The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Netvet007's picture

First attempt at sourdough starter

February 3, 2013 - 3:23pm -- Netvet007

This is my very first attempt at a starter.  I used the KA Flour Baker's companion book for my formula.  I followed it to the letter using a rye flour/water/molasses beginning.   4 oz water, 3 1/2 oz rye flour and 1/8 tsp molasses.  On Day 2 I discarded half and added 4 oz water and 3 1/2oz rye flour.  Day 3,4,5,6 I discarded half, added 4 oz water and 4 1/4 oz (1 cup) all purpose flour. I did this twice each day.

isand66's picture

Today's the Superbowl and I was asked to make some pretzel rolls to bring to the party we're going to.  I made a batch for Christmas Eve which everyone raved about so I used the same recipe I found on the TFL website.  I also couldn't help but try my own variation using my sourdough starter, pumpernickel flour and cheddar cheese.

I wasn't sure how they would turn out, but I do have to say they didn't dissapoint and rival the original.  Come on....who doesn't like cheese?

These are not hard to make except for the food grade Lye bath they go into.  Many people say you don't need to use Lye and can use baking soda.  I have not tried baking soda yet since I still have plenty of the Lye.  The Lye gives the pretzels a hard dark brown crust which is not easy to obtain with anything else. Feel free to use baking soda instead and increase the amount used versus the Lye.

Caution:  When using the Lye make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and protective eye gear. Also, never add Lye to hot water or it will bubble over and probably burn you.

Main Dough Ingredients for 10 rolls at about 110 grams each

145 grams AP Sourdough Starter at 65% or adjust flour and water accordingly

437 grams Bread Flour (KAF)

200 grams Dark Rye (also known as Pumpernickel)

5 grams Seas Salt or Table Salt

5 grams Diastatic Malt Powder

384 grams Water (80-90 degrees F.)

Cheddar Cheese cut into cubes (sorry but I forgot to measure the cheese)

Pretzel Salt (for topping only)

For Lye Bath (3.5% Solution

2 Liters of Cold water

70 grams Sodium Hydroxide Crystals


Add the diastatic malt powder to the water and stir.  Add the flours in your mixing bowl and slowly add the water mixture.  Mix for about 1 minute until combined.  Cut your starter in pieces and lay on top of the flour mixture and cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour so the flour can absorb the water.

Next add the salt and mix for 4 minutes on low.    Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 2 hours.  Next divide the dough into around 10 pieces that are 110 grams each.  Flatten each piece into a circle and place a piece of cheese in the middle and pinch the dough around the cheese.  Next flip over and roll against your work surface while creating a tight ball.  Place on a baking sheet and cover with either a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it rest for around 60 minutes to about 1/2 proof.

While the rolls are proofing, fill a large stock pot with 2 liters of cold water.  Measure out the Lye and slowly add it to the cold water.  (DO NOT EVER ADD LYE TO HOT WATER).  Cover the pot and bring it to a rolling boil and then shut off the heat.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  When the rolls are proofed sufficiently, prepare to dip them for about 15 seconds in the lye bath upside down.  Let them drain on a bakers rack over a cookie tray covered with a towel or parchment paper.  After draining for a minute you can transfer them to a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  You want to use a stainless steel cooking sheet as aluminum may react with the lye and peel.  Note: do not ever use parchment paper as the rolls will get stuck to the bottom.  I know this from experience and I had to cut off the bottoms of half the rolls I made.

When ready to bake, score each roll with an "X" on the middle and sprinkle with pretzel salt.  Make sure you use pretzel salt if you want authentic rolls.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and register about 185 F in the middle.  Let them cool on a bakers rack until you can't wait any longer!

I actually couldn't wait long enough to try one which is why the crumb shot below is a little gummy looking.  It tasted good though!


Let's go Jets!  (Did I really say that?  Must be the alcohol.....)

evonlim's picture

bought some beautiful organic purple carrot. thought i mixed it into the toasted golden flaxseeds sourdough bread. 

this is the same flaxseeds sourdough formula i used before.

praticing my scoring as well.. try to score a butterfly!!! 

hehe.. does it look like a butterfly?? 

this is a second boule i baked. i had to bake one at a time. i retardthis in the fridge while i bake the first one.

top view... :) 



isand66's picture

I think the name of this bread is probably the longest one I've ever used or seen for that matter!  There are just too many things thrown in this latest bake to make it any shorter and do the bread justice.

Recently I made a durum yeast water/sour dough combo bread using separate starters for the yeast water part and for the sour dough part.  I was urged by a few of my baking friends, DA and Janet to try making 1 starter using my AP sourdough seed along with the Yeast Water instead of water, plus the  flour.

I also wanted to use some of the fresh roasted pumpkin seeds I picked up at the market the other day along with trying some millet flour I also purchased at the same time.  Oh, and I forgot I also picked up a bottle of Nut Brown Ale and I had roasted some sweet potatoes so in they went into the cauldron.

I built the starter over 2 builds using French Style flour and Dark Rye flour which I thought would make this a nice hearty and deep flavored bread once the ale and other ingredients were added.

The dough ended up very wet which contributed to the nice moist crumb along with the addition of the sweet potatoes.  You can really taste the dark brown ale in this one and overall I was very happy with the outcome.

I used a basket I picked up recently which gave the dough a very fancy pattern.  It was almost too nice to score the bread but I forced myself to wield the knife never the less.

If you decide you want to make this and don't have any Yeast Water brewing, just use water instead when building your sour dough levain.


Yeast Water-Sour Dough Starter Build 1

50 grams AP Starter at 65% Hydration

100 grams French Style  Flour (KAF) (note: you can substitute Bread Flour or AP Flour if necessary)

50 grams Yeast Water Starter

50 grams Water

Mix the flour, water and Yeast Water in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 6-10 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed to build 2.

Build 2

Add ingredients below to starter from above and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 6-10 hours.  You can then use it immediately or refrigerate for a day until ready to mix the final dough.

50 grams French Style Flour

80 grams Dark Rye Flour

160 grams Yeast Water

Main Dough Ingredients

395 grams Starter from Above

180 grams French Style Flour (KAF) (You can use AP Flour or Bread Flour to substitute)

150 grams Millet Flour (Bob's Red Mill)

150 grams Dark Rye (also known as Pumpernickel)

60 grams Rye Chops

60 grams Malted Wheat Flakes

270 grams Sweet Potatoes (Roasted and mashed with a fork)

60 grams Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

16 grams Seas Salt or Table Salt

20 grams Olive Oil

375 grams Water (80-90 degrees F.)


Build your Yeast Water levain-Sourdough combo starter the day before you are ready to bake.

On baking day, mix the flours, rye chops, malted wheat flakes and the Ale (make sure the Ale is at room temperature).  Mix on low-speed in your stand mixer or by hand for about 1 minute until the ingredients are combined.  Let the dough autolyse for about 20 minutes to an hour.

Next add the levain, sweet potatoes, oil and the salt and mix for 3 minutes on low.  After 3 minutes add the pumpkin seeds  and mix for about 1 minute until incorporated.  The dough will barely come together and be almost soupy.  Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for another 1.5 hours  (You may need to do a few more S & Fs to build enough gluten development).  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Next either make one large boule or  divide the dough into 2 loaves and either place in a banneton or from into batards and let them rest in floured couches for 1.5 - 2 hours.

About one hour before ready to bake, set your oven for 500 degrees F.and make sure you prepare it for steam.  I have a baking stone on the top shelf and the bottom and use a heavy-duty rimmed baking pan that I pour 1 cup of boiling water into right as I put the loaves into the oven.

Score the loaves as desired.

When ready to bake place the loaves into your oven on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees.  It should take around 30 minutes to bake  until the breads  are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 - 205 degrees F.

Let the loaves cool down for at least 2 hours or so before eating as desired.

So how many cats are in this house?

evonlim's picture


Baked with golden flaxseeds.... toasted and soaked. adds a beautiful fragrant to the bread.


Above, proof in normal tea towel in a basket. 

used my newly bought banneton proofing basket!

i am practicing scoring as well. pretty poor at it.

here is the crumb ... :) was waiting for the breads to cool down. 

it is not pure white bread. added wholegrain spelt flour and wholewheat flour. the crumb is not as open as a white bread. used a wholewheat starter as well. 



Floydm's picture

Fed the starter dark rye flour Sunday evening.  Monday morning combined:

1000g bread flour

680g warm water

Left that as an autolyse for half an hour, then added:

20g salt

180g ripe starter

Mixed it briefly.  Stretched and folded every hour over the next three hours, then put it in the fridge.

Mid-morning Tuesday, pulled it out of the fridge and divided the dough into three loaves.  Shaped them and let them rise for about 90 minutes, then baked them at 465F covered for 15 minutes and uncovered another 30. 

 I'm pretty pleased with the result I get when I feed my starter dark rye flour then bake with bread flour.  The rye livens up the starter and adds just touch of tang, but the loaf is still quite light. 

johannesenbergur's picture


  • Whole grain
    • 150g whole grains
      • Feel free to combine different sorts: wheat, rye, barley, spelt
  • Dough
    • 450 g water
    • 150g sourdough
    • 5g fresh yeast
    • 10g honey
    • 10g malt syrup
    • Seeds and the alike
      • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds
        Just a small handful
    • 150g stale bread
    • 25g salt
    • 600g flour
      • 300g rye
      • 50g semolina or durum
      • 250 other flour
        • Graham
        • Spelt
        • Wheat
Grains:Soak the whole grains in a cup with around 2,5 dl cold water. Put a lid on and leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours.Dough:Dissolve the yeast in the honey. Add water, the soaked grains with the remaining water, malt and sourdough. Finely chop the stale bread and leave it to soak in the mixture for around 15-30 mins. Add the salt, dissolve and start adding the flour, little by little. When the dough is starting to come together, although still very sticky, you may precede to knead it with your hands. At this point you usually need to knead some more flour into the dough. The dough doesn't need a lot of kneading, since it's a pretty tight rye bread, around 5-10 mins, just so it's still sticky, but still is dry enough to keep a shape.
Put the dough in a greased container and cover it up with a wet tablecloth. Leave it to proof for at least 12 hours i the fridge. I usually just leave mine over night.When proofed, put it in a 3 litre bread baking pan. Sprinkle oatmeal, seeds or nothing at all on top of it and score it. Cover the pan up with a wet tablecloth and leave it to rise at room temperature until it has risen to fill the pan completely - this process usually takes up to a couple of hours.Bake at 180 degrees celcius. Bake for two hours, gently remove the baking pan and put the loaf in for another half an hour.
Leave it to cool on a tray and keep your fingers to yourself until the next day.
Juergen's picture

The power of autolyse

January 28, 2013 - 7:40am -- Juergen

Over the past year I've had my fair share of sourdough breads ripping apart on the sides while baking. Ever since I've introduced the autolyse method at the mixing stage, these problems have disappeared. Even a minor autolyse of just 20 minutes makes a huge difference. To me, the autolyse method has been a real eye-opener and it has vastly improved the quality of my SD breads. Anyone else gotten the same experience with autolyse?

evonlim's picture

weekend baking for friends.

baked a couple of breads for my friends. using Chad's formula for country bread. 500g brown bread flour and 250 gram AP. 150gram wholewheat starter at 75% hydration. 520gram water and 20gram of rum. 150gram raisin soaked in rum. 150gram toasted walnuts. 30gram soaked flaxseeds. 

mixed flour and water keep overnight at room temperature. next day added starter autolysed 30 mins add salt 15gram. rest 30mins, add flaxseeds raisins rum and walnuts. SF for 3 over 30mins interval. bench rest 30mins and shape. retard in fridge overnight. next day, baked at 450C covered 20mins, 425C uncovered 10mins or slightly more till inner temperature reached 210C.

did the above method to suite my working schedule.

works very well, takes 3 days of good planning. 

still learning...

Evon :)


Baked this one last night. with the same formula and method, only difference is i did not add the toasted soaked flaxseeds. as you can clearly see the difference of texture in the crumb. the one with flaxseed has a gummy chewy crunch, this one has a light chewy crunch. 




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