The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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DavidAplin's picture


Hi Bread Bakers, I have been 'sper-i-menting with Vollkornbrot forms from Hamelmans book. Some have turned out well, others not so well. The final proof seems to be key here. Paying attn to the final proof time is very important, if it rises a little too high...kerplunk! Also, the baking time in the book seems to be rather short, I have increased it to around 4 hours in total.

Happy Baking, David Aplin  Finished mix @ 20 degrees C
Vollkornbrot Final Dough: Finished mix @ 20 degrees C
 Water on table, dough is tres sticky
2 kg. and 1 kg. pieces: Water on table, dough is tres sticky
 Beginning of 1 1/2 hr. final proof
Vollkronbrot in tins: Beginning of 1 1/2 hr. final proof
 End of proof with cracks very visible, time to slam the heat
Vollkornbrot Proof: End of proof with cracks very visible, time to slam the heat
 After a lengthy bake; almost 4 hours.
Vollkornbrot baked: After a lengthy bake; almost 4 hours.
 Another view, quite pleased with myself, (FOR NOW)
Vollkronbrot Baked 2: Another view, quite pleased with myself, (FOR NOW)
pmcgrah608's picture

Question re: what to do with dehydrated starter update

Thanks to the inspiration of this forum, I created a wild sourdough starter on Sept 19.  It has created some wonderful breads, so I followed someone's idea to dry some starter by spreading it thinly on waxed paper and letting it dry.  Now I have fingernail sized flakes of dry starter.  Should I put it in a blender to make the flakes smaller?  Do I store this at room temperature or in the refrigerator, or freezer?  How can I re-activate the dried starter?  I still have some of my original starter.  This dehydrated starter is a backup, "just in case".

Thank you,



Oct 28 update:  I rehydrated some of my dehydrated starter, and fed it, and it sat there and did nothing. :-(

It was good and bubbly when I spread the starter out to begin drying.  My starter is fairly wet, (usually 1:1:1) , and it took almost 48 hours to dry.   Do you think the yeasts could have burned themselves out during the drying period?  Did I let it get too bubbly before drying?  Does anyone else have any experience with a dried starter?  This must be how people can package and mail a sourdough starter.

 This was an experiment, thankfully I still have some of my original mix!  :-)


jmos's picture

Durham wheat for making bread

Can one make bread with Durham wheat. Have any of you tried it? I think it may make for chewy crumb.


mikeofaustin's picture

Using commercial yeast with starter... and other questions.

I noticed there are some recipes that require commercial yeast in addition to making an overnight biga, While others don't use commercial yeast and depend only on the starters yeast. Why is this? More of a rise? would there not be a trade off between taste?

Also, what's more preferrable, a biga or a poolish (I'm guessing it would depend on your desired final hydration level?)

Also, I've noticed that some recipes have simple proofed starter added directly, and then just waited for the 1-3hour rise (not holding overnight). Would this lesson the sourdough taste somewhat?

squirell's picture

Funny After taste

I hope someone can help me here, I've been baking bread using my bread machine and I've noticed a strange after taste to the bread I've tried eliminating the ingredients but it's still there, I've substituted dried yeast for fresh yeast and dried skim milk powder for fresh milk, the rest of the ingredients are salt and sugar and butter and those are the same now as before and the only other thing is the flour and that I haven't changed yet, so as flour seems to be the next step is there and reason my bread has a slight after taste almost metalic taste.

mikeofaustin's picture

another starter problem. Mine only likes pineapple water.

1st starter. So I've got a white flour starter (14 days old today) that I've been building for some time now. It smells good, with the occaional 'berry smell'. When I feed, I'll keep half old starter (stirred well) and half white flour, with spring water. Well, I will only see about 30 percent rise. But everytime I use pineapple juice instead of water to re-feed, it will double in volume at around the 7 hour mark. If I go back to plain spring water, it only raises 30%. Strangely enough, I don't get any 'houch' from this starter.

2nd starter is a spelt flour starter (7 days old), re-fed with a mixer of 3 parts spelt to 1 part white flour, and again, I remove half, and remix it to full again. Same dang thing happens as with 1st starter... only 30% rises, but I do get a top layer of houch on this one though. 1st 2 days, the smell was that of fecal matter, but has since gone to 'sour' smell, or 'gym socks' smell.

3rd starter is of whole wheat (7 days old). Same dang thing as first two (30% rise), but houch forms near the bottom of the jar.

In all starters; I use glass jars with a loose plastic cover. I use a chop-stick to stir (never any metal). I've tried spring water from ozarks, and also purified water (switched to spring water half-way through). I can ONLY get a double rise with pineapple juice (water thats been soaking in pinnaple pieces). Viscosity is probably around a little stiffer than pancake batter, but not much. Temperature in home goes between 85 to 77 degrees depending on time of day.

edit: I'm using HEB's name brand unbleached wheat and white, the spelt comes from oregon. I picked up some 'King Arthur organic wheat' the other day and am wondering if this wheat will be any different. Because, I assume there's yeast in all the starters due to the rising... not sure why KA's yeast would be any different/stronger. I guess I have no choice but to start a 4th starter.


Here are some thoughts;

1). Perhaps, I'm not pouring enough 'old' starter out? Meaning, I should perhaps only keep a small quantity of old starter and the majority should be new 'food'? I've seen mentioned half-n-half method alot of places. rarely do I see 'tablespoon' method.

2). A couple times, after I've seen the starter 'fall', I would pour out houch, and refeed, perhaps 12 hours between feedings. Not sure if this would hurt anything. But mostely I'll stick to 24 hour feeds.

I just can't understand. Things work great when I use the pineapple water. The spring water is kept sealed and at room temp.


biggle2's picture

Bread Mixinig Time

Please could anyone assist me with this question: Has dough mixing time anything to do witrh the texture of bread?

I will appreciate a quick response.



susanfnp's picture

Sweet Potato Sourdough with Pumpkin Seeds

This sweet potato sourdough with pumpkin seeds was my bread for World Bread Day. Something new for me, using sweet potato in the dough. It made the dough very orange and I was afraid the baked bread would look garish, but it was nicely golden. A good October bread.

Sweet potato sourdough with pumpkin seeds Sweet potato sourdough with pumpkin seeds
greg1790's picture

Levain to Liquid Levain? Using "Local Bread" by Daniel Leader

New to making Starter Dough Bread - I have an active Starter Dough (Stiff Dough Levain) but if I want to use in a recipe calling for Liquid Levain how much water should I add to it?

I assume that the stiff dough levain can be used by adding water.

Stiff Dough Levain proportions are > 45 Levain 50 Water to 100 Flour (Baker's %)

Liquid Levain proportions are > 37 Liquid Levain 130 Water 100 Flour (Baker's %)

 So can I just add 80 plus Water to the Stiff Dough Levain to make Liquid Levain

 Does this make sense?

 Thanks in advance for any help - Greg


JMonkey's picture

Baking this week

Working from home has its disadvantages: it's all too easy to blur work into home-life, you're somewhat isolated from co-workers, and it's tempting to try to do chores when work is slow.

But bread baking poses no problems at all. Most of bread baking, especially when you use the stretch and fold method to develop dough instead of traditional kneading, consists of 2-3 minute bursts of activity separated by long periods of waiting. The trouble, of course, is that the timing of those little bursts of activity is really, really important. Working from home, the kitchen is always just a few steps away from my computer, and doing the work of making bread takes about as much time as going to fetch a fresh cup of coffee.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of sourdough baking, even when the bread itself isn't truly a sourdough bread. For instance, here's my results from baking Peter Reinhart's Mash Bread, from his new (and fabulous) book, Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.

The sweetness of the bread was really surprising, and I was astonished by how much oven spring I got. It's easily the best I've ever gotten from a 100% whole grain bread. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and didn't let the sourdough mature fully, so the flavor was less than I'd expected. In short, sweet, but bland. I'm eager to try it again, though, and next time I'll let the sourdough fully ripen, which is especially important, since the sourdough is used almost exclusively for flavoring rather than leavening. If you want to make this bread, I'd suggest heading over to Bill Wraith's excellent write-up.

I had some starter left over, so I made up some sourdough pizza dough -- two of the doughballs went in the freezer, while the others went into the fridge so that I could make them up for dinner the next night. Probably two of the best pizzas I've made. A woman at the Corvallis Farmer's Market was selling wild chantrelle mushrooms, so I got some, sauteed them in a bit of butter, and plopped them on the pizza. They were great, along with some black olives and turkey-chicken sausage:

The crust was nice and holey!

Here's how I made it:


  • Whole wheat flour: 50%
  • AP flour: 50%
  • Water: 80%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Olive oil: 5%
  • 15% of the flour is pre-fermented as starter
Recipe (2 crusts):
  • Whole wheat starter (75% hydration): 100 grams
  • Whole wheat flour: 130 grams
  • AP flour: 180 grams
  • Water: 250 grams
  • Olive oil: 18 grams
  • Salt: 7 grams

Mix the water and the starter, and mush it all up with your fingers until it's a soupy mess. Add the salt and the oil, mix again, and then add the flour. Let it sit, covered, for 1 hour and then give it a stretch and fold. Do two more folds spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart. Let it ferment a total of 4-5 hours at room temperature (about 68-70 degrees F), and then divide into two. Shape each lump of dough into a tight ball, pop them into plastic bags, and put them in the fridge if you plan to use within the next 3 days. Otherwise, put them in the freezer, where they'll keep for at least one month. When you're ready to make the pizza, let the dough sit out for about 2 hours if it was in the fridge, 4 hours if in the freezer. Shape, top and bake on a stone preheated for about an hour in an oven at the highest setting possible. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Last, my standby: whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread.

Always tasty, always reliable.

Next on my agenda: some of those potato-onion-rye rolls from Peter's book!