I baked two loaves today – my freezer stock has been depleted. One always need a decent home-made sourdough bread 🙂
Both loaves have been sightly sticky, risen at room temp for about 18 hours (at round 17 C). For the baton loaf, I used a pot to rise, whereas the other one was risen in a mixing bowl. The latter was slightly more sticky in the next morning and required quite a bit of flour to handle. I also needed to use a lot of flour to keep it from sticking to baking clothe while proving. This inevitably resulted in a pale looking loaf. I have risen the baton loaf on parchment paper between a couple of stuff to help keep its shape.
The prove time was 4 hours for the round loaf and around 5 hours for the other. I baked them at 350F for around 55-65 minutes.
The end results are good with lots of air pockets. The big pockets in the round loaf are worrisome, telling me that I did not do a good job deflating the dough in the morning. The baton loaf had a much better crumb, which was very pleasing.
Bon appetite! 🙂
levain 🙂 happy and healthy
initial shaggy dough – I added 2 cups of levain. 9 cups of bread flour, 4 cups of water, 3 tbs of sugar, and 2 tbs of salt
after 5 stretching and folding, I have cut the dough into two – this is the slightly smaller half risen at room temp overnight
the bigger half: risen in the pot over night at room temp
the big half in the morning – risen well
the small half; nicely risen
the big dough formed into baton shape on parchment paper and supported by some handy kitchen items 🙂
the small dough right before the start of the proving step
small dough after 4 hours of proving
this is how it looked; note the flour on the surface – I had to use A LOT of it to prevent it from sticking to baking clothe
scoring was not successful this time, but good enough
the baton loaf after proving; nice and plumpy 🙂
scored; I was not very good at scoring this time, but that is okay
aaand the small loaf after 55 min at 350F – during the bake I sweeped the extra flour from the surface, but flour still stuck to the dough. as a results I ended up with a pale looking bread. oven spring is pretty good
this turned out to be a big loaf – I cut it into three pieces for freezer 🙂
the small/round loaf – not bad but not great either. nevertheless it will be greatly enjoyed 🙂
on the sides of the round loaf there have been many large air packets
this is the baton and my verdict is that its crumb has been way better than the round loaf 🙂
Yesterday I have prepared two sourdough; one can be found here; it was prepared by a starter that was rigorous and with a long rise (around 16 hours at room temp) with 4 hours of proving, following my regular recipe. It turned out to be a lovely loaf with a great oven spring.
That loaf will be given to my friends that I have seen yesterday night. So upon returning home at around 11 pm, I decided I needed a loaf for myself so I prepared a small dough using the left overs from my starter that I resurrected this past week. These left overs are those that needed to be removed and replaced with fresh flour and water while feeding the starter. I did not want to put it in garbage, so I thought I could find a use for them (like tortilla), so had kept around 3/4 cups of them in my fridge. They were not necessarily the best starter, but I took my chances with my second loaf.
The second loaf had 9 hours of first rise with limited stretch and fold (1 only) at room temperature and 5 hours of proofing. Honestly it did not look good when I put it on parchment paper (it did not keep its shape). Anyways, in the oven there was some kind of spring. So I was still not very hopeful. But when I cut it, I was very surprised; it has the largest air pockets I have seen in my sourdough! It is soft and the sesame seeds give it an incredibly nutty flavor 🙂 Although its rise was short, I think dough being slightly sticky helped it to turn into this beautiful loaf.
I think sometimes keeping the faith and trying something that does not look much hopeful pays off 🙂
right before placing on parchment paper prior to baking; it was sticky so I applied a lot of sesame seeds to the sides
on the parchment paper: deflated dough never gives you hope about its future. BUT I was proven wrong this time 🙂
after 33 min of baking at 375F oven (oven was pre-heated). there is some oven spring, but nothing impressive
voila! wow! never expected this 🙂 beautiful, is it not? very impressive indeed!
Using all purpose flour in this sourdough loaf was a disaster. They say the Canadian all purpose and bread flours have similar protein content and many bakers are successful in getting decent loaves with all purpose flour, but today I proved myself that was not the case for me. Bread flour it is!
Dough was fantastic, but as soon as I took it from the proofing basket, it spread and leveled. I was hoping maybe once it is in the oven things would get better. But the loaf did not rise, usual oven spring was not existing, and it took longer (1 hour 15 min at 350F) to get a browned crust (I suspect because it was such a shallow loaf that its crust was further away from the top of the oven, which made it longer to brown), and as a result is as dry and hard as brick.
I will eat it, but honestly use the bread flour if it works better for your loaves.
starter was one of the best I have seen lately; I was hopeful about this loaf. Alas…..
initial shaggy dough with 3 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup+1tbs of starter, 1 1/3 cup water, 2 tbs sugar, and 1.5 tbs salt. it was dry and did not form well at the beginning, which was somehow alarming
after 4-5 stretch and fold; it turned out to be working; dough was in a much better shape and moist
after 18 hours rise at room temperature dough has risen quite well and I was very pleased with this 🙂
quickly shaped and placed in a bowl lined up with a clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of flour
after 6 hours of proof at room temperature in a plastic bag (makes the green house effect)
when taken out of the bowl; it does not look bad but it started to spread after that
my signature (aka favorite scoring)
final product baked at 350F non-pre-heated oven for 1 hour 15 min
there are some air pockets, but it is a good example of a brick loaf 😦
Added after the post: On a second thought, this loaf may as well be just over-proved. The first rise was quite long (around 18 hours) and I wonder if this has something to do with this leveled loaf (aka less gluten structure)… if you have any opinion, please do comment.
this is my sourdough culture that I created a year ago from water and whole wheat flour; it is love.
this is how the dough initially looked; it consists of 1 cup of stiff levain, 1 1/3 cup of water, 3 cups of bread flour, 2 tbs sugar, and 1.5 tbs salt. I do not know why I use sugar, but I baked once without it and it was not a great rise, so I keep adding sugar to my sourdough
after 4-5 stretch and fold – ready to rest over night
after the over night rest at room temperature
shaped and directly placed into proofing basket aka mixing bowl lined with a clean cloth and sprinkled with flour; close those seams 🙂
after 5 hours of proofing in a nylon bag (green house effect; recommended)
perfect shape 🙂
my signature aka most favorite scoring
and after 55 min (45 min with oven on at 375F and 10 min off); baking at non-pre-heated oven
I managed to revive my sourdough starter from dried flakes! 🙂
The new one is very similar to previous one (that I accidentally used all in a loaf) and has had a great oven spring. Since it will be served to my guests tomorrow, I did not cut it up to see the crumb, but I am sure it is good.
While trying to revive my dried sourdough starter, here is the bread I have baked using the commercial yeast.
yeast is activated and frothy; ready to use 🙂
this is the initial dough, prior to the stretches and folds
after streches and folds and 3 hours at room temp; it is risen and formed a little bit 🙂
this is how it looked in the morning after an over night rest at the fridge
right before shaping; the dough has relaxed at room temp
start of the 4 hour proving
at the end of the proving step; there is a nice, satisfactory rise
I was amazed how well the dough has kept its round shape when I moved it from the shaping bowl on to the baking sheet. excellent sign 🙂
scored: this is turning into my favorite scoring model 🙂
aaand the final loaf 🙂 does it not look great? 🙂
1/2 tbs yeast, 1 cup 2% milk, 1 cup water (warm milk and water together first), 2 tbs sugar; mix well and activate the yeast for 10 min (cover the bowl)
add 3 tbs salt, 9 cups of bread flour, mix and form a dough
cover and stretch and fold 3-4 times (around 20-30 min rest in between)
rest at fridge over night
in the morning. take the dough out and bring to room temp ~3 hours
shape the dough and rest 5 min
work on the shape of the dough, and place it in a bowl with clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of sun flower seeds
put in a large plastic bag and prove at room temp for 4 hours (in the last 30 min I put it in an oven warmed to 100F)
score and bake at a non-pre-heated oven at 375F for 45 min (oven on) and an additional 15 min (oven off)
take out, sprinkle some water over the loaf, and let cool down
PS: since this loaf is going to a friend of mine, I did not cut it out and hence I have no idea how the crumb is. But the oven spring was amazing and the fact that the loaf kept its round shape, I am hopeful that the crumb too is good 🙂
I am hooked to this combination and I suspect that I will always bake sourdough with kefir from now on.
I have not tasted anything quite like this, nor eaten a softer sourdough that I have baked. The slight salty taste, the crumb (the best so far), and the smell of this sourdough will fill my dreams – I can tell you that with confidence.
The recipe is quite basic like any other sourdough I have baked;
1. I added to 1 cup of whole wheat starter fed twice (Friday night and Saturday morning), 2tbs of sugar and 1 cup of kefir – mixed well with a spoon until it become somehow frothy (it does become frothy quite easily). Then added 2 cups of bread flour and 1.5 tbs of salt. Mixed and formed a shaggy dough.
This dough formed quite fast without needing to mix too much – I give it to kefir. Somehow it helped bond the dough and voila! I had that healthy looking and soft dough. As it was my practice the last few weeks, I made sure the dough was slightly sticky while adding the flour.
2. I then left it at room temperature covered with a clean towel and stretched and folded 4-5 times time to time. The next day, I shaped it, and left for proving in a bowl covered with a clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of sesame and poppy seeds. It proved for 6.5 hours at room temperature in a plastic bag.
3. I baked it in non-preheated oven; 375 F for 15 min first, then 25 min at 350 F (the seeds burn pretty quick if the temperature is high), and then left in a turned off oven for an additional 5 min.
Give it a try and let me know whether you also agree that this is the best sourdough ever! 🙂
Here we go – the most interesting sourdough loaf I have ever baked!
What do you think?
I had seen a recipe here at wordpress once upon a time using beet (thanks whoever had posted it at that time). It always intrigued me and finally this weekend it was the time to give it a try.
My verdict; this is a very easy loaf to work with because wild yeast loves the beet (or anything else like carrots that provide some kind of nutrients and moisture to the dough/bread) and the colour is just amazing! It was a fluffy dough that rose pretty well. The proving step was also short (~5 hours at room temperature in my cool Canadian kitchen) – partly because of the hydration by the beet and partly because I tried to make it kind of sticky with less flour than usual. The crumb is open (one of the best, if not the best crumb I have seen lately) and it is soft and palatable. The only thing was that the smell of raw/baked beet somehow threw me away at the beginning. But the remedy is easy and available – butter, as usual, makes it perfect! 🙂
This being said, I think next time I will try it with raspberry and some more sugar!
Friday night: took the starter off the fridge and fed with whole wheat flour and water, wrapped in a towel and left at room temperature overnight
Saturday morning: fed the starter again and one hour later divided it into two portion: one portion went to fridge (starter) and the second portion left at room temp for 3 hours to flourish (to be used in the dough)
Saturday afternoon: added to 1 cup of starter, 2 tbs of sugar, and 1 cup of water. Grated 1 medium sized beet and added to the mixture. Then, added 2.5 cups of bread flour and 1.5 tbs of salt and mixed with a spoon. It formed a shaggy dough. After that I left for shopping, so only 5 hours later or so, I stretched and folded it once or twice before leaving it to rise at room temperature overnight (closed lid and covered with a towel)
Sunday morning: shaped on a generously floured work surface, let rest for 10 min and shaped again. I decided it was better if I proved it in an oven dish and directly baked it after proving. Hence, I placed the dough in the dish covered with parchment paper and put it in a nylon bag – that, I found a while ago, creates a green house effect and help dough prove faster
Sunday afternoon: After 5 hours of proving, turned the oven on (375F) and placed the dough in it. Baked for 45 min with oven on and then an additional 15 min with oven turned off.
Do not forget to cool down, admire, and enjoy it with butter and loved ones!
Bon appetite 🙂
what da ya think about this crumb? wonderful, is it not? 🙂
to beet or not to beet? 🙂
grated beet – this colur is the best red shade ever!
starter, water, sugar, and beet mixed up
this is the initial dough – right before the rise
the next morning – wow! what a great rise it had had 🙂
since it is quite softy and sticky, shaping it required gentle handling and lots of flour
here it is at the end of the proving step – all fluffy and lovely looking
final loaf – I decided no to score this time as it already had some kind of surface breakage prior to proving
Here is another Sunday sourdough with a touch of rolled rye – a slice of it and butter – yummy!
The recipe is very similar to an earlier loaf with slight changes: I did not wait 30 min after adding water to rolled rye (rather mixed it with the rest of the ingredients right away – I have got lazy here 🙂 ), used one cup starter, 1 cup water, 2 tbs of sugar, 1.5 tbs of salt and 3.5 cup of bread flour. Since the bread flour is a little bit less than the previous recipe, this was a slightly sticky dough, which I prefer the last few weeks. I also did not pre-heat the oven; just put it inside and let it oven spring 🙂
In my experience rolled oat, rolled rye, or semolina flour in small amounts (like 1 cup in addition to 3-4 cups bread flour) help with proofing and oven rise – these kind of loaves never disappointed me in terms crumb.
Here is a pictorial recipe for this hearty and tasty loaf:
This loaf is similar to others in making, only with an additional 2 tbs water to make it slightly sticky. During stretching and folding, the dough formed well and the stickiness has almost disappeared. I also did not add sugar to dough for the first time.
And, finally I am consuming the wild rice that I have had for some years!!!
I totally improvised this soup:
Add in a pot 1 cup wild rice, 1 cup red lentil, 1 small potato, 100 grms of butter, and 3 cups water
Boil and then simmer for 1 hour, or until rice softens
This is a very creamy and hearty soup because of the lentil and potato, and has a mixture of both soft and somewhat crunchy texture (the wild rice has a tough outer membrane)
Here is my 50% whole wheat, 50% bread flour sourdough with flax seed 🙂
And here is yours truly having some fun after baking this beautiful loaf (I could not upload the video; apparently I must be paying for a plan to do so. Hence, rather here is a snap shot from the video 🙂
I first got enticed by commercial yeast by chance, and tried my first loafwithout knowing what I was doing 🙂 It was a very tasty, very hearty bread though – I enjoyed it 🙂
With the confidence coming out of that experience, the week after that I tried baguettesand this time I was very badly defeated 🙂 I have had very serious concerns about whether I would ever be able to bake a decent loaf. This lasted some time, while I read, read, and read about how to best bake a bread.
It was my mom who encouraged me to get hopeful and try again. And again I tried. It was not an easy period I would say; I often failed and only every once a while I could get a decent loaf. I experimented a lot with autolysing, kneading, stretching and folding, over-night dough risen at room temperature or in the fridge, using a roaster as a substitute for a dutch oven, using milk or water in dough, using pre-heated and non-preheated oven, misting the oven versus not doing it while baking, adding rolled oats or seeds like flax seed to dough, and different types of flour (all purpose flour and bread flour).
I got intrigued by wild yeast and sourdough, hence I also experimented with it 🙂 I attempted four times to get a decent starter and eventually got one with a whole wheat flour. It is my Monster starter that has been working just great since last August-September. I almost every single weekend bake a loaf or two using this starter, and I must say every week I notice a subtle progress and development in it. It is a living organism alright 🙂
So I found that while I am still far away from the “perfect loaf”, stretching and folding really works and develops the dough, over night dough is the best, there is no need for pre-heating or misting the oven, or using a dutch oven/roaster to bake a good loaf. All you need is love, patience, and paying attention to dough. If you do this, you will get a great loaf each time after a while. Guaranteed.
Today, on this very special anniversary, I tried sourdough with rolled oat with a recipe similar to this (and without the flax seed). What a beauty 🙂
Here are select loaves I have baked within the last year, starting with the first ever loaf I baked. Looking at them literally makes me happy.
If you are intrigued or interested at all, I would say go for it and try a loaf or two. Baking your own bread is very healthy, satisfying, and most importantly, an exciting hobby 🙂
I baked two sourdough today; one boule and the other baton-shaped.
The recipe is quite similar to previous ones with:
4/3 cup of whole wheat flour starter fed Friday evening and Saturday morning, 1 1/4 cup water, 3-4 cups bread flour, 2 tbs of sugar, and 2 tbs of salt. It should be slightly sticky
mix, rest at room temperature, and stretch and fold 4-5 times with 20-60 min in between (it is quite forgiving; you do not need to time everything. what is important is to fold and strech so that the dough and gluten form)
rise at room temperature over night in a mixing bowl with lid and wrap with a towel
the next morning (aka today), shape and rest for 10 min. Re-shape if required, cover the loaf with a towel, and place in a plastic bag for a green house effect (I think that works really well) for 4 hours or longer (this week at the end of 4 hours, the loaves had almost doubled)
bake at 375 min for 50-55 min (until it becomes golden crisp. I no longer pre-heat the oven or use a roaster/dutch oven to bake. Eventually if the dough is good, the bread comes out wonderful)
cool down and make sure to take your time to enjoy 🙂
this is how it rises at the end of the over night rise; does it not look exciting? i am so happy to see dough risen in Sunday mornings 🙂
the boule right before proofing, seam up in a shaping bowl with a clean cloth sprinkled with flour
I am not great at shaping baton, but this will do it 🙂
after 4 hours, the boule has almost doubled in size – this is always a good sign
aaaand the end products! look at these beauties! The scoring on boule made an impression of a face, do you not think? 🙂
and the crumb of the baton – what a great development. I am very happy with the loaves today 🙂
crumb of the boule – I find that baton loaves give more open crumbs than boules (based on last week’s and this week’s experience. I wonder whether it has something to do with the height – shorter is better to get air pockets somehow? Maybe it is easier to lift up the dough if the height is not high like in my boules… something to think about)
Sourdough loaves are for myself (of course! – since I started baking sourdough in August-September last year, there has not been a week that I have not eaten it 🙂 ) while the bread loaves with commercial yeast will be given to my colleague who gave me a ride last week.
The loaves with the commercial yeast were prepared similar to this one, only without the milk. I am aware that the shapes are not the best, but we will hope at least the taste, crumb, and crust are superb 🙂
What is a Sunday without a home-baked loaf of sourdough?
You got it right – it is almost impossible!!!!! :))))
Since I started sourdoughing last August, except one weekend and when I was away for vacation/business trip, I baked a loaf or two every…single…Sunday! 🙂
I keep experimenting with the rolled cereals/grains in my sourdough loaves. My recent a couple trials including the soaked rolled oat and flax seed in sourdough (for example, here andhere) have been quite successful. I think they help with the moisture even though they lack the gluten so they take up only a small part of the total dough (other wise the loaf does not rise – I know by experience – unless you want a flat and stiff loaf, do not try to have a loaf with only rolled oat).
Anyways, I saw and purchased the rolled rye a couple of weeks ago. Honestly I have no idea what it could be used for, but I thought it would be a nice addition to my baking adventures and a nice ornament for the crust. I was not wrong.
This is the biggest loaf I have ever baked so far; thus rather than a boule I opted out for a baton loaf (I thought it would bake more evenly). Also, I proved the dough in a large plastic bag that kept it somewhat warm (something like a greenhouse effect). I am glad I remembered to do this as I think it reduced the proving time.
tend to the starter and prepare the levain as explained here
mix 1 cup of rolled rye with 1 cup of water, soak for 30 min
add the rye mixture, 1 1/4 cups of starter, 1 cup water, and 2 tbs sugar together and mix well
add 4 cups of bread flour and 2 tbs of salt. Mix and form a shaggy dough. It will be a little bit sticky dough
stretch and fold 4-5 times at 30-60 min intervals
cover, wrap with a thick towel, and rise at room temp over night. My kitchen is around 17 C
the next morning, take the dough on a floured surface, expand and form a rectangular dough, and then fold over itself to form a baton shape
cover and rest for 10-15 min at room temp
re-shape if required and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet
cover with a thick towel and place in a large plastic bag; tie the ends of the bag and rest for 5 hours at room temp
pre-heat the oven at 375 F
wet the surface of the loaf with your hands and sprinkle with rolled rye. Gently press to make sure the flakes will stick. Score the loaf as you please
bake for 55 min
cool down and enjoy!
my beautiful starter has been very happy today 🙂
this is the rolled rye and water mix… I know… I know… it does not look great, but trust me, it does the dough really good 🙂
this is the dough right before I left it for the overnight rise
and, in the morning I was met with my dough 🙂 it has risen so much! this is always delightful to see 🙂
the shaping did well, but the loaf is really huge.. the biggest I have ever baked 🙂
and 5 hours later, it has risen well – time to score 🙂
I like this pattern of scoring – very practical and looks great. I also love coating the surface with seeds or flakes – this time rye flakes 🙂
and after 55 min of baking, there is my baby for today 🙂
this loaf has been great. I mean, look at these air packets… hmmm. I am al most sure this is one the best loaves of mine ever 🙂
You know I bake sourdough bread every Sunday. Since each dough, each loaf is different, Sundays are usually very exciting times for me 🙂
This baby is part semolina sourdough – my second take on semolina.
My experience with semolina flour has been consistently good really, but it is true that it does not rise, so I used only a cup in this loaf. There is something nice about it that helps yield a great dough, even though I cannot put my finger on it. Let me know if you have any idea 🙂
Like other times, I fed the starter on Friday, and then again on Saturday morning.
On Saturday afternoon, I added 3/2 cup starter, 1 cup water, and 2 tbs sugar and mixed it well with a fork. Then I added 1 cup semolina flour, 3/2 cup bread flour, and 1.5 tbs salt and mixed everything well using my hand.
The rest is very similar to other times (check this) except that I proved the loaf at room temperature for 8 hours today – only because I stepped out for a quick shopping trip, bumped into friends, and spent (lovely) time with them, so when I returned back home it was already 8 hours of proofing 🙂
I was scared that it would be over-proved, but it was not – the loaf turned out to be great; I think if it was sticky, it would not shape this well and would possibly end up being over-proven. So I feel lucky this time 🙂
Happy baking! 🙂
the initial dough – may not look great but overtime stretch and fold technique does the wonder 🙂
the next morning – isn’t this a beauty?
at the end of the 8 hour-long proofing – ready to bake
I was surprised how well it kept its shape after i removed it from the bowl I used to proof it – it is mostly because it was not a sticky dough to start with
scoring – my favorite part 🙂
and the end product – this week’s wonderful bread!
not bad, is it? my air packets are usually not large, but i still get softy loaf. this loaf has a consistent crumb that I really like
I surprised myself with this loaf; if you are looking for a change in the taste of your sourdough loaf, I would highly recommend you to give this one a try. This loaf tastes very realistically “nutty” because of the oat. I plan to bake a loaf only with oat and levain next time – let’s see how that will turn out.
I think it is true when they say that salt brings in the flavor. Salt level in the recipe may be too much for many, so feel free to use less, but for me it was great.
levain – am I the only one who loves seeing those bubbles? tiny yet so powerful – I love the wild yeast 🙂
levain – view from the top
mix the oat and flax seed – feel free to use others
wet the flax seed and oat – it forms a gel-like liquid, which I think is good for the dough
shaggy dough at the end of mixing – do not worry; it will be just fine after a few stretch and fold
after stretch and fold and ready to rest over night
and this is what says “good morning” to you the next morning 🙂 is that not beautiful?
shape into a round liaf – this dough was pretty strong – exciting 🙂
scoring right before going into the oven – make me proud loaf! 😉
aha! now, is that not nice? wow 🙂
thin crust (which I prefer) and soft crumb; very nice bread. I for some reason cannot get big air holes in my loaves, but maybe in summer things can get better
Friday: feed the starter with 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water, wrap in a towel, and rest at room temp overnight.
Saturday: The next morning, feed the starter again and divide into two; one part to go to fridge and the other one to rest at room temp, wrapped in a towel for a few hours, which will be used in bread.
Once the levain seems bubbly;
Add 1 cup rolled oat and 1/2 cup of flax seed to 1 cup of water, mix and let stand for 30 min or so
Add to the oat/flax seed mix, 1 cup levain, 1 cup water, 2 tbs sugar and mix well
Add to this mixture 1.5 tbs of salt and 3 cups+2 tbs of bread flour. Mix and form a shaggy and sticky dough, cover with a towel, and rest for 20 min. At this step the dough does not have to be perfect and there is no need to knead.
Stretch and fold ever 20-30 min 4 or 5 times. Honestly I put my hands on the dough whenever I had time 🙂
Cover with a towel and rest at room temp over-night
Sunday: In the morning:
Take the dough on a counter sprinkled with flour, stretch and form a rectangular dough, and then fold over to form a round dough. Cover and rest for 10 min
Check the shape, re-shape if needed, and try to form surface tension by pulling the dough towards yourself on the counter, repeat 10-15 times till it feels alright. I also “swirled” it around with the hope that it would keep its round shape
Wet your hands and touch on the surface to make it a little bit wet. Apply rolled oats and gently press on them to make sure they stick, turn the dough upside down, and place it in a proofing basket (in my case a mixing bowl) covered with a baking towel. Cover and proof at room temp for 3.5 hours
Turn on the oven at 375 F, take the dough on a baking sheet/parchment paper seam side at the bottom, score, and place in the oven. I no longer pre-heat my oven.
Bake 50 min uncovered, then 10 min covered, and then another 10 min without cover.
Yesterday I visited a bulk-produce retailer and bought myself some flax seed, rolled oats, and some other dry food at very affordable prices!!!
This excitement had to be experienced – I love it when I can get great food at such low prices. I feel grateful 🙂
This being said, I have bought the rolled oats and the flax seed to experiment/improvise new bread recipes. So, today I baked two different sourdough loaves – one with oat+bread flour and the other 100% whole wheat flour+flax seed.
Boy – they are beautiful, do you not think? So soft, so nicely risen, such great oven spring, and the air bubbles inside are making me fall in love with each one of them.
It is official; I have the greatest sourdough starter ever, which I hope to bake with forever and ever… 🙂
Levain: I have a 100% whole flour “Monster” starter that I feed with 2/3 cup whole wheat flour+1/3 cups+1 tbs water on Friday afternoon. I then let it rest at room temperature overnight wrapped in a thick towel. The next day I feed it again the same way; one hour later divide it into two: one part goes into the fridge till use next week, and the other continues to rise at room temperature for 5-6 hours. At that point it becomes very bubbly and that is always exciting to see this 🙂
Prior to preparing dough, I mix the levain with water and sugar to make the liquid base for dough (my measurements were: 1+1/4 cups of levain, 1 cup of water, and 1.5 tbs of sugar)
Sourdough with rolled oat:
add 1/2 cup rolled oat and 1/2 cup water- mix and let stand for 20 min
add 1+1/5 cups of levain/water/sugar base, 1 cup of water, 2 cups of bread flour, and 1/2 tbs of salt. Mix well and form a shaggy dough – do not worry about kneading or forming the perfect dough. Just cover, rest, and *stretch and fold every 20 or 30 min or so for 4-5 times.
*I lately started to “slam” the dough to the mixing bowl 7-8 times during each stretch and fold, which I kind of feel like helps stretch and form the dough. It is a strange feeling to do this to my dough and yeast, but then it feels also right…Try if you wish.
Then, cover, wrap with towel, and let rise at room temperature over night (my kitchen is usually cold around 17C. If you are in a hot climate, you may rise the dough at the fridge).
100% whole wheat sourdough with flax seed:
Rinse 1/2 cup of flax seed and add 1/2 cup water, let stand for 30 min
add 1+1/5 cups of levain/water/sugar base, 1 cup + 3 tbs of water, 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour, and 1/2 tbs of salt. Follow the procedure above.
Since whole wheat flour requires a little bit more water, I wet my hand before each stretch and fold to humidify the dough a little bit – it did help with a relatively softer dough. Alternatively you can add an additional 1-2 tbs of water while preparing the dough.
The next day; gently place the dough on a surface sprinkled with flour, deflate, stretch and form a rectangular shape, and fold & shape. Cover and let rest for 10 min. Shape again and place in proofing containers (i used a small mixing bowl for the oat loaves and a baking dish for the flax seed loaf).
Proofing time: 2.5 hours for the oat loaf, and 3.5 hours for the flax seed loaf
Baking: I recently started not to use roaster to bake my loaves. It gives a thinner crust and the oven spring is equally successful. I used a non-pre-heated oven for the oat loaf (375F, 50 min, baked uncovered). Once I was done with it, then I placed the flax seed loaf (pre-heated oven, 30 min open lid, 15 min closed lid, and 5 min open lid at 375F.)
Results, observations, and verdict: both loafs are gorgeous and better than what I thought I would get.
I know it is difficult to get the whole wheat flour rise so I was pretty impressed with the oven spring and the overall crumb of this lovely bread. It also had a nutty flavor and was an absolute delight even though for some the 100% whole wheat bread may sound a little bit intimidating.
The oat loaf was a delight from the beginning on – so easy to handle and the first rise was amazing with big air bubbles that I only had experienced with commercial yeast in the past. The taste of oat was undetectable but that is perfectly fine with me.
In both cases (oat and flax seed) the resting them on water prior to adding with flour and water produces a little bit sticky and mucus-like liquid, which I kind of think that helps with “binding” the dough. But of course we need a scientific proof for that.
I would certainly try these two loaves in the future and perhaps with the oat loaf I would increase the amount, just to see how the dough would respond.
Happy baking everyone! 🙂
the next morning after over-night rise at room temperature
shaped and rested 🙂
proofing – start
proofing – end: slightly risen, which is sufficient.
scoring right before placing in the oven. i always hesitate at that step – if it is too deep it deflates, if it is not deep enough then it does not shape well. in this case i think I would have tried a little bit deeper cut. maybe next time 🙂
100% whole wheat and flax seed loaf
the next morning – it risn more than I thought it would 🙂
shaping and resting 🙂
proven on a baking pot
what a nice scoring it was – the dough might have been a little bit stiff, but certainly it held the scores better than the other loaf
do you see what I see? even though it is 100% whole wheat, here are the air packets that make me feel like dancing 🙂
Friends; have a look at this 25% whole wheat – 75% bread flour sourdough!
Is it not magnificent? 🙂
With no ego I can tell this is the finest loaf of mine yet.
Sticky dough absolutely pays off – in my experience sticky (that literally sticks lightly-but not overly to your hand when you stretch and fold, or otherwise handle it) yields the softest bread with the best crumb.
This one was baked on a cookie sheet at 375F for 50 min (for 20 min of which it was covered with a lid to prevent the surface from burning).
I no longer use the roaster to bake my loaves, which gives me loaves with much thinner crust (which I love)!
Happy baking everyone! 🙂
look at this – is it not wonderful? all the air bubbles and the fine structure. I am so excited and happy my friends – please give baking bread a try. It has been such an interesting and exciting journey for me that I wish it to everyone.
This baby is the product of a little bit sticky sourdough risen overnight at room temperature (around 17 C), pre-shaped, shaped, and proofed for 4 hours (also at room temperature), and baked at 375F for 45 min in an oven bakeware (20 min of which it was covered with a lid to prevent its surface from burning).
This is the softest and the best risen sourdough loaf I have baked in a while 🙂
I think; a) being sticky helps rise the dough; b) using bakeware may help keep the shape of sticky dough – loaves (which I appreciate); and c) if the dough is sticky and healthy enough, I may not need roaster (I use roaster as an alternative to dutch oven) to bake my bread.
Bon appetite 🙂
PS: I prepared my sourdough starter and levain with whole wheat flour, which dominates the colour and the texture; each loaf is around 30% whole wheat and 70% bread flour. Very healthy and sturdy dough 🙂
It gives a strong, slightly sticky dough that forms a great crust and very soft crumb (the softest I have seen in a sourdough). The carrots, I believe, help with the moist crumb and with a fairly good rise. I also believe that yeast loves the carrot (or carrot juice coming out of the grated pieces). In anyway, I suggest you give this loaf a try and see how you like it 🙂
1. Grate 4 mid-size carrots
2. Add 1.5 cups of sourdough levain to carrots (I fed 2/3 cups fridge-stored starter with 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup+1 tbs water and let rest over-night at room temperature. In the morning it was risen and bubbly. I fed it again two hours before I prepared the dough)
3. Add 1 cup water, 4 cups bread flour, and 1.5 tbs salt. Mix by hand or using utensils.
4. Leave at room temperature (covered) to rise: I had a social to attend, so left it for 4 hours and stretched and folded it twice in between.
5. Place in the fridge over-night
6. The next morning, take it out and rest at room temperature for around 1 hour
7. Shape the dough (I formed a baton today), cover with kitchen towel, and let rise for 1.5 hours
8. The last 20 min; pre-heat the oven and the roaster (if you are using one) to 375 F. Flip the loaf upside down on parchment paper
9. Score the surface, and bake in the roaster; 35 min closed lid and 25 min open lid. Turn off the oven and leave the loaf in the roaster/oven for an additional 1 hour (since this is a moist loaf, I found that this step helps with baking inside the loaf)
lovely carrots 🙂
the Monster starter at work 🙂
the initial dough – somewhat juicy but not runny at all
I was welcome by a fluffy and strong dough in the morning 🙂
I use flour sprinkled baking cloths to help rest and shape my loaves.
this is the final loaf 🙂 mind the irregular shape. What a beautiful loaf Iit has been. I am so lucky 🙂
This is my finest sourdough so far. I could not be more excited 🙂
For many, the amount of levain in the recipe may be too much, but it just worked wonders for this loaf. I added this much this time because I had extra starter that I did not want to waste.
I reduced the oven temperature to 375 F this time as I am a little bit annoyed by the 400 F (too high; not sure what happens to the roaster at such high temps).
The dough was a little bit sticky but not runny and there was a very nice oven spring, which always pleases me; it is magical 🙂
I note that while the majority of the flour is white flour, the colour and the texture of the whole wheat (from the starter) is quite dominant.
This was the softest sourdough I have ever baked and the crispy crust was surprising and very welcome 🙂
Levain: 3/4 cup of Monster sourdough starter, 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup water. Mix well and place in a clean glass jar. Left at room temperature over night. The levain should have risen ( around 2x), smelling a little bit sour, and bubbling the next day.
Add to the levain (around 1 1/3 cup), 3/4+2 cups bread flour, and 1 cup water. Mix well with hand or a spoon. Leave at room temperature covered with a lid and stretch and fold 4 times every 30 min. Leave at room temperature for an hour and then place in the fridge for the night
In the morning take the dough out and let rest at room temperature for 5 hours or so. It should slightly rise
Add 1 1/2 tbs of salt and gently knead and shape (I tried a baton this time). Place on a parchment paper and let rise for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature
Pre-heat the oven with a roaster (or dutch oven if you have one) at 375 F.
10 min before putting the loaf in, place another sheet of parchment paper on top and flip the loaf (I do that because I think it helps with the air packets to occur on both top and bottom of the loaf.. any ideas anyone?)
Place the loaf in the heated roaster and bake for 30 min with closed lid and then another 20 min with open lid.
happy and energetic levain 🙂
this is how it looked right before placing it to the fridge for over night rest
and the next day, it is slightly risen. I was not very hopeful at that point but kept going
after 5 hours of room temperature rest, dough looks a little bit more fluffy
my shaping adventure today was a disaster at the beginning; since the dough is somehow sticky it does not hold its shape well and tends to spread
yet, it turned out to be just great, thanks to oven spring. there has been a noticable expansion of the dough (both the length and the height); very pleasing 🙂
does it not look awesome? 🙂
the largest number and volume of air packets I have ever had in a sourdough so far 🙂 very soft crumb and chewy crust. very nice contrast and it was a delight to try it with a chunk of butter 🙂
I changed my mind and rather than making a sourdough for tomorrow, I decided to sacrifice (!) my early-levain to bake some fresh bread today, also containing commercial yeast.
My first time trying small loaves, which turned out to be pretty good. I think I will try this in the future. The small loaves are softer and easier to manage, and they delighted me with their individual characters 🙂
This is also my first time mixing the commercial yeast and wild yeast in a dough. I suspect that the wild yeast was not at good levels as expected; I had only fed my starter and aliquoted my levain a few hours before I decided to bake this bread. The taste of the loaf did not give a hint of sourdough.
initial dough – a little bit shaggy but not overly sticky
at the end of the rise; well developed thanks to stretch and fold
small loaves covered in stretch film prior to proofing
look at these beauties 🙂
the air packets are not bad, are they? very nice chewy crust and a very soft crumb; I loved these loaves!
1. Add 1.5 cups of warm milk (1%), 1 tbs of sugar, and 1 tbs of dry active yeast; mix well, cover with a kitchen towel, and rest for 10 min to activate
2. Add 3.5 cups of bread flour, 1 cup of sourdough levain, and 1 tbs of salt, and mix and knead for one-two minutes.
3. Place in a new pot/bowl smeared with vegetable oil, cover, and let rise for 20 min. At the end of the 20 min, stretch and fold 4-5 times, cover, and rise. I repeated this for 5 times today.
4. Cut portions of dough, shape with your hands (I did not use flour or a counter top for this purpose), and place the loafs on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Put stretch film over the loaves (to prevent dehydration), place the cookie sheet in a large plastic bag, and proof for 1 hour at room temperature
5. Pre-heat the oven at 375 F. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the loaves, and bake for 30-35 min
I baked a loaf with milk that was risen over-night at the fridge and another one without milk and risen at room temperature during the day.
I love the milk in bread because it makes it quite soft; in the last few weeks that is how I was baking my loafs. Today I wanted to give a try to plain bread (i.e. with water) to move out of my comfort zone and to strive for making a bread without the help of the milk.
I guess, it turned out to be great 🙂
I used 3 cups of bread flour, 1.5 cup of water (warmed and mixed with 1.5 tbs of sugar and 1 tbs of dry yeast; rested at room temperature at a warm place; a.k.a. on top of the stove, for 10 min to activate), and 1.5 tbs of salt all mixed up with the help of a spoon. I did 4 rounds of stretch and fold at 25 min intervals. Dough did not look great, but honestly I did not care much today 🙂 Took the dough on a floured surface, extended and then folded to form a baton shape, proofed at room temperature for 1 hr 15 min, and baked at the pre-heated oven and in a roaster for 30 min (20 min lid on, and 10 min with open lid). (Since the yesterday’s bread was somehow almost burn at the bottom, I reduced the oven time for this loaf.)
It is soft and certainly airy 🙂 For a recipe this short, I would not expect to see such a great loaf, but I guess the warm environment really helped; I keep my dough (while rising or proofing) on the stove, which I turn on for 30 seconds or so to give warmth a couple of times. The containers are covered by thick towels to conserve heat. In my experience these work better than keeping the dough in a warm oven, because I usually turn out to over-proof.
Another thing I notice is that with shaggy (i.e. high hydration dough), it helps to have the surface of the dough covered with a thin layer of flour; I think it helps with not only limiting dehydration, but also with giving the surface a nice relatively stronger layer.
So my two cents is that next time you find yourself in hurry or lazy, try to keep the dough and the yeast warm and make sure to flour the surface 🙂
My second two cents is that the dough with milk gives a better looking crust with rich colour – I love it 🙂
today’s bread (with water):
colour does not look well here, mostly because light and also because the reduced oven time. For your information, the loafs prepared with milk usually yield a colour-rich crust
yesterday’s bread (with milk):
yesterday’s bread with milk – honestly this was the best crumb I have ever had. If you look carefully you can see the thick almost burnt crust at the bottom (that prompted me to reduce the oven time with today’s loaf)
For sure that the crust is much better when the dough that contains water – very rich, lovely, and healthy looking colour
I tried one sourdough recipe with semolina flour this time. I was worried because it did not rise as much, but the oven spring was there as well as the air bubbles in the loaf 🙂
It contained 1 cup of levain prepared from my Monster sourdough starter, 1 cup of semolina flour, 1.5 cup of bread flour, and 1 cup of water and salt as desired. Minimal kneading at first; 6 stretch and fold every 30 min or so; and resting at the fridge overnight. The next day, I left it at room temperature for 2 hours; shaped, and proofed for 1 hour 15 min; baked at a preheated oven (at 400F) in a roaster (25 min closed lid and 25 min open lid).
Taste is somehow unusual, but the crust was rich and crumb was soft and quite palatable.
As usual, immediately enjoyed with the butter 🙂
initial dough – does not look smooth and elastic 😦
after 6 stretch and fold and right before placing in the fridge for overnight rise; it has risen somehow, which is pleasing and I guess the dough structure is strong
gently spread and folded into a boule and placed in a bowl upside down. I had thought it was too small and possibly would give me another brick-like loaf (I was wrong!) 🙂
scoring right before placing it in preheated roaster and oven
thick chewy crust with soft crumb :0 I always love to see the air bubbles in the final product – somehow makes me feel accomplished 🙂
Today I learnt that the smoke detectors in my kitchen work just fine because I burnt the parchment paper in the oven!!!!
Never though that would happen. I recently started using it, always in a roaster without any problem; this was the first time I tried it on a cookie sheet.
I had placed the cookie sheet lined with the parchment paper + loaf on the lower shelf of the oven; is that the reason I wonder (oven was at 400 F – many people say that parchment paper is safe to use at this temperature)…
Anyways; a lovely loaf is gone to garbage (the one on top of the burnt paper); luckily I have had another loaf baking in the roaster at the same time, which turned out to be just great 🙂
This loaf is the same as last time where I used milk rather than water in the dough. This time I also increased the amount of yeast, sugar and salt (2 tbs of each for 4 cups of flour), and baked 15 min at 400 F (until I realized parchment was burning…); took out while still in the roaster for 10-15 min until I cleared the oven from smoke; and then baked it at 350 F for an additional 15 min (lid open).
I think I have reached consistency in terms of baking a soft and beautiful loaf, which also happens to have excellent oven spring. I would recommend this recipe to everyone, especially those that are new to baking bread; it is much easier and more forgiving than the bread prepared with water (which I could never bake well) 🙂
look at the oven spring in this loaf? the shape is also better than what I would think it would be. It was soft inside and with a kind of thick/stiff crust. just the way I like 🙂
not bad, right? 🙂
right after scoring and placing in the oven. The bigger loaf was placed in a roaster with parchment paper at the bottom, and the small guy was placed on a cookie sheet with parchment paper (this is the one that burnt…. 😦 )
right after the shaping and prior to 1.5 hours of proofing. the dough was kind of sticky and this resulted in these rather shapeless loafs… right before putting into the oven I sprinkled flour on top of the loafs, hoping that it would help with a better looking crust. in fact it did help 🙂
I have been experimenting with bread making for some time and I can say I am still on the way to reach a perfect loaf.
For some reason I am not interested in following a recipe and I rather improvise. While this is exciting (each dough and bread feels like an “experiment”), the end results are usually not great.
This week I tried two loafs; one sourdough and one loaf with milk and commercial yeast.
The sourdough was miserable and did not forgive being poked, adding too much flour and then too much water. The dough was the weirdest I have ever made and I guess I should pay more attention to it 🙂
This being said, the loaf with the milk turned out to be the best ever! The oven spring was obvious, it was soft and incredibly tasty. Next time I should be using a little bit more yeast to make it really fluffy and with large air pockets 🙂
Milky bread recipe:
Add 1 cup warm skim milk, 3/4 tbs sugar, 3/4 tbs dry yeast. Mix well, cover with a kitchen towel, and rest for 10 min until the yeast forms the foams on top
Add 2.5 cups of bread flour, 3/4 tbs salt and mix with hands and knead for 4-5 min
Place in a container brushed with vegetable oil, flip the dough to make sure it gets oil all over
Let rest at room temperature 30 min and then and stretch and fold (total of 3 times; 30 min apart)
*I am not good at kneading, or at stretching and folding. So this time I tried to do a little bit of both of them to see whether I could get a nice, well formed dough
Rest in the fridge over-night – it should get fluffy and risen a little bit
In the morning, take it out to room temperature and let rest for 3.5 hours (only because my kitchen was cold today and I had to go out to shop. In a warmer environment, this time could be much shorter)
Gently de-gas, shape, and let proof for 1.5 hours
Score the surface, place in a pre-heated roaster, and bake at 400 F (oven is pre-heated too)
score – they say if you score with an angle, the ear forms better. This has been my experience with this loaf
lovely bread 🙂 Look at the ear! What a wonderful oven spring it was 🙂
air pockets would be larger should I have added more yeast. But still, not bad.. not at all.. 🙂
This sourdough bread is mystical because I cannot remember how much water I added to the dough 🙂
Argh… Murphy’s law – this is a wonderful loaf and it would be awesome to replicate it in the future. Anyways, at least I remember how the initial dough felt; shaggy but not runny. Good…
This is my second sour dough bread trial using my Monster sourdough starter. The first one last week ended up being something beyond brick….. Something even stronger… Like steel or something….
This time, it is better. The crust was definitely chewy and inside was very soft. It could use more salt next time. By the way, with this loaf I started to believe in “oven spring”; this dough has doubled in size while in the oven. I could not be more enchanted right now 🙂
Bon appetite! 🙂
Levain: Activate the starter by feeding a night before and resting at room temperature over-night.
For this purpose, I mixed 1/2 cup of starter with 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of water in a bowl. Then, I transferred it in a clean jar, secured the lid with a clean kitchen towel and elastic band, and forgot till next morning.
*well… that is not true – I checked it many times during the night. Seeing it rising was magical 🙂 After all, I just had transferred it to fridge last week and this was the first time I tried to revive it back at room temperature 🙂
**basically, the starter I used for this levain is the portion of the starter that I am supposed to throw away while feeding the starter every week. Making no waste feels good 🙂
***it makes a stiff, not runny, levain
It must have at least doubled in size and have bubbles around the jar, indicating an active, robust starter.
1. Mix 1 cup of levain with 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Add 2 cups of bread flour and just enough water to make a shaggy and sticky dough. Cover and rest at room temperature for 4 hours
*the autolyse step is supposed to hydrate the flour and help develop gluten. At the end of this period, the dough should look a little bit swollen and possibly flattened out
2. Add 2 tps of salt and 2 tps of sugar to dough while still in the container and mix
3. Spread 1/3 cup of flour on a clean surface and place the dough on. Knead for 2-3 minutes lightly and add flour as needed.
*The dough should be fluffy, somewhat sticky but not too sticky
4. Place the dough in a clean container that has been brushed with vegetable oil. Turn the dough upside down to make sure it gets oil all over. Cover and let rest for 30 min
*vegetable oil helps with preventing the dehydration of the dough. i somehow feel like it also helps with the dough structure, but I have no convincing evidence for this yet (many people say that vegetable oil actually reduces the rising capacity)
5. Stretch and fold 4-5 times and let rest for 30 min covered
*this technique is supposed to be a good alternative to kneading. If you do not have a dough mixer or a bread machine and are using your hands to knead, you may want to give it a try
6. Stretch and fold for a total of 4 times and then rest the dough for a final 30 min
*I perform all these steps while the dough is still in the container with the help of a bench cutter
**by the way I use a large pot to mix the dough and for the fermentation/first rise. It is a very practical alternative. Just close the lid and cover with a blanket/thick towel or place in a warm place, like a warm oven, for the fermentation step
*** you will notice that the dough slightly rises/gets fluffier and develops some structure with each stretch and fold.
7. Take the dough on a lightly floured surface, spread with the help of your hands, and then fold over and shape. I made a round loaf. Cover and let rest there for 10 min.
8. Proofing: I used a bowl covered with a clean white fabric that had around 1 tbs of flour sprinkled to prevent the dough from sicking to it. I covered the dough and let proof for an hour
*they say sourdough does not rise as much as the commercial yeast, which in my experience was the case as well
9. 20 min before the end of the proofing step, pre-heat the oven to 400 F and place your roaster/dutch oven in
*I recently became a fan of using roasters to bake the bread. It provides good heat conductance and shortens the baking time. They say dutch ovens are even better. I bought a turkey roaster which is quite big. The advantage of it is that I can bake loafs with any shape; e.g. baton or boule. Not sure whether I can do this with a dutch oven – they usually looks small and suitable for boule only
10. Transfer the dough upside down on a parchment paper, score with sharp knife (around half an inch), and immediately place into the heated roaster
*dough was leveled down as soon as I scored it, which discouraged me. yet, the spring oven surprised me; the end product had risen and formed a lovely bread
11. Bake 30 min covered, and then an additional 20 min uncovered at 400 F
happy levain 🙂
initial shaggy dough prior to autolyse step
at the end of 4 hours of autolyse, the dough has risen and leveled out. it looks juicy and sticky
prior to kneading 2-3 min; a generous amount of flour was needed during this step
spread the dough. I saw this technique somewhere, which is supposed to re-distribute the dough ingredients and remove large air bubbles. It is becoming a routine application for me
ready to rest for 30 min before the first stretch and fold
at the end of 1st 30 min rest/fermentation
right after 1st stretch and fold
right before the 2nd strecth and fold
after the 2nd stretch and fold; with each stretch/fold, it becomes a more fluffier and stronger dough. it also started to lose its sticky appearance
right before the 3rd stretch and fold
right after the 3rd stretch and fold
right before the 4th stretch and fold. A nice structure is being developed
right after the 4th and the last stretch and fold
at the end of the final 30 min rest. The dough has obviously risen and its form looks good
looking good 🙂
spread it again. Note the air bubbles on the right top corner – isn’t it a beauty? 🙂
easily shaped into a boule
ready for proofing (dough was placed upside down in a bowl covered with a clean fabric and a little bit of flour)
not bad, is it? crispy crust and sift crumb. Yummy 🙂
I try to bake every weekend to quench my interest in yeast and its activities, and to consume.
This week, I had planned a “left-over” bread that included the left-over green olives (they have been in my fridge for some time now) and the piece of the sourdough starter I was supposed to throw away yesterday (my starter was on its 5th day yesterday and quite a monster, I must say). Since I was inspired by a blog (which, sadly I cannot remember now), I also added poppy seeds to dough.
It was a dough that rested at the fridge over-night (I prefer this kind of dough – in my opinion it makes better breads).
Overall, the green olives were not enough and kind of got lost during the kneading/stretch and fold attempts. I do not know what to think about this now… Poppy seeds are okay and not overwhelmed the taste, which is pleasing. The dough had a slight sour taste – I am almost sure that it was not because of the starter but the olives, but I may as well be wrong. Crust was crispy while inside was soft and tasty.
I also experimented with the roaster I purchased a while ago to see whether baking bread in a container like roaster really makes a difference. I prepared two loaves from the same dough and baked one in a baking dish without a cover and another one in the roaster at the same time. In fact it does; the crust of the roaster-baked loaf was more browned and better looking. I may as well continue to bake breads in the roaster.
I seem to have shallow scoring cuts on the loafs. I will remember to make deeper cuts next time.
On a final note, parchment paper seems to be a baker’s best friend. If you do not have a roll, you may consider having one. It keeps everything clean and helps with not using vegetable oil, spray, or cornmeal that we would otherwise use in the oven dishes while baking.
1. Activate 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast in 1.5 cups of warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar by mixing all and resting at room temperature for 15 min (cover the bowl).
*Note that the amount of dry yeast is really low. I find that dough that rests at the fridge does not need a lot of yeast
2. When the yeast is activated, add 1/2 cup of sourdough starter, 2 cups of bread flour, 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix with spoon or hand and let rest at room temperature for 20 (the autolyse step)
3. Add 1/3 cup of green olives (you should add more if you are looking for an olive loaf), 1 tablespoon of salt, and 2 tablespoon of poppy seeds and knead on a clean, flour sprinkled surface for a couple of minutes to make sure the ingredients all mix.
4. take the dough in a clean, vegetable oil spread bowl (i use a pot) and let rest at room temperature for 30 min. After that do stretch-and-fold for a total of 4 times, each time with 30 min rest in between.
*this technique is supposed to eliminate the need for kneading and develop the gluten structure equally. Basically hold a corner of the dough, stretch it as far as you can and then fold it over the dough. repeat this with other corners of the dough (4-6). Turn the dough over so that the folded part lies at the bottom
**my experience with kneading is pretty conflicting. I cannot knead even though I know it would make my bread structure better. So I failed in today’s attempt too as the dough did not become a mature, elastic dough. That is why I decided to stretch-and-fold
***you will notice that over-time the dough becomes fluffy but not necessarily overly risen
5. Put in the fridge over-night. I left the dough in the fridge for a total of 12 hours and then let rest at room temperature for 2 hours
6. Take the dough out and spread over flour-sprinkled surface, degassing at the same time. Cut into two loafs, shape, and let rest on the bench for 15 min (covered)
*since the dough is not sticky, there is no need to add more flour than required
7. Re-shape if needed, cover, and proof for 1 hour 45 min at room temperature. I used a bowl to proof the round loaf and a cookie sheet for the baton/francala. Cover the loafs so that they will not dehdyrate and keep warm.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 400F (keep the roaster inside too). When the proofing is done, transfer the loafs in the oven dish (I used this for the round loaf with parchment paper at the bottom) and the pre-heated roaster.
9. Score the top of the loaf and bake for a total of 50 min; after the first 25t minute take the lid off the roaster.
activating yeast – the small amount of yeast causes a small foam 🙂
shaggy dough ready for autolyse
after the autolyse, add salt, poppy seeds, and green olives into the dough
form a nice dough ready for stretch and fold
place in a clean pot brushed with vegetable oil to keep it hydrated
after 14 hours of fridge rest. my dough has a funny shape 🙂
expand the dough on the bench and degas
cut the dough into two and shape
after the bench rest, I placed the round loaf in a bowl with a clean clothe for proofing
this loaf was proved covered with a long/deep lid of a pot; no shaper/basket was used
after the proof, the loafs have risen a little bit (but not too much). transfer the round dough upside down and score the surface
proofed baton loaf
final product; I need to score deeper
the air bubbles are very pleasing to see 🙂 (round loaf)
The Monster started to smell sour this morning and has been rising incredibly, especially after the feed today. 4 hours after the feeding today, I had to transfer it to a new, bigger jar as it had risen up to the lid and was ready to escape! :).
I could not be more excited! I hope that is what it is and it is really a sourdough starter, but not some weird micro-organismal activity.
Here is the chronicle of Monster:
Procedure: Mix in a bowl 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup filtered water with the help of a fork. Transfer into a clean jar, cover top with a piece of fabric (clean and thin enough to allow air in/out), secure the fabric with the help of an elastic band around the lid, wrap the jar with a small towel (keep the lid part uncovered by the towel), place in a shelf away from the kitchen.
*There is no need to keep the starter away from the kitchen. I just have had pest problems lately, which prompted me to keep the starter away from their active areas.
**I started the starter in the evening around 6.30 pm. I tried to feed it everyday at around the same time.
***I decided to wrap the jar with a towel because I live in a relatively cold climate.
day 1 – right after mixing the flour and water
Observations: no apparent rise, a few tinny bubbles, smells like whole wheat – nothing exciting.
Day 2 – before the feed
Procedure:Mix the starter with the help of a fork; take it out in a bowl and add 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup of water. Mix all well with the help of a fork. Cover, wrap, and rest the jar/starter at its usual place.
*I made a mistake here. I was planning to add the same amount of flour and water as Day 1 but somehow got confused and ended up with smaller amounts added.
Observations: There was a slight rise, a few large bubbles, somewhat unevenly elated surface, and no distinct smell. There was liquid accumulated at the bottom of the jar.
*slight rise was promising 🙂
Day 3 – right before the feed
Procedure: Remove 1 cup starter. Add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup water in a bowl and mix well with fork. Add the remaining starter and mix everything. Transfer the mixture into the jar, cover, wrap, and rest as before.
Observations: There is ~0.5 cm rise in the starter – first measurable rise so far. There was no distinct smell and little, if ever, bubbles.
*I decided to take less starter out today, considering the fact that it was not flourishing. So I reduced it by 3/4 cup, rather than 1 cup.
**I forgot to take a photo before the feed today.
Procedure: Remove 3/4 cup starter out. Add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup water, and the remaining starter in a bowl. Mix well. Transfer the mixture into the jar, cover, wrap and rest as before.
*from today on, the starter become a less runny/batter-like. I prefer this kind of starters – my feeling is that it helps the yeast flourish better.
**I removed a smaller amount of starter today, as the remaining amount did not look enough to me.
Observations: When I checked it in the morning (yes, I have a habit of checking the starter 6-7 times a day – it is very exciting! 🙂 ), it had risen 2.5 x of its original height 🙂 It also smelled sour for the first time and there were many small bubbles and a slightly uneven surface.
In the evening, it had collapsed a little bit ( I think that is because had exhausted itself – definitely it is the time to feed.)
5th day – right before the feed
Procedure: Take 1/2 cup of starter out. Add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup of water, and the remaining starter in a bowl. Mix well. Transfer the mixture into the jar, cover, wrap and rest as before.
*I removed less starter today compared to previous days. I kind of improvise. Many people use standard measures/amounts and follow them every day, but I like to adjust things as they develop.
**I noticed that the starter does not have a smooth texture; it must be the particles in whole wheat flour that give it rather a crumby look.
Additional observations the same day (day 5):
2 hours after the feed: The starter had doubled in size. The best activity so far. No distinct sour smell yet.
5th day – 2 hours after the feed
3 hours after the feed: The starter reached the lid! Now knowing what to do, I decided to try to mix it well with a fork and hope that it would not rise till morning. No distinct sour smell yet. Forking caused the starter to go back to its size right after the feed.
Day 5 – 3 hours after the feed. Monster has reached the lid 🙂
4 hours after the feed: I was being naive – even I mixed it and it went down to its original size, the Monster did rise and reach the lid again in an hour.
Time to change the jar. I mixed the starter well with a fork, and transferred all of it into a larger jar. Repeated the usual step; cover, wrap, and rest, as before.