The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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cpanza's picture

Pani di Lavello

(reposted at my blog:

I knew I was going to make a bread right after the holidays, and I wanted to use up some excess Italian cheeses and meats that I had in the refrigerator, so I decided to add them to the bread. So this is a kind of pani di lavello – a “bread of the sink”. Not that this is odd – Italian bakers tend to have a number of “just throw it all in (everything but the kitchen sink)” breads. I just figured I’d add one to the list.

I’ve got to say, this particular version was amazing. The look of it is striking (as the picture attests) and it is rich, rich, rich. This bread also has lots of wang that attack the taste buds from all sides. The only problem is that it is really heavy. I had a few slices and felt as if I’d dropped an anvil or an anchor into my stomach. I’m totally bloated — but it’s a really good bloat! Highly recommended, but dangerous in terms of calories.


This bread is really a version of Carol Field’s pani di casa - a rustic peasant house bread mixed with double the ingredients (plus some pepperoni) of a typical casatiello. As you can see in the picture, the oils from the meat (especially the pepperoni) tend to travel in the crumb, which is actually very nice – it adds a nicy spicy taste to the bread.

The crumb itself is moist and thick, and the crust is not that crunchy, but instead a bit softer than typical for rustic bread, though it seems appropriate for the type of bread this is.

Here’s how to do it:

Ingredients for Biga (starter)

1 tsp of yeast

1/3 cup water warm

2/3 cup of warm milk

1 cup of flour


Add the yeast to the water/milk and let it sit for 10 minutes, or until foamy. Then add the flour and mix well. Let this sit covered for 4 hours minimum, or for 18 hours maximum (to get the most sourdough taste).

Ingredients for Dough

2 cups water

1 tbsp salt

2 oz Pecorino Romano

2 oz Parmesan


1. Add the salt and water to the biga mixture in the mixing bowl

2. Using the mixer paddle, slowly add 5 cups of flour

3. Switch to the dough hook and slowly add 1 1/2 cups of flour until you have a soft and velvety dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the Romano and the Parmesan to the dough, and continue to mix on the hook. Total hook time should be around 7 minutes.

5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl for 2 hours until doubled

Shaping Ingredients

2 oz Provelone

5 oz Pepperoni, sliced small

4 oz Salami, sliced small

Directions for Shaping

1. Punch down the dough and then press into it half of the provelone and pepperoni and salami.

2. Shape in the way you see fit (I make round loaves). If you do this, every time you pull back a corner of the dough, press more cheese and meat into the dough. Repeat the process until you have a ball.

The dough will be thick and full. Pat the top with flour, place on a floured peel for 1 hour.

3. Let sit for 1 hour again.

4. Preheat oven to 410 and bake for 50

5. Let cool for 30 minutes, during which time you should put on your eating pants with the elastic cord, since this is a thick bread that will require room for your bloated stomach.

nicodvb's picture

Does soy flour inhibit protease?


I'm curious to know if soy flour can inhibit or slow down protease action in doughs. If so, what percentage is it safe to use with respect to flour? Does anyone have first hand experience with it?

I read some mention of it in baking applications, but nothing well explained.

If I werent sick at bed I would have tried it myself, but I have only whole (and very hard) soy beans  at home :-(




Norman's picture

My First loaf of 2011

I only had 4 hrs to do the bread and I made kinda like no knead bread. I measured the flower and the water (300gr for bread flour and 210gr of water, 1/4 tsp of yeast and 1 tsp of salt and sugar) but the dough was not wet enough like I wanted to.  So I add some more warm water, I really don't know how much I put, but the dough got really wet, almost like a pancake butter. Anyway, I let it rest covered for like 3 1/2 hrs and then I had quite a hard time trying to fold the dough, but with the used of flower and dough scraper I managed.  I had some friends coming over for diner so I only let it rest for like 30 minutes while the pot was getting hot in the oven.  I cooked it covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 12 minutes.  The bread needed to have been cooked for a bit longer, but diner was ready and I had to get it out of the oven and sliced it while still pretty hot. Nevertheless, bread was very good and the crumb was a bit undone to me, but still much better than most bread than you can buy in the stores.  Over all, pretty happy.  Attached is the picture of it.


dmsnyder's picture

Whole Wheat Bread from BBA made with fresh-ground flour

A couple days ago, I tested my new KitchenAid Grain Mill's output with a formula calling for about 30% whole grain flour. It was very good. In fact, the flavor of that bread has improved over two days. Even as I dipped my toe in the home-milled flour waters, I knew that the real test, for me, would be how the flour performed in a 100% whole wheat bread.

Most of my breads are made with levain, but my favorite whole wheat bread has remained the “Whole Wheat Bread” from BBA. This is made with a soaker of coarse ground whole grains and a “poolish” made with whole wheat flour. I have used bulgur for the soaker in the past. Today, I used coarsely ground fresh-ground hard red winter wheat, the same wheat was used finely ground for the poolish and final dough. The formula can be made as a lean dough (plus honey) or can be enriched with oil and/or egg. I used both.

The KitchenAid Grain Mill does a great job with coarse grinding. I found that, with the first pass, the particle size is rather variable. It seems to even out by putting the flour through the mill again at the same setting.

I ground the rest of the grain at the next to finest setting. I put it through 3 passes of increasing fineness, actually. The flour ends up somewhere between semolina and AP flour fineness, at least by feel. This slightly coarse flour, fresh-ground, seems to absorb a bit less water than the KAF WW flour I usually use. I ended up adding about an extra tablespoon of flour to adjust dough consistency during mixing.

Bulk fermentation, dividing, shaping and proofing showed no differences I noticed from the behavior of this bread made with KAF WW flour. However, there was a remarkable difference in the aroma of the bread during baking and cooling. It filled the kitchen with a wheaty smell that both my wife and I found absolutely lovely. (As I write this, the bread is cooling. I hope it tastes as good as it smells!)

Another remarkable difference is that the color of the loaves is quite a bit lighter than loaves made with KAF WW flour and exactly the same other ingredients and the same baking time and temperature. I thought this might be because the KAF WW has malt added, but it is “100% hard red whole wheat,” according to the ingredient list on the bag.

The flavor of the bread is just perfect, to my taste. It has a wonderful whole wheat flavor with not a bit of grassiness. It is very slightly sweet. I used a very mild-flavored clover honey, and I cannot find any distinct honey taste in the bread. The flavor is bolder and more complex than this same bread made with KAF WW flour. I'm sold!

As I've written, above, Reinhart's whole wheat bread from BBA has been my favorite. I've made other whole wheat breads from formulas in Hamelman's “Bread” and Suas' “Advanced Bread & Pastry” that I found less tasty. I am now wondering how they would be if made with fresh-ground flour. Hmmmm …. This is shaping up to be a project.


Mebake's picture

Betrayal Of a starter

Just to finish off 2010 with a "cheerful ending , my starter has failed me twice. Having ventured on to bake Hamelman's Pain Au Levain with Wholewheat, My Doughs have twiced turned slack and headed to the trash bin instead of the oven, twice in a row? that is a killer. Add this to my lower back pain, iam not inclined to bake anytime soon. 

Iam a keen caretaker of my Starter, but lately i was unable to please it. Long story short, i have to keep an eye on it more often, inorder to revive the healthy population i always nourished.

Now i have to watch all the wonderful Year end bakes of my fellow TFl members, and drool on.

EDIT: Light Bulb On! I believe the reason behind my starter problematic vigor has to do with overfeeding right from the fridge. As Underfeeding reduces the number of viable yeasts that ensure fermentation, Overfeeding, seems, also overwhelms the starter, and the end result is same.


robadar's picture

Multigrain bread ala America's Test Kitchen

I saw this recipe made on America's Test Kitchen, but missed the proportions.  They make a multi-grain porridge using Bob's multigrain breakfast cereal.  Then they add flour, yeast, etc, to make a bread dough.  Does anyone roughly know the the proportions?

breadsong's picture

Pain au Levain - using Red Fife Whole-Wheat Flour (for Franko!)

Hello, With many thanks to Franko for sourcing this wonderful Red Fife flour for me (so very kind)!
I've now the luxury of baking with this heritage, organic, stone-ground, 75% sifted whole-wheat from True Grain Mill, and I am very grateful.

These breads were made using Mr. Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat (Red Fife) Flour, as Franko had done.
Franko really did a beautiful job on his bread; his post is here.

The Red Fife is a lovely, top-notch flour to work with, and my husband and I were very happy with crust, crumb and flavor it produced in this bread.
We cut into the small loaf, trying to wait a decent amount of time to let it cool off!
The dough was retarded in the fridge for 20 hours before baking.
I included a picture of the Red Fife flour below (on left side of plate; my other stone-ground whole-wheat flour on the right side of plate, for comparison).

Happy New Year everyone! from breadsong

davesmall's picture

Baking, Freezing, Resuscitating Crusty French Bread Rolls

French Hard Rolls


We vacationed in France this year and had the pleasure of dining at several upscale Michelin starred restaurants. I noticed a trend toward offering small crusty rolls rather than sliced bread(s). in some cases the rolls were warm as if fresh from the oven. There were always crusty fresh rolls with chewy crumb. There would also be two or three alternate choices, usually a dark bread, and a walnut or olive bread.

I thought I could replicate those rolls but wondered if I could find a way to store them and reheat them? Could I serve rolls like this straight out of the freezer with a workday dinner having no time to bake?

After experimenting, I have had some success. The results aren't quite as good as fresh baked just out of the oven. However, the results have been better than just satisfactory and better than I expected.

For the basic French hard roll I make a no-knead refrigerated dough with 75% hydration (32 oz General Mills Harvest King, 24 oz water by weight, 2 tablespoons coarse French grey sea salt, and just 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast for a slow rise. I mix the dough ingredients without kneading, and let the dough rise for several hours. It can then be refrigerated until ready to bake several days later. It's OK in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

To make the rolls, I measured out 2.5 ounce portions of the dough. This makes a nice size dinner roll that's also big enough for a small sandwich a little larger than a typical slider. I folded each portion 5 or 6 times with a letter fold and then formed a ball by pinching the dough underneath. I rolled each ball in my flour coated hands and placed six rolls onto a cookie sheet with a Silpat silicone mat. Proofing took several hours in my kitchen. The rolls were slashed and then baked for about twenty minutes at 450 F. I used a spray bottle with water to create some steam during the first few minutes of the bake. The rolls were placed on a wire rack to cool.

After several hours, the rolls we hadn't consumed that day went into a zip lock plastic bag and then into the freezer. It's important not to put them in the freezer too soon because warm rolls will give off moisture and form ice crystals in the bag.

When ready to thaw and serve the rolls, I put several of them in the microwave oven and microwave on high for about a minute until fully thawed. At this point they'll feel like fresh bread but the crust won't be crisp. Then I put them into a toaster oven and toast for about 3 minutes. This brings back the crispy crust. Then they're ready to serve as warm rolls. They have a crisp crust, chewy crumb with holes, and good flavor.

If I'm going to serve as small sandwiches, I would use a bread knife to slice the rolls after the micowave step and before the toaster step. Then toast each half roll.

It's a way to have a selection of small dinner rolls on a whim when you don't have time to bake.

SallyBR's picture

Sourdough Focaccia

Made this the week before Christmas, pushing the envelope a little and making an unusual topping - chili jam...   Turned out excellent, so I share the recipe with you

(adapted from Chilli and Chocolate)

for the sourdough sponge:
195 g liquid starter (3/4 cup at about 100% hydration)
125 g warm water (1/2 cup)
25 g olive oil (2 T)
10 g honey (1 + 1/2 tsp)
50 g flour (1/2 cup)

for the final dough:
all the sponge made as described
50 g olive oil (1/4 cup)
200 g all purpose flour (2 cups)
1 tsp sea salt

to bake the focaccia:
4 T olive oil
herbs of your choice, minced
2 T chili jam, preferably homemade
coarse or flake salt

Mix all the ingredients for the sponge in a medium size bowl, cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until the surface is covered with small bubbles.

Add the ingredients for the final dough and mix until they form a shaggy mass. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then knead quickly folding the dough on itself 10 times (no need to remove from the bowl). Let the dough rest 15 minutes, and repeat this quick kneading process. Repeat for a total of 4 cycles of kneading, each with 15 minutes rest. Shape the dough into a smooth ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, and let it rise until almost doubled (1.5 to 2 hours).


Alternatively, place it in the fridge overnight, transferring to room temperature
2 hours before baking.

Cover a 9 x 13 baking sheet with parchment paper, and add 2 T olive oil to the paper, spreading it well. Put the dough in the pan and press gently until it covers the whole surface. If the dough is resisting your attempts to stretch it, wait for 5 minutes until the gluten relaxes, and do it again. Cover lightly and let it rise for 30 minutes, while you heat the oven to 450F.

Using the tip of your fingers, make indentations all over the dough, spread the remaining 2 T of olive oil all over, sprinkle herbs of your choice on half the focaccia. If your chili jam is too thick, thin it slightly with a little olive oil, and spread on the other half of the focaccia. Add salt all over the dough, and bake until golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. If the jam seems to be burning,
reduce the temperature slightly.

Let it cool over a rack before you slice it in squares, and...


For those interested in mor details, you can click here for my blog post


JoeVa's picture


Ecco il mio primo tentativo con una nuova formula per un micone di grano integrale. Su suggerimento del mugnaio Marino ho miscelato la Macina Integrale con la Buratto. La formula complessiva impiega 50% Macina + 38% Buratto + 12% Manitoba, quest'ultima usata per la costruzione del lievito naturale liquido. Le caratteristiche di assorbimento della farina integrale hanno portato ad un'idratazione finale del 78% circa, consistenza impasto medio/morbito+.

Here my first attempt to a new formula for a whole wheat miche. As suggested by the miller Marino I mixed the (very) whole wheat (Macina) with type 1 flour (Buratto). The overall formula uses 50% Macina + 38% Buratto + 12% bread flour, the last one used to build the liquid levain. The absorption characteristics of the whole wheat flour led to about 78% final hydration, medium/soft+ consistency.


Il risultato è buono, un'integrale di tutto rispetto. La pagnotta ha leggerezza tra le mani e pienezza nel gusto. La prossima volta proverò a migliorare la formula introducendo una piccola percentuale di segale integrale.

The result is good, a respectable whole miche. The loaf has lightness in the hand and wholeness in the taste. Next time I'll try to improve the formula with the addition of a small percentage of whole rye.


Ed ecco la mollica. Questa metà l'ho regalata a Stefano, un nuovo amico panificatore.

Here the crumb. I got this half loaf to Stefano, a new home baker friend.