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.
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 🙂
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
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 🙂
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.
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 🙂
Since I started baking my own bread last year, I have been feeling more “able“.
Bread has always been my favorite food. Strange enough after I started baking my own loaves, the amount of bread I consumed has reduced. How strange… I wonder whether it being a natural product with no additives or chemicals has anything to do with this? Anyways, I am proud of the fact that within the last one year I did not buy any store-made bread; I only consumed my own, mostly the precious sourdough loaves. Talking about the joy of baking and the happiness coming out of it 🙂
Anyways, when I bought my sewing machine last November, I thought it was an additional step towards being resourceful and a self-sustaining life-style. I was planning to sew my own blouses, which I have failed so far, but one day I will do this. This and others, like sewing quilt, doing repairs (which I have), and sewing cloths/placemats to be used around the house (which I have, too) will keep me feel independent and able. It feels good indeed.
We may not realize but there are so many ways that even someone like me, who does not like house chores, demonstrates the ability to self-sustain. Consider cooking at home and feeding ourselves, cleaning our own houses, taking care of the yard (boy, thinking about cutting the grass… argh… one thing that I really dislike, but keep doing anyhow), dyeing our own hair to name a few. I feel so again when I walk to or from the office, or to the shopping malls, instead of taking the bus or the cab. By walking I freely transport myself and relax at the same time. Do you not think that we in fact all are, to some degree, independent of others/stores/services and rather are self-sustaining?
I have spent sometime reading posts about homesteading this evening. I have no practical interest in homesteading myself as a single and middle aged city girl, but I sure enjoy reading about the daily lives of the homesteaders, their farming adventures, issues, and relationships with nature. My current life and level of sustainability is no-where near the homesteaders’ life, but I am doing way better than many people living in a mid-size city. I guess even though I do not realize it well, I happen to have a kind of simple, affordable, and sustainable life that I must be excited about 🙂
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 🙂
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.
I was up at around 8 am this morning. When I wake up that early, the day is so long that I can do everything in it. Like today; I got breakfast, cleaned my home, did laundry, talked to my family, walked to my office, worked like 4 hours, walked back home, cooked meal, and prepared my sourdough for tomorrow. Now, I am chilling.
Wohoo! 🙂 This is a lot of things to do in a day without getting bored or stressed. Yep – I did it. I did all of these without getting bored or without getting stressed 🙂 What a blessing.
Everything was nice and easy today. Cleaning was easy. There was only two loads of laundry. It was too much windy but I walked 30 min to office and then back to home and enjoyed every minute of it anyhow; the work I have done at the office was great – I did not stress myself at all. I just worked without any pressure and I did really good.
Overall, I could not be happier and excited about getting up early, finding a long day ahead of me, and being stress-free! 🙂
Hey, maybe I will do that again tomorrow 🙂
Tomorrow is my bread baking day. Every loaf is an excitement – after all, there can not be another copy of a loaf. Each one is individual. They cannot be replicated 100% – no matter how hard we try. That is why each Sunday I have excitement guaranteed – “how will this loaf turn out?” What an exciting question! How nice to have this excitement every week.
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 🙂
Today and yesterday were kind of busy and high-speed days; but they were both good 🙂
I have done great in terms of cleaning my home; except the storage area, entrance deck, and the kitchen I am done cleaning; window sills, every corner, behind the furniture, and most importantly the laminate floors are wiped! Yay! I so dislike cleaning the floors, but it is done until further notice (heh he! 🙂 ) I also lightly wiped the rugs, except the one on the stairs and started my decluttering activity.
I am so into decluttering. I so far threw away quite a bit of clutter and am trying to sale some other minor stuff. Ones that will not be sold will be donated next week. This feels good. I still have a long way to complete my decluttering, but at least I have started and am enjoying it. I cannot wait to remove the clothes from my home – some of them have not been worn for some time and it is time to donate them. Old socks are always fun to throw away, and finding new treasures hidden here and there is a surprisingly delightful activity 🙂
Cleaning, if you do not like it, is a huge burden. One of my colleagues suggested I hire someone to do it; while I like the idea I think as long as I am capable of doing it, I will keep doing it.
I have baked this beauty for a social yesterday 🙂 does it not look awesome? It was an overnight dough prepared by milk (add 1 cup of warm skim milk, 1/2 tbs of dry yeast, 1tbs of sugar together; activate the yeast for 10 min with the container covered by a towel; add 2.5 cups of bread flour and knead; stretch and fold 4-5 times when you have time; rest at the fridge overnight; take it out in the morning and bring to room temperature (takes around 2 hours); shape; proof for an hour; and bake at 350F for 30 min (not pre-heated; it helps with the raise of this dough, which has a small amount of yeast) after applying whole egg wash and generous amount of sesame seeds on top).
Everybody loved it! I am baking a similar one for another social tomorrow, together with my sourdough 🙂 we will see how they will turn out tomorrow.
This is my second time adding semolina flour into sourdough.
This time something really worked; this was the best rise I have ever seen with my starter 🙂
Not sure whether I have a starter that evolved and works robustly at our cold climate (rises even at ~17C, which is the temperature of my kitchen) or it was the semolina flour that kicked the dough a little bit, I am not sure. But whatever it was, this recipe is something that I sure will try again in the future 🙂
1.5 cup of starter that is fed with 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup of water a night before and again in the morning
Add to the starter 1 tbs of salt, 2 tbs of sugar, 2 cups of bread flour, 1 cup of semolina flour, and 1 cup water. Mix well and knead 4-5 minutes
Cover and let rise at room temperature, with occasional stretch and fold (I did a total of 5 of these)
Let rise at room temperature over night
The next day, shape the loaves (I tried one baton and one whirled loaf; the latter one did not turn out to be great-looking, but you can try to shape your loaves as you wish. I floured a large piece of parchment paper and placed the loaves on it on a cookie sheet). Place in a big plastic bag and let proof at room temperature for 2 hours
After proofing, heat the oven to 375 F and bake the loaves for 45 – 50 min
Sprinkle with a minute amount of water, cool for 5-10 min, and enjoy 🙂
after stretch and fold and right before leaving it to rise over night at room temperature. Dough has developed quite well
that is how it was in the morning! almost escaped from the pot 🙂
nice dough with lots of development 🙂
I admit I am not good at shaping the loaves….
after 2 hours of proofing at room tenperature
and after 45 min at the oven, this is how they have looked 🙂 beautiful!
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 love to have aims and plans to tackle them. There is something exciting and energizing about this.
I am not always successful in my aims or plans, but, hey, I will try as many times as it takes and as much as I can enjoy.
The majority of my aims are around similar themes; having a financial plan; having a simple yet non-routine life; and having a healthier life-style.
I will focus on details later but the particular areas of my life that I would love to work on real soon are:
getting a much leaner budget and getting rid of the extra expenses for good
making an extra payment to mortgage till new year and increasing my payment after that sometime. My very ambitious plan is to drop it to 100K in 3 years. Likely not gonna happen but whatever I can do is good
eating healthier and losing 25 pounds and keeping it off
having a vacation somewhere this year only for my own enjoyment
having a less stressful work life and dealing with work and emotions better
being more social
baking the perfect loaf
decluttering the house and the office again and possibly again
buying a new set of plates
being more aware and appreciative of my surroundings, life experiences, and everything else in life 🙂
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 🙂