The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

proth5's blog

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Proth5 – returning from the void! Well, hardly. But I thought my recent activities might resonate with the “old timers” – those who were posting when I was a regular on this site – and I had to break my blog silence just this once. For the new folks, beware. My time away has only brought out the curmudgeon in me.

From time to time we all see the news stories where a couple met in high school and fell in love, but something in life intervened, they were separated and went on with their lives. Then they meet in a nursing home, recognize their old love and get married.

Thus has gone my “sheeter love”. Ciril Hitz was the person who first taught me how to use a sheeter. He noticed the “Where have you been all my life?” look in my eye. Yes, a tool that efficiently rolled out dough. Much faster and more evenly than a rolling pin. I was no rookie with a rolling pin (I’ve baked for a very long time) but this was so much better.

Sheeters are expensive pieces of equipment. The least expensive that I found was a hand turned version from Machines Caplain that cost $3K, took up a fair amount of space, and had to be shipped from France. I went on with my life, I did lamination (real lamination, where fat is enclosed in dough to make layers that will puff when baked, not whatever it has come to mean on this site) by hand and was pretty successful with it. But deep in my heart, I always knew. It would be so much less effort with a sheeter. Every time I picked up my rolling pin, I thought “I wish I had a sheeter.” But I had resigned myself it was not to be.

I was reading “Food and Wine” magazine (I don’t just complain. I read. I learn.), when they reported that a small bakery did their lamination (real lamination – but I digress) using a slab roller. This is not a tool of the baking trade, but of ceramics, but had an action similar to a sheeter. A flat surface moves across a bottom roller while the top roller rolls out the slab. It wasn’t cheap (in the $5-600 range) but I hadn’t gone anywhere or done anything travel related this year (I wonder why…), nor was I going to. It seemed like I should treat myself. It was just a web order (and my pictures are enough advertising so you much search for an on line ceramics supply shop yourself) and some dark looks from the UPS guy (for the big, heavy box) away.

So, I set it up and tried it to make pains au chocolat. I even took pictures.

Here is the slab roller itself.

Here is a folded and rested paton ready to be sheeted. Notice that the paton is placed between two pieces of canvas. I found this disconcerting when I started, but it worked rather well. I thought of using two silpats, but mine are only half sheet size and were not large enough for what I was doing.

Here is a paton rolled and ready to be folded. See how pretty!

Of course, when a girl gets a new toy, she is tempted to push it to the limit and although I was trying to sheet to 0.125 inch, I thought  ”What if I went just a bit lower” and created a disaster. I had a slab of shredded dough and a roller covered in dough. It cleaned up well, but I did have a really substandard batch of pains au chocolat. The second batch went much better.

Here is the “honeycomb” shot from the batch that I ruined:

Not bad considering what I had done to the dough. I didn’t cut up the nice ones because I had some folks waiting to take them home, but here’s a shot of the ones that I didn’t ruin.

So, I have been united with my long-lost love and will certainly be using it a lot in the future.

I hear the echoes of a very old discussion about “artisan” when I look at my little slab roller. Let me be clear – this is not a “lamination machine”. As the baker, I must bring all the knowledge and skill that lamination requires. I chose the flour, I mix the dough, I form the butter block (although I did use the slab roller to finish it),I even tempered and  piped the chocolate batons. The tool neither creates nor negates the artisan.  It is just is a more efficient way to roll out the dough. And it is great!

 OK, I must confess that I have attempted to post this thing three times and found it agonizing. I hope this one works. I can't believe I used to do this on a regular basis. Must have been before I got heavily into pastry and chocolate work!

Bye now.


proth5's picture

There is a sweetness to it.

I rise in the dark and head out in the coolness of early morning. I drive on a freeway mercifully devoid of Massachusetts drivers and round a turn to see a giant moon glowing brightly as it sets in the barely broken dawn.

Then there is the bakery – new to me, but so familiar – and work begins. Some bakers talk of the dance of the baking process, but I tend to see it as the rhythm of a beating heart. Another baker – a stranger to me a few days ago – and I wordlessly go about the morning cleaning routine as a team as though we had done it for years. And we have, in a sense, just not with each other.

Then the smells begin.

Many people love the smell of freshly baked bread, but the baker gets to enjoy the aromas of the process. Even the bench flour has its distinct aroma. Then the rich bouquet of the fermenting baguette dough as it is liberated from its container. There is the acid tang of the rye sour and the lactic smell of the levain. As mixes begin, the fresh yeast is like perfume and there is a transition in aromas as water and flour are brought together in the mixer. Spices seem to be an obvious bakery scent, but the subtle transitions as they are ground or steeped or baked cannot be neglected.

Then the sounds: the soft patting to degas the dough, the click of the bench scarper as the dough is divided, the soft swishing sounds that hands make against the bench when rolling baguettes. (The cursing under one’s breath when the dang thing won’t shape right.) The timers, the hiss of the steam, the sandpaper sound of the peel.

These are the many small pleasures of the bakery. Not just the eating of the bread, but of its making.

I am no romantic. I know the baking business can be tough mentally and physically. There are inspectors to answer to, ovens that do not behave, repair folks who do not show up, and bastard customers who ask too much and give too little. It is hard work, but good work.

These few days in the bakery made me think of a time last winter when a friend and I were shoveling a particularly heavy snow from the walkways of the Japanese Garden at our local botanic gardens. It was just the two of us and we were on a mission. The regular snow removal crews had left an icy mess and we were intent on getting the walkways cleared. Suddenly my friend said to me – “You know, we need to look up and realize where we are.” We stood there – just the two of us among the magnificent conifers. Trees hundreds of years in age, each one perfectly decorated by sparkling champagne powder. The kind of snow that that inevitably falls victim to Colorado’s afternoon sun. It was a wonderland and it was ours not just to walk through and look at, but to touch and tend. I have been a lot of places and done a lot of really cool things, and that moment we looked up now ranks very high on the list.

So Varda (and Joan), I know you will do well, but don’t forget from time to time to look up and realize where you are.

proth5's picture

I promised Varda that I would practice brioche a tète (just doing my bit to make sure the terrorists lose…) and my word is my bond. Sometimes it takes years to get your money but that’s how bonds are.

Anyway, my last batch was pretty enough to do a write up and take some pictures (still not my thing).

Since I can’t both shape and take a picture, you should refer to Varda’s blog (someday I'll figure out how to paste a link..) on the topic of brioche to see photos of me shaping. The basics don’t change, but there are things the pictures don’t show. And so, a list:

  1. First, it takes a lot of tin for just a small amount of dough. My tins are 4” wide at the top, 2.25” at the bottom, and 1.5” high with 10 flutes. This will accommodate 3 oz. of dough – or slightly less – not slightly more. After bad experiences with non-stick tins, I prefer the classic metal ones. We live in the golden age of pan release. Since I have gone with real tin tins, I’ve had no sticking, even when the egg wash drips.

  2. Pre shape round and allow a good amount of time for the pre shapes to chill.

  3. For the final shaping, first shape round. You want this to be as perfect as possible, so use a good amount of pressure as you shape the round. And heed the good advice to “flour your hands, not the bench” for this stage. You want the round to stick just a little to the bench to make it good and tight, but not to your hands which will create flaws in the surface. You can remove any stickage with a bench scraper as you move the ball to its next position. I will reiterate, you want that little ball to be as perfect as possible. Any flaws in it will be flaws in your brioche. I keep an area of the bench flour free for this this step, because things will change in the next.

  4. A lot of us don’t like to (or need to) use a lot of flour on the bench. This changes a bit with brioche. Once it has been rolled into a tight ball, you will want to work on a floured surface as you dip the side of your hand into a puddle of flour and use it to roll the top third of the ball into a “bowling pin” or as I prefer to call it, a “Schmoo” (from Li’l Abner – just how old am I?). Do not be afraid to flour the bench under the dough while you are doing this. You can easily brush off any excess and a little flour on the “neck” will not do harm.

  5. Now, the going gets harder. You want to flour both of your index fingers and set the Schmoo into the tin with its head centered and as straight as possible. Use your index fingers to lightly pull the body dough away from the head so that the head is centered as perfectly as possible. This is a preliminary step. You will be finishing up the head in the next step, so do this lightly, but firmly.

  6. Last comes “the move.” Using your non dominant hand’s thumb, pull the head back and away from the body (and don’t decapitate the thing, but really pull it back.) Using you dominant hand’s well-floured index finger, thrust your finger between the body and the pulled back head firmly – and all the way to the bottom of the tin. You want to make a very clean division between the two parts of the brioche. Give the tin a small turn and repeat. Do not fear the flour! Continue this operation until you see this clear separation all the way around. This is what will give you the nice heads on the brioche, so spend a little time on this.

  7. Egg wash is two eggs, plus one yolk, a dash of salt, and a little bit of water. Beat thoroughly and then strain (if you are fussy.) I have learned how to treat the yolk so that the membrane that can make mixing hard is left in my hand - but the process is a secret...

  8. Proof thoroughly. I can’t overestimate the importance of this. We all love our oven spring on lean loaves (and some enriched loaves) but it is not our friend here. Fully proof the brioche. This last batch was something over three hours in proof. Then egg wash. Twice. Bake.

That’s it. Here are the pictures…


I’d like to say bad things about these, but I really can’t – they are pretty nice.

Have fun!


proth5's picture

It has been my great good fortune to have interacted with a number of extraordinary individuals – some of whom have become my teachers (some in the area of baking). It has also been my great good fortune to have been able to bake in various kitchens and bakeries throughout my baking life to date.

(I feel compelled to say here that one of these extraordinary teachers – in an area far removed from baking – would remind me that it was not so much good fortune, but that I sought out these opportunities, managed priorities in my life, and was willing to work hard so that I should be able to pursue them. However, I do feel fortunate and am grateful that both chance and will have allowed me the experiences I have had.)

So last week I headed to the great northeast – where driving seems to be some kind of competitive sport – to bake.

Of course, as the blog title suggests, everything was different: the work surface, the doughs, the mixers, and the shaping methods. No friendly wooden surface with its unique combination of being non-stick yet slightly “grippy”, rather stone with its qualities of cold and absolute smoothness. Every shape (and pre shape for that matter) was made in a way that I had never done it and although the mixers were familiar to me, most of the work would have been faster and easier in my beloved spiral. Although I will often say my oven has no “soul”, the wind tunnel of an oven we baked in was never meant for hearth breads and each batch pulled from that heartless thing is a triumph of skill and persistence over the machine.

In short, everything I knew was wrong, but for me this was far from the first time this has happened (and while I will not tell the story, it recently happened in a particularly spectacular way) and I have learned in such situations that it is best to be humble, empty oneself, and learn as though for the first time. 

What I have found is that when the vessel is emptied, not only does it make room for the new, but actually grows in capacity. Certainty is replaced with curiosity and for the curious, the days fill with wonder.

This may be applicable to many things, but when making breads to another person’s specifications (for I was there to learn more than to teach and we all should control the bread that comes from our own kitchen), it is essential. And although Varda did some amount of fussing at many of my loaves, I did my best to use her methods and most loaves came out looking pretty much like hers.


My braiding (and I’ll contend that the braid she was using is supposed to come out like that – but it was her bread, not mine) was naturally much more linear than hers, I contented myself with dividing and pre shaping. I could have learned her twist on the method, but there was no sense in my slowing down the process.

Varda puts a special finish on the ends of her baguettes which I could do, but, as it turns out, in my own specific style. It wasn’t enough of a difference to make the baguettes not acceptable, but it was a difference caused by my hands and how I approach rolling dough on the bench and was enough to identify my loaves.

It was the baguette shaping that caused me to think of the nature of this craft (for it is a craft) of bread baking.

Once I heard one of my extraordinary teachers discuss why he had chosen the equipment he had for his well-equipped (and well-funded) bakery. He had purchased a large, state of the art hydraulic divider (much better than the old mechanical dividers) but had declined to purchase machines to do shaping and pre shaping even though these fast and effective machines might produce more consistent loaves. His rationale was that dividing was a solitary and mechanical process (although skill comes into play in cutting the dough into nearly the correct weight before putting it on the scale) no matter how it is done. But he looked at the bakers who were pre shaping and shaping and they were clustered around the bench talking and laughing. Shaping equipment would reduce this group to solitary individuals feeding machines. His first consideration was to create a good life for the bakers in his employ. Most hobby bakers bake alone (and I am certainly one of them most of the time), but as Varda and I stood in the same kitchen chatting about various things we were doing, I began to regain a better sense of the community of bakers, and not in that somewhat over sharing and yet impersonal realm of the on-line community, but in the world where a hand can reach over and feel the dough, correct the mistake right away, or laugh together when, once again, one of the bakers (well, me..) talks to the bread.

The second consideration was that in his bakery, although consistency was important, retaining the subtle differences in loaves made with hands and skill was just as important. Baking is a hand craft, and consistency is not uniformity. While the risk is always that with hands there can be bad days, with machines there can never be exceptional ones. Bread is being made, but it is the baker, the baker, who is always central.

There are those who contend that our understanding of symbols (for what are words but symbols - pale representations of vibrant realities) may never change but I am not in their number. So as my understanding of the word “artisan” develops, I will say that while I washed what seemed to be an endless stream of the bowls and containers created by the baking process I found myself thinking about being both central and humble.

I did teach Varda a way more efficient pre shape, but will I be changing my methods? Not in my kitchen, not for my breads. No. I am very fast with my shaping, my breads carry my signature, and I am content with that. But I have been changed, and we can all hope for the better, by the experience of doing things someone else’s way yet again.  I am even more convinced (after closer reading of the Colorado Cottage Laws has informed me that I can sell  - with many restrictions – foods made at home) that baking hearth breads in a greater volume is more work (and investment) than I want to take on, although other baked goods and confections seem distinctly possible. I will be happy to return to a wooden work surface, but will miss the good company.

And I have adopted a new motto: “Bake wonderful brioche or the terrorists win!”

proth5's picture

…triticale croissants.

Who didn’t see this coming? Hands? Ah, well.

Triticale is my baking nemesis, my bête noir, and unfortunately my favorite grain. A cross between wheat and rye, it is very high in protein, but its gluten is of low quality. If you have ever heard a discussion about milling, you will hear that the protein content of wheat is higher as you get to the outside of the endosperm, but higher in ash and lower in quality. What does this really mean?

Well, if you’ve worked with triticale as much as I have, you know. In a 100% triticale mix, you will get some gluten formation (not like what you’d get in wheat) but it will not endure prolonged mixing (it will break down shortly after you think “It’s still pretty weak, I should mix a bit more.”) and certainly will not support lengthy fermentations and proofing. That is lower quality gluten.

But what I have found that if you use triticale at no more than 30 or 40% of the total flour in combination with a higher protein wheat flour, you can essentially treat the dough like a wheat dough. Anything more than that and you are working with something even more fragile than soft wheat.

The thing is triticale is delicious. And it was mentioned in Star Trek (the original series and DS9). So I keep baking with it.

Since I’m having fun with whole grain vienoisseries, I went for triticale croissants. I used the formula for hand mixed, hand laminated croissants from Advanced Bread and Pastry, and used freshly ground triticale for 30% of the total flour and a liquid levain of the wheat flour rather than the poolish.

The first time I tried this (well there’s a sure and certain indicator that perhaps success was not the result) I used my standard practice of putting the shaped croissants in the refrigerator for six hours or so, and then proofing and baking them. This proved too much for the delicate gluten, which puffed up nicely in the oven but gave out before the thing was fully baked. Delicious, but somewhat flat.

This time, I proofed and baked immediately after shaping. Got some nice shoulders and the lamination isn’t all bad, either. Here you go:

Triticale Croissants

They really are extra delicious and, of course have all the crispy qualities of their wheaty cousins. I know they are extra delicious because I can’t resist the smell and must eat them – with most white flour croissants, I can send them off to my fans without even a taste. Triticale is used primarily for animal feed. Yeah, those cows get all the good stuff…

Until the next cold front - Happy Laminating!

proth5's picture

I find that spring cold fronts are very inspirational for my baking projects. One just blew in to the Front Range causing a rare full rainy day and another day of almost cold weather. So, since I was stuck at home waiting for various repair people, I thought of my long ago vow to try to make whole wheat croissants.

I decided to use the formula from “Advanced Bread and Pastry” (AB&P) for hand mixed croissants with poolish with the following modifications:

  1. All of the final dough flour would be freshly ground white wheat flour,

  2. I would make a liquid levain instead of a poolish,

  3. I would add one egg yolk – and in a fit of laziness, I just put the yolk into the water container after zeroing the scale and added water to the original formula weight

  4. I did the mix in the spiral, 0:03 on first and 0:09 on second, and

  5. I would use 12 ounces of roll in butter.

Easy. So, not technically 100% whole wheat, but my thought process was that I didn’t want to risk any over ripening and subsequent gluten degradation in the pre ferment.

The inspiration for the egg yolk came from the AB&P formula for whole wheat croissants which contains a very much lower percentage of whole wheat than my version.

Inserted into this adventure was an altercation with my camera – its battery fully charged – when my computer failed to “load the driver.” Cosmic payback for me not taking it on vacation? Ever. Probably. But I muscled my way past the problem. And here are the pictures.

Here’s the cream of the crop:

Here are some nice shoulders and the little faux Danish thing I make with the scraps. For those of you who don’t make croissants, there can be a lot of scrap. I take this and patch it into strips, egg wash, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and twist and curl the things up into something like snail Danish. If I could sell stuff, I couldn’t sell these, but they make nice samples.

The whole wheat version did not generate as much oven spring as the white flour versions, but that’s pretty fair lamination if I do say so myself. They were fully proofed (5 hours at room temperature.)

The whole wheat does affect the taste but they are very delicate and did have the “when I bite into it little shards of crust fly everywhere” quality of their white flour cousins.

The dough handled well, and if anything was a little easier on the final roll out than the white flour version, but it did have a good amount of resistance. If I do this again, I would mix the dough just a tad longer and see if that made a difference.

On the formula formatting side of my life – this stuff is harder than it looks. Not so much on the mathematics side, but what do you do when you get a formula when the baker has omitted, well, just about all the information you need?  You do your best and then you ask, that’s what. But as a training exercise one needs to document every little assumption. This takes me back to my “fixed bid project statement of work” days. Bad, BAD flashback!

Well, this little marmot has popped up for too long…

Happy Baking!

proth5's picture

This is a somewhat off topic blog post, but I promised Janetcook that I'd send some pictures of the vast, bustling proth5 estate which has undergone the usual spring transition since she last saw it.

My retirement is going well. I have traveled more than I really wanted to but have managed to spend considerable time at the location that is the most exotic to me in all the world - my own crumbled abode.

We all know that photography is not my thing, so I hauled out my trusty camera only to have it complain that the battery needed charging. Who knew that the thing had a battery or that one needed to charge it? I had heard that phones had cameras in them, so I looked at mine and to my amazement, my phone is also a camera!

So, here are some shots of the yards. It seems like I have spent May being a full time groundskeeper and I think it is paying off.

Front yard 1

(I am particularly proud of that arbor - which I assembled all by myself. Teak. Very heavy.)

This view proves I live in the city...

And the back yard from my lounge chair (fish not visible)

Yep - that tall green stuff in the upper right is bamboo. It is winter hardy, but will die back to the roots. It has just begun to regenerate. About a week ago. That is about a week's growth. It gets really lush by July.

On the baking front (and yes, I am baking/milling, but not blogging...), I have volunteered to be on the BBGA formula formatting team. I hope I can get through the training materials, although four years in engineering school and a decade or so of testing complex software might just give me the required skills. This will be a good outlet for my sometimes(hah! "sometimes"!) perfectionistic nature.

Have a good summer and

Happy Baking!


proth5's picture

Now there’s a string of words that usually don’t go together.

For old timers who thought I might have gone the way of Bill Wraith – no, I didn’t just disappear. At the end of December 2013, I officially hung up (sort of) the consultant/road warrior gloves and went into my long planned retirement.

I have been deliberately avoiding spending time on the internet to make sure that I am not mistaking posting on the internet for accomplishing anything in the real world and in spite of all of my friends skepticism, I really did take three months to rest. I am told my definition of “resting” is different than most people, but I do feel rested.

A visit from a fellow baker who works in all whole grains got me to thinking about whole wheat brioche. So I milled up some whole wheat flour and made up some brioche. I wanted to pinch their little cheeks they were so cute, so I thought I would share.

Leisure time has not caused me to become more interested in either food styling or photography. Maybe in time.

The mill used was a Fidibus as I did some paid work the last two weeks of March and the cosmos still owes me some “rest” time. I did a single milling pass on the finest setting.

The formula (and if you are contemplating these, you are an experienced enough baker to use Baker’s Percent so that’s what you are getting) (Oh, and if you are a new baker, I will stop to emphasize that nothing will enhance your understanding of the process more than properly learning Baker’s Math, so I encourage  you to learn the method.):

White Wheat Flour (freshly ground)        50%

Red Wheat Flour (freshly ground)            50%

Salt                                                                          2%

Sugar                                                                     18%

Yeast                                                                     1.5%

Water                                                                   10%

Eggs                                                                       60%

Butter (cold, pliable)                                       50%


Method               (now here’s the tricky part)

All ingredients should be scaled and chilled for at least eight hours. The butter will be removed from the refrigerator immediately before it is mixed and made pliable by “tapping” (whacking?) it with a rolling pin (or a steel pipe or other non breakable piece of equipment).

Mix all the ingredients except the butter on 1st speed in a 2 speed spiral mixer for 6 minutes, and on second speed for 25 minutes (yes) to a strong window pane.

Break the cold, pliable butter into pieces and mix it in using second speed (about 5 minutes) until the dough is soft and the butter is well incorporated.

Refrigerate overnight.

Divide, pre shape round, rest (in the refrigerator), and shape.  I made two sizes – the larger being 3.5 oz which I think is about 100 gms. Always use the weight appropriate for your tins.

Proof for 2 hours at 78F.

How do they taste? Well, they will never taste like the white flour version, but they are buttery, nutty, and pretty tasty.

I will say that I think that the Fidibus leaves the flour a bit too gritty for me and I need to get the Diamant back in production and re mill the bran a bit finer.

For those of you who do not experience nearly daily the joy of mixing with a two speed spiral, this formula will be tricky. The very, very long mix at second speed will generate a lot of heat in most mixers and you may want to chill dough a bit before adding the butter. I may try this formula in an Assistent (or whatever they are currently calling the thing – geez, it’s like a witness protection program for mixers)  and will amend this blog if I do.

Have fun!       


proth5's picture

when I was happy with my croissants.  It really hasn't happened ("Give it to Mikey, he hates everything") but this week they were nice enough that I wanted to pinch their chubby little cheeks.

I'm still sheeterless, so these are hand lamination.  Not bad.  Not happy making, but not bad.

The pictures:


Well, if you all don't see the flaws - I do.  Must. Do. Better. (But they are pretty cute - and I'm learning how to hold a camera)

Formula from "Advanced Bread and Pastry", Suas - the hand mixed and laminated croissants.  I use 12 oz of roll in butter and a liquid levain instead of the poolish.

Oh, and LindyD - the brioche molds I use have 10 flutes and measure 4in across the widest part.  Hope this helps.

Gotta catch a plane (I'm getting out my really big net for that...)


proth5's picture

Well just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking.

There’s just been a lot of “stuff” happening in my life and I haven’t had the energy (or time) to pretend I care about photography at all – and I know that’s what everyone wants – the pictures.  But with winter fast approaching, I’ve got a little relief from the yard work – and a little more time.

I’ve been working hard on my croissants and if I’m ever happy with them, I’ll let you all know.

I’ve also been working on pretzels and there are times when I can actually hear “My Teacher’s” voice telling me that I am fired.

So today I gave myself a break from croissants and decided to make some brioche treats.  And also pretzels. I’m going to make those danged things until I get them right.

At one point I looked over at my cooling racks and thought to myself, “Gee, they are kind of pretty all bunched up together like that.”  And I decided they were worth a couple of pictures.

Once I located my camera and had a few tough moments remembering how to use it, the pictures were taken.

Although I could give a blow by blow account of the many, many flaws in these products - I'll chill on that for today.  But I know and I know where I need to improve.

Below is the assortment: a brioche sticky bun, a brioche a tete, a couple of pretzels, and two laminated brioche – uh – things.


And below the crumb shot for the laminated brioche.


I will not describe the taste of the laminated brioche, becasue that's just being mean.

The details:

Use your favorite brioche dough.

Sticky Buns

49 oz of dough for about a half sheet pans worth of sticky buns

Bottom of pan coated with cinnamon bun glaze from “Advanced Bread and Pastry” (Suas) (accept no substitutes – this is the best sticky bun mixture I have ever tasted…)

Cinnamon mixture fro above source.

385F oven with convection

Brioche a tete

3.5 ounces per piece – shape, etc…

Laminated Brioche

24 oz brioche dough

4 oz butter

Lock in then 3 single folds

Roll out to about ¼ in thick

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture

Roll up and cut into 12 pieces – put in large size muffin/cupcake tin

Proof – egg wash – sliced almonds on top

385F with convection



Base recipe is from “Advanced Bread and Pastry”

Leaf lard instead of butter

10% rye and 90% KA AP instead of bread flour

3.5 oz pieces.

Roll into long shapes with small “bellies” – making sure that the ends remain as bulbs. Do not taper the ends.  The ends must be bulbs.  Civilization itself depends on this.

Twist (yeah, I can twist them by twirling them in the air)

Place on parchment that has been sprayed with pan release.

Refrigerate covered overnight.

In the morning dip in 4% lye solution for 10 seconds or so.

Sprinkle salt on the lower part.


Bake at 450F

The lye dip is essential to the taste and appearance of the pretzel.  Takes me back to the land of my birth – which is in the Philadelphia area.  Frankly, it’s a bit nerve wracking at first, but the key is good mise en place and seriously, always wear chemical proof gloves and eye protection.  It gets easier the more you do it.


Well, that’s about all for me.  Gotta run!


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