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Benito's picture

Does one need a pizza oven to make pizza at home?  I don’t think so although I’d love to have one 😉  I’ve been trying to fine tune my processes for making the dough and finally baking the pizza.  I’m still using the recipe from the TFL community bake but I’ll post it below for those interested along with my small alterations.

One thing about baking in my oven with a cast iron is that I now bake on the roasting setting which activates the upper elements of the oven.  I’ve also gradually moved my baking steel upwards in the oven so that the actual cast iron skillet is on the equivalent of the second highest rack.  This has the effect of baking really hot and fast.  My first pizza I didn’t check for doneness and it went just a bit too far after 6 minutes at 550ºF.  The second pizza I checked and gave it an extra 30 secs after I turned it in the oven after 3 minutes of baking, so it had a total of only 3.5 minutes and yet was totally baked, again maybe just a bit too long.  Anyhow, I’m pretty happy with my pizzas but I’m always fine tuning things to see if I can bake them better.  I now also brush water on the cornicione immediately before the pizza goes into the oven, this has really helped with getting “leopard spots” on the cornicione so that’s one tip I can share.

For these two individual pizzas I made a home made pesto with basil, walnuts, Grana Padano and a combination of EVOO and toasted walnut oil.  The other toppings were a simple combination of roasted red peppers, sliced kalamata olives and sun dried tomatoes.  After the pizza comes out of the oven, extra pesto and Grana Padano was added.  Delicious.  If you haven’t made your own sourdough pizza dough yet you really need to give it a go.

 For 4 9” pizzas NY style thin crust 200 g each

Levain Build 100% hydration 35 g needed 


433 g bread flour

43 g Whole grain flour (50:50 whole spelt:whole wheat) (consider using whole Kamut instead of whole wheat)

4.76 g Diastatic malt 1%

252 g water and

41 g water hold out

8.43 g salt 1.71%

2.5 g sugar 0.5%

4.8 g olive oil 1.0%


Total flour 493.5

Total water 310.5 

63% hydration water only

64% including olive oil


Sourdough version you may have to adjust the amount of levain. At 3.5% PreFerment Flour (PFF) 2-4 day retard should work.


(1) In your mixer bowl(or by hand) dissolve the Starter or yeast in all of the Final Dough Water except the HOLD OUT Water.  (Add diastatic malt too)

(2) Mix in the flours until well hydrated 

(3) Allow to fermentolyse for 1hr 

(4) Mix in the remaining HOLD OUT Water, salt, and sugar mix until well-incorporated. 

(5) Slowly drizzle in the oil until well combined. 

(6) Beat or knead by hand until dough is moderately developed. The dough will be sticky and elastic. If kneading by hand, use slightly wet hands and avoid adding more flour. 

(7) Oil your hands and a suitable container. 

(8) Shape into a tight ball.  I divide the ball into four smaller ones each for one 9” pizza at this point.  Each goes into a small oiled bowl and allowed to proof for 1 hour before starting cold fermentation.

(9) Cold ferment in the refrigerator for 48-96hrs. 

(10) Remove to warm up to room temp for at 3-6hr or so before use, or you can ferment at room temp. for 6hrs.   2-3 hours seem ideal 80ºF 

(11) Stretch the balls into your desired size skins (see video below), top and bake at 550F (as high as your oven will go) Until the crust is browned and the cheese has melted. Spin the pie at least once to avoid burning due to oven hot spots. I have included a link to a skin stretching tutorial. Watch this video, more than a few times then go through the motions in your head. If you can see it in your mind's eye, you too can be a home oven pizzaiolo! 


Heat oven to 550ºF roasting setting, with skillet in oven on baking steel on the second highest rack about 1 hour.  My set up with the baking steel on the roasting rack that set up is on the third highest rack because of the added height from the roasting rack so it essentially makes the skillet on the second highest rack.

Place stretched dough into skillet and top with sauce and toppings.


Brushing water on the cornicione prior to baking in oven, gives better oven spring and leopard spots to the cornicione. 


Make sure the non oily side of the dough is down in the skillet to avoid a burnt bottom. 



Bake for 3 minutes at 550ºF then rotate and bake for another 3 minutes.  As mentioned earlier, watch the crust as I have found the second pizza often bakes faster than the first.

Carlo_Panadero's picture

Seeded Rye Sourdough Loaf.. Been a while since I post from here so much to catch up...



Day 1 – Pre-ferment

-50g active rye starter 100% hydration

-100g Whole Rye flour

-120g cold water 5-7c deg



-100g Pepitas,Sunflower and sesame seeds +

- Boiling water


Day 2

-Pre-ferment as above

-25g Whole Rye flour

-50g Whole Wheat Flour

-175g Bread Flour

-7g fine sea salt

-30g molasses (black treacle)

-150g Warm Water



Day 1

- Mix flour, water and starter with cold water and leave for 12-14 hours

Day 2

- Add boiling water to your mixed seeds, soaked for 30 minutes then drain.

- Prepare your tin, Put oil in your tin and baking paper. 24x14x8 cm

- In a seperate bowl add all ingredients and mix well, rest for 1 hour

- Pour mixture to your prepared tin and add a hand full of seeds the press it down. 

- Leave to proof for 2-3 hours until volume has increased. 

- Halfway thru your proofing pre-heat oven to 250c Deg and bake for 20 minutes and 40 minutes at 180c deg


Benito's picture

This was a partially successful experiment using pandan extract and coconut milk.  The final bake leaves something to be desired, but my first attempt was a major fermentation fail.  In the first attempt, I failed to account for the reduction in hydration caused by replacing all the skim milk with full fat coconut milk.  The increased enrichment and decreased hydration caused fermentation and rise of the dough to go extremely slowly.  At first I thought that something must have gone wrong with my levain but in the end I don’t think that was the primary problem.  That dough in total was baked after 36 hours of rise a combination of warm and cool temperatures.  In the end the dough rose only a bit in the oven and had an excessively sour flavour.

So thinking about trying this again, I decided to increase the hydration by increasing the pandan extract in the dough.  The problem of course was that the dough ended up being a greater weight than I usually use and as a result had way too much of a mushroom top to it.  Also despite a longer bake the sides couldn’t hold the weight of the top of the bread and started to collapse in on itself.  Not a stellar result.  Hopefully this bread will taste alright.  I’ve never tasted pandan, just hearing about it from some Asian bakers so I wanted to try it out.  If we actually like this flavor, I’ll try again and also reduce the dough weight by maybe 100 g  to reduce the crazy mushroom top and subsequent collapsing sides.  Oh I also used the 0.5 tsp of IDY because I wanted this to be ready today.

For Pullman 9x4x4” pan


Sweet Stiff Starter - overnight cool room temperature

• 53g bread flour 

• 24g pandan extract    

• 18g sugar 

• 18g sourdough starter ~100% hydration 


Tangzhong classic 1:5 ratio

• 52g coconut milk + 37 g pandan

• 18g bread flour   


Dough Dry Ingredients 

• 360g bread flour 

• 50g sugar (reduced from 59g)

• 7g salt 

(Optional IDY 0.5 tsp)


Dough Wet Ingredients 

• 77g coconut milk 

      • 62 g pandan extract + 53 g (to compensate for the low water in coconut milk)

• 59g egg beaten (about 1 ⅕ of a large egg)

• 67g melted butter 


Total flour = 431 g


The tangzhong, levain and all the wet ingredients were mixed then added the dry ingredients mixing on low until no dry flour.  Rested for 10-15 mins, then mixed on high until good gluten development.


After 2-2.5 hour of bulk I placed it in the fridge for 1 hour.  after this divided, shaped into boules and then into swirled rolls.  Placed into pullman pan alternating the swirls.


Baked 350ºF for 50 mins then taken out of pan and placed back in over for another 10 - 15 mins bake.  Watch the top crust as it may get too dark too quickly so may need to be shielded.

HeiHei29er's picture

I have been working on a new starter, and you can find details on that in my forum post.  Yesterday's bake was the second bake using it, and so far so good!

Vermont Sourdough with a Cracked Rye Soaker

The first bake was two loaves of Vermont Sourdough with a cracked rye soaker added to it.  The only variation is the levain.  I did not use an overnight levain build per Hamelman's method.  Instead, I used the same amount of prefermented flour but out of a starter refresh at 140% hydration.  Loaves turned out great!  Completed bulk in 4 hours (50-75% rise at 76 deg F) and final proof in 1 hour.  No crumb shot for these as they were both spoken for by friends.


Maple Spelt and Barley

This loaf was an experiment.  I picked up a 10" round banneton and haven't made a loaf with it yet.  This loaf was a porridge bread that used farro, hulled barley, maple sugar, and whole milk for the porridge.  The loaf also had spelt and barley flours.

The porridge was made by cooking the farro and hulled barley with water only and low heat until fully hydrated and soft (~2 hours).  The fully hydrated grain was pureed in a food processor before returning to the pot where the milk and maple sugar was added.  Cook on low heat and stirring regularly until the porridge is creamy.

Again, I used the new starter at 140% hydration after a 9 hour refresh.  I didn't know where to go with hydration as this used spelt, had a significant amount of low gluten flour with the barley, and had a creamy porridge.  It was on the wet side after final mix.  Thought about adding a little more flour, but I wanted to see if the flour would take it.  It was close, but the loaf spread a little more than I wanted.  This bread proceeded very similar to the VSD.  Bulk was nominally 50-75% rise and was done in just under 4 hours.  Final proof was also an hour for this dough.

The loaf spread more than I wanted, but I attribute that to the moist dough and the spelt.  I couldn't quite get the strength in the dough that I wanted.  However, the crumb was excellent with this bread!  I split it with my neighbor, so I had to cut it a little early (~ 5 hours after baking).  It was still curing, but very happy with it! 

All three of these loaves were baked at the same time using the new baking steel.

Danni3ll3's picture

This was an interesting bake as I don’t remember the last time I just used plain white flour to make a loaf of bread. Reason for making this is that my dad is in dialysis and his diet is extremely restricted. Plain white sourdough bread is allowed. So the only bit of whole grain comes from the starter and comes out to only 25g per loaf. The dough felt very different than what I’m used to dealing with. I added an undetermined amount of water when it was in the mixer because it was too stiff so water amount is a guess. 

So it was basically 1200 g strong bakers unbleached flour, 750 g water plus extra, 22 g pink Himalayan salt, and 250 g 100% hydration Levain. The levain has 75 g of whole grain Kamut and 50 g white flour. 

  1. I simply followed my usual procedure using 10 minutes in the mixer and 4 coil folds after that. The dough took a bit longer to ferment than my heart healthy loaves. Baking was the same. 
    Crumb seems to be very creamy and custardy. It might have benefited from baking a bit longer. Then again, it wasn’t completely cooled off when we cut into it. Blame hubby for that. 
Danni3ll3's picture



Makes 3 loaves



150 g rolled oats

300 g water



700 g Strong Bakers Unbleached flour

200 g freshly milled whole grain Spelt flour (200 g Spelt berries)

100 g freshly milled whole grain Kamut flour (100 g Kamut berries)

50 g freshly ground flax seeds

25 g black sesame seeds

700 g water + 25 g

22 g salt

30 g yogurt

50 g olive oil 

250 g levain (procedure in recipe)

Extra wholegrain flour of your choice for feeding the levain


The night before:

  1. Mill the grains and place in a tub. Add the unbleached flour to the tub as well. Cover and set aside.
  2. Take 10 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 20 g of water and 20 g of wholegrain flour. Let that rise at cool room temperature for the night. 


Dough Making day:

1. Early in the morning, feed the levain 100 g of filtered water and 50 g of strong baker’s flour and 50 g wholegrain flour. Let rise until doubled (About 5 hours, mine was ready in 4 and a half). 

2. About two hours before the levain is ready, put 700 g of water in a stand mixer’s bowl and add the flours from the tub.  Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes. Autolyse for a couple of hours at room temperature. 

3. Make the porridge: Add the water to the rolled oats and cook on medium heat until the liquid is absorbed and porridge is very thick and creamy. 

4. Once the autolyse is done and the levain has doubled, add the salt, the yogurt, the porridge, the oil, and the levain to the bowl. Add the extra water if needed. Mine needed it. Mix on the lowest speed for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on the next speed for 9 minutes. 

5. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a lightly oiled covered tub. Let rest 45 minutes in a warm spot (oven with light on). 

6. Do 2 sets of coil folds at 45 minute intervals and then 1 more set after 30 minutes. Let rise about 30%.

7. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~860g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter. 

8. Do a final shape by flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities. Finally stretch the two top corners and cross over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.

9. Sprinkle a  mix of rice flour and all purpose flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge overnight.


Baking Day

1. The next morning, about 11-12 hours later, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 

2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 20 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205 F or more.

albacore's picture

I was reading how UK bakers, especially in Scotland and Ireland, used to bake their batch loaves in wooden frames. That's right - the wooden frame goes INTO the oven! Originally, the bakers didn't even use a frame - it was just lengths of heavy timber inserted into the oven defining a rectangle with the dough pieces inside the rectangle. Interestingly, these lengths of wood were called "upsets".

There's a Scottish baker, Wild Hearth Bakery, who does these batch loaves to perfection. Some regional German breads are also baked the same way.

The idea was so wacky, I just had to try it! Like all new things baking, the journey turned out to be a lot longer than expected....

So I made a simple frame designed for 2 loaves. Oak for 2 sides and maple for the other 2 - just what I had available. I guessed at a size of 5" tall x 9" x 6 3/4" internal. Simple butt joints screwed together:


I made white yeasted bread based on a 4 hour sponge. Baked for 1 hour at 200C Two main problems: the dough stuck badly to the wood (even though oiled well multiple times) and not enough rise.




I then read that the frames should be oiled and baked empty for 60 mins at 190C. This certainly eased the sticking problem, especially if the frame is oiled and floured before use.

The second bake was similar to the first, but with the sticking problem more or less solved. This helped the loft. It was a lot bolder, too:

Both bakes had excessively thick bottom crusts. I'd baked  with the frame sat on a thin baking sheet which was then placed on my bake stone. So for bake 3, I did away with the bake stone and used another thin steel baking sheet instead. This worked fine.

I also get fed up of nearly white bread and did a 100% sponge enriched dough with 20% freshly milled heritage wheat (Millers Choice) and SD levain along with the yeast.

This solved the rising problem, but introduced problems of its own, with the loaf sides collapsing in with a doughy strata in there as well.

Probably reducing the hydration will solve this. Another problem is that the outer wall of the loaf (in contact with the wood) never rises as high as the inside wall so the loaves are lop-sided - I think this is a known fact.


Although this loaf looks worse than the earlier ones, it's actually very tasty!

So quite a journey - and more to do!

Will I carry on? Sadly, probably not, as I don't find any advantages in the loaves or their flavour. Some say there is a woodyness or smokiness there, but if so, it's very subtle.

It's also quite a chunk of hardware to have lying in the kitchen (somewhere).

Still, it was a good learning curve!


happycat's picture

A Yudane Demi-Baguette

I was curious about yudane, a scalding method whereby you take 20% of the flour of your bread and treat it to equal weight of the water from your recipe at boiling temperature and let it gelatinize overnight.

This blog describes my experience doing it. I was very pleased with the results of using a freshly-milled whole wheat kernel yudane in a sourdough baguette. Crispy crust, fluffy crumb, creamy almost buttered flavour and texture with a mellow wheat flavour.

Recipe Source

I've made my own pale imitation of Maurizio Leo's sourdough baguettes weekly for a few months now. I use a 100% hydration dark rye starter. I had to tone down the dough hydration to make it manageable for me (reduced levain from 140 to 115g; reduced added water from 100g to 40g). To enhance flavour I used a 10% rye, 90% AP + gluten. Last week I also did a 10% atta durum blend in addition to the rye.

Hard Wheat Kernels Inspiration

This week, I found hard wheat kernels on sale at Bulk Barn and I bought a kilo to play with. I decided to use a yudane method to handle the fresh milled kernels and all their bran. Part of using yudane method includes increasing hydration to make up for the water locked into the gelatinized dough. So I boosted my levain up to 130g and my added water back to 100g. Since I was using a yudane, I eliminated the added gluten as well.

Grinding Kernels By Hand

Here's 100g of kernels or so in my Porlex coffee grinder. It wasn't too bad grinding out 200g of kernels while watching some TV. It didn't feel that long to me and I certainly wouldn't buy an electric mill for this amount.


Here's the flour post grind... lots of bran.



Making Yudane With Boiling Water

I added 200g boiling water to the 200g of whole grain flour to make a firm paste.



I covered the paste and left it on the counter overnight... a key yudane step. Next morning it was a dark, firm paste. 



Adding Yudane to the Baguette Dough

Making the baguettes I autolyse flour and water for 30 mins then add the salt and levain. In this case the autolyse was all AP.

I cut up the yudane paste and added it to the autolyzed flour and water + salt and levain from the recipe. Cutting it up probably didn't help. It took quite a beating to integrate it with the dough. Here's the dough after kneading with the dough hook on a Kitchenaid Pro (5 mins, 15 min rest, 5 mins, 15 min rest, 5 mins). 


Retarded Bulk Overnight in Fridge

I did a retarded bulk in the fridge overnight and turned out the dough. It puffed up quite a bit overnight. I divided into 6 x 318g portions and shaped and proofed on pieces of parchment with all the loaves tucked up against each other in a pan.



Baking and Cooling

Preheated the oven to 500f with the baking pan in. Slashed and sprayed dough and loaded 3 onto the pan and turned down to 475 for 25min bake. Kept second set in the fridge, then did them afterward. 

RESULTS: Loaves, Crumb Shots, Taste and Texture

The loaves look the same as the past despite having 20% whole wheat with all the bran, no gluten added this time, and hydration increased.


Crumb shot... looks similar to usual for past loaves. The texture was moist almost creamy with a nice soft chew to it that I like, and which is an improvement. Lightly crisp crust which is also an improvement. And the flavour... it's almost tasting like it's buttered. There's a nice whole wheat flavour but it's rounded and mellow. 



Conclusion and Future Direction

I like this version a lot! 

I think I might try a buckwheat yudane as well (lots of flour) and fresh-milled farro (kernels also at Bulk Barn). 

EDIT: next day, thawed a loaf and toasted thin slices for open faced sandwiches, My favorite bread ever... taste and texture, wow. I am a total convert to yudane.

-- David

idaveindy's picture

Oct. 15, 2021.

Goal: 90% WW, no Sharbati this time, 3/8 tsp ADY, 90+ g old dough.


A: 9:15 am, mixed 108 g Patel SG WW durum, 81 g H2O, 93 g old dough from previous batch.

B: 10:25 am, mixed 252 g BRM SG WW, 189 g H2O.

108 + 252 = 360 g WW

C: 10:31 am, mixed/kneaded-together A + B.

11:35 am: mixed 50 g H2O + 6 g powdered milk, and kneaded it into C.

Kneaded in 3/8 tsp active dry yeast.

11:50 am: kneaded in 8 g salt, then kneaded in 40 g organic AP flour (Arrowhead Mills.)

Total flour (not counting old dough): 360 + 40 = 400g. 

360 / 400 = 90% WW. 

Total water (not counting old dough) 81 + 189 + 50 = 320g. 

Hydration (not counting old dough): 320 / 400 = 80%.

12:06 pm: kneaded in 5 g grapeseed oil. Let sit in container at room temp.

12:50 pm: put container of dough in fridge.


JonJ's picture

Gosh. Kicking myself that I hadn't tried out parmesan in my breads before. This bread had a great combination of inclusions: 41g of parmesan cheese, grated from a frozen block. Fresh zest of one lemon, about 3 tsp worth. 2 tsp of dried origanum (marjoram). And 45g of Kalamata olives (13 ea). Incredible smell when it was out of the oven. I couldn't wait the two hours for it to cool. Was cutting into it after 40 minutes, sometimes it is the guilty pleasure of hot steamy crusty bread that is the most enjoyable.

This bread is, once again, a raisin water yeast bread, and once again using the Hamelman recipe from the community bake as the base. For this one though I didn't have time to do a double build. So there was only a single build made using 153g active and fizzy raisin yeast water straight from the fridge, with 169g strong bread flour and 57g atta, other than that (and the different inclusions) it was faithful to the community bake recipe.

The build was used 9 hours later in the final dough, which was mixed all-in-one together with the salt. Had more trouble than usual getting the stand mixer to run 'clean' which is my normal guide to good gluten development. Previously, with the same flours I've done an all-in-one mix with this recipe and had good gluten development after about 8 minutes but this bread ended up getting a whopping 27 minutes of mix time (in 10 minute intervals with some rest between) before I was satisfied. Next time I will pay closer attention as to the order of adding items to the mix, and might do an autolyse or delay the addition of the salt (which is a great tool to tighten the gluten if the dough isn't developing satisfactorily). 27 minutes of mix time is not typical for me, but it certainly built a nice enough crumb!

A lamination was done shortly after the mix and all the inclusions were added in then. There was no opportunity for a coil fold, as bulk fermentation was in a proofer set to 27°C (80°F) and fermentation proceeded quickly. The dough was final shaped 2 hours after the initial mix, and then had an additional 1.5 hours of proof time in the proofer followed by 30 minutes in the fridge whilst the oven completed heating. The final volume increase of the aliquot jar was 200% (in other words, the dough was three times the original volume). I've been pushing the volume increase of these yeast water breads to see what I can get away with lately.

I tried out "Danni's banneton method" where the shaped dough is placed into the banneton seam side down. I like how the dough grew in the banneton after the shaping. The reason why I was trying out this technique was that I've been finding it difficult to score the room temperature dough, especially when it is soft and 'jiggly' as this one was. So the attraction for me of the method is that the bread does not need to be scored with the expectation that it should open up at the seams on the top during the bake. The seams didn't really open on this one very much though. The exterior wasn't exactly ugly, but it also wasn't what I would call charming! At least the bread did not flatten out.

The interior of the bread was lovely. Could taste all of the various flavours and the parmesan and lemon flavours dominated. I might use less lemon next time as it was perhaps a little too strong. There was an interesting layering of the crust at the base of the bread and the crust had that enjoyable glassy brittleness. Not sure if that was from the seam side up method or from the long mix time the dough had.



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