The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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kensbread01's picture

My starter not starting?

I've been cultivating a starter now for about two weeks according to the steps given in Tartine Bread.  Today I tried the float test after a night of letting the leaven ferment.   It failed the test.   Book says to move to warm environment, which I did in my toaster oven for about an hour.... set to 200, then turned off before placing leaven in oven.  It still failed the float test.  Not one to give up easily, I added some quick rise yeast (about 4 grams) some water (about 1/4 cup @ 90 degrees), and added to the leaven... mixed it up good and let it sit for awhile before adding it to my 500 grams of flour.

I am doing a 1/2 recipe so if I blow it, I'm not wasting a lot of flour and creating more bird food.

My last attempt I used the leaven that failed the float test and my bread did not rise as expected. I believe it ran out of gas so to speak and I ended up with croutons for Thanksgiving.

Questions:  If I am doing everything like the book says... feeding on regular schedule, etc. and my float test continues to fail, should I scrape this way making leaven and try something else?

My bread is currently on the first 1/2 hour of bulk fermentation as I type this.

kensbread01's picture

Caibrating EatSmart scale or replacing with something else

I bought an inexpensive ($25) scale from Amazon 2 years back and now I'm wondering how accurate it is.  It will measure down to grams, but not a tenth of a gram.   I wonder if there is a way to calibrate these scales.  I checked with the company who makes the scale and their web site is pretty ugly, no help there it would seem.

So maybe I should try a better scale?  Not sure what to do.   I am suspicious this scale is off based on a measurement I did of a guitar slide that weighed much less than it should have.  I was told that the weight of this stainless steel slide was very accurate from the manufacturer.    Maybe I am getting too anal about this, but I don't want all my measurements to be 10% off... could cause a problem with baking.


Any suggestions?

kensbread01's picture

Need good serrated knife for cutting bread

The one we have now is probably 8 years old, still very sharp but I'm having trouble getting thru a hard crust.  As many of you know, a dull knife is a dangerous thing to use.  I'm looking to get a better serrated knife wonder if anyone has any recommendations.  



Ken in Illinois

ichadwick's picture

Baker's percentage question

Been working through recipes trying to convert them to percentages, but I have a question I need help with, please...

Salt and yeast percentages: are they calculated against the TOTAL weight (TW) or against the total FLOUR weight (TFW) like water?

For example, based on TFW: Flour 500g, therefore: water 75% (375g), Salt 1.5 (7.5g), yeast 1.5 (5g)

I'm trying to make a simple spreadsheet to help me calculate this stuff, since I can't find an easy one ready made.



kensbread01's picture

Would like to purchase freshly milled flour, Chicago Area

Hi,  I am new to this forum but have been baking bread for many years and have recently been going with the Tartine Bread formula by Chad Robertson.  I've been using store bought flower, some of it has been in the cub board for over a year and I would like to use fresh milled flour to see how much flavor is added.  Without running out an buying a flour mill, I would prefer to buy a few pounds locally but do not know where I can get any milled to order without doing a shipping thing.   Does anyone here know of where I can buy freshly milled flour locally?  I live in Elgin, about 40 miles west of Chicago.





ichadwick's picture

Flour weights

I'm playing around with some recipes trying to convert measures into weights which I can then translate into percentages. I took out several of the flours I have on hand and did some measurements this morning. Here's what I came up with.

Each is the weight in grams of one cup. I filled the measuring cup full and used a knife edge to clear out the excess:

1 cup/grams:
Unbleached white: 166
Rye: 110
12 grain mix: 153
9 grain mix: 150
Red Fife: 168
Kamut: 171
Spelt: 140
Malted barley: 128
Durham semolina: 165

I realize these figures will depend on both my rather random accuracy at swiping, local humidity and the phase of the moon... but are they reasonably close to what other members have come up with?

I was surprised rye was so much lighter.


dosco's picture

SD Causes Migraines?

So my family has been enjoying my SD loaves despite the fact that I'm having seriously mixed results. The last 2 weekends my wife has been experiencing migraines (after eating SD bread and SD waffles) ... yesterday she googled "causes for migraines" and came up with a site that indicated SD and "fresh yeast breads" can cause migraines.

Is this true? What is the cause ... could it be gluten? Or is it something to do with the yeast and LAB in the SD starter?

I'm curious.


Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Cold water and yeast

"Dry yeast requires warm water (about 110°F.) to activate it by enabling it to absorb water and swell. Cold water will kill it."—Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Pie and Pastry Bible

Is this true? I would think that the yeast would simply slow down or go dormant. 


BrianOD's picture

Calculate flour amount in starter

I'm trying to calculate the amount of flour (and water) in a certain number of grams of starter. The hydration is at 60%. I know that in 160 grams of starter, there are 100 g of flour and 60 of water, but what if I have a smaller or larger amount of starter in my recipe?

Here's the calculation
F= amount of flour
T = Total weight of starter
H=Hydration percentage
(F*H)=amount of water


T is known
H is known
I'm trying to solve for F and thereby find W (Water amount)

I just want to say that this website has been tremendously helpful, both in information and moral support. I'm baking loaves these days that I'm very pleased with and am now trying to "tweak" my formulas on a spreadsheet for timing and adjusting overall hydration.





BakingBad23's picture


The french cookies!

I thoroughly love making these. These are French Macarons (little sandwich like cookies)

These cookies are completely gluten free - they're made with Almond flour. Normally, the color of the shell designates the flavor.

(from left to right) Chocolate Ganache, Pistachio Buttercream, Raspberry, and Lemon Rose.

The key is the process of mixing and the baking of the cookies! The fillings are entirely up to you :)