The Fresh Loaf

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

Whole Wheat Starter: Pros and Cons?

November 18, 2009 - 8:21am -- soleilnyc

Hi again! 

It's me, the newbie that experienced existential angst over Carl's starter a couple of months ago :)

The starter, fed with AP, was doing pretty well and made a great loaf of JMonkey's 100% WW bread.  Then I realized that I had cut out most refined (read:white) products out of my life and had been trying to eat only whole grains, so I decided to convert my starter into WW. (30g starter:30g WW:30g water)

nirbeltran's picture

how much sourdough should i use ?

November 18, 2009 - 1:37am -- nirbeltran

Hello all !! great web site and a great forum .. very very helpfull .

so . i got my sourdough up and running , but how much of it should i use ?

i usually make 500 g flour   and use about 8 g of dry yeast  . how much sourdough  in grams should

i use ? my sourdough is 100% hydration by the way.


thanks for the help

KansasGirlStuckInMaryland's picture

My first sourdough

November 17, 2009 - 9:50pm -- KansasGirlStuck...

I have always wanted to make my own sourdough starter and sourdough bread.  Well, I finally got my act together a couple of weeks ago and started my started using sourdolady's guidance at:

Though I did use apple cider instead of pineapple juice.  It's what I had available.  I never had a nonbubbly day with the starter and started getting good yeasty smells in about 4 days.

Royall Clark's picture

Couche size

November 17, 2009 - 9:11pm -- Royall Clark

I was at Walmart today and found some "duck cloth" (sort a like a light canvas) for about 6 bucks a yard, so I bought a yard to see if I could make a couche. It feels like it could be a nice material to hold its shape when you make folds to hold the bread.What would you estimate the finished size to be for a hobby baker. I can't imagine making more than 4-5 baguettes at any one time.


Thanks,  Royall

Floydm's picture

My son's 2nd grade class toured Franz Bakery today.  I chaperoned this trip, naturally.

Franz is a landmark in Portland, in part because it has been here over 100 years but also because of the giant rotating loaf of bread on the roof (only a few blocks away there is a giant rotating quart of milk).  Franz Bakery bakes all of the buns for Wendy's, Arby's, Burgerville, and a bunch of other fast food joints out here as well as thousands of loaves of bread each day.

The tour began in an area that had information about how you make bread, where wheat and flour come from, how yeast works, those sorts of things.   It was pretty cute but my son didn't find it terribly interesting, probably in part because his dad has told him these things 20 times already.

After that, we had to get on our hair nets and the tour began.

Unfortunately cameras were not allowed on the tour.  I noticed other parents surreptitiously taking shots but I was too concerned with keeping small fingers out of the machinery to take photos once the tour began.  A few things I noted though:

  • Franz is a bread factory, not a bakery as I think of bakeries.  I'm not making a value judgement in saying that, just noting that everything I saw was done by machine with operators tending to the machines, not bakers tending to the dough.

  • Ingredient-wise I saw palettes full of different flours including those from Cargill and Pendleton Flour Mill.

  • Dough was mixed in 1,000 pound batches, then dumped into troughs where it fermented for an hour or so.

  • Machines shaped the buns then slid them into a proofing machine that is kept around 100 degrees where they stayed for 50 minutes.

  • Buns travel through a 100 foot long oven for about 8 minutes to bake.

  • The buns are cooled on a track that travels all around the building before heading into the packaging room.

  • Watching the loaves fly around, I got this song stuck in my head (if you've watched Looney Tunes you'll know what I'm talking about).

The kids enjoyed the tour a lot, frankly a lot better than they would have enjoyed a tour of an artisan bakery with a single small oven and a dedicated group of earnest bakers talking about the nuances of fermentation.  I enjoyed it too and gotta admit it is impressive that they can automate so much of the baking process.  I was also pleased to hear that there is increasing demand to use local and organic ingredients even when baking on an industrial scale.

Finally, one knick knack I saw on the tour that I liked:

persimmon's picture

Wolfgang/Komo mill stone safety?

November 17, 2009 - 8:23pm -- persimmon

Wow, what a great site with so much helpful info.  I really want to join the home grain milling tribe! Every 6 months, I spend hours researching mills online, get too confused and don't order anything...But I think I'm close...right now it's Nutrimill vs. Wolfgang/Komo.  Both seem like great mills, but on the downside I see it as micronizer vs. unknown millstone material.


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