The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hello from a new baker taking on a challenge

franbaker's picture
franbaker

hello from a new baker taking on a challenge

Greetings from a not-totally-novice baker living near Philadelphia, Pa., in the US. This seems like a very friendly and helpful place, and I'm glad I found you all.

I've recently re-started my bread baking adventure, taking it up again every few years. This time around, there's a lot more information available so easily, but I'm still having trouble finding exactly what I'm looking for, so I think I may have taken on a bit of a challenge.

My heart's desire is to bake the healthiest possible breads, which to me means 100% whole grain from freshly-ground flour, naturally leavened bread, with fantastic flavor.

This is itself does not appear to be too difficult.

The challenge is that I want the other eater in my family to be enthusiastic about eating the bread I make, too. This is  someone who uses conventional, industrially-produced white breads for his sandwiches and who likes some bakery breads as long as they're not too sour, don't have too many big holes, and don't have that slightly bitter whole-wheaty taste to them (which most of the whole grain ones unfortunately do).

The good news is that I'm more than 50% there. Using freshly-milled flour (from organically-grown Red Fife wheat) and either a soaker- and biga- method a la Peter Reinhart or using a sourdough starter from breadtopia that I reconstituted, the flavor is fantastic (the sourdough was a little more sour than we wanted, but I think I let the bulk fermentation go on too long for an ambient temperature in the 80s Fahrenheit). I do have a couple of other starters of my own going, that aren't quite ready to try yet.

The issues are texture and shape. So far my breads are denser than he would like. Also, if I want him to use my bread for sandwiches, I need to bake them into a more square-shaped loaf of a usual sandwich size. I do have a standard loaf pan and a small pullman loaf pan. Also a batard-shaped clay baker.

I'm thinking I've taken on a real challenge because it's hard to find 100% whole grain bread recipes or formulas in serious (artisan) bread-baking books or bread-baking websites. Less hard in books that focus on things like using ancient grains, but they seem to either add vital wheat gluten for loft or accept a denser loaf.

I'm content with a fairly dense loaf myself; flavor is more my thing, then nutrition and health factors. My other eater is eating my bread so far (even the slightly sour, really quite dense one that I think I over-fermented) without special urging from me, but it's not what he uses when he wants a sandwich. He hates food going to waste, so I think he would eat it as long as he didn't dislike it, because he knows it's hard for me to eat it all myself. (You've got to bake a lot of bread if you want to learn.)

Part of the time, I think I should bake some white sourdough loaves to get a better idea of what the dough is supposed to feel like, look like, how it's supposed to behave. But that's not what I really want to eat. I'm really still learning all this basic stuff; it's surprising that I haven't baked an actual brick yet, I think, considering what I've apparently taken on. (Hoping I didn't just jinx myself there!)

If anyone can point me to threads, recipes, formulas, books, websites, or whatever, that address texture in 100% whole grain bread-baking, I would appreciate it.

Fran

 

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I am not in the 100% grain camp but do use a lot of freshly milled grain in my baking, normally anything up to about 50% grain. Adding some white flour will make the loaf lighter and more open. However, others on this site will be able to help, I just wanted to say hello

Leslie

franbaker's picture
franbaker

Thanks for the hello and support :-)

I'm actually going to back of and bake the (white flour) Honey Oatmeal pain de mie from the King Arthur website tomorrow to go with what we're having for dinner. I decided to give myself a break from my ultimate ambitions while I wait for more Red Fife wheat berries to arrive in the mail.

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

of helpful and generous advice here. Have fun!

franbaker's picture
franbaker

I will! :-)

suminandi's picture
suminandi

Fran,

An old post I found useful on this topic can be found here: https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/33735/home-bread-fighting-gravity 

Also, I recommend polling friends for their interest in eating bread of this sort. It can allow you more opportunities to practice without generating waste ( or waist ;-)).  

Best wishes

franbaker's picture
franbaker

I've bookmarked that post -- gorgeous bread -- it looks like it will be very helpful!

suminandi's picture
suminandi

perhaps, that you can scale the recipe down

franbaker's picture
franbaker

if I made 1/4 of the recipe, do you think I could bake a batard in the batard-shaped Breadtopia Clay Baker? (inside baking area 11" long x 7.5" wide x 6" high, the same size as a batard-shaped Romertopf clay baker?). I've been hoping that I can shape recipes for boules into batards instead and bake in this baker...

I would like to try this recipe, very much.

suminandi's picture
suminandi

Fran,

Yes, scaling it by 1/4 should fit. This is about the loaf size I bake for my "routine family bread". I used to have a Romertopf (washing accident broke it), and it worked very well with this size. If you want to try Pip's recipe, here are a few recommendations that will make it easier for a beginner.

1) Reduce the hydration to 80%. It will be easier to knead it, and it will still produce light bread. At 90% (Pip's suggestion), you will have to learn how to knead using French folding. There are great you-tube videos on that, but give yourself a break and defer learning that for the 3rd loaf.

2) On the starter build, make sure the built starter starts to look foamy. This make take over the suggested 3 hrs. But, if it takes more than about 5 hrs, the starter is not strong enough (or the room is too cold). In this case, use a little commercial yeast, and read some threads about starter maintenance before your next loaf.

3) Pip recommends doing the bulk ferment (the first rise) in the fridge, but for your first time out, do the bulk ferment at room temp and take a look at it every hour or so. It should be puffy and about doubled in 4 or so hrs (depending on how warm the room is). Make sure the dough is puffy before shaping. Underfermentation is a really common problem. After shaping, you can bake it after you see a small amount of puffing up - it need not double at this point, more rising will happen when it hits the heat of the oven. The bulk ferment( first rise) is about growing a good yeast (and other stuff) colony, the second rise (often called 'proofing') is from that colony continuing to respire. In my experience, a longer proofing will not compensate for a too short bulk ferment. It just makes sour bread with an inferior crumb.

4) Add refrigeration back in when you know what to look for.

5) Used bottled water if your local water has chloramine in it. If it just has chlorine, you can leave a pitcher of it out over night and it will dechlorinate, but chloramine is not so easy to eliminate and it slows down starter.

6) Lastly, use a high protein wheat, if possible (like hard red, or red fife)

7) Here is the recipe approximately scaled to a slightly smaller starter loaf (about one-fifth rather than one-fourth) and including the reduced hydration:

Starter build:

20 g starter (seed)

40 g flour

25 g water

Main build

85 gr built starter (all)

320 gr water

400 gr flour

6-8 gr salt (depending on how salty you like your bread)

As the kids say "you got this"

franbaker's picture
franbaker

I think I will try this on Friday with freshly milled Red Fife. Your suggestions are invaluable. I'll definitely try 80% hydration; I'm making progress working with wet doughs, but I don't think I'm ready for 90% yet.

I need help with what 'foamy' should look like. I've got (new) starters that double in six hours or less and look extremely spongy, with large holes, in their mason jars, but I think of 'foamy' as little bubbles bubbling up over the surface, and none of my three starters does that. I'm maintaining all of them at 100% hydration currently (one, that I've baked with before, started with some dehydrated starter from breadtopia; two I started myself; the whole wheat one is eight days old and seems more active than the breadtopia one, so I'd like to use it Friday; the rye one is seven days old today and is the most active of all -- I'd thought of using it, but am not sure if it will be as active in whole wheat flour.) I've been using filtered water (the Zero water filters filter out just about all chemicals and particulates) and that seems to work fine. Anyway, all three resemble photos that I see if I do a google image search for 'healthy sourdough starter'. The holes I get in the two I started myself are at the larger end of the spectrum. Because of these very large bubbles I wondered if the leuconostoc bacteria were still going strong, especially since my ph paper was reading the ph at 5-6, but then I found out that smearing some starter on your ph strip doesn't give you an accurate result. So now I don't think so, because those early bacteria made my the rye starter act like it was going to eat all of Philadelphia, and these starters seem nicely behaved, now.

I've been having an issue with temperature and fermentation times. It's pretty warm here right now, and I'm pretty sure I've been letting bulk fermentation go on way too long, and sometimes proofing way too long, as well. (Sometimes I never get the rise I'm looking for with proofing, and I think it's because the bulk fermentation went on too long.) (I should mention that only one of my breads so far has been sourdough, I'm really a newbie with that.) The temperature is predicted to go up to 92F on Friday, so we'll have our (noisy, annoying, use-it-as-a-last-resort) air conditioner going, but the temp in here will still probably be in the upper 70s, low 80s once the oven is on. So fermentation may go very quickly. I don't think I'll be able to ferment the final dough at 75F as he calls for. If the temp's not up to 80F early in the day, I could put the final starter build in the oven with the light on, then watch that to make sure it doesn't get too hot in there. I need to learn to watch my dough like a hawk and be able to figure out when it has fermented enough, and have the courage to trust my judgement and stop the process, even if it's an hour or more before it's 'supposed' to be ready, instead of letting it go a little but longer 'just to be sure'. I'll put the dough in a translucent dough-rising bucket, mark its starting place, and measure the rise, instead of relying on my eye and memory/cell phone photos in a stainless steel bowl. The warmer temperatures seem to be having a much bigger effect on fermentation time than I've been expecting, based on a bread yesterday I made with AP flour, oatmeal, and commercial yeast (a KAF website recipe). I need to be able to work with crazy fluctuations in temperature because of the old apartment building we live in, and that probably needs a thread of its own, but if you have suggestions for Friday, they will be welcomed. Bakers had to be able to deal with this in the days before central heating and air conditioning. I've ordered a thermometer so at least I can see what the temp is in here without getting out my instant-read thermometer to check it.

I also need to work on my kneading technique, I think, and learn to judge when dough has been kneaded enough, instead of just trying to follow instructions to the letter. My upper body strength is not superb and my kitchen counters are a little too high to give me great leverage. I like a technique where you do turn-wiggle-and-folds right in the bowl with a wet dough; I can move around while I do that, or even do that sitting down, and actually keep at it for ten minutes, and not want to keep adding more flour. Or I can drag out the KitchenAid. But that doesn't help me learn how the dough should feel. Or I could try standing on a stool at my kitchen counter. The different kneading instructions in different recipes confuse me a little; I'm hoping that, if I learn how the dough should feel, I can find my own way of kneading that works for me. But I've always been taught that, with baking, you should follow recipes precisely. (The opposite of the way I otherwise cook.) But now I'm thinking that precision applies more with cakes; that bread baking inherently calls for a certain amount of judgement, unless you could use the exact same flours, etc. as in the recipe, and precisely control your temperature and humidity.

I like to mix the ingredients with a dough whisk; if the dough is really wet, I like to start the kneading in the bowl with that or with a plastic dough scraper. I hope that's OK. I'm starting to read Michael Kalanty's books, and it seems like every tiny detail can make a difference with bread.

Thank you so much for your time and attention!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

sometimes we bakers have to fool them into thinking it is good which usually isn't too hard, I mean they are hanging out with us after all and allowing us to make bread for them never once thinking it could be poisonous:-)  Well seriously all truth aside  I think that folks should make the bread they like and get others to eat it and tell them how much they like it .

I would do a 1 2 3 bread using  20% whole grains with a young levain and make the perfect tasting, non sour SFSD bread I could and then see what they do.  It shouldn't be too open to cause alarm or fear.  If they don't like it then you made a huge mistake listening to this as so many people do.  Chalk it up as a failed attempt on your part and get someone new to poison:-)

Happy baking and welcome to TFL

franbaker's picture
franbaker

He actually likes and eats my 100% whole wheat (even ate some of the 100% whole rye, which was a bit much, even for me, next time I'll do something more traditional), but my long-term goal is for him to love my 100% whole-grain bread so much for every application that no store-bought bread will be coming home to roost. An ambitious goal, I know!

adelie's picture
adelie

Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but in Ken Forkish's book Flour, Water, Salt, and Yeast, there is a section that features leavened breads that are mixed with a tiny bit of instant yeast. This produces a flavorful bread from the levain, that is less dense than one made with only levain. He generally adds about 2 g of instant yeast per 1000 g of flour in a bread recipe. Hope this may help a little!

franbaker's picture
franbaker

I've had a sample of this book on my ipad for a while. Maybe it's time to spring for the whole thing :-)

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Sometimes a picture is worth ....

This is the 75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread from FWSY (by Ken Forkish).  The hydration is 82%, which sounds like a lot, but the whole wheat absorbs a lot.  You could always scale down the water if you wanted, but I assure you that this bread was not any more challenging than any other bread that I have made from his book.

Although not a 100% whole grain, this bread makes an excellent sandwich bread, has a moderately open crumb, and is not sour.  Perhaps this is along the lines of what you have in mind (at least from your comments so far).

Welcome to this site, and happy baking.

franbaker's picture
franbaker

and I'm definitely going to try it. I've been wanting to read this book for a while, and now I'm motivated to find out exactly what he means by "white flour". Have some KAF AP, have just ordered some organic bread flour from breadtopia. Do you think I can make half the recipe without affecting the outcome? When trying something for the first time, I'd rather make just one loaf. We end up with a lot of experiments to eat! Croutons! Bread crumbs in the freezer!

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Yes, you definitely can make one loaf instead of two.  The bread recipes in FWSY use 1000 g of flour for two loaves, so simply cut everything in half and make one loaf.

At some point you will encounter discussions of timing issues and levain amounts with regard to FWSY, so you might as well get that info now (and doing a search on TFL will reveal more).  Forkish must have an extremely cold kitchen, because everyone else needs less time for any bulk fermentation or final proofing that occurs at "room temperature" (as opposed to in the refrigerator).  In addition, Forkish would have you create a 1000 g levain when only 360 g will be used.  I typically scale down to 400 g of levain (and use 360 g of that, thereby having much less waste than Forkish does).

franbaker's picture
franbaker

very helpful and appreciated advice :-)

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

the 1:2:3 formula is really good (1 part starter:2 parts water:3 parts flour with2% salt). you can use any mix of flours you like so his suggestion of 20% grain should make both camps happy and you can build from there.

Leslie

franbaker's picture
franbaker

idea. I think I've been working with higher-hydration doughs, and not sure I'm ready for that yet. It seems like 50% is about as high as you can push the whole grains with most recipes/formulas if you want a really light loaf. I'm just taking that as a challenge, but building up to 100%, rather than starting there, may be the way to go. Going to get myself some white bread flour and give it a whirl :-)

pmccool's picture
pmccool

have you considered using a white wheat instead of a red wheat?  Because it lacks the tannins that color the red wheat, it also lacks those bitter flavor notes.  

Since I enjoy red wheat, white wheat tastes bland to me.  However, it might be just the ticket for that "other eater". 

Paul

franbaker's picture
franbaker

Doughs made from these flours have passed the taste test: KAF White Whole Wheat, Sprouted Red Wheat (from To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co.), and freshly-milled Red Fife. My own favorite of the three is the freshly-milled Red Fife, hands down. And it rose pretty well for a 100% whole-grain loaf in my unskilled hands, as well. Not sure how much of that is the fresh grinding and how much is the Red Fife, but the plan is to use mostly freshly-milled flour going forward, except when a sprouted or refined flour is needed for a recipe. Sprouted is really convenient for good flavor when you don't have time for long fermentation. 

The main issue for my other eater is texture. He likes his breads with a very even texture, a bit fluffier than I really like, but not actually puffy. And my 100% whole grain breads are a bit dense at this point, even if they taste great. A big part of that is my own lack of skill. I wish I could bake bread every day for a couple of weeks, I think I would make quicker progress that way. Part of that is how to knead and how much to knead. I think I've tended to under-knead, at least comparing my efforts to instructions to knead by machine for several minutes. A perhaps bigger part is knowing how long to ferment. I think I've been letting the bulk fermentation go way too long for the ambient temperatures we have here right now. I started to write a whole bunch a bout that, but I think it needs a thread of its own.

A secondary issue is getting a shape that my other eater likes for sandwiches. A solution may be for me to pursue two bread goals, one for lean doughs cooked as batards, which I like better, and one for enriched, sandwich-type doughs, cooked in bread or pullman pans, which I think he might like better. Always possible to freeze half of each loaf so it doesn't get stale.

Thanks for letting me 'think out loud' ;-)

pmccool's picture
pmccool

David Snyder (dmsnyder) posted about a bread he made that followed the advice from txfarmer to use a long machine knead for whole grain breads.  It produces a softer, fluffier crumb than can be obtained with a shorter kneading time.  It may get you closer to what your other in-house customer prefers.

Paul

franbaker's picture
franbaker

really interesting post and great advice, which I will test. I've tried a couple of Peter Reinhart's recipes with pretty good success, so I think I'll work with one of them. Doubt I could get the exact same bulgur that David Snyder used, although I could try coarsely grinding some whole wheat berries and using hot water in the soaker, kind of like a mash, since bulgur is par-cooked. Don't think it would be quite the same thing, though. Maybe not at all. So stick with something a little simpler that I already know, Reinhart's basic whole wheat sandwich loaf. I've been thinking that my two biggest problems are not kneading my dough enough, and letting the bulk fermentation go too long in this warm weather (I've been hesitant to use my judgement to shorten the length of time, so I've ordered a thermometer and will start tracking times, temperatures, and results for different doughs. I may be too much of an egghead, but my hands learn better if my head's already onboard. Speaking of which, I'm wondering if the egg in his dough also helped a bit with the texture. Hmm.... )

suminandi's picture
suminandi

Fran, 

Having read this reply to Paul and your reply to me upthread, it sounds to me like you are on track and have well identified what to vary on your own. I agree with your self-diagnosis of over fermenting and over proofing due to the warm temperature. I endorse your clear container with markings idea to check for doubling. And also, it does sound like you'll have to knead more to get the lightness you are seeking. I sympathize on the counter height issue - I too am vertically challenged. I don't know about using a step-stool; what about setting a large cutting board on a low table instead? Also, the bowl kneading works great for some people (though i'm not patient enough for that - I use slap and fold, which requires a table). Read this old post from txfarmer for some visuals of what well kneaded dough looks like: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23931/sd-100-ww-hokkaido-milk-loaf-oxymoron. I would only add that it is vital to mix the flour and water and let it rest about an hour before kneading. Most recipes mention this, and it is not gratuitous - the tough bran of ww softens during that time (and the gluten starts developing). Also, let the dough rest a few minutes (like 5) before you stretch the dough thin to evaluate its development. Even well developed dough will tear if it's been recently worked. 

Also, for sure a recipe like Reinhart's containing some butter will make for a softer bread than the one I suggested to you. I just prefer a lean bread for daily use- my bread is light but not so soft, more strong and chewy (here's a picture of my yesterday's bread - 100% ww, water, sourdough, salt)

 
franbaker's picture
franbaker

I want to eat some! Actually I do want to be able to make both a lean-dough WW bread and a soft-dough, sandwich-bread type WW bread that both my son and I will love. I might skip the second, except that I think it'll be closer to what he likes for his sandwiches. But we also like to make a dinner of spreads -- white bean spread, baked ricotta or feta cheese, grape tomatoes halved and roasted with garlic, an eggplant spread, classic beans & greens with the greens chopped fine, etc., and a lean bread is what we need for that. That's when my son doesn't like the breads with big holes (in other words, he doesn't like the Holy Grail of most artisan bread bakers, lol, so I have to avoid getting that bug!) or a noticeably sour flavor.

Thank you for your very helpful feedback and suggestions. The link to the photos is quite helpful, as is the suggestion to let the dough rest before trying the windowpane test; that's another thing I've been struggling with. Also, I haven't been autolyzing the flour unless directed to by the recipe, but wondering if I should be, so I will going forward. I think I've achieved the best texture so far with a Peter Reinhart recipe that has an overnight soaker and biga. Oddly, he doesn't have an entirely lean dough 100% WW naturally leavened recipe in his whole grain book. That's a big part of what got me started looking elsewhere (and not finding quite what I was looking for until I came here! The Fresh Loaf is wonderful!)

It's curious for me, reading bread books, when people have memories of wonderful breads from childhood. The only bread memory I have that comes anywhere near that is of Jiffy Corn Bread, the mix manufactured in my mother's home town, which I now find gaggingly sweet and too smooth and bland. I come from a potato-eating family that ate store-bought breads as a vehicle for sandwiches and a source of extra calories as toast. It was the food my mother cut of of her diet when she wanted to lose a little weight. Superfluous. We used is as fish bait. When my mother started buying some Pepperidge Farm breads in my late childhood, it was a revelation to me that bread could have some taste and texture. I do still have a fondness for oatmeal bread that dates to that era. I didn't know anyone who baked bread. When I tried baking whole wheat bread in the mid-seventies, relying on some cookbook or other, I wasn't thrilled with the results. But by then vegetarian/health foods restaurants I knew were serving some halfway decent whole grain breads -- very dense, but tasty and not tough. My own bread seemed like more trouble than it was worth. And I still don't know anyone IRL who bakes their own bread. I guess I must really want some good bread, I keep taking up the challenge over and over again! And it's not too difficult to satisfy just myself. And it's not too difficult to deal with the bitter whole-wheaty taste my son objects to: just make sure the flour isn't rancid, and that it's been sprouted, or that it soaks or ferments long enough to deal with phytic acid. My last hurdle is texture: just light enough (I don't like it if it's puffy), and even. And people on this thread have graciously shown me that this is indeed possible to achieve :-)

The honey oatmeal loaf I made with AP flour disappeared in a day, so I can bake bread again today, but my new supply of Red Fife berries won't arrive until this afternoon, so I may try the honey oatmeal again, substituting sprouted red wheat for half the AP flour and watching the fermentation and proofing times more carefully, and see how that turns out and how quickly it disappears. If it goes as quickly as the last one, I can still bake tomorrow.

Fran

franbaker's picture
franbaker

and am now working my way up to a 100% whole grain sourdough loaf instead of trying to start there. I had made some real mistakes with the first loaves I tried, so I decided to do some easier things that would get eaten more quickly and hopefully help build my skills at the same time.

The honey oatmeal loaf with 50% sprouted red wheat got eaten just as enthusiastically as the one with 100% AP flour. I managed the fermentation a little better and the texture was improved, although not optimal. I also learned a couple of things: I was able to notice how the dough changed in strength while the mixer kneaded it by stopping every two minutes to scrape off the dough hook. I've definitely not been kneading my doughs enough by hand, and doubt I'll be able to, unless the flour has had an overnight soak, and maybe not even then. Or at least I don't have the confidence to at this point. I need to drag out the machine and let it help me. Also, the dough still rose phenomenally fast. I think that recipe (and maybe some other recipes from the KAF web site) use a *lot* of commercial yeast, at least compared to what a Peter Reinhart recipe would use. But, my ambient-temp thermometer also arrived and I discovered that it was 84-85F in my kitchen yesterday (with the air conditioner on...  we're used to it...  we don't like to refrigerate ourselves, but now I know why I can't get comfortable in most other air conditioned spaces). The bread was still a bit on the puffy side for me. I think I could go up to 75% sprouted wheat, and maybe even more. But I really prefer the flavor of freshly-milled wheat. Still, the sprouted flour can be convenient when you don't have much time.

Then my son decided to make felafel for dinner last night, so I offered to make the pita bread. Found a quick and easy recipe on the KAF site that's a little more than 50% whole wheat. I did remember to soak the whole wheat flour for an hour before mixing the dough. It was supposed to double in 60-90 minutes, but it only took about 20! I put the dough in a glass bowl and set it where I could just glance up and see it. By then I finally had my room thermometer and could see why ;-)  Doughs are rising so fast that waiting for the oven to preheat becomes an issue! And yet I hate to turn it on early, when it's already so warm in here. Used the mixer to knead that, too, and paid attention to how the dough changed. They puffed up beautifully. I remarked that I'd try it with white whole wheat instead of red next time, and got an "I like it the way it is" as a reply. Yippeee!

Having success with the partial-whole-wheat, commercially-yeasted recipes is restoring some of my confidence.

Another problem I have is that trying to do Pip's recipe without the overnight ferment could mean a long day of intermittent baking for me, from beginning to end, depending on how long fermentation takes (it actually might go very quickly, I guess, because it's so warm, but I don't expect my starter will act anything like the large amount of instant yeast used in the KAF recipes). I'm dealing with some health issues and think this would be difficult for me right now, rather than fun. But I agree that I'm too clueless about the fermentation process to interrupt it with refrigeration at this point.

So, today I'm going to try a Trevor J Wilson 50% whole wheat sourdough that starts with an overnight soak (not really an autolyze because it includes the salt) http://www.breadwerx.com/make-50-whole-wheat-sourdough-video/, rather than overnight fermentation. He also uses the starter twelve hours after feeding, so the timing worked out by my feeding it right before going to bed.

Since it's so warm here I left the pre-dough in the frig overnight, taking it out to warm up about 2 hours before I'll mix it with the starter, although I will check the dough's temp before mixing in the starter, to make sure it's warm enough not to slow the yeast down. I think it should be OK as long as the temp's at least 60F, although the starter will likely be more than 20 degrees warmer...  my starters generate quite a bit of their own heat. I guess I could use the mixer to warm up the pre-dough by friction before adding the starter, if I need to. I don't want to let the starter go past its prime.

I fed all three of my starters yesterday morning, plus I took some of my rye starter and fed it with Red Fife. That one was the most active, so I fed it with Red Fife again yesterday evening to use in the dough today. By now the portion I'll use should have about 6 grams of rye in it, which I don't think will affect the dough substantially, but how would I know? It's a guess! It seems like I'm always tweaking something, but it seems like a lot of people routinely use rye flour in their starters. My other tweak will be doing some of the mixing/kneading by machine...

Going to make some blueberry muffins today, too, with 100% whole wheat (ground some White Sonora wheat berries, mixed with some of the liquid and put in the frig overnight to soak, first time I'm trying them). Another KAF recipe, but the pre-soak is my own idea. Substituted whey for the milk (it can make quick breads come out lighter) and will add 1/4-1/2 tsp baking soda. Hopefully that will work. Here I am back to tweaking recipes like crazy again (<sigh>). When will I ever learn, lol? We don't eat a lot of sweets, but blueberry muffins are a seasonal favorite of ours when blueberries are in season locally. Last year I started making them with sprouted white wheat flour. They tasted delicious for the first day and a half or so, then developed an 'off' flavor. (Prior to that, the ones made with AP flour were fine for at least three days.) I don't know what caused that. Hopefully we'll like the new recipe.

I'm still so inspired by this photo of your bread...

Happy baking!