The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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DansBread's picture

Poor gluten in fresh ground flour

Hi everyone,


I am relatively new to bread baking and grinding my own flour.  I have just started grinding from a new batch of "hard red spring wheat berries" and it feels like there is no gluten in there at all.  My mother starter looks like cookie dough.  After ten minutes of kneading, the dough just rips apart like the way playdoh does.  So I am convinced these wheat berries are low in protein and no good for bread making.  I have two doughs ready to go - how much wheat gluten should I add to revive the dough or is it a lost cause?

Additional info:  I use the grainmaker, grind by hand.  The wheat has bought at a local health food store and was still in the original shipping bag.  I went through 5lbs of hard white wheat with excellent results - that was from Wheat Montana.  Currently I am making raisin bread and an oatmeal struan from Peter Reinhart's book (100% whole wheat).


Thanks, Dan

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

Baking Bread, an exploration of bread and its many facets

Bulk fermentation is done when a dough is strong enough to remember its shape after baking.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

40% Rye With Ground Seeds

I have been excited to bake a simple rye bread since my starter had become ready to use.  Also, I went to a local organic mill and stocked up an all sorts of grains, flours as well as a hard to find Puy lentil from France.  I chose to do a 40% Rye with some toasted and roughly ground seeds (sunflower, flax and caraway) within.  I also got to use a brotform for the first time.  I will update with crumb photos, but I have a feeling I should have seen more oven spring and height from a formula such as this one.  I did forget to bulk ferment an hour, so I just proofed for a full 2 hours.  Any rye experts out there, please let me know if this could most likely be the cause of such a poor spring.

JOHN01473's picture

A light at the end of the tunnel would be really useful right now.

I loaned a book from my library; its called "How to make Bread" by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. It contains some nice SD recipes / formulas. The problem is that all the recipes refer to the starter that he guides you through making. He then uses the same build for each recipe. He does not state the starter hydration for each recipe / formula. Rather than make his starter I wanted to use my one. This is his starter creation / feed plan.

Day 1,
Take 1 Teaspoon of Flour and add 2 Teaspoons of Water and mix thoroughly.

Day 2, 3, 4 and 5:
Add 1 Teaspoon of Flour and add 2 Teaspoons of Water and mix thoroughly.

That makes 5 Teaspoons of Flour and 10 Teaspoons of Water.

His build for baking is take 15g of his starter and add
150g of Flour and 150g of Water. Cover and ferment overnight.
The next day use the amount of starter that each recipe requires.

As I worked through the maths I used the Standard conversion for Teaspoons to Grams:
1 teaspoon = about 5 millilitre ( ml ) = 5 grams ( g )

I carried on working through the maths, using previous guidance. When I finished I was pretty sure I had worked out the hydration of his starter and build for baking.



I came out with 200% hydration for the starter and 103% for bake starter. I was not sure these sounded right so I decided to weigh some flour and water. Using a proper measuring spoon I weighed a Teaspoon of White Strong Bread Flour and a Teaspoon of water; to my surprise the flour weighed 4g and the water weighed 6 ml. this contradicted the 5g / 5ml from the standard conversion.

So now I have lost my way - I am not sure how to proceed, so I need help.
A light at the end of the tunnel would be really useful right now.

The Baking Bear


dmsnyder's picture

Flipping Board (Transfer Peel) Demonstration

I have made a video demonstrating how to use a flipping board.

Enjoy! David

sournewb71's picture

How does bread dough differ from pizza dough, in terms of the process

Where does bread dough and pizza dough differ in their processes (forget about ingredients for a moment)?  Is pizza dough just bread dough without the final proof?  Would an overproofed bread dough work as a pizza dough?


sourdough sammy's picture
sourdough sammy

Bread Cavern

I've seen posts about holes on this website.  All agree that we like holes not too large, not too small, we want them JUST right.  Well, most of the time, my sourdough bread holes are just right.  But every third or fourth time, I get the same problem: Bread caverns a speelunker would have a joy exploring.  The bread has risen in the dutch oven, but not evenly.  Bread tastes OK, but is useless for anything besides toast.  I'll try to enclose a picture.  I'm posting this b/c none of the posts seem to address the problem I'm having.  Thanks in advance for your help. I'm using a sourdough starter, 500 grams whole wheat, 500 grams AP, 24 grams of sea salt.  Basic Tartine Bread recipe, more or less.  Bulk fermet for four hours at room temperature. Then formed into boules and ferment in the fridge for eighteen hours.  (I've done four hours with the same results.)  750 grams filtered water.  Thoughts???


Mikaelas2323's picture

What to buy?

I am looking to buy a mixer. My very first. I have always loved the Kitchenaids, but have heard the quality is not the same as my grandmothers. This lead me to do a little more research. I do bake sometimes, but not on a large scale. Enough for my family of 4. I heard that KA fixed their gear housing problems and went back to the metal ones,  but have also read that they don't really handle bread dough all that well. I would probably only be making a couple loaves at a time. But do I really want to buy it and then find out that I want to bake more, and not have a machine that can handle it? So I started looking at the Bosch and the DLX. Both seam like awesome machines. And from what I have read, both would be able to handle small batches well enough. We also do pulled pork and chicken a lot, which was another reason I was looking at a mixer. I know that the KA and the Bosch can shred meat, but what about the DLX? Any ideas or input would be greatly appreciated!

Born2Bake's picture

Mature Culture, and when to build the Levain, as well as other questions

I know to use a culture that rises and falls predictably after feedings.. I understand that much, however. When a recipe calls for the use of a "Mature Culture" to build your levain does it mean...

A)  Use the culture at the deflated unfead state to build your Levain that sits for 12-16 hrs.
B) Use a culture that has been fed, built up until it is at its peak height and would float on water- use that to make your levain that will then sit for 12-16 hours.

Right now I'm keeping a 100% hydration starter that I keep at about 70-72 degrees. I'm currently discarding about 80% of it and then feeding it once daily. Using 70 degree water and the temp of the starter is at 72 after the feed. Flour being 45% unbleached white 45% whole wheat and 10% whole rye.

From what I understand this should take about 2-4 hours to be at peak height "young levain" status, and then start to fall. This is not happening for me. I will feed it at 2pm and  when I wake up in the next morning at 6am it is at its peak high point and has not started to fall. Smells slightly sweet and yeasty as well as ripe fruit. Only after a few more hours it begins to fall Why is this? - I'm trying to wrap my head around the young levain concept.

 Any help/feedback is greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

FlourChild's picture

Forkish Overnight Brown and Bacon SD

In addition to Breadsong's post and's post, I have a couple more loaves to add from Ken Forkish's Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast.  

I have to say I've really been enjoying baking from this book, it has opened up my repetoire to include a style of SD bread featuring low levain amounts (only 10-12% of the main dough flour is used to build the levain) and extended bulk ferments.  This style is different from Hammelman, and bears some resemblance to Chad Roberston's loaves, though Mr. Forkish seems to be a better teacher and to include more of the details needed for a novice to succeed.  The only drawbacks- and they are small compared to the deliciousness of his breads- are the narrow scope of recipes (no soakers, high percentage rye, brioche, baguette or long loaves, olive bread, fruit & nut bread, croissants, etc.) and the "supersize" scale of both levains and recipes (every recipe is made with 1,000 grams of flour).  

First up is the Bacon Sourdough, which I have to say is one of the best tasting loaves that has ever graced my kitchen.  I followed this recipe to the T, even mixing up the large levain.  Since I like bread best on the day it's baked, I generally prefer to bake smaller amounts more frequently and am not set up for this quantity of dough, so it was a bit of a hassle to find or jerry-rig enough containers, baskets, dutch ovens, proofers, etc.  But the incredibly moist crumb and crisp, red-brown crust on this loaf were superb, and the bacon hit just the right note- plenty to appreciate, but in balance with the crust and crumb flavors.  The photos on this are only of a small demi-loaf made of dough that I siphoned off of the two larger loaves; I wanted a small loaf to try the bread, as the two large loaves were given away as gifts.

The glossy, translucent walls on the larger holes:

The bubbles on the crust:


Next up is the Overnight Brown, a pure levain dough with 30% whole wheat.  For this bake, I decided to scale things back and also tried some whole grain spelt instead of traditional red wheat for the 30% whole grain portion of the dough.  For the scaling, I only made one loaf (50% of the main dough) and scaled back the levain to just a little more than what I needed for the main dough (150g of levain or 15% of what was called for).  Not sure that spelt was the right choice for this bread, it was good but not great.  I'd like to try it again with red wheat.

Here's the loaf, which Forkish doesn't score but rather bakes seam side up for a gnarly, rustic look.

The crumb:

And the bubbly crust that comes from his long room temp ferments:

I also made the levain pizza dough and the high-hydration poolish pizza dough, but my renditions did not turn out as well as the loaves.  They both seemed a bit over-fermented, in that they ended up a little too dense, without enough oven spring, and the flavors were a tad off.  These may be my fault, I suspect both my SD starter and my (commerical yeast) poolish were a little more ripe than was ideal, so I plan to try them again, being more careful to follow the times and temps exactly.  They were both a little harder to shape (elastic) than most of the pizza doughs I mix, which I attribute to the extra acidity from the long ferments.  In the case of the poolish, my pre-ferment only doubled in 12 hours, rather than the triple that is specified, so I let it go to 14 hours (recipe states 12-14 hours) in hopes of getting a bit more rise, which never happened.  This experience has taught me that with Forkish's recipes, it is better to err on the side of underfermenting than the other way around.

All in all, a great book that I've thoroughly enjoyed.