The Fresh Loaf

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

Forkish ELEMENTS OF PIZZA starter questions

April 14, 2019 - 7:21am -- martino

I have followed Forkish’s levain/starter process to the letter. 

What I have at day seven is a slurry with a few bubbles in it. I went ahead and made the starter for the pizza dough. Again, I have a sort of slurry with a few bubbles. 

The culture doesn’t smell bad, but it also has never risen. It’s “light” and “goopy” but it’s not rising.

Danni3ll3's picture

Ken Forkish has a Pain au Bacon that I used to make a few years ago. My daughter mentioned that I hadn’t made any in quite a while so it was time to revisit adding bacon to bread and adding caramelized onions for good measure. 



The bacon was baked in the oven to make it easier since I was cooking 3 lbs of it! (4 batches of this recipe). 😳 


As to the caramelized onions, I make a huge quantity in a crockpot and freeze them in ice cube trays. This comes in super handy since caramelizing onions is normally such a long process. 




Makes 3 loaves



120 g crumbed bacon (~350 g raw)

85 g caramelized onions (or the equivalent of one large onion)



750 g strong bakers unbleached flour

200 g high extraction Red Fife flour (~250 g Red Fife berries)

100 g high extraction durum flour (~150 g durum berries)

50 g buckwheat flour (50 g buckwheat groats)

825 g filtered water

22 g pink Himalayan salt

30 g plain yogurt

250 g levain (procedure in recipe)

Extra bran and AP flour to feed the Levain. 



Early afternoon the day before:

  1. Cook the bacon until fairly crisp and crumble it. I cooked mine in the oven to make the process a bit easier. Crumble, cover and reserve.
  2. Thaw the caramelized onions if you have some frozen in advance. (Otherwise, slice one large onion and caramelize slowly on the stove with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a bit of butter as well as a pinch of salt.) Cover and reserve.
  3. Mill the buckwheat groats for the main dough and place in a tub.
  4. Mill the Red Fife and durum berries and sift to obtain the needed amount of high extraction flours. Place the required amounts in the tub with the buckwheat flour. Save the bran for feeding the levain. Reserve the leftover high extraction flour for feeding the Levain in the evening and the next day. 
  5. Add the unbleached flour to the tub. Cover and set aside.
  6. Take 18 g of refrigerated starter and feed it 18 g of filtered water and 18 g bran. Let rise in a warm place. 

The night before:

  1. Before going to bed, feed the levain 36 g of water and 36 g high extraction flour. Let that rest in a warm spot overnight.

Dough making day:

  1. Early in the morning, feed the levain 72 g of filtered water and 72 g of durum/AP flour and let rise 4-5 hours in a warm spot. 
  2. Two hours or so before the levain is ready, put 825 g filtered water in a stand mixer’s bowl and add the flours from the tub.  Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour has been hydrated. This takes a couple of minutes. Autolyse for a couple of hours at room temperature. 
  3. Remove the caramelized onions and bacon from the fridge and leave on the counter to come to room temperature.
  4. Once the levain is ready, add the salt, the yogurt and the levain to the bowl. Mix on the lowest speed for a minute to integrate everything, then mix on the next speed for 5 minutes. 
  5. About half way through the final five minutes, add the caramelized onions and the crumbled bacon.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and place in a covered tub. Let rest 30 minutes at room temperature (73F). 
  7. Do 4 sets of stretches and folds at 30 minute intervals, then do two more sets on hourly intervals. Immediately after the last fold, place the dough in the fridge for 4-5 hours. I was gone for 5 hours. The dough rose ~75%.
  8. Tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divide into portions of ~810 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 60 minutes on the counter. 
  9. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center patting out any cavities or big bubbles. The dough was very poofy! Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make as tight boule as you can.
  10. Sprinkle half rice/half AP flour in the bannetons. Place the dough seam side down in the bannetons. Cover with plastic bowl cover or shower caps. Let rest for a few minutes on the counter and then put to bed in a cold (38F) fridge for 8-9 hours. 

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside for 45 minutes to an hour. Then take the loaves out of the fridge. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a cornmeal sprinkled counter. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and carefully but quickly place the dough seam side up inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, and bake for another 17 minutes at 425 F. Internal temperature should be 205F or more.

I just had an idea for when I do this again. Perogy Sourdough! I just need to add some mashed potato and some old cheddar cheese, and there you go! Hum... This might happen sooner than later!

sallam's picture

keto yeast

April 14, 2019 - 5:43am -- sallam


I've stopped using my loyal sourdough starter because I'm now on a low carb / keto diet, because I'm diabetic.

Yeast is benficial for diabetes because it has organic chromium, which is far better than chromium tablets.

So I wonder if one can build wild yeast without flour?

Can we multiply Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast from IDY yeast?

doughooker's picture

Shameless Plug: Starterless Sour Bread

April 13, 2019 - 6:06pm -- doughooker

In case you missed my prior posts: if you're tired of gooey starters that die in the refrigerator, fail to raise your loaves, get moldy or generally don't do what they're supposed to, give this a try.

This starterless sour bread formula was developed by the USDA Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, PA. It was developed several years after the landmark Kline & Sugihara study at the Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California which identified the bacteria found in San Francisco sourdough.

jimhaas3's picture

Retarding dough overnight with no yeast

April 13, 2019 - 1:43pm -- jimhaas3

 Hi Bakers, 

 Can anybody make some suggestions about retarding dough overnight when there is no yeast in the formula. I have tried to do this a couple of times with some basic sourdoughs, but for the life of me, it seems to be very difficult to get there though to wake up again when I have pulled it out of the retarder. 

 Any ideas, suggestions, shared experience will be very helpful. 

 Happy baking everybody.


Emma268's picture

I was hoping for some feedback on my bread if anyone is willing!

April 13, 2019 - 12:39pm -- Emma268



I'm relatively new to the sourdough world. I was hoping for some feedback on how my sourdough bread making is going based on the crumb.  This was proved in a banneton that was too large I think which has added to making it underwhelming rise wise. Any feedback and areas I should aim to improve greatly welcomed! (I have messed up inserting the photo, apologies I'm new to the forum also)

Toe's picture

Non-dairy substitute for powdered milk?

April 13, 2019 - 9:56am -- Toe

I'm looking to make Peter Reinhart's recipe for Portuguese sweet bread for someone, but they have a dairy allergy and the recipe calls for powdered milk. Reinhart notes that versions made with whole milk or buttermilk don't taste as good as the powdered milk version, so I've adjusted my expectations accordingly.

I know that powdered milk is mainly used to give bread a softer texture, and a little browner crust. So what would be appropriate to achieve a similar result? And texture aside, is there anything that might help approximate the flavor of powdered milk at all?


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