The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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letrec's picture

Sourdough Buckwheat Rye Flax Blueberry Muffins

I've been baking a lot of sourdough as of late, and since I'm stubborn I don't ever refrigerate any of the starter and maintain it exclusively on the counter. While this lends to a vigorous starter it also encourages (ok, demands!) frequent baking, or you're going to either end up with the starter that ate your kitchen, or be exceptionally wasteful by refreshing the starter so frequently.

I have a little bit of a sweet tooth, and love blueberries so this was a natural next step.

I have adapted this recipe from this recipe at Sourdough Home:

I made some adjustments as to my taste and added a crunchy Streusel topping!


1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (EVOO works great here)
1 cup 100% rye sourdough starter at 100% hydration!
2tbsp of Greek Yogurt (adds a little more acidity, good fat)

1/2 cup whole rye or wheat flour if you must
1/2 cup of organic buckwheat flour
1/3 cup of ground flax seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar or fructose
3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Streusel Topping

2 cups pecans or walnuts (8 oz.)
½ cup packed light brown sugar (I combined molasses and caster sugar)
⅓ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. vegetable oil (I used more EVOO, though next time I may be decadent and use coconut oil)


Preheat oven to 425F. (I use a convection oven, so actual temp was 400F)

Prepare streusel by combining nuts, sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt in food processor and pulsing a few times until a coarse mixture is achieved. Slowly drizzle in oil taking care to stop before creating a paste. The ideal consistency will be damp, but very crumbly. Set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl and then stir in blueberries. Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet ones.

Place muffin cups inside tin and oil and dust them.
Oil a large dough or ice cream scoop and spoon batter into cups.
Sprinkle a liberal amount of Streusel topping over each cup such that you can no longer see the batter.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or 16 min for convection

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in tin and then transfer to rack to cool to room temperature!
This should yield about a dozen full sized muffins. Enjoy!

theresasc's picture

Questions from a new bread baker

I am very new to baking bread, and I have some questions!  Bear with the strange mixing of measurements, I am still trying to get the hang of weight vs. volumn.

I am using the first recipe in Floyd's book, and am tweaking it a bit:

Poolish:  30 grams whole wheat flour, 1/8 tsp. instant yeast, 1/4 water - let sit overnight

Dough:  225 grams AP flour, 45 grams whole wheat flour, 1 tsp sugar, 3/4 + 1/8 tsp instant yeast, 3/4 cup of flour - mix and let autolyse 30 min.  Mix in the poolish and 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt.  I was using my KA to knead the first few loaves of bread that I made, but decided I was missing out on the fun of having my hands in there, so I have been using the french flold technique to knead.  I have found that I have to keep my hands very wet while doing the french fold and while the dough does get stretchy and sort of smooth, there are still little tears/blisters in the dough.  Is this right?  The dough does not behave like this using just AP flour, but the addition of the WW seems to really change things up.  What should the dough feel and look like?

Now onto the stretch and fold questions:  How many times do you do it?  I have read that you just do it once every 30 minutes during bult ferment, I have read that you do it 6 or 7 times every 30 minutes.  Whats up with that??  Is that the difference from making bread with commercial yeast vs. natural yeast?  The more I read, the more confusing things get.

Onto crust:  why does it blister?  The bread made with AP flour did not have surface blisters, yet the bread with some WW in does.  Is it the flour or my techniques? 

Thanks for any help that folks can give me.

Okay, I baked and here is what it looks like, ugly but tasty.

 The blisters are there on the crust again - next shot is the crumb

Shiao-Ping's picture

Sourdough from Taipei

The Setting:       Stormy Queensland rain (Cyclone Oswald passing through)

                             Fresh greenery against a thick grey sky

                             Cozy tearoom

Time:                  Mid-morning

Music:                 “The Ground,” Tord Gustavsen


The world out there is blowy but inside my tearoom the air is sweet.



A bird came to visit on the railing outside:



My baking has not stopped. Such a delight to be able to create:



This bread was my very first sourdough baked in Taiwan. My family and I spend a lovely Christmas and New Year holiday in Taipei. My oven is Bosch there. I used no steaming mechanism. Spray can did the trick for me on this bread. I did not aim to make a perfect bread, just a bread.



We thoroughly enjoyed the bread, but I had no hesitation to put my starter away. On holidays these days I prefer not to spend too much time in the kitchen. Maison Kayser and Frédèric Lalos Bakery are both in Taipei and their breads are very good standards.

During this last trip to Taiwan, I made an effort to go to A-Li-Shan Mountain in the central island region to see the ancient red cypress trees. The oldest alive in Taiwan is estimated to be 2,700 years old.  Look at the stats below:



Age: approx. 2,700 years old

Height: 43 meters

Circumference: 20 meters

Altitude: 2,350 meters


There are about 20 of these ancient giant red cypresses, ages ranging from 1000 to 2700 years old.  The Japanese left them untouched at the turn of the last century because back then these trees were already hollow in the middle and were considered to have no economic values.  The Japanese ran a massive logging industry in Taiwan during their 50 years of occupation before the end of the Second World War.  The red cypresses were shipped back to Japan for use in their temples and their Emperor’s residences.  

It was not possible to take a good shot at the giant tree; I apologize for the poor quality.  It was very early morning and the sky was still dark blue.  As the morning progressed, I was able to take beautiful shots of the mountains and the sea of clouds:






The holiday is now over.  My daughter is in San Francisco on an exchange program for the first half of the year, and my son is in full swing preparing for a medicine exam in March.  Christmas tree was folded and put away for another year:




BobS's picture

Simple Baker Trick: Proofing Box

Flour, water, salt, time, and temperature. The right combinations of those variables, plus technique, make good bread.

Along with a few simple tricks.

I've learned how to make pretty good bread from this forum. This is the first of a set of posts describing a few of the things I've learned. Maybe they will help somebody new.

Here in New Hampshire temperature can be a problem. Like this week when the overnight low was -6F and the temperature in our kitchen was 55F. Yeast growth is really dependent on temperature and there is a happy zone in the 70-80F range. A proofing box gives me the control over temperature. There are several threads on proofing boxes on TFL. and there are commercial products. I made one, mostly with stuff I had around the house.  It was one of the things that made a big difference in my ability to make consistent bread. Here it is in pictures.

I started with a cooler we had in the basement:

Any size will do, as long as it is 'big enough'. Then I added a 15W light bulb and socket, and a thermostat. Nothing fancy, just shoved it all in there. The extension cord coming out of the box is flat, rather than round, so it is not too badly squished. The light bulb could probably be smaller wattage. You do want it some distance away from the thermostat.

That's Earlene, my starter Fred's love child, bubbling in the middle after a warm and pleasant overnight stay. The thermostat is a Lux Pro PSP300. I got mine from Amazon:'s a little expensive, but it works well. I think their WIN100 model, which is a little cheaper, would work too.

I can also fit a proofing bucket for bulk fermentation in there:

Cambro buckets work very well for bulk fermentation. Make sure you get yours from a local restaurant supply rather than a 'bread enthusiast' web site: mine cost $6.

That's Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain, more or less, in there.

I usually retard my sourdoughs, for better flavor and scheduling. But sometimes I do the final proofing in the box. For that I built a little stand that lets me stack bread pans or bannetons.

The box is tight enough and the loaves are wet enough to create a nice humid atmosphere inside without the need to introduce additional humidity.

The thermostat works for both heating and cooling. Sometimes I use it to control a little portable electric cooler (which doesn't have a thermostat) when the fridge is full and I need to retard some dough.

Bread runs on its own schedule. A proofing box help it conform, to some extent, with yours.


Floydm's picture

Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid

My fight against scurvy (not really) and the wintertime blues (really) by baking fruity things continued today.  This time I went for raspberries and made a Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid using the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid formula on the site.

 Very very good, as expected!

Sjadad's picture

My Pugliese Capriccioso Attempt

I baked David's version of Pane Pugliese. I didn't have durum flour so I followed Peter Reinhart's suggestion in BBA and used 1/3 as much semolina. Otherwise I followed David to a "T". To be honest, I was a bit concerned about not scoring the loaf. I had visions of a tight, dense crumb.   I worried for nothing, as you can see.



anitasanger's picture

A nice Oklahoma sourdough boule photo

I created my own starter 3 years back by harvesting natural Oklahoma yeast. Lately I've been on a protein diet and haven't had the chance to make bread in several months. I pulled the ol' starter out this week and got a sponge going. I made a loaf last night and oh my how good it tasted! It's hard to beat homemade bread isn't it? Nothing's better than a warm house filled with the smell of bread on a cold winter's day! I'm a sourdough student for life!

Fred Rickson's picture
Fred Rickson

Starter from fridge to build: An example.

Many questions seem to revolve around feeding a starter (how much, how long, what temp, etc.) prior to baking, that I kept track today as I got ready for a build.  Maybe this will help someone.

I removed the quart Mason jar of starter, stirred the hooch back in, three weeks untouched,  half full of whole wheat starter, from the fridge at 9:30 AM.  Added three heaping tablespoons of  KA whole wheat flour and mixed in enough water to make a thick pancake mixture.  Room temp 70 degrees.  Jar was now 2/3 full.  No mixing and by 1:30 PM the starter reached the jar rim and was a mass of bubbles.  Stirred the starter well.Enough starter goes into the build to leave the Mason jar half full, and the jar goes directly back into the fridge until the next build.  So that's a timeline of one person's method.  I build for 3-5 days for a three loaf bake, rather than an overnight mix, so the balance of yeast to bacteria is not critical as I'll develop all of that over the next few days.  Enjoy.
joyfulbaker's picture

Musings from an almost CFO in CA: So now what?

OK, so I jumped right in and applied for a permit to become a cottage food organization.  I am excited, no denying that.  I was even the first person in the county (Sonoma, that is) to apply.  The lady in the office says I should be getting my registration permit next week.  So now there's a course to take (food handler), business records to be set up, advertising to be done, pricing to be mulled over and decided upon (yeah, that's a tough one!).  Maybe even a web site.  As I said, I am eager to get started, but this is a solo operation and the details are many.  I would appreciate any bits of wisdom, suggestions, stories of your experiences doing this, etc.  (No, I don't think I'm going the farmer's market route, just individual sales--I'm a type A who applied for a type A permit, that is, direct sales).

Hoping to hear from you,


Netvet007's picture

Boule with Poolish PreFerment from Flour Water Salt Yeast

I have started making bread from the book Flour Water Salt Yeast and am loving how they turn out.  Really delicious breads.  Highly recommend the book.  Bought an extra Dutch oven so I could make two loaves at once.   I've never had loaves turn out so nice.