Inspired by Tess Lister’s formula for a white sourdough loaf in “A Handful of Flour – Recipes from Shipton Mill” [ISBN 978-1-4722-3337-0] and, especially the way it popped so well with Shipton flours, I did what seems to be part of me and played with the formula ever so little.  I tried adding 10% dark Rye and it produces a wonderful pain de campagne. Then I spotted a 1 kilo bag of Shipton Mill Barley flour and remembered that it pairs well with rye flour. Quest on! Barley is not commonly used in baking as it has a very low gluten content. The flour is made from pearl barley and has a mild earthy taste when baked. Convention suggests white flour needs to be combined in at least a ratio of 3:1. As Buckwheat is bitter and earthy so Barley is sweet and earthy. Barley bread formulas from all round the Black Sea blend barley with wholemeal to produce dense and heavy loaves. Finnish barley bread and Welsh barley bread are both rolled out flat before baking. [Finnish formula: 225g barley flour – 10g baking powder – 25g butter – 120g single cream – 60g milk.  Mix, shape, score, bake for 15-18 minutes until pale golden.] However I wanted that sweet earthy taste in a loaf that popped. I paired just a little barley with rye and it produced a very satisfactory loaf. One in particular got good reviews from friendly tasters. It had a 50:50 mix of dark rye and barley flour in a predominantly white loaf. Earthy enough to be both rustic and modern. Further tests with more barley and less rye drew reminiscent comments from tasters about how nice the earlier loaf was. My dad came to London and stayed overnight and as he slept I pondered the feedback and started to write down this formula. It is a formula that requires 3 pre-ferments (starters) but is otherwise quite simple to produce. The base is strong white flour with the addition of small amounts of dark rye, barley flour and buckwheat flour to honour a 6,000-year-old tradition with a renewed spirit of creativity and innovation or two. Balancing sweetness and sourness without enhancing the dough was paramount. The quest not yet over but a mid-term result suggesting it is well on track. Some 12 hours before you want to mix the final dough (in the evening before you go to bed) mix the three pre-ferments as follows: (1) 75g balm + 75g dark rye flour, (2) 60g white starter + 60g water + 60g white flour (Shipton Mill #112), (3) 30g wholewheat starter + 60g dark rye + 60g water. Final dough: All the pre-ferment – 450g + 665g water (@26 C) + 40g barley flour + 10g buckwheat flour + 45g dark rye + 915g strong white bread flour + 8g ground roasted caraway seed + 20g sea salt. Like a touch of pepper works on a great steak, just a touch of barley and buckwheat works in this very chewy bread.  The tastes merge to demand contemplation. The result is great on its own, with butter and just about anything. Method: Mix all the ingredients in a mixer bowl and knead on the slowest speed with a dough hook for 20 minutes. Pour the dough out onto a work surface and hand knead until the windowpane test is passed (about 5 minutes). Rest for 10 minutes and then do a stretch and fold [use whatever version you prefer or are familiar with – just stretch those stands of gluten!]. Let prove for 2 hours in a covered bowl before doing a second stretch and fold sequence. Again rest for one more hour then divide into 2 parts, pre-shape, shape into boules and place onto cloche or into cloth covered bannetons. Place the shaped loaves into a refrigerator at 6 C for between 18 and 48 hours.  Bake directly from the refrigerator at 240 C with moisture for the first 10 minutes.

Barmy dark rye, barley adn white 01.08.2016 loaf 2

Castanheiro festa pão

2 slices of cfp

Castanheiro festa pão (Chestnut festival bread)

This Portuguese festival bread is like many from Portugal, very cake-like and rich. Milk, chestnut puree, sugar and a long fermentation nevertheless make it an artisanal bread to enjoy at any celebration.

In October and until November across Southern Europe wonderful outdoor festivals celebrate the bounty of chestnuts. The harvest in they are cooked in both sweet and savoury dishes so preserving traditions dating back to the Roman Empire. Chestnuts have long been used as an alternative to wheat in bread making.

As chestnuts can be difficult to source in the UK you can always use chopped pecans instead of chopped chestnuts. Equally use honey instead of maple syrup if you want to keep it very European.

Castanheiro festa pão loaf 1 bb phone

Pre-ferment 1

50g white flour (Shipton Mill Canadian Organic Strong Bread flour #112)
5g granulated sugar
1g sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)
0.2g instant yeast (Dove’s Farm Quick Yeast)
44g whole Milk at about 8 C.

Pre-ferment 2

150g Chestnut puree
350g whole milk at about 8 C
0.2g sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)


100g Chopped Chestnuts
100g Dried Green raisins


500g white flour (Shipton Mill Untreated Organic White Flour – No. 4)
40g granulated white sugar
5g instant yeast
60g cold whole milk
45g real maple syrup


Both pre-ferments need to be made 12 hours before you intend to mix the dough. For the chestnut milk whisk and then warm all the ingredients to 73 C in a saucepan, remove from the heat and whisk before refrigerating until needed. The other starter is best if made and rested at room temperature for 6 hours and then chilled in a refrigerator for 6 hours at 5 C. Or, if you wish, leave at room temperature for 2 hours and then place in the fridge to chill for 10 hours.

Mix the starters and other ingredients together and then use a no-knead method you prefer.

This bread needs 3 stretch and folds.

At second stretch and fold stage add the chopped chestnuts and raisins. I like to stretch the dough into a rectangle, scatter the add-ins evenly over the top, and press them into the dough before rolling the dough up tightly, folding in thirds and reshaping into a ball.

The dough will need to proof for about 3 hours before it is divided into 4 equal portions and pre-shaped into loose tubes. Rest for 5 or 10 minutes and shape into very tight batons and place on a well-floured baker’s cloche set in a half sheet pan. Wrap in Clingfilm lightly and transfer the half sheet pan to the refrigerator to chill at 5 C for 18 hours.

Bake at 210 C for between 40 – 45 minutes with steam or moisture added in a method you prefer.

The chestnuts and raisins create pockets of contrasting taste and texture with the overall flavour of these breads keeping old traditions celebrated.

Castanheiro festa pão loaf all 4 bb phone

WGR Breadf test 2 30.05.2016 WEB IMAGE

I adore ripe, rich and strong tasting cheeses and not a day goes by without bread being combined with cheese. This loaf takes the passion for both one step closer. It is quick, apart from the 12 hour pre-ferment, mixes in a stand mixer and bakes a few hours later. This formula will make 4 loaves, each about 280g.


20g white 100% hydration starter
90g white flour (Shipton Mill Canadian Organic Strong Bread flour #112)
90g water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)

Finial Dough

200g pre-ferment
440g white flour (Shipton Mill Untreated Organic White Flour – No. 4)
10g buckwheat flour (Shipton Mill Organic Buckwheat Flour – Type 416)
280g water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)
1.7g instant yeast (Dove’s Farm Instant Yeast)
10g Sicilian sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)
100g gorgonzola cheese
100g chopped walnuts
16 individual fresh raspberries.


Twelve hours before you intend to mix the final dough combine the starter, flour and water in a container that can be sealed, fully incorporate, cover and let rest.

Use part of the water to loosen the pre-ferment and transfer to a stand mixing bowl, add the remaining water and stir to break up the pre-ferment. In a separate bowl mix the flours, salt, instant yeast before adding to the pre-ferment and water.

Mix at speed 1 (low speed) for 5 minutes and then at speed 2 (high speed) for 8 minutes.  Turn the mixer back to speed 1 for an additional 2 minutes adding the chopped walnuts at this stage to incorporate.

Place all the dough on a floured work surface and shape into a ball. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

WGR DOUGH BALL web image

Divide the dough into 4 pieces each approximately 280g and pat down into a rectangle before rolling into a small log. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Slice the gorgonzola into thin slices and divide each raspberry into half.

One at a time flatten the logs and place cheese slices on the top of the flattened roll and then place the halved raspberries on top of the cheese before folding one third of the dough towards the centre and pressing along the seam with your fingertips. Rotate the roll 108 degree. Fold one half on top of the other and seal the edges together. Finally shape into an 18 – 20 cm pointed roll.

Place all the shaped loves unto a well-floured linen baker’s cloth, seams on top. Cover with the rest of the cloth and then gently wrap in cling film and leave to proof for 1 hour. Use a flipping board to transfer to a well-floured baker’s peel, seam side now down, score with a lame and bake.

Bake in an ordinary over at 250 C, adding moisture via a method you prefer, for 15 to 18 minutes.

If using a Miele Moisture Plus oven bake at 230 C for 15 to 18 minutes with two bursts of steam at start and again after 10 minutes.

Be prepared for the cheese to melt and ooze out of the crust. Especially if you add five raspberries per bread rather than just four. When they have fully cooled try a slice but be careful this is so yummy a few more will quickly follow. I love putting some turkey ham between two slices.

wgr two by side 30.05.2016 WEB



Pan multicereales 4 1

The original formula by maestor panadero Gregory Kupis appeared in Molineria Y Panaderia 1227-1228 Noviembre-Diciembre (ISBN: 0026900X) and to translate, this bread has a very rustic appearance due to the mixture of different flours that also confer a very strong and distinctive flavour.

Gregory bakes at (h)arina  pananderia opened in 2009 by Carmen Baudin. (

In the original formula the final dough is divided into 500g pieces and formed into balls placed on floured baker’s linen. This produced four 500g pieces and an additional 300g piece which I left overnight in the refrigerator and baked the next day. If anything the taste profile had improved. Here I suggest shaping into 4 balls of approximately 580g each.

This is a particularly easy bread as it mixes quickly and seems quite tolerant of some temperature and time changes.

Variations for Pan multicereales would be to use semillas de sesame (sesame seeds), pipas de girasol (sunflower seeds) and many of the ones without a masa madre (pre-ferment, starter or sourdough) add sugar, eggs and milk.

The basic mix of dark rye, wholemeal and strong bread flour is varied sometimes by the addition of spelt. I found spelt to complicate the flavour profile in a way that did detract from the simplicity of Gregory Kupis’ formula. Some formulas even leave out the whole oats (Avena) which when fermented over a long period do contribute to the overall taste and texture.

This a really great Spanish bread and the only slight variation I might suggest is to add a very small amount of ground and roasted caraway seed, say 3g. And, as I write, that version is chilling out in my refrigerator.

I had to guess at the type of starter as the formula simply calls for 445g masa madre and does not specify if it is to be masa madre natural solida or masa madre natural liquida. I am sure it would be either rye or whole wheat or in combination. I have discovered that an Einkorn starter adds a lovely background note of nuts and this is used here in combination with a whole wheat starter at 100% hydration (75g whole wheat, 75g water, 75g starter). Feel free to make the masa madre with whatever type of starter you prefer. Use a Masa madre natural solida and the dough would be too dry. Then again the hydration for my formula depending on how calculated is (a) 85.83% (b) 78.89% or (c) 72.98%. I doubt the linseeds contribute so I think this is best described at 78% hydration.

Finally the original formula calls for 10g Levadura and again it does not specify the type of yeast. I took a guess and used instant yeast and reduced the amount which is perhaps why the formula is quite tolerant of minor time and temperature variations. Something needs to get at those oats and baker’s yeast in combination with a 49% – 44 % wild yeast masa madre make this enhanced sourdough work nicely.

Suffice it to say if you want a basic formula for Pan Multicereales this is it and adapt to your own liking.

Pan multicerelaea 1 1

Masa Madre/Pre-ferment

20g Whole wheat starter (100% hydration)
25g Einkorn starter (100% hydration)
100g Light rye flour (Shipton Mill Organic Light Rye Flour Type 997)
100g whole wheat flour (Shipton Mill Organic 100% Wholemeal Flour #205)
200g water @ 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)



445g Masa madre/all the pre-ferment
450g white flour (Shipton Mill Canadian Organic Strong Bread flour #112) [Harina de fuerza]
225g Dark rye flour (Shipton Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour – Type 1350) [Harina integral de Centeno]
225g Whole wheat flour (Shipton Mill Organic 100% Wholemeal Flour #205) [Harina integral de trigo]
11g Cornflour (Natco Fine Corn Meal ) [Harina de maize]
100g Oats (Freefrom Pure Oats by Sainsbury’s) [Avena]
100g Linseeds (Brown Linseeds by Sainsbury’s)  [Linaza]
8.33g instant yeast (Dove’s Farm Quick Yeast) [Levadura]
25g sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)
750g water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)



Some 12 hours before you intend to mix the final dough make the pre-ferment. Add the starters to a container you can seal, I use a medium glass bowl covered with cling film. Then add all the water and mix to break up the starters before adding flours. Cover when fully incorporated.

Measure out the water for the final dough and pour some of it around the edges of the mature pre-ferment to loosen before transferring to a stand mixer bowl. Don’t be a messy baker!

I used a Bosch mum4405 compact kitchen mixer.

Add the rest of the water and then all the other ingredients to the mixer bowl. It will almost be full so measure the dry ingredients separately and then add carefully to the bowl before placing on the stand mixer.

Mix for 4 minutes at speed one, then 6 minutes at speed two and again at speed 1 for 2 more minutes. The original formula calls for 1 minute at medium speed, then mixing to the right at slow speed for three minutes before mixing to the left at rapid speed for three minutes. Sounds like a fun bit of kit that particular mixer.

Remove all the dough from the stand mixer bowl. After all it is about to expand and the bowl is almost full. The new container needs to fit into your refrigerator and to be tightly covered. The best option seems to be to transfer into a round Cambro lidded container (see:

Getting cling film over a medium sized food bowl is a bit of a pain and never quite works. This is not a wet towel job.

Place and let stand in a refrigerator at temp 4 C for 10 hours to 12 hours.

Then remove from the refrigerator and let proof at 21 C for 2 hours. Reduce the time if the room temperature is greater.

Form into tight balls and place unto a linen cloche for 25 minutes. Take your own journey, dust and cover or leave exposed and don’t dust with flour. Ideally these would get placed in a hydration chamber at 21 C for the final leg undusted.

Bake at 210 C for 45 minutes if using a Miele Moisture Plus Oven with two bursts of steam at start and again at 10 minutes. Or adjust for your own method as the original formula calls for 230 C with 4 seconds of vapour from a commercial oven.

Pan multicereales 4 2

I love this bread.


Rye Sour 1

Rye Sour


One of my favourite breads and I only made two loaves the first time, gave one to Jasia and William and for the other proceeded to devour it in under ten hours. Please rest after baking for 12 hours to develop the fullest flavour profile.

The original formula comes from “Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread” by Zachary Golper and Peter Kaminsky (ISBN: 978-1-941393-41-3).  My version will make four 610g loaves and involves a longer final proof. Hydration is 71.12 %

Rye Sour 17.05.2016 my ryes

Rye slugs!

First Pre-ferment

100g Ripe Sourdough Starter (100% hydration wholewheat)
200g water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)
200g light rye flour (Shipton Mills Organic Light Rye Flour Type 997)

Second Pre-ferment

120g white flour (Shipton Mill Untreated Organic White Flour – No. 4)
0.6g instant yeast (Dove’s Farm Quick Yeast)
80g  water at about 21 C  (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)

Pre-ferments x 2 for Rye Sour cp.jpg


10g of roasted and ground organic caraway seeds (Brixton Whole Foods Ltd)  [Note: you will need 18g – 22g seeds to produce this final quantity as the seeds decrease in weight when roasted]
700g white flour (Shipton Mill Untreated Organic White Flour – No. 4)
200g white rye flour (Shipton Mills Organic Light Rye Flour Type 997)
100g dark rye flour (Shipton Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour – Type 1350)
10g diastatic malt powder (Bakery Bits Diax)
30g Sicilian sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)
2g instant yeast (Dove’s Farm Instant Yeast)
720g water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)


Mix both pre-ferments about 12 hours before you are ready to mix the final dough.  The starters should be left at room temperature (21 C) for anywhere between 10 to 14 hours and should be at peak after 12 hours. Take any temperature variations into account. Use a plastic, ceramic or glass container with a lid or covered with Clingfilm.  I prefer to use a medium glass bowl covered with cling film.

Caraway seeds are an essential component of this bread and I dislike adding whole seeds as I’d rather not need to prise them out when they stick between my teeth. Find your own flavour level for the roasted and ground seeds. The original Zacahry Golper formula would call for 8g of the roasted and ground seeds but I prefer a very slightly elevated, more European, profile and use 9 or 10g. To roast the seeds and concentrate the essential oils place them into an aluminium pudding basin (Vogue Aluminium Pudding Basin 340ml) and bake for 6 to 10 minutes at 205 C. [To obtain 8 – 10g roast 18g – 22g Caraway seeds].You will smell the aroma and know when to stop and let them cool down completely. When cooled use a spice grinder to process until finely ground. I use a NutriBullet with a milling blade attached.

In a medium bowl mix together the flours, diastatic malt, salt, instant yeast and seeds. Mix the two pre-ferments together with all the water in a large bowl making sure to break up the ferments. A Danish dough hook is a great tool for this. Now add most but not all of the dry mix from the medium bowl to the large bowl and combine.  The technique can be one of many but I find it best to use a dough scraper and roll and tuck, roll and tuck until a sticky mass with no dry patches results. Then add a small amount of the remaining dry mix and repeat rolling and tucking the dough until again a uniform mass prevails. Repeat until you have added all the dry mix and carry on rolling and tucking until the dough strengthens and begins to resist further rolling. I find reserving about 1/5th of the dry mix will result in a dough ready to rest with only a few additional tucks and folds required after no more dry patches can be seen in the mixed dough.

This dough now needs 3 stretch and folds. I rest for 45 minutes and perform the first stretch and fold and repeat at 45 minute intervals. Use a stretch and fold method you prefer. However, this dough is delicate and will tear. Either be very gentle when stretching and folding or put in a bit more tucking and folding when mixing the dough. I always use a large dough scrapper to gently stretch the dough into an extended rectangle on a well-floured work surface before folding by thirds to obtain 9 layers of dough and shaping into a round and placing back into the bowl seam side down.

Purists will want to refer to “Bien Cuit” for the method of rolling and tucking proposed by Zachary Golper. Likewise don’t think this needs to pass the window pane test. That is for dough extensively mixed.

After the third and final stretch and fold rest the dough on a work surface covered with a damp cloth for 20 minutes before dividing into 4 equal pieces. Use a 12 x 11metal dough scraper placed first on the scales and tared without any dough to make life easy.

These can just be shaped but I would recommend a pre-shape into a tube or batard, use the technique you prefer, resting for 5 minutes and then shaping into an oval or batard. I like them plump with pointy ends.

Once shaped place into the refrigerator and chill for between 24 – 31 hours. I use Cloche lined half pan sheets, two loaves per pan.

The loaves should be seem side up on the lined Cloches and a transfer peel will prove useful getting them turned over and onto a bakers peel.

Bake at 240 C for 40 minutes. Moisture is required. There are several ways to achieve this so use the one you are familiar with and gives a consistent result.

I use a Miele Moisture Plus Oven with 2 bursts of steam, at start and after 10 minutes, with the oven set to 220 C  for 40 minutes.

This is the first bread I baked on a real bakers steel. After a long wait we can get hold of excellent bakers and pizza steels from The Pizza Steel Company. I recommend you invest in one of these as they give the bottom of any bread or pizza a real proper bake.

Let the loaves cool for at least 4 hours but preferably for 12 for 36 hours before slicing. Enjoy.

Rye sour crub on blue.jpg

Rye Sour crumb



Einkorn and Kamut 1


This formula is based in part on Eric Kayser’s Organic Einkorn Bread in The Larousse Book of Bread: Recipes to Make at Home (ISBN: 978-0-7148-6887-5).  It was going to be a simple case of adding Wild garlic for the formula.  But, I didn’t order enough Einkorn!

I even thought I could find some at the supermarket or along Lordship or Rye Lanes.  And that was a foolish thought.

As I did have some Khorasan this is the result.

I slice of the wild garlic DSC_0050 web

A slice of the wild

I make a slice of the wild with a high hydration and a strong white flour base which is very popular but the combination of ancient grains and this plant works.  There is evidence Wild garlic plants have been used by humans since the Stone Age (Mesolithic), just like Einkorn.

This formula requires a pre-ferment and water that has been steeped in finely chopped Wild garlic leaves.  Make the pre-ferment and the Wild garlic water 12 hours before you intend to mix the final dough which uses Instant yeast to produce two baked loaves a few hours later. Depending on how messy you are the loaves should be between 890g – 920g each.


66g starter (100% hydration 33g rye and 33g wholewheat)
67g wholewheat flour (Shipton Mill Organic 100% Wholemeal flour (205)
67g water @ 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)

Mix the water and starter together in a container until almost dissolved. Stir in the flour until fully incorporated. Cover the container and let sit at room temperature for 10 to 14 hours until ripe and matured.  The starter should be at its peak around 12 hours.


Use a mesaluna to chop up 8 leaves of Wild garlic and place these in a container.  Add boiling water to cover and leave for a few minutes before adding cold water to make up too 624g.  Cover and place into the fridge to steep.  Remove prior to use so as to bring the water back to between 15 C and 21 C when mixing the dough.


Wild garlic (Allium ursinum)


200g Pre-ferment
588g Einkorn (Shipton Mill Organic Wholemeal Einkorn)
70g White flour (Shipton Mill Canadian Strong Bread Flour #112)
100g White flour (Shipton Mill Untreated Organic White #4)
244g Kamut (Shipton Mill Organic Khorasan #413)
20g Sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)
0.68g Instant Yeast (Dove’s Farm Quick Yeast)
624g Water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)

Knead in a Stand Mixer

Measure out the yeast, add to the water and after one minute stir to dissolve. Add the pre-ferment and then the flours and salt before mixing in a stand mixer with a dough hook on low speed for 4 minutes and then at higher speed for 4 minutes. (I use a Bosch Compact ProfiMixx MUM 44 which has 4 speed settings and for this and similar doughs low speed is speed 1 and higher speed is speed 2.  Speeds 3 and 4 are not for bread making).

Rest and Fold

Rest the dough in the mixer for 10 or 15 minutes. Tip out the dough carefully unto a well-floured work surface before folding the dough. Eric Kayser says “Fold it over upon itself once or twice. Form into a round and cover with a damp cloth.” I gently press into a square with well-floured hands and then fold stretching in from 4 corners, shape into a ball, place seam side down, flour lightly and cover with a damp cloth on the work surface.


Leave to rise for 1 hour 30 minutes before repeating the process of forming into a ball. Place into a well-floured banneton, that has been lined with Wild garlic leaves and Wild garlic white flowers. Seam side up. Place a plastic bag over the banneton and leave to proof for 1 hour 20 minutes before placing into a refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Nikon Einkorn and Kamut Loaf 2 garlic detail 10.05.2016


Bake using moisture and any method you find works well for you. This can be placed on a baking sheet on the bottom shelf of an oven pre-heated to 230 C. Refer to Kayser’s book for his method. Use a Dutch Oven if you like. I prefer not to burn my fingers and get steam blasted!

Bake in a Miele Moisture Plus Oven at 220 C for 10 minutes with one burst of stream to start and again after 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 210 C and bake for an addition 30 minutes.

Place on a wire rack and allow to cool. Enjoy.

wild garic 2

Wild for Einkorn and Kamut

Einkorn is a subtle, rich taste and texture so, normally I think it’s complex taste profile needs add-ins like fruits rather than different flours.  This could be 90% Einkorn and 10% white. The strong pungent flavour profile provided by the Wild garlic means the mix of Kamut with Einkorn and modern flour works reasonably well.  Asked to choose between this wild and my wild garlic sour with a modern wheat base most opt for the long fermented modern version. Both get devoured. I learnt a lot about Einkorn developing this formula.




Raspberry Sour with Einkorn

Raspberry Sour bread 3This was the first time I used Einkorn and I immediately regretted only ordering a small quantity from Shipton Mill.  It took one bake and taste to be smitten with this ancient organic whole flour.

The hydration for this bread is about 80% (79.2 – 81.82% depending on how calculated) and Einkorn has a lower gluten content so will be sticker than a modernist flour.

Do try this if you are used to gentling any wet sticky dough into submission.

Genetically distinct “rare” or “heritage” flour, Einkorn only has single grains on either side of the ear but these ancient little grains provide a most nutty-chewy profile to the bake.

Italians call it the little spelt or”farro piccolo” and it is supposed to be better for you – “healthier” – here it is mixed with spelt, buckwheat, roasted ground hazelnut and Shipton Mill’s untreated organic white flour number 4 (105).   The mix of Canadian and English flours in the number 4 is a great base when using wholemeal flours.

On occasions, and this was one,  the formula works first time and tastes so good there is just no thought of making changes.


45g 100% hydration sourdough starter
143g Water @ 21 C
110g white flour (Shipton Mill Untreated organic white number 4 (105))
17g wholemeal spelt flour (Shipton Mill organic wholemeal spelt 407)
16g Buckwheat flour (Shipton Mill organic)

Sourdough bubbles 07.05.2016
Pre-ferment after 12 hours at room temp


330g pre-ferment
165g Raspberry jam (Bonne Maman Raspberry conserve)
750g Water @ 27 C
825g White flour (Shipton Mill Untreated organic white number 4 (105))
165g Einkorn (Shipton Mill organic wholemeal Einkorn)
64g Ground roasted Hazelnuts (Sainburys Plc)
22g Salt (Sel Marin de l’Atlantic Danival)

Easpberry Sour dough during mixing
Raspberry rippled dough after initial incorporation


Mix the water, pre-ferment and raspberry conserve in an extra large bowl and then add most of the flour and the salt.  Roll and tuck until fully incorporated and then add the remaining flour in stages rolling and tucking with a dough scraper.  Leave to rest for 45 minutes and then perform (in your own style) the first of 4 stretch and folds.  Rest the dough for 45 minutes between folds.  Complete and then rest for 20 minutes covered with a damp cloth.  Divide into 3 equal pieces  and shape into boules using  cloth lined bannetons.

Ferment again for either 3  hours at room temperature (21 C) or for 1 hour at room temperature before chilling at 5 C in a refrigerator for 12 – 16 hours before baking.  If you opt to bake the same day place the loaves into the fridge after 2 1/2 hours so they chill for one more hour and, given oven capacity, as you bake each loaf.  As always use the finger dent test and adjust for ambient temperature.

Bake at 230 C for about 35-40 minutes.  Adjust for your oven and for fan settings.  In the case of a Meile Moisture Plus steam oven 210 C for 35 – 40 minutes with two steam injections (at start and again after 10 minutes).

Raspberry Sour crumb 08.05.2016

Raspberry Sour crumb

This is an amazing delicious sourdough with such a great texture and taste


Pan de Higos & Wild Strawberry Sours

Jesus Machim, Horno San Bartolome in Valencia (Spain), contributed a formula for Pan de Higos (Fig bread) to “Masa Madre Elaboracion y Utilizacion” [Montagudeditores: ISBN: 978-84-7212-158-4].  His method uses a mixer at low speed for 4 minutes followed by a rest and then a final mix at high speed for 6 to 8 minutes. The baked results are 600 g barrotes.

I contacted Jesus with a few questions and he was very prompt in responding.  “Hola Stephen, la masa madre después de 16/18h la tengo a un PH de 4,2/4,3 normalmente,utilizó una crema de higos de la marca Bonne maman.  La masa madre normalmente la utilizo del frío a la amasadora.”

Jesus is a master baker and winner of the Best Bake award from the Academy of Valenican Cusine in 2014.  Horno San Bartolome bake about 30 different types of bread very day.  Pan de calabaza, el de Triticum turgidum o un Pan de te con pasas o el de Centeno o de Centeno que macera con cardamomo, naranja e hinojo, su Hogaza de Masa Madre, Pan de Cristal, Pan de larga fermentación. He is passionate about explaining the difference between a real bread and bad bread.

Having absorbed the book I felt it was time to test one of the formulas (recetas).  The thought of mixing crema de higos into sourdough took hold.   Jesus confirmed that “fig paste” was not an accurate translation and instead all I needed was some fig conserve or jam.

The original formula calls for 300 g pre-ferment (masa madre), 150 g fig conserve, 20 g salt, 600 g water and 1000 g white flour.  The flour used is a type 180/200w or, in British terms a bread flour with a protein content of between 11 and 12%.   To approximate 180/220w I use a 50/50 mix of Shipton Mills #4 and #112 white flours.

This produces a hydration of either a 65% or, if you calculate with the fig conserve adding 75 g of water, 72 % hydration.   It certainly ends up feeling more like 70 than a 65 % hydration dough.   My first batch using a mixer and bulk fermentation at 21 C produced beautiful barrotes.


Taste and crumb results were very favourable.  Perhaps more bien cuit with a darker caramelization?  Would the fig essence be swamped or complimented by the adding small quantities of other flours.  The Spanish version is just superb.

But, when the sun is lest often perhaps we need deeper textual rhythms for the North.

So here is my formula variation for a jam, jammy fig sour.


40 g white flour mother starter 100% hydration 12 – 16 hours old
100 g organic white flour (Shipton Mills #112)
15 g khorasan flour (Shipton Mills #413)
15 g buckwheat flour
130 g water


300 g pre-ferment
105 g fig conserve
600 g water @ 27 C [this assumes a room temp of 21 C and flours at room temp]
800 g white flour (50/50 mix of Shipton Mill #4 and #112)
30 g khorasan (Shipton Mill #413)
30 g buckwheat flour
20 g light rye flour (Shipton Mill #997)
20 g wholemeal spelt flour
20 g sea salt (Trapani Sale Siciliano di Gucciardo Vincennzo)


Mix the water, pre-ferment and fig conserve in an extra large bowl and then add most of the flour and the salt.  Roll and tuck until fully incorporated and then add the remaining flour in stages rolling and tucking with a dough scraper.  Leave to rest for 45 minutes and then perform (in your own style) the first of 2 or 3 stretch and folds.  If you only do 2 stretch and folds add 45 minutes to the bulk fermentation.  Complete and then rest for 20 minutes covered with a damp cloth.  Divide into 4 equal pieces (approx 500 g) and shape into either batons or boules using linen couche or cloth lined bannetons.

Ferment again for either 3 – 4 hours at room temperature (21 C) (or for 1 hour at room temperature before chilling at 5 C in a refrigerator for 12 – 16 hours) before baking.

In case you missed it I have altered the hydration by reducing the white flour content by 100 g.   So  71% or 78% hydration.  It is a nice sticky dough.

Lastly bake at 220 C for about 35-40 minutes.  Adjust for your oven and for fan settings.  In the case of a Meile Moisture Plus steam oven 200 C for 40 – 45 minutes with two steam injections (at start and again after 10 minutes).

Pan de Higos test 1

Friends as tasters admired them both.

Then I got to thinking about wild strawberry and jam.  Why not a similar bread packed with a strawberry and some roasted hazelnut British rap?

When first sour-bug bitten I recall a Spanish friend who raved about a baker in Madrid with an amazing dough packed with fresh strawberries.  This formula is part homage to Jose who was one of the first to love my bread.

When the first test loaf went in I wasn’t expecting a baking aura so strongly re-mindful of strawberry cheesecake.  One clue should have been a proved dough traced with tiny red plantlike veins and, the ground and roasted hazelnuts for a final wallop.

It was test 4 with it’s extra za za zoo for me but, none of the tests survived an initial bite! Brutally slammed Texas style would be one way to put it.  Devoured for sure.

Strawbery Sour 4 2.05.2016









Dog Kennel Hill Wild Meadow

White dead-nettle in Dog Kennel Hill meadow 11.05.2014

White dead-nettle in Dog Kennel Hill meadow 11.05.2014

Great walk led by wildlife conservationist Daniel Greenwood yesterday (10.05.2014) starting in Dog Kennel Hill Wood and then onto wild Greendale.  On the way back we took a look at the Dog Kennel Hill Meadow and Daniel named a few plants for me.  Turns out those nettles that do not sting are called dead-nettles.  He pointed out White dead-nettle which we have in abundance in the woodland borders and the meadow.  I immediately recalled a similar oddity with bright yellow rather than white or red flowers.  Daniel informs that that would be Yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon).

All of these are Mints.  Yes, I was surprised when later in the day I looked this all up in the book my mother had given me on wild flowers (Field Guide to The Wild Flowers of Britain, Reader’s Digest 1981).

Nettles, those childhood stingers, are part of the English name for a plant with stinging hairs, particularly those of the genus Urtica.  There are quite a few so named and even Cnidoscolus texanus, the Texas bull nettle.  Not sure what that would sting like. However, the name is also used for dead nettle, blind-nettle or dumb nettle.  They don’t sting thus the names are clear in intent.  The Common nettle (Urtica dioica) causes stings when touched with the top of each hair on the stem breaking off and releasing an acid which causes a painful rash.

Bane and friend this plant has been both an instrument of torture and used for cloth, food and medicine.  Fabric made from nettle stems dates back to the Bronze age and seems to have been used for both table cloths and bed-linen, even until quite recently.

I am looking forward to when we can get some Yellow archangel established as dead or dumb-nettles are a common feature of waste and cultivated land and yellow archangel a much rarer plant of woodlands and hedgerows.

September 29th is the day traditionally dedicated to the Archangel Michael and all of these related plants are still in flower at this time.  White dead-nettle (Lamium album) and Red dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum) for this reason are also known as Red and White archangel.  There is a magic in any close examination of the flower and great wings of an archangel can be imagined with ease.

White dead-nettle

White archangel

Bees love dead-nettle as they find a copious supply of nectar at the bottom of the flower tube.  Indeed, this plant is a most important food plant of bees, particularly early in the year, before most other nectar-producing plants flower.

Early on red and white dead-nettle are very similar in appearance but when the flowers appear there is no mistaking which is which.  Both were used boiled and eaten as pot-herb and had a range of medicinal uses. Two other dead-nettles are to be found in England.  Henbit dead-nettle (Lamius amplexicaule) and Spotted dead-nettle (Lamium maculatum).

Mints have fun names – Gipsywort, Water mint, Corn mint, Marjoram, Wild thyme, Basil thyme, Will basil, Wild clary, Selfheal, Black horehound, Hedge woundwort, Hemp-nettle, Skullcap, Wood sage, Bugle and Ground-ivy.  This last like the true ivy remains green all the year and until the introduction of hops in the 16th century was a vital ingredient in brewing ale.  In Yorkshire and the West Country this use is recalled in the name “alehoof”.  Gill-ale and gill-tea was sold in London by street vendors as a cold and cough cure. In my gifted book pages 210 and 211 show Common nettle and Hop (Humulus lupulus) side by side.

Another noted discovery was of large amounts of Green alkanet.  For years this has always been identified to me as Borage.  Thanks to my new boon companion of a book it was clear this common mistake needed correction.

Green alkanet [11.05.2014] DKH woodland

Borage (Borago officinalis) flowers have narrow pointed petals and conspicuous black stamens.  Green alkanet (Pentaglotiss sempervirens) has five blue rounded petals and the whole flower is funnel-shaped with a center of five white scales.