The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What I learned this time

Tommy gram's picture
Tommy gram

What I learned this time

I Learned a lot from Tartine- so much, but I think I need a little departure, a little space from Chad.

Today I learned by taste what I started to suspect. Bump the starter, use more starter.

This loaf is 700 grams starter And 900 grams flour (500 bread flour and 400 all purpose) tastes great, tastes killer. 70% hydration. 


hreik's picture

Nothing else to add. Nicely done



dabrownman's picture

The other way to get more flavor besides more levain and less time is the opposite - less starter and levain and way more time retarded. Both work well but small and longer time is better for flavor in my book.   Well done and

Happy baking in 2015 

Tommy gram's picture
Tommy gram

Yea I do it like that too. When I want bread quickly though, I bump up the starter percentage. THe best bread I have to say is with the 20% starter. Problem is I just dont have the time and in winter when the house is cold I need a little extra starter. Feel like a criminal saying I will sometimes put a small splash of commercial yeast in there to assist in the process.

Thanks DaBrownman!

chouette22's picture

Did you make the change purely based on trying to improve the taste? Or did the increased amount of starter produce other results as well, such as better oven spring, more open crumb, etc.?

Tommy gram's picture
Tommy gram

Was in a bit of a rush - we needed bread that night- I was not In the mood for retarding, as I said we were in need of bread- I recall eating lunch with a commercial bread baker of Spanish nationality- also happened to sing flamenco- associate of my brother in law- "the amount of starter you use depends on the amount of time Ya have to make the bread". The words of Raymond Calvel the great and famous French baker -from the book I paid almost $100 for "Make good bread: Make it fast" 

Knowing starter is time in a bottle-well, there you have it.


Tommy gram's picture
Tommy gram

Yes, Swhite, 350 plus 350 in the starter department. 100% Hydration always-for ease of calculations. I shoot for 70 % total hydration generally. 

I usually try add most of the water to loosen up the starter before I add my flour and salt concoction. Somehow it seems you can add five gallons of water and the flour will still want more towards the end. I hold some back to add at the end cause if I go over the 70-75% it starts to get messy. A Spritzer apparatus is handy for the first mix, speeds the process, spray some flour that has not mixed. pockets of dryness.

Lots of people say add the salt after the dough rests for 20-45 minutes. ( "Autolyse". In my own head I call this beneficial rest period "slake" cause that's a more familiar word for me. Either way a short mix till all the dry bits are integrated and then after 25-45 minute slake I knead the dough ball for a few minutes, say maybe 5). I have done it both ways and I have no issue adding the salt at the outset. Its faster.

My missing knowledge ingredient when I was beginning was emphasis on temperature, warmth. 78 degrees is my target when I'm doing same day bread.

Retarding is cool too, slow it down and you have another kind of control. Sometimes I'll form the dough, put it in the fridge in a linen lined basket and when I take it out what one or two days later, microwave it for a 30-40 second blast and then put it in the over 45 minutes to 5 hours later, depending. I will then read my fortune in how turns out the crumb.

Good luck to you, baking bread is so easy to do once you get in the rhythm. Show me your latest effort!