The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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sourdoughlover's picture

Water Bath???

I have been reading about sourdough starers and water baths and was wondering if I should use one? I do currently have my starter jar sitting in a slightly warm bowl of water. Is this a good or bad idea?

According to my research, I should keep my starter at 86-93 degrees Fahrenheit. Is that correct? Has anyone had good experiences with warm water baths and starters or maybe  a bad experience?

sourdoughlover's picture

Hello! The Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread

Hi! I just made an account! I am a beginner at sourdough making and I really love sourdough bread! I just started my starter a week ago using book The Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread by Jessie Hawkins. I don't own the book. Just got the recipe from a friend, so I am still trying to figure it all out. I don't know if anyone else is using this method, but if you are, please leave a comment and tell me about your experience.



Abelbreadgallery's picture

100% whole wheat bread (+rye sourdough), sliced

Dear friends, I've spent the weekend outside. I could'nt get connected to send you the pictures until now.

Here's one picture of the crumb of the 100% whole wheat flour bread + rye sourdough.

I've attached more pics in this link:



Mebake's picture

Laurel Robertson's "Peasant Rye"

At the end of last week, I have been too tired and lazy to prepare any sourdough preferment, although I had an active starter ready. Next morning, I had no bread in the freezer, and the only bread I could make was that from straight dough. I browsed through my bread books, and found none other than Laurel’s book that offers plenty recipes for wholegrain breads, mostly straight doughs; hence the appeal :)

The recipe is “Peasant Rye” from the book’s Rye section. The formula contains some acids in the form of vinegar and cider, to counter the absence of a rye sour. The recipe is also almost 55% Rye flour to 45% Whole wheat.

I mixed the dough by hand, and aimed for almost loose dough. The dough fermented for 1.5 hours, reshaped and fermented again for 45 minutes. Final fermentation was barely 35 minutes, after which they were baked at 460 F for 10 minutes and at 325 F for 50 minutes. As recommended by Laurel, I applied a corn starch glaze to the baked loaves, and returned them for 2 minutes to the oven. In hindsight, I should have applied another layer of corn starch after they came out.


Left to cool for 12 hours, I then cut into one of them and had a slice after my evening breakfast. The bread was dark in color, had a slightly chewy crust, and a fairly smooth eating quality to the crumb. The rye flavor was very well pronounced; earthy, sweet, and satisfying. The whole wheat complimented the overall flavor very well.  For straight, yeasted dough, this rye bread is much better than I’d imagined it to be.




Syd-a's picture

The perfect fruit sourdough

So, I am looking to do a big final (for now) sourdough bread bake this week. I have a very good sourdough recipe that last (and the first time) I did it give some very nice airy crumb. 

I want to maintain and maybe even enhance that airy crumb even more, but this time around I am looking to add some raisins and sultanas as I love fruited breads.

Question 1. What percentage of fruit should ideally be used for a sourdough?

Question 2. What level of hydration will give the best airy crumb for this type of bread?

This first sourdough was 65% but now I am learning more about stretch and folds and dealing with wetter doughs so I think I could deal with more hydrated doughs.

Any other tips on a recipe and procedure for fruited sourdoughs are most welcome.

Thanks everyone




mymeowzer's picture

Making Yeast based Donuts to order?

I am thinking about starting a business where I make donuts to order. I wanted to use a brioche type dough. How do I go about treating the dough? Do I leave it in the fridge and then take out as needed? Do I need to leave the dough to rise outside of the fridge before frying? I have been to many restaurants that have made-to-order yeast-based donuts on their menus and I was wondering how they prepare them so fast.

Thank you..

cinnamonshops's picture

Arva flour problems - pale crust

Hey all,

Not sure how many Canadians frequent this site (though I know there are some!), but this might be a more general question anyway. I recently bought a bag of Arva Unbleached White Hard Wheat Flour to use for bread, and it seems as though it's resulting in loaves that barely brown at all. Is there anything else that could be causing this? I used it in two or three different recipes, one sourdough and the others not, and all resulted in pale, pale breads. They weren't terrible aside from that, but it's definitely not right.

To put things in some perspective, I just previously made a sourdough loaf (Nancy Silverton's standard white sourdough) in which, as I recall, I used half of the Arva flour and half of what seems like a really nice red fife flour, and the crust was the most beautiful (deep red-brown) I've yet achieved.

Aside from the fact that I've been using different recipes, the other variables are the same (same crappy oven, etc). I've also been experimenting in all cases with a new homemade flowerpot cloche.



Laura T.'s picture
Laura T.

The purpose of stretch-and-fold

Hi all. JUst a quick one and I'm sure many of you will be able to give me the answer to this, but what exactly is the purpose of s&f? I'm wondering if it is just to stretch the gluten, etc or if it serves another purpose? The reason being, I am curious as to whether s&f would add anything to my gluten-free baking.

Cob's picture

Terrible London (UK) bakeries...

....are all over my parts.

I've not had much luck with those recommended by the Real Bread campaign. Some of the bread I've bought have really shocked/peeved me off equally.

£3-4 for a sourdough that's worse than mine (my SD is not actually bad!)? Just because it's organic and real. Do not know what's up with that.

Most days I love to bake bread. Some days I like to buy bread and take a day off.

Now I've heard of many good bakeries, such as the E5 Bakehouse and Old Post Office bakery. I don't mean chains such as Gails, Paul's or le pain quotidienne.

What are your favourite loaves worth paying for at which bakeries? I never hear of small, local bakeries.

yamum360's picture

second batch

so I've just baked by second batch, took some pictures and I'm hoping for some feedback.

the method i used involved a refrigerated starter, I removed it from the fridge, added half of my mother starter (as it was time for a feeding anyway) mixed it and left for a few hours to reach room temperature, scooped out 200g, and added 100g of feed and 100g of water, then left it to double, this i divided evenly into two bowls, in one bowl i threw 8 cups of wholemeal, the other, 8 cups of rye and hefty amount of seeds (flax, poppy, chia), to each I added a tablespoon of salt, then added water until I got a dough I was happy with, kneaded for 10/15 minutes, then divided each in half and shaped into loaves. I let these proof overnight, covered with a wet cloth (about 12 hours). First thing this morning I preheated my oven to 200C and baked one of the wholemeal, one of the rye (on a pizza stone) and didn't get nearly as much oven spring as I expected, in fact I barely got any. will post more pictures of these once they've cooled enough to cut into.

so I knocked back the other two, gave them a quick knead, reshaped and currently have them rising again, uncovered. is there something I should be doing differently? I'm quite an experienced baker with commercial bakers yeast, but am still very new to sourdough, I thought that maybe I should just go back to baking with white and work from there, but I'd rather not.