The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Joe Fisher's picture

Overnight retard problem

July 20, 2006 - 1:17pm -- Joe Fisher

So I'm using the Basic Sourdough recipe in the BBA. I fed the starter two nights ago, made the dough last night and got a good first ferment out of it. The dough doubled in 4 hours. I knocked the dough down and shaped it into baguettes and boules, covered them with plastic wrap, and stuck them in the fridge overnight.

I took them out this morning and left them in my 75-80 degree kitchen. After 6 hours, they hadn't risen at all. They were still flat as pancakes.

When I baked them, I got a fair oven spring, but not enough to offset the lack of a secondary rise. The interior is dense and chewy.

maggie664's picture

Have made this 3 times for my cafe and it sells rapidly. Blueberry and cream cheese combination is a new flavour combinatiion for New Zealanders. I drizzle a little lemon juice icing over the braid which adds to ita appeal. Thank you for the recipe as muffins are becoming passe

kategill0's picture

sourdough help!

July 11, 2006 - 1:08pm -- kategill0

Hi all!

I'm new here and relatively new to bread baking. I started about 6 months ago with the formulas in the BBA, which have yet to let me down. Until now. I'm trying to start a sourdough starter using Reinhart's method. I started on day one with the proportions specified (I think it was 1 cup flour and 3/4 cup water). I had a little bit of movement on day 2, like the book said I would so I continued to follow the instructions, and then on day 3, I happily divided my very very risen starter into two. I threw half in one bowl and half in another and added bread flour to one and whole wheat to the other. (I had hoped to double the chance of success and maybe, luckily, end up with a white and whole wheat starter) Then, last night (day 4), nada. Nothing at all. Oh well, I went ahead and followed the instructions, hoping that today I'd see some action this morning. No movement, just a new layer of liquid covering the top of the starter. I'm about to give up and try the sourdoughlady's method that I found here. But if anyone has any ideas on how to save the current starter this late in the game, I'd love to hear them!

JMonkey's picture

A comment from Joe Fisher in this lesson I put together got me thinking about trying a really wet starter to see how it turned out. I usually make my sourdough with a 50% hydration starter (1 part water to 2 parts flour) which makes a really stiff starter. What if I reversed it? What if I had a starter at 200% (2 parts water to 1 part flour)?

Well, I tried it. On Wednesday, I converted part of my stiff starter to a 200% hydration starter and fed it about three times before making bread.

The result?

It was still sour, but a different kind of sour. Less tart, more smooth. I liked it. Now, it's possible that my starter hadn't fully adjusted to the super wet environment and I had some stiff starter microbes hanging out, I dunno. But I'm beginning to think that time and temperature may be much more important to the sourness of one's bread than the starter itself.

Anyway, I'm still keeping my starter stiff. Less chance of a spill in my cramped fridge, and it's easier to give away as a solid dough that a liquid. Fun experiment though!

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?


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