Baking

Pane di Como, or Italian country bread

July 27, 2014
Como bread, traditional Italian country bread from Lake Como.

Most of the bread I bake follows a fairly standard pattern. I’ve got a couple of staple recipes, one for an everyday loaf that works well for white or whole grain and any variation in between and a couple of ways with sourdough, too. The everyday loaf is the most versatile, and it can easily […]

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Panmarino, or Italian rosemary bread

September 29, 2013
Panmarino, or Italian rosemary bread

I made a pain au levain the other week, a French sourdough shaped like a torpedo, and full of glorious air holes, encased in a brittle crust. It was a textbook example of why ‘slow is best’ when it comes to baking bread. The levain, or starter, was set up the night before, giving it a […]

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Finnish pulla buns

September 15, 2013
Finnish Pulla bread

Here’s something a little different – a sweetened dough from the Nordic countries, particularly Finland. It’s the Northern European version of brioche, a bread dough packed with butter and sugar, stuffed with a variety of fruits, creams and spices, as the baker sees fit. Pulla buns are best made as enormous, fist-sized wedges, each looking […]

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5 reasons to bake your own bread

July 3, 2013
5 reasons to bake your own bread

You know what’s in it – bread is only flour, water, yeast and salt. That’s it. That’s all you need to make a world-class loaf. Have a look at the ingredients listed on the side of a commercial loaf and ask yourself whether all of those things are really necessary, or are they there just […]

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Slow French patisserie at The Handmade Bakery, Slaithwaite

June 16, 2013
French patisserie at The Handmade Bakery, Slaithwaite

Have you ever had times where you’ve been challenged, where there’s been something that you know you can do much, much better if you just cracked a little piece of technique, if somebody simply showed you how? Yes? It’s true for all of us, and one of my blind spots used to be French style […]

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Everyday sourdough bread

May 26, 2013
Simple, straightforward and easy sourdough loaf

I’ve baked sourdough regularly for a couple of years, now. There’s been a starter bubbling away in the fridge for the whole time. It’s remarkable in its resilience … sometimes, weeks  of neglect have passed, but a handful of flour and a splash of water cause it to spring back into life easily enough. I’ve […]

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