The Fresh Loaf

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headupinclouds's picture

Aspergillus Oryzae is at the heart of many delicious East Asian ferments, including miso, tempeh, sake, etc.  I have been reading through The Noma Guide to Fermentation, where Rene Redzepi and David Zilber of Noma fame lay out a number of aspergillus oryzae ferments critical to much of the success of their restaurant.  This is really a fusion of a culinary practice with an incredibly long history in East Asia, with local ingredients and flavors of Denmark -- their culinary terroir.  Somewhat surprisingly, bread is almost completely lacking from the book, except as a "food" for their ryeso recipe.  From my understanding, it produces little to no CO2 as a byproduct, and is therefore not effective as a levain in bread making.  It isn't clear this exclusion indicates they haven't used it.   After some online searches, it seems a sakadane starter can be produced from koji that apparently can be effective at raising bread.  This is apparently commonly paired with a yudane practice (similar to the commonly used tangzhong scald approach used for soft fluffy loaves). 

One of my favorite breakfasts is overnight miso oats or muesli.  In this dish, oats or muesli are cooked to make starches accessible and a small amount of active miso (I like sweet white rice miso) is introduced to the mixture after cooling to a warm temperature.  If left overnight in a warm place (estimated 80-90 F), come morning the oats will have a lovely mildly sweet miso taste.  I've been curious about ways to introduce this as a complementary flavor oriented fermentation in sourdough bread making.  Some searches have pointed back to some interesting miso flavored sourdough breads posted on TFL.  Active miso seems particularly effective at breaking down grains, and I'm not sure whether it will be detrimental to starch quality and/or gluten development required for proper loaf form, oven spring, etc.  It would be nice to find more literature discussing this aspect.

Miso test dough:

Overnight saltolyse of two dough mixes at approximately equal hydration with matching sodium content, where mix 1 contains 15 g miso and mix 2 contains none.

100 g flour, 75 g water, 15 g miso, 1.7 g salt (sodium = 2g)

100 g flour, 90 g water, 0 g miso, 2.0 g salt (sodium = 2g)

I made some poppyside buns to make this an edible experiment.  The one on the right had the miso.  They were extremely similar -- this miso had no noticeable adverse affects on the dough, although II didn't notice a significant different at 15% (bakers percentage).  I can push it further next time.  Things to try:

* increase the percentage of miso

* increase the temperature so the miso culture will be more active

* include a scald or porridge soaker so the miso culture

This was a very quick before pre-bedtime experiment, but it seems that including 15% miso (baker's percentage) at room temperature for 12 hours or so does not lead to noticeable dough degradation.  If anything, the dough with the miso seems a fair amount stronger, although this was a fairly hasty experiment and my quick assumption that miso paste was approximately 100% hydration is obviously not correct.  I was primarily interested in how dough would hold up over long periods of time with miso in the mix.  It seems to be fine.

Since there is apparently already a tradition of making bread with a koji based sakadane culture, it would make sense to try to reproduce this next, and perhaps see how this combines with my current sourdough starter.  It will be a good excuse to use the koji in my freezer I originally intended to use for tempeh.

How To Make Sakadane


TFL bakes:

Benny's Koji Rice Porridge Sourdough:


Resources: : How To Make Sakadane

kendalm's picture

Now let your minds wander. Last few bakes I been getting kinks in my loaves.  It all seems to start at the preshape. 

texasbakerdad's picture

100% AP flour, sourdough risen, 8 hour bake, 70% hydration 

Took a break from baking bread for a few days to work on Christmas presents out in the shop and fail to fix an unruly toilet.

Got to bake pizza tonight. My favorite type of bake. My wife is out of town, so I got to take a departure from my 100% whole grain bakes. Tonight, we dine on 100% Central Milling Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour. Bag says it is a mixture of wheat flour and malted barley flour.

Since I was baking for 5 kids and myself, I ended up baking 7 different pizzas (one small bonus pizza at the end because I didn't weigh something right when dividing my dough). Having so many different pizzas to bake is nice because I get to experiment with bake times and other variables. I also get to see how the oven bloom changes throughout the bake.

Lessons to be Learned from this Bake:

  • Going back to processed flours after almost a year without using them in bread or dough was interesting. More different than I had remembered.
  • 70% hydration when using 100% AP flour was too wet to handle in a fun way for pizza. I like to throw my pizza in the air while shaping. This dough was a cloud, wonderful dough, but it needed gentle hands. I think next time I'll drop it to 65%... My guess is that the perfect hydration level would change if I were to change to a different brand of flour.
  • The crust was too chewy. I mean, it was excellent, but I would prefer less chewy. Two solutions: Shape a thinner crust (which was difficult at 70% hydration and because the gluten was fighting too much shaping at one time), use a different flour type that isn't as strong. When I make pizza with home milled 100% WW, the crust is never this strong. I guess another solution would be to add a little bit of another type of flour to the mix to knock down the strength just slightly, like spelt.
  • This is a personal preference thing... but I shaped the dough to have about a 5/8" thickness throughout. Which when baked properly produced a very nice crunch and a nice piece of pie. But, if you like those blistered cornicione, you had to leave a lot crust when adding toppings, and the crust would just be SOOO tall compared the topped parts of the pizza. The lesson here is... if you want a blistered and cornicione, a thinner pie is probably better, something closer to 1/4". If you have a pizza more than 1/2" thick, it is probably a good idea to get those toppings as close to the edge as possible.
  • I usually have thinner pies (1/4" to 3/8") and I usually bake my pies at 550dF convection. Well, with these thicker pies, 550dF was too high, the top burned before the middle of the pie had enough time to bake properly. One of these days I am going to buy or build a pizza oven and cook some pizzas at super high temps. When that happens, it think it will be interesting to see how thicker pizzas do in a super hot pizza oven (800-1500dF)... I bet they don't bake too well unless covered, or unless you have very specific toppings... or maybe the heat transferred from the stone bakes from the underside so quickly that the results would be surprising. Anywho, since I got to bake 7 pies tonight, I got to zero in on the a perfect bake temp... started at 550dF convection at 6 minutes, and ended up at 500dF non-convection for 12 minutes.

Comparing what I did to Vito Iacopelli:

I had watched this youtube video on hydration levels a few weeks ago. Vito recommends 70% hydration in the video. I'd say my 70% dough behaved much like his 70% dough. Vito was much more assertive with his dough handling than me, and a big difference between his shaping and mine... Vito pie is thinner in the middle and has a thick ring around the edge. I went for even thickness throughout. I wonder though... maybe there is some benefit to that approach... basically you get the fast cooking thin crust in the middle where the toppings will be, and the cornicione can be big and blister on the edge. I don't know... seems like you would end up with a lot of untopped cornicione, but maybe some people love that.


  • 120g (13%) sourdough starter (50:50 hard white wheat:well water)
  • 916g Central Milling Organic AP Flour
  • 23g (2.5%) non-iodized salt
  • 51g honey


  • drained canned crushed tomatoes as the sauce, after putting on pie, sprinkled with salt, dried basil/oregano/thyme. This was a last minute pizza sauce, tasted quite good once I got the salt right.
  • fresh mozzarella from costco.
  • some OK sausage from costco, sliced diagonally to look cooler.
  • sliced pickled jalapeños
  • red pepper flakes
  • large granule garlic powder


  • 11:30a: Mix all ingredients till combined evenly and transfer to container for bulk proof, I siphoned off 20g for my aliquot jar.
  • 12:00p: The dough had no strength, stretch and fold about 5 times.
  • 1:00p: Very very mild increase in strength, stretch and fold about 5 times.
  • 2:00p: Some strength, stretch and fold about 5 times.
  • 3:00pdefinite strength, stretch and fold about 5 times.
  • 4:00p: I think I was at maximum strength at this point, stretched and folded 5 times.
  • 5:30p: Dumped onto bench and separated into 7 pies. Preshaped each pie.
  • 6:00p: Shaped each pie, gluten was strong, so I decided to shape in two steps. First pass got dough halfway to final size.
  • 6:15p: Shaped each pie to final size.
  • 6:20p: Preheat oven with pizza stone. (500dF non-convection is ideal)
  • 7:00p: Top and then load first pie into oven and bake until done (ideally 12 minutes)
  • 7:00p - 9:00p: Baked all pies topping while oven empty giving the oven about 10minutes to recover between pizzas.

6th out of 7 Pizzas

Crumb shot of 6th Pizza

Underside of 6th Pizza

Aliquot at 9pm

4th of 7 Pizzas

3rd of 7 Pizzas

1st of 7 Pizzas (My youngest chose the non-uniform topping distribution... he insisted)

Aliquot when the first pizza went in at 7pm

The pies after shaping and my son topping his.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

After my previous 40% Beremeal (barley) sourdough (, I repeated it almost exactly - but with half amount of Beremeal, and I slightly reduced the hydration, in line with reduced amount of whole grain flour. Also doubled for two loaves. Formula:

Additionally, I bulked during the day, shorter but warmer (8.5 hrs at 24C). It grew A LOT, and became very wobbly. Felt like it fermented more than the previous time. Then shaped and proofed, around 2-2.5 hrs, at 24C. I think it was on the verge of overproofing, but I guess I caught it before - still got some some oven spring, although not huge.

The crumb is much more "normal". Taste is more delicate than with 40% Beremeal, but otherwise similar. Less acidic, the previous one had a clear tang, I guess shorter bulk reduced acidity this time.

gavinc's picture

This is Hamelman's Golden Raisin Bread. The baked loaf tasted very nice. I used organic raisins and some seemed to erupt through the surface in the oven. I increase the raisins next time. The crumb was nice and light for this bread. I'll post the formula below.

Process – Golden Raisin Bread  
PrefermentsLiquid levain  
MixingType of mixerby hand  
First FermentationLength of time12-16 hrs 
Final DoughDDT25C  
MixingType of mixerHand 
 Mix style    
 3 speed    
 Stretch & fold15 mins  
Bulk Fermentation    
 length of time1 to 2 hours 
 number of folds1 if 2 hour fermentation
 timing for folds1 hr  
 dough temp25C  
ShapingOblongDivide 680g 
  Resting time20 mins 
  Shape round or oblong
  Proofing devicebanneton 
Proof & BakeFinal Proof time50-60 mins25C
  Oven typeMiele with steam
  Steam 5 mins prior 
    & first 10 minutes
  Total bake40-45 mins 
  Temperature238C15 mins
    221C25-30 mins
headupinclouds's picture

This is the basic process for a just-sprouted whole urad idli w/ coconut tamarind chutney.  See the making-dosa-starter discussion for more detailed writeups.

  • 1:2 ratio of white rice to whole just-sprouted urad dal -- I believe 1:3 is most commonly reported, but I typically aim for 1:1 or 1:2 to increase overall protein (I used 4 cups rice to 2 cups urad, which makes a very large batch so I can keep left over batter in the fridge for dosas)
  • pre-soaked urad overnight, drained, and waited for micro-sprouts in a colander w/ frequent rinsing throughout the day (I placed the just-sprouted urad in the fridge overnight to slow things down, as my experiments with longer sprouts have resulted in a mushy mess w/ an excessively sour taste)
  • parboiled 1/2 of the rice for three minutes and strained it (first attempt at DIY approximation of parboiled rice)
  • blended urad and rice separately to create thick batters in small batches with w/ one or two ice cubes per batch to lower temperature -- in lieu of a wet grinder, having a high power blender with enough power to blend dense grains to a thick batter w/o over-hydrating is critical, and an attachment to prevent batter build up on the side prevents frequent occurrence of a free spinning blade and makes things go much more smoothly (BlendTec Twister Jar, Vitamix w/ tamper, etc)
  • mixed batters together w/ 1/2 tsp salt per cup of whole dry ingredients
  • fermented overnight in crock placed on top of the warm fridge (the addition of a lid and small light bulb on top under an inverted mixing bowl kept the temperature around 80 F) w/
  • bring large pot of water to boil, oil idli tins liberally w/ semi-solid coconut oil using a silicon brush, fill idli molds to approximately 2/3 leaving room for expansion, lower pot to moderate boil, keep covered and steam idlis 10-15 minutes until firm, then remove and carefully scoop out idlis (a silicone spatula is helpful here) and let them continue to dry and set for a few minutes in a strainer or similar


HungryShots's picture

Sour bran bread

This is a bread with a special ingredient, fermented bran and cornflour. It is what remains from making borsh. This thick mixture is your new borsh starter, called husti in Romanian. Romania has a tradition in using it for diets, traditional home medicine and even for beauty treatments. Why not adding it in bread then?

First, this is the recipe for making borsh and sour bran/husti:

So, when you make the borsh you use the liquid. That is the borsh. To get the liquid, you strain the entire mixture and what it remains is a fermented mixture of wheat bran, cornflour and pieces of rye bread. 

This thick mixture is your new borsh starter, called husti in Romanian. But you'll only keep a jar of it for the next batch and the rest you can discard.

I started then thinking about what this mixture is and how it will affect my dough. First thought was on humidity. First, it needed to be squeezed well well. Even squeezed, but it will add humidity to my dough. So the amount of water added initially in the dough needs to be kept low.

Then, this is bran and cornflour. Bran is a barrier in gluten network development, so it should be added a bit later in the dough. The best moment for this is the lamination phase. Bran is also already hydrated so this is already good. The cornflour, with its grainy structure, has no gluten. The bran as well, it should be added in the dough at a later stage.

This mixture also contains sourdough bacteria. This means that when added in the dough it will increase its population.

With this in mind, I prepared a recipe using white strong wheat flour with hydration of ~70%. The moment of adding the sour bran was for sure no earlier than the lamination phase.

The plan was made, so it only remained to put it into practice.


  • 150g rye sourdough (100% hydration)

  • 700g strong wheat flour (93.3%)

  • 50g rye flour (6.7%)

  • 500g water (66.7%)

  • 15g salt (2.0%)

  • 200g sour bran (26.7%)

I published the full recipe on my blog and for those preferring to watch instead of reading, here is the video of the entire bread:


The idea of using borsh ingredients to bake bread I have it from the amazing lady, Irina Georgescu.

agres's picture

I think most sourdough recipes/ methods/ techniques come from professional bakers or people writing books that are baking so much bread that they might as well be professional bakers. I am not sure these folks are writing to solve my needs. I want a nice loaf of sourdough bread every couple of days, with minimum effort.

My current solution is to take a bit (~100 grams) of the dough from my current batch of dough, and put it in a storage container in the refrigerator before setting the dough to bulk ferment.

Then, a couple of days later, I put 400 gm of flour, 8 gm salt, 4 gm yeast in to my mixing tub, make a well, where I put the dough from the frig, and pour warm water on it and mix, then knead by hand, gradually adding water until I have the right consistency. Then, I put a ball of dough in a storage container and in the frig. It has salt in it so it does not ferment too fast, and I do not have to adjust hydration.  If I am not going to bake for a while, I feed the dough with flour that contains 2% salt, water, and knead into a firm dough.

I find that I can knead a pound of dough faster than my stand mixer, and the cleanup is faster. And the hydration is more precise. Yes, it has some yeast in it, but mostly I do not care - and I can kill the yeast off to have a "pure sourdough starter" by letting the "starter" sit on the counter for a couple of hours, and then feeding it.

These days, I like the ease, flavor, and texture of the "old dough" approach


Benito's picture

I’ve posted a previous purple sweet potato sandwich loaf which was enriched with brown sugar and butter. I wanted to try making a loaf with the sweet potato but without the animal fat enrichment of the butter and using honey instead of brown sugar. So based on the formula that Maurizio posted on I added mashed purple sweet potatoes to his formula and made adjustments to incorporate the sweet potato.

Total Dough Weight900 grams + sweet potato
Pre-fermented Flour11.00%
Levain in final dough25.96%
Yield1 x 900g Pullman loaf

For 9x4x4 Pullman Loaf Pan

Total Formula

Desired dough temperature: 77°F (25°C). See my post on the importance of dough temperature for more information on dough temperatures.

The rows marked pre-cooked below are the two ingredients cooked (in a water roux, or tangzhong) ahead of time, but they are still counted toward the formula’s overall percentages. In other words, the 8% whole wheat flour is still counted toward the total flour in the formula and is not an “extra” addition.

WeightIngredientBaker’s Percentage
37gPre-cooked (tangzhong): Whole wheat flour (Giusto’s Whole Wheat Flour)8.00%
148gPre-cooked (tangzhong): Whole milk32.00%
347gMedium-protein bread flour or All-purpose flour (~11% protein, Central Milling Artisan Baker’s Craft or King Arthur Baking All-Purpose)75.00%
79gWhole wheat flour (Giusto’s Whole Wheat)17.00%
33gOlive oil7.00%
5gSourdough starter1.10%

Total Yield: 194.90%, 900g

Sourdough Sandwich Bread With Pre-Cooked Flour Method

  1. Prepare Levain – Night before mixing, 9:00 p.m. (Day one)

Mix the following ingredients in a container and leave covered to ripen at about 78°F (25°C) for 12 hours overnight.

WeightIngredientBaker’s Percentage
25gMedium protein bread flour or all-purpose flour100.00%
25gWhole wheat flour 
10gRipe sourdough starter10.00%

Prepare Purple Sweet Potato

You can prepare your purple sweet potato several ways, but you want to have in the end a soft mashed sweet potato. Steaming works well and leaves you with a moist mash. You can also microwave pricking the sweet potato and placing it in a microwaveable dish but something this can be dry. You can also roast the sweet potato, pricking it rubbing it with olive oil and then wrapping it in foil and then baking it until soft.

  1. Pre-cook Flour (Tangzhong) – 8:00 a.m. (Day two)

Be sure to do this ahead of time to give the pre-cooked flour time to cool before mixing.

Milk alternative: If you want to avoid using milk in this recipe, substitute out the dairy milk in the roux, below, for water (or something like oat milk).

37gWhole wheat flour
148gWhole milk

To a medium saucepan, add the flour and milk listed above. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and becomes like a paste, about 5-8 minutes. In the beginning, whisk vigorously to break up any flour clumps, and be diligent about this near the end to avoid burning. The mixture won’t seem to do anything until it reaches a critical heat point, be patient; it will thicken.

Once it transforms into a viscous paste (something like oatmeal porridge), remove the pan from the heat and spread it out on a small plate to expedite cooling. Set the tangzhong aside until called for when mixing.

  1. Mix – 9:00 a.m.

I used my KitchenAid stand mixer to mix this dough, but it’s possible to make this bread without a stand mixer by mixing everything together by hand in a mixing bowl. To do this, you’ll need to mix for around 10-15 minutes, depending on your technique (slap and fold will work really well!).

AllPre-cooked flour (see Pre-cook Flour, above)
320gMedium protein bread flour
54gWhole wheat flour
33gOlive oil
107gLevain (see Prepare Levain, above)

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the pre-cooked flour, flour, water, ripe levain, honey, olive oil, and salt. Mix on low speed for approximately 2 minutes until the ingredients come together, and no dry bits remain. Increase the mixer speed to medium (2 on a KitchenAid) and mix for 8-10 minutes until the dough starts to clump up around the dough hook. It won’t completely remove from the bottom of the bowl, and it will still be shaggy.

Transfer your dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.

  1. Bulk Fermentation – 9:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

At room temperature, around 72-74°F (22-23°C), bulk should take about 3 1/2 hours.

After 30 mins of bulk do a lamination spreading the purple sweet potato over the laminated dough in thirds. Next slap and fold to combine.

Give this dough two sets of coil folds during bulk fermentation at 30-minute intervals.

After the second set of coil folds, let the dough rest for the remainder of bulk fermentation aim for almost double volume.

  1. Shape – 1:15 p.m.

Prepare a sling of parchment that you can lay your shaped dough onto and then lift to place in the pan. I usually also prepare a length of parchment that goes lengthwise to prevent sticking on the ends of the bread.

I shaped this dough in my typical method for shaping a pan loaf. Check out my guide to shaping pan loaves for detailed instruction.

Once the dough is shaped into a long tube, transfer each to their pan, seam-side-down.

Using either a brush or a spray bottle dampen the top of the dough. At this point, you can sprinkle on any toppings you’d like.

  1. Proof – 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (2 hours room temperature)

Cover the pan with a large, reusable plastic bag and seal shut. Let the dough proof at room temperature, around 72-74°F (22-23°C), for 2 hours.

Overnight proof option: before the 2 hour counter proof, cover the pans with bags and place them in your home refrigerator to proof overnight. Bake them the next morning as indicated below. Expect a slightly more sour flavor.

  1. Bake – 3:30 p.m. (pre-heat oven at 3:00 p.m.)


Check on your dough: it should have risen just below the top of the Pullman pan and be very light and airy to the touch (see above). If it’s not quite there, give it another 15 minutes and check again.

I steamed the oven for this bake as described on my post on baking with steam in a home oven.

Preheat your oven, with rack at the bottom third to 400°F (205°C).

Place a pan with a Silvia towel filled with boiling water into the oven about 30 mins before the bread will be loaded.

Once your oven is preheated, remove your proofed loaf from its bag, score it and then slide it into the oven.

Take care to bake the loaf fully; if they are under-baked, the interior will be gummy.

Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 20 minutes with steam. After this time, vent the oven, remove the steaming pan(s), and close the oven door. Drop temperature to 350ºF and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes until the top is well-colored and the internal temp is around 205°F, watch the crust very closely as it might colour very quickly. Remove the pan and gently knock out the loaves onto a wire rack. Return the loaves to the oven to bake for an additional 5 minutes without their pans to add extra color to the bottom and sides.

Let the loaves cool for 2 hours before slicing to ensure the interior is fully set.

Waiting to let the loaf cool before slicing it and making myself a sandwich with it for dinner and I’m starving to it is taking a lot of willpower not to slice it early.



ka-bar's picture

So in a previous blog entry, I copied over a journal I was keeping about trying to start a starter from scratch. Don’t read it, it’s not worth it. 

The long and short of it is:  though I have about a decade of experience baking with sourdough and maintaining a starter, I’d never started a culture from scratch. Oh, I’d tried, but always gave up and bought some or acquired from friends, etc.

Now, I’ve finally done it! I couldn’t be more pleased either. There was some trial and error with flours and water quality issues. It took several failures over the course of about a month, but I learned some things about the process that might be helpful to others with my sort of backwards experience leading me astray.

1.  Use pineapple juice, instead of water, for the first few days. This really helps speed things up. There’s plenty of discussion about it on this forum and elsewhere, so I’ll leave it at that.

2.  If you’re using pineapple juice, and you don’t get any growth in 3 - 5 days, start over with a different brand/type/fresher flour. I tried several iterations with two different bags of a particular brand of whole rye, and didn’t have success until I went with a different brand of whole wheat.

3.  If, when you switch to water, the culture suddenly loses vitality, change your water source. I initially started with 16oz bottles of Crystal Geyser spring water, and my cultures went flat. When I switched to my reverse osmosis filter, good things happened.

4.  This is important:  don’t treat your brand new culture like an established starter. I can’t emphasize this enough. Once you have evidence of yeast activity in your new culture, you have to feed it. Establish a feeding schedule and, as long as there is evidence of activity, feed it. See, I kept waiting for the growth I would expect from an established starter before I wanted to feed. I kept being disappointed. Turns out I was starving the new culture. Things did not turn around for me until I kept to a 12 hour feeding schedule. Once I stopped trying to (improperly) read my culture, and fed on schedule, I immediately saw the growth I wanted. My culture isn’t where I want it yet, but it won’t be long. I am stIll in the process of encouraging it to double at a faster rate. It seems happy enough to bake with now, but I’d probably have to double my fermentation times. Could be good!

It’s completely backwards from waiting to see the growth you want from an established starter before feeding. With a new culture, it seems the more often you feed, the faster and more it grows. I suppose you reach a point of diminishing returns, at which point it is “established” and possibly deserving of a name. 

I know there are plenty of other tips and tricks from people who are way more experienced. These were my stumbling blocks. If you’re having similar trouble, I hope this helps. 


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