The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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passionne's picture

how to make a 100% hydration starter?

Hi I think maybe this is a stupid question to ask but i do not know how to make a 100% hydration starter? can anyone give me advice?

dosco's picture

Repeated sourdough fail ... could you offer some advice?

I recently tried the San Joaqin Sourdough in concert with a WIld Yeast Sourdough Starter. Starter was started about 3 weeks ago, 1st SJSD was last weekend and 2nd SJSD was baked last night. 2nd loaf is definitely better than the 1st but is still not right (flat, goofy shaped, etc.).


Results have been mixed. Loaves are slack, loose, and don't hold their shape well. OTOH they taste great, and the crumb is nice/interesting with small, medium, and large holes.


As a result of the discussion on this thread I watched numerous videos on the KAF website in an effort to learn more about stretch and fold and shaping (thinking gluten development might be an issue) and I also decided to try feeding my starter rye flour at 50% hydration (instead of unbleached all-purpose at 100% hydration).


As I mentioned the results of the 2nd loaf were so-so, so I went ahead with changing the feeding of the starter. At 7:00 PM or so last night I fed the starter by discarding about half (around 1/2 a cup of starter) and fed it 1/2 cup rye flour and 1/4 filtered water. Before I went to bed I could see the starter beginning to rise, when I left for work this morning the starter had nearly doubled. I'm still at work so I am curious to observe the starter when I get home.


The bread isn't particularly sour either.


So I've read a few more threads, and I'm wondering if I should reduce the hydration of the SJSD from ~75% to something like ~60% to 1) improve surface tension and shape retention, and 2) get more sourness ...?





A-F-M's picture

How much to feed a rye starter

I've decided to embark upon a rye starter (having never made sourdough before) - and I have a rye sourdough recipe I’d like to try, but I'm unsure what I should do to maintain the starter after I've used some of it. I've heard that it's possible to keep it in the fridge and only feed it once a week, but if so how much flour/water will it need? What consistency will I be looking for?

 Sorry if this seems a little premature, but I want to make sure that I know (vaguely) what I’m doing! Oh, and can anyone explain how the percentages given in starter instructions mean – maths is not my strong point!

 Thank you in advance :)

ichadwick's picture

Ordering from USA, shipping to Canada

Seems I may have to buy my DMP from an American company, since I can't find a Canadian source.

Both KAF and Barry's Farm have it in 1 lb bags - KAF for $6/lb, BF for $2.29. Shipping for KAF is higher, too.

Anyone have any experience with these companies shipping to Canada? BF take sPaypal, which I prefer, but other than the prices, what's the difference?


DoubleMerlin's picture


Hey y'all,

I've been trying to proof breads in a make-shift banneton, that is, a metal colander with a linen towel, and it always ends up with partially hydrated bits of flour all over the top of the bread. How does one ever use floured cloth to make a good bread? And if I should actually buy myself a form that doesn't require cloth, what should I use?



trailrunner's picture

Spelt/rye with RYW and SD

Latest attempt at a spelt bread was more what I was after. I still let it proof for one hour before retarding. Since reading Josh's post after I had made this I will move the shaped loaves into the fridge posthaste and not give them any bench time and see what happens. As you can see this has a lovely open crumb and I even got ears :) I attribute this to gentle handling. I incorporated John's sealing during shaping and then proofing the shaped loaf with the sealed side down and then scoring over the sealed area. Pictures show the result. Taste is creamy and crumb is tender.Raisin yeast water at work. Stored overnight in a brown paper bag and the crust is still amazing this AM. Made great toast and I am about to make an aged cheddar grilled cheese. 






just out of fridge : spelt and rye with RYW photo IMG_6707_zps6fdaef10.jpg crust :  photo IMG_6711_zpse8795872.jpg crumb shots: Spelt and rye crumb photo IMG_6712_zps717d048d.jpg  photo IMG_6713_zpsefd0a49e.jpg  photo IMG_6715_zpsac35a1db.jpg

ichadwick's picture

Measuring Canadian flour in American recipes

Any advice for a novice when using American recipes with Canadian flour?

I've seen comments that our bread flour is high protein compared to US flours  and either needs more water or less flour.

How much? One recipe I read calling for 6 1/2 cups US AP flour suggested using 1/2 cup less of Canadian flour. But... 

Is that the same for all flours? Our unbleached white flour? Bread? All-purpose? Whole wheat?

What about specialty flours like Red Fife? Rye?

And if I chose to add more water - would that recipe need 1/4 cup more?

ichadwick's picture

Which of these books do you recommend?

I have several books stored in my Amazon cart, but don't want to buy them all at once, or get past my still-basic baking level. Which one or ones (up to three) do you recommend I get right away:

  • The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking - French Culinary Institute; 
  • Crust and Crumb: Master Formulas for Serious Bread Bakers - Peter Reinhart; 
  • Classic Sourdoughs, Revised: A Home Baker's Handbook - Ed Wood; 
  • My Bread - Jim Lahey; 
  • Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza - Ken Forkish;
  • Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day: Fast and Easy Recipes for World-Class Breads 
  • How to Make Bread - Emmanuel Hadjiandreou; 
  • Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes - Jeffrey Hamelman;
  • 200 Fast and Easy Artisan Breads: No-Knead, One Bowl - Judith Fertig;

 FYI I already have the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice.

I have seen most of them in store, and my own favourites were the Lahey and Hadjiandreou books, because they lay things out in easy steps with lots of photos.

Floydm's picture

Story on the health benefits of sourdough

There is a story on the CBC today about the health benefits of eating sourdough bread featuring Byron Fry. It is worth checking out.

So... if you've read it, what do you think?  

I have to go back and review my bread science (though there is a good short article by Emily Buehler on the topic here) but... well, I'm not sure I'm in agreement with syllogism built into the article that "Gluten is bad.  Sourdough is lower in gluten.  Thus sourdough is good (or less bad)."  It is a bit more complex than that, isn't it?  With the protease and the amylase and the lactobacillus... well, as I said, I'm a bit rusty here.  Clearly sourdough bread still has a ton of gluten in it or you wouldn't be able to get those beautiful crumb structures in your loaves, no?  And, yes, there is a lot of evidence that naturally leavened, whole grain bread spikes blood sugar levels less and is easier for people to digest, but that doesn't necessarily make gluten the boogieman, does it? 

Despite my gripes, it is good to see Byron out there spreading the word about the healthfulness of real bread. His bakery looks awesome. I hope to get out there and check it out some day soon. 

Skibum's picture

Another blooming boule, Forkish style again

Total flour 300 grams, strong bread flour

Total water 231 grams

Sweet levain @ 100% hydration 25 grams

Yeast water levain @ 100% hydration 25 grams

Salt, 1 tsp or about 7 - 8 grams, should have spent the extra five bucks on the digi scale that gives me the decimal. .  I once again took extra care when pre-folding and folding the boule, making sure the full length of the fold was tucked in nicely.

the dough was proofed seam side down and baked seam side up.

I scored a crescent across the seam I thought most likely to bloom.

The crumb.

So I refreshed my yeast water yesterday and as bake s per dabrownman's directions and made some YW pancakes today with the 'spent' YW,  I also refreshed my sweet levain at the same time and left it on the counter also. 

YW pancakes

100 grams spent YW

100 grams bread flour

I left it on the counter overnight for yesterdays's mix and today's bake and had a massive amount of bubbling dough! This morning I added 1 egg beaten and mixed with 2 Tbs maple syrup adn 2 Tbs melted butter, 1/4 tsp baking powder and mixed it with the flour and YW. The mix took some doing, but when done I mixed in some fresh blueberries, fried it up in the same pan that fried my hone cured/ smoked bacon and YOWSER, some fine breakfast to celebrate myu first day skiing at Lake Louise!

Ahhh, topped with melted butter and real maple syrup.

I discarded the fruit this time. Next tie I will do something with the spent fruit