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AdelK's picture

My rye starter is ill...

Hi all

I need some urgent medical input for my seriously ill rye sourdough starter. I'd left it in the fridge since Tuesday and I decided to give it a feed last night. As I stirred the starter I noticed that it had a tinge of redness to it, I wouldnt call it red but rather just a shade of pink almost. I did the normal feed and left it in my room overnight. This morning when I woke up I was alarmed to the fact that it had hardly grown after 12 hours!! It has probably just grown to about 1/8th the original height now. I'm seriously worried about it because normally it would have doubled in height overnight. What should I do now? Should  I give it another feed or wait for to double? I have a feeling that is never going to happen.. I can see small bubbles forming in the starter but it's just not increasing in volume.

I have to confess that I just found out that the communal kettle in my kitchen has got lots of debris in there and I have been using half boiled warm water from that kettle for my starter. Could that have been the reason? It was fine with the same water in the first few feeds it's only since last week that things started to go a little pear shaped. Back then I'd left it in the fridge for too long without feeding and it had half an inch of alcohol on the surface. I fed it and it grew fairly well overnight(though not exaclty doubled or like how it used to be) and I left it in the fridge on Tuesday.

By the way it doesn't smell like it's gone off and neither has it gone mouldy.

Any advice is much appreciated!



Conjuay's picture

Shelf life of buttermilk

Forgive the fool his question, but how do you know when buttermilk has turned bad? I intend to eventually buy some powdered BM, but until then I need to know when it has spoiled! I mean, it smells bad at the get-go, and tastes like it has already spoiled even when fresh.


cjjjdeck's picture

Where to buy wheat berries in the Northeast?

I am a new member and this is my first post.  This site seems to have great information and the members seem very knowledgeable and are quick to help.

I didn’t find a more recent post of this subject (2009/2010 posting is what I found) and the one I saw didn’t really help much for the Northeast area.  So I figured I’d post it myself.  I apologize if I missed a more recent post on this subject.

I’m venturing into the world of fresh ground flour to bake bread.  I live in Northern NJ and am finding it hard to find/buy wheat berries within the state (or tri-state even).  I ordered my first batch of hard red and white wheat berries that I’m experimenting with from Amazon (being a Prime member helped the overall price).  I obviously will be interested in buying larger quantities if my experimenting is successful (my first seed culture seems to going OK so far....). 

So here’s the obvious question:

Where do members from the Northeast, that mill their own flour, buy their wheat berries from?  

I’m struggling to find sources that aren’t from the Mid-west and/orPacific Northwestareas to maybe save on shipping charges and get better pricing on bulk purchases.


Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Makememycake's picture


In my blog you can find tutorials of how to make different types of cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops, with some amazing recipes. I will tell also the story behind every great cake.

linder's picture

Sourdough Oat Bread Take 2

Okay, I got rid of the baking soda in the bread.  It doesn't taste like baking soda anymore.  I added 1/4 cup honey to the bread instead of diastatic malt, added zest of one orange and one more cup of oatmeal substituted for about that much flour. 

Results- better but still not a loaf to write home about, rather bland in flavor.  My husband says it's not near as flavorful as the 100% whole wheat bread from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.  Hmmm, what to do next? 

A little more salt? I'm using about 2 tsp. for 2 loaves.  I'm thinking of uping the whole wheat flour and doing a preferment of wild yeast starter like the WGB bread and putting together an oats soaker as well a la Reinhart.  Is it the oats that make the bread so ho-hum?

Or maybe just forget this recipe, because it seems like by the time I've tweaked it there won't be much left of the original.  Any ideas for improving the flavor profile of this loaf gratefully accepted.



SylviaH's picture

Irish Buttermilk Bannock

This is an Irish bread very similar to an Irish Soda bread, except an authentic Irish Soda bread only has flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda in it's ingredients.  

Since I have 'Sylvia's Irish Soda Bread' recipe on my blog.  I wanted to add the Irish Buttermilk Bannock as well.  Here it is a very traditional type bannock, which includes raisins or currants and eggs.  Quick, easy and tasty to whip up to enjoy at teatime or anytime.

Irish Buttermilk Bannock

Pre-heat Oven 350F

4 Cups of All Purpose Flour -  125 gms. = l cup AP Flour  - You can use a little less or more.  

3 tsp. Baking Powder - Fresh

1 tsp. Salt

3/4 tsp. Baking Soda

1 Cup  Currants or Raisins  -  I used golden and dark raisins - fresh and moist

2 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk - 1 Cup Buttermilk = 240 grm - 8.5 oz - I used 390 gms and little extra flour

In a deep bowl.  Sift or wisk together your dry ingredients and mix in the raisins.

Mix the 2 Eggs into your Buttermilk.  A large measuring cup comes in very handy.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.

Pour in the buttermilk and egg mixture

Quickly and gently blend until the mixture is moistened and comes just together.

Scrape the mixture out onto a well floured surface.

With floured hands.  Press gently together and give it a very gently kneading...I do about 3, while shaping into a disk.

Shape into about 2-3 inches high disk and place into one lightly greased pie pan.

With a large kitchen knife.  Cut a cross down as far on the sides as you can go.

Bake about 1 hour and a quarter.  Until nice and browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool about 15 min. and remove from pan.

I enjoy a slice, while still slightly warm.  Very tasty with jam and butter, plain or toasted.







Happy St. Patrick's Day!










d_a_kelly's picture

Colomba Pasquale from Iginio Massari

Hi Everybody,

this is my first post on TheFreshLoaf, though I've been starting in amazement at everyone's baking for quite some time. This is my attempt at Iginio Massari's Colomba Pasquale recipe from his book "Non Solo Zucchero vol.II". I'm not sure if this book is available in English yet. I bought my copy in a shop in Milan. This version seems to be quite a bit richer than that found in Cresci, and presented me with a number of difficulties :) Please be kind!

First impasto tripled in volume

1st impasto

sourdough starter (50% hydration) 59

water 69

sugar 72

yolk 50

flour (very strong) 189

butter 79


All measurements are in grams. It took almost exactly 12 hours to triple in volume, held at c.28 degrees C. I then went to the second impasto. This was considerably more difficult, and I didn't get it quite right. The flour I'm using is the strongest I have been able to find in a UK supermarket and it's not a "00". I think it's somewhere in the region of w320 in terms of strength. The second impasto calls for a flour of w360 (something like the manitoba you can find in Italy). I couldn't find anything this strong in the shops. I added a guestimate of vital wheat gluten to try to balance the recipe, which wasn't entirely successful as you can see from the sloppy shaping in the paper case. The dough was still a little too sticky: very usefully "non solo zucchero" has photos in the back of the book showing all of the processes, and I could see that the colomba consistency was quite different from what I had achieved. 

2nd impasto

aroma veneziana 1.2

vanilla: a quarter of a pod

flour (very strong) 51

gluten powder 1.8

sugar 50

honey 22

yolk 35

salt 3.6

water 20

butter 112


I then took 795g of the impasto and added in 205g of candied orange. This version is very rich in fruit! I then split the dough into two balls of 500g and put them in my homemade proving box for an hour, at c.30 degrees C. and humidity of 70%.

Then, with very very well buttered hands, I shaped the two balls and put them in the form:


Back into the proving box for 6 hours and then it was ready to be glazed and go in the oven (170 for 50 minutes).

and then glazed and dusted


When it came out of the oven I suspended it upsidedown for about 12 hours. I was reasonably happy with the oven spring. Most recipes I've seen for colomba use less candied fruit, so I was expecting this not to grow quite so much. Not because the fruit would interfer with the yeast, but simply because there was less dough in the case (only 795g of impasto, rather than the 850g to 870g I've seen in other recipes).

I had a slice of it for breakfast this morning and I was quite happy. Soft and tasty crumb, packed with fruity, buttery flavour. I'd like to try this again using the recommended flours. I've found, from limited experiments, that strong 00 flours seem to produce a more plastic, slack dough, which I'm sure must contribute to the texture and feel of the crumb. However I'm not yet prepared to buy a 25kg bag of caputo rosso or similiar just to make the occasional colomba which only uses... what? 240g? 

Here's the crumb:

One thing I ought to add: in order to save a bit of money and waste, I used powdered egg yolks in this recipe rather than fresh yolk. The recipe here is written for use with fresh yolk. (If using powdered yolk, substitute 48% of the weigh of yolk with powder, and the remainder with water). I've not noticed any difference with quality. I've also used the powdered yolks to make creme anglaise and creme patisserie with success. The only downside is they don't have that extraordinary colour which I've seen in yolks in Italian eggs - something I'm told is a result of the diet and breed of chicken.

dabrownman's picture

SD YW multi-grain Bagels

The quest for the New Your bagel continues.   This time we lowered the hydration 2% to 56%, used more barley malt, used 27% whole grains (the bulk of which was whole wheat in the dough flour to try to mimic first clear flour) and we used AP with VWG since we didn’t have any bread flour.


We also changed the process around a little bit too.  We built a full strength SD starter out of whole grains, stiffened it up to 65% and then let it sit in the fridge for 3 days to get sour.  Then we built a levain from that using 15 g of seed and whole grain spelt, rye and WW.  We made the yeast waster levain separately and replaced the whole spelt with AP flour.


Once the two levains had doubled, the SD levain was placed into the bottom of the container and the YW levain was put on top of that and they were placed in the fridge together for 2 days.

The levains were removed from the fridge to warm up.  While they warming we autolysed the rest of the ingredients, including; the salt, malts and VWG for 2 hours after having kneaded them together.  Dough like this would kill the KA so hand kneading is always the wiser choice but a hard slog.

After the levains hit the autolyse it took a while to work then in the hard dough by squeezing it through the fingers.  Then we kneaded the dough until it was tough but silky smooth.  After a 1 hour rest we shaped the bagels around the knuckles at 135 g each and put them on semolina dusted parchment where they rested for 1hour before gong into the fridge for a 32 hour retard.


Sorry, cut into one for a taste while they were still quite warm.

After coming out of the fridge, we let the bagels proof on the counter for 4 hours.  The bagels doubled over that time and then we refrigerated them again for 1 ½ hours to stiffen them up.  Next time we will put them back in the fridge after 3 hours and let them cool for 2.  The bagels were gently boiled for 30 seconds each side, in water that had barley malt and baking soda in it, just to shock them awake. 


Bagel hole?  Made a little dough ball for floating to see if the bagels were ready to boil and that they too would float!

They were flipped on a kitchen towel to get rid of the excess water and then dunked into the seed mixture.  The 3 mixes this time were white, brown and black poppy, white and black sesame and a multi-seed and salt one comprised of the previous seeds plus oregano and basil seeds, black and brown caraway seeds, nigella seeds and kosher salt.  We made twice as many of the combo salt ones since they are our favorite.


Looks and cuts better when fully cooled,

The steam was supplied by 1 of Sylvia’s steaming pans and a 12” skillet with lava rocks and we used both stones to accommodate the 13 bagels and 1 small roll.   They baked with steam at 450 F for 8 minutes and then steam was removed and they baked for another 8 minutes at 425 F convection until they were deemed done and nicely browned.

Beautiful skies don't have to be sunsets or sunrises.  The sunset was great too!

After deflating in the boil they managed to puff themselves back up nicely in the steam.  These are getting very close to NY SD Bagels and would be way sourer without the YW in the mix to tone it down.  The blistered crust is crispy, the crumb chewy but the taste is near spot on too.  Even my wife is having one for breakfast today instead of Einstein’s.  Now that takes some doing.  We like this batch very much but will make some changes next time as we always do still searching for the perfect bagel that doesn’t exist.

I never eat two bagels at once but did when they came out of the oven yesterday - yummy!  Cream cheese schmear and buttered with minneola marmalade.


SD Starter

Build 1


SD Desem & Rye Sour






Whole Wheat



Dark Rye






Total Starter






YW Starter

Build 1


Yeast Water









Dark Rye
























Levain % of Total






Dough Flour



Whole Wheat






Dough Flour












Dough Hydration






Total Flour






T. Dough Hydration



Whole Grain %






Hydration w/ Adds



Total Weight






Add - Ins



Red Rye Malt



White Rye Malt



VW Gluten



Barley Malt







Wingnut's picture

Bread 3/12/13

Messing around with flavors I like and see if the will work in bread.

the first one is Toasted Fennel Seed and Roasted Carrots Whole Wheat.

The next is Flax and Sunflower Seed Whole Wheat.



gmagmabaking2's picture

We 3 gmas baked potato rolls

Just a bit of family history... we went with potato bread to honor our great grandmother Susan Isabel Congrove Smith... whom we were told was Irish and had flaming red hair... this would be my grandfather's mama on my mother's side.  So the potato rolls had a special meaning uniting the generations of gramma bakers in our family.  Being the one that tends to hurry through recipes... I divided my portions into 12... like I read... but did not then divide each into two or three.  So my rolls are gianormas... (ah, hmm) and Barb's and Helen's are more dinner rollish.  

 These are awesome tasting and big enough for your biggest monster burger... image one with cheddar all melted over it and grilled onions... (can you see the fat bunny??)

Helen made 28 of these beauties.  She said she is glad they will freeze well... I am betting she pairs these up with her homemade chicken soup.  They too taste awesome... we all used the same recipe for "Potato Rolls" from 

Funny thing, right at the top it says 24 servings... hmmm... This dough was very wet and had a great rise and bubbliness to it.  

Barb made 14 rolls weighing them at 3 oz. each... so given our uniqueness ;-) I am sure that size doesn't matter they all taste great.

 Barb added to her dinner plans a great homemade vegetable soup.              


Aww. What fun we had... we love baking together and chatting about recipes and catching up on each other's lives... there are no distances too far, thanks to being able to share here and by phone.  Cooking together has continued an unbreakable thread of family history and sisterly love. 

Thank you my sisters for another great bake.... next week Sunday... St. Pat's Irish Soda Bread. See you here. ;-)