The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

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This is a follow up to my post  in the "Besuschio - The Definitive Panettone" thread, with a bit more detail.


I decided to make a fresh starter for my LM - probably not necessary, but never mind! I followed the instructions at 

using a homegrown organic apple, flour mix of Marriages organic BF and some Italian Manitoba flour (+ a little malt) + spring water.

I left it at 28C and it had doubled in 24hrs, so I followed the next few steps in Dietmar's instructions and after a day or two developed a routine of 50 starter/50 Marriages Manitoba/20 spring water at 28C. This fits nicely in a 300ml cream pot (dry storage), covered with a shower cap. I roll out and roll up the dough about 5 times, shape into a ball and put into a clean pot.

I do this at about 9am and 9pm every day, now with a bit less flour to reduce waste: 40/40/16. pH ends up pretty consistently at 4.1.

After 2 weeks the LM seemed pretty active, so I did the 3 refreshments at m9, e1 and e5. Final pH was a bit high at 4.5, but Dietmar gives a range of 4.3-4.4, so I didn't worry too much.



So next I made the primo in the Kenwood Major with the spiral dough hook. I would have liked to use the IM5, but there wasn't enough dough.


The recipe I followed said to mix the LM with the flour (Marriages Manitoba again) and water and develop gluten. Then add the sugar, then butter, then the yolk. The trouble with this method is that the initial dough was very stiff, so kneading generates a lot of heat and also it is extremely difficult to then incorporate the butter/yolk.

Much better I think to mix LM + flour + water + enough yolk to give a kneadable consistency, knead, then add the rest of the yolk bit by bit and then all the butter, piece by piece.

All in pH was 5.59. Temp was a bit low because of our cold kitchen - about 22C. Even if you attemperate everything, the dough loses heat in the mixer.



I made the secondo the next morning at m11.20 - it was well risen and had a pH of 5.15. Bulk was slow and I eventually baked at e10. I'd put 290g in 300g cases, which I think should have 360g dough in them, so I think I was waiting for some extra rise that was never going to happen.



A couple of sites I like the look of:


That's it - till my next attempt!




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A simple yeasted roll recipe from King Arthur with 67% whole wheat content.


I made this recipe recently when I needed a quick bake and I was really surprised at how well they turned out. A nice fluffy, soft crumb and pleasant mild wholewheat flavour.


A few recipe notes:


I used 7g IDY, mixed with the flours

Bread flour - Marriages organic strong white

White WW flour - Marriages golden wholewheat - the only white wholewheat flour you can buy in the UK

47g butter, 10g EVOO

I had a spare blood orange, so squoze this for the orange juice

I didn't have potato flour, so I used potato starch

honey reduced to 44g

made in the Kenwood with the spiral dough hook

develop gluten before adding the butter/oil until the dough leaves the bowl sides

add the softened butter bit by bit until all incorporated

scale at 100g

mist with water and sprinkle on sesame seeds prior to baking

bake with steam for 10mins, vent and bake for 7 more mins






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Inspired by a picture of Derek's (Yozzause) recent Chelsea bun bake and also by some Fitzbillies of Cambridge UK buns that our daughter sent us, I thought it was time to try my hand at them.

Similarities to cinammon buns of course, but a surprisingly steep learning curve to get them right. I will need a couple more bakes to get them nearer how I think they should be. But I'm happy enough for a first attempt.

The Fitzbillies have a sugar glaze top and bottom and I prefer this to the iced version we usually see. Also I used Derek's trick of soaking the dried fruit in fortified wine to soften it up a little and give a good flavour - a spot of cream sherry in this case, as I was out of tawny port.


Ready for rolling up:





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There are lots of different ways to make chapatis; this is how I do it.

Here's my equipment:

I'm lucky enough to own a vintage Indian chakla, but of course any smooth flat rolling board will do



and a belan/rolling pin



A tawa for cooking the chapatis



Chaba for keeping warm and serving




Very simple. I've been using Sharbati atta - whole wheat flour grown in India and very finely stoneground. No visible bran. I don't know how they get it so fine. It's very weak, so I like to add 20% medium strength bread flour, otherwise it tears easily.

I keep the hydration low - 62.5%. I used to go higher, but it makes life more difficult; the dough tends to stick to the chakla and tawa if you aren't very careful.

For liquid I use half cold milk and half boiling water. I put the flour in the mixer bowl, push it to one side and pour in the milk to the other side. Then I put the water into the milk pool, and knead the dough in the Kenwood with the spiral hook for about 5 minutes.

To make 4 chapatis - good for 2 people, I use:

  • 200g sharbati atta
  • 50g bread flour
  • 78g cold milk
  • 78g boiling water
  • no salt

Cover and rest for 20-30mins.



When ready to make, divide the dough into 4, press by hand to discs and roll out to a good size. Best to get rid of any excess flour as it burns and spoils the look of the chappies.

One of these is very useful:




Cook the chapati on the preheated tawa, both sides



When done, briefly hold the chapatti over an open gas flame, if you have one; it will char and puff up nicely.



Store the chapati in a tea towel on the chaba.

And here they are, ready to eat with your favourite curry!






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Otherwise known as South Tyrol Farmers' Bread

I made this a while ago but it wasn't entirely successful, turning out a bit "solid". The recipe calls for Austrian T960 flour which I think is the same as German T997.

The first time I made it I used home milled wholegrain rye sifted at #50. This time I had planned to use Shipton Mill T997 light rye, but it was out of stock and I was sent Doves Farm white rye as a substitute - a bit whiter, but close enough.

I now realise that it pays to take note of the rye flours used in these Austrian and German recipes. If T997 is specified and you use stoneground flour, even if sifted, you may well end up with a brick.

Anyway, this is the recipe I used:

I tweaked the flour bill slightly and used:

  • 100g Shiptons T997 (I had a bit left)
  • 200g Doves Farm white rye
  • 400g Lubella T550
  • 100g Caputo Manitoba Oro
  • 100g Millers Choice heritage wheat fresh milled, sifted #40

Apart from that I pretty much followed the recipe. I did add 20ml extra water as bassinage as the dough looked like it would easily take it.

I was concerned that the overnight levain hadn't risen much, but the pH was 3.95, so I reckoned it was good to go.

Loaves were proofed in bannetons and dusted with white rye flour prior to scoring.


I'm pleased with how this bake turned out; the crust is nice and crispy and the crumb is soft and flexible for a rye bread - and with a bit of that elusive "shiney" appearance. Much better than I recall it last time I baked it.



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I have been struggling with crumpets for a while. I've tried several recipes and always ended up with blind crumpets (no holes).

So I gave up for a while but not liking to be beaten, I decided to have another go. This time I tried Andy's (Ananda) TFL recipe from way back.

To my surprise I had success! Nice tasty crumpets with open holes, crispy exterior and good flavour. One thing that stands out with Andy's recipe is the large amount of yeast used - 6%! But it does seem to work.

Note that this is 6% fresh yeast. I used fresh yeast. If you ever try this recipe and use IDY, multiply the yeast quantity by your favourite factor - I use 0.4X




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Vienna Bread


While looking through my copy of "Manna" for a particular recipe, I chanced upon the chapter entitled "Vienna Bread". Vienna bread became very popular throughout most of Europe towards the end of the 19th century, with the arrival of roller milled white flour, compressed  yeast and steam injected ovens.

It is characterised by a soft, fairly tight crumb and a thin crispy crust and is usually made as rolls or small batons.

I thought it was time I tried my hand at it. Banfield usefully provides a recipe using just 1.5lbs of flour - ideal for the home baker. I did have to think for a minute about the 3 gills of water in the recipe. A gill in England was a movable feast: a gill of beer is considered to be half a pint, but a gill of spirits is a 1/4 pint. A quick reality check on dough hydrations and it was obvious that this was 3 x 1/4 pint gills or 426ml. The dough is enriched, with a small amount of powdered milk, sugar and lard or butter.



Regarding flour, Banfield disparagingly talks about London Vienna bread, made with a high proportion of very strong flour so a "giant balloonic sphere can be presented to the public". After such a comment, I thought I should keep the proportion of Manitoba flour down to 25%. I didn't want Mr. Banfield turning in his grave. For the rest, I used Matthews organic bread flour. The spec sheet says it comes from Kazakhstan and/or Ukraine, so fairly close to Vienna... and it is not particularly strong.



Fermentation temperatures are kept low, which apparently helps to produce a thin crispy crust.


I bulked for 3.5 hours at 21C, with a knockback after 2.5 hours. Final proof for 0.5 hours. Scale at 75-80g with a bench rest of 15 mins. Final proof 30 mins. Water spray prior to baking at 250C with lots of steam. Boiled potato starch glaze near end of bake.


I'm afraid I can never get the hang of Kaiser roll shaping, and the stamp is a poor substitute; I prefer the crescents and knots!












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We had some voracious bread eaters staying over Christmas (always nice to see your bread consumed enthusiastically!), so I needed to replenish supplies rapidly.

I decided upon a variation of Gavin's 100% freshly ground WW loaf, for which he kindly provided the recipe here.

  • I used an overnight 100% hydration levain at 15%
  • overall hydration 72%
  • 6% honey
  • 6% EVOO
  • 1% fresh yeast
  • baked in a big 9.5 x 5 x 4.5" tin and a smaller tapered vintage tin

Fast bulk and fast final proof - fresh yeast really makes things motor - if you're lucky enough to have it available.

Good loft and tasty eating. Of course the volume is easier to get when you are only using 50% fresh ground flour.







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Two rye mashes for upcoming Russian bread bakes. Both done together in the sous-vide bath.

First is a mash for Riga bread with homemade rye malt and T997 light rye; 2.5hrs at 66C:



Second made with Russian solod and home ground rye with the course bran sifted off; 5 hrs at 66C:



Store in the fridge. Breads to be made later in the week.




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Now that winter's here (even though they call it autumn still), the wood fired oven is all wrapped up in its waterproof coat and our pizza is made in the kitchen oven.

Lately I've been making pizza in teglia alla Romana as I think it works better than pizza Napolitana in a domestic oven.

This style of pizza is made with a high hydration dough (80%) and strong flour (W 300-380). It is shaped as a big square or rectangle of considerable thickness on a baking sheet and usually double baked - white or with tomato sauce for the first bake and then the cheese is added for the final bake.

The pizza is cut into squares for serving.

There are many recipes to try; this is one I have used a few times, quite successfully (it's in Italian BTW). I like the way it is all same day - some recipes involve 24-48 hours in the fridge, which requires a lot of planning ahead.

For the flour I used 300g Caputo Manitoba Oro + 100g Pivetti Pizza & Focaccia in the sponge and 100g Pivetti in the main dough.

The dough really is very wet and initially somewhat tricky to handle, but it does get easier as the gluten develops!

Anyway here's a few pictures of my latest effort - probably a little too thick - I might reduce the dough quantity a bit next time.

Shaped dough with tomato sauce. This proves for 40 minutes before going into the oven with some basil leaves added prior to baking:



Cooked mushrooms, chopped olives, mozarella and a little pecorino romano added to the part cooked pizza:



After the final bake:



The crumb:



A nice crispy base:






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