The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Red Bread for the Chinese New Year!

Elsie_iu's picture

Red Bread for the Chinese New Year!

 It’s Chinese New Year again! Traditional celebration food is usually either heavy in sugar or fat… Why not celebrate it with healthy Chinese-New-Year-inspired SD bread instead? :)



Triple Red Grains Sourdough


Dough flour (all freshly milled):

90g       30%       Whole red fife wheat flour

90g       30%       Whole spelt flour

45g       15%       Red quinoa flour

45g       15%       Germinated red rice flour

30g       10%       Sprouted spelt flour


For leaven:

20g       6.67%       Starter

20g       6.67%       Bran sifted from dough flour

20g       6.67%       Water


For dough:

280g      93.3%       Dough flour excluding flour for leaven

100g      33.3%       Whey

166g      55.3%       Water

60g            20%       Leaven

9g                3%       Vital Wheat Gluten

5g           1.67%       Salt



310g        100%       Whole grain

296g       95.5%       Total hydration


Sift out the bran from dough flour, reserve 20 g for the leaven. Soak the rest (I got 22g) in equal amount of whey taken from dough ingredients.

Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, around 2 hours (23.5°C).

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the salt and let it ferment for 15 minutes. Fold in the salt and ferment for 4 hours 15 minutes longer.

Preshape the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes. Shape the dough then put in into a banneton. Retard for 14 hours.

Preheat the oven at 250°C/482°F. Score and spritz the dough then bake straight from the fridge at 250°C/482°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.



In the past few bakes, I’ve tried to omit vital wheat gluten from the formula. Since the amount of gluten-free flour is relatively large this time, I reincorporated it into the formula. As I was working with the dough, I noticed a significant improvement in the dough structure when compared with my other recent bakes. I therefore feel that it’s wise to continue using in it in the future.



The crumb is not widely open but it’s pretty moist and tender. This bread is sweet, with hints of coconut taste coming from the germinated red rice. To my surprise, it’s also quite tangy, which I can only guess is due to the warmer weather we’re having currently.





Pan-grilled honey garlic pork chop


Spicy cabbages shiitake mushrooms pork dumplings


Smoked paprika white wine linguine with pan-grilled baby cuttlefish


Happy Chinese New Year!



DesigningWoman's picture

Happy new year, Elsie, I knew I could count on you for red bread!

Lovely bake, good crumb. Gorgeous dumplings! 

Keep on baking. 


Edit: LOVE the Snoopy chopsticks! 

Elsie_iu's picture

You two not only share the love for eggplants, but also the liking for Snoopy! I have to introduce her to you if there's a chance :)

Homemade dumplings are always the best. The wrappers can be made super chewy yet thin as one gets to decide the type of flour used. I always use high protein bread flour for the chewiest dumplings. Most of the time, I get some whole grains, YW and/ SD into the mix for maximum flavour. One must try it himself/herself to find out how much superior they are to store-bought ones!

新年快樂 to you too, Carole! Glad you like the food. Btw, mind if I ask where you come from? You seem to know a lot about Chinese cultures?

DesigningWoman's picture

you would make your own wrappers! I must confess that I've never so much as pinched a single wonton in my life (shame on me)!

Me? From New York -- family on both sides landed in the US from the Guangdong area in the 1920's or so. So it was my maternal gramma who did all the yummy cooking.

Keep on feasting!


Elsie_iu's picture

Your family came from the Southern China where wheat-based dishes were not very common. I believe rice was dominant due to the weather characteristics. That said, I love dumplings, bread and noodles so much more than rice, even though I grew up eating mostly rice :) 

When you have time, try at least for once making your own wrappers: there's no turning back!

Elsie_iu's picture

Repeated post

Filomatic's picture

Beautiful bread and everything else.  I love the flat crispy bottom of those dumplings!

Elsie_iu's picture

Some think that it looks fancy but that crispy bottom is super easy to achieve! Most people follow this approach: get the bottom of the uncooked dumplings lightly browned by pan-frying them in a warm pan. Then, mix 1/10 the amount of starch (corn starch, potato starch, tapioca starch...whatever) with the water you're pouring into the pan (to reach 1/3 of the height of the dumplings). Cook the dumplings covered for 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat. Once all the water is evaporated, unlid the pan and continue frying for a minute or so. Before you know it, the crispy bottomed dumplings are ready to be served :)

Thanks for your comment, Phil! 

Filomatic's picture

Thanks for that tip. Amazingly I’ve never heard of this starch trick. Northern Chinese cooking was big when I was a kid in the San Francisco Bay Area, and all pot stickers had that amazing flat, crispy bottom.  Now it’s harder and harder to get dumplings made well here.  

Great result for a bread made up of all whole grains. Must taste divine. 


Elsie_iu's picture

As a bonus, I found that it helps with the sticking-to-pan issue. Some ready-made frozen pot stickers are covered with a thick layer of flour already that they might not need the extra starch. They hardly taste as good as homemade ones but are a nice shortcut when you're craving dumplings desperately :)

dabrownman's picture

Having a beautiful thick Pork Chop is perfect for the Year of the PIG!  With Pork Pot Stickers!  Whats that Cuttlefish Linguine doing in there?:-)  The only thing that really bothers me is that I ca't have a taste of all of it.

I had the best Tongue Tacos at Taco Chiwas the other night on my birthday.  I told the girls I had to get an instant pot recipe for Beef Tongue worked up and tomorrow, wouldn't you know it, beef tongue is on special at Food City for $3.97 a pound!  So now I've got the recipe ready to go and I just have to wait till tomorrow to get a 4 pound tongue or even  2 since the price is so compelling and with Cinco De Mayo at Brownman's this year, don't be surprised to get the best tacos ever made served with the rest of the Mexican fare!

Love the post, food and photos as usual.  have a great New Year.

Elsie_iu's picture

I didn't realize there're two piggy dishes! Would it make more sense to you if I made this braised cuttlefish with pork belly and ribs instead?  I can send Lucy the recipes then you can order her to cook them all for you :)

Wow! I'm so envious of you for being able to get beef tongue at such a low price! I've always wanted to buy some nice thick-cut beef tongue but most supermarkets like to slice them thinly, you know, for grilling. Pig tongue is in fact more accessible in comparison. Please share your beef tongue tacos recipe either in your next post or here after making them!  

Happy Chinese New Year to you and your family! I'm curious: are you celebrating it in any way?

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

Well done!

Elsie_iu's picture

I'm working on my photography skills because I'm obviously not very good at it... Shooting attractive photos are essential for writing good posts since it becomes very true that you eat with your eyes :)

Glad you like the loaf! 

isand66's picture

Sorry I'm so late to the party, but I am getting used to my new work schedule and have been too exhausted to do much when I get home.

Your bread looks fantastic.  I love the combo of grains you used and can imagine how flavorful it must be.

I have not made my own wrappers in years.  I am like you and like to make everything myself when I can...I yell at my wife if she uses boxed cake or brownie mix 😁.

Your New Years food looks amazing as well.

I'm trying to make some bread this weekend to bring into my new office...will see if my timing works out.

Happy New Year!  Not sure when I will be going to HK, but it will be at some point this year and then we can hopefully meet 😁.




Elsie_iu's picture

I don't know how you feel about being busy but that definitely sounds like a good sign to me! There're many things I'm looking forward to this year and one of them have to be getting to meet you :) Before that, I wish you'll soon get comfortable with your new job. 

I've not used any cake mix but my mom bought a box of pancake mix a few years back then. The pancakes were awful...They had the wrong look, flavor and texture. I never look back after making my first pancake from scratch.  

Your colleagues are lucky to get to try your bread. You'll surely be very popular wherever you go, as long as you bring some bread with you :)

Happy Chinese New Year to you too! Glad you like the food, you can't start a happy year without good food!