The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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MostlySD's picture

100% Sourdough Oat Bran Bread

I have finally managed to bake a 100% sourdough bread with oat bran that is not too dense and tastes rather good. The first criteria I decided upon was the weight of the loaf I wanted to bake. In this case, it had to be small since this was an experiment, hence 600g total. I was not sure how it would turn out and did not want to waste flours. The slashes are not very good. Maybe next time.

This bread was formulated to allow for the interaction of a couple of specific enzymes. A dough enhancer was also factored in. I wanted it to be from a natural source, namely in this case extra virgin olive oil. The added oat bran and wheat bran had to be of specific weights, calculated as a percentage of total flour weight (TFW). This bread is hand kneaded.


60g of mature whole wheat/rye starter, comprised of:
14g stone ground whole wheat
22g stone ground dark rye
24g filtered water

Sourdough preferment
All of starter
9g organic wheat bran (finely ground)  [2.5% of TFW]
34g organic oat bran (finely ground) -  [10% of TFW]
102g filtered water (room temperature)

106g unbleached all purpose flour [~ 46% of TFW]
160g unbleached bread flour [~ 31% of TFW]
108g filtered water
7g sea salt - 2%
14g extra virgin olive oil - 4%

Total flours (including oat bran & wheat bran and flours from starter): 345g (100%)
Total liquid (including from starter & preferment): 234g (68%)

1. Starter is built the day before & allowed to grow at room temperature for 12 hours.
2. Preferment is then prepared by thoroughly mixing the starter with the water, and adding the ground oat bran and wheat bran. Fermentation lasted 12 hours.
3. All remaining flours and water are then mixed with the preferment and the salt; the dough is then kneaded until everything comes together.
4. Extra virgin olive oil is then gradually incorporated in the dough and the dough is kneaded for a few minutes more.
5. Bulk rise lasted 3 hours. Dough had not doubled but I did not want to wait longer to prevent the development of too much sourness.
6. Three sets of stretch & fold were performed at 30 minutes interval.
7. Dough was preshaped and allowed to rest for 20 minutes.
8. Dough was shaped and transferred to an oiled & semolina-coated clay baker for proofing.
9. Proofing lasted 3.5 hours.
10. The clay baker finally went into a cold oven and the temperature turned to 450ºC.
11. The loaf was baked covered for 20 minutes at that temperature, then uncovered for another 30 minutes at 375ºC, to an inside temperature of 210ºC.




Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Tastiest flours

As I know many of us here do, I have tended to buy only KAF and Bob's Red Mill flour for bread-making. I'm perfectly happy with them too :-)

But I wonder if I'm missing something: does anyone have any recommendations, please, for even 'better' (= tastier, more suited to artisan recipes) organic/non-GMO etc bread flour?

Available online.


scott312's picture

Bread bakers seem to be very happy.

Bread bakers seem to be very happy.


I must say folks that after being around cake bakers for a long time. Bread bakers seem like some of the nicest people.

The bread forums here are so pleasant.

That's not me in that picture : ) but he looks happy.


tkarl's picture

Has anyone tried making their own Yeast?

Sick & tired of buying costly yeast at the store?  And then being dependent on the store for more?  Try this video:

I think the raisins turned out the best yeast.  Has anyone tried this or a similar process?  I am volunteering to try this out, as I have done some other fermenting projects.

Rene_nl's picture

sourdough...fascinating but confusing

Hello all,

I'm growing my own starter, it's 8 days old now. I'm following a recipe based on 100% hydratation and currently I'm refreshing it on a 2:1:1 basis I believe(75 grams starter, 37.5 grams flour, 37.5 grams water approx). I started on 100% rye and slowly increasing white flour ratio, in a few days I should be on all white flour. Temperatures measured are between 19-21C during daytime(about 68F) and minimum of 15C during nights(59F). Feeding once per 24 hours.

I know these things get asked a lot, but I've been reading so much it's making me confused, so hopefully somebody can help me here.

It seems to be going well, it was very stinky(vomit like) on days 2-3, now it smells fresher(bit like yoghurt/beer, so should be ok but I never smelled sourdough before so I'm not sure) and it doubled plus some more in 4 hours. Does that mean its ready? I've seen pictures of tripling/quadrupling, but mine doesn't do that, it just starts dropping. Is that because of the 2:1:1 ratio? I figured giving it more to eat will give better results. Does it even mean anything if it can triple/quadruple, I mean is that a measure of health?

Also, since the beasties seem to eat quickly, does feeding every 12 hours make sense? I read so many different things on that...

Another question: I want to start with white bread, but I enjoy wholegrain/rye/spelt. Should you convert your starter to the kind of flour you're using, or is it possible to have one "general purpose"?

Also, I think I read some people taste their sourdough to find out what it's doing. I'm willing to do that, but what am I supposed to taste, and what can I learn from it?

Thanks in advance, any help is appreciated!

Rene_nl's picture

Hello from the Netherlands

Greetings fellow bakers,

My name is Rene, and I found this site searching for more information on baking. I've done some baking in the past, and recently started trying to improve my skills. I'm quite experienced when it comes to cooking, but baking is still a bit of a mystery though. I love the part science/part art that is has. I currently have a 8 days old sourdough starter growing here, and I'm really curious to see what he can do.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, I already learned a lot here.

True IRISH Brown Bread's picture


I searched the internet and took the top 10 recipe's, and combined them into this recipe.


Sourcecredit goes to google searches as i combined ten recipes and wasted about 10 pounds of flour
Prep time20 minutes
Cooking time45 minutes
Total time1 hour, 5 minutes


2 1⁄4 c
whole-wheat flour
1 3⁄4 c
all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 t
baking soda
1 t
fine salt
2 c
butter milk (make sure you shake up well before measuring )
1 T
shortning (add while kneeding)
1 c
butter (best if melted)
2 T
Molasses (+ or - to sute your taste)
3 T
brown sugar (I prefer to use light brown sugar)


combine flour first , make a hole in center .

add all other ingredients into the center.

use large spoon with motion starting from outer side of bowl working into the center.

I use my fist moving in a circle, until dough seems fully mixed.

Try to only handle dough as much as needed, less is the best.

cut in half and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to 45 minutes or till dough reaches 195 degree's


Cross cutting is recommending for presentation

If you like a hard crust cook at 400 degrees for 10 min then lower  oven temp to 350 degrees

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Tartine Country Loaf Magic

Lately, when making the Chad Robertson Basic Country Loaf, rather than "save" the remaining 200 grams of levain (recall, baked with it all for my first loaf, by accident.  The bread came out nice but I think it was a bit too chewy), I have been making another 2 loaves worth of dough.  This results in a surplus bread.   So I have been making Pizzas:

I basically take the dough and shape it then bake it either in a cast iron griddle (in the stove) or cast iron pizza pan, depending on how big the dough gets. Bake is at 500 degrees for 5-10 minutes, until they get browned on the bottom. I actually take the griddle out and add some olive oil to the bottom to get the crust to brown better.

After they cool, I wrap the doughs in plastic wrap and slip into the freezer. To bake the pie I top it with some home made sauce and some mozzarella and I place the finished pie back on the cast iron and place it on the top shelf under the broiler set to high for 5 minutes.  At 4-5 minutes I take it out, put some basil on top and than broil for another minute.


Honestly, I think I enjoy eating the pizza  more than the bread, but I enjoy baking the bread more than the pizza.  Go figure.  Probably because I only make peanut butter sandwiches, grilled cheese, and toast with the bread.

That said, look how gorgeous last night's loafs came out:


You're probably wondering, how the heck did I get the sandwich loaf to look so amazing.  I used the lodge cast iron bread pan.  Two of them.  And I made my own combo cooker.  I let the dough (half the country dough recipe) rise in the pan for 4-5 hours and then baked it after preheating the top. Just slipped it in the oven and put the other pan on top and let it sit for 18 minutes and then baked uncovered for 18 minutes. All at 450.

To get the ears on the round loaf, I put the first dough in the cold dutch oven pan and I used kitchen shears to cut the square.  But I was careful to lay the shares horizontally along the dough rather than perpendicular to the dough.  That way the cut went across the top of the dough and not too far through it.

The sandwich loaf is in the freezer, one of the rounds is in the freezer, the two pizzas are in the freezer and one of the rounds is going to my parents house to thank them for raising me. :)



chris319's picture

Cure for Burnt Bottoms?

I hope I have found the cure for burnt bottoms on my sourdough boules.

I found a table of the heat conductivities of various materials. I had been using metal vessels to bake, and the bottoms of things kept getting burnt in my electric oven.

Not surprisingly, glass is a worse conductor of heat than metal. Air is an even worse conductor. This suggested a remarkably simple solution.

I took two 9" Pyrex pie plates and nested/stacked them. Once stacked, there is an air gap of 1/8" to 1/4" between the two pie plates. This air gap acts as an insulator. To prevent sticking, I sprayed the bottom of the top pan with cooking spray. I then baked some Pillsbury canned biscuits just to test the efficacy of my solution. It worked! No burnt bottoms! Parts of the biscuits were just a little darker on the bottom, but they were nice and golden, not burnt. I think I'm onto something.

A little about my baking setup: I'm using a modified Waring TCO600 6-slice toaster oven and I like it a lot. I modified it by removing the upper heating elements. These caused the tops of things to burn so out they came. Now it just has the lower elements like a full-size oven's bake element. I use a toaster oven because it seems wasteful to use a high-wattage full-size oven for something as small as a boule or six biscuits which use just a fraction of a big oven's interior volume. The toaster oven has a much smaller interior and with my modification draws only 750 watts when the heating elements are on. I had been using a metal "heat shield", the toaster oven's metal baking pan, over the heating elements, much like a gas oven,  but found this to be energy inefficient. The insulator only needs to be under the food, not over the heating elements. I had been using a "baking stone" made of Teflon and it worked quite well indeed, but opted for a non-Teflon solution due to (possibly unfounded) health concerns about the toxicity of Teflon. I have ordered a small silicone rubber cake pan to be placed inside the top pie plate as a sort of liner to prevent sticking and eliminate the need to use cooking spray.

Wood would make a great insulator but I don't think it could withstand the oven's 400 - 450 degree heat.

Next I have to adapt this solution to work with a muffin pan.

Kneading One's picture
Kneading One

My sour dough bread making process up for critiquing

I am fairly new to bread baking (8 months ) and what I typically do is read as much as I can and then incorporate various techniques that I think will give good results. So this might be helpful to other newcomers to this world of bread making...or it might not! And it will probably bore the heck out of the seasoned bakers here. But nonetheless, here we go.

When I refresh my mother, barm, starter, I use 1/3 cup each of whole wheat, dark rye and vital wheat gluten and 1 cup of water. Let this sit out for 4 hours (or a light on in the oven) and then back into the fridge until further additions are done. I add 2 tbs of flour at each addition period, which is 2-3 days, and I try to coincide the last addition the night before I make my firm starter. My firm starter is whatever is left over after removing one cup of barm to refresh my starter. I measured the leftover one time and it was approximately 1 1/2 cups. I add 1 1/2 cups of whatever flour type that I will use and this produces a nice workable firm starter without the need for adding water. I then let this sit out for four hours or longer (since it is winter here and I keep my house cool, I turn on the oven light and put the firm starter in oven and let the light serve as a warmer. The temp will get anywhere from 78-83 degrees during a four+ hour period. A thermometer is essential to keep a watchful eye and accurate temperature rates.)  More often than not, I will exceed the 4 hour ferment and let it go sometimes 5-6 hours. It all depends on how much it has risen. Then after that period, I always stick it in the fridge for an overnight cold ferment. From "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart.

The next morning I remove the firm starter, cut it into small pieces and stick it in the lighted oven to warm up for an hour. I add my flours to a large mixing bowl (I am currently adding 8 cups of "OO" , 1/2 hard red winter and 1/2 soft spring wheat, 1/2 cup of flax and 1/2 cup of vital wheat gluten) for a total of 9 cups. I then add approximately 3 3/4 +- cups of distilled water. I used to boil fridge filtered water and then let it cool to 90-100 degrees and let the chlorine evaporate. i am trying distilled water to see if it is any better. I incorporate the flours and water and then let it rest for 1 hour. Per Hannah Field in "How to Build Your Own Earthen Oven" by Kiko Denzer. Then I begin my hand kneading process. I add 1 tsp of sea salt at the start, 1 tsp salt after the 1st five  minutes, another 1 tsp at the 10 minute mark for a total 3 tsp and 15 minutes of hand kneading. The addition of salt after the rest period was also suggested by Hannah Field. I actually bought a KitchenAid mixer, but it is still in the box as I actually enjoy feeling the way the flour mixture responds to water amounts added. I then do a windowpane test to check for gluten development. It is like the blind leading the blind, but I am trying at least! I do not stretch and fold, as I have just come to learn of this technique from a reader here.  I simply hand knead.

Then I remove the kneaded dough and lightly mist the bowl with a vegetable oil  to keep it from sticking, as per Peter Reinhart. I cover the bowl with platic wrap and put it into a lighted oven for a 4+ hour ferment. The oven temperature at this point is typically 75-78 degrees. I measure the dough from the top of the rim and determine rise this way. I try to let the dough double in size and this is the best way to determine that result. I have found that a 5 hour ferment gives much better results than the typical 4 hour ferment. That is if you have the luxury of time. The oven temp is typically 81-83 degrees after this ferment period.


I remove the bowl and turn it upside down on the counter, resting on the plastic wrap. I then cut the rounded dough mass into four pieces. I have ready a cutting board that I put a piece of parchment paper on that has been generously dusted with cornmeal. I then shape my boules and arrange them approximately 1 1/2 inches apart from one another. This is so they fit onto my square pizza stone. I have found that the parchment paper allows me to hold one end of it while I gently put the boules into the oven on the pizza stone. Placement is fairly crucial, so this is why I use the parchment paper. Then I very lightly mist the tops of the boules with the vegetable spray, as per peter Reinhart, and cover the boules loosely with plastic wrap. I  then put the entire board into the lighted oven for the 3 hour proofing period. The oven is also 78-83 degrees at this time. I have found that with the limited space on the pizza stone, the boules will eventually touch lightly upon one another as the oven spring and spread takes place. It is a sacrifice that I endure since I would rather do 4 boules at a time than a fewer amount. I figure with that much effort, I want the greatest amount of benefit.

After the proofing period, I remove the cutting board and boules to the counter. I start my oven and set the temperature to 500 degrees. My pizza stone is in place and I have a cast iron skillet on the top rack. I boil some water in the tea kettle and will use this for my burst of steam at the start. I remove the plastic wrap and cut the grignes into my boules just a few moments before I put them into the ready oven. Doing this too soon makes the cuts spread as I have found out. I gently transfer the boules on the parchment paper onto my peel and get ready to put into the hot oven. The 1 cup of boiled water is put into a water canister with a long neck so that it is easier to pour into the hot cast iron skillet on the top rack. I have burned my fingers twice from the emitting steam and that is two times too many. Live and learn. I open the oven door and place the boules onto the pizza stone. Note: I also cut out a cardboard protector that I put on my oven glass door to protect it from splashing water, since this will cause the glass to break. I then add the water to the skillet and close the door quickly once the cardboard protector is removed. I count 30 seconds and open the door and spray misted water onto both sides of the oven and not the boules. I do this 3 times at 30 second intervals. Then I turn the oven to 450 degrees and bake for the approximately 30 minutes (minus the 1 1/2 minutes for the misting) or required time. I test my boules by tapping the bottom and if they sound like a hollow drum, they are good to be removed and put onto a cooling rack.

This is my process as I have accumulated information thus far. I keep very good notes for future reference. Or to try to avoid making the same mistake twice, would be more accurate! If anyone would care to give me helpful instruction to improve my process, I would be very appreciative of your effort. I am truly enjoying making my own bread and this addition to my cooking has been a pleasant and rewarding experience. And if you have read this far, thank you for taking the time to learn about how I do my bread making. Right or wrong, this is my technique! I have obtained satisfactory results for myself, but I am sure I am doing things that could be improved upon. This is where you come in! And thank you for that.