The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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

hansjoakim's picture

Catcher in the rye

Everyone's got a little Holden Caulfield in them, I presume?

I thought I should put up some of the recent loaves I've baked, and first are two 40% rye boules that are loosely based on Hamelman's flaxseed rye with old bread soaker. David, Eric and myself loved the original recipe, and David put up a detailed breakdown of it on his blog (by the way, reading through David's blog entry again, I believe that the blog entry should list fresh yeast, not instant). This time, I wanted to combine the complex flavour of the stale bread soaker and acidity of the sourdough with something sweet. I have a hopeless, irrepairable sweet tooth, so that's why!

The sweetness I had in mind was something along the lines of the classic Borodinsky rye. I've made some Borodinskies before, and I've found a combination of coriander seeds, honey and barley malt extract to be truly divine. So, I started with Hamelman's recipe for the flaxseed rye, and a) omitted the flax altogether, and b) reduced the overall hydration to 70%. Then, c) added 1% coarsely crushed coriander seeds, and d) 3% honey and 3% barley malt extract. I also omitted the (optional) seed coating mentioned in Hamelman's formula.

I shaped two 1kg boules, and let one proof as usual in a brotform, and let the other proof seam side down. Due to honey and barley malt extract, I watched the dough carefully during final proof, and found that 45 - 50 mins. was sufficient for my dough. I also found that the crust quickly gained colour during the bake (also due to honey and the malt extract), so I reduced the temperature a bit quicker than usual. I ended up with 250dC the first 10 mins. (with steam) and then gradually lowered the temperature towards 205dC for 35 mins. more. Total baking time approx. 45 mins. I wanted a dark, thick crust, a deep, nutty brown colour, that will enhance the overall aroma of the loaves. So if you want to try it, don't shy away from giving it a full bake, but do watch it. You want nutty brown, not charcoal black :)

40 percent rye

40 percent rye

A friend of mine requested a Vollkornbrot, so I baked him the one from "Bread", shown on below on the right. No crumb shot unfortunately... but he said it satisfied his Vollkorn cravings, so I take that as a good sign. Below on the left is Hamelman's sourdough rye with raisins and walnuts. Sweet tooth again, I know...

Sourdough rye with raisins and walnuts

I shaped it as a "viverais": This shape is shown in Suas' ABAP, and on p. 13 in this .pdf. You shape it into a batard and (yes, this step had me hesitating a few seconds - mangling that pretty batard...) divide it in seven pieces by cutting two X's in the dough. Pretty harsh treatment, I agree, but the loaf did recover some during final proof, and the separated pieces baked together nicely in the oven. It produced an appealing, rustic look, I think!

PS: A slice of this is a perfect match for goat cheese.

Sourdough rye with raisins and walnuts

qahtan's picture

enriched white bread

Made some enriched white bread today. qahtan
 11 cups flour
 3 1/2 cups water
 2 cups milk
 3 eggs
 2 tablespoons sugar
 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
 3 teaspoons yeast
 3 ounces soft butter.

mrosen814's picture

Peter Reinhart's Soft Cheese Bread

Has anyone made Peter Reinhart's soft cheese bread from Artisan Breads Every Day?  How'd it come out?  Any pics??  Thanks!


Nathan's picture

Dan Lepard's Walnut Bread

I have to say that I'm a sucker for a nice piece of walnut bread topped with a slice of goat cheese and a dribble of honey. Although I have tried a few other formula's for this bread, I always seem to come back to this one from p. 111 of Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf. For those of you that aren't familiar with this book, I highly recommend it. Dan's photography and written word are beautiful. The formula's are clear and concise and the information on how to create a natural leaven is straightforward and supported by step-by-step pictures of the process. Many of you might also find his mixing technique quite interesting. It was The Handmade Loaf which initiated me on the sourdough journey I'm still on today. Thank you Dan for the inspiration.

In my humble opinion, what sets this walnut bread apart from the rest is the addition of a walnut paste made with walnuts, honey, water and a bit of butter. It infuses the bread with a rich walnut flavor. I basically follow the formula as written, except that I've increased the hydration a tad and I leave out the fresh yeast. I also substitute my white levain at 60% hydration which I use for all my naturally-leavened breads.

As with the other sourdough breads I make, I always follow the same hand-mixing procedure. An hour before my levain is ready, I mix the flours and liquid and autolyse for an hour. I then weigh out the corresponding amount of levain on top of the previosuly mixed dough, setting aside the remaining levain to feed while my bread is bulk fermenting. I lift the mixed dough and levain out of the bowl and place it on my working surface. At this point I fold the dough over on itself a couple of times to inclose the levain. After patting out the dough a bit I sprinkle the salt on it. Thanks to the 1-hour autolyse the dough has already begun to develop and all it needs is around 2-4 minutes of streching and folding for it to reach a moderate gluten development. I then bulk ferment for around 2 1/2 hours (depending on the temperature in my flat) with two folds at 50-minute intervals. Finally I divide, rest and shape dough and immediately put it in the refrigerator for a retarded final proofing. Given my schedule, I always do the mixing and bulk fermenting in the afternoon so I can do the final retarded proofing at night. The following morning, once my oven is pre-heated, I take the bread out of the fridge and stick it directly into the oven.

Here's a shot of the the bread cooling:

...and the crumb:

turosdolci's picture

Ricotta Ravioli "from the old country"

We always have some Italian dishes during our holidays. Whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Easter, there is always ravioli on our table as a first dish. We would set up an assembly line with all of us pitching in to make hundreds of them before Thanksgiving so that we could have them for Christmas also. They freeze very well, but don’t ever defrost them before cooking them, just put them into a large amount of salted boiling water directly from the freezer.“the-old-country”/

Floydm's picture

TFL Fundraiser for Mercy Corps

Last week I posted a message on TFL asking community members to test out the new fundraising software I'd developed for Mercy Corps, my employer, by making a few small donations. The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive. We hit our original goal of one thousand dollars, which I feared might be unreasonably high, in less than 72 hours, and several community members expressed a desire that we extend this longer. If you are game, I'm game. Let's see what we can do.

What is Mercy Corps?

Mercy Corps is an international aid agency based in Portland, Oregon. With over 3,500 employees working in more than 40 countries, we work to help people build secure, productive and just communities. We do that by expanding educational opportunities, helping build water and sanitation infrastructure, providing microfinancing to women starting small businesses and running food and nutrition programs to prevent malnutrition.

As I've mentioned, I work there, but I was a supporter and fan of the organization before I began working there. Mercy Corps works in some of the world's toughest places, including many that rarely make the headlines, and is committed to being efficient stewards of their donors' money.

If you are interested in supporting our fundraising effort, you can do so here. Your show of support would mean a great deal to me.

Update 10/25: I am moving the discussion of this from the forums to a blog thread so that folks interested in the fundraising project can still chat about it without interfering with the bread-centricity of the forums. I've also raised the goal to $2,500.

More to come...