The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Panadero's picture

I am looking for recipes on how prepare and to bake these types of breads-memories of Puerto Rico 1950's early 60's.

txfarmer's picture

From Maggie Glezer’s "Artisan Breads" again, the recipe can be found online here: , I highly recommend buying the book though.


All the sourdough breads in that book use a 60% firm starter, I recently converted a portion of my 100% starter to 60%, just to see the difference in handling and taste. The firm starter has been going for about 3 weeks now, I'd say it's definitely more sour than my liquid starter. This bread requires to mix the dough very well before adding the cooked polenta, after it's added, the dough became very wet, sticky and slack. It got some structure after 3 sets of S&F, but when I dumped the boul out of the proofing basket, it was a sad flat disk. My heart sank, I thought I'd end up with a dense pizza. Nope! It grew and grew in the oven. In fact, I definitely underproofed (the instruction specifies 2 to 2.5 hours @ 75F, I did 2 hours at 75F). From the crumb shot below, you can see the bottom is denser than the middle and top, another 30 to 60 minutes of proofing would make a more even crumb I think. The big holes were unexpected and amazing though! Must've been all that liquid in cooked polenta, the dough was slack for a good reason.


Made one boule and one batard, the spiral scoring pattern on the boule was from the book's instruction, not easy to get smooth on such a slack dough. Since I underproofed, the boule became more like a pyramid, stretched upward very tightly. To get a more rounded semi-sephere shape my scoring should've deeper, or proofing time should've been longer. Scored the batard in a "leaf" like pattern, also a bit underproofed, which explains the uneven hieght.

I liked how the bread tasted - chewy (there's some high gluten flour in there), earthy (the cooked polenta), mediumly sour. Even though the polenta on top adds texture and makes it more interesting to look at, I would skip it next time since it got very messing during cutting and eating. Polenta all over the counter, table, and floor. A very good bread to try!


Has anyone else notice that firm starters has a lot more rising power in the oven, comparing to liquid starter doughs? I am used to using my 100% liquid starter, which is why I keep under-proofing firm starter breads.

varda's picture

Until I found this site, I had never heard of spelt much less cooked with it.   Today's entry in my seven breads in seven days self-teaching event is a multigrain batard with spelt.   I made this using (slightly modified) no-knead methods.   This loaf lost its shape a bit while baking and looks like a boule from one side and a batard from the other.  

Here is the formula:

225 g bread flour

30 g spelt

20 g whole wheat

25 g rye

210 g water

3/4 tsp salt

<1/4 tsp yeast (less than 1 gram so hard to measure)

Night before mix all ingredients and leave in bowl on counter.   In the morning stretch and fold in the bowl.   When the dough has risen again and looks like it's about to collapse but hasn't, scrape out of bowl onto lightly floured counter.   (Times respectively for these steps 12 hours and 3.5 hours.)   Pat into ball and let rest for 10 minutes.  Shape into a batard.   Place on board sprinkled with cornmeal.  Let rise until double and/or fingertip impression remains.   (Note - I let this go until it was well past double and dough was still springing back.   Finally after 2.5 hours I decided not to risk letting it overproof and popped it into the oven.)   At least a half hour prior to baking preheat oven and stone to 475.  Score.  Place loaf on stone and cover with a lid (I used the bottom of a metal roasting pan.)   Bake for 20 minutes covered, then remove the cover for the last 15 minutes.  

Any tips on how to do this better for this or the other breads I posted yesterday and the day before are humbly requested!

Doughtagnan's picture

This Sunday I baked one "test" baguette as I had been a bit busy playing with a new toy (an allotment!) so the dough had been a bit neglected and not worked much etc. The recipe was (loosely) based around the proth5 65% hydration baguette but my flour was a mix of some leftover french Pain de Campagne flour with some Spelt and 00 to make up around 300grams (the starter was rye). As it did not seem to be very lively or rising much so I did the test bake and put the rest in the fridge overnight as I thought the dough did not look very promising. However, the test bake was far more successful than expected, further proof that dough is pretty resilient!


After being left in the fridge overnight I hamfistedly shaped into two further baguettes and proofed the dough for an hour or so and baked with steam on max fan 250 for about 12 mins, results were even better, with much more oven spring. Also after watching the Lyon based "Bob the baker" on BBC TV slashing his baguettes my technique is coming on - I just used a hand held razor blade and one turned out better than the other, oh well. Cheers Steve


jennyloh's picture

I thought I'd share my (not bake),  but steamed chinese rice cake here.  This is something that is so dear to my heart,  as it reminded me of the time that I spent hours helping my mom doing this,  every year diligently, for some festivities.  Now that I'm away from home,  it's just something to remind me of home, family,  and I want to pass this little tradition to my little boy,  he did help out,  and did it well indeed.


This is a unique kind of cake that I probably see in Singapore/Malaysia,  and probably Taiwan, and the taste is chewy as it uses rice flour,  I forgot to take the inside.  This is usually filled with glutinous rice,  and other stuff like mushrooms, dried shrimps,  and even peanuts.

Details in

FYI - the word on the cake means "long life".


Sedlmaierin's picture

Ok, first off I have to admit that up until dinner all I ate all day was BREAD (plus an apple). Now, I don't know how I feel about that, but I can tell you it sure was tasty and I hope my husband and son will eat the rest, so that I don't have to be tempted to eat some more bread for dessert.

Let's husband has begged me to make Foccacia for a while and this weekend the moment had come. I decided to make Foccacia according to the recipe in Hamelman's "Bread" book (which as you can see by my past Blog posts, has become the only book I am using ever since I got it 1.5 weeks ago), which uses the Ciabatta with stiff Biga as a dough.Since the Foccacia recipe doesn't utilize all of the Ciabatta dough it meant, if I didn't scale down the Ciabatta recipe, I would have some dough left over to make one loaf of Ciabatta.

A few notes:

-it says in the recipe that one is to use "bread flour"-which I have never used before but thought, hey, I will actually buy this, this time around

-then after I had already started the Biga I decided to research the difference between bread and ap flour here on TFL and lo and behold I come upon some posts saying that when "bread flour" is specified in theis book that it really should read AP flour (I feel that my way of doing research may be a tad backwards ;p)

-after reading that retarding a dough overnight might weaken the gluten structure, I decided to use bread flour for the dough anyways, since I figured the higher gluten content might stand up better to the retardation(all you experienced bakers out there-please tell me if that rationale makes sense)

This time the bread making timing was all awry due to my duncehood-or maybe I can just say that I am experimenting in how best NOT to follow directions*wink*- here is what I ended up doing:

- once the Biga was ready, I mixed the dough and let it sit at room temp probably for no more than 30 minutes and off in the fridge it went.

-in the morning I did a S&F, then let it proof for about 45 minutes; here I divided the dough into the two pieces for the Foccacia and the one piece for the Ciabatta

-in total the Ciabatta proofed for about 1,5 hours after coming out of the fridge(wiht one more S&F) and that Focaccia for about 2.25 hours

I must not have floured the towel I had the Ciabatta proof on enough, since there were small parts that stuck to it, giving the final crust a strange "seam".

For the Foccacia I decided to make one according to Hamelman's instructions and the other one I baked according to the instructions I found in my italian cookbook by Marcella Hazan. The Hazan version calls for docking the dough after the rising time, with stiff fingers, and then drizzling the top of the Foccacia with an emulsion of olive oil, water and salt-this mixture will pool in the little hollows created by your fingers. One of them was topped with sauteed onions and the other with a little bit of onion and garlic.

The Ciabatta was done baking after 35 minutes-it almost turned too dark. At the bottom it has a very small blowout area-which I think means that I should have let it proof a bit longer after it coming out of the fridge.

The Foccacia had to stay in the oven closer to 30 minutes-they are moist and absolutely charming on the inside, but it definitely needed that extra 10 minutes to acquire some color.

And here are pictures:


plus crumb shots:

and here the Hamelman Style Foccacia:

And the Hazan Style Foccacia

and its crumb

My camera was being difficult so no crumb shot of the Hamelman style Foccacia. We already devoured the one with the olive emulsion drizzle and the Ciabatta is almost gone, too. Thos are some delicious breads! I will have to contemplate on which of the Foccacia versions I prefer-the olive oil emulsion definitely make the resulting bread very, very moist(but not soggy) in spots and it resulted in slightly flatter loaf.

I am happy with the results overall-the Ciabatta was one of the most heavenly thngs to eat!I definitely need more practice(in everything but also...) in gently laying down the Ciabatta dough-it is by no means a rectangle!


varda's picture

Today's bread is a pain de compagne.   I used and modified Bernard Clayton's instructions for Madame Doz's bread.   Compared to the milk bread I made yesterday, this is long and involved, with many steps that make the scheduling difficult, especially for a beginning bread baker, who generally can't hang around the kitchen all day.   So I allowed myself more flexibility on the times than what Clayton specified, and looked more at the condition of the dough than the clock to decide if I could get away with going late or early on several of the steps.   I have made this bread a few times already and this came out the best yet.   It starts with a "starter" with flour, water, vinegar, buttermilk, and yeast (belts and suspenders?) that goes overnight.   Then add whole wheat, water and wheat germ to that to make the levain, which hangs around on the counter for most of the day.   Then mix up bread flour and water into a dough.   Then merge the levain and the dough - balls of around equal size - into one big blended dough.   The step that I really don't understand and haven't seen elsewhere, is that when the two pieces of dough are merged, only then do you add a solution of salt in water and work that in.   Can't argue with the result though - even though this uses a fair amount of whole wheat flour, it still comes out very mild and light.   Although Clayton's total kneading time is around 20 minutes, I tried to do as little as I could and still get the dough mixed up, so as to have more of an open crumb.   I baked this in a dutch oven instead of on a stone with steam, removing the top for the last 15 minutes.  

I saved half of the levain in the refrigerator, but don't really know how to use it other than to just make another big boule soon.    It is not a starter, so I don't know if I can just add to it later without the "starter" component" when I'm ready to bake another Madame Doz.

Tomorrow - Multigrain batard using no-knead techniques.

pmccool's picture

What with having dinner guests on Saturday and more coming on Monday, it was a wonderful excuse for puttering around in the kitchen this weekend.  I started with Pain au Levain from Leader's Local Breads Saturday morning and followed with Rich and Tender Dinner Rolls from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cook Book and finished up with a Chocolate / Chocolate Chip cake, source unknown.  

Having posted about the Pain au Levain previously, I won't go into detail about the process here.  This bread is consistenly good, in both outcome and flavor.  This bake resulted in lovely oven spring and big ears, in spite of some rather deficient scoring.  It hasn't been cut yet, so I don't know about the crumb but the exterior suggests that the interior ought to be good.

The dinner rolls were a typical enriched roll, with butter, eggs, sugar and milk.  The two differences that set it apart from most such rolls was the addition of some whole wheat, maybe 20%, and no refrigeration.  The former was a pleasant addition in flavor and the latter was a real convenience since I was a bit pressed for time.  I just shaped them as simple pan rolls.  As the name suggested, they were rich and tender and a good accompaniment with dinner.

The cake was a bit over the top (which won't stop us from making it again!), what with a cup of butter, 4 ounces of melted chocolate, 5 eggs and buttermilk in the batter.  Oh, and chocolate chips, too.  My wife halved the frosting recipe (it called for 5-1/2 cups of confectioners/icing sugar), since we baked it in a 9x13 pan instead of in 3, 9-inch round cake pans.  This is not a light and airy cake.  It is moist, it is heavy, and it is sweet!  Good stuff, in other words.  Best of all, with others to help eat it, the danger of too much snacking on the leftovers is reduced.

Before going to bed Saturday night, I mixed a biga for Portugese Sweet Bread.  Today I finished the bread, shaped it as hamburger buns and baked it.  Now we have the base for some barbecue sandwiches for our guests Monday evening.  I've learned that the store-bought buns just don't stand up well to the sauce that comes along with the barbecue, so something like PSB is less likely to go all floppy in mid-bite while still being tender.

No pics of anything described here.  Just lots of enjoyment in both the baking and the eating.


siuflower's picture

where in Dallas, Tx to buy bulk flour (50 lb), good quality whole wheat and bread flour?



JoeVa's picture

In my previous post "Golosaria 2009 & Petra Lab" I wrote about Petra flour from Molino Quaglia. I said I'd like to try conTuttoIlGrano, the (very) whole version of Petra.


And now, my very first test with conTuttoIlGrano! You can read about these flours in my previous post but I want to give you more details about conTuttoIlGrano. "con-tutto-il-grano" means "with-the-whole-grain" and I think this is a perfect name. The flour is stone milled, GMO free (not organic), it has 80% whole wheat flour and the other 20% is wheat flakes, toasted germ and bran ... a whole whole wheat flour!

I baked a simple sourdough bread, here the main points:

  • 25% Petra1 + 75% Petra conTuttoIlGrano
  • 25% pre-fermented flour (100% hydration liquid levain), I used Petra1 flour.
  • 62% overall hydration
  • Short mix with S&F
  • Retarded in proof

          [The loaf]


         [The crumb]


And here the information from the bag (you can see the high resolution version on my zoomr page, just click on the photo then on the "lens" and select the original size). One side of the bag describe a formula with a yeasted biga. If you do the easy calculations the suggested hydration is 70% (maybe 68% if the dough is retarded). For sure this flour can go up to this high hydration (even more if you use a stiff 45% hydration biga that adds a lot of strength to the final dough) but I think this is not a must.

DSC03631 DSC03633 DSC03632

Yesterday I was reasoning about my oven + covered steam method and I think (maybe I'm wrong) the cover traps a lot of steam, sometimes too much steam. This could be a problem with high hydration dough (heart baked) because they need less steam but when covered they free even more stream than a stiffer one: result flat loaves. Ok, you can say don't use the cover with this dough but I wasn't so bravo to get a proper steaming with my crazy oven.

Conclusion: a great whole wheat flour. The loaf is perfect even if I think my starter doesn't like the "all in one" switch on Petra1.

Next loaf ... Pane Petra di Campagna?


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