The Perfect Loaf 🍞 by Maurizio Leo

🍞 Have starter discard? Make this cake!

publishedabout 2 months ago
2 min read

Cakes, proofing, and whole grains

If you're like me, you're a frozen popsicle πŸ₯Ά. It's going to be single digits here today. Thankfully, I'll hang out in the kitchen since my oven is ALWAYS on.

Here are a few awesome things in today's email:

  1. The results of my question in the last newsletter: what should I bake more of this year?
  2. Have discard? Make cake.
  3. Healthy bread and my ultimate guide to proofing dough.

Let's go!

πŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ What should I bake more of this year?

I received many replies to my last newsletterβ€”thank you! The top 3:

  1. More recipes with whole grains (and freshly milled flour)
  2. More baguette recipes & guides
  3. A tie: chocolate chip cookies (CCC) and challah

The first two: I got you covered; more of these are coming! As for the CCCs and challah: I'm long overdue for both πŸ™‚ Stay tuned.

Now, on to the recipes and guides.


🍞 Starter discard cake: ciambella

This classic Italian cake is so effortless you'll be surprised at just how good it tastes. I work in a little of my sourdough starter discard, which brings a bit of flavor (and some nutrition, too)β€”not that this cake needs it.

The version above calls for lemon zest and limoncello for an intensely lemon cake, but I have variations for poppy seed, orange, and more.

It's one of those in-the-moment cakes that makes others think you spent hours.


🍞 Sourdough with freshly milled flour

This loaf has 35% freshly milled whole wheat (I use Yecora Rojo) for a robust flavor and is an excellent step toward my goal of baking with more whole grains this year.

If you have a home grain mill, this is the perfect recipe for this weekend! Of course, you can swap in any whole wheat flour if you don't have one.


πŸ’‘ The ultimate guide to proofing bread dough

In this comprehensive guide, I dip into all things proofing bread dough. I'll walk you through how to:

  • Proof dough at warm temp (instead of in the refrigerator)
  • Decide just how long to proof your dough
  • Spot the signs for when dough is ready to be baked (the poke test!)
  • Learn which loaves are underproofed, properly proofed, and overproofed

Check out the guide and reply back to this email with any questions you might have!


πŸ‘€ What I'm reading and listening to

  • My friend Ali over at Alexandra's Kitchen posted my Sourdough English Muffin recipe from my cookbook and oh did she nail that recipe! Watch her make them.
  • I was recently on Food52's Play Me a Recipe (again!)β€”turn that on and bake my mini herb rolls with me in the kitchen.


🀝 Join the bread group



Stay warm & happy baking,

Maurizio Leo

P.S. Want to see me talk at length about bread knives (and you'll see just how many I have)? Here's my treatise on the best bread knife for sourdough bread →​