Pane Rustico Recipe, Whole Wheat/White Flour


While the white flour pane rustico is delicious, we are concerned about the loss of nutrients and fiber. So we replaced some of the white flour with whole wheat. We tried 100% whole wheat and were not happy with is density, stickiness and flavor. So we experimented and came up with a compromise in which we use 2 cups of whole wheat and 3-4 of cups white unbleached flour.

24 ounces of water (or occasionally whey from making cheese…), 100 F, 37 C
1 tablespoon salt (I use Kosher salt these days)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon granulated baker’s yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour in a medium sized bowl, on a balance… if you have one.

add enough white all purpose (unbleached if you can find it) to total 2 lbs 2 oz flour (about 3.5 to 4 cups white flour)


Assemble ingredients. Dissolve one tablespoon salt to 24 ounces of warmed water. Pour out 1/4 cup of warmed water.


Add 1/4 tsp sugar and 1/4th teaspoon baker’s yeast to warmed water, stir to suspend.  Let sit 15 minutes.


The glass to the left is freshly prepared, the one on the right is proofed for 15 minutes. Note foam which has formed = “proofed.”  Add the proofed yeast to the rest of the warmed, salted water.


Sift flours before adding to the warmed water: Add 2 cups sifted whole wheat flour, whisk in. Add 3 cups sifted white flour, stir in to mix with a whisk. Then add more white flour with a wooden spoon until the dough is moderately stiff, but still soft.


Note that the dough is more like stiff batter. If it is too liquid, add more flour. Scrape down the sides, cover, let sit at room temp (above 68 F) overnight.


The next morning, the dough/batter will be bubbly. The middle picture shows a closeup. Turn out on a floured surface. Note how sticky…


Fold over several times with a floured hand. (Resist the “need to knead”. Less kneading makes the holes larger and the crumb more delicate.) Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.


Dust with sifted cornmeal or rolled oats, move to the side.  Dust a cloth liberally with cornmeal (or rolled oats), transfer dough, cover with cloth.  Recently, I have been using rolled oats to prevent sticking.  They work and look GREAT (see below)
Let rise until doubled, about 2-3 hours.  When risen, preheat to 450 F with the Dutch oven and its lid in the heating up oven.


When oven is fully preheated, carefully remove HOT Dutch oven, gently transfer risen dough by turning over into the Dutch oven.  In the three images above, I am using my beautiful Le Creuset (gift) Dutch oven (red). Note also that I am using rolled oats as a coating, Gently shake the Dutch oven if the dough needs evening out. (Don’t worry if it is a bit raggedy.) Cut a cross into the dough before baking.


Cover with the hot lid, place in the 450 F oven, set timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, bake for another 15 minutes at 450 F to brown.


After 15 more minutes, the bread is done.
The second image is a loaf rolled in oats and a cross cut into the loaf before baking.
The right hand image is what it looks like after cooling slightly and cutting one end off. Cut off one of the ends and eat it immediately. Crunchy, YUM.

Smoking Foods

Here are some pictures of my initial attempts at smoking food with a Brinkman “Gourmet” charcoal smoker.  I confess to being confused about what constitutes “cold smoking,” but can tell you that if you  run the smoker at “ideal,”  food will get overcooked and dehydrated within several hours.





Here is a picture of the smoker with internal functional components indicated.




Use quality wood charcoal (not briquettes–they stink) and/or good hardwood/fruit wood for the fire. Keep it at a VERY low level. Fill the pan above the fire with water. There is a grill above the water which can be used for smoking, but I have not determined the ideal parameters of using that grill.

There is a door into the barrel which MIGHT be of use, but I used it mainly to judge the level of the fire.

The upper most grill is the one I used. I found that four hours on “ideal” was TOO long. 3 hours below ideal was good for chicken, but some bones showed red color…


Making Red Raspberry Jam, Illustrated

Making delicious jam can be deceptively simple if you prepare it with the streamlined technique I have perfected over the decades I have been raising red raspberries. Several shortcuts have been introduced, but certain steps must be carefully followed to avoid messes…

Fruit is particularly amenable to canning because of the acid it contains. Further, sugar added in high concentration is a very good preservative. I add high amounts of sugar up front which minimizes the boiling step (many recipes call for extended boiling to reduce the volume). This shortened boiling preserves the flavor compared to “reduction” boiling.

I have used this procedure with great success with other fruits. They all contain between 84% and 90% water. Those with higher water content may require slight adjustment of the sugar (step 10). Water content, according to the Composition of Foods: Red raspberries 84%, strawberries 90%, peaches 89% and apricots 85%. If the fruit you are using is higher than most in water, you may have to increase the amount of sugar to compensate.


  • 2 cups perfectly ripe berries, picked over
  • 2 cups granulated sugar


  • 2 cup measure
  • one gallon pot with lid
  • two pint mason jars with lids
  • tongs
  • 1/2 gallon stainless steel pot
  • whisk
  • thermometer, reads 120 to 240 F (-10 to 110 C)
  • canning funnel


Schnecken Sweet Rolls

When you make bread, make a little more dough (a pound or so) than you need for your loaves and turn it into an astonishingly delicious cinnamon-nut sweet roll the Germans call schnecken (snails) because of the spiral shape they have.

The amount of the ingredients given in the recipe is approximate because making schnecken is typically done by eye: a coating of butter, a layer of brown sugar, a dusting of cinnamon, a good sprinkling of chopped nuts.


  • 1 1/4th pound of whole wheat bread dough
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or 1:1 melted butter: canola oil blend
  • 2/3rds-3/4ths cup brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans (should taste fresh with no trace of rancidity)


  • 7 inch round pan
  • rolling pin
  • knife
  • oven preheated to 360 F 

Directions, in Stages

Stage 1

Prepare the pan with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts.

Stage 2

“Dress” the rolled out dough, roll into a log and cut into slices.

Stage 3

Let rise and bake.

Cheese Gnocchi

Gnocchi are essentially Italian dumplings made with flour, ricotta, egg and a little salt. They are boiled and serve smothered in sauce.

Cheese Gnocchi


1 lb. Ricotta cheese
2 cups Flour (or enough to fill the Ricotta container)
1 egg
Pinch of salt


  1. Mix all ingredients, kneading to finish blending.
  2. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Roll into ropes about as thick as your thumb using hands and a floured surface.
  4. Cut into one-inch pieces.
  5. Roll with fork to impress lines, press with thumb to make indentation.
  6. Drop into boiling water and cook until they rise to surface, about 10 minutes.
  7. Serve with your favorite spaghetti sauce and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Whole Wheat Bread

This is a 100% whole wheat bread.

If you have never made bread before, I would suggest that you try a white flour bread first because it is much easier to knead the dough to a smooth and elastic texture. (Yes, of course I know that white bread lacks vitamin E, roughage, etc. But making white bread before whole wheat is like crawling before walking. You don’t have so far to fall.) Use finely ground whole wheat for better textured dough, and higher risen breads.
It makes enough dough for four loaves and a pizza or a pan of schnecken sweet rolls . (Obviously you can scale it down or up…)


  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 1 Tbl bulk active yeast)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup water 100 F (37 C)
  • 6 cups water, 100 F (37 C)
  • 1 Tbl molasses
  • 1 tsp salt (more or less, depending on taste)
  • 9-12 cups whole wheat flour, finely stone ground. (I am embarassed to say
  • I buy mine from the ADM corporation. Embarrassed because they are a huge agribusiness corporation…)
  • vegetable oil


  • small drinking glass (to start the yeast)
  • whisk
  • bowl, 1 gallon (4 liters)
  • 2 gallon enamel or stainless pot with lid (8 liters)
  • Four medium sized bread pans (approximately 4 inches (10 cm) wide at bottom)



Schnecken Sweet Rolls