The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

  • Pin It
greedybread's picture


IMG_0463 (1024x768)


I can not believe this bread!!

It is so good!

Just like the gorgeous dark rye grain breads you can buy at markets:)

So greedily wrapped with this one.

You are soooooooo Going to love it!

The first one was a fail fail fail!!

Well, it SHOWED promise, it was uncooked but I could see how good it would be .


Remember this one is another soaker overnight but worth it and this bread will keep up to a week…Plus an overnight sour mix.

But you will have eaten it way way by that time.

IMG_0461 (1024x768)

Do first in the morning :Sour mix:

50g of rye flour.

pinch od salt.

pinch of yeast.

50 g of bread flour.

50g of yoghurt.

Warm water to mix to a paste.

Mix flours , salt and yeast together, add in enough warm water for a runny smooth paste.

Add in yoghurt and cover, leaving to brew for 8-12 hours.

When you make the soaked grains below, add 25 g of rye and 25 g of wheat flour and more warm water to your bubbly sour brew.

Mix to a smooth paste and cover, allowing to stand overnight with the grains.

IMG_0408 (768x1024)

Do in the afternoon :Grains to soak overnight.

1 & 1/2 cups of mixed sunflower seeds, rye flakes, kibbled rye, wheat flakes .

You could use a mix of grains you like but make sure it has the rye grains in it for that flavour.


Place salt & grains in a bowl.

Cover with enough hot water to cover grains and then cover with wrap and leave overnight.

IMG_0455 (1024x768)

Dough for Bread:

1 & 1/2 cups of bread flour.

1 cup of rye flour.

15g of treacle.

20g of Olive oil.

20g of dutch cocoa or a rich dark cocoa (not a sweet milk chocolate cocoa).

Sour mix from above.

Soaked grains from above.

150g warm water (mix treacle into this).

2 grated carrots.

1 tsp yeast.

Pumpkin seeds (or sesame seeds) for top of bread.

IMG_0460 (1024x768)

Grease a bread tin well.

Put all dough ingredients into a bowl and combine well.

Mix on slow speed for about 10 minutes.

This is not a dry bready dough that you can really play with.

Its sort of like a large heavy cake mix, almost batter like.

Spoon into bread tin and then sprinkle seeds on top.

Leave for 2 -3 hours to rise.

It will not rise a lot, this is a rye bread.

30 minutes before it is ready, heat the oven to 250 C.

IMG_0456 (1024x768)

If you can steam in your oven, that would be good.

If not, ten minutes before placing bread in the oven, place a small tray at the bottom of your oven.

You need ice cubes to toss in here as soon as you place the bread in the oven.

Put bread in the oven, toss in the cubes and shut the oven.

Turn it down to 180 C and leave to bake for 60-75 minutes, depending on your oven.

Remove from oven and leave to cool for a while then turn out on a wire rack.


Else the texture will be googy and unset.

IMG_0462 (1024x768)

I am telling you, when you slice it and see how fabulous and moist it is., you will just love it!

It is moist like proper pumpernickel.

Just gorgeous.


download (24)

breadforfun's picture

It began innocently enough, as these things often do.  Ever since I started baking in earnest several years ago I have been intrigued with Pane di Altamura.  Not that I knew exactly what it was, mind you, but the name appeared in many breads that had the golden glow of rich butter in the crumb from the durum wheat.  I was able to buy loaves from several local bakers, most notably Acme Bread, to sample.  These are good breads!  I started experimenting with various formulae and making my own.  Il Fornaio, Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Amy’s Breads, Dan Leader’s Local Bread, Maggie Glezer’s Artisan Bread all had versions and I made and enjoyed each of them. I even shared them with friends, who all left with smiles after eating them. Some of them may have been smiling after drinking that 20 year old Barolo, but they liked the bread, too.  

My wife and I spent the last two weeks of October in Southern Italy.  Needless to say, we had to make the pilgrimage to the town of Altamura - after all, it was only 15 minutes away from where we stayed in Matera, a city continuously occupied since prehistoric times that’s worthy of a post of its own.

Before we left on the trip I learned about twice milling the durum flour to achieve a flour texture suitable for making breads.  Semolina, the coarser grind of durum wheat has sharp edges that tended to cut the gluten network and therefore reduce the ultimate height of the loaf.  The double milling is supposed to reduce these spikes.  In the U.S. it’s called Extra Fancy or Extra Fine Durum, and in Italy it’s called Rimacinata (re-milled). I've used the Extra Fancy Durum before but I never knew exactly what it meant.

Pane di Altamura is, I believe, the only bread that has a Denominazione d'Origine Protetta, or D.O.P., an E.U. designation that specifies a product and protects the name from being co-opted and used to promote an inferior product. We bought a loaf from a local Paneficio in the city center, and another loaf from a D.O.P. certified bakery on the way out of town. This last loaf was a complete eye (and mouth) opener!  It was nothing like any bread I had ever tasted. The loaf had a honey-colored crispy crust that begged to be torn into.  The crumb was very yellow, slightly moist and chewy and, at the same time, fluffy and very aerated.  There was an ever-so-slight sourness with a rich, a little nutty, earthy flavor.   The DOP regulations say (among other things) that the crust must be at least 3 mm thick.

If you are interested in the regs you can download them here (the link doesn’t always work - not sure why)

When we returned home I set out to reproduce the bread as best I could.  The quest started by my dragging home a 5 kg bag of the local flour, Semola Rimacinata Grano Duro, in my checked luggage. 

Although it wasn’t that expensive there (€8 or roughly $10.50 at the time, less than $8.50 at this weeks exchange rate) for 11 pounds of flour, my supply was obviously very limited, so I wanted to practice on something more available in case the imported version was truly different.  I had some Extra Fancy Durum flour from Central Milling (in California) that seemed to be as fine as the Italian version so I decided to use this to develop a bread formula before trying my import.  

But where to start?  At first I was unsuccessful tracking down any authentic Italian recipes (more about this later), so I took parts from Il Fornaio’s Altamura and Amy’s Breads Golden Italian Semolina for a couple of bakes.  These loaves were not worth spending much time on - flat, dense, nearly tasteless, certainly nowhere near the loaf in my minds eye.

On my third attempt working with the Extra Fancy Durum I opted for Leader’s version, which is 72% hydration and 18% pre-fermented flour from an 81%H all durum starter. I several some changes to the formula mostly because the flour seemed unusually thirsty, and ended up with about 77%H dough made with an 86%H starter.  Instead of following Leader’s shaping technique, I tried simply to fold the loaf in half trying to achieve that authentic look.  This resulting loaf looked OK, but the crumb was very tight.  Also, in the photo you can see some unincorporated flour due to the simplistic shaping. And it certainly wasn’t the same color as we had in Italy.


At this point I felt I had to try the flour I brought back to see how it behaved.  The first thing I noticed as I prepared the starter was the ease with which the flour hydrated.  The flour from Central Milling was very thirsty - building an 80%H starter felt as thick and dry as a 65-70%H whole wheat starter. Using the Grano Duro, the same 80%H more closely resembled an 85-90% WW starter and the flour hydrated as readily as sugar into water. The second major difference is the color.  The Grano Duro is a bright yellow compared to the creamy yellow of the CM. Clearly I would have to lower the hydration for this flour.  The initial results were unspectacular and disappointing, and it was back to the drawing board.

Since the first attempt with Leader’s formula have baked versions of Pane di Altamura a dozen more times.  I found another domestic flour from Giusto’s Vita Grain (sourced from North Dakota Mill) that behaved and appeared more like the Grano Duro. Rather than bore you with the details of each and every one, here are some representative photos of the results.

I also found this blog (translated by Google) that gives a pretty detailed formula, although she, too, uses the boule shape.  My results are not quite as open a crumb as hers, but pretty close.

My most recent bake was done at a slightly lower hydration.  It was a direct comparison between the Italian Grano Duro and the Giusto (North Dakota Mill) Patent durum flour.  I was also playing around with long refrigerated overnight bulk ferment rather than retard after shaping, as was the case with loaf shown above. 

Comparison between Giusto Flour on the left and Grano Duro from Italy on the right.  The respective crumb shots are below.


In the interim and after some intensive web searches I found a few Italian videos that describe the shaping process. Unfortunately I don’t speak Italian, and there is a lot more dialog than action in these clips, but I began to get a sense of how the loaves are shaped.

In this video the various finished shapes are shown in the beginning.  You have to wait until around halfway through the video until you see the shaping techniques.

In another video you can advance to around the 10:00 mark to see about 10 seconds of shaping.

At this point, I am fairly happy with the breads when I make basic boules.  I think the results are not as good as they could be, and for whatever reason my gluten structure isn’t strong enough to hold up to shaping after long fermentation.  Presumably this is why I can’t shape as in the videos.  If there are any Italian speakers out there who can translate from the videos I’d be happy for any tidbits that may shed some light on what I am missing.  My goal is to be able to shape a loaf like the one at the top of this page.

If you have read this far, thanks for sticking with this long-winded post.  My version of Pane di Altamura is still a work in progress.  The lack of a wood-fired oven, though, will insure that I never can match the flavor of the original. That’s fine with me - it makes a perfect excuse to go back for more.


bmeilinger's picture

Long-winded title, I know, but I wanted to capture most of the bread in one go. This bread is almost identical to one created by WoodenSpoon a while back, and it has taken me until now to attempt to recreate it. I had goat milk from a friend that needed to be used, some extra cultured butter in the freezer, and I felt it was fitting to try it out!

Again, for those unfamiliar with my posts, ASBF is Artisan Sifted Bread Flour from Lonesome Stone Milling here in WI. The leaven was 20g normal starter, 100g goat milk, and 100g ASBF. The percentage for the leaven is listed by total/flour. So the total flour in the dough is, indeed, 100%.











Egg, whole






Goat milk, whole



Maple syrup






I was up late by accident after coming home from a friend's party, when inspiration struck and I mixed the leaven, pulled the butter out of the freezer, and went to sleep.














Slap & fold


















I followed WoodenSpoon's procedure almost exactly, reducing everything by a bit because I was limited by butter available. I had 330g; I scaled back and just used appropriate ratios. After the retardation, the bread took longer than expected to proof properly, but it made up for it in spades with oven spring and gorgeous browning.

I brushed the loaf with a maple-egg wash, and baked at 400 for 20 minutes, rotated the pan, and baked at 380 for the remaining time, about 30 more minutes. The flavor is so, so good. A little dense from the T85-style flour, but incredibly buttery, rich, and pillowy. 

Thanks to WoodenSpoon for the inspiration!

breadforfun's picture

It's been a while since I last posted, so I wanted to share some photos from this weekend's bakes.  A small get together with some friends always inspires me to bake a mix of some new breads and some standards. Clockwise from the left are: Royal Crown's Tortano (from Glezer's Artisan Baking in America), a caramelized onion focaccia (made with flour I brought back from Italy last fall), two boules of Pane di Altamura (more on this later) and three loaves of my go-to spelt sourdough.


Here is a crumb shot of the SD batard and a close up of one of the boules. The batard finished at around 1200g and each boule was around 700g.


The Pane di Altaumra is a formula that I have been working on for a few months with mixed success.  It is worthy of a post all its own that I hope to finish soon.  Meanwhile, these two boules are a comparison between a loaf made with domestic patent durum flour (on the left) and one made with Italian Semola Rimacinata Grano Duro that I carried back from my trip.

And their respective crumb...



The tortano didn't fully rise in one section, probably due to overhandling the dough, but it had a very complex flavor for a yeasted dough (it used a long-fermented poolish as leaven).


There was enough for all the guests to take some home for breakfast.


adventuress-in-baking's picture

Never one to leave well enough alone, I am on a quest for a favorite roll recipe.  I have been making the Weitzen Broetchen recipe posted on hanseata’s blog and nicely done in a video by Avioli  Breadlabs for quite some time to the delight of family and friends.  A local German master chef told me “these were the best buns he has had in a long long time since the old country”.  So thank you hanseata for the recipe.

But sometimes the overnight rise can be problematic…especially when you plan poorly and need something in a few hours.

Enter the Portuguese roll recipe.  First given to me by the Portuguese woman who has been cleaning my house for years.  I love her…she’s so sweet.  She brought me some of her rolls one week along with the recipe. They were good but I still wasn’t satisfied.

So I did what I do best…surfed the internet for more recipes.  After tinkering for a while I came up with a recipe that satisfied me and doesn't take more than 3 hours start to finish and has passed with flying colors my independent panel of taste testers (i.e., family & friends!).  My husband has always referred to my time in the kitchen as “R&D” because I usually only use a written recipe for reference nor do I always measure...a little of this...a little of that....  And there have only been a few failures in the 40 or so years we’ve been together.  Not so with bread baking!  I have made a brick or two! 

With bread baking I do need to write down measurements and follow the recipes as written to a point….or write down what I’ve changed and make sure the next time that its correct which then leads me to change it up a little more…..its a deep, dark, hole I find myself in because I’m never 100% happy.

So after that introduction and my disclaimer that as far as I know, I don’t have an ounce of Portuguese blood, I present to you my Portuguese Rolls or Papa Secos...

I’m still working on my roll shaping.  I think the next time I make the Weitzenbroetchen I will make them round with a slash because I like the way they look. 

The insides were light and fluffy while the outside has a nice crunch to it.  

And I can squeeze the inside into a ball like I do those rolls I love in Germany.


I can post my recipe if someone would like to try it and give me feedback,

All the best,



STUinlouisa's picture

Got the einkorn berries Friday so the experimenting begins. 350g were milled with a high speed mill 335g came out the rest being stuck on every available surface of the mill to the point that it had to be washed instead of brushed off like usual. The flour was fluffier than the white wheat that is my standard. I'd show you a picture but can't figure how to do it.

Decided to use a ratio 25:75 einkorn to KA AP not including the starter and to make a soaker with the einkorn  to take into account the slow absorption rate (thanks mini oven). Made a dough with the flour, soaker, starter, water and salt. Boy was this stuff sticky and slack, I empathize with bob boule especially since he is working with 100% einkorn.  After some S&F and bulk fermentation formed a boule let it proof and baked in a DO. It had better oven spring than I thought it would because of almost collapsing when turned out of the banneton. 

The loaf had some major holes probably due to poor shaping and overproofing. The taste is very good and made it well worth exploring more with higher levels of einkorn. 

By the way celebrated pi day with both cherry and pizza pie.


isand66's picture

 This is my first bake after returning from a nice 10 day excursion to China and Taiwan for business.  My starter is not in a good mood right now so instant yeast was in order.

I decided to use some of the freshly sprouted whole wheat and durum flour that I had prepared before I left for my trip.  I used 81% sprouted flour in this bake along with a little bread flour to give it a little strength.

Onions, butter, buttermilk and cheese took these rolls over the top and the final product is easily one of my favorites to date.  If you are up to sprouting some flour please give these a try and you won't regret it.



Sprouted Wheat & Sprouted Durum Onion Rolls  (%)

Sprouted Wheat & Sprouted Durum Onion Rolls  (weights)

Download BreadStorm .BUN file here.


 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, yeast, and salt together.  Add the dehydrated onions to the buttermilk and let it sit for a few minutes to re-hydrate them.  Next add the buttermilk-onion liquid and maple syrup to the flour and mix on speed #2 for 5 minutes.  Add the cheese with the main dough and mix on low for 1 minute until it is thoroughly mixed.  Place the dough into a well oiled container and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator or let it rise at room temperature until it is doubled in size.

The next day, let the dough sit out at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour.  Next, divide into rolls around 145 grams each and cover with a moist tea towel or spray some plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover.  Since the cookie sheet I used was too big to put in my proofer I put a cup of hot water in a pan in my oven and let them rise for around an hour until almost doubled in size.  If you like you can use an egg wash or as I did in this case, brushed some olive oil on each roll and sprinkle seeds of your choice.  I used smoked sesame seeds, and white poppy seeds

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Place your rolls in the oven and lower the oven to 450 degrees and bake for 25-35 minutes until the rolls are nice and brown.

Take the rolls out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 1 hour before eating.



Anconas's picture

Practicing dough handling before working on another batch of baguettes.  My sourdough starter became quite crazy active after I switched it's last feeding from the generic AP I've been using to KAF AP so I tried a simple sourdough recipe to test it out.

110gWarm Water (Filtered) 70%    
200gPoolish Starter   39%total weight
160gFlour, Bread 87%    
40gFlour, Whole Wheat 13%    
6gSalt 2%    


The poolish starter was with KAF AP, the WW was KAF, the rest of the flour was my generic AP.

It did take about 10-15 minutes of slap and folds to get the dough stretchy instead of breaking when I tried a window pane test.  I wasn't working quickly, just trying to get an idea for how it felt.  I stopped as soon as it seemed to hold it's shape.


Size before bulk rise -


Size after bulk rise - only 2 hours but it appeared to have exceeded the 1.5 times rise suggested.


Shaped and ready to proof (in the same bowl)


After proof, it appeared to hold it's shape


Baked seam side up Forkish style in a stoneware dutch oven.  It did have oven spring, not as much as I had hoped.  Still having problems with over proofing it seems.  I did do the poke test and it looked right but I'm missing something.  I added a large cast iron pan in the oven just to hold the heat more steady, this seemed to work well and keep temps more stable with the uncovering/rotating etc.


I lost a lot of air bubbles in the shaping stage and the crumb suffered.  I'm guessing my gluten development was still not good enough.  At least it is shaped something like a boule and not a pancake :)  And my starter has proved healthy so I can get more practice.  Now I'm craving some Rye.

Deegeetee's picture

I am fairly new to baking my own bread, and currently use reasonably basic yeasted recipes, as I haven't yet progressed to making my own sourdoughs.

I like mixing flours, but normally use a base of high protein (14.8%) Canadian White Wheat Flour, which I'm able to buy from my local supermarket, in fact it's the supermarket's own brand. I normally mix it with varying amounts of either Spelt, Rye or Multigrain flours I have also tried various liquid ingredients, such as cultured Buttermilk, Beer and now Carrot juice. in order to create some different flavours.

I thought I'd post a few pictures of my latest attempts. Firstly a Carrot & Coriander loaf and then the Beer & Treacle loaf.

The recipes for both use the same basic bread recipe, with only the liquids changed out, and in the case of the Carrot loaf, the addition of Coriander to the base ingredients.

Not sure what the measurements will be in Cups etc, as being in the UK I measure all my ingredients by weight, and or tsp & tbls


The recipes for these two loafs are as follows:

Carrot & Coriander Loaf

300g Canadian Wheat flour

100g Wholemeal Spelt flour

100g Wholemeal Rye Flour

320g (mls) Organic Carrot Juice

50g (mls) Olive Oil

15g Sugar

10g Salt

10g Instant yeast

1tsp dried Coriander Leaf

1tsp ground Coriander (seed)

Dark Beer & Treacle Loaf

As above, with 100g Multigrain flour instead of the 100g Rye, minus the 2 tsp of Coriander, but with the addition of 2tbls of Treacle, and 320g (mls) of a Dark Porter in place of the Carrot Juice.

On both recipes, I mixed all the flour, sugar and liquid ingredients, and let them autolyse overnight, before adding the salt & yeast the following morning. The dough was then kneaded, and allowed to prove, before shaping, and then given a second prove and then baked in an 8in Springform cake tin at around 180 to 200c for 35 to 40 minutes.


greenbriel's picture

What did you expect? :)

In the spirit of a few of David's recent bakes, these were loosely based on a bunch of stuff in FWSY, with some last minute stuff from TFL.

If memory serves:

400g KA AP
25g KA WW
25g Bob's Red Mill dark rye 
100g 100% SD starter (didn't build a levain, just dumped in from the feeding discard)
~0.5g IDY (insurance policy :)
11g salt
375g water (a guess based on flour mix and starter amount)

30 min autolyse, first S&F at 15mins, then every 30mins for a total of 5 folds. Fairly loose and a bit sticky, but not too bad. Bulk rise at room temp for maybe 4 hours. Realized I was going out and wouldn't have time to bake them first (I do this a lot, don't I?) so put the tub in the fridge at probably 5PM.

Woke up (hung over :) at 8am, figured the dough would be probably overproofed but you gotta try. Preshape, 20 min rest, shape, 30 minute rise, into preheated oven with Mega Steam plus lava rocks (thanks alfanso et al). Watched for right time to remove steam, which as last bake, to my eye was 6 minutes. Baked another 24 minutes and left in cooling oven with door cracked open for about 4 mins. I think the bake was just this side of "too bold".

They came out much better than I expected. Shaping not my best, but not my worst. I think I want to start shaping them longer again. Scoring not too bad but I completely forgot lame angle, so ears were not really present. Oven spring was much better than I thought it would be given the long proof.

I was very pleased with extremely open and custardy crumb, and crust was thin and (to use a phrase I love and first heard on TFL) shatteringly crisp. Taste was great. Not very sour, but nutty, delicate and fairly complex. I love a bit of rye flour, seem to put some in every bake these days.

The Missus and I ate one for breakfast, gave one to our upstairs neighbor/favorite bartender, and will probably have another with a dinner of Cock-A-Leekie pie. Happy Pi Day!




Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries