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txfarmer's picture

Over the past 2 weeks, I made several easter breads to share with family and friends, here they are...


- Tsoureki - Greek Easter Breads. No, I am not greek, and I didn't know of this bread until this year, but some of my running friends are, and I made this for our recent gathering.


The recipe is from the book "Celebration Breads", an old fashioned but very interesting book I got from the library. There are many similar recipes online, it's just a pretty rich (19% butter, and some eggs and sugar) firm dough braided with eggs in it. The shaping was quite interesting:

Nice crumb, very flavorful, very well received by my friends.

- Hot cross buns, using Dan Lepard's recipe here:

The interesting thing about this recipe is that it mixes the dough, retard it for 12 hours, THEN knead and shape them. Make the process pretty easy.

I tried two methods for the cross on top: equal parts of water and flour mixed together and piped on before baking, and icing poured on after baked and cooled. Most people liked the icing one, I thought it was too sweet, especially because there were so much dried fruits in the buns already. Both are tasty though.


- Colomba di Pasqua , Italian Easter Bread. Again from the "Celebration Breads". I know there are authentic sourdough version of this bread that takes days to make like Pandoro, but I was making this for a work gathering and had no time to babysit sweet starters. It's a simple straight dough method with almond paste, about 9% butter, sugar, etc in the dough. The dough was very wet, but it made a high risen, fluffy bread in the end. You can find the recipe online here:

Shaping was not as complicated as you might've thought. The whole recipe makes two birds, for each bird, divide the dough in two equal parts, and shape as following:

Twist and get get the head and tail, pinch a bit to get the beak, and cut to get feathers:

At the end of the proofing, brush the dough with egg white mixed with water, and stick almond slices on as feathers. Dont' forget to put a bit of almond as the eye.

I think I actually prefer this to using the mold.

Very fluffy and soft crumb:


Happy Easter Everyone!

sortachef's picture

Sortachef's Greek Easter Bread

 Greek Easter Bread


Makes one 2 ½ pound loaf


4 Tablespoons butter

2 heaping dessertspoons of honey

2 eggs

2 teaspoons dry yeast

1½ teaspoons salt (2 if using unsalted butter)

1 teaspoon anise extract

20 ounces (about 4 cups) unbleached white flour

1 1/3 cup water at room temperature

¾ cup additional flour for bench work

A 14" pizza pan fitted with parchment paper


4 red hardboiled eggs (see Dyeing Red Eggs @ )

1 eggyolk+1 teaspoon water for wash

4 teaspoons of raw hulled sesame seeds


Note: A flexible bowl scraper (or a Tupperware lid cut in half) comes in handy for working this dough.


Make the dough: In a mixer fitted with a flat beater, cream together the butter, honey, eggs, yeast, salt, anise extract and 1 cup of the flour. Beat well for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and ½ cup flour, beat for a minute; another 1/3 cup water and ½ cup and beat, etc., until you have used up all the water and all but a cup of the 20 ounces of flour. Beat for a further 2 minutes.

Scrape off the flat beater, scrape down the bowl, and put in the other cup of flour. Switch to the dough hook; run mixer 10 minutes on low (mark 2 for Kitchenaid). Scrape down bowl if necessary. The dough is not stiff enough for the hook to pick it up, but this mixing will improve its structure.

Knead the dough: Sprinkle half of the benchwork flour onto a counter or board, scrape the dough onto it and, using the scraper, quickly fold the edges in to the middle. Put a bit of flour onto the dough and let it rest for a few minutes while you clean out the bowl.

Knead for 5 minutes, adding flour as necessary until you have used up the ¾ cup of extra flour.

First rise: Put the dough into the bowl, cover and let rise at room temperature for 3½ hours.

Second rise: Use the bowl scraper to pull the dough in from the edges, releasing the air, and then let rise 1½ hours at room temperature.

Make the braid: Turn the dough out onto a barely floured counter. Cut a 5-ounce piece of dough off and put it to one side, covered. Now, make bulk of the dough into a snake about 2 feet long, rolling it on the counter under your hands to stretch it out. Let it rest for a few minutes. For the next step you will want a clean section of counter 3' wide, with no flour on it or the dough will slip instead of roll.

Roll the dough snake out to 3' long, and cut into three equal pieces of about 12 ounces by weight. Roll each of the three pieces out to nearly 3' long. Your dough ropes should be 5/8" in diameter and roughly uniform.

Put 3 ends together, cross two ropes and throw the third across the Y. Braid until the ropes are used up, keeping the dough slack to keep the braids loose and thick.

Make the loaf: Lift one end of the braid off the counter and slip the parchment lined pan under it, and then lift the other end around to form a circle. Overlap the two ends of the braid by an inch, and push your thumb down in at that point. The first egg will go into that depression.

Adjust the braided ring on the parchment to make it as round as you can, and push your thumb down to make depressions at the other 3 quadrants. Carefully put in the eggs.

Roll the leftover piece of dough into a snake the thickness of a pencil. Around the eggs, snip 4 places with scissors to receive the ends of the dough that crosses over them. Cut pieces of dough to make the crosses.

Final rise: Cover lightly with a cloth and let rise for 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400º. If you're using a pizza stone or quarry tiles (recommended), let them heat up for at least 30 minutes.

Glaze and bake: Mix the egg yolk and the water in a ramekin, and brush the egg wash over the dough, being careful not to cover the eggs. For best coverage, brush a second time. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400º. Turn oven down to 350º and bake for another 25 minutes, turning the bread around at halfway.

Let cool for at least an hour before sharing with your Greek friends.

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breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to share with you some spelt sourdough batards that I baked last night.  I'll post the recipe a little later.  Enjoy!


Total Recipe
500g Organic Spelt Berries (500%)
350g BF (35%)
150g AP (15%)
588g Water (58.8%)
20g Kosher Salt (2%) (I will probably do 1.8% salt next time)
60g Firm Sourdough Starter (60% Hydr) (6% of total flour, or 20% of levain flour)
1668g Total Dough
Makes 2 batards at approx 690g after bake

Spelt Levain (preferment 30% of total flour at 58% hydration)
150g Organic Spelt Berries (freshly ground)
150g AP
174g Water
60g Firm Sourdough Starter (60% Hydr)
534g Total

Final Dough
350g Organic Spelt Berries (freshly ground)
350g BF
414g Water
20g Kosher Salt
534g Spelt Levain
1668g Total

Evening before baking: Grind spelt berries for levain, cover and refrigerate.  This is just for convenience so I didn't have to grind in the morning.

Bake day:
8:30am - Mix spelt levain, cover and let rest on counter for 8-12 hours, go to work.
6:30pm - Measure out final dough ingredients, grind spelt berries.
7:00pm - Mix all ingredients for final dough in large mixing bowl by hand with wooden spoon until combined, then knead by hand in bown for 3 minutes.  Do not add any extra flour.  If dough sticks to your hand, scrape off with plastic scraper, dip hands into water and continue kneading.  Cover, let rest for 30 minutes.
7:30pm - Knead for 1 minute, cover and let rest.
8:05pm - Turn dough, cover and let rest.
10:00pm - Dough is ready when it has expanded, and when you poke it with a wet finger, the impression remains.  Divide into 2 equal pieces, shape into batards, proof seam side up on very lightly floured couche, cover with plastic bag so they don't dry out.
10:45pm - Arrange baking stone, stones in oven along with steam pan.  Preheat to 550F with convection.
11:30pm - Turn batards onto peel, slash as desired, place into oven directly on stone.  When they are all loaded, place 1 cup of water into steam pan, close oven door, turn down to 450F no convection.  Bake for 45 minutes, rotating half way through bake.  Cool completely before cutting.

Notes: I am using a hand crank grain mill.  This tends to grind the bran a little coarse.  Also, make sure that your grain mill is well lubicated with a food safe lubricant.  I am just using mineral oil, the kind you use to oil wooden cutting boards.
Mixing: My technique is a follows.  In a large mixing bowl, put the water in first, cut up the stiff levain in pieces, place that in next, then add the flours, and salt.  Mix with wooden spoon until combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and spoon, then knead by hand using wet hands.  Do not add any extra flour.
Autolyse: Just place the entire bowl in a large plastic bag.
Turning: I turn in the same bowl so I don't have to add any extra flour.  You can either stretch and fold, or just knead a few strokes and turn the dough ball seam side down.

Submitted to Yeastspotting

Mebake's picture

Though it may sound weird, but it is a mega Batard, more like Batard a la Miche.


200g Whole Rye Flour

600g Whole Wheat Flour (Half of which is bread flour)

200g White Bread Flour

200g All Purp

2 tablespoons fine Sea salt

2 Tablespoons Thym

100g starter (85% hydr) 

1/2 teaspoon inst. yeast (in the final dough)

All in all, it is 75% hydration dough, with wholewheat flours as Soaker, and White flours as Biga.

However, baking was done under a new cover this time, a Poultry roaster, large enough to accomodate this large oblong shaped banetton dough.


Bottom line, i learned that Baking a successful WHolewheat Loaf has all to do with :

Proper Soaking, Proper Mixing, Proper Fermentation, skillful shaping, and tried Oven baking.

Practice is the keyword here, no magic.


mompat5's picture

I would like to know if anyone has used the kitchen aid steam assist oven.  I am replacing my oven and was wondering if it worked well for baking bread with a nice crust.


ryeaskrye's picture

I recently acquired a new toy...a camera remote that also has timer features. Playing around, I shot a time lapse video of dueling starters. Here are 9 hours condensed into 12 seconds.

On the left is my San Fran and on the right is a Swedish Rye recently received from Northwest Sourdough. Both began with 80g of starter and were fed 80g of flour and 100g of water. 

The San Fran has 2 complete rises, 2 dramatic collapses and is starting a 3rd rise when the clip ends. 

The Rye peaked at 3h09m and again at 5h27m.

The San Fran peaked at 5h03m and again at 7h59m.

This was shot on a day when a storm front was moving through and the changing cloud cover caused the lighting to jump around a bit.



[ETA: I didn't like how PhotoBucket jumped 3 seconds into the video before starting, so I added a 3" header and changed out the video link]

ryeaskrye's picture

I have been meaning to start a blog here at TFL for quite some time. So...
I want to start this blog with a post influenced by why I began a bread-baking adventure in the first place. My quest began several years ago in an attempt to recreate a sourdough "pumpernickel" I and my extended family of Austrian descent relished when I was a kid growing up outside Denver. (Hi Pat.)
There was a local bakery near I-70 and Josephine whose name I can't recall and that has long since disappeared. However, the memory of their "pumpernickel" lingers among numerous family members that still talk about it at holiday gatherings. I decided I would bring those memories back to life. 
As my knowledge of bread has grown, in no small part due to the TFL community, I realize this is not really a true pumpernickel, but basically a 50% Rye with Caraway.
I adapted a recipe from Charles Van Over's "The Best Bread Ever" (my first bread book) by eliminating commercial yeast and converting to a full sourdough, increasing the percentage of rye, increasing final hydration, and pre-fermenting 39% of the flour overnight. Below is just the latest tweak of the formula and the resulting bake from a few weeks back. Being a bit of a purist, I dropped the cocoa for a little while, but discovered it does add essential flavor undertones in addition to being a coloring agent. (Hey...some people like chocolate in their bread.)
Despite ongoing refinements and continual variations, I have a base formula that finally satisfies cravings from a now distant era.

I used a 50-50 mix of Bob's Red Mill Pumpernickel and NYBakers Dark Rye, BRM Vital Wheat Gluten, Ghirardelli unsweetened coca, Eden Organic Barley Malt Syrup and KAF Bread Flour. And yes, I like poppy seeds.

Prefermented Flour = 38.89% Total Flour = 900g Total Water = 610g Final Hydration = 67.78%
General method:

  • Late evening the night before baking, combine starter, water and rye flour to make rye sour. Cover and ferment overnight.
  • In the morning, combine together all ingredients (except salt and caraway) just until hydrated. Let autolyse for 30 minutes.
  • With mixer running, add salt and mix for 5 minutes (KitchenAid @ Speed 2). Add caraway and mix for 2 more minutes.
  • Proof for 40 minutes in a warm place (76-80°F) then perform a stretch-&-fold.
  • Proof for another 40 minutes and perform a 2nd stretch-&-fold.
  • Proof for another 1.5-2 hours.
  • Preheat oven, stone and cover to 475°F.
  • Divide and shape dough into two boules or batards. Place either in covered brotforms or en couche. Proof for another 1 hour.
  • Lightly brush with cornstarch glaze (or spray with water) and sprinkle poppy seeds on top. (simmer 1 TBL cornstartch with 1 cup water for 2 minutes and allow to cool to room temperature for glaze) 
  • Score and bake covered for 15 minutes at 450°F before lowering temperature to 420°F and baking uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool completely on wire rack. Flavor builds when left uncut as long as you can wait. Goes well with european unsalted butter, cured meats and pungent cheese.


While the crumb make look dense, it is actually very even, light and moist. I normally have a more open crumb, but let this round overproof just a touch and was heavy-handed on the slashing. The flavor is clean and full with very little aftertaste..and meets the approval of all family members. The crust is thin and crunchy.
The non-poppy-top loaf was for those who get drug tested at work...


varda's picture

I wasn't planning to make baguettes in my seven day bread making challenge to myself, but this morning I realized that my refrigerator was being taken over by bread byproducts.   In addition to my whole wheat sour dough starter and rye sour, I had the leftover levain from the pain de compagne I made the other day, as well as the bread equivalent of a chain letter - a white flour starter for Amish Friendship Bread that a friend dropped off the other day.   I had no intention of making the friendship bread.   It has most likely never been cooked in an Amish kitchen, since it calls for a box of instant vanilla pudding in the batter.    But the starter looked fine and healthy and I've been feeding it for a couple of days.   So I decided to mix the levain and the "Amish" starter together, add some salt and make a couple of baguettes.   The thing that has been holding me back from making baguettes is I don't have a couche or a baguette pan, and I am hesitant to run out and buy them until I get a better sense of what type of bread I want to make on a regular basis.   So I just set these baguettes out on a board, and let them flatten out as they would while rising.    So these don't look like much, and I'm sure whole wheat baguettes would be considered an abomination by some, but they are actually quite flavorful, and I'm hoping that I will be able to figure out how to make these (or something like them) again.


Now I'd better take a break for a day or two to give my family a chance to catch up on all the bread!

kdwnnc's picture

Today's bake: Rustic Bread from this site.  I haven't cut into it yet, but I have a feeling that it will have a nice, open texture.  I didn't add any flour than what was in the recipe, so the result was a rather sticky dough that had so many bubbles while shaping that it got rather difficult.  The dough was so lose that after shaping into a boule with as tight a skin as I could make, I had a rather flat pancake at the end of the final rise.  But it had the best oven spring I have ever seen in a bread!  I am very eager to see how it tastes; it looks beautiful.  

bnom's picture


bailey and bread

The formula:

300 g firm starter

620 g water

750 g unbleached AP flour (530 g Morbread 12% protein, and 200 g Whole Food AP)

100 g wheat bran

23 g salt

The technique was similar to the San Joaquin Sourdough posted on Fresh Loaf


Submitted to Wild Yeast's Yeast Spotting:



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