The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Problem with Baking Stone & Convection Oven

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Problem with Baking Stone & Convection Oven

The background: We recently got a shiny new electric induction range. It's an LG convection oven and is billed as a true convection oven "inspired by pro-style ranges." When we were looking at ranges we liked this one best but were hesitant because all the other convection ovens had the heating element on the bottom while the LG has it at the back of the oven with no element on the bottom. The promo material states that most convection ovens simply have a fan at the back that blows the warm air around, while the LG is a true convection oven because it has a fan and a heating element at the back. The salesperson assured us it was an excellent design and they'd had no issues with it, and the reviews were good, so we decided to purchase it. We've been very happy with it, except where the baking stone is concerned.

The problem: I've used a baking stone for years in my three previous electric ovens without convection. The stone has always given me a nice brown, crispy crust. But with my new oven I'm not getting the same results with my stone. I've tried baking with both convection and non-convection mode and the results are the same...a pale/soft bottom. The bread will cook through and the top is nicely browned. If I'm not using the stone and instead baking in a loaf pan for example, I get decent results with nice even colour. So it seems to me that the stone is just not getting hot enough in this oven. I'm perplexed because the oven heats up quite quickly (went to 550 F in 15 minutes today) and I leave the stone in for an hour to preheat before baking bread on it. But I'm still not getting a brown crust on the bottom. With my previous ovens I would typically pre-heat the stone for only 30 minutes and it browned the crust perfectly.

Question: Could the placement of the heating element at the back vs on the bottom of the oven be the cause of this issue? I would have thought that after an hour at 500 the stone would be plenty hot no matter which direction the heat was coming from. Anyone else have this type of convection oven and encounter this issue? Hoping for some suggestions as I love baking on my stone!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

You might try to preheat at the highest heat for 45 min to an hour, then turn down the temp 50 to 75 degrees when you load the dough.  They are right when they say it is true European convection if the heating element and fan are both at the back of the oven.  With true convection, the fan blows the warm air around the cavity.  The owners manual probably tells you that it will cook quicker than an normal bake element, and they often recommend that you reduce the temp 25 degrees,  and shorten the cooking time 10 to 15 percent.  My guess is that the convection heating is causing the top of the loaf to brown quicker than it did in your old oven,  By turning down the temp, you should get a better balance of convection heat and heat from the stone, though it may take a few tries with different adjustments to get it right.  

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Funny thing, the manual does say it will cook faster on convection, and it has an automatic setting that reduces the oven temp by 25 degrees when convection setting is used. However, so far I've found it takes a little longer to cook on the convection setting. We did a pork roast last week and supper was 45 minutes late because it wasn't cooking as it should have given the weight of the roast and the temp. My oven thermometer says the oven temp is accurate so I'm not sure what's going on there.

In any case, I didn't use the convection setting with this morning's bake. I'd had not good results on the stone with the convection setting previously, so this time I decided to bake without convection to see if it made a difference, but no. I did preheat at 500 for an hour before loading the dough, then turned down to 450 for 15 minutes covered, then another 15 minutes uncovered, then yet another 15 min as it wasn't browning on the bottom. Ended up leaving the bread in for 45 minutes total just to try to get the bottom to brown but it still looked pale after 45 min.

Maybe I need to contact LG support...apparently now they can log in to your range and diagnose all manner of issues! :O

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Can you send me the model number,  I am interested to see what they mean by non convection mode, if the only element is in the back? 

 

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Sure, it's an LG LSE4617ST.  In non convection mode the fan does operate at times, I assume enough to keep the temp relatively even throughout the oven.

I actually emailed LG customer support to ask about the stone not getting hot enough and was told that because the baking element is hidden in the back wall of the oven, it won't provide enough direct heat to get the stone hot enough for baking. I'm going to try pre-heating under the broiler initially, to get the stone hot enough, then lower the rack with stone on it for the actual bake. I presume that once the stone is at least as hot as the air temp in the oven, it will be able to hold that level of heat throughout the bake time.

JerrytheK's picture
JerrytheK

We have  Wolf Model M double ovens.

I use convection to heat dutch ovens for bread baking. Generally they are in the middle of the oven and they heat up to the indicated temperature in about half-an-hour to an hour.

I also have a slab of 1/2" steel in the lower oven that I use for pizzas.

However, the big difference between the Wolf and what you have is that the Wolf DOES have top and bottom heating elements, in addition to the true convection in the back.

But even with just convection, the bake stone SHOULD get hot enough from the hot air circulating around it.

I use an infrared thermometer to check both the bake steel and the dutch ovens to ensure that they have come to temperature.

If you don't have one, they are not terrible expensive and you could use one to be assured the bake stone has gotten to temperature.

https://smile.amazon.com/Etekcity-Lasergrip-774-Non-contact-Thermometer/dp/B00837ZGRY/ref=sxin_2_ac_d_rm?ac_md=0-0-aW5mcmFyZWQgdGhlcm1vbWV0ZXI%3D-ac_d_rm&crid=36QRWTZNVAPP5&keywords=infrared+thermometer&pd_rd_i=B00837ZGRY&pd_rd_r=881212c2-d99c-45e9-b304-96ba0409d8dd&pd_rd_w=fA9lg&pd_rd_wg=aKpkn&pf_rd_p=d29bc9bc-49e2-46b8-bc05-387917c341ec&pf_rd_r=P139QZMQ1RRE822MX06Z&qid=1568411473&s=gateway&sprefix=infra%2Caps%2C172

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

So I am a little confused.  I read the manual and it describes bake mode, but does not expressly say that there is an element under the floor of the oven.  I checked a parts website, and it shows a regular element, as opposed to a convection element, but that could be the broil element, and I could not find a schematic diagram.

Assuming you don't have any heat from below the stone, and the only heat is from the rear element - then it is possible that convection mode means the fan goes at a higher speed, and bake mode means a lower speed or cycles on and off.  If so,  I wonder if the stone you are using is so thin, that it does not store much heat.  So assuming it gets up to temperature during preheat, as you put the dough on it,  the upper surface under the dough will start to cool, which can be offset if heat is coming into the bottom of the stone below.   This is a wild guess, but it is possible in your old oven, the stone was closer to an element, and as the heat rose from the element, it heated the stone more than the current oven does.  And I have some vague unsupported theories for that, but that is not important, since you have a couple of options.

One is to preheat at a higher temp, then cut the temp during baking so that the bottom gets brown at the same time as the top.  Another option is to go with a more conductive material - a  piece of steel will conduct more heat than a stone.   As an experiment,  you might want to try with a griddle. Of course, you want one without any plastic handles, or even a cast iron skillet.  If the griddle has a teflon coating, make sure you are careful with the temperature,  I have read that is is safe up to a variety of temps -  some say 570, some say 600, some say 500F.  Since it is just a test, I would try it at 475 and see how it works, and if you like it, buy a steel plate.  They can be heavy, but have no risk of breaking.  You can buy one made for bread baking, or just any piece of steel -   https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=31267.0  Don't get too hung up on thickness, that is more an issue for those that use it for pizza, like Jerry.  I have one I use for bread and it is only 1/8 inch thick, and works fine. 

A final option, if you find that the test of steel worked, it to go to a combo cooker - which is great for round loafs, but not as great for other shapes. 

 

A

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Thanks for checking into that Barry. Yes it has a top broiler element but no bottom element. the bake element is behind the back wall of the oven and is not exposed.

I think my stone is good, I have used it for years with excellent results in normal oven with the bottom heating element. I didn't take the temp on the stone (as suggested I will buy a thermometer to be able to do that) but I'm fairly certain it was not up to the temp it needed to be.

On top of that, as you pointed out, the dough would then cool the stone further and without additional bottom heat it likely would not have been able to maintain temp even if it did make it to temp in the one hour preheat.

I actually did a one hour pre-heat at 500 F then dropped the temp to 450 for the bake. The bread was in the oven for a total of 45 minutes (not a large loaf either) and the bottom did not brown at all.

I'm glad you mentioned steel, as I have recently been researching this and am leaning towards getting one for baking both bread and pizza. I understand it does conduct heat much better, so that may be of some help in this situation.

I think what I will do is buy the infrared thermometer then put my stone, a cast iron skillet and a SS skillet in the oven and heat to 450 for 30 min, then take the surface temp of each for comparison. Meantime I am going to bake another loaf on Sunday and try putting my stone near the broiler during the preheat in the hopes that it will absorb enough heat.

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Good suggestion on the thermometer, I will get one of those. I have a regular oven thermometer but I can see the value of one that will register surface temperature.

I had just assumed the stone would get hot enough from the circulating air, but now that I consider it (not being anything close to a science geek though!) I seem to recall reading something about hot air not being an especially efficient way to heat. For example, radiant floor heat warms much faster than forced air heat. So if that is true, it makes sense that the stone would take a very long time to get up to temp without a more direct source of heat. I hope that preheating it under the broiler will provide a solution, at least in the short term. I'm getting my starter ready for a Sunday morning bake to test the theory.

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

The broiler trick has worked very well for many who use it for pizza, not sure how it will work for bread.  Hope you get this sorted out, Not to get too deep into heat conduction theory, but the closer you get the stone to the broil element the better in terms of getting heat into the stone .   

I really like the look of your range .  I have not switched to induction, in part because I like the idea of knobs to regulate the burners, not keypads that come with most induction ranges. 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Barry, if gas is not available, induction stovetops are ideal. I’ve used one for years and once you get used to it, it is marvelous! The numbers are accurate and repeatable. It boils water in short order and if turned down while boiling it ceases in a heart beat.

I like to place paper towel between the stovetop and the pot to prevent scratching and ease of cleanup.

The big hurdle for induction is those sweet, solid aluminum pots gotta’ go.

Danny

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Yes, I was thinking to put the stone on the very top rack for preheating, which is only about 2" from the element so hoping that will work.

The range is awesome, we also like the knobs vs keypad. The only other ones that had knobs they were located right on the front vs these ones that are sloped toward the front but still easy to see from the top. Also this one had the burner configuration and sizes that we wanted: One very large (I also do a lot of canning), one large, 2 smaller + a warming element to keep my daily pot of chai tea suitably hot for this princess. :P

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

I thought I would pop in to give an update. I baked on Sunday after preheating the stone under the broiler for an hour, then turned the oven down to 450 and moved the rack with stone to the center for the bake. I did get better results in terms of browning on the bottom of the loaf though I wasn't totally happy with the overall result. But at least the bread cooked this time and had some spring to it.

Still being new to sourdough there are a number of other factors I also need to work with, so I've also been tweaking things like proofing times and also how I handle my starter prior to baking.

This morning I baked again and had my best loaf yet. This time I put the stone on the top rack and preheated the oven to 550 (took about 15 minutes) then turned it to broil and left it to preheat for another 45 minutes. I purchased the thermometer that was recommended and oh what fun that is...game changer for sure! The surface of the stone read 420 F after the 15 minute preheat, but of course I don't know what the temp was inside the stone and I assumed it still needed to come up. So turned the broiler on high for another 45 minutes and checked the temp a few times, happy to see it continuing to rise.

By the time the one hour pre-heat was done, the stone was close to 600 F so I lowered the rack to the middle, turned the broiler off, oven on to 450 and popped the dough in. Baked covered with steam for 15 minutes, uncovered for another 20.

Not a bad crumb for a beginner I think, and the taste and texture were fabulous. I'll continue to experiment with placement of the stone during preheat, bake/broil combo on the prehat, and also looking forward to running an experiment comparing the stone, a cast iron pan and a steel pan....I'm hoping to gather supporting evidence to convince DH that we must have a baking steel.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I trust you’ll keep us all in the loop. I love experiments and appreciate the effort and time invested in the production and posting of those efforts. Believe me! I know the work involved.

Your bread is looking mighty fine!

Please reply back with your desired goal so we can think along with you. I didn’t reread the entire post.

Danny

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

First,  if you keep making bread that looks that good,  I think you will have trouble finding anyone who will believe you need anything else - it looks great.  I would not go to the expense of a baking steel.  I just ran another experiment with my 1/8 thick piece of ordinary steel, and even when I put it in the oven with no preheat, the bottom got plenty brown.   With any preheat at all, you should be fine.   You might want to check to see if there is a metals store near you, like metals supermarket, sheet steel is very cheap.  Here is  a small piece 12 by 12 by 1/8 that is only $22 with free shipping. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-8-125-HRO-Steel-Sheet-Plate-12-x-12-Flat-Bar-A36/142644719991?hash=item213649b177:g:BpoAAOSwMmBV1gqN

 If you found it locally, it would probably be less than half of that.  Clean it with vinegar, then season it , and you would be good to go. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Barry, some time back I tried a 3/8” baking steel. I had problems with burnt bottoms. I presently use a 3/4” Fibrement stone and am very pleased with the results. Have you heard others with similar findings or am I the lone ranger.

I wouldn’t think the thinner steel you mentioned would not produce the same problems that in my oven.

Do you agree that oven vary quite a bite in the way they bake? My oven is calibrated with ~12F or so, but where many bakers seem to struggle to get deeply darkened loaves, I struggle to keep them from burning. I am interested in you opinion.

Thanks,

Danny

 

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

You are very kind to say so Barry, thank you. :) I'm well pleased with this loaf and feel I have improved quite a lot in just 3 tries. Tomorrow I'll bake again as all of this has been lead up to being able to serve a nice loaf to dinner guests tomorrow.

When I say baking steel I actually didn't mean the brand name one, that one is very expensive to ship to Canada so I was looking at the link someone (you?) posted earlier to a forum where someone gave step by step directions for sourcing a suitable piece of steel locally. We do have a couple of metal fabrication places very nearby, so I'll be pursuing that option for sure.

Interesting what you say about your 1/8" steel doing a great job...that appeals to me because I plan to get a piece large enough to nearly cover an oven rack so weight will be a consideration. I mostly bake bread but occasionally we do pizzas as well. I'm not after the perfect pizza crust, just a decent one. Do you think 1/8" would suffice or if I'm also going to be baking pizzas would I be better to go with a thicker steel?

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Thanks Danny, I'm starting to feel like I can do this! I think I've overcome my main issue here, which was finding a way to get my stone hot enough to bake a good loaf in my convection oven which has no bottom element. I'm still very curious about trying steel though, as I suspect it will transfer heat both ways more efficiently. Kitchen experiments are always fun!

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

In your case the steel may be the best option. If we lived near each other you could borrow mine. You know, you could bake on top of an inverted cast iron pot or something similar to test it out before buying. Shape a small boule and give it a try.

I have read that steel holds heat better than a stone.

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Does cast iron have similar properties to steel in terms of baking? I do have a cast iron frying pan that I could try baking a loaf in...

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I don’t think it is as dense as a baking steel, but it should provide a very good test.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

 

 

 

Barry, some time back I tried a 3/8” baking steel. I had problems with burnt bottoms. I presently use a 3/4” Fibrement stone and am very pleased with the results. Have you heard others with similar findings or am I the lone ranger.

 

Danny,  my thoughts exactly.  Fibrament is not very conductive and since that works for you,  you definitely should not change to steel.  I have read a number of complaints about burning the bottom in a cast iron DO.

 

I wouldn’t think the thinner steel you mentioned would not produce the same problems that in my oven.

This is one of the many things I know very little about.  I don't know the theories involved, but my uninformed speculation is that the thickness of the steel ( or stone ) is only necessary when you need to store heat to transfer it to the item being baked.  So for example, say you  put the stone or steel up near a broiler for a while and get it up to 600 F,  then drop it lower in the oven, and load the item to be baked.  As the top of the stone or steel conducts the heat to the underside of the item, it starts to cool, and the warmer parts of the stone will transfer their heat to the top of the stone.  At the same time, if the bottom of the stone or steel is as hot or hotter than the air temp in the oven ( say the oven is set to 500 F ) the bottom of the stone won't start absorbing heat till that temp falls below 500.  Even when that happens, the top will have to cool below 500 for the heat to get up to the top, so at best it will be lower than that.   For bread,  I don't see the thickness as an issue.  If you use a steel, at 400 F,  for most bakes, the bottom of the bread will be brown enough, in fact, many complain that the bottoms burn in a DO.  In contrast,  for pizza, we go with very short bakes - a few minutes to maybe 5 or 6.  That does not give it enough time to recharge the stone - steel with heat from the oven, so the thicker stone -steel plays a role.  In the few tests I have done, the 1/8 steel conducts plenty of heat.  Recall that I have been playing with my combi oven, but the last loaf, the steel went in cold ,  and the loaf was on a reusable parchment for the first 10 minutes of the bake, and then directly on the steel for the next 20, and the bottom was pretty brown.  Had I preheated the steel, or loaded directly on the steel with no parchment, it would have burnt.  

Note that  by using a thin steel ,  it will reheat very quickly.  If I used a 1/4 piece of steel, while it will store a lot of heat, it will take much more time to get the temperature back up, and in fact, may not be fully recharged during the time the bread is baking. In contrast, not only will the thin steel reheat, the gradient between the bottom of the steel and top, where the bread is baking, will be smaller than a thicker steel.  I may try a regular bake without the steam function this weekend to try it out, but suspect with the 1/8 inch the bottom will get quite brown, even without any preheating.

 

Do you agree that oven vary quite a bite in the way they bake? My oven is calibrated with ~12F or so, but where many bakers seem to struggle to get deeply darkened loaves, I struggle to keep them from burning. I am interested in you opinion.

No question.  Different ovens have different hot spots,  different ovens have different swings -  btw,  12 f plus or minus is extremely good for a home oven,  and of course the size and shape of the loaf, hydration, and the degree of doneness of the loaf all play a role in how brown they get.  I am guessing that with your steam injector system, you won't have trouble with burning much longer. 

 

Goats     I mostly bake bread but occasionally we do pizzas as well. I'm not after the perfect pizza crust, just a decent one. Do you think 1/8" would suffice or if I'm also going to be baking pizzas would I be better to go with a thicker steel?

I answered Danny's questions first, since it included the same point about bread v. pizza.  You can fall down a very deep rabbit hole when you start talking pizza . At its most basic,  I think 1/8 would be fine for a NY style, though I have never tried it.  I have a 3/16 inch that I used for pizza a few times ( sorry about the imperial measurements, instead of metric - now that you mentioned you are in Canada ) but my results would not really cross over since I was using 100% home milled whole wheat, and my oven at that time was very weak .  I now have a few pizza ovens that go well over 800F, so I don't use my steel anymore.  One thing to consider is that if you are primarily using it for bread, and you have a local metal supplier, you can buy offcuts - in the US they are sometimes called drops - very cheaply.  I bought 6 sheets of 1/8 that are probably 8 inches by 14 for under $20 total.  A drop is when they have a sheet of stock say 48 inches by 24 inches, and a customer wants something that is only 40 by 24, the extra 8 by 24 may be too small to use on another job, so they put it in a bin and sell it at a steep discount.  For bread, if you want to cover it to create a steaming environment, you need a single piece bigger than the loaf and the container you are going to cover the loaf with .  For pizza though, it is fine to cook a pie on a number of pieces that are arranged next to each other .  So if you are mostly doing bread ,  you can buy one piece big enough to handle your normal dough size, and the rest as drops, or even all drops if you find one big enough to handle your bread loaf.

Finally, there was a question about conductivity of cast iron v. steel.  Again, I am no expert, but steel will likely conduct heat more quickly than cast iron.  On the other hand,  and I am making these numbers up, if a cordierite stone would give you a brown bottom on a loaf in 30 minutes, and a fibrament took 33 minutes, the steel would take 10 and the cast iron 11.  Again, the numbers aren't accurate, but the point is that the conductivity of steel and cast iron is far higher than stone, so I think cast iron would give you a good estimate of how the steel would work. 

 

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

Awesome info here Barry, thanks a million! And for your reference (and entertainment) I'm attaching a very helpful chart on how we measure various things here in Canada, eh? ;)

Canadian Measurements

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Thanks,  I love the chart -  hopefully someone will develop an app to work through all the steps.  

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

So I did a test bake for you today -  I used AP flour, Baguettes de Tradition from Hamelman,  and i think a thin piece of steel will work fine.   I preheated the oven, but not the steel, and put the loaf on the steel at room temp, and put it in the convection oven ( true convection - no bottom element ) .  I didn't time the bake, but it was pretty short, and the bottom definitely browned.   BTW,  I measure the steel and it is .115 inches - are 3 mm - according to my caliper.

 

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

So kind of you to run a test for me Barry, but you neglected to tell me where I can pick up my test loaf? ;)

In seriousness though, this is really good info. It raises a couple of questions for me though...

What is the actual advantage then of baking on a stone if the oven needs to preheat for an hour just to get the stone hot enough? Seems like an awful waste of energy. Perhaps this is one reason steel is gaining popularity?

How much difference is there between baking on steel and baking on a regular sheet, like a cookie tray for example (which is what I did back before I had a stone)? Particularly since you didn't pre-heat the steel I'm curious if there would be much difference? We don't usually pre-heat loaf pans for example, but the bread still rises when baked in those.

And finally, how would you rate the oven spring in your test loaf, and if room for improvements do you think it would have done better if the steel had been pre-heated?

This is a really great discussion, I'm learning lots!

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Barry, Vanessa Kimball came out with a new covered bakeware. According to prior testing this may be one of the most efficient ones available. The only thing the Challenger Breadware has that this one doesn’t is the increased size for batards. Take a look and let me your your thoughts. https://breadtopia.com/store/spun-iron-bread-cloche/

For those not inclined to purchase, a pizza pan and a metal cover should work. But there is no beating the dark steel for browning. I use Lloyd’s Pizza (cutter) pans for my cracker crust pizza. These pans are sturdy and well built. The dark non-stick surface is a major plus.

This new bakeware should test very well when compared against cast iron and Graniteware. And it is beautiful! If it weren’t for the external steam generator, and order would have been placed and the bakeware headed my way.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/56822/cast-iron-cooker-vs-graniteware-thermal-data

Danny

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Danny,  thanks,  I bought her book,  which I think is pretty good, but did not see she offered a steel cloche.  Since I bake with 100% home milled whole wheat,  I need every advantage I can  ( BTW, it was fun to play with AP flour for this test,  the oven spring is just incredible compared to 100% whole wheat ).  I think the main issues with any covered container is getting the size just right, and sealing in the moisture.  Her design looks nice, and avoids the breakage issue with the clay cloche.  On the other hand, it looks far too big for me.  My best results in a covered container have come from the Forneau bread oven -   I don't think it is the material used, it is that i have found the right size loaf so that it just nearly fills the space when fully risen.  It makes for a very humid environment with the door on, and with the door off, that humidity vents to the rest of the oven, and you get great radiant heat around the top of the loaf to get good browning. The other issue is that your loaf has to be shaped to fit the vessel -  a batard is great in the Forneau, a boule not so much .   BTW,  the reason I bought the steel was to make a steel container like the Forneau, but with different dimensions to fit the typical boule I make.  I had so much success with the Cadco and the firebrick, I don't think I will get around to it. 

Goats,  great question about preheating and bottom heat .  I have read that bottom heat is important to oven spring, but have also read numerous experiments by posters here who have baked the same recipe in a cold dutch oven and a pre heated DO with no real difference in result, so I have no idea how important preheating is. 

Not sure if the spring would have been better if preheated .  I normally bake 100% whole wheat, so not sure my regular results will be of much use,  I just did the AP as a test to see if it would brown correctly, and it passed that with flying colors.  

 

Goats In The Kitchen's picture
Goats In The Kitchen

That's interesting that you normally bake with 100% WW Barry. I normally do as well, grinding my flour fresh as needed. But since I'm new to sourdough I thought I'd be best to follow recipes exactly at first. And of course white flour is easier in many ways, so I figured I'd start with that and gradually work up my % of WW flour as I gain confidence. DH is not complaining...white bread and red wine are a perfect pairing as far as he's concerned!

I suppose there's only one way to find the answers to my questions....test, test and test some more. I can see I'm going to have to bump my gym membership up to the next level so I'll have a good excuse for all those extra test carbs!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Yes , regular white flour is much more forgiving that home milled wheat.  As for the gym membership,  fortunately I work in an office where most are appreciative of part of a loaf, so I take a slice or two of the experiments, and give away the rest.