The Fresh Loaf

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I have a standard sourdough recipe that I like to use and tweak a bit, but I am wondering how I can incorporate some yeast water that I just made. For example, I normally do about 10% levain inoculation and 80% hydration.

  • Can I simply do the levain build using some YW instead of regular water?
  • Should I decrease the amount of levain in the recipe?
  • How much YW would you add for about 1.5kg of dough? I was thinking about 50g. 




ifs201's picture

I was inspired by Janet Cook's gorgeous bake back in 2013 and decided to give it a go. I used my Farmer Ground Flour high-extraction bread flour. The hydration of this loaf is 80%. They smell absolutely amazing! I didn't pre-soak the poppy seeds so the dough felt pretty dry for 80% hydration and I might increase the water slightly next time. I think the crumb is decent for 100% T85. 

Final dough:

  • 228g 100% levain (3-stage build)
  • 763g T85
  • 588g water 
  • 21g poppy seeds
  • 9g lemon zest
  • 35g honey
  • 21g salt

ifs201's picture

I made one HUGE loaf with sauteed shallots and cornmeal porridge (50g of cornmeal and 235g of liquid). Excluding the cornmeal porridge, this loaf was 76% hydration, but with the cornmeal it was an extremely wet dough and a bit tough to handle, but the coil folds and lamination added a lot of strength. The hydration definitely pushed my limits!

Final dough:

  • 280g of porridge (added during the mix)
  • 10g salt
  • 121g 100% starter
  • 285g T85
  • 22g rye
  • 138g KA bread flour
  • 324g water
  • Approximately 100g of shallots (half raw, half sauteed added during lamination) 


I had a rough time scoring today, but the bread tastes great and the crumb is extremely moist. I'll definitely be making this one again. I did a 4 hour bulk (4x coil folds and one lamination) followed by 10 hours in the fridge. 


ifs201's picture

I had planned on making a yeast water bread with a YW I made using crab apples from my parents' yard. I ended up going away for the weekend, which meant my YW build of 100g YW and 160g bread flour got left on the counter for 26 hours. I didn't think I could use it to make bread at that point so I decided to make a hybrid babka recipe. I used 150g T85, 350g BF, 200g of my YW build, and about 40g of unfed sourdough starter along with 1/2 tsp of active yeast (also 95g sugar, 240g milk, and 2 eggs). I pretty much followed the usual recipe from SmittenKitchen otherwise. The recipe I used before my sourdough starter days uses 2 tsp of commercial yeast so this hybrid tried to reduce the commercial yeast by 75% and reduce the waste from my abandoned YW build.

I had no idea if it would work, but I think it looks good! Next time I want to try the full sourdough babka recipe from Artisan Bryan. For this bake I did an initial rise of 3 hours followed by shaping in the tin and an overnight rise in the fridge. I let the bread sit out at room temp before baking at 375 for about an hour. I put a simple syrup glaze on the top right out of the oven. 



ifs201's picture

I had never used a recipe from The Perfect Loaf before, so I decided to try the beginner sourdough recipe. Not being able to help myself, I decided to add 16% seeds (poppy, sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin). This recipe was 78% hydration and only 7.5% starter inoculation. 

My loaves last weekend came it well, but different from what I expected in terms of crumb. It turns out it was because I bought locally milled half-white, also know as T85, flour and didn't fully understand its properties. My loaves were 80% T85 and 20% whole wheat, which resulted in a very high whole grain percentage. For these loaves I decided to try 48% BF, 48% T85, and 4% rye. 


Day 19:00 AMMix levain (5-6 hours) 
 4:00 PMAutolyse 
 4:45 PMAdd levain and mix 4 min using Trevor Wilson 
 5:00 PMAdd salt and extra water and mix 4 min 
 5:30 PMStart Coil Fold on counter 
 6:00 PMLamination on counter and add seeds 
 6:30 PMCoil fold 3x 30 min apart doing last one at about 7:30pm 
 8:50 PMDivide and pre-shape 
 9:30 PMInto fridge 
Day 27:10 AMBake 

ifs201's picture

I used the Smoky Chili Sourdough recipe from Sarah Owens, but added 2 tbsp tomato paste and 180g of chocolate stout to replace some of the water content. The dough was great to work with. I got a bit distracted trying to work 2 recipes at once so I ended up shaping earlier than I had intended. I usually put the loaves right in the fridge after shaping, but because the bulk was on the short side I left the dough out for about 45 minutes before putting it in the fridge. Great oven spring although my attempts at new scoring methods were funky. This was my first time using T85 flour for 80% of the loaf and resulted in a denser crumb. 

These loaves were 75% hydration and 80% high-extraction T85 flour and 20% whole wheat. 


Day 18:30 AMMix levain and let sit for 6-8 hours (30g starter, 60g water, 85g bread flour)  
 2:30 PMAutolyse  
 3:00 PMMix 4 min autolyse, levain, chili, honey  
 3:45 PMMix 4 min adding salt  
 4:20 PMStart Coil Fold on counter  
 5:00 PMLamination on counter  
 5:30 PMCoil fold 2x 30 min apart  
 6:15 PMPre-Shape loosely  
 6:30 PMshape & leave on counter for 1 hour  
 7:20 PMInto fridge  
Day 26:45 AMBake  

ifs201's picture

I tried to make Shiao-Ping's recipe for chocolate sourdough and I added walnuts and 160g chocolate stout to replace sone of the water. This recipe had a 37% starter % inoculation so I was really curious about how it would work. It smells amazing, but the oven spring was a little underwhelming. In the fridge, the dough kind of cracked which is something I hadn't experienced before. I think in part it was because the dough was lower hydration and much stiffer than I'm used to, but also maybe it was a sign of overproofing - not sure. 

I think I made  a mistake when incorporating the chocolate and walnuts during lamination is I ended up tearing the gluten. Next time I would probably use slap and fold to add the chocolate and really develop the dough. I feel like this dough could have used even more mixing/gluten development as the cocoa powder really impedes the process. The crumb is definitely different - a bit crumbly and moist in parts although I'm pretty sure it's fully baked. The taste is very good, but it's more like cake than bread. At first I thought it was overproofed, but now I think that maybe there just wasn't enough gluten development and that I did some damage during lamination. What do you think my looking at the crumb? 

Fun to try something new! This was also my first time using coil folds and I enjoyed it. 


Day 18:00 AMBuild 1 
 6:00 PMBuild 2 (put in fridge overnight) 
 Day 29:00 AMBuild 3 (FINAL) 
 2:30 PMAutolyse 
 3:00 PMMix 4 min autolyse, levain, vanilla, honey 
 3:45 PMMix 4 min adding salt 
 4:20 PMStart Coil Fold on counter 
 5:00 PMLamination on counter and add chocolate chips 
 5:30 AMCoil fold 2x 30 min apart 
 6:00 PMshape & leave on counter for 1.5 hours 
 7:20 PMInto fridge 
Day 35:30 AMBake 

ifs201's picture

I used the Honey Spelt Oat recipe from Sourdough by Sarah Owens. I followed her ingredients exactly, except I swapped out the spelt for whole wheat. The loaves in her book are a little small for my liking, but given my poor prior attempts with this recipe, I was happy to make less dough. 

I used slightly lower hydration than in prior attempts, but the main difference in process was not including oats in the autolyse. Something about doing a long autolyse that included the oat soaker just destroyed the gluten structure for me and turned the final dough into a stringy mess. I was also very nervous about over proofing the dough based on prior results, so I let the bulk go only 3 hours (versus 4 the day before). Glad I finally figured out (I think) the source of my porridge bread sorrows! If it tastes as good as it looks I'll definitely make this again (plus I have 9lbs of oats)! 

Next time I think I won't do an autolyse of flour + water and instead do a very short (20 min) autolyse with everything but the salt. I'll make this change because there wasn't enough water without the soaker so the autolyse created hard bits. 


8:30 AMLevain Build & make oat soaker w/ boiling water    
1:00 PMAutolyse flour and water    
2:20 PMMix soaker, levain, honey, and autolyse (no salt) and let sit for 20 min. Do series of folds Trevor Wilson style    
2:35 PMAdd salt and mix Trevor Wilson style    
3:10 PMDo first stretch and fold - do total of 5    
5:30 PMpre-shape    
6:00 PMshape & fridge overnight    

ifs201's picture


Day 12:30 PMYeast Build 1 (100g YW and 160g BF) - mix    
 5:30 AMYeast Build 2 (add 188g water and then 200g BF, 96g WW)    
Day 212:30 PMAdd 493g BF and 376g water and 19g salt   
  Mix nuts and raisins using lamination   
  stretch and fold approx 3x   
 3:00 PMDivide, preshape, shape   
  ferment room temp 2hr   
 5:00 PMBake at 450 for 15 min and then lower to 430   

Build #1 was extremely slow and I started to think that my mango yeast water didn't work. I ended up letting it go 15 hours (eeek!). My Build #2 seemed to go extremely fast so I called it after 7 hours as it looked domed, puffy, and had risen abut 3x. Approximately 80 degrees inside. I did 2.5 hours for the bulk ferment and 2 hours for the final as it wasn't passing the finger dent test. The dough felt great to work with. This is pretty much my typical crumb. Would have liked it to be more open, but it tastes good. Not sure what happened to all of the fruit! 

The loaves had a nice expansion in the oven, but then crust definitely looks different than all of my other loaves. Very fun to try using YW. Thanks to Danny for leading the community bake! 

Build #2

Final proof:

Final Proof


ifs201's picture

After an epic failure Saturday (I decided to create my own porridge sourdough recipe and it was pancake batter), I decided to try the Sarah Owens recipe for Seeded Turmeric and Leek Sourdough from her book Sourdough. I made some slight modifications. I did 1.5x the recipe since her loaves are on the small side. 

The recipe was 75% hydration, but closer to 80% including the olive oil used to sauté the leeks. I sautéed 275g of leeks with 1tsp turmeric and black pepper. Once browned, I took off heat and added 20g poppy seeds, 30g flax, and 1 diced shallot. The add-ins were incorporated in the 2nd set of mixing. I really focused on improving my shaping method this time and also used an oiled bowl for the bulk since I felt I was tearing the gluten removing the dough from my 6qt Cambro container. One of my scores was awesome and the other one not so much. The crumb was pretty standard for me, but trying not to worry too much about a fairly closed crumb and instead focus on how moist ant tasty it is! 




Whole wheat19%
Rye 3%
Bread flour 78%


Day 19ambuild levain 
 4pmMix water, levain, and flour (autolyse) 
 4:45pmadd salt and extra 20g water 
  Trevor Wilson mixing method 5min, 15 wait, 5min 
 5:30pmStretch and folds every 30 minutes 
 8:00 PMPreshape, shape, fridge 
Day 26:00 PMBake 





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