Bread- texture and crumb- plus a recipe.

Poppyseed rolls using stamp

Poppyseed roll using a stamp- it looks fancier than it tastes!

I have been making lots of bread since the new year started.  And playing around with recipes and methods- because I want the bread to be to my liking.  I don’t really care too much about how it looks- I want it to taste and feel right in my mouth.  I’m looking for a slightly yeasty, stretchy dough similar to those I remember from my youth when we would get a loaf of Vienna bread from the bakery in Akron on the way home from church on Sunday.   That loaf never made it home.  We ripped off pieces and ate them in the car- oblivious to the crumbs on our Sunday dresses- passing the loaf from hand to hand and tearing off a chunk of crust and delectable crumb that stretched as we pulled it off.

I’ve been making bread since I was 18 years old and have only now come close to that


Sourdough lof raised in a banneton

This looks right- but the texture isn’t quite stretchy- although the flavor is wonderful!

I love the bread I make- especially the sourdough- but like I said- the texture isn’t quite right.  And I don’t think it is about the recipe, either-  flour,yeast, salt olive oil and water- in varying amounts is what I’m using- usually with a cup or less of sourdough starter mixed in.

Poppy seeds and slashes make this loaf appealing.
The crumb is acceptable and great for sandwiches and toast.

So if the recipe is good- then it is about the method.  And I’ve been playing about with using old dough ( which is adding a piece of yeasted dough that has been saved in the refrigerator from a previous bread session- this adds to the leavening process and brings a flavor akin to sourdough ) and adding to the raising times.  I’ve been doing two raises- punching the dough down and letting it raise twice before shaping and allowing the final raise before baking and those two have added up to being very close to what I’m looking for in texture.

Knotty Italian rolls- twice raised and twisted into shape.

Finally the stretchy crumb I’ve been looking for!




I’ve been making these for years, but the addition of the old dough has made a significant difference in the crumb!

When pulling them apart there is that stretchy quality and that extra give upon biting into the roll.

Here is the recipe for the Italian rolls-   – you have to scroll down a bit to get to the recipe- I was rather chatty the day I posted this!  🙂





And I also found another recipe I had forgotten about-  I really like these bread sticks- but I had misplaced the recipe and hadn’t made them for a while.  I’m going to post it here so I can find it later even if I misplace the card again!!!

These also have a very nice stretchy quality to them-they are delicious by themselves- great with a dip or pate` and freeze beautifully!

Salted breadsticks!
Topped with sesame seeds, Parmesan cheese, and black salt and poppyseed.


4 1/2 cups flour

2 1/2 sticks butter

2 egg yolks

1 cup sour cream

2-3 tsp salt ( I like salt- you might want to use the smaller measurement)

2 tsp. dry yeast proofed in 1/2 cup warm water.


Bring all ingredients to room temperature, then mix all together in large bowl.  Depending on the flour and the type of day, you may need to use a little extra water- you are looking for a fairly sticky dough- but still dry enough that you can shape into a ball.  When you have a ball with all the ingredients well mixed, place on floured counter and cover with the bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.

Lightly whip egg whites until they are just frothy and set aside.

Roll out dough 1/2 inch thick, brush on half of the egg whites, fold dough and let sit for an additional 30 minutes.

Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick again and brush on egg white, add salt, cheese or seeds on top.  Cut into sticks , twist and place on baking sheet.Bake at 350 degrees F until golden- about 15 minutes.


Sesame seed breadsticks- so good!






13 thoughts on “Bread- texture and crumb- plus a recipe.

  1. That has got to be the best, eating hot bread before it gets home.
    We used to do this on the weekends when we went for a drive. Unfortunately the bakery is no longer open.

    • It is one of happiest memories- the smell – the anticipation- and that wonderful handful of bread on an empty stomach! The bakery we went to isn’t there anymore either. And Vienna bread is not always available at a lot of bakeries.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Just pictures of your bread makes my mouth water. Bread baking does the same thing to me. Always hope you’re willing to share and you usually are, which makes me very happy.

  3. Snap! Bread sticks! Yours look much fancier than mine, Heidi! 🙂 And I’m so glad you’ve managed to replicate the texture you were after – matching food memories is hard, but you’ve done it! xx

    • Mine might look fancier- but yours have goosefat in them!
      I think mine are more of an Eastern European style with the sour cream and copious amounts of butter in them.
      It is hard to replicate a childhood taste- but in the quest for good bread it was a lot of fun!

  4. Great post Heidi! I love your descriptions of seaching for that warm stretchy bread and the experiments. We have, or had big fluffy white loaves of various sorts that I can remember tearing off corners from secretly on the way home. The loaf wrapped in fine white tissue paper, I wonder if they were the same sort of bread? I haven’t made bread sticks in ages, those twisty ones look fantastic!

  5. Hi Joanna!
    The bread came in a paper wrapper- with the name of the bakery printed on it- I think it was Crest bakery- but that doesn’t sound very Italian, does it? And I’m almost positive it was an Italian bakery. It was definitely Vienna bread, so it had a crust- a good strong crust on it- although the center was soft and elastic when you pulled your piece off of it.
    I really like these bread sticks- although they aren’t like the normal sticks- more of a flaky and buttery morsel- but very savory. They don’t go with an Italian dish- more of an appetizer and dip sort- but sometimes they are exactly what I’m looking for to snack on, you know?

    • Sacristans? I came across that name for twisty bread sticks in a big fat American baking book that I bought yesterday. And I do know what you mean about the ‘right snacks’ 🙂 the only trouble I find is that I often have to test a range of snacks to find the right one 😀 xx

      • Hmm- I only know sacristan in a religious context-
        The Catholic Encyclopaedia defines a Sacristan as an officer charged with the care of the sacristy of the church. It is a person who is responsible for the care of the altar, vestments and repair of the church. Nowadays a sacristan’s position is salaried.
        Unless the bread is referring to a Eucharistic bread I don’t know it.
        This recipe was given to me by my Hungarian neighbor who bakes a lot of ethnic breads.
        I just know it is pretty easy to make and makes a great base for dips and cheese and pate. I really like them!

  6. like Celia said, it’s hard to replicate a food memory…I wonder if in ten years time I will think fondly back to the time when I made “….” whatever I’m making now. Hmmm, just musing. Maybe you need to have the ‘carefree-ness’ of a youngster for things to be created as a taste memory….(and off she ponders again.)

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