The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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TwoBreadedBoy's picture

There were quite a few posts on this website regarding the Jewish Rye from Secrets of a Jewish Baker. I figured it was time I gave it a try. To be honest, I realized halfway through that the recipe I was using was for one loaf, not two, so I had to knead together 2 smaller loaves halfway into the second proof. Anyway, not too pretty, but very edible!

Beka's picture

Hello fellow bakers, it's been a long time! I'd even forgotten my account/login details. I just wanted to post about some recent pastry experiments and discuss the technique with more experienced bakers who understand the sciences and arts behind things.


Below: Rustic apple pie made with flour, yogurt, vegetable oil*, and sugar.


I've always loved pastry. The pie crusts, to me, are the best part of the pie! However, time and time again my pastries always had problems and always failed. Part of the reason was that the high amount of solid fat was not only arguably unhealthy and but also costly in my part of the world. Therefore, the search for the perfect oil-based pastry crust was there, and I while I don't think I've finished experimenting or "found" the veritable Fountain of Life, I stumbled on a technique by which oil can be used to create a flaky and laminated pastry, as explained in the video below. 


The oil/water dough method (Chinese flaky pastry: had always been staring me in the face, but I didn't think it was the secret to apple pies, quiches and turnovers. To me, it was used for roti pratas, dimsum pastries and lard balls. But, anyway, on a whim, I just tried the Chinese pastry method with olive oil to make minced-meat turnovers, and it was fantastic, truly. The taste and texture was comparable to my previous experimented with shortcrust (butter) and hot-water crust (lard) pastries, so much so that I didn't miss the solid fat. I handled the layers to the point I was satisfied with, somewhere in-between shortcrust and puff pastry, and which the dough doesn't behave like butter-based pastry, it bakes beautifully and tastes splendid.



I am writing to find out if anyone has experimented or tried making oil-based or Asian-style pastries, and what their results have been. I would be curious to know if this recipe and method works. This is my go-to pastry now, (with some variation) for chocolate tarts (above), turnovers, pot pies (below), quiches, etc. The example below is rather curious because I tried adding a small amount of yeast to the water-based dough (dough 1) to create a lift, which made the layers very, very crispy and flaky with air-bubbles in-between.



I feel like it's a personal baking breakthrough for me, and it makes me so happy because the "code" to oil-based pastries has been, in way, "cracked". And it can be vegan or vegetarian, and there are only three basic ingredients. I did notice that most vegan recipes simply used "vegan butter" or other solidified versions of vegetable oils.


Below: I'm not a photographer, to excuse my smartphone-quality snaps ;)


KathyF's picture

Today a friend and I took a little trip up to the tiny town of Freestone to visit the popular Wild Flour Bread bakery. They bake sourdough bread in a wood fired oven. I gotta say I think their stellar reputation is well deserved! Here is the menu:

This time around I chose the "Wonder" white sourdough and the "Wildflour" loaf. Also had to try the lemon blueberry poppy seed, peach pecan, and apple cherry marzipan scones.

The scones were outstanding!

And the sourdough loaves were very tasty. More sour than I expected it to be. Not sure why I expected them to be less sour, but they were quite tangy. The wheat is on the left and the white sourdough on the right:

And here is a shot of their oven:

I definitely look forward to going back and trying some of their other breads and the sticky bun, which I hear is absolutely delicious.

dabrownman's picture

With our daughter being home from AP rotation for the next couple of weeks it is all about making her favorite foods including bread.  On the bread front it is all about what can’t be in the bread rather than what can be in it.


This exasperates Lucy to no end since she usually has free reign to come up with what ever suits her fancy but this week it can’t have figs, olives, cranberries or anything fruity in it.  This is fine with me since the last two week’s Friday bakes had all of those things in them.  Prior planning has its own rewards.


Seeds are still on the list and Lucy hasn’t done a seeded bread in some time and never a whitish one with sprouted multi-grain flour, 2 levains and potato water for the liquid.  So Lucy made this one with 30% whole sprouted grains of wheat, rye spelt and Kamut - our recent favorite blend of sprouts in various amounts of each.


My daughter wanted to know if this concoction would turn out to be decent bread to eat since she hasn’t seen this bread in any store or bakery and being odd doesn’t mean it will be good.  That really ticked off Lucy who is more spunky since she started feeling better and sort of like asking Trump if he hates women more than being dead broke.


Lucy found 60 g of Flax, sesame, poppy and chia seeds which she ground up since flax seeds can’t be digested well otherwise.  The she found 75 G of pepetas and sunflower seeds.  The seeds came out to a bit more than 25% of the flour weight,


Lucy devised 2 levains for this bread.  One was a white one made from our retarded rye starter and AP flour and the other was made from the same starter but fed the sifted out hard bits of the sprouted whole grains making it dark.  Both were built over 3 stages over 10 hours and then retarded for 24 hours.  The white one came out sweet and fruity and dark one very sour and earthy


While the levains were warming up on the counter we autolysed the dough flour and potato water with the salt sprinkled on top for 2 hours on the counter.  Once the levains hit the mix we did 4 sets of slap and folds of 30 slaps each on 30 minute intervals and 2 sets of stretch and folds of 8 stretches each on 45 minutes each.


The dough felt about right hydration wise before the seeds went in on the first set of stretch and folds but tightened up afterwards.  We forgot to soak the ground seeds so they sucked some of the moisture out of the dough.  Next time we will soak them in 60 g of water for an hour.


Once the gluten development was done we placed the dough in a an oiled bowl covered in plastic wrap and placed in the fridge for an 18 hour retard   When the dough came out it was gently pre-shaped into a boule and put back in the bowl for a 1 hour warm up on the counter.  The dough was then shaped into a batard because we are on a batard kick of late and let to final proof for about an hour outside in the + 100 F heat at the time,  Nothing like a hot proof to bring out the sour..


After slashing it went into the oven on the bottom stone and covered with the bottom of  a heavy aluminum turkey roaster.  After 20 minutes of steam the lid came off and the bread finished baking under convection to dry it out.  It browned, bloomed and sprang well enough but we will have to wait for lunch on the crumb shot.

The crumb came out soft, moist, tangy and open enough for this kind of bread.  It tasted complex in an assertive, seedy kind of way you can only imagine if you don't make this bread

My daughter had the first slice and she liked it ....apparently not as much some other breads she has tasted over the years. Lucy says my daughter is an amateur critic, not to be trusted........ who doesn't like seedy bread as much as thought she would. Sadly, I have to agree with both of them:-)








SD Levain Build

Build 1-3

Build 1-3



14 Week Retarded Rye Starter





20 % Extraction Sprouted 4 Grain





Winco AP




















Levain Totals





20 % Extraction Sprouted 4 Grain





Winco AP










Levain Totals










Levain Hydration





Pre-fermented Flour










Dough Flour





LaFama AP





80% Extraction Sprouted 4 Grain





Total Dough Flour















Potato Water










Total Flour w/ Starter





Potato water & Water










Mixed Seeds










Hydration with Starter





Total Weight





Whole Sprouted Grain















Sprouted 4 grain is 25 g each of Kamut,




 rye and spelt and 75 g of red winter wheat









Preheat 500 F, Steam heat 450 F, Dry heat 425 F convection.













Mixed seeds: Ground flax, poppy, sesame,




& chia 60 g plus sunflower and squash 75 g




My daughter loves Thai / Indian curries, Grilled Chicken Fajita Quesadillas and salad with blue cheese.



kevinmacg's picture

Hello everyone,

My name is Kevin and I'd like to introduce myself to the fresh loaf world. I am completely new to the forum/blog using side of this site but have been stalking for over a year now. I am a sous chef at a restaurant in Manhattan. Food consumes me and quite conveniently I consume it! But my love for bread baking has over taken me and I do hope to make a transition to full on professional baking, but in the mean-time, cooking in restaurants has been my bread and butter.. probably could have picked a better metaphor there. Anyways I intend to post updates on my baking along with recipes and new ideas and questions that I'll inevitably have for all you gurus. This site has been an invaluable resource for me. Can't wait to get things moving!!! Thanks! -Kevin

To mooloolaba's picture
To mooloolaba

If you suffer from arthritis,weak wrists or shoulder problem.When you have mixed your dough and it's not too sticky, instead of kneading by hand, roll your dough out with a rolling pin. Place the ball of dough on your bench, roll it out about 1-2cms thick ( you don't have to be too precise) Then with your hands roll it back into a 'log', ball it up roll again. Ball it up put it in a greased bowl,spray the top with oil cover, and allow to rise, 30-40 minuets then roll again. After the second or if you choose third time form your loaf. Let it rise and bake. If your roller sticks to the dough just moisten the roller with a little water. With a little practise you'll be surprised how easy and quick this is. I've even baked the the bread after only rolling out once ( using sourdough) It worked ok.

Paul T


alfanso's picture

Another batch of soSJSD bread.  After the last quasi-embarrassing batch of 105% hydration goop the other day, I needed to get something that looked more like bread on my countertop.

Two baguettes scaled at ~300g each, and one sesame encrusted batard at ~600g.  Tha-tha-that's all, f-f-folks.  (there, I feel better now...)

Steam released and stock rotated.


PY's picture

finally I manage to bake something that looks like this! Used Hamelman's wholewheat multigrain formula.

instead of 2 hour bulk fermentation I did 1 hour and retarded for 2.5 hours (just because I had to go out for errands) and final  proof for 1 hour.

as i couldnt turn off the top element of my oven without activating the fan, i placed a sheet of aluminium foil on top of the dough while baking with the usual steam. Removed the foil after 20 minutes and the result was fantastic. So happy!


alfanso's picture

Well, now he’s done it.  I was fool enough to rise to the absurd challenge of dabrownman the other day.  He can be a bit like that mean childhood cousin from out of town who visits and convinces me to stick a fork into an electrical socket.  Well, I’m past that age, thankfully (I think), but I still fell for the old fork-in-the-socket routine.  Ouch!

The challenge was of the order of txfarmer’s 105% hydration Whole Wheat baguettes using a liquid rye levain.  I don’t know if txfarmer used freshly ground grain or not, and she also added 15% barley flour, neither of which I possess.  Ian (isand66) informed me recently that freshly ground whole grain flours are much thirstier than that packaged stuff that I use.  

I had some pretty good success with PiPs 102% whole wheat sesame seeded batard which I did an admirable job on recently, so I was feeling my oats.  I was up for roughing it.  And rough it was.  

  • Making the liquid rye levain was a dream compared to the remainder of the tasks laid out like little bear traps before me.
  • The overnight autolyse of ice water and whole wheat flour went off without a hitch, except for the decided goopiness of the mix.
  • The 2nd day was the mixing: almost pure soup.  French folds surprisingly went okay for maybe the first 20-30 folds, and then all heck broke loose.  I was trying to corral the droopy stew of a dough with each attempt at a fold.
  • I did 5 or 6 letter folds, and with each one, a ray of hope peeked through the dark clouds of this whole wheat soup.  The dough was rising and starting to tighten.
  • Into the refrigerator for a 2 hour retard.
  • Divide, pre-shape and shape.  A virtual laughathon.
  • With a stroke of near genius (or desperation) I placed the “shaped” baguettes on floured parchment paper which itself resided on the couche.  Cradling each baguette between channels of the couche supported parchment, the whole deal was covered and placed into the refrigerator for what became a ~28 hour retard.  There was no way these weren't going to otherwise be permanently attached to the couche.
  • I had a vague feeling of hope when the I scored the baguettes.  The parchment went directly into the oven as is.  
  • 12 minutes of steam, and then when I went to rotate the baguettes, I found that they had decided to take up permanent residence on the parchment – they were stuck.  And so I continued to bake them just that way.

As it turns out, I pulled them way too soon as the inside was still quite moist from all of that hydration about a half hour later.  Now, those of you who have seen my baguettes know that I can make some pretty good stock much of the time, but these were like little devils just waiting with their pitchforks poised just to give me a good comeuppance.  I want challenges that have a potential end game, not the relatively unattainable.  

I’ll never do that again!  Ridiculous.  And hey, dabrownman, don’t try that again, ya hear!!!

The best step in the process - the levain ready to go.


The parchment paper solution, and how they napped overnight...

Steam released, rotated and still holding tight to the parchment

Don't try this at home, kids


Some open crumb, but not really.  They could have used another 5 or more minutes to shed a lot more water.  These are quite heavy due to their water retention.

Oh well.  And just like the 102% hydration WW batards, the smell and flavor is a bit reminiscent of a cross between a farm and a health foods store  ;-) .  Time to get a new levain up to par and prepare to bake something that I can do! 



isand66's picture

My Father-in-law is staying with us for a couple of weeks so my Wife made him some Sunday Gravy with meatballs, sausage, and pork and beef braciole.  So of course I needed to make a good dipping sauce bread to go with it.

I decided to make a version of a bread I modified from Peter Reinhart's Italian Bread from "The Bread Bakers Apprentice".  He uses a Biga in his formula but I used a AP levain at 66% in mine.  The starter is a pretty high percentage of the overall formal at 44% but in the end it all worked out great.

This is not a high hydration dough either, but the final result is a nice soft crumb with a slight sweet taste from the maple syrup with a chewy crust.  The crumb is moderate which is great for mopping up the home made tomato sauce.



Italian Style Sourdough (weights)

Italian Style Sourdough (%)

Download the BreadStorm File Here.


Levain Directions

Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I usually do this the night before.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours,  and  the water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces),  oil, maple syrup and mix on low for 6 minutes.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (If you have a proofer you can set it to 80 degrees and follow above steps but you should be finished in 1 hour to 1.5 hours).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 500 degrees and after another 3 minutes lower it to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 210 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.








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