The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


pumpkinpapa's picture


February 19, 2007 - 9:48am -- pumpkinpapa

I have a friend who needs a lot of par baked bread on hand but I have been having difficulty getting the bread out at 90% baked, usually 180 F. My thermometer takes about 20 seconds or longer to show the temperature and with differing temperatures in the kitchens it's all across the scale unfortunately.

So I am looking at a Thermapen, it is expensive (120.00 CAD) but it measures temp in 4 seconds and has a good range too, -50 to +570 F.

scottsimka's picture

Volume Recipe Request

February 18, 2007 - 6:46pm -- scottsimka

Hi, I'm new here.

 I am a chef, working in NC.  At my job, part of our daily responsibilities is roll production for 120 people. 

So far, we've been doing basic white & wheat.  I would like to get some sourdough into the mix and I'm having great difficulty obtaining a recipe for about 120 - 1.5 oz rolls.

I realize that I may need some trial & error on my part to perfect my method of prep but I would like to take advantage of others' expertise in this area before I dive in and waste precious time & money.

I am interested in making sourdough once, possibly twice a week.

ehanner's picture

Milk fed sourdough

February 17, 2007 - 9:44pm -- ehanner

I have a sourdough starter I got from a friend out west who said she had been feeding it a 50/50 mix (by volume) of AP flour and skim milk. I have been using it for over a Month and it has been performing so far. However I have started to notice that the activity level seems to be decreasing and actually it has only occasionally doubled after feedings. Only recently did I read the advice of sourdolady and others on this site to toss most of the starter and feed at least 1:1:1 or greater ratios. I have been keeping a 4 cup measure half full or more and using the starter for bread, pancakes and waffles. From the sound of it I have been starving the starter by not doubling the batch.

Srishti's picture

Hi all,

Today I made Dosas in a Non-Traditional way. If anyone is not familiar with these: They could be called Indian Crepes made with Rice.

The traditional way of making these is

(1) Soak rice and Urad dal overnight. (Urad Dal is a kind of split bean which can be found in an Indian Grocery Store).

(2) Grind these up in the morning (you can do this in a Food Processor if you don't want to go absolute traditional). This will give a nice paste.

(3) Now you let this get sour (kinda like sourdough). Put in the sun all day long, if the outside is warm), or put in some other warm corner of the house. Hopefully, by the end of the day you will have the batter sour and bubbling. If not wait longer :-(

(4) Add salt to it, and adjust the thickness of the paste. (I would say the thickness is in between that of a pancake and crepe batter).

(5) stir the batter briskly.

Then you cook them up on a hot skillet, in a slightly different manner than crepes.

(1) Grease the skillet with Ghee or any other cooking oil.

(2) Depending on how big your skillet is, pour some paste on the in the center (a metal measuring cup can be convinient), and with the flat base of the measuring cup start spreading it thin on the skillet. It takes some practice to get this right.

(3) The thinner the better.

(Though if you want you could probably make it thinner and cook it like crepes, I haven't tried that!)

(4) When it seems to be really crunchy and golden brown on the bottom flip it over and cook slightly on the other side.


These can be filled with a variety of filling, but the most common is a spicy potato mixture spiced with (of cource) Indian spices.

(If anyone interested I can post that.)


OK, so what does it have to do with the SOURDOUGH us people talk about here on the Fresh Loaf????

So here it goes. I had some brown rice flour sitting on my shelf not getting used.... Also I didn't make any breads this week and since I needed to feed my starter, I was going to have some extra starter.

So here goes my modified SourDough Dosa Recipe:

(All the ingredient amounts are in approximation, so use your intuation).... ;)


About 1 1/2 cups stiff wholewheat sourdough starter. ( you could probably use less )

2 1/2 cups water. (but maybe less like 2 cups, as you can always add more water later to get the consistence right).

4 cups (brown) rice flour. (you could probably use white if you want)

salt (about 1 tbsp not too sure, you'll have to go by feel here)


(1) break the starter up into smaller pieces (10-15 pieces).

(2) Add water and with your hands dissolve all the sourdough chunks in the water until it is a big slurry.

(3) Now, start adding rice flour to this. and mix up with a fork making sure all the clumps of flour get dissolved nicely.

(4) Let it sit in a warm place, for as long as it takes :)

(5) Add salt before cooking them. Also adjust the thickness of the paste. It should be thinner than pancake but thicker than crepes' batter.

(6) stir the batter briskly.

(7) Cook them according to the directions above in the traditional method.

(8) Fill them up with your favourite filling or keep them plain.

(9) Eat them hot and crispy right off the skillet or they'll loose the crispyness fast.


(I started it late morning yesterday, but because of using so much starter it was progressing pretty fast. I actually started with 3 cups of rice flour, and  about by night it was super bubbly and I didn't want to cook them last night, so I added 1/2 cup more flour and refigerated it. I took it out of the fridge about noon today and since it was quite bubbly again, I added 1/2 cup more flour and cooked them after 1/2 an hour).

(We had these for lunch as well as for dinner :D, yum) They had a nice sour taste which stays in your mouth a long time after you eat them, but not super sour when actually eating them. Also I think, the potatoes balanced them out as well.

These are accompanied by coconut chutney and Sambhar (which is like a thin soupish dal/soup made of split beans).

clyde scarberry's picture

san fran sour

February 12, 2007 - 6:39pm -- clyde scarberry

I've been at a bakery for six years and have run into a problem that has never come up before. Our san fran sour seems to have either come close to dieing or, has gone dorment. It still has bubbles but it will not triple in size the way it use to. I was wondering if this could be caused by the fact its been extreamly cold and our flour is cold. I've let it sit out at room temp for six hours after rejuvinating it but its still flat. Could some fruit juice give it the kick it needs? Could someone please give me some ideas to discuss with the other bakers at our bakery. We also have 10%, 100%, and rye sours but,none of them seem to be effected,it's just our san fran sour.

anawim_farm's picture

Glazing help-Sourdough Bread

February 12, 2007 - 11:32am -- anawim_farm

When making sourdough bread do you use a glazing?  When I bake traditional sour dough the crust is buff colored and matt.  Has anyone been to the Boudin site and seen the bread?  How is this done, perhaps egg yolk, I seen the images of different glazes and the Boudin bread almost looks like it is glazed with egg yolk.

JMonkey's picture

Laurel Robertson, I owe you an apology. I pulled a loaf of Desem bread out of my oven about an hour ago, and, unable to wait any longer, just cut a slice to eat. Without doubt, it is the most delectable, fully flavored whole wheat loaf I have ever eaten. Why it took me this long to get it right, I don't know. But I'm glad I did. When I'm making dinner bread from now on, I'll be making this.

First of all, folks should know that I didn't use a starter made according to the methods described in The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, which requires 10 lbs of freshly ground flour. I'm sure you can make it that way, but there's an easier method. I just took some of my regular whole wheat sourdough starter, created a dough ball at about 60% hydration when I fed it, and left it in my chilly (55 degrees F) basement to ripen. I fed it once a day for three days, building it up each time, until I had about 200 grams or roughly 7 ounces of dough. On the final build, I increased its size by a factor of 3, and let it ripen for about 16 hours at 55 degrees, more out of convenience and necessity than calculation. If you don't have a whole wheat starter, it's simple to convert. Just take some of your regular ripe starter, and feed it in the following weight ratio of 1:4:4 -- starter: water: whole wheat flour. Refresh it two or three times like this, and you'll have your 99.99% whole wheat starter. (I won't tell anyone if you don't that it's not absolutely pure).

I screwed up my math in preparing the dough, so I ended up with about 38% of the flour as starter rather than the 30% I'd hoped for, but I'm not sure it would make that much difference. You do want a fairly large amount of starter, if I'm reading Laurel's recipe right -- somewhere in the range of about 30%. I also went for the customary 2% salt and aimed at a hydration of 75%.

Here's my formula:

  • Whole wheat flour: 100%
  • Water: 75%
  • Salt: 2%
  • 30% of the flour was pre-fermented at 60% hydration.
That worked out to roughly:
  • 220 grams starter
  • 260 grams water
  • 320 grams flour
  • 8 grams salt
I mixed it up and kneaded for about 300-400 strokes, until I could stretch a small piece of it into a translucent film (i.e. the "windowpane" test). As for consistency, I was aiming for dough that felt very tacky, but not exactly sticky. Then I formed it into a ball and let it ferment for four hours at about 64 degrees F (the temperature of my kitchen). It more than doubled in size and when I poked a wet finger into the dough, it didn't readily spring back.

Next, I gave the dough a stretch and fold, let it rest 15 minutes, and then shaped it into a ball. I placed it in a banneton (well-floured) and then used my makeshift proof-box to keep it at roughly 85 degrees for 2.5 hours. At that point, the dough had inreased about 75% in size -- perhaps it even doubled. In any case, I slashed it and put it into my cloche, which had been warming in a preheated, 500 degree F oven for about an hour. I had a slight mishap getting it into the cloche (I was a bit too forceful with the peel, and slammed the loaf into the side of the cloche, turning it over on its side. It mushed it a bit, but nothing serious -- the bake took care of it, mostly. You can see the dent on the bottom right of the loaf above.). I repositioned the bread and covered it. The bake was 30 minutes covered at 500, then 15-17 minutes uncovered at 450. I let it cool for one hour.

As you can see, the crumb does not have the huge holes one expects in white bread (I'm just about convinced that any "whole wheat bread" that has sports huge holes probably consists of at least 50% white flour), but, even so, the bread is not at all heavy or dense. The crumb is light and chewy, with a wonderful crispy crust. The flavor? It's tangy, but not overpoweringly so. There's a buttery undertone, maybe? The flavor lingers long in the mouth after eating. Really, the flavor is tough to describe aside from being complex and delicious.

Like I said, when I have company in the future, this is the bread I'll serve. Utterly delicious.

Well done, Laurel Robertson. And thank you.


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