The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Dorians mom's picture
Dorians mom

I let the daily feedings lapse on my wonderful original starter, and by Sunday morning it had a fruity smell to it.  I didn't think it was a bad smell, but it certainly wasn't sour!  It almost had a pineapple scent to it.  Perhaps I could have salvaged it, but didn't decide to try.  I tossed it out, and started over.  I still used the yeast recipe from before, but this starter is quite different from the original.  I don't like it as much; it doesn't please me with a redolent yeast or sour smell.  It's a good starter, don't get me wrong, but it's just not the same, and can never be.  I'll keep working with it, however, because I really want to continue to learn about the art of making good sourdough bread.  The last loaf I baked look like crap, rather greyish, but had an awesome flavor.  Some people pronounced it too sour for their tastes, but I had two requests for starter offspring as well. 

I use whole wheat flour for the beginning few days of the starter; after the commercial yeast has been halved out, I'll use rye flour for the maintenance feedings.  I think that, at least in my area, rye flour mixes with the wild yeasts in the air most successfully, and I end up with a highly flavorful sourdough bread.

I read some comments concerning hooch, and I understand that it's not safe to drink in and of itself, but othewise I have just stirred it back into the starter before feeding it.  Some folks recommend pouring it off, but if it's part of the starter, then I'll keep it as part of the starter.  I noticed that once I started using rye flour for the maint. feedings, the hooch didn't form. 

By next week I should be ready to bake from this starter.  I'll try to add photos of any resulting loaves, not to brag but to ask, "What can I do to make this look better?"

Till then ~


tssaweber's picture

This is the best song ever, The Bread Song:



Pop N Fresh's picture
Pop N Fresh

Does anyone know of a good recipe for this bread? Sciachatta?  not quite sure of the spelling pronounced (sky-cha-ta).  Thanks!

davidg618's picture

Yesterday I baked two sourdough boules; it's become a weekly chore. Sourdough has all but replaced our pre-starter days' bread machine whole wheat or white sandwich loaf dough. Two loaves, with a baguette or two, and occasionally Jewish Rye keeps the two of us well stocked for a week to ten days.

Nice looking loaves, yes?


And now, another point of view.

Late pre-heating the oven, worried I was nearing over-proofing the two boules, and although the oven's status display showed it hadn't reached pre-heat temperature yet, I opened the oven door, and was greeted by a waft of very warm air. "Hey, it's close," I told myself. I started steaming, turned out and slashed the boules, and popped them in the oven.  When I reduced the oven temperature, after loading the loaves, the heating element shut off immediately. "Good," I told myself, thinking that proof that the oven had been near pre-heat temperature.

They seemed to be a little sluggish spring, but otherwise, all looked normal. I removed the steam pan after 15 minutes. Ten minutes later I pulled out one loaf to check for doneness; the bottom of the loaf was dough-colored, hardly a hint of browning. I dug out my thermometer, and checked internal temperature: 203°F. Yep, the oven had nearly reached pre-heat temperature; the baking stone had obviously lagged, far, far behind :-(

Fortunately, it only cost a valuable ego deflate. The bread has it's usual tastiness, and chewy crumb. I try the ignore the bottom crusts softness, and locally bland flavor. Of course, I haven't looked at it since I'd taken its picture.

David G.

inlovewbread's picture

I made up another batch of dmsnyder's San Joaquin Sourdough and this is my bake. They are still singing as I type this! I got a better ear this time- I think it was a better scoring, I cut a little deeper than the last try. Also, I used the full 21 hour cold fermentation for this bake as apposed to the 14 hours on the last attempt. I don't know if this has anything to do with the better ear or not.

My question though is (I guess directed at David, but others please chime in): 

Can I apply this same method (fold in the bowl bulk ferment at room temp, overnight/ long cold retardation/ room temp 1 hr. 45 min/ bake) to other types of sourdough? 

I love the way that this formula and method fit into my schedule, and the cold dough is so easy to handle. It seems like a 'reliable' method. I would like to try this approach to other formulas using my sourdough starter, specifically Glezer's "Essential's Columbia", but don't know if this long fermentation would work with the malt syrup included in the formula

David- have you tried your method with any other formulas or have you modified your SJ formula ever including malt syrup? Seeded? With durum flour? Other? What were the results?

Thank you in advance for taking the time on this question. And thanks again for a fabulous formula! These batards and another batch tonight will be for company this week! :-)

koloatree's picture

Doing some baking experiments with portugese sweet bread from "Advanced Bread and Pastry" book. This bake, I could of waited an additional hour or so but was pressed for time. The dough can triple+ in size during it's final proof. I filled these bread with ghiridelli chocolate chips and walnuts. Next bake, I will proof more and add more chocolate! The topping is some pearl sugar.



These baguettes are from "Bread"; the poolish version. I made some mistakes during the shaping. These are 12ozs and could barely fit on my baking stone. This weekend, going to try 10ozs.



yozzause's picture


I called this horse bread  due to the fact that a number of the ingrediants are easily obtained from stockfeed stores catering for the horse people. There was some discussion on the availability or lack of Molasses in another topic on TFL. For this bread i got my daughter to pick up 2 litres of molasses from the rural store when she was picking up her bales of hay for the nags.

The molasses comes in one of those 1,000 litre bulk plastic containers that is on a pallet in a steel frame which is then decanted into smaller containers as required. cost was $A 5.20 for the 2 litres, i could have sourced my Barley there too but already had that from a bulk providor in Fremantle. These 2 ingrediants are firm favourites with horses hence the connection to Horse bread.

I started the barley off to produce sprouts by soaking for 24 hours in water  and then straining off the water, i tend to keep the grain in the laundry and each time i pass by i  dunk the sieve into water for a few minutes and  allow to drain again. After the 4 days the sprouts are progressing well and ready for use.

For the preferment  I used 250g stone ground wholemeal flour with 250ml of home brew coopers dark stout and 125mls of sour dough starter that was diluted to half strength and allowed to ferment over night. In the morning i added a further 450g of bakers flour 14g salt and 100ml of mollasses the dough was quite sticky but not overly wet at the completion of the mix i then incorporated 100g of the sprouted barley this was then allowed to bulk ferment for 3 hours in corporating 3 x stretch and folds.

i divided the dough into 2 parts 1 i tinned up and placed in my car to prove in the autumn sun the other i handed up and placed in a cloth and bowl and placed in the fridge for a retard and bake off the following day.

The first dough went into the oven at around 14.00hrs

the 2nd piece went into the oven the following day at 09.00.

This dough was a bit of a trial run for the sprouting of the grain for a bit of a baking session that fellow West Australian and  TFL member Rossnroller and i are going to have  next week  when we will use the WOOD FIRED OVEN  and a bigger dough

it was easier to call this HORSE BREAD rather than 36% wholemeal  64% white sour dough with stout molasses and sprouted barley.

All that tried it liked it, although next time i would probably 1/2 THE MOLASSES  as it was rather powerfull other great additions would be dried figs, dates and walnuts the texture was very good and moist and quite malty and has great keeping qualities

so the top 3 pics are the same day procedure the others are the retarded portion.

Regards YOZZA

teefay's picture

I have a Zoirushi BBCCX20 Bread Machine that I absolutely love and here is my favorite Whole Wheat Recipe that's been tested a lot and never fails me. The reason the Zojirushi BBCCX20 is better at making whole wheat bread in my opinion is because of it's twin kneading blades. It insures the ingredients especially for whole wheat are kneaded thoroughly and that makes all the difference.

Anyways, here is the recipe.




100% Whole Wheat Bread for Bread Machine

-----REGULAR LOAF-----

1 cup Water
2 1/2 cups Wheat bread flour
1 1/4 tablespoons Dry milk
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Butter
1 1/4 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon Gluten
2 teaspoons Molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons Fast-Rise yeast *** OR ***
2 teaspoons Active-Dry yeast

-----LARGE LOAF-----

1 1/2 cups + 2 tb Water
3 3/4 cups Wheat bread flour
2 tablespoons Dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Honey
1 1/2 tablespoons Gluten
1 tablespoon Molasses
2 1/8 teaspoons Fast-Rise yeast *** OR ***
3 teaspoons Active-Dry yeast

The trick to making 100% whole wheat bread in your machine is an extra knead,
which gives the yeast and gluten a second chance to create a lighter loaf.

When your first knead cycle is completed, simply reset the machine and start again.
Some manufacturers produce home bakeries with a whole wheat cycle;
if your machine doesn't have one, this start- again method works as an easy


The gluten gives the whole wheat flour the structure necessary for a good loaf.
If your market doesn't stock wheat gluten, try your local health food store.
Remember the extra knead. It's especially important in 100% whole wheat bread.
Because of the extra knead, use this recipe only on the regular bake cycle.
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txfarmer's picture

The first one is Alsace loaf with Rye from Dan Lepard's book "A handmade loaf". Recipe can be found online here: , but of course I have the book and love it.

Made one big batard and several small rolls. This is a fast bread to make since there's commercial yeast in it. Dan used fresh yeast, but I used instant yeast (adjusted amount).

The crumb is relatively open, and the rye berries soaked in white wine lends texture and a sweet taste to the otherwise earthy bread, very nice with some butter.


The 2nd one is Black Pepper Rye from Dan Lepard's website: - that thread not only has the recipe, but also a very good picture tutorial on how the bread is made. If you do a little search you'll find this bread has been successfully tried by many folks here on TFL, and most liked it.

I started out somewhat skeptical, since only "fakers" add coffee to their rye breads right? Wrong! Coffee, as well as plent of black pepper and poppy seeds, are not here to mask anything, but to provide strong and greatly blended flavors on their own.

I used very strong espresso powder from KAF, so the coffee taste was definitely strong (which I like), the black pepper provided a lingering spiciness, and the large amount of poppy seeds on top got toasted and became so fragrant during baking. Such strong flavors all blended well together, suprisingly.

Using only commercial yeast, it's another very fast bread to make,  delicious with some PB.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

They just didn't want to be baguettes!

I took the recipe under Metric and divided by 20 to use 500g total flour in the recipe.  I did make some changes... I added an egg white into the water to total 165g in the final dough.  I used 1/2 tsp of yeast in the final dough.  This gave me longer fermentation.  I also hand mixed the dough.

Poolish Baguettes, page 101, Hamelman's "BREAD" with barely a pinch of yeast and using 9% protein white unbleached wheat flour to sit 12 hours at 23°C (74°F).

Mixed the dough with water (22g egg white "small egg" and 143g water) whipped with a fork  then added to the poolish along with salt 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast and 12% protein unbleached wheat bread flour.  Let stand one hour and folded the dough.  Did two more folds with 2 hours between for a 5 hour bulk rise.  Cut off 8 rolls at 100g each and one at 85g.  Let rise under cover and kept moist with water to rise about 45 min to an hour.  When somewhat risen, I sprinkled with sesame seeds and made 5 point star scissor cuts not connecting the cuts.

Then quickly into the hot steamy oven 240° rotated with steam release after 10 minutes.  Baked for another 10 minutes.  Then the second tray got sprinkled and scored hot on the trail of the first tray. 


They made it to the dinner table.  Crispy crusts and tender insides, still warm.

Mini Oven





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