Category Archives: Bread

Nov 16 Raisin Pecan Country Loaf

I have a lot of bread baking books that I don’t bake enough with. To change that, order I opened Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “the bread bible” and selected her Raisin Pecan bread as it’s a “favorite” and when baked, shop it’s the “centerpiece of [their] dinner.” Unlike my usual bakes, approved this bread required more work – the grounding of nuts, to make pecan flour, and the presoaking of raisins and reuse of the liqueur.

Since I was baking with the Lodge Combo Cooker, I used the standards times for my oven as opposed to the book. The higher temperature resulted in the outside raisins turning into carbon charcoal, but overall the bread worked.

Raisin Pecan Country Loaf from Bread Bible

Raisin Pecan Country Loaf carbon raisins from Bread Bible

Raisin Pecan Country Loaf Crumb shot from Bread Bible

Oct 27 Sourdough Bake

While I have been baking every week or so, allergist I haven’t been as dedicated with taking pictures and posting. This is mostly because I’ve been baking my default two sourdough country loaves and they look more or less the same as previous bakes and posts.

This weekend, I did become more ambitious and I baked three 990g large country loaves, 2 495g small country loaves and 5 395g baguettes is the Haussler stone oven. Took two separate bakes, and I set the oven a little too high in temperature. Should have kept the top temp at 290 degrees C (per instruction manual) while raising the bottom temp to 200 degrees C. Instead, I bump the top temp to 300 degrees C and the bread baked too quickly.

Lots of technical issues with the bread. The lack of ear on the baguettes are particularly galling. Hopefully, it won’t take too long to get back into the groove.

A family shot, minus one loaf that we were eating.
bread baked in a haussler stone oven

You can see some proofing issues as well the thin crust. However, it was still a pretty decent tasting loaf.
crumb shot of bread in a haussler stone oven

Packing to give away at work
baguettes from a haussler stone oven

June 2 Smoked Brisket BBQ Buns

It’s summer time again, so to kick things off I’ve been smoking brisket. And since I have been making hokkaido milk bread as well, I thought that it was time again to try my hand on a smoked brisket bbq bao.

Here’s the resulting bao:
smoked brisket bbq bao

1. Chopped brisket
2. 1/2 onion
3. BBQ sauce
4. Corn starch slurry
5. Saute onions, add brisket and bbq sauce. Thicken with surry. Cool to room temp.

smoked brisket bbq

1. Hokkaido milk bread with tang zhong recipe
2. Divide into 12 portions
3. Fill and roll into buns, proof, egg wash
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes

* Brisket was dry, learning a new smoker.

Hokkaido Milk Bread with Tangzhong

Hokkaido milk bread with tang zhong

Thanks to Floydm’s bake of an hokkaido milk bread with tangzhong and detailed write-up on TheFreshLoaf, this there has been a flurry of tang zhong related bakes on TFL. While I had made a few breads with tang zhong before, I wasn’t blown away. However, Floyd pointed out two things for me: (1) tang zhong is a 5:1 water to flour ratio and (2) 25% of the water weight can be used for tang zhong.

Armed with the above knowledge, I converted the hokkaido milk bread recipe that I have been using. I have varied the recipe slightly to suit my needs, but results are guaranteed to be a hit.

Hokkaido milk bread with tang zhong

Hokkaido Milk Bread with Tangzhong Recipe


  • 600g bread flour
  • 6g instant yeast
  • 30g milk powder
  • 80g sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 250g fresh milk
  • 150g heavy cream


  1. Add 20g of flour to 100g of milk.
  2. Over medium heat, mix thoroughly to combine and continue to mix till 65 deg. C.
  3. Remove roux from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.

Milk Bread

  1. Heat remaining 150g milk and 150g of heavy cream to 90 deg F.*
  2. Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer.
  3. Beat until windowpane is formed.**
  4. Take the dough and hand knead a little, and form a ball.
  5. Return the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise till doubled. Approx. one hour.
  6. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and shape into mini loafs.
  7. Place 2 pieces per greased loaf pan, cover with plastic and allow to rise till doubles. Approx one hour.
  8. 30 minutes prior to bake, pre-heat oven to 350 deg F.
  9. Prior to bake, brush heavy cream on the tops of the loaves.
  10. Bake at 350 deg. F. for 40 minutes. 10 min. before, check the loaves. If it’ll be too dark, cover with aluminum foil.

Hokkaido milk bread with tang zhong

* This is 70 seconds in my microwave
** Min. 20 minutes with a Kitchen Aid on Speed 3.

March 24 Sunday Bake

A very busy weekend of baking for me (finally). 2 every day boules, 2 10% rye/10% whole wheat sourdough boules, and 12 morning buns. I need to figure out how to make 24 morning buns, as 12 is rough from a labor perspective. While delicious, the amount of effort to produce 12 buns doesn’t feel economical. Fortunately, work as a bake sale tomorrow. Maybe some baking tonight or early in the morning will solve my dilemma.

Sourdough boules

Morning buns crumb shot

February 2 Epi Wreaths

Morning Bun ala July 14

I have been making morning buns as of late.  But after a two week hiatus, physician I almost forgot the recipe.  In prior bakes, I wasn’t documenting (rare) since I was baking in rapid succession.  I was simply working off a base recipe while making my own adjustments. However, with me almost forgetting the recipe, I thought it best to write it down for prosperity.

Morning bun crumb ala July 14

Morning Bun Recipe

Makes 12 morning buns.



  • 600 g all-purpose flour
  • 60 g sugar
  • 12 g kosher salt
  • 10 g instant yeast
  • 200 g tepid water
  • 200 g tepid milk
  • 30 g of melted butter or oil


  • 100 g sugar
  • 20 g cinnamon
  • 2 tbs of melted butter

Butter Block

  • 2 stick unslalted butter, sliced horizontally into 18 planks


  • Mix flour, sugar, yeast, and salt
  • Mix in milk, water, and butter/oil until ingredients are incorporated
  • With a dough scraper, fold the dough once so that it’s not a shaggy mess. However, don’t overwork.*
  • Rest for 60 minutes, until dough doubles in size
  • Roll dough into a 14″ x 18″ square
  • Place the butter planks on the dough, emulating a butter block**
  • Fold the dough so that the butter is completely covered and letter fold #1
  • Roll the dough out and letter fold #2***
  • Rest the dough in the refrigerator, covered, for 20 minutes.**** Prep 2 large muffin pans with butter.

  • Melt about 2tbs of butter.  Mix sugar and cinnamon for topping mixture.
  • Roll the dough out into a 14″ x 18″ rectangle
  • Brush dough with melted butter and spread the topping
  • Roll dough into cylinder
  • Cut into approx. 2.5″ pieces, yielding 12 rounds
  • Place each round into a muffin spot
  • Proof for 60 minutes, about 30 minutes before preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Put the morning buns into the oven and lower heat to 375 degrees.  Bake for 18-25 minutes.
  • Take out of the oven, let cool a minute or two, then remove the morning bugs from the pan and cool on a wire rack
  • After you can gently handle, coat each bun in sugar.

* One fold smooths out the dough. I don’t do more folds or knead as I don’t want to develop a lot of gluten.

** I thought I was all slick for doing this cheater lamination, until I looked at a Jacques Pepin book and he’s been doing for ages.

*** I used to do 3 folds ala a croissant, but found that I like the texture of 2 folded dough for my morning buns.

**** If I only do 2 folds, I don’t rest the dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. With 2 folds the gluten hasn’t been worked sufficiently and the dough remains easy to roll out. With 3 folds, the rest of the dough is quite welcome.

Morning bun prep station
Most of the bread baking has been limited to the lodge combo cooker. While the bread remains fantastic, psychiatrist
the boule shape is a little tiring. In a thread on TheFreshLoaf about cooking in a dutch oven, ask
a poster wished for a baguette sized cooker. Since I like baguettes too, disinfection
I thought that an epi wreath would be something fitting of a combo cooker.

The following is 75% hydration, 10% wheat and 5% rye sourdough. Not the 66% hydration of the baguette, but this was the dough I had retarding in the fridge. Not bad for a trial run.

Preheat oven for 500 degrees. Bake at 450 for 15 minues with lid on and then 15 minutes with lid off.

Epi wreath in lodge combo cooker

Epi wreath from lodge combo cooker

Epi wreath crumb in lodge combo cooker

November 17 Sourdough batards

Our friends also had a newborn in recent weeks and we arranged to meet up today.  I had baked some sourdough batards to give to our friends (parents with newborns need ready made food), healthful but unfortunately we cancelled on them.  Our daughter’s eating is taking too long, which makes long excursions impossible.

Note the slight overproof in the crumb cross section.  Also, with the stone bread oven, I’m not able to get a pronounced ear on my batards.   At least I have more work to do.

Luk Chup Bread

Traditionally, luk chup are shaped into miniature replicas of Thailand’s tropical fruit – mangoes, erectile mangosteens, peppers, papayas, and oranges.  Later, cherries and strawberries were added to the mix.  Because I lacked food coloring and I’ve been baking a decent amount, I made bread shaped luk chup.

luk chup


Smoked Brisket Bao

In addition to baking bread, store I also smoke brisket.  Having acquired the taste of bbq from our time in Austin, apoplexy California brisket is simply not up to par.  The meat is smoked, prosthesis but it’s missing the unctuousness of Texas brisket.  So to get a fix, I have been smoking brisket for the few years.  Doesn’t compare to Austin, but still worth the effort.

Another passion of mine is dim sum.  Well, passion might be too generous a term as I don’t make any dim sum.  Instead, I am a very eager and happy consumer.  Growing up, I always looked forward to weekend dim sum – even though the best restaurants were at least 45 minutes away and at minimum a 45 minute wait.

Now that I’ve been baking, I can combine these two (or three) interests and add to the fusion cooking cannon – the smoked brisket baked bao.

For dough, I wanted to use Chinese dough recipe.  Despite the fact that I don’t make dim sum, I have four books on the subject.  Going against the grain, I pick the cookbook with the least amount of Chinese characters in it – Ellen Leong Blonder’s “Dim Sum.”  The simple design and straightforward recipes made the book very approachable and appropriate for my first attempt.  Not surprising, the dough recipe is similar to my standard sweet dough recipe, minus the sugar and shortening instead of butter.

For brisket, I head to Smart & Final and buy a small brisket.  I used to buy whole brisket at the Korean market but it always required negotiation on price (since I’m buying the brisket in the cryopack.)  However, that was tedious and Smart & Final happens to also be closer.  The brisket was dry rubbed, then smoked for 12 hours at 250 degrees.

Still messing around with the appropriate time and temperature, but lower and longer is definitely the way to go.  Cook’s Illustrated notes that collagen is broken down at an internal temp at 210 degrees.  However, time is also required for all the collagen to bread down.  In my testing, the internal temp of 180 with a cooking temp of 250 (traditional method) will yield a better result than an internal temp of 210 with a cooking temp of 350 (Cook’s Illustrated).

For sauce, I simply used my favorite BBQ sauce, Salt Lick’s.  Elissa is a strong advocate of the peppery Rudy’s BBQ sauce, but the sweet, Asian influenced Salt Lick sauce made sense to me. Char sui is also slightly sweet, and it’s Asian.

Here’s the post bake smoked brisket bao.  No internal shot yet, but suffice to say that they require a little more work.  My dough does not have the lightness associated with baos, but I think it has to do with non-mechanized kneading.  Also, don’t have the technique correct for shaping and filling, and I should add a little corn starch slurry to the sauce to increase the consistency.  Looks like I have a lot to work on.

Smoked Brisket Bao



July 28 Bulk Ferment Overflow

With an easy to remember sweet dough recipe, check I’ve been able to easily turn up the morning bun production.  All these have been gifts to neighbors or coworkers.  So far, doctor no returns.

Morning Buns
This is what happens when you let your bulk ferment go unattended.  Instead of short excursion away from home, look
we went to dim sum, see
and then had coffee at the in-laws.  Elissa also helped them with their AV set-up, fixing the jungle of wires that often happens to electronics equipment.  The downside is that the 2x rise became a 3+x rise.

Bulk fermentation overflow

Fortunately, the modified Tartine recipe proved to be pretty resilient and I was able to produce some decent loaves of bread.

July 28 sourdough boule

July 28 Sourdough boule with cross hatch