The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Classic Sourdoughs by Ed & Jean Wood

wildyeast.wildwoman's picture

Classic Sourdoughs by Ed & Jean Wood

Has anyone read or used this book? Would love to swap notes/talk about the book. 

barryvabeach's picture

I read it, but sorry, can't recall much about it.  You might want to check your local library to see if they have it, that is where I found it. 

franbaker's picture

but maybe a little out of date, at least as far as the instructions for getting a starter going. The organisms you need are already in/on the grain, you don't have to capture them out of the air, and a tablespoon or two of a whole grain flour is plenty to get a starter going, you don't need to use cups and cups of flour (this is not the only book that's misleading on that score, but I hate wasting food). 

I used methods from a couple of books (Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads and The Rye Baker). There is a good tutorial here:, and a very reliable method at the end of this post: I used one method very similar to the second, but used plain water instead of an acidic juice. In the current heat the acid would probably really help to discourage unwanted organisms. My favorite starter is my rye starter; it's the most active, and works really well with wheat flours.

Here's another really good tutorial:

That said, I did enjoy reading the beginning of "Classic Sourdoughs". Haven't tried the recipes yet because I've been on a 100% whole wheat quest.

wildyeast.wildwoman's picture

You're doing 100% whole wheat sourdoughs? I'm just now getting 40/60 wheats to come out fluffy enough for me (that's what ed and jean woods book does).

 I have heard of the pineapple juice thing! That's so interesting. I've got a really healthy culture going right now that I started using classic sourdough's recipe. I keep a quart jar and very rarely dump so there's not much waste there. I usually add flour and water two or three times and then use the starter to bake. If I'm having a real rough week sometimes I've had to dump a bit...makes sense that you could get a starter going using very little flour and water but don't most recipes call for quite a bit to make a loaf of bread anyway? 

Is it possible to know if the yeast/bacteria came from the flour or air? A few years ago my duplex-neighbor and I started starters at the same time using the same brand of bread and city tap water, we kept to the same feeding and baking schedule as much as possible. I know it's not scientific obviously but her starter was much less acidic and active than mine. I always credited this to me doing lots of other fermentation projects in my kitchen and having a compost bowl/fruits and veggies from the garden lying around. 

wildyeast.wildwoman's picture

meant to say also...i'd love to hear more about 100% wheat baking. I love my all white sourdoughs the best but in the end I know they're just a step above a junk food, haha. Are you keeping a blog or do you have any posts on here telling more about it? 

SourdoughSavant's picture

I have it, and did read it thoroughly when I first started doing sourdough (got my Austrian sourdough from Sourdoughs International) - but now that I'm further down the road, I find his methods so different from what I've come to regard as "standard" (in terms of terminology, measurements, timelines, dough handling etc) - that I find it all but unusable.  Just my preference - but my sourdough adventures really took off when I discovered Teresa Greenway of "Northwest Sourdough" (she has some videos on YouTube that are super helpful, and I also ended up taking several of her classes on Udemy). Hope you have better luck with Ed's book than I did.