The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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rossnroller's picture

Panzanella - a great way to use leftover bread

You know those drying butt-ends of sourdough bread from the previous bake that you leave sitting in a bag, in danger of being forgotten until it's too late? I hate wasting bread, so am always on the lookout for ways to use those leftover bits.

Cubed leftover bread makes great croutons, and of course you can keep yourself in good supply of bread crumbs using a food processor. I keep a bag of frozen bread crumbs in the freezer door, which I often top up.

One of my favourite uses for leftover sourdough, though, is in panzanella, a refreshing traditional Italian salad that is good all year round, but especially in summer. There are lots of variations, so don't hesitate to throw in any compatible ingredients you have on hand. The version that follows is one that has evolved over time in my kitchen. I think it's pretty close to qualifying as 'traditional'.

leftover sourdough or other bread (traditionally, ciabatta is used)
4 medium tomatoes
2 trimmed celery stalks, cut in diagonals
1 Lebanese cucumber
1 medium red onion
60ml red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
125ml extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup or more fresh-picked basil leaves, shredded or torn

Thin-slice onion and let soak in vinegar in salad bowl while you prepare rest of ingredients
Cut tomatoes into coarse wedges or cubes, add to bowl, sprinkle over sugar, grind over pepper, salt to taste
Cut bread into approx 2cm cubes
Cut celery into strips lengthways, then slice obliquely across in diagonals
Add bread and celery to bowl
Combine remaining ingredients in screw-top jar, shake well, pour over salad, and toss gently.

That's it! So quick and simple, and just delicious. Using top quality organic tomatoes, homegrown if possible, makes a big difference to the end result.

Cheers all


sam's picture

Peanut butter bread


Lately I've been on a bit of a PB+J kick, and was wondering what it might be like to make a peanut butter bread.  Here was my attempt.  The peanut butter was 20% of the dough by weight of flour.  Also I added some honey.  The recipe was an easy one.  In grams:

White flour: 576

Water: 371

Peanut Butter: 118

Honey: 29

Sourdough Starter: 26  (125% hydration starter).

Salt: 9

1)  Mix dough and chill for a long time.

2)  Warm up to ambient temp.  Shape, proof, and bake.


Here's how it came out.   The smell and taste is great.   It tastes very peanut-buttery.  It screams for a jelly spread though.  The crumb is very creamy in texture.  I initially thought I might have underbaked it, but it registered 200F internally.  It is the peanut butter that makes it so creamy.  I think it will be best toasted with jelly.  Speaking of jelly, the next time around, I will add some of that too, and try to make a full PB+J bread.    Maybe with chunky peanut butter.  Hehe.   :)

Here are the pics.  Looks pretty average, and it split a little on the top, but oh well, just an experiment.



Happy baking!


varda's picture

Rye and Rye (Borodinsky and Tzitzel)


Tzitzel is to Borodinsky as Comfort Zone is to Total Lack of Comfort Zone.   But still, it's out there.   It has a cool name.   I like rye.   So why not.  I followed Andy's Borodinsky formula here as much as possible given different flours and malt.    To make myself feel more comfortable I made Tzitzel at the same time.   In making what is for me a very complex formula,  I felt similar to how I felt the first time I made Hamelman's Pain Au Levain - over my head.   Yesterday when I was making the rye sour for Tzitzel, a different rye sour for Borodinsky and my first time ever scald, I got everything built and put together.  Then I happened to glance at Andy's formula and realized that I had misread the amount of rye sour, by looking at the result of his first build instead of his second.  This necessitated a lengthy interaction with my spreadsheet, while I tried to figure out how to make the necessary adjustments.   Bottom line was I had enough sour for only 40% of the scald.   I'm glad I caught it in time before I mixed more than twice as much scald as required in with the sour.    I thought that I would be able to mix the scald and sour together last night to make the sponge before I went to bed, but I was waiting for the rye sour to froth - see Juergen's excellent picture here.   I know from having made Russian Rye that if you don't wait for the froth, you might as well just use the result for its cementatious properties, instead of wasting the energy to bake it.   So I let it go overnight, and then mixed the sour and scald in the morning.    Since I had a fairly small quantity of paste (this stuff is not dough)  relative to the pan, the result after baking for over an hour looked like a brick, and of course nothing like Andy's beautiful samples.   However, it did not taste like a brick.   To go back to my years of absorbing ad copy through the ether, I would say that this bread is BURSTING WITH FLAVOR (Juicy Fruit Gum - circa 1967).   No really, absolutely bursting with flavor.   I would hope to be able to make more photogenic loaves as time goes on, but for now, I'll be consoled by the taste.  I ate a piece of this with peanut butter for dinner.   Nothing else required. 

Crumb shots:   Tzitzel and Borodinsky

Tzitzel Rye Sour just before mixing the dough:

Borodinsky sponge just before mixing:

I used whole rye for the Borodinsky and for the small amount of wheat flour used Sir Lancelot high gluten because I ran out of KA Bread Flour while mixing up the Tzitzel.    I used malt syrup to replace Red Malt - best I could do for now.  I followed ITJB Old School Jewish Deli Rye as modified for Tzitzel (page 74.)  

nicodvb's picture

Baking bread in a purely convection oven?


I have a pure convection oven, meaning that there are no upper and lower coils. There's only a fan at mid height blowing hot air. At the bottom there's a rotating dish.

The thermostat is very reliable and does a very good job at maintaining the chosen temperature (verified with an external thermometer).

My main problem is that I can't get a decent crust at the bottom, that always remains tender. The secondary problem is oven spring, that seems to be a  bit lacking. In short, the same bread baked in the older oven that has upper and lower coils (the lower one under the rotating dish) springs better and makes a good crust.

Can someone recommend the best way to deal with this kind of ovens?


isand66's picture

Semolina Red Peppers and Mozzarella Sourdough

I was in a creative mood the other day and decided to try something different.  I have made semolina bread before but this time I decided to convert the starter over to a semolina based concoction along with a little whole wheat flour as well.  My wife had bought a nice ball of fresh mozzarella so I figured why not incorporate some cheese and throw in some roasted peppers and roasted potatoes as well.

The dough ended up very wet due to the roasted red peppers I used from a jar had a very high water content, so you may choose to add some additional flour as you are preparing the final dough.

The final bread came out excellent with a nice reddish tint and a great open and crispy crumb.  You could really taste the roasted peppers and the dough had an excellent sour tang.   The only thing I would change would be to fold the cheese in before shaping the final dough rather than before putting it in the fridge for its overnight rest.


3.7 ounces White Starter, 68% hydration

8 ounces Extra Fancy Durum Semolina  Flour (do not use the course grade)

2.5 ounces Whole Wheat Flour

8 ounces Water (room temperature)

Final Dough

16 oz. Starter from above (you will have extra starter so you need to weigh this)

11 oz. Water (90 degrees F)

13 ounces French Style Flour (from King Arthur Flour-this has a 11.5% Protein level but if you don't have you can substitute with All Purpose Flour)

5 ounces  Extra Fancy Durum Semolina  Flour

2 1/2 Tsp. Salt (sea salt or table salt)

1.6 oz. Roasted Red Peppers

6.2 oz. Fresh Mozzarella

5 oz. Potatoes (I had some left-over roasted potatoes, but you can use left over mashed potatoes or make some fresh or use the equivalent instant potato flakes)


Make the Starter by adding the water to your existing starter amount and mix for a minute to break it up.  Add the flours and mix for 1 to 2 minutes until thoroughly mixed.  Put in a lightly oiled bowl and loosely cover.  Keep at room temperature for 5-6 hours until the starter becomes bubbly and doubles in size (I usually do this the night before and let it sit overnight).  You can either use the starter right away, or cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.  If you don't plan on using it that day, you will have to refresh the new starter before using in the final dough.

For the final dough, using your stand mixer or by hand, mix the water with the new starter to break it up.

Add the flour, potatoes, salt, red peppers (chop them up into small pieces) and mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

Mix for 4 minutes more on medium speed, adding more flour if necessary to produce a slightly sticky ball of dough.

Remove dough to your lightly floured work surface and need for 1 minute and form into a ball.  Flatten into a rectangle and add the cheese and form dough into a ball.  (You can also skip this part and add the cheese when you are ready to form the final loaves.)

Leave uncovered for 15 minutes.

Do a stretch and fold and form into a ball again and cover with a clean moist cloth or oiled plastic wrap.

After another 10 minutes do another stretch and fold and let it rest again for another 10 - 15 minutes.  Do one last stretch and fold and then put it  into a lightly oiled bowl that has enough room so the dough can double overnight.

Let the dough sit in your bowl for 2 hours at room temperature.  It should only rise slightly at this point.  After the 2 hours are up put in your refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days.

When ready to bake the bread take your bowl out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for around 2 hours.  After 2 hours shape the dough as desired being careful not to handle the dough too roughly so you don't de-gas it.

Place it in your bowl, banneton or shape into baguettes.

Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours covered with oiled plastic wrap or a moist cloth.

Pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 500 degrees F.

Slash loaves as desired and place empty pan in bottom shelf of oven.

Pour 1 cup of very hot water into pan and place loaves into oven.

Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 25 - 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.

Shut the oven off and leave the bread inside with the door slightly open for 10 minutes.  This will help dry the loaves out and keep the crust crunchy.

Let cool on cooling rack and enjoy!

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here:

Please visit my other blog at for some of my older recipes.

Earl's picture

Ciabatta made from bread machine dough

I've made this Ciabatta a couple times now. Very easy with great taste. Crunchy crust with nice holey crumb.  I dumped the dough onto parchment pape sprayed with oil, then sprayed dough with oil, used dough cutter to cut in half.  Spread out into two loaves.  Here's the link to where I found it.

Ciabatta Bread By: Marina: "This very simple recipe can be made in the bread machine using dough cycle. I make it at least 3 times a week."

Original Recipe Yield 2 loaves
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1.Place ingredients into the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle, and Start.
2.Dough will be quite sticky and wet once cycle is completed, resist the temptation to add more flour. Place dough on a lightly floured board, cover with a large bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes.
3.Lightly flour or use parchment lined baking sheets. Divide into 2 pieces, and form each into a 3x14 inch oval. Place loaves on prepared sheets, dimple surface, and lightly flour. Cover, and let rise in a draft free place for approximately 45 minutes.
4.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
5.Dimple dough for a second time, and then place loaves in the oven, positioned on the middle rack. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. During baking, spritz loaves with water every 5 to 10 minutes for a crispier crust.

Here's link to picture



dwdanby's picture

whole grain recipe should be more moist

With all your help and references, I tried the following whole grain recipe in my bread machine:

1 1/4 cup warm water

2T soft butter

2 2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup Bob's Red Mill 7-grain hot cereal

1 1/4 t salt

3T honey

2t yeast (didn't have any bread machine yeast)


It came out very well, quite dense which I wanted, and tasty. I'd like it a little more moist and chewy. If I soak, or maybe even cook, the cereal before adding it? Also, would it be important to use bread machine yeast? And it only rose to fill two-thirds of the baking pan. Is this to be expected or should I add a touch more yeast? Thanks.

dabrownman's picture

Shiao-Ping's Orange Turmeric Pain au Levain with Yeast Water

I love the smell of this bread. This is what makes it so alluring and eventually delicious. Stunning toasted. I cut the recipe in half.  My Mandarin, Minneola, Apple Yeast Water (don't ask) was used to build the levain over 2 days with 12 hour feedings.  It was eventually ready at 250 g and I used a like weight of flours but added 5% WW and 5% spelt to the 5% rye and lowered the white flour a like amount.  I had a 5 hour bulk ferment with 3 S&F's at each of the first 3 hours and a 9 hour retard with a 4 hour final proof.  The bulk and final proofs could have each been 2 hours longer but I got impatient and the rise was not a high as it could have been.  This is a very fine bread with open crumb, chewy texture, aromatic and  delicious.  The varied citrus YWwent went well with the Minneola juice that was part of the liquid for the dough.  It was great to be able to find a bread where the YW was so perfectly matched to it.  Lucky indeed.  I will make this bread often - and be more patient....... since patience comes to those who wait ........a long long time.

My lentil soup used homemade chicken stock and the leftover caramelized onion and smoke pork jowl from isand66's bacon, cheese and onion bread I baked this morning. I also added some whole Thai chilies for heat. No chicken required because of the hog jowl.. The soup was so simple and delicious. A perfect foil for the beautiful yellow bread. A very fine combination. Thanks Shiao-Ping

ananda's picture

Tamari-Roasted Mixed Seed Wholemeal Bread with Mixed Pre-ferments

Tamari-Roasted Mixed Seed Wholemeal Bread with Mixed Pre-ferments

These breads are a sourdough version of the seeded breads I recently posted on here:

There are small variations in the leaven proportions used; this is purely for availability reasons, and not anything more technical.

I used overnight retard, again to fit my schedule, not for flavour purposes.   The bread is loaded with flavours whether using the yeasted or the sourdough process [retarded or not]

Both cultures given 2 refreshments prior to use:

Rye Sourdough






Friday 16:00





Saturday 08:00






Wheat Levain






Friday 16:00





Friday 22:00





Saturday 08:00





Saturday 12:00







Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1a] Rye Sourdough



Bacheldre Organic Dark Rye Flour












1b] Wheat Levain



Marriage’s Organic Strong White Flour












2. Final Dough



Rye Sourdough [from 1a]



Wheat Levain [from 1b]



Marriage’s Organic Strong Wholemeal



Tamari-Roasted Seeds – Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame and Blue Poppy















% pre-fermented flour



% overall hydration



% wholegrain








  • Combine wholemeal, water and rye sourdough and mix until clear with a dough hook on first speed.   Autolyse for one hour.
  • Add the wheat levain and mix for 2 minutes on first speed and 3 minutes on second speed.   Add the salt, mix 5 more minutes on second speed.   Add the roasted seeds and mix on first speed until clear.   DDT 27°C.
  • Retard overnight in the chiller.
  • Bulk ferment dough for 2 hours allowing the dough to return to ambient temperature.
  • Knock back the dough gently, and scale and divide.   2 Miches @1350g and 4 pieces @ 300g for a four-pieced Sandwich loaf in a Pullman Pan.
  • Final proof: 3 hours @ 28°C.
  • Bake the loaves with steam…I used my electric oven for today’s bake, pre-heated to 280°C, then settling at 235°C for 10 minutes with steam.   Then I switched to convection and baked out the breads at 210°C.
  • Cool on wires

We ate some of this bread for lunch, not long after it had come out of the oven....I know, I know, we really should have waited, but a family lunch prior to a cinema trip just meant we could not wait any longer.   Well the bread tasted great, but it was difficult to cut, and I apologise if it has impacted on the crumb shots at all.

Best wishes to you all


PMcCool's picture

English muffin photos

Every so often, I like to make a batch of sourdough English muffins.  My go-to recipe is one from the King Arthur 200th Anniversary Cookbook, which I have blogged about previously.  Today's post is just a series of photos showing the muffins as they cook for your viewing pleasure; something only a bread-head would love.

Up first, the muffins waiting their turn on the griddle:

After feeling the heat for a little bit:

Still growing:

Ready to turn:

And just after being turned:

And yes, they smell good too!