The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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NewbieBaker22's picture

Very sour, expensive sourdough, causes a sensation of vomitting

I don't understand what the purpose of making sourdough is, as it's both more expensive and less "good tasting" as the commercial yeast used. Of course, that may be something other sourdough bakers might not want to hear because in their sourdough making everything turns out the way they want it, so excuse my ignorance as I am (as my name suggests) a newbie or "new" baker.

However, for me it is always the same old thing: I take a part of my sourdough starter (the REAL kind, using wild yeast), I mix in some flour and wait the 12-18 hours, I then quickly knead it and shape it and then store it in my oven for 1-2 hours for it to rise. Before turning on my oven I take out the pan where the dough has been resting for the 1-2 hours and I let my oven warm up on very high (150-200C) for a couple of minutes until hot.

Then I insert my dough (untouched since the rising phase began) on the pan into the oven with a glass of water besides it, to give it that good crust from the steam.

After it's gotten its golden-brown crust, I take it out, let it cool and eat slices with butter.

That's the same routine I've been doing for a while now, and every single time the dough is very very sour (EVEN WHEN I ADD EXTRA FLOUR AFTER THE 12-18 HOURS OF FERMENTATION!). It's almost uneatable, tasting like a wild yoghurt (meaning the sour yoghurt that hasn't been sweetened like commercial yoghurt).

Also, a while after eating it I will get a strong feeling that I need to puke, that can only be gotten rid of by either drinking excessive fluids to calm my stomach down, or by actually puking (I choose the former rather than the latter).


The whole process of making sourdough (REAL sourdough, not the fake Youtube kind everyone mistakenly takes to be the real old kind) is very expensive compared to making a normal dough from commercial yeast. Continually do I have to "throw away" a part of the sourdough (even if I store my starter in the fridge) to make room for new water and flour. Additionally, I have to add excessively much flour continually to be able to work with the dough. Even in cases where the dough has been very moist (because I thought a moist dough would turn out less sour) it's been just as bad, if not worse than when I add a lot of flour.

Also, note, I add the final part of flour ("lots of flour") in the FINAL stages of the bread making, the 1-2 hours before I actually bake the bread. This is because the fermented flour is, with the help of a microorganism, what creates the sour taste (from lactic acid if I read correctly), so adding sufficient flour AFTER the long fermentation should obviously make the dough less sour, yet this is hardly the case for me.

hamletcat's picture

Rise and then fall...

I get this with some of my breads and I am just curious as to why this happens.  It is usually my breads that have other flours added.  I get a beautiful rise, and then if I let it go a bit too long, or sometimes it happens during baking, the bread falls.  I was just wondering why this happens.  

Mr. Paiz's picture
Mr. Paiz

Can I revive a week old levain without feeding it?

Hi guys! I recently started working with my own levain, and I still have a lot of questions.


Last week I fed my levain to make a bread and then I left it over twelve hours at room temperature for it to rise. I then refrigerated it and just now I took it off the fridge. I have a lot of levain and I don't want to feed it because it will make a lot more levain (and since I just bake once per week I don't want to end up with an excess levain).


And if I have to feed it I would feed only half of it, to have the same amount of levain I have now. So can I do something with the levain I would have to throw away if I eventually feed half of it? I don't want it to go to waste.



Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

My madeleines, Meyer lemons work so nicely

Lemon Madeleines

(makes 12 large madeleines)

1/3 cup All Purpose Flour and 1/3 cup  "Soft as Silk" brand cake flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

zest of two smallish lemons (Meyer lemons work wonderfully if you have some) each the size of extra large eggs

2 large eggs, room temperature, I take them from the frig and put them into a glass of hot water from the tap for a couple min.

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

6 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled) I melted 7 tablespoons and poured off the clarified butter and used that.  I used the milk solids on a paper towel to lubricate the madeleine molds.

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Prepare a 12-mold madeleine panby spraying with cooking spray or rubbing with the milk solids from melting the butter.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and lemon zest until well combined.  Add the eggs to the bowl and beat, for about 2 minutes, or until the batter is light colored, fluffy, and thick.  Beat in the vanilla extract. Then fold in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula, followed by the melted butter.  Divide the batter evenly among the 12 madeleine molds.  This next part I have NEVER done and don't understand why it was in the original recipe.  If any one understands why you are supposed to let the batter rest for 2-3 hours or overnight, let me know.   Cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerated for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight.  Not needed.  Just put the batter in the mold and bake.

When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 400°F.  Remove plastic wrap and bake madeleines for 11-13 minutes, or until they are a deep golden brown.  Remove from pan and place on cooling racks.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.  These are best enjoyed on the day they are made, though they will keep in a sealed container (the edges will loose their crispiness, however).  Enjoy!

tchism's picture

Yesterday's Bake

Baked two loaves yesterday one made with harvest grains from KA and one using a mix of fresh starter and cold unrefreshed starter. Both are 100% starters but I mixed the two to see what it would do the the flavor profile.

Here is how the two loaves looked after the first forming.

This is the harvest grain loaf just out of the oven.

The crumb about an hour later.

The second loaf just out of the oven right out of the oven.


The harvest grain loaf has a great flavor and texture.

The second loaf we are having with a pasta dinner tonight.

golgi70's picture

PVM Again

Another batch of Pane Maggiore. This time with no intention I made another change. i built the levains (1/2 rye sour stiff/1/2 white wheat liquid) and got exhausted by mix time so i retarded them to finish the following day. I decreased my total pre fermented flour in the recipe to about 15% as this dough gets very active and this would give the time for folds in accordance with ferment times. 1 hour autolyse followed by a soft finished mix. Then three sets of folds at 50 minute intervals and divided at the 3 hour mark. Unfortunately the dough got a bit too strong this go which made for a tougher shape and finer crumb. My mind makes me think this could be due to the retarding of the levains and bringing more acidity to the dough than regular. So i could have gotten away with just 2 folds @ 1 hour marks.  All this followed by about 10 hours in the fridge before a late nite bake.  PVM seems to be good no matter the variations as long as the central theme stays intact.


Happy Baking All



lew_c's picture

Measuring hydration

I mixed up my first batch of carefully weighed and measured dough with a target hydration of 65%. It came out a little more wet than I was expecting, though as a complete novice I don't really know what to expect. So I tried to measure it: Took a 27.4 gram sample, pre dried it in the microwave and then put it in a 400 degree convection oven for 40 minutes till it seemed dry and the dough was very dark brown and got a 14.4 gram reading which is ~48% . I've put it back in the oven at 250 and will leave it for 4 hours and re measure. But I was wondering if there is a protocol for this procedure with dough.

Edit:      Perhaps true hydrates are formed?

Edit:      Well, obviously, so I guess the question is how strong are the bonds?




Skibum's picture

I didn't know what to do today, so I baked you a cake!

I have been skiing five days a week now for a while, so not much time to browse TFL. My baking thoughts have turned from bread to sweets. this is a three layer orange chiffon cake from ITJB, filled with apricot jam and chocolate butter cream and iced with the same chocolate. The chocolate didn't adhere to the orange slices, so I painted around them. YUMM!

Other recent bakes were my send off on Floyd's blueberry cream cheese bread in the most bookmarked section. Here is my bumbleberry cream cheese bread. This was a yeasted bread with about three times the fruit Floyd rec's in his formula.

Well we cannot forget the walnut filled Hungarian rolls from ITJB -- easily one of the best things my oven has ever produced!

Happy baking folks!  Brian

emkay's picture

Tartine country loaf

I made the Tartine country loaf on two separate occasions and both didn't turn out right. Maybe the Tartine country loaf was an overly ambitious first try at a bread made with a starter? Before making my first Tartine country loaf, I had never made nor maintained a starter before nor had I ever made a leaven. But I followed all the directions laid out in the Tartine Bread book. When my starter was rising and falling predictably, I made the leaven. I tested the leaven and it floated so I guessed it was ready to use.

Attempt 1. The flavor was a bit bland for lack of a better description. It was nowhere close to the real Tartine country loaf. The exterior slices were edible, but as I got to center of the loaf, it was so dense that I couldn't even eat it.

tartine_country_1c tartine_country_1d

Attempt 2. A couple weeks later I tried again. I had to make a new starter since I didn't maintain the first. This time the flavor was quite nice. I could detect hints of that "Tartine flavor". It had more holes and was less dense than loaf 1. 

tartine2a tartine2c



20140308's picture

Seeking wholemeal bread advice


I'm pretty new to baking bread. I've made maybe about 12 to 15 loaves so far. I was using a recipe which was a quick 4 step recipe which required mixing the ingredients, putting the dough in the bread tins for 1 hour to rise, and then baking from there.

I found a more conventional recipe today in a UK Good Housekeeping recipe book, a good old fashioned book.

That seems more conventional, in that you mix the dough, knead it, and then leave it in the bowl to double in size. That I did today, and it really rose well. Then the recipe said to knock all of the air out of it and squash it flat with your knuckles, knead it again, and then place in the tins and leave to rise again. I did that, and baked the bread.

Unfortunately the loaves have a huge hole in the middle (they looked great from the outside). The texture of the bread around the hole is very dense and pretty inedible. It's like thick stodgy dough.

I wonder what I did wrong? Would it be not kneading it enough after I'd knocked the air out before placing the dough in the tins? It had certainly risen to the top of the tins before I baked it, and I baked it on gas mark 8 for about 25 minutes.

Any advice would be much apprecaited.