The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Mebake's picture

Starter Bubbles, Bottom to Top?

March 4, 2011 - 11:18pm -- Mebake

When i refresh My sourdough starter, i see bubbles through the glass container that start to appear at the base, and then appear higher as fermentation proceeds. Why aren't bubbles appearing throughout the starter altogether?

Some food for thought..

Edit: Does the same apply to a dough built from a starter?

Could TFL members explain why is that?


patman23's picture

hiw old is too old for a starter?

February 22, 2011 - 6:25pm -- patman23

So I was gonna make a Braided Scali Bread and set up my starter the night before.  I never got around to making the bread and I've had this starter sitting on my counter for over a week now.  Is it still useable?  If so, for what?

Oh, my ingredients for the starter were:

1 c Bread Flour

1tsp Active Yeast

1/2 c water

 Thanks for your help!



Scott Grocer's picture

Preferment: Would milk be OK?

February 18, 2011 - 12:03am -- Scott Grocer

I've got a sandwich loaf recipe here that calls for a preferment that uses all of the water and a final dough that includes powdered milk, which I never have on hand.

The preferment is supposed to be very slack, batter like and fermented for up to 24 hours at room temp before use.

I know that the higher the hydration the faster a sponge develops, but would there be any obvious problem (enzyme action, black magic, bad juju?) using whole milk in the sponge instead of water and omitting the final dough's dry milk?


cranbo's picture

In researching another thread, came across this interesting article on preferments from Lallemand, in PDF format.

One interesting morsel:

The preferment minimizes the lag phase by providing an optimum environment for the yeast. The result is higher gas production later inthe process, especially in high-sugar doughs.

The lag phase is the "ramp up" phase that occurs before yeast reach their maximum productivity. The article has a nice chart. 

Here's another interesting one:

Yeast activation takes place during the first 30 to 60 minutes in all types of preferments. Longer preferment times are not necessary for yeast activation, and can have a negative effect because yeast start to lose activity once the available sugar has been consumed. The only reason for longer preferments is for flavor contribution or dough development.

I think they're referring to the activation of commercial yeasts here (Lallemand is a commercial yeast producer, after all). Yeast activation is sourdough I think is different altogether. 


cranbo's picture

What is the maximum preferment percentage in finished dough?

February 6, 2011 - 12:21am -- cranbo

Most recipes I've seen at somewhere hovering between 20-25% of flour weight. I recently read someones recipe that was using a 30% preferment and I thought it was a bit high. 

At some point, I imagine, once you reach an upper limit (say 50%?) your dough quickly changes to the preferment.

So I have 2 questions:

Scott Grocer's picture

Help adapt formula for use with levain

February 3, 2011 - 1:38pm -- Scott Grocer

I've got a formula for a nice American style pizza dough that rises in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, but I was thinking about swapping the instant dry yeast and long ferment for a levain so I could do silly stuff like make same day sub rolls or maybe even soft dinner rolls. Mostly I just wanted something to experiment with.

The problem is that I just can't seem to grasp how to adapt the formula. I was thinking about plugging say, 20% Biga (100% flour, 60% water, 0.2% yeast) into the following formula in place of the IDY:

ramat123's picture

A question about retarding 30% starter sourdough

January 18, 2011 - 4:42am -- ramat123


Hi Bakers,

My question is actually two questions.

I am baking a miche of 40% bread flour, 40% whole wheat and 20% rye, 70% overall hydration, 2% salt, 30% starter and 18% grains.

Starter is 100% hydration (same flours %).

I've baked hundreds loaves with this recipe and now the questions are:

1. Most recipes in Hamelman calls for about 15% starter. Only rye recipe contains up to 30%. what does it mean to have 30% starter in the recipe. What would happen if I change to 20%? (tried, did not see a big difference).

Eli_in_Glendale's picture

Starter from Tartine Bread Book

January 14, 2011 - 3:09pm -- Eli_in_Glendale

Hi all, newbie here.  I am about 5 days into getting my starter going using the technique from "Tartine Bread." What an awesome book by the way.  I've got bubbles with each feeding, and a mildly foul aroma, but not much rise/fall as he describes.  Should I really be feeding it 100 grams of both water and 50/50 flour mix?  I feel like it's a waste, and not much seems to be changing from one feeding to the next.  I am feeding daily now.  Anybody else followed this technique with much success?  Thanks a million.


Subscribe to RSS - starter