The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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.

anawim_farm's picture



This is my first attempt at sourdough rye although I have been experimenting with sourdough since Sept and have baked some rye bread using yeast.

 I started the rye chef on Monday using 3 oz. of rye, 4 oz. of water and a pinch of starter that was dried and frozen in Oct. 06.  The rye was organic that was grown in my state, Maine.  The grain was stone ground and felt quite silky and its aroma was really pungent.  It was kind of expensive even for grain that’s organic but Maine isn’t really a grain producing kind of state.


What activity!  The first day the chef produced a lot of bubbles and increased in volume.  I was surprised and really didn’t expect that much activity. On Tuesday and Wed I continued the feedings of the same ratio on Monday and the chef doubled in volume on both days.  The chef had a very strong beery smell that filled the room when I opened the container. Thursday I put the chef in the refrigerator to avoid having to feed it again and brought it back out early Friday morning giving it enough time to warm up for a final feeding at noon. The final length of time from the last feeding until I built the starter is 8 hours to ensure enough activity for a good starter.  At 9p Friday I mixed the starter planning on 8 to 10 hours of fermentation and final dough making at 5am. 


For the starter I mixed 9 oz. of chef, 5 oz. of rye and 4 oz. of water.  After mixing well I sealed the container and put it on the top shelf of the pantry to maintain the temp at around 74 degrees

Sourdough Rye with Caraway Seeds 

Rye sourdough starter                                                                       18 ounces

Water                                                                                                   24 fluid ounces

Rye flour, medium ground                                                                   9 ounces

Whole wheat flour                                                                                  9 ounces

Fine sea salt                                                                                         ¾ ounce

Caraway seeds                                                                                    ¼ ounce

20% bran wheat flour                                                                        20 -25 ounces    

Mixing the dough:


Add the starter to the water and stir until bubbly.  Add rye and mix completely, then fold in whole wheat flour and caraway seeds. Once mixed add enough  20% bran wheat flour until difficult to mix.  Turn out to well floured board and let rest for 10 min. then kneed.

Add salt while kneading in several small amounts. Kneed for approximately 15 to 17 minutes or when a little dough pulled from the mass springs back quickly. Shape the dough into a tightly shaped ball and return to the cleaned and oiled mixing bowl, cover bowl with towel or plastic wrap and let ferment for 2 ½ to 3 hours.


Divide the dough and shape:


Once dough has almost doubled in volume, deflate dough and transfer dough to floured board. Divide the dough and shape loaves to your own preference.  Place dough in a couche or benneton and proof for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until loaves have almost doubled in size.


Bake the loaves:


One hour before baking Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with hearth stones as close to center as possible.  Gently move loaves or rounds to floured board or peel and slash tops.  Transfer loaves to oven and mist interior repeating mist again in three minutes.  Bake loaves at 450 degrees for 20 minutes reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 20 minutes.

pompeii's picture

sourdough starter help me please!

March 2, 2007 - 2:12pm -- pompeii

salutations everyone.

as you may have guessed i am pretty new to this forum (this being my first post ever) and to baking. i've been on a baking spree this past week, i've been succesfull with pita bread and bagels. anyway, four days ago i decided to be brave and try to grow a sourdough starter.

day one samuel (my starter's name) had some activity after a few hours. kind of looked like pancake batter as it just starts to bubble a bit.


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