The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
hamptonbaker's picture

plastic bannetons


Recently, I purchased plastic bannetons for producing boules. I have tried to spray and then flour them and just flour them. Currently, I am using them to make Pain au levain, using Calvel's formula out of the Taste of Bread. Anyway this dough seems very sticky, I like the bread and don't want to change my method of a secondary fermentation time of three hours; However, I can't get the dough to fall out of the basket. It absorbs all the flour and won't fall out without destroying the shape, is there a trick to this? I really don't want cornmeal on the top of my bread so what to do?

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 :)

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?


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!  

Salome's picture

"Herbstsonne" - a German Sourdough bread

I've actually never been much into white bread. I still like to bake it occasionally, to mix up my diet and to have new challenges in my baking, the breads I'm the most fond of though are definitely breads which include some whole grain, some seeds . . . which are overall somewhat nutritious. This is the kind of bread which I like the best as an everyday bread.

I think, the bread I'm about to introduce here, definitely falls into this category. It is a German Bread called the "Herbstsonne" (eng: autumn sun) because of its tipical scoring. I had again some problems with the bread's height, I made a very wet dough (therefore I adjusted the amount of water in the recipe below) and wasn't able to shape it well. I let it proof well, so when I scored it it deflated to much after my taste and didn't get an extraordinary oven spring. Next time, I'd probably bake it as it is or just score a cross in the middle.



liquid levain

30 g mature culture

165 g rye flour (I used a medium rye, something inbetween white and whole grain rye)

165 g water


33 g oats

33 g sunflower seeds

23 g flaxseeds

90 g water

10 g salt


final dough

all but 30 grams of the liquid levain

all of the soaker

166 g rye flour

66 g whole-grain rye flour

80 g water (adjust amount as required)

flaxseeds and oats

  1. 1. mix the ingredients for the liquid levain, set aside until it's ripe

  2. at the same time, mix the ingredients for the soaker, put in the fridge

  3. Mix the soaker, the liquid levain and the remaining flour and water together, knead in a mixer three minutes on low speed, then three minutes on somewhat higher speed.

  4. let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

  5. shape into a round boule (it's sticky!), if required, wet the dough a little bit so that the flaxseeds and oats can "glue" to the boule (roll the boule in the flaxseeds/oats mixture). Put the boule into a floured proofing basket.

  6. let the dough proof - I retarded it in the fridge: I kept it in the fridge for about twelve hours, and let it finish proofing at air temperature for about another two hours. I poked the dough and it reacted slowly.

  7. I dropped the dough gently on a baking sheet and scored it like a sun. (What I wouldn't do the next time, because it deflated the dough to much in my opinion.)

  8. Baking: 20 min at 230°C, another 25 minutes at 210°C, then I turned the oven off, opened the door and let the bread in there for another 10 minutes.

  9. Let cool overnight.

There's a lot of flavor in this bread! It's very moist, of course it's not airy like a white bread, but that's not what I was looking for anyway. I remember that it had a very good keeping quality the last time I baked it, which isn't surprising because of the soaker.


I used some slices for a sandwich today, which I stuffed with lettuce and a home made cottage-cheese-dried-tomato-spread. Yumm! (the spread is very easy. Take some spoonfulls of cottage cheese, cut some tomatoes (the kind in the oil) into pieces, add some salt and pepper, some basil if you've got it on hand, and a tiny bit of honey and mix it briefly. tadaa!)