The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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thewat's picture

Italian sesame / olive oil flat bread / cracker?

A year or two ago I spent a week in Marche, Italy, and at two separate bakeries - one in Ancona and one just South - I bought a flat bread / cracker, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, loaded with olive oil & sesame & sunflower seeds. It was thick & crunchy but not dry tasting (because of all the olive oil). I could see the sunflower seeds & taste the sesame. It looked like it had been a really wet dough, cooked in a rectangular pan. The second place I got it said it was called "Pizza Seca." I can't find anything like it, either in my books or on the web. Anyone know? I found it slightly addictive. 

Roger A Hoffman's picture
Roger A Hoffman


Has anyone offered info re: yeasted doughnuts? I'm new here and since I just made a batch of great baked doughnuts, I thought I'd ask.

calliekoch's picture

La Brea Bagels

I received a copy of "Breads From La Brea Bakery" for Christmas and today made the bagels from it. I have made bagels from other recipes 3 or 4 times before and had reasonable results. These were by far the best looking ones. I have yet to taste them but they are also the first bagels I have made using sourdough so I think they will be good.

The recipe calls for both white starter and all white flour. I always keep my starter whole wheat and also replaced half the flour with whole wheat. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. For toppings I used poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon & sugar, and a couple were left plain.

For anybody interested in making these, the Wild Yeast website has a post based on the La Brea bagel recipe.Bagels

Bagels close


gckingbread's picture

Italian Star Bread

Does anyone have a recipe for italian star bread?  This is a braided bread with a smooth crust and a chewy but fluffy crumb.  It is popular in Springfield Massachusetts but I can't seem to find a recipe for it.  It may be of Scicilian origin.


Feelin Crumby's picture
Feelin Crumby

East Coast Bakers?

Are there any other TFL-ers in the Baltimore, Washington, Wilmington, DE area (southern PA, too)? I'd like to talk to any members that might be close about sharing cost of buying bulk ingredients. I live in northern Maryland, pretty much right on the I-95 corridor. I know of KA flour distributors in both Maryland and Pennsylvania. Ciao for now. Jim

dmsnyder's picture

Pizzas at Pelican Point

In addition to the Greek bread, about which I wrote yesterday, I made a couple of pizzas while visiting with family this week. I used the pizza dough formula in Hamelman's bread, but used Pivetti typo 00 flour from, made the dough with sourdough rather than commercial yeast, and did all the mixing by hand. 

Ham & Pineapple Pizza 

Chanterelle, Crimini, Leek, Olive, Mozzarella and Parmesan Pizza


Jonathan & Glenn watching Pizza TV

The chopped veggies were for the fab barbecued turkey gumbo brother Glenn made for dinner. The pizzas were just an appetizer.


Shiao-Ping's picture

Miche 50/50/50

I read in MC's beautiful blog,, that Miche is not her favorite bread but that she can understand how someone can go wild about it.  She said, "It is a majestic bread ... rich with the lore and fervor of the old days."    That is exactly how I feel about Miche!  "... rich with the lore and fervor of the old days." 

The word, Miche, conjures up for me images of a past full of hardship and labour, and yet, romances, at the same time.  Romances, not in the true sense of the word, but in a nostalgic way, referring to the simple, unsophisticated, and natural way of living.

One of the pseudo-Miche I made was Sourdough 50/50 nearly four months ago.  I was not happy with the bread at the time and had wanted to re-make it ever since.  But, No, I had to do something slightly different.  I could not even follow my own script.  I introduced one more element into my Sourdough 50/50 to make this Miche 50/50/50.  In addition to 50% levain, and 50% Poolish, of the final dough flour, I added 50% old dough.  The old dough was a piece of dough reserved from a previous bake a couple of days ago.  This piece of dough did not go through bulk fermentation or proofing.  It was sectioned off and placed in the refrigerator straight away.

Apart from being whimsical and having fun, I had but one purpose for doing this - to see how adding a piece of old dough would improve the flavour of the crumb, along with the levain and Poolish which I already had.  This is nothing new.  Many people have done something similar.  And here is my Miche 50/50/50:







 In order to be able to score the dough easily, I went for an overall lower hydration of 63%, compared to 68% for Sourdough 50/50.  I wanted to have some sort of Chinese tofu look  on the crust.  As a result, I gave up some openness of the crumb.






The crumb was exceptionally flavourful, which might come through the close-up shot below:




The crumb is very sour to my taste, due to the lower hydration too. 

When I prepare my Poolish, I did not put in a pinch of instant yeast, which one would normally do.  I wonder if this has anything to do with the slightly dense interior structure of the Miche.

If you are interested in trying the idea in this post, I would suggest a dough hydration of no lower than 67 - 68%, and definitely a pinch of instant yeast to go with your Poolish!




CaptainBatard's picture

It takes a village to raise a Pan D'oro....

It takes a village to raise a Pan D'oro... the village is all the people who impart their knowledge and encouragement here at the  Fresh Loaf and out in the blogosphere.  I really want to thank Susan@ Wild Yeast for her step by step directions and formula , MC@Farine and Foolishpoolish and many more for sharing their experience and inspiring baking blogs....without them i would still be making quick breads.

Pan D'oro, or bread of gold, and it's cousin Panetonne, have a long history in Italy dating back to when ancient Romans sweetened a type of leavened bread with honey. In Italy and France, the panettone comes with an often varied history, but one that invariably states that its birthplace is in Milan (Wikipedia) Throughout the ages this "tall, leavened fruitcake" makes cameo appearances in the arts: it is shown in a sixteenth century painting. The Pan D'oro is, by any stretch of the imagination, not a quick bread. It takes time and patience, but what it really takes to raise a Pandoro is millions and millions of beasties that make up the strong sweet starter. I also found an interesting scientific explanation of the whole fermentation process here and time table that I will read when I have some time. I have seen pictures of Lievito naturale legato or bound sourdough and it still remained a mystery. I basically used a 100gr starter-50w-100f with a 4 hour refreshment cycle at 85* and it worked just fine.




Another important consideration is the temperature of the Lievito naturale during fermentation... a whopping 85*, it being winter in the North East and my house hovering around 62-65*(by choice). I would have to fall back on the old pot holder trick (3 folded pot holders=76*) in the stove door with the light on. It works in a pinch but, I always run into this problem of proofing temperature. In the summer it is too hot (I can't bake or i have to use ice water baths) and in the winter it is too cold. I've been tooling around with many ideas on how to make a proofer work... a small car refrigerator/cooler or wine vault for the summer and a heater/light bulb for the winter. The Pan D'oro made it happen. I turned again to the internet village bakers and found a design for a proofer that Steve@Bread cetera posted @Fresh Loaf, and I took it a step further. I went looking for a thermostat for reptiles.... ended up at Craigs list with the perfect solution... a Ranco ETC microprocessor =based temperature controller thermostat that plugs into the heating unit or refrigeration system. It really takes the prize and i got it for a good price from a home brewer who started making babies and his wife made him stop making suds. So I now have a proofer in my insulated pantry cabinet that i can set at any temperature and forget about. Well almost... you have to remember the basics: set your timer and remember what temperature you set it at last!




Well.. can you tell what is coming? I crawled into bed about 1 o'clock after making chocolate biscotti, a batch of sour dough challah, stollen and got the Pan D'oro tucked away for it's final rise. It took me a minute to fall asleep but I woke up startled from a dream of sugar plum fairies way too early! I lay in bed thinking I had till noon before I would have to bake them off... and then it hit me..."Oh S***t...I left the proofer set at 85*!" I ran down the stairs and opened the door to the proofer and just laughed when i saw the dough going way over the top of the mold. I quickly turned on the stove to pre-heat and made some coffee. The overflow problem was two fold. When I went on line to see how much dough my Italian mold would take, I made an incorrect assumption. The smaller Portuguese molds takes 500gr. so I thought for that for this big mold, 1000grs did not seen out of line. Wrong. But it was a mistake that could be easily fixed and no one would know  (and Sara and I got to taste what I had to cut away.) I must say.... the stollen and the Pan D'oro were the exclamation points to a delicious Christmas Day dinner at Rick and Rita's. (Folks liked the Challah and the double-dipped chocolate biscotti too. )   Hapy New Year to all.









                                                                        I am submitting this to Susan@Yeastspotting

HUGO's picture

A mock sour dough loaf

Has anyone tried to create a sour dough using lemon juice, various vinegars, buttermilk, or even vitamine C ?   I notice that my sourdough starter weakens the gluten and changes the texture compared to commerical yeasts. Also the crumb seems to have much smaller holes in the crumb using a sourdough starter.  ANY REPLY WOULD BE MOST WELCOME    Happy New Year to everyone.

ericb's picture

Pain Rustique with Whole Wheat

Pain Rustique with Whole Wheat

The inspiration for this formula derives from Hamelman's Pain Rustique, which is a high hydration dough made with a commercial yeast poolish. The crumb is very open and moist, much like a ciabatta, perfect for dipping in olive oil.

I had some neglected starter in the fridge which I decided to use in place of the yeast in the poolish. I suspected that it wasn't strong enough to raise an entire loaf, but I knew it would add a little extra flavor. Also, I used whole wheat flour in the poolish. I think this lends a mild sourness without covering up other flavors. This is especially true in bread made primarily with white flour.

The end result was as you would expect from a high hydration dough: open crumb, soft crust, and almost-buttery overtones. It was very much like a no-knead loaf, or Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne.

Bread Flour 21 ounces 84%  
WW Flour 4 ounces 16%  
Water 17 ounces 68%  
Salt 0.5 ounces 2%  
Yeast 0.35 ounces 1% (2.7 tsp)
Total 42.85   171%  
WW Flour 4 ounces 100%  
Water 4 ounces 100%  
Starter 1 ounces 25%  
  9   225%  
Bread Flour 21 ounces    
starter 9 ounces    
Water 13 ounces    
Salt 0.5 ounces    
Yeast 0.35 ounces    



1. Mix poolish and ferment in a warm place for 8-12 hours. Should be bubbly.

2. Autolyse: Mix poolish, flour, and water, let rest for 20 minutes.

3. Mix final dough: add salt and yeast, mix well until gluten strands form. I did a few impromptu "slap and folds" in the mixing bowl. This requires wet hands.

4. Primary Fermentation: 70 minutes. Fold at 25 and 50 minutes.

5. Turn out dough onto well floured bench. Cut in half and shape loosely. I make boules, but you could also just leave the dough as rectangles.

6.a Preheat over to 500F.

6b. Proof: Let dough rest for 20 minutes. I placed my floured-side down (seam side up) on a proofing towel, and covered with mixing bowls to prevent drying out.

7. Carefully turn dough onto parchment paper, seam side down. Score with a simple square or single cut.

8. Slide into oven, steam, and turn oven to 460. Bake for 15 minutes. Open oven to let out steam, bake for another 15-20.