The Fresh Loaf

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Bakery Bill's picture
Bakery Bill

Love this bread but I have a few questions for anyone out there who regularly bakes this delicacy. Nigella seeds in with flour at the beginning or sprinkled on during shaping? Butter, margarine or olive oil to enrich the dough during shaping? Saffron to colour the dough yellow or not? Bake hot & fast or cooler and more slowly with a lid? Enrich the dough with egg & butter or not? Egg wash to finish with a shine or not?

trailrunner's picture

Oh my....that's about all I can say. The blue granite roaster is definitely the way to go , at least I will not be using my cast iron anymore. Look at that ear :) and caramelization.  I had extra ripe bananas and I remembered posts from Shiao - ping and txfarmer using bananas and SD. I read and read and came up with a formula. I have several more I am going to try as I get more bananas. The date syrup is from a Middle Eastern grocery in Las Vegas NV. That plus the bananas really make the crust darken but not burn. Smells like I was making candy caramels !  

244g rye levain 100%

220g unbleached flour

45g rye flour freshly milled

55 g Spring hard wheat flour

245g very ripe pureed bananas

35g date syrup + 35g yogurt

9 g salt 

a very wet and sticky dough. Tried folds in the bowl and that worked well. Only way I could do them on the table was with additional flour. Finally called it good and put the dough to bed in the cool mudroom. After 4 hrs it was light but not even 50%. Went ahead and shaped in my own fold/pinch/method and placed in banneton in mud room. After 4 hrs it looked good so I put it in the fridge and went to bed. Preheated oven at 500 with the roaster in the oven. Baked loaf 10 min at 500 lid on and 10 min at 475 lid on. Baked 20 min at 475 lid off. Perfect. Can't get over the spring achieved with the granite wear . Holds in the moisture, quick to preheat pot, not heavy to transfer and can easily bake successive loaves due to fast turnaround. I'm sold .

PalwithnoovenP's picture

My first bake of 2018. I'm glad I squeezed in a bake despite my busy schedule. I find it more therapeutic than ever! :) Last time, I baked bagels and I really loved them because they were so satisfying to eat. Due to the boiling process it gets before being baked, they really have a unique texture. I thought it will be similar to laugenbrot with a thick chewy crust but I was wrong. Its thin and crispy crust is also our favorite to date but my parents find the crumb too chewy for them so I thought of why not soften the crumb a little bit and maintain that unique crust.

I originally planned to use my bagel dough and just add a little butter and a little more water to soften the crumb a little but I made some more improvisations along the way. I had 2 leftover egg yolks from another recipe so I added that to the dough so I won't have to store it anymore. :) I added more sugar because our favorite yeasted sandwich loaf is a bit sweet and because the egg yolks are added fat and richness I halved the amount of butter I scooped for the dough.

A high sugar dough seems to be an uncharted territory for Zhou Clementine, my starter. She was a bit slow in raising the dough. Bulk fermentation took 4 hours but the dough only grew to 1.5 times instead of doubling. I folded the dough into a neat rectangle and put it into a sort of rectangular container then into the fridge after a further 2 hours at room temperature. The dough did not grew much in the fridge as shown in the picture.

German square brotchen have always fascinated me through the years, I find their shape simply adorable. :) I love square-shaped breads including donut plant's square jelly donut in NYC although I still haven't had the chance to try it. I have only done a square fried bread but never a square "baked" bread so that's what I did here. Since it is not shaped, proofing times might be different so I followed Karin's (Hanseata) schedule here for similar rolls.

The dough was simply tipped onto a cutting board; edges trimmed; and cut into 4 pieces. I braided the trimmed edges as to not waste anything and fashioned it into a roll. I proofed them for an hour because they came straight form the fridge.

Here they are after proofing. The photo does not show much of a difference but if you look closely you can see shallower and softer lines as opposed to deep defined hard line before proofing, they also have increased a bit in height.

I think they do not need any proofing at all. They are already so soft and stretchy and bit sticky by the end and I mangled them a bit during the boiling process. Next time I will boil them right away after cutting and they will have a much better shape and spring. They look a bit small but they doubled during boiling and doubled again during baking so they increased in size by a total of 4 times.

I think that pre-gelatinizing crust during the boiling process that is the key to the bagel crust that we really love so I also boiled these rolls 1 minute on each side to achieve the same results. The wetter enriched dough did not disintegrate in the water as opposed to common knowledge explaining why bagel dough is supposed to be dry. I think its drier dough is for the chewy texture. They look a bit sad and ugly after boiling but they were transformed by the dry heat of the clay pot.

They were baked over heated pebbles in the clay pot for 10 minutes then flipped and baked again for another 10 minutes; 20 minutes in total with live fire.

Only one got a bit burnt but I do not know why all look like they have burnt spots but they were just very boldly bake areas and do not look black in real life.

They were very fragrant coming out of the pot with a tangy smell and a touch of smoke and an extra buttery aroma. The crust was very crispy with a delicate feel to it and the crumb was soft with a very slight chew. The taste was complex; buttery, slightly sugary sweet with the barest hint of tang. Very good on its own or with fillings, so far we only had cheese in the house so that's what we used. Out of excitement we cut them while still hot so the crumb was still a bit wet and has not set-up completely. My parents really loved them because they don't have to fight them with their jaws but still has that lovely crisp crust like the last time.

Finally, I am loving the new way to upload pictures here on TFL. It's so much easier! Again, thanks Floyd!

Some more random photos of the rolls including the braided one. :) Now that I know that boiling is the secret for the crust that we like, I will now manipulate the crumb to make it lighter of heavier depending on our preference. I'm excited for future experiments for "boiled" rolls! I hope you enjoyed this post. Thank you and Happy Baking!

leslieruf's picture

Here is the link to my recipe, as requested by bread1965

Starter was refreshed for the Experimentation - the next step bake (posted on 17th January)  so I had allowed sufficient for this bake as well. 

Levain was built the night before and left at room temperature until 13:25 pm

Soaker was mixed the night before as well.  I use boiling water, add the salt, mix and allow to cool before refrigerating overnight.  It was removed from refrigerator mid morning.

12:25 pm The remaining water was added to the soaker and this added to the bread flour, wholewheat (freshly milled), and gluten flour . This was mixed until all ingredients were incorporated then left 1 hour to autolyse.  

13:25 pm  The levain was dimpled in and incorporated using stretch and folds.  At this point I realised I had forgotten to add the honey, which I usually add with the water.  I spread it out over the dough and carried on with stretch and folds. I didn't count how many but until everything is well mixed in.   Yes, this is a wet mix but not unmanageable.

13:55 pm first set of 10 stretch and folds in bowl as per Trevor J Wilson's method

14:35 pm 2nd set of 10 stretch and folds

15:15 pm 3rd set of 10 stretch and folds

17:00 pm 4th set of stretch and folds.  left to relax

17:30 pm removed dough from bowl, divided into two pieces and preshaped into batard

18:00 pm  Final shaping into batards, into floured bannetons, popped into ziplock bags and place in refrigerator overnight.

Next morning, oven preheated along with my 2 DOs to 250 deg C.

Dough removed from fridge, unmoulded onto parchment, slashed and dropped into hot DOs.  Baked 15 mins lid on and 15 mins lid off.  Temperature was reduced to 230 deg C about 10 minutes into bake otherwise I get singeing on the bottom.

It was a good bake.  In past I would probably tried slap and folds, but I am getting good results with this more gentle method.


cfraenkel's picture

I was intrigued with this recipe from foolishpoolish

and also had been poking through my Baking with Julia book and noticed that Julia does her brioche in the mixer.  Well if it's good enough for Julia Child, it's good enough for me.  I modified the recipe, added Orange Blossom water and it came out great.  (A little more orange blossom than I would have liked, it smells like eating flowers,) but the taste is great and the crumb is soft and fluffy, just like it should be. Next time I'll try it the purist way (no flavoring) I think I'll be happier. My 14 month grand daughter couldn't get enough!

Crumb shot:


100g AP flour
50G water
50 g active starter (100% Hydration)

Let sit about 5 hours


200 g AP flour
80g sugar
7g salt
3 eggs, plus one yolk

to form a shaggy dough, sprinkle with 200g all purpose flour and wait for the top to appear cracked. About 30 minutes.

15 g Orange Flower Water
85 g milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer add starter mixture to dough mixture. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.  Turn speed up to Medium and let mix for 15 minutes until the dough wraps around the hook and slaps the side of the bowl.

Work 150g butter until it is about the same consistency as the dough. Add the butter to the dough while running at low speed about 2 tbl at a time. When all the butter has been added increase speed to medium and run the mixer until the dough comes back together and slaps the side of the bowl again.

Transfer to a buttered bowl and let it rise until doubled.

Deflate the dough slightly in the bowl and cover tightly and refrigerate overnight

Divide in two, shape each piece into 6 balls and place into loaf pans. Two rows of 3.  Spray a piece of plastic wrap with coconut oil (what I have) and cover pans. Let rise until doubled at room temperature. this took about 5 hours for me.

Preheat oven to 375dF
Brush with 1 egg beaten with about a t/l of water,  quickly slash tops of the balls with scissors. Bake 375 dF  about 30  minutes or internal temp of 200dF.


Danni3ll3's picture

Just before Xmas, a friend’s husband had a heart attack and needed a bypass. I remembered Lazy Loafer’s Heart Bread and decided to base my weekend bake on her recipe. Of course, my friend ended up with a couple of loaves.






250 g Spelt flour

200 g Selkirk Wheat (circa 1950 variety of wheat)

75 g oat bran

550 g unbleached flour

100 g multigrain flour

50 g ground flax

700 g water

21 g  pink Himalayan salt

40 g kefir

90 g rolled oats

180 g water for oats

330 g bran levain (100% hydration) - See how to make this below.

  1. A few days before, sift the Spelt and Selkirk wheat flours and reserve the bran to feed the starter. Save the remainder of the sifted flour for the main dough. 
  2. Weigh the sifted bran, the oat bran and add enough unbleached flour from the 550 g of unbleached flour to measure 142 g in total. Use this mixture to feed to 40 g of your starter in successive builds of your own choosing. I did a 4 stage build. Time your builds so that the levain is ready to be used mid day on the day you are making the dough. The bran really soaked up the water and was more on the dry side than anything. The levain also did not show much activity because of this. Mine only rose 50% once I used the flour portion which was during the last build. Just keep it warm and give it time, and it will do its thing. 
  3. Add the remaining unbleached flour, the multigrain flour and the ground flax to the sifted flour.
  4. The night before making your dough, prepare the soaker. Add 180 g boiling water to the rolled oats and let sit overnight.
  5. The next morning, add the soaker and the 700 g of water to the combined flour. Mix well and autolyse for 3-4 hours in a warm spot.
  6. Sprinkle the salt on top of the dough and add the kefir and all of the levain. Mix well and add a few grams of water if needed. 
  7. Once well mixed, I did 50 stretches and folds. The first few go well but the remainder end up looking more like kneading in the bucket than an actual stretch and fold. Place in a warm place for bulk fermentation.
  8. After 40 minutes, do a set of 8-9 stretches and folds. That is all the folds I could do without tearing the dough. Repeat after 45 minutes and again 45 minutes later. Do one more set of folds, an hour later. I was very gentle in order to not degas the dough. I let rise about 50% which took another 45 minutes. The dough was full of gas and bubbles were evident around the edges. 
  9. Divide into 3 portions of about 820 g and preshape. Let rest 15 minutes and do a final shape. 
  10. Sprinkle the bannetons with rice/ap flour. Place the dough seam side down into bannetons and cover the dough. Place in the fridge overnight or for about 13 hours.
  11.  Heat oven to 475 F with pots inside for 45 minutes. Bake seam side up in preheated covered dutch ovens (lined with parchment rounds) for 25 minutes at 450 F and then uncovered for 22 minutes at 425F. Interior temp should read at least 205F.  

I few things to remember for next time: Bran really soaks up water so need to stick to 100% hydration or higher for the bran portion. Keep the dough warm during the autolyse as the bulk fermentation will go much faster. This time, the bulk was done in 4 hours as opposed to the usual 5-6 hours. 


The loaves got great oven spring. Probably the best I have had for quite a while. I was a bit surprised that the crust didn’t come out darker but this is probably due to the lack of sugar from honey or fruit in the recipe. 

kendalm's picture

After many agonizing croissant batches here's a bake I can say I'm pretty happy with. I'm finding that sourdough croissants are a little more fun than their commercial cousins. These like the last batch I did were inspired by txfarmer farmer using a blend of her techniques and Louis lamour (youtube baking artist extraordinaire). I mixed mixed in about 10-20% rye starter into my levain and let that sit for about 4 hours - this time the dough was considerably more sticky and took much longer to bulk up than usual and entire experience was much different - lamination for example required addition freezer chills. There's something about a wild yeast starter that just gooifies dough bit in this case seems to have really helped with the 'honeycomb' style crumb most croissanteurs strive for. The very first batch of croissant ... 6+ months ago was like looking at white bread and slowly (with some steps forward and some steps back) these suckers just like bread begin to do what you want. Now the question is can it be repeated ?

Santa Barbra Baker's picture
Santa Barbra Baker

Hey Guys,

90% Bread Flour

10% Whole Wheat

16% olives 

 21% Liquid Levain

2% Salt

86% Hydration

1 gram of dried Thyme per (1 kg of total flour)

1 Gram of oregano

The Stenciling is all in jest! thanks hope you like it

This took 4.4 hours of bulk ferment and proofed for 13 hours at 47F



nnehme's picture


It is the second time I bake a tight loaf of bread that has been shaped as a Batard and proofed overnight. whenever I take off the top lid from the double Logde iron skillet, the dough would have expanded and didn’t rise in volume ( see picture ) - can you help please ? What do you think I am doing wrong ?


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