Author Archives: northwestsourdough

Basic Sourdough with a Rye punch

Yesterday I started a Basic White sourdough and decided to put in some Rye flour because I was doing sourdough reading and I read that in some bakeries in Europe, the bakers add a small amount of Rye flour to the dough to stimulate the fermentation and get a higher oven spring. So I thought I would try it. I used the basic recipe available for printout on my site:

I added 1/2 cup of whole Rye flour instead of the same amount of white flour. The dough was tight and stretchy when I was mixing the dough. But after bulk fermentation, it felt soft and somewhat slack. So I was wondering what would happen.

Well next day I baked up the three loaves and I got a great oven spring. The bread is really very good. It came out sour, crusty, light with an open crust. What more could you ask?
Here is a couple of pictures:

three loaves

Basic with Rye

I will try and post the crumb later.

Here is the crumb:


Nickel Rye

Yesterday I started a Pumpernickel Rye. Today I baked. I flavored the Pumpernickel with Strong coffee and molasses and gave it some texture with cracked rye berries.

I started early so I could have a nice bulk ferment and still get it into the refrigerator for a long cool ferment. This bread tastes SUPER! Of course it doesn’t have the loft you come to expect with a white sourdough, but that’s what’s nice, the difference!

Here is the dough being shaped into loaves:

Rye dough

This recipe made almost 7.5 lbs of dough!

I made up three small one pound banneton loaves and two larger 1.75 lb loaves.

The first loaf went into the oven and I wasn’t happy with the outcome, the loaf cracked down the side and seemed underproofed. It may have been slightly underproofed but when the second loaf came out the same way, I decided the inner dough wasn’t able to get through the slashes. Here are the first two loaves:

first two loaves

So I remembered Aussie Bill had a little experiment with slashing and I took his advice to slash lengthwise. I was really happy with the results. Here is one of the one pound loaves slashed lengthwise:

lengthwise slash

Look how nice it turned out! So I also slashed the other loaves that way:

larger loaves

Don’t they look terrific? Well they taste terrific too. My kidlets gobbled up two of the loaves already with cream cheese and we are going to finish off more for dinner with eggsalad sandwiches with Pumpernickel Rye. Already today I started a basic with some added rye for an experiment, I will let you know what happens! I will be posting this recipe in the Special Recipe folder as soon as I can.

Sourdough Bay Bread

Today I made up some Sourdough Bay Bread. I actually started yesterday and baked today. I started at 10:15 am in the morning and made up a preferment. I proofed this until the afternoon when I added the rest of the ingredients and then did the bulk ferment until the evening.

Here is the dough after mixing:

dough mixed

Here it is after the bulk fermentation:

bulk fermentation

Here is what the gluten development looks like after the ferment:

gluten development

I then shaped the loaves and put them in the bannetons. This recipe made 5 lbs 12 oz of dough.

bannetons with dough

Then I shaped the loaves and put them to sleep in the refrigerator. I was shooting for a nice “sour” tang for this bread. I acheived it, it has a nice sour tang and it hasn’t even sat until later in the day for the sour to develop.

Here are the batard shaped loaves:


Here is the boule:

boule loaf

Here is the crumb from one of the batards:

batard crumb

I’ve decided to write this recipe up and offer it in my Special Recipes folder on my site. I also have decided to put together a small sourdough kit which I will offer besides the regular sourdough starters:

sourdough kit

I’ve printed up some envelopes with the dried starter included and a card with instructions and the waffle recipe and a proofing cloth. I thought this would be a fun idea for a gift.

Rochelle's Coastal Loaf

I mentioned with the last post that my daughter, Rochelle, age 23, wanted to try to bake up my Coastal Loaf. We ended baking on the same day, because my Rye bread came out of the refrigerator early in the morning already shaped in loaves, and hers came out in bulk to be warmed up, shaped and then proofed again and baked. So I baked early and she baked later. She was surprised after the first fermentation, before it went into the refrigerator, at how sticky the dough was. She said, “How will I handle this?” I showed her how to handle the sticky dough and she did great.Here are her loaves:

Rochelle's Coastal Loaves

Here was her favorite one:

Best one

Here is the crumb:

Coastal crumb

She had a bit of trouble figuring out when they were proofed enough to bake as I had to leave and she was on her own. I feel she could have left them proof just a little longer, but it was hot and they could have easily overproofed. She said the recipe was easy, it just took longer than she thought it was going to.She gave one of the loaves to her boyfriend, and now, there may be a marriage on the horizon! You never know what can be accomplished by sharing a sourdough loaf!

Hamelman Rye

I did up Jeffrey Hamelman’s Rye from his book, “Bread”. I used the Rye,Wheat Recipe found on page 195. I did add caraway to my dough which he did not have in this particular recipe. I also did not use any commercial yeast which he did. I made up the starter per his instructions, let it ripen overnight, then made up the rest of the dough the next day. I then let it proof and made up the loaves, which I then refrigerated overnight. This is how the dough looked after bulk fermentation:

Rye dough

I used my new bannetons to proof the loaves and here they are:

four loaves

I made up double the recipe and ended up with almost seven pounds of dough. Each loaf was just a bit over 1.5 lbs. In the morning they were proofed very well and had doubled. It was hard to bring them up to room temperature without overproofing them, and two of them were slightly overproofed. However I am extremely happy with how they turned out!

Here are the loaves finished:

finished loaves

The crumb is terrific! The taste is wonderfully tangy, chewy,with a crisp crust, and a hint of caraway. Yummmy!!!

Here is the crumb:

Rye crumb

An altogether successful day! Whats more, my daughter is baking my Coastal loaf using the new bannetons and they are in the process of being baked right now! So I will have more to tell you about her loaves later.

Making it a one night sourdough…

I am trying the Two Night Sourdough again with the extra added whole wheat flour, and I am doing it a one nighter instead. I have the loaves on the table proofing and almost ready to start baking. I started the recipe last night and let the sponge set overnight. This morning I took out the sponge and instead of building up the dough during several stages, I added the rest of the ingredients all at once. I did the bulk fermentation for only four hours and it was doubled! Then I added the salt, which would have slowed down the fermentation if I would have added it sooner. It also makes a coarser crumb when you add it sooner in the process, and that is terrific if you are doing a San Francisco style, but I am not aiming for that this time. The dough is incredibly spongy and bubbly. There is an great difference over last time when I added the flour and water in stages (Remember it overproofed last time).I am making one 2 lb boule, two 15 oz small french style loaves and one 1 lb.2 oz. loaf in a bread pan, which I will turn out on the stone. I made 5 lb 7 oz of dough altogether.  

Here are the formed loaves proofing:

dough proofing 

Here are the first two small loaves out of the oven:

two loaves

Here is the batard loaf:


Isn’t there a terrific difference in color compared to the last batch which was overfermented?

The boule loaf I had to put into the refrigerator to keep it from proofing too fast as the loaves all wanted to be ready at the same time. I baked the smaller loaves first, the batard second, and then the boule.

Here is the boule:


You will notice that on the left side it looks lopsided. There is a reason for that:


Blowout! After putting it into the fridge to keep it from proofing too fast, I didn’t let it warm up enough before baking….so it had a blowout!

Here are all of the loaves together:

all loaves

Here is the crumb of the batard:


This was a lower hydration dough, so I didn’t expect larger holes. The crumb has a nice soft chewiness. The bread is very good and tasty, just a little sour… but…it lacks the knock your socks off flavor of my overproofed batch. So…back to to the drawing board!

Winging it with Two Night Sourdough

Last night I started a Two Night Sourdough which is my San Francisco Style Sourdough recipe. However, when I took the sponge out this morning, I decided to wing my way into something different. I have some ground whole wheat flour that I sifted to take out the coarsest bran and I added a cup of the sifted flour. I set aside the branish flour to use for the proofing basket and the shaping. After adding the sifted flour, I also added more bread flour. Then I let the sponge proof again. In the afternoon, I added the rest of the ingredients, and let it proof again. This recipe is built up over time with more flour and ingredients added as you go along. In the end, the result is a nice sour bread with plenty of rise because the whole thing was never overproofed but built up.

This evening after the proofing was done, I took out the branish flour and poured out the dough. Then I kneaded it a little, shaped the loaves with a coating of the branny stuff and put the loaves to bed in the fridge. We will see how they come out tomorrow. With the added wheat flour, I think the bread will have a nice punch to it.

I am making two bread pan loaves and a boule. To be continued…. 

Eating Crow instead:

Well today I am eating crow…so to speak. My addition of the whole wheat in such a long fermented dough was my downfall or I should say the dough’s. After I built up the dough throughout the day, I smelled alcohol, and began to suspect that the dough was overfermenting. However, it was too late to fire up the oven and bake, so I went ahead and put the bread in the fridge overnight. I think if I would have baked that night instead of waiting until next morning, the bread may have come out better. Anyway, the dough was a pale color and had little oven spring, evidence of overfermenting during bulk fermentation, or so I have been learning. Here are the pictures of the bread:

 First loaf out of the oven:

first loaf

Notice the flat, whitish look.

Here are the second and third loaf:

second and third loaves

The third loaf was the boule and I baked it at a higher temperature longer just to get it to color up.

Here is a picture of the crumb:


This is such a great lesson for me because it drove home how overfermentation during the first proofing affects the dough. I have baked using this same recipe (except without the whole wheat) and schedule several times and never had this happen, so I am assuming the addition of the whole wheat sped up the fermentation too much. There is a plus to the whole flop, and that is the bread tastes super delicious. I had several members of my family ignore how the bread looks and say, this is so good you HAVE to make it again. It has a tangy, full bodied, wheaty flavor and wonderful smell. So…..I will make this recipe again, and still use the addition of the whole wheat, however, I will do this as a one night sourdough instead of a two night and see what happens!

Trying out Nancy’s basic

I brought out my Nancy Silverton’s book, Breads from La Brea Bakery, and decided to give her Basic White bread recipe a go. It has been a while since I first tried that recipe and one of the first sourdough recipes I had used. I have been working with higher hydration doughs than her basic recipe, so it was a stretch for me to keep adding the flour to the mix. I also had to mix longer and add a significant amount more salt.

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Sourdough Flops

I was cleaning up my files on my computer, and I came across some of my very earliest sourdough bread pictures. I had to laugh! I remembered back to being a newbie in sourdough baking, and all of the flops I had until my breakthrough loaf. I thought I would share some of the pictures with you , so that those of you who are newbies to sourdough baking, can see that we all bake those flops in the beginning. It is in persisting that we get the breakthrough loaf. Here are some of my very first sourdough trials:

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Coastal loaf in new oven setup

I started a batch of Coastal Loaf bread yesterday to try out in my new oven setup today.

However, I did some things different with the Coastal Loaf recipe. I used regular starter because I had a lot to use up or toss, and I decided to leave out the oil. I compensated for the extra liquid in the starter by adding extra flour. I did run into a problem though. It has cooled down here on the coast, as a matter of fact we got maybe two days of warm weather. So the dough took the full six hours to proof instead of only four (see you have to adjust your recipe as you go along! ). I must not have added enough flour because the dough was sticky when proofed. It was not overproofed, I am sure about that. So I poured out the dough and just (I actually did!) kneaded it until it was smooth and resiliant. I then let the dough sit in it’s covered container for one hour (because of how slow it had proofed) and put it to bed in the refrigerator. In the morning at six am I took out the dough and it was smooth on top but you could see bubbly bumps and spongyness, had spread and looked almost doubled. So it was proofing pretty good. I let it warm up for three hours. Then I shaped and started the second proof at about 9:20 am. All of the proofing for this dough has been a bit longer than my most recent breads I have been baking. After two and one half hours, I popped the first loaf into the oven where it is baking right now. It had a wonderful oven spring in the first five minutes and I actually took a picture of it through the oven window: through the window

Now I know this loaf was slightly underproofed, but had to do that or the next one would have been too overproofed. The third one I put in a cooler pantry so it should hold a little better.

first loaf

Here is the first loaf out of the oven. I was so busy writing up this blog, that I didn’t spray the second one as much as I needed to! I fear it will not have as good of slashes as it should have….if I were paying attention! To be continued…

I can tell by the torn slashes of the second and third loaves, that the dough was too tight, not wet enough. This last loaf was put into the oven at almost four hours after proofing started. So I don’t think it was underproofed. I will go back to my mixing method and leave the kneading to Aussie Bill ! If the dough had been a little wetter, I think these loaves would have been perfect. The color is great the smell is heavenly but you can tell by looking that they are tight. I am guessing the crumb will be tighter than I had wished for too. The great grin and look is from the oven lined with the firebrick, I have no doubt of that.

Here are the pictures of the second and third loaves:

second loaf

third loaf

Here are all three loaves together:

Three loaves

I also sliced the first one and just as I thought, it was a somewhat tighter crumb than I am used to:

coastal crumb

It’s really not too bad, I am being overly critical, but you know how it is…you just want that perfect loaf!! Overall, I am very happy with the new oven setup. I don’t believe I would have even gotten the grigne I did if it hadn’t been for the intense heat coming from all sides and a more steady heat too. I really noticed an earlier oven spring this time. I preheated my oven for almost two hours. My daughter wants to try out the Coastal loaf now that she has seen the results. So maybe I will post her bread pictures when she bakes them up.

You can have the kneading Bill !