Bread making (Sourdough) Basics for home bakers

I keep getting many questions from home-bakers, about measurements, dough consistency, mixing and proofing mostly with regard to sourdough recipes. So I decided that it will be helpful to create a post that address all the basics in one place about “baking sourdough at home”.

This is for anyone who is new to sourdough baking or is thinking of starting fresh. Also these information would be helpful specially if you are attempting my recipes on this blog, but is not limited to.

I presume, that you have some sort of previous baking experience and now you have decided to take up sourdough baking. If this is not true, then may be it is a good time to take a step back and familiarize yourself with some simple bakes before attempting sourdough recipes. But, it is totally up to you. If you think, you are capable of jumping straight in the deep end, by all means, do so. Everyone is different, so challenge yourself if you like 🙂

Lets get to it then;

So as all of you know, we need a sourdough starter to make sourdough products. I have a whole blog post dedicated to this topic.
Find it through this link. I am stating this again, it is best to start by baking with commercial yeast before you attempt sourdough.

Flour types:
I will start by saying you can make any bread/pastry product using normal all purpose flour. All purpose flour was the only thing I knew/had in the beginning of my baking journey. I made rolls, bread (yeasted/sourdough), enriched products, croissants, puff, pizza, cakes, tart bases, pies and everything using just all purpose flour. But later as my knowledge and experience expanded, I went into using different flour types, because I felt the need. Bread flour has a higher percentage of gluten and ideal for bread and baguettes. Cake flour has much less gluten and more starch and hence ideal for cakes, short bread etc. For everything else, I use all-purpose flour. But still, when I ran out of a certain flour, I have interchanged these and was still able to get good results. When making bread/ bread rolls, you can mix other low gluten ( even gluten free) flour varieties to create different flavor profiles or to simply up the nutrition. Whole meal, Rye, Buckwheat, Teff are some examples.
Most recipes use these flours in 5 – 20% of the total bread flour weight. There are recipes that use 80% – 100% Rye or wholemeal. Well, once you master the basics, you can dive deep into the world of bread and try as many recipes as you like or create your own.
Apart from these, we use semolina, rice flour to dust bannetons and couches to stop dough from sticking.

Always keep in mind that, ingredient measurements stated in a recipe are only a guide line. This is specially true when it comes to water. In bread making, you may need to adjust water percentage that you actually use and it may be slightly less or more than that stated in the recipe. This is mainly because;
Flours have different moisture content and absorbency
Eggs you use might be smaller or bigger
Humidity of the air
Room temperature
Starter hydration

Mixing can be done by hand. But for enriched doughs like brioche, it is easier to start in the mixer and them finish off by hand. I recommend using hands as much as possible, so we can get a good feel of the dough consistency. We should not relay solely on time when mixing, but the dough consistency. This is why I always mention the look and feel of the dough and provide you with a picture. So that you know what to look for rather than mixing blindly.

Not mandatory, but is a good technique to add strength do dough at home, when you don’t have industrial mixers. This is useful when you have higher hydration percentage in your dough. Not necessary for rolls or other enriched doughs. You can of course use mixing to build and strengthen gluten. But I use autolysis as it requires less intervention. Just mix the flour and water and let this sit for some time (range from 30 minutes to a few hours) During this time flour absorb water, enzymes start to get activated and gluten is formed. This gluten can be further strengthened by folding the dough, which we will talk about next.

Gluten mesh

Gluten help keep the shape and also allowed the dough to expand (rise during fermentation/ oven spring). For crusty bread, baguettes it is very important to have a good strong gluten development, to get the expected chewy texture. Always do a “window test” meaning you should be able to stretch a dough without tearing so thin that you can see through. Check the following image.
But for soft bread rolls and enriched products like brioche, cinnamon scrolls, babka etc, this is not the case. In these cases, we only need moderate strength in the dough to achieve the softer crumb. This is why those recipes call for more fat, sugar in the dough and use flours with less gluten %. Also notice, most enriched recipes don’t require autolysing or folding. You can get away with minimal kneading.

stretchy dough
Gluten strength (window test)

Folding techniques:
You can use any technique you like. Stretch and fold is what we widely use. You simply stretch the dough and fold it right back. This is ideal with less sticky doughs like crusty bread. Coil fold is another technique. This is done by lifting the dough with two hand at opposite sides and letting dough coil underneath. Useful with slightly wet/ enriched doughs. Slap and fold is the third most popular, which I love, by the way. Great with sticky and slightly wet doughs. Gives you great control. Folding is how I add strength to the dough apart from autolysis.

Bulk Proof:
Bulk proofing is where you let the yeast do their job, which is fermenting. Moisture will activate the enzymes that break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. Yeast from your starter will consume these sugars and reproduce rapidly, releasing CO2 as one of the by products. As a result the dough will expand and will be airy. Again do not rely on the time here. It is only a guide. Always look for the volume of the dough. If it has nearly doubled in size, then you are done with bulk proofing. With natural yeast, bulk proofing takes longer than with commercial fast acting yeast. We don’t want to over proof at this stage, as there will be a long retardation usually.

Retarding is nothing but long and slow fermentation. Usually achieved by placing the dough in a refrigerator. Some recipes retard the dough as a bulk and then shape them and do a final proof before baking. There are other recipes, that shape the product and then retard the final product before baking. Either way, the final product that we bake should be fully proofed. Let talk about final proof later.

Shaping the dough is very crucial. Shaping dough correctly, results in a much nicer and a high quality end product. Correct shaping adds strength to the surface, which would help keep dough from spreading during oven spring. If it spread sideways, too much, the final product will be flat and the crumb won’t be as open as we like it to be.
After the bulk, we either divide the dough or go straight to pre-shape. Pre-shaping helps gather the dough and make it easier to handle. We should let the pre-shaped dough rest/relax for at least 10 minutes (not too long) before shaping. This way the dough will be flexible, so we can shape it easily. It is a good idea to degas the dough before shaping. This doesn’t have to be too rough. We just lightly press, so that excess air is released and the dough is nice and even. Shaping is fun, watch videos and practice as much as you can and stick with your preferred method. Check following videos.
Shaping a loaf
Shaping baguettes
Shaping bread rolls
Shaping a babka

Bread pans, baskets:
You can proof your dough is anything. For rustic bread you can use bannetons. If you don’t have bannetons, use any bowl or loaf tin, lined with a thick tea towel. Make sure to dust the tea towel generously with flour or semolina. For brioche or sandwich loafs, you require a loaf tin to get the shape right. So you proof in the same tin that you bake it. For baguettes, you can use a thick tea towel or a couche to proof. If baking in a baguette tray, you can proof directly on the tray. Check following videos.
How I use a tea towel to proof baguettes
I have used a loaf pan instead of a banneton

place in basket
Using a banneton to proof

Final proof:
When product is proofed, just right, it gives a better oven spring. So it is mandatory that you check this with a “poke test“. When you gently put an indent on the surface with a finger, it should slowly bounce back. If it bounces back too quickly, then you need to proof a little longer. If it doesn’t bounce back, then the product is over proofed. But don’t worry, slightly over-proofed doesn’t mean we can’t bake it! Just that it won’t have the same oven spring. But it will still be a great bake! There is a learning curve. With time everything will be easier and become second nature.

Fully proofed rolls

Stem is important in baking crusty bread and rolls. It gives a nice crust and also a lovely color to the finished product and also helps over spring (expansion). There are several ways to produce steam in a home oven. A few I use are;
Placing a pan with boiling water on the bottom rack
Spray water (mist) directly using a spray bottle
Pour boiling water on to a preheated tray placed on the lower (bottom) rack

Oven temperature:
This is the most crucial thing to get right and the most overlooked. I can not stress this enough. You have to get to know to your oven. Never rely on the oven display. Be it electric or gas, always use your own store bought oven thermometer to get the oven temperature on point. Adjust the temperature according to your oven type. Convection ovens are efficient and heats up evenly and are usually hotter than convention. If you have a bottom heated oven (only the bottom element heats up in “bake” mode), remember the top half of the oven is the hottest as hot air travel upwards. Take time to read the manual and experiment with your oven before settling in.

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Sourdough Burger Buns

sourdough burger buns

If there is anything that you should learn to make, apart from bread of course, that would be the bread rolls. Be it simple dinner rolls, fancy hot cross buns or versatile burger buns, it is a skill any baking enthusiast would love to have.

sourdough burger buns
20% whole meal and bacon fat in this one

I have tried many recipes and tutorials, prior to my culinary education and bakery experience. To be honest, I struggled to get it right mainly because I didn’t know what I was looking for. I wasn’t even trying sourdough versions.

sourdough burger buns
only 60 g milk in this one

That was 7 years ago and a lot have changed since then. You can actually find good, quality resources on the internet. But, I may have slightly different approach/method, so here is my journal. I will try to mentions every little detail along the way, but feel free to reach me for questions/clarifications either through comment here or IG.

sourdough burger buns
200 g milk and 60 g bacon fat 2 tbsp honey in this one

Ingredients and alternatives:

You can of course use any glutenous flour or a combination. All purpose, strong bread flour should be the base. You can mix other flour verities to change texture, flavor at 5 – 20% ;
whole meal
Teff etc.


Fat is what makes rolls softer and help keep soft for longer.
Fat is usually introduced as fat itself, but eggs and milk has fat too. Keep that in mind when you mix and match. You can use any of the fats below;
Oil (Vegetable, canola, olive oil, grape seed, avocado)
Bacon fat ( Inna @flourfloozy should get credit for this idea)

Adding eggs is optional. You can totally skip this process or opt to add just egg yolk for a richer texture. You can also use tofu instead of eggs and get all the effects of adding eggs. 1/4 cup tofu is equal to an egg, but make sure to drain well to remove excess water out.

Optional again. Milk, just like eggs adds extra richness. Increases softness, and sweetness. Keep in mind different milks have different sweetness and flavors. So use a in less % if you are not sure. Use following alternatives;
Cows milk (any fat %)
Nut milk (check if it is sweetened)
Coconut milk (beware of flavor and fat content)
Soy milk
Oats milk

Need only very little. Interchange with any of the following;
White sugar
Brown sugar
Coconut sugar
Maple syrup
Rice malt syrup etc.

Water is the most basic and easy solution here. Feel free to use alternatives as replacement or mixed with water to get extra flavor;
Beer varieties
Coconut water etc.

Use either eggs or milk to brush the top. This gives a nice color and shine. Use any of the following to decorate or keep it plain;
Poppy seeds
Line seeds etc.


Mix everything except the water and start to mix. Add water gradually, until a soft dough is formed. Use a stand mixer with dough hook or use a spatula. Once everything comes together kneed a further minute until dough is smooth. Take the dough out on to a floured surface. Finish kneading by hands. Its okay if the dough is bit sticky. Fold the dough to create a smooth dough ball. check next picture.


Use flour to stop the dough from sticking to your hands. Once it looks smooth like in the picture, place it in a lightly greased bowl.


Cover the bowl loosely with a lid or a tea towel and place in a warm place for the bulk fermentation. (3-4 hours)

I use my oven for this, with a cup of boiling water placed on the bottom rack. Replace with new boiling water once every 1.5 hours.


This is how the dough would look after the bulk. We are looking for a softer puffed up dough which has almost doubled the original volume.


Punch down the dough and fold it back to a tight ball and place back in the same bowl. Cover tightly and place in the fridge until next day.

You can continue to make rolls without retarding. In that case let it ferment a little further and continue the rest of the steps.


Next day, take the dough out and let it thaw for about an hour. When the dough is soft enough to handle, you can move to the next step.

divide the dough

Divide the dough in to 8 equal pieces. The total dough weight might be different each time so weight the whole dough and divide that by 8 to get how much a piece should weigh.

Let the dough pieces rest for about 10 minutes once divided

shaped sough

Shape them into tight rolls. Check this video to get an idea on how to shape rolls. Make sure to get most of the air out from the dough as you roll.

shaped dough

Place the rolls on a tray and once everything is shaped, press each roll to squash it to flatten a bit. (press down on the roll with your palm or fist) check the picture. Notice they are a bit flatter than the roll in the picture above.

Now loosely cover these and place in a warm place until doubled. ( 3 – 4 hours again or might be longer)


Once proofed, place a pizza stone/cast iron tray and preheat the oven to 425 F 0R 220 C. It’s okay if you don’t have a pizza stone, you can still get good results.


Once the oven is ready, egg wash the rolls and decorate the top with sesame. And place the rolls in the oven.

Spay a little water using a spay bottle to create a bit of steam. This is optional.

bake for about 10 minutes, rotate the tray, reduce temperature to 400 F and bake for a further 5 minutes.

baked burger buns

Once fully baked, remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.

Sourdough Burger Buns


Servings: 8 rolls


  • 400 g bread flour
  • 6 g salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 80 g fed starter
  • 40 g butter (softened)
  • 130 ml milk
  • +/-100 ml water
  • egg yolk and 1 tbsp water to egg wash
  • some sesame seeds to decorate


  1. Weigh everything except for the water in to a bowl ( or bowl of a stand mixer)
  2. Start mixing and add water gradually
  3. When the everything start to come together, continue to mix until a dough is developed
  4. This dough might be a little sticky
  5. If too sticky add some flour or let it rest for 10 minutes
  6. Then mix/knead for another minute or two
  7. Dump the dough in to a floured surface and finish off kneading by hand
  8. Use slap and fold motion
  9. Use a little flour to help if necessary
  10. make into a smooth dough ball and place in a bowl
  11. Cover and place in a warm place for bulk fermentation
  12. This may take about 4 hours or longer in a cooler place
  13. Once dough is almost double in size, punch it down
  14. Round up the dough to a tight ball place in the same bowl, cover tightly and place in the fridge until next day
  15. Next morning, take the bowl out and let it thaw for about an hour until the dough is soft
  16. Then divide in to 8 equal pieces
  17. Let these rest for 10 minutes and shape in to rolls
  18. Once shaped, place on a tray and press rolls lightly to flatten a bit
  19. Cover and leave in a warm place again until they are doubled in size
  20. This may take about 4 – 5 hours
  21. Then preheat the oven to 425 F or 220 C
  22. Place a baking stone if you have one, this is optional, but would give better oven spring
  23. Once oven is ready, egg wash the rolls and sprinkle with sesame and place in the oven
  24. Pray a little water using a spay bottle (use whatever method you usually do to get steam)It’s okay to note have steam
  25. Bake for 10 minutes and check
  26. Reduce temp. to 400 F and bake for a further 5 minutes if they are not done extend for a further 5 minutes
  27. Once baked, let the buns cool down on a rack

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Sourdough Pull-Apart Monkey Bread

monkey bread
sourdough monkey bread

This is a type of bread that is equally fun to make as it it to eat. I remember looking up one day to find out why it called a monkey bread. It is because you have to use your fingers to break/pull small pieces away to eat. Yes! now I can’t stop but imagine a monkey pulling apart bread.

Most of the monkey bread I have seen and eaten are so sweet, with the massive amount of caramel sauce and sometimes with a glaze drizzled on top. So here I am trying to make a less sweet version as usual. If you are thinking why, well honestly I think it doesn’t have to be soaked in sugar to be tasty. Sweet enriched bread is already very tasty and all you need is a little glaze or a thin coating of caramel to round it off. The caramel sauce is another dimension of flavor and texture of course.

sourdough monkey bread

Saying that, I don’t mean to say it is bad to have plenty of sauce. By all means, you are free to do as you wish… ha ha I will state alternatives where necessary.

sourdough monkey bread
pull apart

I’m using white sugar and a moderate amount of cinnamon, but you can of course use dark/light brown sugar and double the amount of cinnamon used. This will result in a much darker and a thicker sauce.

And if you think you need a little something else, you can use following to make a quick drizzle to pour over the top;

  • cream cheese and lemon
  • powdered sugar and water
  • powdered sugar and lemon juice
sourdough monkey bread
best served warm

You can make this on the same day or retard the dough over night. It is up to you. I have retarded overnight as usual, because that best fits my schedule and I had planned to server these for morning tea/brunch on Sunday.


Make the starter the night before. I’m using a 70 % hydrated

anywhere from 70 – 80 % hydration is okay. You can always reduce the amount of water content in the dough later, if your starter is watery.


Mix everything in a mixer/ use a spatula and then your hands. Make sure to add water gradually and stop as soon as you achieved the soft dough state. Dough might be a little sticky. Bring on to a floured surface and knead by hand (or do folds if its sticky) then get it to a almost smooth dough like shown in the picture.


Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm (75F-100F) place to rise. May take about 4 1/2 hours

I use my oven for this. I place a cup of boiling water in it to get the temperature and the humidity up. Replace the water with boiling water when it has turned completely cold.

proofed dough

This is how the dough looks after 4 – 41/2 hours proofing. It has almost doubled. At this stage you can choose if you are retarding or continue to make the bread on the same day.

If continuing, leave for another 30 – 40 minutes to proof. Punch down the dough, and continue to make the monkey bread, skip the next 2 steps


Punch down the dough and bring it to a smooth ball. Place back in the container, close tightly and refrigerate until next day. This will now retard the dough. In other words, it will continue to ferment but very slowly.

thawed dough

Next day, morning (5 a.m or 6 a.m) pull the dough out and let it thaw. I place this in a warm place to speed it up. Check if it is soft by poking the dough. (you can see the indents of my fingers on the dough) If it is soft, it ready for the next stage.

flatten the dough

Take the dough out on to a floured surface, roll it out to a square roughly about 1/2 an inch thickness. This doesn’t have to be exact.

cut the dough

Cut the dough into tiny squares. roughly about 1 ” by 1″. they can be of different sizes and shape, don’t worry

bundt pan

Prepare a 10 cup pan of your choice by applying a coating of non stick spray or butter on the inside.

I’m using a bundt can pan

cinnamon sugar

Make the cinnamon sugar by combining 1/2 cup sugar with 1 tsp of ground cinnamon.

Use dark or light brown sugar if you prefer a deeper caramel flavor.

If using brown sugar, you might need about a cup of sugar as they stick more

melted butter

Melt 4 tbsp of butter and cool it down

dough pieces

Dip the dough pieces in butter and then in cinnamon sugar mixture and place in the prepared pan. Do not press down.

keep the leftover butter and sugar

dough pieces

Pack the dough pieces loosely. Try to evenly spread around the tin. Now this is ready for the final proofing. Loosely cover the top with a plastic or a tea towel and place in a warm, draft free area

I use the oven again, with a cup of boiling water placed in.

Final proof may take another 3-4 hours

proofed dough

You will know it’s proofed, when the dough pieces have puffed up to fill 3/4 of the tin.

preheat the oven to 350 F

Melt the left over butter, if there is any and dissolve any remaining sugar. Pour this mixture around the pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes

baked bread

Once baked, remove from the oven and let cool off on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

Turn out on to a plate and let this cool down until you can touch with your fingers.

You can store this in a air-tight container for up to two days in room temperature

Decorate with a preferred choice of drizzle or a dusting of icing sugar

sourdough monkey bread
Sourdough Pull-Apart Monkey Bread


Servings: 4-6 servings


    For the starter
  • 2 tsp fed active starter culture
  • 60 g all purpose flour
  • 45 g water
    For the dough
  • Above starter ( 100 g roughly)
  • 350 g all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 tbsp extra water ( you may not need all of this water)
    For the coating
  • 1/2 cup sugar (white or brown) if using brown sugar you might need more about 1 cup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ( or more if you like cinnamon)
  • 4 tbsp butter melted and cooled


  1. Make the starter the night before ( or at least 6 hours before making the dough)
  2. Mix everything for the dough except water, add water gradually if needed
  3. Once the dough comes together, bring out on to a floured surface and knead by hand until fairly smooth
  4. It’s okay for the dough to be a little sticky
  5. Place the dough in a bowl and place in a warm place for the bulk fermentation
  6. Once almost double in size, punch down and place in the same bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate until next day morning
  7. In the morning, pull the dough out and place in a warm place to thaw the dough ( about an hour)
  8. Once dough is soft and malleable, bring on to a floured surface and roll out to a square
  9. Cut into roughly inch by inch pieces
  10. Prepare a pan by oiling the inside ( use butter or non stick spray)
  11. Dip dough pieces in butter and then roll on the sugar mix and place in the prepared tin
  12. Spread pieces evenly across the pan
  13. Cover and place in a warm, draft free place for the final proofing
  14. Once the dough has risen to fill 3/4 of the tin, preheat the oven
  15. Melt (and cool) any remaining butter and dissolve any remaining cinnamon sugar
  16. Pour this mixture around the sides of the pan and place in the preheated oven
  17. Bake for about 35 minutes ( check for done-ness, switch off the oven and leave for another 5 minutes if necessary)
  18. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before tipping it out on to a platter
  19. Serve warm
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Sourdough Danish Pastry

sourdough danish pastry

Danish, shortened for Danish pastry is a multi-layered, leavened, sweet pastry just like croissants, but only sweeter and richer in taste. I still remember, how I adored looking at these jewel like pastries in cafe windows in Paris.

During my time as a baker/pastry chef, I had the chance to learn and practice making french pastry. I absolutely loved making danishes and decorating them, specially when they came out of the oven looking all scrumptious. I think they look so sophisticated with the fruity center and the shiny flan jelly glaze.

sourdough danish pastry
Look at those layers

The pastry contains more butter, sugar and eggs and hence the richer taste. Traditionally the dough is scented with vanilla and/or cardamom. I added a pinch of cardamom to my dough, but I think it disappeared among all other flavors. But vanilla definitely came through. The pastry is very well balanced and delicious, you can eat it on it’s own.

Because the dough is richer, I have increased the amount of start I use. I’m using the same stiff, sweet sourdough starter as in croissants. That doesn’t have to change. The fermentation is similar to that of sourdough croissants.

sourdough danish pastry

I usually do three letter folds or two book folds for the croissant dough. For this I only did two letter folds. It is completely up to you and this is my personal preference. Also I think having lots of layers in a Danish, makes it difficult to bake and decorate, then again, it depends on what shapes you are forming them into. So, if you like lots of layers, then by all means do two book fold.

Unlike croissants, danishes require a few extra detailing before baking and also few finishing touches once baked. You can skip these or replace it with an alternative as they only affect the flavor and the look. The texture will not be affected.

finished pastry

Usually, Danishes are egg washed and filled with custard or cream cheese and topped with fruits before baking. You can place fruits afterwards too. Or you can bake them and then fill them with custard/cream cheese. But I personally like the baked custard center, so that’s what I am doing here.

Once these are baked, give them a few minutes to cool down and then you can decorate them. Traditionally, the whole pastry or at least the fruit center is coated with flan jelly. This is to keep the fruit fresh and also to give them a shiny look. At home we can use melted apricot jam in place of Flan jelly. If you want, you can add some fresh fruit too. I love fresh fruits with flaky pastry and custard, so I have topped mine with some fresh raspberries.

Okay, so let get to the steps.

stiff starter

Make the stiff starter, the night before. Use fed active culture to make this starter. Remember your starter strength is important for the fermentation.


Next day, mix everything, except for the water. Add water gradually and stop as soon as you’v got a dough formed. Knead the dough until it’s kind of smooth and flatten it lightly.

Remember! You might not need all the water in the recipe, different flours absorb water differently. Humidity affects this too. Also the size of your egg, consistency of the butter matters too.

Wrap the dough and refrigerate until next day morning.

butter slab

Mix butter and the little flour and shape it to a slab ( about 3/4 cm of thickness) Check this video to see how to do this.

Wrap and refrigerate.


Once you are ready, take the butter slab out and let it thaw for 5-10 minutes. Roll out the dough to twice the size of the butter slab. Wrap the butter with the dough. Check next picture.

Wrapped butter

Butter is now securely enclosed inside the dough. Seal the edges of the pastry, so that the butter wouldn’t escape. Flatten using the rolling pin and then start rolling length-wise.

rolled out

This has been rolled out, length-wise. Then fold the dough sheet like a letter. Check next picture.

letter fold

This is the first letter fold.

Check this video to see how the first letter fold is done.

Now wrap and place this in a fridge for an hour or two. Then take it out again and repeat this same process to do a second letter fold.

Check this video to see how the second letter fold is done.

Once done, place back in the fridge. Now you can let this rest for about 4-6 hours.

roll out

After the resting period, roll out the laminated dough into a 40 cm by 20 cm square. Do this in stages. Get it to 20 by 10 first, and then refrigerate to rest, so the dough won’t shrink back. I like to cut the dough in half and roll out each half separately. Let this rest for few hours before you cut out shapes.

Once ready, cut 8, 10 cm by 10 cm squares. Shape them however you like, I did the following shape.


Put slits on the opposite sides as shown in the picture. Criss cross the cut ends and paste on the opposite sides. Check next picture.


I like to make this shape, as it’s easier to fill the center. Google for more shapes that you can do and try them out.

danish squares

Once done, place them on a prepared tray. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and leave on the counter overnight. At this stage you can refrigerate them too ( for up to a day or two) and proof and bake later.

Or if you want to bake them on the same day, let them sit in a warm place. They will proof in about 4-5 hours.

(75F – 95F) is considered warm. It a range so the higher the temperature the sooner they will proof. But becareful as too much warmth can melt the butter.


It’s a good idea to make the custard a day ahead. So it is set and ready to go when the danishes are proofed.

You can make any custard( pastry cream) you like, use custard powder if you want.

This is my simple recipe: 1 cup milk, 30 g sugar, 25 g corn flour, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Boil milk and sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan. Whisk, eggs and corn flour until smooth. Pour boiling milk slowly into the egg mix, while whisking. Then pour the mixture back in the saucepan, and cook on medium heat, whisking vigorously, until mixture thickens. Once done, take off the heat, add vanilla and pure into a heat proof bowl. Cover the top with a cling film and refrigerate.


I usually let mine proof slowly over-night (10-12 hours), they are usually ready in the morning. If they aren’t quite ready, I would place them in a warm place for about an hour to finish-off proofing.

Remember, long and slow gives you more flavor and longer the fermentation, the better. That’s why we use sourdough after all. If you want quick results, using commercial yeast is the way to go.

Pre-heat the oven to 420 F or 215 C. Place a rack in the center.

egg wash

Make an egg wash with a yolk and a tsp of water. Apply a light coating. Do not let it drip over the sides or pool around.

fill with custard

Once egg washed, place a dollop of pastry cream/ custard in the center and stick some fruit:

Fruit can be ; sour cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blue/black berry, ripe apricot (canned or fresh), apples, pears etc.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, reduce temperature to 400 F, rotate the tray and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown all around.

baked danish

Once baked, remove from the oven and let them cool off on the tray itself for about 15 minutes.

apricot jam

Melt some apricot jam in the microwave or stove-top.


Decorate with extra fruit (optional) and apply the melted jam over the top to cover the entire pastry.

sourdough danish pastry

Let the finished pastry rest for about 10 minutes. The jam will set nicely and will be less sticky. Serve with your favorite beverage.

As there is custard, these can not be left at room temperature for more than 4 hours. If you want to store them, place in an air-tight container and refrigerate. Freshen up in the oven before serving.

These are best eaten, fresh. So I would not recommend storing them. You can refrigerate them, but they will lose their flaky texture.

If you are desperate, you can bake these without custard and fruits and store them at room temperature for up to a day or freeze them in sealed containers. And to serve, they can be refreshed by baking for 10 minutes in a moderate oven, remember to thaw frozen pastry first. Afterwards, you can fill them with your favorite topping.

sourdough danish pastry

This is my usual recipe, which makes only 8 pastries. It is perfect for the two of us for breakfast and then may be a couple for tea. If you are serving a big crowd, you can double or quadruple the recipe easily.

If you tried this, please leave a comment to let me know what you think or tag me on Instagram. Any questions, ask them in the comments section below, and I’d be happy to answer them.

You can find related videos on my you tube channel too.

Sourdough Danish Pastry


Servings: 8 pastries


    For the starter sponge
  • 60 g AP flour
  • 25 g culture (fed)
  • 1 tbsp brown/white sugar
  • 25 g water
    Butter slab
  • 2 sticks/1 cup/220 g butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
    For the dough
  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp butter softened
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) full fat milk
  • 1/2 cup water (+/-)
    Egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 cup pastry cream
  • Fruits of your choice
    For the glaze
  • 1/4 cups of apricot jam


  1. Make the starter the day before and let ferment for 12 hours
  2. To make the dough, mix flour salt and sugar in a stand mixer.
  3. Add the egg, butter, milk and start to mix. As the dough comes together, add the starter and mix to combine
  4. Now add 1/4 cup of water and keep mixing using the dough hook. Add the rest of the water gradually until the dough becomes a stiff ball. You may not need all the water in the recipe. If it is too soft add a bit of flour
  5. At this stage take the dough off the mixing ball and knead on a surface to make sure everything is combined and dough is even. The dough should be malleable but not too soft
  6. Pat the dough flat and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a day
  7. Make the butter slab by mixing thawed butter and flour. Scoop out on to a plastic sheet. Place another plastic sheet on top and roll out to form a 3/4 cm thick slab. Wrap and chill
  8. When ready to laminate, take the dough out and check if butter is the same softness as the dough. Then roll out a dough to a square twice the size of the butter (check photo)
  9. Wrap the butter slab in the dough and seal sides
  10. Roll out and do a letter fold, wrap and chill for several hours (2 hours minimum)
  11. Do another letter fold and chill again for several hours (4 hours minimum)
  12. Then take the dough out roll out and divide in to two and chill again
  13. Roll out the two pieces separately to 20 cm by 20 cm square. Wrap and chill for minimum 30 minutes
  14. Cut each square in to 4 and make the shapes
  15. Arrange pastries on a tray leaving ample space around them
  16. Let proof until risen and ready to bake (Usually takes about 8-10 hours or more depending on your starter activity
  17. Preheat the oven to 420 F and place a rack at the center
  18. Once proofed, egg wash and fill center with pastry cream and fruits
  19. Bake the danishes for 20 minutes and reduce heat to 400 F and bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes ( keep an eye though)
  20. Once baked, let these cool for about 15 minutes and decorate with more fruit
  21. Heat apricot jam and glaze the danishes
  22. Let these set for 10 minutes before serving
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Sourdough Hot Cross buns

sourdough hot cross buns

Come Easter, this is something I look forward to. There is so much bliss in biting into a buttered warm hot cross bun. It goes so well with black coffee (specially the long black I miss so much) and for me it’s a completely satisfying breakfast.

I can’t stomach the ordinary store bought stuff ever since I started baking my own bread, rolls and buns. If I am buying these, I make sure to go to the best local bakery available. I am so glad that there are still some small scale bakeries that make good, wholesome bread products without the chemicals.

sourdough hot cross bun
A good slathering of butter

Making hot cross buns were one of the favorite things I adored during my time as a baker. I used to make these by the hundreds at the small local bakery cafe, I worked last. I still remember how the whole place was filled with the aroma of warm sticky hot cross buns as they came out of hot ovens every morning. I think I liked making them as much as I love eating them.

sourdough hot cross buns

So this is my sourdough version of the much loved bun. I love the yeasted version too, specially when you don’t have the patience to wait two days for the bun to come out. As many of you have noticed by now, I am a little obsessed with the natural yeast, so it’s only natural that I’m making them to be sourdough.

hot cross buns

I love to load my hotX with currents and raisins and mildly spice with cinnamon, nutmeg and tinge of cloves. But feel free to add whatever you like. I know some like to add dried peel, lemon/orange zest. Or you can use dried blueberries, sour cherries instead. Last but not least, these can be made into chocolate buns, by adding a bit of cocoa to the dough and I have had great success in replacing fruit with chocolate chips. Mmmm…that said, I might whip up a chocolate batch later this month.

sourdough hot cross buns
best served warm with butter

Find the step by step guide below as usual and like all other sourdough recipes, this one’s success depends on the starter! So get your starter, refreshed and all bubbly and active before attempting the recipe.


Make the starter ready at least 6 hours before you start mixing. The time depends on how much you feed and the activity of your starter. Read more here

For this I’m using a 80% hydrated starter.


Weigh everything, except for the dried fruit and water, into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Make sure butter is softened and egg and milk is at room temperature.


Mix on low speed adding water gradually. I had about a two table spoon water left after mixing. When the dough comes together, increase the speed by a notch and mix for a bout two minutes. Scrape the sides and clear the hook as you do. When the dough looks like in the picture, you can add the dried fruit.

Mix on low speed only until the fruit are incorporated. Do not over-mix!

dough with fruit

Dump the dough onto a floured surface. Give a few stretch and folds or slap and folds (which ever is more comfortable) until the dough becomes smooth. Check the next picture.


Once the dough a smooth dough ball like in the picture, place in in a plastic tub, cover with a lid and leave in a warm place for the fermentation to take place. This may take about 3-4 hours. You will see the dough grown considerably. Check next picture.

rinses dough

The dough will be risen and feel much softer and elastic. Punch down the dough and round it up again. A stretch and fold would do. Check the next picture.

rounded up dough

Then place back in the same bowl, cover tightly and place in the refrigerator for the retardation or the long slow fermentation. This is when all the flavor is begin created.

This could be anywhere from 12 – 18 hours. The more you leave it to retard, the sour the flavor will be.

retarded dough

Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature ( take about 3 hours) Now it’s time to divide the dough. So get the dough on to a lightly dusted surface. check next picture.

divide the dough

Divide the dough in to 12 equal pieces. In my case, it was about 95 g each. Once divided, let these rest for about 30 minutes. Make sure to cover them to prevent from drying out. Then you can round up them into smooth dough balls. Check the next picture.

dough balls

Shape them just like normal rolls. Check this video to get an idea. Then place them on a tray lined with a baking paper. Cover the whole tray and place it in a warm place for the final rise or until they are doubled in size. It took 3 and half hours in warm place (I use the oven with a boiling bowl of water placed in and then change water once or twice)

risen buns

Once the buns are risen, pre-heat the oven to 375 F and prepare the flour mixture for the cross. Check next picture.

flour mixture

Mix 1/3 cups flour with 1/4 + 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp sugar and pinch of salt. It should have no lumps and be in dripping consistency.


Fill a piping bag ( any plastic bag/zip-lock bag would do) Cut a small hole at the tip. Keep this ready but do not pipe until the oven is ready. You wouldn’t be using all of it, so make less if you can or keep this in the fridge for a day or two for a next batch.

pipe the cross

Once the oven is ready, pipe the cross over the buns as shown in the picture and place the rolls in the oven (on a rack placed at the top 3/2 of the oven/slightly above center) Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until top is nicely turned brown. I usually rotate the tray at 20 minute mark as my oven doesn’t distribute heat evenly.

baked buns

While the buns are begin baked, make a sugar syrup. Mix 1/4 sugar and 1/4 cup water, bring to a boil and let simmer for about a minute. As soon as the buns come out, brush them lightly with sugar syrup. check next picture.

brush with sugar syrup

Brush the buns while they are still very hot, this way, some of the syrup get absorbed. This will make the rolls softer and will keep them from drying out. Also they’ll look all shiny and attractive.

let them cool off

Once done, place the buns on a wire rack to cool off.

serve with butter

Serve with some butter. You can warm up the buns in the microwave. These can be stored in an air tight container for about two days at room temperature (19 C – 22 C) Or place in the fridge to keep for longer. They freeze well too.

Sourdough Hot Cross buns


Servings: 12 rolls

sourdough hot cross buns


    For the buns
  • 400 g all purpose flour
  • 100 g bread flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 50 ml milk (1/4 cups)
  • 40 g butter !softened
  • 150 g active starter (80% hydration)
  • 190 – 200 ml water
  • 1/2 cup dried currants (loosely packed)
  • 1/2 cup dried raisins (loosely packed)
    For the cross
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 + 1 tbsp water
    For the sugar syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 water


  1. Make the starter(80% hydrated) prior to making the recipe ( 6-8 hour depending on how you feed)
  2. Mix everything except fruit and water in a bowl of a stand mixer and start mixing on low speed adding water gradually. the dough should be a bit sticky
  3. Once everything is hydrated, Increase speed to medium and mix for about a minute or two
  4. Scrape the sides
  5. Once the dough comes together, add the dried fruit and mix on low only until they are incorporated
  6. Do not over mix
  7. Take the dough onto a floured surface and give a few stretch and folds to make the dough smooth
  8. Then place this in a bowl, cover and keep in a warm place for about 3-4 hours
  9. Punch down the dough again to a smooth ball, place back in the same bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (up to 18)
  10. Let the dough come to room temperature (3 hours) and divide into 12 equal pieces
  11. Let these rest, covered, for about 30 minutes
  12. Then shape into buns, place on a prepared tray, cover and leave in a warm place until risen/or doubled in size
  13. Once they are ready preheat the oven to 375 F and make the paste for the cross
  14. To make the paste, mix everything until smooth and fill a piping bag and set aside
  15. Once the oven is ready, pipe the cross over the buns and place in the oven (slightly above the center)
  16. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes
  17. Rotate the tray for an even bake towards the end of the bake
  18. While they are baking, make the sugar syrup
  19. Mixing sugar and water in saucepan, bring to boil and simmer for a minute
  20. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them with a light coating of sugar syrup
  21. Transfer them onto a wire rack to cool off
  22. Server warm with butter
A close up
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High-hydration sourdough

sourdough bread
Thin crispy crust

High hydration bread has received a lot of attention lately, specially among the sourdough bread enthusiasts. And to be honest, this is my favorite way to go, even though it did require a lot of time, practicing and perfecting the method.

baked bread

What is not to love about a high-hydration bread, be it a baguette or a loaf. The thin crispy crust and the gelatinous open crumb is the ultimate bread goals. Am I rite? It is such a pleasure to slice through these crusty bread and they are the best when toasted.

My baguette recipe is a high-hydration one. Naturally, baguettes are higher in hydration than other breads as we need that moisture to obtain the signature irregular, open crumb.

Open crumb

The high water content makes the crumb gelatinous as it bakes, and hence the chewy bite that we all adore. So the crumb doesn’t go mushy, when you dunk it in a broth, curry, or a stew.

Baked bread in dutch oven

Enough talking and lets get bakin’. So here are the step by step process that I follow and found to be most aligned with my daily schedule. I mostly make the bread in the evening/night and bake it the next day evening. But feel free to attempt this anytime of the day and it is okay to tweak the process here and there to fit to your personal liking.


First step is getting the starter ready. Feed the starter with 1:1 water and flour mixture several hours before making the bread. (the time depends on your starter, room temperature and the amount of culture that you feed. Read more on this here.


Starter should be at it’s peak. I usually feed my starter with bread flour and before feeding mix the flour and water thoroughly and make sure to mix well with the culture. The mature starter will be spongy and full of bubbles.

starter and water

Measure 220 water into a bowl and add the starter into the water directly. Look how they float on top of the water. Dissolve the starter in water before adding to the flour.

In the mean time, measure 20 g of water and 6 g of salt into a separate container and set aside.

Mix flour

Mix flour and starter+water in a large container. Just mix until incorporated, do not knead. I’m using a locally sourced, freshly milled strong organic bread flour. This flour is great, it is a thirsty flour and of 13% gluten.


This is how it should look, it is just combined, make sure all the flour is wet. Now close the lid and leave this for an hour.

This is autolyse. Meaning the flour will absorb as much water as it can and gluten will start to form and enzymes are activated.

add salt

Bring the dough onto a non sticky surface, and add the salt+water. Make sure all the salt is in. Start to rub the water into the wet dough, gently. No not try to mix vigorously as I have found that it will break/dissolve the gluten and become a sloppy mess.

hafl way

The dough might start to look like this and it is perfectly normal. At this stage, I find the “slap and fold” method works best. Use water to lubricate your hands and slap and fold until a smooth dough is developed. Check the next picture


After a few fold, the dough will come together. This whole process of adding salt should not take more than a minute or two.

Now cover and let this rest for 45 minutes. Use the same container. Do not over knead.


After the first 45 minutes, the dough will be spread like this. Give a coil fold / stretch and fold, whichever you prefer. Simply make this back into a tight dough ball. Like the next picture.


Dough is tight again. Every stretch and fold will strengthen the gluten structure. Now cover and let rest for another 45 minutes.

rested dough

After the second 45 minutes, the dough will look spread again. Do another coil fold and bring the dough together to a tight ball. Like in the next picture.

dough ball

This time the dough will feel much more elastic and you will see air bubbles here and there. These are signs of gluten being strengthened and fermentation. Check my folding video here. Now, cover and let this rest for another 45 minutes.


This will be the final fold. This time around, the dough is much stronger. Be careful when you fold. Do not do more than 2 coil folds. Notice the bigger air pockets and the dough has grown slightly too.

dough ball

After the final fold, the dough is much stronger and now we are ready for the final hours of bulk. At this stage we are done strengthening the gluten, now we need to give undisturbed time for the yeast to do their job. Close the lid and let this ferment for two hours. My room temperature was around 19C. If yours is warmer reduce this to a 1 1/2 hours. If its colder you can give it up to 3 hours. Decide that looking at the dough.

At the end of bulking, the dough will look plump and a bit wobbly. Dump the dough on to a lightly dusted surface and pre-shape.


Pre-shaped dough. This will feel super strong and stretchy and elastic like a balloon.


Cover this and let it rest for 30 minutes. This will help the gluten relax, so we can shape the into a loaf easily. Otherwise, the dough will be too elastic and would try to unfold when you shape.

rested dough

This is the rested dough. This is now ready to be shaped. Check shaping video here. This is only one way of shaping, you can find many more methods on the internet.

place in basket

Once shaped, place in the banneton basket. You don’t need a special basket to proof a dough. Check this video where I have a loaf pan with a tea towel.

This is a 10″x 5″x 3″ size banneton. Alternatively, you can also use a loaf pan of similar size. Cover the loaf pan with a thick tea towel and dust it generously with flour/semolina.


Cover the whole thing with a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. This slow fermentation is called retardation( we are actually slowing down the fermentation) This could be anywhere from 18 – 24 hours. I left it for 24 hours.


When you are ready to bake, first preheat the oven, with the dutch oven in (if you are using one) or your baking stone in. I use a dutch oven. Thermometer placed inside should read 500 F / 260 C. Let the oven heat for another 30 minutes or an hour even after the temperature reaches this.

Now, take the loaf out from the fridge and tip onto a parchment. Score the bread, and place in the dutch oven. Bake 25 minutes lid on, and then reduce temp to 450 F and bake another 20 – 25 with lid off.

baked bread

Once baked, let the bread cool off on a wire rack.

High-hydration sourdough


sourdough bread


  • 300 g strong bread flour (13% gluten)
  • 70 g active mature starter (100% hydrated)
  • 220 g water
  • 20 g water
  • 6 g salt


  1. Make the starter ahead of time
  2. Mix water (220 ,g) starter and flour until just combined
  3. Cover and set aside for an hour
  4. Add the salt and the rest of the water (20 g) and mix to incorporate. Do not over mix Read and check blog photos and relevant steps
  5. Let this rest for 45 minutes, covered
  6. And give a fold after 45 minute rest. Check photos and video above
  7. Repeat this twice more
  8. After the final fold let the dough rest for two hours (or longer if it is cold)
  9. After the bulk proof, pre-shape the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes
  10. Then shape the loaf and place in the proofing basket
  11. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 – 24 hours
  12. When ready to bake, pre heat the oven ( for1 hour) with dutch oven in, to 500 F
  13. Take the bread from fridge ( if it hasn’t proofed, you can leave it out for about 30 minutes and place back in fridge)
  14. Place the loaf on a parchment, score and transfer to the dutch oven
  15. Bake lid closed for 25 minutes and then reduce temperature to 450 F and bake a further 20 – 25 minutes with kid off
  16. Let the baked bread cool off on a wire rack
  17. Slice and enjoy
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Sourdough buckwheat waffles

Sourdough buckwheat waffles

Sundays were our usual pancake day, well until I ordered the waffle iron that is. I don’t know why I delayed this and it’s already been a year since we moved to Seattle. May be my mind is a bit reluctant to accept that, we might have to settle down here at least for a couple more years and that I have to buy every piece of kitchen gadget all over again! exhausting to think about it!

Served with banana and syrup

Ah well, back to waffles… so yes I very much like the idea of having waffles for breakfast, as they are so easier to make and you can have several verities. Plus, it is crispy unlike pancakes and it’s perfect with maple syrup. Yum!

After trying numerous recipes, well, I came up with this sourdough version and I think this is a keeper. This is similar to my sourdough pancake recipe. This uses buckwheat, which is an ancient grain, full of nutrients. Also this gives these waffles a nice dark chocolate color and a nutty taste. I’m also using coconut sugar but you can use dark/light brown sugar instead. Also almond milk could be replaced with any plat-based milk you like.

Look at that color!

These tasted great and healthier too, so all the more reasons to make these more often. Here we go!


Prepare the starter several hours prior to making the mix. I feed the starter in the afternoon if I am making the batter in the night.

mix everything

Mix everything except, butter and buckwheat flakes(oats)

Stir thoroughly, until a smooth thick batter is produced. Cover and let this sit for an hour. the fermentation will start, but you won’t notice anything in an hour visually. This will help the fermentation to continue in the refrigerator. After an hour, place in the fridge overnight/several hours.


Next day morning bring the batter out and let sit for an hour to thaw. Then add the melted butter and the buckwheat flakes (or rolled oats) and fold slowly and gently, until just combined. Now let this sit for another hour minimum or longer (up to 2,3 hours) until you are ready to make the waffles.

The more it sits, the more airier it will get, which is a good thing


Preheat he waffle iron and make the waffles as per the directions. I like uneven edges, so I deposit about 1/4 cup of batter into the centers of each square.

let them cook for about 4 minutes or until they turn golden brown.

Cool them on a wire rack. Do not stack on top of each other.


Look how aerated the interior is.

Make sure to NOT stir the batter when you scoop out, as it may knock out too much air.

Serve warm with syrup and the topping of your choice. I love these with Maple syrup and a sprinkle of nuts.

Sourdough buckwheat waffles


Servings: 10 waffles



  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup starter (fed active starter)
  • 2 table spoons coconut sugar (brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup butter melted ( oil is an option)
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flakes (or rolled oats/ quick oats)


  1. Make the starter several hours before ( I used a 100% hydrated starter)
  2. To make the batter, mix everything except butter(oil) and buckwheat flakes in a large glass/ plastic bowl (use a non reactive container)
  3. Mix thoroughly to create a smooth thick mixture and let this sit covered, for about an hour. If it’s cold, make it an hour and a half
  4. Then place the container in the fridge and let it slowly ferment overnight
  5. Next day, bring the batter out and let thaw for an hour
  6. Melt the butter and add it to the batter along with buckwheat flakes (oats) and gently fold to incorporate. Do not mix vigorously as it might knock out too much air
  7. Let this sit for another hour minimum. It is okay to let this sit for 2-3 hours until you are ready to make the waffles
  8. Preheat the waffle iron and make the waffles according to the instructions
  9. Cook the waffles until golden brown and interior sounds hollow when tapped
  10. Let rest on a wire rack. Do not stack them
  11. Serve warm with your favorite topping
Serve warm with your favorite toppings

There you have it! Do not be afraid to try new flours in place of buckwheat. You can make this with plain white flour too and it is still delicious. Also you can add grated, apples, pears to the batter instead of oats to give a nice texture. Make sure to sneeze out excess water before you add them.

Try this out and let me know how it went.

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Orange scented fruited sourdough pan loaf

fruit loaf

Of all the things I miss most of Melbourne is the morning stroll we did to get coffee. We lived on the hills of beautiful Emerald and there was this nature trail that connected Belgrave and Gembrook, which followed the famous Puffing Billy Railway line. It was our Saturday ritual to take this trail to a hidden cafe to get the morning coffee. This was our fasted-cardio for the weekend and it was about good 10 – 12 km (round trip) distance, and by the time we reach the cafe, we are usually starving and I look forward to my piece of raisin toast like my life depended on it!

Slice or two toasted and with butter and syrup…is the best!

It was just a slice of plain mass produced sandwich loaf, but boy! it tasted amazing! I missed this so much, that I had to recreate the recipe at home. But, as you know, I’m a hard-core sourdough lover/devotee, so here is the sourdough version of a fruited pan loaf.

I wouldn’t call this a sandwich loaf, as it is not as enriched. This loaf has still got a nice byte to it and got a chewy texture. It is not a fluffy, cake-like bread at all.

fruit loaf
open crumb with a texture and a real byte

The only thing is I have added a little milk, oil and honey to make it a little bit flexible, so I can proof this in a pan. This additions resulted with a softer crumb (than a usual sourdough with just flour, water, salt) and crust. This makes it is easier to slice and hence perfect for toasts.

fruit loaf
Not the prettiest from outside…but wait till you cut into it!

So here are the steps:


Make the starter the previous night (or several hours before you start making the recipe)

Mix everything in a bowl, except the fruit. Transfer to a stand mixer and just mix until everything is hydrated.

Remember to add water gradually as you go, to create a soft dough


This is the dough that’s just been mixed. It is a little bit sticky, but not too much. Now let it rest for a bout 30 minutes.

And then mix on medium-low speed until a smoother dough is developed ( for a bout 3 minutes) You can use your hands if you like.

smooth dough

See how smooth dough is. It is not completely developed yet. Now place the dough in a plastic bowl, cover and let ferment for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, do a stretch and fold and let rest for about 30 minutes.

This is a good time to prepare the fruits.


You can skip figs or replace it with more Sultana or raisins. If the figs are soft, just slice them thinly and set aside. If they are very dry, soak them in boiling water for a few minutes and drain before cutting.

soak fruit

It is a good idea to soak the cranberries and Sultanas/raisins in boiling water for a couple of minutes. This will soften them and hydrate them. This will ensure that they won’t absorb moisture from the dough and also will blend in nicely without tearing the gluten stricture.

stretchy dough

After the stretch and fold and the resting time, the dough is now fully developed. Look how stretchy it is. Now is a good time to add the fruit.

adding fruit

Stretch the dough as much as you can like shown in the picture. Scatter the fruit evenly. And then, roll the dough from one end to the other. Shape in to a ball and place back in the container.

Cover and let ferment/bulk for about 3 hours


Bulked dough will be softer and bigger (not doubled, but noticeably grown). You will feel lots of air bubbles inside it.

Drop the dough on to a floured surface and pre-shape into a ball. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

shape the dough

Shape the dough like shown in the picture. If you don’t know how to shape, a pan loaf, checkout a video on you tube.

dough in pan

Place the shaped dough in a lightly greased loaf pan. Cover this/place in a plastic bag and refrigerate over-night or several hours (minimum 12)

this pan dimensions are
9″ x 5″ x 2 ¾”

proofed loaf

It will be proofed during the long retardation. ( 18 hours) But if you wan to bake earlier than this, take the loaf out and let it sit out-side (at room temp.) until it’s risen well above the brim of the pan.

Fully proofed loaf will be doubled in size. Do a poke test to see it is ready. When you press lightly with a finger, if it bounces back slowly, then it is ready.

baked loaf

Pre-heat the oven to 420 F

Lightly egg wash the top and bake; 15 minutes at 420 F and then a further 20 at 375 F.

Once done cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes and demold the loaf and leave to cool completely


Slice with a serrated knife and enjoy!

Best served toasted

Orange scented fruited sourdough pan loaf


Servings: 1 loaf

fruit toast


    For the starter
  • 70 g flour
  • 30 – 35 g water
  • 1 tsp starter culture
    For the dough
  • 200 g all purpose flour
  • 100 g strong bread flour
  • zest of 2 medium oranges
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil ( or butter)
  • 15 g honey
  • 70 ml full fat milk
  • 100 ml water
  • 100 g starter ( 50% hydrated)
  • 1/4 cup each dried sultana, cranberry, figs ( can use all sultana or all raisins if you prefer)


  1. Make the starter ahead of time
  2. To make the dough, mix everything except fruits and water in a bowl. Add water gradually and mix to incorporate everything
  3. Transfer to a stand mixer(or you can continue to hand knead) and mix until a dough is formed. Add more water if the dough is stiff
  4. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes
  5. Mix again on medium-low speed until a smoother dough is developed ( for about 3 minutes)
  6. Round the dough up and place in a bowl, cover and let rest 45 minutes
  7. After 45 minutes, give one stretch and fold and let rest for another 30 minutes
  8. Prepare the fruit in the mean time (check post for details)
  9. Stretch the dough as wide as you can and scatter the fruit evenly
  10. Roll the dough from one end to the other and then shape into a ball
  11. Place in the same container, cover and let bulk for about 3-4 hours
  12. Once bulked, pre-shape the dough and let rest for about 20 minutes
  13. Shape in to a loaf and place in a greased pan
  14. Cover and refrigerate for several hours (over night)
  15. Check the loaf before baking. If it hasn’t proofed enough, bring it out and let proof further at room temperature until ready
  16. Pre-heat the oven to 420F
  17. Lightly egg wash the top and bake for 15 minutes and a further 20 minutes at 375 F
  18. Once done, let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then demold the loaf
  19. Cool completely before slicing
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Sourdough Brioche loaf

I was asked several times if I have a sourdough brioche recipe and unfortunately I had to reply with a very polite NO and it didn’t feel right. So here it is! I am thrilled to finally write this down and so grateful for the encouragement I receive from many of my followers on IG and this blog.

french toast
french toast made with sourdough brioche

So, long story short, I bought a brioche loaf (not a sourdough one) from the whole foods for breakfast last Saturday. I know, I bake all the time and still run out of bread every now and then. But I don’t usually buy super-market bread except when I’m in a hurry or at a loss of ideas, like that Saturday. And that’s not even the worst part. The worst bit is, that it really hurt when you have to buy bread, ever since I started making my own bread. I felt like I’m cheating or betraying something or someone. As funny as it may sound, it is true.

sourdough brioche
sourdough brioche

We made some nice french toast with that brioche and I knew at that moment ” we are so going to eat home-made sourdough brioche next weekend”. So here it is, my homemade sourdough brioche.

sourdough brioche
sourdough brioche

I made it as indulgent and rich as I could, with all the butter and eggs, pushing the limits really.

stiff starter

Make the stiff starter, several hours before (preferably overnight) making the dough. It is as easy as mixing everything together and kneading into a smooth dough ball. This is how its inside is going to look once fermented.

mix the dough

Next step is to make the dough. To start with, weigh everything except butter into a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with dough hook. Mix on low speed until everything comes together. Scrape down with a spatula to encourage.

mixed dough

Once everything is mixed, increase speed a notch and mix until a smooth dough is developed. Scrape down the bowl as necessary. Use the extra 2 tbsp of milk as you go to loosen up the batter if it feels too stiff.

This will take about 4-5 minutes.

silky dough

Once the dough is developed, then add the softened butter, a bit at a time and continue to mix. The dough will end up very sticky but looking silky like shown in the picture. Empty the dough into a greased bowl. Cover and let ferment until almost double in size.

This may take roughly about 4 – 6 hours depending on the room temperature


This is the dough doubled in size. If you put this is a smaller bowl, it will be easier to judge. Next picture is a better one.

Once it has doubled, we need to punch this down before chilling it in the refrigerator.


Easiest way to punch down the dough is to drop it on to a floured bench and use a scraper to fold it. Avoid handling it with your bare hands as it is extremely sticky.

Once the dough it punched down, place it back in the same bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or over night.

shaping dough

We need the dough to be chilled to be able to handle it, but as soon as you take it out of the fridge, it will be too hard.

Let the dough thaw for about 30 minutes or until it is malleable but still cool. Dump the dough on to a lightly dusted bench and roll into a log.

If the dough becomes too sticky, place it back in the fridge

divide the dough

Divide the log into 8 equal pieces

Remember the dough should remain cold and still firm all the while

shape dough

Shape each dough piece in to a nice smooth round ball, as if you are making dinner rolls. Use flour to stop dough from sticking. Use the scrapper to help release the dough.

Use as little flour as possible when dusting. We don’t want a thick flour coating around the outside of the dough.


Grease a loaf pan and place the dough balls like shown in the picture. Pack them snug, so they will rise upwards as they proof.

Now egg wash the tops lightly. You can use a bit of milk too. this is to stop it from drying.

Cover and leave in a warm place to proof

proofed dough

In a cool temperature (19 C), the proofing will take up to 8 hours. In a warm atmosphere, this will be around 5 hours.

But keep an eye, you can clearly tell when it is ready. The loaf will fill the tin and expand into a fluffy wobbly thing

baked brioche

Next step is to egg wash and bake the loaf. Be very gentle while egg washing, no to deflate or damage the fragile skin.

Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes. Then another 20 – 25 minutes at 350F.

If the top is going too brown too quickly, reduce the temperature earlier than mentioned.


Let the loaf cool off in the pan for about 10 minutes and then slide it off on to a cooling rack. Let the loaf cool completely before cutting into pieces or storing away.

By all means, feel free to dig into it while still warm, if you like it that way.

french toast

You can use the brioche for anything. I mainly use this for french toasts.

This brioche is softer on the day it was made and tend to get a bit dry the next day. But it doesn’t really matter if you toast it or made french toast with it like I do. The slices has more body and will hold nicely, so it is perfect for french toasts, which is the main purpose behind me making brioche.

sourdough brioche
soft crumb
Sourdough Brioche loaf


Servings: 1 loaf

sourdough brioche


    For the starter
  • 20 g fed starter culture
  • 70 g flour
  • 30 g water+/-
    For the brioche
  • 100 g of the above stiff starter
  • 250 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar (use 4 if you want the bread sweeter)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 160 g softened butter
  • 2 tbsp milk (to be used if necessary)
    Egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk


  1. Make the starter the day before (at least 8 hours prior )
  2. Weigh everything except butter and milk into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook
  3. Mix on slow speed until combined. Use milk if the dough is stiff
  4. Increase speed and mix until a smooth dough is developed ( for about 5 minutes). use milk if dough is stiff. Dough should be wet and sticky (check the blog photos)
  5. Then add the softened butter, a bit at a time and mix to incorporate
  6. Scrape down the bowl every now and then
  7. Once all the butter is incorporated mix on medium for another minute or so
  8. The dough is silky, wet and extremely sticky
  9. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and set aside for the fermentation to take place. Dough should be almost doubled in size
  10. This will take about 6-8 hours depending on the room temperature
  11. Once the dough has doubled, punch it down using a spatula or greased palms(check blog description for more detailed)
  12. Place back in the same bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or overnight)
  13. When ready to make the brioche, take the dough out and let it sit outside for about 15-20 minutes
  14. Then take the dough onto a floured bench and shape into a log
  15. Divide the log into 8 equal pieces and shape each piece in to smooth dough balls
  16. Grease a loaf tin and place the dough balls in, placing them close together in pairs
  17. Apply a light coating of egg wash/milk, cover loosely and leave in a warm draft free place for the final proof ( 5 – 6 hours)
  18. Once the dough has risen(proofed/doubled in size) preheat the oven to 400 F
  19. Egg wash again and bake for about 15 minutes
  20. Reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for a further 20 minutes
  21. Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes to cool down
  22. Slide off the loaf and place on a wire rack to cool down further
  23. Once the loaf is completely cooled, you can either slice it or store in an air-tight container
  24. Best consumed on the same day
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Sourdough Apple Fritters

apple fritters

Apple fritters has become one of my favorite naughty snacks, ever since we moved to Seattle. I call it apple stuffed dough nuts! whats not to like about it? Really?!!! Donuts are fritters are so much different here and there are so many varieties but apple fritters with its sweetness and tang, cannot be beaten.

I always get a fritter ‘for the road’ on my way back from weekend grocery shopping. I have to be honest though, I am not a fan of overly sweet things, so I can never finish a whole fritter in one go. So it has become a thing now, that we share a fritter instead of two. But, one thing is sure, we can never resist it!

apple fritters

Every time I bite into one, I dream of making them at home. I would imagine what I would do differently, so I can finish an entire one and go for a second. For example, I’d definitely add more apples, make it sourdough (surprise!) and way less sugar in the glaze. And this is exactly what I did. It was a lengthy (somewhat messy) process, but totally worth it. So let me explain it step by step below;

fed starter

Feed the starter as usual, several hours before you plant to use it. I do it overnight.

I’m using a 100% hydrated starter. That means 1:1 water to flour ratio to feed. If you are new to starters I have a post about sourdough starter.

Mix all the ingredients to make the dough, using a stand mixer. ( you can of course do this by hand) We are essentially making a doughnut dough. Mix on medium until the dough comes together. It should be a softer, sticky dough. Take the dough on to a floured bench and slap and fold a few times to bring it together. Now place it in a plastic tub, cover and leave to ferment. In colder weather this may take about 6-7 hours (overnight is fine too)


After several hours, you will see some expansion in the dough and few air bubbles. Punch down and round the dough to a smooth ball and cover and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Use the same container. This will harden the dough, develop gluten strength, ferment slowly, develop flavor.


To prepare apples; peel and core the apples of your choice. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes (or smaller if you prefer that way) Melt butter in a saucepan, add the apples, cinnamon and sugar and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. make sure to stir and with time, the juices and sugar will turn in to a thick syrup and coat the apples.

cooked apples

This is how it should look like once cooked. Apples are softer but still hold its shape and got a bite to it. The sugar syrup has thickened and coated the apple bits. Its not watery. Cool completely and refrigerate until needed.


When you are ready to make the fritters, bring the dough out and let it come to room temperature. This will take a few hours depending on the room temperature. But do not worry if it happen to sit around for a little bit longer.

Let the apple mixture come to room temperature if it was in the fridge.

roll out

Roll-out the dough on a floured surface and scatter the apple pieces. This doesn’t have to be any exact length or width, we are just trying to incorporate apples in to the dough. Press down apples so they get tucked in.

Roll it like you’d do with a cinnamon roll. Lightly press again.

cut the dough

using a knife or scrapper, cut the dough as shown in the picture.

cut the dough

Then cut length-wise too. This will help get the apples mixed with the dough. This doesn’t have to be perfect. All we are trying to do is mixing apples with the dough.


This is the messy bit. Flour the bench generously. Pres the dough and with your fingers try to incorporate everything together. And shape the dough back into a log, like shown in the picture.

cut the dough

Now using a sharp knife/scrapper divide the log in to 8 or 10 pieces. I think 10 is better, so you get smaller fritters and they are manageable. Prepare a tray with a parchment dusted with flour generously.


Take one dough piece at a time and shape it in to a disk using your palm and fingers. Tuck in any exposed apple pieces and place on the tray. Cover and let proof for about 5-7 hours. It’s winter and it took 7 hours for mine to rise.


This is how they looked like after proofing. Puffed up and softer dough. It’s time to heat up the oil now. In a deep pot bring oil to medium-high heat. ( if you have a thermometer it should be around 180 C) I don’t have one so I always use a tester fritter 😉

Make the glaze before frying and keep it ready

apple fritters

Once oil is hot drop one fritter or two at a time and fry turning until deep chocolate color is achieved. I like mine crispier. Once cooked, let the excess oil drain for about 30 seconds and dip both sides with glaze. Leave the fritter on a wire rack placed on a tray

Do this while still hot, so excess glaze is dripped off leaving a thin coating. You can reuse the glaze dripping.

apple fritters

Let these cool. As they cool, the glaze will firm up and become less sticky. Now take a good bite out of one, close your eyes and thank yourself!

There are several ways to make a glaze, choose your favorite:

  • Using just water and icing sugar
  • Using milk powder, water, icing sugar, vanilla
  • Using condensed milk, water, icing sugar (I went with this as I had some leftover condensed milk )
  • using lemon juice, icing sugar

Make sure the glaze is thick but runny. If it is too thick, add a drop of water and if it is too watery, add a table spoon or so icing sugar.

apple fritters
goodness of deep fried apples and dough
Sourdough Apple Fritters


Servings: 8-10

apple fritters


    For the dough
  • 250 g flour (all purpose) and more for dusting
  • 1 small egg
  • 40 g castor sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter softened
  • 70 ml full fat milk ( extra if needed)
  • 100 g fed starter
    For the apples
  • 2 big honey crisp apples (use any type of apple)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/8 cups castor sugar ( or more if you like it sweeter)
    For the glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp water/milk
  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • (Use 4 tbsp condensed milk instead of water and milk powder)


  1. Weigh everything for the dough into a bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed until incorporated
  2. Mix on medium until dough is developed (for about a minute), add water or flour to adjust consistency
  3. Take dough out onto a floured surface and fold (slap and fold) several times to form a smoother dough ball
  4. Dough should be soft, slightly sticky
  5. Place in a bowl, cover and let ferment for several hours ( 5-7 hours or until you see it expanded a bit and air bubbles formed) You’d feel dough fluffier than it used to
  6. Now punch it down or rather round it up to a smooth ball. Surface is much silkier now and less sticky
  7. Place in the same container, cover and refrigerate (mini 8 hours/ overnight)
  8. Make the apple mixture in the man time
  9. Peel and core the apples, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  10. Melt butter in a saucepan,add the apples along with cinnamon and sugar
  11. Cook string for about 10 -12 minutes until apples are a bit softer and syrup thickens and coated the apple pieces
  12. Let cool and refrigerate if using following day
  13. Next day or when you are ready to make the fritters, bring both dough and apples to room temperature
  14. Prepare a tray with a parchment dusted generously with flour, set aside
  15. Dough can stand for a few hours until it thaws and start to ferment again. If you didn’t see a lot of action in the first proof, this is a good time to let the dough ferment a bit further
  16. Flour a bench surface and roll out the dough ( 1 cm thickness roughly, it doesn’t matter really)
  17. Scatter the apple pieces on the dough, press lightly and roll to form a log.
  18. Using a sharp knife or scrapper, cut the log in to slices and repeat length wise
  19. The idea is to incorporate apple bits into the dough. The cutting action would cut the apples and force them into the dough
  20. Now use your fingers to mix everything and form the messy dough into a log again
  21. Use flour to stop it sticking
  22. Once a log is formed, divide into 8-10 pieces (you can decide how big or small)
  23. Take one piece at a time, on to your palm, form in to a disk, tuck any lose apple pieces in and place on the tray
  24. This doesn’t have to look pretty nor perfect
  25. Once done cover the tray and leave aside for the final proof
  26. This might take 5-7 hours
  27. When ready, they will look puffed up and dough will be fluffier and softer
  28. Make the quick glaze and have it ready
  29. Heat oil in a deep pot ( 180 C – medium-high temperature)
  30. Drop one/ two fritter at a time and fry turning (about 1 minute each side) until deep chocolate color is achieved.
  31. Let excess oil drain ( 30 seconds) and dip both sides in the glaze while fritter is still hot( you can choose to drizzle instead)
  32. Leave on a wire rack so excess glaze can drip away. Place a tray underneath to catch the dripping glaze and you can reuse it
  33. Once done let then cool
  34. As they cool, the glaze will set and harden.
  35. Enjoy!!

You can easily double the recipe
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