The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Mini Oven White Sourdough

dabrownman's picture

Mini Oven White Sourdough

It has been over 117 F 3 days in row and today was the first break from the usual Late June heat in Phoenix -  only 113 F today.  So …..we took the mini oven outside for today’s bake to keep the kitchen from going over 90 F.


Nothing puts blisters on white bread like the mini oven and this one had some beauties.  The small space and ability to really crank up the steam is why we love the mini oven and look forward to summer patio baking even though it is so hot.

We have baked every kind of bread in the MO and have had success with all of them and this one was no exception.  We did a simple white SD bread that had exactly 6 g of whole grain rye in the NMNF starter and that was the entire amount of whole grains in this bread making it come in at 98.7% white flour.

Half the white flour was Lafama AP and other half was Albertson’s bread flour.  The levain was an 8 hour single stage affair that used 9% pre-fermented bread flour at 100% hydration. We autolyse the dough flour and water for 1 hour with the salt sprinkled on top and the overall hydration was 75%.

We love grilled tuna almost as much as ribs and sausage on the smoker

We did 4 sets of slap and folds on 50, 10, 6 and 4 slaps all on 30 minute intervals and then let the dough bulk ferment for 45 minutes before shaping and placing the dough in a rice floured basket seam side up. We then placed the basket in a plastic grocery bag and then into the fridge for a 12 hour retard.

E let the dough warm up on the counter for 2 hours before firing up the MO to 500 F regular bake.  We unmolded the dough onto parchment on a peel and slashed it T-Rex style before loading it into the MO, covering it with the SS bowl and tossing cup of water into the broiler pan underneath.


No dinner is complete without a salad according to Lucy

We immediately turned the oven down to 450 F and, after 18 minutes of steam, we took the SS bowl off and removed the broiler bottom pan leaving the vented top part for the bread to finish baking on.  We turned the oven down to 425 convection and baked it in the dry heat for 18 more minutes.

Lucy has a breakfast shot featuring the Ranier Cherries my Daughter brought back fro Seattle last Wednesday that went well with the other fruits, berries and toast with cream cheese

The bread was boldly baked and 210 F when we removed it from the oven to cool on a rack.  We will have to wait on the crumb but since it spread rather than spring it may nit be the most open white bread one could wish for........but we won't get to see it as it was given away in a weak moment to an admiring fan of SD bread.


9% pre-fermented bread flour 8 hour, 100% hydration, single stage levain using 10 g of NMNF Rye starter.


50% Lafama AP

41 % Albertson’s bread flour

2% Pink Himalayan sea salt

Enough water to make 75% hydration overall.

This bread cost 80 cents to make including the electricity!  What a bargain! 



Isand66's picture

It must have been killing Lucy to refrain from adding another 10 different kinds of whole grains in this one :).

The crust looks perfect and I'm sure the lucky admirer will appreciate the flavor.

Those cherries look nice and juicy and would have gone well inside this one too!

Happy Baking and stay cool!

Max and Lexi and the East Coast furballs say Hi to Frau Lucy!

dabrownman's picture

at their best in the Pacific Northwest and they are very expensive.  We get Rainier Cherries here.  They aren't the same though but do cost less to male up for the taste that has gone missing:-)

This one came out shiny.  I think it is because I baked it on a perforated broiler pan with water underneath and covered it with a stainless steel bowl too.  It was like Mega Steam Under Cover.  

Poor Lucy wanted to bake a Westphalian rye but maybe next week.  It has finally cooled off to 113 F yesterday - Whew.....  what a relief.! Monsoon can't get here soon enough. 

Lucy sends her best to the black ones.  Black digs do not do well here in the summer time - they time bake in their own skin and are self basting.

Happy baking Ian

clazar123's picture

117F! Wow! And still baking. I'd be tempted to just put it in a cardboard box on the patio but...oh that's's a dry heat! My husband's favorite and well-worn joke about Phx weather. He travels there fairly often and has experienced this type of heat. I've only been there with him twice and both times it was actually cold and rainy. Go figure.

I am now living in Florida and finding out why people have "summer kitchens" or bake on the patio or garage. I have looked at miniovens (I almost capitalized like our good friend's name here on TFL) and been a little skeptical I can get loaf pans and boules in without scorching the top and bottom. I have looked into commercial countertop ovens but even used they are rather costly-esp the ones that plug into a regular wall outlet. So I was interested in your comment that you have baked successfully in almost every minioven you have had. Please tell me more-any brand recommendations? Problems? Do's/don'ts?

In addition, after losing 45#, I have decided I need to scale down my loaves when I bake.  I really enjoy my own bread but it gets freezer-burned before I finish it and I want to bake more often. So a smaller oven would fit the bill for many reasons.

Thank you for your wonderful posts and inspiration. I always love reading them. I hope you and Lucy are well and hydrated in that heat.



dabrownman's picture

a lot of different breads in this MO.  If you limit your loaves to 700 g it is easier to keep the tops from burning.  When I notice them getting too dark I just turn them over and problem solved.  Baking at 425 F like the old time Larraburu SFSD bread also will help.  I baked at a higher heat with this loaf that was 780 g and I didn't turn it over.  

Make sure to get one that has convection baking too.  I got mine at a year end close out at Fry's Electronics for $99 six years ago.  It is called a toaster oven but the one thing it doesn't do well is make toast!  I can steam 3 ways with the one.  Water under in  he broiler, covered with a SS bowl or using Sylvia'e Steam by using Pyrex cups with a dish rag rolled up and half full of water.  

Regular loaf pans actually work the best because they fit between the top and bottom heating elements and are not directly under or over them.

I bake with the broiler pan and vented lid installed to keep the bread bottom away from the bottom element as much as possible and have 4 1/2 " clearance from the broiler top to the top element just enough for my SS mixing bowls to slide under them.  Mine isn't very tall either.  There are lots of different ones out there now that have more height to them which would be better.  When I make bagels in it I move the rack up to the middle level with the broiler top to bake on to get the top of the bagels closer to the top element and I leave the broiler bottom on the bottom half full of water - even lave rocks will fit in it then:-)

I used to fly from Phoenix to Miami ever week for two years and you can take it from me, Miami is much worse than Phoenix in the summer time - the humidity there is terrible.  As soon as I stepped off the plain there I was immediately soaking wet from sweat.  The entire airport smells like mold and mildew and towels never get dry.  I'll take the dry heat here any day.

Glad you like the post and happy baking Caroline

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

According to the news here. Something to do that hot air is less dense than cold air so doesn't provide enough lift. Otherwise I'd be round in a jiffy Dabrownman to partake in that feast. Lovely!

dabrownman's picture

Modern commercial airliners, 737's and larger, are overly powerful and have no problem taking off and landing here so 99% of air traffic in Phoenix is unaffected.  But the small puddle jumpers and prop planes are effected.  Denver has a similar problem in the summer but mainly because of the altitude.  The air is much less dense in the summer but also much, much thinner at altitude and with low humidity even modern commercial airliners can be affected there.  Many times they toss off passengers and bags in order to get to a low enough weight to take off and land there.  

Today's feast is salmon.  I'm sure you would like it so come on over.  

Glad you liked the post and Happy baling Abe

alfanso's picture

I thought that you were baking Mini Oven's formula instead of baking in a mini oven.  We demand truth in advertising.  If I were Lucy, I'd pack up my food bowl and head out pronto.  

Years ago we made the horrible mistake of taking our Castagna out on a blacktop walkway for a too long hike in the summer heat.  We burned the poor little dear's paws and had to get the sizzled pads snipped off by the Vet.  That taught us a lesson in dog parenting all right.  Somehow, she came around and forgave us, but boy did we ever feel low.

dabrownman's picture

1 time.  Poor babies have roasted feet!  Lucy doesn't even like going out on the cool deck around the pool in the summer.  I've seen dogs with summer paw wear on here too:-)  Mini Oven actually bakes in a MO when she doesn't have a WFO like she does now in Laos.  She isn't much of a white bread baker though:-)

Lucy is working on a new app that makes people nearly as smart as dogs a huge improvement from her point of view,

Happy baking Don Baggs

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Not about the app but the white bread.  Na ya, confessions...  I tend to bake every second loaf white, or almost white.  I slip in a little einkorn or rye or spelt.  White wheat do expand a lot in mini ovens.  I don't go over 500g flour or risk hitting the walls or coils. Last white was 300g flour with canned corn water for liquids.  Was a pleasure not checking on it all the time to make sure it wasn't springing too much.  I don't proof my whites to fluff.  Like a white bread I can spread things on.  Just finished off the toasted ends last night.  Guess that loaf kept pretty good compared to regular white. I do change up with sourdough whites as well.

About mini ovens, look for an dark interior (esp the bottom) with the coils far apart but slightly closer together on the oven bottom.   Like said,  a loaf pan fits nicely between all the coils without getting too close.  My current model thermostat goes wonky when the heat outside hits it, tends to bring the temps down inside the oven.  Not a real problem because I'd rather bake a little longer than bring the heat inside.  

Nice bake and dinner.  I've been thinking about tuna ribs for several days now...  

dabrownman's picture

whole grain in it:-)  I think SFSD style breads taste much better with 20-30% whole grains and 30% is my limit for a white bread but I'm not a hard core German like Lucy:-)

So how is the WFO baking coming along?  In haven't seen any bread coming out of it yet.?  Glad you liked the bread and post Mini - 3 more months of MO baking coming up here.  I'm pretty sure that Lucy is going to do a 40% deli rye in a pan this week.

Happy baking Mini

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Me neither.  Hit a glitch.  Seems my steel plate got cut up accidentally for something else.  I do have everything else together near the pool.  Been moving the last few days from one apartment to another.  Nice to have a bit more room and light to see what I'm mixing up. :)   

Happy Baking to you too.

plevee's picture

I haven't seen mention of this for some time. Have you abandoned them? We also need more pictures of Lucy; she's not getting the recognition she deserves.

Lovely bake and those look like great sausages.

dabrownman's picture

She is going to the Hair Salon tomorrow sot hos week will be a good time to get her at her best.  The original Toadies were bran, sifted out middlings and wheat germ toasted.  We added poppy and sesame seeds to it.  Now we are sprouting graions and siftn gout the brand germ to put into the levain builds and you don;t want them toasted since that would denature them and then there would be nothing for the we beasties in the levain to eat and there are already on a 20% starch diet due to the lower starch in the bran.

If I make a non sprouted bread or one that doesn't have a bran levain, I would put toadies in it for sure.  This week we are going darker so Lucy might sneak some into the mix to pump up the flavor.

My daughter loves the sausages too so her German heritage is showing. Tonight she requested Red Thai Chicken Curry another one of her favorites.

Glad you liked the post and happy baking plevee! 

plevee's picture

Sorry, I don't understand. You don't want to denature the germ  you put into the levain? What is it in the germ that the beasties feed on? And how does toasting alter the available nutrition?

I still use Toadies.

Looking forward to seeing Lucy's do.

dabrownman's picture

starch, 10-14% protein, 2% fructose......There are 30 different proteins in bread and some of them are enzymes that go to work as soon as the flour gets wet.  Amylase a and b are the enzymes that act as catalysts that help break down starch into sugar.  Without these enzymes working, there would be no sugar for the wee beasties to eat and no fermentation would take place - a bad thing for bread making.  Heat denatures these enzymes starting at 140 F so you don't want to heat them and inactivate them.  Doing so for a small percent of the Toadies as a flavor enhancer is fine though.  Bran is only 20% starch so if you are making a bran levain you don't want to heat the bran up.

Sprouting grains to make sprouted flour or diastatic malt does the same thing when it comes to enzymes.  When you get the seeds wet the enzymes go to work creating sugar from the stored starch so that the little seedlings can have food to metabolize and grow into a plant.  The cells of the growing seeds produce more enzymes that can act as a catalyst to break more starch into sugar.

If you dry the grains after 5 days of sprouting when the sprout (not the initial 3 rootlets) is the length of the seed, then you have malted grains with very high diastatic power.  Malted barley and wheat are used to make beer.  Sprouting grains for 1 day is what we use for sprouted flour and sprouted grain bread.

plevee's picture

Thank you. Very clear. I shall save this explanation and use it to understand my breads better. Patsy

CAphyl's picture

dabrownman: I have been away, and when I come back I find that you are making mini-white bread!  Well, it still looks fab, like all of your breads, so there you go.  I, myself, have been really boring as I said to David and Ian, baking the same classic sourdough in California, England and the Midwest.  Been traveling too much and been away from the site. Like another poster, when I see mini, I think of Mini Oven, another icon like you, who posted on this thread. Learned so much from both of you.  I like the food photos, too, even though I am not much of a meat eater, and can do without the ribs and sausage.  Love the fruit and salad, and your photos are professional quality.  It has been hot here and everywhere we have traveled, so looking for some relief when we head to England.  Hope my sourdough survived.  Was just in the Midwest (it was hot, too!), and my sourdough was fine, as my sister fed it. Baked some great bread and will do some more there soon before the UK. Hope you have been well and managing the fires.  Scary with the fires in Santa Barbara, as we go up there all the time to wine country and the roads have been closed.  We were so glad with the rains this winter, but it all seems to be drying up here now.  Take care, stay cool and safe and keep baking and inspiring us.  Best,  Phyllis