The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Buns/rolls made with French bread dough

houstonwong's picture

Buns/rolls made with French bread dough

My sister loves dinner rolls/buns. So I figure I'd use it as a chance to really try out French folding. My previous attempts have been somewhat half-hearted. But this time, I thought I’d really do it right, focusing on stretching and trapping air.


For the formula:

Strong Canadian white flour 13.3% protein

75% hydration

0.5-0.6% instant yeast

2% table salt


French folded for 10 mins till smooth (funnily, wasn’t that sticky even at 75% hydration!), then lightly flour the top/counter and form into a ball. Put in floured bowl and rest for 1 hour, 1 fold and rest another 45 mins before shaping (65g balls) then give it a 30-40 min proof. Baked till internal temp reached 208F (around 22-25 mins at 450-500F).


As for steaming, 2-3 mins before putting the buns in the oven, I put in a (loaf) pan of boiling water (about a cup or cup and a half) on the top rack, which I removed about 8-9 mins into the baking stage (didn't mist oven because I lost my trusty spray bottle).


Et voila! It’s night and day compared to my previous breads (using same formula) that were rather dense probably due to my pathetic kneading skills :P Or, maybe I’ve been underbaking all this time? Plus, they snap-crackled and poped while cooling for something like 10 mins. I could hear them at 10 feet away!


Anyway, here are photos.



I'm really surprised what a difference the French fold method made for me with high hydration dough. Thanks to everyone here who have given links and hints on it. For the sake of curiosity, next I will try the exact formula and method with a poolish to see what difference it has on the fluffiness and aroma of the crumb.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


houstonwong's picture

So this time, about 2 days after the first round, I decided to see just how much of a difference would a poolish make.

I used the exact same formula, but took 100g of the flour, 100g of the water and 0.3g of yeast (I have a mini digital scale that measures by 0.1g increments). I mixed it and immediately sat it in the fridge for 12 hours then warmed it for an hour at room temp.


Another change, the overall yeast total this time was 2.1g (that's 0.3g in the poolish and 1.8g in the dough)

I'm not sure if it was the poolish or the fact that due to an error in timing, I had the oven preheating for 45-60 mins instead of the usual 30mins. But this time the crumb was crazy open. And the oven spring caught me offguard (I thought my baguette was screwed up and flat, didn't expect it to spring so fat).


The taste: quite nice, slightly more nutty flavour (but could have been my imagination since I have always heard that poolishes make the bread nuttier/deeper in flavour). But strangely, the interesting "caramelly" taste of the crust that I got without the poolish is now gone. Still good, though. Just not as surprisingly sweet. 

Makes me wonder if it's the poolish or the extra preheating time (the oven thermo registered 500F when placed on the stone). Anyone have thoughts or similar experiences? I'd love to hear from you to see what caused this most fortunate accident :)