The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yippee's blog

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Preparing to make a traditional panettone can sometimes be daunting, especially when I don't have MANY ingredients!  A panettone recipe from Chef Alphonso Pepe calls for several citrus fruit paste. It is discouraging that I have to pause to prepare these ingredients every time before I can make his panettone.  I like spontaneous baking, and that's why I love CLAS.  Any extended prep work before a bake will most likely deter me from baking. But Chef PePe's panettone sounds so refreshing with all the citrus fruit ingredients, and I want to try it. So I came up with the idea of making various citrus fruit marmalades to expedite the prep work. This way, I will have these ingredients handy and I can make his panettone whenever I want. But the workflow of making marmalades that I can find is laborious; even those which claim to be "simple" are not simple enough for me. So, I decided to use my tools to turn it into an easy job.  Here's how I do it:



Weigh the citrus, then weigh an equal amount of sugar (1:1). You may adjust the sugar amount according to your preferred ratio. For every 2kg of sugar used, you need to add the juice of at least one lemon 🍋. 

                            Use an automatic citrus peeler to peel both citrus fruits.                              




                              Roughly cut the citrus strands with scissors, then pulse them in a food processor.                                


                             Use an electric juicer to juice the citrus.                               If you decide to also use the pith, process it at this stage to get rid of its bitterness. Then make sure to pulse the pith as well.                              Snip extra pulp and scoop the membranes out of the compost if you are not going to use the pith.                              All three ingredients to make marmalade:                              Dump them into the Instant Pot                             High-pressure cook for 5 minutes if you do not use the pith, and if you do, add a few minutes. Once depressurized, "saute" to boil the mixture until it reaches 220F.                                         Load the marmalade in canning jars and process them using your preferred canning method. I found that ~900g of citrus at a 1:1 ratio of sugar yield ~ 5x250ml jars, which fit perfectly in my Instant Pot basket.                              This is the orange marmalade that I made yesterday using the peel/zest part only. Without the pith, there were not enough peels to evenly distribute throughout the marmalade. It's also harder to gel.  I had to increase the sugar to a final ratio of 1:2 for it to set, which made it syrupy. To avoid this, next time I may have to increase the peels to compensate for the weight of the pith not used, or more completely scoop the membranes out of the compost.                                This is the 🍊 mandarin marmalade that I made with whole fruit. So far, I've found that mandarin is the perfect citrus that yields the least bitter marmalade without extra pith processing.                              Vibrant color with the perfect taste and texture.                         




 🥝


Yippee's picture

 To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here





    Happy Holidays! I wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season. Let's look forward to a better year in 2021!




A gigantic 1.2 kg loaf! A perfect holiday gift!         

After decoration


Before decoration 






89%    T55/Beehive AP                                                                          

8%      almond flour

3%       whole rye CLAS

13%     water

37%     milk

17%     butter

10%     egg

1%       dry yeast

5%       sugar

1.3%    salt

12.5%  rum-soaked raisin

12.5%   candied orange




30-33C x ~45 mins until doubled







30-33C x ~75 - 90 mins until doubled


Egg wash


Score (scissor-cut)


Sprinkle pearl sugar


Bake (1.2kg)

410F x 20 


410F x 10 

cover with foil

410F x 10

rotate, cover with foil

410F x 15

skewer test for doneness                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   As I was about to settle in at the end of a busy day of baking,  at 11 pm on Christmas Eve, I suddenly realized that almond flour = NUT!!! One of the families to whom I was gifting the Pain des Rois has kids who are allergic to nuts!!! I had planned to give the bread to them at 8 am on Christmas morning. What should I do  I frantically searched the bread books and settled to bake a Cramique.  So, I pulled an all-nighter of baking to kick off my 2020 Christmas.  By 6:30 am, the loaves were cooling; by 7:45 am, they were packed and delivered. Whewwww!  
        Some beautiful scenes of autumn.     



Yippee's picture

To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here




This is another yummy formula from Rus. Thank you! 






My largest panettone production in one go. 

    How can I prevent the top from bursting and form a dome smoothly coated with egg wash when baked?樂樂樂     Super delicious! I am sure I will impress my friends again!   TJ is awesome! 




Yippee's picture

To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here




Recently, baguettes have been a hot topic on the forum. So I am posting this entry to join in the fun. 

I usually don't make baguettes because they require more hands-on work than making boules or batards. The last time I made baguettes was a few years ago. I was so busy then that I hardly had enough time to sleep. Therefore, I could only upload pictures of baguettes and ignored all the details. To fill in the gap, I took pictures of my baguette workflow today.


I used Rus's baguette formula that uses CLAS. I wish I had learned about CLAS sooner. It would have saved me a lot of work, and the outcome would have been just as good, if not better.  


Rus's formula and procedures are as follows:


97% AP

70% water 18-20°C/64.4-68F (not higher) I reduced the hydration to 65% because Beehive can't absorb 70% of water!

3% CLAS (cold +4-+5°C not fresh, at least 2-3 days in the fridge)

1% dry yeast

1.5-2% salt

3% malt


yields three 343g baguettes


Initial dough temperature 25°C/77F 



I mixed the dough in a spiral mixer for 8 minutes until it reached windowpane.



45 minutes, fold

45 minutes, fold

45 minutes, fold

keep dough temperature at 25°C/77F 



into three pieces; roll, and rest for 15 minutes 





45 minutes 




bake 20-22 minutes with steam at 250°C/482F 


Straight forward, isn't it? Per Rus, 25°C/77F is the optimum temperature for yeast multiplication. At this temperature, LAB produces more acetic acid than lactic acid, and yeast also produces a small amount of acetic acid. LAB is slow at this temperature, so it's suitable for creating the flavor of traditional baguettes.  


Speaking of temperature, my friend's wife bought a Brod and Taylor proofer, unfortunately, according to my suggestion. She complained that the proofer could not reach her target temperature. I forgot to remind her that the proofer's internal temperature rarely matches the set temperature. Because its plastic panel is flimsy, the proofer's insulation is poor. Its temperature usually fluctuates with the ambient temperature. Using different thermometers to monitor the proofer's internal temperature and reset the temperature back and forth, especially when making CLAS, is what I have to do to ensure my sourdough's quality. It is a pain to use, but I am stuck with it because there is no better product on the market.








I pretty much followed Rus's procedures except one step - I divided the dough after the first 45 minutes of bulk, and I "pre-shaped" the dough in a rectangular container that would facilitate shaping later on. 









I followed the School of Slow's baguette shaping method. It worked well for me a few years ago, and it still worked perfectly today!   People often complain that household ovens are too small to make baguettes. However, I found this to be an advantage. Because the baguettes usually reach the maximum length suitable for household ovens after they are shaped, and they often look quite presentable at this stage, there is no need to extend/roll out the dough! I used the chopping board (15 inch/38cm) to gauge the length so that I was able to bake the baguettes vertically in the oven. 






 It'd be easier to shape it in this form if we start with a square dough.



I proved and loaded the baguettes separately so that they were "social distancing" from each other in the oven after loading. 





To score, I used the "magic wand" shown in the picture.  It works wonders! When I scored the first baguette, I was a bit lost.   Then things got better, and I am most satisfied with the tapered one. 










That's it! 

Oh, wait, the end products:












I also want to tell you something exciting. I harvested my first tray of black gold. I used the worm castings to brew my first bucket of compost tea and fed it to my plants. I'm sure that my garden plants are pleased because my kumquat tree is blooming in the second round, which is unprecedented! The aroma of blossom wafts in the air.  Many bees and hummingbirds are buzzing around to collect nectar—what a happy scene! 















Before the California wildfire broke out, I could see beautiful clouds in the morning and stunning sunset at dusk. I hope the terrible things surrounding us will disappear ASAP, and our lives can return to normal.

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This post has nothing to do with bread, but I thought Benny might like it. 





Super easy to make:


Ice cream

100% whipping cream 

41% condensed milk 

9% high-quality matcha powder

blend in Vitamix

freeze until firm/semi-firm


Azuki red beans

100% H2O

50% dry Azuki red beans

20% sugar

10% honey

Instant Pot high-pressure x 100 minutes

natural release


I didn't mix the red beans in the cream to preserve the ice cream's green color. 



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Because of COVID, we all minimize traveling. I haven't seen my friends for a long time, especially those who live afar. To reconnect with them, I made Rus's Ukrainian loaf and sent it to them with other homemade goodies. The bread was well received. My friends' wives all want to learn how to make it, but some are somewhat confused about the process. I summarized the steps to the bare minimum to help them start using CLAS ASAP to bake.


  1. Understand how concentrated lactic acid sourdough ("CLAS") works. Read the following blog post up to the point where video clips appear.


2. Then, watch the following videos in which the baker demonstrates how to make CLAS. You may choose either one of the two methods to make it, depending on the available ingredients. 


a. Video 1 - the preferred method, watch up to 6:51




b. Video 2 - watch from 2:30 to 8:41  3. Recap


Being able to control the temperature in the required range is crucial for successfully producing a flavorful loaf.  I use a proofer or the yogurt function of the Instant Pot. Here's how I set up the instant pot to make CLAS:   


then cover it with the lid.


Unfortunately, I developed this water-bath method when I constantly deal with my annoying proofer's inability to maintain a target temperature. It drives me crazy. You don't need to do it this way when using an instant pot, but it ensures a stable temperature of the medium, and I don't have to monitor it with (multiple) thermometers. 



Making CLAS with rye, you will need:

Rye or any other malt: 25g

 Whole-grain rye flour: 75g

 Water T. 45°C: 180 ml

 Vinegar (5%???): 10 ml

 Fermentation temperature: 40°C±2°C

 Fermentation time: 24-36h

 Hydration: 190%

 End pH: around 4



To refresh rye CLAS

1:10 (rye flour in CLAS : new rye flour), 190% hydration @ 40+-2C x 12 hours


Making CLAS with wheat, you will need:

wheat malt: 25g

 Whole grain wheat flour: 75g

 Water T. 45°C: 140 ml

 Vinegar (5%???): 10 ml

 Fermentation temperature: 38°C±2°C

 Fermentation time: 24-36h

 Hydration: 150%

 End pH: around 4


To refresh wheat CLAS

1:7 (wheat flour in CLAS: new wheat flour),150% hydration@38+-2 C x 12 hours


 4. If you are new to bread making, read the "What do you need to purchase to get started?" section in the following blog post before proceeding further.   



  Making Rus's Ukrainian Palyanitsa loaf 
  1. Watch the following video in which Rus shows how to make Ukrainian Palyanitsa with CLAS. 




2. Formula and procedure


CLAS 101.5 g (hydration 190%, 35g wholemeal rye, and 66.5g water)

(can be fresh or from fridge pre-warmed up to 30C/86F


Flour 665 g (high gluten flour German 812/or use bread flour)


Water 350 g (30-35C/86-95F)


Dry yeast 4.6 g 


Salt 10.5-14 g(table salt use10.5g, kosher salt use 14g) 


Total 1,144.5g


65% hydration = water weight / flour weight


(Dough temperature 30-33C/86-91.4F)


Bulk fermentation

90 minutes at 30-33C/86-91.4F 



the dough according to the video



30 minutes at 30C/86F




Final proof

25 minutes at 32 C/89.6F


Preheat the oven to 250C/482F

(It may take an hour+ to preheat the oven with the baking stones, so plan accordingly)





8-10 minutes 250C/482F with steam

then 40 minutes 190С/374F






Yippee's picture

To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here





Before I show you my bread, let me introduce my new friends to you.       I've started a new hobby - vermicomposting - during the COVID quarantine.  These red wigglers will produce "black gold"  that will be very beneficial to my plants.

       Hopefully, I will show you more beautiful flowers from my garden next time.      Now, back to the durum bread.  My formula and procedures are straightforward, and the bread is very delicious.  By now you probably know my trick - CLAS.  I bought a bag of durum berries, which cost me an arm and a leg, to make a durum CLAS so that my bread is 100% durum.     Given the speedy one-day delivery and the successful outcome of the durum CLAS, I'd say the 13 was well spent.      I have lots of durum flour.  It would be nice if I can make CLAS out of it.  Then I don't have to buy another bag of berries that takes up storage space. I'm making a batch of CLAS using flour to see if it works.  
       I autolyzed the dough overnight. Therefore, it was very easy to handle. The rest of the procedures are just like making a regular white loaf.This loaf is 60% hydration. I don't think it needs higher hydration for the simple shaping and scoring that I did, but I probably will increase the hydration a bit when I shape it into a hat-like loaf next time.      




  Total dough weight ~ 1.1 kg  Autolysis  overnight at room temperature, 97% extra fancy durum, 55.5% water, After autolysis, the dough became very pliable, smooth, and silky after a few folds.   Dough Autolyzed dough, 3%  durum CLAS, 4.5%  water, 0.6%  yeast, 2%  salt,  Mix in KA 600 speed 10! x 2 minutes to fully incorporate all ingredients, a few folds to smooth and tighten the dough,  Bulk 88F ish x 150 minutes, Two sets of folds in between,  Shape,   Proof 88F ish x 20 minutes  Bake Preheat @ 550F, 482F x 10 mins with steam, 374F x 40 mins w/o steam,   
Yippee's picture


To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here





Today, I made a lovely round bread with "growth rings" on it. In Hong Kong, we call it "wheel bread"(車輪包). When I was a kid, I was often responsible for buying freshly baked "wheel bread" for my family from a nearby bakery. Back then, the wheel bread was either plain or with raisins.  For a child, it smelled delicious no matter which flavor. Sometimes I couldn't help but started nibbling it on the way home.


Today, decades later, the "wheel bread" has become less popular in Hong Kong. However, to my surprise, it still appears on the menu of Japanese bakeries. In addition to the "original" flavor, the unique Japanese matcha-red bean combination is also a popular choice. Some bakeries such as Moashikisaikan use wormwood for coloring.




Since I didn't have wormwood, I used matcha powder for coloring and replaced 5% of the flour in the formula with CLAS.  




Cutey "wheel bread" brings back childhood memories.





It's made in this heavy-duty mold. 





My mom sent it to me from Hong Kong. The shipping was super expensive. Fortunately, you can buy it online now, or if you are in Canada, you can check with this store in Toronto. This store is a branch of a well-known Hong Kong cutlery/baking equipment company. It's a fun place to visit. I shop there every time I am in Hong Kong.






95%  Ultimate Performer

5%    WW CLAS

63%  water

10%  heavy cream

5%    whole eggs

5%    butter

1%    dry yeast

2.2%  salt

11%  sugar

3%    matcha powder


Total dough weight without filing ~ 550g



55% cooked red beans ~ 150g, made in the following ratio (independent of the flour weight)


100% water

50%   raw, unsoaked red beans

10%   honey

20%   sugar


Instant Pot high-pressure x 90 minutes + natural release to the doneness shown in the pictures

Cook longer if you like mushier red beans. 




77F x 45 minutes





86F x 90 mins



482F x 30

I probably would lower the temperature in the future to reduce browning.






Yippee's picture


Here's another delicious chocolate bread from Chef Michaud's book, "La Boulangerie Baking at home".  I made it with CLAS, of course. I followed the original formula except that 3% of the flour was from WW CLAS. To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here


97% Beehive AP


1.7% yeast

5% milk powder

13% white sugar

10% egg

1.7% salt

41.7% fresh milk

25% liquid cream

21.7% chocolate 

10% icing sugar

8.3% pearl sugar

egg wash as needed


Total dough weight ~ 600g for a 9x4x4 tin



89F/32C ish x 45 minutes 





89F/32C ish until doubled



374F x 34 minutes, no steam













































Semisweet chocolate tastes better than the bittersweet one that I used in the previous chocolate bread.







































Yippee's picture

To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here




Lance and Pul had asked me how acidic the bread made with CLAS is.  My answer: It depends.   One can create aromatic, full-flavored, but mild-tasting loaves by using a small amount of CLAS.  One can also make sour bread by manipulating the amount of CLAS used, temperature, timing, and ingredients. And the critical control is straightforward--the temperature.


Because all the sour loaves I previously made with CLAS contained a high percentage of rye, to compare apple to apple, I used only wheat flour in this bake to experiment.  What I made was the mild-tasting Ukrainian loaf that I had made before.


The plan of this bake was:




30% Beehive AP

50% water


Main dough


67% Beehive

10% water (I forgot to add the remaining water, so the bread ended up with a 50% hydration)

2% salt

0.8% dry yeast




Preparing the pre-dough the night before, the pH of the mixture was 5.1.






After ~ 10 hours @ 30C/86F (it might have been ready in less than 10 hours, but I wasn't checking in the middle of the night), the pH dropped to 3.7.






pH 4.7 - fully-fermented main dough after about three hours @ 31C/88F - 33C/91F ish.






The 50% hydration loaf had less volume than the 60% hydration loaf.






The crust was more crackly because of the lower hydration.






This loaf had a much stronger and long-lasting tangy aftertaste than the one made without pre-dough. One can easily create a sour loaf with CLAS by playing with the variables. 









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