Hearth Bread

Sourdough Rye Bread

Dough Structure and High Hydration Dough

Jun 03, 2013

  I am making sourdough rye bread today and pulled out Hamelman’s  Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes (a really good bread technique book) to looks for some new ideas — and I think I had another ah hah moment. The Hamelman recipe for a mixed flour Miche calls for 60% whole wheat, 20% whole rye and 20% bread flour, and 83% hydration. Yep. 83% hydration. I was already in... Read More

Pain Pauline

Pain Pauline at Trader Joe’s

May 28, 2013

  Trader Joe’s is like the Wells Fargo Wagon from the musical the Music Man (sorry for the arcane reference). You never know what is going to be new (or which of your favorites has been phased out). Anyway, I was bemoaning the lack of a whole wheat sourdough option at our local Trader Joe’s in Pacific Grove, CA just a while back, but today there was Pain Pauline. A clear... Read More

sourdough starter

Retarded Fermentation

May 26, 2013

  I’ve been reading more about sourdough cultures and learned something interesting — and valuable. There are two main acids produced by a sourdough culture; lactic and acetic. Acetic acid is the acid that produces vinegar, and it gives your sourdough bread a more distinctive tang while lactic acid is associated with yogurt production and gives a smooth, milky flavor. As an aside, lactic acid is a big component in wine, where... Read More

whole wheat sourdough

A Well-Developed Crumb

May 25, 2013

  Here is the crumb of my latest whole wheat sourdough toasting bread. This is a 90% whole wheat/10% white AP flour (from my starter) and 70% hydration, so given my tendency to make the occasional whole wheat “brick”, I am really happy with this. This with zero yeast. It tells me that my starter is very active, and the flavor is very nice. Plus, as many people will tell... Read More

sourdough starter

Sourdough Tang

May 23, 2013

Wow. When they say that your sourdough keeps getting more sour as you divide it, feed it and leave it at room temperature — they really mean it. My starter became noticeably more sour and more tangy as time when on, and I want to see how far it would go. Today the answer was “really far”. Seriously tangy. But all good things must come to an end, so today... Read More

Sourdough Rye

Sourdough Rye

May 23, 2013

  This came out pretty good. My first attempt at sourdough rye with my new starter was made in two stages (three if you include building the starter). This is a 500-gram loaf with 70% hydration. Stage 1. I added 160 grams of whole wheat flour, 160 grams of dark rye flour, 250 grams of water and 10 grams of salt to 180 grams of my starter — which contained... Read More

Bread Proofing Box

Pop-Up Bread Proofing Box

May 21, 2013

I am starting to experiment with sourdough rye (something I have been looking forward to), which got me thinking about multi-stage proofing and the ability to control proofing temperature. My oven has an 85F proofing setting, which has been helpful, but today I came across this, a home bread proofer.   This bread proofing box is from Brod & Taylor, and it costs about $150, and the temperature can be... Read More

sourdough baguette

Next, a Sourdough Baguette

May 19, 2013

  I started my sourdough baguette around noon to give the dough time to develop, and went with 100% AP flour and hydration of 70%+ — I’m not really sure exactly what it was, but it was too high. My dough didn’t have enough structure to proof in baguette shape without sagging sideways. It might have been too much water and it might have been the flour. You can see... Read More

sourdough focaccia

Sourdough Focaccia

May 18, 2013

This is a fun weekend bread. 100% white flour; in the case Central Milling Tipo 00. Lets try this time sourdough focaccia I pulled off 180 grams of my starter (and fed it) around noon, and built it up to a 300 gram/72% hydration focaccia formula. By the math, the starter was 80 grams of flour and 100 grams of water, so to finish the dough I added 220 grams... Read More


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