The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Eli's picture

Today had been planned to be a baking day since I have company this weekend. I made a preferment (sans commercial yeast) last night for some Challah, and realized I had more than enough. I decided to try Norm's Onion Rolls with a levain instead and the results are good. Great taste, however, I didn't deflate them enough.Then as I decided to look over at TFL this A.M. and I found Norm has done it again, another recipe. So, that said, I had to try the new rolls. Great and light,very easy and THANK YOU Norm, again!! You are an amazing baker!! Kudos and to eveyone reading this you should try them if you have the chance.

 Overall it has been a great bake day. I also made Mark's Sticky Buns which are great too! However, I didn't get a picture of them. Maybe Thursday I can bake some more.

New rolls are the knotted and the levain have the onion poppy seed

Floydm's picture

I had leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge this weekend. I made a couple of different breads with them. One was the yeasted, eggy, buttery sweet bread from Bernard Clayton's book. The name of the recipe is escaping me now, but it makes great toast.

The other I made was a sourdough.

The best sourdough I've made in months. Amazing how a half a cup of potatoes softens everything up. It was great with a roasted red pepper topping I made I made and a pot of soup.

BTW, the cheapest place to get Roasted Red Peppers in my neighborhood? Dollar Tree. They have good olives too, both imported from Turkey.

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In site news, I'm hoping to upgrade TFL to the latest version of Drupal and upgrade the server to a faster box over Thanksgiving weekend. I've started working on it already. I still have quite a few kinks to work out. Stay tuned.

holds99's picture

I currently use SAF instant yeast.  However, in King Arthur's recent catalog they list a yeast that I haven't seen before; SAF Gold instant yeast (page 11: "yeast", olive colored rectangle).  The ad write-up states: "saf gold instant yeast Specially formulated to provide the very best rise in doughs high in sugar (sweet breads) or acid (sourdough) 15.86 oz. - [item no.] 1457  $6.95"

Has anyone had experience using this yeast in a sourdough?  If so, please post a short note re: results.

Thanks in advance,


Sparkie's picture

I am doing this so I think I can put the pictures of breads I made this past few days



canuck's picture

Traditional Russian Mennonite Buns

These buns aren't just buns, they are a history lesson and a sociology study wrapped into a tasty tasty snack.  This bun recipe has been in my family for a long long time, possibly since the late 19th century.  In any case, my grandmother made them back in Molotschna, my mom makes them and so do I.  These buns are really general purpose buns, but particularly appropriate for Sunday afternoon early supper (Vaspa), or served after funerals, in a church basement, with cheese and coffee.  What makes them a bit different than what we usually see on the Fresh Loaf is that they contain a lot of fat, in this case lard, and they are shaped with a sort of "extrusion" technique.  

The lard content is an honest byproduct of the heritage of the buns. Mennonites (and of course lots of other folks) were in the past  a primarily agrarian people, and raising pigs was a big part of farm life.  Butchering and rendering produced lard, which was an important and primary source of fat.  Lard was used in day-to-day baking, long before the advent of "shortening" and other manufactured fats.  Lard has gotten a bad name in the recent past, but is now making a bit of a comeback because its healthier than previously proclaimed (by the margarine/shortening cabal).    In any case, these buns contain a fair bit of lard, in an honest, farmyardish sort of way.

The buns also contain a fair bit of sugar, which speeds the rising.  I appreciate that sugar and fast rising is anathema to some, but really its a practical way of making a buns much quicker, which is an important consideration when cooking on a busy farm or household. Besides, the buns taste great. 

The mystery ingredient is vinegar.  I really have no idea why there is vinegar in the recipe, but there is and I use it. Anyone care to hazard a guess?

The buns are shaped by extruding them between your thumb and forefinger and then being pinched off.  I haven't seen the extrusion shaping technique described (I haven't looked hard either), my Mom taught me how to do this and it works pretty well.  The pictures below and the description will hopefully inspire you to try it out. 

Here's the recipe


 1 cup Lard Try to get a non-hydrogentated lard, not all lards are equal. 

4 cups hot water.

Lard and Water

The hot water softens the lard.


2 teaspoons Salt

1/2 cup Sugar

1 tablespoon Vinegar

4 Cups Flour

Stir vigourously until you get a nice sponge going. Because of the hot water used in stage one, the sponge will be warm.  If its hot, then let it cool down a bit before the next step.

Buns Sponge


1 Tablespoon instant yeast (this may be the "non-traditional" part of the recipe, but it works well)

Gradually add in:

About 4 more cups of flour

At this stage you should have a fairly moist rough dough. you may have to add more flour if its too sticky. Go by what feels right, that's my Oma's way of baking.

Buns Rough Dough


Turn out on a well floured surface and start kneading, adding flour as required, about 15 minutes.

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes. (There is a lot of yeast and sugar in this dough, so it doesn't take long)

The Shaping Technique

Here's the interesting part, this shaping technique takes a bit of practice, but once you get the idea you can shape buns fairly quickly.

To shape the buns, tear or cut out a section of the dough and grab with your left hand.

Make an open circle with your left thumb and forefinger, then push the dough through circle with your right hand, from underneath.

dough extruding 1

 The dough should be stretched through. 

dough extruding 2

Now pinch off the bulging dough ball with your left hand thumb and forefinger, and place the resulting ball of dough on a baking sheet.


Cover and let the buns rise until doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes, perhaps a bit longer. 

They should look very light and not spring back when depressed.

buns tray

Bake in a 400F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until nice and brown on top. 

 buns finished

Mmmm, these are good buns.  Slather on the butter and clover honey from the canadian praries, and it's just about the best thing you've ever had.

Bake on!



Kuret's picture

This is what I pulled out of my oven today, a good 2kg of dough worth. First a small batch of light rye rolls made somewhat according to the instructions for making sourdough italian bread that was posted here earlier by Dmsnyder i think. The formula does only call for white flour but as I live in sweden I find that breads should contain at least a small portion of rye!

I made the dough with 20% rye flour wich gives you a dough that handles exactly like a wheat dough but with greater taste and also a somewhat drier feel, due to the high ash content of my whole grain rye flour, I also topped them with a mixture of wheat bran and rolled oats so they resemble the kind of "fake healthy" bread you can buy in stores and bakeries here in sweden.

The other breads were two sunflower ryes as per BBA, made with 30%rye starter and really coarse rye meal for the rye content in the dough. Lightly toasted sunflower seeds make for a lovely taste, can´t wait to open these babies! I have started tt get a bit better at shaping since I studied Marks videos, that technique is far superior to my prevoius attempts. Now I only have to make room for the loaves in my freezer! '

holds99's picture

I'm slowly working my way through the bread section of Michel Suas' terrific book AB&P and found this interesting bread with an interesting history. 

Pain Meunier: (Miller's bread), the loaf has all of the components of wheat (white flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ and cracked wheat) 

The following brief description of this bread, taken from Michel Suas book “Advanced Bread and Pastry”, appears at the beginning of his formula for pain meunier:

“To honor and thank their millers for delivering consistent flour, bakers of old created pain meunier, or Miller’s bread.  The formula was creatively designed to involve all the components of the kernel of wheat in the dough.  As a result, in addition to possessing great flavor, this bread also has exceptional nutritional value."

It's a great bread and fun to make.  I doubled Mr. Suas' "Test" formula and made 4 pounds of dough, divided the dough into three equal part and made three loaves.  I used 2 unlined willow German brotforms and 1 plastic (green) brotform.  The loaf proofed in the green plastic brotform, because of its shape, got a higher rise (photo no. 7, rear loaf) but doesn't have the character or markings that the other two loaves (front two) got from the unlined willow baskets.

I used a K.A. mixer to get the pate fermentee and grain roughly mixed with final dough .  Gave it a 20 minute rest, then did a final mix using the "slap and fold" method (Bertinet) then during bulk fermentation gave the dough 3 stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals.  Let it final proof for another 20 minutes (after the 3 stretch and folds), then divided, shaped and placed it into the brotforms.  It final proofed for 1 hour, then I scored it and into a preheated 450 deg. F. oven with a cup of boiling water into a cast iron skillet for a short blast of stream.  It baked for 30 minutes, turning the loaves midway in the baking cycle.  It's a great tasting bread with great texture (tender with a nutty flavor from the cracked grain) and nice crust. 

Michel Suas' Pain Meunier - Advanced Bread and Pastry

Michel Suas' Pain Meunier - Advanced Bread and Pastry 

holds99's picture

I have had Susan's recipe for these buns/rolls stashed in my "to bake" folder for quite some time.  Anyway, I finally got around to making them and am kicking myself for not making them sooner.  These are great rolls.  Susan puts sesame seed on top but I prefer them without seeds.  You can check her original post for the recipe.  They're easy and  delicious.  I made these rolls 4 oz. each.   

To quote Susan's original post: "The rolls are quite a bit more substantial than the squishy cottony ones that seem, unfortunately, to be standard cookout fare.  With about 40% whole wheat flour, the crust is chewy-tender, the crumb soft but still hearty and flavorful.  And they're not just for burgers; they work for just about any sandwich.  Sized a little smaller, they would also make fine dinner rolls."

Susan, If you're out there, thank you very much for this terrific recipe.

Susan's Hamburger Buns

Susan's Hamburger Buns/Rolls

slothbear's picture

We have a guest coming over tonight, so I went for my standard guest loaf.  1/4 King Arthur WW flour, 2 tablespoons of flax meal.  The six-strand braid is always a challenge for me, but I only had to do it twice today.  After the first time, I realized that some of the strands were too fat, so I cut them down and had enough for a baby challah, also six-strand.


 just after braiding.  I had a little extra left over for the baby sister challah.

 I baked a couple of flax sourdough loaves just before the challah.  And forgot to turn the temperature down.  What's 125 degrees between friends??


The baby challah turned out well.  We'll see how the guest likes Extra Brown Challah.  Yikes, from the other side of the room, it looks like some kind of dark Halloween trick or treat bread:


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