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Laminating with Salted Butter

Laminating with Salted Butter

I'm in the process of making pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants) and just ran into a problem.
The Kerrygold butter that my parents picked up for me while they were in town is salted- I started the lamination process without knowing this.

Anyone have any experience laminating with a salted butter? It's typically.. not recommended

Really hoping that the saltiness of the pastry ends up complementing the semi-sweet chocolate --

Maybe I should add some other sweet element at the end to help counteract the saltiness?

Hamelman Multigrain with 24-Hour Retard

Hamelman Multigrain with 24-Hour Retard

I recently had to revive my starter.  I had attempted dabrownman's stiff, sour rye build method, and I must have screwed it up somehow, because it wasn't activating well.  I also was putting it straight into levains, which I had done before with decent results, but I now prefer to do at least one build prior to making the levain.  So I resorted to rebuilding it with 2-1-1 feeds, 1-1-1 feeds, and 1-2-2 feeds until it was very active, before allowing it back in its cave (the fridge).  The evening of the levain build I did one refresh to nearly double it, and this worked well.  Mistakes are instructive.  I omitted the commercial yeast in the recipe, and yet I have a more open crumb than the one I made before that included it.

This is my best bread yet, and I believe revving up the starter and the 24-hour retard were significant factors.  The crumb shot is from the loaf on the right, and the crumb was tighter on the left one, since the cuts were not very successful.  All fermentation was done at 82F (starter, levain, 30-minute autolyse, bulk, and an hour of post shaping proofing before the cold retard).  I did 4 stretch and folds every 30 minutes during a 2-hour bulk, although Hamelman only calls for one.  I'm not experienced enough to know how much of a difference this made.



Milling Gluten Free grains

Milling Gluten Free grains


I purchased a Retsel Mil-Rite electric grain mill with the optional hand crank and the optional stainless steel grinders. Three weeks ago I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I've never used the mill even though I've had it for about 4 years... I've never even turned it on. Looking at the cost of purchasing GF flours (rice, coconut, almond, various beans, etc.) I'm blown away at how much it costs. So I'm thinking about using the mill to create my own flour.

I tried calling the company to find out what this mill is capable of doing regarding types of grains, nuts, and beans. That was a very non-productive and frustrating phone call.

Does anyone here have experience with this mill and it's capabilities? Is there anyone here who has to eat gluten free? Rice and potato flour seem to be used a lot and they are accessible. I just don't know if the mill is designed to do a good job with the various GL grains that are commonly used. I'm trying to determine whether or not it is less expensive to mill my own flour or just bite the bullet and pay the outrageous prices for it commercially produced.

Thanks so much!

How can I tell if my bulk ferment is done?

How can I tell if my bulk ferment is done?

I'm trying the Ken Fortish Saturday White Bread recipe and have had my dough on its bulk ferment since 09:30hr (UK). We are now just after 14:00hr here and the five-hour bulk ferment given in the recipe should be coming to a close, with my dough having risen by about three times.  It has possibly gained one and a half or possibly double its volume.  Can I check the bulk ferment in some way?  Should I just go for it, or maybe leave it longer?

My kitchen is at about 19C (66F) today.

Questions about preferment for SD starter

Questions about preferment for SD starter

I started to make sourdough bread a few weeks ago, and I have found my bread too sour especially after it's put there for over 1 days.

I searched around and i see lots of suggestions like avoiding overnight bulk ferment, feeding the SDS more frequently and with higher ratio of fresh flour and water, raising the % of SDS in the whole bread ( ~20%) so that it ferments fast..etc. 

I will try those methods but i have another question: Would preferment make SD bread more sour?

I like preferment because:

  • it makes the gluten develop much easier when i mix SD into the flour
  • It makes my schedule easier during weekday
  • It adds flavor to the bread ( i don't feel much diff but it's said so)

O the other side, I don't like preferment because:

  • If I don't use preferment method I can use more SD starter in the dough 20%) so that I don't need to throw away A LOT of SD starter. But when I use this method, i only need very very small portion of SD starter and I need to throw away a lot of them.
  • I'm afraid it will make sourdough bread more sour(to be confirmed)

I might keep using preferment if it doesn't make my bread more sour.

I see most people keep a lot of SD starter, but I feel I only need 10-20g all the time if I always use prefermt ( my bread is usually around 400-600G only). Is it okay to keep such small amount of SD starter? Would it make it less active?



Loaves flatter after not using SD starter for two weeks

Loaves flatter after not using SD starter for two weeks

I got two SD starters: one white wheat and one organic spelt. I've been using both for a few months and they've been working well. A few weeks ago I went away so I couldn't use them during that time. They were stored in the refrigerator and I think they were fed after about 10 days by my GF. Some days later I got back home and started using them again. First I discarded and fed them one or two times before I started baking.

I've made two loaves with each and they come out a bit flat compared to earlier. Since that 10 day break, I'd say both have been fed 4-5 times by now. I should note that the temperature has risen here lately, but I think it was equally hot some days before I left. The dough fermented faster those days, so if anything, the loaves got more spring.

The loaves I made today seems like they increased less in size during overnight fermentation and had less oven spring.

Is it normal for the SD starter to behave like this? Will it take some time and more feedings before it is as good as it was before I left? Do I just make bread as normal and eventually it will sort itself out?

I'm using the same recipes as I did before.

Hello everyone, thank you for already helping me

Hello everyone, thank you for already helping me

I'm pretty new to making bread; my qualifications to this point are, in their entirety, reading The Bread Baker's Apprentice and one month of varying degrees of failure. I would like to say that this forum has already helped me out in a few ways. I have been practicing a lot with high-hydration doughs because, well, they have been hard to make and I took up bread making in the first place partially for the challenge. I've made some sourdough and some with commercial yeast, mostly all with white flour (my two attempts at whole wheat have not gone well, ha), and I've had problems both with poor oven spring and pale color. This forum gave me a few hints: to try the autolyse method, to look for signs of over-proofing, to check my gluten ratio, and so far all of that has been immensely helpful.

I'll try to attach a picture of the sourdough boule I just pulled out of the oven.

Unfortunately, I've been a little lax with measuring, but the basic recipe I used was:

9 oz. white flour

6 oz. water

4 oz. 100% hydration (in theory lol) starter

So, if I'm doing the math right, that's about 73% H2O, which is a number I arrived at somewhat arbitrarily. I'm planning to bring it into the office tomorrow intact so I won't have a picture of the crumb yet. I certainly don't think I've done this perfectly by any means (and really I want to learn so all criticism is welcome) but I figured I'd say thanks and also hi.

Note: The side is a little ribbed because I think I am proofing on a cloth that is too thick and strong, so that the dough actually proofs around folds in the cloth. I need to find a better cloth for that, or just a less hacked-up banneton.

Buckwheat Durum Potato Tangzhong Rolls

Buckwheat Durum Potato Tangzhong Rolls

I have not had time to post anything lately but finally this 3 day Memorial weekend has give me the chance to post.

Yesterday I made some smoked Baby Back ribs to bring to our friends Memorial Day party and I wanted to bring some nice rolls to go with them.  I have not made a Tangzhong style dough in a while and really wanted to make a dough that was nice and soft without adding butter or cheese.

I decided I also wanted the nice nutty flavor of Buckwheat which I thought would go well with Durum flour and some nice mashed red skinned potatoes.

The end result was a nice flavorful roll that had a soft crumb.

I've added some photos from the garden for your viewing pleasure if interested.




Oriental Poppy

Buckwheat-Durum-Potato Tangzhong Sourdough Rolls (%)

Buckwheat-Durum-Potato Tangzhong Sourdough Rolls (weights)

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.


Note: Water amount is representative of water content in the mashed potatoes of 121 grams. Actual water added to final dough was only 11o grams to get a more accurate dough hydration calculation.

The Piggy is back on guard duty.....

Tangzhong is the technique of heating a portion of the flour and liquid in your recipe to approximately 65C to make a paste (roux).  At this temperature the flour undergoes a change and gelatinizes.  By adding this roux to your final dough it will help create a soft, fluffy, moist open crumb.  It is also supposed to help prevent the bread from going stale.

It is not very difficult to do a Tangzhong.  Use a  5 to 1 liquid to solid ratio (so 250g liquid to 50g flour) and mix it together in a pan.  Heat the pan while stirring constantly.  Initially it will remain a liquid, but as you approach 65C it will undergo a change and thicken to an almost pudding like consistency.  Take it off the heat and let it cool before using it in your recipe.  Some people will refrigerate it for a while but you can use it right away as soon as it cools.

Levain Directions (Using AP Starter at 66% Hydration for Seed)

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I used my Proofer set at 81 degrees and it took about 4 hours.

Main Dough Directions
Prepare the Tangzhong per directions above and allow to cool to room temperature.

Mix the flours, Tangzhong, potatoes and water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, oil, and starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), and  mix on low for a minute.   Mix for a total of 6 minutes in your mixer on low.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and cut into equal size pieces and shape into rolls.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with moist tea towels or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours to rise, depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 425 degrees.  Bake for 25 minutes until the crust is nice and brown.

Take the rolls out of the oven when done and let them cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.




Shade Garden


How to bake a good loaf of bread

How to bake a good loaf of bread

subscribe to me on YouTube and see a step by step tutorial on how to bake a good loaf. Type in bread baking with Matthew Ellis and it will be the first video.

Should the levain must have the same hydration level as the final dough?

Should the levain must have the same hydration level as the final dough?


I have a doubt about the hydration level of levains and final doughs. Should they both be the same? Should the levain must have the same hydration level as the final dough?

For instance, let´s say I have the following:

Starter => 100% hydration

Levain => It will be aportion of my starter that I take out to build a pre-ferment of X% hydration level, and that I will use to make the final dough

Final dough => 65% hydration


If I take out a piece of my starter to build the Levain. What hydration must this levain have? 65%? or 100%?

Because I can make the final dough in two ways:

1. I can make the levain at 100% hydration, and then use it to create the 65% hydration final dough

2. I can make the levain at 65% hydration (thus making it the same as the final dough), and then use it to create the 65% hydration final dough


Is there a difference if I make the final dough with a 100% hydration levain instead of a 65% hydration levain?

Which one is the correct approach? Or both of them are equally good? Is there any advantages of one approach over the other?

I hope someone can clarify and explain whether it is important to use a levain that has the same hydration level as the final dough. 

Thanks for all the help!!

P.S Notice that I´m refering to the hydration level of the Levain, not the starter. I plan to keep my starter at 100% hydration all the time. The levain will be a portion of my starter that I use to make the final dough (a pre-ferment that will inoculate the final dough)

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