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I do this sweet bread every year but it is just this winter that I tried the sourdough version. As always, once I try sourdough, I do not come back to yeast. It will be the case for this bread as well. It is true that it takes time to make it but it worth every minute of it. 

I do this bread called "Cozonac" only for Christmas and Easter. Sweet bread is not my highest preference, but this one is a tradition that I know since childhood. I am continuing this tradition, especially for my kids, although I am now living in another country. The smell spread in the house when this cake is prepared for Christmas and Easter resides deep in my memories.

This is a sweet bread linked to traditions, memories, aroma and holidays. It is a treat to share with family and friends in joyful moments. It is also a delicious breakfast or dessert.




 300g stiff sourdough (50% hydration) 


Ingredients for dough:

  • 300ml of milk
  • 15g salt
  • 125g soft butter
  • 4 eggs (~230g eggs)
  • 825g strong bread flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 heap tablespoon of lemon zest
  • the above preferment

Ingredients for filling:

  • 2 egg whites (reserve the yolks for brushing)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 300g Turkish delight
  • 200g raisins
  • 200g ground walnuts


Directions and more details on my blog at: 

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Recently I was challenged by 2 nice members of this community to bake rye bread. Although Christmas time is a bit crazy for me in terms of preparations, I made a combination of Christmas with rye bread and here is the result that I share to the community bake:

It is a variation of the famous recipe of Hamelman's "40% caraway rye". This is my version for this Christmas without caraway and yeast. I tried another version with yeast 6 years ago and is posted on my blog at 40% rye bread with sunflower seeds.

But in this version, I was targeting a higher loaf despite the high rye content. I achieved this with strong bread flour for which I did an autolyse.



  • 389g rye flour (preferably organic)
  • 323g water
  • 19g rye sourdough (100% hydration)
  • 600g strong wheat flour
  • 350g water (warm)
  • 18g salt
  • the above preferment

Full recipe and description are on my blog at 40% Rye Sourdough Bread and on my Youtube channel:

Merry Christmas, TFL!

HungryShots's picture

Sour bran bread

This is a bread with a special ingredient, fermented bran and cornflour. It is what remains from making borsh. This thick mixture is your new borsh starter, called husti in Romanian. Romania has a tradition in using it for diets, traditional home medicine and even for beauty treatments. Why not adding it in bread then?

First, this is the recipe for making borsh and sour bran/husti:

So, when you make the borsh you use the liquid. That is the borsh. To get the liquid, you strain the entire mixture and what it remains is a fermented mixture of wheat bran, cornflour and pieces of rye bread. 

This thick mixture is your new borsh starter, called husti in Romanian. But you'll only keep a jar of it for the next batch and the rest you can discard.

I started then thinking about what this mixture is and how it will affect my dough. First thought was on humidity. First, it needed to be squeezed well well. Even squeezed, but it will add humidity to my dough. So the amount of water added initially in the dough needs to be kept low.

Then, this is bran and cornflour. Bran is a barrier in gluten network development, so it should be added a bit later in the dough. The best moment for this is the lamination phase. Bran is also already hydrated so this is already good. The cornflour, with its grainy structure, has no gluten. The bran as well, it should be added in the dough at a later stage.

This mixture also contains sourdough bacteria. This means that when added in the dough it will increase its population.

With this in mind, I prepared a recipe using white strong wheat flour with hydration of ~70%. The moment of adding the sour bran was for sure no earlier than the lamination phase.

The plan was made, so it only remained to put it into practice.


  • 150g rye sourdough (100% hydration)

  • 700g strong wheat flour (93.3%)

  • 50g rye flour (6.7%)

  • 500g water (66.7%)

  • 15g salt (2.0%)

  • 200g sour bran (26.7%)

I published the full recipe on my blog and for those preferring to watch instead of reading, here is the video of the entire bread:


The idea of using borsh ingredients to bake bread I have it from the amazing lady, Irina Georgescu.

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 Scored dough

I want to tell you a story about a special flour.

One day, I spotted a flour on the shelf of a local shop and it was a sparkling moment: an organic flour with 12% protein content with a greyish colour. Of course, I bought the flour, I had to try it right?

Well, I had some other types of bread listed on my TO DO list but I decided to use it to feed my lovely sourdough Maya.

After a few days, I noticed that my beautiful Maya was raising less and less. I blamed the temperature as the autumn was entering also into my kitchen. I knew that something was not right when my starter was not reaching even 50% after 8 hours. I resuscitated my dear Maya with some rye flour and put the flour in the pantry for another time.

About a week ago, while cleaning my pantry I found again the bag with this flour and I felt it was the time to give it a proper test. I quickly came with a 75% hydration recipe and with big hope I started my dough. Autolyse of 4 hours and the dough was looking nice and thin, although breaking the window test a bit faster. The more I was advancing the worse it was. S&F, 5 coil folds and I ended up with an awful dough. The only chance to rescue it was in a bread pad... no way that this dough would have stayed overnight in the fridge in a banneton. At the end of the proofing, I baked it immediately. The resulting bread was condensed, not much raised, with a dark colour but nice aroma.

I then sat on the chair and started thinking: "What was wrong?". My conclusion was leading to hydration. Maybe this flour was not handling well this hydration and I went out of the acceptable hydration window.

The next day I was ready to give it another chance. Jumped down from 75% hydration to 65% but ready to add more water if the flour requested. After mixing, it didn't look like, so I remained at the initial 65% hydration.

Things were going familiar with this second trial, nice S&F, 3 coil folds and I felt the dough was ready for shaping. It behaved exemplary!

Put in bannetons, started the 2nd fermentation at room temperature and then it stayed in the fridge overnight.

The next day, was the big day of baking. I took the banneton out of the fridge... wonderful behaviour at scoring and straight to the oven.

 And after 10 minutes every hope was ruined. The bead got flat and didn't raise too much. What a disappointment!

I sat again on a chair and concluded: there is a moment when you have to accept that some flours simply won't give you the expected results no matter how much effort or love you put to make them. And I am also very sure that every baker with more or less experience has seen this at least once.

I give up my hopes for this flour and go and test some better ones... Time to move on. Lesson learned to trust my feelings from the first signs when a flour behaves strangely.

HungryShots's picture

 This is a loaf of simple sourdough bread that can be done by anybody without prior bread baking experience. It is a one day bread, but if you want, of course, it can be retarded in the fridge during the final fermentation. 

Sandwich bread is very popular as enriched with milk, butter, sugar. My recipe is not an enriched loaf. Is a simple sandwich bread made from the 3 basic bread ingredients: flour, water and salt.

The sandwich bread is different than an artisan bread. On a sandwich bread, you want to be able to spread butter, so bread with big holes is not prefered. The sandwich bread needs to have many small holes so it is exactly the opposite what you are targeting with artisan bread. 

Sandwich sourdough bread sliced


  • 181g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 533g water, lukewarm
  • 869g bread flour (12% protein content)
  • 17g salt

The most tricky part of this bread was to know the exact quantity of dough to match the pan with the closed lid. I then had to try different quantities of dough to fit the pan.

For the method, you can have a look at the video above or read it on my blog at

Sandwich sourdough bread like a book

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