Category Archives for "Sourdough Baking"

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!

Testing Slashes

I made up a batch of motherdough sour using 30% motherdough(prefermented dough at 80% hydration) this time. I like the flavor of the motherdough breads and I wanted to do a little bit of experimenting with slashing. The dough did well and I shaped it and proofed it fine. Then with the first loaf, I slashed deeply at more of a 45 degree angle. The loaf turned out like this:

loaf # 1

The second loaf was slashed very shallow at about a 30 degree angle and turned out like this:

loaf # 2

You can see the shallow slashes tore apart when the dough expanded. I also was having trouble with the heat not being high enough  because the more motherdough you use, the   higher temperature you seem to need. The long fermented doughs seem to like a higher temperature to brown because the dough has depleted more of its sugars. So I turned the oven up to 500 degrees and let the oven warm up more and then I popped in this loaf:

loaf # 3

This loaf was slashed at a medium depth with a 30 degree angle. By medium I mean about 1/2″ deep more or less. The dough liked the higher heat as well as the medium slashing depth and turned out a nice loaf.

Here are all three loaves:

Three loaves

Here is the crumb of the third baked loaf:


The bread, as usual with the motherdough style of sourdough, was fragrant and full flavored. I am thinking of doing a Pane Teresa batch soon as I would like to see some LARGE holes! I have been working with some finer grained bread and once in a while you just want some large chewy holey bread! So it should be coming soon.

One Night Sourdough…it's great!

I really like One Night Sourdough. I have written about it before and I probably will again, it is a versatile recipe that fills in when you forgot or couldn’t get a batch going in the afternoon for the evening’s shaping and refrigerating overnight. I actually run into that often enough. This time I ran into two problems. I couldn’t mix up the afternoon batch, so I made up the sponge that night for the One Night Sour. It did really well and came out bubbly next morning:

sponge starter

Next morning I got up early as I had to run an errand that day. So I finished up the mixing and got the bulk ferment going and took off on what I thought was my only errand. I made it back and was able to shape my loaves but had to go back out so I put the loaves into the refrigerator. I was out all afternoon. When I got back I took out the loaves one by one and finished proofing them. Then I baked that evening. The dough did really well being cooled down the extra time and as a matter of fact had a better tanginess and full bodied flavor.

I wanted to exeriment on the last loaf to see how the slashes did if you spritzed just the slashes with water before baking. I wondered if having the slashes filled with water would keep them moist enough so that they would do some great expansion. What I got surprised me. The slashes came out with the ghostly white crust like I had mentioned before in other blog entries, and it was just in the slashes!

white slashes

Well I have to admit that made me wonder about the elusive ghost crust. I know it can happen with dough that has been fermented too long. But it shows up sometimes on only one loaf or on loaves that have not been long fermented. I am certainly wondering if spraying too much water directly on the dough might cause enough cooling of the dough to get a “ghost” crust. I will have to do an experiment and douse the dough with water to see what happens. I have to figure out the ghost crust in one way or another!

Anyway the ghost crust loaf was cut up and used for sandwiches before I got any good pics. I was able to get a picture of the three loaves but as it was nighttime, the pics didn’t turn out too good. As you can see the loaf on the right with the ghost slashes, also spread more than the other two:

three loaves

I got some nicer pics the next day when the sun came out of the first two loaves.

two loaves

closeup of crumb

The bread was very nice with a sour tang and a soft yet elastic crumb. That is cracked wheat you see in the crumb. I cut it up for dinner the day after it was baked and served it spread with garlic, parsley butter alongside shrimp pasta, yummmmmmy!

Winging it without a scale

My digital scale is broken, it will only weigh lower amounts and shows lines instead of digits above 450g. So I actually ruined the experiement I was working on and instead of throwing out the starter which was already mixed with water, I decided to put together a batch of….. something! I added some Rye flour, Bread flour, oil, salt, 1/2 & 1/2, a lump of aged dough from the batch a couple of days before which was being refrigerated and just winged it. After the bulk fermentation, I poured out the dough and added flax seeds.

I am pretty happy with the outcome. Don’t ask me what it is or for the recipe, because this bread will never be able to be duplicated. Here it is:



flaxseed bread


It was fun, tastes great, makes nice sandwiches and terrific toast. Winging it can work!

Super light Rye

I like working with Rye flour, adding a small amount to the different doughs, watching it transform an okay batch into a light springy, wonderful loaf. Rye has pentosans, which can cause gumminess in larger amounts but seem to be responsible for improving the flavor, fermentability, and quality of the dough and the ability of the dough to absorb and hold onto water. I read somewhere that bakers in Europe often add a small amount of Rye to their dough to improve the quality of the dough. I made a dough that had a cup of Rye to a batch of dough having nine cups of Bread flour, so you can see the amount was pretty small to call it even a “light Rye” maybe it should be called a “White Rye”.

Whenever I add Rye to my dough, the dough is softer and more “jellowy” feeling. It is light, bubbly and the bread resulting has a deep wonderful color and heavenly smell.

I made a sponge using part of the Rye and next day used the other 1/2 cup. The dough rose beautifully and here is the result:

White Rye



The recipe made a nice soft crumb and chewy crust. It is a very nice sandwich bread and has a terrific smell and flavor.