The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
DanAyo's picture

Yeast Water - Dough Conditioner

August 14, 2019 - 4:59am -- DanAyo

Much of the text and all of the images below were copied from a previous post.

Just today, I thought of a way to accurately describe the dough characteristics produced when using YW. It appears to have some sort of dough conditioner properties. At least that describes what I see and feel. I have done a lot of experimentation with ascorbic acid. The strengthening of the dough in both cases are very similar. The dough becomes super resilient, much more elastic, with much stronger feeling gluten.

fionabakes's picture

Rye Sourdough Loaf

August 14, 2019 - 1:27am -- fionabakes

I use to regularly make a rye sourdough, but haven’t for years. Today I pulled out my old recipe and a couple of loaves have just come from the oven. They look beautiful and the texture is perfect, but I feel as though I need to tweak the taste. Also, after having so many years between baking them, the recipe has prompted a few questions that perhaps someone here can help me with.

First just quickly, here are the ingredients:

1 cup sourdough starter

2 cups warm water (ended up adding about 1/2 cup more)

3 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup gluten flour

gavinc's picture

Swiss Farmhouse Bread – “Bread. A baker’s book of techniques and recipes, 2nd Edition” by Jeffrey Hamelman.

My experiment into the world of yeast water bread was inspired by an organised community bake on the Fresh Loaf bread site. The members have such a wealth of experience and expertise.  When things do not go to plan, experts jump in with great advice. I learned a lot by participating and through others experience.

This bread contains walnuts and raisins and uses raisin yeast water for leavening. The first step is to make the yeast water and takes 5 to 6 days.

My proofer is set at 25°C.

Yeast Water – My first attempt with raisins failed due to non-organic raisins coated with oil. I was told that I could produce yeast water using any organic fruit.  I have a kumquat tree in our yard, so thought to experiment (it’s winter here and my options are limited). My second attempt was successful using kumquats and honey. The yeast water was ready for the first build on day five.

The first build took 8 hours to mature. I left the second build overnight for 14 hours which was slightly over; 12 hours would have been good.

I recalculated the ingredients for a 680-gram dough. After mixing, the dough felt quite wet but had reasonable development. Mixed in walnuts and raisins by hand. Desired dough temperature within range (24.5°C).

Bulk fermentation for 3 hours with a letter fold halfway.

Pre-shape, bench rest and shape. Final proof for 2 hours. I chose a boule banneton on this occasion.

I scored the boule with scissors just before loading into the oven and bake the loaf in a pre-steamed oven for 36 minutes; 232°C for first fifteen minutes then lower to 221°C to avoid excess darkening due to the raisins.

In conclusion, I am very happy with this experiment as I was able to meet all the timeframes in Hamelman’s recipe. Temperature control is important for success and schedule. I was sceptical about yeast water, but now I am convinced it has its place in my arsenal and was easier than first thought. No waste!

Taste – complete absence of sour, highlights of the walnuts and raisins blended well with the crumb. Not overly sweet.

Crumb – Not dense and enjoyable.

Flour – Unbleached bread flour 11.5% protein (90%) plus freshly milled whole-wheat (10%).

Further experimentation: change nuts and fruit, leave them out, increase whole wheat.

DanAyo's picture

Yeast Water Activity

August 13, 2019 - 5:00pm -- DanAyo

Since working with the Swiss Farmhouse bread, I have conducted many YW test. Probably made 5 different YW lately.

I consistently find that the YW bubble much more actively when it just matures. Once a week or so passes since it was initially made the bubbling slows down dramatically. In all cases the fruit (raisins) are still viable.

Even when the fruit is replaced the results remain consistent. They are maintained @ 80-84F.

Not only does the initial YW bubble much more, it raises bread much more energetically.

jey13's picture

Quaint Old Oven: Baking Sourdough in an Antique?

August 13, 2019 - 11:11am -- jey13

I own a beautiful, refurbished A/B Battle Creek Oven. Meaning it stand on a legs and is probably from the 1920's. Such ovens were created with very small ovens (18"deep, 14" wide, 11" high) meant to retain a lot of heat--all of which come from gas jets below. The result, as I discovered after several failures, is that at the usual recommend temp for preheating an oven for sourdough (500°) makes my oven too hot. The dough crusts before the bread has had a chance to rise (lots of flat bread). I have to preheat and bake at 450° to get any oven spring.

DennyONeal's picture

Dutch oven with inside rack

August 13, 2019 - 10:03am -- DennyONeal


To get more steam in my graniteware Dutch oven, how do you think the following would work:

Place a stainless rack on the bottom (inside) and pour a little water underneath it, and loaf on top. 


This would affect heat heat exchange in some fashion since loaf no longer sitting directly on bottom surface. I always put loaf in cold graniteware but preheated oven. 


martino's picture

Reviving Granny Neal's Yeast Rolls and etc.

August 13, 2019 - 9:10am -- martino

I've a recipe that I've been toying with for years. This comes from my Great Grandmother Neal (In Memphis, I think... She died long before I was born, probably in the 50s.) I've had good results from it, but I think I can do better with some help from around here.

Here's the recipe as given to me, with a few caveats:

The original recipe called for 2 cakes of yeast. I've converted, using 1 cake of yeast=2 1/4 tsp instant yeast.

The recipe as written called for shortening. I suspect it was originally lard.

As you can see, no flour amounts are provided.


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