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raisdbywolvz's picture

3/11/08 - 9:30 pm -- My little buckaroo didn't do much after last night's feeding -- he grew a tiny little bit for a little while, then went back to his original size. When I went to feed him tonight, he had a gajillion itty bitty bubbles all through him. The growth and the bubbles were actually more than I expected since I've read that after the early bacterial activity, the starter might go flat and do nothing for a couple of days. So happy to see activity. Stirred him up, dumped all but 1/4 cup, then fed with 1/2 c each of KA AP flour and water.

He smells more starter-like than he did just yesterday. I hope that means there are some yeasties growing.


raisdbywolvz's picture

3/10/08 - 9:30 pm (at the 48 hour mark) -- Had a little bit of excitement this morning, but I believe my little buckaroo was just having some bacteria activity. At tonight's feeding, he was still bubbly, but had long since fallen back to his original size. No yeasty smell yet. Nor should I expect one yet, it's just too early. So I dumped out all but a quarter of a cup and added another 1/2 cup of rye flour and 5 oz of water. Stirred it up well and will check on it in about an hour as I suspect he'll need more water.

10:30 pm -- Added another ounce of water, for 6oz total. Nice and batter-y. Marked the side of the container, just in case.

Here's to you, my little buckaroo!


raisdbywolvz's picture

3/10/08 - 8:30 am -- The starter was all bubbly and had puffed up to twice its original size! I'm so glad I marked the container last night. It hasn't even been 48 hours yet, right? Let's see... I started it at 9:30 pm Saturday night (the 8th), and fed it once last night (the 9th) at 9:30 pm. That's 24 hours. Gave it the extra shot of water about 3 hours later, and 8 hours after adding the water, it was doubled in size and all bubbly. That's about 35 hours. Now (2:30 pm, 41 hours into it), it's back down to its original size and covered with a layer of foamy bubbles on top.

Who knew it would work that quickly? I expected to be watching it sit there for days and days before seeing any real activity. Especially considering that we had temps in the 70s and 80s for a good week, if not more, and the day I decide to start, the temps drop into the 30s at night and 50s during the day, and my hacienda is rather on the cool side. I expected some bubbling from the bacteria, but my understanding is, the rising and the foam is yeasties, not bacteria. Or does the bacteria make it rise and foam, too? I gave it the ol' sniff test, but thanks to all the allergens in the air, I can't really smell much right now, which is a real bummer -- I baked two loaves of bread last night (yeasted, not SD), and couldn't smell it baking. I hate it when that happens!

So now... What to do, what to do? Shall I feed it now, or wait until tonight? Guess I'll go read through the discussions again.


raisdbywolvz's picture

3/9/08 - 9:30 pm

Dumped half, added 1/2 c rye flour and 2/3 c of water, stirred the dickens out of it. Now it's back on top of the fridge with a double layer of cheesecloth over it.

Increased the amount of water because the rye flour really sucks it up and, before dumping half, was more of a gloppy paste than a batter consistency.

EDIT:  About 3 hours later, checked on my little buckaroo and he was all stiff, not batter-y, so I stirred in 3 more ounces of water.  Marked his level on the side of the container.  Probably too early to do that, but oh well.


dmsnyder's picture

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere crumb

Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere crumb


I have made Hamelman's Miche, Ponte-a-Calliere several times. It has been one of my favorites. My previous breads have used 100% First Clear flour from King Arthur.

Several other bakers had enthused about Golden Buffalo flour from Heartland Mill, and their description made it sound ideal for this Miche, so that's what I tried for my first baking with this flour.

Golden Buffalo is more coarsely ground than most bread flours, other than pumpernickel. It absorbs lots of water. I followed Hamelman's formula however, resulting in a dryer dough than using First Clear. It was quite tacky, but not really a slack dough.

The crust color is really nice, I think. The crumb, while not as open as it is meant to be, is still nice and the chew is wonderful. It tasted really good 2 hours after baking. I bet it will taste even better today.

 Next time, I'm going for higher hydration and, if I remember, I will make a soaker with at least part of the flour, as suggested by bwraith.


MaryinHammondsport's picture

I was looking for an excuse to use my sourdough starter this morning and settled on the Sourdough Blueberry Muffins from Mike Avery's website, Sourdough Home. For the recipe, go to

These were just great! My starter is very thick and I had to add a little rice milk (I'm lactose intolerant) to enable me to stir everything in without over-mixing, but the crumb was very tender. I'll make these again.

Thanks, Mike.

Mary in Hammondsport

raisdbywolvz's picture

Ok, I give in. Everywhere I turn, I encounter a discussion on how easy it is to make your own sourdough starter, especially using rye flour. I happen to have a new bag of stone ground rye flour. So, with a good rye and some tepid bottled water as the bait, I'm going to cleverly lure the elusive wild South Texas yeasties into my magic bowl and create my very own sourdough starter.

Seeing as how I've successfully reactivated a dried starter sent to me through the mail, made several loaves of bread with it, and am familiar with how it should behave, I'm confident that, as long as I can lure the yeasties in, I can create my own starter.

So here's how the starter is starting:

3/8/2009, 9:30 pm -Mixed 1/2 c rye flour & 1/2 c water in container, stirred it up real good, then put it on top of the fridge. The plan is, every 24 hours dump 1/2 and feed another 1/2 c flour and 1/2 c water until it's frothy. The alarm on my phone has been set.

Here's to frothy wild yeast!



rainbowbrown's picture

Sourdough Bagels



I made some sourdough bagels this morning. I used Bwraith's post, which was based on Susanfnp's post, as a guide: Sourdough Bagels Revisited. These were based on Silverton's recipe from _Breads from the La Brea Bakery_. After going back and forth reading Silverton's recipe and the modified ones, I decided to go with Bwraith's post exactly, well as exactly as I could. I made some slip-ups, which really affected my bagels. They taste great, but they are pretty open and bready and they puffed a little too much. I know precisely what my mistakes were and I thought I'd post them for others who might do some bagel making. All that I did wrong were small errors on my part, things like not taking notice of details in the write up and such. Anyhoo, here gos:

The write up called for 90% hydration starter. In my tendency to over look random details I refreshed my starter at 100%. I believe this is why they were bready. The idea of the dough having a slightly higher hydration was already blamed for breadiness in the discussions between Bwraith and Susanfnp and Bwraith discussed it throughout the comments, but it still went right out the other ear, since it was a difference in the starter.

I shaped some of them using the rope method used in the post and I shaped some of them using a method discussed in BBA where you make a roll and then poke a hole in it and twirl it around your finger. I think I like the rope method better, they were more consistently smooth. My mistake here though was I didn't make the center hole big enough and many of them closed up. Again, something discussed in the post, but I wasn't careful to take notice of it. They should have been about 2.5 inches and mine were only about 1.5 inches.

I believe I worked pretty quickly in getting them into the fridge after shaping and in going through the whole boiling baking process, but they still puffed too much. I think I'll blame this on the fact that my kitchen was 68 degrees and steamy. In fact my whole tiny apartment was steamy because of the big pot of boiling water. Next time I'll open the double doors next to my kitchen and let the chilly morning air in. I'm pretty sure the warm stuffiness of my kitchen gave them a good proofing environment for the four minutes that they sat out between the fridge and the oven.

I think that small slip-ups like these can be so easy to come across and I hope that discussing them will help them sink in more, making them easier to avoid in the future.

Now on to the good things:

I used 5% Giusto light rye flour, 15% Giusto whole wheat flour and 80% KA High Gluten flour, which all worked out great. They really taste quite awesome.

I used poppy seeds on some, ground flax seeds on some and kosher salt on some.

I refrigerated my parchment papered sheet pans before I did the shaping so that as I shaped I was putting the bagels on cold pans. I think this may have been a good idea, not quite sure though.

The only other time I have ever made bagels was about six years ago and was before I really began learning about baking. I just picked a recipe and followed it, not having any sort of understanding of what or why I was doing any of it. They turned out bad, real bad. So these bagels are pretty thrilling for me, and now that I know what I'm doing more in baking, I know what I need to do next time to fix it.

One more note is that I began kneading these in my Kitchen Aid and after three minutes the motor began to burn out, so I did the rest by hand. And this was with the hydration a bit too high.


Thank you Bwraith for your massively helpful write-up on your sourdough bagels. Reading it is actually what inspired me to try my hand at bagels again.

I also have a question about the KA high gluten flour. I don't have the Sir Lance A Lot, but the KA organic. The thing is it smelled a little odd to me. And I'm a little hesitant to admit that I know what it smelled like, but I smelled like Jiffy boxed blueberry muffin mix. Anyone know why? The flour was malted and I don't know if I've ever used malted flour before, so I think it could have been that. I don't know...just curious.

And one more question.  As I was shaping, I found that most, but not all of the ropes were a little, I don't know, hollow-ish as I rolled them which made it a little difficult.  Anyone have any insight on this?  

Floydm's picture

30% Whole Wheat. We ate them with a very bland pot of corn chowder I made this evening.

dolfs's picture

In seeking a tasty and healthy bread for my 6 year old son's lunch box I've been looking to create a sandwich loaf that is in large part whole wheat flour and other grains, yet has a somewhat soft crust (you know children: they don't appreciate the best part of good bread), and fine and soft texture. It should hold up well for PB&J as well as cheese, turkey etc.

Multigrain Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
Multigrain Oatmeal Sandwich Bread 

Today was baking day for me and I made up a new recipe. It started with a variation on Peter Reinhart's Struan from his "Whole Grain Breads," but ended up with substantial modifications. What remains is the "epoxy" method which has always worked well for me since I learned about it. As you can see from the picture most (if not all) of my goals were reached. The whole loaf is airy, and the crust is mild in flavor and "crustiness." The color is lighter than you might expect because a substantial portion of the whole wheat flour used was white whole wheat flour. This is another one of those "fool the kids" tricks. If the bread doesn't look too brown it tastes better! (The white whole wheat does have a milder taste too).

The overall composition of the bread (not counting the oats on the outside) is 37% bread flour (I used Giusto's Ultimate Performer, organic unbleached), 35% white whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur), and 13% whole wheat flour (Giusto's), 14% rolled oats, 3.4% wheat germ (yes, that's a little over 100%, I rounded the amounts for this summary). Salt comes in at 1.85% overall, and hydration is at 75.6%. The bread flour comes in handy to provide enough gluten for a good rise (needed for good air and fluffy bread) and also helps create a milder (less WW) taste. I am not saying you need this much for the gluten reason, it is just what I ended up with and I am happy with bread that is only 1/3 refined flour. You can experiment with less if you want.

The end result was exactly what I was looking for. Within this goal, it was certainly my best ever. I know that some of you frown upon this kind of bread because it is not 100% whole wheat, it is too much like Wonderbread (not really, except texture may be somewhat), etc. I make plenty of "real" bread, but this outcome was the goal. Others have looked for this in the past (although mostly in a "white" bread), so I thought it worth sharing. 

Here is the recipe (from my Dough Calculator Spreadsheet):

Multigrain Oatmeal Sandwich Bread Formula
Multigrain Oatmeal Sandwich Bread Formula 

The recipe, as given here, makes 3% extra of the soaker and the biga to compensate for what might stick to your container and utensils and doesn't (easily) make it into the dough. I bake by weight (highly recommended), but approximate volumes are given for almost all ingredients. The wheat germ, if I remember correctly, was about 5 tablespoons. Not mentioned in the formula, but I also used about 1/16 of a teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C) as a dough enhancer. It promotes dough strength and allows for a "lighter" product. It gets destroyed during baking, so no health benefits!

Also note, for those of you that like to judge a formula by looking at the percentages, that soaker and biga are huge percentages in the final dough. This is normal for doughs made with the "epoxy" method as virtually all flour is part of biga, starter or soaker. In fact, if there was no flour whatsoever in the final step, you wouldn't be able to use percentages, because 0 flour would result in infinite percentages for the other components. The dough calculator has a convenient "Analysis" worksheet that collects all ingredients into an "Overall dough", which is how I got the percentages mentioned above.


  • Soaker: Mix all ingredients until everything is mixed well and hydrated completely. Leave out at room temperature for 12 hours (overnight is what I do).
  • Biga: Mix all ingredients until everything is mixed well and hydrated completely, and then knead briefly. For a ball and place in refrigerator for 12 hours (overnight).
  • Final Dough: Cut up soaker and biga each into some 10 pieces and mix them in a bowl with all other ingredients. Mix well (dough whisk, stand mixer, whatever you like) on low speed until you have achieved a good blend. This will happen easier than for doughs not made with the "epoxy" method. Continue to knead until full gluten development has been achieved. With this dough you should be able to achieve a wonderful gluten window (window pane test). Your ideal dough temperature at this point should be 78F (if you don't know why or how, don't worry about it).
  • Bulk Ferment: Shape dough into a ball with tight skin and place, good side up in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until approximately 2.5 times original size. (This happened for me in about 75 minutes in a 70F) kitchen. The dough will feel very airy! In my case no folds were necessary, but if you feel your dough s not as strong as you want (possible since the dough is fairly wet), give it a folder after 30 minutes and perhaps another after one hour.
  • Divide & Pre-Shape: The recipe makes two 1.5 pound loaves, so divide the dough into two equal pieces and quickly shape each piece into a tight ball. Deflate the dough some, but not completely while doing this. Let the pre-shaped balls rest (covered) for about 15 minutes. The dough might be just a tad sticky to your hands (it should have cleared the mixer bowl). If necessary use a tiny amount of flour, or wet your hands.
  • Shape & Proof: Pre-heat oven at 400F (I used a stone and cast iron pan for steam, but you can do without). Grease your loaf pans (I used spray with flour in it, you can use some butter, oil, or use parchment paper). Shape each ball into a roll/loaf, make sure seam is pinched shut, and roll the top side (seam will go down in loaf pan) in some oats that you have spread out. Place in loaf pan, seam down, oats up, and cover and let proof until a dome forms above the edge of the loaf pan (this took about 1 hour for me).
  • Slash & Bake: Optionally slash the loaves (I used a curved slash through the middle). If you don't slash and you get too much oven spring you may get tearing. I happen to think the slash looks good anyway. Place on the baking stone (i you use one, otherwise straight on rack in lower third of oven) and bake approximately 25 minutes until internal temperature is 205F (or use the "thump" test if you do not have a thermometer). Make sure you rotate pans sometime in the middle to get even heating and browning. I also remove the loaves from their pans when the internal temperature is about 190F so that the sides of the bread get some more browning. Careful with that, the loaves are very fragile at this point!
  • Cool & Eat: As always, let cool fully before slicing and eating. This bread freezes well. I slice the whole loaf and freeze two slices in a sandwich ziploc for easy "on demand" retrieval.


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures


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