The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Justkneadit's picture

Questions on my first SD boule

September 19, 2012 - 3:03pm -- Justkneadit

Seeing how this was my first sourdough boule I couldn't be more proud. The taste was fantasic with a mellow sourness and a creamy crumb. My question lies in why it bloomed the way it did. I will explain how I proofed it and hopefully someone can give me some insight on why I had such monstrous bloom right in the middle.


simon3030's picture

best ever sourdough loaf

February 16, 2012 - 8:42am -- simon3030

Sorry, I just had to tell people about my latest bake - this is a sourdough loaf, using the recipe from my course with Tom Baker @loafonline. I've had trouble getting my starter to maintain it's heart, so having taken advice from all sources, and particularly, I refreshed my starter with rye.

Nate Delage's picture
Nate Delage

It's been a while since I mixed up my standard white bread flour formula. I decided to march to a different tune a few days ago and try something a bit different.

I started collecting things from the pantry and this is what I arrived at:

The formula:

  • 850g bread flour
  • 150g rye flour
  • 25g wheat germ
  • 25g sesame seeds
  • 460g water
  • 250g beer
  • 20g salt
  • 6g yeast

I decided not to count the wheat germ as 'flour' when calculating the amount of water to add. Not sure what the generally accepted approach is.

The mix (KitchenAid)

  • 6min: speed 2
  • 45 autolyse
  • 3min: speed 2


I used a primary fermentation of 3 hours at 72 degrees and overnight in the fridge (mostly to fit my schedule). The dough easily doubled, I think the sugar in the beer kept the yeast happy.

Shape, Proof & Score

The next day I (for no good reason) decided to shape all this dough as a single large boule. It proofed for about 3 hours at 70 degrees. I needed such a long proof because the dough was still chilled from the time in the fridge. I proofed on a couche and transferring wasn't an easy task. There was no way to flip this over like I do my baguettes. I eventually just did my best to scoop it up with my hands and transfer to some parchment. Doing this really made me nervous, but thankfully it more or less held it's shape. Next time I'll probably proof right on some parchment paper. Looking back I think the proof time was a bit too long (I was out of the house while it proofed and made it back later than I expected).

Scoring was a piece of cake because it had developed a bit of a skin, having proofed for so long. I used to think any skin was to be avoided, but just a little makes scoring so much easier. And I don't think it's the detriment of the final product.


This was unlike any bake I've done before! Into the oven at 500 degrees with 1 cup of water poured into a pan for steam (oh no! did I just use a volume measurement?!) 30 minutes into the bake the crust had developed a nice brown color. I decided to check the internal temperature, thinking it might need another 10min or so. Imagine my shock when the thermometer read 96 degrees!! I couldn't believe it. I wasn't even halfway to my usual 'done' temp of 208 degrees.

So I dropped the temperature to 425, realizing this was going to be a loooooong bake. I lost track of time, but it felt like an eternity. I was nervous I'd eventually burn the crust, but that wasn't an issue. Eventually the temperature crept up while the crust became darker and darker.

When I arrived to 208, I turned off the oven and left the boule in the oven with the door ajar, sitting on a cooling rack. This way it would cooled without the internal moisture 'steaming' the crust (something I've had happen more than once) Can't loose that crunch!


Delicious! I can't stop eating it ;) Because of the long bake time, I ended up with a super thick crust that isn't overly chewy. And while not burned, the dark crust has a flavor I really enjoy. The crumb isn't very open at all, which is fine with me and expected given the rye and wheat germ. I'm not really sure the sesame seeds provided at flavor. I'm making this loaf again without the seeds or the beer.

What about the beer? I used a darker Octoberfest beer I had laying around. I'm really not sure what if anything it contributed to the flavor of the loaf. It definitley doesn't smell like beer, nor can I pick out the taste of the beer. It will be interesting to compare this loaf with another made without the beer (currently in progress).

Onceuponamac's picture

Sourdough Raisin Boule :)


Breadboard's picture

Sourdough boule in cast iron

December 15, 2011 - 9:51pm -- Breadboard

Still hot this evening fresh from the ceramic oven so I'll wait until tomorrow morning to slice.  I'm baking in cast iron and I'm feeling very satisfied with results.   This is a basic sourdough made by my very own apple peel starter.   The bail on the Dutch oven sure comes in handy when moving the heavy pot in and out of my ceramic oven.   I'm testing out a few things---  The new apple starter,  the Dutch oven, a signature slash to the top of the bread and the quality of the bread.  Will do the taste test tomorrow morning!

breadbythecreek's picture

 The last set of experiments was to determine whether the use of fruit based yeast in the absence of flour in the starter would result in more fruit flavor in the final loaf. Much time and effort went into weaning my standard sourdough starter from a diet of wheat flour and water to a diet of pure fruit puree.  This starter was used to create a boule with the starter, AP flour and peach puree. The result was less than spectacularly peachy. 

 This time the fruit was blueberry.  I initiated my starter from my blueberry yeast water and bread flour, and through  successive refreshments (5X), I created sufficient starter for the following loaf.  I don’t know, but I suspect the loaf was once again, overproofed as I ended up with yet another “muffallata” loaf. The color of the crumb is most striking, almost like a pumpernickel.  The taste is faintly blueberry, sweetish. With cream cheese it tastes very much like a bagel.


70g starter (10 starter/30 flour/30 BYW @100%)

158g blueberry puree (132L,26S)

175g AP flour

4g salt

234:166 = 70% hydration dough

total loaf =407g

To make this loaf, I took 9g of the starter (4th refreshment) and fed it 30g each bread flour and blueberry yeast water.  This I left at room temperature for about 3 hours until it has more than doubled. Then I combined it thoroughly with the blueberry puree, which interesting enough was more like a jelly than I expected, there must be lots of pectin in blueberries.  I stirred in the flour and the salt, gave it a S&F and let it rest for ½ hour. This was repeated for three hours, then not thinking, I put it in the cooler (46*F) for about 3 hours.

Then, remembering that I needed to shape it, I took it out of the cooler, preshaped it and left it out for 30 minutes. Then I shaped it into a boule and placed it into the floured banneton.  This was replaced into the cooler for the remainder of the night. 

The next morning I took it out of the cooler and let it warm up until the oven and combo-cooker was up to temperature (460*F). The loaf was baked for 20 minutes with the cover on, 10 minutes with the cover off, and an additional 10 minute with the oven door ajar.


breadbythecreek's picture

We recently got very lucky and were able to buy a flat of the best peaches we have ever had. These peaches, just picked, ripened on the tree, are pure peachy goodness. At the same time, I’ve been experimenting with water/fruit fed yeast in bread baking. As a result of this experimentation I’ve discovered that it is next to impossible to get any fruit flavor from Yeast Water to be present in any baked bread. The water from the fruited yeast is just too subtle. Yes, the fruited yeast water has a nice effect on the crust (crunchy), crumb (moist and tender) and on the color (esp. with red/purple fruits), and taste (absolutely not sour). However, one would be hard pressed indeed to tell which fruit was used to prepare the yeast water. This is discouraging as why go to the trouble of using beautiful fresh, fragrant, and hard-to-come by fruits when any old bag of raisins will do exactly the same thing?

The first step was to convince my standard grain fed sourdough starter to like, and want to eat the sugars contained in peach puree. Taking my cues from Ron Ray, as documented in his Banana Saga, I slowly weaned my standard wheat based sourdough starter to accept a diet of first AP flour and peach puree until I reached the point where there was no more water in the starter seed. From there, I began the process of weaning my starter to accept a diet of pure puree (no AP flour), again to the point where there was no more flour in the starter seed.

 Now this starter ready to be developed in the final dough. I wanted to create a dough that relied solely on peach puree for the water content (Google assures me that peaches are 80% water). Thus, peach puree is comprised of 80% liquid and 20% solids. As is the recommendation, I set about creating a dough that was approximately 1/3 preferment (in the form of fermented peach puree), and was at approximately 75% hydration (e.g., liquids as a proportion of solids) and holding the overall loaf size to approximately 400g, yielded the following formula:


  • 60g Starter 
  • 185g Bread Flour
 (plus 11g extra)
  • 150g Peach Puree
4g salt

bakers %


Bread Flour:100.00%

Peach Puree: 76.53%

Salt: 2.04%

Total Dough (Conversion Factor): 209.18%



I combined the 60g fizzy starter with the 150g peach puree. Then I slowly incorporated the 185g bread flour to form a rough, sticky dough. I covered the bowl and let it rest for 20 minutes to hydrate the flour. Then I mixed in the salt.  This was given the first stretch & fold (S&F) in the bowl and left to rest for 30 minutes. At this point, I was forced to alter my plans and work in an additional 11g of bread flour. The dough was just too sticky and not holding together.  This S&F/rest process was repeated a total of four times over the next 1 1/2 hours. After the final S&F, I left it to rest an additional 1/2 hour before I turned it out onto a lightly floured counter (approximately 8g flour) and preshaped and shaped the boule. This was placed in a floured banneton and into the 46*F cooler overnight (approximately 11 hours).

The following morning, as is my habit, I took the dough out of the cooler and let it come to room temperature. About half an hour into this warming up period, I began to preheat the oven and the combo-cooker to 450*F. This takes about 1/2 hour. When the oven was fully preheated, I removed the cooker from the oven, overturned the dough onto the parchment, slashed (not very well, hmm.), and slid the loaf to the bottom of the hot cooker. Placing the lid, back into the oven the whole works went for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the lid was removed—The moment of truth, pancake, hockey puck, boule? What would it be, well, as it turned out, peaches are not the best for massive oven spring. I wouldn’t call it a pancake, somewhere bigger than a hockey puck, but not much. After removing the lid and turning down the oven to 425*F the loaf was baked for another three minutes, then I removed the bottom of the cooker and the parchment, and placed the loaf directly on the stone. This is where it remained for another 7 minutes. Then, I propped open the oven door for an additional 10 minutes (total 40 minutes in the oven). Then I removed the loaf. Well, it does smell of peaches.


 Way too much flour in the banneton - I was worried about sticking.  The oven spring is not great, sort of like it was overproofed. It sounds hollow when I thump it and the crust is quite thick and hard. So. Now comes the real test. After all of this work and experimentation, did I create a peachy tasting peach bread? Here is the shot of the crumb:

 As you can see, the crumb is definitely a peachy color, moist and tender. There are bits of peach visible in the crumb. Does it taste of peaches- yes, faintly.  It tastes almost like a not-so-sweet cake, not a bit sour, which is not surprising.

If someone were to not tell me peaches were 51% of the mix, would I ever be able to figure that out?  No. Alas, I think the pursuit of pronounced fruity flavor in the crumb of a yeasted bread needs something more than peach puree.

Happy Baking!

oceanicthai's picture

Today's bake was a 3-seed sourdough.  I previously posted all ingredients and the method I used, and had to go, and lost it...sigh.  Next time  :)   Here's the pics...tastes lovely.


The seed soaker added extra water even after I drained it.  I can't tell if I underproofed or not.  The crust was nice but I didn't get as much vertical lift as I had hoped.  My scoring kind of just melted back into itself.  I like this a lot better than the wheat germ one, but I think next time I use wheat germ I will soak it first.  I soaked my terra cotta lid for a couple of hours before I baked it.

oceanicthai's picture

Today's bake was another 3 day sourdough with whole wheat and wheat germ.  The crumb wasn't as open as I'd like, but the crust was as lovely as usual with my Thai-style La Cloche, a terra cotta pot with lid.  I soak the lid before I heat up the pot and it steams the bread lovely.  The wheat germ soaked up a LOT of water and if I make this recipe again I will add more water.  It is delicious, interestingly, this time the sourdough is quite pronounced.  I was kind of nervous to do the refrigerated bulk ferment/retardation with the wheat germ because I had read about so much enzyme activity with the wheat germ, but it seemed okay, no grey mush.  I love the inspiration for this bread, San Francisco sourbread, I grew up in S.F. and the Bay Area until my teen years, which were spent in the Sierra Foothills.  For my next breads I'd like to start trying seeds on my dough.  I wonder if I should steam my dough less when I use the seeds?  I love TFL because whatever obscure piece of information I'm looking for is here, and so much more than I ever imagined I'd want to know!


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