The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

kendalm's picture

Since Jeff Bozos took my malt off the shelves at whole foods I decided to resort to misting my loaves with the Maltiest think I could think of.  Yeah that's right, sticky goodness of Mickeys big mouth.  For the record my own little quirk when baking is to dissolve some barley malt in my spray bottle and lightly mist just prior shutting the door.  Makes for a nice glossy crust.  

Benito's picture

Wanting to recover from my last two disasters of babka bakes and applying what I learned from them.  We do truly learn more from our disasters than our successes (thanks Dan).  I decided to try to use some Matcha powder I recently purchased and make a babka with a much drier filling that would avoid the pitfalls of soggy crumb.  I am adapting the same recipe for sourdough babka by Maurizio of  

At the end of bulk fermentation and shaped into an angel food pan.


Total Dough Weight

800 grams

Pre-fermented Flour



One babka for a 9″ x 4″ x 4″ Pullman pan (without lid)

Total Formula



Baker’s Percentage


All-purpose flour (11-12% protein; King Arthur All-Purpose Flour)



Whole milk (cold from the fridge)



Large eggs (about 2, cold from the fridge, plus one more egg in reserve for the egg wash)



Unsalted butter (Kerrygold; room temperature)






Caster sugar (superfine white sugar)






Sourdough starter (100% hydration)


18  g

Matcha Powder 




Dough Mix

My final dough temperature for this dough was 76°F (24°C).



310 g

All-purpose flour (11-12% protein; King Arthur All-Purpose Flour)

107 g

Whole milk (cold from the fridge)

107 g

Large eggs (about 2; cold from the fridge)

100 g

Unsalted butter (Kerrygold; room temperature)

29 g

Caster sugar (superfine white sugar)

8 g


138 g

Mature, but mild, levain

18 g

Matcha Powder

Levain Build 6 hours

30 g starter 100% hydration, 60 g bread flour and 60 g water.  Should be mature in about 5-6 hours at 78-80ºF. 

2. Mix – 1:00 p.m.

Before mixing, take out the butter called for in the recipe and cut it into 1/2″ pats. Let it sit at room temperature until called for.

I used my KitchenAid stand mixer to mix this dough. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the mature levain, flour, matcha powder, whole milk, large eggs, salt, and half of the sugar. Set the mixer to low and mix until everything is incorporated. Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minute rest, turn the mixer up to medium and mix for 5 minutes until the dough starts to pull from the sides of the mixing bowl. At this point, slowly stream in the remaining sugar while the mixer is running. Mix for another 1-2 minutes until the dough comes back together.

With the mixer still set to medium, add the room temperature butter, one pat at a time, waiting to add the next until the previous is absorbed into the dough. It might take around 5 minutes to mix all the butter into the dough. After all of the butter is added, continue mixing for another few minutes until the dough smooths out and once again begins to cling to the dough hook. The dough should be almost fully developed at this point (it won’t completely pass the windowpane test, but almost).

Transfer the dough to a container for bulk fermentation, cover, and keep somewhere warm—78-80°F (26-27°C)—in your kitchen for bulk fermentation.

3. Warm Bulk Fermentation – 1:25 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (or longer, as needed)

During this time, give the dough 2 sets of stretch and folds where the first set is 30 minutes after the beginning of bulk fermentation and the second set is 30 minutes after the first. After the second set, let the dough rest, covered, until the next step.

4. Cold Bulk Fermentation – 3:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. (next day)

Assess the dough: has it risen a little in the bowl during the warm bulk fermentation? It should be a little puffy and smoothed out. If it looks like there’s no activity at all, give the dough another 30 minutes to 1 hour and check again.

Once you see some rise in the dough, place the covered bulk fermentation bowl into the refrigerator overnight.

Same day option: I much prefer making this over the course of two days, but you could make this all in one day: let the dough finish bulk fermentation for 2-3 hours on the counter. When the dough has risen around 50% and feels puffy, proceed with the rest of the steps below. However, I do recommend placing the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour after this warm bulk fermentation to chill before rolling out!

5. Roll, freeze, cut, and shape – 8:00 a.m.

Before taking the dough out of the refrigerator, make one of the fillings below (keep the filling covered until ready to use). 


Black Sesame Filling

150 g ground black sesame seeds, use mortar and pestle to grind

37.5 g sugar mix with ground black sesame seeds 


64 g honey

21 g butter room temperature 

Cream together honey and butter to make smooth spread


I had too much of the sesame and sugar mix, could reduce by 25-30% I think.


In the morning, take the dough out of the refrigerator and scrape the dough out to a floured work surface. Flour the top of the dough and using a rolling pin (or dowel), roll the dough out to a rectangle approximately 16″ x 12″ in size with a short edge closest to your body. 

If you want a less-sweet, less-sticky babka, spread less filling over the rolled out dough.

Using your hand or an offset spatula, spread the honey butter mixture over the dough leaving about 1″ clean on the short side farthest from you. Sprinkle the sesame sugar mixture over the dough.  Starting at the side closest to you, roll up the dough into a tight cylinder. It’s important for the dough to be rolled up rather tight, so pull the dough at each revolution of the cylinder.


Important: Place the rolled-up log on a baking sheet and place it into the freezer for 15 minutes (this makes it much easier to cut and braid).

Using an angel food cake pan, cut parchment to fit into the bottom of the pan, butter the sides and central tube of the pan.

After the 15-minute freezer rest, take the baking sheet out of the freezer and return the dough log to the counter. Using a sharp knife, cut the log to split open the log from one side to the other. Pinch the two top halves together and braid the dough one strand over the other. At the bottom, pinch the two halves together again. Don’t worry if filling spills out or things get messy — it’s all good.

After the dough is braided, pick up the braid and place it on the parchment right in the middle, then pick up the sides of the parchment and lift the dough up and drop it into the pan.

Cover the pan and place it somewhere warm, ideally, 78-80°F (26-27°C), to proof.

6. Proof – 8:30 a.m. 12:00 p.m. (or until ready)

This dough can be slow to rise at this point. Give it the time it needs to rise up to about 1/2″ below the rim of the Pullman pan. For me, at 78°F (26°C), it took about 3.5 hours. See the image below for how high my dough filled my pan.

7. Bake – 12:00 p.m.

Preheat your oven with the rack in the middle to 350°F (176°C) — no fan assist (no convection).



When the oven is preheated and the babka dough is fully proofed, place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (to catch any sugar spilling over). In a small bowl, whisk together one whole egg and 1 Tbsp water and brush a thin layer of the egg wash on the top of the dough. Then, slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 55  minutes until the center of the babka reaches 200°F (93°C) then leave in oven with the oven off for another 5 mins.. Keep an eye on the babka in the last 10 minutes of the bake, if it’s coloring too quickly drop the temperature to compensate.

Yuzu Simple syrup

While the babka is baking, make the simple syrup. In a small saucepan heat over low 52g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar with 59g (1/4 cup) water and about 1 Tbsp Yuzu extract (adjust to taste). Heat until the mixture bubbles a bit and stir occasionally until the sugar fully dissolves in the water. Transfer this simple syrup to a container to cool. If covered, it will keep indefinitely in the fridge (I reuse over and over for babka, other baked goods, or even cocktails).


When the babka is fully baked, remove the pan to a cooling rack. Using a plastic spatula, free the short sides of the babka (the sides without parchment) from the sides and bottom of the pan by pressing the spatula down from top to bottom.


Using a pastry brush, brush on a thin layer of the Yuzu simple syrup. The amount you put on is up to you: the more you add the sweeter the crust will become. Let the babka rest for 10 minutes in the pan. Do not let the babka rest for longer than 10 minutes or it’ll be hard to remove from the pan.

After the 10 minute rest remove the babka from the pan.  Remove the sides of the pan by resting the bottom of the pan on a heat proof object such as a tall can.  Then you should be able to remove the babka from the base and center of the pan with the help of one or two spatulas.  Rest on a wire rack until cool to the touch.


Post bake edits

I will make the following changes for future bakes of this.  Increase the total recipe by 25% to allow a full wreath with even final height.

Increase matcha to 6.125 to 7.5% to bring out more match flavour.

Do a total bake time of 70 mins, perhaps with an extra 5 mins at the end with the oven turned off and door kept closed.

_JC_'s picture

The importance of Dough temperature in Baking, DDT, FDT and more(learned from @maurizio Thank you! 🙏 There’s a lot more to learn! 


DDT - 26°c Deg x 4 = 104-(24+19+26(25.5))= water temperature 


Flour - 24°c

Room temp - 19°c 

Starter - 25.5°c

Water - 35°c

Friction Factor - 0(if mixing by hand) 


24+19+26+35 = 104


After 5.5 hours of Bulk Fermentation - 26°c(25.9)deg Final Dough Temperature

Measured internal dough temperature about 3 times and it’s consistent so I stop measuring it.





315g Strong Bread Flour

5g Wholemeal Emmer Flour

30g Wholemeal Spelt Flour

265g Water

70g Starter

7g Salt


2 Hours Autolyse

5.5 Hours Fermentation with 4 stretch and folds

20 Hours proof/prove Cold Retard (4°c to 5°c)


idaveindy's picture

Jan. 16, 2021. This turned out to be a mini-miche.

The goals for this bake are to tweak the previous bake, #30, by increasing the percent of whole wheat, pre-soak the add-ins, and weigh some things so others can better replicate it if they want.  The poppy seeds and maybe the corn meal in the previous bake were not quite soft enough for my liking.

First mix. All mixing and folding-in was done with a silicone spatula/scraper.

  • 15 fl oz water, 443 grams. Water was weighed, and the volume computed.
  • 1.5 tsp poppy seeds.
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds. These tend to clump in water. I had to break them apart several times.
  • 2 tbsp ground flax.
  • 2 tbsp quick oats, not instant.
  • 2 tbsp corn meal, not flour, but fine grind.
  • 1 tbsp jaggery, a.k.a. brown sugar.
  • 1 tsp ground bread spice. A mixture of sesame, coriander, caraway, and fennel, that was first toasted and then ground.
  • 1 tsp raw (ie not toasted) whole caraway seed.
  • 1-1/8 tsp salt.

The above was left to soak about 10 to 15 minutes.

  • 2 cups, 339 grams, of Bob's Red Mill stone ground whole wheat. This was measured by a 1/2 cup measure and weighed. I used the "scoop and shake" method, so figure 170 grams per cup with this measuring method.
  • I let it soak a while. 5 to 10 minutes.
  • 2 tbsp fat-free powdered milk, the instant-dissolving kind. Mixed/folded the dough  some.
  • Heaping 1/8 tsp of instant dry yeast. Mixed/folded it in.
  • 1 tsp sourdough starter, 100% hyd, 2 days since fed, stored in fridge. Mixed/folded in.
  • At this point, the dough felt a bit airy or foamy, not dense, not watery. I don't know if this feeling is due to the add-ins trapping tiny bubbles of air, or if the WW flour did that.
  • Let it soak a while, maybe 5 minutes.

The following was added in 3 stages, 3 sets of (water, folded in, then flour, folded in):

  • 69 grams (weighed) water, which calculates to 1/4 cup + 2 tsp.
  • 1-1/4 cup King Arthur Bread flour, 200 gr, both measured (.5 cup, .5 cup, .25 cup) by scoop and shake, and then weighed.
  • These were folded in until well mixed.

Then, because I had forgotten:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, folded in until mixed.

I then put the dough mass on some wax paper, cleaned the bowl, put the dough back in the bowl to weigh.  1151 grams total dough weight. I then drizzled about 1/2 tsp of regular olive oil around the perimeter and rolled the dough around to oil the dough and the bowl to reduce sticking.

% WW = 339 / 539 = 62.9%.

Hydration, not counting add-ins (because I didn't weigh them) = 512 / 539 = 95%.

Finished mixing all of it at 11:53 AM.

1:03 pm - 1 set of stretch and folds.

2:00 pm - 1 set of stretch and folds.

3:13 pm - 1 set of stretch and folds.  The dough feels good. My gut feel is that this is going to be a good loaf.

4:45 pm - The dough seemed ready, so... folded, shaped, put it in a lined banneton dusted with 50/50 mix of rice flour and bread flour.  I used the 8" (I.D., 8.5" O.D.) banneton, but after I put it in, I started thinking I should have used the next bigger one. Put plastic wrap from the bulk ferment over the banneton, plus a rubber band.  Put it in oven at same warm temp. (Not sure what temp, but  I keep it consistently over the "E" on the oven thermometer.)

5:16 pm - Checked on it. It had grown a bit, so transfered it to the 9.15" (I.D., 9.7" O.D.) banneton. I had used an oversized liner, so it was easy. Put the banneton in a plastic grocery bag, and into the fridge. 

This size banneton means that the loaf will be baked on the lid portion (also 9" I.D.) of the Lodge combo cooker, with the deep part as the cover.

6:00 pm - Started to pre-heat oven, 490* / 465 F.

Inverted the dough over parchment paper, brushed off excess dusting flour, and scored a #.  I flubbed the transfer of the parchment and dough to the hot dutch oven lid. You can see some unevenness.

  • Bake started at 6:53 pm.
  • Baked 10 min at 475/450, covered.
  • Baked 10 min at 465/440, covered.
  • Baked 10 min at 455/430, covered.
  • Uncovered after 30 min., flat, but nice separation at the scores.
  • Baked 10 min at 425/400, uncovered.
  • Baked 10 min at 415/390, uncovered.
  • Total time: 50 min. Final inner temp 208.8 F.


* First number is thermostat setting, second number is a cheapy oven thermometer that I keep in it. They differ by 25 degrees F.

The white paper plate is 9" diameter.

Top view:

45 degree view:

Side view:


The crust looks thick, but it's soft and chewy, the way I like it.

isand66's picture


I love adding Guinness to bread dough. It really adds a distinct flavor that is worth experiencing. It doesn't taste like beer so don't worry about that part.


I used some fresh ground whole wheat Ruby Red from Barton Springs Mill, freshly ground rye and freshly ground red corn flour. The cottage cheese doesn't add any flavor but does make the crumb softer.


The combination of flours and Guinness along with a little maple syrup made for a dark, thick crusted flavorful bread with a moderate crumb. All in all a tasty bread perfect for sandwiches or topped with some good cheese.



Here is the link to the BreadStorm files:




Levain Directions


Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.   You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.


 Main Dough Procedure


Since I'm now using an Ankarsurm mixer my procedures have changes slightly. You need to add the dry ingredients to the wet instead of my usual method. I added the Guinness to the mixing bowl first and then added in all the flour, mixed for a minute and let it sit for 45 minutes. I held back around 50 grams of the Guinness and added that after the autolyse along with the cottage cheese, maple syrup, salt and starter.  I mixed on low and medium speeds for around 6 minutes. Depending on your mixer you can mix more or less. You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  (Note:  if you are not using fresh milled flours you may want to cut back on the beer).  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer set to 79 degrees F. I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).


When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.


The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.


Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 540 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.


Right before you are ready to it in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.


Lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees. (Note: since I made one large loaf I ended up lowering the temperature to 435 F after 20 minutes as the bread was getting too dark).


Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.





idaveindy's picture

Jan. 14, 2021.

This started out as a bake of Steve Gamelin's 50% WW loaf, as shown here:

His formula is volumetric:

  1. 1.5 cups bread flour.
  2. 1.5 cups whole wheat flour.
  3. 1.5 tsp salt.
  4. 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast.
  5. 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
  6. 1 tbsp honey.
  7. 13 fluid ounces cool water.

I'm doing a little longer bulk ferment, so I used 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast. I also changed to 1-1/8 tsp salt, and used 14 fl oz water because of the add-ins.  The rest is SOTSOT.

My formula:

  1. 1.5 cups King Arthur bread flour.
  2. 1.5 cups Bob's Red Mill stone ground whole wheat flour.
  3. 2 tbsp corn meal.
  4. 2 tbsp quick oats.
  5. 2 tbsp fat-free powdered milk.
  6. 2 tbsp dry whole chia seed.
  7. 2 tbsp dry ground flaxseed.
  8. 1 tsp ground toasted bread spice: sesame, caraway, coriander, fennel. 
  9. 1-1/2 tsp poppy seeds.
  10. 1 tsp whole raw caraway seeds.
  11. 1-1/8 tsp salt.  (as opposed to 1-1/2 tsp.)
  12. 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast. (as opposed to 1/4 tsp.)
  13. 1 tsp sourdough starter, 100% hydration, 6 days since fed.
  14. 14 fl oz bottled spring water. (as opposed to 13 fl oz tap.)
  15. 1 tbsp E.V. olive oil.
  16. 1 tbsp jaggery, aka brown sugar, instead of honey.

Mixed at approximately 3:30 pm.  Will shape, proof and bake tomorrow AM.


I couldn't help myself, and did one set of four stretch-and-folds at 5:26 pm.  The dough seemed a little stiff, so I sprinkled on about 1/4 tsp of water.

Did another set of four stretch-and-folds at about 6:30p, and sprinkled on another 1/4 tsp of water.

Did another set of four stretch-and-folds at about 7:30p, and sprinkled on another 1/4 tsp of water.


I was up around 4:15 am, so I decided to check on the dough which had been fermenting at about 68 F room temp. It had at least doubled, and was bubbly on top.

So I folded, shaped, stitched the seam, and put it in a 8" inner-upper-diameter banneton, seam up, with a cloth liner that was dusted with 50/50 rice flour and KA bread flour. I put plastic wrap on top, held in place with a rubber band, put in a plastic grocery bag, and put in fridge, which is about 38.8 to 39.4 F.

Bulk ferment was 13 hours at about 69 F.

Final proof was 4.5 hours at 39 F.  The dough had risen noticeably in the fridge and was pressed up against the plastic wrap.

Pre-heated oven to 465 F.  Turned dough over on parchment and scored. It had a nice skin and it did not spread out much. But due to the uneven scores it spread in one direction more.  Loaded it into the deep part of a Lodge 3.2 qt combo cooker.

  • Bake started at 9:03 am
  • Baked 10 min at 450, covered.
  • Baked 10 min at 440, covered.
  • Baked 10 min at 430, covered.  
  • Uncovered after 30 min., good oven spring.
  • Baked 10 min at 400, uncovered.
  • Temp only 200 F after 40 min.
  • Baked 10 min at 390, uncovered.
  • Total time: 50 min. Final inner temp 205 F.

I forgot to weigh the final dough. But after cooling few hours, the baked loaf weighed 920 grams.

Benito's picture


I wanted to bake this bread again because my previous bakes about a year ago all left my wanting.  I made a minor change to Hamelman’s original formula by changing the whole wheat to a 2:1 ratio of whole spelt and whole rye.


Levain 123% hydration

Starter 21 gm

Bread flour 107 gm

Water 134 gm



Bread flour 214 g

Spelt 71 g

Rye 36 g

Water 109 g

Salt 8 g


Oats 34 g with 3 g salt and 125 g boiled water soaker. Correction, 174 g boiled water soaker.


White sesame seeds toasted 39 g

Flax seeds 39 g


Poppy seed 34 g


1.    Liquid Levain   --- Make the final build 12 to 16 hours before the final mix and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F. Mix Levain and Soaker at the same time.

2.    Soaker   --- Pour the boiling water over the grain blend and salt, mix thoroughly, and cover with plastic to prevent evaporation. Make the soaker at the same time as the final build of the levain and let stand at room temperature. If grains that don't require a hot soaker are used (such as rye chops in lieu of the cracked rye listed here), a cold soaker will absorb less water, and therefore it's likely that slightly less water will be needed in the final dough.

3.    Mixing   --- Add all ingredients to the mixing bowl. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes, adjusting the hydration as necessary. Mix on second speed for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. The dough should have a moderate gluten development. Desire dough temperature 76°F.

4.    Bulk Fermentation   --- 3.5 hours 76ºF 

5.    Folding   --- the bulk fermentation should be 3.5 hours with 1 fold

6.    Sharped and placed in banneton.

7.    Final Fermentation   --- After shaping leave on the counter at room temperature for 1 hour aliquot jar reached 75-80% rise, then place in fridge at 3ºC for 24 hour cold retard.


8.    Baking   --- With normal steam, 450°F for 20 mins then remove lid and baked for another 25 mins

headupinclouds's picture

A continuation of JMonkey's Desem with a whole wheat soaker (the epoxy method outlined in Whole Grain Breads) and an aliquot jar for proofing.  Bulk fermentation ended at <= 25% and final proof ended at around 75%.


  • the aliquot jar markings in these images represent the starting height, 1.25x and 2x, even though the final proof was started at 1.75x -- in subsequent experiments and their images the final proof line was adjusted to 1.75x.
  • updated bakers percentage formula for these experiments in this link  (84% hydration)


Southbay's picture
  1. It’s been a long time since I’ve put anything here. Just to try again, here are some pizzas and desserts I’ve been making. Sourdough purism has given way to practicality and flexibility in the Southbay kitchen and sanitarium. Pizzas and buttery layers are just easy and nice with some quick rise. Kouign-amann really isn’t that hard to make and well worth the effort. And we’ve been making pizzas 6 in a night lately. I had a college job at Gumby’s Pizza in State College, PA some years back, and it’s fun to sort of get the assembly line going. Long live your yeasts people!

CharlotteS's picture

After getting some great advice from the group I have been baking panettone this holiday season with considerably more success than in previous years. I have written out directions for my use next year and have added them here in case they are of interest to anyone else. I will post some pictures separately. Thank you all for your shared expertise!!  Charlotte

  • Panettone Directions
  • (from Breadtopia and Wild Yeast Blog)
  • I use the recipe (omitting the instant yeast since that makes my first dough ferment too quickly) and the general instructions for creating a firm “sweet” starter set out in Wild Yeast Blog. However, I have substituted the specific ratios for the day-of-bake starter builds and the instructions for mixing the first dough set out in Breadtopia.
  • It usually takes me about 2-3 days to convert my regular liquid starter (which often has been sitting in the refrigerator unfed for one to three months) into a sufficiently active and sweet firm starter to begin Day 1. 
  • For ingredient list, see


  • DAY 1 at 9:00 AM 
  •          Refresh starter
  • DAY 1 at 1:00 PM
  •           Refresh starter
  • DAY 1 at 5:00 PM 
  •           Final starter refresh/build
  • DAY 1 at 6:00 PM 
    • Start softening butter
    • Measure all ingredients for first and second doughs
    • Prepare dried fruit—Measure out the raisins/currants.  Add equal parts rum and water to cover and stir. Let them sit out, covered, at room temperature for 4-5 hours.  
  • DAY 1 at 9:00 PM
  • Prepare the First Dough
    • Measure temperature of starter and room to determine temperature of water [generally, based on my prior experience water should be 110 F (43C)degrees +  to achieve DDT of 76F (24C)].
    • Add the flour, sugar, water, diastatic malt and starter, broken up into pieces, into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the dough just comes together, around 3 minutes. Although this dough starts out very stiff, you'll eventually add a lot of egg yolks and butter, which will soften it considerably.  
    • Switch to a dough hook attachment and continue mixing on low/medium low speed for another 10 or 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth.
    • Start adding the softened butter, a little at a time, waiting until it is completely absorbed before adding more. This will take some time.
    • [Make sure you do not over work the dough any time during the mixing by checking its temperature frequently. If the dough temperature reaches 79°F (26°C), place the mixer bowl, dough and hook in the freezer for 10 minutes to cool it down before resuming.]  [This has never been an issue for me—the dough temperature does not increase as I mix it. I use an old kitchen aid and never go over speed 2.]
    • After the butter is fully incorporated, add the egg yolks, a little at a time, waiting until they are fully absorbed before adding more.
    • Continue mixing until the gluten is fully formed and the dough is smooth and shiny in appearance. The dough needs to pass the “windowpane test” before you are done. The dough processing may take 30-45 minutes or more to complete.
  • DAY 1 at 10:30 PM
  • Ferment First Dough
    • Place first dough in a large container with straight sides that can accommodate triple the current volume of the dough and cover it with a well-fitting cover or with plastic wrap. Mark the initial dough level so you can tell when it has tripled. If you are using a covered bowl without straight sides, take a small piece of dough and put it in a straight-sided glass, cover it with cling wrap and mark its level. You will use this piece to determine when the dough has tripled in volume. Place the dough (and glass with dough ball, if used) in a warm place to rise for around 12 hours, preferably at around 85F (29C) (could take 8 - 15 hours). [For me it takes around 8 hours if I start fermentation in my oven at around 90F (32C) with a cup of boiling water and let it drift down to low 70s F (22C) over night.]
  • DAY 1 at 11:00 PM
    • Drain the raisins/currants and gently squeeze out the extra liquid. Distribute them evenly on a cookie sheet lined with several layers of paper towels. Cover with several more layers of paper towels and another cookie sheet with a few weights on top to help pull any extra liquid out of the rehydrated dried fruit. (Alternatively, you can just roll the dried fruits up in paper towels.) Let them sit out overnight at room temperature.
  • DAY 2 at 7:00 AM 
    • Start softening the butter
    • Check on the first dough to see how it is rising. Depending on the temperature, it could take anywhere from 8 to 15 hours to triple in volume. You may have to adjust the times listed below accordingly, depending on your rising environment.
  • DAY 2 at 8:00 AM 
  • Prepare second dough
    • Measure temperature of first dough and room to determine temperature of water [generally, based on prior experience water should be 110F (43C) +  to achieve DDT of 76F (24C)].
    • To the first dough in the mixer bowl, add the flour, salt, egg yolks, orange zest, vanilla seeds, Fior de Sicilia and 35% of the water. Mix in low speed until the ingredients are just combined, about 3 minutes.
    • Turn the mixer to medium speed, mix for a minute or two, then continue to mix while slowly adding the sugar, in about 5 or 6 increments. Mix for one to two minutes between additions.
    • Continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and the gluten is almost fully developed.
    • Turn the mixer back to low speed and add the butter. Mix for a minute in low speed, then in medium speed until the butter is completely incorporated into the dough and the gluten has reached full development.
    • In low speed, add the honey, and about half of the remaining water. Mix until the water is fully incorporated.
    • Add the remaining water and mix until it is fully incorporated.
    • In low speed, add the raisins/currents and candied peels/ginger, mixing just until they are evenly distributed.
    • DAY 2 at 10:30 AM
    • Second Fermentation, Shaping and Final Proofing
    • Place the dough in a lightly oiled container (preferably a low, wide one, to facilitate folding).
    • Ferment at warm room temperature for about one hour, folding the dough after the first 30 minutes. If the dough seems very loose, fold it at 20-minute intervals instead.
    • Turn the dough onto a buttered surface. Divide the dough into 500-gram pieces and form each piece into a light ball.
    • Allow the balls to rest (may be left uncovered) for 20 minutes. 
    • Skewer the molds.
    • Shape the dough into tight balls and place into the skewered molds.
    • Proof covered at 80F for 4 – 6 hours (or about 12 hours at room temperature), until the tops of the dough domes are cresting just above the top of the molds and the sides are 1/2 inch or so below the tops. 
    • As soon as the sides rise to about 1to 3/4 of an inch below the top of the panettone molds, uncover the molds and leave the dough open to the air to form a thin skin and preheat the oven to 350F (177C), with the rack in the lower third of the oven.
    • DAY 2 at 3:30 PM (or later depending on rising time)
    • Prepare Glaze and Bake
    • Optional step: To mix the glaze, whisk all ingredients together. Pour, brush, or pipe the glaze evenly onto the top of the loaves. Sift powdered sugar generously over the tops, then sprinkle with pearl sugar and garnish with whole blanched almonds.
    • If you leave the panettone unglazed, use scissors to snip an X into the top of the loaf and tuck a pat of butter inside.
    • Place the loaves directly on the oven rack and bake for about 35 – 45 minutes, until the tops are dark brown and the internal temperature is 185F (85C). If the tops are already quite dark after 25 – 30 minutes, turn the heat down to 325F (163C).
    • While the panettone is baking, set up hanging apparatus. When the bread is done, hang them as quickly as possible.
    • Allow the panettone to hang for at least four hours, up to overnight. 


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