The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


neilbaldwyn's picture

Drying starter

February 10, 2013 - 4:17am -- neilbaldwyn



After some recent issues with my starter I'm looking to dry some as a back up. I'm going for drying it out on parchment paper, but wondered when is best to dry? I'm assuming that once the starter has reached its peak after feeding would be best but just wondered what other peoples experiences were?





HappyBreadHouse's picture

Reinhart's Light Wheat Bread: Am I reading this wrong?

January 1, 2012 - 2:46pm -- HappyBreadHouse

Hi Fresh Loaf People...

I received the Bread Baker's Apprentice for Christmas.  I am a long time home baker, but I was interested in trying Reinhart's formulas and (I hope) learning new ideas about bread baking.

The first formula I tried was his "Light Wheat Bread."  This seemed like a simple starting place in his book.

I was surprised at how dry the formula was... 55.6% hydration?  I am used to much wetter dough (65% minumum), but I thought I would try to follow his directions before going my own way.

dragon49's picture

My Breads are too Dry

December 16, 2008 - 3:50pm -- dragon49

My friends are complaining that my breads are too dry.  I am using 3 tablespoons of olive oil for each 4 chup of flour and between 1 1/4 and 1 1/3 cups of water.


Will a different type of oil be better, or should I jsut add more oil?  Also, for more percentages of Whole Wheat, should I add more oil generally?



Bob F's picture
Bob F

aisin Bread: Response to Questions

Bob Finsterwalder

 Because my previous tries at bread making were negative I cut the recipe in half. I first started the yeast per instructions in warm water and let stand about ten minutes until it was foamy. Separately milk and butter were heated in a small sauce pan until the butter was melted. This step was set aside until it cooled. When the milk mixture was just warm the yeast (I am not sue how old the yeast was but probably no more that 7 months) mixture was added along with a tablespoon of sugar. The whole mixture was added to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. The bread flour was added a cup at a time with the raisins and mixed on low speed until the dough pulled away from the sides of the bowl. In all about two cups of the three cups were added. The resulting dough was very sticky and flour was added a little at a time to enable the kneading process. I kneaded the dough for about 3 to 4 minutes (About 1/3 cup less than the recipe amount was used) and placed it, covered, in a lightly oiled bowl. I heated the oven for one minute to "warm" and let the dough rise for one hour.

  I punched the dough down and shaped in a glass 9x5x3 loaf pan  I again warmed the oven for a minute and let it rise for another 45 minutes. I pre-heated the oven to 425 F and baked for 10 minutes then lowered the temperature to 350F for 25 minutes until the loaf sounded "hollow" when thumped. Voila a hard,dry, tough loaf.

 To answer another question the recipe was in volume measure not in mass (weight). All liquid measures were verified; nothing was left out or shorted

  Frankly at this point I don't know if this is just the way home-made bread is or if I am missing something. I'm puzzled how commercial bakers get light, moist loaves. Maybe it better eating through chemistry!

canuck's picture

So, since the last post (which was quite some time ago), we moved back to Canada after three years of living in Africa.  I had a really good sourdough starter going in Zambia, it was reliable and very active, and I didn't want to just dump it.   I looked around and found some pages which described how to dry starter for transport, so that's what I did.  Here are the steps:

 1) I shmeared (thats a technical term,ha) a thin layer of starter all over a piece of baking paper, which I put on a cookie sheet.  In a couple of days it was pretty dried out and started lifting off the baking paper.  I let it dry out another day and then it was really dry and coming off the baking paper in big flakes.

 2) I took all the flakes, put them in a zip-lock bag and crunched them up into something that was close to powder.  it was a little a chunky, but still fine.

3)  I packed the zip-lock into our baggage and hoped for the best.  With all the airline paranoia I was a bit worried about explaining a bag full of white powder to the customs agent.  "Well, it is organic, and I use"  Sure, what will the sniffer dogs think? Luckily, nobody looked at our bags and the starter made it to Canada without any questions being asked. 

4) After we got home, I simply mixed the dried out started with some water and some flour in a covered container and let it sit.  At first, nothing happened, but after a few days a few bubbles appeared,  I then fed the starter some more and let it sit, and it became more active.  A couple more feed and refresh cylcles and it was going good as new.

 So, now we have Zambian starter in Canada.  I've used it a couple of times and it works great, so I'm pretty happy.  I'm no yeast scientist, I wonder if there are that many different strains of yeast that something that started in Africa would be very different than a starter started in Canada, from the "kind of yeast" point of view.  Anyone care to venture a guess?



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