Sourdough, sourdough, sourdough, oh yea, sourdough!

Natural Directions AP Flour Test

Bread made with Natural Directions flour

First, I want to let those of you who have been waiting for the dry starters to be available, know that there are three varieties available now and the rest will follow soon. My son in Texas is drying them and sending them to me, as it is too humid where I am to dry starters.
They are available at:  The fresh starters are still available, although I have not found any rye flour yet to bring back the fresh dough rye starters. They will be available as dry starters soon as well.

Now on to flour testing:
I found another new flour in the store. It is called Natural Directions and is milled by an exclusively organic flour mill. I used their All Purpose flour for testing because that is what was available, I don’t know if they produce Bread flour. I used this formula, which is the same one I have used for all of the tests:

Day 1:

In the afternoon mix together:

  • 166% hydration ripe starter – 9 oz/255g
  • water – 6 oz /170 g
  • Bread Flour – (whichever flour you are testing) 15 oz/425g

Stir the ingredients with a large spoon until it comes together in a ball and then knead the dough a few times with your hand to mix well. Don’t pour the dough out on the table or anything, just knead it a few times in the bowl with your hand. The dough won’t be too sticky, just a little.

This will make 1 lb 14 oz/850g of preferment at 63.2 % hydration.

Keep this preferment in a lightly covered bowl at room temperature. The room temperature is very warm between 80 -90 degrees. So this dough will be treated as a warm dough and not allowed to ferment as long as a cold dough. Ferment for 2 hours(this was for a hot, humid environment- ferment 4 hours if you baking in a normal environment) and then stir down the dough (you can fold the dough a couple of times as it ferments). Next refrigerate the dough in a covered container overnight.

Day 2:

In the morning take out your preferment and let it warm up for one hour at room temperature (around 80F)

In another bowl add together:

  • water – 14 oz/396.9g
  • Bread flour (whichever flour you are testing) 21 oz/595g
  • Salt – .8 oz/22g

Final dough: 4lbs 1.8 oz/1865g at 65% hydration.

Mix this dough together and once it is incorporated,let it set for 20 minutes. Then add the preferment to the just mixed dough and knead the two doughs together until they are well mixed together-about 5 minutes. Let this final dough ferment for three hours at warm room temperatures of between 80 -90 degrees, 5  hours for a normal environment .

If you want to obtain a deeper sour flavor, put the dough back into the refrigerator after 3 hours of fermenting on day two, and then follow the same directions but bake on day 3.


You can also fold the dough a few times during the ferment time. I like to fold the dough once an hour or at least three times. After bulk fermentatin, divide the dough into two pieces. Next shape your two loaves which weigh around two lbs each and place in a proofing basket or whatever contaner you are using for raising dough.

Allow the dough the final proof and keep an eye on it as it could proof as quickly as an hour or take 2 hours.

My dough was ready in 1 hour and 15 minutes. I did stagger the shaping of the loaves by 30 minutes. To stagger dough, shape one loaf and keep the rest of the dough covered in the bowl. Then after 30 minutes shape the last loaf. Preheat your oven and baking stone to 450F and have it ready when the first loaf is ready to bake.

When the dough is done proofing, slash, spray the loaf once well with water using a misting water bottle and then cover the dough with a turkey roasting lid/or pan (it is best to put the roasting lid into the oven five minutes before the dough goes in so it can also preheat).

Bake at 450F for 20 minutes and then carefully remove the roasting lid, the escaping steam is VERY hot! Turn your oven down to 425F and bake for 10 more minutes or until you achieve a deep wonderful color to the crust (which I wasn’t able to obtain with poor flour quality-see previous post).


I used the Natural Directions All Purpose flour for this test and obtained some surprising results. I felt that the All Purpose flour would produce an acceptable loaf but what I didn’t expect was that it would turn out so very nice!  The crust was a little softer than usual and there weren’t many blisters, but besides that, this flour tested very well.

Here are some pictures of the loaves:

White Sourdough Loaf

White Sourdough Loaf

The crumb:

White Sourdough Crumb

Here is the bag of flour:

Natural Directions Flour

The bread was moist, chewey and made great sandwiches. If you need to buy organic and worried about how All Purpose flour would do for baking bread, here is a flour you can use. I have three more flours I will be testing.


Andrea (thankyou Andrea!), one of my proofreaders, sent me a bag of organic King Aruthur Bread flour to test. I also went into a bakery in Hilo and asked to buy some of their bread. They sold me a 50 lb bag of Pendleton Mills Power High Gluten flour. I already tested it and will post the results in my next post.


I had some interesting problems with the power flour, but you will have to stay tuned to see what happened. I also found some Stone Buhr unbleached white bread flour to test. I am amazed at how many different flour brands are actually available here in Hawaii.

Happy Baking!

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1 Comment

  1. Mimi Mimi
    November 19, 2009    

    I’m glad you are starting to find some flour that works for you. I can’t imagine how frustrated you must have been having to start all over again!

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