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Hello fellow Fresh Loaf'ers.

I would like to announce that today is my birthday. Thanks to everyone here that has made me feel welcome in this wonderful forum. This is a great community full of enthusiastic bakers and I wouldn't be where I am today without you all.

Cheers and Merry Christmas.

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Christmas is fast approaching and life has been quite hectic recently... 

I simply don't have time to maintain my beloved lievito 2.0. So instead with the little time I have had, I made my regular yeasted version of Pandoro.

It has a wonderful aroma thanks to the cocoa butter, vanilla, lemon, and fancy pandoro sugar. Although this version lacks the softness typical of the real thing made with natural yeast.

Well mixed dough.



Primo (30C ~4hrs)

62.0 Biga (50% hydration)
62.0 Flour
2.0 Instant yeast
4.0 Water
21.0 Sugar
48.0 Egg

Secondo (30C ~4hrs)

140.0 Flour
82.0 Sugar
96.0 Egg
14.0 Water

Terzo (24C ~12-14hrs)

140.0 Flour
62.0 Sugar
10.0 Honey
5.5 Salt
48.0 Egg
17.0 Milk
31.0 Water
228.0 Butter
16.0 Egg Yolk
23.0 Cocoa Butter
Flavouring (seeds from one vanilla pod + zest of one lemon)

Final dough, total % ingredients:

100.0 Flour
59.5 Butter
50.1 Whole Egg
43.0 Sugar
18.2 Water
6.0 Cocoa Butter
4.4 Milk
4.2 Egg Yolk
2.6 Honey
1.4 Salt
0.5 yeast

Pandoro sugar

100 Icing sugar
70 Potato flour
6 Cocoa butter
6 Rum
- Vanilla seeds

Sorry for the rushed post... errand's to run.


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To me, the pinnacle Panettone. Formula comes from Iginio Massari.

This is the most challenging formula for Panettone, hence why I have been so drawn to it. I rise to technical challenges. I followed the formula, timings and temperatures without compromise.

Iginio Massari’s formulas typically use only 25% natural yeast and cooler temps for the first dough. The result, more flavour… I can still recall that familiar aroma after the first rise. So aromatic!

Oven spring was huge. I didn’t know when it was going to stop… Lasting nearly 20mins.

The taste and texture was perfect. I made the choice to use super strong Canadian flour to get that fluffy character I was looking for. A clean taste, not a hint of acidity or sourness. Just sweet, light, fluffy goodness, natural and nutritious.

The volume increase from dough to finished product was about 6 fold. All that lift created by my natural yeast...
Here it floats in water fermenting away. Beloved lievito 2.0! 


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I’m still experimenting and making observations my with my natural “lievito 2.0”. All that experimenting and nothing to show for it… So while I had the time I decided to actually make something. Something different to Panettone…

I adapted the original recipe (from Dolcesalato), scaling down the formula, making just one modification to include white, along with the milk and dark chocolate chips.

Veneziana al Cioccolato by Giovanni Pina

First dough – left to rise at 30C for 10-12hrs

  • 225g ‘00’ flour
  • 75g lievito naturale
  • 56g egg yolks
  • 64g caster sugar
  • 90g water
  • 75g butter

Second dough – left to rise at 30C for 6-7hrs

  • 83g ‘00’ flour
  • 56g caster sugar
  • 56g egg yolks
  • 4g salt
  • 15g honey
  • 38g water
  • 98g butter
  • 165g chocolate chips (55g each of white, milk and dark)

I glazed the dough with an egg and sugar solution and scored a Y shape on top as per original instructions.

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I've always been intrigued by the yeast water method of raising bread.

Although yeast water is started with fruits I did something (just can't help it) different...

I created yeast water from sourdough!

I took my mature Italian style sourdough and let it float in water (a standard procedure), forgot about it and eventually it sank. I threw some sugar in there and gave it a stir. The dough had all but dissolved by then. I left it overnight and in the morning the mixture had separated into a white starchy bottom and a watery top which I poured off and kept, discarding the starch. To this collected water I added honey and left it for a couple of days, aerating often.

I now have a yeast water solution that fizzes and smells just like champagne! See this video I made..


With this yeasty winey water I made a sponge and left for 14hrs.

  • 37.5% Flour
  • 25.25% yeast water

The next day I completed the dough

  • - fermented sponge
  • 62.5% flour
  • 43.75% water
  • 2% salt

So here is my first yeast water loaf...

and the shreddy crumb...


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Biga acida

  • 20g lievito naturale
  • 200g '00' flour
  • 80g cold water

Lievito dissolved in water first then mixed with flour to create a very dry dough. Pin rolled until smooth. Rolled flat, ~4mm thick, wrapped in cling film and refrigerated for 2 days before removing and left overnight until mature.

Final dough

  • 175g biga acida
  • 35g '00' flour
  • 86g water
  • 3g salt

Cut biga into pieces and mixed with 35g of water. Added flour to combine. Added salt. Adjusted the mix with remaining water to achieve a total hydration of 85%. Very minimal kneading. A few s&f's performed.



The biga was wonderfully strong after fermentation. Stronger than I ever felt a biga to be, really nice to feel. Fruity alcohol smell and characteristics reminiscent of a yeasted biga but accompanied with an acetic acid taste. 

The biga contributed vast strength, the final dough at 85% handled like it was 70%!

Final dough didn't rise as swiftly as I expected. The biga was probably not fully mature.

Baked loaf has wonderful flavour in the crust and some sourness in the crumb. Super light.


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I couldn't resist making my favourite Panettone again!

As I wrote previously my regular Italian sourdough has been dried up and stored away in the fridge so that I could focus on making rustic sourdough breads. I created a new, wet 100% hydration starter but the temptation to convert it into a new Italian starter was too strong. And after bringing it to maturity I couldn't resist making Panettone again!

So here we have one of my favourites courtesy of master pastry chef Igino Massari. Entitled “The Best Panettone” this is one very soft, very sweet and very moist cake!

I made dough for a 500g mould but the smallest ones I have in stock are 750g capacity. Consequently the resulting shape isn't as proud as the Milanese style. I didn't glaze it and instead cut ears…

Paper removed.


Finally, I now have a better understanding of how best to mix the second dough. I have achieved the best crumb so far. I like those open pockets!

First dough: (26C for 12hrs)

  • 30g Lievito Naturale
  • 120g '00' Flour
  • 45g Water
  • 38g Sugar
  • 30g Egg Yolks
  • 43g Butter

Second dough: (28C until tripled ~8hrs)

  • 30g '00' Flour
  • 39g Egg Yolks
  • 30g Sugar
  • 7.5g Honey
  • 46g Butter
  • 21g Water
  • 2.4g Salt
  • .3g Aroma Panettone
  • .3g Vanilla
  • 60g Sultanas
  • 45g Candied Orange
  • 15g Candied Citron

Total Ingredients:

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Whenever I make bread my main goal is volume. Admittedly this isn't the most rewarding feature of bread but I am a technical junkie and love taking things to the limit. Not to mention, I love super-light bread.

This loaf is somewhat akin to the improved loaf I made a few months ago but uses acidity from sourdough to boost volume. Milk and diastatic malt are used to soften the crumb.

320g Very strong Allinson flour (High gluten)
200g Water
200g Skimmed milk
153g 00 flour
~77g Italian sourdough (~45% hydration)
55g Wholemeal flour
22g White spelt
22g Red malt
10g Salt
6g Diastatic malt
2g Instant yeast

Mixed dry to wet. Fermented 3-4hrs @ ~30C until tripled. Kneaded by hand until satisfied, 5-10 mins á la Bertinet.

Rounded and left to rest for 20-30 mins at which point it was significantly swollen.

Shaped tightly and placed in the tin.

Proved for 45mins-1hr. Baked with steam, oven off for first 8 of a total 45mins.



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Here I am again with another highly hydrated white spelt loaf. This time around it's sourdough raised...

I didn't set out to make this sour but boy, I mean wow is this sour!

If ever proof was needed that warm and wet makes for a more sour bread, then this is it!

My firm sourdough contributes a lot of dough strength via its acidity and lack of protease activity. This coupled with much fermentation mean't that even at 100% hydration the final dough became too strong and was impossible to shape without tearing. As a result the loaf looks rather ugly..

Here's what I did...


  • 50g Italian sourdough (taken after overnight, room temp rise)(50% hydration)
  • 200g White Spelt flour (Doves Farm)
  • 200g water
  • 4g Salt

Dough was mixed initially at 50% with 100ml of water, followed by an autolyse before adding the rest of water in 25ml increments to achieve 100% hydration. Bulk fermentation for ~5hrs at 30C with a few s&f's in between. Room temp proof for ~3hrs.


This bread has a very nice acetic acid scented crust. But under that rough and bumpy crust lies a shockingly sour crumb... I can still taste it as I write this.. I really can't emphasise enough just how sour this bread is... The most sour ever...



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On a flying visit to Dorset my family and I stopped off in Sturminster Newton to take a tour around the water mill. Wonderful! A very informative and interesting tour provided by delightfully friendly staff reminded us of times gone by. Fully automated machinery that is surprisingly old for the ingenuity. I highly recommend this tour.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License

At the end we were given some flour milled from locally grown wheat. Thank you Tony.

A few days later I set about making a loaf with this newly acquired flour

I can’t provide a comprehensive recipe as technically this wasn't without issue and I had to make a few on the fly adjustments to my devised recipe.

To begin I sifted the flour using my drum sieve to remove the majority of the bran because I don’t really like dense breads.

I fermented 80% of the flour as a Biga pre-ferment. However after around 16 hours the dough had deteriorated a little, but still, more than I would like. This flour really can’t handle much fermentation.

On putting the final dough together, after even a gentle mix the dough became overly slack and so I added a little extra white flour and some stock firm sourdough to compensate.

The final dough was a little on the weak side but it still managed to almost triple in size before baking. Oven spring was fairly good too.

Fully fermented Biga, Remaining sifted flour, total removed bran and my sieve.

The finished loaf with some of the sieved bran sprinkled on top.





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