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 Petite Pain (rolls) No. 1  - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton

Petite Pain No. 1 (rolls)  - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

 Petite Pain (rolls) Interior - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pain (rolls) No. 2 - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pains (rolls) - S.S. France Note: The following excerpt is taken from Bernard Clayton’s NEW COMPLETE BOOK OF BREADS – REVISED AND EXPANDED, page 633. “The anchor of the cuisine aboard the S.S. France was French bread in its least complicated form---flour, yeast, salt, and water.  These four basic ingredients became something special in the hands of the nine boulangers. It is not French flour that makes the difference, said the bakers.  "American flour” can be used if one understands that it must be treated with deference.  Permit it to relax.  Don't rush it or it will get stubborn.  There is more gluten in American flour and it will fight back when it has been kneaded too aggressively.  Walk away from it. Let it relax, then start again. The bakers also cautioned not to pour hot water into flour because this, too, will toughen the dough.  Use water that is baby-bottle warm---about 97 degrees Fahrenheit. One surprising practice in the France bakery was the use of a piece of well-laundered wool blanket to cover the dough as it rises.  The bakers had cut 6-by-3-foot strips from wonderfully soft white blankets that in earlier times had been used by stewards to tuck around passengers taking their ease in deck chairs.  The names of famous French line ships were woven into many.  Now they were keeping dough warm. My one regret is that I did not ask for one of the old blankets as a memento of the voyage.  I fear they were tossed out when shortly thereafter the liner was taken from French line service. This method can be adapted by the home baker.  I have since cut up an old army blanket to use in my kitchen and have discovered that even the softer doughs will not stick to wool. To allow the dough to grow and mature and to become more flavorful, the S.S. France’ recipe calls for the dough to rise three times and to rest for one 15-minute interval. The petit pain or small bread is nothing more than an elongated roll about 5 inches in length and 1 1/2 inches in girth.  It is a golden brown and crusty on the outside, white and soft inside.  The dough can be cut into four 1-pound loaves if you wish.” 

Note:  Much the same as Monsieur Clayton I regret not having one of those lovely, soft, old S.S. France’ blankets for my rolls to cuddle under.  And to make things worse, my old army blanket got stolen out of the back of my Jeep at the beach a few years back, so that’s option is gone.  Just when things seem darkest there’s always a ray of sunshine…steaming to the rescue… the S.S. Walmart.  Sacrilege that it may be… I cover my roll pans with large, rectangular, clear plastic containers that I purchased at Walmart…and they work great.  I’m fairly certain that the S.S. France’ boulangers would thoroughly disapprove of this method, as in: “mon Dieu, Monsieur Americain!”  Be that as it may, my method works just fine for me... merci.

On a more serious note. I selected this recipe because the rolls are simple, delicious and it’s a good exercise for entry level bakers.  This recipe uses the “direct” method (yeast only, no pre-ferment) and produces very good results.  I made the dough just a little wetter to produce a good interior.  I also used the stretch and fold method rather than knocking down the dough, as Clayton suggests.  I use stretch and fold for everything…well, nearly everything… I am still working to perfect this technique on pancakes J.   Finally, I made round rolls instead of oblong/oval shaped rolls.  I used these two techniques (“stretch and fold” and round roll shaping) because Bill Wraith’s video (available on TFL) shows the "stretch and fold" method and Mark Sinclair’s folding and roll shaping videos (available on TFL and his Back Home Bakery home page) show the “stretch and fold” method and “shaping” round rolls. Mark makes shaping rolls look easy, which reminds me of the old story about a tourist visting New York asking a New Yorker: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” to which the New Yorker replied: “Practice”.  So, here’s a chance to practice.  The two videos will help you immensely.  So, if you’re an entry level baker and want to tackle some “direct” method rolls this might prove to be a good way to GET “ROLLING”.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL


sumowrestler's picture

Making the 100% whole wheat bread recipe from Crust and Crumb is an all day task. I would like to make this a two day process rather than doing it in one day. Is it possible to retard the sponge overnight in the refrigerator? If so, what do I need to do?



E. Wilson

breadnerd's picture

I grew up in the chicago area, and a staple in college was the deep dish stuffed pizza. Now I live elsewhere, and it's harder to find. Plus, the whole challenge of making your own is hard to resist. I've been happy enough with varios thin crust pizzas, but the other day on a whim searched on recipezaar for the ubiquitous stuffed pizza.... and I found it!

The main thing I didn't know was the order of ingredients and crust. Here it was---crust, fillings (cheese plus "toppings") followed by another crust, and topped with the sauce. It really works. Since then I've played around with crusts. I've been happiest so far with the BBA pizza napolean crust, which is thin and stretchy. I use a bit of WW flour for flavor/color/nutrition. I've found about 10-11 ounces for the bottom crust, and 5-6 for the top is about right. I'm using my cast iron skillet for the pan, which is a little smaller than the original recipe calls for, but works just great. I'm lucky to still have homemade home grown sauce from last summer, which helps a lot :)

I've been debating whether to prick the top crust or not--tonight I didn't and got a BIG bubble, so I think I'd recommend it.  This week was just pepperoni/mushroom, but I can vouch for the spinach as well--it's very good and seemed to make for a fuller filling after baking.  Tonight's was a bit thinner but tasty anyway...




raisdbywolvz's picture

Well, it's day 6 and I have no idea what's going on with my little buckaroo. I stir it up, dump all but 1/4 cup, add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water, stir it up again, and all it does is make a layer of hooch after a few hours. I could swear that it grew to about 3 times its size on day 4, but I'm basing that on the residue on the sides of the container. I never actually saw it grow. I've kept a closer eye on it since then, and all it does is bubble some -- not a lot -- and form a layer of hooch. If it grows, it does it in the 10 minutes I'm not looking. I believe it's not growing at all.

I have no idea why it won't show more activity. I started out following S. John Ross' instructions, feeding once a day. On day 4 I switched from rye flour to KA AP flour. That may have been a mistake. I also upped the feeding from once a day to twice a day, and now I just get hooch quicker than I did before.

I'm going to continue journaling about this in just this one blog entry, using the comments below to update it. The performance isn't worth a new blog entry every day.

umbreadman's picture

Just a heads up for anyone reading this, this blog entry is going to be an outlet for some volatile emotions directed at my most recent baking experience. Continue at your own risk.


I just got off work. I don't always have a great time at work, and tonight was like that. the past few weeks in general have been stressful because of school. In terms of bread, I find myself trying to make fermenting and proofing fit in during classes until i can come back, or retarding over night, you get the idea. I did that today by refreshing my sourdough last night, making the dough this morning and letting it partially ferment during my class on genetics. I then refrigerated it, unshaped, while I went to work for 5 hours to continue to ferment slowly. Coming back, i pulled it out, shaped it roughly into a round, and let it proof in an oiled bowl (during which time i shelled a bunch of peanuts to make peanut butter...a mindless, monotonous task that proved very mentally relaxing). Then, it came time to bake.

And its all downhill from here.

Tried to turn out the dough from the bowl, but it wasn't coming out despite oiling. Tried to get it out a few different ways until finally with an unsatisfied slurp, it peeled out of the bowl and landed off center on the peel. An edge was barely hanging off. Not so bad, but the process was a little frustrating since it's worked before. I had floured the top (now the bottom) of the dough in the bowl, and also the peel. I figured some of the peel's flour would come off during maneuvering, hence the dough flouring. Opened the oven, preheated stone was ready.....and the dough stuck to the peel.


ugh. so the door is open, heat is escaping from the oven like a convict on a prison break. Jiggle the peel, dough doesn't move. I go and grab my bench scraper, and start just scraping it off the peel. The dough is wet and at this point has lost considerable shape. by the time it's off the peel, i notice that it's not even fully on the stone; two edges are hanging off just enough to be upsetting, so i try to scrape those back on. It's ugly, my shaping is unnoticeable, and my slashes are disfigured...the icing on the cake is that i burned the back of my hand on the oven heating coils by accidentally brushing against them while trying to scrap the dough off the peel.

I'm afraid to look at the oven. What a jerk. 

Anyways, the bread might be tasty. This is my second lesson in patient bread making. the last time i baked, it was rushed, forced, and not paid attention to, and it turned out dense, gummy and very lackluster. though the taste was good, it was disheartening.

UPDATE: The bread is similar to an amorphous goo monster of doom. there's absolutely no shape. it has oozed partially off the stone and is being supported by the oven rack and the glass door.

This makes me not want to bake again for a long time. ugh. And I had plans for some adventurous spicy olive and blue cheese bread this weekend....maybe i'll be over this by then.

Really, the problem was centered aroudn the fact that i couldn't get the dough out of the bowl easily. If I could have gotten that, everything else would have gone smoothly.


A final touch on all of this is that a housemate of mine just came down to tell me that somebody had an "accident" in one of our bathrooms and didn't clean it up.

Murphy and his laws: 1

Me: 0

Game Over 

ejm's picture


At some point not long after turning the oven on to preheat our bread stone, a fuse blew. We didn't notice until after putting the first two naan in the oven. Luckily for us though, we remembered that we had once made pita on the stovetop. So we quickly grabbed the tava (shallow pan in photo) and started heating it on the big burner.

And disaster was averted. By adding only an extra ten minutes of cooking time, we were able to tuck in to our fabulous Indian style dinner. Yes, indeed, rogan josh with beets & turnips, broccoli and naan is delicious!

Here is our recipe for naan with instructions for baking in the oven. Look at the pita recipe for instructions on how to bake on the stovetop. (Also included in the list are our recipes for beets and rogan josh):

mrpeabody's picture

OK, so I just posted a recipe for Mochi, which is a non-yeasted dough.  This is "The Fresh Loaf," so I should also give a recipe that is at least yeasted.  Here is my Mom's version of bok hong tay, a sweet steamed rice cake.  Its name is literally "white sweet pastry" in Chinese.  You sometimes see it in Chinese restaurants for dimsum.  My Mom always made it on the thin side, but the restaurants tend to make a thicker version. 

  • 4 c long grain rice
  • water
  • 1 pkg dry yeast (I've made this with regular and rapid-rise and they both work for this)
  • 4 c and 1 tablespoon sugar

Wash the rice well and then drain all water. Add to it 4 c of water and let the rice soak overnight in the water (room temperature).

The next day, put the rice-water mix in a blender and whip it smooth (hint: do this in small batches, with a rice-water slurry that is about 80-90% rice. This allows it to blend very smooth. Add the remaining water after it is all blended).

In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 c of lukewarm water, the dry yeast and 1 tbsp sugar. Wrap bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm spot for approx 1 hr. Then add the proofed yeast mixture to the rest of the blended rice/water mixture and let stand at room temperature for 4-5 hrs.

In a separate bowl, mix 2 c water and 4 c sugar. If necessary, add heat to make all of the sugar dissolve. Be sure that the sugar syrup has cooled to room temperature before adding to the rice/water mixture. After adding the sugar syrup, let the mixture stand for another 1/2 hr before cooking the pastry.

To cook: Pour some of the mixture into a well-oiled cake pan (approx. 1/4 inch deep.  Again, my Mom prefered to make this on the thin side, but if you like, you can make it thicker, just adjust the cooking time). Steam the mixture for 15 min (be sure that the water is vigorously boiling). After the pastry is done, brush some oil on the top (note: if the oil had be previously heated to near smoking temp, and then cooled to room temperature, the resultant oil would taste better for brushing on the pastry.  I don't know why this is true, but according to my Mom that the way she always did it.).  When the bok hong tay has cooled down, cut out wedges of the pastry and serve. 

Enjoy, now I have to get back to work on my grant. 

Mr. Peabody

ohc5e's picture

I decided to bake a version of the "Norwich" Sourdough I found on the Wild Yeast blog and think it turned out pretty well.  Obviously I need some practice slashing but I was happy with the taste and crumb.  I substituted 150 grams of whole wheat flour for some of the white and an extra 70 grams of water to compensate. I'm going to have to try making it with all white flour, I just can't make myself like whole wheat bread no matter how hard I try.  I followed her instructions for the most part but I think my refrigerated fermentation went a little longer, more like 20 hours rather than 16.  The loaves weren't overproofed nonetheless.  The crust had great blisters all over it and stayed very crispy.  I divided the loaves into one double-sized batard and two smaller batards.  I'm just getting used to using a lame; as you can see, I butchered the slashing on the large loaf.  I was actually pretty happy with the slashes on the smaller loaves.  Anyone have any good tips for using the lame?

Whole Wheat Norwich SourdoughWhole Wheat Norwich Sourdough 

 Shot of the Crumb

Shot of the Crumb


raisdbywolvz's picture

3/11/08 - 9:30 pm -- My little buckaroo didn't do much after last night's feeding -- he grew a tiny little bit for a little while, then went back to his original size. When I went to feed him tonight, he had a gajillion itty bitty bubbles all through him. The growth and the bubbles were actually more than I expected since I've read that after the early bacterial activity, the starter might go flat and do nothing for a couple of days. So happy to see activity. Stirred him up, dumped all but 1/4 cup, then fed with 1/2 c each of KA AP flour and water.

He smells more starter-like than he did just yesterday. I hope that means there are some yeasties growing.


raisdbywolvz's picture

3/10/08 - 9:30 pm (at the 48 hour mark) -- Had a little bit of excitement this morning, but I believe my little buckaroo was just having some bacteria activity. At tonight's feeding, he was still bubbly, but had long since fallen back to his original size. No yeasty smell yet. Nor should I expect one yet, it's just too early. So I dumped out all but a quarter of a cup and added another 1/2 cup of rye flour and 5 oz of water. Stirred it up well and will check on it in about an hour as I suspect he'll need more water.

10:30 pm -- Added another ounce of water, for 6oz total. Nice and batter-y. Marked the side of the container, just in case.

Here's to you, my little buckaroo!



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