The Fresh Loaf

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

A baker on Perfect Sourdough has posted a number of times about using un-fed starter as levain . His argument is the hungry beasties are ready to devour the addition of flour in any form so why bother feeding them well ahead of time? I loved the idea and the reasoning certainly made sense to me. I had a couple hundred grams of starter in containers that hadn’t been fed in a couple weeks. I weighed it out and added freshly milled spelt and Kamut 32g each and freshly milled Turkey Red 150g,  2% salt and the levain about 250g enough water and KA BF to make an 1100 g batard. I always autolyse everything together for a few hours. Came back and it was puffy and lovely. Did  three s&f at 30 min intervals. Left it alone for another hour or so then stretched and patted  more or less like ciabatta and placed in my huge banneton. Retarded 18 hrs . Not a huge rise but oh boy... the fragrance and flavor are astounding!!! And the crust was the most crisp caramelized I could ask for. I don’t usually like “ sour” and neither does my husband but... this is fabulous with the gorgonzola we splurged on. The crumb is beautiful open tender and very cool mouth feel. I know many here were trying to get a more sour bread. This is it I think..don’t feed ahead of time. 




mutantspace's picture

retarding dough issues

April 11, 2019 - 1:05pm -- mutantspace

looking for advice on this bread below.

usually i bulk my dough for 3.5/4 hours and then retard proof in a banneton overnight in fridge, take it out bake and bread is good. 

this time i mixed, kneaded, left dough out for 45 -60 minutes max and then retarded for 24 hours. Next day I took it out - it was very cold as our fridge is small and fluctuates between warm and freezing - preshaped and left 30 minutes, shaped, left for 30 minutes and put back in fridge for 24 hours.

DesigningWoman's picture

This is like the little black dress of cakes, although I think that technically it's more a quick bread than a cake. It's a French basic, typically taught by grandmothers to their grandkids. All measurements are done by volume, using a half-cup yogurt tub that is standard here. It's a nice change after you've cleaned up your bake and put the scales away.

Here's the basic recipe:

The dry

  • 4 tubs flour*
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • .5 tsp salt

The wet

  • 2 tubs full-fat yogurt**
  • 1.5 - 2 tubs blond cane sugar (depends on taste and add-ins)***
  • .5 tub oil
  • 3 eggs


  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Dump one container of yogurt into a large mixing bowl, rinse and dry the tub.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, measure out your dry ingredients, whisk them together and put aside.
  • Back to the wet.
    Add your second tub** of yogurt, then the sugar and give things a good stir.
  • Then measure in your oil and your eggs, whisking between each addition
  • Now would be a good time to stop and oil your baking vessels. This recipe makes a batch that fills the 20cm loaf pan in the photo, plus a dozen very tall small cupcakes. Set everybody up on a sheet pan
  • Dump any add-ins to the bowl of dry ingredients and give them a toss to coat them in flour; this seems to help prevent everything from sinking to the bottom.
  • Tip the dry ingredients into the wet by thirds, mixing gently and making sure there are no bits of dry flour -- but don't work it so much that you get gluten development.
  • Fill your baking vessels 3/4 - 7/8 full and bake. Bake time will depend on your add-ins, but I set the timer for 30 minutes, by which time the cupcakes are usually done. You want them to pass the clean-skewer test. Usually, if the kitchen starts smelling like dessert, it's time to check.
  • Let cool on a rack and enjoy!


* While the "original" recipe calls for AP flour, I use just about anything I have at hand, which usually means bread flour and anything that needs to be used up. I systematically swap out one tub of flour for almond meal or grated (unsweetened) coconut. And here, one tub of flour was swapped out for a tub of cocoa powder.

** 130g of starter (even discard, if it's not too old and funky) can be swapped in for the second tub of yogurt. I've never tried this with a flavored yogurt, but if using grated coconut, a coconut-flavored yogurt could be fun.

*** You're limited only by your imagination: dried, candied, fresh or frozen fruit (no need to thaw if frozen, but extend your bake time); any kinds of nuts, chocolate or butterscotch chips, cocoa nibs, citrus zest, candied ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg… I've even chopped up a tired-looking apple and tossed it in.

A sprinkling of sugar just before baking will give a nice, shiny crust with just the slightest crunch to it. Otherwise, top with flaked almonds or walnut halves or whatever.

Please do report back with your variation!

Keep on baking!

Cedarmountain's picture

I don't know if this would be considered a traditional scone - perhaps a variation on a traditional scone?  Scone purists might even consider it an aberration.  I served these to a nice group of women at a Spring tea event a few years ago and several commented on how much they enjoyed the "biscuits", reminded them of scones!  In my thinking scones are more crumbly, tender whereas a good biscuit is fluffy, almost flaky soft...both benefit from minimal handling and lots of butter. For my "scones" today I was using up some extra fresh milled rye, spelt and Marquis wheat flour from yesterday's bread bake mixed with some organic all purpose white flour, baking powder, sea salt, a bit of sugar, some excess starter from yesterday, cubed pieces of frozen butter and enough buttermilk to make a shaggy dough.  I patted it down gently on a floured surface, folded it once and shaped into a round on a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the pre-heated heavy cast iron baking pan I was using and scored the pieces before baking at 400 F for 25 minutes.  Scone or biscuit, whatever you want to call it, they turned out nicely and taste like...a good scone!  


I served them warm with a wild blueberry preserve; sliced grapes, apples with a drizzle of raw fireweed honey, Sage Derby and Bergeron cheese.





...and this is the bread, started yesterday, cold proofed overnight and baked this morning before the scones - a 20% fresh milled whole grain dough with a coarse ground flax, chia, hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin soaker. Still working on the scoring....



AndyPanda's picture

Not bread related - but kitchen decor related

April 10, 2019 - 4:34pm -- AndyPanda

My daughter has always been interested in art and animals and taxidermy and plants etc.  She loves reptiles and makes reptile display cases with living walls.   She made a panel of living wall (bark and moss and branches and succulents and ferns etc.) and mounted it in her kitchen.  It's not finished yet, there will be more - but it looked so fabulous that I took a picture and wanted to share it here. 

ginnyj's picture

I need an easy recipe to make bread with now that my starter is ready

April 10, 2019 - 12:26pm -- ginnyj

I would appreciate a recipe or two for  making my first loaf of sourdough bread now that my starter is ready.  So far I've found two recipes, both of which have too many steps.  I can appreciate the value of a slow rise and would like that to be overnight, but then in the morning I'd like to bake the bread and have it for lunch!

Thank you!


alfanso's picture

A few months ago I posted my version of Abel Sierra’s Tritordeum baguettes, a result of which is posted in the lead photo.

Tritordeum, as stated earlier, is a new hybrid grain developed in Spain after decades of breeding and cultivation, and finally coming to market sometime around 2013 or so.  It is grown primarily in Spain, France and Italy and available across a few European countries.  After recalling the posting by Abel I came across a 500g bag in Trieste Italy and gave it a one time bake upon returning home.  My posting in Aug. 2018 is in the link above.

In Barcelona last week, I recalled that the worldwide headquarters of Agrasys, the company that promotes Tritordeum, is located there.  Unannounced, I rang the doorbell to their office on Tuesday afternoon, to see if I could register a “complaint" that I had searched a number of small and large supermarkets in the city in a vain attempt at finding the flour on a shelf.  Anton, who answered the ring, came down to discuss why, and we talked shop for a while.  A meeting was underway in their offices, and so Anton was apologetic for not inviting us up. When we returned an hour or so later, he greeted us at the downstairs front door again, this time with a bag of a few sample flours, two packs of Tritordeum crackers and a pair of IPA beers brewed with the grain.  And an offer for a return visit later in the week to come up and meet the staff.

Anton had glanced at my TFL blog and stated that he mentioned me to the others in the office.  We returned on Friday, meet the staff and discussed shop.  Still frustrated at not being able to locate the grain in any store, or the Forn Baltá bakery in the Sants neighborhood that once sold the flour over the counter, we were directed to a grain shop nearby where they had a bag of the flour in bulk.

Anton, Verónica and the entire staff, right up to the Company CEO, were warm and wonderful and interested in my personal experiment and own interest in the grain.  It was a great experience.  Verónica knew Abel from his baking days Barcelona, and so in a way, the circle was completed, with me having discovered the grain thanks to Abel.

All in all, I came home with about 4 kilos of T150 and a few smaller bags of a more refined grain, perhaps a T65.

In the interests of “science”, I’ve already converted a 100% hydration AP liquid levain into both 100% and 75% hydration Tritordeum levains.  The three stages of builds for each took place over the course of a calendar day, with the first consuming 10 hours to mature, the second 3 hours and the third a little under 3 hours to more than double.  I now feel that I have built up a strong enough pair of levains with most of the original AP flour winnowed out.  So I'll declare that it is almost a 100% pure Tritordeum levain at this point.

The dough was incredibly slack at my singular 70% hydration experience.  But with my planned 80% T150 grain as well as my decision to use 20% strong white flour, and after discussion with the staff, I feel as though I can still maintain a 70% hydration dough and get a less extensible result.  This should yield a dough that is more manageable than in my prior experience.  Time will tell and I’ll post some of my experimental results along the way.

A grateful thank you to all of the incredibly inviting people who we met at Agrasys.  

Verónica, alfanso and Anton:


 Anton's first "care package" to me:

And don't forget the Tritordeum grain IPA:

 The ~6K of grain now nestled in containers:

 Shelves at Forn Baltá bakery of "everything" but Tritordeum :-(  : 

 Barcelona is a wonderful city.  One of Antoni Gaudí's first creations:

 And "just" another doorway in a city graced with exquisite and fantastic architecture.


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