Dark Yeasted Decorative Dough

Preparation info

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By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

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U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 4 lb 1.84 kg 2 lb ( cups) 92%
Cocoa Powder, Sifted 6 oz 160 g 3 oz (⅞ cup) 8%
Milk Powder 3.5 oz 100 g 1.75 oz (6 T) 5%
Sugar 3.2 oz 90 g 1.6 oz (3 T) 4.5 %
Salt 1 oz 30 g .5 oz ( tsp) 1.5 %
Butter, Soft 3.5 oz 100 g 1.75 oz ( T) 5%
Yeast .28 oz, fresh 8 g, fresh .01 oz, instant dry ( tsp) .4%
Water 2 lb, 7.2 oz 1.12 kg 1 lb, 3.6 oz (2⅞ cups) 56%
Total Yield 7 lb, 8.68 oz 3.448 kg 3 lb, 12.2 oz 172.4 %


Add All the Ingredients to the Mixing Bowl. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for approximately 3 minutes until all the ingredients are incorporated. Check the consistency and make adjustments as necessary. The dough should be quite stiff, but sufficiently hydrated to form a firm mass. Mix on second speed for an additional 3 minutes. In a planetary mixer, mix on first speed for approximately 3 minutes. When all the ingredients are incorporated and hydration is correct, turn the mixer to second speed and mix for approximately 5 minutes. The goal is a strongly developed gluten network. Desired dough temperature is 75°F or less.

Since the dough is so stiff, it is subject to rapid dehydration. Therefore, keep it well covered with a sheet of plastic at all times. While the stiff texture of the dough does make work-up somewhat more difficult, that same stiffness results in distinctness among all the strands, which, in a wetter dough, would tend to merge together and impair the appearance of the finished project. Fermentation is not the goal with these doughs, and a 15-minute bench rest is adequate before portioning the dough.

A last Note: The first four projects detailed in this chapter are all sized to fit on a full sheet pan, which measures 24 by 16 inches. Adjust the dough weights accordingly if larger or smaller pieces are required.


The tools required for these projects are few, but since the dough is on the dry side, and since yeast, however minimal, is a presence, you should have all the necessary tools at hand before dividing the dough into individual pieces. You will need:

A scale and bench knife for dividing the dough

Plastic sheets to cover the bulk dough and dough pieces

Dusting flour

A slightly dampened clean cloth (optional)

A sharp paring knife

A pizza wheel is handy if you have one

A stiff cardboard template appropriate to the project being made

A long palette knife, to free up the piece before transferring it to a sheet pan

One full sheet pan lined with parchment paper

Egg wash and a soft brush

Refrigeration space to cool the piece for at least 1 hour before the bake