The Fresh Loaf

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Pane Consorzio Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano Parmesan Cheese

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Anonymous baker (not verified)

One of my favorite books is Niki Segnet's The Flavour Thesaurus. You choose a flavour and The Flavour Thesaurus recommends other compatible ones.

I found this match for prunes and decided to make a bread that captures all of these flavours in a single loaf.

(Thanks to Niki Segnet and the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano ( for the flavour recommendations. I'll take the flak for the bread's name, because 'Pane del Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano' sounds better than 'Parmesan Cheese Commission Bread', right?)

It looks more daunting that it is, which is just a basic sourdough with one preferment and a long retardation. The hydration is high (79%), but lower hydration(s) didn't work with all of the dried fruit and nuts. You will want to have some experience with wet doughs before you try to make this one. Or not. The dough stickiness is really not that troublesome.

The flavour is outstanding. All of the ingredients balance each other. The cheese isn't lost, but stands apart. (It would be lost if the cheese was grated, however, so think "chunks of cheese, not grated cheese.") The sour flavour from the long preferment and 24-hour retardation is nice and mellow, but not overpowering.

You can increase/decrease the nuts, fruit, and dried cheese as you like without it affecting the dough too much. I pushed one loaf to 15% of each nut and fruit and 30% cheese, but that was too much (as you can see in Picture 7.)







  1. Adjust ingredients to achieve a final preferment temperature of ~76°F (24.4°C).
  2. Preferment will double (or more) in 12 hours, so choose a bowl large enough to contain its volume.
  • Add rye, whole wheat, and bread flour to a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add water and seed culture to flour mixture and mix into a thick paste.
  • Cover bowl and put it in a warm place, ~76°F (24.4°C), for 12-14 hours.


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • Roast hazelnuts and walnuts at 350°F (177°C) for 12 minutes.
  • Cut prunes and figs in half.
  • Break or crumble Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into small-medium pieces. Do not grate.
  • Combine bread flour, hi-gluten flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, salt, instant yeast, and wheat bran in a large bowl.
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Add water and preferment to dry ingredients.
  • Mix 1 of 3. Mix for 1 minute (or until roughly combined).
  • Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
  • Mix 2 of 3. Knead and/or stretch-and-fold for 1 minute. (At 79% hydration dough will be sticky. Lightly flour hands and work surface to prevent sticking, but avoid using too much flour.)
  • Cover and rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Mix 3 of 3. Add prunes, figs, hazelnuts, walnuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to dough and knead until incorporated.
  • Form dough into a boule and place in a large, lightly-oiled bowl.
  • Roll boule around in bowl to lightly coat it with oil.


  • Cover bowl (plastic wrap, etc.) and immediately place in refrigerator/retarder. Temperature should be ~39°F (2.2-3.9°C)
  • Retard dough at that temperature for 24 hours.
  • Expect dough to rise 1.5 to 2 times during first 2 to 4 hours and then stop.


  • 24 hours later: Remove dough from refrigerator/retarder and leave out at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours (or longer if necessary) to allow dough to wake up, lose its chill, and continue fermenting.
  • Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and preshape into a boule.
  • Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
  • Shape boule into a couronne such that diameter of the central hole is ~3 inches (7.5 cm) and overall diameter is ~9-10 inches (23-25 cm). (Dimensions are for 1 dough weighing 1350 grams).

  • Generously dust a lined, 12-14 inch (30-36 cm) couronne banneton with flour. Improvise a couronne banneton using a wide, shallow pan, such as a paella pan, a large piece of couche linen or canvas, and a cup: Place cup upside down in center of pan. Cover cup/pan with linen. Roughly flatten or mold linen oven cup and pan. Dough will hold it in place.
  • Place shaped dough into couronne mold, seam-side down.
  • Lightly dust dough with flour and cover it (linen, plastic wrap, etc.)
  • Proof dough in warm place for 90 to 120 minutes, or about 1.5 times its original size.


  • Prepare oven for hearth baking: Put a sheet pan (also called a steam pan) on lowest level of oven. Put a baking stone immediately above it. Put an oven rack mid-level. Remove all other oven racks.
  • Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C) for 30 minutes (which means 60 to 90 minutes into proofing).
  • Boil ~1 cup (237 g) of water.
  • Uncover dough.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper on top.
  • Carefully flip dough onto peel as follows: Place peel on top of parchment-covered banneton. Place one hand on top of peel. Slide other hand underneath banneton. Flip everything over (180°) such that peel is now on bottom and banneton on top.
  • Carefully remove banneton and lining.
  • Lightly dust dough.
  • Do not score.
  • Immediately slide dough (on parchment) into preheated oven.
  • Pour water onto sheet (steam) pan to steam oven and immediately close oven door.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 425°F (218°C).
  • Briefly open oven door after 15 minutes to vent steam.
  • Bake 40 minutes (or to internal temperature of 200°F (93.3°C).
  • Rotate dough mid-bake if browning unevenly.


1. Just after shaping the couronne (a sloppy shaping that obviously dismisses the 3" diameter I recommended above!)

2. The improvised couronne banneton. (Notice the mistake I made by using a large cup in the center. It caused problems when I had to flip everything over, deflating the loaf more than I would have liked).

3. After 2 hours of proofing. This dough doesn't rise much, but yours will likely rise a bit more than this. Why? I was called away to other business, so this loaf (I think Loaf 2 of 4) was in the refrigerator/retarder 48 hours, not 24 hours. It had fermented itself into indolence and had no intention of fermenting anymore.)

4. The accident. If you look at picture 2. and 3., notice the 'tall' cup I used for the improvised couronne banneton. When I flipped everything over, it had too far to fall onto the peel and collapsed more than I would have liked it to. No worries, though, as it's supposed to be a dense bread.

5. Fully baked. The final loaf is not as 'red' as my (attempts at) photography would suggest.

6. When preparing the cheese, think "chunks". Don't grate. I can't overstate that, but sorry if I'm repeating myself. You want the cheese to stand on its own against the other flavours, but not pervade the loaf. If you grate (and I did this with loaf 3), you'll end up with a "cheesy saltiness" that pervades the entire loaf. Also, with chunks, you get this: cheese lava!

7. A macro shot. This is the crumb for the loaf I pushed to 15% of each nut and fruit and 30% cheese. Too much, don't you think? (I'm reminded of the line "Too much is never quite right, but way too much is just perfect!").

8. Another shot of the crumb. You see two types of figs (black Mission and Calimyrna figs), hazelnuts (a.k.a. filberts), walnuts and prunes. You don't see the cheese, but it's there.

8. Another shot of the crumb. You see two types of figs (black Mission and Calimyrna figs), hazelnuts (a.k.a. filberts), walnuts and prunes.


1. The images in a compressed .zip file.

2. The formula in an Excel 2007 spreadsheet (you can open these with Google Docs or Open Office, etc.)

3. The formula in PDF format.

4. The process in PDF format.

5. The detailed process in Rich Text Format.

PIE CHARTS. (More of an experiment to see if the pie charts add anything useful. Not really, huh?)

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