Monthly Archives: February 2012

*Test* Natural yeast that started with white flour and water

Now I am intrigued by simple starter, which is made by white flour and water only.  I also want to make good bread without adding instant yeast at the final dough. But, my main goal is to make non sour sandwich bread with the simplest starter. The taste will be like flour wine when I bite off, which is my dream.

I thought that it will be called ” Sourdough”, but this starter is different when I looked up for sourdough.  I am trying to not have or taste lactic acid or any acetic but Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the dough like yeast water. In Japan, they call the starter ” Flour yeast” ” Bread culture”  or ” 老麺” in Chinese.    I don’t know if I can make it or nor, but I will try until I am a successful.

Day 1

  • 40g  King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 40g  King Arthur bread flour
  • 40g filtered water

* Mix it thoroughly and make into a ball shape, then put in the container  to ferment for 24 hours at the room temperature at 82F.   I reformed 2 times a day to activate the dough.    


  • 40g King Arthur all  purpose flour
  • 40g King Arthur bread flour
  • 40g filtered water

* Adding the same amount of flour and water into the Day1 dough. Fermented at 82F for 24 hours. I reformed the dough into a ball 2 times a day to activate the dough.  The dough was very sticky. The taste was like sticky yogurt.


  • Repeat ” Day2″. but ,No more reforming the dough into a ball.

            Very very sticky….

After feeding .


  • 80g Starter
  • 40g King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 40g King Arthur bread flour
  • 50g filtered water

* In the morning( 24 hours later ) the dough rose more than doubled in volume,I threw some starter on the surface because it was dried.  The taste was mild sour ( lactic acid) and sweet.

I refreshed the starter…

At 3:40pm ( 7 hours later)  It rose doubled in volume.  the picture was taken at 2 pm.

7 hours later  —-
I made 3 different ways to keep the starters

Test  No.1  : Put the dough in a small zip lock  and store it in the refrigerator for a week ,then  A) Feed “Day 4” ingredients and store it back in the refrigerator for a week.  Repeat A) one more time, and I will bake bread with this sourdough.

Before refrigerating…

7 days later.  the dough has a mild sour taste, and smelled white wine…

80g starter and … ( Very sticky..)

Adding 80g King Arthur all purpose flour and 50g water.. Mix and formed into a ball..

Put int back in the refrigerator and sleep there for 7 days.

Another 7 days rose doubled.

The surface is was like this. It was a refreshing flavor with sweet and very mild lactic acid ( mild sour)

I refreshed the one with 80g starter/80g King Arthur all purpose flour/50g water and keep it in the refrigerator for 6 days, then refresh once before baking.

  ***************************   Another 7 days later ****************************************

It rose more than doubled in the refrigerator.  I made a sandwich loaf without refreshing.  So, I used this cold dough as levain. Because it gets lactic/ acetic acid as soon as I keep this dough at room temperature.

It rose doubled in 9 hours. I usually wait until any dough rise close to tripled but I didn’t wait this time. I knew the yeast is too young for that yet.

After molding…

Before baking  ( Proof  2 hours)  I didn’t want to have sour flavors for this bread, so I didn’t ferment the dough anymore.

I rose 150% over in the oven….

This bread is significantly sweeter and less sour compare to the TEST NO.3.  But I tasted it a very pinch of mild sour. The crumb was soft and fluff, which is a good sign.

Test  No.2 :

Baking bread( 5th day sourdough)

  • 15g starter
  • 15g King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 7g filtered water

*  I refreshed it↑ and it rose doubled in 6 hours.

So, I made levain for Rustic bread  with 5th day sourdough starter.  I thought that the starter is too young to bake bread, so I added 0.3% instant yeast as to 100% flour including preferment flour. I will post the formula soon..

Surprisingly,it only took 3 hours for the bulk fermentation.  Final proof: 30 minutes at 76F, 3 hours at 50F and 30 minutes at 68F.( For my schedule….I had to go out for some errands…)

The taste of crumb was full of sweetness from the flour. It had a mild sour taste. I really like this bread. I wish this bread were made without instant yeast….

Test  No.3   Keep the starter in the refrigerator for a week after refreshing:

I kept 50g starter from the original one, then mixed all of  the ingredients below.

  • 50g starter
  • 50g King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 36g filtered water

                                                 It rose doubled in volume in 6 hours.

So, I refreshed again with the ingredients below.  I immediately put it in the refrigerator.

  • 80g starter
  • 80g King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 50g filtered water

After mixing…

4 days later

6 days later… I am going to prepare for making bread

I refreshed.  80g starter/80g King Arthur all purpose flour/ 50g filtered water in the morning.

12 hours later. It rose tripled in bulk.

I made levain for a sandwich loaf at night, and also….

I refreshed it with 80g starter/80g King Arthur all purpose flour/50g water , then refrigerate it to keep the starter.

I will refresh in 6 days and bake bread again…

Here is the sandwich loaf.

It took 8 hours and 20 minutes at the bulk fermentation/2 hours and 45 minutes at the final proof.

It is different from all of the sourdough that started with fruit juice and raisin yeast water.  I tasted pleasant lactic sour and slightly smells white wine like..   I wish I could make non sour bread with this sourdough starter… The taste is more like flour wine,not lactic sour….

****9 days later*****

with malt powder

I kept  the starter in the refrigerator for 6 days and refreshed once before baking… until I fed 1g malt powder, 80g starter, 80g King Arthur all purpose flour, 60g filtered water for refreshing before making levain.  It went all wrong… I thought the starter will be stronger and sweeter… it rose 150% in 8 hours.  but the taste was horrible.   I tasted some weird bitter flavors to it. So, I threw it away.

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How to score on a round and oval loaf

Scoring on an oval loaf is much easier than a round loaf to have open spring  from my experiences.  I still feel difficult to score on an round loaf, but I am able to fix it now.

More important, you have to have good steam in your oven. Here is the steaming method that I use for a round and oval loaf.

How to score on a round loaf  / boule ( boule = ball in french / a round loaf by wikipedia)

Place an round loaf on the wood board with parchment paper.

Holding your razor at 90℃…

It doesn’t look good.. So I always score 2 times at least…

Score again,  following  the red arrows…( I got this idea from a Japanese book ” Coupe Junkies“.)

*If the corners are not still separated after the second scoring,

score from backward at 45℃.

Oven spring!


How to score on an oval loaf or Bâtard ( Bâtard = a type of bread similar to baguette by wikipedia)

The key is ….

  •  Scoring straight
  • Same depth
  • scoring from edge to edge
  • At 45℃

I should have scored further until the edge.

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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in How to score on a round / an oval loaf


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Steaming method for a round and oval loaf

This method is highly effective that I haven’t failed to have oven spring yet.

  1. Preheat 465F with a big stainless bowl.
  2. Take the bowl out from the oven using safety gloves.
  3. Slide a loaf into the oven, put the bowl back into the oven to cover the bread.
  4. Bake : 12 minutes at 465F.
  5. Take the bowl out from oven, bake 8 minutes at 425F.
  6. Put a oven rack on the baking stone, place the bread on it and  bake 25 minutes or until golden brown at 400 F.
  7. Take the loaf out from the oven, leave it on a rack until cool completely.

Put a big stainless bowl in a oven and Preheat at 465F.

Take the bowl out using safety gloves……

Slide a loaf into the oven…

Put the bowl back into the oven using safety gloves...

bake 12 minutes at 465F….

Take the bowl out from the oven…

set up 425F and  bake for 8 minutes

Place a oven rack on a baking stone for….

golden brown crust on the bottom….

Set up 400F, bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Oven spring!

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Retarding: Keep the dough in a refrigerator.

My purpose of retarding the dough is to seek for pleasant sour  ( not sharp sour) and savory, and keeping moist in bread, thus, the dough should be in the condition when it is retarded.

  • When the bulk fermentation takes more than 6 hours. ( small amount of yeast or levain)

* I never had sour tastes in bread with instant yeast only.

This is how I retard my dough and bake:

  1. Leave the dough after shaping at the room temperature at 68-70F for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Put the dough in the refrigerator ( 43F/6℃) for 12 hours or overnight.
  3. Take the dough out from the refrigerator.
  4. Proof the dough at the room temperature from colder to warmer place ( 65-80F/ 18-27℃) for 2-4 hours until the dough is ready.

*In the summer, I proof the dough at the room temperature for  0-20 minutes after retarding because the dough more likely gets slappy.


Here are stories about the crumb and taste by retarding with good amount of yeast and levain, or active levain.

About crumb:  The breads tend to be dry.   This is the good example of the dry crumb.   I made  Pain au Levain with sourdough starter with fresh apple juice.

It rose too much in the refrigerator… The bulk fermentation was 4 hours.It was kind of dry crumb and too light. I see and taste kind of crumb at some bakeries.

I also had the experiment with croissants that I retarded for overnight.


About the taste:

 I have heard that we will have acetic acid ( sharp sour flavor) in bread if you retard it for overnight.  It is true, but it is not true,either.  This is depends on how much food remain in the dough while fermenting.   When you have enough food in the dough, your bread won’t be so sour.   The taste of  bread will be also totally different by the hydration of levain.

For fruit yeast water, we will have different kind of acids in your bread  from the yeast water that you use when you retard it for overnight. Here is the chart that you can take a look.  * Remember, you won’t get strong sour flavors as long as your dough has enough food . ( Slow rise = enough food)

You can click on the chart ↓to see in a large size.

More details about Acid Naturally in Fruit is here.

* Note: Papaya, pineapple, fig, mango and Kiwi  are not suitable to make yeast water because they contain a plenty of protease, which make dough very sticky  so that the crumb tend to be very wet.  You can read more details about protease here.

For sourdough, You will get acetic acid ( sharp sour flavor ) when you retard it for overnight, however, the acetic flavor will be vary depends on what kind of flour you use.  I like the kind of sour from rye flour, which is fruity and sour.

* Remember, you won’t get strong sour flavors as long as your dough has enough food.( Slow rise = enough food)


Warning:  Retarding a sandwich loaf

I never thought that  any retarded sandwich loaves are good because I tasted a sharp sour flavor before when I tried. That is because there are used a good portion of  levain, therefore, it gets acetic in the process of high speed fermentation even it is in the refrigerator.

Although I found out that I can make flavorful bread, which has a little bit of mild sour with apple yeast water.  (I will post about apple yeast water later. I am still working on this until I post .  )   It started by my failure, my 9th day apple yeast water is too slow to rise to make a sandwich loaf.


  • 10 hours for the bulk fermentation.
  • Final proof.. 2.5 hours at the room temperature around 80F, retarding for 10 hours in the refrigerator, and real final proof for 5 hours at 65F to 78F.  It took so long until baked.

It rose quite well in the oven..

The crumb is more yellowish in real. Surprisingly sweet and mild sour like after eating an apple.

I taste the bread like this..

  Then  I retarded a sesame sandwich loaf with the same apple yeast water, which was still slow to rise.

……Before baking / cold oven….

Bulk fermentation: 9 .5 hours.

Final proof: 2 hours at the room temperature, Retarding for overnight ( 10 hours), final proof at the room temperature at 65F-78F for 4 hours.

 I am sorry that I forgot to take the picture of the sesame loaf. It rose quite well as much as the 9th sandwich loaf  with apple yeast water.

The taste was extremely sour and the flavor doesn’t match with sesame seeds….  I wonder if  that is from the sesame seeds because sesame seeds contain a lot of protein and ash ?

 I have to pay attention what kind of ingredients I add when I retard doughs from now on..

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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Retarding


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Japanese sandwich loaf with raisin yeast water

I probably made this loaf more than 70 within a year, and now I make it once a week at least.  I am always happy to have this loaf, which is just like the one used instant yeast, but doesn’t have yeasty brewer smell, which I really don’t like.

Japanese sandwich loaf with raisin yeast water

Mountain sandwich loaf

  Standard sandwich loaf

You can click on the PDF↓ to see in a larger size.


1. Make the levain:  Mix them thoroughly and leave it at the room temperature at 24℃/75F for 12 hours. It will rise tripled in volume by the next morning.

2. Mix the final ingredients except the saltAutolyze( leave it at the room temperature) for 30 minutes.

I highly recommend to use the way to have good crumb.

3. Add the salt and  knead  until the gluten developed ( Pass a window pane test )for about 20 minutes by hand, Or try my kneading method that I linked above.

Example: take a look at these crumb.

4. Bulk fermentation :* 3-11 hours at 24-26℃ /75F-78F  around. ( 2.5-3 times in volume) colder temperature in the summer,warmer temperature in the winter.

* Note: This is not about the time, it is all about how much your dough rise before you preshape the dough.  If your dough is very slow to rise, just wait until it is ready.  Long bulk fermentation makes flavorful bread.

5.Preshape & shape:  For a standard sandwich loaf .  For a mountain sandwich loaf.

* I like the Standard sandwich loaf shape  better than the mountain sandwich loaf ‘s  for levain bread because  the mountain sandwich loaf  is given a lot of pressure to the dough during the shaping and the dough gets tougher, therefore, the texture is like eating cotton candy ( shredding ) because natural yeast doesn’t have strong yeast as much as commercial yeast .


6. Proof   About 2 hours at 28℃ /82F until the dough rises little over the top of the tin.  If you don’t want any sour flavors to your loaf, Don’t proof your dough over 2 hours!  I bake it in 2 hours for non sour sandwich loaf.

If your dough is slow to rise, it may be good to retard it as long as you like sour bread. But, please read ” Warning about retarding a sandwich loaf” at the end of the post.

7. BakeNo need to preheat :

1) Spray water 2-4 times around the wall of the oven and place the loaf pan into the oven.

2) Set up 284 F and bake  for 20 minutes.

3) Set up 410F and bake for 15 minutes.

4.Rotate the loaf  180 degree and bake 10 more minutes until golden brown.

More detail about “ Cold oven ” method.

Standard loaf /Cold oven method

For preheated oven method:  Preheat 410F  and bake for 20 minutes at 410F.  Rotate 180 degree the loaf pan, bake more 15 minutes.   Place the loaf on a oven rack until completely cool.

This crumb and crust are really soft.  I don’t taste raisins at all, that I really like just like a regular sandwich bread.

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” Stiff starter/ levain ” vs ” Liquid starter/levain “

This conclusion is all by my sourdough starters and levain that I made from Sourdoughlady and the sourdough starters with jump start and the starters with raisin yeast water.  Everybody’s taste is different.  So I can’t argue with this topic because this is all from my taste, but I want to share my thoughts and experiments with everyone.

( Note: Small feeding makes less sour tastes.  Smallest feeding 1:1:1=starter: water: flour )

About  “Stiff starter “and ” liquid starter” in appearance:

I usually cover my starter with plastic wrap to ferment, but sometimes I use a lid.  All of them came out the same result… I mean ” liquid starter/ levain”  and ” Stiff starter/ levain” have  totally different characters.

  • Stiff starter has thick viscousity to hold bubbles ( =bigger bubbles in the dough), which means difficult to breathe than  liquid starter which has thinner viscousity.
  • Liquid starter can absorb more bacteria because liquid dough breaths constantly more than stiff dough, especially in the summer.  * There are a lot of bacteria in the summer, which disturb your healthy sourdough starter growing because of the atmosphere such as the  humidity and temperature will create poisonous materials get through the bacteria .

↑ 100% whole wheat flour used

*Note: Depends on flour that you use, The viscousity shows us a big difference.  This whole wheat starter  is much thicker than the all purpose’s.

( HL= Hydration)   I made them by  1:2:2 =starter : water : flour


About the taste of ” stiff starter” and “liquid starter

I took notes about the taste of my starters everyday since I started sourdough for a year. My husband told me not to eat the yeasts that are not good for our health. But I kept tasting them because I am always curious. ( I still taste my starter sometimes when I take a test for interest although I smell them whenever I make levain )

Here is a picture of how I taste my stiff and liquid starters are like .  Feeding starter regularly makes them sweeter and healthy. ( less sour)

*Note  sourdough that I started  with fruit don’t taste sour for the beginning,, but it will have some sour flavors later.

  •  Stiff dough =  more like mild sour taste     Liquid dough = more like sharp sour taste
  • I think that the taste of bread is affected by the levain more than the stiff and liquid sourdough starters.
  • It is more important to keep your sourdough starter healthier than thinking of the taste of the starters.

Here is the chart that I made for the taste of difference between stiff  and liquid levain bread. The taste of levain indicates as same as the picture of  the liquid and stiff starter.

 Here is a picture of 100% hydration sourdough and 60% hydration sourdough levain bread that I made on 30th January 2012.

The taste of these bread are exactly the same with what I mentioned above.

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Converting sourdough to raisin yeast water

Here is the simple chart that I converted sourdough (  levain) to raisin yeast water ( levain).

   * Jeffery Hamelman doesn’t count the amount of the sourdough starter because the little amount of the starter will be a portion of dough that we loose during the process of making bread.    I don’t calculate the amount of  sourdough starter for  my raisin yeast water levain because it is easy for me.

If you want to make sourer bread like Tartine’s bread,  It is better to use 20% raisin yeast water as to 100% preferment flour. I made this kind of bread before.

Here is the example of  sour bread with raisin yeast water that is based on sourdough levain bread.

If you click on the PDF↓, you can see it in a large size.

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