The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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chell's picture

Confused about feeding ratios

Hello all,

as I'm starting to delve deeper into the world of starters I'm becoming increasingly curious about different feeding regimes. So far what I've been doing is taking my 200 g of starter, discarding half ( = 100 g of starter left) and adding 50 g of flour and 50 g of water to bring it back up to 200 g. This allows me to maintain a mass of 200g of starter. 

Apparently this is a 1:0.5:0.5 or equivalently 2:1:1 ratio. I sometimes see people advocate a 1:1:1 ratio where you feed the starter its weight in flour and water. So in my case this would mean discarding 100g, and feeding it 100 g of flour and 100 g of water. However, doing so would increase the amount of starter I have over time. I'd like to keep it constant. 

Does that mean I have to discard more (2/3 of it)? 

Portamax's picture

Long ferment vs long proof

When is it best to use an overnight cool bulk ferment with a ~2 hour proof versus a 4 hour bulk ferment and an overnight cool proof of the formed loaves and then bake straight out of the fridge? I bake sourdough and desem breads. Any suggestions will be appreciated. 


kenlklaser's picture

Figuring out bigger crumb holes

Sort of straight dough, but with 4% over-fermented sponge which I make up ahead of time and keep in the freezer, so I guess it's really sponge and dough.

This post has been edited, dabrownman in the comments below made me realize something was wrong in the formula presentation.  My apologies for any confusion that the flawed formula may have caused.  As a result of this edit, some comments may now be out of context.


 total  final  sponge 
 formula  dough    
 %g %g %g
Baker's Flour, 11.8% protein4%30    100%30
Pastry Flour, 9% protein96%720 100%720   
malt, low diastatic2%15 2.08%15   
Instant dry yeast0.775%5.81 0.775%5.58 0.775%0.232
cool water55%412.5 49.79%358.5 180%54
 ~~~hydration rest~~~        
cool water15%112.5 15.63%112.5   
salt2%15 2.08%15   

Sponge instructions are located in a comment of mine below dabrownmans.

Final dough: Mix pastry flour, AB mauri low-diastatic malt, instant dry yeast. Add water, mix briefly until just combined and let rest for 20 minutes.  After the time has elapsed, mix again.

Add salt, sponge, and water, and mix well until gluten is well developed. Warning: Increasing the hydration after autolyze makes for difficult mixing.

Let it bulk ferment to double.  I then refrigerated it overnight (not planned, but unexpected circumstances demanded it), punched it down once. In the morning, weighed, divided into 3 equal weight portions, let it warm a little, shaped, and let it proof to 1.5 gas:dough ratio, scored, and baked in a dry oven at 450°F for 20 minutes.

Not real happy with the crust, not as crispy as I'd like, but this flour seemed the secret of a bread I'd been trying to duplicate for years. It has a nice soft, melt in your mouth crumb, like a restaurant from the 1980s in Bird Rock (San Diego) used to have in their baguettes, The French Pastry Shop.

Update: reheated the batards this evening in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, and the crust was divine, nice and crispy without being tough. 

chell's picture

Going from 200g to 250g of starter


I'm new to the world of sourdough baking so sorry if this is too basic a question:

I'm currently working on getting 200g of sourdough starter ready to use. Once it's ready I'd like to use a recipe that calls for 250 g of starter. I'm not planning on maintaining a "mother" for now (I'll use all of my starter for the dough). Would it be ok to just add an extra 25 g of water and flour (so 75g water/flour total) during the last feed before baking to get it up to 250g?


master_wort's picture

wort bread II

Here comes a new wort bread, perfect to chrismas. Check even out my two latest bread


500 g water

750 g wheat flour

250 g whole wheat flour

500 g rye sourdough

100 g wort extract, liquid

45 g brown sugar

8 g minced bitter orange

5 g minced ginger

4 g minced cardamom

3 g minced clove

7 g fresh yeast

25 g salt

225 g raisins


Soak the raisins. Mix all ingredients in the machine except the salt for 10 minutes. Then add the salt and continue for 5 minutes. Let it rest for 90 minutes in a plastic box. After 45 minutes fold te dough. Divide the dough in 4 pieces and pre shape the to a ball and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then shape them and let the proof in the fridge over night.

Bake them in owen 250 degree celcius 5 minutes with steam in the beginning, then 200 degree celcius, total time around 40 minutes until the inner bread temperature is 98 degree celcius.

After you have take them out brush them with some water and potato wheat that have been boiled up.

Dave Mott's picture
Dave Mott

Red Fife Sourdough Country Boule

Hey everyone,

If you haven't baked with Red Fife flour, you should give it a shot. Really amazing grain to work with. Gives the bread great flavor and texture.

Sorry I didn't get a crumb shot. This was for a friends Christmas party last night. I didn't want to cut into it before the party. That would have been pretty cheezy!

How ever we did break bread at the party and the taste and crumb were pretty descent. Everybody said it was excellent bread, but usually after a few drinks people will say anything. HAHA!!























































































Ingredients: 70-2

540g BF

135g Stone Ground Whole Grain Red Fife

150g starter (100% poolish)

450g water

15g salt


Autolyse BF, Red Fife and water for 12 hours in refrigerator. Take out of fridge 4 hours ahead to warm up.

Add starter and salt to flour. Mix well in a bowl with hands until combined.

Rest for 20 min.

Scrape out of bowl and proceed with 4 stretch and folds with 20 minute bench rests in between. Covering with plastic wrap for each bench rest.

After last stretch and fold place back in bowl and bulk rise for 4 hours at room temperature.

Place in refrigerator to retard for 6 hours.

Take out of fridge and warm up for 3 hours.

Scrape out of bowl. Do 1 stretch and fold. Bench rest for 10 minutes.

Proceed with 3 tension pulls and 10 minute bench rests in between covering with plastic wrap.

Place in pre-heated dutch oven, score and bake for 20 minutes at 500F. Then reduce heat to 425F and bake for 25 minutes.







PY's picture

This Weekend's Bake

used bread flour, heritage whole wheat and rye for this loaf.

started with a pre ferment about 16 hours

G 35g 100% starter (mine is rye)

35g water

35g bread flour


final dough

310g bread flour

100g heritage whole wheat

100g dark rye

12g sea salt

1 tsp toasted and ground cumin and coriander seeds


autolyse at least 1 hour

bulk fermentation 2 hours with stretch and fold at intervals of 30 mins

preshape and bench 10min

final shaping and proof in banneton for 45 min to 1 hour

bake with steam

dabrownman's picture

50 Percent Whole Grain 25 Percent Sprouted Porter SD

After last week’s Cosmic Calamity, Lucy has settled back down to her normal self but had to have a beer to celebrate her notoriety as the center of the universe even if only for one day.  She has an affinity for darker beers and decided that Deschutes Black Butte Porter was perfect, not only for celebrating but for bread making too.


Continuing our recent experiments with various sprouted grains, Lucy decided to use this porter for the entire dough liquid and not levain me even a drop for tasting to make sure it wasn’t poisonous.


Beer doesn’t seem to affect our normal SD breads from a fermenting and proof point of view and usually you can’t taste it too much either but this black porter did darken the color of the dough a bit.  We didn’t know how the sprouted flour would react to the beer but Lucy figured if it didn’t like beer we just wouldn’t sprout and grind grain anymore.


This recipe is similar to our recent ones with 50% whole grains and half of it sprouted.  The 50% of white flour was half KA bread flour and half LaFama AP this time and the whole and sprouted grains were a equal mix of wheat, emmer (farro), rye and spelt dropping the einkorn and Kamut this week.


We did our usual 3 stage, 4 hour each levain build using 8 g of the 4 week retarded rye starter for the seed.  The levain build was done on the heating goad and after it has doubled after the 3rd stage we retarded it in the fridge for 24 hours


The levain was fed the sifted hard bit 17% extraction of the whole and sprouted milled grains in the first to get them  wet for as long as possible.  The wee beasties really seem to like these hard bits and all the minerals and other goodies they contain. 


The levain ended up being 12.77% of the total flour weight since it is winter time instead of the 9% we would use for a sprouted grain bread in the summer that was going to be retarded for 12 hours. 


We autolysed the dough flour and porter, with the salt sprinkled on top,  for an hour while the levain warmed up on the heating pad after its 24 hour retard.  Once the autolyse and levain came together the dough was once again very sloppy but not as bad as last time since we did cut the hydration 3 points to 85% this time.


The dough did stop sticking to the granite at the 8 minute mark and end of the first set of slap and folds.  This was followed by 2 more sets of 1 minute each and 3 set of stretch and folds from the compass points.  All the gluten development sessions were followed by 15 minutes rests instead of our usual 20 minute ones.


The dough was still a bit sticky when we went to shape it and put it in the basket so I put a touch of rice flour on the boule top before upending it on the basket seam side up.  We hoped this would stop it from sticking like the last one did.  This boule was going into a well seasoned basket too, unlike the last one.  Still 82.5% hydration would have been better especially if you aren’t used to and comfortable with really sloppy dough.


We bagged the boule in a new trash can liner and put it in the fridge for its 12 hour chill.  When we took it out of the fridge the next day, it looked like we could let it warm up on the counter for an hour, before firing up Big Old Betsy to a 500 F preheat, which would give it a 1 hour and 45 minute counter warm up total.  


The dough was upended out of the basket onto parchment and peel, sticking a bit but no worries, slashed and loaded onto the bottom stone and covered with the hot bottom of a heavy aluminum pot for steaming.  5 minutes later we turned the oven down to 450 F  After 18 minutes the lid came off and we continued to bake for another 10 minutes at 425 F - convection this time.


After deflating a bit when slashed and spreading just a bit like high hydration dough wants to do, the bread made a comeback with some decent spring, bloom and blisters under steam.  Once the led came off, the crust browned nicely to that deep mahogany color we love so much.


It was baked to 207 F  and left on the stone, oven off and door ajar for 5 minutes to really crisp the skin.  We usually don’t get that color with sprouted grains so maybe it was the porter? For some reason, sprouted grains don’t usually put mahogany on crust!


The crust was crisp when it came out of the oven but softened as it cooled   The crumb was darker in color due to the porter but as soft, moist, glossy and open as the other similar 50% whole grain with half sprouted breads of late.  This one tastes very good too, like the other ones, but I wish the porter would come through more.


I think we have taken this as far as we need to right now and can move on to higher percent whole grain breads with lots of stuff in them and maybe sprouts and sprouted flour too!


Levain Build

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



4 Week Retarded Rye Sour Starter






83% Extraction Whole & Sprouted






17% Extract Whole & Sprouted
























Levain Totals


















Levain Hydration






Levain % of Total Flour












Dough Flour






83% Extract Sprouted & Whole Grain






1/2 La Fama AP & 1/2 KA Bread Flour






Total Dough Flour






























Dough Hydration






Total Flour w/ Starter






Black Butte Porter & Water w/ Starter












Hydration with Starter






Total Weight






% Whole Grain






% Sprouted Grain












Whole and sprouted grains include equal 





amounts of rye, spelt, emmer and wheat





Half the whole grains were sprouted









PalwithnoovenP's picture

What kind of rye to stock?

I've tasted a bread made with rye and I fell in love with it, now I want to make breads with rye. I currently have access to Bob's red mill but they have different types and I don't know which one I'll get. For now I just want mixed wheat and rye breads, increasing the rye ratio as time goes by; but I would like to try make a 100% rye and a rye starter in the future. Also, what is the best way to store rye? Thanks in advance.

isand66's picture

Sprouted Wheat Porridge Bread with New Zealand Cheddar Cheese

  If I could only eat 3 things, 1 of them would be cheese, the other bread and the third I'm not so sure. There is nothing that smells so good as bread baking with cheese oozing out of it.

Continuing my exploration of sprouted flour I decided to make a porridge bread using freshly ground and sprouted whole wheat for around 36% of the flour with the balance being KAF European style and AP from the levain.

I used what I had left of a nice semi-sharp New Zealand cheddar cheese which worked very well with this formula.  If I had to do it again I would prefer to add even more cheese to take it over the top.

The porridge portion consisted of KAF Organic Six Grain Flakes which consisted of oat, barley, rye and a couple of other grains which I mixed with milk.

On one of the loaves I decided to top it off with some smoked bamboo sesame seeds which really added a nice finishing touch.

The end result of this bake was near perfection.  This one tastes as good as it gets.  The crumb is nice and moist from the porridge and the sprouted whole wheat adds another layer and dimension to the final bread.  If you get a chance I highly recommend you try this one as it won't disappoint.



Sprouted Wheat Cheese Porridge Bread (%)

Sprouted Wheat Cheese Porridge Bread (weights)

Download the BreadStorm File Here.


Levain Directions

Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I usually do this the night before.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4’s of the milk called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot on your stove, set to low and stir constantly until all the milk is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the milk and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.  Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, and water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), and cooled porridge, and mix on low for 6 minutes.  Add the cubed cheese and mix on low for 1 minute until it is evenly distributed.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 1.5 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.   Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 500 degrees and after another 3 minutes lower it to 450 degrees.  Bake for 25-35 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 210 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.