The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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sourdough_2014's picture

Avoiding Non-Stick Bread Pans

Hi all,


I am in the process of looking for some new bread pans to bake my sourdough bread. I will be strictly avoiding any non-stick coated pans.


I'm looking at some commercial grade Aluminized Steel pans but am a bit concerned about the possibility of aluminum leaching - especially due to the acid when proofing the sourdough in the pans. Does anyone have any thoughts on aluminized steel and safety concerns using this product for sourdough baking.

I believe stainless steel pans are not good at providing even heat and the ones I have seen are cheap and nasty so I will be avoiding. It seems glass is the only other option which I can easily get my hands on but of course there is the risk of dropping and breaking or thermal shock when removing from the oven.

I currently have a clay pot but I'm after pans.


Any help would be appreciated.


vivianalondon's picture

One single starter but 3 different looks after 12 hours

Hi, I am a sourdough newbie. I got a small bag of 15-year old starter from a bakery about a month ago and have baked with it for 6 or 7 times since. Still experimenting different ways to keep & feed it, so sometimes I would divide the starter into different jars and feed them differently. So far the starter seems to be working okay. It'd peak at 4 hours if I feed it at 1 : 0.5 : 0.5 or at 9 hours at 1:1:1 or 12 hours at 1: 2.5 : 2.5.

This morning I divided the starter into 3 different jars, all fed at 1:2.5:2.5 (with organic white and filtered water) before being left on the usual worktop (about 24-25C or 75-77F). I was hoping to place them in different corners at my flat later to check for the optimal temperature. I expected the starter in all 3 jars would look pretty much the same, as that's usually what happened before. But I got a bit of problem today. After 10 hours, the starters look very differently. The jars/starters are of different sizes, but all have same hydration %.

(1) 84g in this bottle (14g starter + 35g each of flour & water). Alive but not as active as before. It smells a bit tangier than usual. But the problem is, I am not sure if my "usual" is the right one. Maybe it's normal or even better to smell tangier?

(2) 60g (10g starter + 25g each of flour & water) - Smell yeasty and slightly floury. Not too tangy. This is usually what I regard as "almost ready to use" for baking, not sure if it's true though? 

(3) 120g (20g starter, 50g each of flour and water). It smells funny. Slightly tangy but got a strange smell as well. Weirdly it got a plastic-y smell. 

I am very confused. I think maybe the last jar has been contaminated as I just washed it with some detergent before drying up and putting in starter. But I am also curious about the following:

(1) what possibly made the first two jars behave differently? Was it just a random outcome or there's some other reasons?

(2) I usually regard the stage as in the second jar starter "almost ready to use". This is how my starter looks at peak. It will get more bubbly in the next two hours but the level will be falling as well. I did read a lot of old posts here in TFL for guidance but still got confused. Some claim the starter should be best used when at peak, while others said it's best used when its most bubbly.

(3) I am not sure about how a healthy starter should smell. Some people said it depends. Different strings of yeasts may smell differently. I remember when I first got this starter from a bakery, it didn't smell sour nor tangy at all. But it's also possible that it had just been refreshed by the bakery so my first impression wasn't its usual state.

(4) One last question about feeding. I have been feeding with the same brand of organic white for the last 4 weeks. But I think I've read from somewhere before that feeding with different types of flour (or at least different brands) would do it good. The starter would have the opportunity to cultivate different populations of wild yeasts and it would benefit the strength and flavour in long term. Unfortunately I couldn't find any relevant articles online to discuss this further.

Sorry for the long post and my poor English. Thanks for reading. Any advice or sharing would be appreciated. 

Monarch's picture

Yemeni flat bread tool

Hey everyone!

I spent some time last year in Yemen, and Yemenis use a special tool for shaping their homemade flat bread. They call it a "makhbazah". And it looks like the picture I've uploaded. I'm back in the U.S. now, and I'm wondering if anyone has seen something like this or knows what it's called in English. I'd like to buy one, and I have no idea how to search for it. 

Any help would be appreciated!



Skibum's picture

First ITJB bake -- Almond Splats!

Okay, they were supposed to be almond horns, but I had a great deal of trouble measuring the egg whites our properly. Even after beating, I would get blobs of albumen which would fluctuate the weight over and under and I finally thought, how big a difference would 4  - 5 grams of egg white make?  Oops! Any suggestions on the egg whites are appreciated. Perhaps I should have just thrown out the offending albumen strand.

I had to improvise using cold dough and spooning it out on to sliced almond covered parchment. The saving grace here as these splats taste wonderful! To borrow a line from Guy Fieri, you could spread the home made almond paste on a rubber flip flop and it would still be good. The ITJB adventure begins!

Best regards, Brian

gman4626's picture

Winter Bialys


15% Whole Wheat

15% Whole Spelt

70% White flour


1 KG flour % mix above

20 grams kosher salt

700 grams water

320 grams of sour dough starter (equal mixture of water and flour with starter from the fridge.)

It is a little cold in my house around 19C, so I actually let the starter rise for over 10 hours and then made the dough which I let rise one hour before putting it in the fridge overnight. In the morning I took it out and let it rise for another 4 hours. Again this was due to the temperature in my house.

In the oven for 30 minutes at 190C.

These were the best I have made yet, I wonder if the long rising times are part of the reason.


FLBaker's picture

New NutriMill and need advice on where to buy grain,please

Is anyone familiar with Wheat Montana, especially the Prairie Gold? 

How are grains stored to keep the bugs out?

Thanks for taking the time to respond.


mattprince's picture



I seem to be struggling with light fluffy bread in my 2lb bread tin. I do as follows..

400g Strong Bread Flour, 6g Yeast in one side of the bowl, 8g Salt in the other side of the bowl. Blob of olive oil in centre and then mix normal tap water in until its a nice dough. I then pour a bit of olive oil on the bench and then kneed the dough on that. I'm finding its sticking very badly no matter how slow or fast I'm kneading. I then keep adding a bit of olive oil to the bench to stop it sticking as and when. I knead for 5 to 10 mins until it feels different and feels very stretchy. I then put it into a bowl and prove for an hour to hour and half (doubled in size). I then get it out on a lightly floured surface and kneed a little bit more and then shape and transfer to the bread tin. I preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan oven) and when its risen to the top of the bread tin , I put it in the oven for 25 mins at 200 degrees.

It cooks fine , and looks quite brown but almost always feels hard outside (the crust) and the inside doesn't have very many big holes , has quite a few little tiny ones but overall it feels very dense.

Any ideas?

I'm thinking the temperature is too high. If I put the temperature down, am I right in thinking it will make the crust less hard and should make it more fluffy inside?


Bakingmadtoo's picture

Causes of spreading?

Hi again, I need to pick your brains. I am starting to get a bit discouraged now. I seem to consistently bake loaves that spread too much. I don't believe that they are over proofed. They don't collapse and they do get lots of spring, but they spread out too much when I bake. The crumb is also coming out really lovely.

This morning's loaf had filled the banneton and turned out beautifully, the dough felt lovely and slashed really well. It didn't lose any volume at all when I slashed it.

However, it has still spread out more than up. I preheat my oven, but really only to temperature, as hot as it will go, which is around 250c. I am using Lacloche, which I do not preheat. Baking covered at around 225c for 20-25 minutes, then uncovered until it is the colour I want.  I usually spray the inside of the lid with water.

I know the problem is happening in the first 20 minutes, the shape is set when I remove the cover.

I have three thoughts, the first is that the oven is simply not hot enough when I put the dough in, giving it more chance to spread. However, lots of people bake from cold start, so it must be possible to get good spring this way. I don't want to preheat Lacloche, I know I will burn myself and I think I might crack it putting cold dough into a very hot Lacloche.  Also, I have had some great loaves come out with this method, so it can't be the method per se.

The second thought is my shaping. Could it be that my i am not getting enough tension to hold the shape?

The third thought is that I tend to bake a smaller loaf, and I am wondering if the extra space in Lacloche means it has the space to spread, so it does. But again, I have also had beautiful small loaves that have not spread.

I will add a picture when my bread is cool enough to touch. But, could any of these thoughts be right? And are there other things that I should be considering. Any thoughts would be welcome as it is really disheartening at the moment.

You will see from today's photo when I load it that there was hardly any ear formed as if it spread and set before it could.

mattwis519's picture

Whole wheat tartine-style loaf

First post and first attempt using CR's method.  I was going for the basic country loaf but realized I was almost out of white flour so I made adjustments. I thought it was going to be super dense but was pleasantly surprised.


90% whole wheat

10% white 

80% h20

20% leaven

2% salt


dosal's picture

My favorite light rye bread

This is my favorite because I am almost always successful with this recipe. This time it spread more than usual. Could it be because I added more water to the mix?

The recipe calls for a levain out of 300 g rye flour, (I grind my own)300g water, 1 Tbsp. of starter (I always use at least 2 Tbsp.) This goes into the refrigerator overnight. I use my warm fridge ( 45 -50F) for this.

The next morning I add 550g AP flour (I used KAF this time)

150g whole wheat (again home ground)

250g water (I use spring water from a local spring)

1 tsp sugar

3 tsp salt

The recipe also calls for 2 Tbsp sunflower oil which I mostly do without, however I added about 1/4 cup more water.

Why do my free form loaves spread like this? This was supposed to be a batard after all.