The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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jafwiz's picture


I am not having any luck making my own starter.I tryed the Peter Reinhart method which was 1/4 cup whole wheat and 1/4 cup pinapple juice? I  have been stiring and after 4 days still no movement. I added another 1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup of pinappple juice after that. Is there another recipe i should try that might work or any help with this one?

Gumbeaux's picture

Questions after first attempt at Sourdough

First attempt at making sourdough bread. This is my first attempt at sourdough bread. I used 5 1/2 oz 100% hydration starter, 17 1/2 oz KA bread flour, 13 oz water, 1/4 oz of salt. I am really happy with the crust, would like a little more open and less chewy crumb, but this bread was severely lacking sourdough taste. Not sure if I'm feeding the starter correctly or if I'm feeding it correctly before reviving it from refrigeration in order to use it in sourdough bread. I made a 100% hydration starter using rye flour, bread flour and water. I fed it as follows every day for two weeks 6oz of starter, 12 oz of water, and 12 oz of bread flour. It smells like sourdough and bubbles well. I started to keep it in the refrigerator and fed it once a week by letting it come to room temp and fed it as noted above, waited for it to bubble and then refrigerated it again. Not sure if I'm doing anything correctly so any feedback, help, comments of criticism would be greatly appreciated.

kmellecker's picture

Kneading Question

As I mentioned in my introduction a few days ago, I am new to bread baking and new to this great site. I use a stand mixer for mixing and kneading because of arthritis. I've learned here that approximately 10 minutes of hand kneading is required but how does that translate to a stand mixer? I am currently making a basic white loaf bread and I start my kneading time of 10-12 minutes once the dough balls. If the mixer type is important, I am using an 800 watt 5 qt Viking Professional. Thank you for any guidance you may be able to provide.



SallyBR's picture

Is TXFarmer around?

I haven't been following this forum very closely, but today I  noticed that TXFarmer last blog entry was in February!


Is she still around?    anybody knows?

MANNA's picture

A short video for your enjoyment.

A short video for your enjoyment.



wyorksbaker's picture

Dairy Cream Alternatives

Hi All,

I am currently considering using a dairy cream alternative in my bakery to try and keep costs down and minimise waste, Macphie Mactop seems to be the most popular in my area (Yorkshire, UK) 

Does anyone have any experience or advice re replacing dairy cream with Mactop or similar? I am concerned that my die hard cream confectionary customers will know the difference and vote with their feet.

Any comments appreciated. 

Conjuay's picture

"Artisan" Bread?

My sister posted this today on her FB page, and I was wondering if anyone here has tried this recipe. I have several concerns - such as the technique, as well as placing a cold stone in a 450* oven, and especially adding pepper to a bread dough.

Of course I realize the pepper is an optional ingredient, but it is the first time I ever came across it in a bread formulation. Ever. (and I've read MANY recipes in the past three years.)

Has anyone used this technique and/or recipe?





pantone_000's picture

Starting and maintaining a live sourdough culture in Southeast Asia

Hi! I have been making homemade bread for almost a year (and hopefully I can do this until forever) so I can say I know some basic ins and outs of bread baking. I use instant dried yeast because that is what's readily available here, and I know no source of live sourdough culture. I live in the Philippines, the weather here is averagely hot and humid. Can a sourdough culture stay alive in our climate? Any bread bakers out here from Southeast Asia who has experience with live sourdough? How did it go?


Edit: After 8 months of worthless worrying, I have finally started to make the seed. 

Starting date: Aug 16, 2014. Time: 10PM (So this means I mark one day in the PM). As in the Tartine book, I mixed equal parts of whole wheat flour (the semi-fine type that still has visible bran) and dark rye flour (because I didnt have medium rye as told in the book). This is supposed to be the food for the starter. Also, I had limited amounts of both flours so I scaled down the quantity as compared to the book. Take note: #1: I don't have option for refrigeration, #2: Out kitchen's ambient temperature is 85F on the average, it lowers down around 82F at night and can rise as high as 90F in the noontime.

Day 1 (10PM): 60g [wwf + rye] flour blend + 60g water. (The book says 85-89F is warm water, but in here I didnt have to heat it.)

Day 2 (11PM): Before feeding, I checked for signs: healthy amount of bubbles and doubled in bulk, aroma of overripe banana/fruit. And so I got 30g from it, and then added 60g flour blend + 60g water. I didn't want to waste everything so I thought of making a second starter to be fed with tipo00 flour I have on hand. I got 30g from the discard that I have set aside and then mixed in 60g tipo00 flour + 60g water. Let's see how that goes...

Day 2 (11AM) : I still am on Day 2. Examined the signs both show before refreshing: #1 (the wwf+rye) showed that it had doubled and I saw a slight fall. #2 (tipo00) also showed a healthy amount of bubbles, its aroma is of overripe fruit. So I did the same for starter #1: 30g seed + 60g flour blend + 60g water. For #2, same 30g seed, but this time I tried a 60% hydration just to see any difference with seed #1. So for #2, I did 30g seed + 60g water + 100g tipo00.

Day 3 (11PM): Check before feeding: both smelled  of overripe fruit, healthy signs of bubbles below the surface. Seed #1: 30g starter + 60g flour blend + 60g water. Seed #2: 30g starter + 50g water (yup I again got curious how it would go at 50%) + 100g tipo00.

Day 3 (AM): This was tricky. I skipped this feeding because I needed to go to a job entrance exam of some sort. And some of the other things I noticed: both hasn't doubled noticeably (very few bubbles but there were some) around brunch time when I had to go and the temp was fairly hot, maybe around 90F. I didnt have the time to check the aroma of both.

I returned around 5pm and immediately checked. Both of them had shown the rise and fall. The aroma of both was slightly beer-y already. #1 smelled of really overripe bananas. #2 smelled of soymilk. I didnt feed them at this time because my instinct was to wait until 11pm. Or was this step a deadly mistake???

Day 4 (11pm): And so I waited until this time to feed them again. #1: 30g seed + 60g flour blend + 60g water. I just started to notice that I have been doing the 1:2:2 feeding pattern that I read on sub-forums on TFL. #2: 30g seed + 50g water + 100g tipo00. I had to knead the dough mass to get the flour particles evenly hydrated.

Day 4 (AM): Didn't feed them, period. I got busy preparing for a demo class that I need to present on the following day. I only remember taking a quick glance if they had risen. #1 had risen slightly, #2 no significant rise and very few bubbles.

Day 5 (11PM): Fed started #1: 30g seed + 60g flour blend + 60g water. #2: 30g seed + 50g water + 100g tipo00

Day 5 (AM): Fed started #1: 30g seed + 60g tipo00 (I ran out of the flour blend) + 60g water. #2: 30g seed + 50g water + 100g tipo00

Day 6 (PM): Didn't feed. Again really got busy preparing for a class demo.

Day 6 (AM): I had to go to work mid-brunch time so didn't feed agian. Oh snap!

I got home around 5pm with good news that I can start the class next week (to teach high school art class, yay!). I had very little sleep so I did get a couple of hours of rest once I got to my bed. I thought the two could maybe wait a little bit more. Or couldn't they?

Day 7 (11PM): Woke up to check my pets. I observed both before deciding what to do. And then I had to make the decision to chuck out all of starter #2 so I could focus on just 1 seed (why did I start a second seed anyway? LOL). So I only had to worry about #1 which is now my only 1. It smelled like rotten food. It formed a bubbly crust on the top. I carefully skimmed this bubbly crust out and threw it away, and then immediately realized that the rotten smell must have been from it. The stuff below smelled still of overripe fruit with hints of the beer-y alcoholic smell. I read in  Reinhart book that could still have hope resurrecting the seed so I got 30g from it. I instinctively fed it with 100g water and 100g tipo00 flour (I ran of whole wheat on day 5 remember). Which reminds me that I need to make a trip to the market soon. I decided to feed it from hereon with only whole wheat because it is cheaper (around $1.5 for a kilo at the market) and I can get it a more accessible place. As for the rye, I had to travel far out the city to get it and it costs a lot (we have Red Bob's Mill brand here). Good thing I had some rye left to start the seed in its early days. 

It is now Day 7 (AM) and I have fed 30g of the seed with 45g water + 60g flour. I will promise to abide by the 75%hydration from now on.

Meanwhile here are some questions:

Until when will I do this before I can start to make bread? Except for my glitches on day 6, am I doing this right? I mean the twice a day feeding. I will go back to feeding them whole wheat flour as soon as I make a trip to the market.

What really are the signs of an active starter before I attempt to make a leaven? How should they smell?

This rise and fall thing, i am still wary about. Does this mean that yeast activity is at their peak when the seed has noticeable doubled, and as it is, on its peak? And when it falls, does it mean the yeasts are exhausted and hungry? I am asking this because I cannot be on guard to check it because of the new job. Unless of course I bring it so work? I don't know hahaha.

Lastly, am I feeding the 30g seed too little or too much or just right in relation to the ambient temp we hare here?

That's all for now. Thank you for all your help with this. :)




Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Slight Cinnamon-esque Flavour In Breads??

I think it's about time I post this strange one...

About 9 months ago, I started noticing a very slight 'cinnamon' type back hint in my breads.  VERY, very slight.  I put cinnamon in quotation marks because I am still not exactly sure if it is cinnamon.  It is cinnamon-esque.  It is a slight spicy note like cinnamon, clove, or nutmeg.  At first I just thought it was in my spelt flour breads, but I get the slight hint in all my breads be it sourdough, rye, spelt or whole wheat.

Is it possible that my sourdough starter is causing this?  When I taste it on its own, I can't quite get any cinnamon note.

I think the cinnamon note started happening around the time I started using flours from a local organic mill.  I guess I can do some experiments by trying to make some loaves with just these flours, and some with other flours to see if I get that flavour in all or some...but before I go through all that, I was wondering if anyone has had this experience before.


kensbread01's picture

Good Yeast gone Bad!

I have to post this shot, only because things cannot get any worse than this when it comes to over fermentation of batter.  We used the Tartine Bread recipe for making waffles using starter.   The recipe calls for a lot of sugar and melted butter added to some starter and flour mixture.. can't remember all that went in... but we may have put in too much starter.   I noticed the night before that the batter had overflowed our container while sitting on the counter.  I cleaned it up and put a nice heavy lid on top while leaving a little space at the spout for air to get in... which later because an escape hatch for the batter.   I put the mixture in the fridge thinking that the cold air would retard the fermentation process.  I was in now way ready for what I saw as I opened the fridge door the next morning.  We have batter all over the place and actually plenty more left over to make the waffles.   The waffles turned out pretty good but next time, I'll stick to a simpler approach.