Monday, 30 April 2012

Einkorn and Olive Oil Pizza Dough

Bread Baking Day #49 is hosted by Cravo e Canela - Uma Cozinha no Brasil. The theme is Pizzas & Italian Breads Revisited. I love pizza so any excuse will do.

I’ve been experimenting with Einkorn this month so I decided to make a whole grain pizza crust using only Einkorn Flour. I invited my taste tester over for pizza night, and to get him engaged in the process, I let him choose the toppings. He likes to watch the Food Network Channel so I thought he might have some good ideas. Turns out, he had some great ideas.

We created a masterpiece if I do say so myself.  The crust was thin and crunchy and the toppings were exceptional. We used Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, chunks of a mozzarella-prosciutto roll, tomato and basil-flavored feta cheese and a blend of Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano cheeses, red and green bell peppers, onions and crushed red pepper.  Delish!



Whole Grain Einkorn Pizza Crust

This whole grain pizza crust utilizes an overnight sponge and a biga. It’s a very soft and sticky dough so I added 7 tablespoons of bread flour to the final dough.  However, after I added the bread flour, and felt the dough, I realized it probably would’ve been okay without it, but it turned out great so it didn’t matter.

Makes: 5 Individual Pizza Doughs

Adapted from: Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart



  • 227g (1 3/4 cups) Einkorn flour
  • 4g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 198g (3/4 cup plus 2 T) water


  • 227g (1 3/4 cups) Einkorn flour
  • 1g (1/4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 198g (3/4 cup plus 2 T) water

Final Dough:

  • Use all of the soaker
  • Use all of the biga
  • 56.5g (7 T) bread flour
  • 5g (5/8 tsp) salt
  • 5g (1 1/2 tsp) instant yeast
  • 2 1/4 tsp agave nectar
  • 4-5 T Olive oil
  • additional Einkorn flour for adjustments


1. Making the Soaker:

Mix the soaker ingredients together until the flour is hydrated and the dough forms a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 12 to 24 hours.



2. Making the Biga:

Mix the biga ingredients together in a bowl until the dough forms a ball.  Knead the dough in the bowl for a couple of minutes to ensure the flour is completely hydrated.  You’ll need to use wet hands for this part because the dough is really tacky.  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead it again using wet hands.  Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate it for at least 8 hours. Take the biga out of the refrigerator about 2 hours before mixing the final dough.



3. Mixing the Final Dough:

Combine the soaker, biga, 7 tablespoons of bread flour (or more Einkorn flour), salt, yeast, agave nectar, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium bowl. Mix with a dough whisk or wet hands until the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough.  The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.  I had to add more flour to get it to not be so sticky.



Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and roll the dough in it.  Knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes, until the dough is soft and very tacky.  My dough was definitely tacky, sticky actually.  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes while you line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then oil it with olive oil. 



Knead the dough for another minute and make any final adjustments.  The dough will feel soft, supple and very tacky, sticky if you ask me.  Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces, about 6.25 ounces each.  Form each piece into a tight ball and place the balls on the prepared pan.  Roll the balls in the oil to coat the entire surface.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours.  You can use the dough right away, but it was so sticky, I refrigerated it for several hours until it was time to make the pizza. I left the dough balls in the refrigerator until the last minute and didn’t even worry about letting them warm up to room temperature before shaping them.  They were still really tacky so this helped.


4. Baking the Pizza:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. for an hour with a baking stone on the bottom rack.

Press the dough ball out with your fingers.  I spread the dough out on parchment paper drizzled with olive oil to help the dough spread more easily and keep it from sticking to my fingers.  It also gave the pizza a nice crunch.



Parbake the dough for a couple of minutes before adding the toppings.  Then add the toppings of your choice.  As I mentioned earlier, we topped our pizzas with fire-roasted tomatoes, chunks of a mozzarella-prosciutto roll, basil-flavored feta cheese and a blend of parmesan, asiagio, and Romano cheeses, red and green bell peppers, onions and crushed red pepper.  It was a great combination!



Bake the pizza until the toppings are done, about 5 minutes.  Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board.  Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set.



Thanks to Cravo e Canela - Uma Cozinha no Brasil for hosting BBD#49 and to Zorra, the founder of Bread Baking Day.

Bread Baking Day #49 (last day of submission May 1st, 2012)


Happy Baking!


Friday, 27 April 2012

Einkorn Bread made with an Overnight Sponge

I’m continuing my experiment with Einkorn. This time, I made a basic whole wheat bread using freshly milled Einkorn flour and an overnight sponge. You can also make this bread with regular whole wheat or spelt flour if you prefer.



Einkorn was the first wheat to be cultivated by man over 12,000 years ago. It is starting to make a come back because of its high protein content and the fact that it grows easily on marginal land and in adverse conditions. Einkorn has a creamy color and a light, rich flavor. It doesn’t rise as much as Emmer or Spelt, and the texture is different, but I really like it!




Einkorn Bread made with a Sponge

Makes: 1 Small Loaf

Adapted from: Bread Science by Emily Buehler



  • 187 g (1 2/3 cups) Einkorn flour
  • 140 g (2/3 cup) water (50 to 55 degrees F.)
  • 1/8 tsp instant yeast

Final Dough:

  • 210g (~1 3/4 cups) Einkorn flour (plus more for kneading)
  • 327g Sponge (all of it)
  • 140g (2/3 cup) water (60 to 65 degrees F.)
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp salt



Mixing the Sponge:

Mix the sponge 12 to 15 hours before you plan to make the dough. If the temperature is cooler in the house, then use warmer water, if it is warmer in the house, then use cooler water. Final temperature should be about 65 degrees F.

Cover the sponge and let it rest at room temperature for 12 to 15 hours. This is the sponge after 12 hours. It’s ready to be used in the dough.

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Mixing the Dough:

Mix all of the dough ingredients, including the sponge, until it forms a dough.

I used a Danish dough whisk to mix the ingredients, but you can use a wooden spoon or a mixer; but this dough doesn’t really need a mixer.

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Kneading the Dough:

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is soft and supple. This was a very sticky dough so I let it rest (autolyse) on the counter for about 15 minutes before kneading to help the gluten structure develop


Bulk Fermentation:

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.

Let it rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about one hour.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down, fold it, and let it rise again, covered, until doubled in bulk again, about one hour.

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Shaping and Final Proof:

When the dough is fully risen, shape it into a boule (ball) and place it smooth-side-down in a floured banneton basket or a bowl lined with a towel heavily dusted with flour. Make sure the bowl is large enough to allow for expansion, but small enough that the sides of the container support the loaf.  Cover with plastic or a towel so that the outside of the dough doesn’t dry out.

Let the loaf proof until it is soft and full of gas.  The dough will be ready when you poke it and the indention remains. 

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Scoring the Loaf:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (for about an hour) with a pizza stone on the middle rack and a steam pan underneath.

Carefully flip the loaf onto parchment paper and score it.  My loaf stuck to the basket in one place so I had to coax it out of the basket. It got a little bit smashed, but overall looked okay.

I reused the parchment paper. This is the good stuff so you can use it more than once.


Baking the Loaf:

Slid the loaf (on the parchment paper) onto the hot pizza stone. Carefully add a cup of hot water to the steam pan. Spray the inside walls of the oven, using a spray bottle, 3 times at 30-second intervals, then immediately lower the temperature to 450 degrees F. Bake 20-25 minutes until the loaf is browned and makes a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Remove the parchment paper partway through baking to ensure the bottom gets baked through.


Cooling the Loaf:

Cool the loaf completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Slice and enjoy!

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This Einkorn Loaf has a distinct and nutty flavor. Definitely wheat, but different from regular whole wheat. This formula did not include any sweetener, but I think honey might be a nice addition.  Even so, I like it.


Happy Baking!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Look for BreadExperience on

If you’re wondering what’s been happening with The Bread Experience, I’ve been busy baking bread and learning new techniques, but I haven’t posted about everything. I’ve been holding out on you. 

The wait is over. I’m delighted to announce another way for you to stay in touch. Beginning this month, you’ll find me on I’m one of the contributing writers in the Baking section. I’ll be contributing over there every other month and hanging around here too. I look forward to chatting with you.

Click on “Find me on” on the badge below to read my post on making Rustic and Country Bread. This is the technique I learned about from Emily Buehler, author of Bread Science, at the Asheville Bread Baking Festival

Happy Baking!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Lessons in Bread Baking: Oops! I forgot the salt

Have you ever baked something and realized after you took it out of the oven, sliced it, and tasted it, that you left out an important ingredient?  That happened to me with this Quick White Bread, one of the breads for the Mellow Bakers’ new bread bake.

We’re baking through Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf or The Art of Handmade Bread, depending on which version you have. I have both versions because I’m trying to learn the appropriate conversions for both North America and Europe. However, leaving out an ingredient was not supposed to be part of the process.

This was supposed to be an easy and quick loaf. So I decided to experiment with it. I adapted the recipe to include Heirloom 18th Century French Mediterranean Bread Flour from Anson Mills and puffed millet and even baked it in a Pullman pan. However, because I omitted the salt, the dough rose too quickly and collapsed during baking. You can see how it sunk in the photo below. 



Instead of deeming this bread a failure, I decided to use it as a teachable moment. This is a perfect example of why you should always follow the first basic step of bread-baking: Mise en Place which means “everything in it’s place”. 

I wrote these very words on my how to make bread page: “Begin by getting all of your tools and ingredients ready and within arms length. The success of your bread-baking experience depends on how organized you are so don't skip this step.”  I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t have my “Mise en Place” and somewhere along the way, I forgot the salt.

Salt serves a number of purposes in bread.  It stabilizes the gluten structure which creates a better dough and adds flavor. It also slows down the fermentation process by dehydrating the yeast and bacteria. Technically, salt is an optional ingredient; however, if you’re going to omit it, you should use cold temperatures to slow down the fermentation process or reduce the rising times. I did neither for this bread so that’s why it fell.

Instead of baking the bread freeform, or in a regular loaf pan, I baked it in a Pullman pan. Here are photos of the process I used to shape and bake the loaf.

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Although the flavor was a bit bland, all is not lost.  This is a great toast bread which is what I was shooting for. I happen to like saltless breads such as Tuscan Bread so this isn’t a problem for me. I just toasted it, spread it with butter and it tasted yummy. I also made a grilled cheese sandwich with it using extra-sharp natural cheese.  Delish!

I was going to make the bread again with the salt to show you the difference, but I used all of my heirloom flour so I’ll have to show you those results another day.


Happy Baking!


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Sesame Einkorn Crackers

I’m revisiting Einkorn this month. I keep hearing good things about this grain so I decided it warranted further experimentation. I’m curious to find out how it performs and tastes in recipes that typically call for modern whole wheat flour. For this experiment, I made crackers using only Einkorn flour.



Einkorn is called the grain of the ancients. It has a unique light, rich taste and is twice as high in protein and many trace minerals as modern wheat. Some people with gluten sensitivities can tolerate Einkorn’s natural gluten because it is a different species of wheat (T. monococcum). Modern wheat evolved from wild emmer (T. dicoccoides). Einkorn is not related to emmer or modern wheat, and has been untampered since ancient days.

I’ve made these crackers a few times.  The first time I made them with home-milled whole grain Einkorn flour and another time, I used 80% extraction Einkorn flour.  Both versions tasted great. The dough for these crackers also includes sesame seeds, olive oil, and a little bit of salt and water.

The Einkorn crackers are simple to make and very healthy.  Plus, they taste great!  My taste tester came over a couple of days after I made them and asked if he could try them. I had a sheepish grin on my face because I had almost eaten all 4 dozen of them, but I did have a little bag left that I shared, reluctantly… I mean gladly. 



Sesame einkorn Crackers

Yield: About four dozen crackers, depending how thinly you roll them and how small you cut them

Adapted from Homemade Whole Grain Crackers, New York Times, May 2, 2011



  • 1 1/4 cups Einkorn flour (80% extraction or whole grain flour)
  • 1/2 cup toasted (or untoasted) sesame seeds
  • 5/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water (more or less as needed)



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the oven racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Mix together the Einkorn flour, sesame seeds and salt in a mixing bowl.



3. Add the oil and cut in with a fork.



4. Add the water, and mix with your hands, until the dough forms a ball.



5. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper.



6. Cut into desired shapes and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheets.  The crackers should be close together but not touching.  I used a pizza wheel to cut squares. 



7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Halfway through baking cycle, rotate the baking sheets from front to back and top to middle. Allow the crackers to cool on wire racks before serving.


I liked these crackers and so did my taste tester.  They are addictive. They have a unique and nutty flavor.  They could use a bit more salt, but other than that, they tasted great.


Storing the crackers: These will keep for about a week in an airtight container, but they taste so good, they probably won’t last that long.


Happy Baking!


Sunday, 8 April 2012

Italian Easter Braids

The other day, a friend of mine asked if I had any Easter Bread recipes for Challah with dyed Easter eggs. I do, in fact.

A couple of years ago I made Greek Easter Bread, which is challah (or a bread braid) with red-dyed eggs. There’s a story behind that bread. I made it for a family get together and to save time, I decided to transport the shaped, but uncooked braids (with the eggs in them) to my sister’s house while they were on their final rise. While in route, the baking sheets that the braids were on, proceeded to slide off the car seat.  I was able to catch the breads before they slid onto the floor and were completed inedible, but some of the eggs cracked and the braids got smashed. I was so upset I almost went home. Then, I remembered, it’s only bread. So I took the messed up loaves to my sister’s house, reshaped the braids and baked the loaves. The bread looked a little worse for the wear, but it tasted great. 

When the recipe for this Traditional Italian Easter Bread came across my inbox, I decided to give Challah with dyed Easter Eggs another chance. As it turns out, I really like the preparation for this version. The braids are smaller so they are really easy to work with and the eggs are not cooked before coloring.  You color them, then bake them with the bread. This made much more sense to me; however, I was a bit skeptical the eggs would get cooked all the way through.

This is a fun and easy bread to make. I didn’t have to transport these braids anywhere so no mishaps this time.



Traditional Italian Easter Bread

Makes: 6 Braids

Adapted from: 


  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1¼ cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4.5 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
  • 6 dyed Easter eggs
  • sprinkles

Note: The Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled before dying them. They cook when the bread bakes. Just be careful not to crack the eggs while you’re dying them.  The eggs below were taken right out of the refrigerator, dyed, and left to try before inserting in the braids.




1) In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, warm (not hot) milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add about 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth with dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Add enough flour so that the dough is not sticky. The original recipe called for about 3 1/2 cups of flour. I used 4 1/2 cups plus a little extra for kneading.

2) Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.



3) Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces.



4) Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long.



5) Take two pieces and twist to form a “braid”.



6) Pinch the ends, and loop into a circle.



7) Place on a greased baking sheet.



8) Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again.



9) Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place an Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.



10) Bake at 350 degrees until golden – about 20 – 25 minutes. Cool on rack.


This bread has been YeastSpotted.  Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.


This bread is delicious!  It is an enriched and sweet dough. It could be eaten as dessert.  I was concerned that the egg wouldn’t get cooked all the way through, but it baked really well and tasted great.

I gave several of the loaves away.  They’re too cute and taste too good to keep for myself.


Happy Easter!


Thursday, 5 April 2012

2012 Asheville Bread Festival

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the eighth annual Asheville Bread Festival. Asheville is a neat place nestled in the mountains of North Carolina. I love Asheville and when you add bread to the mix, it just doesn’t get much better than that. Even though Asheville has a small population, they have more artisan bakeries than most states. For bread enthusiasts, the place and the event is just awesome!

The theme of this year’s festival was “Local Grain, Local Flour, and Local Bread”.  It featured experts on local grain production, milling, and baking with local and heirloom wheat. It was a fun event!

The festival started with the bakers’ showcase where 20 local, artisan bakeries displayed their breads. I met some really neat bakers and tasted some of their wonderful breads. I lot of beautiful and delicious bread was sold and eaten that day.



I particularly liked these Bavarian Pretzels.  My friend and I enjoyed some pretzel balls (pictured on the left) with spicy mustard. They were so good I kept going back and getting more. I even took some home. Yum!

asheville-bread-baking-festival-breads012Bavarian Pretzels

Beulah’s Bavarian Pretzels

During the bakers’ showcase, I met Emily Buehler, the author of Bread Science. She did an experiment with some sourdough bread. I will be conducting this experiment myself and posting about it soon so stay tuned for that. Emily also led a “Hand Kneading for Beginners” class which I didn’t attend, but I’m sure it was fun!  I did get her book, and I’m excited to learn more about the science of bread.

There were so many breads and so little time to enjoy them all. Believe me, I tasted as many as I could, but there was only so much room, even for small bites. I took photos of the rest of the breads to enjoy later and to share with you. I wasn’t able to get photos of all of the breads on the tables because there were a lot of folks vying for those breads, but I think you’ll get a sense for the types of breads that were there. They were awesome!

Be sure to scroll down to see the rest of my recap.

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After visiting the bakers’ showcase, we attended a couple workshops. Some of the workshops were full by the time I registered for the event, but we were able to attend a very informative session on growing wheat. This session was on Developing non-commodity wheats for local uses and flavor. I’ve had a bee in my bonnet for the past year or so to grow wheat locally and this session only heightened that desire. We’ll see if I can actually do it, or better yet, get someone else to grow it for me. More to come on that… hopefully!

As I mentioned in my previous post on Gluten-Free Waffles, I also attended a session on Milling for the Home Baker: fresh flour from local grains. Here is a shot of one of the hand mills that was demonstrated during the workshop.


The gentlemen that was supposed to lead this session was unable to attend due to a rare illness where he couldn’t be around flour for awhile. Pretty ironic, if you ask me. So, Debi Thomas, a local baker from Wildflour Bakery in Saluda, NC led the workshop.  Debi has been running her bakery for 20 years. They grind their flour daily so she has a lot of experience baking bread and milling her own flour. It was very interesting to hear her thoughts on milling. They also make some interesting breads in her bakery.  One of their signature breads is called Boogie Bread. It’s made with all kinds of grains and ingredients, including kelp and molasses. It’s from an old recipe that I hope to obtain someday.

Several other workshops went on that day that I didn’t get the opportunity to attend.

  • Peter Reinhart hosted a workshop on New Frontiers in Baking: Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free.  He has a new book coming out this summer (with his co-author, Denece Wallace) that addresses these techniques.
  • Dave Bauer, of Farm & Sparrow Bakery did a workshop on Baking with Southern Rye: From Milling to Bread, Pastry, and Pasta.  They milled locally grown wheat and baked pasta in a brick oven.
  • Lionel Vatinet held a session on Ciabatta and Pizza. He covered some Old World methods for making Ciabatta and pizza. I would’ve loved to attend this session. I attended one of his sessions last year and he is a hoot.
  • Sharon Burns-Leader did a workshop on making pretzels and English Muffins using local and whole grain flours.
  • One workshop demonstrated the Carolina Ground Flour Mill in action.  It was the same time as another session so I couldn’t attend.  I’ll have to go back and visit so I can see the mill.

All in all, it was a very informative day. I learned a lot of new things and met a lot of interesting people.  I look forward to going back next year.


Happy Baking!