Author Archives: northwestsourdough

Today… Baguettes !

The Australian Forum is having a Baguette bakoff, and I was asked to submit. So today I baked up six one pound Baguettes. I just used the Basic White recipe on my site at : , and I added a cup of motherdough. If you don’t know what motherdough is, do a search on my blog here, there are some other posts about it. I mixed up the dough yesterday, but instead of shaping the loaves and putting them in the refrigerator, I put the whole bowl in the refrigerator and warmed up the dough and shaped this morning.

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Oh Flop!!

Well I did a flop! I was working with a new sourdough recipe and it was supposed to be a soft sandwich like bread so I put some creamy milk and mashed potatoes in the dough. I scalded and cooled the milk and also added some melted butter. The first day it did take all of the six hours to bulk ferment, but it smelled great and was filled with bubbles. I shaped the bread and refrigerated overnight. Next morning even after six whole hours it still wasn’t doubled, but it was soft and bubbly. So I finally just baked it. Dud! I knew it would be, it didn’t have any oomph left. I think it would have turned out great if I would have shaped and baked it as a one day sourdough. I will have to try it again because, I put it sliced on the table for dinner and my family went crazy over it saying it was the best tasting bread ever etc. I told them sorry, I am not making flops again! But I should try it on a one day schedule. I think the waiting six hours for it to raise made it wonderfully sour. Anyway, here is my flop:


Here it is sliced:

flop sliced

Here is a closeup of the crumb:


Well I got raves for the taste, so I guess it was what you could call a successful flop!

Sourdough Hoagie Rolls

I made up some Coastal loaf recipe to make some Hoagie Rolls. I didn’t ferment overnight, it was a one day raise and bake. Coastal loaf recipe has some whole wheat in it so it is not a really white crumb. I started the mix at 6:30 am and then bulk proofed until 12:30 pm. I then shaped the little loaves and put them all in my couche:


I was done shaping by 1:00pm and proofed the Hoagies until 3:00pm. Then I baked the rolls four at a time and then for the last two batches, three at a time. The recipe made 14 6 oz rolls altogether. Here is a row of rolls showing the first ones baked on the right and each set of rolls going to the left were baked 30 minutes apart. The first rolls were proofed for 2 hours, next two 2.5 hours, next two, 3.00 and last set on the right were baked at 3.5 hours proofing. I am mentioning this because it is dealing with something we are talking about on the forum. We are discussing why some slashed loaves do not have defined slashes while others do. As you can see from these rolls going from right to left…. as the rolls proofed more and the oven stones were more thoroughly heated through, the rolls had a better oven spring and a more defined slash or “grigne”.  Here they are:


The first ones baked also spread apart more.

Here is a closer view:


Here is the crumb, I was able to get some sunshine next day:


San Francisco Three Day Sourdough

While I was preparing the batch of Basic White Sourdough, which was the subject of my last entry, I also had going on the side a batch of Three Day Sourdough, using the San Francisco Starter. On day one I mixed up a sponge using starter, water and flour. My pantry was 50 degrees so I put it in the pantry overnight. Next day I added more flour and water and stirred the sponge. In the afternoon, I added the rest of the ingredients and proofed until evening. I then shaped the loaves and put the loaves in the pantry again to proof overnight. (I have an attached  porch with a pantry connected, so it stays nice and cool here in the Northwest). Next morning early, I brought in the loaves one by one and proofed another two hours. Then baked. The smell of this long fermented kind of dough, while it’s baking,  would be enough to bring in the business if this were a bakery!Here is what we got, this is the first loaf:

first loaf

Here is the first and second loaf:

First and second loaf

The first two loaves were two pounds the small loaf was one pound.                              Here are all three loaves:

three loaves

Here is a close up of the second loaf:


The wonderful color comes from the longer fermented dough. It is funny though, if I had let any of the stages go on too long and not fed the dough in stages, the dough would have depleted its sugars and these same loaves would be pale, ghosty white and lackluster.

Here is a picture of the crumb. I didn’t get any really good pictures this time because it is raining outside so I can’t take pics outdoors, and my lighting inside is poor. Sorry about that!


The smell and flavor of these long fermented doughs is indescribable, you think, “Bread cannot smell this good!” But it does, and it tastes this good too!

Basic White Sourdough Bread

I mixed up a batch of Basic White Sourdough Bread using the recipe on my site at  I had changed the hydration level to 73 % by adding a cup more of flour to the recipe to make it easier for newbies to handle. I think it may need more flour for newbies though. 73% is still a pretty wet dough for those new to sourdough baking. But if you perservere you can get some nice bread with a basic sourdough white:

Basic White

I mixed up the batch yesterday and bulk fermented it, shaped and refrigerated overnight, then I proofed and baked this morning. I still have some trouble slashing the boules so they won’t crack. It is usually too shallow and it cracks or too deep and it spreads too much and doesn’t get much loft. I slashed too shallow this time:


cracked boule

Here is the crumb:


I did up three loaves with the other two being shaped in the bannetons. All of the loaves were a little over two pounds each.

two more basic



I had really great success with the baking stones this time because I put another stone under the one that was always getting too hot. The bread did very well and I am happy with the results. After the bread cooled completely, in the evening, I had another piece and the sour came through. Earlier when it was still slightly warm, it wasn’t sour. This evening it is perfect with a delightful sour tang…. just the way bread should be.

Crushed Buckwheat Groats Sourdough Bread

I made up a preferment for this recipe with the starter, water and some whole wheat and bread flour. Next morning it was nice smelling and bubbly.


 I decided to do something unusual so I got some Buckwheat Groats with the hulls still intact and ground them up coarsely, which I used in the dough.

Buckwheat Groats


Bulk ferment was 5.5 hours with good activity. I then shaped the loaves into two bannetons and one boule:


Proofing took 2.5 hours. I put one of the loaves in the refrigerator for a while and one in the cool pantry for a while to help stagger the loaves so they would not all be ready to bake at the same time. I then slashed and baked:


Here is the first loaf:

first loaf

Here is the second loaf:

second loaf

Here is the boule:


Here are all three loaves:

All three

Here is the crumb :

crumb of boule

The bread is wonderful, full flavored and the crumb is moist and soft. This bread is a real winner, super with toast and sandwiches. We were eating it freshly sliced with cream cheese… so good! I will be posting this recipe in the Special Recipes folder.

Bill's Raisin Walnut and Honey Loaf….YUMMMMY!

I mixed up a batch of Aussie Bill’s Raisin, Walnut and Honey Loaf, it is wonderful! It is a one day sourdough recipe.

raisin loaf 

The bulk ferment was 5.5 hours. Second proof was 3 hours for the one loaf and 3.5 hours for the second loaf. The second loaf came out better so the extra half an hour made the difference. The second proofing takes so long for this type of bread because of the weight of the raisins and nuts. I had walnuts in one loaf and not in the other loaf (can you believe some people don’t like walnuts???)

raisin loaves proofing

The smell of this dough is so wonderful that family members were commenting about the heavenly smell whenever I took of the lid of the proofing bowl.

raisin loaf



We had this Raisin, Walnut and Honey Loaf for breakfast this morning , toasted with butter and cream cheese. This bread is soooo delicious ! You really should make it up. The recipe is posted at the forum. Thanks Bill !!!

Coastal Loaf done as a preferment

I have the Coastal Loaf’s recipe posted in an earlier blog. I decided to do the Coastal Loaf as a preferment. I took the motherdough part of the ingredients and added two cups of water and four cups of flour, stirred and let ferment overnight. With the motherdough added the preferment had a very nicely developed “windowpane” already the next morning:


This doesn’t usually happen right after you mix your dough because we are talking about sourdough and it usually takes some time for the gluten to develop. Motherdough has been fermenting in the refrigerator for a few days, so when you use a motherdough starter, you will have some early developement of gluten from the motherdough. I like to mix on low to preserve the gluten developement and so I only mixed the rest of the ingredients on low for about 2 minutes. I then bulk proofed for 5.5 hours and the rest of the dough had also developed the gluten:



I don’t expect this kind of windowpane until the dough has finished it’s bulk ferment. If you keep mixing your dough in the initial mixing to obtain this windowpane, your gluten will then start to break down during the bulk ferment and subsequent proofing. I just wanted to show you that developed gluten shows up early when you use a motherdough starter. I am still having trouble with my Fibrament stone getting too hot on the bottom. So I decided to move it up further in my oven and that brought the bottom stone too close to the upper stone. The result was an upper crust that heated and dried out too early in the baking and caused this cracking on the crust. Also the bottom stone was still too hot, the crust on the bottom of the first loaf was close to being burnt. I had to put a cookie sheet under the other two loaves halfway through their baking to keep the others from burning too.

first loaf

I may have to make a stainless or foil shield for the bottom of of my stone. I don’t know if it is the stone or the fact that it only has about a 1.5 – 2 inches clearance around the edges for the heat to circulate. I don’t have a smaller Fibrament to test and see if it is the material or the clearance. If I turn the oven down, the top doesn’t brown like it should, so I can’t turn it down. Does anyone else have this problem with a Fibrament stone or can you tell me if it might be the clearance problem?

Here is the second loaf, I moved the upper stone higher in the oven:

second loaf

The first and second loaf weighed 1.5 lbs the third loaf was 2.5 lbs.

Here are the first two smaller loaves:

two together

Here is the third loaf:

third loaf

This third loaf came out beautifully without a problem once I put a cookie sheet under it halfway through the baking to deflect some of the heat from the stone.


Australian Sourdough Bread

I’ve neglected the Aussie starter for a while because of my experiments with the other starters, so I thought I’d mix up a batch of some Aussie Whole Wheat/Rye/White Sour.

The Aussie starter has the most delicious flavor! I always love smelling the bread baking. I mixed up the batch yesterday and let it sit at 50 degrees overnight (a cool porch). Next morning later in the morning, I shaped the dough and made two large loaves which I put in bannetons. After a couple hours proofing I baked them at 450 degrees. ( I forgot to turn the oven down and the loaf came out great anyway! )

Here are the loaves in the bannetons:

dough in bannetons

This was the first loaf, I think the oven could have been preheated more for this loaf:

first loaf

The hotter oven or the longer proofing or both really bloomed out this loaf:

second loaf

This second loaf was so beautiful, it wanted to burst out at all of it’s seams, the loaf had more volume when done, although both loaves started at the same weight. These were really nice large loaves of 2lbs 12 oz each, almost 3 lbs!

Here is a closeup:


Here are the two loaves together:

Two together

Here is the crumb:


I wish you could taste this bread, chewy, moderately sour, wholewheaty, delicious Australian Sourdough!