The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need some help

freshmilled's picture

Need some help

I'm new to sourdough bread making and have and active starter from sourdoughlady's recipe with the fresh juice. I mill my own grain and used fresh milled hard white wheat in this starter. Now I am on day 8 and do not know what to do next. How long do I keep feeding this starter before I bake a loaf of bread? How much starter do I use in a loaf? I need a recipe and wonder if anyone has one that uses freshly milled flour. If any of you experienced sourdough bakers could help me I sure would appreciate it. Thanks.

SourdoLady's picture

Hi, Freshmilled. Thanks for trying my starter. If you are on day 8, your starter could be ready to use. The real test is--do you have lots of bubbles, tiny ones throughout and large frothy ones on top? Does the starter smell yeasty? There are many recipes posted on this site that you could try. The amount of starter to use varies with the recipe, so just go with what the recipe calls for.

I would recommend using part unbleached white flour with your hard white wheat. You could use 100% whole wheat but it will make a heavy, dense loaf. If you do use 100% whole wheat it is helpful to add some vital wheat gluten to aid the rising. I would also suggest a recipe that starts with a preferment, or poolish because it will help soften the sharp edges of the whole grain as it soaks. You can use your fresh milled flour in any recipe that calls for whole wheat flour. Good luck, and let us know how it goes. Remember that sourdough sometimes takes longer to rise, so don't rush it!

freshmilled's picture

SourdoLady, thanks soooo much for the reply. I do not know what preferment or poolish is. I truely am a novice. Do you think it would help if I sifted some of the bran out of some of the flour instead of using white flour? This has helped me to make lighter cakes but I've never tried it for bread.Thanks so much for the help.freshmilled

sphealey's picture

> I do not know what preferment or poolish is


A preferment (generic term; poolish, biga, and sponge are different types) is just a some flour, water, and tiny amount of yeast mixed together, covered, and left to stand overnight. During that period the yeast activates, expands the mixture, creates some waste products (= flavour to humans), and stretches the gluten a bit. A poolish can improve just about any bread recipe, giving it more flavor and better kneading characteristics.


Typical poolish: 1 cup water, 1-1/4 to 1/34 cups flour, 1/16-1/8 tsp yeast. Mix gently in medium bowl until just smooth, scrap down sides, cover bowl with cover or plastic wrap. Leave sit minimum 8 hours; if leaving for more than 12 hours put in refrigerator after first 2 hours. Mix with other ingrediants to create dough (but don't forget to subtract the poolish amounts from the recipe!)


You will be amazed at the difference.



freshmilled's picture

Thanks for the education:) I'm still looking for a good recipe for sourdough bread. Any reccomendations? Thanks again. I just love being around smart people! freshmilled

coffin girl's picture
coffin girl

hi fresh milled.

Welcome to sourdough baking!!!!

I am not a poolish user, but a frequent baker of sourdough bread.  Not using a

conventional recipe but rather one that friends and family enjoy I mix

  • 2 Cups of sponge (proofed starter)
  • 3 Cups of unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unchlorinated water
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar together and knead for 10 - 12 minutes. 
  • I then prove this in a big bowl until 2x in size.  This can take up to 6 hours ( depending on warmth).  I have found that my dough likes to be put into a greased plastic container (I have a lid for it too) and then I place it on the back seat of my car and put it in the sun to grow.  When doubled in size I bring it back indoors and gently add in the salt and re- knead it for it's tins.  I then place it in the tins (about 750 gms per loaf) , allow it to grow again & then bake it off in a really hot steamy oven.  Walla....... great bread.  good luck.  Coffin girl.