The Fresh Loaf

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

lessons learned from 100% sourdough ciabatta

July 29, 2006 - 9:39pm -- cognitivefun

I made ciabatta today, sourdough. And it came out a bit sour, for the first time with the starter I developed about 4 weeks ago.

Here's what I did.

I made a lot of very liquidy sponge, I guess you could call it a poolish, and left it out for the day, then refrigerated overnight.

This morning the poolish had some thin "hooch" type stuff in the bottom and I mixed it all in and used it all in the bread. I could tell it would be sour when I saw that.

I then made the dough quite liquidy. I used 1 cup of this very liquidy poolish to 3 cups flour. I use the food processor and I used enough added water to make sure it just barely formed a ball with a lot of dough trailing the ball.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

July 28, 2006 Found Buckwheat berries in the market.
They are hulled, meaning I can crush them between a finger and fingernail. This ought to be fun, one more whole grain without gluten to experiment with. The locals mix and cook them with rice to enrich it. I will first wash and soak them and add to my Poolish. They are shaped like little hearts with three sides reminding me of Austrian Löffel Kraut, a sort of nutty herb that grows everywhere there, picked for salads and high in vit C.
Having heard of Buckwheat flour for pancakes, I made a dough ball of fine buckwheat flour, water, salt, com. yeast and kneaded it. More like "play dough." It rose minutely for gas escaped in tiny little cracks all over the surface. I tweaked it and practiced my kaiser roll folds with it and left it in a little ball to rise. When I had had enough, I painted it with milk to seal the cracks and baked it. I managed to trap some bubbles and I like the taste but the dense grey puck cannot stand on its own. I cut it up and dried it.
My neighborhood dogs love me, by the way, they get all kinds of bread snacks. I'm not exaggerating when I say I've taught them all to sit. The ladies laugh as dogs of different sizes sit in a row like rice paddy ducks as soon as they see me coming. :) Mini Oven

shi's picture

pies, tarts puff pastries

July 26, 2006 - 11:55pm -- shi

I have been browsing a lot of pie, tart n stuffed pastry(is that what its called?????), puff pastry, ready roll dough etc. on the web most of them sweet n some with non-veg fillings. I am not well conversant with these food items and shall be thankfull if someone would take the time to elaborate these different preparations. Can some veg. stuffings be used? I feel so enveious when I see sweet pies filled with strawberries n other berries, n the WOW blue berry cream cheese braid by Floydm. There is no way I can find these berries locally n online order will be damn expensive.

Paddyscake's picture


July 25, 2006 - 6:10pm -- Paddyscake

Not an important question, but I was wondering why when checking to see if
a loaf is done, we rap the bottom of the loaf as opposed to the top, for
the hollow sound? I have done both and can't discern any difference.

Christina's picture

Slashing bread

July 25, 2006 - 9:21am -- Christina

In the book "The Bread Book" by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake, the first recipe in the book is for a basic half white flour and whole-wheat flour bread. It is baked free-form. One of the last steps says, after you finish shaping the loaf, to slash the dough and then let it rise. I have made this loaf a few times and although it tastes good, I was wondering if anyone knew how slashing it before rising affects it differently than slashing after rising. I was curious, as none of the other recipes in the book say to slash before, but alway after.

pmccool's picture

My wife purchased a copy of BBA as a birthday present some weeks back and I finally got around to using a formula from the book; in this case, the New York Deli Rye sandwich loaf. It is a definite keeper. I have been admonished to put a big star next to that particular formula.

The bread is a wonderful base for a corned beef and swiss cheese sandwich, to start with. We'll keep experimenting and see what else works, too. The onions in the bread are a a delicious complement to other savory flavors, but somehow manage not to overwhelm the other components.

Since it was my first attempt for this formula, I made sure to follow the instructions closely. I opted out of the use of caraway seeds, since my wife does not enjoy that flavor. Next time I may try either dill or fennel seeds, since it seems either of those would make a good flavor complement.

The use of commercial yeast, brown sugar and buttermilk in the formula were a bit surprising. I think that the buttermilk (and the shortening) contributed to the finished bread's moistness. For the next attempt, I will probably skip the yeast. My starter seems to have plenty of boost, so the yeast really isn't necessary to ensure an adequate rise. I do need to follow some of JMonkey's recommendations for increasing the sourness of the starter. Mine is more mild than wild in the flavor department, even with having refrigerated the second build of the starter overnight. A longer, cooler rise with no commercial yeast would probably increase the sour flavor.

The other thing that I should have done was keep a closer eye on the dough during the final rise. When I came back in from some outdoor chores to check on it, it was almost 2 inches above the edge of the pan, instead of the recommended 1 inch! Warm day plus commercial yeast--who'd have thought it? Anyway, I got lucky in that there aren't tunnels and that the bread holds together instead of crumbling in the middle of the slice, like some other over-risen breads that I have made.

All things considered, this was a very satisfactory experiment with a new recipe. And it will definitely be back for an encore.

Mini Oven's picture

The recycle loaf

July 20, 2006 - 5:55pm -- Mini Oven

Well someone has gone and done it, given me half a loaf I can't eat but too good to give away. I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth so I'm off to bake a recycle loaf. It is an Austrian Rye (at least 70% rye) loaf rather flat, dense, lots of molasses flavor and way too much salt. The only way to enjoy eating it is to delute it. It is the only rye within a 100 mile radius, I'm sure, with the exception to the other loaf half. Will report back later.... All comments welcome. :) Mini Oven

Joe Fisher's picture

Overnight retard problem

July 20, 2006 - 1:17pm -- Joe Fisher

So I'm using the Basic Sourdough recipe in the BBA. I fed the starter two nights ago, made the dough last night and got a good first ferment out of it. The dough doubled in 4 hours. I knocked the dough down and shaped it into baguettes and boules, covered them with plastic wrap, and stuck them in the fridge overnight.

I took them out this morning and left them in my 75-80 degree kitchen. After 6 hours, they hadn't risen at all. They were still flat as pancakes.

When I baked them, I got a fair oven spring, but not enough to offset the lack of a secondary rise. The interior is dense and chewy.


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