The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


moldyclint's picture

So , I finally have one I want to share in my first post!  I have only been baking steadily for a couple of months now, and since I successfully captured some wild yeasties, have been using them exclusively.  I have also tried to simplify things as much as possible, hence have tended to keep my sourdough starter roughly the same hydration as my final dough.  As I have a regular day job, but don't want to limit my baking to weekends, I have been working on a means of fitting my baking into a regular day's schedule, and have come up with a technique that seems to work for me (made specific for this loaf):

The night before baking, I take the ~1 cup of starter that I have in my fridge out, and add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water and ~1/3 tsp salt.  I typically use rye or whole wheat, but this time I used organic spelt (the existing starter was ~80% spelt, 20% AP).  Mixed alltogether and left on the counter overnight.

Morning, 5:45am before going to work, added 3 cups organic AP flour, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 and a bit tsp salt.  Mixed together, and put down in the basement where it is a bit cooler.

Went to work.  Returned ~5:00pm.

Had roughly doubled.  The challenge has been to find a spot in the house that is the right temperature to leave the dough all day.  This has been a cool spring, so some days the basement is too cold, and I get almost no rise. Recently it has been a lot hotter, and I can get over-fermentation.  This still to be refined.  Nevertheless, today things worked out perfectly!

Cut ~1/2 cup of dough off to save as my next starter, stretched/folded/rested/formed a boule and let it sit in the colander for a couple hours to proof.  Next used the handy cast-iron dutch oven method, and results were most satisfactory.  The starter got fed (tripled) and immediately put in the fridge.

I have varied quantities of starter from batch to batch, and this quantity (~1 cup doubled the night before and then more than doubled the next morning) has given me the best flavour yet!  Not so sour that the wife won't eat it, but not as lightly-flavoured as I have been getting with half the quantity of starter.  Mmmmm.

semi-demi-spelt sourdough

Bit of an explosion on the crust, despite a cramped (as it was in the dutch oven) slashing with my handy straight razor.


ediestar's picture

Help! My loaves have gone weird

May 11, 2010 - 8:30am -- ediestar

I have been making no-knead sourdough rounds with a starter I made last summer for the past year.

The bread has been amazing, especially the crust, until recently.  It is still very good, but the crust

is no longer a smooth and uniform.  Now the top of the bread cracks and breaks as it rises, and the crust

has gotten chewier and thinner.  I have ruled out the flour.  Now, I am wondering if my starter might have

gone bad? The bread still rises, though...

Any thoughts would be appreciated!


varda's picture

Until I found this site, I had never heard of spelt much less cooked with it.   Today's entry in my seven breads in seven days self-teaching event is a multigrain batard with spelt.   I made this using (slightly modified) no-knead methods.   This loaf lost its shape a bit while baking and looks like a boule from one side and a batard from the other.  

Here is the formula:

225 g bread flour

30 g spelt

20 g whole wheat

25 g rye

210 g water

3/4 tsp salt

<1/4 tsp yeast (less than 1 gram so hard to measure)

Night before mix all ingredients and leave in bowl on counter.   In the morning stretch and fold in the bowl.   When the dough has risen again and looks like it's about to collapse but hasn't, scrape out of bowl onto lightly floured counter.   (Times respectively for these steps 12 hours and 3.5 hours.)   Pat into ball and let rest for 10 minutes.  Shape into a batard.   Place on board sprinkled with cornmeal.  Let rise until double and/or fingertip impression remains.   (Note - I let this go until it was well past double and dough was still springing back.   Finally after 2.5 hours I decided not to risk letting it overproof and popped it into the oven.)   At least a half hour prior to baking preheat oven and stone to 475.  Score.  Place loaf on stone and cover with a lid (I used the bottom of a metal roasting pan.)   Bake for 20 minutes covered, then remove the cover for the last 15 minutes.  

Any tips on how to do this better for this or the other breads I posted yesterday and the day before are humbly requested!

RachelJ's picture

Healthy Bread In Five Minutes A Day basic recipe... need a little advice

February 15, 2010 - 9:09am -- RachelJ

I've just begun with trying out the free form loaves, using the basic recipe from the book Healthy Breac Five Minutes A Day. I don't own the book, and found the recipe on a friends blog who makes it everyday. I made some yesterday, after I had refridgerated the dough for about 3 1/2 hours. It was my first time make a free form, and the first time scoring the tops too. I'm not sure exactly how to get a photo on here... but I have one of it. I didn't get one of the 'crumb' like I see everyone does, but still... I did get one. :)

kolobezka's picture

No-Knead beginner

January 10, 2010 - 2:07pm -- kolobezka

The basic recipe seems really easy and the photos here on TFL so beautiful! I would love to try...

1) is it necessary to use a preheated Dutch oven or la Cloche? I have only one pyrex dish with cover, but I wonder whether it can be preheated to high temperature when empty? Do you have any experience with this or other materials? Do you use a parchment or do you oil the dish?

2) is it possible to bake the No-Knead recipe in a any loaf / cake pan without cover? Or just free-form?

alina's picture

No-knead bread in Romertopf: how to prevent sticking?

December 27, 2009 - 6:48am -- alina

I tried making a no-knead loaf in a Romertopf clay baking pan today for the first time.  I sprinkled some cornmeal on the bottom of the pan and around the sides of the dough where I thought it might stick.

I plopped the dough into the pan, wet the inside of the cover, and put it all into a cold oven.  Baked for a while, then removed the lid to finish it.

The crust was nice and crisp, everything worked fine, BUT the loaf stuck to the bottom and sides, and I ruined it by prying to get it out.

mizrachi's picture

Rising Problems with Sourdough No-Knead

November 9, 2009 - 2:41pm -- mizrachi

I'm having trouble getting the rise I'd like in a few different no-knead sourdough recipes.  In fact, I'm not even sure how long to let the dough proof.  Some recipes call for an hour or two, others up to 4 to 6 hours.  I'm definitely not seeing my dough double.  Any ideas how I can remedy this?

Kizzle's picture

Lazy Bread ~ No knead, No rest, 1 rise, POUR into pan and bake...

April 23, 2009 - 8:55am -- Kizzle

Hi all!

I'm a semi-lousy cook on the best of days, so bread baking is truly pushing my personal skill level envelope...

I got started on this quest through Bittman's No-Knead bread and the NYT. It WORKED. It was just a bit bland, though...So, while searching the Web for No-Knead recipes, to see if I could add milk, or buttermilk, eggs, sugar, etc., I came across a recipe that was published in the "Bread Baker Bible," for Casserole Bread.


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