The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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RFMonaco's picture

Emiril's Sourdough

March 11, 2007 - 8:48pm -- RFMonaco

Cute little loaf, great crust and taste though no huge holes, I prefer a denser bread anyway.

Starter was made with crushed grapes in cheesecloth in 1 cup each of purified water and all purpose

replenished 3 times.

2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cups starter

3/4 tsp salt.

1 hour at 400 deg. on stone.

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JMonkey's picture

Sorry that I've not been around much lately. My wife and I have been travelling quite a bit on the West Coast. We're contemplating a move to either Corvallis, Oregon or Providence, RI and have to decide within the next 10 days where we're going to spend what's likely to be the rest of our lives. So it's a been a bit stressful. We loved Corvallis, but haven't yet checked out Providence -- that's next weekend.

So, what better way to relieve some stress than the knead the bejeezus out of some dough?

I didn't take a lot of photos, as I couldn't find where we'd unpacked the camera until this afternoon, but I started on Friday with a big 2.5 lb. boule of desem bread. It turned out beautifully, though, once again, the crust was not so crispy.

I'm wondering, could it be the use of rice flour to dust my banneton that's the culprit? I love how effortlessly even the stickiest dough pops out of the banneton or couche with just a thin layer of rice flour, but since I started using it, I've gotten chewy, not crispy crusts, which should be happening at 500 degrees F in a cloche. Anyone else have this experience? I don't mean to malign the rice flour, but it's the only thing I can think of that I'm doing differently.

We took the desem to a dinner party, where it was mostly consumed. Then, Saturday night, we had pizza, which was lovely. I used the "whole wheat overnight crust" recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking book. Next time, I want to try to stretch it out a bit thinner to the full 12 inches (it was about a 10 inch crust) because the pizza was a bit "bready", but I was terrified of tearing the dough, especially since I've misplaced the fabric for my Super Peel. I had to do it the old fashioned way, with a lot of semolina flour. Thankfully, it worked.

Then, this morning, I kneaded up a loaf of whole wheat caraway sourdough rye sandwich bread. It's derived from one of the test recipes that Peter Reinhart's been working on for his upcoming book (I can't wait) so I'd feel like a cad and a heel if I posted the recipe, but my version's got 40% rye, the rest whole wheat, salt, water, milk, butter, honey, a bit of sorghum molasses and caraway. I added the caraway and removed the yeast, since I figured, with rye sourdough, why not let it do its own thing?

It does it well. After 1 hour, it was nearly doubled, and I had to head to church. So I deflated the dough with a fold, and then put it in our unheated front room -- about 59 degrees. Three hours later, when I returned, it was tripled in size, but, luckily, not over-risen. So I divided and shaped it and then put it in my makeshift proof-box at about 80-90 degrees. Within 90 minutes, it was ready to go into the oven. Rye sourdough is amazing stuff.

For sourdough rye with no white flour, this is a high loaf. I was ecstatic. I was pleased with the color as well.

The crumb was uniform, but light. Perfect for a hearty sandwich. This is a loaf I'll be making again and again. Rye tastes great without caraway, but I've now discovered why they're partnered so often together. Delicious.

Thordawggy's picture

My first success with sourdough French bread with sesame seeds

March 9, 2007 - 12:28pm -- Thordawggy

I experimented with a basic French bread and used sourdough starter and vital wheat gluten added.  The crust has an egg yolk wash and sesame seeds on three loaves.  The inside is nice and stretchy with lots of little holes.  I am new to bread baking so I get to brag a little. :-)

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jgonyo's picture

Need Help--day 4 of starter

March 6, 2007 - 11:19am -- jgonyo

I am using a sourdough starter recipe from Sourdolady.  I am getting ready to do my day 3 feeding of OJ and rye flour.  So far there have not been any bubbles in the starter.  My question is, do I switch to flour and water tomorrow (4th day), even if there have not been any bubbles.  Or should I continue with rye flour and OJ until the starter starts to show activity.


Thanks for your help.


pumpkinpapa's picture

I created a delicious spelt starter at the beginning of February and made some great loaves from it recently.


The one on the left was a 50/50 organic AP with organic light spelt flour (I can only afford 2.5 kg bags of spelt and ran out) while the one on the right is a 100% light spelt loaf. Both were excellent! The kids liked the 50/50 while I found the 100% to be exactly like pumpernickel in texture, great spread with peanut butter or pb/banana/honey!

I used Sourdolady's recipe for starter but reduced all liquids by 25%, otherwise too much liquid and the starter never matures. After a week the starter was active, not as much as white or rye, and definitely not as volatile as whole wheat, but it was bubbly and produced a pleasant aroma. You can use either whole or light spelt with no loss of nutrients as they are contained in the germ not in the bran as in wheat.

I used the basic sourdough recipe as given in Peter Reinharts BBA but with 25% less water again:


4 ounces spelt starter, 4.5 ounces spelt flour, 0.75 to 1.5 ounces water

Final dough:

20.25 ounces spelt flour, 0.5 ounce Celtic sea salt, 9 to 10.5 ounces lukewarm water 

Kneading took about 20 minutes, but my house is cool these days which affects proofs immensely as well. However unlike all my sourdough experiences (save for yeats spiked variations), this spelt sourdough had far faster and greater second proofing results than wheat or rye starter.

This is going to be my main bread, and if the kids continue to enjoy it then I should experiment with spelt cinnamon buns soon too. 

Felila's picture

I hadn't baked in years ...

March 4, 2007 - 3:12pm -- Felila

When I was in graduate school, I baked regularly. A couple of loaves of sourdough whole-wheat bread every week, a big pot of lentil soup, and I had regular but boring meals every night of the week.

Insert extended detour for marriage, child, divorce. I didn't bake bread.

I saw the New York Times no-knead bread recipe and thought, "I can do that!", and indeed, I can. I have been making it with sourdough. I recently branched out to sourdough English muffins and naan.


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