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tananaBrian's picture

Grandma Prewitt's Overnight Buns

I thought I'd share an old family recipe with you folks, one that our family loves.  (Note that there is a similar recipe posted at, but with some important changes that make the buns worse in my opinion ...and I wonder where the lady that posted the recipe got the recipe from too?  I'm betting that somewhere along the line, someone got the recipe from the Prewitt family and it got 'adjusted' along the way ...the similarities are too close to ignore ...but THIS one is the original and dates back to the fifties):


Grandma Prewitt's Overnight Buns

Yield: 3 dozen 2-1/2" buns

Description: Slightly sweet, airy, 'touch of yeast' flavor, bun recipe for your favorite dinner or special occasion.  When rolled flat, also makes a fine base for cinnamon rolls.  These buns have a unique, thin, crust with tiny 'pinhead' blisters and a light airy crumb.  They keep well in the refrigerator or counter, and they freeze well too.  The recipe is generally started at around 4pm on the day before they are needed, then baked first thing in the morning (see schedule below).


Ingredients (sorry for the volume measurements ...I haven't converted it to weight measurements and baker's percentages yet):

2-1/4 cups Water

3/4 cups White Sugar

3 ounces Vegetable Oil or melted Shortening

2 Eggs (large, AA)

1-1/2 teaspoons Salt

1-1/4 teaspoons Instant Yeast (original utilized Active Dry Yeast)

6 to 7 cups Unbleached All Purpose White Flour



4:00pm, Start:

Boil the 2-1/4 cups water and the 3/4 cups sugar for 5 full minutes.  At the end of the boil, immediately add the 3 ounces of oil to the sugar water mixture.  These two steps are important in order to achieve the light airy structure that these buns have.  Let stand, or set pot in a cool water bath, until luke warm.

In a separate bowl, whip the 2 eggs and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt until foamy.  Do not over-beat the eggs.

Mix the egg mixture into the sugar water mixture, then add the 1-1/4 teaspoons of instant yeast.

Using the flat blade on your mixer (or by hand), add flour until the dough is starting to get too thick for the flat blade (or too hard to stir by hand).  Add no more than 1/2 to 1 cup of flour at a time, and make sure each addition is mixed in well before adding more.  Switching to the dough hook (or bowl kneading with a spoon or bowl scraper), continue adding flour until you have formed a soft, still slightly sticky, dough.  Turn the dough out onto the counter to knead in the final amount of flour.  The dough should be soft, still slightly sticky but not too sticky, when complete.

Place the dough into a large greased bowl, turn over and let rise for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.  While the dough is rising, cover the bowl with a dampened warm towel plus plastic wrap to prevent drying.

8:30-9:00pm, Form Buns:

Punch the dough down, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.  Knead gently then roll or pat out to a thickness of 1 inch.  Cover with a slightly damp pastry cloth.

Using a dough blade, cut off a 2" wide strip of dough along one edge.  Form buns by cutting off 2" long, e.g. for a 2" square piece of dough, piece of dough, then turn the corners in and press into the back side of the piece of dough.  Continue turning in the edges of the bun into it's back side to form a smooth stretched surface on the top side.  With your finger tips, gather the edges to a single point on the back and pinch so they will stay there.  Turn the bun right side up, pinch edges into the back side as necessary to make sure the buns are round, then place pinched-side down on a greased pan.  Continue cutting off 2" square pieces of dough and forming buns until you've used up the 2" wide strip of dough.  Cut off a new 2" wide strip of dough and repeat.  Repeat the entire forming process until all of the dough has been formed into buns and have been placed on greased cookie sheets.  Note that the oven spring will be primarily vertical rather than sideways, so you should be able to place 12 to 15 buns on each cookie sheet without risking that they will rise and stick together in the oven.

Arrange all of the cookie sheets close together and cover with thin tea towels.  Do not spritz the buns with water, to prevent drying out for example, and make sure the tea towels are very dry.  Moisture will only cause the towels to stick to the buns by morning, thereby ruining your efforts and patience.  Allowing the buns to rise overnight dry is part of the process that helps form the unique, thin and delicate, crust that these buns have.

Next Day, 7:00-8:00am, Bake Buns:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (use a thermometer).  Bake buns 10 to 13 minutes or until done.  These buns will continue to cook a tad after being removed from the oven, so very much like baking cookies, you should be careful to not over bake them.  Remove them from the oven the moment the top 1/3rd of the bun has become lightly browned. Optionally brush with melted butter after removing from the oven.  Cool on bread racks.

NOTE: In the image above, the buns were not brushed with any butter.  We have never tried the optional butter, liking them very much as they are without it.




dmsnyder's picture

Thanksgiving 2010 baking

Thanksgiving day 2010

Rotisserie barbecued turkey (okay, so it's not bread)

Glenn (on the left) meets turkey (on the right). 

Day after Thanksgiving breakfast

San Joaquin Sourdough Baguette

Cinnamon rolls & Pecan rolls (made in muffin tins using NY Baker's Babka dough)

Cinnamon rolls, for kids who don't eat nuts

Pecan rolls, for the rest of us

Glenn makes challah

He's on a roll!

You should have seen the one that got away!

Here's the proof

Ready to bake


Challah c rumb

The challah made fantastic turkey sandwiches!

And, for dessert, the much anticipated Apple Crostada, inspired by trailrunner!

Apple Crostada!

Delicious! It had the flakiest, best tasting crust ever!

For better or worse, as I was enjoying a second slice while mentally reviewing the recipe, I realized a stick of butter actually is 8 tablespoons, not 4 tablespoons. That means I used 9 tablespoons of butter rather than the 5 T Caroline's recipe specified. No wonder the crust was so flakey!


MadAboutB8's picture

Jeffrey Hamelman's Pain au levain with whole wheat - a plain sourdough that not as plain as you think

Plain sourdough is not something I make often, though I intended to  but I seems to easily get distracted by multigrain and/or fruit breads. Somehow, I feel like one last weekend and I picked the Pain au Levain with whole wheat from jeffrey Hamelman's Bread cookbook.

The recipe uses stiff levain build which is also a good timing that I can convert my liquid starter (100% hydration) to stiff starter (60% hydration) before I am going away in the next two weeks for a month and won't have chances to feed my lovely pet starter, Jerry. I was afraid that he would be starving (for flour and water) and pass away while I'm away.

Thanks to a post on The Fresh Loaf about the sourdough starter feeding. Apparently, stiff starter is more resilient than liquid one. It is more likely that it will survive after not being fed for a while. I only need to feed Jerry a few times when I'm back from holiday to wake him up and come back to his cheerful and active self.

This bread has a pronounced sour flavour, which I believe is the result of stiff levain build with mixed flour in it (mixed of rye and bread flour). The crumb is soft, open and chewy. It's a good complement to olive oil with a bit of dukkah.  

For more details, you can visit ;


happylina's picture

Hello and thanks from North of China

Hello The Fresh Loafer(#^.^#)

I have a small oven and I baking local loaf about 10 years. I start to like the "world" bread from last year my  trip. It's difficult to get really good bread in my stay place. So I start to try baking bread from 1 month ago. My oven small and not enough hot and I have no stone board. It's difficult to a new baker to making  big hole and good looking bread.

I find no kneed bread with pot receipe. So I try to making  Tartine bow bread. It's better than before. But still not very good.  I search "bow bread" in internet and find this blog 2 weeks ago. Here many bakers make same bread with me. So I get many information about this.  I got a big hole and half brown colour bread in last weekend. It's not good bread for TFL. But It's already good for a new baker. I hope I can making very nice bread like TFL friends. oF couse in someday.

Thanks TFL friends

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy bread 

Best Regards

Happylina in Beijing

Eidetix's picture

Links to videos on kneading by hand

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

For what it's worth, you will find below a handful of links to videos that demonstrate hand-kneading technique. I encourage others to add comparable links herein, so this thread might become a reference point for TFL posters with questions on the topic.

Links were current as of Nov. 25, 2010.

The first video features world-class baking teacher Richard Bertinet demonstrating his slap and fold technique. He is working with sweet dough, but I believe he recommends a similar approach with other doughs.

The Bertinet link:

YouTube offers a French student showing and telling (in English) the ins and outs of slap and fold. I like this one because it's light-hearted.

The clip is headlined "Hand Dough Kneading French Method." Here's the link:

The following segment showcases TFL stalwart Mike Avery applying the more gentle fold, push and turn technique. The video is about halfway down the page, just beneath the second chart thereon.

The Avery link:

The next link also illustrates fold, push and turn. It's from Fleischmann's Yeast. At about 90 seconds, it won't take much of anyone's time.

The Fleischmann's link:

For good measure, this demo from epicurious also addresses fold, push (or stretch) and turn.

The epicurious link:

As to recommended techniques, I recommend that you ask somebody who knows much more about making bread than I do. Otherwise, please enjoy, add to and comment on.


Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

Hamelman's Five Grain Levain

This is  a half recipe.  I baked the rolls first with a disposable roaster over them for steam (spritzing them and the bowl with water first), and when those were done (should have baked the rolls a bit longer), I put in the bread with the bowl over it.  Also, I didn't have any high gluten flour, so I added a half-teaspoon of gluten, and multi-grain cereal instead of cracked rye.  I'm always trying to raise the percentage of whole wheat, so next time I will increase the amount of whole wheat flour.

Happy Thanksgiving!


amolitor's picture

Pumpkin Bread

We broke up a jack-o-lantern for soup the other day (just a regular pumpkin, not a sugar-pie or anything, not a pumpkin especially for eating but of course edible). Had a couple cups of mashed baked pumpkin left over, so I thought I'd see what happened when I put it in bread. I wasn't expecting much flavor, since the regular pumpkins just don't have that much. The answer, in short, was: Eh, it's bread. Sort of moist.

The long answer:

Evening of Day 0:

  • 1 cup whole flour

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 2 T active sourdough starter

Let sit out overnight, covered, until you get a nice active/ripe sponge the next day.

Morning of Day 1

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 2 cups mashed baked pumpkin.. gunk

  • ripe sponge from last night

  • 4 cups bread flour (roughly)

Mix in the bowl to get a kneadable dough. I used a 10 minute autolyze at this point because I wanted to make muself some coffee.

This is where it gets interesting: The dough was kneadable without sticking on a wooded board (just barely -- this is my preferred dough texture). I kneaded in:

  • 2 and 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground coriander (I think this was an error)

and kept kneading. The dough kept getting sticker, and I kept dusting aggressively with flour. I think this not uncommon when you're adding vegetable matter to a dough, I have a potato bread recipe that's similar. I think the vegetables give up water as you work them. I kneaded for about 10 minutes on board, working in probably 3/4 cup of flour just to maintain it at "almost but not quite sticking to the floured board." At this point I gave up, and started kneading it as a high-hydration dough (slap it down, let it stick, streeeeetch a bit and fold it over, rotate 90 degrees and repeat) for another ten minutes. Thankfully, it didn't get much wetter.

Bulk rise a couple hours, with a couple stretch-and-folds, the dough came together beautifully. However, it tasted TERRIBLE, or possibly I was having a stroke. I *think* the coriander was doing something unpleasant, so the dough tasted fine for a few seconds, and then there was this weird bitter thing that happened in your mouth.

Anyways. Shaped into a boule, proofed in improvised banneton, preheat over to 475, bake with steam at 425 for 45 minutes. Probably should have baked longer.

The bad taste seems to be gone (thankfully) and what we're left with is a completely unremarkable sourdough that's rather moist (almost gummy) and has a lovely color. It's too moist to toast easily, which is a bore, I'd bake it another 10 or 15 minutes if I was to do it again (which I won't -- this recipe was a bust, to my mind!)

It's the best looking loaf I've ever baked, though, so by golly, here's some pictures:


Crumb very moist. You can see bits of pumpkin in it! Sorry for the sort of lousy photo, this was in the evening:


hanseata's picture

Hearty Rye and Tricky Recipe

A while ago I bought a new baking book full with mouth watering photos of gorgeous looking loaves: "Brot", an introduction to Germany's best bakers and their signature breads. Luxurious as this book is, its principal purpose seems to be promoting culinary travels to the featured bakeries, not giving readers understandable instructions on how to make those lovely loaves at home.

The sourdough starter you simply "buy from a bakery" - no mention of hydration levels - and breads are baked "at falling temperatures". And if you obediently follow the recipes' baking temperatures and times you will end up with howling smoke alarms, crazed pets, and charred bread corpses - the instructions are probably meant for wood fired ovens. The publishers obviously printed the recipes in as they came from the bakers, never bothering with having them edited.

So I was up for a great challenge - would I be able to overcome these handicaps?

The first bread I tackled was one from my hometown Hamburg, "Hamburger Kräftiges", a hearty rye sourdough. In the book it looks like this:

"Hamburger Kräftiges" from "Brot - Deutschlands beste Bäcker"

This is the original recipe (2 breads)

520 g rye sourdough (from a bakery)

500 g rye flour type 1150

350 wheat flour type 550

540 g water (25 - 28 C)

 25 g sea salt

 16 g Bioreal-yeast


Knead all ingredients for 8 minutes at low speed, adding the yeast after 2 minutes. Cover and let rest for 1 hour. Shape into a round loaf, place on a baking sheet and proof for 1 - 2 hours, in a draft free location.

When surface shows distinct tears, place in 260 C/500 F preheated oven (no slashing). Pour 50 - 60 ml water on another hot baking sheet or oven floor. After 20 minutes, drop temperature to 220 C/425 F. Overall baking time: 60 - 70 minutes.


Wanting to start with one bread only, I took half of the recipe. To make the rye starter, I used the 3-step build from Martin Pöt Stoldt ("Der Sauerteig - das unbekannte Wesen) with 60 g ripe rye starter, 100 g rye flour and 100 g water and had a pleasantly sweet smelling active rye sour (100%).

A cold retardation seemed a good idea, and working with P.R.s stretch and fold technique, also. All went well, but when I took the dough out of the refrigerator I wasn't quite sure whether it had overproofed, it seemed to have grown more than I expected.

I shaped a boule and proofed it on a parchment lined baking sheet, waiting for the "distinct tears" to appear. The loaf grew, showing a little cracking, but not anything dramatic. I didn't want to wait until it overproofed, and put it in the oven. I knew that the baking temperatures and times had to be off, so I reduced the heat after 10 minutes, and checked the bread after a total baking time of 40 minutes, the internal temperatures registered already 210 F.

The bread didn't look bad, but not at all like the one in the book:

Was the photo in the book photoshopped? It looked much lighter than my loaf. And why didn't I get those pretty tears in the crust?

The bread tasted pretty good, too, but I wasn't satisfied - I wanted the one from the stupid book!

I posted those pictures, and friendly TFLers made some helpful comments, but nobody could figure out why my bread looked like a disadvantaged sibling.

Revengefully I didn't touch the book for a while and worked on other projects. But since I usually don't give up easily, and so far had managed to adapt many German bread recipes to American ingredients (and better techniques), I started pondering over the recipe again.

What made my bread look so different? Why had it almost overproofed in the fridge? And then, belatedly, I did some research in the "internets". I started with the mysterious "Bioreal" yeast. No wonder it had risen so much - this organic instant yeast contains less yeast cells than regular one, therefore 8 g was too much. For the amount of flour 6 g should be enough.

For the wheat in the recipe i had used bread flour - I know it's approximately the equivalent to German type 550. But what about the rye? Without thinking I had taken what I had: whole rye flour. And there it was! With help from Wikipedia I found out that German rye type 1150 was an "in between" white and whole rye. After some calculations I believed I could substitute type 1150 with a mix of 52% whole rye + 48% white rye. (I had some white rye from testing NYBakers recipes, but didn't use it).

Finally, why had the bread on the photo such dramatic cracks, and mine only puny little tears? I found the answer to this question in a TFL post, about proofing a boule on a baking sheet seamside up, not down - to achieve just such a distinct pattern!

So I tried the "Hearty Rye from Hamburg" again, with these modifications. I also changed the temperatures and baking times to the ones I use for "Feinbrot" and many other lean German mixed rye wheat breads.

I liked this result much better:

It also tasted better - according to my husband this was: "the best bread you ever made"! (He is the best of all husbands - he says that every time, when he likes a new bread).

Hearty Rye from Hamburg - crumb

This is my recipe adaptation:


60 g rye sourdough starter (100%)
100 g water, lukewarm
100 g whole rye flour
270 g water (95 F)
6 g instant yeast
all starter
110 g whole rye flour
140 g white rye flour
175 g bread flour
13 g salt


Prepare starter.

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add to all other ingredients in mixer bowl. Mix at low speed for 1 - 2 min. until all comes together. Let rest for 5 min.

Knead at medium-low speed for 2 min., adjusting with water, if necessary. Dough should still be sticky. Resume kneading for another 4 min., the last 20 sec. at medium-high speed.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Stretch and fold 4 times, with 10 min. intervals (total time 40 min.) After last S & F, refrigerate overnight.

Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

Preheat oven to 500 F/260 C, including steam pan.

Shape dough into boule, place seam side UP on parchment lined sheet pan. Proof at room temperature for 45 - 60 min., or until dough has grown 1 1/2 times, and surface shows distinct cracks.

Bake 10 min. at 475 F/250 C, steaming with 1 cup boiling water, then reduce heat to 425 F/220 C and bake for another 10 min. Rotate bread and remove steam pan. Continue baking for 20 - 30 min (internal temperature 200 F/93 C).

Let cool on wire rack.

UPDATE 10/15/11: in the meantime I made a side by side comparison with American medium rye (a lighter variety, not a medium grind!) and imported (so to speak) German Typ 1150. American medium rye is a perfect substitute for German medium rye types 1150 or 1370, and my sample tasted even better:

Dwayne's picture

Star Bagels

I've had a hard time with bagels.  I have asked a few questions here about my wrinkled bagels that I've made (thanks Mark Witt).  I made Bagels while being a recipe tester for Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Bread Every Day".  I also have made them from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" but they were always wrinkled.  While testing recipes for Norm & Stan I had some success with their Montreal Bagels.  I did not do anything very different, these just turned out.  So I have been frustrated with bagels.


Completely unrelated, I had borrowed "Dough" by Richard Bertinet from our library and in there saw how he shapes rolls and in one chapter he cuts rolls into stars.  The star rolls looked great and I tried out this technique on some Buttermilk Clusters (recipe found on this site).


It occurred to me to try this cut on bagels and so here are my results.  I used the recipe from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart.  I did not retard the dough over night.


After mixing and kneading, I let the dough rise while I did some outdoor chores.  I then scaled them into 130 gram portions and shaped them into tight balls using Richard's method.  Question: Why do we do this for Boules but not bagels or did I miss this?  I then let them rest for about 20 minutes.


I got out a Starbucks gift card that was all used up (it is also doubling as a dough scraper until I find a real one).  I then put a little oil on the edge that will do the cutting and made my first cut.


I then made 2 more cuts.


Once the three cuts have been made you turn the dough inside out so that the points of the star are on the outside.  Put the best side up on the oiled parchment paper.


Here is one batch of bagels proofing for about 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes I boiled them (actually the water was not quite boiling) for 20 seconds a side, put topping on and baked on a hot stone.


I made two batches of bagels and it used up all but about a cup of flour from a 5 lb. bag.


I tried Onion for the first time.  I took some dehydrated onions and let them steep in hot water and then drained them.  I sprinkled some of the onions on the top of the boiled bagels just before putting them in the oven.  I also used Poppy seeds and Black Sesame Seeds.


Here are a few more pictures.


So, many thanks to Peter, Richard, Mark, Norm and Stan.  I am pleased the way these turned out.

Happy Baking,


Floydm's picture

Potato loaf and fresh butter

I made a potato bread today, using Dan Lepard's recipe from The Art of Handmade Bread (AKA The Handmade Loaf) as the basis and tweaking it a bit.  If memory serves me right, I used:

300 grams water

200 grams mashed potatoes

500 grams bread flour

1 tablespoon sourdough starter (cold from the fridge)

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon instant yeast

I gave it quite a while, 10 minutes or so, in the mixer, then let it rise slowly most of the day, folding it a couple of times when I noticed it cresting over the edge of the bowl..  I shaped it an hour or so before I wanted to bake it, then baked it with steam at 465 for 15 minutes then 400 or so for another 20 to 30 minutes.

Potato Bread

Potato Bread

It has a relatively tight crumb but is really nice and soft.  I'm thinking I may make this as rolls for my Thanksgiving day feast this year.

My kids and I also made fresh butter in Mason jars as discussed here

Bread and butter

The kids had a blast dancing around the living room shaking the jars (we put some music on) and the butter was truly delicious.  It is well worth the effort!