Italian Rosemary Buns for a Sticky-Sweet Easter Treat

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, pan di ramerino, an Italian Easter-time sweet bun.


Pan di ramerino, or rosemary bread—a sticky and sweet little bun studded with raisins—is a traditional Easter-time treat commonly found in Tuscany, in the central part of Italy. They’re remarkable because they have an uncommon ingredient woven into an enriched dough: rosemary. While we often think of the woodsy, piney herb as a savory-only affair, it sometimes finds its way into the sweeter side of things. With these sweet buns, rosemary brings a gentle backdrop of savoriness that is unique, and its flavor is the highlight of these sticky and soft buns.

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This Sweet Yeasted Bread Is Perfect for Easter Brunch

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, anything you can 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, anything you can slather a lot of butter on. Today, he tells us about naturally leavened mazanec, a Czech sweet bread.


Many years ago I had the pleasure of traveling through Europe for work, with a multiweek stop in the Czech Republic. My hosts, knowing my appreciation for good food, took me to restaurants that catered to the locals and that were so small it felt like we were eating in their cousin’s kitchen. In these quaint eateries, I had some of the tastiest food of my entire trip. The highlight was probably eating a whole pork knuckle, but I also ordered plenty of dumplings and many a light beer. As I was traveling during the dead of winter, many spring and summer Czech specialties eluded me, including the Eastertime sweet bread called mazanec. This treat is not widely known here in the U.S., so I figured what better way to remember my trip through the beautiful Czech Republic than to fill the mazanec void and make it in my home kitchen—using my sourdough starter, of course.

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The Pancake-Crumpet Hybrid Your Breakfast Table Needs

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, pikelets made with sourdough starter discard.


Pikelets are small, round, griddle breads very reminiscent of pancakes or crumpets. They’re more common in Australia and the U.K., and are welcome anytime at my breakfast table. Their flavor is neither super-sweet nor savory, a middle ground amongst the syrup-drenched waffles and salty bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches out there. In terms of texture, they’re more dense and sturdy than you might first think when seeing one (they do look a lot like fluffy American pancakes), but they’re still soft inside.

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If You Love Cinnamon Buns, You’ll Really Love Kanelstang

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 a lot of butter on. Today, a sourdough version of Danish kanelstang.


If you’ve ever baked pain d’épi, which is a classic French baguette made to look like a stalk of wheat, you’re familiar with the charm of rolling, snipping, and twisting, yielding a baked good that livens up any dinner table. Instead of scoring the dough with a razor blade and letting it rise straight up, the bread is cut with scissors into alternating petals. The Danish kanelstang (which translates to “cinnamon stick”) has the same vibe as the pain d'épi, but just filled with sugar, butter, and warm spices. Think American-style sweet cinnamon roll with fancy French shaping—a mix of flavor and aesthetic that’s perfect for a morning or afternoon treat.

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The Case for Making Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

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, he’s discussing the pros and cons of whole-wheat pizza dough.


The longer I bake bread and cook pizza, the more I find I like increasing the whole-grain percentage in the dough. Sure, there’s an undeniable charm that comes with the classic Italian way: a 00-flour-based pizza that’s cooked at a super-high temperature, resulting in an exceedingly soft texture, tall rise, and open, airy crust. And while my sourdough bread almost always has some whole-grain component, lately, I’ve been pushing the whole grains in my naturally leavened pizza dough as well. Swapping out some white flour is an easy way to bring flavor to the next level: The added bran and germ mixed into the dough brings deeper grain flavors (read: nutty, earthy, and a touch of minerality), and when coupled with lengthy natural fermentation, you get a one-two punch of flavor and nutrition.

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Sourdough Cider Doughnuts Put Everyone in the Fall Spirit

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 a lot of butter on. Today, he’s discussing how to make one of fall’s finest apple cider doughnuts.


As a kid, I remember my grandfather would wake up every morning at 5 a.m. sharp. His destination was always the same: a local doughnut shop for a single glazed doughnut and a cup of piping-hot black coffee. I’d sometimes wake at the same time and wonder what the draw was. I mean, sure, doughnuts are great, but that’s just too early for anything. Now that I’m older, I realize the ritual of something sweet in the morning with your coffee makes for a beautiful way to get the day started. Your whole day is already filled with tasks and chores and meetings, but that bit of time in the morning is sacred, and a fabulous doughnut in hand makes it doubly so.

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A Handy Guide to Homemade Sandwich Bread

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 a lot of butter on. Today, he’s discussing sandwich loaves, and whether the best bread comes from Pullman pans or traditional loaf pans.


My pantry is stocked to the brim with baking pans of all shapes, sizes, and materials. I have long rectangular pans with straight sides, medium pans with tapered sides, and even smaller pans the size of two sticks of butter. Materials range from my hefty cast-iron Staub loaf pan to light aluminum or aluminized steel (cast iron makes the crust nice and crispy, while aluminum goes in the thinner direction). With so many baking pan choices, it can be challenging to determine which pan to use. So let’s look at a few different choices and what they bring to your baking arsenal—and even take a look at my all-time favorite pan for just about everything: the Pullman pan.

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Don’t Toss That Sourdough Discard! Make Biscuits.

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, any excuse for slatheri…


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, any excuse for slathering on a lot of butter. Today, he’s discussing how to turn sourdough discard into tender drop biscuits.


Mixing flour, butter, and a leavener is the starting point for many great baked goods, savory or sweet. Flour provides the structure, and butter gives savoriness (and, of course, that sought-after flaky texture), while the leavener acts to lighten everything up. Adding buttermilk and some ripe sourdough starter brings a touch more tang and tenderness to the equation, giving my sourdough drop biscuits a little something extra.

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Sourdough Baps Are the Ultimate Burger Buns (Yeah, We Said It.)

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, an explainer on baps, a bun you’ll want to use to house sausage, eggs, and burgers alike.


Baps are soft, leavened rolls, typically eaten for breakfast in the United Kingdom—but I find they also serve as a pretty stellar hamburger or egg sandwich bun. The distinction between a bap and bun you’d typically use for a burger seems to primarily revolve around the fat used in the recipe, with some claiming a true bap must be made with lard.

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Do Yourself a Favor: Make Ciabatta Rolls

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 slath…


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 sturdy ciabatta rolls, ideal for those summer tomato sandwiches.


Ciabatta is a relatively new style of bread, invented in Italy in the latter part of the 20th century (compared to, say, panettone, which dates back to the 1400s). Ciabatta is characterized by its crispy crust, open interior, and simple, elongated shape that some say resembles a slipper (literally “ciabatta” in Italian).

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