

New multigrain bread recipe... double check me?

I'm too lazy to search for a recipe among the myriad thousands out there for one that most closely resembles what I want, but apparently not too lazy to work on my baker's percentages. Weird, I know, but I'm a weird person. Will those with some knowledge of sandwich breads and baker's percentages please look this over to make sure I haven't made some glaring error? I haven't worked with BPs in a long while, or done any more complicated a bread recipe than a standard white rustic loaf in over a year without pulling it straight from a book, so I could have gone horribly wrong somewhere.


TWO 8.5x4in LOAVES
bread flour 50%
rye flour 40%
rolled oats 10%
FLOUR WEIGHT: 100% 700g

nonfat dry milk 5% 35g
molasses 5% 35g
honey 5% 35g
butter 5% 35g
ground flax 2% 14g
salt 2% 14g
yeast 2% 14g

water 70% 490g



bread flour 50%
rye flour 40%
rolled oats 10%
FLOUR WEIGHT: 100% 910g

nonfat dry milk 5% 45g
molasses 5% 45g
honey 5% 45g
butter 5% 45g
ground flax 2% 18g
salt 2% 18g
yeast 2% 18g

water 70% 637g



My plan runs somewhat along the lines of KAF's oatmeal sandwich bread, using hot water to soften the oats, incorporate the stickies (honey and molasses), the butter, and the salt. Once lukewarm I'd add the NF dry milk, as it does not mix in well when the water is hot. The flours, flax, and yeast (I use instant) will be combined. But here is where I wonder... should I mix the remaining water with the dry mix to develop some gluten before adding in the enrichment elements, or incorporate the oat mix first? At 65% (now 70%) hydration, I don't worry about over hydrating, so I'd use all the reserved water. Or does it really matter? I have had trouble in the past developing gluten in enriched doughs, which is why I ask. Any and all thoughts on the proposed recipe are welcome!

EDIT: Taken from comments below, I have corrected my typo (oops!), will autolyse, and upped the hydration. I am baking a test batch to see if this works out like I see in my head, and will update this post accordingly. Now, just to find the time to do so... hmm...

varda's picture

Almost Whole Wheat Pain de Mie

Recently I posted on a bake of Syd's Asian style pain de mie, and Janet commented that she was going to make it with her white whole wheat home milled flour.   I decided to try something similar.    Instead of white whole wheat, I used my golden flour which is home milled hard red whole wheat with some of the bran and some coarse flour sifted out.    I believe the closest official name to this would be high extraction flour, probably around 90%.

I followed the original formula with the following changes:

-Added a bit more milk in the biga

-Used golden flour in the biga and final dough but not the Tang Zhong

-Added a bit more milk and egg in the final dough

During the intensive mix of the final dough, it acted quite different than the original.   It started out with the consistency of pudding, and stayed that way for quite awhile.   I put it in my Bosch Compact at speed 4 and mixed a long time.   Finally, getting bored, I walked away.   When I came back, the dough had changed and started to lighten and come together elastically.    I let it go for awhile longer, and finallly, when it was still spreading out irregularly but was clearly an elasticized mass, stopped.   Possibly 45 minutes?   I'm not sure, as I wasn't watching the clock.  The dough was still more liquid than solid.   When I took the dough off the hook, it poured slowly down, but sheeted out into an impossibly thin membrane without tearing.  

When it came time to shape, the dough was not as manageable as the white version, but still shaped fairly nicely.    The surface was bubbling up a bit, which I figured would mean a more open crumb - not the desirable thing for this kind of bread per Syd.   

The upshot?   A bread that is just as decadently delicious as its predecessor, with the added whole wheat flavor.   Healthier?   I let you be the judge.

The crumb?   Nothing much to look at.  Just whole wheaty sandwichy.

But try this with your basic whole wheat sandwich bread:

Inadvertently perhaps, I made some changes to the method:  I've been baking a lot of challah so I ended up following times and temps for challah.   In Syd's version bulk ferment is only 30 minutes, and bake temperature is 350 instead of 375.

Formula and method:




Tang Zhong























































Total flour



Total dough



Heat milk salt sugar butter to almost boiling


Mix in flour


Refrigerate for 16 hours


Mix ingredients for Biga


Refrigerate for 48 hours


Mix all but butter - when ingredients incorporated add butter

Mix intensively in mixer until dough is very strong


Rest 60 minutes


Shape in pieces


Proof until almost soft - then glaze with milk


Bake at 375 for 40 minutes





clazar123's picture

Tell me about proofing a pan de mie when the lid is closed

I have a thread in which I have asked the best use of an antique pan that is lidded and clamped shut.

I decided to use it to make my weekly whole wheat but I have never made a pan de mie type bread. Normally, I'd poke my loaf to see when it was proofed and then bake. Well...this pan is designed to be filled on the bottom half and then clamped shut so the loaf rises and shapes into the top half,producing a torpedo shaped loaf.The dough is not accessible once the lid is shut. I just proofed for 15 min,couldn't open the lid and decided to bake. We may have a boat anchor! Is it that when you work with a pullman pan the recipe generally is adapted to the pan? Is there any way I can calculate about how much dough will fill and produce a pleasing (as in not compacted from pressure) crumb?

We had a warm front move in and this is the first time since last summer that my kitchen is over 65F (it is actually 84F). I didn't think to make my dough cooler and as a result, they are rising like rockets! That is why I think 15 min was enough proof time. I had another dough made that normally would be about  1 hour behind-giving me time to proof and bake the first loaf but I have it in the refrigerator to retard it a bit.Huge difference in dough behaviour with the increased temp.

sunhana's picture

Dutch Brown Bread - Bruinbrood

I've never eaten dutch brown bread but my colleague ate it back in holland, adores it. I've came up with a recipe that uses 100% wholemeal flour, molasses syrup, instant yeast, gluten flour, salt and olive oil. Used prefermented dough method and the end result is soft, fluffy bread. the texture is okay but the color of the bread is not as dark as what my friend described. can anyone share their dutch brown bread recipe with me? or any pointers to get dark brown colored bread? I added a lot of molasses syrup but it just doesn't darken it that much.My friend said it's not rye (i tried added rye but she said brown bread has no sour taste). Please help...thanks.

Halfpenny's picture

Hippie Bread with a German Accent

Five Wheat, Two Oat, and a Buck
Hippie Bread with a German Accent

Yeast Water: 1.5 cups water @ 105 degrees + 1/4 tsp dry yeast

Soaker (Poolish)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/6 cup wheat bran
1/6 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
4/10 cup cracked wheat
1-2 tsp salt
1 cup liquid sourdough starter
¼ cup yeast water
2/3 cup warm water

Mixed together this should have a liquid nature somewhat like cake batter. Place in a covered container and allow to rest for 6-7 hours. When time is up it should be transformed into a gooey, bubbly froth.

Sponge (Scrap Dough)
3 cups white unbleached flour
½ cup steel cut oats
1/3 cup rolled oats
1-2 tsp salt
1 cup liquid sourdough starter
½ cup yeast water

Mixed together this should be a stiff dough. Knead for 10 minutes, place in a covered container and allow to rest for 6-7 hours with these exceptions: on 25 minute intervals stretch the dough thin as if you were shaping a pizza then fold it up and place back into the container. Do this 4 times from the beginning of the ferment, then allow to rest undisturbed the remainder of the time.

Final Dough
Make more yeast water (see above)
3 cups white unbleached flour
½ cup molasses
½ cup honey
2 tsp celery seed
3 tsp poppy seed
1/4 cup flax seed
All sponge dough (pinch this off in 1 inch chunks as you add it)
All soaker dough
1 cup liquid sourdough starter
¼ cup of the Yeast Water but add it gradually to avoid over-saturation. Adjust as needed.

Should be a fairly stiff but flexible dough. Knead for 10 minutes. Split dough in half and put each half in its own covered container. Let them rest for 25 minutes before stretching the same as was done with the sponge dough. Repeat this 3 or 4 times. Then let the two dough lumps rest for 7-9 hours. It is a good plan to coat these containers with olive oil so the dough comes out easily.

After they have rested and hopefully risen, turn each dough out onto a floured surface and gently shape them. After shaping I like to place them on a sheet of parchment and seal them with plastic wrap to let them proof for 1.5 hour or so. While the loaves are proofing, preheat the oven to 450 F. After placing a loaf in the oven spray water from a bottle into the hot elements to create some high humidity in there. Reduce temp setting to 400 F immediately and bake for 30-35 minutes, turning the loaf 180 degrees halfway through the bake and hitting the oven with another water spray.

Note: About 25 minutes into the bake, especially on first attempt, apply a thermometer to the center of the loaf.  A finished loaf should be 190-200F.  Continue baking until you get this number.


HokeyPokey's picture

Chocolate Biscuit - nice and easy

I woke up this morning determined to make a batch of chocolate biscuits for my late morning cuppa. 


Read full recipes and intructions on my blog here 



chaspan's picture

Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat - success eludes me

I've tried to make Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat recipe from "Bread, A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes" three times, and I have yet to achieve a truly pleasing loaf.  I also tried a very similar recipe that I found on the internet, with similar results. 

It's not all bad news.  The flavor of the bread is quite good.  I'm happy enough so far with the degree of openness of the crumb and the texture of the interior. 

Now for the bad. 

1) The crust is too chewy and leathery.  I don't think that is right for this bread.  I think it should be at least a little bit crisper. 

2) At the end of the second rise when it's time to go in the oven, the loaf is a puffy, gelatinous mass that wiggles like jello when you touch it.  I can't get it on a peel or board without deflating it, and I can't get it off the well-floured peel and onto the oven baking stone without it sticking to the peel and deforming upon landing.  I've had batards in the shape of a boomerang, and boules that looked like deflated footballs. 

3) I don't get much oven spring.  My cuts don't open up very much either.  They just look like the stretch marks on my belly.  :-)  I cannot get an ear. 

High hydration dough is a new thing for me, and I'm finding it difficult to deal with.  I do stretch and folds in the mixing bowl, but when I go to shape the loaves after bulk fermentation, I find that the dough is still so sticky that I have to use quite a bit of bench flour to handle it without sticking to everything.

Here is the process I've been following: 

1) Mix the flour and water by hand in the mixing bowl until all of the dry flour is wetted, more or less.  Autolyze for 30 minutes. 

2) Put the bowl on the mixer.  My mixer is a Hobart N50 5 quart planetary with three speeds.  Low speed is quite slow, but medium speed is pretty fast.  High speed is not usable for dough.  I mix at low speed while adding the salt first, and then the levain, for about two minutes total.  I switch to medium speed and mix for 4 minutes. 

3) Take the bowl off the mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and bulk rise for 2.5 hours with two stretch and folds, in the bowl, at 50 minute intervals.  I haven't tried doing the stretch and folds on the bench because the dough is quite wet, and it sticks too much to my kneading board.  It sticks to everything it touches. I have tried transferring the dough to a wider bowl with more sloping sides to make it easier to do the stretch and folds.  It was easier, but there was no change in the final result. 

4) At the end of bulk fermentation, divide and shape the loaves.  I have mostly shaped the dough into batards, but today I used a brotform basket for one of the loaves.  Rise 2.5 hours.  Preheat oven to 440 degrees during the last hour of second rise.

5) Pour hot water into a pan at the bottom of the oven, close the door, then quickly, one loaf at a time, move the loaf to a well-floured peel, slash it, and transfer it to the oven onto a Hearthkit oven insert stone.  When I move the loaf to the peel, it feels gassy and jiggly and fragile.  Even if I'm very gentle, it often deflates when rolling it or flipping it onto the peel.  It almost always sticks badly to the peel and ends up in a deformed shape in the oven. 

6) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  I measured the interior temp of the loaves with my Thermapen after 35 minutes in the oven at 440 degrees, and they were 206 degrees.  I have never gotten much oven spring, an ear, or even a well-opened cut, with any of these loaves.


I've been very careful to stick to the exact quantities of ingredients specified, and the overall instructions.  I don't think I'm over-hydrating, but I've had to add one or two tablespoons (15 to 30 grams) of additional water during initial hand mixing because there seemed to be insufficient water to wet all the flour.  Perhaps I should avoid that and see  if the autolyse will take care of it. 

My best guess is that I might be overfermenting, either during bulk fermentation or second rise, or both.  But I don't want to prejudice the jury, and I suspect I have more than one problem area that needs to be addressed. 

I hope some of you have suggestions for me.  What can I do to get this heading in the right direction?

Elisabeth's picture

Tips on shaping croissant buns?

Im making croissants today, and my husband loves them as sandwich rolls (we've only ever bought them, blech). Any tips on how to shape them? Id like them about hamburger bun sized.