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Best crumb bread - whey based sourdough bread

Foodzeit's picture

Best crumb bread - whey based sourdough bread

So, after my last try to make bread with an overnight retarded fermentation (which I REALLY want to succeed in because it will intensify the flavors of the bread enormously) I made a new attempt. With the help of dabrownman I discussed my last experiment of making a wheat bread with overnight fermentation. The wheat bread was a great success, taste wise, but I had problem with a very compact crumb. Following his advice I switched my method to grow my sourdough yeast bacteria base from the single stage sourdough (which I used to do before this day) to the three stages sourdough methods (which I will use from now on). The difference is just worlds apart and I got the crumb that I could only dream of before. Now I got it all. I am using the overnight fermentation in the fridge for improved flavor and I am using the three stages sourdough in order to improve the crust and I will always try to make the dough as wet as possible for an improved crumb. The result of my specially created wheat bread with oregano made this way was so successful, after putting it in the bread form it more than doubled in size so that the bread grew “over board’ and I got a funny wave form after baking it. I can live with it and now I know it for next time, so I will be portioning it more wisely.

Last time I made my own Feta cheese and had a lot of left over whey from this time. This whey found its way in my bread and I simply love the special taste not that it gave my bread.

Basic recipe output

   Normal Sourdough
Rye Flour 88 g
Water 88 g
Sourdough starter 8.8 g
Mix everything together to smooth dough without any clumps inside and let it rest in a covered bowl at 24-28°C for 12 – 16 hours (please also compare the timing below). After your sourdough is ready, don't forget to take some starter away and keep it in the fridge for your next bread.

   3 Stage sourdough
Stage 1
Flour 17 g
Water 17 g
Sourdough starter 13 g
Mix all the ingredients together so there are no lumps in the batter. Then let it rest for 2 hours at 24-28°C

Stage 2
Flour 26 g
Water 26 g
Mix the sourdough from stage one and the ingredients together so there are no lumps in the batter. Then let it rest for 3 hours  at 24-28°C

Stage 3
Flour 43 g
Water 43 g
Mix the sourdough from stage one and the ingredients together so there are no lumps in the batter. Then let it rest for 6 hours at 24-28°C. If the sourdough did not double in size, toss 100 g of the Levain and feed it 50 g each of flour and water again until it can double within 6 hours of the last stage.

   Yeast sponge
Whole wheat flour 50 g
Water 50 g
Dried yeast 1 g
Mix ingredients until smooth. Then let dough rest for about  12 - 14 hours @ 22–25°C.

   10.3. Cooking piece
Barley grains 60 g
Cook the grains in sufficient boiling water for 25 – 45 minutes until well cooked through and soft inside. Strain them, cool them down before usage.

   Main dough
Sourdough 185 g
Yeast sponge 100 g
Cooking piece 60 g
Rye Flour 107 g
Whole wheat flour 406 g
Whey 351 g
Salt 13.0 g
Oregano 6.5 g

Timing for the bread
Sourdough stage 1: 2:00 hours
Sourdough stage 2: 3:00 hours
Sourdough stage 3: 6:00 hours
yeast sponge: 11:00 hours
cooking piece: 0:30 hours
Mixing bread ingredients: 0:30 hours
Mix ingredients + salt + sourdough. First rise (stretch and fold every 50 minutes): 2:30 hours
Pre shaping and resting: 0:30 hours
Final shaping + Proofing (rise to a double): 1:00 hours
Retarding: 12 hours
Steaming: 0:15 hours
Baking: 0:35 hours
All the above times are for your rough timing only and heavily depend on the individual baking so always pay attention to your bread
* The baking time of the bread depends on the size of your loaf(s)   perfect crumb shot  top view oat flake decoration  wave form for surfers


dabrownman's picture

that is some pretty impressive open crumb.  It has to taste great with the SD and whey for liquid and a scald too!  This bread has to be a fun one to bake too.

It seems everyone's tin is a different size all over the world  What I do to get the right amount of dough in the pan is to  zero the scale with the empty tin on it and then fill it with water so you know how much water it holds.  If the water weighs 1900 g then i divide that in half to get 950 g and then add 10% to get 1,045 g  That is the amount of dough I use for one loaf in that tin.

But the over flowing pan might not have been due to over filling the pan from the looks of it.  It looks like it was also over proofed.  When you use commercial yeast as a booster in SD bread, a 12 hour retard is very long and will likely result in it being over proofed in the fridge as you sleep. This happens to me all the time with SD breads that i try to retard for 18-24 hours.  No worries.   Just don't use the yeast sponge at all.  With the whey, there is plenty of protein and those protein bonds will be broken releasing a rich food for the yeast and Lab to eat and even 12 hours might be too long with SD only as the leaven.

I think next time you should try using SD levain only and keeping it's weight to no more then 12% of the total flour and water weight of the dough.  Have the bread weigh the correct amount for the tin and do everything else the same including the 12 hour retard.   Put it in the oven once ir rises 1 inch above the rim of the pan.If it does this while in the fridge then let it warm up on the counter as the oven heats up.  If it doesn't, then let it sit on the counter till it does and time the oven to be ready. Either way you will get good oven spring without it collapsing.

I think next time you will bake a great loaf of this bread that is even tastier, taller and more open!

Happy baking!


Foodzeit's picture

DBM, you are right, I am just so used to having to add yeast, I think I must slowly rethink – I don’t need commercial yeast any more. That is kind of good news. But I think I also like to add some yeast sponge to improve the flavor profile of the wheat part in the bread. I try without it and compare.

I will use your method to fill my pans and see if we get about it. I can also use a bit less if I see that my SD is behaving too actively. But concerning the SD, I normally go between 20 and 30 percent of sour, my German taste buds call for it, it’s less a thing of having enough leaving agents. I just like the zingy taste of SD in my bread; I even retard rye breads which some people feel it’s too much of a sour taste. But I just like it that way. Typical German taste I think? So retarding for 12 hours is from now on my minimum set time. I think other German bakers here on TLF also like to retard overnight, if I remember it right.

So I must find a way around the other problems of the dough growing out of the form and I am sure I will get there. I’d rather freeform much drier bread in this case. I just have one question for you today left.

For checking if the bread is ready to go inside the oven, I used to do the finger probing technique. I remarked now that it won’t work with this type of bread any more. The surface tension was so high at all times, the bread comes springing out towards me right away. The dent that I am looking for that is missing. Even after the bread really grow over all borders and got softer and wobblier and more liquid, the dent of my finger in the surface of the bread comes springing right back at me. I thought it’s now or never to put it in the fridge first and from there on in the next morning immediately in the oven just because when moving the form the bread made the impression of being quite liquid and fermented already. But I am looking for a more reliable method to get the right timing and I am missing my finger probing technique. What do you use?

dabrownman's picture

12 hours but cut the back the levain to 10% so the bread doesn't turn to goo as rye and rye with spelt can easily do.

 I quit using the poke test because it doesn't work very well as you have found out.  By your description of wobbly dough - no question it is way over proofed.  Wobbly is great for croissants though.  You can put the yeast in there but it will just make thje dough proof faster and fast proofs mean less flavor.

I don't know what flavor you are looking to get from commercial yeast,  but the SD will likely overpower it anyway.  With a smaller SD levain and longer retard you will likely get a more sour bread than a shorter retard and larger SD levain.  If I am not tretarding the dough, that is when  I up the levain and temperature for proofing to 90 F too.

The key to having a fine tasting tinned SD bread that really springs well in the oven, is to get the tin filled properly with the right amount of dough that is shaped properly, la ong retard and getting it in the oven at 85% proof. 

By filling the tin slightly over half full and letting it proof till just over the rim will give you 85% proof with the last 15% coming in the oven.  I still say the hardest part of baking by far is knowing when the bread is 85% proofed but, a tin has a built in way to know by looking without poking it and getting the wrong answer.

Happy baking!

Casey_Powers's picture

I am surprised at what a nice crumb you have!  It looks nice especially with whole grains.  

Casey_Powers's picture

I apologize my words disappeared.  The bread looks very tasty.  I like how easily you write your directions for others to follow!  Perhaps, one day I will attempt your bread.  The oats on top are a nice touch!


warm Regards,


Foodzeit's picture

comments are still here no worries. The site likes to play tricks on your comments and pictures. But thanks for the compliment on my bread. I actually will recreate this one in a few variations. I promised to make a wasabi bread once, this is going to be the base. I imagine a hint of wasabi to the recipe and then some fresh salmon on top of a slice, heaven.