The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Essential's Columbia bread

taparker's picture

Essential's Columbia bread

I decided to try my hand at making this bread.   I don't think I quite have the hang of making the starter.  Need to work on that.  Glezer's book seems to indicate that the starter should be made in a semi-airtight container and I've read elsewhere that the starter should be allowed to breathe and collect wild yeasts from the environment.  I ended up with a not-quite-sour starter but used it anyway.  Instead of using the non-diastatic malt syrup I settled for a barley malt powder from my local brew shop.  I let the first rise go for 3 + hours, divided it, rested it, then shaped it before proofing for another 2 to 3 hours.  I put both batards on a silicon mat to proof and then just transferred everything to the baking stone when the time came.  I thought I had botched the batard shaping process but the loafs were very forgiving and came out looking better than I expected.  The recipe called for spritzing the loaves with water before baking and the use of a garden sprayer arrangement to add additional moisture.  I opted for a pan in the bottom of the oven to which I added a cup of water immediately after inserting the loaves.


I liked the color and crumb however the taste was not sour enough(have to work on starter) and the malt flavor was not subtle enough.  I'll try reducing the amount of malt powder the next time as well as using a more sour starter.




dmsnyder's picture

Hi, taparker.

Welcome to TFL!

Your crust and crumb both look beautiful!

I gather you used a very young starter for this bake. Keep feeding it and, in a few weeks, you will find it gives much better flavor to your sourdough breads. 

Look forward to seeing more of your breads on TFL!


taparker's picture

Hi David,

Thank you for the welcoming message.  There is such a wealth of information on this site.  It's just the community I was looking for.

I am continuing to feed the starter and I'm starting a new one in parallel.  This one is from a blog on Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter (  I was a little sloppy taking care of my first starter so I'm going to make sure I track the current one.  Should be interesting.


pmccool's picture

And welcome to TFL.  That's a good-looking loaf of bread you have.

If you want a quick reference for a number of bread baking topics, click on the Handbook link at the top of the page.  I don't recall what it says about malt but I know there's a lot of good information about things like starters and shaping and slashing and, well, a lot more.

Keep up the good work!