The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Winnish's picture

Pita-bread with Zaatar (middle-east spice), sesame and olive oil


















Very easy to make, and very tasty. We actually love to eat it with Tehina or Hummus (spead made of chickpeas), but it's great with everything

















For recipe and more photos, pease visit my post

My blog and my posts are in Hebrew, but translator is available (top left side-bar)


varda's picture

Sometimes you have to back up to move forward.   I have tried to make 100% whole durum bread a couple times and couldn't achieve a good density or crumb structure even if I was happy with other things.    I found myself decidedly confused by the durum - did it want a long ferment so that the dough could develop without a lot of manipulation, or did it need a short ferment because it develops much faster than regular wheat doughs?    I decided to back up in the percent of durum and then move forward stepwise to see what I could learn.   So last night and today, I made a sourdough boule with 40% whole durum flour.    Even though I was only at 40% I tried to use the gentle methods that durum seems to need, so I mixed everything by hand, stretched and folded in the bowl with my hands, and generally did whatever I could not to frighten the durum.    I also retarded overnight for convenience sake.    Hydration is 68%.   Prefermented flour is 23%.   I used my regular wheat with 5% rye starter.   Here are some pictures of the result:

Next up:  60% whole durum boule. 

davidg618's picture

Bake bread.

Debra Wink, God bless her, is helping me recover from the loss of my seed starter. In the meantime, because we're out of sourdough loaves--the freezer, at this moment, only holds two baguettes, and some hamburger size soft baps--I've baked my favorite sourdough 10/45/45 Rye/Bread Flour/AP Flour, 68% Hydration converted to a 12 hour sponge, with commercial yeast prefermenting 20% of the formula's flour. I'm not giving up on sourdough, but I have to say, "This bread is tasty!"

One's ready for the freezer.

David G

txfarmer's picture

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Index for my blog entries:


I saw this pani popo recipe a while ago: . What's interesting is the way the buns are baked: instead of adding coconut milk "IN" the dough, it's poured into the pan right before baking, so essentially the buns are baked "IN" coconut milk instead. I changed the formula to use my white starter, but kept the rest the same.

Sourdough Pani Popo (adapted from My Kitchen Snippets)

Note: 19% of the flour is in levain

Note: total flour is 250g, fit a 8X8 square tin.


- levain

starter (100%), 13g

milk, 22g

bread flour, 41g

1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (73F) for 12 hours.

- final dough

bread flour, 203g (I used half KAF bread flour and half KAF AP flour for a balance of chewiness and volume)

sugar, 5g

butter, 18g, softened

salt, 3g

milk, 155g

levain, all

- for soaking

coconut milk, 125g

sugar, 38g


1. mix together everything in final dough, knead until stage 3 of windowpane (-30sec), see this post for details.

2. rise at room temp for 2 hours, punch down, put in fridge overnight.

3. takeout, divide into 9 parts, round, rest for 1 hour. shape into rolls, and put in 8inch squre pan.

4. rise at room temp (78F) for about 6 hours. they should be almost fully proofed, i.e. barely spring back when pressed.

5. Mix together coconut milk and sugar, pour into pan, bake at 375F for 30min.


Exceedingly soft and fluffy due to intensive kneading and proper fermentation


The coconut milk at the bottom became thick gooey sweet sauce during baking, adding great flavor to the enriched soft buns. My batch was only slightly tangy, but that might just be my starter. Next time I might try adding coconut milk and shredded coconut filling in the buns as well to maximize the coconut flavor, however, they were delicious and quickly gone as is.



txfarmer's picture

My favorite 36 hours Sourdough baguette and its many variations:

Other baguettes:

Sourdough breads can be very soft and fluffy:

100% whole wheat breads can be very soft and fluffy too, SD or not:

My obsession for laminated dough:

Other stuff made with starters:

Other non-sourdough stuff:

JC1957's picture

Yesterday I was researching various rye bread formulas and techniques trying to come up with something I could make with what I have on hand (dark rye flour and from a sour dough culture). I was thinking of a Jewish or a German Rye. The Bread Baker's Apprentice was a little help but still didn't have a formula to go on. Several years ago a friend (he was the head baker in the first bakery I use to work at) gave me his formulas, study guides and notes from when he attended Dunwoody Institute back in the early 1960's. I pulled those formulas out and found one for a Sponge Dark Sour Rye.  Here are the results.  2 of the 3-1 1/2 # loaves.  Baked 2 tonight and will bake the 3rd in the morning.


breadsong's picture

Franko was travelling in Europe recently, and thoughtfully sent me a gift from Vienna, Austria - an organic rye bread baking mix, called Holzofenbrot Backmischung (translates to: woodstove breadbaking mix).
To say that I was tremendously pleased with this, would be an understatement!
Thanks again, so much, Franko, for your kindness and generosity!

Here is the bread, baked from the mix. It looked like the mix had a good amount of rye in it, and some bread spice (brotgewurze). I tried scoring before proofing, as we were taught in my recent Guild class.
We haven't tasted this bread yet but are looking forward to it very much!
Thinking of Franko's travels, I was looking at pictures of folk art today and tried to paint a design on the bread reminiscent of eastern European folk art. (It's the thought that counts, right?! :^) I'm not a painter! and wish I'd been able to keep it more on center!).
The mix was a 500g size, to which I added 350g 90F water and 2 teaspoons (7g) instant dry yeast. The dough moved along just as the instructions said it would: 45 minute bulk, 30 minute proof (no longer!):
scored before proofing:  
              after proofing:

I'm really happy with the quality of the mix and how nicely it baked up. Such a lovely gift! :^)

Still inspired by Franko's travels!, I tried making Mr. Leader's Czech Country Bread from his book Local Breads.
I found a nice writeup about this bread here.
I used dark rye for the levain and 75% sifted rye, and unmalted bread flour, in the final dough.
This bread has a mild, but very good flavor, and an exceptionally soft crumb - almost as if a water roux were employed.
I mixed using stretch and folds in the bowl, with lots of rests, and two folds during a 2.5 hour bulk ferment; one hour proof.
I docked one as instructed, and painted the other:

Crackles and crumb:

Here are the two painted ones, side-by-side. I will keep practising this technique, for obvious reasons :^)
It was a took a little bit of time, but was fun to try.

With thanks, once again to Franko, and to Janknitz, for letting me know about Chef Tess Bakeresse and her lovely, decorative loaves. The instruction I found on Chef Tess' site re: painting bread was so helpful!

Happy baking everyone!
:^) from breadsong



holds99's picture

A few years back I was testing English muffin recipes on TFL.  After I posted a recipe I received a comment from Dan Lepard who provided a recipe for excellent English muffins.  The other day I decided to give the recipe another try.  The only thing I changed was a couple of stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals after the dough came out of the refrigerator, after reaching room temperature.  This is a really good recipe which produces a light, flavorful muffin, and it's easy to make.  They take about 7 minutes per side on a medium low grill or in a cast iron skillet.  Don't try to hurry them or the outside will be brown before the inside is done.  I used a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature.  These reached an internal temperture of 202-204 deg. F.  Incidentally, I quadrupled the recipe to make 4 times the amount of dough, which is the reason the dough amount in the first photo under the recipe is fairly large.

Edit: I also added 3 Tbs. ripe 100% sourdough starter to the dough mix.

Below is the recipe that Mr. Lepard published in the Guardian newspaper.




Cider vinegar English muffins

What the Americans call an English muffin we used to call, well, a muffin. But since those little cakes in paper cases have invaded the supermarket shelves and stolen the name, our own little plain bread muffin has become neglected in Britain. In the US, bakers have raised the quality of their English muffins to something close to perfection. Crisp on the outside, sour and holey inside, and chewy when toasted and slathered with butter. Make these and you'll see what we've been missing all these years. In this recipe, the dough gets mixed and lightly kneaded the night before and is left in the refrigerator overnight to rise slowly. You can even leave it until the following evening if that works better for you.

Makes 8-10 muffins

50g unsalted butter

100ml warm water (by weight: approximately 4 oz. or 116 g.)

50ml cider vinegar [by weight: approximately 2 oz. Or 58g.]

100ml plain live yoghurt [slightly less than ½ cup]

1 large egg

1 level tsp salt

375g strong white flour

2 tsp easy-blend yeast [I used instant yeast and it worked fine]

Oil for the bowl

The night before, melt the butter in a saucepan [use stainless steel with the vinegar], then remove from the heat and beat in the warm water with the vinegar, yoghurt, egg and salt until smooth. Measure the flour and yeast into a bowl, tip [pour] in the butter and vinegar mixture and stir to a thick batter. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Lightly oil the work surface and knead the dough gently for 10-15 seconds (see Basic techniques). Scrape the bowl clean of scraps of dough, wipe the inside with a little oil, place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a plate or cling film and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The following morning (or evening), lightly oil a dinner tray and upturn the dough on to it. Stretch and fold the dough in by thirds (see Basic techniques), then cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 1-2 hours until it warms and begins to rise again. [It takes a full 2 hours at 75 deg. F.]

Line a dinner tray with a tea towel and dredge the surface liberally with flour. Gently roll out the dough [on a work surface] about 1½ cm [approximately 5/8 inch] thick, trying not to knock too much of the gas from it. Cut the dough into discs using a 12cm-diameter [approximately 4 ¾ inches] cutter (yes, that large, as they'll pull inwards as they bake), or take a sharp knife and cut the dough into 6 rectangles or something close to that. Carefully lay the cut dough on the floured cloth. Dust the tops with flour and cover with a tea towel. Leave for 1½-2 hours [they’ll take the full 2 hours at 75 deg. F.] or until doubled in height.

Get a large heavy-bottomed frying pan with a snug-fitting lid if possible. Place on a moderate heat until the surface is hot but not scorching.

Uncover the muffins and flip them one by one on to your hand with the cloth, then slide them into the pan. You should be able to fit 3 or 4 in at a time. Cover the pan with the lid to create a bit of steam to help them rise and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then check to see that they're not burning. If the bottom is a good brown, flip them over using a spatula. Cook on the other side for about 3-4 minutes. [I used an electric skillet with a lid, set at 340 deg. F. cooking them in a dry pan for 6 minutes on side 1 and 4 minutes on side 2 until they reached an internal temperature of 190 deg. F.] When done, remove to a wire rack, drape a tea towel over to keep them soft, and continue with the remaining muffins. Freeze in a zip-lock bag as soon as they're cold.

varda's picture

Franko's projects have a way of capturing my imagination.   His Altamura bread did that in spades.   Then to top it off when Sylvia showed her Altamura loaf sitting on her WFO floor, I couldn't resist.    Today I followed Franko's formula to the tee.   The only problem was I didn't have the Giusto fancy durum flour - just my Golden Temple Atta.   I took Franko's advice and did the 4 Stretch and Folds in the bowl.   I wouldn't call them regular in the bowl stretch and folds though, since I used my hands and just gently manipulated the dough.   I had watched the clip of the Italian housewife (in the comments of Franko's post) handling the dough, and I tried to channel her, even though there is a big gap between us.   I also did all the mixing and initial kneading by hand.   The dough is very easy to handle and not sticky so this was fine.   It is the first time since forever that I haven't mixed in my Kitchen Aid. 

I hadn't really thought about baking with fire in, door open when I built my oven but it worked fine for one loaf.  


I didn't get quite as much oven spring as I would have hoped for, so I think there's plenty of room for improvement.   But I'm pretty happy with this bread.   Of course, my title is a misnomer.   This isn't Altamura bread since it's made with Atta - whole grain durum flour, most likely sourced from just about every country but Italy.   Maybe next time.

JC1957's picture

Light work week has given me time to bake at home.  First batch was the 1,2,3 formula again and then I did a sour dough baguette batch for today.  Here are the results:


And then today:

I love the exchange of ideas and formulas on this site.  I'm going to try the cocoa, cranberry walnut sour dough very soon.


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