The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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00Eve00's picture

New to starters--Unsure about feeding

I have a 6 day old AP flour starter.  Today was the first day I switched over to AP flour and water from rye and orange juice.  This morning I fed him and he doubled and collapsed in 4 hours so I fed him.  Ive been watching him and I noticed that he's doubling again and it's been about 4 hours.  This has all been happening at 68 F.  

Should I feed him again, but switch from a 1:1:1 to a 1:2:2?

He smells like alcohol (like a fuzzy navel lol) and yeast, and is nice and puffy so I don't think his vigor is due to leuc or other flora....but I could be wrong.

Thanks for your help. :)

dlstanf2's picture

Merlin's Magic (by the book)

After some of the comments on my other post, I tried another recipe, KAF's Merlin's Magic Sourdough. This recipe omitted the sugar, but still used the Vital Wheat Gluten which I used to boost protein and make a softer crumb. I took the recipe, by volume, but I did weigh at each process.

Basic Recipe

½ Cup Sourdough Starter (130gr)
¾ Cup Warm Water (180 gr)
1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
1 ½ Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten
1 ½ Tsp Salt
⅛ Cup Olive Oil
3 to 4 Cups AP Flour (420 gr/3 Cups A-P F)

I began by making the sponge; starter, water, wheat gluten, dry yeast, 1½ cups a-p flour . Once mixed I let this rest on the counter for 10 hours. This is what it looked liked. I had more than doubled in volume and yeast activity looked healthy.

After 10 hours I added the salt, olive oil, and the remaining 1½ cup of flour and kneaded for 10 minutes or so on top of my stove, best surface I have for kneading. The dough got elastic and had the feel I wanted, something similar to a good pizza dough. Here's the pic of the kneaded dough ball.

Next, I put this dough in the pan to rise for a few hours.

I had more than doubled and it was getting late. Two hours by the recipe, or it could have gone for 12 to develop more flavor. Here I lighlty floured my surface and used the strecth and fold technique to avoid overworking my dough. Then I formed the dough into a smooth ball, about the size of a grapefruit.

After forming the dough into a small boule, I put it on a cookie sheet, lighlty sprayed with olive oil, covered in plastic wrap, and covered that with a plastic mixing bowl, which I refridgerated overnight, another 10 to 12 hours. The recipe called for letting the dough rise for 2 hours and then baking, but it was after midnight for a loaf I started that morning, but it worked into my schedule quite well.

Here's the proofed loaf which I have just scored for baking. Recipe calls for baking at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. I spayed the oven first, then again when I inserted the loaf, and again about 10 minutes later. I used a thermometer to bake to 200 degrees.

This is the resulting loaf.

Baked weight was 683 grams or 1lb 8 1/4 oz. Perfect size. However, the crumb had a soft and finely holed textured, I suppose from the wheat gluten. Almost sandwich bread quality, soft with a chewy crust. While lighlty soured, I want more. I've ben looking for citric salt but haven't found any locally.

I just ate a slice with orange marmalade. Um! Um! Good!!

I'm thinking about making a few tweeks. Like using less or no wheat gluten, adding a bit of WG Rye (1/4 C), and starting with a cold oven. If that doesn't work I'm going with a hotter preheat (425-10 minutes), and then dropping to 375. Maybe I can get some citric salt in the meantime.

Feistywidget's picture

cream-filled buns

Sorry if this is a double post on the forum, but when I tried to post it on the forum initially to my knowledge, it  never bothered posting the topic.  I have a question about what type of filling to use in this recipe.  It's a Japanese dessert called custard buns and traditionally they're steamed (at least to my knowledge they are).  If somebody could please help regarding this I'd appreciate it.  In Japanese, they're called kurimu-pan (cream bread is the literal translation).

I'm trying to figure out what type of filling to use.  I don't want the filling to be so runny that

it ends up leaking out of the bun.


I've narrowed it down to these possibilities:


*Pastry Cream


Feistywidget's picture

custard buns

I have a basic Japanese recipe for custard buns.  Custard buns are filled with some type of cream.  However I'm not sure what to use as the filling.  I don't want the filling to be so runny it leaks out of the buns.  If I could get clarification regarding this I would very much appreciate it.


Traditionally to my knowledge, they're steamed.


I've come up with these possibilities:

*Pastry cream




Mish's picture

My starter dislikes the cold.....? What can I do?

Hi all!

I'm new here - what a wonderful site! I'am fairly new to sourdough too, I have been baking with it for almost two years and still learning. The terminology I use might be "wrong", I hope you still understand me.

I'd like to ask for your help to understand the reason + solution for the problem I have with my starter.

My starter is originally made of juice of wild yeast captured from fruit, and I've been using it for around 8 month (100% hydration). The juice is maintained too by adding some fresh fruit evert now and then.


My usual pattern is:
Sunday baking, feeding. Wait til it rise, and back into the fridge.
Friday, out from the fridge.  Feeding every ~12 hours to prepare for the Sunday baking.
Occationally when I was away from home, it was "starving" for 3-4 weeks but after a 3-5 refreshes it got active again.

The problem started early this year.

It was no sign of life after Friday-feeding. I had feed using the wild-yeast juice to get it up.
Next week, I took out the jar already on Wednesday to feed. No sign of life.
Week after, out already on Tuesday morning to feed. Again no sign of life.
I decided to move the jar to the balcony instead (winter=cold) and it did better. It simply survived more days until it got "flat with no sign of life".
I kept on feeding daily hoping the yeast to grow very strong, and did put it back after one week of intensive feeding but again, flat after few days in the fridge.
Now balcony trick does not work anymore.

Of couse, every time I refresh using the wild yeast juice, it get very active again but it means I add new yeast to the jar so it's kind cheating.
What I want is to have the yeast-guys in the jar to survive from week to week!

Past 10 days, I been trying to revitalise my flat starter by feeding-resting (no bubbles but still... It tastes sour though) I am giving up now. My rye-sour is living in fridge and doing excellent.

I've tried to feed everything from 1:1:1 to 1:3:3 (approx).
The fridge is 6 degrees celsius, room temperature 22, balcony was arond 6-10 deg C. While rising, I put the jar on top of the fridge, where it is around 26 deg.

So what I wish to understand is....
-what is wrong here??
-what can I do to make it survive week to week, using the fridge?

Thanks a lot!



thebreadfairy's picture

"Active cooling", a path to a crispier crust?


I do most of my bread-baking in a convection oven. I have been pleased with the flavor and textures but have been frustrated by my lack of consistency in obtaining crispy crusts when desired especially with baguettes. I have tried the method of "declining oven, door ajar" but this has not consistently helped. After following some recent threads here on the subject, I decided to try something new. So far, in very preliminary testing, I have been quite pleased with the results and wanted to share them with the community.


I am calling the process "active cooling" and quite simply it involves, at the end of the bake, leaving the loaf in the convection oven at the final baking temperature with the convection fan still turned on, opening the oven door about halfway, and letting the loaf cool for five minutes or so in the oven, at which point it could be removed for cooling on a rack. What I found was that, if the crust was hard at the end of the normal bake, it would stay that way during the active cooling and for multiple hours afterwards. Despite the extra time in the oven during the active cooling, there was no significant further darkening of the crust (as would be expected with merely prolonging the baking time) and the crumb stayed as moist as ever.


My theory on why this works is mostly speculation based on a few observations. I noticed that when my baguettes were removed from the oven for cooling on the rack, they would lose 2-3% of their weight over the next hour, most likely representing water loss. From what I have read here, it is this water migration from inside to outside that causes the crust softening. When doing the active cooling, I measured the weight change over the five minutes of active cooling minute by minute. Here is one of my loaves (Loaf was baked at 450° for 15 minutes. 15 min marks the start of the active cooling. Results are loaf weight in grams. Formula is Hamelman's Baguette with poolish):


@15 min=272.5g

@16 min=270.4g

@17 min=269.5g

@18 min=268.2g

@19 min=268.2g

@20 min=267.8g. Take out of oven for passive cooling.

After 1.5 hours more out of oven =265.6g


It seems like the total water loss of ~7gm is virtually the same as with rack cooling but that the active cooling speeds up the process markedly, possibly in a wicking-type process. Maybe, this moving water thru the crust more rapidly diminishes the softening action.


I realize that all this is based on very limited observations as I have tried this with only two very different baguette formulas but the results were so striking that I wanted to pass it along. I also realize there are many variables in the process including optimal active cooling temps, length of cooling time, applicability to different formulas and ingredients that need to be worked out. I would be very interested in fellow tfl'ers' thoughts on the process as well as their experiences if they try it with their own ovens.




eatbread's picture

signs of underproofing?

just out of curiousity, what are the tell tale signs, besides blow-outs, that a loaf was baked before being fully proofed? i mean, besides baking a same recipe multiple times, how do you know whether the nature of the dough was just meant to be denser or if it had more rising potential?

dwcoleman's picture

Silke's Cinnabon style Cinnamon Rolls

I received this recipe from my wifes coworker, so I have named it after her.  Measurements are unfortunately in volume not weight.  I'm posting it verbatim, but I would do the filling differently.  Mix the sugar and butter together, and then melt it slightly.  Spread it onto the dough, and then sprinkle with cinnamon liberally.

Yield: 20 VERY large rolls


1/2 warm water(105-110F)
2T active dry yeast
2T sugar
1 (3.5oz) pkg instant vanilly pudding(this is the key to the recipe)
1/2c butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1t salt
8c all purpose flour


1c butter, melted
2c brown sugar, firmly packed
4t cinnamon


8 oz. pkg Cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1t Vanilla extract
3 cups Powdered sugar
1T milk, just enough to fluff (approximate)


In small bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set

In large bowl, make pudding mix according to package directions. Add
butter, eggs and salt; mix well. Add the yeast mixture; blend. Gradually
add flour and knead until smooth, adding "sprinkles" of flour as needed
to control stickiness. Once the dough is no longer sticky and is soft
and silky feeling (like a baby's behind), the dough is ready.

Place in a very large greased bowl. Cover and let rise until double in
bulk (about 1 hour).

Punch down and let rise again (about 45 minutes).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a 34" x 21" rectangle. Spread
1 cup of melted butter over surface.

In small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle all over
the top of surface. Roll up very tightly.

With a knife, put a notch every 2 inches. With string or thread, place
under roll by notch and criss-cross over to cut roll (makes a nice clean
cut). If using sticky bun variation, skip to below.

Place on greased baking pan, 2-inches apart. Lightly press rolls down
with your hands (just a LITTLE, it helps to hold them together better).

Cover and let rise until double again.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Take them out when they JUST
start to turn golden. DON'T OVER-BAKE! Frost warm rolls with Cream
Cheese Frosting. Rolls are best when served warm.

cheesehappens's picture

What size Lodge cast iron Dutch oven is best for no-knead bread?

After curiosity finally got the best of me, I bought the book and then read countless posts here and elsewhere without finding an answer to my question. Your help is much appreciated!

Donna Beth

SydneyGirl's picture

Further to the "Brotchen Experiment"... Ruck-Zuck Weckerl

Recently posted the translation of the Austrian bread roll recipe I found here: on the  German Broetchen Experiment forum topic:


I've made these before, but last Sunday had another try, this time pre-fermenting about half the flour overnight. It did no harm to the recipe at all. They look great, they taste great but the lack of oven spring means that they're too dense. However, the taste really is lovely, even after 3 days when they're stale. I really like the shine on them from the starch water. 

I will definitely keep making these till I work out how to do them perfectly in my oven. 

Don't write to me about steam (which, clearly, is what's required here) - unless you have a solution for a gas oven that vents all steam instantly and is so unevenly hot that a pan at the bottom of the oven doesn't get hot enough to evaporate water, while at the top everything turns to charcoal. 


Austrian Bread Rolls