The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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saltandserenity's picture

Celebrate Chanukah with Doughnuts

Instead of the usual Chanukah latkes, this year I took the plunge and made my own Cinnamon-Sugar Buttermilk Doughnuts.  Aside from a deep fryer mishap, they were a success.  Recipe and story  are here:

doughnuts with milk

trailrunner's picture

Waste not/want to use that extra starter

Alto and sax , my white and rye starters, were outgrowing their containers since I have been feeding and not discarding . I did this on purpose as I need the discard for lots of other goodies. Here is the best yet. I have made this particular banana bread several times but this time I did a couple different things and it paid off.

First I fed both starters 2 x to get them really going...I store them in the fridge so they needed perking up. I also coated the 8" x 4" bread pans with PAM and then a heavy coating of raw sugar, also dusted the tops before baking. Wow...the loaves are so light and tasty and the coating just simply makes them melt in your mouth.  I also converted the recipe to grams so that consistency could be achieved for those of you that are not used to cup measures. I am recording the doubled amounts that I can halve it if you need to. This makes 3 loaves of 8x4 bread pans. 

2/3 c. butter softened ( 150 g)

2 c white sugar ( 400 g)

2 lrg eggs ( approx 100g)

4 c unsifted AP flour ( 500 g) 

2 tsp baking powder ( 10 g ) 

1 tsp baking soda ( 5 g)

2 tsp salt ( 10 g)

2 c mashed very ripe bananas ( 450 g) I keep them in the freezer till I have enough

2 c sourdough starter freshly fed ( 450 g) I have mine at 75%-100 % hydration and I used 1 cup each rye and white starters . 

1 1 /2  c chopped pecans or your favorite nut ( 200g) 

1 tsp vanilla ( 5 g)

finely zested peel from one orange 

Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy, I use my KA on 1 and then up to 3 to get it very light. Add eggs and cont. till well mixed and light. Add vanilla and orange zest and mix lightly. 

Combine the bananas and starter(s) and beat lightly. Add to above on "1" just till mixed. Combine all dry ingredients and fold into above batter by hand. Fold in chopped nuts. Have your oven set at 350. Coat pans as described above and divide batter in 3 pans. Press extra sugar on top of loaves. Place in center of oven and bake for 55 min. till knife comes clean when inserted in center of loaf. 

Let loaves cool in pans for 10 min and then finish cooling on racks...that is if you can wait...we couldn't ! The bread is so tender and light and flavorful. The riper the bananas are the better. Also store them in the freezer in their skins for full flavor and then thaw and squeeze them into the measuring cup. 

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

jameslee's picture

Sourdough & Poolish ferment together anybody ?

Has anyone out there ever tried using a part poolish and part sourdough ferment together to make white bread? I thought I'd like to give it a try.

I follow the Bouabsa recipe for baguettes, with dash of dark rye - and a little firm sourdough starter to it, approx' 300g for a kilo of dough, the results were even better. However now I'm thinking of usng some poolish (say 300g) alongside the 300g of sourdough ferment, just for a try. Bouabsa's recipe calls for bulk fermentation of 21hr's.  Is this heresy and / or insane? I'd greatly appreciate any advice.

Many thanks.. James




tananaBrian's picture

Grandma Prewitt's Overnight Buns

I thought I'd share an old family recipe with you folks, one that our family loves.  (Note that there is a similar recipe posted at, but with some important changes that make the buns worse in my opinion ...and I wonder where the lady that posted the recipe got the recipe from too?  I'm betting that somewhere along the line, someone got the recipe from the Prewitt family and it got 'adjusted' along the way ...the similarities are too close to ignore ...but THIS one is the original and dates back to the fifties):


Grandma Prewitt's Overnight Buns

Yield: 3 dozen 2-1/2" buns

Description: Slightly sweet, airy, 'touch of yeast' flavor, bun recipe for your favorite dinner or special occasion.  When rolled flat, also makes a fine base for cinnamon rolls.  These buns have a unique, thin, crust with tiny 'pinhead' blisters and a light airy crumb.  They keep well in the refrigerator or counter, and they freeze well too.  The recipe is generally started at around 4pm on the day before they are needed, then baked first thing in the morning (see schedule below).


Ingredients (sorry for the volume measurements ...I haven't converted it to weight measurements and baker's percentages yet):

2-1/4 cups Water

3/4 cups White Sugar

3 ounces Vegetable Oil or melted Shortening

2 Eggs (large, AA)

1-1/2 teaspoons Salt

1-1/4 teaspoons Instant Yeast (original utilized Active Dry Yeast)

6 to 7 cups Unbleached All Purpose White Flour



4:00pm, Start:

Boil the 2-1/4 cups water and the 3/4 cups sugar for 5 full minutes.  At the end of the boil, immediately add the 3 ounces of oil to the sugar water mixture.  These two steps are important in order to achieve the light airy structure that these buns have.  Let stand, or set pot in a cool water bath, until luke warm.

In a separate bowl, whip the 2 eggs and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt until foamy.  Do not over-beat the eggs.

Mix the egg mixture into the sugar water mixture, then add the 1-1/4 teaspoons of instant yeast.

Using the flat blade on your mixer (or by hand), add flour until the dough is starting to get too thick for the flat blade (or too hard to stir by hand).  Add no more than 1/2 to 1 cup of flour at a time, and make sure each addition is mixed in well before adding more.  Switching to the dough hook (or bowl kneading with a spoon or bowl scraper), continue adding flour until you have formed a soft, still slightly sticky, dough.  Turn the dough out onto the counter to knead in the final amount of flour.  The dough should be soft, still slightly sticky but not too sticky, when complete.

Place the dough into a large greased bowl, turn over and let rise for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.  While the dough is rising, cover the bowl with a dampened warm towel plus plastic wrap to prevent drying.

8:30-9:00pm, Form Buns:

Punch the dough down, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.  Knead gently then roll or pat out to a thickness of 1 inch.  Cover with a slightly damp pastry cloth.

Using a dough blade, cut off a 2" wide strip of dough along one edge.  Form buns by cutting off 2" long, e.g. for a 2" square piece of dough, piece of dough, then turn the corners in and press into the back side of the piece of dough.  Continue turning in the edges of the bun into it's back side to form a smooth stretched surface on the top side.  With your finger tips, gather the edges to a single point on the back and pinch so they will stay there.  Turn the bun right side up, pinch edges into the back side as necessary to make sure the buns are round, then place pinched-side down on a greased pan.  Continue cutting off 2" square pieces of dough and forming buns until you've used up the 2" wide strip of dough.  Cut off a new 2" wide strip of dough and repeat.  Repeat the entire forming process until all of the dough has been formed into buns and have been placed on greased cookie sheets.  Note that the oven spring will be primarily vertical rather than sideways, so you should be able to place 12 to 15 buns on each cookie sheet without risking that they will rise and stick together in the oven.

Arrange all of the cookie sheets close together and cover with thin tea towels.  Do not spritz the buns with water, to prevent drying out for example, and make sure the tea towels are very dry.  Moisture will only cause the towels to stick to the buns by morning, thereby ruining your efforts and patience.  Allowing the buns to rise overnight dry is part of the process that helps form the unique, thin and delicate, crust that these buns have.

Next Day, 7:00-8:00am, Bake Buns:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (use a thermometer).  Bake buns 10 to 13 minutes or until done.  These buns will continue to cook a tad after being removed from the oven, so very much like baking cookies, you should be careful to not over bake them.  Remove them from the oven the moment the top 1/3rd of the bun has become lightly browned. Optionally brush with melted butter after removing from the oven.  Cool on bread racks.

NOTE: In the image above, the buns were not brushed with any butter.  We have never tried the optional butter, liking them very much as they are without it.




dmsnyder's picture

Thanksgiving 2010 baking

Thanksgiving day 2010

Rotisserie barbecued turkey (okay, so it's not bread)

Glenn (on the left) meets turkey (on the right). 

Day after Thanksgiving breakfast

San Joaquin Sourdough Baguette

Cinnamon rolls & Pecan rolls (made in muffin tins using NY Baker's Babka dough)

Cinnamon rolls, for kids who don't eat nuts

Pecan rolls, for the rest of us

Glenn makes challah

He's on a roll!

You should have seen the one that got away!

Here's the proof

Ready to bake


Challah c rumb

The challah made fantastic turkey sandwiches!

And, for dessert, the much anticipated Apple Crostada, inspired by trailrunner!

Apple Crostada!

Delicious! It had the flakiest, best tasting crust ever!

For better or worse, as I was enjoying a second slice while mentally reviewing the recipe, I realized a stick of butter actually is 8 tablespoons, not 4 tablespoons. That means I used 9 tablespoons of butter rather than the 5 T Caroline's recipe specified. No wonder the crust was so flakey!


MadAboutB8's picture

Jeffrey Hamelman's Pain au levain with whole wheat - a plain sourdough that not as plain as you think

Plain sourdough is not something I make often, though I intended to  but I seems to easily get distracted by multigrain and/or fruit breads. Somehow, I feel like one last weekend and I picked the Pain au Levain with whole wheat from jeffrey Hamelman's Bread cookbook.

The recipe uses stiff levain build which is also a good timing that I can convert my liquid starter (100% hydration) to stiff starter (60% hydration) before I am going away in the next two weeks for a month and won't have chances to feed my lovely pet starter, Jerry. I was afraid that he would be starving (for flour and water) and pass away while I'm away.

Thanks to a post on The Fresh Loaf about the sourdough starter feeding. Apparently, stiff starter is more resilient than liquid one. It is more likely that it will survive after not being fed for a while. I only need to feed Jerry a few times when I'm back from holiday to wake him up and come back to his cheerful and active self.

This bread has a pronounced sour flavour, which I believe is the result of stiff levain build with mixed flour in it (mixed of rye and bread flour). The crumb is soft, open and chewy. It's a good complement to olive oil with a bit of dukkah.  

For more details, you can visit ;


happylina's picture

Hello and thanks from North of China

Hello The Fresh Loafer(#^.^#)

I have a small oven and I baking local loaf about 10 years. I start to like the "world" bread from last year my  trip. It's difficult to get really good bread in my stay place. So I start to try baking bread from 1 month ago. My oven small and not enough hot and I have no stone board. It's difficult to a new baker to making  big hole and good looking bread.

I find no kneed bread with pot receipe. So I try to making  Tartine bow bread. It's better than before. But still not very good.  I search "bow bread" in internet and find this blog 2 weeks ago. Here many bakers make same bread with me. So I get many information about this.  I got a big hole and half brown colour bread in last weekend. It's not good bread for TFL. But It's already good for a new baker. I hope I can making very nice bread like TFL friends. oF couse in someday.

Thanks TFL friends

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy bread 

Best Regards

Happylina in Beijing

Eidetix's picture

Links to videos on kneading by hand

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

For what it's worth, you will find below a handful of links to videos that demonstrate hand-kneading technique. I encourage others to add comparable links herein, so this thread might become a reference point for TFL posters with questions on the topic.

Links were current as of Nov. 25, 2010.

The first video features world-class baking teacher Richard Bertinet demonstrating his slap and fold technique. He is working with sweet dough, but I believe he recommends a similar approach with other doughs.

The Bertinet link:

YouTube offers a French student showing and telling (in English) the ins and outs of slap and fold. I like this one because it's light-hearted.

The clip is headlined "Hand Dough Kneading French Method." Here's the link:

The following segment showcases TFL stalwart Mike Avery applying the more gentle fold, push and turn technique. The video is about halfway down the page, just beneath the second chart thereon.

The Avery link:

The next link also illustrates fold, push and turn. It's from Fleischmann's Yeast. At about 90 seconds, it won't take much of anyone's time.

The Fleischmann's link:

For good measure, this demo from epicurious also addresses fold, push (or stretch) and turn.

The epicurious link:

As to recommended techniques, I recommend that you ask somebody who knows much more about making bread than I do. Otherwise, please enjoy, add to and comment on.


Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

Hamelman's Five Grain Levain

This is  a half recipe.  I baked the rolls first with a disposable roaster over them for steam (spritzing them and the bowl with water first), and when those were done (should have baked the rolls a bit longer), I put in the bread with the bowl over it.  Also, I didn't have any high gluten flour, so I added a half-teaspoon of gluten, and multi-grain cereal instead of cracked rye.  I'm always trying to raise the percentage of whole wheat, so next time I will increase the amount of whole wheat flour.

Happy Thanksgiving!


amolitor's picture

Pumpkin Bread

We broke up a jack-o-lantern for soup the other day (just a regular pumpkin, not a sugar-pie or anything, not a pumpkin especially for eating but of course edible). Had a couple cups of mashed baked pumpkin left over, so I thought I'd see what happened when I put it in bread. I wasn't expecting much flavor, since the regular pumpkins just don't have that much. The answer, in short, was: Eh, it's bread. Sort of moist.

The long answer:

Evening of Day 0:

  • 1 cup whole flour

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 2 T active sourdough starter

Let sit out overnight, covered, until you get a nice active/ripe sponge the next day.

Morning of Day 1

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 2 cups mashed baked pumpkin.. gunk

  • ripe sponge from last night

  • 4 cups bread flour (roughly)

Mix in the bowl to get a kneadable dough. I used a 10 minute autolyze at this point because I wanted to make muself some coffee.

This is where it gets interesting: The dough was kneadable without sticking on a wooded board (just barely -- this is my preferred dough texture). I kneaded in:

  • 2 and 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground coriander (I think this was an error)

and kept kneading. The dough kept getting sticker, and I kept dusting aggressively with flour. I think this not uncommon when you're adding vegetable matter to a dough, I have a potato bread recipe that's similar. I think the vegetables give up water as you work them. I kneaded for about 10 minutes on board, working in probably 3/4 cup of flour just to maintain it at "almost but not quite sticking to the floured board." At this point I gave up, and started kneading it as a high-hydration dough (slap it down, let it stick, streeeeetch a bit and fold it over, rotate 90 degrees and repeat) for another ten minutes. Thankfully, it didn't get much wetter.

Bulk rise a couple hours, with a couple stretch-and-folds, the dough came together beautifully. However, it tasted TERRIBLE, or possibly I was having a stroke. I *think* the coriander was doing something unpleasant, so the dough tasted fine for a few seconds, and then there was this weird bitter thing that happened in your mouth.

Anyways. Shaped into a boule, proofed in improvised banneton, preheat over to 475, bake with steam at 425 for 45 minutes. Probably should have baked longer.

The bad taste seems to be gone (thankfully) and what we're left with is a completely unremarkable sourdough that's rather moist (almost gummy) and has a lovely color. It's too moist to toast easily, which is a bore, I'd bake it another 10 or 15 minutes if I was to do it again (which I won't -- this recipe was a bust, to my mind!)

It's the best looking loaf I've ever baked, though, so by golly, here's some pictures:


Crumb very moist. You can see bits of pumpkin in it! Sorry for the sort of lousy photo, this was in the evening: