NEW VIDEO on how to roll fruit and butter into lean dough

In case you have one of our lean doughs in the fridge (no enrichment or sweetener), but you want to bake up a morning bread or other sweet buttery thing, hope is not lost.  I started with our basic light whole wheat recipe, and rolled some delicious things into it.

More about rolling in the fruit, brown sugar, and butter…

As you see in the video, it’s quite easy to see how to get the “enrichers” into stored dough.  We’ve covered this before, in still photography posts here on the site.  The first time was for a Thanksgiving Corn Bread, and we talked about rolling the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness, and then more recently, a post on Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, where we rolled it to 1/8-inch.  Turns out there’s a lot of leeway; in my video above I talk about rolling it to 1/4-inch, but it actually looks thicker than that!  The prettier visual effects are achieved with the thinner roll-out but I just didn’t want to force you to watch me roll for longer than you needed to.

I didn’t end up shooting still shots of my cranberry-brown sugar-buttered whole wheat but it was terrific.  The links above have pictures that  show great examples of what you can get with this approach.

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32 thoughts on “NEW VIDEO on how to roll fruit and butter into lean dough

  1. Jeff,
    Thanks so much for posting this (and the video was immensely helpful!). I was wondering if could you leave out the cranberries and add maple syrup (should I omit the butter as well)? One of my favorite kinds of breads is a Maple-Cinnamon bread made with real maple syrup but I am unsure how proceed with trying to make the bread myself.

    Thanks again!!

    1. Jamie: Absolutely, this will work, go for it.

      Amanda: I did this one in a loaf pan for uniform sandwiches, but you could do it free-form if the dough hasn’t spread much sideways. Or, yes, you could slice it and put it in a flat pan (make thick slices) as in the pecan caramel rolls from ABin5 ( on Amazon).

  2. Great idea, looks wonderful. Just one question, do you bake it just like that? Or do you slice it or bake it in a loaf pan?

  3. I just made a free-form loaf with this method. Light whole wheat, raisens, dates, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Egg wash and sugar on the crust before baking. It turned out good, even though some of the filling leaked out. I did find out you shouldn’t use steam. At 28 minutes at 450 the crust was almost too dark and it’s not quite done in the center.

  4. Hi, I’ve been using your techniques for a while now and am a big fan!

    However, I consistently have the same problem. My loaves NEVER get as dark as the ones you show here on your site. I use unbleached white flour, use the scoop and sweep method, use the correct amount of liquid, cook for the allotted time (and even check internal temps to make sure its fully cooked). I’ve even tried cooking it much longer to see if I can get the browning and it never happens. I just get a dried out loaf!

    So I was wondering if you guys had any ideas on why this might be happening? The best I get is a light golden brown. Everything tastes fine, I just yearn for those dark crusts!

  5. Hi, I am posting this here because I am not sure where else to post it as I have not seen posts in a related topic.
    My question is this…Can I use any free form dough to make bagels?I am interested in using a Challah bread dough to make “egg bagels.” Thank you!

    1. Ashley– bagels do better with a higher-protein dough we talk about in the first book. But in the second, we use regular whole wheat flour and liked the result.

      I have a feeling that Challah dough will be too soft and may disintegrate in the water bath. Maybe you’d like the Montreal-style bagels from the first book (

  6. Hi Jeff and Zoe – I’ve been using the whole wheat brioche dough a lot lately and I’ve noticed that it doesn’t seem to rise as much as the regular brioche dough when I shape it as a turban. Is that just the way it is with whole wheat or do you have any suggestions to keep it from spreading a looking a little flat? Still tastes great!

    1. Lindy: It’s so nice to see you here in cyber bread-land!

      Well… whole wheat doughs, in general, do not rise as much as their all-white counterparts. What you’re describing isn’t over-dense, so that’s good. Sounds like the problem is sideways spread, and that does happen. I have a feeling you will like this bread better when it’s done in a loaf pan or even in a brioche pan (like

      That will contain the sideways spread. Otherwise, you can try “gluten-cloaking” a little more vigorously. Last thing would be to slightly “dry out” the dough a little– just use a little more flour next time and it will be drier and spread a little less.


  7. Thanks so much Jeff. I decided to try the plain bagels in the first book since I didn’t have and wasn’t sure where to purchase malt powder.

    I just made the dough, except sadly, I used all purpose instead of bread flour. I just missed it until I had already mixed it. Long day, I guess. I am so sad. Should I still attempt the bagels, or should I make another type of bread with the dough, or should I throw the dough out.?
    Your help would be appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Ashley– don’t throw it out, it will work. Use flour generously when you shape so that are tightly formed.

  8. Yay, videos! This website and Zoe’s are two of my all time favorites, and every time you guys put up a new post, there is a very audible “Ooh!” from my computer room. 🙂

    Your contact FAQ says to post questions here, even if they aren’t related to the thread, so, sorry in advance for this off-topic question.

    I recently made the 100% whole wheat bread, and although it is quite tasty, I would like to increase the fiber content so that I can make it a healthier choice for my mother, who was recently diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.

    According to MasterCook, a 1/4 recipe of the 100% WW bread has 3g of fiber and 15 carbs. I need to increase it to at least 5g of fiber, so I was thinking of adding 3/4c of wheat bran to increase the fiber per serving to 5g.

    So…two questions.

    1) I need to add water to the recipe if I’m going to add the wheat bran, so it doesn’t dry out, right? How much water would you guess at…??

    2) Do you have any other suggestions for adding fiber to the recipe? I don’t know if they make high fiber WW flour or not.

    Thank you for your help! My Mom loves your bread, but I want to make it healthier for her, so she can have more. 🙂

    1. Hi Ariana,

      Thank you for the lovely note! You can certainly add more fiber to the dough. In order to do that without making a very dense loaf that won’t rise much you may also want to increase the amount of vital wheat gluten to the dough. Add the 3/4 cup of bran and about 2 extra tablespoons of VWG, you will probably need an additional 1/4 – 1/3 cup water. Add it until it resembles the dough you are used to working with.

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoe

  9. Ah, nice. I’ll have to try incorporating cranberries in my bread using this method.

    Question about white whole wheat flour–can I mix AP with whole wheat flour and get something similar? I want to make the 10 grain bread from HBin5 and have plenty of AP and WW flour on hand and would like to avoid having to buy white whole wheat if possible. Fingers crossed!

    1. Hi Janice,

      White whole wheat is actually 100% whole grain and can be used in equal proportion with regular whole wheat. It is just ground from a white wheat berry instead of the more traditional red wheat berry.

      Thanks, Zoe

  10. I used the flour just recently to make GF brownies. They were fabulous. Really one of the best brownies I ever had. Thank you for the prize again- it gave me a new perspective on gluten free and gave my Aunt, who has celiac disease, a nice box of tasty brownies.

    1. Hi Jo Ann,

      Which type of bread are you baking? If you are baking the Master recipe and not getting a crispy crust it can be caused by too much moisture left in the bread.

      1. Make sure the loaf is only 1-pound of dough. If it is more you need to increase the resting and baking times.

      2. Make sure your oven is correct temperature with an oven thermometer.

      3. Try preheating your stone for 30-40 minutes, not 20. Some ovens and stones take longer to get to the proper temperature.

      3. Let your bread cool for at least an hour before cutting into it. The bread releases steam as it cools which will make the crust seem soft. After the bread is cool the crust will get crispy again, as long as 1., 2. and 3. are done correctly.

      Hope this helps! Zoë

  11. I adore this recipe, and knowing how to change my lean bread, which I always have on hand, to enriched. One question — would you slash this dough before baking or would that make the filling too messy at the slash points?


  12. Hey.

    This is my first time trying this method. Seeing as it’s cool in my house I let the freshly formed dough rest in a bowl in my warming drawer on its lowest setting for 2 hours. I’m a little concerned that it might have been too warm because it did form a little bit of a skin on top. I thought I should mention this because I don’t really understand the science of yeast and I have killed the yeast in times previous. If it rose too aggressively now (it doubled,) will it still rise properly later? Also, here and with the Thanksgiving Cornbread, you roll the dough out. But in a video it was mentioned not to knead the refrigerated dough, so as not to expel any gas/air. Are you making these embellished breads with fresh, unrefrigerated dough? Or perhaps I’ve overlooked something? Thanks, I’m really excited to see how everything will turn out.

    1. Hi David,

      Did you cover the dough with plastic wrap or other non-airtight cover? This should prevent the skin from forming. The dough is supposed to double in size so it sounds like yours behaved just right.

      You can roll things into the dough, but then it usually requires additional rising time. These times should be reflected in the individual recipes.

      Hope that clears things up for you, happy baking! Zoë

  13. This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

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