The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


lungalux's picture

wild yeast

May 9, 2008 - 2:39pm -- lungalux

I am just starting to experiment with making bread and made my own yeast by mixing AP flour and water together and feeding it daily (twice daily at the beginning) per the Joy of Cooking instructions.  It's been 2 weeks and I have what I think is a nice looking bowl of wild yeast - it's pretty fluid (not runny) and has lots of holes on the surface and it smells pretty "yeasty" I think.  Whenever I feed it, it deflates and puffs right back up about 12 hours later. 

 I continue to feed it daily, but I'm not sure if

Windischgirl's picture

"old dough" rye starter

April 28, 2008 - 2:25am -- Windischgirl

I am looking for info on an unusual rye "old dough" 75 yo dad (born in Hungary/Slovenia) recalls his mom starting her rye breads with a hunk of old dough that was permitted to dry out.  A day or two before she was ready to bake, she would crumble this dried dough into water and once it started to form a "sponge" she was ready to bake.

I will have to check with him if the bread was 100% rye, but I suspect so...they were poor and wheat was hard to come by.

zainaba22's picture

Astrid from Paulchen's Foodblog selected oat as theme for this month's Bread Baking Day.

BreadBakingDay #9 - bread with oat

I got inspired from zorra for this recipe & the method from iban.

For more information about sourdough starter you can read Susan post about Sourdough Starter from Scratch .

60 g (1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon) oat flour.

374 g (2 1/2 cups) whole wheat flour.

670 g (4 1/2 cups) high gluten white flour.

1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

2 teaspoons sugar.

2 teaspoons yeast.

46 g (1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon) milk powder.

2 Tablespoons oil.

90 g (1/3 cup) sourdough starter.

3 cups water.

1) Place all ingredients in the bowl of mixer; beat 10 minutes to make soft dough.

2) Cover dough and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hour, stretch & fold every 30 minutes.

3) Divide dough into 2 pieces

4) Shape each piece into round loaf, cover; let it rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 40-60 minutes.

5) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 F.

6) Before baking dust flour over the top of the loaf, slash the bread.

7) Reduce the heat to 400F, bake for 15 minutes with steam, & another 15 minutes without steam.



DennyONeal's picture

Activation of Sourdough Starter

April 22, 2008 - 7:17am -- DennyONeal


For Thom Leonard's sourdough bread recipe, it states that the starter should be activated ~ 8 hours. If I activate it at 10 PM and begin making the bread at 9 AM, the starter is no longer fully active. Can one activate it fully for about 8 hours and then refrigerate it overnight and use it the next morning?


Yumarama's picture

I'm starting this blog to track the events in the life of little Audrey 2, a reluctant starter that began as a rather wet batter form and, as recommended by Mini, was transformed into a ball of stiff starter. In a forum thread I started in order to get help figuring out why my then 13 day old starter was doing nothing, Mini's thought was that possibly I was underfeeding the starter in the wetter form (basically I was doing 50% starter, 25% each water and flour for each feed) which may have been the reason it went all hoochy rather fast: not enough flour to feed the yeasties and the acid bacteria was overtaking - or that was my thought on it anyway.

I'm also doing this as a blog so the forum thread isn't taken over by too many images and so it's easier to follow along, should anyone care to.

Since this starter, third time trying over a three month period btw, was pretty much destined for the recycling bin anyway in favour of starting yet again with a recipe Mike has on his site (Professor Calvel's Starter) as a likely successful candidate for starter if the previous verion failed. Since this was try #3 and I was already on day 13 with no real success, I was game.

So while I was/am waiting to locate a source for just 5g - about a tablespoon - of malt extract (it seems to come in 600g sizes or bigger running at nearly $10 a pop) to follow the Clavel reicpe, I got going with the stiff starter. So here's the saga.

As per Mini's sugegstion, I took 30g of the "going nowhere" batter starter, added 50g of water and "enough flour to make a stiff ball". Out came the flour and off we went.

Here's our first image, Audrey 2 after being mixed up. In all, I added about 88g of flour to get to this.

I now think that 88g of flour was too much but that's where we were then, so on we go. I had followed Mini's suggestion to drop the ball into the flour and coat it so that any developing cracks would be obvious which is why, even though it's a ball of wet rye, it looks very pale.

Three hours later:

At this point, there's either a shrinkage of the surface or it's expanding a little. Since the surface was still moist-ish to the touch, I'll say we had expansion.

At the six hour mark:

More activity although the ball is showing no signs of softening and flattening out as Mini suggested it would. I'm starting to think I went too far with the added flour.

At the 10 hour mark:

Definitely some activity and expansion has occured but now I'm sure the ball was made TOO stiff. Yes, the critters have lots of flour to munch on, but nothing to drink. Because I wasn't staying up much longer, I decided to do feed #2 at this point so it was time to cut up our ball and see what was going on inside.

Even manhandled like this, the ball is stiff enough to stay in shape. Slicing it open, thetexture inside is realtively smooth, if there are any bubbles, they're hard to see and distinguish from the texture of the rye flour. There's little sour aroma to this, mostly it smells like wet rye.

Time for feed #2...

Yumarama's picture

Oh please, Grow for me! The saga of Audrey 2, the little starter that wouldn't

April 11, 2008 - 6:40pm -- Yumarama

Well, I'm on attempt #3 and into month three of trying to start a starter. Almost 8 kilos of flour into it and still nothing to show for it. Ignoring the two previous attempts here's what I've been doing:

Day 1: Start with organic, stone ground rye, 60g and bottled spring water, 60g. Wait 24 hrs as it sits atop the fridge.

Day 2: Add 60g water, 60g rye, place on fridge, wait 24 hrs

Day 3: Discard all but 120g, add 60g water and rye, place on fridge, wait 12 hrs

Day 3.5: Discard all but 120g, add 60g water and 60g unbleached all purpose.

aturco's picture

No Rise to My Sour Dough?

April 9, 2008 - 5:51pm -- aturco

This website is great. I recently starting making my own bread using Mark Bitman's NY Times no-knead recipe. I've had tremendous success with it and I am using a clouche. The crust and crrumb almost perfect and I am creating some nice loaves.

I wanted to try a sourdough loaf at the request of my 10 year old daughter. I used Mark Shepard's Simple Sourdough formula/recipe for a starter and the bread.

hokietoner's picture

Firm starter acetic or lactic? Conflicting sources.

April 1, 2008 - 8:19pm -- hokietoner

I've seen several places on this forum say that a stiffer starter encourages the creation of acetic acid which causes a more sour sourdough. (particularly here:

However, in Reinhart's "Crust and Crumb" he says several times the opposite:

"[The starter] uses a firm mother rather than a sponge, which promotes the growth of the less sour lactic bacteria rather than the acetic bacteria that trive in the wetter medium..." (p79)


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