The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Shaping Fun

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Shaping Fun

Being a home baker, one of the most amazing things for me to achieve in my baking is consistency. As a home baker one gets rarely the opportunity to bake big batches, and the natural limits are oven capacity and proving space.

During the last four weeks I have been asked twice to bake for larger occasions, and I managed to churn out about 70 braided rolls on each occasion. Great fun, and also quite a learning curve in managing resources and dough handling.

The first occasion was my mother-in-law's 80th birthday; I used the Rich Sourdough Barches recipe from “Inside The Jewish Bakery”, a great recipe. I made 70 rolls (60g each) in different shapes and with different toppings, and a 12 strand braid of 1200g, in 6 batches over 2 days (working fulltime on my job during the day). After the first two batches the oven window blew (while my wife made supper, I was still on the train), and a commuter friend offered spontaneously his kitchen, which I gladly occupied until 1.30 am that night and got all my baking done.

Here a photo of the rolls made that night:


The arrangement on one of the tables looked like this:


The second occasion was the winter fair at my son's school. The theme was “Fire And Ice”, and I have been gently volunteered to create “Fire n'Iced Buns”.

A couple of days before Bo Friberg's “The Professional Pastry Chef” had arrived, and I was keen to try out some recipes from this huge book.

I chose to base the buns on the Rich Cardamom Sweet Dough – various tests and tastings showed this to be an easy to handle and very tasty formula.

Curiously, although it is a yeasted dough, it omits a bulk ferment – it is meant to be rested for just 10 minutes after kneading (to relax the gluten).
I tested this, and made two more small batches, one proofed as I would (poking test), and one overnight in the fridge.
The original method and the chilled version were quite similar, but the “properly“ fermented version yielded buns that were quite dry.

I will give the percentages of the Cardamom Dough as I adapted them below.

I made the final buns with Cardamom Dough, my Chocolate Chilli Dough (adapted from the Cardamom Dough), and peppermint Icing. Half the Chocolate dough was without chilli.

Because I managed to scale shape 12 buns in about 10 minutes I baked 65 buns (40g each) in 6 batches, starting at 5.30am and finishing with the decoration at 9.00am.

Here some photos of the "Fire n'Iced Buns":



The buns above have been glazed with hot apricot jam, but haven't been iced yet. Unfortunately I haven't got any good pictures of the final product.

And here the formula:

IngredientChocolate Chilli DoughCardamom Dough
Bread flour100733.0100772.5
Cocoa Powder536.600.0
Chilli Powder0.64.400.0
Ground Ginger0.181.300.0
Ground Cloves0.0930.700.0
Chocolate Chips (small)1073.300.0
Yeast (instant)1.60911.81.5311.8


Melt the butter and set it aside to cool a bit.

Mix milk, yeast, egg and sugar.  Let it stand for about 15 minutes.

Add this mix to the solid ingredients and mix to incorporate.

Add the butter and knead until you have a smooth, soft dough that easily comes off the bowl or worktop.

The chocolate dough will be stiffer, but in the end both doughs will perform similarly.

Rest for 10 minutes to relax gluten, and then shape.

You can also put the dough into the fridge right away and use it later. (I kept it in the fridge overnight) 

 Excellent videos about shaping and braiding can be found on Youtube, e.g.

Let the shaped buns rest until just not doubled in size. ( Try the "poke test" on the white dough, it should still be elastic)

Bake at 190C for about 10 minutes.

Happy Baking,




varda's picture

Quite the impressive baking, Juergen.   The table arrangement is fabulous.   Your mother in law (not to mention your wife) must have been delighted.   I'm fascinated by your use of spices in your fire and ice rolls.   I have a dish of cardamon sitting on the table left over from grinding seeds to flavor my Thanksgiving apple pie, and have been idly thinking about using it for bread.   You've shown the way.  -Varda

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I could give you some idea what to do with a lot of cardamom.

Thanks a lot, Varda. I kind-of surprised myself here. My aim is usually to get the best flavor out of the basic ingredients (when making bread). 

But the spices worked very nicely together.


kgmom's picture

As another idea - King Arthur has a delicious recipe for pumpkin yeast bread that has cardamom in it.  I used the bread for my Thanksgiving stuffing.

Donkey_hot's picture

Juergen, they are very lovely!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


butterflyblue's picture

I love braided rolls, but how could you do so many and still want to do it again?

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

once you are in the swing ...

Franko's picture

Beautiful work Juergen! The braiding is excellent and the proofing looks to have been spot on as none of them have pulled apart along the braids. Very eye catching display of handwork, well done!


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Franko, your praise is highly appreciated!


Janetcook's picture


These look great and thanks for the formulas BUT I want to know how you shaped the rolls in the first and second photos :-)

First ones look like maybe a 2 strand braid and second appear to be a knotted roll which I love making but mine don't look the same and would love to know how you shaped yours if you have time to share your secret.   Please :-)  

Glad all turned out and that your and your family survived even though your oven didn't.  Did the steam cause the glass to break?   That sounds scary to me.

Take Care and thanks for the post and inspiration!


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

the 2-strand braids.

The other rolls are also 2-strand braids, this time ropes that are curled up into a spiral. The funny shapes resulted from the middle not being tucked under properly. There is always something to learn.

The oven. I am glad nobody got hurt. It appeared that a hard piece of pasta must have wedged between the glass and the cabinet frame, and when my wife opened the oven door the outer glass screen exploded and littered the whole kitchen with tiny bits of glass.

The oven was still functional and I used it to bake the 80s on Saturday Morning.

Nice to hear from you,


Janetcook's picture

Hi Juergen,

Ok, I am slow to understand....I do understand the 2 strand rolls but can't picture how you used 2 strands to make the knotted shapes in your second picture of all the rolls with all the different toppings on them.....My spatial reasoning skills fall apart here.......  :-O   So what do you do with 2 sets of 'end' pieces in such a small round object?


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I was so focussed on the Fire n'Iced things ...

You meant - of course - the challlah (barches) rolls in the first and second pictures, topped with sesame, poppy seeds and onion seeds ...

Those are all one-strand rolls. The ones in the first picture are shown in ITJB p.39, "Challah Twist".

The others (I'd call them Moebius Rolls) are shown here, near the end of the post:

and made from a different material:

I am sorry again to have confused you,



Janetcook's picture

Hi Juergen,

Now I get it and it makes sense.  Thanks for the links.  Lots of ideas to try out.  I like the looped links shape she has too.  Next week I am planning on baking a lot of challah so now I can give these new shapes a try.  Endless ways to shape breads :-)

Take Care,


ananda's picture

Hi Juergen,

There is nothing like making large numbers of products all at once to gather extra skills.

All of your work looks really great.

Very best wishes


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

and the resulting consistency, very satisfying.

Thank you for your kind words,


dabrownman's picture

making had to improve from start to finish - Whew!!!  Yours are goergeous.  I like making rolls, especially knotted ones, about 40% rye but I'm sure the kids loved yours way better than they would mine :-)   The multi colors and braiding of your rolls would really make their day ! I'm sure the MIL was equally impressed on her birthday too.

Nice baking

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

and so did all at the birthday party.

Thanks a lot,


wally's picture

Not only very impressive product you produced in quantity, but given the circumstances (oven down and out) you did an outstanding job.

Really nice looking bake!


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you,


breadsong's picture

Five-star dinner rolls, Juergen - wow!
:^) breadsong

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


Much appreciated.