The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


mark d's picture
mark d


i just started making bread, so i bought some active dry yeast, as it was proofing it SMELLS like THE TASTE of my grandmothers bread but it did not taste like hers.


cranbo's picture

So what kind of bread was your grandmother's bread? white? whole wheat? rye?

It's my grandma's bread that got me baking. She passed away years ago, and I had her recipe, but it's taken me years to get it right (she used to eyeball the whole thing). 

If you post some of the qualities of her bread, others here might help you get closer to what it was like. 

  1. How was it shaped? 
  2. Type of bread? (white, whole wheat, rye, etc)
  3. Texture of bread 
  4. Texture & color of crust

Good luck in your baking adventures!


mark d's picture
mark d

watch Diners Drive ins and dives on Feb 18 it also was on last night (WINGS' N Things) they were making BUNS, They made a yeast starter and then added even more yeast as they were mixing the dough. GUY said the smell of the yeast was coming out in the taste of the bread. KILLER-OFF THE HOOK.  I think this is the way I want to make mine. How much yeast should I put in my starter & how much in my dough for  one loaf ??? does anyone know whats up.

cranbo's picture

markd, I haven't seen the episode, so I don't know what other ingredients they added. You may want to re-watch the episode and see what place it was, and what ingredients they added. 

Typically, your initial starter/preferment should have very little yeast (literally, a small pinch, probably 1/8 teaspoon or less). Let this sit out overnight, or for about 6-8 hours. 

Then you add additional yeast in with your flour, water, salt, and other ingredients. If you want really soft bread, you may want to add some kind of fat (oil, melted butter), some sugar, maybe some cooked potato (or instant potato flakes), and maybe substitute milk for some of the water. 

The amount of yeast you use in your final dough depends on how much dough your making, how much fat & sugar is in the recipe (more fat/sugar = more yeast), and how fast you want it to rise. Practically speaking, a dough with a lot of fat & sugar might require 3 to 3.5% yeast (that means 3-3.5% of the weight of the flour in your recipe). If you don't use fat in your dough, I'd start with the yeast somewhere around 1% and work your way up (for faster rise and yeastier flavor) or down (for slower rise and less yeasty flavor). 

It's not likely that your first baking attempts will work out right. If you have the patience, keep trying and eventually you will figure it out. It's taken me years and probably 30 loaves to figure out my grandma's bread recipe. I've learned a lot along the way.  

Good luck!


ehanner's picture

Welcome to the site mark d. You can learn how to make a good basic country loaf of bread that is way better than store bought. It's not hard but you need to follow some basic rules. The easiest way to learn is to check out the Lessons link at the top of the front page here. This is the direct link. Start with the first lesson and plan to bake it a few times until you learn the basics.

Let us know how you are doing. There is lots of help available here once you ask.


mark d's picture
mark d

They made there starter with 7 lb. water 7 lb. flour and ? yeast

For the buns

They added there starter to---- flour more yeast,water,salt butter and brown sugar

the yeast smell was strong at this time. GUY said smell of the yeast is comming out in the flavor of the buns.    Feb 18 WINGS N THINGS

cranbo's picture

MarkD, try this recipe. It's based on the ingredients you specified, but combined with a recipe I use often for nice, soft, sandwich bread and buns. You're gonna need to weigh all of the ingredients with a scale; it's a good, inexpensive investment if you intend to keep baking. 

Makes about 8 buns or 1 big loaf-pan loaf

1. Make a starter as follows:

  • 50g flour
  • 50g water
  • Tiny pinch of yeast (1/8 teaspoon or less)

Leave out overnight, or 6-8 hours, in covered container at room temp. 

2. Next, to a large mixing bowl, add in this order:

  • 217g warm water
  • 12g instant yeast (or 16g active dry yeast)

Let this sit for 5 minutes. It will smell yeasty, as you like it.  

3. Next, add the following to the bowl, in this order (1=add this first):

  1. All of your starter
  2. 26g melted butter
  3. 375g all purpose flour
  4. 38g brown sugar
  5. 10g salt

4. Mix dough with spoon until combined, then knead by hand for 10 minutes. OR knead in a mixer for 6-7 minutes at a slow speed. 

5. Flatten the dough into a letter-sized rectangle (8x11 inches), then roll the flattened dough into a cylinder, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place, until almost (but not quite) doubled. 

6. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces and shape into rolls, OR shape into a loaf and put in a loaf pan.

7. Let rise about 1 hour, until almost doubled

8. Preheat oven to 400F, and put your oven rack 2nd from top of oven

9. Bake at 350F (yes, turn the oven down after you put the bread in), for about 27-29 minutes (for buns), maybe 30-32 minutes for a loaf

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before eating!

Let us know how it goes. I think you'll end up with a nice, yeasty, light fluffy bun or bread. 



mark d's picture
mark d

I will try it this weekend THANKS

cranbo's picture

let us know how the bread turns out! 

I tried the recipe out myself last night, and they turned out well. You can read about my recipe and results there. Hopefully this will be close to what you expected. 

mark d's picture
mark d

cranbo   The bread turned out fine. THANKS

Still not what i am looking for but dont give up on me.

I think they used most of there  water in the starter.

So your recipe calls for 50g of water for the starter and 217g for the mix= 267g of water total.

So i am going to try 267g water and 267g flour and 1/8 tea of active dry yeast for the starter and let it rise in the fridg. over night.

They said the flavor was all in the starter.

Watch and record Diners drive-in's and dives Feb 18 (Wings and Things)

cranbo's picture


Hi Mark D,

Unfortunately, I don't have access to that show, so I can't watch it. 

Using all of the water and most of the flour in your starter in the ratios you suggested should be fine.

It's true that a lot of flavor (as well as final dough texture) is developed in the starter. You'll have to let your experience be your guide on that one.

It's difficult to make suggestions because I don't know what your taste in bread is like. You said "the bread turned out fine", but what did you like (or not like) about it? What did or didn't meet your expectations about how it should taste? That kind of critical evaluation will help you determine what changes to make, and give the other helpful souls here on TFL a better idea of the kind of bread you're looking for, to make better suggestions for your recipe. 

Think about what you did or didn't lilke about:


  • Crust (thick, thin, hard, soft, crackly, leathery)
  • Crumb (light, heavy, fluffy, dense, moist, gummy, chewy)
  • Flavor (sweet/not sweet enough, salty/not salty enough, etc)
  • Look (shiny, dull, smooth, rough, etc)
Everyone has their own taste, and just because one person describes the bread or a recipe a certain way doesn't mean you will perceive the same bread the same way. This is why your comments about how something should taste are important. 
This is all part of the experience of baking "your bread". Regardless of how you interpret a recipe, it's unlikely that two people will ever make the exact same bread. You can bake a Tartine Country Bread according to the recipe, but Chad Robertson's will most likely taste different from yours. There are an infinite number of variables, and that's what's exciting (to me at least) about baking.  
Good luck and post some photos of your bread!




mark d's picture
mark d

FINE COOKING'S Techniques & Tips

"Yeast's crucial roles in breadbaking.-----But when bakers chill a dough and slow down the rise, the cold dramatically reduces yeast activity. The bacteria, on the other hand, function well even in cold temperatures, so they now have an opportunity to thrive, producing many more marvelously flavorful acids".

Sounds good to me, anyone have a recipe for a starter like this?



cranbo's picture

What you just described has doesn't necessarily have to do with the starter. Long fermentation of any doughs in a cool environment will give you flavor you describe here. Just stick your shaped loaf in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight (using virtually any recipe), and you will notice this difference. 

The starter that I wrote in the recipe that I provided in this thread is similar to what is used on the show. Any preferment automatically will change the flavor and texture of your end product. 

If you want a more flavorful starter, make a sourdough starter. There are plenty of instructions on The Fresh Loaf for how to do so. Start by reading and trying the recipes in the "Handbook" section. Once you start baking more you'll better figure out how to describe what you want to achieve and (in the end) how to achieve the results you're looking for.  

cranbo's picture

I was able to watch the episode markd was talking about. Location is Capone's Pub in Couer D'Alene, Idaho. 

Here's what I observed:

Starter was nothing special, 100% hydration. Unknown how long it sits. 

Final dough included starter, flour, yeast, brown sugar, looked like about 1 lb of butter, 8.5 lbs of water. Unknown how much starter is added to the recipe, but I'd estimate 40-60% of total flour. 

Mixer for a few minutes, until the dough comes away from sides of bowl. 

Bench rise for 1 hour

1 fold, then portion each bun to 4.5oz and shape into balls (in their case, using a shaping machine)

Rest (probably covered) about 1 hr

Place in greased burger pan

Pat shaped burgers into burger bun pan, then proof for 45 minutes in proofer (warm, moist heat)

Brush with whole egg wash (egg wash looked yellow)

Place burger pan in oven, bake at 425F for about 20 minutes

mark d's picture
mark d

Cranbo   Thanks for watching

I own a small resturant in a very rural area, I have it leased out now.

I also cook BBQ on the Kansas city BBQ society.

I you never had compition BBQ ( The O my god factor) you are missing out.

With that said I would like to make my own buns, with refrigerator area limited, I dont have room for the buns. The starter/sponge i can make room for. I would have to have enough starter for 3 nights. It's a Thursday, Friday, Saturday night THING. After watching the show i made a starter with 8.3 oz water 8.3 oz. AP flour and 1 Tea. active dry yeast. stright to the refrigerator  for 48 hours .Also I have made a sourdough starter with 1 cup flour (Bread flour) and 1 cup water. At room temp. it only took 3 days for it to be full of bubbles and have a froth on top. when i try to make bread with my sourdough starter i run out of time. i need to start my sponge proofing the day befor. I kind of gave up on the sourdough but i will try again. Are you saying to add yeast to my sourdough starter when i make the starter or just when i make the bread dough. When i open my BBQ resturant the BBQ will have (The O my god factor) i think the bread will take it over the top. The help you are giving and the Lessons are a big help, I have made about 30 loaves and getting better every time. Thanks again.

cranbo's picture

I love BBQ! Yes, fresh bread will no doubt complement your BBQ nicely. 

It's not a problem if you don't have refrigeration room for your finished, shaped bread. Another shortcut you can take is to refrigerate your dough not long after mixing (but before shaping), anywhere from 6 hours to 24 hours (or more, depending on the amount of yeast in your recipe.) This will help you build significant flavor in your final dough, and reduce the storage space you need, so you can reap most of the benefits of long, slow, cool fermentation. This approach is fairly common and yields excellent results. 

You can shape refrigerated dough right out of the fridge and let it go thru its final rise at room temp (or in a proofer, if you have one handy). 

Regarding your sourdough starter, if you have a nice starter going, do not add commercial yeast to it! It will impact your starter negatively. You can, however, brew up a big batch of preferment/starter/sponge using your sourdough (save a little for the next batch), and add it to your straight dough for your recipe, then add yeast to the final dough. This way you get the flavor of the preferment with the controlled, fast-acting rise of commercial yeast.

Bottom line: you don't want to contaminate a nice sourdough starter with commercial yeast, it will compete with the natural yeasts and not behave as desired. 

Sounds like you are going for loaf breads, then? Are you free-form shaping them, or using bread pans? 


mark d's picture
mark d

cranbo  I took my sourdough starter out of the frig. last night and fead it. hope to make a loaf soon. I do use loaf pans.    Right now i am just working on flavor.

I have been making a yeast starter and letting it set in the frige for several days. The starter on the show was put in the frig. will this build flavor or do i need to mix the finale dough. butter, salt and sugar to build flavor.


Above for the show you estimated the yeast to be 40-60% of total flour. For your recipe above you said 50g of flour for starter and 375g for finale mix. That would be 15 oz of flour and 7.5 oz. yeast???? Get that BBQ grill out and cook something.

cranbo's picture

The yeast starter in the fridge will build flavor up to a point. How long that is depends on how much yeast went into the starter. 

Of course, the butter, salt and sugar will add flavor to your final dough as well. You do not want to add these ingredients to your starter, though; only add them to your final dough. 

Above for the show you estimated the yeast to be 40-60% of total flour. 

What I said was that I guessed the preferment (aka sponge aka starter) was about 40-60% of the flour weight added to the final dough (not yeast, that would be way too much!)

In the recipe I provided previously, the starter total weight is 100g (50g flour + 50g water). The flour weight in the final dough is 375g. So the starter weight is 26.67% of the flour weight (100g / 375g). 

If you want your preferment to be, let's say, 50% of your flour weight, then you would need a starter that weighs 375g * 50% = 188g starter weight. So, to make this starter, 188g / 2 = 94g flour and 94g water in your starter. To that, add your yeast, still only a pinch, let it ferment overnight. 


mark d's picture
mark d