The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


overnight baker's picture
overnight baker

I decided to start a blog to keep a log of my baking and hopefully get some feedback on my efforts. Rather than start by driveling on about how long I've been baking for etc. (plenty of time for that).  I think I'll get straight on to posting this mornings efforts.

Sourdough Pagnotta 310310


It's a sourdough Pagnotta from 'BAKER & SPICE: exceptional breads' by Dan Lepard & Richard Whittington. I changed three things from the original recipe: more water; the 800g total flour to 325ml total water seemed to dry to me so I upped the water to 400ml, proved overnight at cold room temp and I proved and baked it in the same oiled silicon loaf mould. I think the texture of this loaf is superb, hard crispy crust but with a light and soft crumb. The flavour is mild enough for me AND sourdoughphobic housemates to enjoy. The only thing I didn't like was the crust was a little oily on the sides in contact with the loaf mould and without a proving basket I'm strungling to think of another way to help keep the batons shape over the long slow prove. Any ideas?

This is my first blog entry (on TFL or any site for that matter) so critisicm, feedback or praise both of the blog and the bread is very welcome.




weavershouse's picture

I finally made the Sourdough Pagnotta that has been so praised here 3 SOURDOUGH PAGNOTTA AND 1 SOURDOUGH SEMOLINA ON LEFT3 PAGNOTTA AND ONE SEMOLINA ON LEFTSOURDOUGH SEMOLINA IN CLAY BAKERSOURDOUGH SEMOLINA, SESAME SEEDS SEMOLINA3 SOURDOUGH PAGNOTTA AND 1 SOURDOUGH SEMOLINA ON LEFT3 SOURDOUGH PAGNOTTA AND 1 SOURDOUGH SEMOLINA     I tried one pagnotta plain, one I baked in the Le Creuset with poppyseeds and one I rolled with cinnamon/sugar and raisins because my husband was asking for raisin bread. I also made a NYT no-knead with 3 cups unbleached white and 1 cup semolina, 2 tbls. olive oil and 2 tbls. sugar, 1/3 cup active starter, salt and water. I baked the Semolina Bread in a long clay baker as shown in my photo. I think they all came out good. I always like the taste of my bread better the day after baking so I'll see if I have a favorite then.

kjknits's picture

So I have baked a lot of bread this weekend, if you count Friday.  Friday saw the BBA pugliese.




I liked it, but it didn't turn out the way I expected it to.  It wasn't as soft as it looked like it would be in the book photo.  The book photo bread is all squooshed down on top, as if it has a ciabatta-like, softer crust.  Also, my crumb wasn't near as open.  But, it was still nice, sort of like a generic Italian bread.

Yesterday I started to bake some sandwich bread (just my usual recipe), but then the day got short on me and I ended up putting the shaped loaves in the fridge for overnight.  I baked them this morning before church, and they seem different.  I haven't sliced them yet, but it does seem like the crust might be a little chewier.  There are lots of little blisters all over the crust, too, which they usually don't have.  It will be interesting to see what the crumb texture (and flavor) are like.

I also baked Bill's sourdough pagnotta today with my new starter.  Now this is a bread I can get behind!!!  With a big, wide open mouth! 




 It's gorgeous, albeit a bit flat.  It's such a wet dough that I just don't think it can do much.  But my starter performed wonderfully, doubling the dough in 4 hours and doubling the shaped boules in 3 hours.  Fantastic.  I did a few things differently than the recipe--I made up a sponge last night, using the starter, water, and just the AP flour.  Let it sit overnight on the counter.  It was super sour and foamy this morning, which worried me, bc I don't like really sour bread.  But I kept going.  I used KAF AP, KAF bread, and then for that last 100 g of flour, I substituted organic whole wheat graham flour from Hodgson Mill.  It made a beautiful dough.  I also used gray sea salt from France.  And, I mixed the dough in my mixer rather than doing all of the folds.  It took about 10 minutes at med-high speed to get a windowpane.

I proofed the shaped boules in improvised bannetons, namely wood salad bowls lined with smooth kitchen towels and dusted with flour.  Baked them at 500 for 20 minutes and did the steam thing (I baked the first loaf without the steam, and it got less oven spring than the other two).

The crust is thin, crisp but chewy, and nice and brown.  The crumb is open, holey, smooth and moist (almost tastes buttery).  And most importantly, it isn't too's just right.  And so, count me as another "Bill's Sourdough Pagnotta" convert!


bwraith's picture

Sourdough Pagnotta

Sourdough Pagnotta (1)Sourdough Pagnotta (1)

Sourdough Pagnotta (2)Sourdough Pagnotta (2)

Sourdough Pagnotta (3)Sourdough Pagnotta (3)

Sourdough Pagnotta

This recipe is a very slight variation of Sourdough-guy's blog entry on Pagnotta and Ciabatta. Many thanks for Sourdough-guy for the recipe, which he says is his variation of and Il Fornaio recipe. I've posted pictures of my process and a spreadsheet with the amounts in ounces, grams, and baker's percentages.


  • 240 grams fresh 100% hydration starter 
  • 709 grams water
  • 574 grams KA Organic AP (you can substitute any white AP or bread flour)
  • 206 grams KA Bread flour (you can substitute any white AP or bread flour)
  • 50 grams KA rye blend (optional - substitute white flour, whole wheat, or other)
  • 50 grams Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo flour (optional - substitute white flour, whole wheat, or other)
  • 18 grams salt


Mix ingredients until well integrated and there is some resistance to stirring. Start by mixing the starter and water together, then add the flours and salt. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes fold it gently in the bowl a couple of times, then pour it out on the counter, let rest for 10 minutes and fold the dough into a ball from the 4 corners. Turn it over so it is seams down, and place it back in the bowl.

Then, every 30-60 minutes pour the dough out onto the counter, let it spread a little, and fold it up into a ball. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest 30-60. Repeat this process every 30-60 minutes a few times (roughly 3 times, but could be less or more) until the dough has elasticity and resilience.

Bulk Fermentation

Place the dough in a well oiled rising bucket or bowl to rise. It should rise to a volume that is about double the volume of the dough when you first started folding it. If you use the quantities above, that will be when the dough has risen to a volume of about 3 liters.


Pour the dough out on the table on a bed of clour and cut into three pieces. Work with each loaf separately. Form a ball by carefully and gently pulling the sides toward the center repeatedly to get some surface tension on the smooth side underneath. Do not overhandle.

Use thumbs and fingers of one hand to pinch and hold the gathered sides over the center, holding the gathered edges up a little to help the sides stretch and the shape to become more round and taking a bit of weight off the loaf. Use the other thumb and a couple of fingers to pinch a bit of the side, pull the bit out and up and over to the center, stretching the side as you do. Gather that bit in with the first hand along with others as you work your way around the loaf. Try to make it round by gathering a bit from the place that sticks out the most.

Turn the dough over onto a thick bed of flour with the rough side down.

Final Proof

Allow the loaves to increase in size by double.

For me, this took about 3-4 hours (I baked the loaves one at a time).


Bake at 425F for roughtly 20-30 minutes until the crust darkens to a pleasing color. The internal temperature should be over 205F.


Allow the loaf to fully cool.


The flavor was as good as any bread I've made. The crumb open. The crust was thin but crisp and delicious. It was a huge hit with the kids, so I know I did something right.

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