The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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thegrindre's picture

My sourdough is too sour!

Hi all,

My recipe calls for 1 cup starter and 2 cups flour. After baking, this bread has a real bite of its own to it. Sheesh!

Question I have is, is there a way to tone it down some? I would like a much more milder smother twang.



Nominingi's picture

Trying to replicate whole wheat with whole wheatberry bread.

I'm from South Africa where every shop used to sell white, brown and wholewheat loaves. The wholewheat loaves were simple and delicious: wholewheat crumb with intact wheat berries for crunch. I have not found a recipe that enables me to replicate this bread, but the quest continues and helps me improve my bread baking skills hand over fist.


  • should the soft, white wheat berries I bought from a local mill be soaked before I add them to my whole wheat sourdough?
  • Does the addition of wheat berries mean that I have to increase my starter percentage
  • How does one incorporate hard red wheat berries whole: by soaking or boiling them first?

Thanks so much

BKSinAZ's picture

french kneading/stretch and fold problems.. taut dough

I've attempted  to use this stretch and fold technique many times

with this baguette recipe

But my dough is always to taut... (stretches very little). I even added more water to the recipe; little with the first loaf attempts, but today I added almost a 1/4 cup extra water.. I let the dough relax for a while and the dough then stretches one time and goes taut again. Can someone give me some insight to why?

I use KA flour, however I buy the flour from our local grocery store in bulk (5 or 6 five pound bags at a time) when it is on sale. Sometimes the all purpose is on sale and sometimes the bread flour is on sale. I then dump all the bags into a 5 gallon bucket with a screw on lid. So, the flour is a mixture of KA all purpose and bread. Could this be the issue? Could the recipe itself be the issue?

paleo4ever's picture


Ready for my second loaf, took advice got bread flour and whole wheat along with already having A.P flour and unbleached flour can i mix any of these together in a combination with a recipe of specific flour weights to achive a better rise and crumb,what would work best?   First loaf is gone :-)!!!!                                                                                                       

emkay's picture

Tartine 70% Whole Wheat with Walnuts

I've been craving a whole wheat loaf lately. After consulting Tartine Bread (aka book #2), I chose to make Chad's whole wheat complet which is 70% whole wheat flour. I increased the final dough's hydration from 80% to 85%. I used a not-so-young levain because I like it sour. Just for kicks I added some lightly toasted walnuts and walnut oil too. Mine didn't turn out as open and hole-y as the non-walnut WW one pictured in the book, but it sure tasted great. It was moist and hearty and filled with tons of walnut goodness.


Tartine's 70% Whole Wheat with Walnuts

Grams (Baker's Pct)

350 (70%) Whole wheat flour (Whole Foods Organic)

150 (30%) All-purpose flour (Central Milling ABC)

425 (85%) Water

10 (2%) Salt

100 (20%) Levain (100% hydration)

150 (30%) Walnuts (lightly toasted)

10 (2%) Walnut oil

Final dough: 1195 grams

Overall hydration: 86.3%

Prefermented flour: 9.1%

My levain (10 g starter + 50 g water + 50 g flour) was fermented for 12 hours at 70F. Autolysed the flours and water at 70F for 1 hour, then mixed in the levain and salt. After the levain and salt were well incorporated, I mixed in the walnuts and walnut oil. Bulk fermented at 75F for 3.5 hours with stretches and folds every 30 min during the first 2 hours.



Scaled 850 g for my oval brotform and the rest of the dough for a 3x5-inch loaf pan. Shaped and proofed at 75F. 3 hours for the brotform and 2 hours for the mini loaf pan. Baked the oval at 450F for 40 minutes (with steam during the first 20 minutes).



Baked the mini loaf at 450F for 25 minutes.



I always seem to have egg whites stashed away in my freezer. I think it's because I use the eggs yolks to make pasta carbonara (which is quite often). All those egg whites give me a perfect excuse to make macarons. Nothing too fancy this time. Plain and simple with a vanilla bean Swiss buttercream.




:) Mary

PS: Submitted to Susan's Yeastspotting.

pdurusau's picture

Two-Dough Bread from When French Women Cook - Measurement Caution


I made my first attempt on the two-dough bread from When French Women Cook today. Both doughs age at least three (3) days so this was just a mixing day.

A caution on the measurements, they aren't consistent. For example

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour (100g) (WRONG) as are all the flour measures except for all purpose flour. 

I had mixed all five flours by weight when I discovered the mistake. As is the dough looking more like dry concrete mix than dough. :(

For your future reference:

1/2 cup of all purpose (64.5g)

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour (60g)

1/2 cup of corn flour (65g)

1/2 cup of rye flour (51g)

1/2 cup of whole wheat (65g)

Anyway, I will have another go at it again tomorrow. It looks interesting.

Hope everyone is at the start of a great week!


TokyoTiger's picture

New saying hello from Tokyo

Just saying hello and show a white rye sourdough fresh out of the oven.

100 grams starter

400 grams very strong white flour 14%, 0.5 ash

100 grams rye flour

375 grams filtered water

10 grams sea salt

very gentle s&f every 30min x 8

bulk at room temp 3-5 hours

shape proof over night in the fridge 12-18 hours

bake preheated dutch oven 250c covered in a convection oven 20 min 230c 40-50 uncovered


bikeprof's picture

Toasting oats before making porridge

Anyone out there toasting grains before cooking them in porridge for porridge breads (a la Tartine)?

A while back Cook's Illustrated did one of their typical pieces on making the 'ultimate' oatmeal, and recommended lightly browning the oats (steel cut in this case) in butter prior to adding water.  I've done this and it did give the oatmeal a richer (go figure) and nuttier flavor. Not a huge game-changer, but a nice touch.

My experience dry toasting plain rolled oats doesn't seem to do a whole lot for them without adding other things to them (e.g. in making granola), but I'm now using a dry toasted batch in a Tartine Oat Porridge Bread now. We'll see what happens.

pmccool's picture

Hamelman's Whole Rye and Whole Wheat Bread

Consistency has much to recommend it but a person needs some variety in life, too.  Hence the first bake from this past weekend - Hamelman's Whole Rye and Whole Wheat bread.  Mostly.  It seems as though I've had more than my share of white breads in recent weeks.  It wasn't the result of any grand plan, just happenstance.  And they were good breads, too.  They just left me wanting something browner and grainier.  

In thumbing through Hamelman's Bread - 2nd Edition, I came across his Whole Rye and Whole Wheat bread.  It sounded like just the thing to break the white bread streak.  The formula is pretty straightforward:

Bread Flour  50%

Whole Rye Flour 25%

Whole Wheat Flour 25%

Water 68%

Mature sourdough culture  5%

Salt  1.8%

Yeast, fresh  1.25%  

In spite of the yeast in the formula, this is a sourdough bread.

I did take some liberties with both ingredients and process.  First, I left out the yeast.  That allowed for a fuller sourdough flavor and a slower rise, which fit better with the day's other activities.  The recipe calls for 6 minutes of mixing in a spiral mixer.  Wanting a close-textured crumb for sandwiches, I opted for approximately 18 minutes of hand kneading.  Finally, I mixed together the levain, the water for the final dough, and the whole wheat flour, allowing the mixture to sit for about an hour.  This gave the bran in the wheat flour an opportunity to absorb liquid and soften somewhat before I mixed in the bread flour and salt.

So, other than changing nearly half of the variables, it's exactly as Mr. Hamelman intended.

Since my starter had been refreshed the previous weekend and put back in cold storage, I simply used the called-for amount straight from storage to build the levain.  The mixed levain was covered and allowed to ferment overnight.  By the next morning, it had grown appreciably and was bubbly throughout.

As noted above, the final dough water and whole wheat flour were combined with the starter and the bowl covered.  After an hour or so, the salt and most of the bread flour were mixed in to make a rough dough.  The dough was then treated to an extended session of hand kneading.  Kneading was a bit of an effort.  Twenty-five percent rye flour, pre-fermented, equals sticky dough.  I had held back perhaps 20 or 30 grams of the bread flour in anticipation of needing it for bench flour.  That turned out to be a good call, as the dough wanted repeated flourings to stay manageable.  By not adding more flour or water than the formula called for, the dough was at the intended hydration level when kneading was complete.

Finally, it was covered and allowed to ferment for until approximately doubled, which only took slightly more than three hours.  The loaves were pre-shaped, rested, then shaped into batards, placed on parchment sheets, covered with plastic wrap and allowed to ferment without any side support.  Happily, there was a limited amount of spreading during the loaves fermentation.  With the warmer temperatures this time of year, the loaves were ready to bake in less than three hours.

The loaves were slashed, then baked with steam at 460F for 15 minutes.  After that, the temperature was turned down to 440F for another 20 minutes of baking.  At that point, the loaves had reached 208F internal temperature, so they were removed from the oven.

Oven spring was good, with slightly more than a doubling in height from the unbaked loaf.  The slashes opened up very cleanly, with no tearing.  As always, I need more practice to get uniform cuts.

I'm becoming a fan of Hamelman's penchant for bold bakes.  While I won't push as far as he does, getting a dark crust and browning of the grigne is as pleasing to my tongue as it is to my eyes.

The resulting crumb was very much what I wanted, well aerated but able to retain condiments:

This bread is more to my liking than the Vermont Sourdough and its variants from the same book.  It has a significantly higher wholegrain flour content, for one.  The blend of rye and wheat seems tastier than either one alone, too.  Even at 68% hydration and 50% wholegrain flour content, the crumb is pleasantly moist.  It's close to a week now since I baked the bread and it shows no sign of staling.  My wife sliced some today and made a bruschetta of sorts with a balsamic-fig reduction spread on the bread and scattered bits of goat cheese.  That was toasted in the the toaster oven and, oh, my, was it good!

The good news is that this is a bread worthy of being in the regular baking rotation.  The bad news is that there are so many other good breads in Bread that I don't know when I might get back to it.


wassisname's picture


I finally got a chance to answer Karin’s latest challenge.  It was a good one and left me with a good loaf of bread, too!


Trying to come up with a loaf that would reflect the history of it all was a little too daunting, so I asked myself what sort of bread I would serve to the iron handed knight now.  What kind of loaf would I bake if he was standing in my kitchen?  (Any kind he wants!!)  Something with flavors of home but maybe a little more modern in style.  It didn’t take long to decide on a combination of barley, oats and flaxseeds in a medium-wholegrain sort of wheat dough.  It sounded good to me, anyway!  This loaf was baked as one large round.  I think I’ll split it next time, but for this bake the big round seemed appropriate.  The method was a little harder to decide on.  My first thought was good, old-fashioned hand kneading, but the man inspiring the bread is clearly no stranger to a little mechanical assistance, so I let the mixer do the work.


The result was as good as I could have hoped for.  The crumb was surprisingly light and soft and the flavor complex, though distinctly sour.  I prefermented quite a bit of the flour without really thinking it through.  I think it worked well against the other flavors, but for non-sour lovers it would probably be a bit much and the amount of leaven should definitely be reduced.  Barley flakes in place of the barley meal would be another change worth trying.  I think I would have opted for that from the start if I had had any barley flakes. 

All in all a worthy bread, I think, one I will be baking again.  I got a good response from everyone who tried it so I’ll make plenty for sharing.  If anyone doesn’t like it?  Well… thanks to Götz, now I know just what to say! :)