The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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ed minturn's picture
ed minturn

Does anyone have any thoughts on a diabetic wanting to bake bread, pizzas, etc. Are there special recipes or perhaps limits to what one eats or just now do at all. Thanks for any thougths.    ed

ehanner's picture

The dough didn't spring all that much in the oven.

This is a light and easy to chew bread with good flavor

Slashed deeply and ready to proof

After 1 hour proof time, ready to bake

MommaT asked about a recipe for a Greek Bread that she had just had while in the Mediterranean on vacation. A common bread sold everywhere and wonderful to the nose and mouth senses. I suspect the view of the beautiful Greek villages with their white stucco buildings and red tile roofs, not to mention the sea air and fine wine might have an impact on the experience of eating a piece of artisan bread dipped in the most fragrant  Greek Olive oil. Ahhh, it takes me back.  So---

When DSnyder suggested a possible recipe after connfering with his Greek DIL, well I hopped right on it. I converted the recipe to weights for the most part, at least where it counts. I used 135g per cup for the flour weight and KA AP flour. My hydration came in at 73% counting the milk and oil as liquids.

I thought the dough to be a bit firm but the recipe does call it a stiff dough. I mixed it as per  suggested but I let it rest for 20 minutes and then folded and kneaded a bit. It was starting to become smooth but not fully delevoped when I shaped it into a round and covered it. About an hour passed annd the dough had doubled nicely and felt like a puff ball. I shaped it into a tight oval, brushed an egg wash over the top and sprinkled a generous topping of toasted sesame seeds over the loaf. I don't usually slash the loaf prior to proofing but that's what was called for so I made a deep slash down the top center as you can see. I covered the loaf with plastic, dusted the plastic with spray oil and flipped the plastic wrap over so as to avoid a mess after proofing.

I had pre heated the oven to 400F and heated a 1/2 C of water for steam. The bread was loaded, in with the water and after 15 minutes lowered the heat to 350F for another 15 minutes. Actually I didn't quite go to the full 30 minutes baking time. I thought I was done enough for the first try at 27 minutes. The bread feels very light and is soft enough on the crust it is just a little hard to slice. Perhaps just just a little more oven time to dry it out.

The aroma is wonderful. Toasting the sesame seeds is always worth while. My daughter approves, saying "this is really good" , that is a pretty tall hurdle. She is a tough critic.

I don't know if this looks or tastes like what MommaT was talking about or even what David's daughter in law Stephanie intended. Perhaps she will see this and comment. Thank you Stephanie and David for your interest in creating this bread. Please let me know what you think.

Here is my contribution to the recipe.

Greek Bread with Sesame Seeds

Luke warm water (80F) 1/2 Cup (118g)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (30g)
5 Tablespoons warm milk (74g)
1 envelope ID Yeast (6g (2-teaspoons))
2-1/4 Cups AP Flour (304g)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (sea salt, fine grind)

1 egg and 2 T milk for washing before seeds are applied
2-4 T Sesame Seeds, toasted

Hydration 73%

Method as called for in Davids post here
Mix, autolyse, knead and ferment till double. Punch down, shape, slash and wash with egg wash, seeds and proof for 45-60 minutes.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, reduce temp to 350 for and additional 15 mins.,steam as normal



gcook17's picture

I have a niece who is interested in baking and I was going to buy her the King Arthur videos on Artisan Bread and Blitz Puff Pastry.  When I went to their web site I was sad to see that the DVD on Artisan Breads was unavailable.  I don't know if they will make some more and sell them again or if that's the end of it.  I sure hope they continue selling them because it was a really helpful video for me when I was starting the make hearth breads with wet dough.

One of the things I had a hard time with at first was being comfortable with gobs of sticky dough all over my hands.  I'm not such a neatnik (or so I thought), but having goo covered hands just didn't seem right.  Hearing that it was okay to make a sticky mess was one thing, but actually seeing Michael Jubinsky knead the sticky mess by slapping it around on the table and getting everything gummed up really helped me at least partially overcome wetdoughphobia.  He uses a poolish and makes baguettes and boules.  He demonstrates folding, shaping, slashing, and steaming.  This is a really good beginnig video for anyone who wants to start baking artisan-style hearthbread.  I still watch it from time to time when I want to enjoy watching someone else bake for a change.

The other King Arthur video that I have stars Jeffrey Hamelman and he shows how to make blitz puff pastry.  If you haven't tried this, you really should.  It is surprisingly good and it's also amazingly quick and easy to make.  We've tried it out and used it to make tarts similar to those shown in the video.  I'm not such a pastry expert that I can critique the fine points of this dough versus long-process laminated puff pastry, but as Hamelman says, it makes it possible to get up in the morning and say, "I think I'd like to have a puff pastry based desert for lunch or dinner."  I watch this one repeatedly, always makes me hungry.

Here are the tarts my wife and I made after our first viewing:

Plums, almond cream, and blitz puff pastry.


Apricots, almond cream, and blitz puff pastry.


photojess's picture

A BIG thanks to Pamela for posting this recipe previously!  I made this yesterday, and it was really good with dinner last night.  The recipe can be found here:

If you like wholesome goodness, with 100% whole wheat (I used white) , and added nuts and seeds, this is for you!  It has a nice crunch to it, and my sister even asked it I had started chirping yet!  Anyway, just want to give this nice recipe a little shout out!  The dough did require some additional flour, than what was listed, but it was very nice to work with.

Highly suggest this one.

audra36274's picture

  As the story goes, Emily wanted a topsy turvy cake for her birthday party. If you haven't seen one, please google topsy turvy cakes and there are even cool video's that make it look oh so easy to do. I had called the bakery and they wanted $230.00 for one to feed 20 people. Not this year! So the Wilton pans come out and this is the result. Now I know it is not a $230. quality cake, 1. because I used frosting and  fondant only on the decorations (it taste like crap) and 2. it was a less than perfect job. The front I left flat for writing purposes, but the sides and back are very curvy. If you have ever worked with fondant, it has the exact same texture as Play Dough, so I let Emily and Quaid have a good time and cut out and apply all the dots.

Note to myself: Put the next extremely heavy cake I make on a solid board, NOT a cardboard cake board (they bend and will break the cake) this almost happened

   These are not that hard and I think that after making just 3 or 4 that anyone could make one with professional results. I did use dowels and corrugated cardboard to seperate when the layers changed sizes to help support the weight. And I can't think of anything I would have done differently. If you do one, follow the video, be sure to use a crumb coat and let it dry well. You should be able to smooth any rough spots because this layer gets sort of hard. Then you can frost away and not have to worry about any crumbs sneaking in. If its for kids, let them in on the fun. They will enjoy the cake more if they get to participate, and don't sweat it. It's just cake, if it flops, feed it to the chickens and run to the super market for a replacement and swear you just didn't have time to bake!Emily's cakeEmily's cake /2

xaipete's picture

Yesterday I tried the ciabatta pizza that trailrunner posted about a week ago. I was very impressed with the results.

The pizza formula has a lot of yeast in it and went through bulk fermentation like a rocket (I had to put it in the fridge to slow it down.) When it had tripled (after about 3 hours in fridge--probably faster but I just let it sit there until I was ready), I heavily floured my counter, literally poured the glutenous dough onto the flour, and then sprinkled more flour on the top. I patted the blob into a circle about 1/2 an inch thick. Then the trick was how to get the blob onto the pan-sprayed parchment. I did the best I could but had to reshape it a bit after it landed. Didn't seem to hurt it any. I topped it with tomatoes and basil (topping basil was an obvious mistake at this point because it dried out in the oven--next time I'll put it on as a garnish; sometimes in the heat of the moment I do stupid things).

I baked it on a preheated stone on the bottom rack for 8 minutes. (Trailrunner had warned me that I needed to bake the moisture out of the tomatoes and that was good advice.) After taking it out of the oven with my peel, I removed the parchment paper, topped it with some of TJ's marinated rope-type mozzarella, and slid it back in the oven for another 8 minutes. It rose up real nice in the oven and produced a delicate, soft, thickish pizza crust. The pizza as a whole didn't have as much flavor as I was hoping for but my tomatoes weren't home grown (I used an heirloom supermarket variety), so I'm not surprised as the topping was so plain. Next time I think I'll reduce the yeast to 3 g (I used 7 g by mistake) so it will take longer to go through bulk fermentation and perhaps develop a little more flavor. But all and all I was pretty happy with the results. Thanks trailrunner for posting this great pizza!

Topped with tomatoes and ready to go into the oven.

After 8 minutes

After 15 minutes (TJ's cheese had some oil in it so that's why it browned; regular mozzarella probably wouldn't brown.)

Crumb (or is it slice?)

250 g AP flour

227 g water (I might reduce to 210 g next time)

3 g yeast (I misread the recipe and used 7 g by accident)

7 g salt

tomatoes, thinly sliced or halved cherries, or a combination of both

mozzarella cheese, grated or thinly sliced

fresh basil leaves, for garnish

olive oil

kosher salt

Put the flour, water, salt, and yeast in mixer bowl and mix with paddle to incorporate. Let dough rest for 5 minutes to hydrate. Knead with dough hook on speed 2 for 10 minutes. (My dough never formed a ball like trailrunner's so next time I'm going to use a little less water).

Put dough into a container and let triple.

Place dough onto a heavily floured countertop, sprinkle top of dough with flour, and pat into a round about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan-sprayed parchment paper, top with thinly sliced tomatoes, and bake on a stone in a preheated 500º oven for 8 minutes to drive off the moisture from the tomatoes and set the dough. Remove pizza and parchment from oven, discard parchment and top with mozzarella cheese. Return pizza to oven and bake until done, about another 7 to 8 minutes.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves, and a light sprinkling of kosher salt and olive oil.

Makes one pizza (serves two people).

The original post is from LilDice.

I also found another link to this pizza with pictures and discussion. NB: the reduced amount of IDY.



Shiao-Ping's picture

I've been threatening to collapse my San Francisco starter and call it a day because it performs much slower than my other starters.  At the last minute, David (dmsnyder) brought to my attention James MacGuire's other recipe, Miche, Pointe-a-Calliere in Hamelman's "Bread," as well as Pain Poilane in Daniel Leader's "Local Breads."  The full title of the latter is "Whole Wheat Sourdough Miche inspried by Pain Poilane, pain au levain complet," and according to Daniel Leader, it is "a symbol of artisanal excellence in France and around the world."  David also mentioned Peter Reinhart's Poilane-Style Miche in "The Bread Baker's Apprentice."  

As all three formulae employ a whole wheat starter (to be exact, the flours used for the starters and the final doughs are, respectively, high-extraction whole-wheat flour in Hamelman's book, stone-ground whole wheat flour in Leader's book, and a sifted medium-grind whole wheat flour in Reinhart's book), I thought I'd convert my San Francisco starter into an Australian wholemeal starter first before I decide on an avenue to pursue.  I have been warned that my Australian wholemeal flour is actually white whole wheat flour for North America.  All the better for my endeavour here as the standard whole wheat flour is hard red spring wheat which may not be the most desirable flour for hearth loaves.   

Formula Synopsis Comparison     


Miche, Pointe-a-Calliere


Pain Poilane


Poilane-Style Miche


Starter hydration 




Starter as % of final

dough flour


25% (or 45%)*


Final dough hydration





Mix flour & water, autolyse

20-60 min, then add salt &


Mix flour & water, autolyse

20 min, then add salt &


Mix everything in one go


On 2nd speed for 2 - 2.5 min,

the dough is loose & gluten

only moderately developed

By hand for 12 - 14 min,

the dough should pass

windowpane test

By hand for 12 - 15 min,

the dough should pass

windowpane test

Bulk fermentation

with folding

2.5 hrs with 2 - 3 foldings

@ 40 - 50 min intervals

3 - 4 hrs with one brief

kneading (1 - 2 min)

after one hr

4 hrs or until nearly

doubles in size

(no folding)





Final proofing

2 - 2.5 hrs

2 - 3 hrs

2 - 3 hrs

Dough size for home


1665 g

1010 g (or 1110 g) *

2060 g


440F for 15 min, then

420F for 45 min

470F for 40 - 50 min

Heat oven to 500F, once

dough is loaded, turn it

down to 450F, bake 25 min

then 425F for 30 - 40 min

* There is a discrepancy in figures in Leader's book (page 120); the instruction says leveain of 125 g (25%) is to be used however the table lists a figure of 225 g (45%); hence, the resulting difference in final dough sizes. 

Just by looking at the comparison above, I immediately know that I would like the Hamelman's (ie, James MacGuire's) formula the best.  However, I have a very basic problem here that I cannot reconcile with intellectually.  In Hamelman's book, it specifically says to make the final levain build 12 hours (@ 70F) before the dough mix, and also in Leader's book, it is 8 - 12 hours (@70 - 75F).   My problem is: if final levain build takes 12 hours, why, then, would the dough fermentation (bulk & final proofing all-up) only take half that time?  (Note: in both cases, dough fermenting temperature is recommended roughly the same as the starter temperature.)   There seems to be the pressumption that if your starter is very strong (after 8 - 12 hours' final building), it should be able to leaven dough many times its size with half the time (at roughly the same temperature).   From past experience, I already know what my sourdough would look like if I followed the instruction to the letter.

Anyway, I didn't want to go there.  I decided I wanted to do something bold - no harm, it's only an experiment:

  • 85% dough hydration: my thinking is if white flour can take 80% hydration, wholemeal can take 85%!
  • 12 hours all-up for bulk fermentation and final proofing: my rationale is my San Francisco starter performs very slowly and the Australian mild winter gives me 70 - 75F room temperature, the ideal temp for the fermenting dough.

My Formula

  • 220 g Australian white wholemeal starter @ 75% hydration
  • 414 g Australian white wholemeal flour
  • 365 g water
  • 10 g salt

 You cannot get ingredients more simple than the above list of 4 items!

Main points of my steps are:

  1. 4 & 1/2 hours of bulk fermentation (@ 70 - 75F ) during which 5 sets of 8 - 10 folds were performed, the last set of which also served as pre-shaping as in my Pain de Tradition post.
  2. Then, shaped the dough into a boule and placed it in a basket line with floured towel.
  3. 7 & 1/2 hours of proofing  (@ 70 - 75F).  For the whole time, I checked it every 15 minutes or so to make sure it's not over-proofed. 
  4. When I checked it the last time before I put it into the fridge for the night (for 7 hours) with a floured finger, the dough still sprang back with some "force."
  5. This morning, I brought it out of the fridge, let it sit at room temp for 4 hours! before I baked it. 

And here is this little baby,


    100% Sourdough Pain de Tradition with 85% Hydration (100% Australian wholemeal flour)


                                  the crumb


          and more crumb

Throughout the whole time I was aware that over-fermenting/proofing would mean:

  • no oven spring
  • the dough may collapse
  • the crust may be baked to a ghostly pale color
  • the crumb may taste like glue
  • the taste may be overly sour

In this sourdough,

  • there was a good oven spring
  • the dough held up really well, with no "bread improver" of any sort
  • the crust color was perfect to my liking
  • the crumb tastes mildly chewy and springy
  • there is an assertive sourness, but not excessive.

In fact, the formula and the steps here yielded a complex crumb flavor, far more than the humble ingredients list would have you believed.




Morale (if there is such a thing):  What I learned in this bake is that I have to know my starter to do sourdough well.   As Dan Lepard said,

... a ... baker recognizes that the doughs he makes are living things with individual identities, that they ultimately create themselves.  The baker's skill is to encourage natural developments, and the bread that results from this understanding will always taste better....

If I simply follow recipes without understanding my starter, my dough, and my environment (I mean, the environment the starter and the dough is in), no recipe can guarantee any good sourdough. 

It's near bed time as I was signing off.  My son danced out of his bedroom and asked, "Come on, mum, where is the music?"




D.W. Phillips's picture
D.W. Phillips

I am a woodworking hobbist and I'm looking for a source to be able to purchase bread slicing blades approx. 10 in. long with a hole drilled in each end.  Where can I find such a source to purchase from?

dmsnyder's picture

Shiao-Ping's blog entry on James McGuire's Pain de Tradition  certainly stimulated a lot of interest. I made the sourdough version a couple days ago. Today, I made the straight dough version.

The formula is in Shiao-Ping's posting. I followed it, changing only the flours. I used Giusto's Baker's Choice rather than KAF AP, and I used 10% KAF Organic White Whole Wheat. 

Shiao-Ping, in her excellent write up, mentioned that this dough could be used for baguettes. I was a bit skeptical regarding a 80% hydration dough for baguettes, but I gave it a try. 

The dough developed beautifully with the stretch and fold in the bowl procedure. By the 3 hour point, it had moderate gluten development and was already pulling away from the bowl. In my warm kitchen, it was quite puffy and expanded.

I treated the dough to pre-shaping and shaping as I would any straight dough. I lost some of the openness in the crumb, but it was still pretty nice. I baked at 460F with light steam. I removed the steaming skillet at 10 minutes. The baguette baked for 20 minutes, the bIatard for 30 minutes. The loaves were left in the oven for another 10 minutes with the oven off and the door ajar.

The cuts didn't open up as well as I had wished, but the crust ended up the closest to classic, crackly baguettes as any I've baked. The loaves sang for a long time, and the crust cracked during cooling, which I take as a positive sign of a thin, crisp crust.

As I said, the crumb was nice, but not as open as expected, given the high hydration. This may reflect my firm-handed pre-shaping and shaping. I may have erred on the side of under-steaming, too. I had proofed to 1.75 times the original volume. I feared over-proofing and may have slightly under-proofed. Oven spring was fast and large. 

Baguette Crumb

Bâtard Crumb

The flavor was amazing. It was wheaty and slightly sweet, and it had an almost herbal overtone and complexity of flavor I can't say I've ever tasting in a white wheat, straight dough bread before. Perhaps this was due to the White Whole Wheat. I'm sure the long fermentation played an important role. Whatever. The flavor was there in both breads. It was not there when I first tasted the baguette but developed about 3 hours after baking.

This is a remarkable bread.

I like the results from baking it at the higher temperature, especially on the crust crispness. A longer bake at a slightly  lower temperature is worth a try though. This is my new method to fiddle with on the continuing baguette quest for sure.


Shiao-Ping's picture


       Sourdough Black Tea Bread - using James MacGuire's Pain de Tradition procedure


                                   the crumb

I always remember that very dense Black Tea Sourdough that I made a month ago (it feels like ages ago).  Back then I received a lot of kind remarks and encouragements but really the sourdough was like a stone.  So, I had on my list to try my hands again at some stage.   With the new technique I learned from making James MacGuire's Pain de Tradition, I thought my time was ripe for a second go at it.  Back then, my dough hydration was a shy 64% with a dough size of 685 g.  This time I jacked up the hydration to 80% (total flour 500 g and total liquid 400 g) for a dough size of 910g.   Not only that, I gave the dough an overnight cold retardation in the fridge.

My formula 

210 g wholemeal starter @ 75% hydration

290 g white bread flour

90 g KAF Sir Lancelot high gluten flour

125 g cool black tea (I used 2 English Breakfast tea bags)

151 g water

18 g honey

16 g Tea Liqueur

10 g salt  

2 g instant dry yeast


With only mother and son at home (my husband and daughter are away on the International Young Physicist Tournament in China) I was afraid that I would have a lot left over; but no, my son couldn't have enough of it, and he made me slice up the whole loaf. 


                    more crumb


                                                                                            and the close-up

Tonight my muse is the music from my late teens/early 20s; my whole house is ringing with the music, I think my roof is protesting.  My son walks out of his bedroom, dancing to the music.  He has a smile on his face as, when the daddy is away, the mummy lets him free-range. 

Oh, let me get back to the bread.

The bread is lovely.  It's too easy - with MacGuire's procedure.  The crumb is favourful and the mouthfeel is mildly chewy - totally unlike the cottony/fairy floss like crumb of yeasted breads.  There is "substance" to the crumb.  The addition of sourdough starter and the retardation overnight really do the trick for me. 

One complaint - I might have over-dosed the bread with the instant dry yeast!  Even though I used the prescribed quantity (ie, 2 g), I think less instant yeast so that the dough doesn't rise up too much might be good. 

Isn't that funny - a month ago I couldn't have enough aeration and holes in my sourdough, now I am begging for less!




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