It has been two years that I started to bake bread. I have not bought store-sold breads since then.
First many trials were not so good (except the first oe below, which was amazing to me!), but it eventually came around.
Then I got into sourdough and boy, what a magnificent experience it has been: every weekend with great excitement I baked a loaf or two, shared it with my neighbors, and friends, and I even shared my starter with someone interested in. It sure makes me happy and joyful.
Does it not look like the face of Spiderman – one of my favorite characters? 🙂
This loaf was the last and the best one I baked with multigrain bread flour.
FYI – I cannot recommend the multigrain bread flour – it does not rise much. If you are looking for better crumb, either have a warmer place to proof the dough (my kitchen is around 17C during winter and I am not patient enough to wait too long), or use the old, good plain bread flour.
This loaf contains:
1 1/3 cup whole wheat starter/levain
2.5 cups of water
4 cups of multi-grain bread flour and 2 cups of all purpose flour (i had run out of bread and multi-grain flour)
2.5 tbs sugar
2 tbs salt
Everything is mixed and I stretched and folded it 4-5 times before I left it to rise overnight at room temperature; these happened yesterday evening
This morning I shaped it and placed in a mixing bowl upside down and left for proofing in the oven for 5.5 hours
Baked at 350F oven (non-prehetaed) for an hour
Spiderman is here!!!! 🙂
this is how it looked right before I left it to rise over night
and this is how it saied good morning to me in the morning – it has risen 🙂
shaped – you may notice that I did not do a good job making it a smooth round dough. It is difficult to “bind” and “smooth” dough prepared with the multi-grain flour. It may be me, it may be the flour – I leave it to you to decide
5.5 hours later it had risen and got fluffy, which is always a pleasure to see 🙂
the dough keeps its shape well, which tells me that gluten is formed.. let’s cross the finger 🙂
my favorite score 🙂
the crumb was soft and with little but mighty air packets – I could not be happier 🙂 the air packets were little but at least existed – cannot wait to get plain bread flour now 🙂
I was trying to find the ways to reduce the proofing time lately: one thing I have tried in the last two weeks is proofing the dough in an oven (not turned or warmed up; no lights , either) to see whether this relatively temperature-wise stable environment would help reduce it.
This dough was only proved for 3 hours (in contrast to my usual 4-6 hours proofing). It was almost flat when I placed it on the parchment paper and scored. But there was a great oven spring (just like last week), so it turned out to be just lovely.
I think the in-oven proofing helped. I also think that maybe in the past I was over-proofing my dough..
Of course, the hydration levels of the dough makes a difference in terms of the yeast activity – this was a slightly sticky dough. This may be another reason for the short proof time working with this loaf.
In any way, I am just happy to have this loaf 🙂
mighty starter/levain 🙂 it is 100% whole wheat starter
iitial dough: it has 1 cup of levain; 1.5 cups of water, 1.5 tbs of salt and sugar, and 3.5 cups of bread flour – I stretched and folded it 4-5 times, and left at room temp over night for the rise
the next morning, this is what I have said hello 🙂
shaped and left for proofing for 3 hours
at the end of 3 hours-proofing time; not so much of a rise but it is puffy and I took my chances 🙂
on the parchment paper prior to scoring
tried this style for the first time – let’s see it 🙂
looook at these air pockets 🙂 so impressive considering that it was a short proofing this time – bon appetite me! 🙂
This was the first time that I tried 3 hours of proofing. When I took it out of the shaping bowl and scored, the dough was almost flat. But in the oven it showed a great oven spring and one of the largest air pockets I have ever seen. It even cracked itself on top even though I had slashed it, which tells me that yeast really worked hard this time.
Will continue like this – it has been a great experiment.
Here is a fantastic sourdough with a hint of trolled oats and black olives 🙂
This loaf was my first trial of a rectangular shape 🙂 I learnt a while ago that sticky dough do not keep its shape well if does not have enough support. So I used one of my oven pots to prove and bake this loaf.
I would do this loaf again; the crust was thin and soft (the way I love it) and it tasted amazing!
The recipe is similar to others:
1 1/3 cup 100% whole wheat starter (fed Friday night and then on Saturday morning prior to saving half in the fridge; used to make the dough in the afternoon)
2 cups water; mixed the starter and water well with the help of a fork until it became kind of frothy
2.5 tbs sugar; mixed well into the starter/water mix
4.5 cups of bread flour, 1.5 tbs salt, and 200 grms of pitted black olive-halved: (approximately 1.5 cups). Formed a shaggy dough, closed the lid, kneaded every 30 min or so three times until dough looked like forming. At the end of folding stage dough was too sticky (must be the olives’ juice), so I added 1/3 cup of rolled oats to help with the moisture
let rest at room temperature over might
since it was a kind of sticky dough, I decided to place it in a large rectangular oven pot lined with parchment paper
sprinkled top with more oats, placed in a nylon bag, tied the ends, and proved for 4.5 hours at room temperature
baked in non-pre-heated oven at 350 F for one hour
after the stretch and fold and prior to over night rise at room temp
this is how it said hi to me 🙂 what a lovely rise 🙂
placed in the oven pot without trying to shape; I just helped it to the corners and that was it
and it looks awesome inside – as expected from a sticky dough it has nice air pockets
closer look – black olives are my favorites, so I could not be happier 🙂
Here is today’s sourdough bread with a happy, happy, happy face! 🙂
It will be gifted to a colleague of mine, who gave me a ride this weekend – hope they will like it 🙂
this is the dough prior to overnight rise at room temp; it contains 1 cup of levain, 1 1/3 cup of water, 3.5 cups of bread flour, 2 tbs of sugar, and 1.5 tbs of salt; stretched and folded 4-5 times. You may notice it is in a mixing bowl , which is in a pot. I wanted to try whether rising in a bowl would help with the development of the dough better than a large pot, like I always do. I also needed the pot because it has a lid – we do not want any pet lurking around, do we? I do not…..:)
in the morning; it was a great dough
this is right after it has been shaped and placed in a mixing bowl with a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with flour
5.5 hours of rising at room temperature in a plastic bag, which creates a green house effect I believe
I was kind of worried about its shape, but it turned out to be great at the end
Because of my trips lately I had depleted my frozen bread stock. I feel a lot better when I have extra loaves at the freezer. Thus, I baked two sourdough today using the same recipe 🙂
They both turned out to be lovely! Thin crust and soft crumb, with a kick of salt and feeling very homey 🙂 The oven spring was way more powerful that I would imagine, as both loaves had sides cracked despite the fact that I had scored their surface 🙂 Something worked really well 🙂
The catch is that I had run out of bread flour, so I had to prepare the dough with all purpose flour. Now, I never have had a good rise with all purpose flour, even though I am in Canada (people says that Canadian all purpose flour is as good as the bread flour with high protein content…). That is why I thought I would add some oat or rye flakes to dough – my previous experience with these additions is that they make the yeast somehow happier and dough better and airy.
I used 1 cup of rolled rye flakes soaked for 2 hours in 1 cup of water, which was then topped with 5 cups of all purpose flour, 2tbs of sugar, 1.5 tbs of salt, 1 1/3 cups of starter, and I believe 2.5 cups of water.
I used the stretch and fold technique to form the dough and left it at room temperature over night to rise.
In the morning, I was looking at a puffy and healthy dough 🙂 I cut it into two, one smaller than the other, shaped, rested for 10 min, and then placed them in proving containers. The small one was proven in an oven pot and the other one was formed into a long loaf and placed on a cookie sheet surrounded with items to keep it in shape. I left them at room temperature for 4.5 hours to prove.
I scored them and then baked at non-pre-heated oven at 350F for 55 min.
the next morning, it looks fluffy and happy 🙂
this is the long loaf, squeezed between kitchen items to help keep its shape
small loaf; nicely tucked in an oven pot
after 4.5 hours at room temp, the dough has risen nice and eay
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 🙂
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! 🙂
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)
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)
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 🙂
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 🙂
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.
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 🙂
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.
5th day – 4 hours after the feed
5 hours after the feed and 1 hour after moved to a bigger jar: the Monster has doubled in size. Unfortunate that I could not take a picture (battery was charging). It is such a Monster!
6 hours after the feed and 2 hours after moved to a bigger jar: boy, the Monster is at work – it has risen so much 🙂
5th day – 6 hours after the feed and 2 hours after moved to a bigger jar. It tripled in size 🙂 the blue (-5) is where it was two hours ago. Is it a Monster or what? 🙂
I cannot wait to see it tomorrow!
Day 6 (added after the post)
Observations at noon: At noon, the starter had collapsed. It smells slightly sour and seeing bubbles were very pleasing. I decided to feed it and use the left-over starter to prepare a levain for sourdough bread.
*This is the only day that I fed the starter twice – one at noon and one at evening (its regular feed time)
6th day – noon. looks like it needs some feeding…
Procedure for first feed of the day: Mix well with a fork. I took out 2/3 cups of the starter to prepare the levain. To feed the remaining starter, in a bowl add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water to the remaining starter, mix well with a fork, and transfer back to the jar. Cover, wrap, and rest at room temperature for an additional 6 hours.
Observations prior to the second feed of the day: Six hours after the new feed, the starter had doubled and had nice bubbles. The slight sour smell was there, too. The texture is pretty stiff (i.e. not runny at all, which I kind of like).
*At that point, I decided it was time that I put it in the fridge for future use.
Procedure:Take 1 cup of starter and add 2/3 cups whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water, mix well, and transfer into a new jar and cover with a piece of cloth. Let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour prior to placing into the fridge.
Observation -3 hours after the fridge: I was right naming this starter “Monster”. Can you believe that this starter is continuing to rise in the fridge???
I love my Monster 🙂
3 hours after in the fridge. is it normal for a starter to rise so much in the fridge?? I was right calling it Monster. I really was… 🙂
A couple of thoughts.
This was so far the most robust starter.
I am thinking a couple of things may have contributed to it:
whole wheat flour (rather than all purpose flour I had used in the earlier starters)
mixing the starter together with the fresh flour and water in a bowl (i.e. not in the jar). Not sure whether aeration (i.e. getting out of the jar) helps the starter/yeast somehow.
I also used fork rather than the spoon to mix the flour/water/starter – fork may be doing a better job than the spoon. Maybe, again in terms of aeration.
I am almost sure, even though I have no evidence for this, stiffer starters (not runny) rise faster.
I have started my 4th sour dough starter today, with 2/3 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. I mixed these with a fork in a bowl and then transferred the starter-to-be in a clean glass jar. I covered the lid with a clean and thin clothe, secured with with an elastic band, wrapped the jar with a little hand towel (only because here is colder than many other places), and put it on a shelf to rest.
I go check it time to time by lifting the clothe-lid – curiosity 🙂 I read somewhere else that it is okay as there would be some bacteria or wild yeast in my surroundings that this would help them to be captured in the flour+water mix, and thus, enhance the starter. True or not, I have no idea. My primary driver is the curiosity – is there a bubble? A rise? Some sort of smell? Something???? 🙂 🙂
Of course, it is not realistic to expect that such a young starter mix will do all of these, but, hey, I am excited 🙂
I will use whole wheat flour for this starter. My plan is to feed it everyday by first taking up around half of it and adding the same amount of flour and water as stated above, except the 2nd day when I plan to add these ingredients without taking out from the starter (to nourish it a little bit at the beginning – the wild yeast is not in great amount anyhow and cannot strive very fast). Use of fork, if you do not have a whisker, is a better idea than using a spoon to mix the flour and water together.
Anyways; this is my fourth starter attempt. Why?
I started my first one while I was on vacation – the first one, even though the weather was warmer, did not flourish well in 5 days. So I started a new one. Maybe I was impatient or it really did not work out, I do not know.
The second one was a thriver and I baked breads with it 🙂 it was a sour dough alright 🙂 Unfortunately we had to let it go right before I left home; my family does not bake breads frequently.
In both of these, I added 4-5 dry chickpeas in the mixture, slightly cracked. My sister heard that that would make a great sour dough starter. I think she was right mostly. I would recommend it to everyone. I also kept and tended to these two starters in the kitchen, which I am sure had both the wild yeast and the commercial yeast, as I was baking bread with dry yeast then, too. So, the commercial yeast would have also been captured in the starters. Would they make sour dough, too, I wonder though? if not, then I can safely conclude that they were wild yeast in my starter, as the bread I baked with was pretty sour 🙂
Then I arrived my home here and I started another one with only flour (all purpose, white flour) and water. Today was the 11th day. It was sour alright, but very very sour-smelling. The first week or so it just smelled like wheat, but nothing else. And the bubbles was not something I saw before – very lifeless looking, small bubbles. It did start to rise in the last few days, so it was telling me that the wild yeast (and bacteria) were there. But today, I decided it was time to let it go, too. I would not bake with this thin-looking starter. I need something stronger. So, here I am on Day 1 of my 4th starter 🙂
I cannot claim to be a successful sourdough maker, yet I have a couple of observations and “feelings” about the sourdough starters:
1. usually the starter rises like 1/2 of its initial height on the second day after feeding (not counting the flour and water mixed in). It makes me excited each time, as we expect a rise in sourdough starter. But it is not permanent and get lost later until it starts to rise again maybe on the 6th-10th day (which ever the first rise and large bubbles happen). I think these are the bacterial actions in the 2nd day, rather than the wild yeast activity. No need to get too excited.
2. hooch can appear on the second day on. I do not like it and prefer to throw away. Once it occurred in the middle of the starter, which I had to mix with the starter. Personal preference, that is all.
3. the denser starters seem to thrive better than batter-like starters. I do not know why, this is my feeling. If i do see that the starter is runny, I opt to add more flour than water to make it a denser one. you noticed above that I add less water than the flour (cup-wise) even though everybody is recommending a 1:1 ratio (by weight). Looks like 1 cup flour = 240 grams and 1 cup water = 236.5 grms (so almost the same weight). I found in my experience, such a ratio makes batter-like starters (which I do not like for some reason) and thus I cut the water a little bit. Again, a personal preference.
4. I must admit I did not measure my water and flour carefully in the previous trials and rather have had batter-like starters one day and denser ones next day, and so on. I know I must be more systematic and use a constant ratio all the time but this does not happen with me. Again, a personal preference.
5. As expected the starter gets more runny the next day; must be the action of the yeast and bacteria in the flour/water/starter. Just an observation. I guess it makes sense as even a dense dough after the first rise or the proof gets softer/more hydrated than the initial dough.
6. checking the starter for rising or bubbles is a very exciting activity. When I see them, I feel like I accomplished something and feeling pretty happy and excited about my life 🙂
Anyways, let’s see how this 4th sourdough starter adventure of mine will develop 🙂