The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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christinepi's picture

Is there hope?

I've lovingly tended to and fed my starter twice a day for a week now, keeping it on the countertop. It always doubled within 4-6 hours after feeding, and bubbled nicely. Yesterday evening I used Breadtopia's sourdough no knead recipe. I've made no knead recipes with yeast with success a number of times. So this morning, when I checked, I hoped to see the same kind of rise as with the yeast loaves. No such luck. Just sitting there like a brick, hardly risen at all. There are still 5 hours left to go, but I can't imagine much happening in that time. 

If it's still small in 5 hours, should I even bother to continue? It would be such a waste to throw away all that dough, but I don't want to eat a brick. Well, my chickens would, I guess, if I soaked it long enough. What could have gone wrong? Starter still too young?

ichadwick's picture

Tweeting bakers? Who to follow?

Any suggestions who to follow on Twitter? I have already followed:


Any others who you think I should follow?

golgi70's picture

Olive Levain

Made with 35% fresh milled local Hard Red Winter Wheat (Hollis).  I miscalculated with the olives and after pitting came up short but proceeded.  I will post my formula but I'd double this for sure.  The addition of an herb could also be nice but my olives were a mix of three green varieties brined with garlic and oregano.  Had I used enough maybe I wouldn't need any herbs.  I'll find out next time around. 

Olive Levain:                              Makes two large or three smaller loaves                                                                                                                                         

Total Flour       1120

Total H20           813             72.5%

Olives                 150            13.5 %

Levain: 3-4 hours @ 72.5% hydration DDT 78F (20% prefermented flour)
90 Wheat Starter
180 Wheat, fresh milled
118 H20
200    Wheat
32      Rye
663    Artisan (malted bread flour @ 11.5% protein)
650.   H20
150    Olives, herbed (a mixed variety of garlic oregano green olives)
16      Salt


Total Dough = 2132   3 loaves at 705 or 2 loaves at 1066  

Drain and dry olives on paper towels when you make the levain. 

Autolyse 2 hours

Add levain and mix on speed 1 for 3 minutes 

Add salt and continue mixing on speed 1 until well incorporated. 

Turn to medium speed and devlop dough to medium development.

Add olives and mix until evenly dispersed.

Bulk ferment 2 1/2 hours with stretch and fold at the 30 minute and 1:15 minute mark

Divide, preshape, shape to bowls.  Retard for 8-12 hours

Bake 500 w/steam and turn down to 460 and continue for 20-30 minutes pending size of your loaf. 


Beloz's picture

First SD loaf - moderate fail

So I finally baked with my first starter on the weekend. I was very excited!

I was going to make this loaf: But I made the recommended levain the night before and it didn't even have one bubble in it by the next morning. So I went to plan b and made this one instead:, but followed the kneading and shaping instructions for the first recipe. (Apart from missing the reference to kneading on speed 2-3, so it took a long time in the Kenwood Chef)

The result was not a complete failure, but after 6 hours proofing it still hadn't risen enough. I baked anyway, hoping for a miracle. It came out looking more like a cake than bread, but the crumb isn't too bad and the taste is pleasant. Would've taken photos but it was a late night and I'm not a morning person either.

Now for my questions to the hive!

1. I just read another thread about starter ratio. And only just notice that that second recipe uses  50%+ starter! (If you are supposed to compare it to water/flour in the recipe, that is). So might that be why my proof took so long? I was going to try this same recipe again tonight, put it in the fridge overnight and then let it proof for 8 hours tomorrow, but now I'm not sure if it's worth it?

2. When I checked the levain for the recipe I originally wanted to make after 24 hours, it did have plenty of bubbles in it. It was too late to use it, so I put it in the fridge. Can I still use that? Or will the yeast have been starved by now?

3. If either of the above recipes are not feasible to start on tonight (I want to bake tomorrow night!), can you recommend any other sandwich bread recipes that you've tried? I'm trying to please an 8yo who has gotten used to super-soft white bread and hasn't liked any of my home-made bread so far. I want to make it SD because it's healthier and I love the idea of it.

Thanks in advance!

ichadwick's picture

Best app or program for keeping a baking journal/diary?

Any recommendations for keeping a journal or diary for baking? I have both Windows PC and iPad.

I thought of creating a Wordpress site, bit that seems a bit over-the-top for something potentially modest. I want to keep track of recipes I try, changes, experiments, added ingredients, etc.

Suggestions welcome.


talalzahid's picture

help in identify the problem with my bagels.

Hi there, 

I followed peter reinhart recipe for bagels.  i had 12 bagels 3 which i baked without retardation which turned good. but then when i retarded the rest for the next day for some reason the dough was overproofed ( even with cold temperture in the fridge) and i hardly could pick them up out of the try and drop them in the water and they were super flat. 

I have a feeling that my tray cover is the problem or maybe the dough temp was more than 80 ? 

attached couple of pictures. 


thanks in advance


philyphil's picture

Some greenish looking starter

Hello! I'm new to bread baking and I've started my first starter about two days ago. This morning I checked on my starter and it has a greenish little puddles on top of it. Is this ok? I've read that this is just alcohol and as long as it smells tangy and is not pink it's ok.


clazar123's picture

Anyone having site format issues?

For at least a week I have been having issues with the site. Every page loads in a column and the home page pictures have one layer on top of the other. As the page loads it flickers as it is trying to fit. Is this on my end or is there a site issue? I haven't emailed Floyd-I thought I'd start with a post and see if anyone else is having issues.

I am running windows 7 premium home with IE 10.0.10. Same configuration for the last few years running without a problem.

JamieD's picture

British (UK) Flour good for American Sourdough Recipes?

Hey everyone,

I'm going a bit post-mad at the moment but bear with me, I thought it might be worth starting a new thread specifically about people's experiences with adapting American sourdough recipes to british flour (the topic came up in my previous post here:

As discussed in that post, I've had serious problems with getting british flour to work with both the tartine and jim lahey no knead recipes - recipes that need a long rise - and we think it might be because british flour just hasn't been bred/manufactured to withstand long rises.... it just ends up like unworkable gloop.... not like it looks when americans bake it with King Arthur All Purpose (which appears to be the standard bread flour for american artisan bread recipes)

Are there any other British sourdough bakers who have had similar experiences with american recipes? If so do you have any recommendations?

I'm getting my hands on some T65 flour soon just because I'm so tired of having unworkable bread -- I'll make sure to make a post on my findings with that too :)

All contributions appreciated,


ichadwick's picture

Ergot, witchcraft and civilization

I spent some time reading up about ergot and rye this past week. Really fascinating stuff. It has had a significant impact on European civilization and was likely the reason for Christianity's whole outlook on witchcraft - all through bread.

I did a (rather lengthy, sorry) blog piece about what I found:

It has links to many of the sites I discovered while researching. What it does for me is to underscore the important role bread played in our cultural and social development; how bread impacts everything in our heritage.

I have a lot more research to do in related areas, and I'll let you know when I post anything new.

I am as fascinated by the history of bread as by making it. This is what I like to do when I'm not baking. Here's what I do when I bake:

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