The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


HokeyPokey's picture

No crazy marathon baking for me this weekend - just one loaf of bread and one apricot frangipane tart.

I love English apricots - a massive box for £2.50, can't complain, can I? I wonder if I can make a recipe for Apricot bread? Hmmm....


Meanwhile, I did a take on Western Wheat Bread from "Discovering Sourdough" e-book. I have a comment "very good" written next to the recipe in a print out - I do remember it being good when I made it last time, following the recipe exactly. Now I've decided to play around with the recipe a little bit - it came out looking quite nice, can't wait to cut it open and have a taste of it tomorrow.

Full recipe and pictures here

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

I had some extra sourdough starter that I needed to use, and have been craving pizza for breakfast.  This recipe is extremely easy and the dough is very flavorful and has a light sour tang.  Enjoy!


266g AP (+ 1 tbsp of whole wheat flour)
176g water
54g stiff SD starter at 50% hydration straight from fridge
6g Kosher salt
502g approx dough yield

Canned crushed tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella (sliced and or diced)
Whole milk ricotta cheese (strained)
Fontina (sliced)
Radicchio - washed and shredded
2 eggs

12:15am - Mix all ingredients by hand in a mixing bowl until you get a shaggy dough.  Cover and let rest.
12:35am - Knead dough for a few seconds until it is smooth.  cover and let rest.
1:05am - Turn dough (stretch and fold) in bowl, lightly coat dough with olive oil, cover and let rise on counter overnight.
8:30am - Place baking stone with longest side parallel to the oven in the center of the bottom rack, preheat oven to 650F (turn oven on convection to 550F and preheat for one hour).  Place oven thermometer on stone to you can see the actual temp of the stone.
9:30am - Take thermometer out of oven.  Turn oven off convection.  On a floured work surface, stretch dough out to the size of the pizza peel, lightly flour peel.  Place pizza dough directly on baking stone and bake for 2 minutes.  Then, take pizza  crust out of oven, spread crushed tomatoes to the farthest edges.  Then on 1/3rd of the pizza, arrange the radicchio and fontina, on another 3rd, place the mozzarella, the final 1/3rd, place the ricotta.  In the center break 2 eggs.  Place pizza back into oven close to the left side of the stone for 3 1/2 minutes.  Scoot pizza over to right side of stone, bake for another 3 to 3 1/2 minutes or until the egg is cooked to your liking (slightly runny yolks).  Take pizza out, let cool for a minute or so, cut and eat.

Notes: Placing the pizza close to the edges of the stone allow the crust to receive the maximum amount of heat radiating from the bottom of the oven, so it chars like a wood or coal fired oven.  Moving the pizza from each side allows both sides of the crust to char.

Prebaking the crust avoids the wet soggy crust under the toppings, and also makes the pizza easier to place into the oven without risking the dough sticking to the peel, or the sauce and toppings weighing down the crust.

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you probably my most successful attempt at baking a pandoro like bread to date.  I have tried baking this type of bread along with panettone with little success since college (15 years or so).  I sort of improvised this recipe so I can't vouch for the "authenticity" of it but I can assure you that this is the best tasting, best textured bread using lots of eggs, milk, butter and sugar that I have ever baked.  I have also opted to use only my stiff sourdough starter to leaven this thing, and have mixed everything by hand.  I probably should have done a better job documenting, but it's too late now.  I also used the paper panettone molds as I don't have the traditional star pandoro molds.  As a final note, this bread takes forever to make, and forever to rise.  Don't rush it.  It is ready when it's ready...



Sweet Starter
110g AP
46g egg (1 extra large egg)
16g sugar
50g stiff SD starter @ 50% hydration
222g approx starter yield

**Stiff SD starter should be fed 1 to 2 days before and kept in refrigerator.
10:45pm - In a bowl, mix all sweet starter ingredients, knead until well combined, cover and let rest 15 minutes.
11:00pm - Knead sweet starter for a minute or so until the dough is smooth, wrap in plastic wrap tightly and tie with a twist tie.  Please in a covered plastic container and place in refrigerator on top shelf (not in coldest part).  Go to bed.

Final Dough
500g AP
164g eggs (3 extra large eggs)
136g whole milk (scalded and cooled)
100g sugar
225g unsalted sweet cream butter (2 sticks) at room temp.
12g Kosher salt
12g honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
222g sweet starter
1372g approx dough yield

2 paper panettone molds 5" diameter, 3 3/4" tall

10:00pm - Weigh out all ingredients using a digital scale.  Scald milk and let cool.  Take out sweet starter out of fridge.  The starter should be well expanded, like a balloon.
11:00pm - Place all the flour into a large mixing bowl along with the salt, create a well in the center, add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, honey, mix with a rubber spatula into a shaggy dough, then knead by hand in bowl for a few minutes until a relatively smooth dough has formed.  Cut sweet starter into a few pieces and knead into dough. This operation should take about 15 minutes.
11:15pm - 11:30pm - Cover and let rest.  Place entire bowl into a large plastic bag.
11:30pm - Knead in sugar by hand.  About 1/3rd of total amount at a time until all this sugar is added.  This should take about 10 minutes to do.  
11:40pm - 12:00am  - Cover and let rest.  Whip the butter with a wire whisk until fluffy.  Butter panettone molds and refrigerate.
12:00am - Knead in butter by hand.  About 1/3 of total amount at a time until all the butter is incorporated.  This part is particularly gross.  Add the butter, and squeeze the butter into the dough with your hands.  The dough will look like it's falling apart, but it will eventually come back together.  Do not worry about kneading the dough until it passes the windowpane test.  It just won't happen by hand, or with AP flour.  This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
12:20am - Divide dough into 2 equal portions, shape into a boule, place in separate bowls, cover and let rest.
12:45am - Final shape, and place into butter molds, cover with plastic wrap, place on sheet pan and into large plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.  Dough should fill the mold about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way.  Go to bed.
7:30am - Take out of refrigerator and place on kitchen counter.  Let rise.  Go back to bed, or make some coffee...
9:30am - Have breakfast.
12:30pm - Go out and take a walk, do some shopping.
3:00pm - Come home to check on the pandoro.
4:00pm - Place oven rack on 2nd from the bottom.  Preheat to 400F.
5:00pm - When the pandoro domes slightly above the top of the mold, egg wash if you like, place them into the oven on a sheet pan, turn down oven to 350F and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 190F.  

5:45pm - take out of oven, check internal temp.  Cool on wire rack and let rest for at least 12 hours.  Try not to cut into them before they have cooled completely...

Here's the crumbshot:

Winnish's picture



In this recipe I used a lot of egg-yolks, but yet the challah came out very soft and fluffy.

People have always asked me to see the inside of the challah, 
but the challahs are eaten on Fri-night and Sat morning-noon, and I can't take pictures during these hours. By Sat evening nothing is ever left, no matter how many challahs I bake.

We had a speciall ocasion in which I made extra challahs to be eaten on Sun, so I grab the opportunity and took some photos.


















Recipe and more photos - you can see in this post

My posts are in hebrew, and although Google translator is available (top left side-bar), the translation can be very(!) funny sometimes.
So If you have any questions - please don't hesitate to ask me 



breadsong's picture

I really enjoyed the recent course I took that was put on by the Bread Bakers Guild of America, and am grateful for being a member and for having the chance to participate. Another thing I really appreciate about membership in the Guild is access to Guild's online newsletter and formula archive. There's lots of good stuff in that archive!
Today's bake is Oatmeal and Sweet Date Bread, one of the Team USA 2005 formulas the Guild provides online.
This one caught my eye last March; oatmeal and dates are two of my dear father-in-law's favorite things and I wanted to make this bread for him. This bread was very moist, and delicious with the sweet dates!

It was so good, I wanted to try making it again today (...a Team USA formula for Canada Day!
...the maple leaf is to add some Canadian content :^) ...   )

Wanting to share this formula, I asked permission of the Guild to post the formula here on TFL; the Guild kindly granted permission and asked me to include this note in the post:
"The mission of The Bread Bakers Guild of America is to shape the knowledge and skills of the artisan baking community through education.  Guild members have access to many other innovative professional formulas, both online and in the Guild’s quarterly publication, Bread Lines.  For more information about membership, please visit"  

With thanks to the Bread Bakers Guild of America and Jory Downer, William Leaman and Jeffrey Yankellow, the team members of Bread Bakers Guild Team USA 2005 - who were gold medal winners that year at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie!

The formula authors describe the bread and its ingredients:
"The wide range of weather throughout the United States provides for a variety of growing climates. The warm weather of the west coast, allows for California to grow an abundance of palm trees that fruit, the luscious date. In this original formula, rolled oats, another major crop of American farmers, are complemented by the sweetness of dates. A portion of the oatmeal is fermented in a sponge. The high sugar content of the dates creates a rich brown crust that balances their sweetness. The abundance of oats results in a tight textured, full bodied crumb which is a pleasant contrast to the open crumb of the other breads."

A couple of pictures from today's bake (1500 grams dough weight, 540g boule, (6) 160g triangles):   

My first bake (3 boules, 1635 grams total dough weight):

This bread is made with three preferments and a soaker, but the three preferments can be mixed at the same time.

Ingredients ( for 1635 grams dough):



Oat sponge

Liquid levain




Bread Flour














Instant yeast














Rolled oats







Dates, diced







White starter














Oat sponge







Liquid levain




























I adapted the method for mixing by hand:

12 hours prior to the mixing the dough:
Poolish: Use a water temperature for 72-74F final poolish temperature; mix all until well blended; cover and ferment at 73F for 12 hours.
Oat sponge: Use a water temperature for 72-74F final sponge temperature; mix all until well blended; cover and ferment at 73F for 12 hours.
Liquid levain: Use a water temperature for 72-74F final levain temperature; mix all until well blended; cover and ferment at 73F for 12 hours.
(At 9 hours, my levain wasn't anywhere near ready...the salt taking its effect; I set the container holding the levain in a shallow basin and filled halfway with warm water; replaced with more warm water as needed; this got the levain going and it had tripled by the time the poolish and sponge were ready)

30 minutes to 1 hour prior to mixing the dough:
Using tepid water, mix together so oats are all moistened; cover, and set aside to let rest.

Prepare the dates by chopping; set aside.
"The variety of date used is flexible. It is important that they are not too soft. A soft date will blend into the dough instead of maintaining its shape, creating a dark color in the bread and increasing the likelihood of a burnt crust. The dates should be cut into ¼” pieces in preparation for mixing."

Mixing the dough:
Use a water temperature for 73-76F final dough temperature. (I started with 104F water as I was allowing for autolyse, hand mixing and resting periods during the hand mix, during which my doughs tend to cool down).

Place flour in bowl. Add 85-90% of the water to the bowl and mix until flour is evenly hydrated. Cover and autolyse for 20 minutes.
Add yeast, poolish, oat sponge, and levain to the mixing bowl. Mix with a dough whisk to combine. Cover, place in warmed proof box (to try to preserve warmth in the dough), rest 5 minutes. Dough temp.: 80F.
Oat sponge is on the left in the photo:

Add salt to mixing bowl. Mix, folding in the bowl, 50 folds. Dough temp.: 74F. Cover, place in warmed proof box, rest 5 minutes.
Fold 30 times in the bowl, then 5 minute rest as before, then finally 20 folds. Dough is lifting away from the bowl as I fold it at this point; gluten showed improved mix.

Add remaining water (80F) to the bowl, and mix to incorporate.
Add oat soaker and dates and mix to incorporate evenly.
Dough temp.: 73F (recommended to be 73-76F).
Bulk ferment at 78F for two hours, with (3) stretch and folds every 30 minutes.
Here is the dough at the end of the bulk ferment:

For the first bake I divided the dough into three parts to make boules. For today's bake, I followed these shaping instructions to make (2) triangle breads (remaining dough shaped as a boule):

Divide the dough in 160g / 5 ¾ oz pieces and preshape as a tight ball. Cover and allow the dough pieces to rest for 20 minutes.

Shape the rested balls of dough into triangles, being gentle not to degas the dough too much. Three triangles make up one loaf. Arrange three triangles together on floured linen, seam up, so that the point of one triangle rests in the center of one of the sides of the other triangle. The finished shape will have a circular appearance.
(I proofed top side up as I didn't think I'd be able to successfully flip the triangles over!).
Place the loaves in a draft free place at approximately 74° F for 30 minutes to proof.

Shaping a triangle by gently folding over three sides, towards center, pinching to seal and bring together:
                                                                        After proofing:  

A couple of notes about the maple leaf: I used a bit of decorative dough for this (extra dough that I froze after making my fol epi loaf awhile back. After thawing, the dough is just as good as new :^) ... a happy discovery!) 
After cutting the leaf and removing the excess dough, I dusted the leaf with flour.

I used the cutter to gently! mark the boule to help with placement of the leaf. 
I brushed the area where the leaf would go lightly with water, to help the leaf stick.
After the leaf was placed, I scored around it and then lightly on the floured leaf, to try to make "leaf veins".

Back to the triangles:
If proofing seam side up, turn the loaves over onto the oven loading device.
Score each triangle with two lines (I did three).

Bake with steam at 475° F for approximately 30 minutes. 
Vent the steam from the oven and continue to bake for an additional 5 minutes.
(I found these were browning fast. I moved the loaves around every 10 minutes, and covered with foil and reduced to 435F after 20 minutes. 30 minutes total bake time; left in oven for 10 minutes with oven off and door ajar).
Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool.

And lastly, a couple of crumb shots!:

Happy baking everyone, and Happy Canada Day!
from breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting :^)

dmsnyder's picture

Franko's recent blog about his project to bake Pane tipo di Altamura (Pane di ongoing project) reminded me that this bread had gotten lost on my “to bake list.” I have baked a number of breads with semolina and a couple with durum (finely milled durum flour) my favorite of which has been Tom Cat's Semolina Filone from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Breads".  However, I've never before baked an 100% durum bread. My reading about the Pane di Altamura and Franko's blog inspired me to attempt this bread, finally.

I have three books with formula's for Pane tipo di Altamura: Carol Field's “The Italian Baker,” Franko Galli's “The Il Fornaio Baking Book” and Daniel Leader's “Local Breads.” The first two use a yeasted biga and additional commercial yeast. They also use a mix of bread flour and semolina. Leader's formula uses a biga started with yoghurt and semolina flour. Leader's formula also differs from the other two in specifying a higher dough hydration. Based on my bias in favor of wild yeast and my past positive experiences with breads from Leader's book, I based my formula on his.

I deviated from Leader's formula and method in a number of ways which I will describe. I converted my stock starter to a durum biga and did not use yoghurt. The major compromise was that I only fed my starter once with durum flour. I had planned on three refreshments before the final mix, but the weather forecast is for temperatures over 105ºF for the rest of the weekend. Since it is only expected to get to a chilly 98ºF today, it seemed prudent to bump up the baking schedule and try to avoid using the oven when it's 105 or 107ºF. So, what's described is what I actually did, with notes indicating significant deviations from Leader.

Semolina biga


Baker's %

Active sourdough starter

50 g


Fancy durum flour

70 g



57 g



177 g


  1. Disperse the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 12-14 hours.


1. Ideally, one would add one or two additional builds to convert the biga to 100% durum.

2. Leader's formula for the final dough calls for 200 g of semolina biga, but his formula for the biga produces only 177 g. If you follow Leader's formula, you need to build more biga than this.

Final dough


Baker's %

Semolina biga

170 g


Fancy durum flour

500 g



350 g



15 g



1035 g



  1. Leader's formula calls for 200 g of biga. I was only able to use 170 g. Given the very warm kitchen temperature today, using less starter is probably reasonable.

  2. Accounting for the flour and water in the biga, the final dough hydration is actually 71%.

  3. Leader specifies 3% salt in his formula without indicating why this bread has more salt than the usual 2%. Note that, if you calculate the baker's percentage of salt accounting for the flour in the biga, 15 g is actually 2.6% of the total flour


  1. Mix the final refreshment of the biga 8-12 hours before the final dough mix and ferment it at room temperature.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, disperse the biga in the water. Add the flour and mix with the paddle for 1 minute.

  3. Cover the bowl and autolyse for 20 minutes. (Note: Leader does not call for an autolyse, and, as far as I can tell, this is not used in Altamura.)

  4. Add the salt, and mix with the dough hook at Speed 3 for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and pass the window pane test. (Note: Leader says to mix at Speed 4 for 10-12 minutes. However, my dough was very smooth and passed the window pane test after 5 minutes at Speed 3. Perhaps this was a benefit of the autolyse.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled 2 qt container.

  6. Ferment with the bowl tightly covered for 3-4 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume. Stretch and fold in the bowl at 30 and 60 minutes. (Note: Leader does not call for the S&F's.)

  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Shape into a boule.

  8. Dust the boule with semolina flour and place it in the center of a clean, dry kitchen towel dusted with semolina. Bring the corners of the towel to the center and tie them, “to make a snug bundle.” (Note: Leader describes this procedure being used in the Altamura bakery he visited and by the village women who brought their own dough to the bakery for baking. However, the videos I've seen of Altamura bakeries in action show the loaves being proofed en couche.)

  9. Proof the loaf at room temperature until it “balloons inside the kitchen towel” - 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The loaf is ready to bake when an indentation made by poking a finger into it springs back slowly. (Note: My loaf was proofed for 90 minutes in a 78ºF kitchen. The surface of the loaf was quite dry at the end of proofing. I imagine this contributes to the famously chaotic blooming of the folded loaf during baking.)

  10. About an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  11. Transfer the loaf to a lightly floured board.

  12. Stretch the loaf into a rectangle about 6 x 16 inches, with a narrow side nearest you. Fold the near edge all the way up to meet the top edge, and seal the seam. Now, bring the folded near edge 3/4 of the way up towards the far edge, and seal the seam all the way around so the lip of the far part of the loaf is flattened. The loaf should now be shaped as a half-circle. (Note: An alternative, shape, which is also traditional, called a “priest's hat” is made by cutting a very deep cross into the boule with a bench knife and pulling the corners well apart. The opening is then dusted with semolina flour to keep it from sealing during oven spring.)

  13. Transfer the loaf to a peel dusted with semolina flour and dust the surface of the loaf with flour.

  14. Turn the oven temperature down to 400ºF. Transfer the loaf to the baking stone . Steam the oven lightly.

  15. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the loaf is “mahogany-colored all over and golden where it splits open.” (I removed my steaming pan after 15 minutes and switched to convection bake at 375ºF for the remainder of the bake.)

  16. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.

    Initial mix before autolyse

    Dough mixed, ready for bulk fermentation

Pre-shaped boule, ready for proofing



Proofed and ready for the final shaping

Dough stretched out. First step in final shaping.

Shaped loaf, ready to bake

Pane tipo di Altamura

Pane tipo di Altamura crumb

Pane tipo di Altamura crumb close-up

The aroma and flavor of the bread are most remarkable for a prominent sourdough tang. The flavor otherwise is very nice, but I cannot identify distinctive flavors I would associate with durum, as opposed to other wheat flours. The crust is chewy over the fat part of the loaf but quite crisp over the flatter part.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

johannesenbergur's picture

This recipe is inspired by quite a few recipes I've read the past few months. In my opinion this makes an excellent rye loaf.


  • 300 g Cold water
  • 100 g 5-grain
  • 100 g Stale rye bread
  • 100 g Sourdough (click for my recipe)
  • 5 g Fresh active yeast
  • 10 g Sea salt
  • 200 g Whole rye flour
  • 200 g Graham flour
Pour the water into a bowl and dissolve the yeast. Put the grain mixture and the stale bread, which you have shreadded into tiny bits, into the water. Let it soak for 15 minutes or so.Add the sourdough and salt, mix. Start adding the flour, little by little to make it easier to get a smooth dough.Start kneading. The dough should be rather sticky and difficult to knead, unlike white breads. But you need to knead it for a while to heat up the dough and activate the yeast.Leave it to rise until doubled. I left it for 90 minutes and then I put it into the fridge over night. The next morning I took it out, shaped it into a loaf in a baking tin. Let it again rise to about double size. Just make sure it doesn't overrise and collapse on itself.Get your oven to max heat and place the loaf on the bottom shelf. Turn the heat down to 170 degrees celcius and bake for around 90 minutes, until it makes a hollow sound when you knock on the bottom.If you enjoyed the bread, repeat the process when it gets stale.
johannesenbergur's picture

Here's my take on sourdough, it as worked for me.


  • 3 dl Cold water
  • 75 g Rye flour
  • 75 g Graham flour
  • 150 g Wheat baking flour
  • A small handful of raisins
Put the raisins in a bowl with the water. Let them soak for about 15 minuts and take them out. Mix in the flour and put it in a glass jar. It's supposed to be rather watery, so don't worry about it not looking like dough.Cover the glass jar with a piece of regular kitchen paper, held by an elastic band. This allows the sourdough to breathe without attracting unwanted bugs.Stir the sourdough once every 8-24 hours. And once a day remove 50g and add 25g regular wheat baking flour and another 25g cold water and mix. After a few days you should be able to bake with sourdough.Continue the process for as long as you want to have sourdough.Every time you use some of it, add the same amount half and half of wheat flour and cold water to the sourdough. Depending on how much you use, your starter should be ready again in a few days.*Note: Mine did start so smell a bit like old milk after the first few days, but the smell went away and it started smelling like delightful yeast.
amolitor's picture

I posted an earlier version of this recipe, but I've refined it and it's pretty much awesome now. Makes 6 large muffins.

Preheat oven to 425F

Combine in large bowl:

  • 1.25 cups flour
  • 0.75 cups cornmeal
  • 0.25 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt (or 0.25 if you use salted butter below)

Combine and whisk together in small bowl:

  • 0.5 cups plain yogurt, or sour cream
  • 0.75 cups milk
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Additional ingredients required: 5 T unsalted butter, fresh blueberries, oil for pan.

Thoroughly grease or butter 6 cups of a muffin tin, including the flat surface around each cup.

Cut 5 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter into 5 to 10 pieces and add to dry ingredients. Cut in with pastry cutter (or two knives used scissor-fashion) until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. No need to go too crazy, just get the butter evenly throughout.

Pour the small bowl of liquid into the dry ingredients and stir gently together until dry ingredients are completely moistened. The result should be a sort of frothy thick batter, just barely pourable.

Fill each greased muffin cup one third full, add a few blueberries to each cup on top of the batter (I add 3 per muffin), then fill to two-thirds, more blueberries, fill completely, more blueberries.

You should have enough batter left over for a good dollop on top of each muffin, we're making large muffins here, which will overflow and poof up.

Bake in your 425F oven for 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, then carefully pry them out of the muffin tin. You'll probably tear some of them up. THAT IS OK. EAT THOSE IMMEDIATELY.

jamesjr54's picture

I modified Mike Avery's San Francisco sourdough recipe by adding 3 stretch and folds over 2 hours.  I like this recipe for its nice sour flavor. Used my 100% hydration whole wheat starter. Proofed 11 hours overnight at room temperature, @ 75F here in sunny coastal New England, after shaping. Baked @ 400F for 20 minutes w/steam, then 35 more @ 375, with 10 minute, oven-off drying. I think it's a bit overproofed. I did not get the oven spring I expected, but very happy with the flavor and crumb. The slump on the left happened when it kind of slid off the stone on its way in. It's very moist as well. Each bake is such a learning experience! We're having friends over tonight for BBQ ribs, pulled pork, beans, salad from the garden, and not cornbread, but sourdough. I think the boule will be a parting gift for one of our pals.


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