The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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balabusta's picture

Sourdough Baguette

I wonder why the recipes I see for baguette include a preferment, but, in general, not sourdough. Is a sourdough baguette an oxymoron?

After some experimenting, I now make a SD baguette that I think surpasses the flavor of a traditional baguette.



balabusta's picture

Steam Time

How long should dough be steamed in the oven?  In his book, BREAD, Jeffrey Hammelman states, "From 4-6 seconds of steam is ample." (p. 100) in 460 degree oven.  In stark contrast, in BREAD BAKING, Daniel DiMuzio states, "The quality of the crust in hearth loaves in enhanced by exposing the loaves to steam for the first 5 - 10 minutes of baking." (p. 130)

That's a huge difference.  Any reasons for this disparity?


Shiao-Ping's picture

Chinese Po-Lo Buns

Po-Lo is a Chinese antiquity name for pineapple.  It went to Japan and then from there it went to Taiwan.  In 1931, a bakery in Tokyo obtained a patent for the cookie dough on top of a bread dough.  This cookie dough is made of flour, butter, sugar and milk.  Some experts in Japan say it had its origin from Austria ("viennoiserie," rings a bell?)  This is the bun that I had when I was a kid in Taiwan.  Today, you still find them in every bread shop and pastry shop over there.  







It's my son's soccer training this afternoon and it's our team's turn to bring afternoon tea for the boys.  Boys all have a sweet tooth somewhere, don't they.  I thought they would be happy with these soft buns with cookies on top - two treats in one bite.  But guess what?  I should have gone one extra mile.  I asked my boy how he liked these rolls on the way home.  He said, "Mum, some custard (in the center) would be GRAND."   

So, these are not GRAND enough.  How I adore - the economy of his words.  


My formula for the bread dough (for 12)  

  • 350 g white bread flour

  • 60 g almond milk powder (or just milk powder)

  • 244 g soy milk (or just milk)

  • 60 g water

  • 3 g instant dry yeast (or 1 tsp)  

My ingredients are not conventional.  Normally there would be loads of butter and eggs for that rich flavor in this type of soft buns.  I simply cold retarded my dough overnight to try to improve its natural flavor.  

The dough would normally go through intensive kneading to pass windowpane test.  But I did the James MacGuire no-kneading and folding impression on this dough instead.  

My formula for the cookie dough (for 12)  

  • 135 g white bread flour

  • 50 g icing sugar

  • 80 g butter

  • 30 g egg (about 1/2 an egg)  

The trick with this cookie pastry, as with any tart shell, is time.  Once it's mixed, it needs to breath and relax in the refrigerator (overnight, preferably).     


It's baked in 190C (375F) for 15 to 18 min  

A savoury variation with stir-fry noodles and vegitables (without the cookie dough on top) follows:


I once made it with leftover spaghetti mince, and it was a hit with my boy and his friends.  

Other sweet variations:


             with strawberry cookie top                                                 with coffee flavoured cookie top  


My son is ordering a peanut cookie top for his sports day next weekend.    



p.s.  The bun has nothing to do with real pineapple save for the criss-cross indentation on some of them which resembles the pineapple skin. 

brewninja's picture

Whole Wheat Sourdough Ciabatta

My first post :)

Hello all! First a little personal background.  I've been baking on and off for about 5 years, picked up BBA about a month ago, and I am now completely obsessed :)  While my wife definately enjoys the bread I've been making, I think this forum is the best place to share thoughts about this obsessive passion.

So, I'd love to share a recipe I just baked; inspired by the BBA pain a l'ancienne and poolish ciabatta, as well as ideas gleaned from this site.  Basically, I used my whole wheat sourdough starter as the poolish in the BBA ciabatta recipe, upped the water a bit, and treated the dough like the pain a l'ancienne dough.

22.75 oz Recently refreshed whole wheat sourdough barm (poolish consistency, straight from fridge)

13.5 oz KAF organic AP

.44 oz salt

9.5 oz cold water

Mix all ingredients in bowl with hands acting as a dough hook for 6 minutes (very wet, clears sides stickes to bottom)

Refrigerate overnight

Ferment room temp (which was warm today) for approx 4 hours, about doubled

Shape into 3 slippers, proof for 40 minutes

Bake hearth style for 25 minutes


I really mutilated the loaves going into the oven, and used a spatula to pull them straight on the baking stone.  To my surprise they sprung up real quick and nice.

Three loaves was a bit much for my stone and the loaves on the ends got a little char, but still quite edible :)

I think I was most pleased with the openness of the crumb considering the percentage of whole wheat, though the nutty flavor and mild sour character are equally satisfying :)

chouette22's picture

Hello from Switzerland / Celebration Bread and Zopf

Hello everyone,

I thought it’s about time to introduce myself. I have been a very silent member of TFL for over a year and reading pretty much ALL the forum entries through my RSS feeder. I enjoy all of your entries and discussions tremendously, this wealth of information and knowledge and have become so familiar with the regular members’ creations and variations. I am so impressed!

I grew up in Switzerland (hello Salome and Thomas, fellow Swiss citizens) and came over to the US when I was 27, absolutely determined to stay only one year (teaching at a university). However, on that first flight I met my husband (coming from India to the US) and the rest is history. Even though both of us wanted to go back to our respective countries, we decided to stay in the US as this was somewhat  neutral ground for us (no one having the home advantage). It’s been quite a few years since that flight!

When people ask what I miss most from Switzerland, one of my top three items is always BREAD and the bakeries and pastry shops in that same category. I started baking breads many years ago to fill the lack of hearty, thick-crusted loaves that I was unable to find here (I remember my fist visit to Panera Bread,  those loaves looked like they might have a good crust, but I was so disappointed after buying a loaf or two because they were just as “spongy” as everything else I had tried).

I have just returned from a month-long visit to see my family in Switzerland and my daily visits to different bakeries and trying as many delicious breads as possible is always one of the highlights.

I believe that my daily visits of TFL’s forums have helped me with my bread-nostalgia.

All of my breads have been yeast-based until a few months ago when, through the inspiration of this site, I have started experimenting with sourdough, with decent results so far.

This is a celebration bread I made for the birthday of a dear friend. I believe it took me about two hours to shape this harvest wheat sheaf. I found it on p. 164 of “The Ultimate Bread and Baking Book” by Linda Collister & Anthony Blake.

And this is a Zopf, a loaf that I bake very often since my kids absolutely love it, and it has also become an often requested bread from my neighbours, when I need to thank them for little favours. "Just bake me a Zopf," they'd often say.
It is two-coloured because my lacto-vegetarian mother-in-law was just visiting from India and unable to eat the part with the egg-wash.

I am looking forward to more inspiration from these forums and hopefully I'll be able to share a little bit something as well.


PhxBakerGal's picture

bakery management software

I wanted to just let y'all know that I've been using the Datapax software for a while now to track my ingredient useage and sales. They recently did a joint venture with GlobalBake and upgraded me to this new GlobalBake software. i LOVE it! It does the nutrition labels, tracks sales, receipts and recipes and can even forecast what I'm going to need to buy. Anyone else find some good bakery management software out there? I tried a few of the others a few years ago and found them to be targeted to the small business; which is fine if I wanted to have to redo everything as I grow! I looked for information on here regarding software and hadn't found anything useful so I wanted to post.


Paddyscake's picture

Blue Cheese Walnut Rolls

A while back Trishinomaha created a post called King Arthur's Gruyere Cheese Bread If it has cheese, my husband and I will love it. It was bookmarked for a future bake and today :

I've had a hankering for some bleu cheese and the walnuts were a no brainer. These are called mini loaves and rightfully so. One is the perfect size for 2-3 people.

The loaf is made like you would cinnamon buns, the goodies rolled up in a log. You then opt for 2 loaves or 4 mini loaves. This is very easy and very good. Here's one more shot to give you an idea of the tender crumb.

This has my quota of cholesterol for the year, I'm sure.

I did bake 4 loaves of zucchini bread. I used those great anti-oxident Goji berries, cranberries and almonds. That should counter-act all the fats, right?


SylviaH's picture

Scali Braided Boule with 2 day old biga

I used my 2 day old biga on the loaf that is sliced.  The other boule is still a Scali experiment in the works!  Scali has become one of our favorite everyday breads.  The flavor is so delicious.   What the olive oil does to the crumb is so pretty and seems like you are eating buttery pastry and the sesame seeds just add more nutty toasty flavor...I don't know how else to discribe it.  Now I know why this is such a popular bread in New England Italian baking!  It's traditionally a 3 rope braid.  I like the shape boule's give for sliced bread so I did a round 4 strand boule braid.  If you haven't tried this bread yet you are missing out on a simply delicious italian loaf.  The recipe can be found on the recipes section under yeast breads- Scali bread.  This bread was baked in beautiful loaves by weavershouse and posted the other day in her blog..she has the bug too! : )

I used a little different mixing method on this loaf and adding a little more King Arthur All Purpose flour.



hebakes's picture

Where can I find dry butter?

Okay, so I’m slowly perfecting my croissants. I’ve found the absolute perfect flour (B&D) the perfect yeast (Red Star) but I’m wondering if I can find the perfect butter. 
Right now, they’re 99.9% like they were when made with French flour, but I’m wondering if dry butter will bring me to 100%.
I’m using a higher fat content butter, but if I don’t get it really cold, it can get too hot when I enrobe it, and that screws everything up. In France they use a dry butter, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere.
Any suggestions? 
It took me 2 years to discover B&D Flour, so I PRAY I get a decent response to this post soon.
All you bakers-HELP A GUY OUT!

paulav's picture

The best ciabatta recipe

After many tries for the right recipe, I just found this recipe on TFL search and baked it this morning-- it is the best ciabatta recipe I could hope for!  The directions were clear and the result was completely as advertised...Thanks, you made my day!