Category Archives for "Sourdough Baking"

Today, Sourdough English Muffins

Sorry if you have visited and seen no pictures. Our server has been down after a power outage and we have been setting up a new one and configuring it, so the pictures and web site are down at times. I have uploaded these pictures to photobucket as I cannot access our ftp client right now, so if I peg out my bandwidth with them, you will not see pictures again. Soon we will have all of the bugs worked out!

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Basic White Sourdough with a Rye kick

I mixed up some Basic White Sourdough:

I use a bread mixer and add :

  • 3 cups sourdough starter
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons of oil
  • 1/2 cup Rye flour(instead of just white flour)
  • Bread Flour(about 10- cups)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • However, instead of just white flour, I used 1/2 cup Rye flour. It does make the dough more sticky and hard to handle. But it also makes the bread sit up and kick! The dough seems more alive and bubbly and the color is great. Adding Rye flour to any bread recipe seems to kickstart the fermentation. I wonder if it is like feeding yeast some coffee? Here are some pictures of the three loaves I baked from the above recipe:

    first loaf

    second loaf

    third loaf

    All three loaves:

    all three

    Here is the crumb:


    Delicious, sour, great!! Basic is such a wonderful all around sourdough! It is also one of the easiest of sourdoughs to make. If you want to read more about the method of mixing and baking the Basic White Sourdough Bread you can find it at:

    Messing Up Molasses Whole Wheat!

    Boy did I ever mess up this last batch of bread! I was doublechecking a recipe and so I mixed up some Molasses Whole Wheat bread. I was mixing up the dough when I suddently got called away on an errand to visit someone who is ill. I wasn’t able to mix for the amount of time needed, so I put on the lid and left the dough. When I got back it was quite a bit later and the dough was well into the bulk fermentation so I decided just to leave it alone, wondering how it would do without the needed mixing. After bulk fermentation, it was evening and I poured out the dough to shape it. Much to my dismay, there was embedded chunks of unmixed flour and hardened dough where the flour had only partly mixed in. It looked like maybe 1.5 to 2 cups worth! I never had this happen before and I almost threw the whole thing away! Instead I pulled out all of the unmixed hardened stuff and kneaded the rest of the dough. It felt great and smelled great so I went ahead and shaped it and put in the bannetons. It made three loaves of almost 2 lbs each, so you can see it would have been a large batch. Then, because the dough seemed just a bit slow raising, I decided to leave the shaped loaves out half an hour before putting in the refrigerator. I got interested in a movie someone in the family was watching, forgot all about my dough and 3 hours later when I remembered it, the dough was already proofed and ready to bake! However at 10:00 pm with a cold oven, I was not ready to bake! So I took each loaf and reshaped the dough and put it out in the cold pantry which was at 45 degrees (it’s been cold around here!).

     shaped loaves

    That was my next mistake! By morning the pantry had warmed up to 50 degrees and rising. The dough was already overproofed!


     I tried to slash it, but after one slash it started to deflate immediately! Jeesh!! So,  without much hope of a third rise possible, I reshaped the loaves again!!

    Now this would be the third time proofing or the fourth if you count the bulk fermentation! I began to think the dough wouldn’t raise, or the dough would have been so long fermented, it would be ghostly white ….again! However, luck was with me this time, or Whole Wheat and molasses provide plenty of sugars for the yeast to feed on, because…. much to my great surprise, the dough rose very well even though it did take three hours. Here is what I got after all of my mistakes…at every single stage!!

    three loaves

    Here is an up close picture of the bread:




    The crumb is light as a feather and fine grained, the oven spring  was spectacular ! The taste is very wheaty and has a wonderful tang. This turned out better than the original recipe!  Hurrah for mistakes…..sometimes!!! 🙂

    Soft Wheaty Sourdough

    The dough after shaping.

    I have a person in my family that prefers soft white bread. I have tried a couple of times to mix up some soft white bread with just a little bit of whole wheat flour added, and some heavy milk (1/2 & 1/2 milk). Each time, I had trouble because I  expected the dough to ferment in the regular time. This time I went along with the dough’s schedule. The first bulk ferment was over seven hours. The second proofing was four hours. The dough rose very slowly. To my great surprise, the bread came out wonderful! I wasn’t able to get the loaves into the oven until 7:00 pm, and we were watching Frankenstein, so my pictures of the finished loaves aren’t too good as we had all of the lights turned off !


    Here are the loaves after 3.5 hours proofing:


    I slashed down the middle, and poured melted butter over all of the tops:

    poured melted butter

    Here are the finished loaves:

    finished loaves

    finished loaves

    Here is the bread sliced:

    sliced bread

    The long wait was worth it! And my picky person is very happy!

    Volcano Bread??? Spicy Jalepeno Pepper Sourdough

    I have a new recipe! It’s delicious! Spicy Jalepeno Pepper Sourdough is the name of it. I started out with a preferment the night before. Next morning I put the preferment into the mixer and added the rest of the ingredients. I let the dough bulk ferment five hours:


    I then poured it out and divided the dough into three pieces. Next, I let the dough rest a little and then pulled it out into a rectangle. I had 8 oz of Jalepeno Cheese cut into large chunks and I put half of the cheese onto the rectangle. I used 8 oz of Jalepeno Cheese for each loaf. Then I folded the dough into thirds:




    Then I flattened it out again slightly, and put the rest of the cheese on top, and continued to fold the dough into thirds again.


    folding into thirds

    When it was done, it was a pretty fat lump. I let it rest a little and then coaxed it into a longer loaf.


    dough in couche

    I put the dough into the couche and then proofed two more hours.

    Here is what I got, this is the first loaf:

    first loaf

    Here is the second loaf:

    second loaf

    Here is the third loaf:

    third loaf

    Here are some closeups:



    Here is a picture of the crumb:


    My lighting source was the fading, setting sun, not so good, but maybe it helps the bread look like a volcano! 

    I will be adding this recipe to the Special Recipe Folder.

    Doing my own thing…Walnut Raisin Surprise

    Today I just wanted to bake a Raisin Walnut Batter loaf by feel. You know, where you throw in some of this and that until you are happy with the results. This is a very difficult thing for a left brained person to do! However, I must admit, always weighing and measuring everything is hard for me ! I do it, especially for the recipes, but I like to break away and do my own thing sometimes !

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    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!