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Category ... Bread

A Grind Above

Jun 20, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread


It's really quite amazing now-a-days how home bakers can turn out extraordinary loaves of bread often equal and sometimes even superior to those found in bakeries. This is due, in good part, to the availability of high quality flour that is fairly standardized so that if following a good recipe, and weighing or measuring carefully, the amount of liquid does not need to vary.

I have recently discovered something pretty mind blowing, however, about artisan bread and why the complexity of flavor can far exceed the loaves I've been baking. My much esteemed bread baking colleague, Peter Reinhart, told me about a very special flour from Anson Mills that he said was able to absorb more water than the usual flours. I lost no time in contacting Anson Mills and was thrilled when Glenn Roberts offered to send me samples.

When I asked him about the percentage of protein his guess was 12-13%. He explained that the flour is hand scrubbed so that the germ is still present and referred to as "green flour." To keep the germ alive he advised me to put the flour in the freezer as soon as it arrived and that it would keep for 6 months.

When the flour arrived, I was amazed by the aroma and almost clay-like color. I baked both my standard hearth bread boule and the ubiquitous "no knead bread." It was impressive how, when mixing the dough, the flour quickly and evenly absorbed the water. Both loaves had beautiful crumb and structure though they were significantly lower in height than usual. The basic hearth bread, which is normally 7-1/2 by 4" high was 9" by 3". The crumb was darker. And the flavor fantastic. The most impressive result was that the no knead bread, which so many people including me complain about having a pasty crumb and somewhat one dimensional flavor, was moist but not at all pasty and absolutely delicious. i never want to make it again without this flour!


Here is some fascinating information of a more technical nature that Glenn Roberts shared:

We occasionally develop wild yeast and inoculate liquid levain prep within a mature ready to harvest landrace wheat field by pre-misting the whole wheat plants with water in a small area then setting the levain prep in the center of the misted plants since the populations/ratios of these yeast strains are nearly extinct here in the USA due to pervasive modern wheat that supports a different yeast population spectrum. The baking results are extraordinary but the process is not yet reliable. We've lost much in this sphere over the last century.

Our current field and bread lab research at our own research farm in Hopkins, SC, Clemson University Organic Research Farm in Charleston and at the WSU Bread Lab in Mt. Vernon, WA, involves Polycrop Flours where we grow many classes of plants interspersed with wheat plants in the ancient ways of the Fertile Crescent using native fertility. We harvest these together, thresh them together, then mill them together. These flours are very aromatic and flavorful and, because they contain cereals, legumes, oil seeds and more, very intriguing with regard to baking characteristics and flavor profile in finished breads.

If you are interested in trying out some of the Anson Mills fresh cold milled organic heirloom flours, they offer 2# and 10# retail bags on their site. The one that I used was the French Mediterranean White Bread Flour. I also love their cornmeal.

For bulk wholesale orders click on this link and click on the wholesale tab.

Michele's Special Tribute to the Power of Breaking Bread

Apr 13, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2015


I wish everyone in the world could read this posting by the talented baker, beautiful person, and member of both my Alpha and Beta Bakers (who are baking their way through The Baking Bible and The Bread Bible).

Don't miss this: Building Bridges, Building Friendships and the Power of Breaking Bread.

Ten Grain Loaf with Step by Step Photos

Mar 07, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious


This is my top favorite bread. It originally appeared in my book The Bread Bible as a torpedo shaped loaf but since I wanted to use it for sandwiches, I've adapted it to be in sandwich loaf shape. In the process I also made several additions and changes to create the ultimate taste and texture of my imagination.

I added some firm sour dough starter that always resides in my freezer, which gives the bread extra flavor and shelf life. I added oil to give it a softer crumb, and in order to faciliate the even incorporation of so many grains, I added the salt, which makes the dough firmer, after the grains were mixed in. I replaced one-third of the bread flour with durum flour, for its delicious flavor, and used the new Platinum Yeast by Red Star. I was told by the company that the dough improvers in this yeast are dough strengthening enzymes derived from the protein in wheat flour and that I would need less vital wheat gluten to strengthen the dough to support the addition of the grains. Vital wheat gluten results in a chewier texture but the enzymes in the Platinum Yeast do not so I surmised that this would yield a more tender crumb.

And, when using the Platinum yeast, and only half the usual vital wheat gluten, I achieved the identical rise but with a slightly more tender crumb and a perfectly smooth exterior with no slight tearing where the dough rises above the top of the pan.

As not everyone has firm sour dough starter on hand, I tried substituting biga, which is essentially the same proportion of ingredients but is at its best when made three days ahead of mixing the dough for the bread. To my delight, there was no difference between the sour dough starter and the biga!

I encourage you to make your own 10 grain mix as the grains are larger and give a better texture to the bread. I usually replace the soy nuggets with equal volume of pumpkin seeds as I love their flavor. Feel free to create your own favorite mix.


Recipe Follows

Continue reading "Ten Grain Loaf with Step by Step Photos" »

Twisted Babka Loaf with Step by Step Photos Part 1

Jan 03, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious


I've always made babka in a fluted tube pan. My latest version is in my new book The Baking Bible. But here is another way to shape a babka giving it a twisted shape that causes the dough and filling to spiral in an appealing way. I discovered the technique in an article by Erika Bruce in Cook's Country, December/Jan 2012.


Recipe Follows

Continue reading "Twisted Babka Loaf with Step by Step Photos Part 1" »

Twisted Babka Loaf with Step by Step Photos Part 2

Jan 03, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious





























White Chocolate Club Med Bread with Step by Step Photos Part 1

Nov 01, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious


This very special bread is featured in my book The Baking Bible which will be published two days from now! It was inspired by one that my darling cousin Elizabeth Granatelli brought me after a visit to Club Med, where they present guests with a loaf of it at the end of each stay. I adapted a version using my Soft White Sandwich Loaf recipe from The Bread Bible as the base. Adding little cubes of white chocolate to the dough results in small lacy holes lined with a sweet coating of the chocolate.

This bread proved to be quite a challenge because the white chocolate close to the surface of the bread became very dark brown. After seven tries, just as I was about to give up, I thought of a great technique: I held out about one-third of the dough before adding the white chocolate to the rest, and then wrapped the dough without the chocolate around the shaped loaf. I discovered that for the best oven spring and additional 1/2 inch in height, starting at a slightly higher temperature for the first five minutes of baking works well in my oven. As ovens vary in heat retention once the door is opened you may want to experiment with this method for this and other breads!

I'm so glad I persisted--this is fantastic bread, incredibly soft, light, and flavorful. It is especially delicious lightly toasted and spread with butter and strawberry jam or brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar! It makes a great and unusual breakfast or tea bread. And sweet/savory lunch spread with peanut butter and jelly or preserves.

I am offering this preview from the book because it gives me the opportunity to provide many step by step photos illustrating this special technique of creating a dough 'skin' or envelope to encase bread doughs.

Recipe Follows


Continue reading "White Chocolate Club Med Bread with Step by Step Photos Part 1" »

White Chocolate Club Med Bread with Step by Step Photos Part 2

Nov 01, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

























Challah: Soft, Moist, and Flavorful with Step by Step Photos Part 1

Sep 06, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious


When I was growing up, we had bakery bought challah every Friday night. I had one piece with honey and then waited til the following Friday night because the next day the challah became too dry for my taste. In recent years, I discovered that the addition of old sourdough starter or easy to make biga significantly extends the wonderful soft texture.

I recently did a side-by-side test of bread dough made with old sour dough starter versus biga and found that the breads made with added sourdough starter and biga were identical in flavor and texture providing the biga is mixed three days ahead of baking, so have incorporated this technique into many of my bread recipes.

Challah is traditionally made with oil so that it can accompaniment a meat meal, however, it also can be made with butter which is still more delicious.

The dough can be made a day ahead of baking but the best rise is when baked on the same day as mixed!

Cushionaire or two stacked pans are needed for this rich sweet dough to prevent overbrowning of the bottom.

Recipe Follows

Continue reading "Challah: Soft, Moist, and Flavorful with Step by Step Photos Part 1" »

Challah: Soft, Moist, and Flavorful with Step by Step Photos Part 2

Sep 06, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious























My Best Bagels with Step by Step Photos Part 1

Jul 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious


This is the first in a series of 5 by monthly postings on my favorite breads complete with step by step photos. The photos will come at the end of the recipe and as there are so many, I will be dividing them into two postings, one immediately following the other, to make downloading faster and easier.


Levy's Bagels

If you've never had a homemade bagel you are in for a great surprise. Most commercial bagels lack the delicious complexity of flavor and the pleasant degree of chewiness. The chewiness is a result of using high gluten flour but as this is not readily available in supermarkets I decided to make my own by using Gold Medal Better for Bread flour and adding gluten. It worked perfectly.

The dough is quick to make and then can stored overnight before shaping, making it an ideal weekend project. Authentic bagels need to be boiled before baking. The shaping, boiling, and baking are somewhat time consuming, therefore it behooves you to make a batch of an adequate size and power. This is only possible with a heavy duty mixer and the Ankarsrum is ideal.

Bagels are very much a part of my heritage. My first bread memory and my first teething ring are one and the same. My mother, who was a dentist, considered the bagel an ideal natural teething ring because of its firm yet forgiving texture. But it was my father who brought us freshly-baked bagels on a string every Friday afternoon after he made his weekly delivery of bagel peels. In the 1940's after the war and the early 1950's, when times were hard, my father Robert Levy, a skilled cabinet maker, turned to bagel peel production and laid claim to the exclusive bagel peel business in the greater New York area which included the five boroughs and all of New Jersey. This did not make us rich, but we had all the bagels we could eat.

A peel is a flat wooden pallet with a long pole as handle, designed for transferring bread to and from the oven in commercial bread bakeries. Peels used for bagels are only slightly wider than the bagel itself. In traditional bagel production, the bagels, after being boiled in salted water, are placed on a wooden board and set in the oven, often as deep as 20 feet. When the tops of the bagels are firm, a piece of string is run under the bagels to release them and they are inverted onto the hot oven shelf. The peel is used to move them about so that they bake evenly and to remove them from the oven. Making my bagel recipe in a home oven, however, does not require a bagel peel, however, I regret that my father did not save one of his for me to put up in my kitchen as decoration.

Recipe Follows

Continue reading "My Best Bagels with Step by Step Photos Part 1" »

My Best Bagels with Step by Step Photos Part 2

Jul 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious





























Freakishly Good Bread

Jan 11, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious


This is a 'no knead' bread but it is not by any stretch a 'no stretch' bread and therein lies the difference. This impressive loaf is the "Overnight White Bread" from Ken Forkish's book Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. It boasts a crunchy/chewy crust, full flavor, and open crumb without the pastiness of the no knead bread and yet it's proportion of ingredients is nearly identical, the only difference being half the yeast.

Analyzing why two breads with the same hydration and ingredients would be so different I concluded that it had to be the way in which the Overnight White Bread is manipulated. Whereas the No Knead Bread is mixed by hand and then left to rise until shaping, the Overnight White Bread is stretched and folded several times. This technique enables the bread to maintain its gas bubbles by strengthening it's structure and changes the way in which the bread ferments.


One would think that half the yeast would result in a slower rise but, in fact, the suggested rising time is 10 to 12 hours compared to the 18 hours of the no knead bread.


The informational and instructional writing in this book is a brilliant model of clarity. I was so deeply impressed I looked forward to the day when I might meet the author. The opportunity arose at the International Association of Culinary Professional's awards ceremony in San Francisco where Forkish won the best baking book. In a room filled with people, by some miracle I found him. He smiled, reached out his hand, and although it pained me to do so, in good conscience I explained that I had a very bad cold and didn't want him to catch it. His eyes widened in horror and he physically recoiled as I tried to tell him how much I admired his work.

Continue reading "Freakishly Good Bread" »

Glazes for Bread: Did you Know?

Nov 03, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes


The quality of bread crust is not determined only by the type of bread being baked. There are glazes and toppings that can help to achieve a range of textures from soft and velvety to crisp and crunchy.

Here is the full range of possibilities:

Type of Glazes and Toppings
A crisp crust: Water (brushed or spritzed)
A powdery, rustic chewy crust: Flour (dusted)
A soft velvety crust: Melted butter, preferably clarified (1/2 tablespoon per average loaf)
A crisp light brown crust: 1 egg white (2 tablespoons) and 1/2 teaspoon water, lightly beaten and strained (the ideal sticky glaze for attaching seeds)
A medium shiny golden crust: 2 tablespoons egg (lightly beaten to measure) and 1 teaspoon water, lightly beaten
A shiny deep golden brown crust: 1 egg yolk (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon heavy
cream, lightly beaten
A shiny medium golden brown crust: 1 egg yolk (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon milk, lightly beaten
A very shiny hard crust: 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch and 6 tablespoons water: whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the water. Bring the remaining 1/4 cup
water to a boil and whisk the cornstarch mixture into it; simmer for about 30 seconds,
or until thickened and translucent. Cool to room temperature, then brush on the bread
before baking and again as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Note: When using an egg glaze, it goes on most smoothly if strained. I like to add a pinch of salt to make it more liquid and easier to pass through the strainer.

An egg glaze will lose its shine if using steam during the baking process.

My preference is to use Safest Choice pasteurized eggs.

Sprouted Ancient Grains Flour

Jun 02, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

A few weeks ago I posted information (and a recipe) about a terrific flour made from sprouted wheat. Joe Lindley, of Lindley Mills, also sent me a sample of his sprouted ancient grains flour. These grains are buckwheat, sorghum, millet, amaranth, and quinoa, but no wheat, so I should have realized that a bread made without wheat would also lack the gluten necessary for a good texture and rise unless augmented by other substitute ingredients. Instead I proceeded to make a loaf with 100% ancient grain flour. Here are the unfortunate and inedible results:



When I mixed the dough and did the first stretch and fold I noticed at once that the dough lacked structure and tore easily so I kneaded in a good bit of vital wheat gluten, dissolved first in water. This did increase the structure but not adequately. I immediately reported all this to my friend and colleague Peter Reinhart who introduced me to this flour. He said that he uses only 20% ancient grains and 80% of the sprouted wheat flour. The bread is so quick to make I immediately whipped up a batch of this type of dough and here are the magnificent results:



I like the extra flavor dimension and slightly softer texture of this loaf even more than with the 100% sprouted wheat flour.

Sprouted Ancient Grains Flour is available at Lindley Mills (Joe Lindley) 336-376-6190

Sprouted Wheat Flour--the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

May 19, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Sprouted Wheat.jpg

I have made my own sprouted wheat and added it to bread and although the results were delicious, the sprouts that rose to the surface became unpleasantly hard enough to encourage me to abandon the practice. So imagine my delight when chef/author/teacher par excellence Peter Reinhart told me that he was offering a class on bread made with sprouted wheat flour. When the sprouted wheat is ground finely the result is the incredibly silky texture of the dough and open grained springy, moist, and soft texture of the bread's crumb and is nothing short of amazing.

There are many virtues to this flour. For one thing, it flies in the face of conventional artisanal bread-making. Peter informed us that rather than requiring a preferment or long fermentation for depth of flavor, this is provided by the flour itself in much less time because the enzyme activity is already accomplished during the sprouting phase. (The dough, however, can be held for up to three days in the refrigerator.)

A bread made with 100% sprouted wheat flour will be much milder than one made with 100% whole wheat flour. It will also be sweeter in flavor and much softer and moister in texture.

Another virtue of major importance is that bread made with sprouted wheat flour is considered to be more digestible and tolerable to those with some degree of wheat allergy or gluten intolerance that is not true celiac disease. The following is a fascinating explanation from the Essential Eating Site:

Continue reading "Sprouted Wheat Flour--the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread" »

Beerless Bread

Jul 09, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread


Some people love beer bread. Elliott is not one of them. when I sang the praises of how easy it is to make, especially in a food processor, he said: "couldn't you make it without the beer?" Oh dear. Now why didn't I think of that? Once, when I was short on beer, I added water to reach to correct weight. So this time, I made it with all water and have to report that if you're looking for a super quick and easy basic sandwich loaf, this is a winner. Of course the addition of old sourdough starter will add flavor dimension but it will still be worth making without it.

Incidentally, the beer gives it more flavor and a darker color, especially if you use a stout. All of the alcohol bakes off but if you prefer to use non-alcoholic beer, that will also work.



Here's the link to the recipe which was posted on the blog.

Baking Bread in Heat Waves

Jul 31, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements


Tomorrow's August and if it's as hot or hotter than July has been how are you going to feel justified heating up the whole house in order to have home-made bread for your height of the season tomato sandwiches or BLT's?

I've been meaning to try this technique for years and this current intense heat-wave finally spurred me into action. I was stunned and delighted by how easy it was to transition from indoor oven to outdoor gas grill.

I have a Weber Summit with 4 burners which makes it possible to turn off the two center burners to avoid blackening the bottom of the bread. I'm reasonably sure that this method can be adapted to any 4 burner gas grill but have my doubts about the charcoal grill as it's close to impossible to get hot enough to make this bread effectively.

Here's the basic method using my adaptation of the "No Knead Bread" Here's the link to the recipe if you haven't already printed or saved it.

Use heavy duty pot holders, preferably mitten-type that protect your lower arms.

Place the covered cast iron Dutch oven on the grill racks and preheat it along with the grill for 20 minutes. The grill will be about 550˚F/285˚C after 10 minutes but the Dutch oven requires an additional 10 minutes. Set a trivet or heavy duty rack alongside the grill.

Remove the pot lid (I set it back on the grill). Transfer the Dutch oven to the trivet and close the grill. Allow the Dutch oven to sit for about 1 minute to cool slightly. (I checked with my infra-red thermometer and it was 475˚F/245˚C.) Transfer the bread to the Dutch oven, cover with the lid, and set it back on the grill racks in the center of the grill. Work quickly so the heat does not escape or dissipate. Turn off the two center burners.

Bake as usual for 20 minutes. (My grill with center burners off maintained 450˚F/230˚C during this 20 minute period.) Remove the pot lid and continue baking for 10 minutes. (The grill was now 440˚F/225˚C.) Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and set it directly onto the grill racks in the center of the grill. Continue baking for 10 minutes. Turn off the burners and allow the bread to sit in the covered grill for 10 minutes.


This basic technique will probably work with a charcoal grill for breads that require lower temperatures. If you've already tried baking bread in your grill do report back!

Time for Burger Buns Again!

Jun 04, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread


Instead of making 4 buns i made 3 and used the remainder for the 3 little slider buns (50 grams/1.7 ounces each). They take only 10 minutes to bake. And I used egg white instead of water to help the sesame seeds adhere better.

here's the link to the original posting with recipe.

Another Fabulous Maggie Bread

Oct 17, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

I hope by now you've all bought or checked out from the library Maggie's wonderful book Artisan Baking. It's worth it for this recipe alone--The Royal Crown's Tortano, which is one of my very favorite breads. I was enticed to make it by the description that it had holes the size of radishes!

A small amount of potato and honey give the crust a magnificent rustic color and wonderful depth of flavor.

There is the most minute amount of yeast (0.3%) which means that the dough rises long and slow developing still more flavor. If these pictures don't tempt you I don't know what will!

Another Word on No Knead Bread!

Sep 26, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Since this has turned out to be one my husbands top three favorite breads, I decided to streamline the process of placing the sticky dough into the 500˚F cast iron Dutch oven. Someone had mentioned success with letting the dough rise on parchment and then using the parchment to lower it into the pan. I tried this and it worked well except that the parchment on the sides pleated and made the crust look less attractive.

Next I tried using a large coffee urn filter and it was just perfect as a container except that it was impossible to remove from the sides of the pan and I spend about an hour with a single-edge razor until I decided that a little coffee filter wouldn't hurt us. It was so integrated into the crust Elliott never noticed (at least he didn't comment)>

Next try was spraying the coffee filter with vegetable shortening and flour spray. It stuck just about as badly. Finally I lined the inside of the coffee filter with a 13-inch round of teflon-type paper and that worked like a charm. I'm sure that a round of parchment or even foil would work about as well.

You need to have the pleated cup-shaped filter lie flat so put a weight such as a can of either side. Set the 13 inch round on top and then center the dough on top of it.

Remove the weights and the sides of the filter will curve up. I lifted the edges of the filter and set it in a bowl to give the dough support while rising.

When the dough has risen to the point that when pressed it fills the depression in slowly (wet your finger first so it won't stick) use sharp shears, run under cold water to prevent sticking to cut a deep cross in the top of the dough and lifting the sides of the filter lower it into the preheated Dutch oven.

Here's how it looks before unmolding.

Unmold the bread, set it on a Cushionaire pan or double baking sheet to prevent burning of the bottom and continue baking as per the recipe (do a search on the blog if you don't already have it).

It may seem like a lot of trouble but it's a lot less messy and more pleasant to do.

The fully baked bread

Bread Primer Launched on Epicurious!

Feb 04, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Here it is: all the basic techniques, ingredients, equipment, and recipes for bread baking. I worked with Epicurious for many months to create this useful primer. It just launched today and I couldn't wait to share it with all of you.

If you're new to bread baking. this primer will give you a great jump start. If you're already a pro you may learn a few new tricks and recipes.


The Holiest Bread Ever

Nov 22, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

One of my greatest bread challenges in bread baking was achieving the wonderful open-holed crumb of artisan bread such as it appears on Maggie Glezer’s magnificent bread book “Artisan Baking Across America.”

I tried everything until in desperation I decided to call Maggie herself. It was a ‘cold call’ as we had never met and I felt mighty shy about it, so when Maggie answered and said she’d call me right back I feared she was just being polite and didn’t have time to talk to me. Wrong! As wrong as I could paranoidically have been. The adorable Maggie called back in moments to tell me that she just had to tell her mother that I had called! I couldn’t stop giggling with relief and amusement.

Essentially Maggie explained the importance of hydration (high water content), keeping the dough very sticky, and maintaining the bubbles through gentle handling when shaping. I went on to make many of Maggie’s wonderful recipes from the book and did succeed in achieving those elusive holes.

Recently fellow blogger Beth Glixon reported making and enjoying the Ciabatta from Maggie’s book so I had to try it. When I cut into it I was astonished by the size and shape of the numerous holes which were coated with the slight shine indicative of well-fermented artisan bread. I ran right into the bedroom to show my husband. His hopeful response: “Oh! is that the no knead bread?” But these holes are even more magnificent and the crumb lacks that slight pastiness of the no knead bread.

Continue reading "The Holiest Bread Ever" »

Special for Whole Wheat Wimps

Aug 30, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

26 Percent Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

For those of you who pefer less than 50% whole wheat bread, here’s my modification for the Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread posted a few months ago.

Decrease the water and the honey each by 1 tablespoon. Use 2 1/3 cups/12.3 ounces/352 grams Gold Medal Harvest King/Better for Bread flour, 1 cup 5 ounces/142 grams whole wheat flour.

The resulting bread will be higher and lighter both in color and texture than the 50% version. Mine was 5 ¼ inches high and looked like this:

The Bread Baking

The Baked Bread

A Slice to Show the Crumb

The Ultimate BLT

Aug 13, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Every summer, when the Jersey tomatoes are in full swing, I start thinking BLT. But this summer, it wasn't the juicy beefsteak tomatoes that drove me as much as the new technique suggested by my dear friend Elizabeth Karmel, author of Taming the Flame, and my grilling goddess, for grilling the bacon. Wow! Why did I never think of this before? It is so quick, effective, and mess-less. With a gas grill, preheat the grill and then turn the middle burners to low. Place the bacon on top and grill for about 2 minutes a side, watching carefully so that it crisps to the degree of your preference without burning, though a few char spots add extra slightly smoky flavor.

The BLT in this photo is on the 50% wholewheat bread, previously posted. I recommend toasting it very lightly as too crisp a toast hurts the palate.

Ah the combination of wheaty bread, a gilding of mayo, a suggestion of crisp lettuce, juicy tomato that threatens to run down your wrist, and my favorite bacon which more often than not is Harrington's from Vermont (it's smoked over corn husks). It's been my favorite since I first tasted it almost a half century ago (I kid you not!)

Adding Old Starter to Bread Dough

Aug 12, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Several of my recipes I've offered on this blog give an option for adding old unfreshed stiff sour dough starter when making bread dough. I do this to add depth of flavor, moistness, and longer shelf life. I always have left over starter after the weekly feeding of my sourdough starter so I freeze it exactly for this use.

I would not want to add it to a soft bread dough such as a soft white sandwich loaf or brioche because it makes the texture slightly firmer. But I do add it to most other doughs and I do add it to challah because it makes the dough more stretchy and easier to braid.

You need to keep in mind that there is no salt in this starter so you need to add extra salt to balance the flour and water. You may also need to use a slightly larger pan or cut off the equivalent amount or weight of dough and bake it as a roll.

If you retard the dough overnight, it will not rise quite as high so you can then use the same size bread pan as the one you would use without the starter. A bread that rises to 5 inches for example will rise to only about 4 1/2 inches if retarded for 8 to 12 hours.

Of course you will need to make or purchase a sour dough starter and add enough flour to it to make it the consistency of soft bread dough.

To determine how much starter to use in the dough, multiply the weight of the flour in the dough by 16% and that will be the weight of the starter.

For every 75 grams/2.6 ounces of starter add 1/8 teaspoon salt to the recipe.

I like to soften the starter by cutting or tearing it in pieces and soaking it in the water used for the dough for 30 minutes before adding the other ingredients. This helps to distribute it more evenly throughout the dough.

I am so devoted to this technique I may never write another bread book because it presupposes people will have or make or buy a starter and I feel it would be a serious compromise to omit this! The alternative would be to give the recipe with and without added starter the way I do for recipes on this blog...hmmmmmm

Golden Honey Oat Bread Revisited

Jul 29, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Sunday, on my return from Hope, NJ, I ran right to the local supermarket to check if the new packaging for Gold Medal Better for Bread had arrived and there it was--the beautiful bright yellow package with my picture on the lower right hand bottom. And I lost no time in making a bread on Monday. This is the bread recipe previously posted--just put the words oat bread in the search box.

I was never happy with the photo of the finished loaf with the barley bran so here is a photo of my new version and a cut slice. I used the variation of part oat flakes and part cracked flax and added my old starter. i think i'll cut back on the salt by 1/ 8 teaspoon next time. Though it's the same 2.2% salt i usually use I think the oat flakes and flax somehow accentuate the saltiness.

Any way, I encourage you to try the recipe if you haven't already. It's a delicious and healthful loaf with great texture, and makes a great sandwich bread. The drawer in the freezer for Elliott's snacks was getting very low so I thought I'd better fill it with bread for when I'll be away. I told him the bread was for him and his response was: "No! It's for you!" When I asked him why his explanation was :"You just love baking bread!" Can't deny it!!!

Golden Burger Buns

Jul 12, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

The Perfect Two by Fours

When I wrote The Bread Bible, I didn’t include burger buns thinking no one would go to the effort of making them. Well I was wrong—I do! I’ve tried many versions, including the Sweet Heart of Wheat, Basic Hearth Bread, and even Ten Grain. They were all wonderful but what I really wanted was a softer bread so I switched to sweet potato dough. My first trials were with added old starter and though good, they kept the dough from being as soft as I had hoped for.

Here, just in time for the rest of the grilling season (which for me is all year!) are is my top favorite bun. The sweet potato adds a beautiful golden color, moistness and softness. I always toast them lightly—if the grill is on I do it on the grill but watching carefully as they toast within seconds.

These are great for lots more than burgers for example crab cakes, or even fried eggs, chicken, tuna, or egg salad.

When I use them for hamburgers I get 4 inch half pound ground aged beef patties from my favorite butcher Pino, on Sullivan Street. It was his son Sal's idea and the flavor and juiciness of the beef makes these the best hamburgers I've ever had. My preference is to sprinkle them with salt before grilling and then pepper afterwards and to serve them with a thick slice of Vidalia onion and ketchup but not too much as I don't want to mask the flavor of the beef.

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Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

Jun 28, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

This is my favorite new whole wheat sandwich loaf that I've been promising to post.
I look forward to hearing if you love it as much as I do.

I've found that using 50 percent whole wheat and 50 percent white wheat flour is the perfect balance for flavor and texture. There is enough gluten from the white wheat flour to give it excellent volume and consistency. Adding the starter gives it a longer shelf life and also incredibly perfect depth of flavor but it's great even without it or you could substitute the suggested old bread dough. Simply save some when you are making a loaf of hearth bread. It keeps at room temperature for about 6 hours, refrigerated for 48 hours and refrigerated for at least 3 months. If you omit the old starter or if you add old dough (which already has the right balance of salt) you will need to use 1/8 teaspoon less salt.

I've worked out some tips for working with whole wheat flour should you want to replace other recipes with part whole wheat. They will be at the end of the recipe for those who are interested. But just one essential tip right up front: Whole wheat flour must be fresh to give a sweet wheaty flavor to the bread as opposed to a bitter (rancid) flavor. You can grind your own or purchase it. If grinding your own you need to use it within 3 days or store it for 3 weeks up to 3 months. For longer storage freeze for up to 1 year. If purchasing the flour, make sure to check the expiration date. You can also freeze it for up to 1 year.

Oven Temperature: 450F/230˚C, then 400°F/200˚C
Baking Time: 35 to 45 minutes.

50% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Makes: An 8 1/2 inch by 5 inch by 4 1/2 to 5 inch high loaf (927 grams/2 pounds)








water, room temperature
(70 to 90°F.)


1 1/2 cups
(12 fluid ounces)


12 ounces


342 grams

old starter or old bread

about 1/4 cup

2.6 ounces

75 grams


2 tablespoons

1.5 ounces

40 grams

whole wheat flour

1 3/4 cups

8.7 ounces

247 grams

Gold Medal Harvest
King/Better for Bread

1 2/3 cups

8.7 ounces

247 grams

non-fat milk powder

3 tablespoons



instant yeast

1 1/8 teaspoons


3.6 grams

oil, preferably canola or

2 tablespoons

1 ounce

27 grams


1 1/2 + 1/8


9.7 grams

Equipment: A 9 inch by 5 inch (7 cup) loaf pan (8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan if not using old starter) greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. A baking stone or baking sheet.

1) Soak the Starter: In a mixer bowl, place the water and tear the starter or old bread dough into small pieces into it. Add the honey, cover and allow it to sit for about 1 hour.

In a large bowl whisk together the whole wheat flour, Harvest King Better for Bread flour, non-fat milk powder, and yeast. Add about 2 cups/300 grams/10.5 ounces to the water mixture and whisk until smooth and the consistency of a thick pancake batter. (This is to distribute the pieces of starter evenly.)
(If using a bread machine place the water and honey in a medium bowl. Tear the starter into the bowl, in a few pieces, and stir it together until it is soft. Scrape it into the bowl of the bread machine. Whisk together the two flours but not the yeast or salt and sprinkle the mixture on top. Let sit covered 30 minutes to 1 hour.)

2) Mix the dough: Add the rest of the flour mixture and, with the dough hook, mix on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened to form a rough dough. Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Add the oil and knead the dough on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) for 7 minutes, adding the salt after the oil is mixed in.
(In the bread machine, mix it for 3 minutes and then autolyse--let rest--for 20 minutes. Add the oil and knead for 7 minutes, adding the yeast after the first minute and the salt after the yeast is mixed in. )

The dough should be sticky enough to cling to your fingers. If it is not at all sticky spray it with a little water and knead it. (The dough should weigh about 2 pounds, 3 1/2 ounces /1011grams/ a little more than 1 quart).

3) Let the dough rise: Place the dough into a 3 quart or larger dough rising container greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Press down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top. Cover the container tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 80°F/26˚C.) until doubled in size, about an hour and 10 minutes.

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, remove the dough to a lightly floured counter. Press down on it gently to form a rectangle. Stretch the dough and give it a package fold (pull out the bottom and fold it to the center, then the same with the left side, right side, and top), round the edges and return it to the bowl, smooth side up. Again, oil the surface, cover, mark where double the height will now be (3 quarts) and allow it to rise until it reaches this point, about 1 hour. (Or refrigerate it overnight and bring it to room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding, pushing it down when it reaches 3 quarts.)

4) Shape the dough and let it rise: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter, smooth side down, and press it gently to flatten it. It will still be a little sticky but use only as much flour as absolutely necessary to keep it from sticking. Allow the dough to rest covered for 20 minutes. Dimple it all over with your finger tips to eliminate air bubbles, shape it into a loaf, and place it in the prepared loaf pan. It should fill the pan no more than 1/2 inch from the top. Cover it lightly with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until the highest point is 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the sides of the pan and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in--about 45 minutes.

5) Preheat the oven: 1 hour before baking set a cast iron pan lined with foil onto the floor of the oven and preheat the oven to 450F/230˚C.

6) Bake the bread: Spritz the top of the dough with water. Quickly but gently set the bread pan onto the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door, lower the temperature to 400°F/205˚C, and bake 35 to 45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will register 190° to 205°F/88 to 96˚C. Half-way through baking rotate the pan half way around for even baking.

7) Cool the bread Remove the bread from the oven, unmold it from the pan, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely, top-side up.

Note: If not using the starter omit the extra 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Continue reading "Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf" »

Speja Apricot Raisin & Walnut Bread

Jun 14, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

This is the bread that I fell in love with in Stockholm from the award winning book Riddarbageriets Bröd By John Sörbergs.

I am offering both my version and the original for comparison. The original uses two starters, a white wheat starter and a rye starter. Since I only have a white wheat starter I calculated the amount of rye in what I assume to be a liquid starter and added that to the over-all flour for the dough. I substituted instant yeast for the fresh yeast and increased the percentage slightly as I’m using old starter rather than active starter. I increased the hydration from 66 percent to 70.5% because I have come to prefer a lighter moister crumb. And I shaped the dough into a torpedo/batarde rather than a round boule and slice it on the diagonal but if you prefer you can shape it into a boule.

I’ve found that softening stiff starter in the water for a minimum of 30 minutes helps it to integrate more evenly throughout the crumb.

The starter gives this bread extra moistness and depth of flavor. If you don’t have one you can substitute old dough from the last batch of bread. It keeps at room temperature for about 6 hours refrigerated for 48 hours, or frozen for about 3 months. If you omit the starter and the old dough you’ll need to use 1/8 plus 1/16 teaspoon less salt.

This bread is wonderful with cheese including blue cheese or just with butter.

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The Perfect Popover for Breakfast!

Mar 29, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Are you all familiar with the wonderful mail order catalogue called Levenger's? Recently I ordered a beautiful cherry work table for Hope and couldn't wait to tell my father the cabinet maker that it came disassembled and I was able to put it together on my own except for the long 5 inch screws that needed heavy duty muscle to penetrate all the way through from the frame to the table top (thanks Elliott!).

In the process of purchasing the table I gave my e-mail address for confirmation. Since this include the words "cake bible," Linda (who was delightfully helpful taking my order and arranging for delivery here in the woods) asked me what that meant. This led to a request for a breakfast quiche. I persuaded her to accept this fun and easy-to-make breakfast popover instead!

This is reprinted from my book The Bread Bible.

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My New Best Bread Friend

Mar 15, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

I love Maggie Glezer’s book Artisan Bread and have made many recipes from it but it wasn’t until I saw the photos and posting of the Tom Cat's Semolina Filone on the October 16, 2007 posting in www.breabasketcase.blogspot.com that I just had to try it. I’ve made it twice and will be making it again many times because it is so amazingly good. In fact, while it is baking the aroma is so heavenly it encourages one to breathe more deeply just to hold onto the marvelous scent more fully.

The second time I made this bread I only had enough durum flour left to make a three-quarter recipe and that is a lovely size too. I also find the dough more manageable at 73% hydration so have added 100 grams/ 3.5 ounces extra flour and still love the texture. Maggie recommends a combination of half bread flour half unbleached all purpose but Gold Medal Better for Bread flour aka Harvest King is about the same protein content and seems to work perfectly. Because I added extra flour I also increased the salt by 1/2 teaspoon to keep it at 2%. As Maggie points out, different flours (or methods of measuring rather than weighing) will alter the consistency of the dough so add only as much flour as will make you feel comfortable to handle the dough. This is my adaptation of Maggie’s wonderful recipe.

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Bubka Bliss

Feb 23, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

I first met fellow author and baking sister Marcy Goldman in Montreal during the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) annual conference. She had invited me out to her home for a visit along with two other bakers and it was an enchanting experience to be in her kitchen tasting the cakes she made for us as we all talked baking. She also presented me with a beautiful rolling pin of her design which I used yesterday to roll out the bubka from her new book A Passion for Baking. I am sitting here (having already eaten a piece for breakfast and I don't usually eat breakfast, trying to fight off the impulse to defrost a slice I stashed in the freezer to make just such a temptation less convenient.

One of our fellow bloggers asked me what I thought of Marcy's bubka compared to the babka I had described in a previous posting. So of course I had to find out first hand even though I knew it was going to be wonderful--all the more so!

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Sweet Heart of Sprouted Wheat Bread

Feb 16, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

I'm posting this recipe at the request of one of the members of this blog.

Sprouting wheat berries is easy and fun but does take several days of pre-thought. It is a fantastic "science" project for kids as they get to see one of the most simple and basic forms of life that sustains our life--the grain of wheat and how water wakes it up out of dormancy (sleep) to sprout into the potential of a stalk of wheat or as in this case a loaf of bread with delightful crunch. Maybe we should rename it Sleeping Beauty Bread!

The sprouted wheat berries that rise to the top of the dough become very hard during baking so try to avoid having to many on the surface.

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Bread in Under Two Minutes

Feb 09, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

After the presentation demo in January we invited Woody to come with us to Hope for the weekend. We spent the whole weekend cooking and baking. I made him roast duck (he only had it once before in his life), wild Concord grape pie with grapes stored in the freezer since Summer of 1994 (you do the math!) that tasted as fresh as the day they were picked by me, blueberry pancakes with Seville orange curd, and beer bread for his ham sandwich to take on the plane.

I've decided that the time has come to label the sugar and salt antique glass canisters which are so close to identical that I ended up putting sugar in the bread instead of salt. I knew for sure I had put in what I thought to be salt but was puzzled why it rose faster than usual and also had a flat taste. It took several days for it to come to me--it was sugar not salt! This was not a total disaster as the ham was salty and it also led me to reinvestigate the recipe that is in The Bread Bible. It is for a free-form loaf made in the food processor. I thought it would make a great sandwich bread baked in a loaf pan but needed to have a softer crust so I added oil and also my beloved stiff starter for extra moistness and flavor.

This is my personal contribution to the "no knead bread" category. It is both faster and easier to handle and has more depth of flavor from the beer and the starter. If you prefer the same technique can be used replacing the beer with water. I'm not a beer drinker but I enjoy the slight bitterness of the stout. Elliott does not.

It is a fabulous bread with ham, cheddar cheese, and even orange marmalade which I made last week. Call it fighting bitter with bitter!

Edit: A correction has been made to the ingredients for this recipe because oil was missing from the original list.

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A Fabulous New Bread Recipe for the New Year!

Dec 22, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Golden Honey Oat Bread

I’ve been working for a long time on a healthful bread with delicious flavor but also my ideal of a perfect texture. The result is this nutritious bread which is also amazingly light, soft, and slightly chewy with lovely crunch from the flax seed. The wheatiness of the whole wheat, flax and oat or barley flakes together with the sweetness from the honey conspire to make this one of my top favorite breads so I am offering it to all of you as my Winter/holiday present for a happy and healthy New Year.

Be sure to use the vital wheat gluten, available in many supermarkets and health food markets. It is the secret to the marvelously light texture of the bread which usually becomes quite dense with the addition of whole wheat and other grains.

Note: Though the photo shows a sprinkling of barley flakes on the crust, I prefer not to sprinkle the top of the loaf with oat or barley flakes as they tend to get hard and fall off when cut.

Note: If anyone wants to make a version using old starter see notes at end of recipe!

TIME SCHEDULE Minimum Rising: About 3 hours Oven Temperature: 400°F/200°C, then 375°F/190°C Baking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Makes: One Loaf about 4 1/2 inches high

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Quick: Get this Babka Out of the House!!!

Dec 18, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

...because i can't stop eating it! when i saw the article by my friend and esteemed colleague joan nathan in last wednesday's new york times, the texture and swirl of the crumb just drew me right in. i grew up on 95th street and central park west and my parents each went to eclair on a regular basis (eclair was mentioned in the article), my mother during the week to pick up my favorite whipped cream filled eclair and my father on sundays to pick up a babka.

in my bread book i have recipes for brioche and for kugelhopf, both of which are similar to babka but not the same thing. babka is somewhere between a rich coffee cake and a brioche. compared to my brioche it has about half the egg, two-thirds the butter, and about 1/3 cup more liquid. All this conspires to make a softer and lighter cake/bread.

i am a great fan of ann amernick whose new book "the art of the dessert"(john wiley 2007) contains this recipe. you can also get the recipe by going to this link at the New York Times. you will find several choices of filling and topping. i used the cinnamon-raisin filling adapted from katja goldman, but soaked the raisins in rum as adapted from mrs. london's, saratoga springs, n.y. and i used ann's streusel topping with the cinnamon.

here are a few of my baking notes:

i like ann's use of part cake flour as it makes a more tender cake-like crumb but it also makes the dough fragile and prone to tearing so lift it carefully when placing it in the pan and if it tears as mine did, just pinch it together. it actually looks most attractive with some of the raisins and sugar spilling out and carmelizing on the crust. but i wouldn't try twisting it as indicated when placing it in the pan unless you use all ubleached all-purpose flour or you want it to break open.

those of you who prefer weight to volume, the all-purpose flour (be sure to use unbleached or the dough will fall apart completely) is 10 ounces/285 grams and the cake flour 3 ounces/85 grams. alternatively use a total of 13 ounces/369 grams unbleached all-purpose flour.

if you use instant yeast you can add it directly to the flour. use only 2 teaspoons and add the 1 tablespoon of water to the milk (which by the way i prefer to scald and then bring to room temperature before using).

i also increased the salt from 1/8 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon.

i used my nordicware "Classic Anniversary Bundt" which is non-stick and 15 cup capacity but the standard 12 cup bundt that's called for will work as it didn't come up to the very top of the pan. but the extra height did serve to shield the streusel topping so if using the 12 cup bundt you may want to tent it loosely with foil after the first 30 minutes of baking. by the way, i did not line the pan with parchment, but coated it with cooking spray and it released beautifully--even the escaped caramel part.

my instant read thermometer registered 188 after 50 minutes of baking. i unmolded the babka onto a rack as soon as it came out of the oven. almost all of the streusel stayed on what was now the bottom. as it was 11:00 at night, and i didn't want to ruin the crisp crust and streusel by covering it, i stayed up to watch "kinsey" on othe late show and by the time it was over the babka was completely cool! so i covered it with an inverted plastic box and dove into it this morning.

when you see the photos i took you'll understand just why it provided such a temptation. by the way, the little brass doorstop in the photo is an antique punch and judy. i usually move it away from the best light location for photos but this time it seemed appropriate as babka means little old-lady. actually just old lady or grandmother but in my era they were always little (now we take calcium pills)! bubba, alta bubba, babcha--they're all yiddish and polish variations which sound as endearing, comforting, and lovable as this recipe.

p.s. except for one piece, the missing part in the photo was all consumed by me withint 10 minutes!

White Chocolate Chip Bread

Oct 06, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Update: Now with photos!

I wanted to include this recipe in The Bread Bible but it necessitated a second visit to Club Med by my cousin Elizabeth who gave me the recipe after a prior visit. The original recipe was all in metrics (no problem there) but included “Puratos” as one of the ingredients. Luckily I had learned about this interesting product, which is a sourdough starter sprayed onto the yeast, when I went on a bakery tour in Switzerland, sponsored by Albert Uster several years ago. I replaced it with my usual old sourdough starter and was delighted by the results.

The white chocolate chips (and be sure to use the variety that contains cocoa butter such as Nestle’s) melt and form little spaces in the bread which become coated with the chocolate forming a lacy crumb. I love it for breakfast or tea time (not that my work schedule allows for it) lightly toasted with butter and strawberry jam or sprinkled with cinnamon with just enough sugar to separate it for even distribution which is equal volume


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Food Processor Ricotta Bliss Bread

Jul 20, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

the first time i saw bread being made in a food processor, in under 2 minutes, i didn’t know whether to be amazed or aghast but after speaking to fabrizio bottero of cuisinart, i learned just why it works so well. the gluten strands which develop and are then cut by the whirring blades during processing reconnect as soon as the processing stops.

this is an important lesson about bread dough. think of dividing the dough as you would about the human body as in a break vs. a sprain. a break heals, a sprain is a tear that weakens a ligament and never repairs in the same way. this means that to have a strong viable dough you can cut it with sharp shears or a knife but not pull it apart to tear it!

(Recipe on the main page)

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A Word to the No Kneaders!

Jul 08, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

i experimented with dough rising temperature to give more leway for baking schedule this past week. after mixing the dough for the no knead bread i set it in the wine cellar which is about 60 degrees F/15 centigrade and left it for 24 hours. the bread actually rose 1/2 inch more than usual.
my father was so impressed by this bread he said it would be the first he would try on his return to upstate n.y. but i encouraged him to do the basic hearth bread on the back of the harvest king flour bag first as i could just picture him with the wet sticky no knead dough clinging to his hands! it looks so easy and it is--but not for a beginning bread baker. and i think i understand why now that i've seen my father touch the dough, so i want to share this advice.
when working with a super sticky dough, use a light quick touch. (it's just the opposite of nettle where the advice is to grasp it firmly or it stings you. touch the dough firmly and it will stick with a vengeance!) if it still sticks to your fingers use a little flour on the dough or on your hands or both, each time it threatens to stick. alternatively, dip your fingers in water as wet dough will not stick to wet fingers. but you'll need to do this every time you touch the dough.

Baby No Knead Bread Encore

May 21, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

last weekend the urge to bake a little no knead bread seized me although i didn't have any flour on hand suitable for bread baking . as it takes far less time to produce this bread than a trip to the local supermarket, i decided to experiment by using FOUR YEAR OLD unbleached all-purpose. interestingly and predictably, the flavor was good and the texture much less lacy than usual. no complaints from my husband who can be quoted as saying: "maybe the holes are important to you but they aren't to me--in fact i find them undesirable"!

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Fun Hamburger Bun Story for Washington Post

May 09, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Two weeks from today--Wednesday May 23--My story, including great recipe for Burger Buns will appear in the Washington Post. It will also be available on line should you not have access to the paper.

Cranberry Walnut Bread

Apr 02, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

As promised, here's the recipe for the cranberry walnut bread I made for my recent plane flight.

(Recipe on the main page)

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Plane Food

Mar 10, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Cranberry Walnut Bread

I’ve been carrying my own food on plane trips for years now but my husband usually prefers to eat what’s given on the plane. HOWEVER, now that one has the privilege of paying for such dreadful stuff, I’d have to be plain crazy not to bring my own and Elliott is now amenable to the idea. So two days before departing for our annual ski vacation in Deer Valley, I started the cranberry walnut bread destined to be filled with cold roast chicken for the trip. (brownies for dessert)

Since I baked it the day before, we already consumed about a third of it before making the sandwiches. The rest will be divided between breakfast before departure and the freezer for our return.

This seemed like an excellent opportunity for a step-by-step bread lesson so instead of packing in a timely way, and not waiting til the last minute, I photographed all the different stages of the bread.

For those of you who have the Bread Bible, you will already have the recipe. As you will see from the photos, I mixed it in the bread machine this time.

I made half the recipe (which baked in the same time) though I would recommend tenting it with foil after the first 30 minutes of baking and using a cushioned baking sheet or double baking sheets as this bread tends to brown readily.

The only thing I did that was different was to add 75 grams (2.6 ounces—a scant 1/4 cup) of stiff starter that I keep in the freezer to add to dough to give it extra flavor and extend its shelf-life. If you do this, defrost it and add it torn in pieces to the water mixture. Also add an extra 1/8 teaspoon of salt to balance the extra flour in the starter.
Anyone who doesn’t have the Bread Bible and wants to make this recipe let me know and I’ll post it on the blog on my return.

Sponge Peaking Through Flour Blanket After 1 1/2 Hours

See the rest of the photos on the individual page.

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Rose's Best Basic Loaf as Rosemary Flat Bread

Feb 19, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Someone on the blog asked about Harvest King flour and focaccia which reminded me that I was planning to post the recipe I created for the launch. It is based on the recipe I offered for the back of the flour bag with just a few minor modifications.

Please note that if you weigh the water and flour you wil get the large holes and desired texture but if you measure, and the hydration is not adequate (you added more flour than called for or less water) it will still be good but not as open a crumb so pay attention to the consistency. It needs to be very sticky when first mixed.If necessary, add more water. It will become much less sticky after the first rise. Only give it one rise and then the shaped rise for the most open holes.

Also, this dough benefits from adequate kneading in order to puff up well, i.e. don't use the no knead method here.

Harvest King Focaccia

The secret to the stretchy dough which bakes into a puffy flat bread with large irregular holes, is adding 11% oil and increasing the water to 72% hydration. Also makes great pizza!
Makes: Almost 2 pounds/876 grams of dough (14" x 11" x 1-1/2" high):

3 cups/1 pound/454 grams Harvest King flour
1/4 cup/1.25 ounces/35 grams whole wheat flour
1-1/4 teaspoons rapid rise, bread machine or other instant yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1-1/2 cups/12.5 ounces/354 grams room temperature water
1 teaspoon mild honey, such as clover
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil plus 4 teaspoons for oiling the pan and top of bread
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles
fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper to taste
Equipment: A baking sheet or half size sheet pan, or a 14 inch round pizza pan
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, whole wheat flour and yeast. Then whisk in the salt. Stir in the water, honey, and oil. Using a mixer with a dough hook or by hand with a wooden spoon, knead (if by hand stir vigorously) for about 3 minutes or until the dough begins to come away form the sides of the bowl. It will not come away completely and should be very sticky to the touch.
Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. After the first 30 minutes, scrape the dough onto an oiled counter and with oiled hands stretch it and give it a business letter fold. Repeat this a second time. The dough will no longer stick to your fingers.
Set the dough back in the bowl and let it finish rising. (Stick a finger into the center of the dough and if it keeps the indentation it's ready.) If baking it the following day, press down the dough and set it in a large oiled zipper type storage bag, leaving a tiny bit unzipped for the forming gas to escape, and refrigerate it. Remove it to room temperature 1 hour before shaping.
When ready to shape the dough, spread 2 teaspoons of all onto the baking sheet and set the dough on top. Flatten the dough gently with your fingertips to about 12 inches by 10 inches and 1/2 inch high. Try to keep as much air in the dough as possible. Oil the top of the dough with 2 teaspoons of oil. Cover with a large container or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until doubled to 1 inch high--about 1 hour.
While the dough is rising, set the oven rack toward the bottom and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it. Set a cast iron skillet or heavy baking pan on the floor of the oven or on the lowest shelf. Preheat the oven to 475F. for 45 minutes or longer.
With your finger tips, deeply dimple the dough all over. Sprinkle with the rosemary, salt, and pepper. Quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet, and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 5 minutes. Turn the sheet half way around and continue baking 10 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 210°F.).
Remove the bread to a wire rack to cool completely or until just warm.

And Now for a Little Something to Go with All That NK Bread

Feb 03, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

I never make soup. That’s because I’ve been under the mistaken impression that my husband of 30 years doesn’t like it. But having him home convalescing from his second successful hip-replacement surgery I’ve noticed that he’s been eating canned soup practically every day for lunch. Naturally I had to spring into action and do something about this.

What resulted was the best soup I’ve ever tasted—possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted period: soul satisfying, nourishing, complex flavors with exquisite texture. I mourned the last mouthful and licked both bowls. It didn’t hurt that extreme cold weather has arrived—finally—which makes everything taste that much better.

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Baby Hot Pot Bread Revisited

Jan 25, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Charmed as I was by the stellar performance of my little Lodge cast-iron 2 quart Dutch oven, I set out to see how it would work with my basic sourdough bread (a 500 gram Dough). I made it exactly as I always do (it's in the Bread Bible) and the finished size of 6 by 3 1/2 inches was exactly the same as before although the shape seemed more perfectly smooth and rounded like a pebble. After eleven no knead breads the beautifully complex and tangy flavor of this one was a relief from the ordinary.

Curious to see if I could arrive at the same lovely open crumb texture of the no knead bread with a sourdough bread I increased the hydration to 80% for my next trial. My husband dubbed the bread an anomaly, which I found to be the perfect descriptor. On shaped rising, it puddled from 6 inches to 8 inches and stuck mercilessly to the heavily floured Silpat while transferring it into the hot pot. The baked bread was pasty on the inside with streaks of flour in the middle where some of the upper crust landed while trying to get it into the pan. I seem to remember that I may have tried making a sourdough with higher hydration several years ago because it seems very familiar. Some lessons we have to learn more than once.

So what I learned from the first experiment is that the hot pot technique works wonderfully with the rustic breads other than the no knead (as I suspected). And that the best way to transfer sour dough bread into the hot pot, after it has risen in the banneton, is to sift flour lightly on the top of the dough, invert it onto the removable bottom of a tart pan with a nonstick surface, or coated with baking spray. It will spread out to about 7 inches, but don't worry. Simply slide it into the hot pot. During baking it will draw in and rise up perfectly. Here's proof of its survival!

Baby Bread--A Great New Technique

Jan 21, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Friday night UPS delivered my new little Lodge cast iron 2 quart Dutch oven and within minutes I mixed a half recipe of the no-knead bread and set it to ferment for it’s 18 hour visit in the 70ºF/21ºC bedroom.

This is the way I’ll do it from now on as with just two of us and the limited shelf life of the bread it’s the perfect amount for dinner and the next day. It was so delicious I ended up making an open-faced butter and grated chocolate dessert after dinner!

The preseasoned pot is so adorable and so easy to lift in and out of the oven I’m going to use it for all sorts of other things as well. I happen to adore cast iron and have a sizable collection of odd shapes and frying pans of all sizes. I even have my grandmother’s which is about 100 years old!

Here’s the recipe for the little loaf as I did it:

Continue reading "Baby Bread--A Great New Technique" »

No-Knead Balloon Bread Loaf #10

Dec 19, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

The 18 Hour Fermented Dough

The Shaped Dough 6 to 6-1/2 by 2 Inches High

The 2 Hour Proofed Dough 8 to 8-1/2 by 2 Inches High

Dough Placed into the Hot Dutch Oven

The Bread Baked 20 Minutes with the Lid on

The Bread Placed on a Baking Sheet to Bake for 10 More Minutes

The 4 Inch High Loaf Cooling and Still Crisp

The Sliced Loaf

One Slice Held up to The Light

Well that's what it looked like--an inflated balloon! I love the 80% hydration and may even increase it for the next go round. But this is pretty close to my idea of perfection for this bread.

I haven't yet tried it in the Lodge 5 quart enamel cast iron as they are temporarily out of stock and I'm sure it's due to this bread technique! But the reason I wanted to try it is because some people have reported problems with sticking in cast iron. This would not be the case if they used the Lodge pre-seasoned Dutch oven or if they already have a well-seasoned one. Lodge's website has great directions for seasoning cast iron if/when it needs it. I've never had the bread stick in my reseasoned cast iron Dutch oven and the pot keeps getting blacker and more beautiful through use.

My Final (to Date) Recipe Weights and Volume
Harvest King flour or half unbleached all-purpose half bread flour:
468 grams (about 3 cups)
room temperature water: 382 grams, 1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons/13 fluid ounces)
instant yeast: 0.8 grams/1/4 teaspoon
salt: 10 grams/1-2/3 teaspoons


Although free-form bread (baked on a stone) has the largest holes, 80% hydration is holey enough for me and I like the full 4 inch over-all height the Dutch oven side support gives it.

When bread is this moist and sticky, for shaping you need to scrape it onto a well- floured surface, and lightly flour the top before patting it down gently. Then use a bench scraper to help lift it for shaping. Latex gloves work wonderfully to keep it from sticking to your fingers if you're not comfortable with handling super sticky doughs.

Set the shaped dough on a coarse-weave towel sprinkled amply with bran. No need to sprinkle the top as it should have enough flour from the counter.

Bread with 80% hydration will spread to about 8 1/2 inches and only rise to 2 inches when fully proofed and ready to bake. At 80˚F/26˚C. this takes 2 hours.

Latex gloves are ideal for transferring it to the hot Dutch oven. I use one end of the towel to flip the dough onto my hand and then slide my other hand under it and lift it over the pot. I set it as close to the bottom of the pot as I can without risking burning my hands and then drop it in the rest of the way.

I got the most marvelously thin and crisp crust by baking at 450˚F./230˚C for 20 minutes lid on, 10 minutes lid off, transferred to a baking sheet and 10 minutes more. Then 5 minutes oven propped ajar a few inches, then 5 minutes oven off and door open.

Now back to my new cake book manuscript!

No Knead Bread Nirvana Conclusions

Dec 16, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Bread #10 is coming up on Monday but I can't wait any longer to post my findings so I will post again soon after my final test. I plan to try my new Lodge 5 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven which I strongly anticipate to be the ultimate baking container for this bread. And because it will limit the sideways spread of the dough, I am able to try increasing the hydration of the dough to 80%--close to my ciabatta--to have even more open holes in the bread. Meantime here are my findings and tips to date:

Pros: Speed of mixing, flexibility to fit into your time schedule, excellent texture and good flavor. Baking in a preheated Dutch oven is ideal for those who don’t have baking stones.

Cons: Decreased shelf life, less flavor dimension.

My Favorite Container for Baking this Bread
Baking the bread on a baking stone with steam (see below) results in a 9 inch by 3-1/2 high loaf but using a 5 quart enameled cast iron or seasoned cast iron Dutch oven results in 7-1/2 inch by almost 4 inch high loaf which is my preference. In a larger Dutch oven the bread will be the same size as on a baking stone.

Continue reading "No Knead Bread Nirvana Conclusions" »

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s 100% Whole Wheat Epiphany Loaf

Nov 30, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

first published in the April 2005 issue of Food Arts Magazine

It is a common misconception, which I have shared until very recently, that 100% whole wheat bread is by its very nature dense and bitter. On a trip to the Bay Area, while researching the story in this issue on the Bay Area bakeries, I was invited to an unusual bakery in Oakland: Vital Vittles, which specializes in kosher, organic, 100% whole wheat bread. They didn’t tell me why they had invited me until I tasted the bread and then Kass, the owner, admitted that it was to disprove what she had heard me say about whole wheat on the radio a year before when on tour for “The Bread Bible.”

To my amazement, the bread made with 100% whole wheat had the aroma of a new-mown lawn combined with freshly cut hay. Kass explained that the bitterness I had experienced was due to rancidity. It was absent in her bread because she used wheat berries ground the same day as baking the bread. A wheat berry can be decades old and if stored properly, will still be viable, the fats in the germ protected from oxidation by the bran, its outer coating. The moment the wheat berry is broken or ground, oxidation starts to take place. Most millers agree that once ground, the flour should be used within 3 days or held for 3 weeks due to certain enzymes that would render it undesirable for bread baking. Three months is the limit for shelf life of the whole wheat flour unless frozen. But for the best flavor, it is ideal to use it the day it is ground.

I immediately asked Kass for a few pounds of wheat berries and the day I returned home I started grinding and developing a recipe for 100% whole wheat bread. I discovered that the secret to lightness of the crumb was not only the freshness of the flour but also not allowing the dough to double during rising which tears the more fragile gluten. The result: This soft, moist, slightly chewy, crunchy with walnuts loaf that captures the true nutty-sweet multi-dimensional wheaty flavor of the grain.

Note: The average bread made with refined flour has about 66 percent hydration. This bread has almost 88 percent hydration due to the very absorbant bran. It is preferable to weigh the flour as no two flour mills grind the same, which would impact the volume significantly.

Continue reading "Rose Levy Beranbaum’s 100% Whole Wheat Epiphany Loaf" »

Holy Bread!

Nov 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Yes it Works!
Several people have contacted me regarding the article in Wed. Nov. 8, 2006 NY Times: "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work." Although the techniques described in the recipe are not new to me, the combination of them was, so I stopped everything I was doing or planning to do Sunday late afternoon and threw myself into dough production. 20 hours later here's the report: The results are exactly as promised--very large holes in the crumb, light texture, thin crisp crust, and an absolute minimum of MIXING effort.

As far as putting the dough into an extremely hot and heavy pot, I think I'll stick with other equally effective methods such as a heavy baking stone that holds the heat and ice cubes tossed into a preheated cast-iron pan or perhaps the new device I'm testing that has a relatively light-weight metal lid that also gets preheated and a very effective steaming device to create steam contained by the lid.

The flavor of the bread developed during the long 12-18 hour fermentation (I gave it 15 hours) was indeed superior to a shorter rise with higher amount of yeast but not as good or as deliciously complex as when I add some of my old starter. Also, I would add my usual 7 to 8 % whole wheat or kamut flour for extra flavor and no compromise in texture.

I like the ease of minimal mixing coupled with long slow rise which develops the gluten more gently resulting in the larger holes. I also like the flavor and texture of bran instead of flour on the outside. I intend to try these techniques with my pugliese recipe which has a slighter higher 80% hydration and different mix of flours.

Two important caveats to the Times' recipe:

I watched the video on the Times' website and noticed that only 1 1/2 cups of water was used, not 1 5/8 cups as was listed in the printed recipe. The 1 5/8 cups, which is 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablesopons, constitutes an extra 2 tablespoons of water bringing the hydration to 82% as opposed to 75%. Using the 1 1/2 cups of water the dough will be much more manageable, especially for those unaccustomed to handling very sticky doughs.

Also on the video it was recommended that an oven temperature of 500°F. or even higher be used to bake the bread but in the printed recipe a more reasonable 450°F. was listed. I hedged my bets, used 475°F. and after 30 minutes of baking the bottom became slightly over browned toward the blackened stage. (Some people like their crust this dark.) Also, the bread was fully baked (210°F. internal temperature) and the top crust beautifully browned without the need to continue baking it for 15 to 30 minutes as was indicated in the recipe.

I usually wait a week before making any recipe from a newspaper to see if there are any corrections because a weekly paper is under such a heavy deadline pressure there are often little or big glitches! In this case my eagerness to try it overcame my good judgment but luckily someone sent me a link to the video. And that's the beauty of the baker's % and weight. Realizing that I had used too much water, all I had to do was rebalance the dough by gently stirring in the additional flour to bring it to 75% hydration and the extra yeast and salt to balance the extra flour. As you can see from the photos--no harm done!

Continue reading "Holy Bread!" »

Harvest King Flour Tips and Recipes

Nov 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Rose’s Basic Hearth Bread
Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Bread Bible, W. W. Norton & Company, 2003

This is the recipe as it appears on the back of the flour bag but with a few additions, variations and lots of tips! (Note: to print the out, select the text and copy into a word document)

Makes: About 1 3/4 pounds of dough: An 8 inch round loaf, or a 9 inch sandwich loaf, or 16 dinner rolls, or 12 hot dog buns, or 8 hamburger buns

3 cups/1 pound Harvest King flour (measured by dip and sweep)
1/4 cup/1.25 ounce whole wheat flour
1-1/4 teaspoons rapid rise, bread machine or other instant yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1-1/3 cups/11.25 ounces room temperature water
1 teaspoon mild honey, such as clover

Optional for soft crust for sandwich bread or buns: 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, whole wheat flour and yeast. Then whisk in the salt. Stir in the water and honey (and optional oil). Using a mixer with a dough hook or by hand, knead the dough until smooth and springy (about 7 minutes, or 10 minutes by hand). The dough should be soft and just sticky enough to cling slightly to your fingers. If it is still very sticky knead in a little flour. If it is too stiff spray it with a little water and knead it.

Set the dough in a lightly greased bowl and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about an hour. (Stick a finger into the center of the dough and if it keeps the indentation it’s ready.) If baking it the following day, press down the dough and set it in a large oiled zipper type storage bag, leaving a tiny bit unzipped for the forming gas to escape, and refrigerate it. Remove it to room temperature 1 hour before shaping.

When ready to shape the dough, set it on a very lightly floured counter and flatten gently with your fingertips. Shape into a round ball or football. Set it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or lightly sprinkled with cornmeal or flour. Cover with a large container or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until almost doubled and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in.

While the dough is rising, set the oven rack toward the bottom and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it. Set a cast iron skillet or heavy baking pan on the floor of the oven or on the lowest shelf. Preheat the oven to 475F. for 45 minutes or longer.

With a single edged razor blade or very sharp knife, cut one or more long, 1/4 inch deep slashes into the dough. Mist the dough with water, quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet, and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 425°F. and continue baking 20 to 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 210°F.). Halfway through baking, turn the pan halfway around for even baking.

Remove the bread to a wire rack to cool completely or until just warm.

Continue reading "Harvest King Flour Tips and Recipes" »

Cabbage Leaf Bread

Nov 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

tried the Madeira inspired bread wrapped in cabbage leaves posted on the blog. i decided to use the pugliese from my book.

the cabbage leaves started to burn after about 20 minutes so at that point i removed them. they had already made their lovely imprint on the crust which turned a beautiful golden brown.

the bread was 2 1/2 inches high rather than the usual 3 inches and had smaller holes due to the absence of steam ( i decided to rely entirely on the moisture of the cabbage leaves). but it was worth the change in texture for the lovely flavor and here's what i did with the bread:

i cut the middle section into 4 slices and froze them. i made a pocket in each end and stuffed it with ham and swiss cheese and grilled it in my cuisinarts "griddler"panini maker. WHAT A DINNER!!! the crust was thin and crisp, the crumb spongy and flavorful. have i ever had a better sandwich!!!

the basic technique with the cabbage leaves is to use the outer leaves and place them in the oven to soften and become flexible for 3-4 minutes. then use one or two large leaves on which to set the shaped risen bread dough and another one or two on top--be sure to spray the leaves with cooking spray to keep them from sticking to the bread.

check the baking bread after 20 minutes and if the cabbage leaves are getting very dark remove them and continue baking the bread until done.

It Was Worth It!!!

Oct 25, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

The Cubanos were out of this world! What had been less than moist but flavorful 5 day old pork shoulder came alive with a gilding of mayo, the bread and butter pickles from the farmer's market--less sweet than the usual. The slice of ham was a perfect addition and the melted Swiss cheese bound it all together. But it was the bread that was the star--crisp crust, soft flavorful crumb!

The recipe for the bread is on the Harvest King bread bag and in the Bread Bible and all you have to do to make these great rolls is divide it in 6 (5 ounces/144 grams each) and shape them into 6 inch long batons. They only takes 20 minutes to bake. Cool and split in half horizontally. Heaven!

For the Cubano, it took 10 minutes on medium high in a panini maker and in a 350 oven wrapped in foil, and weighted between two baking sheets with an oven-proof skillet on top it will take about 20 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Bennett Chili Bread as Promised

Aug 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

i've been promising this recipe on the blog for a while, and here it finally is.

the photo is the dough at the point where the corn, cheese, and chilies are being mixed in, which is the point at which you can really start to smell how everything is going to turn out.

Continue reading "Bennett Chili Bread as Promised" »

Summer’s Sweetest Reward—Tomato Time

Jul 29, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

no it’s not a dessert, though it has everything to do with a fruit: tomato. and yes! tomato is technically a fruit.

today was my first tomato sandwich of the season. i haven’t yet made this season’s bread that is my favorite to support the costar but i happened to have three slices in the freezer dated july 2005. (wrapped well in a good freezer the bread remains perfectly fresh and delicious.)

the bread recipe comes from my friend and “father of this blog” tim bennett of general mills. to a basic buttermilk bread dough he adds both fine and coarse cornmeal, both diced jalapeno and dried chipotle pepper, fresh corn kernels, and a whole head of roasted garlic. oh and some grated sharp cheddar cheese.

i cut a thick slice of this wonderful bread, toast it lightly, spread it with a little mayo, top it with an equally thick slice of beefsteak tomato, and grind a little red hawaiian sea salt on top.

when i’m feeling slim (which isn’t now) i add 2 slices of my favorite vt. corncob smoked bacon.

i enjoy the sandwich on the back porch surrounded by trees and fresh air trying to sit down-wind from my husband’s herring sandwich, knowing full well how profoundly smell (aroma is a gentler word) affects taste. more on this at a sooner rather than later date!

Oh Joy!!!

Apr 17, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

i guess you know by now that when i'm this happy it can mean only one thing: i'm making bread!

home from the bahamas (more about this at a later posting) and the usual thought came up: what to make for dinner tonight. we arrived home to a surprise package from american spoon foods containing a jar of their new award-winning strawberry butter and a jar of their sour cherry preserves. my husband introduced me to the glorious combination of peanut butter and cherry jam years ago so my next thought was peanut butter and preserves sandwich but what kind of bread? i quickly defrosted some old sour dough starter and launched into one of my favorite sandwich breads--the sweet heart of wheat. it's my basic hearth bread using white flour but with the addition of bran and germ. it is the silkiest dough imaginable and perfect for any sandwich, especially when baked in a loaf pan.

the recipe for my basic heart bread will soon be appearing (june) on the bag of the terrific for bread new gold medal flour called harvest king. i'll be posting the recipe plus variations such as this one in june!

My New Favorite Traditional Challah

Mar 27, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

When packing for a business trip I love to start a large bread for my husband to eat while I'm away. Challah is one of his favorites and since it's one of mine as well, I usually manage to eat a few slices myself before slicing, wrapping and freezing the rest.  This is the one I made before leaving for Barcelona in February. It's similar to the one in "The Bread Bible" with one wonderful difference: I've discovered that adding some old stiff starter instead of the vinegar does wonders for elasticity making it much easier to braid. It also increases the moistness and shelf life and adds depth of flavor. And because it so exceptionally moist for a challah, the ends of the braids hold together well.

If you want to make this recipe and don't have any starter, add 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar when adding the oil and use the lower amount of salt.

Continue reading "My New Favorite Traditional Challah" »

The Infamous Rosemary Focaccia

Mar 18, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

seems to me i've received more correspondence about this bread recipe than any other. some adore it and most find it impossible to make. simple as it is, as the highest water content (hydration) bread in the book it has turned out to be the trickiest. so i'm delighted that my friend jan in san diego recently wrote me how much she loves this bread--which she makes often--along with a photo of what the dough (batter) looks like after mixing!

see how it looks like melted mozarella cheese? nothing like a picture. and be sure to dimple it deeply all over right before baking to get the large irregular holes.

Struan Bread

Mar 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

we're off for our 30th annual ski week at what has long ago become our favorite of all ski resorts: deer valley in utah!

a few years ago, my husband had an accident skiing that prevented him from accompanying me on the slopes for the rest of the week. in all these years of marriage, i had never skied without him so it felt very odd and lonely navigating the mountain on my own. i decided to take a short break and check out the food at the snowflake lodge. somehow, inevitably, i found myself in the kitchen and that put an end to any possible loneliness at deer valley! letty flatt, who is in charge of all bakery operations at the many restaurants at deer valley, also took charge of me! on her time off we skied together and she introduced me to double black diamonds that i could handle with ease. on the chair lift we exchanged bake-talk and royal icinged (baker's cement) a lasting friendship.

last year, at a marvelous dinner at mariposa--the high-end restaurant on the mountain--we were served a bread that both my husband and i adored. it was, of course, letty's, but she immediately credited peter reinhart for the original recipe. comparing the two i saw that letty had used 5 times the polenta. i decided to double the original amount of polenta but also added 90 grams more flour. neither letty nor i added the optional 3 tablespoons of cooked brown rice simply because i didn't feel like making rice just to make this bread and found it was so delicious without it i've yet to try it with the rice--but i will.


the first time i made this bread back at low altitude in new york city i e-mailed peter immediately saying i was proud to be in the same profession as he. he graciously e-mailed back thanking me for reminding him about one of his very favorite breads--which is now mine as well. and as toast it is unequaled. toasting seems to bring out the sweet nuttiness of the grains. the texture is--well--perfect is the word that comes to mind. judge for yourselves by the photo. and the golden specks of coarse polenta add a jewel like quality. it doesn't get better than spread with sweet butter but the other night i served it for dinner spread with mustard mayonnaise and filled with sardines sprinkled with lemon juice. it deserved the glass of trimbach frederique emile alsatian riesling that accompanied it. gloriously simple and wholly satisfying.

Click to see the flecks!

as i now am inclined to do with most of my breads, i've added a small amount of old stiff sourdough starter (the consistency of bread dough) to increase shelf life and add depth of flavor and extra moistness. if you chose not to add the starter decrease the salt by 1/8th teaspoon.

Click to view the recipe

Continue reading "Struan Bread" »

Can you use more rye flour in a rye bread that suggested?

Mar 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Your rye breads have a very small amount of rye flour in proportion to white. Can you use more rye flour in a rye bread?

My preference is for a light rye flavor and texture so I use just under 18% rye. If you want higher than 20% rye you need to make a sourdough rye because the acidity of the sourdough is necessary to keep the crumb from getting sticky (due to the pentosans in the rye flour).

To make a bread with about 42% rye, convert the sourdough starter to a sourdough rye starter by feeding it medium rye flour instead of bread flour. You will need a few extra drops of water to achieve a smooth consistency. It will take 9 feedings until you have replaced all the white flour in the starter with rye. (You can do the feedings every 12 hours, leaving the starter at room temperature, or more gradually, refrigerating the starter as per the chart on page 437.) Then use this starter to make the Sourdough Rye on page 451.

When making the bread, feed the starter only medium rye flour but in the dough, omit the 3/4 cups of rye flour, and use a total of 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (11.5 ounces/325 grams) of bread flour. The dough will rise much more quickly using this high a percentage of rye flour (about 2 hours after the first 2 business letter turns and about 2 1/2 hours after shaping).

Do you have a recipe for 100% whole wheat bread?

Mar 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

I find regular whole wheat flour to be to dense when used as the sole flour for a bread. White whole wheat flour, however, produces a delicously wheaty, crunchy, fine-textured bread. It's especially fragrant when you grind the flour yourself shortly before mixing the dough. Simply replace all the flour in the "Basic Hearth Bread" on page 305 with equal weight white whole wheat flour. The first rise will take about 2 hours intead of 1. (I especially like the "Prairie Gold"hard white spring wheat berries or flour from Wheat Montana: www.wheatmt.com, 877-535-2798.)


Mar 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread


Feedback: I followed the traditional challah recipe exactly and caught the mistake to add the 1 tsp yeast to the sponge. After many hours in a very warm environment, the dough hardly rose. I tried it several times with no luck and even switched yeast which is very much alive. There is definitely something wrong with the proportion of ing. I'm an advanced baker and it's gotta be a problem with the recipe. also after making the sponge, do i immediately add the flour blanket or let the sponge sit for an hour first? When the flour blanket is added, can i refrigerate it that way? If so do i taked it out to come to room temp and then mix? I searched the book for answers and was more confused. Please help. I know once its right it will be sooo delicious like so many of the recipes i've made from the cake bible. I'm a diehard baker and have learned more from your books than any other. Thank you.


bread that is rich in egg, butter, and sugar or honey, is very slow to rise. You can speed rising by putting it in a warm environment with hot water in a container, such as an oven without a pilot light but with just the light bulb on. You don't want the temperature to be above 85°. If this doesn't work, it has to be the yeast. I'm sure as an experienced Baker you'll are not killing the yeast with excessive heat. you could also try increasing the yeast. But the recipe as I wrote it works for me.

When making a sponge, I always like to put the flour blanket on it as soon as possible. Then I cover the bowl with plastic wrap to keep any part of the sponge that bubbles through the surface of the flour blanket from drying, and refrigerate it. I do mention in the book temperature the dough should be depending on the different methods of mixing it, for example, if you are using a stand mixer, you want it to be colder when you start mixing then if you're using a bread machine, because the friction of the beater raises the heat of the dough. When using a food processor, I have everything as cold as possible because the movement of the blades creates the most heat. Please look through the book, exact temperatures are given for all methods.

In the coming weeks, I will be offering my new recipe for challah, that incorporates old sourdough starter. It makes braiding dough much easier because of the extra elasticity, and I think the resulting bread is even more delicious. I can't wait to post this recipe -- the picture is so stunning! But I wanted to answer everybody's questions before I posted any new things.

Gluten-Free Bread

Feb 28, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

i’m frequently asked about alternatives to wheat bread. i was discussing this problem with a colleague at the fancy food show in san francisco and she recommended the following book:

The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread by Betty Hagman

Corrections: The Bread Bible

Feb 28, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Errata/CORRECTIONS

The following is the complete list of errors and corrections from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Use the comments below to report anything else you find.

In the CRANBERRY-BANANA-WALNUT QUICK BREAD, page 101, the correct baking temperature is 350 degrees F.

In the crisper flat bialy variation on page 165, Matthew suggests using 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds per bialy or a total of 2 tablespoons/18 grams.

In the PRETZEL BREAD on page 172, step #2..Empty the dough onto a counter and shape it into a ball. Let it sit covered for 1 hour (it will relax and spread out slightly). Divide it into 4 pieces, divide each piece into 3 (total 12 pieces--about 1.3 ounces/33 grams each) and roll each into a ball. Shape each ball into a tapered 4-inch little football,, 1-inch wide in the middle.

In the DUTCH BABY on page 182, Hand Method, after "slowly beat in" add the words milk before "the eggs."

In the ROSEMARY FOCACCIA SHEET on page 205, it may take longer than 20 minutes to form a ball. For the airiest texture and largest holes, allow the dough to double for the final rise and deeply dimple the dough with wet or oiled fingertips just before baking.

In the BUTTER-DIPPED DINNER ROLLS on page 249, the yield is correct as 12 rolls and the dough for each should weigh about 50 grams; page 254, if not using dry milk you can replace the water with 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of milk.

In the Velvety Buckwheat Bread on page 308, replace the water with 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon/6.7 ounces/192 grams of the water and 3/4 cup/6.5 ounces/182 grams sour cream.

In the RYE BREAD recipe on page 326, on the flour mixture chart, the 2 1/4 cups bread flour weigh 12.3 ounces / 351 grams, and step #2: eliminate the words 'rye flour.' (Rye flour is used only in the sponge on page 325.)

In the PUMPERNICKEL BREAD recipe on page 333, the oven is preheated at 400°F but then should be lowered to 375°F.

In BRINNA'S PUGLIESE on page 347, the water should be 6 tablespoons (not teaspoons). In the GOLDEN SEMOLINA TORPEDO on page 366, step #2: ...whisk together ALL BUT 1/4 cup of the durum flour.

In PUGLIESE on page 363, step #5...until it has increased by about 1 1/2 times, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

In the PROSCIUTTO RING on page 371, the bread will weigh 1 1/2 pounds/690 grams and in the chart, the meat mixture should be 1 1/2 cups/6 ounces/170 grams.

in THE BEER BREAD on page 376, under the mixer method, it should read: if it is too sticky add in a little flour...

in THE TEN GRAIN TORPEDO on page 396, step #4...knead for 7 minutes. The dough will be dry.

in THE ALMOND FIG BREAD on page 412 There have been some questions about the weight of 75 grams for the coarsley chopped slivered or whole almonds. It is correct. The volume, however is a little under 1 cup. It will not hurt, however to use 1 cup.

in all the SOURDOUGH RECIPES: What I should have written was: If making bread the next day, or if starting to increase the starter the next day instead of if baking....the rational here is that if you, for example, have a weekly schedule of feeding the starter every Monday, but you don't want to start increasing the starter for bread baking until Tuesday so you can bake on Wednesday, you need to let it sit for 2 hours after feeding it and then refrigerate it until Tuesday when you start the increasing process. (All this is far easier to do than to put in to words!)

in the SOURDOUGH RYE on page 453, you will be increasing the starter by 4 times, from 25 grams to 100 grams.

In the SOURDOUGH RYE on page 454, Hand Method, use the same amount of starter as is on the chart above (1 1/2 cups).

In the SOURDOUGH PUMPERNICKEL on page 462 (Mixer Method and Hand Method) use the same amount of starter as is on the chart on page 461 (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons).
on page 463, step 7, oven temperature should be 400°F, and on page 464 step 8 lower it to 375°F. If using sesame seeds, add them after the glaze.

In the SOURDOUGH WHEAT BREAD SEEDS on page 468, after the first paragraph add: "Cover tightly and allow it to sit at room temperature 8 to 12 hours. It will have puffed slightly. Proceed to step 2.
At step 2 add the words "That night..."
At step 4 on the following page add the words "The next morning"

in the PANETTONE on page 513, use only 1/4 teaspoon of fiori di Sicilia (the 1/2 teaspoon listed in the earlier printings is just a bit too intense)

In the CHALLAH on page 517, when making the sponge add the yeast listed in the ingredients.
In all breads, when making a starter that you plan to have sit for more than 4 hours, refrigerate it after the first hour at room temperature.

CANADIAN FLOUR: Canadian unbleached all-purpose and Canadian bread flour perform well in my yeast bread recipes. For quick breads using butter, however, it is necessary to use bleached all purpose flour or the center of the bread will fall and have a gloppy texture on cooling. For more information or specific questions regarding Canadian flour/brands and baking, you can contact editors@betterbaking.com

In the Ingredient Section for Weights on page 572, the listing for dry milk refers to King Arthur's special dry milk at 10 grams per 1 tablespoon. Instant dry milk is only 4 grams per tablespoon. If using instant dry milk instead of King Arthur's use double the volume.

Continue reading "Corrections: The Bread Bible" »

Raisin Pecan Bread

Feb 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


Feedback: What am I doing wrong? I have attempted to make your raisin pecan bread at least 4 times. Each time the bread appears to process correctly except the final product does not rise enough making a very heavy bread.

when you say it doesn't rise enough do you mean that it doesn't reach the height of 3 inches listed on the recipe? this is a dense bread but tender due to the ground pecans replacing some of the flour. coincidentall, i just made this bread today. it's one of my favorites. i now add 75 grams of old starter and 1/16th teaspoon more salt and make the dough a day ahead which gives extra flavor. i also bake it on a cushionair baking sheet (you can also use two baking sheets one-on-top of the other--the keep the dough and raisins that rise to the surface from over-browning.

if a bread isn't pictured, it is very hard to imagine the texture which is why i gave the finished height. and this is why i'm so thrilled that my next book will have the cakes photographed so everyone can see exactly what they're supposed to look like!

Sourdough Starters

Feb 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


hi rose,
since i wrote the last email i switched over from a liquid starter to a stiff one. the liquid one was going great and when i added the flour to make it a stiff one it looked like that one was expanding like crazy too.

but then i threw out all but the 1/4 cup of starter and fed it with the 50g flour/25g water and it just kind of went flat again. i threw out all but 1/4 cup and fed it again the same way and it didn't rise that time either.

the next day instead of throwing any out i just added the fresh flour and water and it woke back up! since then i have started by only throwing out half and then a little more than that each feeding so it keeps some strength. That seems to work out ok as i scale down the amount of starter gradually.

For fun, i tried expanding the 2 tablespoons of starter you need for the bread and when i leave it at room temp for 6 hours it does rise quite well. does it sound like i am i putting it into the fridge too soon? and has anyone you talked too had this problem when switching from the liquid to stiff starter? sourdough seems to be a struggle of trial and error and its amazing i haven't killed it yet. it's more resilient than most people.


no--haven't heard anyone discuss problems switching over from liquid starter but you happened upon something i think is true--yeast often does better in large quantities of starter. also, as you noticed, it's a live thing and affected by room temp. etc. so if it works for you to leave it out longer bf refrigerating it that's the thing to do!

Pizza Praise

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread


Feedback: Last night we had some friends over towatch the Super Bowl game. I decided to try the pizza recipe on page 189 of The Bread Bible. Although it contradicted everything I thought I knew about making pizza dough, it turned out to be the best pizza I have ever made. My guests all agreed. I strongly recommend it to all.


Thank you so much Hank for sharing your experience and encouraging other people who might be doubting Thomases to experience this amazing pizza!

Popovers Not Popping

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions



I have tried your Butter Popover (page 178 of The Bread Bible) recipe three times and for the life of me I cannot get the popovers to rise. They are tasty, for sure, but puffy? No. Your directions have been followed to the letter (including using Wondra), but to no avail. Thanks for any insight you can offer.


It seems like a physical impossibility that the popovers aren't rising. Could your oven be off?
is the fat in the pan getting really hot before pouring in the batter?

Try switching to the all-purpose bleached flour suggested on page 180. the popovers will be less tender but they are sure to pop.

Ideal Environment for Raising Bread Dough

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Hello, Rose.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to restart my bread
baking routines from 20 years ago.

I don't want to use a bread machine. I like kneading and all that.

I am concerned that yeast won't rise properly for me. I'm just
unlucky somehow in Northern California. I did fine when I lived in
San Diego.

I have a gas oven but it seems like a cheap gas oven in that it
may leak heat. When I put dough in there to rise -- relying on the
pilot light to creat the right temperature environment -- it's usually

I've tried putting hot water in a dish on the bottom of the oven, but
I don't have any instructions on how often to replenish the water
and how hot to make the water.

I also wonder whether it's better to cover the dough with saran
wrap or a warm damp towel that won't stay warm very long. My
mother told me to use a towel.

I hope you can help.

Thanks very much.


this is an important question that several people have asked, so I'm going to address is here.

When bread rises at a cool temperature, it develops complex flavors. When the temperature exceeds eighty five degrees Fahrenheit off flavors result. The pilot light of an oven usually results in temperatures of about a hundred and fifteen degrees which can actually kill the yeast. If you leave the oven light on however, it should be just the right temperature.

A small container of very hot water also works well. Instead of an oven you can use a large plastic box to cover the bread and container of water. I change the water every thirty minutes.

Crumbly Cornbread

Jan 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


Feedback: I hate to admit that I'm 75
years old and just now
wondering why my cornbread is all of a sudden so crumbly. My husband gets really "disturbed". It's
happened the last few times
I've baked it. What am I
doing wrong?


as i illustrated in my génoise posting, when something has worked for years and suddenly doesn't, it's always bc one is doing SOMETHING differently. think hard what that could be.

generally speaking, cornbread is crumbly if there is too high a proportion of cornmeal to flour. you need the gluten in the flour to hold it together and also enough moisture. if it is too high in fat it will also be too tender and crumbly. i don't know what ingredients you are using but you could try using a higher protein flour if you are using a cake flour or soft southern flour such as white lilly. try a bleached all purpose. hope this helps.

Glorious Bread and a Beautiful Blogger!

Jan 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Rose's Books


FH_Email: geekyrandomgirl@gmail.com
Feedback: I've been baking bread out of The Bread Bible for a couple of years now, and I wanted to let you know what an important book it has been to me. It was the first book on bread baking I bought, and it was such a great way to start out. My mom/grandmother are spoiled on store bought cinammon raisin bread because of you. Even starting out, the bread recipes from your book were easy to follow and turned out marvelous. I've learned alot from books by other bakers (Peter Reinhart and Dan Lepard are my other adopted mentors), but it seems like every time I learn something from them, I come back to your book, and it was there all along.
So I guess I'm trying to say thanks, because your book started my obsession with bread baking. I hope someday to open my own bread bakery. Do you have any advise for a pretty good amateur baker like me?
Also, I have a food/baking blog, I'd be thrilled to death if you looked at it: http://ratherbebakingbread.blogspot.com/
Thanks again Rose!


i'm deeply touched! and i must say in excellent company. one of these days--sooner rather than later--i'm going to list my version of peter reinhart's struan bread--a bread so wonderful i wrote him immediately after baking it for the first time to tell him how proud i am to be in the same profession as he. i don't know dan lepard but i'm sure i'd like to!
my best advice to you is to continue reading and baking and trust no one completely except your own personal experience. you will eventually create your own vision of bread. i'm sure you will be a great baker as you already are a great person. i can tell. and besides, it's impossible to be a good baker otherwise--the bread knows--believe me!

Adding Rye Flour to Bread Dough

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


Your Bread Bible is my favorite Christmas present this year. I spent
almost four months in Germany on business this summer and can't handle
store-bought American bread anymore, so I've gone back to baking my own,
something I learned from my mother and grandmother--although they always
made white bread and I longed for the great European style wheat/rye
breads. The first thing I did was use your sponge method on my favorite
bread recipe and was amazed at the difference.

So thanks!

In Germany I came across a great bread called Gassenhauer, my favorite
of the many breads I ate over there. It's a wheat/rye sourdough with a
gorgeous crust. Apparently it's trademarked, though, and I haven't been
able to find a recipe anywhere. Ever hear of it? I'd sure like to make
something as close to that as I can manage in this country.

Now a question: I made your Tyrolean Torpedo to go with the New Year's
Eve bean soup I made, and it went over really well--although I can think
of a couple things I could have done better. My wife and our guest
thought I was crazy saying it could have been better, but you know the
drill. It's never quite good enough, especially on the first try. They
enjoyed it and I dissected it. And then enjoyed it. But--what I really
learned to love when I lived in Austria for a couple years in the
eighties and on my German stay last summer is that taste of a combined
wheat and rye bread. I know you say you shouldn't substitute, but what
would happen if I replaced some of the flour in the Tyrolean bread with

Anyway, thanks again for helping me push my bread to a higher level and
helping to guide me on my quest for really great bread. If only I had a
better oven. The quarry tiles help a lot, but still...


coincidentally, i'm making the tyrolean bread tomorrow for a party friday night. it's one of my favorites and i add about 75 grams/2.6 oz. of week-old starter (i still use the same amount of instant yeast) and an extra 1/8 teaspoon of salt since the starter has no salt in it. this gives it more depth of flavor, and keeps it fresher longer not that any of it will remain by the end of the party! i sometimes replace some of the flour with durum flour. it would be fine to do the same with rye but you have to be careful not to use too much as even with the acidity of the sourdough the pentosans in the rye will cause it to be gummy. i would start by replacing no more than 20% of the flour with rye.

re the german bread--i totally agree--i adore the breads of germany. i never had the pleasure of encountering the "gassenhauer"--anyone out there hear of it or have a recipe? i'll ask hans welker of fci next time i speak to him as he's from germany and surely knows.

i'm so thrilled when other people get excited about the breads i love so much. thanks for sharing! do let us know how the rye works with the tyrolean!

Increasing Yeast for a Larger Bread Recipe

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

(Rose on Rising)

A prior posting addressed the question of whether the yeast in a bread recipe should be increased proportionately to the other ingredients or if less should be used.

since this is such an often asked question and various cookbook authors seem to have differing opinions, i decided to consult with two bread experts whom i greatly respect: bill weekley of SAF yeast (lesaffre yeast corp.) and hans welker of fci (the french culinary institute in new york).

bill reinforced that environment can play a significant role in yeast quantity, for example in alaska where the kitchen is probably colder, a lot more yeast may be used than say in phoenix arizona, where kitchens tend to be so much warmer. and as i quoted him in “the bread bible,” at high altitude less yeast is required due to the decrease in air pressure. bill also mentioned that if using volume rather than weight, larger formulae tend to be more inconsistent.

here’s his advice: for batches of bread dough using up to 10 pounds of flour increase the yeast proportionately to the other ingredients.

hans agrees that since home bakers are not working in huge quantities of dough, it is fine to increase the yeast proportionately. he agreed with my supposition that in large volume the yeast would grow faster, but he said, very practically i might add, that if the baker can keep up with production there’s no need to decrease the yeast!

i suspect that what is happening in really large batches of dough is that the fermentation of the yeast produces more heat thus speeding the rate of the rise.

Fantastic Focaccia (Primo Rustic Bread)

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Primo Bread Sponge.JPG

Bread Made with the Sponge Method--Note Even Holes

This fantastic bread is my holiday gift to dedicated bread bakers who either have a sourdough starter, are willing to make one, or to purchase one: (www.sourdo.com).

The source of this bread goes back several years to a visit we made to the Old Sheepherding Co. in Chatham, New York. My cousins Bill and Joy Howe have a second home nearby and were overjoyed to report that at the time Melissa Kelly, a CIA graduate, was the chef and that they had a standing reservation every Sat. night. I fell in love with the place and the food. Subsequently, the pastry chef, Price Kushner, fell in love with chef Kelly and they left to open their own restaurant, Primo in Rockland Maine www.primorestaurant.com

Last summer my husband and I spent a week in Maine attending his radiology conference and i persuaded him to drive to Primo saying it was no more than an hour away. (I fudged a little.)

The restaurant, located in a renovated Victorian house, was exquisitely New-England charming and romantic and Melissa’s food was as always unlike any other and well worth the voyage. But this time there was something extra: THE BREAD. i immediately pronounced it to be the best bread I had ever tasted (which means it was ONE of the best breads because when it ranks up there, it’s the one that’s in my mouth that gets top billing.)

After dinner I sought out Price who agreed, saying it was his favorite as well but he hesitated to give me the recipe saying it required something I didn’t have: A sourdough starter. My reply: “Guess what was the last thing I did before leaving for vacation! I fed my sourdough starter!”

Several months went by and finally I put my pride aside and called Price. Good thing too—he had misplaced my e-mail address. The recipe came that very day and I made it very soon thereafter. (I wasn’t taking any chances—I once held a recipe for 30 years only to find it wasn’t what I thought it would be.) The only changes I’ve made to Price’s recipe is to add the caramelized onion after baking as I found that in my oven it burned on the top of the bread, and I used a 475°F oven instead of 550°F as mine won’t go that high. My husband and I were thrilled with the results.

Now here’s what I love so much about this focaccia: It’s soft, and moist, with big uneven holes inside, a faintly tangy flavor which blends impeccably with the deeply caramelized onion topping, and it stays fresh for up to 3 days. It’s really easy to make—it’s just that you HAVE to have the sour dough starter. I tried to make it with the sponge technique and got smaller totally even holes in the crumb, far less flavor, and it staled the same day it was baked. Price was right! (NOTE: the photo on top with the even holes in the crumb is the bread made with a sponge. The photo below, with the beautiful irregular holes, is the one made with the starter!)

So make, buy, borrow, or beg a little starter and mix up a batch of this wonderful bread. Once a starter is established it only takes minutes once a week to keep it alive. I now add a little to almost every bread I make. Even when not fully active, it adds depth of flavor, better texture and keeping qualities to the bread.

The Perfect Texture--Note the Uneven Crumb

Primo Rustic Bread Slices.JPG

Continue reading "Fantastic Focaccia (Primo Rustic Bread)" »

Cooking for a Crowd

Dec 29, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers




i would make about 4 of the sicilian vegetable pizza rolls on page 220 of "the bread bible."

How Much Yeast

Dec 25, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients


Feedback: I have been attempting to make my deceased mother-in-laws recipe for what they call Norweigian Flat Bread. The recipe that I have calls for aprox. 4 cups of rye flour, 4 cups of white flour, 1 cup of Karo syrup, butter, salt and scalded milk. It calls for one package of yeast. I have trouble getting the bread to rise, do you think that 1 package of yeast is correct? This recipe makes 3 12" circular shaped breads.Thanks for your help!


4 cups of flour usually require about 1 teaspoon of instant yeast or 1-1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast. but when you also have a large amount of sweetener and/or butter you need about 3 times the amount.

Rosemary Foccacia

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Jane Question:
I attempted the Rosemary Foccacia a couple of weeks ago and ended up throwing out the mixture. When I completed Step 1, after 30 min. of mixing on my Kitchen Aid, the mix was still totally liquid. After sitting for 7 hrs, I finally tossed. What could I have done wrong?

Rose Reply:
many people have had trouble with this recipe but some have succeeded so i have to assume it's either the type of flour or the amount, i.e. if measuring instead of weighing the balance of flour to the enormous amount of water may be off. also, it may take longer than 20 minutes to form a ball but if it doesn't after 25 minutes you need to add a little more flour. For the airiest texture and largest holes, allow the dough to double instead of 1-1/2 times. i also double the yeast now as well. and most important of all, dimple the dough deeply all over before baking. i will be posting a fabulous new focaccia from primo in maine but you will need to have some sort of starter. old starter is fine--it doesn't have to be very active bc the recipe also contains instant yeast. i think this is the best flavor and texture of any focaccia i've ever tasted.

Increasing Yeast

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Mike Question:
I have been using "The Bread Bible" for two years now & couldn't bake without it. I often make the butter-dipped dinner rolls found on pg. 249. If I want to double the recipe, do I need to double the amount of yeast or should I use less? I doubled the amount once & it seems as though the dough rose much faster that is did in the single batch recipe.

I also have an "old" recipe for Swedish limpa rye bread. Is there a way I can convert the amounts of ingredients to grams? I make a great loaf from the old recipe but I would like to standardize the amounts.

Rose Reply:
please check out the entry about increasing yeast under the bread catagory. essentially i wrote that for smaller amounts i didn't find there was a difference so i double the yeast but for larger batches of dough the yeast seems to multiply more rapidly and less is usually required. but if you found from experience that doubling this recipe made the dough rise faster i would cut back a little simply because a slower rise makes for a more delicious flavor!

i'm delighted that you want to convert a favorite recipe to grams. i find it so much more enjoyable working with grams than measuring or even ounces. since you have my book, all the weights are in the back. i would approach it by making the recipe as usual but weighing the ingredients as you measure them. then it will come as close to what your usual results have been.

Rye Bread

Dec 16, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Gale Question:
I have used your Jewish Rye Bread recipe many, many times and everyone loves it. One question I have--no matter how long I let it rise, it tends to only rise to 3" and tends to spread to 8". How can I get a bread that is smaller in diameter and rises to the 3 and 1/2" that is indicated in your recipe?

Rose Reply:
thanks--it's one of my favorite breads and i've been making it for many years. there is a mistake on the recipe--in step 2 i say to add the rye flour but there is no more rye flour to be added. are you getting the same weight of finished dough that i indicate? if you are not weighing you may be getting a different amount of flour and liquid which could affect the rise. but if it is very smooth and elastic and your bread flour is under a year old you should get the same results i do.

i wrote on the recipe that my finished loaf is 7-3/4 inches by 4 inches high. if yours is spreading 1/4 inch more that is hardly significant. but the 1 inch less in height is. it could be you are not getting enough oven spring. are you preheating the oven and baking stone for at least 45 minutes? are you steaming the oven? all this helps a great deal to get the maximum rise!

Amish Friendship Bread at High Altitude

Dec 09, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Chris Question:
Hi. I made some Amish Friendship bread, it is like a cake, but baked in small loaf pans. Every time I make it, it falls in the middle. I live at a "high" altitude, and I made the adjustments necessary, but the bread still falls. What can I do to fix this problem?

Rose Reply:
when you say you've made all the adjustments for high altitude i'm assuming you also decreased the amount of liquid. many people do the reverse bc of the dry air at high altitude but moisture in the bread results in a higher rise which then collapses bc the structure can't support it. aside from that, try using a flour with a higher protein content.

if you're using bleached all purpose use unbleached. if that doesn't do the trick try bread flour.

Bread Questions

Dec 02, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

A New Bread Coming Soon
those of you who are avid sour dough bread bakers, start getting your starters ready because in a few weeks i’m going to post one of the best bread recipes i’ve ever tasted from the wonderful restaurant primo in maine. i’ve tested it every which way but lose and have to admit that price, baker/co owner, is 100% right when he said you have to have a starter for this bread to come out right. it’s a carmelized onion focaccia and you’ll LOVE it!

Manrique Question:
Dear Ms. Levy Beranbaum,

I recently bought a copy of The Bread Bible and I read it when I go to bed! I also try out some recipes, of course. Thank you for your such an interesting book.

I've been trying to make baguettes and I'm getting better at it. I do have a question regarding the scrap dough described on page 337. You describe the mixture as "very soft and sticky" but I find that 57.5 grams of flour plus 1.2 grams of salt do not get soft and sticky if I add two tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of yeast water. Are the quantities that you indicate correct?

Thank you very much for your time.


Rose Reply:
i notice you are writing from another country so i bet your flour has a higher protein content and is therefore absorbing more water. OR you are measuring and not weighing and getting more flour than i specified. either way, add more unyeasted water until you get the proper consistency.

Christine Question:
Hi Rose,

I love this new site. Thank you for all your hard work.

Here's my question. When I want to double a yeast bread recipe, should I also double the amount of yeast? One cookbook I consulted says you should double all the ingredients except the yeast. Maybe you've discussed this in "Bread Bible," (which holds an esteemed place on my bookshelf, by the way) but I haven't been able to find the answer.

Thank you!

Rose Reply:
thank you! i always double the yeast when i double the recipe. i have also read that less yeast is required when recipes are increased but i’m quite sure, especially from experience, that this refers to larger increases. yeast and bread dough seem to behave differently in larger amounts.

Cheryl Question:
Hi Rose;
I have baked from your books for years, and love the Cake Bible, and the Pie Bible and am working my way through the Bread Bible. I've loved everything but tonight I finished baking the panetonne and am somewhat disappointed on two accounts. One, it is barely sweet--almost a non-sweet taste, I would say--and second, the flor de sicilia (which I measured very carefully) has left the bread bitter. I did not alter the recipe at all and it rose beautifully and has a great texture. Is is possible that more sugar or corn syrup should have appeared in the recipe?

Thank you for your help.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Barbara Question:
If I use the mini paper molds (individual serving size) instead of the 6”x4” size, what adjustments in time do I need to make at step 8 (final shape and rise) and step 10 baking)?

Thanks very much. Your recipes are always the best ever!

Rose Reply:
smaller panettone bake for 25 to 35 minutes. since the unbaked dough will rise to almost 3 times its height, and it’s nice to have it rise a little above the paper liners during baking, i would fill them about ¾ full.

Joyce Question:
Hi, I have a recipe from a 1941 cookbook that calls for 1 cake of yeast. Can I use the fresh yeast sold in supermarkets are they the same weight now as then? Also what would be the measurement for active dry yeast?

Thanks for all your help. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Rose Reply:

i can’t tell you the size of the cake of yeast but i can tell you about how much yeast to use in relation to the amount of flour in the recipe. also, i’m a great beliver in instant yeast. for 1 cup of bread flour use about ¼ teaspoon instant yeast. if using active dry add a tiny bit more. if using all purpose flour instead of bread flour use a scant ¼ teaspoon instant yeast. these proportions are for the basic hearth bread but if you’re making a bread with a lot of eggs and butter such as a brioche you will need to double the yeast

Lou Question:
Hi Rose,

First, let me start by telling you that I have all of the "Bibles" and they are fantastic. I have yet to have a recipe not come out perfect and I cannot thank you enough for that. Your cheescake and flourless chocolate cake are amazing and I have been asked countless times to make them for friends and co-workers. My new favorite is the Linzertorte. I have a bread question that I hope you can help me with.

My favorite bread is the Italian bread that is is found in all of the good bakeries (especially the ones in the Bronx). It is called a Bastone and it is torpedo shaped and covered with sesame seeds. I have searched high and low and cannot find a recipe for it. I have made your Ciabatta and Puglise and they were great, so I am hoping you might have a recipe.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.


Rose Reply:
thank you so much lou for your kind words. i’m sorry to disappoint you but this is not a bread that i have pursued. have you checked carol field’s book “the italian baker?” if she doesn’t have it i don’t know who would. do try the primo focaccia that i plan to post in a few weeks. i think it might make you forgive me for my lapse!

Sarah Question:
Hi! I made your chocolate chocolate chip bread twice and I think I'm doing something wrong. Everything goes really good until I add the second half of the cocoa paste in two additions. Once it is all incorporated the batter starts to look kind of grainy and possibly loses volume as well. The final product loses some butter which you can actually see almost condensing on the parchment paper used to line the loaf pan, and the flavor is almost a little watery. I followed the timing instructions exactly. Am I overbeating or something?

Rose Reply:
it sounds to me like the butter is too cold and can’t stay in suspension. it needs to be soft but squishable (65 to 75 degrees F). it shouldn’t be too soft or warm either. as for the flavor being watery—i wonder what kind of cocoa you are using and perhaps you should try another as this quick bread is intensely chocolatey. try the organic green and black which is fantastic.

Betsy Question:
Dear Rose-- Love your Bread Bible.

Question: I have been trying to perfect the sacaduros and am running into a few snags.
The dough looks exactly like your drawings but the finished product does not look like the last drawing. I just don't feel like they poof up enough during baking. I have been baking bread for a long time so feel like I know what I am doing.

So my question is: do the rolls need to rise for a bit before you bake them, or only while you are getting the whole pan of them ready?

Also--what causes the outer part of the roll to be "too" hard?

Thanks a million.

Rose Reply:
at daniel they did not let them rise before baking but maybe since they were doing a larger quantity they started to rise by the time the last ones were done. it wouldn’t hurt to try letting them rise a little. is suspect that would solve the problem. i was there a couple of weeks ago and found myself giggling bc the saccadoros were so hard on the outside i had trouble breaking into them with my fingers! they are a special treat so they are not always available. now that you’ve made them you know why—they’re very labor intensive!

if you would prefer for them to be softer, you could add some oil to the dough. when i want to make softer hamburger buns from my basic heart bread recipe i just add ¼ cup oil for 1 pound/3 cups flour.

Mitch Question:
I have made your recipe for sacaduros rolls. They are delicious but I am having trouble in having them open up during baking. I think I am sealing it too much when I cross over the dough. Got any hints?

Rose Reply:
i’m thrilled to hear you’re trying this recipe as my editor and i deliberated long and hard as to whether to sacrifice so many book pages to it! please see my reply above re letting them rise a little after shaping and yes, seal a little less firmly as they won’t open if sealed too tightly.

Preventing Bread Dough from Flattening During Baking

Nov 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Your book has turned me into a regular baker of bread. I now make all the bread we eat. Your recipes are clear and I learned and enjoyed reading about the process. Thank you for such a wonderful book.

My question: The free-form breads rise well for the initial rising. When I shape them, they spread rather than rise and the finished bread tastes wonderful, has good crumb but is wider than it is tall.

What can I do to make the breads tall? It's too late for me to be tall but it would be wonderful if my breads are.

Thank you for any help you can offer. I'd like to know how to make my free form breads tall rather than wide?

thank you harriet--i also can't imagine ever buying a loaf of bread again except, perhaps, out of curiosity.

free form breads do have a tendency to spread sideways after the final shaping. the advantage to making them free form however is that they will have a more open crumb. if this is what you desire, you will need to have a soft, moist, dough which will tend to spread more than a stiffer dough.

to help counteract this problem, bakers use special floured bannetons or even colanders lined with floured towels which give the dough support during the final shaped rise. to keep the dough from spreading further in the oven, it is important to use a baking stone and well-preheated oven so that the dough has what is called "oven spring." one final suggestion is to use the la cloche bread baker which restricts the spreading of the dough as it contains it but you'll need to make a large enough loaf to fill the container. oh--you might also try using a higher protein flour. of course you'll get a chewier crumb but it will also be stronger and spread less. for really tall breads try the stud muffin which bakes in a soufflé dish that supports the sides, or a bread baked in a loaf pan.

Hope this helps and delighted by your success.


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