Pane Francese (1)


1 teaspoon starter

90g white flour

90g water


180g starter (36%)

320g water (64%)

450g white bakers flour (90%)

50g wholemeal flour (10%)

10g salt (2%)

Pane Francese (2) - sponge


1 teaspoon dried yeast

90g white flour (100%)
90g water (100%)

180g sponge (36%)

320g water (64%)
450g white flour (90%)
50g wholemeal flour (10%)

10g salt (2%)

Pane Francese (3) - biga


1/4 teaspoon yeast

80g water (80%)

100g white flour (100%)


180g biga (36%)

335g water (67%)

450g white flour (90%)

50g wholemeal flour (10%)

10g salt (2%)

Pane Francese (4) Hybrid

1/2 teaspoon yeast

100g hand hot water (20%)
180g sourdough starter (36%)
225g water (45%)
50g rye flour (10%)
50g spelt flour (10%)
400g white flour (90%)
10g salt


maria 2011 August 29

This is my first foray into baking bread.  I am at day 4 of a starter made with wholemeal flour and rye.  Other than the fact that I am using wholemeal flour instead of white (picked up wrong packet!),  I have followed the instructions as per this website.  Its seems to be doing ok.  What recipe should I choose, when my starter is ready?  If the recipe calls for a white flour starter,  can I use my wholemeal and rye starter instead?   Thanks,  Maria

farinam's picture
farinam 2011 August 29

Hello Maria,

Some recommend matching your starter to the loaf that you are planning to make but this is probably only important if the components are radically different.

I have had great success from the word go with the basic Pane Francesa (1) recipe on this page.  I always recommend making several batches following the same procedure before changing things too much.  I have found that, with practice, the quality improves because the perceived faults are to do with technique rather than any problem with the recipe.

The other thing is that the time lines provided in SourDom's blogs are a good guide but the actual times required will vary depending on the activity of your starter, your room temperatures etc so be prepared to use less or more time if the dough tells you so.

Let us know how you go.


jaywoo's picture
jaywoo 2013 March 31

Thank you for posting this recipe. It’s the 1st time I've tried an actual recipe. For some reason as it was, the  Pane Francese (1), was too wet to work with for me. The only way I could stop it sticking from my hands was to add flour. It would have been around 50g of wholemeal that I added before I could stop it from sticking. More than likely I messed up one of the measurements. It wouldn’t be the 1st time! One thing I did do differently was to just scoop out 180g of starter from my active culture. I’d say it wasn’t a running culture. It’s thicker than a pancake batter. Anyway, it’s in the fridge so I can get back to it later tomorrow :)

farinam's picture
farinam 2013 April 1

Hello jaywoo,

You didn't say exactly what you were doing for your dough development process.  I assume that you were kneading.

Flours do have varying capacity to absorb moisture and what people often do is to hold back some of the liquid from the initial mixing and add more if the dough seems to need it later on.  This is a better approach than adding flour as it it is much easier to add too much.

The other thing that you could try is to follow the stretch and fold technique which substitutes a certain amount of time for energy in developing the gluten in the dough.

Or, if you persist with the kneading, you will find that the stickiness will soon disappear as the dough develops.  This can be as little as a few minutes if you are being reasonably vigourous about it such as using what I call the 'French' method  ( ) which involves lifting the dough up and slapping it down onto the bench followed by a stretch and a fold over before picking it up again at right angles and repeating.  Although it sticks to your hands and the bench the first few times it soon comes together and becomes quite handleable.  There are a few videos out there that demonstrate this technique.

Good luck with your projects.



jaywoo's picture
jaywoo 2013 April 1

Kneading it. Thanks Farinam.

I guess I was thinking that if I follow a recipe, I wouldn't have to know what a dough should feel like and by mixing the ingredients, I would be shown what a dough should feel like. Before trying this recipe, I would start with the water and starter then slowly flour until I got to what felt like what a dough looked like on a video, which I have no real way of knowing if I've got it in the ball park. Why do people quote hydration precents to a single digit, if it’s not that accurate in practise? One thing I have gleaned recently from reading on this site, is that sourdough dough is usually wetter than dry yeast dough. Going by feel I have no problem with, I’m just at the beginning of that process with just my own experience to learn from at this point.

Annoyingly work didn’t finishing when it was supposed to, which means I didn’t get enough time to take the dough out of the fridge. Looks like it gets to retard for another day :)

I’ve been watching this as I’ve put this together - – and found it a good 34mins viewing. (Robin Thomson the specialist baker at The Beshara School, Chisholme House, takes us through the basic process and principles of making a pain de campagne loaf or two.....)

Thanks Farinam, I'll give your video a watch now.

jaywoo's picture
jaywoo 2013 April 8

I tried this again {Pane Francese (1)} using the same batches of flours, this time changing the sequence in which I mixed the ingredients. The flours & water 1st into a dough, which I then left to rest for 10mins. It felt really smooth when I returned to it. Then came the starter and another 10min rest before adding the salt. This made a dough that didn't feel anywhere near as wet as it did last time I tried this.

jaywoo's picture
jaywoo 2013 April 9

If I wasn't to add the 1/2 teaspoon of yeast, would there be any changes to the remaining ingredients?

farinam's picture
farinam 2013 April 10


The only possible effect of the extra yeast would be to speed the rising of the dough above that of sourdough only.

Good luck with your projects.


Mal 2013 August 23

Hi Everyone 

I have read and read the Pan Francese #4 Recipe and I cant see anywhere where it mentions the 225g of water in the method, I assume it goes in with the flour.

Can Someone please help?



farinam's picture
farinam 2013 August 23

Hi Mal,

That list of ingredients makes the dough for your loaf.  What I usually do is mix the flours (and yeast (dry or fresh) if you happen to be using it) in a bowl and make a well in the centre.  Add the starter and the water to the well and whisk together to disperse the starter (I use a chopstick) and gradually bring in the flour to make a batter and eventually a shaggy sort of dough.  Then I leave it for twenty or so minutes before adding and mixing the salt.

Good luck with your projects.


Jibsman's picture
Jibsman 2016 December 28

I haven't tried this recipe yet. I will today. As for stickiness I have the same problem as jaywoo did, above. I will try adding less water. I have found that the more I knead, the dough gets smooth then sticky again, but when it's smooth and I pull it, it tears. What I read is the more I knead the smoother it should get an not get sticky again. Do I need to knead the dough until it doesn't tear? Is it OK if it gets sticky again? Some methods I have seen have you knead for a maximum of about 60 seconds, while others have you slap and fold for 20 minutes. My bread machine kneads for even longer.

My desired results is a loaf with big bubbles (holes), not tiny bubbles like sandwich bread.

JSwifty 2017 February 11

Isn't the point of making sourdough bread not using yeast? Maybe since I have access to great sourdough starters I dont have to worry about it? But the best cookbook ever "Nourishing Traditions" states "Unlike yeasted bread that diminishes,even destroys much of the grains nutritional value, naturally leavened bread does not stale and, as it ages, maintains it's original moisture." That's my Sourdough, a naturally leavened bread!

Miles 2017 February 21

during the 18th and 19th centuries, bakers used brewers yeast - a by-product of beer production. this was mixed with flour and water and let to rise for a few hours before mixing the dough, then used in conjunction with the natural leavn. this caused the bread to be lighter and springier yet it didn't exactly destroy the flavour compounds or the nutritional value of the grain. after commercial yeasts became available, naturally leavned products declined and convenience gained the upper hand. (mainly influenced by the great depression and after that, the war effort) French bread which was once revered around the world now gained a reputation for staling within hours of being baked. mostly dogma and superstition have kept commercial yeast and natural leaven apart but when used together, they can create brilliant loaves. an artisan bread revival started in France during the 70s, then spread to the states in the 80s (also to Australia but on a much smaller scale) 

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