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Alain's picture

I just wanted to share my first starter and see if anyone can provide me with hints and tips.

I first started it 2 weeks ago with white flour at 100% hydration and some white wine vinegar. It started making shy bubbles after day 2 but not until I fed it whole wheat flour on the 5th day did it rise and over flooded its container.

I kept adding whole wheat till now except one addition of rye which did not react and 24 hours passed with no bubbles visible. 

Now I am planning on using this starter at night for my preferment and will keep photos and posts updated

Gail_NK's picture

It’s time to be honest; so I’ll lay it all out right here. I’m into my third year of my 5-year plan to learn how to bake good bread, and somewhere around March this year, I lost my baking mojo! Every loaf that came out of the oven fell into two categories: brick or curling stone!

Actually I didn’t lose my ability, I just got cocky and thought that I was getting closer to being a “real” baker so I started experimenting. And every scientist (and baker) will tell you that you don’t start experimenting until you’ve got the basics down. You’ll blow something up – or in my case, you’ll pull some spectacular flops out of the oven.

Read Good Flour Makes Good Bread and see how I humbled myself to good flour and good bread, and finally turned out some pretty fine loaves.

(Many thanks to all TFL members who have been so much help!)

Kiseger's picture

"I say, my friends," pursues Mr. Chadband, utterly rejecting and obliterating Mr. Snagsby's suggestion, "why can we not fly? Is it because we are calculated to walk? It is. Could we walk, my friends, without strength? We could not. What should we do without strength, my friends? Our legs would refuse to bear us, our knees would double up, our ankles would turn over, and we should come to the ground. Then from whence, my friends, in a human point of view, do we derive the strength that is necessary to our limbs? Is it," says Chadband, glancing over the table, "from bread in various forms, from butter which is churned from the milk which is yielded unto us by the cow, from the eggs which are laid by the fowl, from ham, from tongue, from sausage, and from such like? It is. Then let us partake of the good things which are set before us!"

Bleak House, Charles Dickens

And so it came to pass that I wandered off to the depths of Burgundy for a week of parents and T65.  The Husband had accompanied me for a few days but wisely fled the joys of family (as well as the glorious countryside fields of corn, sunflowers and golden haystacks) to return to the Big Smoke.  Dutifully, I had left behind a freshly baked loaf lest he otherwise perish from malnutrition (in a city where Pain Poilane and Austrian Speck are to be had within about 10minutes walking distance….).   Toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds truly sprang forth - a rich warm nutty flavour.  This one appears to be The Husband's favourite bread so far, disappearing well before my return and local reports have it that this was good with everything.  I was unable to establish the extent of the meaning of "everything" in this context, as I suspect he didn't want to go into the details of just how much "everything" he gobbled down while I was away.  Good for him, is what I say!!  

Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Bread

Essentially based on the "Sunflower-Flaxseed" recipe in Tartine 3, but with a few changes.  I toasted the sunflower and pumpkin seeds and then set to them with a rolling pin to crack them into slightly smaller pieces, as I decided not to do a soaker but throw them in as they were.  Total amount used was 10% sunflower and 10% pumpkin.  I also toasted the wheat germ, I think it does add something to the flavour; and reduced the salt to 2%.  Total BF of about 3.5hrs and cold retard overnight in the fridge.  This had a great spring and good crumb, the crust was still incredibly crunchy on the morning after baking when I stole a slice to eat on the train to France.

Having maintained my sanity through a combination of surfing TFL and conference calls for work, the first thing I did on my return was to have a conversation with my starter which required some awakening and refreshing.  Promptly upon considering what bread to make, it began to pour cats and dogs - which was most fortunate as there was no need to make excuses for shunning a walk in the park.  This gave way to The Husband's kitchen lectures, this time on the winter campaign of 1942-3 on the Russian Front.  So while the battle of Stalingrad raged, I mixed, stretched and folded, pre-shaped and shaped and watched a new bread evolve.  All in, this bread is excellent albeit slightly bungled on one side (which particular aspect has been promptly eaten by said Husband). 

Spelt, Kamut and Hazelnut Bread

Bread flour - 150g                   30%

Whole wheat flour - 150g        30%

Kamut - 75g                             15%

Spelt - 125g                             25%

Water - 375g                            75%

Salt - 10g                                   2%

Hazelnuts - 100g                      20%

Levain - 120g                          24%

(nb. levain is 60/30/10 BF, WW and Rye at 80% hydration)

1. Autolyse all flours and 325g water - 6hrs.

2. Toast the hazelnuts - I cracked the whole nuts and then toasted them on a skillet on a gas hob and let them cool before adding them in.  I like them very toasted but not burnt.

3. Mix in Levain and salt and 50g remaining water.

4. S&F every 30mins for first 2.5hrs, or as needed.  Mine took 5 S&F.  Mix in the hazelnuts on the second S&F.

5. Total bulk ferment was about 3.5hrs.

6. Pre-shape and bench rest 20mins.

7. Shape and proof.  In this case, I didn't proof overnight as I wanted to get some bread for dinner so I set it in the oven which was about 26.5C with light on.   Total proof time was about 4 hours.  Turn out of banneton into DO, try not to make a botched job of it….fail miserably, so score it with scissors anyway and pour yourself a glass of wine.

8. Bake in DO with lid on, 250C for 20mins and then lid off for another 15 at 230C.

As mentioned above, I sorely misjudged my dexterity and in my wild enthusiasm, I slightly bungled this one: some of the dough got slightly caught on the lip of the DO on its migration from the banneton.  Ah well, slightly misshapen but really rather yummy this one.  It tastes warm - that's the simplest description I can provide.  Warm from the spelt and slight sweetness from the kamut, all rounded off with the warmth of toasted nuts.  I know the various hazelnut recipes suggest you "crack" the nuts, but frankly I have not discovered a delicate way to do this without generating a nice amount of nut "dust" - to my mind, this was a good thing as that got toasted as well and dispersed throughout the dough.  The flip side of this, however, is that the crumb is not as open as I would have liked.  Also, next time I will definitely let this rise overnight in the fridge and possibly would have let it BF for slightly longer, so I expect that my rush to keep the household happy resulted in a less open loaf - although the photo is from the cut on the bungled side, once we cut further into the loaf the wholes got bigger.  Surprisingly tangy the next day, given the "relatively" short proof.

Good with stinky runny St Marcellin, Wyfe of Bath cheese, fresh hummus, honey roasted ham, roast chicken and superlative with old fashioned butter and lavender honey.  Glass of Gevrey Chambertin was just the thing to go with this and cheese.

I don't have a sunset à la DAB, but this was the little corner of calm I enjoyed while away.  No photos of my T65 adventures, probably just as well.

The object of her attentions withdrawing for the purpose, Miss Smallweed takes that opportunity of jumbling the remainder of the bread and butter together and launching two or three dirty tea-cups into the ebb-tide of the basin of tea as a hint that she considers the eating and drinking terminated.


Bleak House, Charles Dickens

dabrownman's picture

Who knew she wouldn’t be home for dinner when Lucy went al out on her favorite pizza dough. Yes it is our Focaccia Romana white dough made with an overnight poolish that I nearly half the dough.  But it also has garlic, sun dried tomato, olive oil and rosemary in the dough too – yum!.  No sourdough, no whole grains just plain old white bread made with a pinch of commercial yeast.


Since the daughter had disappeared, that meant more for my wife and I to wolf down with a brewskie.  This dough was 71% hydration and made with LaFama AP at 11.2% protein that we love so much for flour tortillas.  It makes great pizza dough too.  This batch of dough was about the best yet – strong yet extensible.


We did a half and hour autolyse for the dough flour and our usual 3 sets of slap and folds followed by 3 sets of stretch and folds - all on 20 minute intervals.  We incorporated the rosemary, garlic, EVOO and sundrie3d tomatoes on the first stretch and fold. 


We did our usual spicy tomato sauce but also made another new thing.  We sautéed some Swiss chard, spinach, onions, Hatch green chilies and fresh polish sausage for the next layer over the sauce.  This was followed by mozzarella pecorino and Parmesan cheese and topped with button and Crimini mushrooms.


We put the stone on the gas grill and heated it up to 550 F before the pizza was put on and  6 minutes later it was done - very crisp well browned on the bottom with the cheese melted and starting to turn brown.


This wasn’t or normal extra thin crust piled high with extras but, it was crisp enough, no to bending not soggy or foldable soft - just the way we like it.  Too bad the daughter missed out on this fine pizza.  It was too good for left overs.   Maybe I can make it up to her tonight when Lucy makes ribs for Cousin Jay.

It may look like a pizza biu it is our smoked chicken quesadilla dinner from Saturday night

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Because I accidentally melted my 12 Quart Cambro container and wound up baking only a single loaf for my Country Brown, I decided to make a "quick" loaf using the 50% Whole Wheat Biga formula.  I ground the flour the night before, made the AP biga the night before, and mixed the dough in the morning.

I used I bulk fermented the dough in the 6-Quart container and, quite frankly, while it was a little small, I did not really miss using the 12 quart container.  I wonder if I really need such a big container for making only two loaves of bread.

The loaves were proofed and baked Sunday morning. As you can see from the picture below, one of the loaves opened up very nicely, and the other one did not really open up.  It is the latter that I brought to my folks house and which was cut up to accompany dinner Sunday afternoon.

The crumb is close.

My father sliced the bread in smaller pieces and heated them in the toaster oven. They were a bit too crunchy for my liking, but they tasted delicious. The crust was phenomenal.  I have quite a bit of the Country Brown left and am not 100% sure I will get to cut the second loaf before heading out for the weekend.  Maybe I'll freeze it tonight and bring it with me....

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I decided to bake an Overnight Country Brown bread, out of Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt & Yeast book.

During the bulk fermentation, I placed my 12-quart Cambro container in the stove, door slightly ajar and light on.

Note to self and others: When using the oven as a proofing box, put a sticky note on whatever button or dial is needed to turn the stove on, that says "Remove contents before using!".

Unfortunately, during the bulk rise, my wife started to pre-heat the oven.  I did not notice until I saw the oven temperature at 200 or 220 degrees F.  I rushed to the oven, and pulled out my cambro container, which was melted at the top.  The dough was slightly cooked, or at least looked overly dry, along one side of the container.

Rather than throw it all out, I scooped out a lot of the dough, leaving over a lot along the edge, and transferred it to a 6 quart container where I let it continue the bulk fermentation.

I divided and preshaped the dough before deciding that I would make just a single loaf. So I put the slack second "boule" on top of the first and let it rest for 20 minutes before making a larger boule.

The dough was definitely not in an ideal state, but it came out really really good.  It tastes great too. Definitely has a tang to it, and it is very moist.

Here is a phone flash photo of the crumb:

Without the flash:


I wound up baking this loaf after a much shorter fermentation/proofing period than I had intended, but have to say that I am very pleased with the result.



CAphyl's picture

Our friends, Tim and Barb, are visiting us in California from the Midwest, and I asked them what kind of bread they wanted me to make.  Tim asked for sourdough with olive oil and rosemary.  As rosemary is plentiful (and drought-resistant), we have lots of it growing everywhere in our backyard, so this was not a difficult request.

I modified one of my sourdough recipes to make the bread, adding olive oil and rosemary (recipe below).

Ready for the overnight proof.

It popped up overnight.

Scored and ready to go.

The crust turned out well.  You can see the rosemary in there.

The crumb was good, and the texture of the bread was quite moist.

Our friend, Tim, is making his sandwich in the back of this crumb shot.  He loved the bread, so I am a happy baker!  Now, we are off for a spin around the lake.

Sourdough with olive oil and rosemary

Makes: One 2 pound loaf (this loaf was 2 lbs 9 oz).

Method adapted from: Classic Sourdoughs by Ed and Jean Wood.

I used my active starter that was a 70/20/10 mix of AP flour, WW flour and dark rye at 100% hydration.


Final Dough:

  • 230 grams (about 1 cup or 240 ml) active starter, 70/20/10 mix of AP, WW and Rye flours at 100% hydration
  • 300 grams water (Approximately 1 1/2 cups or 360 ml water)
  • 10 grams salt (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 500 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (about 4 cups)
  • 9 grams chopped fresh rosemary
  • 40 grams olive oil (reserve some for kneading)


  1. Mixing the dough. Pour the starter into a mixing bowl. Add the water and mix well.  Add the flour a little bit at a time until it starts to stiffen. Let the mix autolyze for 30 minutes add then fold in the salt. After that, add the rosemary and about 2/3 of the olive oil.
  2. Kneading the dough. Turn the dough out onto an oiled surface, using the reserved olive oil, and knead in the remaining oil if the dough is too sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes until it the dough is smooth and easy to handle.
  3. Bulk fermentation. Lightly coat a glass bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball into the bowl, making sure that the top of the dough ball has a thin coat of oil. Cover and bulk ferment in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. 
  4. Shaping and final proof. Use a spatula to ease the dough out onto an oiled surface. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, shape it into a rough ball, cover it with a cloth, and let it rest again for 30 minutes. Now, shape the dough into a boule and place it seam-side up into a banneton coated in brown rice flour. Put in a clean plastic bag and refrigerate overnight (or longer if you want more sour flavor).
  5. Baking the loaf. The next morning, remove the loaf from the refrigerator and let it warm up before baking. You should be the judge of how long you need it to warm up.  My loaf needed to pop up a bit, so I let it warm up for about an hour at room temperature as I preheated the oven. It will overproof if you keep it out at room temperature too long. My experience is that this pops up in the oven quite nicely. As the original recipe calls for 8-12 hours of room temperature proofing, I did notice that this dough did need time to warm up and rise a bit at room temperature before baking. I used my covered baker, so I preheated it with the cover on at 500 degrees (260 degrees C).  When the oven and baker are at temperature, remove the lid and pop the loaf into the bottom tray. Score it in the pattern you desire.  I sprayed a light mist of water on the dough, trying to avoid the hot surface, as I was hoping for a really beautiful crust.  Bake at 500 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes, and then take the temperature down to 435 degrees and remove the lid for the final browning, which is another 10-15 minutes, depending on the type of crust you like.  We tend to like a bolder crust, so I bake it a bit longer. Watch it closely during this phase. If you do not have a covered baker, you can use a baking stone or tray with parchment paper, but make sure you create steam by using your steaming apparatus or baking tray with boiling water from the start of the bake.  Bake the loaf at about 480 (250 C) degrees for the first 25 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 435 for the next 15-20 minutes, depending on how bold you like the crust.
  6. Cooling and slicing the loaf:  Remove the loaf from the covered baker tray or stone and let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.


Szanter5339's picture

 Ingredienti: 520 ml acqua1000 g liszt bianca BL55  2 cucchiaini di Fruktóz (o zuccheronormale)2 cucchiaio di olio6 cucchiaini di értékesítés+ 300 g tészta madre Preparazionedella "Pasta Madre": Mescolare3 cucchiai di Farina integrale di Frumento (od segale o di farro) con 3cucchiai di acqua tiepida (kb 40 ° C) coprire e lasciareriposare 1-2 Giorni az un posto caldo (20-22 ° C).1. Aggiungere ulteriore3 cucchiai di Farina Integrale 3 cucchiai di acqua (kb. 40 ° C) all'impasto che nelfrattempo comincia hirdetés AVERE ENSZ Profumo acido piacevole. Coprire di nuovoe lasciare riposare 1 giorno in un posto caldo (20 ° C).2. Aggiungere 1 etto difarina Integrale di Frumento o di segale ed 1 dl di acqua (kb 40 ° C) all'impasto, coprire elasciare riposare 1 giorno in un posto caldo (20 ° C). Preparazione ablaktábla con "Pasta Madre"Mettere ingredienti inuna Ciotola, lasciando a parte una Piccola quantitá Dell'Acqua, poi aggingerese necessario.Preparare un impasto abbastanza Duro, flessibile. Va bene se nem si attacané alla Ciotola né alla mano.Mettere Sulla Tavola d'impasto e lavorare Ancore per un po.Mettere nel tegame da Forno.Con questo inizia il PERIODO Lungo di lievitazione. Alla temperatura di20-22 centigradi ci vogliono almeno 3-4 érc.Se la Cucina e Piu Fredda, il tempo si allunga.Nem é de temere di una lievitezione eccessiva, questo nem accade mai con ilpane con la "Pasta Madre". PIU Lungo tempo si lascia lievitarsi, Piu acido saráil Sapore del ablaktábla.Riscaldare il Forno a 230 ° C-on, lasciare a questo livello Durante la cottura. Nelforno di gáz regolare kvázi al Massimo.Fare un Taglio sul lato dell'impasto e coprire con il coperchio (o con unaltro tegame) imbottito di Carta da Forno.Il tegame PUO essere Vario Vetro, terrakotta, ecc., Importante di AVERE ilcoperchio.Mettere nel Forno preriscaldato e lasciare cuocere 40 Minuti.Togliere il coperchio e continuare finché nem Avra ​​un bel colore Dorato.Togliere dal Forno, mettere su una griglia, spruzzare con un po di acqua.Il ablaktábla appena Fatto ha una crosta molto dura, ma nem c'é da preoccupare, diventa Meglio raffreddando. Tra un ora il szélvédő Sára morbido con la crosta croccante. Consigliutili:Per ottenere un panecon la parte Superiore Liscio e Lucido, l'impasto nem deve essere toccato dallafarina.Tenere il ablaktábla Forno tutto il tempo necessario, Piu Lungo il tempo nelforno, Piu croccante la crosta diventa.Se uno nem vuole occuparsi della Preparazione della "Pasta Madre", si puófare anche con la cosidetta pasta madre di 10-12 ércRicetta di Pasta Madredi 10 12 oreIngredienti: 1,5 dlacqua tiepida                                  1,5 Etti di liszt BL80 1 etto di lievito di birra


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