Sourdough, yet again

28 September 2010 § 1 Comment

After yet another weekend alone at home and not in the fridge my sourdough survived again, but today he was a bit capricious and did not want to rise. He gave me a smile though when the bread came out of the oven:
Smiley bread by fabrivelas on Zooomr
Smiley bread by fabrivelas on Zooomr


Sourdough bread in a tea towel

17 September 2010 § 2 Comments

Tea towel bread by fabrivelas on Zooomr

This time I let my bread rise in a tea towel, and it worked out great. The last week my sourdough starter smelled more vinegary than the week before when the smell was more reminiscent of apple. Now that my sourdough is two weeks old I decided to wash out its container for the first time. Today will also be the first time that the sourdough has to go into the fridge, because I don’t want to take it to the Ardennes on a walking tour.

dscf5337 by fabrivelas on Zooomr

23 September 2010: I actually did not put the sourdough in the fridge, but left it with a lot of flower, till Sunday night when I fed it again on returning from the Ardennes. I then made a bread on Monday. This weekend I’ll be in Paris, so I am baking again at the moment and I shall leave the sourdough waiting again for me on Sunday night. My dough has not seen a fridge from the inside, yet, nor have I had to throw any away, because I am baking about twice a week.

Sourdough bread again

14 September 2010 § 5 Comments

Yesterdays bread turned out much nicer, than the bread before. I added more rye and less spelt, this time. While it was rising I added more water because I had the impression that the dough was to stiff but then I had to add more flour, too… The bread is very good. Good crust, light interior.

The sourdough has not been in the fridge yet, because I am baking at 3 days interval at the moment. This time though I had a very sour, vinegary starter and I feared that the bread would be too sour, but it turned out wonderful. Dark and light 🙂 I have the impression that the sourdough matures. This time I poured out all of it to bake, for continuing I used the dough that was stuck to the walls of my glass container. It is plenty enough. I have not washed the glass since the start, on the top part of the glass the dough is dry. I guess that I could use it as reserve in case my sourdough dies one day, I have to do this soon though if I don’t want it to get moldy (or mouldy??).

Next time I’ll try the dish towel method for forming the loaves.

Sourdough bread (4)

11 September 2010 § 2 Comments

Second sourdough bread fresh from the oven by fabrivelas on Zooomr
Another bread. This time I used more water. I had again about half a litre of sourdough and mixed in a bit more than half a kilogramme of spelt flour. This time I added about 50 ml of water, too. The dough was much softer and stickier. I therefore used a mold for fear that the bread would run away. I let it rise for about 2 hours (like last time), formed the bread, and let it rest for another 45 min, on top of the oven which I already lit, so that some warmth was aiding the rising before I put it in the oven. It smells again very good with some acidity, but I expect the taste to be less acidic tomorrow again, like last time. Keeping the sourdough going from 3 days ago to now worked well, it is already up and bubbling again with the rest of the flour from the bread making and some rye flour. I am not sure, yet, if I’ll put the dough in the fridge now or if I continue, because in 3 days I’ll have to bake again, anyway 🙂

But the bread has some faults, the crust is broken.
View from above by fabrivelas on Zooomr

and another view.
view from the side by fabrivelas on Zooomr

The bread looked like this before rising.
before rising by fabrivelas on Zooomr

and after rising.
after rising by fabrivelas on Zooomr

when putting in the mold:
45 min before the oven

This is my sourdough in the farinarium starting again:
Sourdough by fabrivelas on Zooomr

Sourdough close-up by fabrivelas on Zooomr

No-knead breads

9 September 2010 § 6 Comments

One day I would like to try these no-knead breads from
The New York Times and a sourdough version from Sourdo.

Sourdough bread (3)

9 September 2010 § 1 Comment

After my first sourdough bread attempt yesterday, I immediately started a new batch, feeding the little sourdough that was left in my glass with more water and organic stone-ground rye flour milled on a Dutch water-mill (Vajra), so that I can bake another bread this weekend.

The smell of the sourdough is really wonderful now, it still smells of apples but with much more depth. It makes me want to eat it just like that. When I finished the bread yesterday I scraped the remaining spelt flour that was left on my baking surface together and put it with the new batch of sourdough, hoping that this contamination would not harm the dough. It turns out now that it was not critical, so far.

The spelt flour I use is from the Moulin artisanal at the farm Bare in 5190 Balatre, Belgium. This is one of the 80% spelt flours that I use regularly for yeast breads.

I was just browsing the web looking for other experiences with sourdough where I saw a proving basket. I remember seeing some old proving baskets gathering dust at my parent’s place. I guess I need to take one of them next time I visit.

These are the websites I used so far for my sourdough preparation:
The original idea came from my Swedish friend: who pointed me to the blog Paindemartin. Further investigation led me to the German Adler Mühle. Good instructions with photos and lots of information can be found at this US (?) site. More details I found at a Belgian lesson for bread making which got information from the Belgian association of manufacturers and importers of products for bakery, pastry, chocolate and ice cream (unifa) which also has links to pastry and chocolate. The French have a forum for bakers at with lots of detailed information for making large amounts of breads. A German baker offers some advice at Sauerbrot (sourbread). Some German site, Bäcker (bakers), has lots of information about sourdough. The text there was written by Mirko Driller, who has his own site. Finally there is a German amateur forum having information about everything sourdough.

Sourdough bread (2)

8 September 2010 § 4 Comments

The bread is ready. I formed it into a loaf and it kept the form. I did not want to stay up until midnight tonight and put the bread in when it was not quite double the size, it looks very much like my yeast breads and has a fluffy consistency. The saltiness is right for my taste and the acidity, too. It has a pleasant nutty flavour.

I have a gas oven, however, with no indication about the heat and with the heat only coming from the bottom. It is quite tricky to get the heat right, and it took me a while to get it for yeast bread. For my sourdough bread I still need to practice because the crust is quite hard and it is a bit pale on the top, but good at the bottom.

After cooling down I had the bread for breakfast, and it was even better than when it just came out of the oven. It is fine-grained with a good density, but better than many commercial organic breads. I also only use whole rye flour and 80% (local Belgian method to quantify the wholeness) spelt four.

The description of flours can be quite confusing. Every country seems to have their own system of describing the strength of flour. In Belgium has 2 systems, one for professionals and one for the consumer. For the professional it consists of 2 numbers, one indicating the protein content from 10 to 13% and one the ash content. For the consumer there is just a percentage of wholeness.
I found a comparative table of the Belgian method for the description of wholeness and the ash ratio, the French type system and the German type system:
and here:

approx. US name grain extraction [%] in Belgium (France/Germany) type (France/Germany) ash [%] in France (Germany)
whole meal 100 (90-98/<80) 150/1600 > 1.40 (1.21-1.80)
first clear flour 85 (85-90/<80) 110/1050 > 1.00 to 1.20 (0.91 to 1.20)
high gluten flour 75 (<73) 80/812 > 0.75 to 0.90 (0.64 to 0.90)
white flour 65 (78) 65/630 (spelt) > 0.62 to 0.75 (0.70)
all-purpose flour 55 (75/<60) 55/550 > 0.50 to 0.60 (0.51 to 0.63)
pastry flour 45 (67/<40) 45/405 < 0.50 (0.50)

The German system adds one decimal to the French system. Ash means that if 100 g of flour is burnt, there will be 0.450 g of ash left for type 45 (French) flour with the tolerances mentioned in the table it can also be seen a mineral content of the flour.

More info and a conversion table to US flour types can be found on Wikipedia and from a vegetarian in Germany who has some more information.

Here are two photos of the remaining bread.
First sourdough bread, or what is left
“First sourdough bread, or what is left by fabrivelas on Zooomr

Another view
Another view by fabrivelas on Zooomr

(Looking at photos, have a look at shutter speed and iso and pixel noise of these photos. They should be available on the zooomr site. There is camera shake, but it was very dark when I took these photos and the camera is very, very old!!!)

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