The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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jrcharter's picture

Hello all.  Two years ago I was diagnosed with having a gluten allergy, or what is more commonly known as a wheat allergy, or Celiac's disease.  NO MORE Sourdough bread?    Time to go jump in the ocean.  So, I found some "sourdough" bread mixes, done gluten free.  Expensive and really dry.  Lots of Tapioca flour used, which in reality is a starch.  What to do?  Well, either keep buying bad bread for about $8 bucks a loaf or become a bread baker/chemist.

My breads have been tasty, have bend, but are peasant breads, heavy with little rise.  I use a sourdough starter and feed it Lecithan, ascorbic acid and ginger mix, and it has been okay, but does not cause the bread to rise much.

Since my goal is a gluten-free, taste-filled, fluffy loaf with a crisp sourdough crust, I have a ways to go, but will keep on trying.  If anyone has any information to make my chemisty experiment a sucess, let me know. 


Keep on baking!  Rene.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I lost track of the hydration of this loaf. It is somewhere between 85 and 90%. Prefermented flour (KA ap and a touch of Bob's Red Mill light rye) and water was added to a 100% starter. The dough was "folded" three times at 45 minute intervals, then fermented in bulk for about another 2.5 hours at about 75 - 80 degrees. It was then poured out onto a bed of rice and wheat flour, "shaped" by folding on itself in thirds, and quickly moved to a floured couche, where it proofed for about 2.5 hours more. At this point, the dough was very delicate. It was very gently flipped onto a piece of parchment, loaded and baked at 500 degrees, the first 15 minutes under a stainless steel bowl. The finished loaf had a height of about an inch and a half. The crust was crispy and not too thick. The crumb was very translucent and springy, with a honeycomb effect that brought to mind the Japanese baguettes of which we have seen photos. The taste was mild, with a slight tang.

Thanks to bwraith for his posts on sourdough ciabatta.





submitted to yeastspotting.

breadinquito's picture

Morning everyone, in the last few days here in Quito the temp dropped to a max of 19 (outside) and as a consequence, my starter looks like a drunk person doesn't want to "wake up"...suggestions appreciated...thanks in advance. Paolo

SydneyGirl's picture

I recently re-discovered bread baking and was so exicted to find this website.

Moved to Australia from Germany almost 30 years ago. After first discovering with shock that there was NO BREAD to buy in 1980's Sydney, my father quickly built a wood fired oven and my mother picked up with bread baking right where she left off when we moved from Transylvania to Germany 11 years earlier. Since then she has made 6-7 loaves per week of sourdough bread (with potatoes) almost every week. She still does it, even though it's now much easier to find "acceptable bread" (for a German) than it was. While I've made bread quite a few times in the past (like before she had the commercial mixer and her back ache prevented her from kneading a big trough of dough), there really wasn't any need for me to bake!

However, I really love home made bread and love to tinker. I had bought Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible a while ago. With too much going on, it just languished in a bookshelf till I picked it up in a reading lull recently. Even then I was reading, not making. The real catalyst was going to Ikea and picking up a packet of bread mix (no, I'm not kidding). And that set me off on more reading, browsing and joining fora, like this one. I bet you not many of the members here can say they came this site by way of Ikea! I can't wait to try out everything... 

Floydm's picture

Today was the first time since before the Haiti earthquake that I was able to bake much of anything. 

Today's breads

I baked a three seed sourdough (poppy, sesame, and flax) and an Italian bread (a pinch of yeast, some sourdough starter, and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil).  Both batches turned out very well and my starter proved to be amazingly resilient.

BTW, remember the fundraising tool I was working on for Mercy Corps that community members here helped test back in the fall?  It got written up in the NY Times a couple of months ago.  Thank you again to everyone who helped with it.  It has been a tremendous success and helped fund a lot of excellent projects we are doing in Haiti.   

dmsnyder's picture


It has been a few weeks since I last made my San Joaquin Sourdough. I had become so enamored of breads made with the Gérard Rubaud flour mix, I was starting to wonder if I would still like the flavor of the San Joaquin Sourdough as much as I had. Well, I do.

Yesterday, I made the breads with a 73% hydration dough and divided it into two 250 gm ficelles and one (approximately) 500 gm bâtard.





Wt. (gms)

Baker's %

Active starter (75% hydration



WFM 365 Organic AP flour



BRM Dark Rye flour











  1. The night before baking, feed the starter at 1:3:4 ratio of seed starter: water: flour.
  2. Mix all the ingredients and allow to rest, covered for 20-60 minutes.
  3. Stretch and fold in the bowl for 30 strokes, three times at 30 minute intervals.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover.
  5. After another 30 minute rest, stretch and fold on a lightly floured board. Replace in the bowl and cover.
  6. Rest for 30 minutes, then repeat the stretch and fold, and replace the dough in the bowl.
  7. Refrigerate the dough for 21hours.
  8. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and immediately divide and pre-shape it. Cover the dough with plasti-crap or a towel and let it rest for 60 minutes.
  9. One hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500ºF, with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.
  10. Shape the loaves as desired and place on a floured couche. Cover the loaves.
  11. Proof for 45 minutes.
  12. Pre-steam the oven. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them as desired and transfer them to the baking stone. Steam the oven.
  13. Turn down the oven to 460ºF and bake for 12 minutes. Then remove the steam source.
  14. Continue to bake until the loaves are done. (20 minutes for the ficelles. 30 minutes for the bâtard.)
  15. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.


The crust was nice and crunchy, and the crumb was pleasantly chewy. The flavor was wonderful, as always. There is no perceptible rye flavor, but the rye adds to the overall flavor complexity. This batch had more of a sourdough tang than usual, which we like.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

hansjoakim's picture

Better late than never, right?

I've been out of the loop for a little while, but I've still been baking. This week I have slowly worked my way through the flaxseed rye shown below, based on Hamelman's flaxseed rye from Modern Baking (link here to recipe here). I prefer to bake it as a pure sourdough, so the final proof is extended by approx. 50% compared to the original recipe. I've savoured the loaf with slices of brie, smoked ham or fish.

Flaxseed rye with old bread


On Friday, I spotted some of the season's first strawberries at my local market, and I simply couldn't resist:


Delicious early-spring treat! ...and would you believe it? The snow's almost all gone here now! :D (<-- happy grin)

Raisin buns is a perfect snack to pack along for upcoming hikes:

Raisin buns

Mebake's picture

I baked this boule last week end.

As always, i have learned few thing from this bake:

1 - Never Underestimate the significance of Weighing Salt.

2 - Handling Fermented dough as if a new born baby, during inverting onto the baking stone / surface

3- For my gas oven: always switch the top elements on after 10 minutes of covered baking, as the bottom gets charred way before the top is browned.

4 - Always give the natural yeats time to do their work, hasting them with commercial yeast will reduce flavor.

5 - Never forget to place a parchment, i had a near escape due to the proper gluten development.

Other than that, the loaf tasted good, soft and airy. It was 50% Whote bread flour, and 50% Hard White mixed with Red Winter. Overall hydration was 70%.

ryeaskrye's picture

I have a fondness for rosemary. Having an Austrian heritage with a splash of Irish thrown in, I also have an innate predilection for potatoes.

Naturally the Potato Rosemary bread in Reinhart's BBA was a bread that had to be made. Ever the joker, and not one to follow directions without change, I decided to see what would happen if I used blue potatoes. I eagerly anticipated reactions of surprise I would get with a blue colored bread.

The dough ended up being a very weird consistency. It was extremely slack and refused to hold shape, similar to a very wet ciabatta, but somehow was not sticky. I didn't have much hope it would turn out well, but I baked it anyway. While they looked more than passable from the outside, the inside was an uneven shade with dingy gray streaks.

I was quite disappointed with how the crumb turned out...that was until I toasted some the next morning and it turned lavender. HA!

The texture of the crumb was moist, soft and consistent throughout. The flavor was exceptional, even eliciting a "best tasting loaf so far..." from a frequent devourer of my breads.


Before toasting:

After toasting:


Any chemists here who might have ideas on why the blue was heat activated?

txfarmer's picture


This book and this particular baguette formula was first brought to our attention by Shiao-Ping here: , Eric later did a fabulous take on it too: . I happened to have the book (in Chinese translation, DH got it for me from China when he was on a business trip there), the concept of 12hour autolyse is intriguing, and the wonderful pictures in the book, as well as Shiao-Ping and Eric's photos made me eager to try. However, I had such trouble with it. The first 3 times, they all came out flat. Really flat. Flatter than anything I've baked before. After the third time, I sat down and started from scratch. Read up on autolyse and what exactly happens during it. Read on different flours, even asked my friends to investiage the Japanese flour used in the book. Converted a part of my liquid starter to firm, because some have mentioned that firm starters may work better - then read up on the difference between the two. Let's just say, I applied all my research skilled from school and work to studying breads! It was fun though, I learned a lot, and this 7th try was my best one so far, I am finally sort of happy with the results. 


So what's the magic bullet? Well, suprise! There aren't any! Other than the old lesson of "obey the dough (not the book even if it's written by a great Japanses baker who specifies every little detail!)". Same liquid starter, I simply fermentated until the dough is ready (4 hours as supposed to 3 in the book), and did 2 more sets of S&F during bulk rise. I think the culpit is that the book really spelled out the exact temperature, time, even PH values, so in the begining I was trying to match everything in the instruction. During this past 2 months, temperature in Dallas has been perfect for making this bread: night temperature is right around 60F, which is what the autolyse temperature should be. The day time termperature in the house is a perfect 22C, matching the fermentation temperature exactly. But I forgot one thing - wild yeasts, unlike instant yeast, have personalities. They don't go on the same schedule. Mine apparently is a bit slow going, by about an hour for bulk rise. Once I realized that and experimented with different bulk rise/proofing time, the breads started looking decent. So, long story short, LISTEN TO YOUR DOUGH!

Please see Shiao-Ping's original post for the exact formula, the changes I made are: 4 hours of bulk rise rather than 3; S&F at 20, 40, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240 minutes, so 7 in total rather than 5 in the instruction; final proof was 50 minutes rather than 60; flour used was KA bread flour. As for the bread itself, very nice indeed. Open crumb, chewy crust, a noticable sweet taste due to the long autolyse, but not sour at all though. It only has 15% of starter (100% hydration) and 0.1% instant yeast, hence the long rise times, as well as the nice flavor.

There are 34 other baguette formulas in that book, I am sure I will attempt more of them. In the mean time, I am glad this bread is finally out of my mind, I can now shift my focus onto other things - like tax returns! Sigh, not nearly as fun. ;)


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