Wildness at the BBBabes’ 10th Anniversary Party (BBB February 2018)

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BBB 10th Anniversary summary: recipe for Wild Royal Crown Tortano based on a recipe in “Artisan Baking Across America” by Maggie Glezer, using Jane Mason’s starter and Chad Robertson’s kneading and shaping techniques; information about Bread Baking Babes; BBB’s 10th Anniversary!

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) 10th Anniversary: Royal Crown Tortano – Revisited

Royal Crown Tortano

How time flies! The BBBabes have been baking together for 10 years!!

Well… Some of the BBBabes have been baking together that long.

I’m not one of the original BBBabes, even though I was lurking on the edges, gazing on in envy, right from the start. But eight years ago, after one of the original BBBabes retired, I was asked to join officially. At the time, I thought that I should probably justify my invitation to become a BBBabe by actually making a few more of the recipes they’d chosen. (Of course, it is taking me ages to work my way through them all. :lalala: …I’m still not even close to being done.)

The first Catch-Up BBB bread I made was the BBBabes’ first bread, Royal Crown’s Tortano from “Artisan Breads Across America” by Maggie Glezer.
Royal Crown Tortano

When will I learn to read things all the way through? […] [In] the preferment for this: I whisked ¼ tsp (.9 gm) yeast (my scale won’t measure fractions of grams) with 240gm water. Then I measured out 100 gm unbleached bread flour and put it in the bowl. And saw that I was supposed to put only 80 gm of yeasted water into the flour:
Add 1/3 cup of this yeasted water (discard the rest) to the flour and beat this very sticky starter until it is well combined. – Maggie Glezer, “Royal Crown’s Tortano”, Artisan Breads Across America, p. 203
– me, blog from OUR kitchen | Catching Up in 2010: Royal Crown’s Tortano (BBB February 2008), July 2010

But it turned out to be beautiful bread, in spite of my difficulty with reading. So when Tanna suggested that we bake the Royal Crown Tortano again for the BBBabes’ 10th anniversary, I was thrilled.

However. Being almost incapable of doing things the same way more than once, I decided I HAD to use our Jane Mason starter to make this 10th anniversary version of the Royal Crown Tortano. How could I not? :-)

Here’s how things went this time round:

BBB Royal Crown Tortano – Revisited diary:

6 February 2018, 12:41 I’m thinking about using my natural starter for this instead of commercial yeast. Do you think I’m way off base with the following?

Pre-Ferment Ingredients
spoonful bubbling starter from fridge
80gm water
100gm unbleached bread flour

11 February 2018, 23:58 I’ve been stewing about the amount of water in the starter and have decided to use equal parts by weight of flour and water and then cut back on the amount of flour in the final dough:

Pre-Ferment Ingredients
10gm spoonful bubbling starter from fridge
90gm water
90gm unbleached bread flour

14 February 2018, 10:01 I imagined I was going to be baking the 10th anniversary bread yesterday. But no. I didn’t read my schedule correctly and had to be out most of the day. So. I’m going to try for baking it tomorrow.

I’m determined not to use commercial yeast. This could be dicey because tomorrow, I have to leave in the early evening, possibly when it’s time to bake the bread.

But T did an unscientific experiment with our starter to see just how long it takes for it to be ready to float. It appears to take 6-7 hours. And then when it does float, it continues to be prepared to float for another 2-4 hours. I will get home late tonight and mix the starter. Then tomorrow morning, mix the bread. And fingers crossed, it will be ready to shape at around 4 and ready to bake around 5:30. Wish me luck!!

15 February 2018, 08:59 I got home at midnight and mixed the starter, using whole wheat flour instead of bread flour, so that I could feed the Mason Jar in the fridge. This morning, I was thrilled to see that the starter was floating beautifully.

I dug around in the bag of potatoes to find the smallest potato I could and put it on to boil as I measured the rest of the ingredients.

Dough Ingredients
1 small potato
500gm unbleached all-purpose flour
10gm flaxseed, ground
10gm wheat germ
15gm vital wheat gluten
400gm water (including the potato water) at body temperature
all of the pre-ferment
12gm honey
70gm potato puree
16gm 15gm salt

As I was taking the wheat germ out of the fridge, I noticed the flax seed there and realized that for a 10th anniversary BBBabe bread, I HAD to add flax. So I did. The dough is mixed – or rather all but the salt and 25 grams water. Because I really like Chad Robertson’s method of waiting to add the salt.

The dough is now languishing in the oven with only the light turned on for 40 minutes. I’ll add the salt then. And maybe a little more water than just 25 grams. The dough seems quite dry.

This is a tremendously wet and sticky dough. – Maggie Glezer, “Royal Crown’s Tortano”, Artisan Breads Across America, p. 203

It is??? Not in our kitchen….

When I add the salt, maybe I’ll add a little more water than just 25 grams. The dough seems quite dry.

Eeeeek!! As I was measuring the salt and thinking it seemed a bit high, I just noticed a typo above. That should read 15 grams of salt, not 16 grams.

I know. One gram is probably not going to make that much difference. Especially in the Tortano version I’m making with all the alterations of wild yeast, all-purpose and whole wheat flours, vital wheat gluten, wheat germ, flax seed….

11:47 So far I’ve done 2 turns after adding the salt.

This dough is almost pourably wet.
– Maggie Glezer, “Royal Crown’s Tortano”, Artisan Breads Across America, p. 203

Ha!! Doubt it Ralph!

So I added more water. (I have no idea how much more I added. It was a good splash…) because the dough was just too too dry!

Each time as I turned the dough, I continued to be alarmed about the little lumps in it. WHAT are they?? Should I have sifted the gluten flour??

Ohhhhh…. Wait. It’s potato lumps. Duh…. Clearly, I have not learned from earlier times:

[The dough] felt beautiful. With the exception of the lumps of potato I kept coming across because I used our hand masher to make the potato puree. (I didn’t feel like turning on the little food processor…)
note to self: use the little food processor to mash the potato.
– me, blog from OUR kitchen | Catching Up: Royal Crown’s Tortano (BBB February 2008), July 2010

12:13 I think it’s probably safe to pre-shape the bread after the next turn. Even though Glezer says to let the dough rise to double before shaping it.

Fiddly-dee-dee!! I’m going to continue on my merry way of amalgamating Glezer’s and Robertson’s instructions and choosing which instruction I like best. After all. What can go wrong? {cough}

Using the bench knife and one hand, work each piece of dough into a round shape. Tension builds when the dough slightly anchors to the work surface while you rotate it. By the end of the shaping, the dough should have a taut, smooth outer surface. […] After this initial shaping, let both rounds of dough rest on the work surface for 20 to 30 minutes. This stage is called the bench rest. Make sure the dough is not exposed to drafts, which will cool it too much. […] During the bench rest, each round will relax and spread into a thick pancake shape. The edge around the circumference should appear fat and round, not flat and tapered or “dripping” off the edge. If […] the dough is spreading too much, these are indications that the dough did not develop enough tension during the bulk fermentation. To correct this, simply shape each round a second time. […] To form the final loaf shapes, lightly flour the top surface of the dough rounds. Slip the bench knife under each round to lift it off the work surface, taking care to maintain the round shape. Flip the round so that the floured side is now resting on the work surface. […] The final shaping involves performing a series of folds—taking care as always not to deflate the dough. The successive folding builds tension inside each loaf so that it holds is form and rises substantially when baked. […] The dough can rise at warm room temperature (75-80°F) for about 3 to 4 hours before baking.
– Chad Robertson, Basic Country Bread, Tartine Bread, p56-58
    Let [the dough] ferment until doubled in bulk and filled with large air bubbles, about 4 hours. Using plenty of dusting flour, turn the dough 4 times in 20 minute intervals, that is, after 20, 40, 60, and 80 minutes of fermenting, then leave the dough undisturbed for the remaining time. Do not allow this dough to overferment or ferment to the point of collapse, for the flavor and structure of your bread will suffer.
Shaping and Proofing the Dough:
    Turn the fermented dough out onto a well floured work surface, round it and let it rest for 20 minutes. […] Sprinkle a generous amount of flour over the center of the ball. Push your fingers into the center to make a hole, the rotate your hand around the hole to widen it, making a large 4 inch opening. The bread should have about 12 inch diameter.
    Place the dough smooth side down on the floured couche or board and dust the surface with more flour. Drape it with plastic wrap and let it proof until it is light and slowly springs back when lightly pressed, about 1 1/2 hours.
– Maggie Glezer, “Royal Crown’s Tortano”, Artisan Breads Across America, p. 205

12:55 The dough is bench resting now. I’m still trying to figure out how I can bake it with a hat overtop. I can’t use my beautiful cast-iron Combo-cooker because it will be too small.

Hmmmm…. what to do. What to do.

13:31 I went down to shape the bread into a ring and decided that it needed one more bench rest.

Because I’m an expert. {cough cough}

15:10 I did the final shaping of the bread about an hour ago and because I want to be sure that the hole stays intact, I wrapped a ring cutter with parchment paper and stuck it in the center. Here’s hoping that wasn’t a huge mistake….

But the bread is looking very nice. I just did the finger-check on the side; it’s not quite ready for baking. I’m guessing it needs another hour.

I’m still trying to figure out how I can manufacture a hat for baking the ring. I thought our aluminum wok lid would work but T has nixed it because it’s never actually gone in the oven. Wouldn’t it be awful if it melted? :stomp: :stomp:

16:13 I did the finger pressing test and have decreed that it’s time to get the oven going. It’s too big for any of our mixing bowls to act as a hat; I’ll spray the outside liberally with water.

Slash it with 4 radial cuts in the shape of a cross. Slide the loaf onto the hot baking stone and bake until it is very dark brown, 40 – 50 minutes, rotating it halfway into the bake.
– Maggie Glezer, “Royal Crown’s Tortano”, Artisan Breads Across America, p. 205

17:10 What a gorgeous colour! And that’s what I call oven-pop. Too bad the slashes all but disappeared though. It’s cooling now. I can’t wait until tomorrow morning to see how it looks inside!

Royal Crown Tortano

I confess that I was a bit disappointed that my slash marks pretty much disappeared. However, I was not disappointed in any other aspect of the bread.

The resident critic lifted it and tried to hide the slightly disapproving look after lifting the bread and noting dryly, “it’s not going to be very light and fluffy if there are potatoes in it…”. We agreed to wait until we’d tasted the bread before passing final judgment.

First thing this morning, we sliced into it. Wow. It’s gorgeous!

Royal Crown Tortano

Breakfast was pinto bean soup and warmed bread with butter. What could be better?

Thank you, Tanna!

Here is the BBB February 2018 recipe. Here’s what I did to Maggie Glezer’s recipe in 2010. Here is what I did to Maggie Glezer’s recipe this year:

Wild Royal Crown Tortano
based on “Royal Crown Tortano” in Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glezer


  • 10gm spoonful bubbling wheat starter from fridge
  • 95gm water
  • 95gm 100% whole wheat flour


  • 1 small potato (~80gm), chopped roughly
  • cold water, to cover


  • 500gm unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 10gm flaxseed, ground (because this is a BBBabe recipe)
  • 10gm wheat germ
  • 15gm vital wheat gluten (because Glezer’s recipe calls for bread flour)
  • 70gm potato puree
  • 12gm unpasteurized honey
  • all but 10gm of the starter
  • 15gm kosher salt
  • ~25gm additional water (maybe more)
  1. Leavener and refreshing the starter: Late in the evening of the day before you will be baking the bread, use a wooden spoon to mix starter ingredients together in a smallish bowl. Stir 10gm back into the Mason Jar in the fridge (to feed it). Cover the bowl and leave it in a non-drafty area of the kitchen (or in the oven with only the light turned on) to allow it to ferment until it floats in cool water. (Our unscientific experiments say this takes from 6-8 hours.)
  2. Pre-Dough In the morning of the day you will be baking the bread, cut the potato into smallish pieces and place in a small pot just covered with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to continue boiling the potato until it is fork tender (5 to 10 minutes). Drain the potato, reserving the water. Mash the potato (Glezer suggests putting the potato through a ricer. Fish the skin out with your fingers and either eat it or put it into the compost bin. It’s a very good idea to do this now rather than later when you are trying to knead the dough. :lalala:) Set this aside.
  3. Check the Leavener Put a small spoonful of the happily bubbling leavener into a glass of cool water. It should float. If it does not, stir in a little more whole wheat flour and water – equal amounts by weight – cover with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes more. Chances are that it will now float.)
  4. Dough Once the leavener is floating, put the flours, wheat germ, flax seed, water (include the potato water), honey, ~70gm potato purée (if there is a little more than 60 gm potato, just include it… how could it hurt?), and 100gm of the leavener into a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to stir the floury mess into a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate (or lid if you are using a large pyrex casserole dish as a mixing bowl) and allow to rest for about 40 minutes. Chad Robertson says Do not skip the resting period. Working with the nature of the dough, the resting perod allows the protein and starch in the flour to absorb the water, swell, and then relax into a cohesive mass.
  5. Adding the salt: Pour the 25gm water over-top of the mass of dough. Sprinkle on the salt, making sure that it goes onto the water. (Alternatively, you could stir the salt into the water in a little bowl and pour in the salty water.)
    • Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be alarmingly messy. But persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  6. Folding and Turning:
    • About 40 minutes after adding the salt, run your dough-working hand under water. Reach down along the side of the bowl and lift and stretch the dough straight up and almost out of the bowl. Fold it over itself to the other side of the bowl. Turn the bowl and repeat until it’s a little difficult to stretch the dough up any more. You’ll notice that the dough feels significantly smoother. If the dough seems dry, add a splash of water. Resist any urge to add more flour. (Glezer warns that this dough “is a tremendously wet and sticky dough […] do not add more flour, for it will ruin the texture of the bread”.) Cover with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours in winter, in the oven with only the light turned on) for about 30 minutes.
    • Repeat the above step 2 or 3 more times. Don’t be alarmed about lumps of potato. If they seem too large, just crush them between your thumb and index finger. (Robertson says these folds should be done 4 times in all). He writes [N]otice how the dough starts to get billowy, soft, and aerated with gas. At this later stage, you should turn the dough more gently to avoid pressing gas out of the dough. […] A well-developed dough is more cohesive and releases from the sides of the bowl when you do the turns. The ridges left by the turn will hold their shape for a few minutes. You will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in volume. More air bubbles will form along the sides of the container. These are all signs that the dough is ready to be […] shaped.
  7. Pre-shaping: After about 30 minutes has passed, very lightly sprinkle the work surface with all-purpose flour. Carefully turn the dough out. If necessary, gently spread the dough out (try not to disturb any bubbles). Using the dough scraper and still trying not to disturb any bubbles, fold the sloppy left side into the center, then the top into the center, then the right side, then the bottom. Continue to fold it underneath itself to form an even tight ball without actually deflating the dough. Place it seam side down on a parchment covered peel. Scrape the flour that is left on the board and scatter it over the center of the ball. Cover with an inverted mixing bowl (if you have one that is large enough) or a tea towel followed by a large plastic grocery bag and allow the dough ball to rest for about 30 minutes.
  8. Shaping: Run your hand under water and then use it to make a hole in the center of the dough ball. Glezer’s words are best to describe how to make the hole: Push your fingers into the center to make a hole, the rotate your hand around the hole to widen it, making a large 4 inch opening. The bread should have about 12 inch diameter.” Cover the shaped bread with a clean tea towel followed by plastic bags. Leave it in a non-drafty area until is has about doubled. To test, flour your finger and press gently on the edge – it should very slowly spring back. For comparison, try pressing early on to see how it quickly springs back when the dough has not risen enough. (2 to 4 hours)
  9. Preparing the Oven About half an hour before baking the bread, put the baking stone on the second to the top shelf of the oven, making sure there are no racks above the stone. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  10. Baking Just before baking the bread, spray it with water. Use a sharp serrated knife to slash it with 4 vertical cuts in the shape of a cross. Slide the bread into the oven (the parchment paper can go into the oven). Immediately turn the oven down to 375F to bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Half way through the baking, remove the parchment paper and turn the bread around to account for uneven heat in the oven. The finished loaf should be a very dark brown with an internal temperature that is 205F to 210F.
  11. Cooling: When the bread is done, , turn off the oven. Put the finished bread back in the oven and leave with the door ajar for 5 or 10 minutes. Remove to cool the bread to cool on a footed rack before slicing/breaking apart and eating; the bread is still baking internally when first removed from the oven!
    If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.


:: Salt Even if you don’t weigh other ingredients, I urge you to weigh the salt. For more raving about this, please see Salt is salt, right?
:: Starter The starter is a 100% hydration, liquid levain. It takes about 5 days to create. (Please see our take on Jane Mason’s Natural Starter made with Wheat Flour.)
:: Oven Temperature: Glezer says to bake the bread at 450F. But I knew that this would be too hot a setting with our oven. I baked the bread at 400F and still had a problem with the crust getting too dark before the crumb was completely cooked. I suspect that because of the honey in the dough, the baking temperature really should be lower.


Royal Crown Tortano

Bread Baking Babes

BBB 10th Anniversary Tanna (My Kitchen in Half Cups) is the host of the February 2018’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

    It is totally unreal to me but believe it or not it has been 10 years the Bread Baking Babes have been baking bread. […] In our casual Babe fashion, we’ve decided to roll back the clock 10 years and bake our first bread: Royal Crown Tortano from Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glazer.

What a great journey this has been so far! Happy Anniversary BBBabes!!

We know you’ll want to make Royal Crown Tortano too! Make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 28 February 2018. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.


For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ 10th anniversary February 2018 bread.

As Katie has so fittingly said in the past:

As always, we have some very busy Babes at the moment…. But just so you know: We’re all still BABES!


soup and bread

14 responses to “Wildness at the BBBabes’ 10th Anniversary Party (BBB February 2018)

  1. tanna

    Truly for the Babes this is an iconic bread. Pinto Bean soup and this buttered bread, glorious breakfast!
    Really you were a Babe from the start and only became more so after the invite ;-)
    Gorgeous bread, lovely color.
    Wonderful times, glorious bread.

    1. Elizabeth

      You’re too kind, Tanna. I know I felt like a BBBabe from the start but it was thrilling to have it become official.

      Yes, wonderful times and glorious bread indeed!

  2. katiezel

    I would have been so disappointed in you had you done this according to directions…. It looks beautiful and I so want that breakfast! That is my very favorite kind of breakfast. Joyeux anniversaire

  3. Lien

    Elizabeth you did it again (you and your mason starter); this is a fantastic loaf! I agree about the pourable wet dough they talked about. Mine wasn’t that pourable, it just spread while rising. (or is it because we’re used to crocs?). You’re a fantastic Babe, glad I got to know you!

    1. Elizabeth

      Thank you, Lien. You are too kind. And me too getting to know you! It has been my pleasure.

      I’m relieved to hear I wasn’t alone thinking that this dough was hardly pourable. But I’m not sure it’s because we’re used to crocs. I, for one, will NEVER be used to the croc! (even though in a weak moment in the middle of the night, I found myself wondering if I maybe shouldn’t try one more time…)

  4. Bread Experience

    What a gorgeous loaf! Your oven spring was tremendous! I like that you add fax seed meal to your loaves. I need to do that more often and I need to try this with a regular sourdough starter to see the difference. Nicely done!

    1. Elizabeth

      Thank you, Cathy! Yes, do try this with your sourdough starter and report back. It will be really interesting to learn if there is much difference at all, considering that there is so little commercial yeast called for in the Glezer recipe.

    1. Elizabeth

      We were thrilled to see that the holes were shiny, Kelly. I never know what exactly I’ve done to make that happen but it’s so exciting when it does.


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