The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


bakingbadly's picture

Hi, I’m Zita, co-founder and head bread baker of a small bakery-café “Bang Bang” in Siem Reap (Angkor), Cambodia.

This post is an attempt to connect with fellow pro bread bakers, especially with experience in bakery management. I seek encouragement, enlightenment, and even guidance. If you’d like to pass your insights to a growing, primarily self-taught baker, please comment below or contact me privately via TFL or email:

Anyways, it’s been 9 hectic months since we launched our bakery. Let me show you what we've experimented with and accomplished so far.



  • Me (Zita), on the right, with my friend Diddy on the left, posing for a photo impromptu


  • Bang Bang’s bread & cake display

A little about us. The name Bang Bang is derived from the Khmer / Cambodian word “nombang”, in English meaning bread. I specialize in (sourdough) breads and my partner Jana specializes in cakes. The style of our goods can be described as… strongly influenced by North America and UK, plus a mix of Germany, France, Italy, and other countries. 

This cluster of influences is the result of our upbringing and nationalities. I’m Canadian-Cambodian and my partner is German-English.


  • Scandinavian-style open-faced sandwich: house cured salmon (gravlax), fresh radish & cucumbers, butter, horseradish mayo sauce on Danish Rye; this beautiful construction is thanks to my partner Jana, a former chef

A while back, I successfully baked a Dansk Rugbrød (Danish Rye Bread) featuring whole grain rye flour, rolled rye and wheat, roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dark beer, and of course whole grain rye sourdough. In total, a 4 day process including a requisite 1 day of cooling.

Just when we were on the brink of introducing Scandinavian-style open-faced sandwiches to our menu, our supplier abruptly ran out of whole grain rye flour. It’s been two months and still no news on its future availability.

Absolute bummer.


  • Gluten-free vegan sourdough bread experiment

Made with roasted whole grain red jasmine rice, whole grain oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and buckwheat sourdough. Inspired by the traditional Westphalian Pumpernickel of Germany; baked for 18 hours at a low temperature to achieve thorough caramelisation (technically Maillard reaction), imparting a subtly sweet, complex roasty flavour. In total, a 4 day process.

Unfortunately, the formula still needs further adjustments to achieve satisfactory bread with balanced flavor and moisture.


  • Top: Light Rye Sourdough
  • Bottom: Multigrain Sourdough

In regards to loaves of bread, we’re now selling more sourdough than non-sourdough in our shop---huzzah! This is great progress considering demand for sourdough in Siem Reap was nearly non-existent several years ago.


  • Photo I took of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

  • Before-baked Roman-style pizza: pork salami, red bell peppers & cherry tomatoes roasted in garlic infused olive oil, fresh onions & garlic, homemade sweet basil pesto, passata pomodoro (strained tomato) on semi-sourdough (also includes fresh mozzarella but not pictured)

  • After-baked Roman-style pizza

Inspired by "pizza al taglio" (by the slice) after visiting Rome last year (2017), I began my quest on pizza making with help from my partner Jana. What makes Roman pizzas distinct from other styles is its crispier, crunchier base and unusually long fermentation, from 3 to 4 days, to enhance flavour. Because of these characteristics, a heavier layer of toppings is possible, allowing bolder flavours to shine and complement each other.


  • Vegan version of our "Caprese Sandwich": cashew & cultured soy milk mozzarella, fresh & marinated sun-dried tomato, homemade sweet basil pesto on ciabatta

We currently have 3 sandwiches on our regular menu: The Smokey (featuring smoked scamorza cheese), Parma Ham & Rocket Sandwich, and Caprese Sandwich. On my own accord, I made a vegan version of our Caprese Sandwich. First, I created "soy yoghurt" (cultured soy milk) from scratch, learnt and applied a few culinary techniques, conducted many trials and errors, and voila, a vegan substitute for fresh mozzarella. I'm not vegan, but we have an increasing number of vegan and vegetarian customers.

Interestingly, as an indirect result of making a vegan substitute for fresh mozzarella, I acquired more in-depth knowledge on other forms of fermentation, namely pickling and growing mold.


My partner Jana has been churning out an assortment of cakes. Nearly every week a new creation is put in our cake display for public consumption. We’ve now established a reputation for our "comfort cakes" including New York-style baked cheesecakes, carrot cake (with passionfruit cream cheese frosting), tiramisu cake, as well as fun, colourful custom made cakes.


  • Top: pecan Nutella brownie “cake shake”
  • Bottom: cherry cheesecake “cake shake”

One of our latest creations: “Cake Shakes”.

Essentially, it's our already decadent cakes blended with the richest, creamiest, heaviest gelato ice cream we could find in Siem Reap. Yes, it's sinful. 


  • Lox cream cheese bagel: house cured salmon (gravlax) on freshly baked bagel & cream cheese, served with capers, cherry tomatoes, red shallots & frisee lettuce

It was a big hit when we introduced our lox cream cheese bagels months ago. Prior, we only had (flavoured) cream cheese bagels for breakfast. However, earlier last month (August 2018) we hired a seasoned cook, reorganized our kitchen and launched a small but appetizing breakfast menu. If you didn’t notice, they all involve bread of some sort (of course, our own and baked on premise), a critical component to our bakery’s concept.

Once a nearly deserted bakery in the mornings, Bang Bang is now gaining buzz for breakfast and brunch.


  • Mrs. Panha, our coffee aficionado / barista

  • Skilled latte art

Although we’re primarily known for our cakes and breads, our investment in espresso coffee equipment and training is beginning to pay off (we love espresso coffees). Mrs. Panha, an enthusiastic coffee barista, is driving us forward and gradually luring more and more people to our coffee.


Quite frankly, we don’t know where our bakery will lead us. It’s continually evolving, with our creativity as the catalyst. However, I do have a few personal goals: 1) to import or build a grain mill and experiment with freshly ground flour; 2) to experiment with other (whole) grains; 3) to teach or educate Cambodian locals about bread baking, free of charge (most locals have little to no knowledge on how bread works).

Some days I feel lost as a baker, not knowing if my efforts will amount to anything. Other days I’m grateful for the obstacles we’ve overcome, while keeping in mind that we’ll face unexpected and ongoing challenges.

Nonetheless, we strive.

Thank you for following our journey. If you wish to get regular updates on us, feel free to visit our Facebook or Instagram page below. Happy baking, all!

Mr. Zita
Head Bread Baker
Bang Bang



not.a.crumb.left's picture

After baking the Champlain so often  I was wondering whether it would be time to give this

formula another try...I remember last time I baked it was in October 2017 and one of the bakes that made me realize no I must walk before I run and reduce hydration!!!!

I followed Trevor's formula as on his blog apart from withholding 10g of water and use it for wetting hands....

I used Rubaud combined with a short bout of slap and folds....

Coil folds are amazing to manage wet dough and that's  what I used for the first 4 folds in 30 min intervals.

ALSO - an Italian baker Matteo Festo suggested on his blog that you put a sample of your dough in a glass cover it with room temp water and put it near the bulk. If they piece of dough rises then your bulk has reached optimal bulk...

I tried that and the dough went puffier and puffier...and the piece of dough would not float...

In the end I had after 5 1/2 hours bulk at 75F I decided to do a pre-shape as Barney had to go to the VET for his yearly jabs...

Just as I finished the pre-shape the dough started floating so I cannot have been far off....

BUT boy was the dough proofy!!!

Pre-shape boule was nice and airy and did not loose too much shape after 30 min. Still rounded edges where they meet the counter....

Final Shape was so hairy as it was very difficult to kind of get the dough to do what I wanted as it was ouzing with air...I opted for Trevor's 'puffy' dough shaping technique but the folding over did almost not happen...

Wiggly, jibbly dough in banneton!

Then into wine cooler at 4C which actually is more like 5cish....After 4 1/2 hours the dough looked like it had risen and dough temp was 7C and I thought ready to bake.....

I find that call when the proof is ready with retard the toughtest part at the moment!

Ready for square scoring ....

and the dough sagged and ended up in the oven like this with me being reallly quite deflated too...

And then, slowly...go on fella.....

made it...

Very, very happy and can now dabble a bit more in the 80% hydration tastes amazing with the spelt and rye in it! Oh....I need to think about to bake possibly on a tray on the stone to avoid the darker bottoms on my loaves...and dial in temp ...need to ponder on that...

cfraenkel's picture

Danni is my inspiration, (fellow teacher, Canadian, baker, potter)

She posted about a Fennel Raisin bread, and I had *just* managed to find some raisins that were safe for my allergies, so I was excited to try this bread. (I have a corn allergy, which is more challenging than I wish) So.... With my new Komo Mill and $200 worth of buckets filled with wheat berries, I have been working on using all home milled flour. Some attempts have been more successful than others.

Well, maybe I have finally figured this out!  This is one gorgeous loaf of bread, and it smells divine.

In case this looks interesting, here is the recipe:

The night before:

Mill grains:

125g Hard Red

50g Einkorn

50g Spelt

135g Hard White

Mill Spices/Flax (in my spice grinder)

3g Fennel

25g Flax seeds


a handful of raisins in 205g water (I have pretty big hands)


40g sunflower seeds

In the Morning:

Autolyse grains and flax with water from raisin soak plus extra water to equal total of 215g 1 Hour

Add 280g well fed and bubbly NMNF starter, ground fennel, 9g salt

Mix in KA mixer for 20 minutes  Use folds to add in sunflower seeds and raisins.

Bulk ferment in refrigerator for 7 hours, shape and proof in banneton for 2 1/2 hours

Bake @475F for 25 minutes in DO lid on, remove lid and bake another 25 mins.

Crumb shot, It's delicious! (I might have cut it *a little* early....don't care!


PalwithnoovenP's picture

Something is keeping me busy these days so I have no time to bake and post. I thought I'd share something that I baked during my review days that I still haven't posted.

As you know I love Chinese breads, baked or steamed and the more I love Chinese pastries and all things in between. It's the green onion pancake that is my favorite I must say. Flaky, crispy, chewy with lovely green onion flavor; my cravings get the better of me every time. I really like it that I made yeasted breads before inspired by it here and another one here. By the way, green onion has many names depending on where you live, I've read them as green onions / spring onions / scallions in recipes.

I was craving for it that time and I had a somewhat crazy idea that I really wanted to try so I made these for a win-win situation. A green onion pancake is already very very good but I want to make it better. It's the flakiness that I like best so increasing the layers was the game plan here. My previous breads have sesame along with the green onion but this time I used green onion alone for its flavor to shine.

I called them baraja from Spanish baraja which means a deck of cards because they look like a deck of cards. Baraha in Filipino which obviously came from Spanish means either a deck of cards or just a single card hence I stuck with the Spanish spelling because it specifically means a deck. :)

I made a dough with flour and water and I let it rest for a couple of hours then I made a roux with lard and other meat drippings. If you keep pork fat, chicken fat, duck fat or goose fat at the back of your fridge; this is an application that is worthy of and will greatly benefit from your hard earned delicious rendered fat. All were set so what's only left is the shaping/assembly. I employed a different folding/lamination technique; normally you roll the dough into a thin wide circle, brush it with the roux then sprinkle it with green onions, roll into a jelly roll then coil it into a snail. I cut the dough into 4 portions and this is what I did.

For the simple ones, I filled 2 of the 4 pieces with roux and stuffed a huge amount of green onions in them. I closed them up, rolled them flat and gave each a single and a double turn. If you make croissants, you know what I mean.

I then rolled them flat once again before cooking.

For the complex ones and the ones worthy of the title baraja, I divided each of the remaining pieces into 3 before repeating the procedure above for each piece as you can see in the photo below.

I then stacked the 3 pieces with lard in between each piece before finally rolling it flat. So for the layer count; if you count all the layers in each piece minus the dough-dough interface, you got 13 layers (it means the simple bread above has 13 layers and this is triple of that). With lard in between each piece, you count them as separate layers because it will be a dough-fat continuum so it means 3 layers of 13. So 13 x 3 = 39, a total of 39 layers; a standard deck of cards has 52. Although it's not quite a standard deck of cards, the results are still dramatic and fantastic and can easily be remedied by adding a 4th 13 layer piece.

So the layers were increased but I used another cooking method other than pan frying that makes this a million times better than my regular green onion pancake. I cooked them on a dry frying pan until the surface is cooked and no longer sticks then I transferred them to my preheated clay pot to bake over pebbles to crisp and achieve a rich brown hue. Here are the results.

One of each kind from the first batch after baking.

One of each kind from the second batch. The 39-layered one is on the left.

13 layers.

39-layered green onion baraja.

Both has that nice green onion flavor since I put lots, 250 grams to be exact. It has an intensely savory flavor but somewhat sweet. If you like a bit heat, you can sprinkle some white pepper during the lamination, sesame is also a welcome addition; the flavor combinations are endless and I have some ideas in mind already that I want to try. It is not greasy like a typical green onion pancake, it has a bit of chew and is extra crispy from the clay pot bake. The increased layers changed the texture significantly, its like eating a savory croissant; extremely flaky and crispy with shards falling everywhere. And the smoky flavor and aroma it picked-up from the pebbles and the pot when combined with the green onion's make up for a very old world flavor that is satisfying and comforting that stirs the emotion.

Clear defined layers but not as dramatic as the one below.

Very dramatic layering. It really deserves to be called baraja, I will increase the layers next time to 52 so the name fits it more. When I look at it closely, it does not look just like a deck of cards to me, I think it also looks like a small book with numerous sheets, leaves and pages so I think you can also call this libretto, librito, or librillo. I am so satisfied with this bake and I want to make it again. In fact, I am craving for it right now I type this and look at the photos. Happy baking!

Some photos of orchids from our yard at that time too.

Some orchids past their prime near our mini "taro plantation".

I managed to capture some in their full bloom. Enjoy!

leslieruf's picture


Today was my traditional day out in Zurich with some of my sistersin law. Stadelhofen is where we meetup and luckily both bakeries I wished to visit were within a short distance of each other.  Kat suggested John  Baker and what an amazing shop. Tucked away in a little side street. would love to have been able to actually talk with bakers but they were very busy.  

The bread is made from organic flours and the flour bags are stacked up in the shop! locals can even have their bread delivered by bicycle!  they make 11 different breads and the baguettes looked gorgeous. Dinner tonight we will cut our loaf - ruchbrot!

here is pic of the bike trailers they use for deliveries etc


Then I had to follow up on  kendalm’s suggestion of Luxemburgerli from Sprüngli (it was raining and this shop is right beside the tram station so I couldn’t get a better shot!)


Inside I was confronted with this! 11 different flavours to choose from.....


they are not cheap but oh wow, just divine - our treat for the day - I think I have gone to heaven!!

Next Wednesday we head home and I am looking forward to baking again.  there have been so many interesting posts here - I can’t wait to try some of the ideas.


solano's picture


Details are in the following thread:

It's clearly underproofed, dense crumb, the ear broke (I think in another post someone told me that this was a classic sign of underproofed dough) and not so great oven spring. Lots to learn about temperatures yet.



dabrownman's picture

Since Lucy and I didn’t die, or even get sick from our new wild and black rice starter we made last week we decoded to keep I around in the fridge for a while and see what we could do with this exotic culture.  Lucy said we need should make some SD noodles, something we haven’t done for a long time and it is too good not to do and so much better than most anything you can buy!


For sure, you won’t be able to buy Black Rice SD, spelt, Kamut, rye and wheat egg noodles – not even from Lucy who thinks that they should sell like hot cakes for Halloween along with the Black SD Bread she made that should have killed us😊  It turns out that folks have been making gluten free SD bread for a long time with brown rice SD starters and they are not dropping like flies.

We have the meat - Bacon, Sopresata, grilled chicken, smoked Italian sausage, smoked pepperoni .

This black rice starter is very active.  Even after a week in the fridge it doubled a single stage, bran levain in 4 hours on the window sill at 82 F.  The levain was 12 g of 100% black rice starter, 10 g of high extraction rye, 10g of wild and forbidden black rice flour and 30 g of bran sifted out from the home milled whole grains at 100% hydration.

Add the meat to the onion, grape tomato, and basil garlic

We added 130 g of high extraction 4 grain flour and used the Biscuit Method to get the levain evenly distributed before adding 1 egg to the starter.  It was so dry that we couldn’t get all the dry incorporated with a spoon so we added another egg.  This came out too wet for a pasta dough that has to have certain feel to it to make noodles, just like bread does.

Single serving - killer delicious!

In this case, it should feel bit like a 53% hydration, whole grain bagel dough but this one was too wet so we starter adding the wild and forbidden black rice flour and kneading it in the old fashioned way until it felt right and then kneaded for 10 minutes until smooth.

Grilled salmon dinner

We left it in a ball on the counter covered by a SS bowl kneading it every hour for 2.5 hours until it had risen 50% after the last kneading.  With no salt, high kitchen temperature and an active SD starter, it really took off after the 2nd hour on the bench.  We then oiled the SS bowl, kneaded the air out of it and chucked the dough into the fridge for a long 24 hour retard. 

There is Lucy's salad!

We let the dough warm up for an hour before dividing it into 4 ths to roll out as thin as we could for the thin noodles we wanted and to let them dry a bit on the counter uncovered.  They sure were weird looking so we decided to do a strange carbonara with them.  Bacon, grilled chicken, soprasata and pepperoni for the meats, a half cup each of Pecorino and Parmesan - the cheese  half in and half on the pasta with some grape tomatoes , green onion and basil to go along with the 2 eggs and a hlaf cup of pasta water to make everything silky.

Ham and cheese heirloom tomato and lettuce sandwidcor lunch with those killer Black rRce baguettes.

Weirdest Carbonara ever ….at least around here anyway😊  But tasty it was, in a weird sort of way!  Even the girls loved it despite its black appearance.

Click the link and vote for Maurizio - every day!

not.a.crumb.left's picture

Details are in the following thread..

I wanted to know whether a warm , cold bulk combined and then a cold retard would possibly get me a more open crumb as I noticed this with recent ciabatta and baguette bakes.

The above thread has more detail with photos and Solano was trying something similar. My conclusion is that it is another way to time a bake and make it work but result wise from a crumb point of view it compares to my normal process with warm bulk and then straight retarding. I have to say though the oven spring was great...not sure whether to do with the cold bulk or not though...

Elsie_iu's picture

I love sticky rice! No matter it is cooked whole in a savory dish or made into rice cake or mochi. Fried, steamed, baked or boiled, it is so versatile. After coming across bread recipes that suggested using up leftover rice cake from Chinese New Year by stuffing it into bread, I decided to create my own version of rice cake bread.  


Purple Rice Cake Sourdough with 20% Millet and 20% Sprouted Durum


Dough flour (all freshly milled):

180g      60%       Whole white wheat flour

60g        20%       Sprouted durum flour

60g        20%       Whole millet flour


For leaven:

9g           3%       Starter

18g         6%       Bran sifted out from dough flour

18g         6%       Whey


For dough:

282g        94%       Dough flour excluding bran for leaven

160g     53.3%       Water

100g     33.3%       Whey

45g          15%       Leaven

9g              3%       Vital wheat gluten

5g        1.67%       Salt


For purple rice cake:

25g         8.3%       Purple rice flour (glutinous black rice)

25g         8.3%       White glutinous flour

50g       16.7%       Water

5g         1.67%       Coconut cream powder

5g         1.67%       Sugar



304.5g      100%       Whole grain

282.5g     92.8%       Total hydration


Make the rice cake. Combine all ingredients then steam for 15 minutes (I cut the time to 5 minutes since pressure cooker was used). Let cool completely and refrigerate until it firms up. Cut it into cubes. Sprinkle it heavily with flour to prevent sticking. Keep refrigerated until needed.

Sift out the coarse bran from the dough flour, reserve 18g for leaven. Soak the rest, if any, in equal amount of whey taken from dough ingredients.

Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, around 2.5 hours.

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the salt, leaven, and soaked bran, autolyse for 15 minutes. Knead in the reserved ingredients and ferment for 15 minutes. Fold in the purple rice cake then ferment for 3.5 hours longer.

Preshape the dough then let it rest for 15 minutes. Shape the dough and put in into a banneton. Retard for 11 hours.

Preheat the oven at 250°C/482°F. Remove the dough from fridge 30 minutes before baking.

Score and spritz the dough. Bake at 250°C/482°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.

The bread has a rather close crumb, which I think both durum and millet played a role in. Moreover, it is a bit cakely and not chewy enough for my taste…On the bright side, I like that the rice cake added some nice stickiness and chewiness. Also, the yellow-purple contrast is just stunning!

The millet and sprouted durum gave this bread plenty of sweetness and there is very little sourness. I think the subtly sweet and aromatic rice cake makes the bread perfect for when you want dessert for breakfast :)



Time to try a red fife version of half sprouted red wheat bread.


100% Red Fife Sourdough with 50% Sprouted


Dough flour (all freshly milled):

150g      50%       Whole red fife flour

150g      50%       Sprouted red fife flour


For leaven:

10g        3.3%       Starter

40g      13.3%       Bran sifted out from dough flour

40g      13.3%       Whey


For dough:

260g     86.7%       Dough flour excluding bran for leaven

160g     53.3%       Water

100g     33.3%       Whey

90g          30%       Leaven

9g              3%       Vital wheat gluten

5g         1.67%       Salt



305g      100%       Whole grain

305g      100%       Total hydration


Sift out the coarse bran from the dough flour, reserve 40g for leaven. Soak the rest, if any, in equal amount of whey taken from dough ingredients.

Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, around 3.5 hours.

Roughly combine all dough ingredients except for the salt, leaven, and soaked bran, autolyse for 15 minutes. Knead in the reserved ingredients and ferment for 15 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough for a few times then ferment for 2 hours longer.

Preshape the dough then let it rest for 15 minutes. Shape the dough and put in into a banneton. Retard for 8 hours.

Preheat the oven at 250°C/482°F.

Score and spritz the dough then bake directly from the fridge at 250°C/482°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 25 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 208°F. Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.

As you can probably tell, I under-proofed the dough slightly. Fortunately, the bread still has great texture and a moderately open crumb.

Containing 50% sprouted flour, the bread tastes amazing. Nevertheless, its taste doesn’t differ from that of regular red wheat as much as I have hoped for. I guess sprouting the grains reduced the faint flavour contrast.



Wow! I can't believe I made so many rice dishes within a week when rice is not even my preferred grain!

Thai pineapple minced pork fried rice

Omelette fried rice

Clear-the-fridge stir fry with minced lamb

Today’s dinner where Shanghai cuisine was the theme


hreik's picture

So.... I've been struggling with trying to let lift and good crumb from whole wheat.  I like 100% for it's health benefits. This is my third try and will post crumb shot later.

Formula (give or take)

250 gm whole wheat (sifted)

175 gm water

4 gm salt 

Autolyse above for several hours.  While doing that I fed my whole wheat starter and poured 60 gm of boiled water on the remaining 40 gm of the bran from sifting.


Final dough

autolysed dough (429 gm)

levain 48 gm

bran / water mix 100 gm


After mixing in several stages I added water as needed to get the consistency I'm used to.  It ended up being about another 50 gm of water.

Did 6 hour bulk fermentation with s&f every couple of hours.

Final bench rest (30) and shaping and then into fridge. 
However, I put some parchment paper in the banneton to  help me with transfer for the morning bake.  I did this b/c of the collapsing I've had w other attempts.

Baked for about 40 minutes, first 20 @ 475, last 20 @ 460.

 Crumb shot:  I'm pretty satisfied with these results,  Not perfect but improving with 100% ww and hydration.



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