Thursday, 24 July 2014

Farewell Enrico, You will be missed

It’s been a couple of months since I visited Le Casacce, but I remember it like it was yesterday.



Majestic Tuscan sunsets,



and beautiful roses



that frame the charming stone architecture with color and splendor.



I spent a couple of weeks in this paradise attending a conference and basking in the Tuscan countryside.





This post was supposed to be a review of the awesome experience I had at Le Casacce discovering more about writing and photography at the Plated Stories Workshop, and learning about Italian cooking  from Enrico Casini, a renowned Italian Chef.

However, sadly, Enrico passed away in his sleep this past Sunday. So this is my humble tribute to him.



Enrico was a funny, dynamic person who loved to cook and share his villa and his creations with everyone.

This was his domain whether he was in the kitchen preparing a masterpiece or mingling with guests.



Everything he and his staff made turned to gold or at least tasted like it was made from some precious substance. He took great pains to make sure his creations delighted everyone.


At dinner every night, he would introduce each course as it was being served. He was proud of his land and especially his olive oil. He would enter the dining room with a smile on his face and say, “Excuse me!” and when everyone was silent, he would tell us in his broken English what each dish was made of.

He would say “… this dish is made with the meat (or cheese) from these lands (as he opened his arms to signify the land around him)and my olive oil … and my love … sokay! Thank you!”



One of the dishes we made in the cooking class is this ricotta gnocchi with creamed spinach and chard.  It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I hope to decipher my notes one day and recreate it.



Enrico reminded me of a flower child from the 70s. I didn’t really know him; I just observed his manner in the kitchen and around the villa.  He usually had Barry White or Sade playing in the background. 

He had a simple, yet captivating collection of paintings and photographs which hung in the dining room and patio area.  The art provided a glimpse into his life and memories and made mealtime a precious experience.



Another endearing character at Le Casacce, was Enrico’s loyal sidekick, Socrates. Socrates is a friendly and woeful donkey. He would sing a song when he saw his master coming and sometimes the rest of us would hear it too.

Sweet Socrates, won’t you sing your song one more time? 



Enrico, thank you for enriching our lives and our palates with your Roman traditions and welcoming us into your villa and your lands.  We’ll cherish these memories forever.



Here’s to your olive groves, your lands and your lovely villa. May they forever hold your memory and your love deep within.



Farewell Enrico, you will be missed …







Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Making Whole Wheat Bread on Saturday, just because

When you hear the term “artisan bread,” do you automatically think preferment, overnight sponge or sourdough (aka wild yeast)?

Usually when I make an artisan loaf, I like to add some sort of preferment or at least let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight to help develop the flavor.

Whole Grain Saturday Bread

However, this past Saturday, I decided to answer the question: Can you make a whole wheat artisan loaf in one day and will it taste good?   

I started the effort late morning. I chose a multi-grain bread which utilizes the straight dough method. Straight dough means it doesn’t include any preferment such as an overnight poolish or a sponge or sourdough. It’s just a straight dough.

This bread is based on the method for the 75% Whole Wheat Saturday Bread from Flour, Water, Salt & Yeast by Ken Forkish.  The total amount of whole grain flour used (375 grams) is seventy-five percent of the total flour used (500 grams). I used a combination of hard red spring wheat, Durum wheat and rye flour for the whole grain portion.

Whole Grain Saturday Bread

I’m happy to report that you can make a whole wheat artisan loaf in one day and it does taste pretty good, especially with peanut butter, which is my litmus test to see if I like a bread.  It also tastes great with butter or  cheese. I haven’t tried it other ways because I ran out of it.


75% Whole Grain Saturday Bread

Adapted from: Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza by Ken Forkish

Makes: One loaf (about 1 1/2 pounds)


  • 125 grams (~ 7/8 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 35 grams (scant 1/3 cup) coarse rye flour
  • 200 grams (scant 1 1/3 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 140 grams (scant 7/8 cup) Durum wheat flour
  • 360 grams (~ 1 3/4 cup) warm water (90 degrees F. to 95 degrees F.)
  • 10 grams coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant dried yeast

1) Mix the flour and water

Combine the all-purpose, whole wheat, Durum and rye flours and water and mix by hand using a wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk until thoroughly incorporated.

2) Autolyse (rest the dough)

Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

3) Mix in the Salt and Yeast

After the dough has rested, sprinkle the salt and yeast over the top of the dough. Mix by hand until the salt and yeast are fully incorporated into the dough. Using wet hands for this part makes it really easy. Continue to wet your hands as necessary throughout the mixing process.


4) Fold and Turn the Dough

Instead of kneading the dough, Mr. Forkish uses the pincer method.  I love the name of his method, but I’m more proficient with the fold-and-turn method from Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread so that’s the method I usually use for mixing dough.

With the fold-and-turn method, you basically do a series of turns and folds in the bowl to develop the gluten structure.

Refer to my Tartine Bread post for a photo tutorial on performing the fold-and-turn method.


5) Bulk Fermentation

Cover the dough and let it rise. Do two folds during the first 1 1/2 after mixing. The first fold should be done about 10 minutes after mixing and the 2nd fold should be done within the next hour.  When you see the dough spread out in the bowl, you’ll know it’s ready to be folded 

You can fold the dough a little later if necessary, but be sure to let the dough rest during the last hour of rising. The dough should be triple it’s size in volume after about 5 hours after mixing. I started this process at Noon and the dough was ready to be shaped at 5 pm.


6) Shape the Loaf

I only made one loaf so I didn’t need to divide the dough. I just shaped it into a ball and placed it in a well-floured banneton basket. A mixture of all-purpose and rice flour works really well for this purpose.



7) Final Proof

Lightly flour the top of the dough. Cover the basket with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the loaf proof for an hour to an hour and a half. If your kitchen is warm, it will only take about an hour.

Use the finger dent test to see when the loaf is fully proofed and ready to be baked.  Watch a demonstration by Ken Forkish of the finger-proof test.


8) Prepare the Oven for Baking

45 minutes to an hour before baking the loaf, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.  Remove the middle rack from the oven and place a Dutch oven on the bottom rack. I used the Dutch oven combo baker for this bread but you can use any Dutch oven.


9) Transfer the Loaf to the Dutch Oven

When the loaf is fully proofed and the oven is sufficiently preheated, carefully remove the Dutch oven using heavy oven mitts. Be careful not to burn your arms or hands on the sides of the oven or the pot. Gently invert the loaf from the proofing basket onto the bottom of the Dutch oven combo baker or into the large part of a regular Dutch oven.  I sprinkled the bottom of the combo baker with cornmeal before inverting the loaf onto it.

 I didn’t score this loaf, but you can if you like.


10) Bake and Enjoy!

Place the Dutch Oven on the bottom rack of the oven and cover it with the lid. Turn the oven down to 450 degrees F. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes with the lid on.


Remove the lid and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the loaf is a medium dark brown.  Just be careful not to burn the bottom of the loaf. 

Remove the loaf from the Dutch oven to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

  Whole Grain Saturday Bread


I’m sending these loaves to be Yeastspotted and to Bake Your Own Bread.

Happy Baking!


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Panmarino – Italian Rosemary Bread

Using herbs in loaves of bread provides an earthy characteristic and an intoxicating fragrance. When you add olive oil to the mix, it blends the elements together to form the perfect environment for a savory meal.

I particularly enjoy making breads with rosemary.  As the bread is baking, the aroma of the herbs drifts out of the kitchen and follows me around the house until I succumb to it’s invitation.

It was this experience I was thinking about when I selected the monthly bread for the Bread Baking Babes. I’m the host kitchen so I wanted to present a bread that was simple, yet full of flavor and one would go well with a variety of foods.

I chose an Italian Rosemary Bread called Panmarino.

 Panmarino Italian Rosemary Loaves


Panmarino is unique in it’s simplicity, but also in it’s history. Legend has it that it originated in the area called Ferrara, near Venice and was created by a baker named Luciano Pancalde.

The idea for Panmarino came about as Luciano was reading the chronicles of the d'Este family who once ruled Ferrara. When he learned about the magnificent court banquets where they served rosemary bread with a crust that "sparkled with diamonds," it gave him the idea to create his own loaf. He experimented and baked and tested some more until finally, he had the bread he was aiming for, an aromatic, dome-shaped bread that is scored in the pattern of a star and sprinkled with salt crystals.

Panmarino is a delightful loaf. If you are looking for a fragrant loaf that utilizes the freshest of ingredients, this is the loaf for you.

Don’t confuse simplicity with lack of taste or method. This is a fairly easy bread to make, but it takes about 20 hours from start-to-finish. Most of that time is spent on the overnight biga so the hands on time is minimal.


Panmarino – Italian Rosemary Bread

Adapted from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking from The French Culinary Institute. 

The source of the story about the origins of Panmarino is found here

These loaves are charmingly small and make great companions for an evening meal. I made two loaves and gave one away. If you look closely, you can just barely see the diamonds (sprinkles of salt) in the slashes.

Panmarino Italian Rosemary Loaves


The original formula made four loaves. I reduced it two loaves. I did the calculations based on baker's percentages, but you can halve everything and it should be fine.

I used sifted white whole wheat flour instead of bread flour in the final dough because I’m experimenting with home-milled flours, but feel free to use bread flour or regular all-purpose or spelt flour to make this bread.

Adapted Formula (makes 2 loaves)


  • 71g (~1/2 cup) bread flour
  • 60g (scant 1/4 cup) water
  • pinch instant yeast

Final Dough:
  • 442g (~3 1/2 cups) bread flour *
  • 240g (1 cup) water
  • 22g (2 T) milk
  • pinch instant yeast
  • 44g (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 4g (2 T) rosemary
  • Biga, all
  • 11.5g (~ 3 tsp.) salt **

* I started with 568g of whole wheat. After I sifted out the bran, I ended up with 472g so I had a little extra for sprinkling, if necessary.

** Some of the other bakers thought this was too much salt. Feel free to reduce the amount of salt to suit your tastes.


Original formula (makes  4 Loaves)
  • Bread flour 143 grams/5 ounces
  • Water 122 grams/4 1/4 ounces
  • Pinch of instant yeast

Final Dough:
  • Bread flour 884 grams/1 pound 15 ounces
  • Water 477 grams/1 pound 1 ounce
  • Milk 44 grams/1 1/2 ounces
  • Biga 265 grams/9 1/3 ounces
  • Salt 23 grams/3/4 ounce
  • Pinch of instant yeast
  • Olive oil 88 grams/3 ounces
  • Chopped fresh rosemary 9 grams/1/3 ounce

Prepare the Biga:

Combine the flour, water and yeast in a mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk until well blended.  Scrape down the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at 75 degrees F. for 14 to 16 hours.


Making the Final Dough:

Combine the flour, water, milk, and biga in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until blended.

Add the salt and yeast and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 7 more minutes, or until the dough is smooth.  When the gluten is fully developed, mix in the olive oil and rosemary on low speed.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Scrape the dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for 45 minutes.

Remove the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and divide it into four (or two if you halved the recipe) 450-gram /16-ounce pieces. Shape the dough pieces into rounds. Cover with plastic wrap and let them bench rest for 15 minutes.


Place two couches on a separate work surface or bread board and dust them with flour.

Uncover the dough and, if necessary, lightly flour the work surface. Gently press on the dough to degas and carefully shape each piece into a tight and neat rounds.  Place one loaf on one side of the couche, fold the couche up to make a double layer of cloth to serve as a divider between the loaves, and place a second loaf next to the fold.  Repeat the process with the remaining two loaves and the second couche.  Cover with plastic wrap and proof for 1 hour.

I proofed the loaves on cornmeal-dusted parchment paper instead of a baker's couche. I baked the loaves on the parchment paper on a preheated baking stone and used a cast iron skillet on the top shelf as the steam pan.  You can proof the loaves in a proofing basket if you prefer.

About an hour before you plan to bake the loaves, place a baking stone (or tiles) into the oven along with a steam pan (underneath) or iron skillet (on the top rack) and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Uncover the dough and score the top of each loaf in a star pattern using a lame or sharp knife.

Optional: sprinkle sea salt into the crevices as the original baker did to make it "sparkle with diamonds."


Carefully transfer the loaves (on the parchment paper) to the preheated baking stone using a peel or the back of a baking sheet. To make the steam, add 1 cup of ice to the iron skillet or steam pan. 

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is light brown and crisp and the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.

Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

Panmarino Italian Rosemary Loaves

I’m sending these loaves to be yeastspotted.

These are easy and pleasant loaves for summer baking.  I think you’ll enjoy them.


Check out how the other creative Babes handled this bread:

The Bread Baking Babes (current dozen) are:


Would you like to be a Bread Baking Buddy?

I’m the host kitchen this month and I’d love for you to bake along with us. 

Here’s how:

Just make the Panmarino, then email me your link (or email your photo and a bit about your experience if you don't have a blog). My email address is breadexperience (at) gmail (dot) comSubmissions are due by July 29th.  Once you've posted, you'll receive a Buddy badge for baking along, then watch for a roundup of all of the BBBuddies posts a few days after the close of submissions.

I hope you'll join us this month!

Happy Baking!


Friday, 11 July 2014

Creamy, Curried Zucchini Soup

Zucchinis, zucchinis everywhere. The two plants in my community garden plot have been producing more zucchini than I can shake a stick at. However, the ones in my raised bed garden at home haven’t produced anything. That’s the way it works with gardening. I divided up my plants between the two gardens in hopes I would get some bounty from at least one if not both of them. So far, it’s worked pretty well this season.

Since I’ve had a surplus of zucchinis, I’ve made a bunch of zucchini bread, but one can only make and give away so much at a time so I’ve been trying to come up with other ways to use the squash.

I had soup on my mind the other day and decided this would be a good way to use some of them. I didn’t want a cold soup even though that’s what you usually think about for summer soups. I wanted a warm and creamy comfort food-type soup that melts in your mouth and soothes your soul.

Curried Zucchini Soup

I ran across several zucchini soup recipes as I was thumbing through my recipe books, but none of them were exactly what I was looking for.  So I decided to make my own. I took what I liked from each recipe and used the ingredients I had on hand to create this smooth and creamy curried zucchini soup. It was just what I needed for a lazy Sunday afternoon meal. 

Instead of using sour cream or another type cream to thicken the soup, I used a classic method, called beurre manié.  It’s made with equal parts butter and flour. I loved the rich, buttery flavor it imparted to the creamy soup.

This soup tasted so good I made it again and doubled the recipe to use up the rest of my zucchini.


Creamy, Curried Zucchini Soup

Serves: 4

Adapted from: Soup: An inspiring collection of soups, broths, and chowders by Love Food and Soups by Marguerite Patten

Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs. zucchini, unpeeled and sliced
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or stock)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Beurre Manié

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour



Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes.

Add in the zucchini, chicken or vegetable broth, and curry powder and a pinch or two of salt, if you are using unsalted broth.  Bring the soup to a bowl, then reduce the heat and cover. Let it cook gently for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer in batches to the blender or food processor. Process just until the soup is smooth. It should still have some green flecks from the unpeeled zucchini. If you’re using a food processor, strain off some of the liquid, then reserve it. Just process the soup solids (cooked vegetables) with enough liquid to moisten them, then mix it with the remaining liquid.  If you’re using a blender, process the soup solids and the liquid together.

Return the pureed soup to a clean (rinsed out) saucepan and reheat gently over low heat until hot. Do not let it boil.

In the meantime, make the beurre manié by mixing the butter and flour together in a pan and cooking on low heat until it is thoroughly incorporated.

Make sure the soup is hot, then drop small amounts – about the size of a large pea – into the soup. Wait until it is completely absorbed into the soup before you add anymore. Continue adding it until the soup is the consistency you want. You may not need all of the beurre manié. If you have any left over, store it in a covered container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.

Try the soup and adjust the seasoning, if desired.  Then ladle it into soup bowls and enjoy.  I added some cracked black pepper as a garnish. 




Sunday, 6 July 2014

Make Fettunta with Stale Bread

Do you ever wonder what to do with stale bread; besides giving it to the birds or throwing it in the trash?

Since I bake at least once a week, I’m always looking for creative ways to use up stale bread. My favorite way to enjoy bread is to eat it fresh, but artisan breads don’t contain any preservatives so these types of loaves get stale more quickly than store bought loaves (that contain preservatives). This means you have to eat the bread quickly or find other uses for it.

When I was in Tuscany, I learned how to make a simple and delicious garlic bread, called Fettunta. Fettunta is a tasty and aromatic garlic bread, made with stale bread.

Uses for Stale Bread - Fettunta

Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Those Tuscans know how to do garlic bread.  They use the best ingredients from local and regional sources. So although the bread may be stale, the other ingredients aren’t.

The version I enjoyed in Tuscany was made with local olive oil, garlic and Tuscan bread. Tuscan bread doesn’t usually contain salt so the chef sprinkled a little bit of salt on top of the olive oil to enhance the flavor.

I enjoyed this garlicky, toasty bread so much, it was one of the first dishes I wanted to recreate when I got home.

For my Fettunta, I used slices of Einkorn & Wheat Tartine. I grilled the slices and rubbed them with garlic grown locally in my garden. Then I drizzled Tuscan olive oil over them. The homegrown garlic is so flavorful and aromatic but it doesn’t overpower the grilled whole wheat bread.  It was delicious and crunchy.

This garlic bread makes a very tasty and filling appetizer or snack. It also goes well with pasta, of course.



Fettunta - Tuscan Garlic Bread

Makes enough for 4 people

  • 8 slices of stale (but not moldy) bread
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Grill or toast the slices of bread; then rub them with garlic. Place them on a plate or serving tray and drizzle them with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.



Happy Baking!


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Einkorn Zucchini Bread from the Garden

The other day, I found a giant zucchini growing in my community garden plot. It had been hiding under one of the leaves so I didn’t see it for several days. It finally caught my eye one evening when I went to water my plants. I couldn’t believe how big it was. I had lot’s of fun parading around the garden and showing it off to the other gardeners. They of course humored me because that’s what gardeners do.

giant zucchini from my garden

I’ve since found two more zucchinis just as big and one even bigger. They keep eluding me. One evening, I’ll go water the garden and nothing seems to be growing. Then a day or two later, boom, out of nowhere, these huge squashes just crop up.

What’s a girl to do with all this squash? Make zucchini bread, that’s what and lot’s of it.  I’ve been baking loaves, freezing them and giving some away. 

I’ve made several different kinds of bread using different types of flour. Some with nuts and some without. One of my favorite versions so far is made with whole grain einkorn pasty flour.

Einkorn Zucchini Bread


This bread is considered a quick bread because it utilizes baking powder which is a quick rising agent. Quick breads are usually fairly quick to prepare, quick to rise and quick to bake. However, when you mill your own flour, it takes a little bit longer to get all of the ingredients together (i.e. mise en place).

I began the process of making this bread by grinding the einkorn berries on the pastry setting of my WonderMill Grain Mill. The flour was soft and fluffy when I sifted it through my fingers.

Einkorn berries and milled flour

After I milled the flour, I cut the zucchini into long chunks and ran them through the food processor. I ended up with heap of shredded zucchini; enough for about six loaves.

I wasn’t sure how the whole grain flour would perform in this loaf, but grinding the berries on the pastry setting made the flour very light. The whole grain version didn’t rise quite as much as the all white version, but it still worked really well. I liked the texture and flavor.


Einkorn Zucchini Bread

shredded zucchini

Adapted from this quick bread recipe


  • 2 1/3 – 2 1/2 cups home-milled einkorn whole wheat pasty flour*
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded unpeeled raw zucchini
  • 3/4 to 1 cup walnuts, optional
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* Einkorn flour doesn’t absorb water as much as regular wheat flour. I added more flour rather than reducing the amount of liquid.  If you make this with regular all-purpose or bread flour, reduce the amount of flour to about 2 cups.



Makes 16 servings.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Stir in zucchini and walnuts, if using.

Beat oil, milk, eggs and vanilla in separate bowl. Gradually add to dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened. Do not over mix.

For mini loaves: Pour batter into 4 greased 5 1/2x3-inch mini loaf pans. Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For larger loaves: Bake 45 to 50 minutes in two 8x4-inch pans or 55 to 60 minutes in one 9x5-inch pan.

Cool on a wire rack.

As with most quick bread, this loaf tastes better the next day.  Just wrap it in plastic and let it sit overnight, if you can.


Happy Baking!


Monday, 30 June 2014

Rustic Pain de Pecan for BBD#69

The theme for Bread Baking Day #69 is Regionale Brote / Local breads. The host of this month’s challenge, Thomas from Der Gourmet, invited us to bake modern breads with adventurous names, or old classics, or perhaps breads that have been forgotten.

Rustic Pain de Pecan

He reminded us that each region has its own charm and this brings with it great breads. He mentioned breads like Paderborner, Basel bread, Munich house bread, and SF Sourdough as examples. 

None of those breads are from my region. In the Southern region of the U.S., we are known for biscuits and cornbread, both charming in their own rite, but not too adventurous, or yeasted for that matter. It was time to get creative.

As I was pondering what bread to make for this challenge, I remembered that Pain de Pecan was the BOM (Bread of the Month) for the Artisan Bread Bread Bakers FB Group. Well now, if there is anything more local to Georgia than pecans, I don’t know what it is, except maybe peaches.

I grew up in metro Atlanta, but both of my parents are from South Georgia. My grandparents on my dad’s side had huge pecan trees growing in their yard. When we visited them, we would gather the nuts that were scattered around the yard and bring home big brown grocery bags full of pecans. They were whole pecans so we had to shell them, but that was part of the fun. We didn’t know how good we had it back then getting loads of pecans so cheaply.

Rustic Pain de Pecan with Spicy Peach ButterRustic Pain de Pecan with Homemade Spicy Peach Butter


I wanted this loaf to be a truly local/regional bread so in addition to the pecans, I used Bolted Red Fife Bread Flour milled at Anson Mills in South Carolina, and Hard Red Spring Wheat milled in my kitchen. I think flour milled in your own kitchen is about as local as you can get unless of course, I grew the wheat myself.


Rustic Pain de Pecan

Makes: One Loaf

Adapted from: David of Hearthbakedtunes 75% hydration loaf

Sourdough Build:

  • 120g Water *
  • 114g Home-milled whole wheat flour (from Hard Red Spring Wheat)
  • 22g Levain (sourdough) **

Final Dough:

  • 277g Water, hold back 25g for mixing with salt after autolyse *
  • 228g Red Fife Wheat Bread Flour (hand milled style rustic)
  • 114g Home-milled Whole Wheat Flour
  • 9g Salt
  • 90g Pecans, toasted until fragrant

* Home-milled flour absorbs more water so if you make this bread using commercially-milled whole wheat and bread flour, you’ll probably need less water.  The original recipe is 75% hydration, my version is more like 87% hydration.

** I used my apple starter, but you can use any kind of sourdough starter for this bread. Just make sure it’s been fed and ready to go.  Refer to this post on how to activate a starter or feed your starter according to your feeding schedule.


Make the Sourdough Build:

Combine the water and levain and mix until combined, add the whole wheat flour and mix again until a single consistency is formed. Cover, and allow to rest in a warm place 8-10 hours.


It can take up to 12 hours for the sourdough build to be ready to use. To test for doneness, take a spoonful of the levain and drop it in a glass of water.  If it floats, it’s ready, if it sinks to the bottom, let it ferment a little longer.


Combine the flour and water and starter and stir until combined but still somewhat shaggy. Allow to rest for 30-40 minutes.

Add the salt and 25 grams water. Knead it into the dough by hand for about 8-10 minutes. After about 6-7 minutes add the pecans and knead until combined. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover and let rest for 2.5 hours. Fold the dough in thirty minutes increments (four folds total).

Proof the Loaf

Ease the dough out of the bowl onto a floured working surface. Preshape the dough into a boule, let it rest 30 minutes. Then shape the dough into a tight round loaf and place it seam side up in a lined or unlined floured banneton basket. Allow the loaf to proof for two hours.

pain-de-pecan-1-2 pain-de-pecan-1-3
pain-de-pecan-1-5 pain-de-pecan-1-6


Score and Bake the Loaf

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. for 40 minutes with the Emile Henry Bread Cloche on the bottom rack.

Take the cloche (lid and bottom) out of the oven and place them both on surfaces where they won’t crack. I use cloth-covered bread boards for this purpose.

Sprinkle the bottom of the cloche heavily with corn meal or corn flour. Gently flip the loaf out of the basket and onto the bottom of the bread cloche. 

Score the loaf using the pattern of your choice. Place the cloche bottom in the oven and cover it with the lid. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

Bake the bread with the lid on for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and finish baking 10-15 or until desired crust is produced.

Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Rustic Pain de Pecan

This bread has been Yeastspotted.


Bread Baking Day #69


Thanks to Thomas from Der Gourmet, for choosing Regionale Brote / Local breads as the theme for Bread Baking Day #69.  And many thanks to Zorra for creating this event many years ago.

Happy Baking!



Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Einkorn & Wheat Tartine

They stayed in their designated corner of the garage for a long time. The white winter wheat berries, along with the buckets of rye, hard red winter and spring wheat berries waited patiently for me to open their sealed containers once again and measure some of the berries into the grain mill to process into flour.

Einkorn and Wheat Tartine

Like a child with a new toy who forsakes all of her other play things, I had relegated all of my modern grains to their resting spot while I experimented with the grains of the ancients.

Once I started baking with ancients grains, I wasn’t sure if I would come back, but my old friends in the garage kept beckoning to me to give them another chance.

The romance of working with ancient grains and the fact that they are more easily tolerated than modern wheat appeals to me immensely so I will continue to incorporate them into my breads. However, I still like regular wheat. I’ve missed working with it.

So when one of the bakers in the Artisan Bread Baker’s FB group posted about her experiments with the Einkorn/Wheat Tartine from Tartine Book No. 3, it peaked my interest. I have the book, of course, but I haven’t tried very many breads. I decided to remedy that.

Einkorn and Wheat Tartine

I like the way Chad Robertson, the author of Tartine 3, blends flours and grains in his loaves. He uses ancient grains, but he also incorporates whole wheat and bread flour in his breads. I decided if he can do it, so can I.


Einkorn and Wheat Tartine

This Einkorn and Wheat Tartine is a marriage between old and new grains; milled and sifted.

Makes: 1 Loaf

Adapted from Tartine Book No. 3 by Chad Robertson


  • 200g white winter wheat, sifted (I used home-milled flour, then sifted it once to remove some of the bran)
  • 150g whole grain einkorn flour
  • 150g all-purpose einkorn flour
  • 75g refreshed levain (100% hydration) *
  • 425g warm water (80ºF or 27ºC), reserve 50g to mix with salt
  • 12g sea salt

* To make one loaf, you only use 75g of the refreshed starter so you’ll have some left over.  See directions below.



Build your Levain

For the best results, you should start by refreshing, or building your starter. To do this, take 25g of your favorite starter. I used my einkorn starter (aka EK) and to that, added 100g water, 50g all-purpose einkorn flour, and 50g whole grain einkorn flour. Mix well, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 4 – 6 hours.

If you’re making this bread in a colder climate, it might take longer for the levain to be ready for use. To test for doneness, take a spoonful of the levain and drop it in a glass of water.  If it floats, it’s ready, if it sinks to the bottom, let it ferment a little longer.


Mix the Dough:

In a large bowl whisk together the flours.

In a separate bowl combine the refreshed starter and the warm water.

Combine the wet and dry mixtures and mix with your hands or with a Danish dough whisk until no dry bits remain.

Autolyse: Cover and let the dough rest (autolyse) for at least 30 minutes.

After the autolyse, add the salt and 50g of warm water.

Mix well to incorporate into the dough. Transfer dough to large bowl, and cover for bulk fermentation.

Bulk Rise: During the bulk rise (3 to 4 hours, depending on temperature), fold and turn the dough every 30 minutes for the first 2 ½ hours. To do a fold, scoop the underside of the dough up and stretch it over itself towards you. Rotate the container one-quarter turn and repeat three to four times. Keep dough covered between folding. After 3 hours and six folds, the dough should feel aerated, billowy, and softer. You will see a 20-30 percent increase in volume. If not, continue bulk rising for 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.

Dividing & Shaping: The next day, or after the bulk rise, turn out the dough onto a clean, un-floured work surface. Lightly flour the top surface of the dough and cut into two pieces. Pre-shape each piece gently into a round by working the dough in a circular motion. Take care to work the dough gently and not de-gas.

Bench Rest: Lightly flour the tops of the rounds, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest on the work surface for 20-30 minutes. Line two medium baskets or bowls with clean, dry kitchen towels and dust generously with a 50/50 mixture of any wheat and rice flours.

Final Shaping: Refer to the Tartine (Chad Robertson) method for shaping wet dough (here is a helpful video link:, the shaping starts at the 3:09 minute mark)

Final Rise: Transfer the dough to the floured basket, flipping the dough over so that the seam side is facing up and centered. Cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel and let rise at warm room temperature for 3 to 5 hours or overnight in the refrigerator (bake directly from the refrigerator, if using this option).

I placed the baskets in the refrigerator overnight.

To Bake: Pre-heat the oven to 500F/260C, adjust the oven rack to its lowest position, and place a cast iron Dutch oven, or any other heavy ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid into the oven. I used a Dutch oven combo baker to bake this loaf. Pre-heat for at least 30 minutes.

Carefully transfer the dough round into the preheated Dutch oven, tipping it out of the basket into the pot so it is now seam-side down. Score the top of the dough in the pattern of your choice. Cover the pot and return it to the oven.

Einkorn and Wheat Tartine

After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 450F/230C. Bake another 10 minutes, then carefully remove the lid (being careful of the cloud of steam). Continue to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown.

When the loaf is done, turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.

Cool completely, then slice, and enjoy!  


Happy Baking!


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Got Sourdough … Make Crackers

When it’s time to feed your wild-yeast starter, what do you do with the discarded sourdough?  By discarded, I’m referring to the cup of starter you’re supposed to pour out before you feed it to reduce the acidic level and keep the organisms alive and kicking.

Do you throw the excess sourdough in the trash or wash it down the sink?  Does the thought of wasting all of that flour (and your energy) make you uncomfortable? 

Sourdough Einkorn Chili Crackers

I always had a hard time throwing out half of my starter when it was time to feed it. So I’ve tried different methods for using it up instead of pouring it out.

One weekend, I made six loaves just to keep from wasting it. I took the discarded sourdough, placed it in a separate container and fed it, along with the starter I planned to keep. I ended up with a double batch of fed sourdough starter and more loaves than I knew what to do with.

Needless to say, that was an effort in futility. If you need six loaves of bread, that’s one thing, but I didn’t. My freezer thanked me and so did my friend who likes sourdough bread, but even sourdough lovers can grow tired of a good thing.

I finally found a solution that I really enjoy. Making crackers.

Making sourdough crackers has become one of my favorite ways to use discarded starter because it’s so easy and pretty much failsafe.

You can use any type of starter and almost any combination of flours and toppings for the crackers. You can also vary the type of fat used. Sometimes I use coconut oil and other times I use olive oil.  You can even use butter.

I have different sourdough starters for each type of flour that I bake with. At the moment, I have an Einkorn starter, a KAMUT starter, a rye starter, and two white starters – my original starter which is made from a recipe from Boudin Bakery and my apple starter which is made from hazy apples. I keep all of my starters in the refrigerator and feed them as if they were my pets. Well, actually, they are my pets.

When it’s time to feed them, I have a good bit of discarded starter, but now I don’t dread throwing it out. I actually look forward to feeding my starters because I know I get to make (and eat) some crackers.

Sourdough Chili Crackes with Einkorn


Sourdough Einkorn Chili Crackers

These are not your average crackers. They are healthy crackers that don’t contain any preservatives. The sourdough ferments the dough for several hours which makes them more easily digestible than crackers made without sourdough.

This batch has a hint of chili powder sprinkled on top to give the crackers some added flavor. You can add extra chili powder if you like more heat.


  • 1 cup fed sourdough starter * (I used this Einkorn starter)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 – 1 1/4 cups all-purpose Einkorn flour **
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • Chili powder, too taste, for sprinkling on top

* This recipe works with discarded sourdough or recently fed sourdough. For the best results, let the starter warm up to room temperature before mixing with the oil so that the oil doesn’t harden and make the dough clumpy.

** Depending on the hydration level of your starter, you may need to add more flour.


1) In a medium bowl, combine the sourdough starter and coconut oil. Add a cup flour, the Sea salt and herbs and mix thoroughly. Add as much additional flour as needed to make a dough that is workable, but not dry.

2) Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a lid to keep it from drying out and let it rest at room temperature for at least 7 hours.

Refrigerate Overnight: Another option is to let the dough rest on the counter for a few hours, then place it in the refrigerator overnight, or until you are ready to bake. It will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. The dough will harden a little in the refrigerator so when you’re ready to bake the crackers, let it warm up a bit before rolling. If it’s hot in your kitchen, don’t let it warm up too much or it will be too sticky to roll out.

3) Divide the dough into 2 pieces and place each ball on a greased or floured piece of parchment paper, or a nonstick baking mat.

4) Roll the dough out very thinly on the parchment paper. Brush or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder, to taste. 

5) Cut the dough into squares or diamonds using a pizza cutter.  I used a pastry wheel to cut the jagged edges.


6) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place one baking sheet (of crackers) on the middle shelf of the oven and the other one on the bottom shelf. Bake the crackers for about 5-7 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top-to-bottom and front-to-back for even baking. Bake for a total of 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

7) Transfer the crackers to a wire rack. They will shrink in the oven and break apart fairly easily. 

For crispy crackers: Let the crackers cool down completely in the oven. If you want to do this in an electric oven, leave the door slightly ajar so the crackers don’t continue baking (and burn) while the oven is cooling down. 

Sourdough Einkorn Chili Crackers


Next time you feed your sourdough starter, don’t throw out the excess starter; make crackers with it. You’ll wonder why you never tried this before.


Happy Baking!