The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Cronut - Hey hey hey, remember me?

txfarmer's picture

Sourdough Cronut - Hey hey hey, remember me?

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.


Wow, it's been 11 months since I last posted. During that time several TFLers have reached out to me, thank you all for checking in. I have been doing very well, with no intention to "retire from TFL", life just got too busy to post for a while. Other than a super busy job schedule, several over sea big trips (New Zealand!), the biggest news is that I have been writing a Chinese baking book! It's scheduled to be out in July/Auguest 2014 (only in China unfortunately). Since I was doing all of the writing, photographing, not to mention recipe developing/testing/baking, I barely had any free time. Luckily the bulk of work is done, now that it's in publisher's hands, I can finally have my life back.

While I have been away from posting, I haven't stopped baking. Looking back at the pictures, I am surprised myself how much "not in the book" stuff I have baked. Had a tough time deciding which recipe I should post..

Certainly there have been lots of breads (almost all sourdough):

ww hot cross buns

Cocoa sourdough with chestnuts

Buns with seasame seeds

Flower light rye bread

Fenugreek, a new ingredient for me.

Everyday sourdough

Another pretty bread with Chinese preserved dried pork & mayo filling

Lye pretzel with some ww in a pretty shape I copied from

A sourdough with millet and tons of other whole grain

Rolls with red bean paste filling

Another pretty bread with Chinese preserved dried meat inside

Bacon filled buns

Maybe some cakes:

A super rich super decadent birthday cake for hubby, pounds of dark chocolate and butter went into that.

Of course can't live without mochi cakes

Some fresh peach cupcakes for my coworkers

Tiger skin cake rolls. Almost every Chinese bakery has this.

This pound cake has parmesan in it, sounds odd but super yummy

How about pies and cookies?

In the end, I settled on these cronuts. They were inspired by those cronuts took NYC by a storm last year, sort of how my life felt like in the past while.


I used my trusty croissant recipe posted here. The only difference is that the dough was finally rolled out to be 8mm, much thicker than the 4mm required by croissants. Cut out the hole in the middle, and let proof @ about 80F until very soft and jiggly. About 3 hours for me. Look at the layers, the height should triple or more:

Just like anything deep fried, oil must be hot enough, otherwise stuff gets too greasy. I heated grapeseed oil to about 350F, drop in dough carefully, fry until golden. (Chose grapeseed oil because I read somewhere it's what the inventor chose after many experiments, I have no idea whether that story was true, but they turned out pretty good.)

Did I mention I made these in August? Twice? It's rather inconvenient that my urge for lamination often comes in the summer.

Nice layers. They are essentially fat fried in fat, I thought they would be too greasy, but no, they are rather tasty (unfortunate for my arteries).

It's quite a lot of work to make them, but much less work than taking a flight to NYC and stand in the line for a few hours I think. I have heard that Dunkin Donuts is making them now, guess I am not the only copycat out there...


Floydm's picture

Can I say that here or do I have to literally see someone to say that? Regardless, very good to hear from you again. :) 

And your baking... Wow, beautiful as always!  So many... I don't know where to start.  

Congratulations on completing the book. I will get one of my neighbors who frequently travel to China to bring me back a copy once it comes out. ;)

txfarmer's picture

At this rate you'll be able to read my book with no problem. :P

Floydm's picture

Heh, hardly. I took a long break from Mandarin last winter to study Polish before our trip to Poland (see here) and am just getting back to it now.  但在温哥华,我们有很多中国朋友... so 我经常听中文. 我很想会说也懂中文!

txfarmer's picture

Chinese is a difficult language to learn. You will get there!

dmsnyder's picture

It is so nice to see you on TFL again and to hear all you have been doing.


txfarmer's picture

By Shiao-Ping you mean TxFarmer right? :P

dmsnyder's picture

Please pardon my momentary confusion of you with another virtuoso baker of whom we see too little in recent months. 


mwilson's picture

Whoa! Amazing work txfarmer. Nice to see you post again after so long.

Hhhmmm gonna have to try the cronut now! But I'll do it with just sourdough for leavening, that's just how I roll...

Congrats on the book..


txfarmer's picture

Thanks Michael. In the past I have had limited success making pure sourdough donuts (no yeast), seems that with frying, dough gets much shorter time to expand, and natural yeast just doesn't seem to be fast enough. But that's just an experiment of one, maybe you will have better luck. Let me know if you do try!

mwilson's picture

Coincidentally my last post here happened to be sourdough doughnuts.

Wild yeast can be very fast, if nurtured in the right way... 

txfarmer's picture

I learn something new everyday here on TFL.

Janetcook's picture

Hi txfarmer,

So nice to see all you have been up to but more exciting is the news about your book!  I am so sorry that I do not read or speak Chinese.  I can only imagine that it will be a wonderful success due to your expert skills as a baker and as a 'teacher'.  Your knowledge about all things baked is huge but more than that is your commitment to excellence coupled with your daring to try just about anything….You also have an uncanny way of making the most challenging baked goods look simple to make.  How you have the time to do all that you do amazes me and to think that you have a full time job too!

Anyway, welcome back and thanks so much for all of the wonderful photos of what has been happening in your kitchen.  Now I have more ideas on shaping and ingredients to try out :)

Take Care,


txfarmer's picture

Thank you for the kind words both here and in previous messages. Good to be back!

cranbo's picture

Great to see you back txfarmer. And what a way to come back...SD cronuts! Just had my first recently, a knock-off at a local donut shop, was very good. Your bake pics look delicious as ever! 

txfarmer's picture

So cronuts already arrived on main streets huh? I really need to go buy myself one.

Mebake's picture

Congratulations on the new book. You are a hardworking talented woman, and it shows in your Products. Everything is so elegant and delicious.

Cronuts, you say!? my arteries can clog up by just watching them!  But you make them look innocently delicious, as always. 

Wishing you all the best, and 

Welcome back , Txfarmer! 



txfarmer's picture

My arteries did clog just a little eating those. :D

chouette22's picture

... in this forum, Txfarmer, and it is wonderful to first, have you back, and second, find out how you have spent your time. A book is the logical outcome of your fantastic baking skills and an American publisher should pick it up ASAP! Just curious, what percentage of your recipes in the book have you developed specifically with a Chinese baker in mind?

Such a pleasure scrolling down your post and enjoying some of what you have produced in your kitchen, not to speak of your wonderful photography.

txfarmer's picture

I baked with only myself in mind: a self learned home baker who has been trained as an engineer. Being a non-professional, I really cannot speak for other bakers in US or China, so the best I  could do is to show what makes sense to me. There are some basic "building block" recipes like baguette, sandwich loaves, croissants, then variations based on them. Hopefully it will be an interesting read.

isand66's picture

Welcome back Txfarmer...your posts are always so beautiful and inspirational to all of us who frequent this community.

I'm so excited for you in regards to the publication of your book.  I will have to look for it when I go back to China this year.  I'm usually there 4-5 times a year.

Your baked goods here are as always amazing and those Cronuts I'm sure are better than anything you can ever buy at a Dunkin Donuts or some donut shop.  I think I may have to widen my door frame if I keep looking at all these deserts everyone keeps posting :).

You must share how you made that star shaped light rye as that looks more like a puff pastry creation than a bread and doesn't seem possible to make for us mere mortals :).


txfarmer's picture

There are a few options on the table, but it's not finally decided yet. I will definitely post when I know the official name.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Beautiful photography to accent your lovely work!   

Thank You,


txfarmer's picture

Good to see some old friends around.

Moggyk9's picture

I'm a newbie here, and to the world of homemade breads.  I am in awe of your creations! Simply amazing. :0)

txfarmer's picture

This is a great community, I am sure you'll love it here!

dabrownman's picture

and why Lucy calls you Empress Ying, Ming the Merciless's Daughter, since your baking is not of this world and quite extraterrestrial as well as exceptional.  So very well done in every way, no wonder your time is taken up with writing adn producing baking books for the oh so lucky Chinese speakers.

Glad to see you back and happy baking from what ever planet you come from :-) 

txfarmer's picture

I see you've been busy baking too, catching up on lots of posts from you. Thanks for the sweet words, as always!:)

SylviaH's picture

You have been missed a lot!  

It's good to see are back and enjoy your gorgeous bakes and fantastic photography!


SylviaH's picture

I'll finish it here : )

You have been missed a lot!  

It's wonderful to have you back and thank you for sharing the gorgeous photo's of your bakes..just amazing!


SylviaH's picture

a lot!  Thank you for sharing through the years.  

Gorgeous photo's.  I'd sure like to get a copy of your book..even if it's in chinese.. : )



SylviaH's picture


txfarmer's picture

For the repeated "welcome back"! :D

pmccool's picture

by the creativity and artistry of your baking, Txfarmer.  I do hope that your book is eventually issued as an English version, too.


txfarmer's picture

I need a long time to recover before thinking about another book. :P

sawyerc's picture

I hope I can see them in bookshops in Hong Kong :)

txfarmer's picture

Need to check with the publisher whether the book is gonna be in HK. I will let you know!

sawyerc's picture

But I can promote yr book to some HK forum more easily if it is available in HK.

I worked in several bakeries in HK and I can say your breads are better than  99% bakeries in HK!

( I am making great breads even I havent mastered yr formula.)

I am one step from mastering 36hr baguette. After I am happy with my baguette, I will practice yr sandwich bread and croissant!! I will keep updating my progress in yr Chinese blog or here in TLF

Thank you very much for the efforts u put!!

pansoonee's picture

As hidden fan of yours, delighted to see your recent posting.

beautiful work as usual!! Your recipes and tips helped me more than you can imagine.

thank you again. Hope your book come out in translated version so I can order from oversea.

gmabaking's picture

for this beautiful post and for the many grand recipes that you have contributed. The pictures are entrancing and the thought of enjoying the taste even more so. I've been sorting my stack of TFL printed recipes and find your name very often on a smudged recipe with a notation like "Great recipe, or Well worth the time".

Best wishes for success with your book, will look forward to an English edition!


eliabel's picture

Txfarmer, so nice to read again your post and to admire the incredibly perfect bread and pastry. I have ben very excited with the idea of being able to buy your book, but I've learned that it is in Chinese. May you consider the possibility to publish something in English?

Thank you again for posting and sharing such a perfection.


claudiarana's picture

Hi there! so good to hear from you!

We all missed your amazing posts!

Thank you for your help months ago, my sourdough problem was easily solved after your advice.

And also, I would like to sign up for an english version of your book, or even a spanish one! :)

isobelbasil's picture

I'm so glad you're back!  I'm quite the fan, and have successfully made the most beautiful bread of my life with your 36+ hour baguette recipe.  My question, though, is about laminated dough.  I'm going to try your croissant recipe for my hubby for our belated Valentine's day (celebrating on Sunday, the 16th).  I'm terrified but excited to try this, and thought about using my pasta machine to roll out the dough for consistency's sake.  What are your thoughts?  I'd refrigerate it along with the dough to stay as cold as possible, of course, and ensure that the setting would still provide the right thickness.

Thanks for all of your incredibly informative posts!  <3

txfarmer's picture

I personally don't see how the size would work (unless you have a pasta machine the sizer of a sheeter). The thickness also won't work since right after folding it's quite thick, even the thickest setting on my pasta machine would squish the dough. However, you may have more success than me with your pasta machine.

candide's picture

after 15 years of trying just about every croissant recipe in the standard french and baking cookbooks, thanks to you my croissants and pains au chocolat now consistently have that beautiful open alveolar crumb that was pretty much hit or miss before.    the results are stunning.  (unfortunately i'm retrograde and don't do digital photography.)

what really made the difference for me was your emphasis on a) a moderately strong gluten development in the initial dough which should also be on the dry side, b) the superiority of only 3 turns vs. the standard 4, c) not trapping the dough and d) the final rise until hollow (i now sometimes let them rise 7 or 8 hours).  it really was like a ray of sunlight breaking through the clouds.

i have settled on using your poolish recipe (i don't have a taste for sourdough, so i don't keep a starter/levain around) with minor adaptations that suit my taste and my kitchen conditions (adding a bench rise to at least double, increasing the roll in butter a bit, doing the herme trick of 15 minutes in the freezer immediately after each turn, a little more salt, a little less sugar, etc., etc) i was especially happy to find out even using mid-tier butters like land-o-lakes or challenge with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of flour doesn't adversely affect the lamination process or the crumb structure.

rolling out the dough admittedly is a drag.  the first two turns are easy.  but the third turn usually has to be done in two stages.  and the final rolling out before cutting and shaping sometimes takes 4 or 5 stages/rest periods to relax the gluten.  but the results are so superior, it's well worth it and i've learned to adapt my schedule accordingly.

your instruction has really been a life-changing event.  it deserves to reach an even wider audience.











ww's picture

I myself have been mostly away, but chanced on this post while doing a search for something else.

Congrats on the book! I thought you might had something like this up your sleeves :)) I've always thought if I were a publisher, I would sign you on immediately! 

look forward to your book and more posts!

Greggy_bread's picture

I never expected to find somebody I could geek out with on my two favourite things - Chinese and Bread! Do you have any of your recipes in Mandarin in a way that would be accessible from the UK?

我主要开始做面包的原因是北京的面包烂透了- 还真没想到这个网页做面包最优秀做的人之一是中国人,哈哈。 :D


noice's picture

Congrats on your new book. May i know the title of the book as I would like to purchase one. Thanks!

Ann Regalado's picture
Ann Regalado

Hi  txfarmer , congrats on your new book , I'm pretty sure it would be awesome ! I hope it will be a bilingual version *crossed-fingers* :D 

biscuitbaker's picture

Hi TX Farmer! 

Beautiful croissant, unreal. 

I'm doing four hundred spent grain cinnamon rolls for a competition, I want to use your formula.  What do y'all think the yeast percentage would be?