The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi from Louisiana

TerryB's picture

Hi from Louisiana

Hello, I would like to start making sourdough bread like my husbands grandmother used to. To carry on the tradition. So I started checking out internet sites and happened on this one. It looked like it had a lot of good info and plenty of help from knowledgable people. So here I am. I have a lot of question. Where do I post questions? Do I need to be in a special forum for that? Let me know. My husbands grandmother did her sourdough starter a little different from what I have been reading so I'm not sure what to do. She would keep a ball of dough that she would take before cutting her loaves out (this included the salt, sugar, and shortening to make the bread) to save to make her next batch of bread. I have not found any info about this method. Does anyone have any idea? Thank you, TerryB

Willard Onellion's picture
Willard Onellion

Hi, Terry B. Where y'at? I'm in Alexandria.

Your husband's grandmother was using a preferment procedure called pate` fermente`e in France or Biga in Italy.

According to Peter Reinhart in, The Bread Baker's Apprentice:

Pate` fermentee is the French name for pre-fermented, or old, dough. It can be made, for example by saving a piece of douigh from one batch, after the dough has had its primary fermentation, to use later in a different batch or by simply taking a piece of dough specifically to be used later, perhaps the next day. Adding the pate` fermente has the effect of immediately aging  a newly made dough

Reinhart goes on:

Biga, an Italian style of pre-ferment, differs from pate` fermentee in that it does not have any salt in it. Also, rather than cutting off a piece of finished bread dough to hold back as an improver, a biga is made specifically to be used as a pre-ferment.


Also in Bread Alone, by Leader and Blahnik, you find the following:

Every treaditional baker who produces bread made with yeast saves a small hunk of yesterday's fermented dough to add to today's fresh dough.

These authors recommend making a poolish instead.


grepstar's picture

I've just recently started making sourdough myself and I've been having a blast doing it. Good luck and I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

suelynn's picture

I am also from Louisiana (north) and love to bake bread.  I am not a sourdugh person but I have made it.  Now for the kicker (don't start throwing things), I am addicted to the  bread machine.  I am on my 5th bread machine in 10 years.  I do not bake in them!  They give a terrible crumb and the texture is awful.  I just use the machine as a dough machine and I shape and bake in the oven.  Thanks for a great board.  I love it.  SueLynn

mattie405's picture

Lafayette to be specific.............. I just started baking a few months ago and am having fun so far. I used to have a bread machine but gave it away, it produced too many tight bricks for my taste and the few that came out usable weren't big enough for the family so the boys used to fight over them. I have now gotten myself a DLX mixer and am enjoyng it immensely and it allows me to make enough for everybody. I like sourdough but the rest of the family doesn't so I haven't tried it, I did do the NYT bread and they loved that but I found it dried out a lot overnight. My next dream is to build a small brick oven in our backyard to make pizza in, they really like the pizzas I make but having the oven up to 550 during the summer here is a killer so they only get them during our cooler times. You will find this board is a great place and everybody loves to help, I read it just about everyday. Mattie

Willard Onellion's picture
Willard Onellion

Hi, Mattie, good to see another Louisianian here. I have family in Lafayette, New Iberia, Abbeville and Lake Charles . . . just to mention that part of the state.

Of course, you know, as I do, that there is Louisiana Cooking and Other.