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RonRay's picture

Apricot Yeast Water Test Loaf

Apricot Yeast Water Test Loaf  [Update:110530-1000] 

   If you are unfamilar with Yeast Waters, and wild yeast, you may wish to view

Yeast Water & Other Wee Beastie Bubbles (No Math)

This was my first chance to test Apricot Yeast Water. I have intend to for a while, but wanted to wait for fresh fruit to be available. I did find some this week and started a culture with 3 of the small fresh apricots, jump-started the culture with a bit of my Apple YW.

I have heard that the dark dried apricots make a very strong levain – the more common dried fruit that are a yellowish orange have been treated with sulfur-containing compounds to keep their color (and kill the WBBs). So, the only dried apricots to use are the dark brown unsulfured fruit. Not wishing to waste time and effort, I wanted fresh, organic apricots, which start being available May through August in the northern hemisphere.

I was impressed with how fast the culture became active, and equally surprised how fast the activity ended. I tasted the YW to see if, somehow , it had gotten too alcoholic so fast. All I detected was no noticeable sweetness, and decided it must be a lack of sugar. I dropped in a sugar cube and within a very short time it became very active – so much so, that I feared the foamy head might fill the remaining air space in the glass container. It did not take long before the activity decreased nearly as fast as it had restarted.

It only took a few trials to conclude the apricot WBBs have a real thing about sugars. So, I decided to do a test of the leavening strength of the new culture. I took a small quantity of just the water, about 20g and mixed it with an equal amount of AP flour. I set this up with a clock beside it, and in front of a time lapse digital video recorded. You can see the results on YouTube, Link:

The result was a doubling in about 2 hours. Certainly a good showing for a brand new YW culture. So, a test loaf seemed quite justified.

I started the Apricot Yeast Water Levain (AYWL) builds. Details of my standard test loaf can be found here:

Details of this loaf are in the table below:

A copy of my personal test log can be found at Google Doc Link:

I had some surprises in store, however. I generally, hold each of my chosen 3-build levain developments to a 24 hour period. Instead, a late afternoon to early evening completed Builds-#1, and #2 with #3 started and placed in retard at 40ºF/4.4ºC for an overnight. Details can be found in the log.


The next morning, I did the shaping that basically matches the pan bread version detailed by txframer here:

The dough pan was covered with food cap and place in the proof box at 82ºF/27.8ºC. Most loaves that I do, which are similar to these conditions, will need a 6 hour final proof. I was rather shocked when at 4½ hours I found it was as high as any “normal” fully proofed dough. I did a rapid catch-up and dough was in the DO, with the cup of boiling water, and into the oven, within a 5 minute period. Again, details can be found in the PDF log.

From a cold oven start and oven set to max (450ºF/232ºC) in the DO it was steamed for 20 minutes. Lid removed at 20 minutes and the temperature dropped to 400ºF/204ºC with a total of 45 minutes for the baking.

The finished loaf had an internal 207.7ºF/97.6ºC and a hot weight of 437g – down 8% during the baking. The loaf was cooled on wire for over an hour, before cutting.

The loaf had a very nice aroma, but neither taste, nor smell indicated the apricot components in the loaf. The crumb color was softly off-white in the orange-brown range, but only in a small degree. Texture was moist and softer than my general SD loaves. A pleasantly fruity, slightly sweetish flavor. The top crust portion was chewier than I would have expected, but quite acceptable.

   I should, also mention, I could detect no tang at all. I had expected a bit from the apricot flavor itself. But, any tang vanished along with any apricot specific flavor.


The crumb was exactly as expected, given the 60% HL (hydration level) and the highly developed windowpane test it was kneaded to.

Based upon this single test loaf, apricot WBBs develop much stronger levain than any I have seen before. The Apricot YW rise times are somewhere between 25% faster, or if you are one of  the half empty glass types, the other Yeast Waters are 33% slower ;-)

Update:110530-1000I have just had a couple additional slices of this Apricot YW loaf. In the 23 hours since baking, there has been a flavor change. It is still quite pleasant, but definitely less sweetness. The change is hard to describe, but while it is NOT "astringent", that is the closest word I can think of to describe the very slight difference in flavor. My initial reaction was 'use a bit less than 2% salt, next time'.


tssaweber's picture

Did I hit the jackpot?

For quite some time now I gave up trying to find the European type flour “Ruchmehl” or “Halbweissmehl” here in the US, even though I still believe that the farmer’s style breads and rustic hard rolls would need this flour.

Two days ago browsing through Costco I found this flour and reading the label I felt this could be it.



 Two 10 pound bags for a little bit more than $6 was also a very good price and it is unbleached and not enriched, so let’s give it a try!

Coming home I prepared a preferment and later in the afternoon mixed the dough. No cold retardation for this time because I was too curious to taste the rolls and didn’t want to wait. The result was and tasted awesome!


Happy baking!



For the interested bakers:

Update from my trip up North:

PMcCool's picture

Must be time for croissants

There was a bit of frost on the grass here in Pretoria overnight and the temperature inside the house at 6:30 this morning was a bracing 55ºF.  By 3:30 this afternoon, the indoor temperature had rocketed all the way up to 57ºF!  Another day or two of this and the granite counter tops in the kitchen should be chilled enough to handle laminated doughs with no risk of butter breakouts.  That, of course, assumes that the butter block is soft enough to be malleable.  I may have to set it out in the sun for a few minutes...


tc's picture

Cold rise with poor results

Hey guys. I've been making Bouabsa's baguettes but having a problem with the loaves not rising well. The yeast is added the first day, then it's supposed to rise in the fridge. My dough does not rise, and when I shape it it also does not rise. I get minimal oven spring as well. The final baguette is rather squarish in circumference, instead of a roundish shape. I get awesome open crumb and crunchy crust, tastes great, but it's the lack of rising that I've been wrestling with lately. It seems like the yeast dies in the fridge. Any thoughts?

ps, also have a hard time scoring, which others on this forum say might be due to over proofing. So if I let it rise longer out of the fridge might make the scoring problem worse?

nasv's picture

retarding bulk-fermentation, when stretch-and-fold?

Hi everyone... I recently picked up the Tartine Bread book, country artisan bread is my favorite and I'm working on working the process to my schedule.  Very simplified, with an active starter, this is how I breakdown the major steps in Chad Robertson's process:

  1. Create leaven from starter
  2. Mix dough and rest/autolyse, then add salt + some water
  3. Bulk fermentation (3-4 hours at warm ambient temperature); during bulk fermentation do stretch-and-fold about ever 30 minutes for the first 2-3 hours
  4. Divide, form into rounds, bench rest
  5. Form final loaf shapes, proofing/final-rise (3-4 hours)
  6. Bake, rest, eat

In trying to tailor this to my schedule, I understand that I can retard the final-rise in the fridge, then take it out of the fridge to warm up a little bit, and then into the oven for baking... but the book also suggests retarding during bulk fermentation.

I think in my ideal schedule, I'd like to mix the leaven on day-1 morning, and then begin bulk fermentation during the evening and let it go the night (to be followed with day-2 final-rise/proofing and baking).  I understand I can bulk-ferment with cooler water, or even stick the dough in the fridge to retard the process (what I'd likely do).  My question is where/when does the S&F fit into this?  Especially if I should do this every 30 minutes for a few hours... is the need minimized with the longer fermentation?  Do I need to do this just a few times before setting aside for colder longer fermentation?  S&F a few times, instead, before dividing into rounds and bench rest?





breadsong's picture

Chive Blossom Bread

Hello, I tried making Chive Blossom Bread this week.
A lucky venture to the local mill yielded a new-to-me flour product: purple wheat flour (sold as Anthograin).
Purple chive blossoms and purple flour are combined in this bread, with no resulting purple color in the finished bread whatsoever :^)

The baked breads (I tried scoring chives on one loaf and stencilled chives on another; the loaves at the front were scored to make them look like chive blossoms (the little one was snipped with scissors) – didn’t really turn out like I’d hoped!):
 The purple flour:


My chive patch is just coming into blossom, with pretty little purple flowers.
Individually, the chive flowers look like lilies to me :^)

Chive blossoms have a very delicate oniony flavor; I've infused vinegar with them and enjoyed the blossoms sprinkled over salads.  Not sure how their flavor would hold through a bake, I also added chopped chives to the dough.
These are the chive blossoms I added to the dough:
The base dough is Pugliese, from Advanced Bread and Pastry, using 20% purple wheat flour both in the sponge and final dough, an extra ounce of water, and a generous teaspoon of chive blossom vinegar (thanks to Karin for this idea; her recent post, using vinegar as an ingredient, is here).

The sponge and final dough had some nice purple color:

Here are some crumb shots. The flavor is nice and oniony!
 bits of chive in the crumb:  

see the little chive blossom peeking out?

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong




MadAboutB8's picture

Tartine's Morning Bun - best eaten fresh in the morning, every morning


I came across the famous Tartine Morning Buns when I was searching for croissant images of Tartine Bakery (as I was on my mission to perfect the croissant making, I figured I should look up to the best:))

The buns received rave reviews on the blogosphere and I was curious to find out myself how good they are. I just bought Tartine cookbook (the pastry version) recently and look forwards to Morning Bun recipe. However, the recipe wasn’t included in the book.  I managed to locate the recipe online on 7x7 website. The bun is an indulgence version of cinnamon rolls and made with laminated (croissant) dough. That’s perfect, another recipe I can try to keep practicing on croissants.  The rolls are filled with the mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for success, buttery flaky pastry filled with orange cinnamon sugar? Indeed, it was the success. It tasted soooo good, pure heaven.

 The rolls were baked in muffin tin coated with butter and sugar, which gave it sticky caramelised bottom. A nice touch to the buns.

 Though I enjoyed the bun made with croissant dough, I had the feeling that sweet bread dough should have been used in the recipe instead of laminated dough. A close look at the actual Tartine's Morning Buns gave me that impression. The bun didn’t have layers of pastry. It was simply a bread bun. Moreover, baking laminated dough in muffin tins somehow limited its ability to expand. As a result, the pastry didn’t achieve its full flakiness potential and became slightly doughy, especially the parts that were sitting inside the muffin cup. If I am to make these Morning Buns again (which I’m sure I will), I will make them with sweet bread dough or brioche dough instead.

 Full post and recipe is here (


bobchristenson's picture

Earth oven collapse

Well this sucks. After many days (and a few dollars) I finished my earth oven last friday. Two layers (thermal and insulation with straw mix). I didn't have time to cover it and it rained heavily today completely collapsing both layers of the top of the dome.

Now what?

I had to buy fireclay and I don't want to have to do that again so reuse is crucial. . Anyone have ideas for rebuilding without refilling it with sand (which would basically be impossible, plus my sand is now gone that I used the first time)? I don't want to tear it all down because I think I'll lose too much clay and end up with straw mixed throughout.

If I have to tear it all down I may just rebuild with firebrick instead of earth.

Any help or sympathy?

varda's picture

Suggestions for using Whole Durum flour?

I recently bought a large bag of Atta Durum flour.   I didn't really need a 20 lb bag in my closet - already have too many small bags there - but there it is.   I have been making semolina this and semolina that and don't really want to make that all the time, so I am looking for suggestions on how to combine this flour with others in a nice way.   For instance, does it play well with whole wheat flour, rye?    Or is that just weird.    Looking for suggestions....   Thanks.

teketeke's picture

Tomato pretzel with tomato yeast water and the thin pocky and crackers.

Actually, Japanese call this "Tomato pretzl", I think that is come from pretzel. So, I will write it Pretzel here that is understandable for everyone, even though it doesn't look like pretzel that I usually get here. The texture is very crispy and keep the crispiness for days as same as Ron's *sourdough cracker. They all gone within a couple days. So I don't know the thing exactly. Ron's great formula

( *Here:

and ,I made a Japanese snack, Pocky recently ( Here: ) After I posted strawberry pocky,  Robyn (RobynNZ )who gives us great information on TFL told me the great link of the pocky that we can make at home.  Thank you for all your help, Robyn. ( Bowー お辞儀)  ( Here : )  That motivated me to make thinner strawberry pocky. Although I was intrigued to make healthier one because my daughter tends to suffer with irregularity.  My brother and mother who are in Japan love Tomato pretzel which is used tomatoes and vegetables..   Tomatoes? Yes, I made tomato pretzel with tomato yeast that I used jump-start with my raisin yeast water.It is very thin sticks that I really wanted to make.     Here is the recipe: Ingredients: Levain:
  • Smashed ( 20g raisin yeast water + 80g grape tomatoes by FP )+ filtered water =100g
  • KA AP 100g
  • Honey 16g

* Note:  After I smashed the tomatoes with raisin yeast water by FP and taking them out, the actual weight was 82g around. So I added 18g filtered water to get total 100g.

Final dough:
  • 216g levain
  • 108g KA AP ( Levain 216 x0.5=108)
  • 43g butter
  • 4.3g salt
  • 0.6g black pepper ( as you like)
  • 0.4g vegetable broth powder or consomme powder ( as you like)

Optional : Topping for sesami seeds

  1. Make the levain : leave it at room temperature at 70F for 14-16 hours until doubled   The grape tomatoes + raisin yeast water + filtered water mixture. After I made the levain.                             .  Doubled.           
  2. Note: You can keep it in the refrigerator to adjust for you baking schedule.                                                                                       * I haven't left the dough for more than 4 hours. It may be suffered from sour if you leave it for 24 hours. My point is that not to get the levain hungry                                                                                                                                                                            
  3. Mix the levain with the final dough: Mix all the ingredients and knead until passing a window pane.                                            
  4.  Bulk fermentation: 4-5 hours until doubled at 73 F around.
  5.  Preheat & shape : Preheat the oven at 400F/200℃. Dump the dough in some sesami seads both sides and flatten the dough as much as you can. .                                                                                                                             2mm thick.                                                                                                                    
  6.  Make the string: Cut the dough to make a string by a pizza cutter or a knife.                                        
  7. Make thin and long strings: Roll the string using both hands like rolling the pie dough.
  8.  Bake : 380F/ 193℃ for 10-11 minutes until golden brown. Light yellow is not ready to take out of the oven yet. It may not be crispy ...                                                                                                                                                                                        
Note: When I make this tomato pretzel, I measure the levain's actual weight before mixing the final dough. I got this idea from Ron ( Ronray's great sourdough crackers) Thank you, Ron!Example:
  1.  Actual levain weight : 200g
  2.  200 x 0.5 = 100g -- Final dough's flour
    Threfore, Final dough:
  • Flour  200g ( 100g levain's flour + 100g final dough's flour which means the actual levain amount)               100%
  • Butter  40g                                                                                                20%
  • Salt  4g                                                                                                        2%
  • Black pepper 0.6g                                                                                    0.3%
  • Consomme or vegetable broth powder 0.4g                                              0.2%


Thin pocky turned out crackers:

 When I achieve to make thin pocky that I want, I made a mistake at the shaping process. It ended up crackers.. but I though it will be good and easy to make. 

Here is how I made:

#Strawberry mix yeast water#   Smashed all the 4 ingredients by FP               

  • Raisin yeast water                20g
  • Fresh strawberries              5 pieces
  • Fresh lime juice                  2 drops
  • Honey                                 27g   

After taking out the yeast mixture from the FP ----Total 160g  



  •    Strawberry mixed yeast water         160g 
  •     KA AP                                               160g

 Final dough

  • Levain  287g ( that was the actual weight from the total levain 320g)
  • KA AP  144g
  • Butter     72g
  • Salt       5.2g
  • Sugar    8g

For topping    Some walnuts ( as you like)  or you can use any kind of nuts you like ..



1.    Make the levain : leave it at room temperature at 70F for 14-16 hours until tripled.  * strawberry mix yeast will rise well.

*  Note: You can keep it in the refrigerator to adjust for you baking schedule. * I haven't left the dough for more than 4 hours. It may be suffered from sour if you leave it for 24 hours. My point is that not to get the levain hungry

2.  Mix the levain with the final dough: Mix all the ingredients and knead until passing a window pane.

3. Bulk fermentation: 3-4 hours until doubled at 73 F around.   *It fermented faster.

4. Preheat & shape : Preheat the oven at 400F/200℃. Dump the dough in some walnuts or any kind of nuts that you like both sides and flatten the dough as much as you can. .   ** This method for when you use tiny seeds or making crackers!   To make pocky shape with bigger topping, It should be shaped before using the nuts. ***

  Chopping the walnuts...

 Dipping the dough in the walnuts..   That is not for shaping a stick!!  roll the dough until it is 3 mm thick.

  So I cut it into cracker -shape.  I also tried to make a stick .. but it was really hard.. because the big walnut doesn't stay in the dough nicely.. 

 I made holes in the cracker to have some air to make it good texture ( crispier)when I bite.

5. Bake : 380F/ 193℃ for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. Light color crust is not ready to take out of the oven yet. It may not be crispy ...  This oven temperature will be vary depends on your oven.  * If the crackers are not crispy enough even it is cooled, You can bake them again that will be super crispy. 

6. Place them on the rack to cool. When it is completely cool, put melted white chocolate in a ziplock and cut an edge like a triangle shape then drizzle it over the crackers.

 I still made the pocky but it was irregular shapes... I will update it when I am succeeded.

  It was the best flavor so far.. 


* In summer, This chocolate doesn't firm quickly, so I put them in the refrigerator. I also keep them in the refrigerator too when ants are looking for food in my house !   but, when I put the pocky with chocolate to firm in the refrigerator as soon as I drizzled, the chocolate didn't stick to the pocky. so I recommend to leave the pocky with the chocolate for 20 minutes before putting in the refrigerator.

Next day:  I tried another thin pocky again. Yesterday's crackers above were gone within the day I made. My son shared some of them with his friends.  I felt little guilty to give my daughter the kind of sweets..  Next time, I want to try Pizza pretz !! Thank you for reminding me! :P Great idea, Sue!

  Here is the result:


This ingredients are as same as the crackers above.  The method is almost the same with the cracker too except the shaping and   baking methods.

* Shape-  Roll it out until the dough thick is 3 mm around without any topping,and make a string shape, then dipping the string in the topping.

*Bake at 380F for 12-13 minutes until slightly golden brown. 


You can use any topping , any kind of chocolate for your taste and convenience.



Happy baking,