The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


HokeyPokey's picture

Posted a little bit later than intended, but its out there now, my mid-week bake, another attempt at a Honey WholeWheat and a Chocolate Sour Cherry loaves.

I am trying to achieve that lovely soft wholewheat texture you find in American breads – think gourmet WholeFoods and delis type, not the horrible Subway kind that squashes in your hand.


I am quite please with that I got at the end, probably a bit more room to play with the recipe – it didn’t spring in the oven as much as I hoped, but the flavour is very close to what I have in mind.


The other one, Chocolate Sour one was a spur of the moment thing, really. I am not really into chocolate breads, especially not the ones that use cocoa powder, I find them too sweet and not chocolaty enough. I found some lovely Valrhona chocolate in my sweets box and some dried sour cherries in the pantry – why not? Sounds like they go together, lets give it a go.


I do like the chocolate in it, especially after you’ve toasted it and the chocolate goes all soft and melty. Could do with more sour cherries, as the cherry flavour isn’t particularly strong, I just didn’t have any more at hand.


I will be trying both of these recipes again, that’s for sure


Full recipes and more photos on my blog

ananda's picture

Tumminia and Pane Nero di Castelvetrano

Back at the beginning of June, one of my Bakery students, Giuseppe, took a two month period of work experience in a Patisserie in his native town, Catania, in Sicily.

A couple of months earlier, Alison and I had, regrettably, decided not to make our annual summer trip to Crete, this year.   As an alternative, we decided to take a week’s holiday in NW Scotland at Easter, and embark on a week’s adventure in Sicily during the October half term.   We have booked a lovely top floor apartment in a town house overlooking the old harbour in Castellammare del Golfo in the North West corner of the island.

A few kilometres south west of here is the town of Castelvetrano.   Giuseppe had already wet my appetite for exploring the native bread scene, as you can imagine.   Not only that, but the BBC Radio Four Food Programme broadcast a 2 week special on the regional food of Sicily, around about this time.   I did some further searching to get more detail of regional bread specialities.

I came across Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, which is discussed in reasonable detail on the Slow Food website here:

I asked Giuseppe what he knew about this bread before he flew out to Sicily.   He knew a bit about it, mainly that the bread is made only with local flour which is famous, and, increasingly, rare.   It is from a variety of durum wheat grown only in this particular region of Sicily.   Given Catania is on the eastern coast of Sicily, it was not certain whether Giuseppe would be able to obtain any of this flour, however, he promised to have a go.

I then began a discussion with nicodvb to find out more about the Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, as well as taking a look at some YouTube videos, such as this one:    The bread is made using a leaven system.   The flour mix is 80% local and refined semolina durum, described as “blonde grain”.   I believe this will be the equivalent grind to “rimacinata”, if I’m not wrong.   The other 20% of the flour is from the tumminia durum wheat grain, which is milled quite coarsely, and is a wholegrain flour.   Nico explained that the tumminia flour is revered on account of the sweet aftertaste imparted in the finished bread.   Some pictures of the flour are shown below.   The character of a wholemeal semolina is quite evident:

The reference to the dark colour seems more to do with baking the bread hot in a wood-fired oven, rather than using a particularly wholesome grist.   So, the authentic version has a darkened crust rather than a brown crumb.   My version of the bread isn’t that well-fired, but more on the baking calamity later; I had a bit of a nightmare with my electric oven….yet again!

Mid way through Giuseppe’s work placement, I received an e-mail from his girlfriend.   It seemed that he was being worked so hard that he was unsure whether he could get out to find the tumminia flour.   However, there was quick re-assurance that he was really enjoying the work and learning a lot.   Later on I exchanged e-mails with Giuseppe, when he contacted me to say his boss had driven out specially to get hold of the flour for us.   A couple of weeks later and Giuseppe returned to the UK to discover I had left College.   We have been meeting regularly since then as he is now very focused on setting up his own bakery/patisserie in the region.   Watch this space, as I am happy to be playing an active role in this adventure.

Nico sent me a message recently asking me how the bread had turned out using the tumminia flour which Giuseppe had brought back.   I had been so busy with leaving College, and putting the Powburn Show bread together, [see:] so I had not had time to use the flour and bake a Pane Nero di Castelvetrano.

First task was to refresh my leavens.   In doing this I decided to alter the formula I had planned and agreed with Nico.   You will all know how much I love rye, and I suddenly hit on the idea of using a small amount of rye sour in this mix, in place of a portion of the wheat leaven.   I came up with 25% wheat and 6% dark rye to make up the portion of flour which has been pre-fermented.   I thought about how to mimic the “blonde” semolina grain [80% of the flour mix].   I came up with 54% Carrs Special CC strong bread flour and 20% Gilchesters Organic Ciabatta/Pizza flour which is grown locally, and therefore much lower gluten quality.   The tumminia flour was added as the remaining 20% of total flour as noted in the Slow Food instructions.   Hydration was set at 68%, and salt 1.8%.   The formula and recipe are laid out in table format below:


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

Wheat Levain

25 flour; 15 water

250 flour; 150 water

Rye Sourdough

6 flour; 10 water

60 flour; 100 water

Carrs Special CC



Gilchesters Ciabatta/Pizza Flour



Tumminia Flour












% pre-fermented flour



% overall hydration








  • The Rye Sour had 2 refreshments and the Wheat Levain had 3.
  • I soaked  the Tumminia flour in all the final dough water for one hour.
  • Subsequently, I combined all the remaining ingredients with this soaker and the pre-ferments and mixed the dough for 10 minutes by hand.
  • Bulk fermentation was 3 hours, with S&F after 1 and 2 hours
  • I made one large loaf, so moulded the entire dough round, and placed upside down in prepared banneton.
  • Final Proof was also 3 hours.
  • Given that the oven decided to blow up 15 minutes into the baking, there is little point in describing a recommended bake procedure.   I darted around the village and after another 10 minutes found a neighbour returning home.   She agreed to bake the loaf the remaining time in her oven.   It took another hour from cold, but the final result was quite acceptable.
  • I brought the loaf home and cooled it on a wire.


Some photographs of the finished loaf:


The final loaf is very bold; for a dough weight of very nearly 1.7kg, baked in the circumstances described, the end result is very pleasing.   The crumb is very even and moist to the point of sparkling.   The flavour is actually intense, but not at all sour.   A real eating pleasure!

To Nico and Giuseppe: many thanks to both of you for your support and encouragement in helping me to create this wonderful loaf of bread.

All good wishes


lumos's picture

So, here’s the first report on the bread my daughter bought for me at Maison Kayser in Paris. As I wrote about the little episode here, she went to one of their branches to buy some bread for lunch, thought it was good, so bought Pain Rustique for me….and went back there later to get ‘Boule something something Rustique’ (French is not my daughter’s forte. Never…) after reading an article about the bread her friend found in her guide book…or on internet…or whatever. And today’s blog is about this second ‘something’ she bought. (Pain Rustique went into the freezer as soon as it got home…for this weekend’s lunch…after I sliced a thin piece for immediate tasting. The report will follow later.)

(Er......sorry.... I only realised I should've taken some photos after I ate a few slices for breakfast... Still trying to get used to a new blogging life...)

The first impression : It’s smaller than I thought.:p  But that’s OK because I did ask her not to buy a big one for my freezer didn’t have much spare space….but it’s only a size of very small side plate…...

 The crust has lost its crispness (assuming it was crisp at the beginning), unfortunately, because my daughter wrapped it in a paper bag from the boulangerie, twice, and wrapped it, twice again, in plastic carrier bags to ‘retain’ the aroma. Her intention commendable, but maybe not the method…..Oh, well….

Closer inspection : The first thing I noticed was the aroma. (Thank you, my dear daughter). I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a different sort of aroma from any other bread I’d experienced before. It’s wheaty with naturally sweet aroma which was a bit like warmed caramel but much more delicate and gentler, and a whiff of rye-sour. Really difficult to convey how it smelled on a page, but it had quite strong (strong enough to make my daughter think she should wrap it up four folds to prevent whole Eurostar carriage start smelling like the bread) but  very rounded and warm aroma. Maybe a bit like a bale of hay which has been sitting in the warm sun for many days. Very warm, quite wheaty, but not in the ways that would stimulate the appetite of horses. You can tell it’s definitely for the human consumption. Thank God.  Actually, this was the first time I really felt the naming of ‘rustique’ was truly fitting. It wasn’t how it looked. This really made to be ‘rustique.’

(Kayser's 'something something'  Rustique sitting on a piece of my Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough)


Taste : Everything I felt from the aroma was in the crumb in a very concentrated form. Well, if you think of it, it’s the other way round. Because the crumb has those qualities, the bread smells like them. Silly me…  But anyway, it is very ‘rustique’ bread, in its true sense.

And when you bite into it, all the flavours you expected from the aroma really fill your mouth, but each element is more vivid than they were in the aroma, of course,  and also the distant whiff of rye sour (or may be just rye flour. Not sure…) in the crust was much more predominant here, but not as sharp as many other rye heavy bread. Just a gentle hint of acidity. And the most interesting thing was some sort of spicy-ness in the taste. It was a bit like you taste when you bite into seeds in a seeded bread. I first thought it contained some seeds in it, but couldn't see any. Not sure where it comes from....

I really don't know how it's made, what's in the bread (I mean, what flours and what sort/sorts of levain they used), especially since  this 'something something' part is mystery, but if I'm asked to describe about this bread in just one word, I'd immediately say 'the warmth.'  That's what I felt most both from the aroma and also from the flavour...and the whole balance of them.  It’s a quite gusty bread, but everything is so rounded and balanced and matured, what you feel when chewing its crumb and crust is its warmth. Not literally of course, but the whole concept of this bread.  Every element of flavours and aromas is  strong and distinctive, but in harmony. No sharp edges, anywhere. I think it's a sign of very carefully crafted loaf of bread.

It is exactly the sort of bread that would make me extremely happy if I can eat it with a large bowl of hearty soup with lots of vegetables and beans on a harvest day in autumn, preferably on a golden wheat  field (or golden rye field can be optional) , sitting on a large stack of freshly cut hay, of course…..not that I often go out to  country side to harvest wheat or rye…..and I've got hay fever......What am I talking about?


My daughter bought this at about a mid-day on Wednesday and today is Friday, so what I tasted was probably 2- 3 days old, at least, which is almost in the reach of ‘Best End’ date or just past it, even for the standard of levain-based bread. So what I was tasting wasn’t at its best. It was actually beginning to taste quite stale and the crumb was loosing its moisture  (Mental Note : Got to teach her to buy fresh food just before the departure) , and possibly some elements of flavour, especially acidity, has intensified over the days.   But, still, by trying to imagine how it could have been like when it was fresher, I can tell why so many people speak highly of M. Eric Kayser’s achievement in insisting the high standard in spite of increasing number of his branches and making it possible for many people to access good quality bread relatively easily.  I’m still a bit worried how long he (and Maison Kayser) will be able to maintain the standard with the present, quite alarming speed of expansion of his entity. But if he really can, it’ll surely be a wonderful example to other artisan bakeries who are on the mission of spreading high quality breads to wider public. ::fingers crossed::


(M. Kayser sourdough and my sourdough sitting together)





Franko's picture


 Fellow TFL'rs,

Just to let you know this blog entry covers 4 different bakes and is a bit longer than I would normally like to post, but hopefully some of you will enjoy it, or find something of interest along the way.

First the sweet stuff.

With the warm sunny weather we've had on Vancouver Island the last few weeks our two blueberry bushes have been producing lovely ripe berries so quickly it's been hard to pick them fast enough before new ones appear. My step-son and his wife both love blueberries and were coming over the next day to pick a few so I thought I'd make them a simple blueberry tart that they could take home with them. I had some pate sucree in the freezer which I thawed and rolled out to line a 22.8cm/9inch tart pan which then went in the fridge to relax while I made a blueberry filling. The filling consisted of about 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries and 2 tbsp of water brought to a simmer on medium heat until the berries began to break up, thickened with a sugar and cornstarch blend, and left to simmer slowly for 10-20 minutes then set to cool in the fridge. A few fresh berries were folded into the filling after it had cooled. The tart shell was blind baked in a 350F oven for 20 minutes and set on a rack to cool. Once both the shell and filling were cool the bottom of the tart was glazed to seal it with melted red currant jelly that had been thinned out with simple syrup , then the filling went into the partially baked shell, filling it about 3/4's to the top. Back into the 350F oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the filling was just beginning to bubble. Once the tart was completely cool it was topped as evenly as possible with fresh blue berries and with a few raspberries in the middle for contrast. Finally it was top glazed with the red currant jelly. I haven't had a verdict back yet but the two of them seemed quite pleased with it and hopefully they enjoyed it.


The next 2 items on the sweet side are pecan sticky buns and a Loganberry coffee cake, both of which were meant as gifts. My wife's assistant at the college where she works sent her home last week with 2 beautiful Spring salmon she and her husband had caught the day before. The salmon were a gift to me (my wife is vegetarian) for some of the breads and pastries I've sent her over the last few months. What the heck I thought, I'll make a dozen sticky buns and send some to her to say thanks for the nice fish... and keep a few for myself as well. The coffee cake was made for our next door neighbour who'd brought us over a pail brimming with perfectly ripe Loganberries from his backyard, along with yellow zucchinis, cucumbers and 2 big bulbs of garlic. My idea was to make the coffee cake with the loganberries as a thank you to our good neighbours, but when I went to deliver it the next day I discovered they'd packed up the RV that morning and gone camping. Lucky for me it turns out I like loganberry coffee cake...a lot! The reason I decided on making the sticky buns and coffee cake is that I could make both using a single mix of sweet bun dough. Having just acquired a new Bosch Compact mixer I thought a good first test for it would be to see how it coped with this rich buttery dough. A little bit more later on about my first impressions of the machine.

Sticky Buns:

The only change I made was to use a levain as it's primary source of leavening, although I did use a scant amount of instant yeast to hedge my bets. I knew I would need to leave the dough in the fridge for an extended length of time and didn't want to come home and find it had passed it's prime. Fortunately by the time I was ready to roll it out it was in the pink of health. The roll-out was done from a 1.100 K piece of sweet dough, then brushed with a thin egg wash on all but the bottom 4-5 cm/2 inches, liberally topped with cinnamon sugar and sprinkled with chopped pecans and jumbo Thompson seedless raisins. The sheet was rolled up in a string roll and divided into 12 portions of roughly 125-130 grams per piece. These were placed on a standard sheet pan lined with parchment that had been smeared with sticky glaze and a cake frame placed around the pan. Final proof of 60-70 min at 73F and bake for 40 minutes @ 350F. Press in the center of the pan (firm to the touch) to ensure the buns are fully baked. Remove the pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly for 3-4 minutes. Place a sheet of parchment to cover the buns and take a similar size or larger sheet pan and invert it over the paper and buns. Holding both pans with oven mitts flip them over so that the top pan is now on the bottom and the sticky glaze on the bottom pan is now on the top. *Be careful of the hot sugar* Allow the buns to cool before removing the frame if you're using one. These buns can also be done in any cake pan.


Coffee Cake with Loganberry filling and Oatmeal Pecan Struesal

While the sticky buns were rising I rolled out the remaining dough in a rectangle about 1/2/ cm-1/4 in thick and spread Loganberry filling( use procedure for blueberry filling) and whole berries on the top half of the dough leaving a 2 cm/1/2in border around the perimeter of the dough. Brush the border with egg wash and fold the bottom half over the top and seal the edges. Brush the dough with egg wash, then take a bench scraper or knife and make two parallel slashes 4 cm apart on the top, trying not to cut through the bottom of the dough. I remembered I had some oatmeal pecan struesal in the freezer, so this was sprinkled on as a top dressing.

Final proof of 30-45 minutes, bake @350F for 20-25 minutes. The coffee cake can be dusted with confectioner's sugar, or drizzled with finger icing/fondant if desired.


Re: Struesal Topping

If anyone needs a recipe for struesal topping a good one can be found here on Debbe 1's post from last year.


Note: this formula is larger than the one I used. Scale according to desired final weight.


Sweet Bun Dough with Levain









All Purpose Organic White flour






Mature White Starter -liquid









Bread flour



Pastry flour









Butter- room temp,cubed






Milk -70-74F









Total Weight



DDT 72F-77F




Mix the bread flour, 44 grams of the sugar, the levain, and the warmed milk till a cohesive dough is formed. Cover and leave at room temp for 45 minutes.


On 1st speed blend in the pastry flour, eggs, then salt, and gradually add the sugar. If the dough is too dry at this point add more milk until the dough is smooth and forming a ball in the mixing bowl. Add the cubes of butter gradually, until fully incorporated , then finish mixing on 2nd speed for 4-5 minutes. Depending on your mixer you may need to finish the mixing by hand on the counter to fully develop the dough to a 'window pane' stage. Slap and fold kneading is recommended. Bulk ferment at room temp 67-70F for an hour, punch down and refrigerate for at least an hour. The dough will need to be punched down 1-2 times during this period. After 1-2 hours in the fridge the dough can now be handled easily and rolled out or molded as desired. Bake at 350F. Baking times will vary depending on unit size.


Sticky Bun Glaze






Brown Sugar












Vanilla or Rum extract



Powdered Cinnamon or Ginger











Cream butter and sugar till smooth.

Add remaining ingredients and mix till light and creamy.




The Sour

Pain au Levain with Red Fife Flour


A few months back my friend breadsong contacted me, asking if while she was down in California attending a 2 day workshop at SFBI, would I like her to pick up some flour from Central Milling that we could share. How thoughtful of her! I've heard so much about this mills products from posts of David and Glen Snyder's, as well as others and I've been wanting to try it out, but the shipping is crazy expensive. Naturally I jumped at breadsong's generous offer and a week or so later picked up a box of several different CM flours she'd mailed over to me. Thank you very much breadsong!! :^) Since then a lot of things have happened such as vacations, our son's wedding, out of town family visiting etc, as well as other uncompleted baking projects needing to be finished. I'd almost forgotten I had the flour until the other day when I decided to make some bread and was rooting around in my flour storage bin looking for inspiration and there was a nice bag of CM Artisan White Malted staring me in the face. I'd already settled on making a Pain au Levain of some kind, so this should be just the perfect flour to use. I thought as long as I'm using a US flour maybe I should add a little Canadian Red Fife to the mix, in the spirit of international harmony...... or something along that line. The formula I used was Jeffrey Hamelman's Pain au Levain from 'Bread ' adapted with 75% CM Artisan Malted , 5% medium rye, and 25% Red Fife- 75% sifted from True Grain Bakery and Mill in Cowichan Bay.

Normally I wouldn't use a mixer for a 1.200 K mix such as this but wanted to see how the new mixer would handle the dough and become more familiar with it's operation as well. It took a while for the mix to come together, longer than I would have expected, but eventually it did begin to develop. Most of the mixing was done on first speed which these machines do quite well I feel compared to a KA. The mixing action is very gentle and does a much better job of not only picking up the dough, but folding it over on itself more efficiently than I've seen with other small domestic mixers. The total hydration of the dough was a medium 66% , not terribly wet, but I found I still needed to finish the development by hand to get the dough feel that I wanted. Perhaps when I've done a few more mixes with the machine this won't be necessary, but likely I'll always rely on my hands to bring the dough to where I want it.

The one major area where I deviated from Hamelman's procedure was to retard the dough overnight, simply out of scheduling necessities (read as need for sleep). After bulk ferment the dough was rested, shaped and placed in a floured banneton in the fridge for 7 hrs. The next morning it came to room temp over 2 hours before being slashed, steamed and baked at 450F for 45 minutes. The loaf could have used another 5-10 minutes but I had a 20 minute drive ahead of me to make a t-time for my weekly round of golf in 25 minutes. Reluctantly the oven was turned off and the door propped open slightly, hoping the residual heat in the stone would complete the baking. Almost but not quite, as it turned out. You may notice from the crumb shot a slight bit of under-bake on the top and bottom. Luckily it's not enough to affect the eating quality, which is quite good, however I would have preferred a bit more open crumb and a harder crust. Overall I think it's a good but not great loaf of bread that has greater potential than I was able to achieve with this loaf. The 3 different flours and percentages match up nicely for balanced flavour, and had they had a longer, bolder, bake would have made a significant difference to the final flavour. A loaf worth doing again over the next few bakes I think.




codruta's picture

I made this Pain au Levain, from Hamelman's book, as a gift for my sister who lives in France. My mom went to see her, and she called me next day to tell me that the bread was fantastic, and the kids loved it.

I respected the formula, but I increased the hydration from 65% to 67%. I baked it the same day that the dough was made, as hamelman suggests. Next day my mother flew to my sister, and that evening they had my bread at the dinner table. They told stories, shared memories and probably laughed and had a good time. I miss them.

I only cut the loaf to take photos, I smelled it but I didn't taste it...

Complete formula and method can be found on my romanian blog Apa.Faina.Sare. (Water.Flour.Salt.), link here.


nzsourdoughman's picture


About time I started a blog... I struggle a bit with spelling. I blame it on the autistic/ dyslexia; most say I’m just lazy.

I'm so passionate about making bread at the moment... I started with dean Brettschneider book global baker. Have mastered ciabatta, baguettes, fennel dinner rolls, and puff pastry. I'll post picks. But its now time for sourdough.

I started two sourdough starters. One 100% stone rye organic, other 100% whole-wheat stone organic. I used this website and sourdough ladies bog. I was feeding it 1/4c flour 1/4cwater 1/4c starter for 11days every 24 hrs.

Day 6:

After 10days I really wanted to bake with it and it was bubbling after each 24hrs of feeding. So I upped my feed to 100g starter 100g water 100g flour for a bake on day 13 morning. From reading what I have this means im now on a 100% hydration (1:1:1). It is much firmer using these measures and my starter was more than doubling after each feed. On the morning of day 13 it had doubled and was starting to drop.

I measured off the amount for my bake of each loaf, from the starteeer... the leftovers I measured off 100g of each starter fed on a 1:1:1 ratio and put back on bench to keep starter going. And i though out the extra.
I had no idea what recipes to use, they all call for an overnight stand. But I was hoping to have bread for that night so I used yoke mardewis recipe in "the wild sourdough".

I used here light rye sourdough recipe:
150g – 6.5oz rye starter made with 1:5 flour/water (I just used mine)
250g – 9 oz organic white spelt flour (I used ap flour)
125g – 4.25 water
1.5t – salt
Mixed… rested 15min…kneaded 5min…rest 5min…dough nice and soft and quite wet… passes windowpane…first rise in warm spot 5hrs 3/4 increase in size, maybe metal bowl was a bad idea?… try to shape but way too wet, same consistency of ciabatta, so I stretch and fold it a few times then shape to a boule, back into bowl for final rise… 5hrs still not rising much so turn out and bake…
A baby brick!

Her second whole meal sourdough sandwich bread:
6 oz whole-wheat starterPreview | The Fresh Loaf
4 oz water
8 oz flour
1t salt
I did exactly the same as the first loaf…accept gave this one a longer final rise after shaping into a batard…It went flat…

Both taste real sour! Real nice taste, just no rise

txfarmer's picture

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

Chocolate croissants, chocolate soft sandwich loaf, now chocolate baguettes, see a trend?

I made these baguettes using my trusted 36 hour sourdough recipe, twice - once with natural cocoa powder (on the left), once with special dark dutch processed cocoa powder (on the right). The natural ones were very hole-y but a bit flat; the dutch processed ones were rounder, with better shape, but the crumb is just so ever slightly less open. This once again proves the theory that natural cocoa powder is more acidic, which makes a more extensible bubbly dough.


AP Flour, 425g

ice water, 315g

salt, 10g

white starter (100%) 150g

cocoa powder, 20g (natural or dutch processed)

-Mix flour, ice water and autolyse for 12 hours.

-Mix in salt, starte, then follow the basic 36 hour sourdough baguette formula here.

You might notice that there isn't any sugar in the formula, that's because cocoa breads don't have to be sweet, can you say chicken mole? The slight bitterness of cocoa went perfectly with mole sauce.


Of course it CAN be sweet if that's the way you want to swing it. Here's a decadent pizza made with this dough, topping: brie cheese, LOTS of bittersweet dark chocolate pieces, and pistachio nuts. TO DIE FOR. (Add chocolate pieces for the last minute or two of baking, otherwise they burn.)


I normally don't like too much (or any) dry flour on my bread crust, but for these super dark baguettes I had to add a thin layer, just to show off the cuts.


Not your everyday baguette, but perfect if you want a dessert pizza/bread (add more chocolate), or something to go with mole dishes.

lumos's picture

In my second blog entry,  I wrote that I baked three varieties of bread for my friend;  WW bread (with right amount of salt!), cocoa-flavoured bread with cranberry & walnuts, and the other one. For the first two bread,  I’ve already shared the formulae in my earlier blogs.  So, today I’d like to share the recipe for the last one,  which is actually the favourite of this friend I baked those breads for. 

She’s my best and most trusted foodie friend for many years and my regular companion to Borough Market where we pay absurd price our  pilgrimage occasionally to enjoy getting ripped off their wonderful (no editing here. They are really wonderful….most of the times) produce, not only from the British Isles but also from Continental Europe and more exotic places far afield.  And every time we go there, we first bee-line to Neal’s Yard Dairy  first to buy our favourite cheeses (their Colston Basset Stilton  is to die for and this relatively new Scottish blue  is to kill for!) and a few loaves of bread from the selection which they sourced from several highly-regarded artisan bakeries in and around London.  One of the breads we ALWAYS used to buy was, of course, THE famous(ly-overpriced) Poilane……until one day I conjured up the recipe of this ‘the other bread' (...Starting to sound like Harry Potter's 6th book...).

 This formula came about quite accidentally during my still on-going project to re-creating a wonderful Pain de Campagne we had in Dijon, France, some years ago on holiday. The result was not quite what I was trying to achieve but nevertheless, it was quite good.

 So, one day I baked it and took it to her house to see how she’d like it. We didn’t eat it then (we went out for a lunch) but I received email from her later that night, which said (in the gist...-ish) ; “The flavour!  It’s so complex!  And the crumb!  Oh, the crumb!!  Every time you bite into it, the flavour and aroma explode in your mouth and it lingers on for such a long time...I think you exceeded Poilane!”    

  Well…..I think she’s a bit over-enthusiastic (and too kind).  I really don’t think I did exceed Poilane with that bread. Of course not.  Nor will I ever do, for that matter.  I don’t own their famous ‘a few hundred years old’ heritage levain to make my bread nor do I have absolutely ANY intention of living that long just to add extra value to my starter.  And to be entirely honest, I’d rather pay for their expertise and hard work and buy the real McCoy than labouring in my humble kitchen to emulate their highly-priced prized bread. The depth of flavour and that uniquely distinctive and complex acidity Poilane is famous for is, I think, something very difficult to re-create at home, which this new bread of mine certainly did not have those to their extent. 

 But still, it is true it was quite good and I was rather chaffed about the result and, also, was very happy she really liked it so much. And precisely because it’s not as ‘assertive’ nor does it have that strong acidity as Poilane’s, it is a gentler and more accommodating company to your meals, and also very good as breakfast bread, either as it is or toasted.

 So, since that day, she stopped buying Poilane’s or any bread from Borough Market entirely and started buying various breads from me whenever we get to meet each other. And we named this bread   ‘faux-Poilane,’ which is always included in her order of breads.  And since that day, it also joined my team of regular breads. 


And here’s the formula. Hope you’ll like it as much as we do, too.

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‘Faux’ Poilane : My Dear Friend ‘YM’ ‘s Favourite

     (To make a loaf = dough size about 650g)


  S/D (75% hydration)  125g 

  White 180g

  WW 60g

  Spelt 30g

  Rye 30g

  Wheatgerm 1 tbls

  Good quality sea salt 6g

  Non-diastic malt powder 1 tsp, if you have

  Water 220-230g

  A tiny amount of instant dry yeast, less than 1/8 tsp (optional)



1.   Feed S/D twice during 8-12 hr period before you start making the bread.

2.   Mix all the flours, wheatgerm and malt powder (plus instant dry yeast, if using) in a large bowl.

3.   In a separate small bowl, mix S/D and water to loosen S/D a little.

4.   Pour S/D+water to the bowl of flours and mix briefly into shaggy mess. Cover and leave for 40 minutes to autolyse.

5.    Sprinkle salt on the surface of the dough and S & F in the bowl for 20 times or so until salt is (probably) evenly distributed. Cover and Leave another 40-45 minutes.

6.   Two more sets of S & F in the bowl (just 8-10 S&F this time, enough to circulate the bowl once) every 40-45 minutes.

7.   Cover and cold retard for 12-18 hours.

8.   Make sure there’re a few large bubbles on the surface of the dough after cold retard. Take it out from the fridge and leave at room temperature for 1/2-1 hr.

9.   Pre-shape and shape. Put in a bannetton and proof (Either at room temperature, which produces milder flavour, or in a fridge again for increased acidity)….until your trusted finger-poking test assures you the dough is ready.

10.   Bake in a pre-heated covered pot (I use a lidded Pyrex casserole, upturned, which’s been very reliable…and you can enjoy watching the dough grows in volume!!) at 240 C for 20 minutes.

11.  After 20 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 20-25 minutes.

  Note : As with many sourdough bread, it tastes good on the day it’s baked, but the flavour develops over next few days. My favourite is it’s on the third day.

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The pics above are of the loaf I bake for her, so obviously I don’t have the crumb shot. But I baked another one at the same time, and these are how it looked.







lumos @ no-camera-at-the-mo (My dauther took mine to Paris!!! Gahhhhh)



Mebake's picture

I have finally found a relatively affordable, reliable source for Bread flour in Dubai! I wanted to test run it by baking Poolish baguettes.  I have sourced the flour from a local mill. They had always stocked this product, though only sold it upon demand, which seems to be non-existant Market wise. I believe, that only high end western style Artisanal cafes spread around Dubai malls such as PAUL, LE Pain Quotidient, BREAD and Co... etc, would order such a premium Product. Now its Me, too  :P

Price wise, I paid Dirhams 144/= for a sack of 50 Kg. of flour, which equals $ 40/=. This is way cheaper than Outlets selling Organic only bread flours for 3 times the price.

The specifications are as follows:

Jenan's Super Premium Flour (50kg Polypropylene Bag)

Protein: 12.5%

Ash: 0.6%

Wet Gluten: 34%

Fortified with Folic Acid and Iron


As i mixed the poolish with the dough, i realized it was thirstier than my all purpose and Patent flour. Regrettably, i ended up increasing the hydration to around 80% trying to test its resilience, and so the final dough became wetter than i like.

The dough, too, has less carotinoids as apparent from its light cream color, as opposed the cream color of other flours i've tested. And No, i have not overmixed the dough, i only bearly mixed it.

The dough held a good deal of fermentation bubbles, and was smooth and baked very well with a round cross section, which was a very good result considering the wetness of the dough.

My scoring did not open up, as i needed more practice with such high hydration baguettes. 1 hour into cooling, i sliced my baguettes open, and found all those beautiful cavities. The crust splintered upon cutting, and the flavor was superb! i dipped a shred into olive oil, and i loved the flavor, and crispiness of the flour. Given the hudration, i could not judge on the chewyness, but i'am sure it was moderate.

All in all, i loved this flour. I have yet to test it with other wholegrain recipes.









Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

The competition at this year's Leavenworth County Fair bread division was sparse. As I posted a few days ago, I entered a sourdough and a horiatiko psomi loaf. Because place ribbons aren't handed out for the entrants' self-esteem, I'm pleased that both of my loaves won blue ribbons.


Horiatiko Psomi

The sourdough, I was told by a junior judge, was up for consideration for the Bread division grand prize but it lost points because of the holes in the crumb. The master judge prefers a denser crumb. The winner was an outstanding looking cinnamon roll that made the rating a little easier to take. I wish I could make a cinnamon roll like that one.

I'm not discouraged in the least since no one provides judging guidelines. Armed with the knowledge of how the judges work, one of my loaves for next year will be a Sourdough Kansas Pioneer Bread. I've thought that the bread was a little dense in the crumb so far but I've got another year to see if I can outwit the judges and grab that purple ribbon.

As for the gratuitous goat pictures, I just find goats to be great subjects. When we go to fairs, my wife likes to see the varieties of chickens and I've taken to the goats. It's a fair after all.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.


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