Pan de Higos & Wild Strawberry Sours

Jesus Machim, Horno San Bartolome in Valencia (Spain), contributed a formula for Pan de Higos (Fig bread) to “Masa Madre Elaboracion y Utilizacion” [Montagudeditores: ISBN: 978-84-7212-158-4].  His method uses a mixer at low speed for 4 minutes followed by a rest and then a final mix at high speed for 6 to 8 minutes. The baked results are 600 g barrotes.

I contacted Jesus with a few questions and he was very prompt in responding.  “Hola Stephen, la masa madre después de 16/18h la tengo a un PH de 4,2/4,3 normalmente,utilizó una crema de higos de la marca Bonne maman.  La masa madre normalmente la utilizo del frío a la amasadora.”

Jesus is a master baker and winner of the Best Bake award from the Academy of Valenican Cusine in 2014.  Horno San Bartolome bake about 30 different types of bread very day.  Pan de calabaza, el de Triticum turgidum o un Pan de te con pasas o el de Centeno o de Centeno que macera con cardamomo, naranja e hinojo, su Hogaza de Masa Madre, Pan de Cristal, Pan de larga fermentación. He is passionate about explaining the difference between a real bread and bad bread.

Having absorbed the book I felt it was time to test one of the formulas (recetas).  The thought of mixing crema de higos into sourdough took hold.   Jesus confirmed that “fig paste” was not an accurate translation and instead all I needed was some fig conserve or jam.

The original formula calls for 300 g pre-ferment (masa madre), 150 g fig conserve, 20 g salt, 600 g water and 1000 g white flour.  The flour used is a type 180/200w or, in British terms a bread flour with a protein content of between 11 and 12%.   To approximate 180/220w I use a 50/50 mix of Shipton Mills #4 and #112 white flours.

This produces a hydration of either a 65% or, if you calculate with the fig conserve adding 75 g of water, 72 % hydration.   It certainly ends up feeling more like 70 than a 65 % hydration dough.   My first batch using a mixer and bulk fermentation at 21 C produced beautiful barrotes.


Taste and crumb results were very favourable.  Perhaps more bien cuit with a darker caramelization?  Would the fig essence be swamped or complimented by the adding small quantities of other flours.  The Spanish version is just superb.

But, when the sun is lest often perhaps we need deeper textual rhythms for the North.

So here is my formula variation for a jam, jammy fig sour.


40 g white flour mother starter 100% hydration 12 – 16 hours old
100 g organic white flour (Shipton Mills #112)
15 g khorasan flour (Shipton Mills #413)
15 g buckwheat flour
130 g water


300 g pre-ferment
105 g fig conserve
600 g water @ 27 C [this assumes a room temp of 21 C and flours at room temp]
800 g white flour (50/50 mix of Shipton Mill #4 and #112)
30 g khorasan (Shipton Mill #413)
30 g buckwheat flour
20 g light rye flour (Shipton Mill #997)
20 g wholemeal spelt flour
20 g sea salt (Trapani Sale Siciliano di Gucciardo Vincennzo)


Mix the water, pre-ferment and fig conserve in an extra large bowl and then add most of the flour and the salt.  Roll and tuck until fully incorporated and then add the remaining flour in stages rolling and tucking with a dough scraper.  Leave to rest for 45 minutes and then perform (in your own style) the first of 2 or 3 stretch and folds.  If you only do 2 stretch and folds add 45 minutes to the bulk fermentation.  Complete and then rest for 20 minutes covered with a damp cloth.  Divide into 4 equal pieces (approx 500 g) and shape into either batons or boules using linen couche or cloth lined bannetons.

Ferment again for either 3 – 4 hours at room temperature (21 C) (or for 1 hour at room temperature before chilling at 5 C in a refrigerator for 12 – 16 hours) before baking.

In case you missed it I have altered the hydration by reducing the white flour content by 100 g.   So  71% or 78% hydration.  It is a nice sticky dough.

Lastly bake at 220 C for about 35-40 minutes.  Adjust for your oven and for fan settings.  In the case of a Meile Moisture Plus steam oven 200 C for 40 – 45 minutes with two steam injections (at start and again after 10 minutes).

Pan de Higos test 1

Friends as tasters admired them both.

Then I got to thinking about wild strawberry and jam.  Why not a similar bread packed with a strawberry and some roasted hazelnut British rap?

When first sour-bug bitten I recall a Spanish friend who raved about a baker in Madrid with an amazing dough packed with fresh strawberries.  This formula is part homage to Jose who was one of the first to love my bread.

When the first test loaf went in I wasn’t expecting a baking aura so strongly re-mindful of strawberry cheesecake.  One clue should have been a proved dough traced with tiny red plantlike veins and, the ground and roasted hazelnuts for a final wallop.

It was test 4 with it’s extra za za zoo for me but, none of the tests survived an initial bite! Brutally slammed Texas style would be one way to put it.  Devoured for sure.

Strawbery Sour 4 2.05.2016









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