The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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alabubba's picture

Wanted: Thin, Crispy, Cracker like crust.

We do pizza about once a week at my house, I usually use a crust that is really tasty and comes out quite nice, slightly crisp and chewy.

However, a couple weeks ago my daughter said she wanted hers thinner, crisp and crunchy, Cracker like.

I have tried rolling/stretching the dough, Pre-baking, oiling. These didn't do it, so in my never ending quest to win father of the century I am turning to my friends and peers here in TFL for help.


I need a recipe for the ultimate crispy, crunchy, cracker like pizza crust.


carrtje's picture

Need help with par baking

I've been recruited to bake for our church Thanksgiving feast.  They asked me to bake a loaf for each table, which will only end up being 10 or 12.  I thought I'd use my dutch ovens to do the baking, as I'm very comfortable with this way of doing it (15 min covered, 20 min uncovered basic white)

I was thinking I could do this over a couple of days by par baking the loaves and freezing them. Then, on the day of the dinner, put them all on baking sheets and finish them off.  I have, of course my home oven to work with.  Then, at the church I have two ovens.  Am I right in this thinking?

So, how would you suggest I go about doing it?  I was thinking of taking them out after the 15 minute covered bake.  Then when I go to rebake them, bringing them all to room temperature first and spritzing them with a little salt water.  Then toss them into a preheated 500 degree oven.

What are your thoughts?

judyinnm's picture

Vinegar Rolls

When I was a child, my mother would make vinegar rolls for special (breakfast) occasions.  Over the years, I and at least one of my sisters have carried on the tradition.  But, whenever I have mentioned "vinegar rolls" to anyone outside our family, the concept is greeted with "yuck" (or some similar disgusted sounding response).  Is my family the only people who have tasted this lovely version of cinnamon rolls?  Here is a "recipe", in case anyone would like to try this fairly delicious concoction (I have never written a recipe before, and seldom follow one, so this is my best effort):


1 Can of biscuits (or, better yet, one batch of homemade biscuits, yeast rolls or similar bread dough)

1/4 LB. Butter at room temperature (homemade is best)

Mixture of cinnamon and sugar

A few tablespoons of flour

1 tsp. white or apple cider vinegar for each roll

Boiling hot wter

Roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.  Generously smear the butter all over the dough rectangle, and (again, generously) sprinlke the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the butter.  Starting at one end of the rectangle, roll the dough up, into a log.  Slice the log into pinwheel sections about 11/2 to 2 inches wide, and set the pinwheels in a cake pan that has been sprayed with oil - leave a bit of room between them, to allow them to rise and spread a bit.  atop each roll, place a dab of butter, and follow with the teaspoon of vinegar.  Mix the flour together with some cinnamon/sugar mixture, and sprinkle over and between the rolls. Follow with the hot water (over and between the rolls), stirring as well as you can, considering there's not much room between the rolls - this is going to.  The water and flour-cinnamon-sugar mixture are going to form a thick syrup in the bottom of the pan.  Bake the rolls in a 350 degree oven until browned.  Loosen the rolls from the sides, and turn the pan of rolls upside down onto a plate, so the "syrup" coats the rolls.  Serve hot.

The vinegar will have evaporated, leaving only a hint of tartness to the syrup.


txfarmer's picture

BBA Poolish Baguette - with much modification

I make baguettes often, including the Anis recipe from this forum, and some other recipes from other books. I found BBA tends to overknead for lean breads such as baguette, ciabatta, etc. For this poolish recipe, he instructs to knead until pass the windowpane test, sure way to get ride of holes and taste! I changed kneading procedure to: autolyse for 20 minues, knead in my KA for 2 minutes just to kick off the gluten developement, S&F 3 times during the first of 2 bulk fermentations. I am happy with the open crumb in the final breads.

The Interesting thing about this recipe is that there are 2 bulk fermentations, each 2 hours. I've been doing the BBA challenge, other than overkneading, I notice BBA tends to over fermentate/proof too. For this recipe, the first fermentation for me was indeed 2 hours, but that's only because I didn't knead much and did S&F, for a well kneaded dough, I don't think 2 hours would be necessary. For the 2nd fermentation (after punching down, which I translated to "gently pat down"), it was only 90 minutes for me, even that was a bit too long IMO. The extra fermentation helps with the volume of the bread, but not much else.

I am not too happy with my scoring on this one, I think I overproofed a bit. Again the recipe says to proof for 50 to 60 minutes, I did 45, 30 to 40 would've been enough, and the scoring would have opened up more with better blooming.

Now, here's the biggest "modification" I made to this recipe: I used my 100% sourdough starter in place of the poolish. With my understanding, wild yeast starter fermentates a little slower than his poolish, which means if I had used the poolish, the fermentation/proofing should have been even shorter! I love BBA, but for some lean breads, it's tendency of too much yeast, too long of fermentation/proof, too much kneading must be adjusted for me. I like sourdough breads, so I like my starter baguette better than the usual light straight baguette. The flavor is more complex (my white starter is not that sour though), and the crust is a bit more substantial.

A delicious bread, and I am always happy to practice making baguettes, I do recommend Hamelman's poolish baguette formula over this one though.

rayel's picture

Durum wheat

Does anyone know if fine durum wheat flour becomes less yellow when ground really fine? Or can the Durum flour I have purchased have come from a less yellow variety? Also, if Semolina refers to a grind, then what is the difference between finely ground semolina, and finely ground Durum?  I have read that in the U.S. Semolina comes from Durum wheat. Does that mean in other countries Semolina might not come from Durum? I have not used my Durum flour yet, and I am wondering if I can substitute, in recipes calling for fine semolina.Thanks.


turosdolci's picture

A recipe from Gargano; Calzone con Cipolla

Sometime ago I took a cooking course in Gargano and Chef Marco gave me a delicious family recipe that I is perfect for a luncheon with friends.


KenK's picture

Hamburger Buns

I just started trying to bake yeast bread a few weeks ago.  So far, my couple of trys at baguettes have been huge failures.  I'm pretty sure it was the flour I was using, soft wheat biscuit flour. 

I got some King Arthur flour and have using that to make sandwich rolls and they are coming out pretty well.  I made these rolls this afternoon and mixed up a batch of starter to try the baguettes again in the morning.

The rolls have been flattening out on the baking sheet, these did not.  I assume it was because I used the parchment paper?  The dough seemed the same, it kind of makes sense to me that the dough can get more traction on the paper.

The only reason I used it was because my wife complained about having to clean the sticky oil off the baking sheet.


12 3/4 ounces all purpose flour

2 tablespoons dry milk

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

8 ounces warm water

2 tablespoons melted butter

Makes eight big buns or one 4.5 x 8 loaf.

Mix all together and knead by hand for 10 minutes.  Let rise in oiled bowl for an hour (mine rose way over double) form into eight rolls and place on sheet pan.  Cover and let rise for an hour.  Bake at 375.

I formed them the way I saw someone doing Kaiser rolls.  Press ball of dough out into a circle about the size of the finished buns and then fold the edge over to the center and press it down. Repeat 5-6 times around the edge. flip over and press back down with the palm of hand.  Bake with that pleated side down. 

Blue Moose Baker's picture
Blue Moose Baker

Bagel Problems!


I have been on a quest to make bagels.  I have tried many recipes with the exception of Peter Reinhart's.  The only problem with my bagels is that, although they taste delicious, they have been turning out a bit flat.  I have checked the recipes thoroughly and believe that I am measuring all ingredients perfectly.  Any thoughts on what could be causing this.  The recipes I have used are as follows:

The recipes advise to let the dough rest before poking a hole in them.  The trouble is, that my shaped bagel balls seem to spread out a bit while they rest and seem to rise a bit.  When I go to enlarge the hole they defate just slightly.  Could my dough be to wet.  All of my measurements are correct.  Should I be using a flour with a higher protien content?  Currently I am using Gold Medal Bread Flour and King Arthur Bread Flour.


Thanks for your advice! 





kmcquade's picture

Preferments - starters, biga,sponge,pollish et al

Ok This is my first post - I have this nagging question after experimenting with my bread making the last yr.

I have been reading reinharts text ( break bakers apprentice) and taken a bread baking class and I have come to the conclusion that

1. Preferments are critical for best tasting bread - however that it doesn't reeally matter - a Starter, biga, poolish, preferment, sponge - they only really differ by water content - so if you make a biga it las less water than a poolish you can use them in the same recipe you just need to adjust the water content. I usually find it very easy just to add a couple cups of flour and some water 1-2 cups, a pinch of instant yeast - the exact amounts are really not that important - just mix up a patch and let it ferment !

2. More confusing to me - is that if you are going to go through the trouble to make a preferment - How is that different from just making the whole dough batch mixing it up (without kneading) and letting the dough preferment 12-24 hours - ???  Then just prepare as usual  adding flour or water ad needed ? seems to create very taste bread for me .

3. Recipe smecifi  - I admit I hate following recipe's - once you develope a feel for the mix -  (just like making pancakes - anyone who has to measure pancake mix and water and cannot just tell when the batter is the way they want it  is well, either completly ocd or ??)  I just get a feel for when the dough is the right consistency, try to get confortable with wetter doughs - add whatever I feel like into the dough, herbs, seeds, oats, barlley, different flours - whatever I have on hand , and all my breads seem to be quite tastey.  So to me it seems like unless you are a bakery and trying to put out the exact loaf all the time - the whole idea is to have fun , be artistic, creative and experiment - don't be a slave to recipes . 

I am interested in your comments .



Beabarba's picture

What ist Fiori di Sicilia?


I want to make Panettone for the BBA  Challenge. Reinhart is using Fiori di Sicilia. I could'nt find this blend here in Germany. What are the ingredients, how  can I substitute it ?

Thanks Beate