The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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kathyon's picture

Ed Woods starter and Tartine bread recipe

Hi,  I'm using Ed Wood's Ischia Italian starter and getting great rising and flavor out of it.  However,  I just tried using it to make the Country bread recipe in Michael Pollan's book which is a modification of the Tartine basic bread recipe.  I apparently used way too much of my Ed Wood starter as I was thinking it really was similar to the leaven that the Tartine recipe calls for.  Used 1 1/2 cups or maybe 250g of my starter.  Cooked it in regular bread pans,  and it way overflowed the pans.  Maybe just too much success but I'm confused on how the Tartine and the Ed Wood "starter" and "leaven" compare.  


Any help would be appreciated,



Norma's picture

Sourdough or nothing

        I am returning to baking and basics because of health issues. In doing research on the internet as to why I am malnourished when I have access so much I have found that our foods are compromised by irradiation, toxins, Genetic modification and at this point I realize I have just touched the tip of the ice berg. Before yeast we only had sourdough bread cultures, the live culture withstood crossing this continent in wagon trains and just like the hearty people it survived and flourished. What a wonderful heritage we have. When they introduced the instant or quick yeasts developed in laboratories they were able to cut one shift in the bakeries but they did not tell us that when this quick yeast reacted on the starches in the wheat flour it changed it to the exact energy of cancer, and when it reacted to the gluten the end result is that it destroys the villi and causes malabsorbtion of nutrients in the bowel resulting in malnutrition and a myriad of chronic diseases  such as diabetes, auto immune illnesses, cancer and many more. This is not all they did to our bread they substituted bromine for iodine in the bread and the bread flours. The bromine which blocks the absorption of iodine causes thyroid diseases and cancer. ,

    I just love baking and I hope .the members here will help me make  bread and other wheat flour produces that will help me return to good health. Understanding that sourdough products slows the absorption of the whole  meal alleviating some of the stress on the pancreas reducing the fluctuation of the blood sugars for up to six hours, plus it reduces the Glycemic Index of white bread from 100 to 64  what a boast. I have several family members with diabetes and wish to help them as well as not end up there myself. I live in Canada in a rural setting with some acreage, I have a very large organic garden which I share with several family members. I am recuperating from an auto immune disease that almost destroyed both my kidneys and liver.  There is hope thanks to good friends  family and our Creator.  I am looking forward to many more years and wish to thank those who will help in advance.   

 May all our creations bring joy

ananda's picture

Alnwick Farmers’ Market Friday 30th August 2013

Alnwick Farmers’ Market

Friday 30th August 2013


I have really enjoyed reading other TFL regulars posting about their baking adventures in relation to their local farmers’ markets.   I attended my own local market on Friday of last week and thought I’d do a short blog post with some photographs of the products I offer for sale.   I’ve posted formulae for most of these more than once before, but it may be instructive for me to give more description for each of them here, as they are currently made.

Here are some photographs taken at the market to give a flavour of the Bread and Roses' range:



DSCF5577DSCF5573_price listDSCF5576


All these breads are now made using only natural leavens.

The Moscow Rye is unchanged; 100% rye sourdough, 3-stage process.   It is an 18 hour first fermentation, followed by the addition of a scald to the sour to create a sponge.   4 hours more fermentation before making the final paste.  1-2 hour bulk and 1-2 hour final proof, then bake.   They go into the wood-fired oven at whatever temperature the oven is at; with lids on the pans.   A hot oven sees an 800g loaf bake in just over an hour.   But I have baked them for a LOT longer on the dead oven.

The Gilchesters’ Miche is unchanged too, but I find a 2 hour autolyse combined with a stiff levain gives the best results for a dough with 73% hydration using very weak locally grown organic and high extraction flour.

Seeded Sourdough has a long history, as we baked a Special Seed Bread at the Red Herring many years ago using Pumpkin, Sesame and Sunflower Seeds.   The soaker of Golden Linseed is from Jeffrey Hamelman.   The stiff white levain is my own, as is the choice of 50:50 white flour to wholemeal.   Similarly with the Five Grain Levain which is very much based on the Hamelman formula, but using my stiff levain.

The Spelt bread is still a work in progress.   I like that it allows me to use more local flour from Gilchesters.   I like that there is interest in this ancient grain.   My formula uses stiff levain of strong organic white flour at 30% pre-fermented flour, 60% hydration, with wholemeal organic spelt making up the remaining 70% of the flour.   I don’t like: it’s bitter!!   I use a raisin purée to try to offset the bitterness [with mere occasional success].   The crumb is tight and the dough dries out too quickly; an increase to 71% overall hydration has helped a little…but results in even less dough tolerance, as the fermentation always races like a train.   I definitely do not like the cost either!   Ok, it’s “a pig” to mill, and the yield is a mere two thirds of what you can expect from wheat; but how do I justify £23 for 15 kg as against £12 for 15kg of the lovely Farmhouse flour?   I should explain that the regular wheat used by Gilchesters is a single variety “rare breed” Sativa wheat, organically grown, sourced specially from Germany on account of no fancy biologist arsing about with its genetic make-up over the last umpteen years and more.   Try as I might I often fail to convince those who worship as the alter of Spelt that the Farmhouse flour offers equal provenance, is just as safe a dietary bet for those with issues, and, actually tastes a lot better.   So I’m stuck trying to make a better spelt loaf.   This one is not bad, but you can see I’m not raving about it; and that is not good enough.   I want to love all the bread I offer for sale.

Moving on; the white bread.   I’ve changed tack here; this is a more ordinary white bread.   I like it much better too.   Nigel makes a much better white loaf than I have ever achieved using the Gilchesters’ Ciabatta flour and a liquid leaven.   A lot of this is to do with his oven, I believe.   Anyway I was really happy with the 800g offerings I came up with this time.   In summary, I now use only the Marriage’s Organic Strong White flour.   I use stiff levain, 60% hydration, with 25% pre-fermented flour.   I autolyse the remaining 75% of the flour for 1-2 hours.   The overall formula gives 68% hydration.   Nigel uses an overnight fermentation for his white dough.   That doesn’t work for me.   2 – 3 hours of bulk fermentation with a couple of folds, followed by 1.5 – 2 hours final ferment gives me the best results.   Of course, the real difference is in the leaven preparation, and I remain in favour of well-fed stiff dough rather than liquid levain.   Feedback from colleagues is favourable and positive.   This is good, as I find it very hard to get REALLY enthusiastic about any white bread.

The Toasted Brazil Nut and Prune Breads are now made with levain only.   Originally, I used an overnight Biga.   I make these as 400g loaves, in order to make them a commercial proposition.   And, they are really popular at the Alnwick Market; I sold a dozen of them, even at £2.80 each.   Why do nuts have to cost £10/kg here in the UK these days???

The laminated paste does use baker’s yeast, as a “straight” dough.   I use an overnight cold fermentation.   Once the butter is incorporated, I give four half turns to laminate the dough.   Typically, this would involve 2 half turns, one hour rest, 2 more half turns, then a further one hour rest.   I used 1kg of flour in the formula, and 420g butter.   Yield gave me 15 Croissants, 10 Pain Amandes and 10 Pain au Chocolats.

Autumn at Bread and Roses looks busy; very busy indeed.

Happy Baking to you all


Salvi's picture

My first sourdough!

A week ago i started my own starter, the wild yeast starter i found here. After a week, my starter looked a bit like an ADHD-starter. Very active, bubbles, smelled nice so even though i planned on baking after 14 days, i already baked something.


And... wauw. Amazing! The taste, the texture... i am in love. I made a Norwich Sourdough, an easy first-time sourdough but one that i will continue to bake.


Some pictures; before final rise overnight in the fridge: 

Next morning; time to bake!


My house smelled so nice, but i had to leave for some sunday-morning sport... knowing to find fresh, cooled-down bread when returning home :-) .

For the crumb-fanatics:

conbrio's picture

Oops! I may have destroyed my starter.

I have a two year old starter that has served me well.  This evening I was assembling sourdough waffle batter.  Since I'm a bit lactose intolerant I usually substitute rice milk for regular milk and it always works great: light, fluffy, delicious waffles.  (My wife and 18 month old like them too.)  In a moment of inattentiveness, I poured the rice milk not into the waffle batter, but into my container of starter!  Darn.

After a few seconds of jaw-dropping disbelief, I poured off the rice milk and transferred the remaining starter to a clean container. I'm leaving it loosely covered out on the counter overnight to see if it will remain active.  I guess time will tell if it's okay or not, but do you think I've ruined it by introducing weird, undesirable bacteria?  If anyone's pulled a similar boneheaded move with their starter and has anything to share about recovering from it, I'd appreciate hearing about it.





BBQinMaineiac's picture

need non stick bench scraper or some such tool

OK, I bought a silicone nonstick mat and it's great, but my bench scraper has dough that sticks to it when I divide up my dough for buns. Does anyone make non stick tools suitable for dividing dough ?

TIA folks!

DPP baker's picture
DPP baker

Almost Halfway There

So with these produce pack we are 12 weeks into a 26 week season. I can't believe I am already that far and still coming up with new ideas for breads. My maple oat idea hasn't worked out yet but we are thinking closer to October will be a good time for that one. This weeks bread was Sundried Tomato and Basil. This bread was easily one of the best breads of the season. It has a slight red tint to the whole bread with a rustic floured crust. there were more orders for this one as well so I know it was popular. As far as this weeks farmers market I got pretty ambitious. I made 97 loaves of bread with 4 different varieties. I made a really nice dark seedy spelt, sourdough just like last weeks, fruit and nut, and this weeks bread sundried tomato and basil, And of course baguettes. I hope it all goes well at the market.

Next weeks bread: Honey Oatmeal Date.

Here is a picture of the seedy spelt and the sundied tomato basil.

Ilse's picture

HELP - Bread did not rise

Good morning

I bake about 50 loaves for the local morning market.  Last night my loaves just did not want to rise. It is freezing here in South Africa and I was wondering if the cold could have killed the yeast.  I autolyzed my flour with lukewarm water, but by the time I added the rest of the ingredients, the water was icecold already.  I have always done it this way, but was wondering if the very cold weather could've been the cause.  We don't have any heaters going except the fireplace.  I do have a prover, but while the large amounts of dough is in the bowls busy autolyzing, it doesn't fit in the prover.  I am going to test the yeast today, since it was a new packet that I opened yesterday.

Kind regards


golgi70's picture

Miller's Bake House

As much as I've wanted to come to taste the bread a recent searching for ovens lead me to calling Dave Miller to discuss his new wood fueled steam injected oven. He was so nice to talk with me and allowed me to visit his home which has a built in production bakery for a garage. Yes a dream come true. 

i bought a few loaves including the infamous Chico nut bread. Also the mission loaf (fig and fennel), sesame wheat, and 100% spelt. 

Probably won't taste most til I get back home but we tore into the sesame. Oh my

my josh



Julius's picture

starter trouble

I am having trouble with my starter. I have successfully made the Tartine bread several times. Lately, when I follow the same start instructions, my starter looks limp with a liquid layer separating out on the surface. i' e tried different containers, flours, water, etc. to no avail.

Any ideas would be appreciated