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rainbowbrown's picture

I once lived in Southern California in and around Los Angeles where Mexican bakeries abound. I once was in love with pan dulce (sweet bread) and it was abundant. I then picked up and moved to Northern California, to Humboldt County. Here, there are no Mexican bakeries and there is one place to get good mexican food, a taco truck, and the taco truck doesn't make pan dulce. After a long stint of self pity and an apprehension about going forth into the world of mexican baked goods I decided that Dia de los Muertos would be the time to make some pan de muertos (pan dulce with bones and such on top). So I got a hold of three recipes and made one for a Holloween party. They were pretty great and I was quite thrilled. I didn't have a camera back then so no pictures, but they were a little ugly because of my poor attempt at making skulls and bones out of the topping. Anyhoo, yesterday was my second attempt and I used the second of my three recipes. Here they are:

pan dulcepan dulce


These are quite wonderful. The recipe I used this time called for four eggs as opposed to the one egg I used the first time and yesterday when I tried one fresh, the crumb was a bit too moist and rich for pan dulce. This morning though, as I eat one now I see that it has dried out a bit and is perfect. I think this recipe might work well with three eggs...I'll have to try it. This recipe came from the website. It was adapted from Richard Sandoval's (?) recipe. Mine is an adaptation of their adaptation, as I changed several things.

Here you go:


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed, coursely ground
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour



  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, salt, anise seed, yeast, milk, water, butter and 1 cup of the flour.
  2. Stir in eggs and beat well. Add remaining flour, little by little, stirring well with a wooden spoon until dough comes together.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 9 to 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic, and no longer sticky. It will be tacky and very soft. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow it to rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
  4. While dough is rising, make the topping. Cream butter and sugar well. Stir in vanilla and flour until it comes together in a cohesive mass. Set aside.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, heat oven to 350°F. Punch down dough and divide into pieces. I did six pieces, and they all seemed fairly small but once they were all baked up they were huge, much larger than a single serving. Try 8 or maybe 10 pieces. Form into tight balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Turn topping out onto the counter and pat into a rectangle. Dive into however many pieces of dough you have. Pat each peice out into a flat disk (don't worry too much about the roundness of the thing). Place each topping disk on top of a dough ball. Let rise for an hour.
  6. Once they are ready to go into the oven, slash the topping. Make several curved slashes which begin at a single point and fan out. The shape of this bread and the slashes of the topping is what gives this pan dulce the name concha (shell). My slashes didn't go down into the dough, just the topping. My loaves did rip a little though which I didn't mind. If you want to take this opportunity to score the dough a little, I'm sure that would be ok.
  7. Bake at 350°F, I baked mine in the sheet pan on top of my baking stone. After about 15 minutes rotate the pan and then bake for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 200.

I highly recommend not eating them all on the first day, save some for tomorrow, it'll be worth it. Here are some more pictures of the process as it played out:

dough ballsdough balls

proofed and slashed ballsproofed and slashed balls

Baked pan dulceBaked pan dulce

pan dulce crumbpan dulce crumb


Enjoy. My apologies for the lack of weight measurements, I'm waiting until I make the third recipe and pick my favorite to go through and convert the recipe to weight.


mse1152's picture

Happy weekend! I made baguettes for the first time in a long time today. BBA's poolish baguettes. One mistake...the recipe, er formula, calls for 7 oz. of poolish. I made half a recipe of poolish from the book, which is really more like 11 oz., and dumped it all into the final dough. ooooops. But what are you gonna do with 4 oz. of leftover poolish?

This dough gets 4 hours of fermentation and about an hour of proofing. The baguettes came out sorta pretty, I thought:




























I describe the flavor as 'clean', not at all yeasty, just wheaty. Very nice. PR recommends sifting 1.75c of whole wheat flour to replicate the ash content of the European flour used in the original formula. When I sifted my KA whole wheat, almost none of the bran was left in the sifter, so I used his second suggestion: using only a few tablespoons of WWF, and unbleached for the remainder of the dough. The bread still had plenty of identifiable bran in it. The bread is very lightly salted. I'm really happy with the flavor and texture.

But here's my question. As you can see, my slashes filled in to bring the exposed dough up to the level of the crust. There are no 'ears'. This has been the case with most of my breads. I did the PR technique of pouring 6-8 oz. of boiling water into a cast iron pan in the bottom of my oven, but no other steaming or spraying beyond that. If you look at some other baguettes on TFL, like these or these, there are definite sharply-defined ears. It's a minor thing, since I'm happy with the way this bread turned out, but I'm just curious as to what is keeping this from happening on my breads. Any ideas?


foolishpoolish's picture


ohc5e's picture

Uncooked Focaccia Dough with garlic, rosemary toppingUncooked Focaccia Dough with garlic, rosemary topping 

Baked, Whole FocacciaBaked, Whole Focaccia 

Leaning Tower of Focaccia...check out the crumbLeaning Tower of Focaccia...check out the crumb

So I posted a few days back about good recipes for focaccia.  Thank you all for your suggestions.  I did a little research and developed a hybrid formula of my own.  I baked it for the first time tonight and I am very happy with the results.  It came out with a very crispy, browned crust and a chewy, open crumb.  It was delicious and just what I was looking for...

The recipe is below...

500 g of KA bread flour

150 g refreshed, starter (100% hydration, also KA bread flour)

4 g of SAF instant yeast

11 g of sea salt

25 g of olive oil

15 g of rendered, liquid pork fat (40 g of olive oil is probably okay)  * I used guanciale (a cured Italian cut of pork) that added great flavor to the bread.  I sauteed it on low heat and discarded the solids, reserving the liquid fat

345 g of water


Mix all ingredients in bowl of the mixer, except for the salt, until it forms a loose dough.  Mix on a slow speed for 5 minutes.  Add the salt and mix on medium high speed (8 on my viking mixer) for 8-10 minutes until it clears the bottom of the bowl and passes the windowpane test.  

Let it rise in an oiled container for 2 hours of bulk fermentation, turning and folding it every 45 minutes, a total of three times.  Gently turn out the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet and gently stretch it out about half way to the edges. Let the dough rest for a half an hour covered with plastic wrap.  Stretch the dough again to the edges.  I used an almost pizza-like technique lifting the dough up and letting the weight of the dough stretch it out.  Try not to force the dough or degass it very much. Let it rest for another thirty minutes covered.  If you need to stretch it out a few more inches do it now before you top it.


I took two large cloves of chopped garlic, a tablespoon of sea salt and 2 tbsps of chopped rosemary and ground it up to a paste in a mortar and pestle.  Mix two tbsps of water and two tbsps of olive oil with the garlic-rosemary mixture.  Brush on top of the dimpled surface of the dough.


Bake for 25 minutes in a pre-heated, 450 degree oven.  Let it cool on a rack for 20-30 minutes and cut into desired shape...ENJOY! 

susanfnp's picture

I made these sesame-semolina flatbreads for this month's breadbakingday (theme: flatbreads). They are unleavened, extremely fast and easy. I was able to roll them very thin by using a pasta roller, the first time I used it for anything but pasta, and it worked very well. I will definitely use it again. Recipe here.

Sesame-semolina flatbreads


Darkstar's picture

I have to start off by saying that this was a very rewarding learning experience and I hope to be able to articulate some of what I learned by making this miche.

So I had a weak moment on Amazon a few weeks back and ordered Reinhart's BBA and Whole Grains books as I've been wanting them for two Christmas' and a birthday but my wife and family never seemed to get the blatant hints. I read BBA first as here at The Fresh Loaf it is considered gospel. I found it to be a well put together, well thought out, easy to read book. Peter Reinhart's teaching style comes through very well and he made concepts like bakers percentages make sense to me after I'd read and had time to digest them.

Day 1: I started out three days ago by making a hardball pre-ferment with KA Whole Wheat flour sifted through a fine mesh strainer, sourdough starter, and a little filtered water. The hardball sat covered in a lightly oiled bowl for 4-5 hours at room temperature before I put it in the refrigerator to retard for the night.

Day 2: The next afternoon I mixed up the main dough by warming my hardball, sifting TWO POUNDS of KA Whole Wheat flour, incorporating that with the hardball and some water and salt. I mixed the dough and kneaded this behemoth for 10-15 minutes the stashed it in a large covered bowl to let it rest and rise. The dough was left covered at room temperature for around 5 hours during which it doubled in size nicely. Back to the refrigerator for the dough to retard overnight.

Lesson number one was learned here. I had never tried to hand-knead that much dough. Frankly I'm a slave to my KitchenAid but this was just too much dough for it to handle. I used a technique I learned from this site. Once I found it difficult to knead anymore I let the dough rest covered for five minutes. After it rested it was very pliable and able to be kneaded again.

Day 3: I hurried home from work to warm the dough enough so I could shape and bake it. I shaped the miche (large ball/boule) and let it rise on a bed of corn meal on my counter. Once it rose sufficiently I slashed it then used my SuperPeel to scoop it up off the counter and deposit it in my preheated, 500 degree oven on my baking stone. Two temperature changes, one 180 degree rotation and 70 minutes later I removed my first miche from the oven. Internal temp reached 208 degrees F and it thumped nice and hollow.

Lesson number two was that the SuperPeel did a good job picking up this large ball however it stretched it lengthwise a bit more than I'd have liked it to. It may be that I'm just new to the way it works and once I develop better technique I'll not have the same issue. Not a horrible thing but I think I'll stick to parchment and a regular peel for freeform loaves and leave the SuperPeel for pizzas.

This morning I could hardly wait to slice into it and examine the crumb and taste the bread. I thumped it again and it had resonance like a drum. I cut the loaf in half and inhaled deeply. I'd love to hear from others about this but it had the aroma of unsweetened cocoa powder! Two friends that received 1/4 of the loaf both smelled it too. It didn't taste like cocoa and I guarantee there was none in there. It was very strange indeed. While I'm sure this doesn't rival anything coming out of the Poilâne bakery in France it is my most successful whole wheat loaf to date, not to mention the largest. The crumb was tight but not dense, and creamy in consistency. The crust was thick and crisp and wonderful. I'm not sure I'd make this as a miche again but I can see myself making a 2 or 3 boule run of this bread. It was a lot of work to be sure but it was worth it.

Now, here come the pictures.

Miche on peel

4 lbs 6 ounces

Cut in half



dmsnyder's picture

Nury's Light Rye

Nury's Light Rye

Nury's Light Rye - Crumb

Nury's Light Rye - Crumb

My first attempt at this bread resulted in a delicious-tasting loaf, but it did not have the open crumb that I expected. This was my second attempt. There has been much discussion of the difference the flours used might be making in the crumb.

This time my dough consisted of:

Water - 400 gms

Guisto's high gluten flour - 100 gms

KA Bread flour - 350 gms

KA White Rye - 50 gms

Levain - 45 gms

Salt - 10 gms

I kneaded about 16 minutes in a KitchenAide at Speed 3-4 to achieve windowpaning. I folded twice. The dough doubled in 3 more hours and rose a bit further while retarding for 24 hours. I warmed it 2.5 hours and baked it with steam at 450F for 5 minutes then at 425F with convection for another 25 minutes. I left it in the turned off oven with the door cracked for another 5 minutes.

As you can see, I achieved the more open crumb I wanted. However, the white rye resulted in a less sour and less tasty bread. It is merely delicious, but not as delicious as the one I made with whole rye flour. This small percentage of the total flour sure makes a difference.

I'm not that convinced the diffent flours used accounts for the differnce in the crumb, at least not all the difference. I also handled the dough much more gently in dumping it on the counter, patting in out and placing the cut "loaves."

I must have more data!

Fortunately, this is an easy and fun bread to make, so, until next time ...


bshuval's picture

I baked the Pain De Camapgne from Daniel Leader's amazing book, Local Breads. I added walnuts and raisins to it. It came out delicious. Here's yet another recommendation for this book.

Anyhow, here are some pics:

Raisin Walnut Sourdough BreadRaisin Walnut Sourdough Bread


For some reason I cannot upload a picture of the crumb. A picture, and more info, in my blog:

Patti McD's picture
Patti McD

I am brand new to this site. Growing up, my mother used to bake bread once a week and it was wonderful! I want to start baking my own bread from scratch. I currently have and use a bread machine with prepackaged yeast and flour to put into the machine. But where do I go to purchase good wheat in quantity? What kind of a grinder is best? Do you use elecrtric mixers? I'm interested in trying to bake from scratch, and supplementing my baking with my bread machine. Any tips would be appreciated. I live in Montana. Thank You.

Thegreenbaker's picture

I have had fun the last two days :)

I like not having to make mess or worry about kneading for 10 mins. Thats KAM's job :)



I made some oat bread and a lovely fruit loaf


A crumb shot.


The recipe for the fruit loaf is over at my new food blog but it is explained in simpler terms or more detailed depends on who you are. I mixed it in my mixer for 4 mins....gave my mixer a rest as the instructions said "mix bread for 2 mins then another 2 mins and it should be ready" I say they are wrong and so mix for a couple of mins and give it a rest. I wanted to have good gluten development, and it surely did that :) The crumb is so soft :)



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