The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% sourdough

jraducha's picture

Looking for ideas

July 4, 2012 - 12:45pm -- jraducha

Hello all,  long time reader, first time poster.  I am looking for some ideas.

I am starting a new project and I am trying to enlist my friends to spread the word and help out.  I have spent countless hours working on a concept and it has finally been accepted by Kickstarter!  Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects.  The project I am proposing is a community supported micro bakery using old world techniques, local ingredients, and a woodfired stone hearth called Noble Bread.

jamesjr54's picture

Made G Snyder's San Francisco Country Sourdough version 3-13-11 modified with long bulk and shaped proofs. Came out great.

This month has been a milestone for me in my year of baking. After reading the post "the basic problem with my sourdough" and the comment thread, I revised my starter routine. Combined with newfound revelations around patience and proofing (more like what I call "duh-piphanies"), I've been able to create very nice loaves without commercial yeast. Which has been a goal of mine from the beginning, inspired by the wonderful breads I see here from experienced folks and newbies alike. 

Another goal has been to reduce the "tyrrany of the bread" on my family schedule. So I've been pushing proof times for both bulk and final proofs to see what happens. Trying to get the bread to work around MY schedule, instead of vice-versa. 

For this bake, I used G Snyder's formula with this process:

Monday night: made the levain, left at room temp 11 hours (NB - my starter is 100% hydration)

Tuesday morning: made the dough; 30 min autolyse, 45 minute room temp proof, then in the fridge for 11 hours.

Tuesday night: out of fridge, 1 hr room temp, then pre shape and shape; 1 hour at room temp then in the fridge for 22 hours

Wednesday night: out of fridge, 1 hr room temp, then slash and bake in 500F preheated oven, lowered to 475F, covered for 20 mins and uncovered for 25 mins.

 Reminds me again how awesome this site is. Thanks to all who share their experience, advice and passion. 


Sheblom's picture

After my go at the San Francisco Sourdough[Link], I though I would have another go with my sourdough but go in a more European recipe. I decided to go French and bake the Pain Au Levain, but the purist version, no commercial yeast used at all.

One thing I did fine with the san Fran loaf that it was not as sour as I would liked it to have been. So with this recipe, I decided to do the whole process over 4 day, the fourth day being the baking day. 

So here is my process, Day 01

On day one I mix the starter as started in the recipe

Day 02

Take the starter out of the fridge and allow to warm up

Get all my equipment ready

Add starter to the bowl and add the warm water and allow 5 minutes to soften the starter.

Just a quick shot of my new toy for the kitchen. Don't know how accurate it is, but least it will be handy

One the started has softened. I add the rest of the flour and salt and Mix until I get a rough dough ball. I then knead the dough for a short time. I then leave the dough for 5 min to rest.

I then use the stretch and fold technique as the dough is quite wet and sticky

Then let the dough rest for 10 min

I do this another three times, stretch and fold, rest, stretch and fold and rest, etc

I then shape it into a boule and leave it overnight to proof.

Day 03

This is the easiest day, just punch the dough down, stretch and fold and leave over night.

Day 04

Baking day! Now to see the result of all this work! 

I punch down the dough, shape into a tight boule and then leave to rise in my banneton

After 4 hours I pre-heat my oven and pizza stone to 230c, with a old roasting dish at the bottom as well.

One the oven has come up to tempresure. I transfer the dough to may baking stone and place in the oven. I also place half a cup pf hot water in the pan to create steam.

After 10 min, I remove the tray and turn the loaf.

After about 20min you really get a decent sourdough smell wafting through the house.

After about 35- 40 min for baking from intially instertion into the oven. The loaf has changed to a nice dark brown colour.

I take the loaf out of the oven and leave to cool for an hour.

I was very happy with how the loaf came out. It has a beautiful texture and chewy crust.

I do think I have to work on my proofing with a banneton and the transfer from the banneton to the baking stone. 

Please let me know waht you think!

Also here is a shot of some fresh ricotta cheese that me made last week as well!


Sheblom's picture


Here my first go at an all sourdough loaf. No commercial yeast to be seen. I baked this loaf using the San Francisco Sourdough Loaf recipe from Peter Reinhart Artisan Bread Everyday book. This is my first go at a just soughtdough recipe and I am quite happy with the results. I think then time I wont use a loaf pan and try a boule shape or batard shape. Please have a look and let me know what you think. Cheers




Crust CloseUp Crust



I have also submitted this post to YeastSpotting :

CaptainBatard's picture

Pierre Nury’s Rustic Light Rye or Who Stole My Bubbles

Now I think it’s time to roll up my sleeves and dive into this rustic Bougnat from Daniel Leader’s Local Breads. This is another bread from the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France award winner Pierre Nury who hails from the Auvergne region of France. The only characteristics of this bread that actually resembles a French style, is the stiff levain that is used — and, of course, its award winner baker!   All the other nuances I have gotten accustomed to in making French bread, the tight shaping, timing of the rises, scoring of the loaves… have been thrown out the window.

I have to admit to being a little intimidated when reading the description of this French rustic rye, a loaf that looks quite a bit like Italian ciabatta…especially the author’s caveat that “the high proportion of water in this dough makes it difficult to knead by hand.”  But I was not going to let a little wet dough scare me off.  It actually felt good to get loose, and play with some slack dough! While things are being turned upside down with this recipe, I might as well throw something else into the mix (no pun intended) and continue my experimentation with the autolyse process.  Until now I have not been adding the levain to the initial mix of the flour and water. After reading Teresa’s second experiment in the autolyse process, I thought it could only give the dough a better structure, stronger development and maybe make it easier to incorporate the stiff levain into such wet dough. The hand mixing was a little sloppy to start…but after a short time the dough developed into a silky, smooth wet dough…and passed the window pane test with flying colors.  The rest of the process went along smoothly with no other real predicaments… so after a couple of folds and a rise, it went into the regenerator for its long, slow overnight ferment.

The next day I was eager to see what became of the dough… but I thought I’d give it the full twelve hours before I looked in.  So, the hour approached, the timer went off for the moment of truth and I opened the refrigerator; I could not believe my eyes! The once little boule…had more than quadrupled in size, had reached the top of the bowl and was filled with lots of big gas bubbles. I gently turned out the dough, divided it and slipped it into the hot steamy oven. I really thought I had hit this one on the head!  But this was not to be the case. The bread had a great creamy crumb, a subtle, slightly sour rye taste, a chewy crumb with a nice mouth feel and crackling crust … but where were those “long glossy tunnels” described by the author?  I am not really sure what happened to all the gas pocket so evident when I turned it out…was the gluten structure not developed enough?…was it over proofed?… was it the Type 130 rye flour that I used?…. or maybe the Type 65 with its gluten additive was not strong enough to hold the gas?  I have a sneaking suspicion that it was the coarse, heavy rye flour might have cut the glutens and causing the “long glossy tunnels” to collapse.  The jury is still out on this one.

If you made it through to the end of this post…congratulations and thanks for reading!  Now…seriously…Do you have any ideas on who stole my bubbles?  Please leave me a comment. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

To see more pictures and recipe come to

Thanks.....Captain Batard

CaptainBatard's picture

The Auvergne Crown or Couronne shaped loaf, typically made from yeasted white bread dough, can be seen in almost every boulangerie throughout France. When I go to my local boulangerie it is displayed on the rack in the typical round shape along with an epi cut. What separates this Auvergne Crown from all the others is the use of the traditional firm French sourdough, levain, and a long slow rise that gives the wheat time to develop its full potential.  Although this is a simple white dough, this thick crusted bread has an unexpected flavor and quality.  I found the best way to eat this is to just tear off a piece…it exposes a crumb that is riddled with many different sized holes....

To read the full post come and visit 

MarieH's picture

Hamelman’s Vermont Sourdough is one of my favorite recipes. It is so consistent in both flavor and texture. It’s hard to mess up this formula. It’s still pretty warm in Tallahassee, FL so paying attention to the Desired Dough Temperature (DDT) is important. Following Hamelman’s instructions I needed chilly water.

Desired Dough Temperature           76

Multiplication Factor                         4

Total Temperature Factor                304

Minus Flour Temperature                71

Minus Room Temperature               78

Minus Pre-ferment Temperature     75

Minus Friction Factor                       26

Water Temperature                          54

I started the levain build yesterday at 6:30 p.m. and started the dough at 7:30 a.m. today. I created a timing chart to help me along the way.

The finished batards...

varda's picture

Sometimes you have to back up to move forward.   I have tried to make 100% whole durum bread a couple times and couldn't achieve a good density or crumb structure even if I was happy with other things.    I found myself decidedly confused by the durum - did it want a long ferment so that the dough could develop without a lot of manipulation, or did it need a short ferment because it develops much faster than regular wheat doughs?    I decided to back up in the percent of durum and then move forward stepwise to see what I could learn.   So last night and today, I made a sourdough boule with 40% whole durum flour.    Even though I was only at 40% I tried to use the gentle methods that durum seems to need, so I mixed everything by hand, stretched and folded in the bowl with my hands, and generally did whatever I could not to frighten the durum.    I also retarded overnight for convenience sake.    Hydration is 68%.   Prefermented flour is 23%.   I used my regular wheat with 5% rye starter.   Here are some pictures of the result:

Next up:  60% whole durum boule. 

varda's picture

Last year, I built a WFO platform and hearth,  and a dome out of sandy dirt that I dug up from a pile in my yard.   I had hoped (and convinced myself) that there was enough clay in the dirt to make the dome hold together.   That was not the case.   The dome slowly crumbled over the course of the summer.   I patched it up and patched it up again and finally wrote it off in the fall.    Amazingly the platform survived intact through a very difficult winter.   This summer I decided to build a new dome using real instead of imagined clay.    So I bought fire clay from a potter's supply and with help from my husband mixed up 600 pounds or so of clay, sand and water and built a new dome.   Then my husband, who finally took pity on me taking on a project like this with no building skills whatsoever, decided to make me a good door.   He built an offset with the leftover clay/sand mix which perfectly fit a door made of thick plywood.   This morning after waiting forever for the oven to dry, it was time.   I fired it up (and up and up and up) and finally loaded it with a loaf of bread.   After 30 minutes, I checked it, and the loaf was pale, so I closed the door and let it bake for 15 more minutes.    

The loaf was still pale, but I checked the interior temperature and it was 210degF.    Then I paced around in the yard pulling weeds and thinking this over, and finally figured out that the door was so carefully fit that no steam was escaping from the oven at all (I didn't add steam but there is plenty of moisture in the dough) and the crust simply hadn't baked even though the bread had.   By that time I had opened the door so much that the heat was way down, so I took the loaf inside and baked it for 15 minutes at 450 to brown it up.    I certainly didn't have this problem last year, when the door was just a piece of plywood leaned up against the opening with plenty of room for steam (and heat) to leak out.   Fixing this isn't as easy as you would think - the door is fit so tightly (and the bottom beveled so that it's flush with the hearth) that you can't just move it over a bit.   Undoubtedly a precision venting system is now on the drawing board.

But anyhow, the bread.   I decided to go back to yeast water, since I didn't think I had much chance for success today, given that i was just getting to know the oven.   I continued reducing both the hydration of the yeast water based starter and decreasing yeast water as a percentage of total water.   I also interpreted an earlier post by Andy (on enzyme issues in high ash content flour bread) pointed out to me by Juergen Krauss and added salt with the first mix instead of autolyzing.  All this seemed to get the enzyme problems I've been having with yeast water doughs under control.   But perhaps not completely so, as you can see below.   But (as seems to be a feature of yeast water) this is a delicious bread and more successful than I expected under the circumstances. 

jamesjr54's picture

So I wanted to make a batch of Black Canyon sourdough last night, to repay my neighbor for the 2 lbs of fresh-caught cod he gave us. No mise en place. Pretty distracted after work etc. But in I plunged, only to come up about 1.5 C short of All-Purpose flour. Doh! So I used a combo of spelt, oat and White Whole Wheat bread flour from Whole Foods. It took about 45-50 minutes of vigorous kneading by hand to get any structure and windowpane. Roughly, in baker's math, it's about 66% hydration. Used my starter, which has been pretty reliable. Now, it's been proofing for 12 hours, and looks ok. I'll give it another hour or so before I bake. This should be interesting. 


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