The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


clowntoe's picture

My first sourdough loaves

July 9, 2006 - 6:25pm -- clowntoe

OK, baked my first sourdough today and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. A few things I screwed up on:

1. Biggest mistake. Forgot to add salt to the dough. So it's pretty bland - but it's still tart like a sourdough should be.

2. I'll add more AP next time to try to get a looser crumb - I like bigger holes in my bread. Does anyone else have any good ideas on this? I've read AP helps, as does a wetter dough.

Overall, I'm happy with the spring I got and the look of the loaves. Any suggestions are certainly welcome.

Joe Fisher's picture

Playing with Pan de Campagne

July 9, 2006 - 5:06pm -- Joe Fisher

Here's today's work. I tried some new shapes, a couronne and a 3-strand braid. The recipe is a slightly modified version of Reinhart's Pan de Campagne. Instead of using a pate' fermentee, I used some of my rye sourdough starter, which I mixed with bread flour to make the same volume of pre-ferment.

They sure look nice! Can't wait to taste :)

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Mini Oven's picture

Wheat or Rye or Oat Starters

July 6, 2006 - 2:37am -- Mini Oven

Wheat or Rye or Oat starters

I used to believe that any sourdough starter could raise a variety of other grains in a recipe but I now believe each starter is specific to itself and it's pH. If you want a mixed starter, one for say wheat and rye, then combine two starters first, then feed with mixed flours.

I also think the liquid that forms on top of the starter is the "sour" and should be used. I poured it off once and noticed a big reduction in sour taste. :) Mini Oven

JMonkey's picture

Lesson: Squeeze more sour from your sourdough

July 2, 2006 - 9:43pm -- JMonkey

I am far from a sourdough expert. I’ve only been baking sourdough since February, and I still have a lot to learn about shaping, scoring and proofing to perfection.

However, there is one thing I have learned well: how to squeeze more flavor out of my naturally sweet starter. Here's the basic tips.

1) Keep the starter stiff
2) Spike your white starter with whole rye
3) Use starter that is well-fed
4) Keep the dough cool
5) Extend the rise by degassing
6) Proof the shaped loaves overnight in the fridge

Photos and elaboration follow.

Valerio's picture

In Search of The Lost Nuttiness

June 30, 2006 - 5:42pm -- Valerio

The first bread I baked after I fully developed my current starter was pretty much perfection for my taste: It was slightly sour, but more importantly it had a nutty taste that would linger in your palate for a long time.

That bread dough was developed following a variation of the basic BBA sourdough recipe, the variation being that I mixed and baked the dough the same day, a direct-from-starter dough. That should have produced a lesser result, instead it produced a wonderful loaf.

Alas that was the first and last time I got such wonderful taste. Since then using the same starter, flour and recipe did not produce that nuttiness I am after.

greenmother67's picture


June 30, 2006 - 2:32pm -- greenmother67

I need help, I have a lovely sourdough starter that has been going for about 6 years, My entire family is currently changing our lifestyle by incorporating more whole grains in our diet, cutting out the refined and processed foods, making smaller portion size and exercising. I REALLY dont want to get rid of my starter, we make homeade pizza dough and breads from it. I want to make it whole grain, how do I do this without getting flat bread or ruining my starter?

smiddlet's picture

Babysitting the starter...

June 29, 2006 - 8:15am -- smiddlet

Hi all -- Thanks for the help in my 'Seed Culture Question' thread -- I've baked two batchs of sourdough bread, all very successful and highly delicious.

I'm leaving for the long weekend (Canada Day) and will be feeding my starter tonight, but will not be back to attend to it until Monday evening. That's about four days without any replenishing. From your experience, is that all right? Or should I give it to trusted friend to double it this Sunday? It's quite vigourous and is making great bread, so I'd hate to hurt it.


Joe Fisher's picture

Sourdough rye experiment - overnight ferment

June 25, 2006 - 10:38am -- Joe Fisher

Here is a batch of sourdough rye from Bread Alone. I tried 3 new things today:

1. Adding vital wheat gluten. Last time I made this formula, it was dense and gummy. I'm hoping the VWG improves the texture.

2. Overnight ferment. I kneaded the dough, let it proof at room temp about an hour, then put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I put it in a warm spot for 2 hours until it had almost doubled from its original size.

3. Used a heating pad under the couche. Since I seem to always get a lackluster final rise (and the dough was still a bit cool from its overnight fridging), I decided to try the heating pad. It seems to have worked, as I got a nice rise out of the loaves, but it didn't happen overly fast. It took almost 2 hours for the loaves to almost double.

Floydm's picture

I made a simple dough this morning with the intent of making some type of a picnic bread today. Something with cheese and onion, perhaps olives or sausage mixed in. But then we ended up picnicing at the lake today as well. After a long day in the sun, I just couldn't face the prospect of baking in 90 degree weather. Actually, it wasn't the baking as much as having the house heat up, particularly the upstairs bedroom, which get sweltering on hot days. So I froze the dough for a later date.

The heat did not stop my son, however:

His toy broom, which has hardly a bristle left, has recently been transformed into a peel. A super peel, perhaps?


He spent a good half hour loading and unloading loaves in the oven (hot tub lid) while we made dinner.


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