The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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zainaba22's picture


Fresh Labneh +zaatar

Fresh Labneh+Cheddar Cheese

Qashta"fresh cream" +honey

Feta Cheese+dried mint

AnnieT's picture

Katie, I was so anxious to try using my starter instead of the barm - and already I have a question. My 4oz. of starter was less than 2/3cups. Do you think it was because my starter was revved up and more liquid? I sorta kinda split the difference and went ahead anyway - I'll let you know what happens. I am also fretting a bit about "firm French bread dough" because I have never made French bread and don't really know how firm it should be. I see PR says tacky but not sticky. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Thanks for your help, A

AnnieT's picture

Weavershouse, you've blown my cover! I was born in a small place outside "Brummagam" and had no idea anyone over here would know about Brummie slang. My mother used to do what we called bread and scrape - she would spread butter VERY THINLY on the cut end of the loaf before slicing it. Guess that came from the butter being rationed during the war. Of course I had to Google the site you mentioned and sat here laughing out loud to the amazement of Boo the one eyed pug. Now she thinks I'm over the edge too like my son in Paso Robles, CA. I was relating the tale of the almost disaster to him and he pointed out that it is only bread. He is the one I sent some of my sourdough starter to, and whenever we talk I ask if he has fed it recently. He has had some success but seems to think he has to adopt a tough attitude about it - probably doesn't want to end up as obsessed as his mama. Off to take the recycling, no time to read all of the Brummie sayings. A

AnnieT's picture

Last night I lay tossing and turning, doing what my late father-in-law would call "mithering" - thinking about the bread I was going to bake today, (Floyd's Daily Bread), the basic sourdough from the BBA, and wondering whether anyone has tried making ciabatta dough using a food processor. Lots of things to make my brain spin. So I was late getting going this morning and it was probably 10am when I started on the bread. I had checked on the poolish several times and it looked fine, but when I tipped it onto the flour and water after the autolyse I found to my horror that it had separated and now I had a bowl of stiffish flour and water paste plus lots of liquid. Panic stations! I squished it all together between my fingers - what a mess. Of course I hadn't read all of the comments about the bread to know that it was meant to be wet. I added 1/2 a cup of flour and stirred with my trusty dough hook until there were strands forming, and then I did two quick folds. Believe me, I folded the heck out of it and each time it was a little easier to handle. Folded and went to Curves. Came home, folded it and ran into town to buy a birthday card - you get the picture. Finally after lunch it was time to shape the loaves. By now the dough was risen and full of bubbles, so I cut it very gently and made two strangely shaped loaves using TT's towel supported couche, thank you TT. I really worked on my slashing this time as I figured they weren't going to look great anyway. Baked them on the hot stone with steam and to my utter amazement they were beautiful! The slightly square ends rounded out nicely, the cuts bloomed - and the crumb was full of lovely holes. I pulled the parchment paper out when I turned them. Wish I had baked them for a few more minutes because the crust softened as they cooled. So what I thought was going to be a total disater turned out to be some of the best bread I have made yet. Many thanks for the recipe, Floyd, and for this fine site. Is there a 12 step program for this addiction? A

zolablue's picture

I wanted to make dill bread so used Floyd’s wonderful recipe for Potato Rosemary Rolls yesterday but replaced the rosemary and sage for a huge pile of fresh baby dill.  Then I added another huge pile of freshly ground black Tellicherry pepper.  We really like things spicy but I was afraid the amount of pepper I used would overpower the dill.  Not having made dill bread before (Tingull's looks so good) I also wanted to try using fresh dill to get a feel for the amount desired.  I ended up using 2 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper and roughly 4 packed tablespoons of chopped fresh baby dill.  The flavor was outstanding.  My husband loved them!

I really love the way these taste not only because of the potato and potato water, which also helps them keep longer, but just the richness of the dough and texture when you bite into it.  It has a kind of chewiness to the crust but still moist and the crumb is great for juicy hamburgers.  We did have grilled ground sirloin burgers with fresh chopped garlic mixed into the meat and grilled sliced Vidalia onions.  It made a fabulous hamburger. 

Besides adding quite a bit of extra pepper and substituting fresh dill instead of rosemary and sage I didn't make any other change to Floyd's recipe.  I did brush the top of the buns with unsalted butter when they were hot from the oven. 

Inspired by Floyd's, Potato Rosemary Rolls:

And Tingull's, Country Dill Bread:

bluezebra's picture

METHOD: The purpose of this test on the sourdough starter is to test how long he takes to rise in a 60% hydration, lean dough.

Time 3:00pm

75.7 degrees F

31.5 and rising barometric pressure

2 oz General Chaos Starter

4 oz AP Walmart Brand Flour

2.25oz Filtered Water (Pur)

3/8 tsp Iodized Salt

Mixed all ingredients together for about 2 minutes until dough formed that pulled away from sides of dough but still stuck to bottom.

Transferred to a large glass measuring cup and covered with plastic wrap and a saucer.

bluezebra's picture

Well Bill and Katie, apparently all that General Chaos aka Sir Stinksalot needed was to be threatened with the arrival of a new kid on the block, "Flat Stanley" (from Katie's parchment experiments)! I used Bill's 1:4:4 for yesterday morning and yesterday night feeds. Each time the little guy doubled in a little under 8 hours!!!! Yippee!!!

So last night I really wanted to drill down on the proper amount of feeding for him every 12 hours (for now) and I tested 3 different formulations and the temp was 75.7 degrees yesterday and last night in the kitchen, with the following results:

1. Test 1 is a 1:4:4 feed using 1oz starter: 4 oz water: 4oz flour and I got a 100% rise at 8 hours.

2. Test 2 is a 1:9:10 feed using 1 tbsp starter: 9 tbsp water: 9 tbsp flour and I got a 30% rise in 8 hours.

3. Test 3 is a 1:1:1 feed using 1/4 cup starter: 1/4 cup water: 1/4 cup flour and I got a 10% rise in 8 hours.

So I know the 1:4:4 makes a happy starter for now... Bill am I looking for a starter that will double in 4hours? Do you think that in test 2 and 3 my sample was too small? Or do you think that the starter is just still building steam? I guess I will go ahead and wait for it to completely peak before feeding again this morning, then refead the 1:4:4 with the same ratio again?

Thanks Katie for your generous offer! It might be fun once I get this guy going to "trade" starters and have a "friends" starter going and do a tasting. To see how two geographically different starters taste side by side! :D

On a side note, General Chaos is really smelling ok these days. He hasn't been stinky in quite awhile even though he did have a pretty strong vinegar smell there for awhile! ;) Now he just smells acidic towards the end of his rise time.

AnnieT's picture

Beautiful bread, kjknits! It hadn't occurred to me to use my own sourdough starter instead of the barm, and now I can't wait to try it. I have the poolish sitting on the counter for Floyd's Daily Bread, and now this! I am getting panicky about running out of flour, and my freezer is getting full - not sure I want the family to know I am baking so much. Luckily my neighbors are always happy to take a loaf off my hands. I don't have a mixer so maybe won't get the great results you did, but I'm going to try, A

kjknits's picture

I tried another batch of bread with my new white starter. This time, the basic sourdough from BBA. I just replaced the barm in the book's formula with my own starter, since it seems to be about the same consistency. I made the firm starter yesterday and let it rise on the counter for 4 hours, at which point it had doubled. So into the fridge it went. This morning I took it out, cut it into pieces, and let it sit for an hour, then I used the KA mixer to mix the dough. I used KAF Bread flour and gray sea salt. The dough doubled in 4 hours, so then I gently divided it into two pieces and formed baguettes--taking LOTS of care not to degas it. Sat them on semolina-covered parchment strips in a towel-made-couche. They proofed for about an hour and a half, then I slashed 'em and baked 'em with steam.


The crust is delicious and not too hard, but pleasantly chewy and crusty. The crumb is substantial, yet still soft, and quite moist, without becoming gummy. We ate one whole loaf this afternoon and evening. And I had the audacity to not go walking after dinner, tempting those extra pounds. Well, at least it's fat-free. =)


Love the little tiny bubbles on the crust.


Still need to work on the slashing, although this time I just used a single-edge razor blade and it did go better then usual.


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