The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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PalwithnoovenP's picture

Hopia (好餅- hao bing in Mandarin) in Fookien literally means good cake/pastry, it was introduced by Chinese immigrants mostly from fujian in the country. They are ubiquitous snacks and can be found almost anywhere; in the general merchandise store in cartons at the street corner to most bakeries to high end Chinese delis in gift boxes. The classic versions are mung bean or pork fat filling enclosed in flaky pastry made by alternating layers of water and oil dough. Today different types of crusts are used and more flavors are available like purple yam, jack fruit, cheese, milk candy, custard and a combination of those. Traditionally made with a lot of lard and sugar, there are a lot of "healthier" versions available like lite and sugar free hopia.

Since these are Chinese treats, it's natural to think that the best ones are from the Chinese delis in Chinatown but they are rivaled or even outmatched by a hole in the wall bakery about an hour away from there. Their hopia are small, non-uniform in size and have charred spots on its toasted crust.They are definitely made with lard and baked in a wood fired oven; this is maybe the artisan equivalent to hopia. A stone's throw away is a famous ham shop and as I've read from a blog, who knows if they use the ham drippings there for their delicious hopia?! Freshly baked hopia are stacked on large trays and just packed when you order. Still warm, it is one my indulgences; not too sweet, savory at the same time, silky, little crispy, soft and flaky.

Featured here is the classic hopiang monggo or mung bean hopia. Chinese delis use peeled split mung beans and have the smoothest filling thus commanding a higher price. I have used here whole mung beans because that's what I had on hand and is similar to how I remember these pastries are; though not as smooth, my homemade bean paste is delicious with the right amount of sweetness and I'm sure that it's made with 100% mung beans unlike other bakers that use different sorts of fillers like potato, sweet potato and even green peas!. It is one of dad's favorite snacks so I tried to make my own version with LESS fat than the traditional ones and in larger size, my own hopia is equivalent to two or three normal hopia sold in stores. Though commonly baked in a oven, I've seen some cooked on a flat grill and that's what I did here too.

The ideal hopia crust has a rich flavor, tender and flaky; "leaves of crust" with distinct layers should fall when you cut or bite into it. With the major tweak, it looked like I made a delicious but completely different pastry. The crust was crunchy and more crumbly than flaky. Dad was looking for the falling leaves and jokingly said that since it is a new style of hopia we should give it a name and  said "hopiang malutong" (crunchy hopia), he said it was still delicious especially the bean paste and I've mastered the technique he taught me for adding the right amount of sugar for the right sweetness without measuring.

We had one for each of us that day, I cut the last one into quarters and after eating one quarter I kept the remaining three so we can have one for each of us tomorrow. Here is where the magic happened; when we ate it on its second day the crust softened, had a richer taste and became flaky and yes, the falling leaves (no pics since we ate it really fast) were there! Perhaps the little amount of fat distributed itself well all over the cakes during its overnight rest, what difference a day makes! I'd dare say it was a 95% close match to the real deal with just a FRACTION of the fat!

Finally, the flood in the yard has dried up after two weeks and it sure created memories. Various beautiful birds visited the yard to look for food; egrets, zebra doves and a kingfisher that dove into the water five times to catch fish; a truly spectacular sight. From the beautiful there are also not so pretty and dangerous events; because of the water, snakes are finding dry land where they can stay and often found their way into our house. There were eight snake sightings this past fortnight; on the sink, in the bathroom, on the window and fortunately most were non-venomous I THINK excluding that FIVE FOOT ELAPID that almost made its way into the garage! The species is notorious for being on of the most common causes of death among snake bite incidents, we should be more careful when there is water around the house.

Anyhow, this one is truly delicious and I really liked how it turned out. 

Thank you very much!

Mebake's picture

Hello, my fellow TFL'ers

It has been one heck of a ride, since June of this year. I have finally taken the leap... I quit my job in June 2015, in search of a Bakery related job. A 14 year desk job, and a dwindling Money exchange establishment has left me in despair for years. I have always sought solitude in baking bread, perhaps in an effort to relieve myself of the stress of a corporate desk job that has given me nothing but disappointment during the last couple of years.

So, it has come to pass that i'm now finally free. Free of the rut, that i admittedly was partly responsible for. Free of a career that has lead me to a dead end (i didn't particularly like it, in the first place!) The journey to realizing my dream of owning an Artisan bakery has not been a smooth sail. Not by a long shot. The worry and anguish still grips me from time to time. But, i'm slowly but steadily outgrowing my fears. one loaf at a time. 

Currently, i'm working for a friend that owns a Crepe shop. He is quite a passionate home baker, and seeks to turn his creperie into a sourdough Bakery. We are working together to get this project off the ground, so stay tuned for more news. Till then, i continue to bake for the Arts and Crafts Market, and for another new Market in a Mall at a residential community in Dubai. The bread has a steady following now, and the bread sells like hot cake .. in most cases. My production has increased to about 50 loaves for the Markets. I'm quite happy that i was able to produce this quantity from my small kitchen. 

I will keep everyone posted of further developments of the Bakery project.

PS. for those of you who wish to follow my Bakery adventure, please follow me on the following social networks:

Instagram:  Mebake33


I'll leave you with some recent pictures of the Market, and the bread:

14Kg. Sourdough Rye with seeds and Old bread soaker


A look at the crumb of Sourdough Rye



Country White Sourdough

Bless you all,

Bake, Believe.


bandit1973's picture

Another from the weekend I thought I would share

isand66's picture

     Healthy and tasty with a noticeable sour dough twang, these rolls hit all of the right notes.

I used some fresh milled whole wheat along with some 00 Caputo flour, First and Clear flour.  The oats were added in with the flour along with some 2% Greek yogurt, and Maple Balsamic vinegar.

The end results were a nice moist, open crumb perfect for sandwiches or as a dinner roll.




Multi-grain Oat Rolls (weights)

Multi-grain Oat Rolls (%)

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, oats, yogurt and 400 grams of 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), Balsamic and balance of the water, 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 into rolls around 110-125 grams each.   Place the rolls on a jelly roll pan and cover with a clean tea towel sprayed lightly with water or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spay.  The rolls will take 1.5 to 2 hours to rise about 1/3 to 2/3 their size, 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 500 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, use an egg wash and paint each roll and sprinkle your desired topping.  I used smoked sesame seeds, poppy seeds and some grated aged cheddar.

Add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure and place tray(s) of rolls in your oven.

Immediately lower the temperature to 425 degrees.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the rolls are around 210 degrees.

Take the rolls out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 1 hours before eating.



dmsnyder's picture

I had a hard time choosing a title for this blog entry. I thought about "SMSJSD," which you would eventually discover stands for "Senior Moment San Joaquin Sourdough." I thought about "Invulnerable Bread." I mostly thought about not posting anything about this bake. There is nothing new ... except that these loaves turned out so well in spite of my forgetting to ... Okay. Here's what happened.

On Tuesday, I mixed the dough for my "Italian" version of San Joaquin Sourdough following the formula and procedures I described in Sourdough Italian Baguettes. But I also had a few other projects in process at the same time. As I usually do, I set an alarm to go off when I needed to do something with the dough, but I must have ignored the last one. Instead of retarding the dough when it was ready, I kept working on other stuff. By time I left home for my 6:30pm Italian class, I had forgotten completely that there was dough fermenting. I didn't remember it until I got back home at 8:15pm and went to the kitchen to make a late dinner for me and my wife, and there was the dough, expanded to 4 times its original volume and ready to overflow the bowl! Yikes!

I thought about tossing it and starting over the next day but decided to refrigerate the dough and decide what to do the next morning. Well, the next morning I dumped the dough on my board, and, you know, it felt okay. So, I pre-shaped it and continued with my normal procedure. I considered the possibility I should shorten the proofing because of the prolonged bulk fermentation, but the dough didn't act over-proofed. And you know what, it turned out no differently than usual, except the crumb was less yellow than usual. 

I thought that the really long fermentation would result in a more sour flavor, but the flavor was no different than usual for this bread. It was really good!  I can't account for why my drastic over-fermentation didn't ruin the bread, but I'm certainly not complaining.

We had a nice sunset, too.

Happy baking!


dabrownman's picture

Lucy finally got around to making a sprouted white sourdough that doesn’t have any whole grains in it….if you overlook the 6 grams of whole rye in the rye sour starter.


  Lucy kept this one at 74% average extraction for the sprouted 5 grain portion and the Kamut and wheat at 82% extraction making for an overall extraction of 78% for half the flour.  The other half of the flour was LaFama AP.


I used look in awe at Phil’s (PiPs) 80%home milled extraction sourdough and thought one day Lucy would get around to her version of it but now we have sprouted flour to add to the mix too.  We followed our general MO of late.


The levain was a 3 stage on but we timed it to be ready to hit the autolyse with the salt sprinkled on top with the salt.  We only did a 45 minute autolyse since the hard bits had been sifted out of the high extraction flour.  We have the basis of some fine Toadies with these left overs.


We did our usual 3 sets of 30 slap and folds and 2 sets of 4 slap and folds all on 30 minute intervals before pre-shaping and final shaping into a boule and being placed in a rice floured basket, bagged in a trash can liner for the 21 hours of cold retard in the fridge without any bulk ferment on the counter.


Once the dough came out of the fridge we let it rest on the cou8nter for 45 minutes before firing up Big Old Betsy to 450 F with the combo cooker and top and bottom stones in place.  Once he oven was at temp 1 1/4 hours of warm up had taken place.


The dough was un molded onto parchment on a peel, slashed in a diamond and slid into the combo cooker for 18 minutes of steam under the lid at 435 F.   Once the lid came off we continued to bake at 425 F convection this time for 5 minutes before taking the bread out of the CC and letting it finish baking on the bottom stone  for 10 ore minutes.


It bloomed, blistered and sprang well under steam and browned up well without it.  We will have to wait for lunch to see how the crumb and taste came out.


The bread stayed crispy on the out side ans was soft moist a glossy in the inside and fairly open too.  It wasn't that much different than the 50% whole sprouted grain version but it did taste a bit milder from a whole grain flavor point of view and it was more sour.  Sometimes the powerful whole grain flavor can mask some some of the sour.

We like this bread a lot and it made a fine bologna, cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwich for lunch wit the usual fixings  


SD Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



7 Week Retarded Rye Sour






82% Extraction Whole Kamut and Wheat
























Levain Totals






82% Extraction whole Kamut and Wheat












Levain Hydration












Dough Flour






82% Extraction Whole Kanut and Wheat






La Fama AP






Sprouted 74% Extraction 5 Grain






Total Dough Flour






























Dough Hydration






Total Flour w/ Starter


















Hydration with Starter






Total Weight






80% Extraction 5 Grain












80% Extraction 5 grain sprouted  flour is equal amounts




of: spelt, wheat, barley, rye, and  Kamut -105 g total











There is 6 g of whole rye in the starter








NathanO's picture

I know lot's of people post their Pain au Levain results, but I thought I'd share mine anyway and hopefully encourage some people to give it a go!

I've been baking for some time now, but I've been shying away from a straight 100% Sourdough recipes. The main reason was because I lacked the proper knowledge in maintaining a Sourdough Culture. I knew the basics of feeding, but lacked the understanding of when it was properly ripened for use. For example, most bread books ask for a "mature" or "ripe" sourdough, but don't tell you what that looks like or how long it takes because feeding ratios are very diverse and a starter may be over active or under-active depending on a wide variety of factors.

However, thanks to this forum, I read extensively many different opinions and recipes and finally seemed to gain the knowledge and confidence I needed to bake this recipe (Hammelman's Pain au Levain with a Rye SD starter).

My first attempt was half-decent, but lacked bloom and rise. I believe the main reason was that my starter hadn't ripened enough and my shaping wasn't tight enough. I've now come to see that creating good surface tension is critical in final shaping and even pre-shaping to an extent.

My second attempt was much better. I let my Rye starter mature until it had about doubled in size and had lots of tiny bubbles throughout, and larger bubbles on the surface (~ 12 hours). I then mixed my levain build. I left it for around 10 hours making sure I watched it until it was matured (Large bubbles + domed on the edges).

I then mixed my flour and water and left for a 45 min autolyse.

Thereafter, I mixed my final dough and did 2 S&F's at 50 minute intervals and let rest for a further 50 minutes. I ignored hammelmans advice and put the dough in the fridge overnight. In the morning I let my dough come to room temperature, and then divided and preshaped into rounds with a fairly tight pre-shape. After 30 mins I shaped the rounds into tight batards and let them proof on the linen couche. After about 2 hours, my poke test seemed good and I gave them a good 30 deg angle slash down the center with my razor blade. I then loaded them into the pre-heated oven. I poured in a cup of boiling water into a bottom tray for steam and gave a few squirts of vapour over the top of the loaves. Baked for about 35 minutes.

Overall, I was pretty chuffed with the outcome. Great ears, great color, and good flavor. Even got a few blisters. I was happy with the crumb, but I'm striving for a more open crumb in the future... Enjoy.

victoriamc's picture

For all TFL bakers who like to bake with whole grain flours and still want to provide yourselves, your friends and families with lovely home baked treats then this recipe could be a useful one to have.  This is a healthier version of a classic cinnamon bun.  The raisins of course are optional, as is the dark chocolate topping, (although the indulgence factor is somewhat reliant on the chocolate!!) .  For full details please hop over to


dabrownman's picture

The 25% extraction sprouted multi grain bran sifted from the 75% extraction sprouted flour.

The little green rosettes will make your muffins taste bettah and sprouted grains will make your breads taste bettah too!  Sprouting is way easier than making bread so it is perfect for Lucy and I to do for just about every bake ……and a great way to turn a 3 day sourdough bake into a 5 day one – also perfect for us retired folks looking for something to do.


Make sure you re using hulled grains if you don’t like hard to digest fiber and roughage in your flour.   I’ve seen sprouting directions out there saying to soak the grains in water for 24 hours for the first step.  Don’t do it.  You are trying to sprout them – not drown them which is what you will likely do if you soak them for 24 hours.  You want to keep grain genocide far away from you.  The first step is to weigh the grains to be soaked.


After a 4 hour max soak in water you have to put them n something so that they can sprout, you can easily rinse and drain them every 8-12 hours so that the mold is kept at bay, keep light out so no green shoots stay white instead of turning green and the cool humid air in.


I found a plastic cheese mold with small colander holes in the bottom to let the whey out when forming and pressing cheese which is also perfect for sprouting grain..  it was a bargain a 50 cents at Goodwill.


You can buy sprouting gadgets and containers online, at health food stores and in some ethnic markets too.  Many folks just use a mason jar with the solid lid removed and substitute a screen to let water out when they rinse the grain and just keep it in a dark place.


What you are trying to do is replicate how the seeds would normally germinate in the ground.  Damp – not wet, dark – no light and cool – not hot or cold.  64-70 F works  best but since you are only going to be sprouting for 24 hours total or so from when the first soaking water hits the seeds,  a bit warmer won’t mold the seeds  just rinse them more often.,


This 5 grain mix took different times for each variety to chit but no worries - it is all close enough.

After soaking, I drain the seeds in the cheese mold and rinse them in water, shake out the excess water, cover in plastic wrap and a kitchen towel to keep out the light.  I repeat this every 8- 12 hours until the seeds chit.  Different seeds chit at different rates with rye being the fastest and some ancient grains being the slowest but they all close enough to sprout together which is what I do’


Once the first white rootlets break through the seed bran shell it is called ‘chitting’ and you are now done with sprouting to make sprouted flour and ready to dry the grains.  Once the grain has chatted, I dry it in a dehydrator at 105 – 110 F for 3 hours and 30 minutes with the seeds spread pout thinly, on a single layer on the trays. 


You will know that you are done drying them enough, so they won’t clog up your mill, when they weigh about the same as they did when you first weighed them before soaking.  Once dry you can mill them and sift them like you do any flour.  Your taste buds will reward you for taking the time to make sprouted flour for all kinds of things. 

If you don’t have a dehydrator I used to dry my grain outside in the AZ but you have to figure out a way to keep the birds from eating it.  I used the broiler pan from the mini oven with the seed on the bottom covered with the vented broiler top.  I have also dried them in my mini convection oven where the lowest temperature was 150 F.  With the door ajar the seeds never got over 140 F. 

Some will say that this is too high a temperature and kills off the enzymes you are trying to promote but brewers have always been right, They use the same grain and enzymes to extract all the sugar from the starch in the grain to make beer at the fastest rate and the best temperature to do so – 150 F.  So keeping it under 150 F will do the trick.

Time to make white & red malts when the seed shoot is the length of the seed p here are two pictures showing when the seeds are finished malting

Now if you sprout your grain, in this case rye or barley, for 4 or 5 days until the shoot, not the 3 rootlets that first chit out of the seed, is the length of the seed itself then it is ready to dry to make rye malt or barley malt.  This much longer time requires more rinsing and cool temperatures to keep the mold at bay.

Once dry at 105 F you can just grind into white diastatic malt, below right, or you can take the temperature up to 325 F like the seeds above to brown them to make red non diastatic malt, below left.


 Both malts above were made from the same malted berries 

If you dry this grain at low temperature you have white, diastatic malt and if you dry it at higher temperature up to 325 F you have red, nondiastatic malt – both of which are fine bread ingredients for all kinds of reasons.

Happy Sprouting and Malting



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