The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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rolls's picture


Hi  all, jus wanted to share with you my recent sticky bun baking. I am really addicted to home made sweet rolls and buns, and these couldn't be easier to make as they're made from a no knead dough. happy to post recipe (not that i actually follow one) if anyones interested :)

I baked these while away (i know, obsessed).  i mixed up a batch of no knead in a stock pot as there wasn't a big enough bowl in the holiday house we were staying in, and made two trays of sticky buns, yummm, we had them on the beach with coffee with our friends, everyone loved :D




not sure why the first pic turned out like that, but that was straight out of the oven, before flipping them over :) they disappeared real quick! FYI the corner ones are the yummiest, i love the crispy toffee edges,mmm. :D's picture

left out dough

I made a yeast dough that has sour cream and egg yolk. I forgot about it and left it out over night. I thought I would just double check before I through it out and start over if it is truley garbage now. ?

ph_kosel's picture

Orange Raisin Bread Revisited

I made another loaf of my orange-raisin bread and refined my working recipe a bit, adding weights and some specifics on the marmalade step.

My working recipe is now as follows:


Orange Raisin Bread


about 200g of Home-made marmalade, made (see procedure below) from

about 200g = 1 smallish seedless navel orange and

100g = 1/2 cup granulated white sugar

~8g = 1 tablespoon SAF "red" instant yeast

~9g = 1.5 teaspoon salt

100g of raisins

450g unbleached bread flour

300g very warm water

Quarter the orange and cut each quarter into 1/4-inch thick slices.  In small saucepan stir orange pieces up with the sugar to draw juice from pulp.  Heat mixture to boiling and stir while boiling until juice/sugar syrup does not drain from peel when pushed to one side of pan.  Cut peels up  as desired with table knife.

Put marmalade and all dry ingredients in mixing bowl, add the very warm water, and mix thoroughly.  Dough will be very soft and sticky, too much so to knead by hand.  If necessary it can be spoon-kneaded in the mixing bowl to make the fruit distribution roughly uniform.

Transfer dough to a pan with a scraper and let rise.  This dough will rise to fill a 9"x4"x4"-inch pullman pan in less than hour.

Bake at 450F for 25 minutes.  Result is a moist, sweet, chewy bread with ample fruit.


Illustrative photos are as follows:

Orange quartered and sliced

Orange quartered and sliced^

Marmalade, hot, before reduction (note syrupy free-flowing juice)^

Marmalade after reduction (no free-flowing syrupy juice, peel has been cut a bit with knife)^

Dough unrisen in pan^

Dough after 55 minutes rise time^

Loaf and pan after baking^








Janetcook's picture

Intervals between Stretch and Folds

Hope someone can enlighten me here because I haven't been able to figure this one out on my own yet...

When I first used the S&F technique it was with a recipe from The Handmade Loaf.  (He uses the knead in the bowl method.)  For his Basic Leaven Loaf and his Barley Rye Loaf the S&F are timed at 10 min. intervals for the first 3.  Then it goes to 30 minutes and after a couple of those it jumps to an hour.  

I have been baking more of the loaves I have found on this site that also use S&F's.  All seem to have some variation similar to his.

I have surmised that most have a 2-3 hour bulk fermentation time that is broken up with S&Fs before they are either shaped into loaves and then proofed or put into the refrigerator for a longer fermentation time.

Via observation I have concluded that a dough is ready to be S&Fed when it has relaxed somewhat from the previous S&F session.

I am wanting to WATCH MY DOUGH rather that the clock so I would like to know if there is any significance in letting a particular dough go longer before a S&F.

Hence, my question of why is there such a variance amongst certain recipes????

Only real conclusion I have come to on my own is that each person simply has adjusted their S&F schedules to what works best for them based on time and temperature and life schedule (Life schedule = what someone does when not baking bread LOL)

Thanks for any insights!

ph_kosel's picture

A tale of two sourdoughs

I made a loaf of SF Sourdough for an Easter brunch, following Peter Reinhart's recipe in his book Artisan Bread Every Day.  In the past I've had extremely good luck with Reinhart's SF  Sourdough recipe in his other book Crust and Crumb but my supply of "mother starter" was a bit low and the recipe in Artisan Bread Every Day only calls for two ounces while the one in Crust and Crumb asks for .  Besides, I've been wanting to try the recipe in Artisan Bread Every Day anyway.

I mixed up the intermediate"wild yeast starter" Friday, the dough Saturday, and baked the loaf Sunday morning (keeping the starter and dough each overnight in the fridge between times). When I mixed up the dough it seemed too wet (perhaps I messed up the weights, I was working under pressure); the recipe says adjust consistency as needed so I added more flour until it seemed about right.  I fridged the dough up in a stainless bowl with a tight plastic lid.  I was a bit worried it might rise too much and pop the lid off but fridge space was limited.  In the morning the lid was, indeed, bulging a bit but it hadn't popped off.

I chose to just use all the dough to make a single big "miche" loaf because I didn't want to risk degassing the dough too much by dividing it.  It was probably the biggest loaf I've ever baked.

Here are photos of the result:



The loaf looks pretty good, and my wife and our guests seemed to like it quite a bit, but I found the taste and texture less satisfactory, less "yummy", than loaves I baked back in January using the recipe from Reinhart's Crust and Crumb.


Here's a photo from back in January:

Loaves and crumb from January 2011^

The more varied and irregular holes in the crumb of the January loaves is fairly obvious.  Not visible is a difference in taste and mouth-feel.  The January loaves as I recall were a bit moister, more tender perhaps, and had better taste.

I'm a bit bemused by the difference and curious about the cause.  The recipes are very similar, and the "mother culture" is the same.  One thing different is that in January I used King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour while in the current loaf I used a less expensive generic unbleached bread flour I got at the local Food Maxx market - both have the same labeled protein content.  The loaves in January included a bit of brown sugar in the dough per the Crust and Crumb recipe while the current loaf did not.  The January loaves were made exactly by weight according to the recipe while the latest included additional flour which I "eyeballed".  I'm not sure but I think there was a tad more salt in the January loaves.  Finally, the January loaves were retarded overnight "uncontrained" under plastic wrap while the current dough was retarded in a bowl with a tight fitting lid which restrained it's expansion.

Anyway, the two sourdough bakes tasted quite different to me, although others say they found the current effort highly satisfactory.  Go figure!

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Ciabatta Quest, Week 1: Double-Double Trouble

Time to begin another question for bread perfection improvement! By popular request/persuasion, I've decided to attempt a ciabatta quest, and leave off on perfecting crusty sourdough dinner rolls for another day.

For the next however-many-it-takes weeks, I will bake a batch of ciabatta dough, and post my results to this baker-blog. My goal: to reliably produce a ciabatta with a thin, crisp crust, open, moist crumb, delectable wheaty flavor, and which is tall enough to slice longitudinally for sandwiches.

A modest goal, I hope.  We'll see how it goes!

I've not yet found a ciabatta formula that delivers the results I'm looking for, so for the first few weeks I'm going to experiment with different formulas.  If one produces exceptional results, I'll stick with it.  If they all seem about the same in my clumsy hands, I'll pick the one that's easiest and stick with that one.  Either way, eventually I will settle down to baking one formula and tweaking/practicing it until I meet my goal.

Let the adventure begin!  For week one, I tried SteveB's Double Hydration Ciabatta.  Here's the formula, partly for my own future reference as I found Steve's writeup a little hard to read (call me old-fashioned, but I'm not crazy about recipes written in present perfect tense).  I had a little trouble with his mixing instructions, as he refers to mixing speeds 1, 2 and 3, whereas my Kitchenaid has speeds "Stir" 2, 4, 6 etc.  In the formula below I've reprinted his instructions, with the speed I actually used [in brackets].



  • 500g King Arthur AP Flour (100%)

  • 380g water (76%)

  • 15g Olive Oil (3%)

  • 10g Salt (2%)

  • .7g instant yeast (1/4 teaspoon,  .14%)


  • 190g Flour

  • 190g Water

  • 1/8 tsp instant yeast

Final Dough

  • 310g Flour, divided

  • 190g water, divided

  • 15g Olive Oil

  • 1/8 tsp inseant yeast

  • 10g salt


  1. The night before, mix poolish ingredients, cover and let sit for 12 hours

  2. On baking day, combine poolish, 150g water and olive oil into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix on low speed using the whisk attachment until smooth.  

  3. Add 30g flour and increase speed to speed 3 [4 on my Kitchenaid] for two minutes.

  4. Stop mixer, add remaining flour and yeast.  Switch to the dough hook and mix 2 minutes more, just until the flour is hydrated.

  5. Cover bowl with plastic and autolyse for 30 minutes.

  6. Add salt, turn mixer to speed 3 [2] and mix 10 minutes.

  7. With mixer still running, gradually add the remaining 40g water, dribbling in a few drops at a time and allowing each addition to be incorporated before adding more.  Mix a total of 10 more minutes.

  8. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, ferment for 3 hours

  9. [I poured the dough out for a french fold at 1-1/2 hours, which Steve does not call for]

  10. Empty the dough onto a well floured work surface, divide in half, and place on a well-floured couche.

  11. Proof 1 hour [I proofed for 1-1/2, having forgotten to pre-heat the oven!]

  12. An hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees

  13. Gently flip the dough from the couche onto a sheet pan or peel lined with parchment. 

  14. Transfer loaves to a stone in the oven.  Bake 35 minutes total, with steam for the first 15 minutes.

  15. Turn off oven, open oven door and leave the loaves in for 6 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

And the results:




Crust was a bit thick, but was crisp and had good flavor.  Crumb was moist and flavorful but barely open at all, despite a decent rise.

I'm not sure what to make of the formula. There are a number of possible explanations for the poor crumb here, most of which can't be blamed on the formula: Poor mixing (mixer not turned up high enough), not enough stretch and folds, degassing from the added stretch and fold, clumsy handling, etc.  Certainly the flavor was good, and I definitely liked using a well floured couche for proofing rather than a bread board as some other formulas suggest (less spreading, easier flipping).  But the mixing proceedure is awfully fiddly, and 20 minutes of high-speed mixing after an autolyze seems excessive, even if it gets the job done.

Food for thought (and for dinner!).

Happy baking everyone,


RonRay's picture

Levain as Desert [redo]

Originally, this was a comment in the thread:Levain as Desert

However, I now find that I cannot find such "comments" very easily, and I just spent a too much time finding this, and another "comment", both of which should have been done as a blog, if for no other reason than to be able to reference them, when needed.

=== The original follows with no chages for the previous  entry. ===110423

On a daily basis, I have my levain discard as a Desert, and love it. As for how I made it originally, that is well explained in the Banana Saga: Link

But, since then I have discovered it is very simple to make, and maintain, Banana Levain - assuming that you have a Cuisinart SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender, and if you do not then any blender could serve, but it will mean a bit more mess and work for you to do so.
Let us start from scratch: buy at lease 5 or 6 bananas. The best ones are those you would choose to eat, the poorest are those you would put in a banana quick bread. Take a one quart plastic  round container that has a lid, and then peel and slice the bananas crosswise, making round pieces, about 3 to 4 mm thick slices. Place the slices in the container, place the lid on it, and put the container with its sliced contents in the freezer or ice compartment until frozen solid - I do it for 24 hours. Next, remove the container from the freezer and place in the fridge to thaw, where they can remain until you want them. I usually let them have a couple of days, or longer to thaw slowly. They can remain thus for an extended period until you need to use them for refreshing an existing levain, or creating a new one. Freezing them does nothing to the flavor, but it weakens, or destroys most of the cell walls and fibrous parts of the banana. When I need a fresh batch to use for refreshing the levain, I first need to puree the once frozen slices. I use the Cuisinart SmartStick to puree the thawed banana slices directly in their plastic container in less than a minutes.

That puree is a great treat all by itself. If the bananas were still frozen, it makes an ice cream of pure banana, as well. Of course, I prefer it as a levain with a snappy bite to it.

To start a pure banana levain, simply take a small amount - I use 25g - of the puree and add a 1/4 tsp of ANY yeast water, or liquid sourdough starter. I have a yogurt maker that came with 7, 5oz. glasses with individual plastic caps. I use one of these, and blend the "seed" into the puree using a small battery powered hand whisk.

The powered whisk came with two tips - a normal whisk and a small tip called a drink foam-maker, or "foamer". The end of the foam-maker came with a spring coiled on its loop. The spring can be removed. If left in place it catches small fibrous parts and can be a pain to clean. I prefer it without the coiled spring.

I use this battery powered hand mixer to blend the seed with the puree banana refresh for the levain to get a more uniform rise from the levain.

Once a smooth mix is obtained, I smack the bottom of the glass once or twice to more or less level the surface. Then I add a rubber band as a visual indicator of the starting level of the levain. Then snap the lid on the glass.

From time to time I check back to see the growth progress.

I was using 5g seed and 25g refreshment, but the banana levain can become feisty, and on one occasion, it rose over 5 fold and blew the lid off - ejecting banana levain in a mild mess. So, after that, I have limited the total amount to 25g (5g seed and 20g refreshment).

Currently, with an ambient temperature around 70ºF/21ºC, I find it has tripled (or better) overnight, and once again before I am ready to retire. So, when I check and find the glass rather full, I remove the cap and place a clean glass on the digital scale. Then I transfer a 5g seed from the finish batch into the new start of the next feeding.

Of course, once the 5g seed has been "planted" for the next cycle, the remaining 20g is now discarded into my oral compactor. (+^_^+).

And thus, I have come full cycle. I go to the fridge and get the container of banana puree and feed 20g of the puree as the refresh to the levain and another snack starts to grow.


ph_kosel's picture

Second Pullman loaf - orange raisin bread experiment

For some reason I've been daydreaming of raisin bread recently. In years gone by I've tinkered with various orange-raisin-oatmeal formulas but they always seemed too heavy, probably because I was including too much oatmeal.  My objective is to develop a bread formula that has not only the tartness of the juice but also the tang of the peel, rather like a marmalade, but also like raisin bread.


This is my account of my latest experiment, which I consider rather successful over all (although I did slip up a bit on the proofing time).


about 210g of Home-made marmalade of a sort, made (see procedure below) from

1 smallish seedless navel orange and

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

100g of raisins

1 tablespoon SAF "red" instant yeast

1.5 teaspoon salt

450g unbleached bread flour

300g very warm water



I started out by making some marmalade; in the past I've tried just throwing an orange in a blender peel and all, but I wanted some obvious peel in this loaf.  First I halved the orange (which was about 3 inches diameter or so, a rather thick-skinned specimen) and sliced up the halves.  I put the slices in a small sauce pan and scraped as much as possible of the juice left on the cutting board into the pan too.  I added a half cup of granulated sugar to the pan, stirred it up a bit to draw out some of the juice, and heated the mixture to boiling.  I boiled it on fairly high heat until the sugar was well disolved, turned the heat off for maybe 10 minutes, then concluded it was more like orange peel soup than marmalade.  I brought it back to a boil and boiled it rather vigorously until enough moisture evaaporated that it was more like marmalade (no free-flowing liquid syrup) than soup; I stirred it while it boiled.  Understand, I've never made marmalade before although I eat it regularly on toast, crackers, etc.  I was winging it, and I didn't take careful notes, although I've glanced at various recipes for marmalade and candied orange peel over the years.

Anyway, once the marmalade was made I left it to cool uncovered in the pan and my wife and I went shopping.  When we got back and had put all the groceries away I did some other stuff and around 9PM made up some dough, putting all the ingredients listed above into the bowl of my Kitchenaid mixer and mixing it up thoroughly with the dough hook.  The resulting dough was very loose and sticky, presumably because of the sugar and remaining moisture in the home-made marmalade.  It was nothing I wanted to try to knead, so I just scraped it into the pullman pan (which I sprayed with oil first, anticipating possible problems getting the sugary dough out after baking) and spread it out more or less evenly in the pan with a spoon.  I put the lid on the pullman pan and put a folded kitchen towel on top to keep the heat in as I did in my earlier first loaf with this new pan.

Then I left the loaf to proof while my wife and I watched a video (The King's Speech, which runs 118 minutes, almost two hours).

When the movie was over I checked the pan and discovered that the dough had filled the pan and begun to sneak through the cracks past the lid in a mad bid for escape.  Two hours was too long to proof this formula!  I wiped off the escaping dough as best I could but did not pull back the lid for fear of what might happen.  I preheated the oven to 450F, popped the pan in, set the timer for 25 minutes, and had some coffee.  When the timer went off I pulled the loaf out of the oven, managed to slide the lid off despite some "escapist" dough that got quite crispy in the cracks between pan and lid, and managed to pop the loaf out of the pan.  One bit of crust stayed stuck in the pan, perhaps on a spot I did not oil well enough.  The loaf had a thin ridge of dark, crispy  "escapist" dough around the top which I broke off and discarded.


It appears from the uneven browning (see photos below) that although the dough escaped through the cracks it did not fully contact the pan lid.  The crumb is very moist and chewy with a very nice flavor, sweet with a tartness of orange and a distinct tang of orange peel - my wife says it's delicious, and I am inclined to agree.    The crust is rather thinner and softer than I'm used to - a slightly longer bake in future trials might be appropiate.  Overall, this is a formula I'm definitely going to save carefully and use again (but next time with a shorter proofing time)!

Here are some photos.

Loaf and pan^


Crumb shot^


I'm very very happy with this loaf!




jcking's picture

Altamura Tantrum Loaf

Pane del capriccio; from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads" Made with Durum Flour. Using the Sterile Sourdough X Starter.



It is possible to sterilize flour and water to create a useable starter and bake a loaf. Tasty with a mild sour taste.





SylviaH's picture

Buttermilk Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday

Buttermilk Hot Cross Buns        


If you would like the recipe I used it is referred to on my blog HERE.   I add extra homemade candied orange and lemon peel.  I also use golden raisins a little extra spice of nutmeg and cinnamon.  I like to up the hydration too, by adding a little extra buttermilk.  I glazed the buns with beaten egg yolk with about a TBspoon of milk.  I also towel steamed my buns for the first 12 minutes.  I made a Royal Icing for the baked on crosses, I've tried them before and I don't care for the flavor or texture of the baked crosses, IMHO, the baked on crosses are for the benefit of commercial baking and selling of the HCB, so the crosses don't melt or disfigure...IMHO!  I think the added little sweetness of the lemon flavored icing crosses goes great with the buns.



                                        These are very large buns.  





                                                   Very tender crumb, pulled apart still warm.



                                             These were frosted still a little warm....the Lemon Royal Icing will harden nicely and not melt away on the buns when covered for

                                    later eating.