The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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azuredrupe's picture

Ultimate Starter from Wild Wheat

Hello! I am a long-time reader, first-time poster. But I just had to! Here is the story:

I have tried making wild starters two separate times (both BBA method), but each failed. On a recent trip to Montana, I got a crazy idea: why not get some of the tops of some wild wheat plants and see if I could culture yeast from them? Well, it was a great success!

I collected wheat from Paradise Valley, the Bridger Mountains, and the Hyalite Mountains. When I got home I put the wheat into jars and mixed in some water and pineapple juice. I let the three jars sit for about three hours, shaking vigorously every 20 minutes or so. Then I strained out the wheat plant and mixed in some bread flour. I then followed the BBA instructions. The Paradise Valley only took 2.5 days to get to a roaring state, the Bridger took four days, and it looks like the Hyalite batch may not grow.

Yesterday I cut my Paradise barm in half, fed it and put it back in the fridge. With the rest I mixed a wet dough (maybe 1/3 starter by volume) with a bit of whole-wheat flour and rye flour, and some salt of course. Autolyse (~20 minutes), knead (~5 minutes), then placed in an oiled bowl in the fridge overnight (trying to get the pain l’ancienne effect of BBA). I folded three times (30-45 minutes apart). The next morning I let it warmed up for about three hours, shaped into a boule and let rise on a whole-grain cereal cover cloth set within a colander for about 3 hours. Baked at 450o on a stone with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven for about 30 minutes.

Wow! Some of the beast bread I have ever made! Thick crust, open crumb, and great taste. Also, the crust has many different colors in it, which has never occurred before. I have frozen portions of my Paradise starter and my Bridger starter and intend to keep these lineages alive for many years to come.









Some additional thoughts:

I have really found that a small amount of yeast, high water content, and long cool proofing time are the three biggest factors for getting a big crumb. Now, these have been noted many times on the FreshLoaf, but I have also noticed that the best flavor, crust, and crumb seem to come from cool dough that has proofed for a long time and doesn’t seem to be raising very well. The batches that seem to be raising very well end up with a good moderate, but not huge, crumb (see the last photo – the bottom loaf is the Paradise boule and the top is a batard made from a separate batch I made at the same time with a bit more instant yeast than I typically use).

Lastly, sorry for the absence of exact measurements. I know that is a sin for baking, but I take an improv approach similar to my cooking (which I have been at much longer than baking).

All the best!




meedo's picture

Fatirat al-toffah wa al-toot (Blackberry and apple sweet pizza)

A fruity flavor squares and low in fat.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour.
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast.
1 teaspoon backing powder.
1 teaspoon vanilla essence.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder.
3/4 teaspoon salt.
1/4 cup sugar.
1/4 cup low fat yogurt.
1/3 to 1/2 cup water.
1 1/2 tablespoon oil.
2 egg whites.

1/4 cup low fat cream cheese.
1/2 cup blackberry jam.
3 apples (peeled and chopped).

1/4 cup all purpose flour.
1 tablespoon butter.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence.
2 tablespoons sugar.
1/4 cup almonds, chopped.

1)To make dough: mix all the ingredients; knead for 10 minutes, until you get smooth dough. Let rest for 40 minutes.

2)Press dough into a baking pan, spread with cream chesses.

then blackberry jam,

and top it with chopped apples.

3)To make the crumble: work butter into flour then add sugar, vanilla, and almonds. Sprinkle the mixture on top of apples.

4) Cover and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes.

5)bake at 350 F . for 25 minutes or until cooked and browned.

my homemade blackberry jam:


MarkR's picture


Mark from near Charlottesville, VA, here.  This looks like just the place I've been lookin for.  I've been baking for about a month now, mostly with a cloche, and, though I've had some early success, still have a lot to learn.  I'm planning on building an outdoor oven in the fall once things cool off a bit here.  I'm an elementary school teacher, gardener, and chicken and bee keeper.  I've also cooked off an on for the past 20 years, both in restaurants and home catering.  I'm looking forward to learning more.

Maeve's picture

Please help - my bread sticks to loaf pans

I like the shape of bread done in loaf pans, but it doesn't matter what I use, my bread sticks in the pans.  I've used glass, silicone, non-stick metal and now regular stainless steel.  I spray oil on the pans before letting the dough do it's final rise.


Someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong.  Or direct me to loaf pans that won't stick my bread.  Or just convince me that I should dispense with the loaf pan altogether, even if it won't fit nicely in my toaster.



SDbaker's picture

Attending SFBI Artisan I Workshop - Thread with daily updates

Hi everyone, well I made it to San Francisco and signed up for a 5 day workshop at SFBI.  Pretty excited - class starts tomorrow.  There are 2 more successive classes that begin one and two weeks away.  I am only here for Artisan I.  I can't wait. 

 SD Baker

BROTKUNST's picture

Pain de Noix au Pinot Noir

.. pardon my French but this loaf, a Brotkunst Original, deserves a French Title in my opinion.


The formula of this loaf builds on (any) Pain au Levain and develops a quite particular color, extraordinary flavour and almost sweet smell by the addition of wine-soaked Walnuts and Oat Berries.




and, if you like, two more photos that basically won't offer more information but may be interesting anyway




So in order to bake this Pain de Noix au Pinot Noir you will have to start with the Pinot Noir Walnuts about 48 hours before you will start baking.

Day 1:

150g Walnuts

200g Pinot Noir

Soak walnuts in the Pinot Noir for 24 hours


Day 2:

150 g Oat Berries

15g Malted Barely Syrup

150g Water (95 C / 200 F)


Soak the oat berries in the almost boiling water for about 45-60 minutes. By then the oat berries should have soaked up most but not all of the water.

Add the malted barley syrup the oat berries and stirr. Drain the Pinot Noir Walnuts over the oat berries, stirr lightly and then add the walnuts in the same container. The walnuts will now only be partially emersed in the Pinot Noir. Within the next 24 hours you may 'rotate' the walnuts if you like - leave the oat berries at the bottom though.



Pain au Levain

The amount of soaked nuts and grains is based on a dough with about 800g (28 oz) flour. Hamelman's 'Vermont Sourdough' has been widely discussed and would be a (one) suitable way to create the actual dough. However, in oder to ensure a vigorous levain, I'd suggest a two-stage build. The liquid white levain should be about 40-45% of the flour used (excluding the flour in the levain itseld of course)

When you prepare the Pain au Levain (e.g. Vermont Sourdough) use all the Pinot Noir and Water from your Walnut/Berries mixture. With reasonable draining you will have to make no further adjustment to the normal hyration of you natural leavened bread.


I suggest that you proceed the mixing of the final dough with a 1-hour-Autolyse (including the preferment but of course without the salt). Knead your dough to a moderate gluten development and add the oat berries and walnut during the final minutes. They will just have to be worked in evenly - you don't want to overdo this because you may tear up the gluten too much or destroy the walnuts. It's absolutely possible to do this with a Kitchenaid (I used the 'Powerhook' on my KA Pro 600).


Let the dough ferment for about 3 hours and fold it twice within the first 60-90 minutes. Don't be too fast or rough when you stretch the dough since of the loaded dough may tend to tear when stretch too hasty. If you work with Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough add some 30 minutes to bulk fermentation as well as to the proofing. Devide, shape and proof the dough(s) as you would usually do it - again with some extra consideration that your dough is loaded with nuts and oat berries. Be sure to give your dough enough time to proof ... it will take a little longer.



This bread is delicious with plain butter ... if you like try it with Blue Cheese, an Asiago-Garlic Spread or a good thin-sliced dry-hard salami (mild sopressata or herbal) and a glass of Pinot Noir.






pseudobaker's picture

Where have you purchased bannetons?

I should note first of all that I live in Canada, so I'm looking for a source that will ship north of the border.  Unfortunately, (a wonderful link Brotkunst provided) does not.  I'm looking at the San Fran Baking Institute, but haven't found any shipping info on their website at all.  Does anyone have any leads for me?


Thank you in advance.


Atropine's picture

Cavernous sourdough

Hello everyone.  I am new here, hope this is ok for a topic.  I have not seen this addressed on the pages I have looked at.

I have been baking bread for a while, but am branching out into sourdough.

I have started my first sourdough starter (not from scratch...tried that before and I think we have too much mold in our house for it).

 Anyway, got the sourdough starter going, made some bread.  Tasted fine, but both the round loaf and the loaf in the loaf pan had one HUGE bubble under the crust the entire length and breadth of each loaf..... I could have hidden a chihuahua in there lol.  The crust was obviously fairly strong, but I was puzzled by the one HUGE bubble.  Any ideas?

If anyone is interested, my sourdough is actually a commercial starter that they sell up here (for tourists lol).  BUT I have been pleased so far.  After the "secret compartment bread", I made another loaf using some of the tips I found here for increasing the sour of the sourdough....the resulting loaf was VERY good, VERY tender, nicely crisp crust.  It almost had a sour taste--you could tell that it wanted to be a "real" sourdough, but just couldn't quite make it.  However, the more it cooled, the more tang it had.

I am eager to do more, now that I can see that the code CAN be cracked :).  Thank you for your time and for this forum--it really helps!

Floydm's picture

So far so good

I'm having a good, relaxing weekend here. I hope y'all are doing well too.

Inspired by LilDice's quick rustic pizza, I made pizza last night. I didn't follow the rustic pizza recipe exactly, but I did use a dough with around 90% hydration. I made it around noon and folded at 2 and 4, then baked it around 6.

The results were really good. I did one pesto pie:

green pizza

And one with tomatoes, cheese, basil, olive oil, and garlic. Lildice: how can you forget the garlic?!? ;^)

red pizza

a whole pizza pie



Real nice open crust. Much more sturdy that the neo-Neopolitan dough I usually use and which required the nose to be folded up, NY pizza style. I'm not sure I prefer one over the other, they are just different kinds of pies.

Blueberries are here. I made blueberry muffins this morning. And a batch of banana nut muffins too, while I was at it.


I've still got another day to bake. Methinks my sourdough starter is feeling left out, so I'll have to do something to entertain it.

rustica's picture

Poolish question


I made a poolish following the Peter Reinhart BBA book last night in the hopes of making a ciabatta this weekend. However, before the poolish was quite done rising, I fell asleep, and it fermented for about 11 hours. :((  Is my poolish toast now? or can I still  use it in a ciabatta?

Any ideas?