The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Ripoli's picture

This is bar far, one of my most favourite tasting loaves to date. Basic sourdough loaf is transformed with the addition of the Rye porridge. By building the gluten structure and then adding the rye later has enabled this loaf to still maintain an  open crumb structure and avoid the usual dense loaf associated with rye. The sweetness of the rye still shines through. I will definitely be making this bread more often while experimenting with other grains, cracked, flaked or rolled. For more bread and general baking I would love it if you started following me on instagram @melbournebreadman. Thanks enjoy!


PalwithnoovenP's picture

NOTE: This post is NOT in anyway intended to offend, malign or make fun of anyone especially TFLers from Latin America or those who can speak and/or understand Spanish. Our country has lots of Spanish influence too and you could definitely trace it in our language; although the feminine form retained its offensive meaning, the term "puto" did not; it just always refers to a delicious treat. For the sake of clarity, all of the terms "puto" you will find here refers ONLY to steamed rice cakes. No hate comments please. Thank you! 

Our country favors rice as its staple. Everyday from breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and even midnight snack we eat rice but for special occasions we do not settle for plain steamed white rice. We turn rice into simple to very complex festive dishes like arroz valeciana, bringhe (something like a coconut milk arroz), talulo (rice in banana leaf), hundreds of different rice cakes and puto. I know this is not as grand as other bread TFLers make but puto often takes the place of bread or sometimes even rice in festive occasions. In birthdays the famous trio of puto, pansit (Chinese style stir-fried noodles) and spaghetti is so prominent that when they are seen in ordinary days the first question is "Who has a birthday?" 

I grew up on the traditional puto with the optional topping of salted eggs or cheese that my dad buys from a town 2 hours away from us. Traditionally, top quality rice was soaked and ground in a stone grinder, mixed with sugar and water and allowed to ferment in clay jars for a day or two. When the batter has overflowed and full of bubbles, it is then poured into molds and steamed until done. When I learned about sourdough I realized that puto is essentially a steamed rice sourdough starter! When eaten, this style of puto has a slight tangy taste and a sweet but almost vinegary aroma. It is very similar to the Indian idli, the only difference is puto uses only rice.

Today there are various styles of puto, some have milk or eggs, made with part or all wheat flour instead of rice and leavened with commercial yeast or chemical leaveners. I developed this to fit everyone if that's possible; gluten free, dairy free and vegan if you do not put the toppings. It uses rice flour and baking powder, a bit modern but close to traditional puto.

I just mixed rice flour and water into a thin batter and sweetened it to taste, added salt and baking powder then I steamed it until done. I used my little llaneras that's why they're oval but they're commonly round. I also put some salted eggs and cheese on top just like they do in stores, I like the cheese more and I even hate salted eggs topped ones when I was a child. I will use a good Edam for special occasions but I doubt other gourmet cheeses, perhaps it won't taste right because my nostalgic taste screams for the processed supermarket cheese used here.

My first attempt with puto did not turn out so well. It looks okay at the top but the sides are sticky, too moist and brownish. The interior was gummy unlike the fine crumb pictured above. I used baking soda and vinegar before because I did not have baking powder on hand; I think it was the culprit, maybe there wasn't enough acid to react with the baking soda and the rice cakes have a weird salty taste and alkali smell and taste; it also didn't rise as much, maybe it's also undercooked because I was a bit excited to eat them.

Here they are while they were steaming. I put all the left over batter in my biggest llanera and topped with both cheese and salted eggs. In parties this size is considered small, puto 5 inches high and 20 inches in diameter is not uncommon in such occasions.

I also made a nostalgic snack that my dad buys from a nearby town, puto pao. I remember they were the muffin like about half the size of my fist filled with sweet salty pork and salted eggs. Puto pao is  combination of puto and siopao (which came from the siu bao in char siu bao- steamed meat buns) making them meat-filled steamed rice cakes. I filled them with my asado (soy sauce cooked pork) and topped them with salted eggs just like what I remember. Salted eggs will complement the filling better than cheese and even though I hate salted eggs before, I love them when they are on puto pao.

The puto is slightly sweet, extremely soft and fluffy with a very fine crumb. I think this batch is best reserved for plain puto because it is too delicate for the meat filling, maybe I should reduce the baking powder if I intend to make puto pao. Puto pao is an excellent snack though it may not sound appealing to many of you of because of the flavor combinations but they are a thousand times easier to make than char siu bao.

Maybe I should also pour the right amount of batter, I thought some are going to overflow but fortunately they did not, they just formed a muffin top.

The photo above has a good amount of batter but I like the next one better, a higher full dome without overhanging sides. It's just the nostalgia in me that wants them to look like what I used to have. (You can see how the llanera endured many of my baking adventures)

Here is the large puto, it looks like the mother of the little ones. Which camp are you? Salted eggs or cheese? There are some traitor salted eggs that allied themselves with the cheese camp! :P

The crumb was a bit dry because it was left in the fridge for 3 days but it was still good. I cooked some pancit today and paired it with the puto and we were transported immediately to a birthday party! :P

Sorry for this long post, I'm just happy with how this turned out!

Thank you very much! Job

Yippee's picture

I feel so lucky that I can eat regular bread because the gluten-free breads on the market are so expensive! I hope those of you who suffer from gluten intolerance don't ever have to be ripped off again - you can make your own delicious gluten-free sourdough bread!

alfanso's picture

Well, wouldn't ya just know it.  Another day, another Pane di Altamura posting.  With my recent trip down to Lorenzo's in N. Miami Beach (no beach!) and finding a source for semola rimacinata at US$1/pound, I was stocked up and stoked up with all of this durum discussion underway here.  Following David Snyder's posted formula (for the most part) and seeing what Brad (breadforfun) and Abe (A BakEr) were up to, it was my turn to also jump on the bandwagon.

I decided to do concurrent first builds of the biga, just for the experimentation of it all.  One biga with my ever-ready levain fed down to 60% hydration, and the other with my stiff starter, already ~60% hydration.  The levain based biga took 7 hours for the 1st build to double, while the starter based version barely showed signs of life at that point, until it started moving and took a full 12 hours for each of the 1st and 2nd builds.  So I stuck with my levain based version.  2nd build was another 7 hours, however the 3rd build was under 6 to grow beyond doubling.

As an aside, I felt it was time to refresh my starter, which was last refreshed on 02 Nov 15.  But 5 months old and it was still going strong, for anyone who still wonders how long a stiff starter can live a healthy refrigerated life.

I did bump the overall hydration of the dough up to 65%, and also made the mix 25% larger than the formula posted by David, so it clocked in at a total of ~1145g total dough weight.  

One set of 200 French Folds, a 10 minute rest followed by another 200 FFs.  And then left to rise on its own for 5 hours, no stretch and folds, before dividing.  

Being alfanso, once it was shaped and couched, it went into the refrigerator for an overnight nap and was baked this morning, as usual, directly out of the retard.  Also, being alfanso, and liking to change around a thing or two, I decided that these would be shaped and scored as batards.

Abiding by the oven temperatures and timings in David's post, these baked for 15 minutes with steam, and then another 21 minutes, with 2 additional minutes of venting before being removed.  As noted, the dough was quite soft and puffy, and I wonder if my shaping was a tad too aggressive considering the crumb.  But the oven spring was all I could have asked for.  Since I really didn't know what to look for in this bread, nor how it should taste, it was all, and I mean all, new to me.

Due to the retard time, there is a mild SD tang to the bread. 

The first build completes in 7 hours.  The third build in just under 6 hours, but I was late to snap this 2nd picture.  I made a few dozen more grams of biga than needed.  Some biga or dough is always lost to my hands or the workbench or mixing/fermenting vessel, so my habit is to always make a little more than the formula calls for.

The dough after the 2nd set of 200 French Folds, and after the 5 hours of bulk rise at 80dF completed.

Shaped as batards and the double score applied just a minute before entering the oven.

Steam released after 15 minutes, and batards have been rotated front to back & left to right.


The end game.  In this case, the colors are accurate.


breadforfun's picture

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of Pane di Altamura posts.  For me, it started with Michael’s (mwilson) post on the behavior of Durum flour, the semola rimacinata di grano duro used by the bakers in that famous region.  Abe (ABakEr) posted a very nice loaf with an open crumb using a pretty inventive technique. David (dmsnyder) followed up with his version that also showed off a beautiful crumb.  I first posted about my attempts about a year and a half ago after returning from my visit (pilgrimage?) to Altamura and being wowed by the bread.  I tapered off my trials after some medium successes: while the breads tasted great I was stymied in my attempts to shape it in the traditional u sckuanète folded shape.

I have been baking a lot since then, practicing and honing my skills, so it was time to try my hand at the Pane Tipo di Altamura (as David rightly calls it) again.  Lots of reading and rereading, watching and rewatching videos, and learning from others, I decided on a 65% overall hydration dough using a 100% hydration durum starter (biga naturale) that was 16.7% bakers percent of the flour, minimal proofing but assuring that there was sufficient fermentation.  The starter was refreshed 3 times at roughly 12-hour intervals.  The bake was done without steam, leaving the oven door very slightly cracked open as is done in Altamura, to try to get the 3 mm thick crust that is written into the DOP regulations.  Here is the formula and method.

I’m pretty pleased with the result, at least the outward appearance.  The shape of the loaf is as close as I’ve ever gotten to the traditional shape, although there is room for improvement. The crust darkened too fast, so I think the temperature was too hot in the beginning, so I will reduce it and bake longer next time.


[Update 4/4/16] I cut into the loaf this morning, and the crumb is a bit disappointing.  It is too dense and tight.  I also had some shaping issues that left a couple of caverns in the loaf, though I think this can be corrected with a minor adjustment.  I think my main mistake was being a bit too aggressive on the bulk ferment because of not wanting to allow the structure to degrade by proteases if overfermented. 

I am already preparing for another bake later this week, and this time I'll incorporate some ideas from both Abe and David: I like Abe's idea of letting the dough rest after final shaping, even if just a few minutes, before peeling into the oven.  I also like David's thinking that using a higher hydration for increased extensibility would be helpful.

The taste was decent, but not quite as nutty or flavorful as expected, which, I think, argues that the bulk fermentation was insufficient.

Onward and upward.


varda's picture

Hi.   I thought that some might be interested in this profile of Bread Obsession in the Spring issue of Edible Boston.

Ru007's picture

Hi all! 

I’ve baked 5 sourdough loaves using the same formula and I felt like it was time for a change. So last week, I asked for some suggestions for what to try next and it seemed like rye was popular choice... I wasn't feeling particularly brave about it, but i decided to go for it.

So here’s my first try at a sourdough rye loaf. What fun!! But so different from my last few bakes. Mixing and shaping this dough was like working with clay, very therapeutic.

I went with a 70% rye flour, 78% hydration loaf (if i did my maths right). The original formula has raisins in it but I decided I liked the idea of sunflower seeds better, so that’s what I did!

I had no idea what I was going to get (my nightmare being an overly dense brick since i decided to live on the edge and leave out the instant yeast i was meant to add). I waited 24 hours before slicing, not sure why i'm meant to do this, but all the formulas i'd read told me to, so i did. 

It tastes great! Not as sour as I wanted though, but that’s something I can work on next time. The crumb is moist and tender but not gummy, which is good. 

Here's how i did it:

First levain build

15g rye starter

45g water

45g rye flour

I let that sit for about 12 hours

Second build:

All of the first build

110g rye

130g water ( i was only supposed to add 110g of water but i think my starter likes higher hydration levels)

Left that in the oven which the light on, it doubled in 4 hours.

Final dough:

All of the levain

135g white bread flour

155g rye flour

165g water

75g sunflower seeds

9g salt 

I mixed the flours and water and let it sit for about 30 mins before adding the salt. Then i added the salt and kneaded the dough (without the levain) until it was nice and smooth and quite stretchy. I wasn't meant to do this, but my gut told me to, so i did. 

This is what i got...

I wasn't expecting much oven spring, but i got more than i hoped (even though it wasn't dramatic like my previous loaves).

Any tips or feedback from the well trained eyes on this forum will be much appreciated!

P.S. Here is the link to the original formula:


Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

This my latest attempt on a leftover dual started bread that came out so good I promise to make it again and record what I did. I was very pressed for time so it could have used a longer proofing time ! The truth always is evident in the crumbshot.

dmsnyder's picture

Pane Tipo di Altamura

31 March, 2016

David Snyder


Back in 2011, several TFL bakers worked on trying to replicate Pane di Altamura at home. I participate with one bake (see:, but did not work to refine it and have not baked this bread since. Abe's (A BakEr on TFL) recent efforts have inspired me to give this bread another go.

Since my prior attempt, I have had a little experience baking in a wood-fired oven, which is how Pane di Altamura is baked. I realize how different that oven is from my home electric oven. I have further amended Abe's amendment of the Italian DOP specification based on this experience. Most significantly, almost all instructions for baking this bread omit steaming the oven. My thinking is that, in a wood-fired oven, generally there are multiple loaves baking at once, and the water that evaporates from them, in effect, steams the oven without the addition of any water by the baker. This effect is much less with a single loaf in an electric oven. Therefore, I did steam my oven for the first part of the bake. That said, the formula and procedures I used are largely based on the information Abe kindly shared with us.


Total Dough

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)













Biga Naturale

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)



Water (80-90ºF)



Semola Rimacinata starter






I already had a biga naturale from a previous bake in my refrigerator. So, the biga used in the Final Dough was fed three times with about 12 hours' fermentation of each build.

  1. Place the starter in a medium bowl.

  2. Add the water and mix until the starter is in pea-size pieces.

  3. Add the flour and mix until there is no dry flour and the biga feels like a bread dough.

  4. Place the biga in a clean bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment for about 12 hours at 70-76ºF.

  6. Repeat twice more.


Final Dough

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Semola Rimacinata (Fine Durum flour)









Biga Naturale







  1. Mix the flour and water well in a large bowl. (There should be no dry flour in the bowl.)

  2. Cover the bowl tightly and let it rest at room temperature for an hour.

  3. Add the salt and the biga to the bowl. Mix thoroughly using the French “pinch and fold” method.

  4. Knead in the bowl or on an un-floured board for about 10 minutes.

  5. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Knead for another 10 minutes.

  7. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl. Cover the bowl tightly.

  8. Ferment for 6 hours at 76ºF. (I used a Brød and Taylor Proofing Box set to 76ºF.) The dough should be expanded to double its original volume and feel soft and puffy.

  9. Transfer the dough to a board lightly dusted with durum flour and pre-shape as a boule.

  10. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  11. Place the boule on baker's linen and cover well. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

  12. Transfer the dough to the board and pre-shape as a bâtard, taking care to de-gas the dough as little as possible. (Note: Pane di Altamura is traditionally shaped as a boule. I elected to shape it as a long loaf. If shaped as a boule, the bake time should be increased, since the loaf would be thicker.)

  13. Place the bâtard on the baker's linen and cover well. Let it rest for another 30 minutes.

  14. Transfer the bâtard to the board. Gently stretch it by grasping the two long sides and pulling it into a flat oval.

  15. Using the sides of your two hands, make a wide groove down the long axis of the loaf. Then fold the loaf at the groove so that the upper half over-laps the lower half 3/4 of the way. Gently seal the seam between the upper and lower layers.

  16. Transfer the loaf to a peel.

  17. Turn the oven down to 450ºF, steam the oven and transfer the loaf to the baking stone.

  18. Bake with steam for 15 minutes.

  19. Remove the steam source from the oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 420ºF (or 400ºF convection bake).

  20. Bake for another 15-18 minutes. The loaf should be nicely browned. It should sound hollow when the bottom is thumped with a knuckle. The internal temperature should be at least 205ºF.

  21. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.


Tasting Notes

When fully cooled and first sliced, the crust is thin and chewy. The crumb is amazingly open for such a low-hydration bread, and a most attractive yellow color. The slices show that the multiple shaping steps did not over-de-gas the dough. The profile shape is pleasing. On tasting, the crumb is mildly chewy. There is a slight yeasty aroma. The flavor is balanced and mild with some nutty, some sweet and very little if any sour tang. When eaten toasted the next morning, the crust becomes pleasingly crisp. The crumb is a bit more tender. The flavor is similar to that of a couple hours after baking.

When tasted dipped in a local, low-acid, fruity EVOO, this bread is transformed into something ambrosial. Of course, Puglia is famous for both Pane di Altamura and for its ancient olive groves, so it is no surprise. The neutral flavor of the bread allows the full, complex flavor of the oil to come through, and the oil brings out the sourdough tang that was otherwise faintly present in the bread. Delicious!  

Photo Gallery

Fully fermented dough, on the board prior to first pre-shaping (Step 9) 

Pre-shaped dough, wrapped in baker's linen for a rest

After first pre-shaping and a 30 minute rest wrapped in linen

Dough after second pre-shaping as a bâtard (Step 12)


A helpful illustration of shaping I found on the web site (Pane di Altamura | Agrodolce)


My loaf, after final shaping. On a peel, ready to bake. (Step 15)

Pane Tipo di Altamura

A slice

Crumb, close-up



Final Notes

This bread is fun to make. The dough is easy to mix and enjoyable to handle. Shaping is a challenge. I am pleased with the result. The baked loaf is attractive.

 I do not find the bread provides outstanding eating by itself or with butter, however, dipped in olive oil as is traditional, it is transformed into a wonderful food. It is not merely a vehicle. The olive oil and the bread each compliment the other. (See "Tasting Notes," above.) I still need to taste this bread grilled then rubbed with garlic, another traditional way of eating it.

The obvious necessity is a trip to Altamura to calibrate my expectations.




Jaaakob's picture

After a few brain farts where I confused the matter of posting a simple reply as opposed to starting a new blog post:

I hereby declare this blog started. The main purpose of this blog is to record what works and what doesn't in my journey towards a great croissant crumb. Yes, it's the crumb I'm trying to perfect, not the taste. Some may disagree, but taste is hardly a problem with croissants - the dough is fermented for a very long time and contains both butter and sugar. It is hard to make it taste bad, in my opinion. What is much easier is to fail with the inner structure, the crumb. The first time I ate a really well made croissant I discovered how much of a difference a really good crumb structure can make. It's almost more important than the flavour for me.

To clarify, I'm looking for a very open, honeycomb/spiderwebby interior, with "walls" that look almost gelatinous. 

I will update this blog soon, with pictures of recent bakes. My overall goal is to change one or two things from bake to bake. I want to understand cause and effect in this process. This will probably mean that I make fairly slow progress, but I'm okay with that as long as it means I know what to do to improve - and what not to do of course! 

Here are some pictures of more or less recent efforts.

This one was from a batch made about one month ago. Below is a pic from my latest batch a few days ago:

Here is the crumb shot from one of those:

And just because, here is a comparison between the older batch and the new one:

And for those extremely interested few, here's the dough after the third fold, during the last roll-out before shaping:

The difference between these two batches is mainly one of my rolling technique and how much I kneaded the dough. The dough in the old batch was kneaded quite a lot, 7-8 min total. It was definitely developed a lot. The second dough got perhaps 5-6 mins, a couple minutes less all in all. I changed my rolling technique for the newest batch here, keeping the dough as square as possible, trimming the ends after rolling it out. Most importantly, I focus much more on forward motion nowadays. I move my rolling pin quite quickly over the dough, and try to make it move forward, so that the pressure is used to lengthen the dough. That way, I need less time to get it to the right length, which in turn makes my dough and butter stay colder than if I rolled with less 'forward push'. 

There is a lot to learn, but I think I'm starting to get somewhere. You can see my breadier croissants in this thread:

I can see the honeycomb potential even more in these two batches than in any of the two pics I posted in the above thread. 

@Carlotta: these croissants are made with a higher protein (but still not very high) flour, 10,8%. Those in the above thread were made with a weaker flour, ~8,5%. 

For the next batch, I intend to do exactly what I did for this last one and use a flour with a protein percentage at 11-12%. 

I should mention that I use Jeffrey Hamelmans recipe (available at, with exactly those ratios of ingredients. 


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