Our Resident Bread Baker’s Must-Haves for the Perfect Loaves

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather…

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, a gift guide to make the bakers in your life mighty happy.


As is most often the case, having the right tools makes any task at hand that much easier, and this is undoubtedly true in bread baking. Sure, it’s possible to bake bread with only a bowl, a few containers, and an oven, but having a few essential tools can help you take your baking to the next level—or at least help you keep your kitchen clean, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.

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How to Make Sourdough With…Beets? (Or Any Vegetable!)

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather…

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, a guide to making vibrant, flavorful loaves with vegetable purees.


Creating a recipe for a loaf of bread oftentimes requires a series of trials, where each trial inches you closer toward your ideal. It’s your job, as the baker, to figure out the inputs (flour, water, mix-ins, salt, preferment) and the process (mixing, bulk fermentation, shaping, proofing) to get you there. And for me, this is perhaps the most exciting part about baking sourdough bread: It’s like seeing a picture of a finished, beautiful puzzle, then being handed a box of scattered pieces to put together yourself.

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How to Add Any Mix-In to Any Sourdough Recipe

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather…

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, a guide to adding mix-ins of all sorts to your loaf.


Adding mix-ins, such as chopped fruit, seeds, nuts, or other ingredients into bread dough is an easy way to pack in extra flavor and nutrition to your homemade loaf. And this is a wonderful place to get creative, too, as any of these ingredients will delight when used in proper balance. And with a few tips on how to get these delicious additions into your dough, their use is only limited by your imagination.

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‘Help—My Sourdough Starter Is Taking Over My Life!’

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather…

The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer-turned-bread expert (and Food52's Resident Bread Baker), Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, a guide to making your sourdough starter's schedule work for you—and not the other way around.


So you have a sourdough starter bubbling away on your counter. You’ve made some delicious bread; perhaps you’ve even made some sourdough waffles or sourdough cinnamon rolls. And day after day, you refresh your tangy companion—the daily obligation that slowly becomes yet another chore on the to-do list. I’ve been there—I am there!—and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to waking up at least once in the middle of the night in worry, trying to remember if I refreshed my starter before bed.

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