The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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cupcake's picture

trying to find a german make of flour that I can't recall the name of but which made fabulously squishy and tasty bread. it was something like "kroeks" or "criuks" and was bought in a sainburys a couple of years back. Can anyone help before I have to have insane conversation with supermarket manager. thanks

AnnieT's picture

I wrote recently about being disappointed with my loaves and several kind people suggested overproofing was the problem. Katie urged me to keep trying, so today was the day - I used my starter instead of barm and spiked the final dough with instant yeast as suggested by PR. My firm starter rose nicely and stayed over night in the frig and this morning I chopped it up and left it to warm up. I think I added too much water as the final dough was a little softer than I expected - PR says you can adjust that with flour for kneading but I was planning on using Dan Lepard's method, oil on the counter and no flour. I ended up doing the stretch and fold 3 times and the dough was "abundant", really springy and beginning to rise. It had doubled in just over 60 minutes in my cool kitchen. I shaped one half into a boule and the other into a long batard. The boule went into the rice flour coated banneton and the long loaf onto parchment paper on a baking sheet. Just for fun I baked it from cold, up to 450*, and it rose beautifully - and I used my brand new instant read thermometer to be sure it was cooked properly. The boule had a nice firm skin which was easy to slash, and that went into the heated oven (both with steam) and the oven spring was terrific. Both loaves had nice holey crumb, and I took pictures in case I ever learn how to post them. So thank you all for telling me to persist! I can't believe how much my bread has improved since I have been absorbing so much good information from this wonderful site, A

firepit's picture


The Goal:

The idea for this test came from a thread by KipperCat asking about how to make a less sour sourdough. There was a general consensus in the thread that starter maintenance routines (feeding ratios and hydration) would have a small effect on the sour aspect of sourdough while varying the rise and proofing times would have a much more pronounced effect. Bill suggested an experiment, and as I was planning on baking a couple of loaves, I gave it a shot.


The Process:

I began the process by pulling Leon, my 100% hydration starter from the fridge on Wednesday and feeding it as I usually do -- 1:4:4 (in this particular case, one ounce starter, four ounces of water, four ounces of KA AP flour), once a day. This starter is very active, and after the Thursday AM feeding he was easily doubling within about 3 hours...I stir him down a couple of times during the day and he just rises right back up, so he seems content.


On Friday morning I set out to create two two-pound sourdough loaves, staying close to the basic sourdough recipe in The BBA using my starter as the base instead of his barm.


<tangential rant>

The only real pet-peeve I have with the BBA is that all of his measurements are in ounces. Why? It isn't that hard to provide both ounces and grams, and you can be more accurate with the grams...He has measurements like ".22 ounces" in there -- who has a scale that is accurate to a hundredth of an ounce?! anyway, As I build his recipes, I convert the measurements to grams so that when I come back the second time I'm not still frustrated. All of this is to say that from here on out most of my measurements will be in grams.

</tangential rant>


I fed 100 grams of my starter with about ~60 grams of water and 200 grams of flour, leaving me with a freshly fed starter that should have the same hydration level (~70%) as Reinhart's firm starter, scaled up a bit to be able to make a total of four pounds of bread. As directed, I covered the starter and left it on the counter to feast for a few hours.


After 3 hours the starter had easily doubled in size, so I moved it to the fridge until Saturday AM.


Saturday morning I pulled the starter from the fridge, allowed it to come to room temperature and started building the final dough. My mixer doesn't handle 4 pounds of dough well, so I divided the starter exactly in half, and then went through the build process twice, adding exactly the same amount of flour, salt and water, by weight, to each batch -- since I was striving for identical loaves over perfect loaves, I measured all the water going into the first loaf, then added exactly that much to the second loaf, regardless of consistency. Fortunately, since everything else about the process was identical, the water amount was just about right both times, too. I also mixed, kneaded, rested, and kneaded each batch for the same amount of time, trying to ensure that everything about these two loaves was identical thus far. The one difference I did allow here is that I used warm water (as directed by the BBA) for the "fast" loaf and I used cooler water for the "slow" loaf. At the end of kneading, the fast loaf registered at 82 degrees, the slow loaf about 5 degrees less.


The fast loaf was placed in an oiled bowl and left on the kitchen table to rise, with the ambient temperature varying around 75 degrees. The slow loaf was placed on top of a glass bowl sitting in a cooler above a layer of ice, with the temperature staying somewhere around 50 degrees.


Three hours later, the fast loaf had doubled, so I shaped it and returned it to its "warm" environs. As hoped, the fast loaf wasn't showing much progress at all.


Another two hours passed, and the fast loaf was ready to go. I fired up the oven, butchered the scoring, and baked.


By 4 PM (7.5 hours of rise time), the slow loaf had about doubled, so I pulled it out, shaped it, moved it back to the cooler and then headed out to dinner. Six hours later, it was time to cook. I pulled the dough from the cooler and fired up the oven again. About a half and hour later, the second loaf hit the fire.


Short summary:

Two identically handled loaves, one with a total of 5 hours of bench time, one with a bit more than 13 hours.



1) Both loaves are still far to dense. I am pretty sure my starter is just fine, so I'll be upping the hydration of the final dough the next time around.

2) It was a foolish mistake to take the slow loaf from the cooler and have it in the oven a 1/2 hour later, but I didn't want to be up all night, so I rushed it. The overall results would have been better had I left the loaf come up to room temperature over an extra hour or so instead of putting the cold dough into the oven...

3) ...finally, the flavor result.  After tasting each loaf I can conclusively say that there is virtually no difference in flavor between the two - both are only ever-so-faintly sour, which is not what I'm going for. So I'm surprised - the extra time for the rise and the proof didn't affect the flavor.


So what next? Two things:

1) I'm sure that what Bill and Brotkunst are saying is on the mark, so I'm undaunted. I will try this experiment again (but not next weekend - family is in town so I don't have as much time to fiddle)

2) I suspect there may be all sorts of ways that the density and the flavor are intertwined - perceptually, from a surface-area standpoint, what the density says about the flour and the yeast and timing...all that stuff. So for the short-term I'm going to focus on getting a single loaf of sourdough to come out well, then I'll get back to worrying about the flavors...

firepit's picture


First, a very quick bio:

- I am a graduate student at Indiana University (in Bloomington, IN, home of The Bernard Clayton), studying cognitive psychology (on the research side of things, not the clinical/helpful side of things). More specifically I'm studying the evolution of learning and decision making processes. It has been noted several times on the site that folks with a technical bent tend to be drawn into baking. I am indeed one of those folks...My undergraduate education was in physics and computer science, and I spent 8 years as a software developer before the career change.

- One of the most rewarding aspects of being a graduate student, at least for me, is that I get to teach. I love teaching, and I have an immense respect for people that are excited and enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of any topic. It's one thing to be an expert. It's something totally different to be an expert that can convey your knowledge to others and get them excited about it in the process. That's one of the things that draws me to this site...there are lots of teachers here.

- My wife and I do enjoy lots of other culinary adventures, trying to eat and cook just about anything we can, as time and finances permit. I have always loved to cook, but lately baking is winning out. As a big Alton Brown fan, I was drawn in by his baking book, and I haven't looked I've got a 1/2 dozen baking books around and several more on the "need to pick that up soon" list. It's addicting.

browndog's picture

My cousin's well-tended garden boasts the company of a clump of chives descended from our great-uncle's plants of about a hundred years ago. My garden is simpler and consists of what grows by inclination in the fields and forests near my home. Much of what I find was not here when Europeans arrived- New England was arboreal then, and the man-made grasslands are eternally trying to revert. Of the flowers in my vases only the common fleabane and a bit of madder are native.vsd

My starter was not begged from the ether like so many of yours, but given to me by a friend who, now in the riper reaches of five decades, was given it by his mother when he left home for college. It's been sluggish, fretful company and I a reluctant keeper til I found tfl which is a little like finding bread religion..multidenominational of course..So anyway my starter woke up recently with a flower in its hair and a song in its heart, don't ask me why, I just thought I better use it and not ask any questions. The wind could and probably will change directions any day. These are a couple loaves of Vermont Sourdough, and an edition of Dan Lepard's White Leaven bread.

and with the fresh discard:

This is an adaptation of Hamelman's Golden Raisin bread, obviously unbound by particulars... Oatmeal bread is typically snugged up with sugar, fat and spices--this loaf is so warm and country without those things that it should have pigtails and a checkered shirt.

-brown dog, white horse.

bwraith's picture

Sourdough Bagels

Many thanks to Susanfnp for posting a great sourdough bagel recipe based on Nancy Silverton's bagel recipe. She also provided a number of key tips as I made these. I posted some photos process, as well as a spreadsheet with more details such as bakers percentages and preferment percentages.

Sourdough Bagel Recipe


  • 335 grams (12 oz) 100% hydration white flour starter
  • 17 grams (0.6 oz) sugar
  • 12 grams (0.4 oz) malt syrup
  • 17 grams (0.6 oz) salt
  • 2.8 grams (0.1 oz) instant yeast
  • 359 grams (12.5 oz) water
  • 186 grams (6.5 oz) first clear flour (I used KA First Clear Flour. Substitute a high ash or whole grain flour - maybe rye, whole wheat, Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo, or just use white flour)
  • 578 grams (20.5 oz) high gluten flour (I used KA Sir Lancelot High Gluten Flour. Substitute bread flour or other high protein white flour.

Mix Dough - Day Before Baking

I used a mixer. While reading the Nancy Silverton recipe, the idea seems to be to get a very stiff dough. I decided the mixer might save some effort. Nancy Silverton specifies 8 minutes at a medium speed.

Add starter to mixer bowl, then mix water, yeast, sugar, and malt syrup and add to the mixing bowl. Mix ingredients well with a spoon or whisk. Mix flours and salt so they are well integrated, then add them all to the mixing bowl and stir with a spoon or whisk to get most of the flour wet.

Mix at low speed until ingredients form a mass, then mix at medium. Total mix time should be about 8 minutes. The result should be a supple but not at all tacky dough. You should be able to work with this dough easily with dry hands on a dry counter. If it is at all sticky, you probably have too much water in it. The objective is to end up with no flour dust, since you want the bagels to come out smooth and have a sheen. That won't happen if you get flour dust on them.

Remove dough from mixer and knead on the counter a few times to verify the consistency of the dough is correct. It should become a satin, supple, somewhat stiff, not tacky dough that is easy to work with.


Divide the dough into about 18 3 ounce pieces. Since the dough is so dry, it may develop a dry skin fairly quickly, so proceed smartly to the shaping stage. Don't dilly dally at this point, as the dough pieces will become too puffy quickly if they are allowed to sit at room temperature for very long. However, the pieces need to rest a short time, maybe 5 to 10 minutes, so that the gluten will be relaxed enough to shape the bagels.

If you have a fine mist spray (I have an atomizer meant for olive oil that I use for water), you can make shaping easier and avoid the dry skin, particularly on the pieces you shape last, by spraying a tiny amount of water on the pieces before you shape them.

To form the bagels, roll out an 8 inch rope shape with your palms. If the dough is too stiff or you make a mistake and want to start over, let that piece rest a few more minutes, and move to the next piece. Take the 8 inch rope and hold it between your palm and your thumb. Wrap the rope around your hand and bring the other end together with the end you are holding between your palm and thumb. You now have a "rope bracelet" wrapped around your hand. Rub the seams together on the counter to seal them, then take off the bracelet, which should look a lot like a bagel, hopefully. Stretch it out so you have a large 2.5 inch hole. It looks big, but it will shrink or even disappear as the dough rises during boiling and baking. The hole needs to be big looking compared to a normal bagel.

Place the bagels on parchment dusted with semolina flour on a sheet. Cover with saran or foil or place the whole sheet in an extra large food storage bag (XL Ziploc is what I'm thinking here). The idea is to lock in moisture to avoid any dry skin forming yet allow room for some slight expansion as they puff up. Place the sheets in the refrigerator to retard overnight.


Bring 5 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a good sized stock pot to a boil.  Place a bagel in the pot and make sure it floats to the top. If so, you can do 4-6 bagels at one time. They should only be in the water for about 20 seconds. Push them under periodically with a wooden spoon, so the tops are submerged for a few seconds. In my case, I never managed to get the bagels out before about 30 seconds were up, but they came out fine. If the test bagel won't float, lift it out with a slotted spoon, and gently pat it dry and allow the bagels you have removed from the refrigerator (I did 6 of them at a time) to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes and try again. In my case, they floated immediately out of the refrigerator, probably because I was a little slow getting the dough formed and shaped the previous night. I took the sheets out one at a time, so I could keep the bagels from getting too warm, since I was only doing 6 at a time.

Dip in Seeds

Make plates of seed beds. I made three seed beds. One was 2 parts caraway seed, 1 part anise seed, and a pinch of salt. Another was 2 parts dill seed, 1 part fennel seed, and a pinch of salt. The last was poppy seed and a pinch of salt. I also made salt bagels, but those were done by just sprinkling a little kosher salt on some of them with my fingers.

Right after the bagels are removed from the boiling water with a slotted spoon, place them on a rack to cool for a few seconds. After they have cooled of slightly and dried enough not to ruin the seed bed with too much wetness, pick one up and place it round side down (the tops down), and gently press them into the seed bed. Pick them up and place them right side up on a sheet lined with parchment paper and dusted lightly with semolina flour or coarse corn meal.


Preheat the oven to about 400F. No preheat may work, but I'm not sure. It seems easy, from my limited experience, for them to rise too much. The result will be an open bread-like crumb, instead of the very chewy, more dense crumb expected in a bagel. So, I didn't risk a no-preheat strategy in this case.

If you have a stone, you can transfer the parchment paper on a peel to the stone and bake directly on the stone. I baked them for about 20 minutes at 400F. You can also bake them on the sheet.


Allow the bagels to cool.


The bagels were chewy and delicious. The crumb was more open than I wanted. The reasons for the open crumb were probably two things: 1) I delayed too long in the mixing, shaping, and covering stage the night before. 2) I made a mental error during the mixing and left out about 78 grams of flour from the recipe. The higher hydration contributed to a slightly less dense crumb, I believe. The recipe amounts are adjusted to reflect what I think are the correct amounts for the flour choices above. The important thing is to get a very firm dough and not to let the dough or the bagels rise too much during the various stages leading up to baking.

zainaba22's picture

for dough:

1 cups warm water

1 cups warm milk

2 teaspoons dry yeast

2 cups whole wheat flour

3 cups white flour

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons olive oil

1)place all ingredients in the bowl of mixer ,beat 10 minutes to make a soft dough.

2)Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

after 30 minutes

3)Divide dough into 16 pieces.shape each piece into a ball.Cover and let rise for 20 minutes

after 20 minutes

4)Roll each ball into a 21cm round,brush the top with olive oil .

5)Top each with a tablespoon of lamb mixture.leaving a 1cm border.

6)Bake at 450 for 9 minutes.

7)Serve with yogurt .

*for Topping:

Lamb or Beef mixture:

500 g ground lamb or beef

4 medium onions

2 medium tomatoes

fresh cilantro(optional)if you want your topping red do not add it.

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

salt and ground pepper

combine ground lamb or beef,onions,tomatoes,and cilantro in food processor or food grinder than add tomato paste,pomegranate molasses,salt and ground pepper

*for vegetarian you can use portabello mushroom or cooked brown lentils instead of meat.

KipperCat's picture

No Knead Half WW

This is the bread I baked yesterday, using half and half whole wheat and white flour. It barely rose, though got a little oven spring. But it isn't a brick! The flavor is very good and the crumb is nice and soft. I think I overproofed by about 2 hours, but may have the other elements right.

Here's the dough just before going in the oven. The gluten strands on the dough surface didn't hold when I rounded the dough. You can see how torn up it looks. I stopped shaping because I was making it worse with each little stretch. Would the overproofing account for that? Quite a contrast to my last dough pic, isn't it! It's not well-risen, but it passed the finger-stick test, so in the oven it went. I didn't think it would take a free-form bake, so used my 4 quart saucepan for baking it.

Once the dough is losing it like this, is there any way to return it to a nice plump state that holds together? It actually has risen some in the colander since I shaped and placed the dough there, but the dough seemed rather torn up, and further rounding was just making it worse.

I should clarify that the overproofing seemed to be in the 18 hour stage.  The dough seemed a bit liquid in the center when I dumped it out on the board. 

Here are the exact ingredients used, with the standard NYT Jim Leahy method

215 grams KA white whole wheat flour

215 grams all purpose flour - GoldMedal

1.5 tsp. salt

.25 tsp. yeast

1.5 Tbsp. gluten

1/8 tsp. Vitamin C crystals

1 3/4 cup water

bwraith's picture

I would like to compare notes on starter maintenance routines. Hopefully others would find this interesting as well.

To best understand each starter, please include the following if you post your starter information.

  • Hydration (water as a percent of total flour in the starter)
  • Feeding ratios used, fermentation times, temperatures used (please specify how the feeding ratio is measured, e.g. by weight or volume)
    • When storing
    • When refreshing in anticipation of a baking session
  • Type of flour used
  • Refrigeration or other storage methods
  • Any other interesting aspects of the starter

It doesn't matter what kind of starter you have. I'm just interested in collecting as many examples as possible in as much detail as possible. Anyone who has done this for a little while discovers a routine that works, so please share it if you have a moment. I'm guessing that the range of hydrations, feeding ratios, flour types, temperatures, and other aspects of these routines vary over a huge range.

I'm doing this as a blog entry, so we don't clutter the front page with too much detailed starter discussion.


AnnieT's picture

Not a great success, which is frustrating as I did everything by the book - kept dashing back to check at each step. As I mentioned, the dough was great to work with and I had great hopes, but in the end there was practically no oven spring. The bread tasted good and the crust had the pretty "freckles", but there weren't many holes. My only thought is that I overproofed the loaves - I let them sit for 4 hours after coming out of the frig because that is what PR suggested. I had made batards and they rose nicely and didn't collapse when I slashed them. I would REALLY appreciate any comments from you more experienced bakers. By the way, I just checked out the Breadtopia site and Eric offers a spelt no knead recipe. Something else to try - no wonder my poor old brain is mithering, A


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