The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
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holds99's picture


I tried your recipe for the baguttes/batards (using starter) and I had some problems that maybe you can help me understand.  First I refreshed my starter at 6 hours intervals for a day and a half before I started.  It's the Nancy Silverton starter I made years ago and still use when making some of her sourdough recipes.  It was bubbling nicely when I started the recipe.  Anyway, following your recipe I used 167g starter, 375g K.A. French style flour (supposed to be the equivalent of French T55), 225g water, and 10g salt.  Mixed it all together, let it rest for 45 min. did a fold and placed it in a lightly oiled gallon size plastic container, turned it over (smooth side up), covered it and set it aside at room temp. for 12 hours.  After 12 hours I didn't have any rise to speak of in the dough.  So, i left it for another 3 hours, thinking maybe the room temp. was cooler than 78 deg. and after 3 hrs. still very little rise.  At this point I figured I better do something or I'm going to lose it.  So I stretched the dough out on the counter sprinkled 1 tsp. instant yeast over the surface and kneaded it for about 8 minutes giving it a good workout to fully incorporate the yeast.  Then let set it into the fridge for about 3 hours, removed it to room temp. and let it rise until doubled.  Removed it from the container did a couple of folds, returned it to the container for about an hour, then put it on the counter divided it in two and let it rest for 30 min.  I then shaped it and placed it in a well floured couche and let it rise for about 1.5 hours.  Flipped it from the couche onto my floured transport board, placed it on parchment lined pans, scored it and baked it.

The only thing I can figure is that my starter was not working properly.  Can you tell me what you do to your starter in this recipe to bring it up to speed and get the proper rise without having to resort to yeast?  The exterior of the loaves look o.k. but the interior, well it needs "big time" help because it sure doesn't resemble the interior of those lovely loaves you made.  I feel like the gods must be angry :-)    Seriously, I really want to understand where I went wrong. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.




Batard Interior

Batard Interior

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

Cupcakes....does anyone enjoy these treats and wish to share their recipes/decorating tips?

March 17, 2008 - 6:29am -- GrapevineTXolda...

I've taken up cupcake baking as my latest rave project.  I bake for my husbands office each week and am always looking for ways to be creative.  The cupcake is my answer!  I dig through food blogs, cookbooks and my friends suggestions.  I'd love to have TFL crew aid me in my projects. 

Happy baking!

zhi.ann's picture

This is from before I actually joined this site - actually this is the reason I joined this site.


In the States, I baked yeast bread. I had one recipe - from a craft, not a cookbook, so it used terms I was familiar with rather than the terms I more often find in baking recipes now that I'm looking around. It was a honey-whole wheat bread. I found all the ingredients in my local grocery store, used that recipe with no alterations except substituting applesauce for half the butter, and I baked it every Saturday, never with a problem.

Now, I live in rural China. I didn't bring the recipe with me. I don't have access to whole wheat. When I look at recipes, they confuse me. And yet my husband really misses bread. I am at a high altitude, but right now it's not dry at all, rather, close to 95% humidity most days. And, without air conditioning, heating, or well-sealed/insulated windows and walls, what it's like outside is a whole lot what it's like inside.

I found this recipe (I can't now for the life of me seem to find it anywhere!! I have it on a notecard) last week and tried it.

Oat-Nut Bread

830 ml flour
830 ml oats, ground to a flou
180 ml finely chopped walnuts
180 ml raisins
60 ml brown sugar
14 ml yeast (1/2 oz.; 14 grams)
10 ml salt
460 ml water
160 ml yogurt (I used vanilla unintentionally)
60 ml oil

1. Combine half the flour, all the oats, nuts, fruit, brown sugar, yeast, and salt.
2. In a saucepan heat water, yogurt, and oil over low heat, just until warm.
3. Add wet to dry ingredients, beating until smooth.
4. Add enough remaining flour for a soft dough.
5. Knead about 4 minutes, or until soft and elastic. Form to a ball.
6. Place on greased baking sheet, cover and let rest for 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight to bake in the morning (I did it overnight.)
7. Bake at 200C for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cool on a wire rack.

Unfortunently, this didn't work out for me so well. I did step 1, step 2, step 3. In step 4, I kep adding flour until I'd added way, way more than the recipe called for, and it still was a dough I could barely handle, it was so wet and sticky. I ran out of flour, and began adding oats, hoping to save it - I ground most of them but out of desperation began throwing them in there as whole rolled oats until I could finally knead the bread. Even then, it stuck to my hands, the cutting board, etc. In step 5, I formed it to more of a blob than a ball, since it was runny, and stuck it in a covered bowl in the fridge. In the morning, it was conformed to the shape of the bowl, so I dumped it on a baking sheet, stuck it in the oven, and let it bake.

The result was a very dense bread, tasty enough to eat mostly because of the raisins, but so dense I had to eat the whole thing (my husband didn't like it at all).

dough as I took it out from the freezer 

I tried the other loaf (this was supposed to make two) leaving it out all night after having frozen the dough (based on something I'd read online, somewhere). It came out just as dense, though it rose a bit in the oven whereas the first never did.

 piece of the bread

I'm munching on the second loaf now, hoping to get rid of it so I can bake something decent.

The only other note is that I won't be doing the walnuts again, even if I do come back to this recipe, because I couldn't taste nor feel them, and they cost the equivalent of $1.50 for so little!!

Any ideas, anyone, on what I can do better? 


Marni's picture

!st time sourdough starter = bread, rolls and pizza - Oh My!

March 16, 2008 - 11:54pm -- Marni

Thank you everyone for all your advice.  Here're the results so far from my first starter-I hope this isn't too long--

This is a sandwich loaf that I adapted from one I occasionally make.


 These are oatmeal sourdough rolls - slightly sweet with honey and molasses.

  sourdough oatmeal rolls

dmsnyder's picture

SF SD with WW from C&C

SF SD with WW from C&C

SF SD with WW from C&C - crumb

SF SD with WW from C&C - crumb

Having been raised on San Francisco Sourdough, if for no other reason, I prefer sourdough bread that is ... well ... sour.

 Peter Reinhart's formula from "Crust & Crumb" was the bread with which he won the James Beard prize, and it is my favorite SF-style sourdough. There are two overnight cold fermentations - One with the chef, which is a very dry levain, and the other of the formed and partially risen loaves.

 I have been adding some rye flour most times I bake this. This particular time, I left out the rye but used KA Organic Whole Wheat flour entirely for the levain. Then I used a mix of 1/3 high-gluten and 2/3 bread flour for the dough.

 There are two 690 gm boules retarding in my refrigerator, but I wanted to bake one loaf without the cold retarding, just to compare. I made this loaf into a batard, as you can see.  I baked it at 475F with steam for about 7 minutes, then at 425F with convection for another 25 minutes. I think it could have come out a couple of minutes sooner.

 The crust is still crisp and crunchy. The crumb is quite chewy from the high-gluten flour. (I think I'll use less next time.) It has a lovely taste. I like what the whole wheat does to the flavor. I'll use more next time I bake this bread. The sourness is less than usual, probably because i skipped the overnight cold retardation. You know, I like it either way. This is just good bread!




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