The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Udoughgirl's picture

Has anyone made Levain starter from The Village Baker?

February 24, 2009 - 11:33am -- Udoughgirl

The sourdough starter I'm trying to make (from The Village Baker) is quite a firm little ball and has such a thick crust on it that I don't see how it can possibly grow or form bubbles. It's day 3, and it should be showing signs of life.  The recipe said to cover it with a damp cloth, but nothing about keeping it damp, so I let it dry out. Mistake?   I could play with any of these factors at this point - an airtight lid instead of cloth, warmer or cooler temp, higher hydration of dough. I'd like to know how others have managed with this recipe. 

Thanks, Doh!

celestica's picture

Does my Starter Need Rehab or a Funeral?

February 10, 2009 - 2:00pm -- celestica


I had a successful firm starter from Baking with Julia/David Ortiz/Pain a L'Ancienne.  The loaves were tasty and the bubbles were getting bigger with each successive loaf.  I converted the starter to a wet one to see how it would go and my last sourdough loaves were the worst ever!  No rise and leaden as anvils.  My dog didn't even jump up on the counter to try and eat them (a first for her).

Stephanie Brim's picture

When starter takes over...

January 28, 2009 - 1:06pm -- Stephanie Brim

I have almost 1200g of starter that's ready to go into bread in my fridge. I need ideas.

I know about the waffles, but I don't have a huge waffle maker. Pancakes? Blueberry muffins? Chocolate cake?

I know that at least part of it is going into pizza dough.  I'm taking 300g out and mixing that with 300g of water and 500g of flour, 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2-3 teaspoons of dry Italian seasoning, and 15g salt.  May add parmesan, too, but not sure.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I'm wanting to start working with whole grains more.  I'm going to be working up to the lovely 5 grain that gaaarp posted.

The bread I baked today was thrown together out of need for a sandwich bread for the week that would go well with ham, our choice of lunch meat.  It needed to be relatively soft with a soft crust, as that's my boyfriend's preference, and needed to be slightly sweet to complement the salty ham.  The other thing I wanted was some sort of higher fiber whole grain flour thrown in.

Last night I had to feed my hungry beasties at around 10:30.  I pulled out my discard, fed my 100% starter as normal, and added 1/8 cup water and a little under 1/2 cup flour to the starter.  This produced a very nice, very firm starter, which measured about 166 grams.  I let that sit overnight.  I also measured out 125 grams of my 7 grain flour blend and mixed it with 100 grams of water in the bowl that I was going to make the bread in the next day. I covered that and let it sit overnight as well.

The next morning I was greeted by the sight of a very active firm starter (it had almost grown out of the bowl) and a very nice soaker.  I had set the stages for a very good bread.

We eat a lot of sandwiches so I needed a larger amount of bread.  I added to the starter and the soaker 265g of milk, 355g of flour, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of honey.  This made a total of slightly over 1000g total dough.  I kneaded it all together and let it sit for about 45 minutes, at which point I realized I forgot the salt and kneaded in about 2 1/4 teaspoons.  Then I stretched and folded once an hour for...3 hours or so?  The dough was pretty wet and sticky.

I proofed for an hour before putting it in the oven in a makeshift brotform: a wicker basket lined with a floured tea towel.  I put it on my stone in a slightly warm (but not fully preheated) oven for 45-50 minutes.  400 for the first 30, then down to 375 for about 10 minutes.  I left it in the oven after turning it off for about 10 minutes as well.

I pulled this out.

7 Grain Sourdough

7 Grain Sourdough Crumb

I'm very happy with how things went.  I'm really getting some good results with my sourdough.

Thanks again, gaaarp!

Stephanie Brim's picture

Sourdough Bread Building Question

January 22, 2009 - 10:58am -- Stephanie Brim

So I have 100 grams of starter, 100 grams of water, and 100 grams of flour on the top of my stove to ferment with every intention of baking some loaves tomorrow.  I want to make sure I'm clear on things, though, before I do anything.

I'm going with the 1-2-3 bread method.  My starter is 100% hydration.  It doubles in 12 hours.  If I make a loaf out of the preferment that I have going on with 100 grams more water and 200 grams more flour, will it work?  Should I instead think of it as a starter and add 600 grams of water and 900 grams of flour?

Adelphos24's picture

Sourdough Croissants

January 22, 2009 - 3:30am -- Adelphos24

So I have been mucking about with my wild yeast sourdough starter a lot over the last few weeks. I made pain poilane, and a traditional american style sourdough, and was thinking..."what else can i do with this starter?"

The answer? Sourdough croissants!

I know this could fall in the pastry category, but decided that the wild yeast starter aspect kinda throws it into the realm of the sourdough junkie. I've gotta say, they turned out great. I even made some with chocolate in the middle. I wrote more about them here:

gaaarp's picture

Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough Bread Recipe

January 21, 2009 - 7:41pm -- gaaarp

I have been tinkering with PR's Basic Sourdough Bread recipe for a while and have come up with the following recipe, which I really enjoy baking and eating:

Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough

 Five-Grain Seeded Sourdough Bread

 (based on Peter Reinhart's Basic Sourdough Bread, The Bread Baker's Apprentice)


Firm Starter

4 oz. sourdough starter


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