The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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proth5's picture

A girl and her bread machine (part une)

It’s just a piece of home kitchen equipment, but it has inspired opinions from “absolutely necessary” to “nearly utterly worthless.”

When one contemplates the seasonal nature of food production – or to be specific, the foods I have tasked myself with producing – one sees that summer and early autumn are not the seasons for bread baking. While the bread can be a stern task master, it is a jovial uncle compared to the tyranny of fresh produce and its preserved forms. The unbreached wheat berry we may lay aside for a month (or a decade), but the blushing peach will move from fullness to rot almost before our eyes.  While rises and folds have flexible “windows” where our efforts are rewarded, cooking sugars become substandard in the blink of an eye and the coordination of hot sterile jars, lids, finished jams, and boiling water baths is a taxing discipline, indeed.

As consumers we love our bread and jam, but as a producer of both, I find their production incompatible.  Or perhaps doing both is just incompatible with my “real life” – but that’s another story. I do, though, make a few products that are quite popular with friends and family and they would be sorely missed when the winter months are upon us again.

So the summer months always find me spending way too much time wilting over the jam pans and giving myself water bath canner facials. Baking and the heat that an oven would add to this potent mix must generally wait for a better time. However, since I was already curious about these controversial appliances, it seemed like a good time to try automating the bread making process.

I decided on a Zojirushi  BBPAC-20 (“Virtuoso”).  Not only do Zojirushi appliances remind me of my months spent in Okinawa (where the sole appliance that I had for producing meals was a Zojirushi hot pot), but this particular model promised cakes, jams, gluten free, sourdough, and custom programmable cycles – seemed like the way to go, for me. Frankly, I enjoy the contemplation of how thoughtful design and intelligent engineering can make what could be a mundane tool a joy to use and tend to “vote with my dollars” for companies that embody this ideal.

I set out with a couple of goals:

  1.        Make acceptable/good pain de mie style bread using the bread machine only – no mixing and then baking in the oven.
  2.        Use metric – which puts me very much in mind of negotiating the roads in Finland.  One knows that these things are letters and the letters seem familiar, but they are supposed to string together in a way so as to have meaning, yet they don’t.

So I skimmed the directions (how hard could this be – right?) and loaded the machine with the ingredients for a formula that I had successfully produced by conventional means many times.

Epic fail.

The bread was over risen prior to baking and collapsed.  It was inedible.

Having experience in the “if at first you don’t succeed…” department, I made a small tweak and tried again.

Not an epic fail, perhaps, but not yet anything I would describe as a success.

Humbled, I really read the directions, took time to understand the timings on the cycles, and determined that I should take one recipe from the owner’s manual and follow it exactly.

My machine cycles for “regular” are as follows:

Rest – 31-41 min

Knead – 22 min

Rise 1 – 27-37 min (91F)

“Punch down” and rise 2 – 20 min (91F)

“Punch down” and rise 3 – 20-30 min (95F)

Bake – 60-70 min (248 – 302F)


The rises are too hot and the bakes are too cool – but the formulas are written for this.  And well, yes, the thing did turn out as a respectable looking loaf.  But it tasted bland at best and staled faster than an intensive mix baguette. (No wonder there are advocates of “must be eaten right away – or warm.”)  Clearly I should be able to do better.

So I stopped to consider many things.

First, I considered what made the bread machine such a nice little toy.

I guess that I have to admit that I have certain disagreements with those who say that bread baking involves a lot of laborious kneading or that it makes a big mess. The advantages of some of the hand mixing methods like “stretch and fold” or “fold in the bowl” have been explored thoroughly on these pages.  As for baking making a mess, the “voice in my head” keeps repeating – “you must work clean” at various intervals and since I always obey the voice – I think I’ve gotten that skill covered.  After all, if I were in competition (which, I won’t be – because I am too old and I don’t bake well enough) – points would be deducted if I didn’t work clean.

What is great, though, is the fact that I plugged the thing in (and it magically knew the time!) and hit the cycle buttons, to be presented with the completion time.  Then I could just walk away.

Once again, many of us know that the actual work involved over the life of our developing loaf is minimal.  However, summer yard work chores at the crumbled abode often leave one in a state where one feels that a good scrub and a change of clothes are called for before food is handled. Performing such ablutions each time one must fold or shape or load does burden a busy baker. Or sometimes the errands simply must be run and sometimes they take longer than the time between folds. With the machine taking over these duties, the bread is made and the errands are accomplished.

And there is, of course for me, the preserving to be done. A great tide that blots out most other concerns, until it finally ends – in just a few weeks.

The advantage of automation, though, is also the downfall of the bread.  The cycle times are short enough that the subtle tastes of fermentation do not really occur. And for all the effort that I have put into learning to control fermentation so that I can bake to a schedule, I use my senses to make adjustments – a little longer here – a little more forcefulness there – to make the final product come out the way I want. Once set, that cycle marches on. The formula is everything.

It would be possible to add a lot of ingredients to the formula to up the taste factor, but that is not my métier. Of course, the one or two people who read my posts know the answer to bringing fermentation flavor and keeping quality to bread produced in a relatively short amount of time.  Yes. A pre ferment. Or maybe two.

My machine has a “sourdough” cycle, but as I studied the process that they advocated and the mix of ingredients that they called “sourdough” – I’ll have to admit that my brain blew a bearing. What I concluded was that my evening routine usually includes mixing up a pre ferment or two, so why not just mix as usual and let them ripen in covered containers to be put in the machine as part of the liquid ingredients? Yes, there are those two containers that will need to be cleaned (two containers – Oh! The humanity!) but this is a small price to pay for inner peace. For those of you who wonder about “all the hard work” involved in mixing the pre ferments, they are simply mixed – literally - by hand to the point where all the flour is wet and the mixture is slightly lumpy. Any remaining on the fingers is simply washed off.  If it takes me five minutes to mix up two of them – well, I’m dogging it.

Now, I am not normally the kind of person who takes pictures of the baking process, but while writing this I came to the realization that given that I was writing about bread machines, some reader may have wandered by who doesn’t routinely mix up a poolish or liquid levain. So, as final proof that I should not handle cameras, but in a sincere effort to help, I am including pictures of my poolish and liquid levain both right after mixing and when mature.

Just after mixing:

Fully mature (the liquid levain is in the small bowl)

Of course, if you are mostly a bread machine baker and haven’t glazed over when confronted with the terms “pre ferment”, “poolish” and “liquid levain” – I say good for you. You can find definitions for these things on these pages in the “Handbook” tab. None of it is really difficult – it’s just that bakers use very specific terms for simple little mixtures.

But it gets bumpy from here, because now I’m going to head down the road paved with baker’s math.

What you will see is unusual, for me, is the high percentage of the flour that is pre fermented.  This was inspired by the owner’s manual, but makes a lot of sense to me, since this is the only flour that really receives proper fermentation.

I calculated the baker’s percentages from the manufacturer’s formulas and along with my own knowledge set the percentages myself. Again, for those of you who still do not use the BBGA standard – here’s the big payoff – it was simplicity itself to convert to a pre ferment based formula from a straight dough. I used some of the lessons learned from my exploration of sandwich bread a while back – although I had issues doing an exact duplicate.

What I did find, however was that the addition of good, ripe pre ferments, the yeast percentage had to be reduced drastically. The small amounts caused me to recall “my teacher’s” remark about needing to weigh in fractions of grams and its relationship to drug dealing – but working with these very small amounts (remember – one loaf at a time!) did put me in the mind of a scale that measured fractions of grams.

Metric continues to not be my favorite thing. “My teacher” and I agree on that.  It is difficult to transition the heuristics of a half a century. But I have been sticking with it.

In true Blaisian fashion, I’m never actually happy with the thing I just made.  So I’ll say it’s an OK bread.  The crust is a bit thick and lacking in refinement and that will never change – it is being baked in an un preheated oven at low temperatures. A day in a plastic bag softens the crust without degrading the bread – and of course crusts can always be cut off and used for crumbs.  And there are holes in the bottom –which bug me (I have since seen a Breville bread maker that makes claims to the paddles folding out of the way so there are no holes – which is tempting, but even I have my limits) – but for some slices and a sandwich – or toast - or eggs in a frame – it is tasty and sturdy. It is miles ahead of any of the manufacturer’s recipes. It lasts a couple/three days before staling. (Of store bought bread, I know so little, but I think this must be better.)

When I look at the loaf I see major shaping flaws.  But the cosmos reminds me that the machine did the shaping – it’s not my fault – just let it go…

The loaf.

The crumb.

The formula and method.

Once again my mind wanders and I think about Julia Child – wrestling various “recipes” into a book that most folks could actually use.  I use the Bread Baker’s Guild of America’s standards to present formulas – and this is very clear to me. But as I look at it with the eyes of a typical beginning (or even intermediate) home baker, I think, “Well that’s not just a recipe – it’s a recipe for disaster.”  So for those who have the standard down – I present it below.  I will also add a list of ingredients in more traditional format.


(Oh – and I do mean to specify the water temperature in the Final Dough ingredients.  Because my machine has a “wait and heat” cycle – that water needs to be cold. Call the Format Police – but The Guild doesn’t publish too many bread machine formulas…)



White flour                                         47gms

Water                                                   47 gms

Seed (sourdough starter)             5 gms

(mix this by hand in a small bowl – allow to ripen overnight: 8-14 hours)


White flour                                         141 gms

Water                                                   141 gms

Instant Yeast                                      Large Pinch

(mix this by hand in a medium bowl – allow to ripen overnight: 8-14 hours)


The next morning you will mix the final dough – the ingredients are:

Levain                                   All that you mixed the night before

Poolish                                 All that you mixed the night before

Cold Water                         150 gms

Triticale Flakes                   56 gms

Molasses                             20 gms

Agave Nectar                     20 gms

Dry Milk                               7 gms

Salt                                         9 gms

Butter                                   30 gms

White flour                         118 gms

Whole Wheat Flour         118 gms

Triticale Flour                     47 gms


Instant Yeast                      2 gms (that’s about a half a teaspoon)

Put (Final Dough)ingredients in the pan of the bread machine (don’t forget the paddles!) in this order:

The water and the pre ferments,

The triticale flakes,


The butter, salt, milk powder, molasses, and the agave nectar

The flours

Make a well in the center of the flour and put the yeast in it.

Bake on “regular” cycle of your bread machine (they vary, but they all have some kind of “regular” cycle).  Mine has “crust control” – I like to set it for “dark”.

Take it from the pan to cool…

Some ingredient notes: I have been on a quest to bake good breads with 100% triticale flour.  This is a maddening type of quest, but it is my quest and I’m sticking with it. What I have found, though, is that small amounts of triticale can be incorporated in wheat breads and greatly improve the taste. For people who are not losing their grip on reality, whole wheat flour can be substituted for triticale flour (although you can buy it from Bob's Red Mill) and rolled oats for triticale flakes. It won’t be exactly the same, but will still be nice bread.  Also, my “all purpose flour” is about – 11.5% protein - folks using lower protein flours might want to switch to “Better for Bread” flours.

Of course if I only baked one type of loaf in the thing all those other cycles would be a waste. Jam has been made and pronounced tasty; although it is not of the quality that I put up (I’m going to hope not because if so, I’m doing a lot of work for nothing.)  I’ve also done some lovely cakes (altitude adjusted, of course – and of the “pound cake” variety) a type of cinnamon roll, and a couple other breads. (I’ve also baked stuffing in it – which I think is pretty neat – no need for a “stove top” – or an oven – yea!) (Oh, and while I was writing this I baked some eggplant parmesan…)

But this length of a blog with almost no pictures is enough. I’ll leave those for future installments.

nadira2100's picture

Celebrating Fall: Pumpkin Coffee Sourdough

Ok ok, so maybe it's not *technically* Fall yet. But down here in New Orleans we don't get seasons and lately we've been experiencing cool(er) weather than normal. Having lived in the Chicago suburbs all my life I always told myself that I would move someplace warm. Some place where it didn't get cold and it didn't snow. But now that I have the warmer weather.....I miss the changing seasons dreadfully! I miss the leaves changing color. I miss the crisp autumn air. I even miss snow on the ground around Christmas time and bundling up in winter coats and knit hats.

But my absolute favorite part of fall (and part of winter) I can have just about anywhere thankfully. I am obsessed with pumpkin. And I mean to the point where my husband tells me I have a problem. For me, Fall means feeding this addiction with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Cheesecake brownies, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin get the idea. I *may have* even hoarded a bunch of cans of pumpkin puree last fall so I could enjoy it throughout the year. The other day I opened up my last can to make my own pumpkin coffee but I ended up adding too much spice to the mixture. I must say my little concotion was horrible and I was very disappointed. 

I had only used 1/2 the can leaving about 1 cup left. I had a firm sourdough starter happily fermenting in the fridge that I needed to use. So, this is how my pumpkin coffee sourdough came into existence. I had both in the fridge. So they both went into the basic sourdough recipe I've been using from Peter Reinharts The Bread Bakers Apprentice. 

This dough was pretty wet. My first time working with a really wet dough was.....interesting. But I have acheived the most open crumb yet to be seen in my kitchen, complete with shininess and excellent texture. The taste....I wasn't sure what to expect. But the pumpkin comes through beautifully and the coffee gives an earthy flavor that is different than what I'm used to being paired with pumpkin, probably because everything with pumpkin in it that I eat has loads of sugar in it. It's not bad by any means, and it gives the bread different dimensions that I wasn't aware even existed. I think it would go well with some apple butter, plain butter, or be good as an egg and cheese sandwich. I enjoyed a slice all by itself but then again I can do that with pretty much any bread. I think next time I'll add in some cranberries or apples to offset the savoriness of the bread, give it that sweet/tart little burst of something to go along with the squashiness of the pumpkin. 

Is the picture too small to see the shininess of the crumb? I had to use the flash in order to get it "shine" :)

Firm Starter

  • 2/3 c sourdough starter (mine is 100% hydration)
  • 4.5 oz. bread flour
  • 1/4 c water

Mix these together and let ferment at room temperature for 4 hrs. Refridgerate overnight. (I actually left mine in the fridge for a few days).

Pumpkin Coffee Sourdough

  • Firm Starter
  • 20.5 oz bread flour
  • 1 3/4 c coffee
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Let the firm starter rest at room temperature for 1 hr to take off the chill. Cut the starter into 12 pieces. 
  2. Mix together the starter with the bread flour, coffee, salt and pumpkin until a shaggy dough ball forms. 
  3. Let rest for 20min before turning out on a well floured surface. 
  4. Perform 4-5 stretch and folds, then place in a well oiled bowl for 15min. 
  5. Stretch and fold 3 times. The rest for 15 min. Repeat 2 more times, then let the dough rest at room temperature for 3 hrs. I left the house at this point to meet a friend for margaritas. 3 hrs later it had tripled in volume. 
  6. Divide the dough in half and pre-shape into boules. Let rest for 20 min before the final shaping. I made a spiral boule out of 1 and proofed the other in a banneton. After shaping, I stuck these in the fridge overnight. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 500 and take out the dough 1 hr before baking.
  8. Score and bake with steam for 2 min. Then drop the temp to 450 and continue baking for another 8 min. Rotate the bread, and bake for another 10-15min or until golden brown. 


h20flour's picture

fork mixer vs spiral mixer

hey guys, 

So im hearing alot of talk lately on fork mixers. why is this? are they that great? what is wrong with a spiral mixer? 

I've been making sourdough my whole life using a spiral mixer, why would I be now getting told that I should look at replacing my faithful spiral for a fork? will it make a difference to my doughs, or my bread for that matter? 

I just want to hear what peoples thoughts are on this topic as I know nothing about fork mixers.


txfarmer's picture

Many Types of Mochi Cakes - how it has take on a whole new life in my kitchen...

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

About 2 years ago, I made a mochi cake recipe for the first time (formula here), the rest, as they say, is history. The unique chewy texture from glutinous rice flour is what makes this cake stands out. As an extra bonus, it's very quick to put together.

My husband fell in love with this cake immediately, so much so that he asks for it all the time. No other desserts can compare in his eyes. The problem is that I HATE to repeat recipes. Usually I keep making something until I am satisfied with the result, then I move on -- which makes no sense because that means most of time we are eating my "failures". To compromise between his taste and my baking interest, I kept making different variations of this mochi cake, differ furthur and futhur from the original formula, making use of ingredients I have on hand.

-- Cocoa Mochi Cake
glutinous rice flour, 200g
cocoa powder, 25g
baking powder, 1tsp
sguar, 130g
evaporated milk,187g
butter, 85g, meltd
egg, 2, beaten
chocolate chips, some

-- Matcha Mochi Cake
glutinous rice flour, 220g
matcha powder, 5g
baking powder, 1tsp
sguar, 130g
evaporated milk,187g
butter, 85g, meltd
egg, 2, beaten
Chinese red bean, cooked, some

-- Pumpkin Mochi Cake
glutinous rice flour, 226g
pumpkin puree, 400g
baking powder, 1tsp
sguar, 100g
condensed milk,198g
butter, 113g, meltd
egg, 2, beaten
vanilla extract 1tsp

-- Sesame Mochi Cake
glutinous rice flour, 220g
black sesame powder, 40g
baking powder, 1tsp
sguar, 155g
heavy whipping cream, 47g
butter, 85g, meltd
egg, 2, beaten
black sesame, 2tsp

-- Banana  Mochi Cake
glutinous rice flour, 220g
baking powder, 1tsp
banana puree, 150g
sguar, 155g
heavy whipping cream, 47g
butter, 85g, meltd
egg, 2, beaten

-- Lemon  Mochi Cake
glutinous rice flour, 220g
baking powder, 1tsp
sguar, 165g
lemon juice,75g
heavy whipping cream, 50g
lemon zest, 10g
butter, 85g, meltd
egg, 2, beaten

For all the formulas above, the process is the same: mix together the dry ingredients (flour, powder, and baking powder), the wet ingredients (everything else), mix together wet and dry, pour into molds and bake at 350F until done. I like to bake them in cupcake molds. As you can see in the photos, sometimes I get inventive, and bake them in broiche molds, or something similar.

Glutinous rice flours are not created equal. If you use Koda Sweet Rice Flour (link here, which can be found in most grocery stores), the liquid amount should be about right, however if you use another brand (there are many brands of such flour in Asian market), liquid amount may have to be adjusted.

Now these days I use whatever diary/liquid I have on hand and add enough until the batter looks "right". Mochi cakes are supposed to be a bit sticky, but the crumb shouldn't be too wet. If cakes sink during cooking, they are most likely undercooked. For normal muffin tins, I usually bake them for 25-30min at 350F.

dmsnyder's picture

txfarmer's "36 hours+ Sourdough Baguettes"

Watching the development of baking skills and the endless creativity of TFL members gives me enormous enjoyment. When I find members using formulas or techniques I have contributed and taking them to new and exciting places, I am especially thrilled. I can think of no better example than what txfarmer has done with the Anis Bouabsa and Phillip Gosselin formulas I first explored as part of my “baguette quest” in the Spring and Summer of 2008. Her “36 hours+ sourdough baguettes” (See 36 hours+ sourdough baguette - everything I know in one bread for her original, basic formula.) have been visually stunning as well as technically intriguing. It was with great anticipation that I followed her formula and procedures this weekend to make a batch myself.

My only modification of txfarmer's procedure was that I fermented the dough prior to dividing and shaping at 85 dF for 1 hour. I generally scale baguettes to 250 g to fit my baking stone. Her formula makes about 900 g of dough. I divided this into 3 pieces of 299 g each and shaped them to (barely) fit on my stone. I baked the baguettes for 12 minutes with steam at 460 dF conventional bake then for another 12 minutes at 435 dF in a dry oven using convection bake. In hindsight, I should have baked them for about 2 minutes less. They sang when taken out to cool and smelled delicious!


The crust was very crunchy and the crumb satisfyingly open, although not as open as some of the amazing baguettes txfarmer has shown us. The flavor of the bread was complex, nutty and sweet with moderate sourdough tang.

I do believe I have a new favorite sourdough baguette.




dabrownman's picture

Spelt, Rye and Whole Wheat Soudough Boule with Flax Seed, Honey and Malts - A Simple but Tasty Bread

Typo after typo,  My left fnger doesn't know what my right finger is doing.  This is way worse than dyslexia, which I had but sold to Lebanese rug trader and a lot more painful too.

With plenty of rye, WW and semolina bread in the freezer we baked off another as close to white bread as we ever make for the bread winners daily lunches.   My wife prefers Oroweat whole wheat bread but we are slowly winning her over to SD bread in the 25%-35 % whole grain range.


This one was 25% home ground whole grain bread with spelt, rye and WW ground from berries.   The remainder of the flours used for the bread were grocery bought bread flour and AP milled by KAF.


The bread baked up nicely browned with small to medium blisters.  The crust came out crisp but went soft and chewy as it cooled.  The bloom and spring were OK but nothing special.   The crumb was moderately open, soft, chewy and slightly glossy.  This bread had a bolder SD tang right after being cooled and we assume it will get better tomorrow. 


If you like David Snyder’s Pugliesi Capriosso and San Joaquin or Pierre Nury’s Rustic Light Rye you will like this bread.  For a nearly white bread it sure is tasty.  Just delicious.


The formula follows the pictures.


The levain starter was equal amounts of rye sour, desem and spelt (a new one that we will soon convert to Kamut) and built up over (2) 3 hour and (1) 2 hour build.

The levain was refrigerated overnight after nit had doubled along with the autolysed flours which included the entire formula less the levain.  There were no sprouts, scald, soaker or add ins with the exception of the red and white home made malts, some ground flax seed and a tiny bit of honey.

The next day the autolyse and the levain were removed from the fridge and sat on the counter for 1 hour to warm.  The two were combined in the KA mixing bowl and kneaded with the dough hook for 8 minutes on KA2.  The dough pulled away from the sides at the 7 minute mark.  It came together easily for the 75% hydration dough.

It was rested in an oiled plastic tub, sized for a 836 g loaf, for 20 minutes before (4) sets of S& F’s were performed all in the tub.  The first set was 25 stretches with a ¼ turn each time.  The next set was 5 stretches less all the way down to the last one of 10 for a total of 70 stretches.

After the last S&F the dough was rested for 60 minutes before being pre-shaped and then shaped into a boule and placed into a rice floured basket seam side up.  The basket was sized to allow the dough to double when it reached the top.

Sandwixh on the left made with last bakes Semolina Bread - good but not great like this bake.

The boule was them placed into a plastic trash can liner, the end closed with a rubber band.  The tented and basketed boule was placed in the refrigerator for a 12 hour retard.

Makes a great grilled hot dog bun! cantaloupe, cherries, black grapes, chips and pico de gillo. 1/2 ea plum and peach, 3 kinds of pickles and some Mexican beans - a typical but still a nice lunch to feature this  fine bread.

After 12 hours the mini oven was preheated to 500 F and (2) of Sylvia’s steaming cups with dish rage rolled up were micro waved until boiling.  The dough was covered with parchment and then the bottom of the mini’s supplied broiler pan.  The whole stack was overturned and the basket removed.

It was quickly slashed ¼” deep with a single sided razor blade, the steaming cups placed in the corner and the whole apparatus loaded into the mini oven’s bottom rack for 15 minutes of steam as the oven was turned down to 450 F.   When the steaming cups were removed at the 15 minute mark the oven was turned down to 400 F convection this time.

The boule was rotated every 5 minutes for the next 20 minutes when the boule was tested for temperature.   It was at 208 F and deemed done.   The mini oven was turned off and the bread allowed to sit in it with the door ajar for another 10 minutes to further crisp the skin.  It was then removed to a cooking rack.


Multi grain SD Starter - 25% Whole Grain Sourdough Boule     
Mixed StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
Multi-grain SD Starter **4500459.54%
Dark Rye1500154.24%
Total Starter135502521059.32%
** 15 g each Rye Sour, Desem & Spelt SD Starters   
Levain % of Total25.12%    
Dough Flour      %   
Non - Diastatic Red  Malt20.56%   
Wheat Germ102.82%   
Dark Rye102.82%   
Spelt 102.82%   
Ground Flax Seed102.82%   
Diastatic White Malt20.56%   
Bread Flour10028.25%   
Dough Flour354100.00%   
Water 26073.45%   
Dough Hydration73.45%    
Total Flour471.5    
T. Dough Hydration74.76%    
Whole Grain %25.77%    
Hydration w/ Adds75.29%    
Total Weight836    



SylviaH's picture

Bread Crumbs and then there are Panko Bread Crumbs

I just love those crunchy, flaky, best for coating fried things Panko bread crumbs :)

Making homemade Panko Bread Crumbs.  Fun easy and fast.

Recipes are posted all over the web.  But I've never actually seen one here.  So here goes.

Pre-heat your oven to 300F

The secret weapon.......The Food Processor Shredder Disk : )  little did I know :/

Assemble your food processor with the largest sized shredder blade

Panko is usually made with a very shreddable, soft fluffy type plain white bread.  I like my sourdough stale leftover bread of coarse

Simply remove all the crust

Process the bread in your food processor with your largest shredder disk

Place the crumbs onto a cookie sheet.  

Bake in a pre-heated 300F oven for aproximately 6 minutes..till dry and crispy.   Do not brown

Done, just about..........unless of coarse you want some of those delicious seasoned bread crumbs.  My favorite are Italian.  Add whatever seasoning you like..toss.   

Place into storage bags and freeze for later if you like.



Store bought or homemade breading???  Answer at the bottom on the photo.

storebought Italian Panko...made this eggplant parmesan yesterday with the last of my Italian style panko.  Now I'm a day older and wiser...where have I been.  



Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Sourdough Starter - How Much is Too Much?

Hi all.  I had a previous post on here with my first sourdough bread - Vermont Sourdough from JH.

As mentioned before, I was happy with most aspects of the bread, just wish it had a more sour flavour.  It was barely detectable.

Now, I have seen recipes with all different amounts of starter, ranging from a teaspoon, to a half cup - for a 1 - 2 lb loaf.  My question is, which ratio would produce a more sour flavour?  The ones with more starter, or less?  I understand that most of the sour is developed in the method of retarding the proof, usually 16-18 hours at 5 - 10 degrees.  But would using more starter in a recipe enhance the sour even more or not at all?


Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Cottage Food Acts in various states; California's Homemade Food Act awaiting gov's signature - please consider supporting

Thanks to the previous question by  Niashi about a similar law in Washington I learned about the the California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, which has passed both Assembly and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's signature. I probably won't be in any position to take advantage of this myself, but others here might. Like other similar laws (Cottage Food Acts and the like) it would make it reasonably easy and affordable to become a licensed food producer at home, in part by making sure you take a short class on how to avoid making customers sick, by restricting the types of foods you can cook for sale in a home kitchen (seem like reasonable restrictions: various things like meat and dairy fillings are not allowed, stuff more likely to harbor bugs.) Considering it is currently not legal to bake and sell most anything this would be a big step up. 

Something like 33 other states have similar laws, your state might well have one. 

More information on this law, cottage food laws in general, a link to a pdf listing the laws in other states, and lots of resources for small food startups can be found at 



SylviaH's picture

Butternut Squash Ravioli and Dill Pickles :)

Yesterday I picked up some nice pickling cucumbers.  Since mine were a total flop trying to grow them in my tiny garden's just gotten to shady with my pepper tree.  I'd rather have the shade and stick to the farmer's markets..we have so many.  I don't know why I even attempt to grow anything with all the locally available produce.  Well, I really do know's fun to grow things.  Even my tomatoes were a flop this year...but not the tomato worms..yikes..I cringe at those things and will pick them off sqirmming more than they do.  

I also picked up some other nice organic veggies.  Among them were a nice butternut squash for the fresh ravioli.  I have been wanting to make it with my fresh supply of Caputo Italian 00 flour.

This recipe makes a lot of pasta.  Just for the fresh Ravioli for two.  I use 2 Organic Eggs, 200g C Tipo 00 flour, about a teaspoon of E.V.O.O and a pinch of salt.  

I mix it all in my food processor, until I get a nice texture that comes together in a ball and is not sticky..comes away from my fingers nicely.  I use extra flour while kneading the dough and making the pasta on my Artisan King Arthur (oops edit) thats a Kitchen Aide Mixer using, my pasta roller attachment.

Fresh Pasta Made With Italian Caputo Tipo 00 Flour

6 Organic Eggs

600 G Caputo Tipo 00 Flour

pinch of salt to taste

1 TBsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Butternut Squash Filling and Cream Sauce.  

I used Fabio recipe.  He has a video making it.  He is so fun and entertaining to watch with many wonderful recipes.  I only changed the cookies that were added and made 1/2 a recipe.  I used some wonderful Italian Lady Fingers from Italy I picked up a Sprouts.  They are dry crispy with a slight sweetness...just delicious.

Dinner was delicious.   Light, Butternut Squash Raviolies, perfect for a hot summer day.




It's hard to get a photo before things get eaten


Easy Dill Pickles-  Great for just making a few jars at a time as your pickling cucumbers ripen.

I like Cold Packed pickles and peppers.  They are the firmest

Wash, slice, pack pickling cucumbers into Sterilized jars.  Use approved canning jars and rims with new seals for safe processing.

In a pot add 3 cups water, 2 cups 5% white vinegar/ or you can use apple cider vinegar, 1/8 cup pickling salt more or less to taste.  More is your making a lot of jars.  Bring to boil..turn down heat and keep hot until ready to ladle into jars.

I added a couple peeled garlics, lots of  fresh dill..I didn't have it so used dried.  Some pepper corns, a small amount of dried red pepper, pinch or two,  mustard seeds to each jar according to your taste...about a teaspoon per jar.  Fill to 1/2 head space with vinegar mixture. 

Remove bands and lids from hot water and skew into place.

Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.  

Remove and let sit several hours until cooled and you'll hear a 'pop' they've sealed..or press cooled top and if it didn't seal..just refrigerate and eat after allowing at least 2 weeks to full flavor.  Store 'sealed' jars in a cool place for at least 2 weeks for full flavor to develope.  Refrigerate before eating..they always taste better that way.