The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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honeymustard's picture

Ideas for a first sourdough go?

I have a new and exciting joy about to develop. I'm making a sourdough starter.  Technically it's my first; I tried a starter before but the formula called for dry yeast in the actual starter, which tells me it's not really a true starter. In any case, I accidentally threw the entire starter into my preferment dough, so that was a fail anyway. Onward to better things, and I made a new starter based on this formula. So far so good! I'm on day four and everything is progressing as it should be. So while I'm not ready to make any bread for another day or two, I wanted to ask if anyone had any recipes that would be good for a first sourdough.

I'm up for anything! But if it's helpful to know, I'm using a starter that began with organic rye and has been replenished with organic whole wheat from then on.

I'm asking in a forum directly simply because my searches on here and elsewhere come up with two things: breads that involve additional yeast (which I'd like to avoid), or I'm unable to really understand the recipes because I don't know all the terms and all the processes of making sourdough bread to begin with.

I've got pretty good experience with non-sourdough breads, just not the sourdough. I appreciate the help!

rolls's picture

Dan Lepard Baguettes



no holes really, made a nice sandwich though

Hi all, i tried the baguette recipe for the first time from Dan Lepard's 'Exceptional Breads', the 'pain blanc', this might be my best scoring for baguettes so far, although i know its far from perfect, and its mostly due to it being a 64% hydration dough. i usually work with more wetter doughs.

I've only tried baguettes a few times and would really love some feedback, advice. please feel free to criticize my baguettes, lol, i know some look like they've got their guts spilled out ;)
i just really love making these, and would love to master it :)

i had to leave the dough in the fridge for over a day as i didn't have time for it then.
i also underproofed the shaped baguettes. i then sprayed lightly with canola oil (i had to improvise as my water spray bottle fell out of reach,lol), scored, placed them in the oven and turned it on to maximum heat (250 degrees celcius for my oven)

i've read that if you underproof your shaped loaves, and bake from a cool oven, you get great oven spring. i've tried this several times, and it really works :D





StuartG's picture

Three croissant questions

Hello all,

Can you help with a few croissant questions? Thank you in advance

1) by my 3rd or 4th turn, the outer dough layer is getting thin and sticks to my stone tabletop.  I've read that a light dusting of fllour is needed but should not overdo it in order to not 'bread up' the dough.  Is it normal to lose layers while working?

2) when baking, the butter runs out and pools around the base of the croissant.  Is that normal? does it indicate not enough turns and folds so the butter's not well incorperated?

3) Some books/recipies I've read say you can leave the dough in the fridge for quite a bit of time in between fold/turns.  But I've also read you shouldn't leave it longer than 30 mins for the first 3 folds/turns because the butter is still massive enough that it will get cold and solid and risks breaking through your dough.  Does this sound right?  Due to kids, I often need to leave it in the fridge longer than specified and wonder if this is causing other issues for me.



clazar123's picture

Any word on Stan and Norm"s book?

I haven't heard anything for a long time. ANy news?

Kashipan's picture

Please help! First time starter user!

Hello all!

A very kind person from this very site sent me a little bitty of his own sourdough starter, and I followed his directions on how to feed it, but I'm now having trouble, and not sure what I should do!  If anyone can tell me if I'm doing this right, I would be EXTREMELY grateful.

The starter I got was just a little bitty, and was of the consistency of thick glue.  I have no idea whether or not this is what is called "firm" starter...Can anyone please explain the difference, so I know what I'm doing if a recipe calls for firm starter?  I put it into a glass container and added 50gm whole wheat flour, 50gm white bread flour and 100gm water.  This was yesterday afternoon.  As nightfall approached, it hadn't risen too much, but was definitely bubbling.  I decided to let it sit overnight on my kitchen counter.  The temp in this room is in the mid 60s or so.

In the morning, there was not much of a change, and not knowing what to do, I looked up any information I could find to tell me if this was normal or if the starter was dead, or what the status was.  I read where you should feed your starter once a day, so at around 7am, I stirred up what I had (when I stirred it, it was still very bubbly, and made strings as I was stirring it up - very sticky!  Smells fine but not particularly sour), and gave it another 50gm whole wheat flour, 50gm white bread flour and 100gm more water.  I guess I'm going to let it sit another day.

I am not sure when this starter will be suitable for baking.  At all.  My goal is to make the San Joaquin style sourdough bread recipe I found here on the site, but it calls for "firm" starter...Is that what I'm making here?  I don't know much about working with ratios of dry ingredients to wet ones yet, so it's something I need to feel out as I go, but I'm terrified to kill this starter or do something fatally wrong.  My starter isn't particularly runny, but it's not unmanageable.  If I stir it with a large chopstick, it gives resistance, but it's definitely not hard to stir.

Would anyone be willing to help a super brand newbie just starting with her first little bitty of starter?  I would appreciate your kindness and patience so much!  Meantime, I am searching for recipes and trying to educate myself as best I can, but in the meantime, am I doing the right thing with this starter?  How will I know when it's ready to go into a recipe?  That's my biggest question, along with the "firm starter" issue.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!!!  :)

honeymustard's picture

Spelt & Flax Bread

I have known for a while now that I would have to face my fear of wet doughs. Yes, fear. Absolute fear.

I am very good at breads that are relatively dry, and the only doughs that I've worked with that are wet weren't nearly as wet as the recipe I found here - Floydm's Daily Bread.

To be honest, I had a vague idea - at best - at what I was doing. I made a whole wheat poolish, and the rest of the flour was organic spelt. For good measure and texture, I added 1/4 cup flax seeds. I baked on a stone as directed.

Spelt & Flax Bread

For having so little idea about what I was doing, I feel pretty fantastic about the results. The rise was reasonably good, and the texture was perfect. I would hope for a slightly better crumb next time. But I'm not going to be picky after my first try.

Also, I wanted a harder crust, but I think that has to do with a) my stone and b) a better method of steaming.

clazar123's picture

Any Milwaukee area bakers want some free kefir grains?

I know some bakers use kefir for baking and I'm hoping someone would like some kefir grains. I have way too many. Message me and maybe we can figure out how to intersect.

 I live in Menomonee Falls (northwest of Milwaukee) and work in Waukesha. Given the price of gas, I don't want either of us to drive too far. I would rather do an in-person delivery/pickup-not sure they'd get to anyone in a viable state through the mail.


I will meet anyone interested in free kefir grains at any of the following locations at a mutually arranged time:

McDonalds in Menomonee Falls (Appleton and Pilgrim) on some weekends or after 6PM weekdays,

McDonalds in Waukesha (On Silvernail Road near T)on some weekdays between 5-6PM

Please bring a pint jar with a lid that is  3/4 filled with your choice of milk or buy the milk at the McDonalds (Still need the jar).


rolls's picture


Hi  all, jus wanted to share with you my recent sticky bun baking. I am really addicted to home made sweet rolls and buns, and these couldn't be easier to make as they're made from a no knead dough. happy to post recipe (not that i actually follow one) if anyones interested :)

I baked these while away (i know, obsessed).  i mixed up a batch of no knead in a stock pot as there wasn't a big enough bowl in the holiday house we were staying in, and made two trays of sticky buns, yummm, we had them on the beach with coffee with our friends, everyone loved :D




not sure why the first pic turned out like that, but that was straight out of the oven, before flipping them over :) they disappeared real quick! FYI the corner ones are the yummiest, i love the crispy toffee edges,mmm. :D's picture

left out dough

I made a yeast dough that has sour cream and egg yolk. I forgot about it and left it out over night. I thought I would just double check before I through it out and start over if it is truley garbage now. ?

ph_kosel's picture

Orange Raisin Bread Revisited

I made another loaf of my orange-raisin bread and refined my working recipe a bit, adding weights and some specifics on the marmalade step.

My working recipe is now as follows:


Orange Raisin Bread


about 200g of Home-made marmalade, made (see procedure below) from

about 200g = 1 smallish seedless navel orange and

100g = 1/2 cup granulated white sugar

~8g = 1 tablespoon SAF "red" instant yeast

~9g = 1.5 teaspoon salt

100g of raisins

450g unbleached bread flour

300g very warm water

Quarter the orange and cut each quarter into 1/4-inch thick slices.  In small saucepan stir orange pieces up with the sugar to draw juice from pulp.  Heat mixture to boiling and stir while boiling until juice/sugar syrup does not drain from peel when pushed to one side of pan.  Cut peels up  as desired with table knife.

Put marmalade and all dry ingredients in mixing bowl, add the very warm water, and mix thoroughly.  Dough will be very soft and sticky, too much so to knead by hand.  If necessary it can be spoon-kneaded in the mixing bowl to make the fruit distribution roughly uniform.

Transfer dough to a pan with a scraper and let rise.  This dough will rise to fill a 9"x4"x4"-inch pullman pan in less than hour.

Bake at 450F for 25 minutes.  Result is a moist, sweet, chewy bread with ample fruit.


Illustrative photos are as follows:

Orange quartered and sliced

Orange quartered and sliced^

Marmalade, hot, before reduction (note syrupy free-flowing juice)^

Marmalade after reduction (no free-flowing syrupy juice, peel has been cut a bit with knife)^

Dough unrisen in pan^

Dough after 55 minutes rise time^

Loaf and pan after baking^