Sourdough Pizza!!!

Sourdough Pizza

A customer of mine has asked me to make up a sourdough pizza dough recipe. He gave me his to convert, but I felt like being creative so I …

Made a preferment at noon with (this was fermented at room temperature):

  • 2 cups of ripened motherdough starter – 1 lb – 2 oz (motherdough is any starter kept at 80% hydration in the refrigerator to ripen for several days)
  • 2 cups of water – 16 oz
  • 4 cups of bread flour – 1 lb – 2 oz
  • 1 tsp salt – .21 oz – to control fermentation

Next day at noon I poured this preferment into my mixer and added:

  • 1/3 cup of oil – 2.60 oz
  • 1 cup water – 8 oz
  • 4 tsp Sea salt – .85 oz
  • 6 cups of bread flour- 1 lb -11 oz

I mixed the dough until the ingredients were well incorporated and then let the dough autolyse for 15 minutes. Once done autolysing, I mixed the dough for another minute on low speed. The dough really looked great. I let the dough bulk ferment for another four hours and then made up the pizzas. The dough weighed 5 lb 10.6 oz  and is a stiff dough at 58 % hydration although the extra oil makes it easier to work. It could have made up three large pizzas, but I let the little ones make up their own pizzas and I had some dough left over so I put it into the refrigerator to try out something tomorrow with “old dough”. I made up two large pizzas with the diameter of 16″. I was preheating the oven at 550 degrees with the baking stone two racks from the bottom. The pizza dough felt really smooth and silky, yet stretchy:

pizza dough

I had made up the sauce and simmered it for two hours to thicken and distribute the flavors.As for the sauce, I just winged it and added two cans of tomato sauce,some oil, a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, some garlic salt, some onion salt and some Italian seasonings. It tasted great! My daughter prepared the toppings, which were, onions, olives, mushrooms, sausages and of course cheese. I didn’t have any Mozarella cheese, just Cheddar cheese. After I rolled out the dough some, I let it rest for a while so it could be handled easier and I could roll it the rest of the way. I made up two little pizza doughs for my little kids who don’t like anything on their pizzas 🙁 and let them put on the cheese. I baked their pizzas first :

Little Pizzas

I baked them by making sure there was plenty of Semolina under the dough and then I whisked them onto the hot pizza stone. For the larger pizzas I did something similar. I allowed the dough to raise for a while, about twenty minutes, spread oil over the top of the dough, and then I pulled, whisked, the dough onto the stone and baked it for three minutes to allow it to bubble up and set the top, after which I took it out using my nifty pizza peel ( I got one for Christmas!) and added the sauce and the toppings and then popped it back onto the stone for another 7 minutes.


Pizza in the oven

(That’s burnt Semolina on the stone)

I placed the dough right onto the stone which was easy with the crust already somewhat set. Getting the raw dough onto the stone the first time was a feat though, just make sure you use plenty of semolina under the dough and it will be easy enough. By the way if the pizza bubbles up with bubbles that are too large, simply take a fork and poke the bubbles down. The pizzas were the best I had ever made and I got a lot of raves for them. They did suggest however that I didn’t exactly have it down EXACTLY right and maybe should experiment a LOT more to get it just right… 🙂

Here they are:

Pizza # 1

Pizza # 2

I really will have to experiment more with the pizza dough as it is really great to have it turn out so nice. Crisp, yet chewy, large bumpy holes, yumm! I have to thank Donald Hrascs for sharing his experiments with pizza dough with me and inspiring me to bake up pizzas tonight for dinner, my family thanks him too!

Sourdough Pretzel Bread !!!

Pretzel Sourdough Bread

I am so jazzed! This pretzel bread has been on my mind for some time. I didn’t know how it would turn out, but it sure turned out a super winner! It was so much fun to make! It tastes so terrific! I baked this bread up on the very last day of 2007 and it was a perfect ending to a great sourdough year! Here is how it started:

I made up a thick preferment using the Austrian Sourdough Starter in a motherdough form. The dough fermented overnight and the next day I added the rest of the ingredients and let it ferment four more hours. Then it looked like this:

Pretzel dough

I divided into four pieces weighing 1.5 lbs each. I experimented with how to shape the bread to give some idea of it being pretzel bread but nothing worked out to my satisfaction.

shaping the loaves

 So I just shaped it like a regular french bread shape. I put all four loaves into the couche as I was planning on baking them all at the same time.

four loaves

I let the dough proof about two hours and it looked ready to go:

proofing done

I was now ready to do the pretzel thing! I had hubby make me two metal handles that I attached to a grate from my toaster oven:

grate with handles

This little gizmo was going to be used for dipping the dough in a hot bath of soda/salt water. I had about 2 gallons of simmering water in a large roasting pan on top of the oven, I added baking soda and salt to the water which will give the classic pretzel taste and is safer/cheaper to use than the baking lye. There is quite a lot of soda in there at 1 Tablespoon per cup. The water foamed up as soon as the soda hit the water:

Soda water

I then placed the dough on the grate and lowered it into the hot soda bath. The dough floated and I had it in there about 15 seconds per side. The grate was under the dough and I pulled it up to take out the dough as gently as possible. You can’t see me do that as I needed both hands and couldn’t take a picture of it. Here is the dough floating in the hot water:

Floating the dough

After I removed the dough from the soda bath, I placed it on a greased baking sheet, spread egg mixture and sprinkled flaked salt over the top and sliced in some x’s  :

pretzel dough simmering

I repeated the bath for the other dough and had two baking sheets with two loaves on each sheet. I popped the first sheet into the oven as soon as it was filled and then worked on the second sheet. Soon they were both in the oven at 400 degrees:

pretzel dough baking

The first sheet came out five minutes earlier than the second sheet and here were the first two loaves:

First two loaves out

Here are some pictures of this terrific, unique sourdough bread:

Sourdough Pretzel Loaf

Pretzel Bread

Pretzel Sourdough Bread

Here is a view inside:

Pretzel crumb

This bread went way past expectation. The crust was thin, crisp and dark brownish red (looked just like a soft pretzel) The top was crusted with flaked salt. The inside was soft yet chewy. It got shocked raves immediately. You could tell that the bread would be great with swiss cheese, strong mustard and some pastrami. I only had one loaf left this morning and had stored it in a brown bag overnight as the salt on the crust will leach out moisture from the crust if kept in a plastic bag. It was SUPER as toast this morning with butter and cream cheese. I consider this one of the most wonderfully unique breads I have ever tasted. You can look forward to seeing the recipe in my upcoming book. See Northwest Sourdough  forum  for a  soon to be announced contest for naming my new sourdough book.

 Have a great year everyone!

Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

    This recipe is a variation of the Cranberry Applesauce muffins and can help you use up that extra sourdough starter.
    In a large mixing bowl combine:

  • 2 cups active sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup  pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup Oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Beat all together with a wire whisk, or in your mixer. Then…

    In a medium sized bowl stir together:

  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

Add the dry ingredients of the second bowl to the wet ingredients of the first bowl and gently stir until just combined(stir on low speed in your mixer). Add 3 cups chopped frozen cranberries and stir in gently. Oil or grease bread pans and fill the batter not quite to the top.

Bake on the center rack in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 1 – 1.5  hours or done (when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Cover the top with foil for the last 20 minutes or so if the bread is getting  too brown (as you can see mine did). This recipe will make a batch of muffins (12 muffins baked at 375 degrees for 25 +/- minutes)and one regular tea loaf. I baked up three large sized loaves by doubling the recipe. Besides the cranberries, I also like to add walnuts and raisins to the batter just before spooning out, however, the majority in my family don’t  like raisins and walnuts in their tea breads!

As you can see, there was plenty of room for walnuts and raisins!!

Austrian Motherdough !!

 Austrian Motherdough

This Austrian Starter has really proven itself. It has a naturally tangy flavor and I have been getting rave reviews about it. I have liked it so much myself, that I went ahead and made up a batch of motherdough at 80%. Motherdough is just any starter you take and turn into an 80% hydration dough and keep in the refrigerator for 2- 3 days until it is fully ripe and bubbly. After use, feed the motherdough with an 80 % hydration mixture of flour/water  example: flour 10 oz/water 8 oz .  If you want to figure the hydration, divide the weight of the water by the weight of the flour…  8/10 = 80 %. Here is how the fully ripened motherdough looked:

Austrian Motherdough  

Here is how it looked after stirring down:

After stirring down

I mixed up the batch of Austrian Sourdough Bread at 60 % hydration for the dough and did the normal bulk fermentation, shaping, proofing and baking. Here is the outcome:

Austrian Motherdough Sourdough

As you can see the color is vibrant and the crust is terrific looking . The taste is so incredibly good, as it is with all motherdough breads. Using the slow, cold ferment brings out the full flavor of the bread. Such bread is usually not very sour but instead is somewhat sweet and has such full flavor that it is hard to describe. Actually to anyone who has not had their own homebaked sourdough, no amount of describing could ever work. This bread actually was still tangy, it is that Austrian starter at work. It has a longer eight hour ferment than the average six hours of most starters (except the San Francisco which is even longer). Because of the longer fermentation time, it lends itself very well to a motherdough recipe. The long ferment also brings out the crust blisters to their fullest. Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot get these great bubbly, blistery kinds of crusts in a home oven, you can, I do, and my oven is a cheapy, old electric oven.

Here are some more pictures to make your mouth water:

Austrian Motherdough Bread

Austrian Motherdough Bread

Austrian Motherdough Bread

Austrian Motherdough Breaed

Austrian Motherdough Bread

Here is the crumb:

Austrian Motherdough Crumb

Super delicious Austrian Motherdough !

Rolled Crusty Finishes for Sourdough Breads

Sesame studded Sourdough 

Today I mixed up a batch of sourdough using the Austrian Sourdough starter and using a preferment made up last night and fermented overnight. The preferment had 2 cups of starter at 166% hydration, 2 cups of water, 1/3 cup of Rye flour, 2/3 cup White Wheat flour, four cups of white flour. This was not a scientific batch and I did not weigh anything this time, being in a hurry with many things to get done (including baking Molasses Crinkles for Christmas). Next morning (today) I poured the preferment into my mixer and added some oil (about 3 Tablespoons), 5 teaspoons of Sea salt, 1 cup of evaporated milk and another cup of water. Then I added a Tablespoon of non-diastatic Malt syrup and bread flour until the dough felt right and was just starting to pull away from the bowl, but still sticky. I put in around 8.5 more cups of bread flour. The dough was springy and bubbly and very alive. It was about 64 – 66 % hydration by the feel of it. The dough proofed in four hours due to the prefermentation.

Dough stirred down and ready to go

 Next, I divided the dough and got three large loaves at around 2lbs 4 oz each. I decided to roll the dough in different things to create a different finish on the crust. When the dough is poured out, use a minimum of flour to keep it from sticking and use a dough scraper to handle it (yes, there is some flour under that dough!)

dough poured out

 The first loaf I shaped in a minimum of flour, to keep it sticky and rolled it in cornmeal. When I put the dough into the banneton, I spread the proofing cloth (if I decide to use one) flat over the top instead of shaping it down in the banneton. What that does is hold the flour, semolina or seeds, instead of falling down the sides and all ending up at the bottom.

 Lay the cloth flat on top of the banneton

Then when you place the dough onto the cloth it gently folds around the dough as it sets down into the banneton, covering the sides as well as the bottom.

 For the next loaf, I decided to roll the dough in poppy seeds. I beat an egg with a Tablespoon of water in a bowl, then after I shaped the loaf, I spread some eggy mixture over the dough with my hands after I picked it up and before I rolled it in poppy seeds, which I had spread on the table. I also sprinkled the proofing cloth liberally with the poppy seeds. Then after it was nestled in it’s cloth, I sprinkled more seeds over the top. After that I rolled the next loaf in Sesame seeds.

 Rolled in Sesame seeds

Here are the three loaves all rolled and ready to proof:

Loaves ready to be proofed

I put one loaf on my cold porch which was about 55 F degrees, I put another loaf in the fridge and left the Cornmeal loaf out at room temperature. That way all three loaves wouldn’t be ready to go into the oven at the same time. I took the loaves out of cold storage after about 45 minutes and let them continue proofing at room temperature. The loaves were baked in a hot 450F degree oven on top of a baking stone and with a roasting lid covering the dough for the first 15 minutes. This is how the bread looked when finished:

Here is the loaf rolled in Cornmeal:

Cornmeal loaf

Here is the loaf rolled in Poppy seeds:

Poppy seeded loaf

Here is the Sesame seeded loaf:

 more Sesame seeds!

Here are all three, they are the same size, the camera angle makes them look different sizes.

All three loaves

Here is a picture of the crumb:


The bread is some of the best I have ever tasted. It is great Austrian Sourdough. The crumb is soft, springy, chewy, tangy, sour. The crust is covered in flavor via the seeds/cornmeal and was thin and crisp. The bread has the most delicious aroma and flavor. It was so nice that I have made up some motherdough again using the Austrian starter. I will be experimenting with that soon.

Sesame crumb

Hurricane Sourdough, Cinnamon Rolls …

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Hello Everyone, My site was down for a whole week last week becauses of the hurricane winds here in Western Washington. We had winds clocked all the way up to 129 mph ! There were two storms that came in, one right after the other. The first one knocked out power for a little while ( I don’t even remember how long) the second one which came in right after the first one, knocked out power for a week for us. Just before the first storm I had baked up some sourdough cinnamon rolls which turned out so good! There is something really tasty about sourdough rolls, and they don’t stick in your stomach like a ball of lead. I guess you could say they are digestible because of the gluten being fermented. Of course you don’t try to make them sour, and they are not sour, just really delicious. I made up a preferment the night before, and then finished up the dough the next morning, adding some sugar and vanilla to the dough, it also had some milk, mashed potatoes and melted butter, so you can see it was really good. Then I let the dough raise four hours and made up the rolls. I let them proof about 1.5 – 2 hours and then baked them at 400 degrees until they were done. I am working on the recipe  and hope to tweak it so I can also offer a Cinnamon Roll Premix along with the White Sourdough Premix which I am almost finished with.

Cinnamon Rolls Sourdough Style

Now for the Hurricane Sourdough. I had made up a batch of sourdough basic white when the first set of high winds hit us. We were out of power for several hours and when it came time to bake, there was no power and the dough was very ready. I have a small woodstove in the house that we had going and decided to try to bake the bread in it! Not a masonry oven by any stretch, but what else do you do when you have the perfect opportunity to experiment? I will have to tell you that I really was wishing I had that masonry oven outside, or at least the clay oven built, but no such luck so far!

I had the dough raising in bannetons and I took one loaf and kind of shoved it gently into a small chicken roaster pan that I have, to let it finish proofing.

loaf in roaster pan

I had built up the fire and had some good coals going. I put a ceramic floor tile over the coals to lift the pan off of the hot coals some, but to no avail, as you will see. I baked the loaf with the lid on for around 20 minutes and then took it out to take off the lid. It already was smelling burnt! I put it back in anyway, determined to finish the experiment and this is the result:

burnt loaf


Did you ever see anything so black????

So for the next loaf, I put the dough into the cast iron pan that I have, which I have baked other sourdough breads in. It is deep like a dutch oven but it has no legs or lip on the lid.

loaf raising in cast iron pan

It baked better than the first and only burned a little on the bottom. It actually was edible.

Second loaf

Here are some other views:

another view


While I was baking the above loaf in the woodstove, the power came back on so I hurried to heat up the oven so I could bake the third loaf the regular way! Here is the regular loaf:

Regular Sourdough loaf!

Well, those loaves didn’t last long and the next storm hit that same night, leaving us without power for seven days. I almost ate store bought bread, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Once the power outage was over, I quickly made up another batch and by Tuesday I had a nice batch of sourdough for Turkey sandwiches because a Turkey we had in one of our freezers thawed out.

Yes! Finally, after a whole week of devastation, and I don’t mean the trees….

Sourdough Bread


Today I am baking up some Premix Sourdough, as I really don’t want to do without again! I need to ask Santa for a masonry oven!

This post was written 9 years ago.

Free Recipe Rye Sourdough

Free Rye Sour

I keep calling this Sourdough Rye, “Free Rye” because it is the Rye recipe on my recipe page of my site There it is called Sour Rye. It is a light Rye recipe with a high ratio of bread flour to Rye. It is an easy Rye to start with when new to sourdough baking. This wonderful baker named Britta inspired me to revisit this recipe because she is having a sourdough baking class and the two recipes on the page listed above are to be featured. Britta has sent me pictures of her bread baked with the San Francisco Starter using the Two Day Super Sour recipe that comes with the starter. Her sourdough looks terrific:

Continue reading

Sourdough Ableskivers !

Sourdough Ableskivers

I made up some sourdough waffle batter using the recipe available on my website at:

I didn’t change a thing, just made it up as it is. I decided to bring out my Ableskiver pan and make up some Ableskivers. They are such a nice treat instead of the usual pancakes or waffles. If you ever find a good cast iron Ableskiver pan…buy it! Mine is old and well seasoned, the bottom has some surface rust which won’t come off unless I get a metal scrubber in there, which I won’t as it will be back in no time in my climate. Here is what a good Ableskiver pan looks like:

Ableskiver pan

Bottom of Ableskiver pan

It has seven little bowls for filling with batter. The pan has to be hot like a griddle where a drop of water sizzles and jumps. Grease the little bowls. Then pour the batter to the top and wait until the Ableskiver sets a little.

Pour the batter to the top

Then you take a skinny sharp pointed knife or a stainless knitting needle and shove it into the batter to the bottom of the little bowl, you use the knife and pull the Ableskiver around so that it is setting halfway up and the batter in the middle pours out and starts cooking on the bottom of the bowl.

Halfway done

As you continue to turn the Ableskiver while it is cooking, you create a ball with a hollow middle.

Turn the Ableskivers

Finished Ableskivers

Ableskivers ready to eat!

This is just right for shoving something into it, like blueberry preserves, blackberry, jams, dried fruit, etc. Then you sprinkle with powdered sugar and …..yummmmm!! Down them with a hot cup of coffee for a great breakfast treat. In case you are wondering, the Ableskivers pictured below are filled with Blackberry preserves made from berries gathered right around here. These are terrific!


I found a source for an Aebleskiver/Abelskiver/?  pan that looks good at:

Danish Aebleskiver Pan

Happy Baking Everyone!


A Sourdough Saga or Spooky Sourdough

Spooky Sourdough 

I bet you are wondering about the above picture. Well….

I started last Sunday with a sourdough preferment. I was making up the Two Day Super Sour recipe which is in the Special Recipes collection. Anyway, like I was saying, I started the preferment and had it setting out overnight at room temperature. I had it in  a large plastic container :


I left it overnight and on Monday I took it out and built up the next level of the recipe by stirring in the flour  and left it ferment for a few more hours. However there was a problem. Over Sunday night there was a wicked storm with sustained winds of 65 mph and gusts up to 85 mph with the winds probably being stronger right here on the coast. We lost power early Monday morning around 4:00 a.m. So the problem was … no power! Gee, I had to do it all by hand! I know Aussie Bill is probably laughing at this ! So I went ahead and stirred in the rest of the ingredients and had a dough which looked like this:

finished dough

I covered the container with the lid and let it ferment all the rest of the day until the evening. Then I had to shape up the loaves by candlelight. I poured out the dough and shaped up the ball which looked like this: 

dough ball

Then I shaped up the dough into loaves and put them into bannetons. The above pictures were taken with flash. Then I tried to take some pictures by candlelight. Here are a few spooky pictures that resulted. My camera didn’t like to focus on the dough so it was blurry and I guess I moved the camera because I came out with this:

Spooky sourdough

I tried again to focus and got this:

spooky 2

Here is what I actually had with the flash:

Spooky 3

Not too spooky that way huh? Well that skull candle holder was made by my 13 year old son, the same one who makes the paddles. We were using it on the table because of the power outage and I thought it looked spooky when I tried to take pictures with no flash. Now I had another problem because the refrigerator was not cold enough to keep the dough from raising too quickly and I would not be around in the morning on Tuesday to bake because of an appointment in town. Sooooooo I put the dough in the freezer which had a lot of frozen stuff and although it wasn’t a hard freeze, it would for sure be cold enough to keep the dough from raising too fast. On Tuesday morning, still no power, so I did not bring the dough out of the freezer but went to town. I was in town all day until dinnertime and when I got home I found out the power had been on for several hours. So I checked the dough and it felt frozen on the outside but not frozen hard all the way through. I took out the dough and put it into the refrigerator to thaw overnight so I wouldn’t have to wait too long for the dough to raise next morning. Now on Wednesday, I finally took out the loaves one by one and the dough was sluggish to raise. I was a bit worried that it was just fermenting too long and I might end up with ghostly overfermented dough. Three hours later I began to bake. Just think, I started this on Sunday evening and it was Wednesday morning! The bread came out REALLY TERRIFIC ! My daughter said it went to the top of her list. Here are the loaves which turned out to be not so spooky after all:

Super sour loaf

The crust was crip and crunchy and shattered into flakes when you bit into it.

Super sour loaf

Super sour loaf

The crumb was fantastic too:


The bread has a great flavor with lots of comlex taste, it is tangy, but not as sour as it it supposed to be. I was worried that it would turn out too sour because of how long it was fermenting. It resembles a motherdough sour though. I think that after the dough was finished, most of it’s fermentation time was actually in the freezer or refrigerator and it developed into a long cool ferment, like a motherdough.

I am relieved it turned out and was such a success! I hoped that the power outage wouldn’t turn my loaves into a casualty. We did have a casualty from the storm though:

Son's Saratoga

Son's Saratoga

We lost this one tree over my son’s 1951 Saratoga, which he had parked in the back acreage of our property. Several other trees broke off large pieces of their branches or snapped off the top part of the trunk. I also had my server down which inconvenienced several customers who were trying to use the Special Recipes. Sorry about that. We lose power many times every Fall/Winter here on the coast of Washington. There are so many trees that break the lines when they go down. The winds are so much stronger because we are facing the Bay/Ocean. So if my site goes down, be patient, I will get it up and running as soon as I can. I just wish I had that clay or brick oven built outdoors so I can bake sourdough uninterrupted!!!

Austrian(Not Australian) Sourdough !

 Austrian Sourdough Farm Bread

I have been experimenting with the Austrian Sourdough Starter for about a month now. It has turned out to be a starter to rival Northwest Starter. Austrian Starter has an eight hour proof so you are able to push the sour envelope even more. It has turned out to be vigorous, and very tasty. I am really impressed. It will be setting out on my counter a lot in the Winter months ahead of us. I am printing up envelopes and you can expect to see it offered pretty soon in my website store at: or on the starter page at:

Here are some pictures of Austrian Farm Sourdough Bread I baked up two days ago:

Three two lb loaves of Austrian Farm Sourdough Bread

Austrian Sourdough

Austrian Sourdough

Austrian Sourdough

Here is a closeup of the crumb:

Austrian Crumb

This bread had a terrific crumb and the crust was wonderfully crusty with such a beautiful color. It had a nicely sour tangy flavor.  I have gotten such nice looking bread each time I have baked with this starter. Happy Sourdough Baking!