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Floydm's picture

Leftover starter

This question was sent to me via email:

I have been making bread since the mid 1970's. During the past few years, I have been experimenting with starters instead of using variations on the straight yeast dough method.

More recently, I have been experimenting with starters, sour dough, and
related approaches based on recipes and instructions from several of
Peter Reinhart’s books. The bread usually comes out fine although
the process is labor-intensive and time-consuming.

With all of the reciepes in several of his books, I seem to wind up
throwing away a lot of starter or seed. Starting with a small
beginning batch, I let it rise. After the indicated period of time, I
work on it for a few minutes. Instructions say to let a portion of the
starter rise again and suggest that I can discard the rest that is not
needed. Too much starter retards growth of the yeast and the ripening
of the dough.

Am I reading the instructions correctly--does the starter/sour dough
method always give the cook excess dough at the end of each step or
rise that must be thrown out?

Thanks to whoever can provide an answer or guidance?

FYI Reinhart was on one of the cooking shows on NPR. Either he or the
host offered an email for listeners with questions. I asked this same
question but did not get an answer.

I believe the answer is yes, you always end up needing to discard some extra starter.

The last story I can find on that Peter was in was this story about pizza from November. If anyone can find a more recent one, please post it.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

What to do with all the bread?

I think my neighbors are starting to feel overwhelmed by all the loaves of bread that keep appearing at their houses :)

Like most of us here, I find little more satisfying than pulling a couple of gorgeous loaves off my stone. I don't have room in my freezer, and I'm way too impatient to wait until I finish one loaf to bake another :)

So what do you all do with your spare loaves? I was thinking of finding a homeless shelter, or the like, in the area to donate them to.


timtune's picture

Flour in Melbourne, Aus


Are there anyone from Melbourne, Australia here?

I facing a difficulty finding good bread flour with protein levels of 11%+ and other types of flours, esp rye.
I live in the area of Carlton.

Does anyone know where, nearest to where i stay, to get these flours??


Paddyscake's picture

Potato Sourdough Starter Help

I had posted a question in regards to this sourdough starter. My first batch of bread was awesome, great tang. The bread I baked subsequently just didn't have the zip. I was asked to share the recipe so here it is. Maybe someone has tried this type of starter before? I was wondering if I should add some more potato from time to time?
This recipe came from Bob's Red Mill. I live about a 1/2 hour from their store... It's a great place to shop.
Bob's Red Mill Sour Dough Starter
1 cup warm water (105-115F)
1 1/2 cups white unbleached flour
1 t sea salt
1 t sugar
1 medium potato, peeled and grated

In a 2 c measure mix together water, flour, salt & sugar. Add potato sufficient enough to make a full 2 cups.

Pour mixture into a 1 quart widemouth jar. Place a cheesecloth over the container and allow to set in a warm place for 24 hours. Stir and cover with plastic wrap. The mixture will become light and foamy in 2-3 days. Stir down each day.

Pour the fermented starter into a glass jar fitted with a tight lid and place in fridge. In 2-3 days when the hooch collects on top it is ripened enough to use.

It smells like blue cheese (well to me anyway)..really pungent..but the bread was great!
If you try it let me know what you think and would appreciate any input.

Floydm's picture

Sourdough Switcharoo

As I mentioned in my previous post, last night I placed my new sourdough starter in the oven with just the light on to see if staying 80 degrees overnight would give it some pep. It did, having slightly over doubled in size by this morning.

I also started a poolish last night so I could do a standard French bread if my starter wasn't looking lively. It too was ready to go this morning.

"Hey," I thought, "Since I have both, why don't I try making a yeasted and a sourdough version of the same recipe and compare how they come out? That's a good idea, innit?"

It is if you can remember which is which, but I, alas, could not.

My head was just not together this morning and I mixed up the two. What I knew was that I had two batches of my simple rustic bread: 14 oz. bread flour, 1 oz. rye flour, 1 oz. whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon salt, 12 ounces water. One of the two had a teaspoon of instant yeast and a cup or so of poolish in it, the other had half a cup of sourdough starter.

For the life of me, I could tell them apart: I was certain the one that was rising fast was the sourdough. It smelled like sourdough. Or maybe that was just the rye flour?

In the end I figured out which was which, but by then I botched the shaping of one of the sourdough loaves. Against all odds, the other one came out well.

The poolish bread:
poolish batards

The sourdough round:
sourdough round

The two side-by-side (sourdough on left):

A close up of the sourdough:
sourdough crumb

The poolish bread was much lighter and had a much more evenly open crumb. The sourdough was somewhat dense and should have been allowed to rise another half hour or hour (and would have, if I'd remembered which one it was), but it still developed a beautifully irregular crumb and tasted marvelous. That it came out not only edible but excellent proves my assertion that even a dunderhead can bake a naturally leavened bread if they are willing to keep trying.

Next weekend I bake ONLY sourdoughs, or a sourdough and something that I couldn't possibly confuse it with, like a brioche or a challah.

EricCartman's picture

World's Best Bread Machine Recipe -- and easy

I got this recipe from a computer tech forum. It has received hundreds of rave reviews. It it very very easy to make.

World's Best Bread Recipe

jongraphics's picture

Artisan Crackers

I am trying to find a recipe for crackers. I know what I want but evidently have not come up with the right word to describe them. I have tries several recipes but they were very much like soda crackers, not what I'm after. They were good, but.

I would like to produce a very thin, crispy cracker. I believe the process would be dough, rolled thin, baked and then broken into pieces for serving. I use steam injection in my bread making and not sure it would enhance the cracker recipe. Any ideas?

Floydm's picture

Cranberry Coffeecake

I saw this recipe for a cranberry coffee cake in The Bread Feed and had to try it.
cranberry coffee cake
It is very good, more like a light pound cake than a traditional coffee cake. We all enjoyed it very greatly.

I'm going to keep a summary of the recipe here so that I have it in case the original source move or go away, but I definitely want to give credit: I found this recipe via Slashfood, which linked to it on Epicurious, which appears to have gotten it from Gourmet (magazine?). Follow those links for more in depth info on this recipe.

Cranberry Coffeecake 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup cranberry sauce 2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup milk

Blend sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs. Mix in dry ingredients to make batter. Alternately layer the batter and the cranberry sauce in a greased loaf pan, and bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes (mine took that long to bake), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pan. Top with powdered sugar.

cranberry coffee cake

Mine broke apart coming out of the pan, but the powdered sugar covered up the damage quite nicely. :)

Floydm's picture



I dig popovers. No leavening at all, just steam.

Popovers Make 1 dozen popovers 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon melted butter or vegetable oil 1 cup milk 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Combine the wet ingredients and mix into the dry ingredients until you have a very smooth batter. You can use an electric mixer or eggbeater to do this, do it by hand, or even mix it in a blender.

Pour the batter into greased muffin tins. The tins should only be about half full.

For a light-colored, drier popover, bake at 375 for 50 to 55 minutes. For a darker, crustier but moister in the inside popover, bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes (as I did in this batch).

Remove from the oven and eat while hot with jam or butter.


Bakenstein's picture

Dan Lepard The Handmade Loaf

I ventured over to Dan Lepard's website recently via the Links page from here. Has anyone looked at or is using his new book "The Handmade Loaf"...any and all comments welcome.