The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Nami01's picture

Shokupan Sandwich Bread...Help?


Nice to meet you all! So looking at the wonderful forum here, I found a recipe for Shokupan. Something I didn't know could be found ANYWHERE on the net. Excited, I started the recipe on from the Japanese site that was posted.

The pictures for the recipe and my progress work seemed to fit quite well, to the point I was really excited. But following the baking instructions, I got something like this...

Shokupan from Pullman Pan

D: It didn't look brown and toasty at all. In fact, it looked like it had shrunk in my pan. I baked it according to the site 160C for 10 min and 190C for 20 minutes. Then I waited 10 min before opening the pullman pan and popping it out. Can anyone guess what I did wrong?

I made sure to rise the dough until 1.5cm below the pan before baking. It looks like it grew a little initially during, but didn't quite make it there to make the pretty stuffed box shape?

The Japanese pullman pan is a different size than regular ones, not as long but wider and deeper. Could this have anything to do with it? I checked the ingredients and they should make a 1.4lb (630g) loaf...which should be about right for my 1.5lb pullman pan? Right?

From the background of the picture on the Japanese site, it looks suspiciously like they used a toaster "oven" type that my friend used while she was in Japan. Could it be that comparatively my big normal sized oven makes the pan too far away from the heat source and my temperature wasn't "hot" enough? On the site, they did say their little oven was "stronger" than most...?

And what in the world made the bread shrink smaller than the pan? Was I supposed to let it sit in the pan until completely cooled? Or maybe not let it sit in the pan at all (pop it out immediately)? Was it because my heat was too weak?

Sorry for being such a newbie. I feel that many experienced bakers may be able to tell what I did wrong from looking at the picture and my description. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I thought I would roll up my sleeves for try #2 tomorrow! Thank you in advance for reading/replying to such a long post from a confused little newbie!


huycao's picture

Hello from Vietnam

Hello everyone

I am an only 6 month-experience baker, from Vietnam. At workplace, I make baguette, burger, sandwich...At home, I don't have any mixer, so I knead the dough by hand for about 25mins, every 700g of flour, I get 2 loaves of milk sandwich (10cmX10cmX20cm). Now I want to try with muffin, it sounds hard for me to bake them.

I think this is a good site where I can learn from and share experience with you. I also wish to work as a baker in many different countries someday to study more about their local interesting breads.

Nice to meet you all.

bnom's picture

Excruciating video on how to shape a baguette. Please do not try this at home

I was looking at Ciril Hirtz' excellent video on shaping baguettes and stumbled across this "Expert Village" video showing the "cut and pull" technique for shaping a baguette.  It is so bad it's funny.  There are several other videos by this same fellow taking one through the entire process.  In one he explains that steam is used "because the moisture from the water kind of vaporizes and soaks up inside the bread giving it that nice pillowy softness inside."  

The "cut and pull" technique for making an "authentic French baguette bread"

And here's a link to the final product -- about the saddest looking baguettes I've ever seen:

bluerose's picture

Walnut bread from Korea

Hello All,

I'm a Korean home baker with 4years baking experience.

In most of Korean bakeries, they make some cakes and pies and sweet breads. Hard rolls are not popular here.

You can find some baguette. However, the baguette is not pure sometimes. They add milk, cheese, butter, sugar, etc.


When I traveled European countries, I tasted some really nice breads and I decided to make something like it by myself.

I studied from this website and some books.


This is the latest version of my study - my daily bread.



Bread cut



  • Whole wheat flour 400g

  • Water 850g

  • Pressed oat 100g

  • Molt 1g (1tea spoon)

  • Instant dry yeast 15g

  • Sea salt 17g

Mix them all, cover with plastic wrap and leave in room temperature for 30minute.

  • Bread flour 800g
  • Walnut 200g - pieced as you like
  • Grape seed oil 200g
Mix the sponge and bread flour just until no flour shown. Add walnut and grape seed oil and mix just until oil is fully mixed with dough. In a oiled bowl, put the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Place at room temperature for 10 minute.
Carefully take out the dough from the bowl on lightly oiled work place. Stretch and fold 4 sides of the dough and put it back to the oiled bowl. Cover and wait for 10 minute.

Take out and fold 3 more times with 10 minute interval as described above.
Let the dough rise double of its original size in room temperature. Divide dough and make two big loaves.
Cover with cloth and let rise for 45 minute at room temperature. Bake at 230oC preheated oven 45 minute. I put one cup of boiled water in a bowl of preheated gravel to generate steam.
The final result is as above. Please advise me if I have something to improve.


Tatoosh's picture

Granite versus Marble Pastry Board

While hunting bricks for a baking stone, I noticed some very nicely poslished stone slabs. They were fairly thick, at least one inch, perhaps a bit more.  I was told they were granite.  So I am curious if I had a 24 inch by 18 inch piece cut, would it work as a viable pastry board?  I understand that many bakers prefer to use wooden boards/tables for preparing their bread doughs, but that chilled marble is commonly used for pastry dough.  Since pastry dough is NOT available where I live in the Philppines, making it myself is the single alternative if I want some.  I have never made it before and I have been watching tutorials on youtube along with reading here and elsewhere for a better idea on what I should be doing. If a good cool stone would increase the chances of success for a good pastry dough, I'll work it into the budget down the road. I have a small-ish freezer I can use to chill the stone.  But would grainte suffice?   Marble is available in large squares, but not nearly so thick as the granite slabs I found. They are rather thin marble tiles, about 24 x 24 inches, commonly used on headstones here,  Which would be the better alternative?


OldWoodenSpoon's picture

Back after the long hot (not) summer

First I want to say hello to all of you again after being "away at my summer job".  I've missed you all, and have not even had much time to just lurk, let alone post.  I've purposely held back from posting knowing I could, at any time, be completely unable to follow up or hold up my end on a discussion.  The latest part of Spring and the main part of Summer are my very busiest times of the year, when weeks and even entire months can and do go by without a break.  I've had the liberty of rearranging my schedule some this year so I have had some daylight time off, as a trade for night time on, to get some things done around the house, where I work.  That's the only reason I've been able to continue baking at least, to keep my hand in and the store-bought bread out.

The juggling of my work and off time schedule comes at the price of sleep too often, but it has permitted me to accomplish some baking things I'm proud of.  The biggest one we celebrated just tonight, with:

First Fire!! Woohooo!  The WFO got lit for the first time tonight with a small drying fire.

First Fire in New WFO

Thanks to a herculean effort the last couple of weeks, and the blessing of a wonderful neighbor who pitched in and helped, my earth oven is nearing completion.  Whenever I've been able to steal or swap for a couple of hours of daylight off duty time I've been working on this, since back in March originally.  Finally the rains quit and I could make some progress, then my "summer job" started and it has been pretty slow going.  I had to get it finished enough to use this winter before the rains come again!  I'm there, and will probably get it insulated in the next couple of weeks.  It must finish drying out first though, and this was just a small drying fire for less than a half hour to speed things along some.  It got things warmed up really well though.

This has been the highlight of my summer, without a doubt.  I've done some baking, of which this (back to front, RLB Beer Bread, RLB Sweet Potatoe bread as dinner rolls, and some of "my" sourdough) is my most recent highlight,

and I continue to explore the world of bread.  This oven will expand my horizons and challenge me even more.  I look forward to it with excitement.

I've many pictures of the entire building process from footing to, yes, first fire, thanks to the diligence and skill of my wife/photographer.  I plan on posting them somewhere (Flicker, or ...?) one of these days when summer is completely behind me and I have time to write the story.  Till then, well, we'll just take it as it comes.  It is starting to come easier as the harvest season here in The Valley heads into the home stretch.

It's good to be back on "The Loaf".  Thank's for stopping by for a visit.


spinge's picture

Using/Sourcing Baking Stone Alternatives or Substitutes

I have read regarding baking stones, and some people cannot understand why for the love of god people are discussing quarry tiles and substitutes, when FDA approved baking stones are readily available.

I have no option but to choose a substitute to baking stone, and I'd be glad if you could help me find one. To put it bluntly,

To use a baking stone, a baker need to satisfy 3 conditions:

1) Live in a location where baking stones are available

2) Or Live in a place where safe handling and delivery is made

3) And Have the item tested for safety

Unfortunately, I don't satisfy either:

1) I'm from India, specifically Mumbai city (its similar to NY city, but much worse), and apparently no baking goods supplier knows what a baking stone is here. I just went to some B2C shops in this godforsaken city and they were totally confused. I'm sure the pros get their tools B2B and imported. Also Google, shows no suppliers in India. None whatsoever.

2) Even if I do import one, I will not receive the baking stone in one piece, due to the way things work here. To put it simply, the handling is so bad here, even if it was FedEx-ed/UPS-ed or DHL-ed, the delivery will be made by a chilled out local who will definitely break it if its says handle carefully, or steal it if it says valuable :D Ok so I'm cynical, but I've had my share of experiences when I ordered Zildjian cymbals from NY some years ago which 'luckily' arrived 7 months later, yeah I kid you not. Luckily they were too durable to break. Other items aren't so fortunate.

3) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is USA specific, and others countries may have their own version, but where I live the item to be tested (baking stone) isn't really available and therefore obviously there is no further question of testing.


Regarding Unglazed Quarry Tiles: Its a USA specific substitute from what I've read.

As far as Mumbai is concerned, some Tile shops I went to here clearly said its unavailable, others have no idea what it is. Even if I was told it is available, there is no way to check if it is glazed or unglazed. The seller will pass off a glazed piece as a unglazed here, as long as he makes a sale, since value of life in a country of 1 billion+ (1.1 billion now?) comes very cheap. :)

Therefore, of the other available substitutes (Granite, terracotta flower base plate, ceramic dish, soapstone, anything else? PLEASE SUGGEST OTHERS) which one would you think would be the best bet to get a good bread, especially pizza, or focaccia, and are there any conditions, that need to be satsfied for them to work. eg. unpolished granite, etc.

Although I'm throwing random darts here, I hope you will help me.



P.S.: This is my first post :)

sf mountain's picture
sf mountain

Spreadsheet translator--volumetric recipe to gram wgts recipe

Does anyone know of an Excel spreadsheet type translation program that will turn a standard (American-style) volumetric recipe into a gram weight recipe? Being unable to find one, I have been working on a simple version: a spreadsheet that translates the whole recipe at once. Most conversion systems i've seen on the internet work on a one-ingredient-at-a-time basis; i like being able to translate the whole recipe at one fell swoop..


mrpeabody's picture

An article on baked baking soda as a substitute for lye...

Just curious but I caught an interesting article in the NY Times about alkali ingredients (specifically baking soda and lye).  The author contends that baking baking soda creates a reasonable substitute to lye (while not as strong as lye, baking does make the baking soda stronger than unbaked baking soda).  As a professional geek, I find this very interesting.  I know that there are many here who make their own pretzels and bagels.  Thoughts?

Here is the article:


Mr. Peabody

davesmall's picture

Is That Plastic Container Safe?

I like to keep refrigerated bread dough in the refrigerator so I can bake a loaf of bread, a pizza, pita bread, or fougasse on a whim without planning ahead. I keep the wet dough stored in a plastic men's shoebox because it is the perfect size and shape for efficient storage. However, I worried about the safety of the plastic. Could unhealthy chemicals leach out of the plastic and into the dough?

A little Google research on the web turned up this excellent article that I'd like to call to the attention of bakers in this forum.

The most important thing to know is that not all plastics are safe for food storage.


Know the code. Look on the bottom of your plastic to find the recycling symbol (a number between 1 and 7 enclosed in a triangle of arrows). The code indicates the type of plastic you are using and can give you important clues about safety. "We generally say 1, 2, 4 and 5 are considered to be the safest," says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group. Try to avoid using plastics with 3 or 6, as these leach chemicals that may be harmful. Number 7 is an "other" category that includes BPA-containing plastics called polycarbonates. These plastics, which you should avoid, will have the letters PC printed underneath the 7.

In case you are wondering, my shoeboxes are coded "2"


Dave Small