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2022 April 2

Another Sourdough Whole-Wheat and Rye Bread

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 14:45
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I decided to make a whole-wheat sourdough bread this week, just for use at home, as bread-and-tea is once again in person, using the bread machine. This recipe is loosely based on the Bread-machine bread without the bread machine, but starting with a sourdough starter.  My sourdough starter is roughly equal parts water and flour by volume.


  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup water

Let this age for a day (covered with a cloth).  Set aside one cup in the refrigerator for future sourdough baking. To what is left add

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup rye flour

Knead with a dough hook until not too sticky, then knead until smooth on a well-floured board, incorporating another

  • ¼ cup more rye flour

to get an elastic, smooth dough. Let rise in an oiled  bowl overnight.

Shape the dough into an oval loaf and place on baking parchment.  Let the dough rise until doubled again (another 4 hours).

Beat one egg, and brush the beaten egg onto loaf, slash the top of the loaf, and bake at 375°F for about 50 minutes (interior temperature 191°F), brushing with egg every 10 minutes, and rotating loaf in oven after about 20 minutes.


The loaf rose well, and the slash opened up nicely.

After cutting a slice, I found that the crumb was much too moist and dense—as if the bread had not been baked long enough. I wrapped the cut ends with aluminum foil and put the bread back into the oven for another 25 minutes, for 5 minutes of which the oven was coming back up to temperature.

2022 January 14

Pane integrale

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:05
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Last week I baked focaccia (using roughly the recipe in Sourdough focaccia 2), so this week I’ll try a different Italian bread: pane integrale, based on the recipe Marcella Hazan’s More Classic Italian Cooking.  Despite the name, only about ⅓ of the flour is whole-wheat flour. I’m adapting the recipe to work with my sourdough starter.

Day 1: I started with a light sponge to rise and sour overnight. Mix

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon sugar

together in large bowl.  Cover and let rise overnight.

Day 2: Stir down and remove one cup of mixture for new sourdough starter. To the remaining sponge, add

½ cup whole wheat flour

and let rise for another day.

Day 3 (the day of baking): Mix into the sponge

1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt

with bread hook. Knead in an additional

¼ cup bread flour

by hand, to get a smooth dough. Place the ball of dough in a bowl with a little oil (turning to coat the ball with oil), cover, and let rise 3–4 hours until doubled.  The dough seemed a little dry to me—there may have been enough evaporation from the long rising of the sponge that I should have increased the water.

Knead the bread again “for a few seconds”.  Divide the dough into two parts and shape into ovals. Our family refers to this bread as football bread, because the shape is like an American football, but Marcella Hazan calls them “cigar-shaped rolls”. Perhaps because of the dough being a little too dry, I could not get the shaped loaves to cohere—I may need to add a ¼ cup more water next time I try this recipe.

Preheat oven to 450°F (which means setting 500°F on my oven).  While the oven is warming up, let the dough rest on baking parchment.  Just before baking, make a single, 1″ deep lengthwise slash of each loaf.  Brush the loaves with water (oops, I forgot to brush them) and slide onto the baking tiles in the oven.

Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes, then turn down the oven to 350°F (about 400° setting on my oven) and bake for another 35 minutes.  Cool for a couple hours on a rack before serving.

The loaves “exploded” in the oven—the lack of cohesion in the shaping becoming rather obvious.

2021 July 21

Crab-apple sourdough

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 18:17
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I’ve been baking with sourdough since the rye bread rolls, 14 months ago.  But I’ve always felt like I’m cheating, since I started with commercial bread yeast and bacteria from yogurt and vinegar. Last Saturday (2021 July 17), I noticed while mowing the lawn that the crab apples were ripe and covered with wild yeast, so I thought that this would be a good time to start a new starter without any deliberate addition of commercial yeast or bacteria.

I chopped up

about 20 unwashed, ripe crab apples,

discarding the cores and seeds, but making sure to include the skins. I blended them in the blender, adding about

¼ cup warm water

so that the blender could process them.  The food processor would probably have been a better choice as it may not have needed as much water—not that it matters.  I then pushed as much of the pulp as I could through a fine strainer, ending up with about ½ cup of pinkish apple juice and water.  I added

½ cup warm water (to make up a cup)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup bread flour

in a medium bowl and stirred to get rid of lumps. I left the bowl out on the counter, uncovered for a few days.  After one day (on Sunday), it looked there were a few small bubbles, and the pink color from the skin was all sitting on the top.  I stirred it down and left it uncovered.  On Monday there were more bubbles, and it looked like there might be some live yeast, and by Monday evening it began to look like a sponge.  I stirred in

2 cups bread flour
2 cups warm water

and let it rise overnight.  On Tuesday morning, it looked like a good sponge, so I stirred it down and removed one cup of mixture for new sourdough starter.

For the remaining, I mixed in

4 cups bread flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons safflower oil
1 Tablespoon of salt

with a bread hook.  I had not expected to need quite so much bread flour, so I was adding half a cup at time and kneading with the hook until it was all incorporated.  The dough was still a little sticky when I took it out of the mixer and kneaded in another

¼ cup bread flour

by hand.  I put it in a greased bowl, covered it with a cloth, and let rise for about 20 hours.  I then shaped the dough into two baguettes and left it to rise another 10 hours sitting on baking parchment. I preheated the oven to 400°F (probably only 350°F, as my oven thermostat seems to be off) and put a pan of boiling water on the shelf below the baking tiles.

I mixed

2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons cold water

and brushed the tops of the loaves with the mixture.  I slashed the loaves and put them in the oven.  I rebrushed the loaves every 5 minutes for the first 15 minutes of baking time, then removed pan of water from the oven. At 25 minutes, I removed the baking parchment, leaving the loaves directly on the baking tiles.  Starting at 35 minutes, I checked the bread every 5 minutes to see if the bottom crust sounded hollow when tapped. The total baking time was about 45 minutes.


The bread came out looking good—perhaps the best-looking baguettes I’ve baked so far.

The recipe is entirely bread flour and a rather flavorless oil, so that I can get the taste of wild sourdough.  The crust was nicely crunchy, though I probably should put less cornstarch in the water that I basted the loaves with.  The crumb was good, but fairly dense—not the very open crumb that my wife prefers for a baguette.  The flavor was good: slightly sour, but without any off-flavors.  I think that this was very successful for a wild-yeast sourdough—it is a little slower rising, but seems to produce as good or better results than the sourdough that I made from commercial yeast.

2020 October 16

Sourdough focaccia 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:18
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I’m retrying the sourdough focaccia that I made before, changing the recipe a little.

Day 1: I started with a light sponge to rise and sour overnight. Mix

1 cup sourdough starter
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups water

together in large bowl.  Cover and let rise overnight.

Day 2: Stir down and remove one cup of mixture for new sourdough starter. To the remaining sponge, add

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour (I ran out of bread flour)

and let rise for another day.  Meanwhile, mix

1 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon salt

and let it steep overnight to make a garlicky oil.

Day 3 (the day of baking): Mix into the sponge

½ cup of the garlicky olive oil
2½ cups bread flour (I bought more)
1 teaspoon salt

with bread hook. Knead in an additional

½ cup bread flour

by hand, to get a smooth dough. Place the ball of dough in a bowl with the garlicky oil (turning to coat the ball with oil), cover, and let rise 3–4 hours until tripled.

Stretch dough into a sheet about 12″ by 18″ by ⅜” in a greased cookie sheet with raised sides (use the garlicky oil from the bowl to grease the sheet). If the dough springs back, let it rest a couple of minutes and stretch it out again.  Make dimples in the top surface and pour the remaining garlicky oil on top.

Let rise (covered) for an hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F (which means setting 450°F on my oven) and bake 35 minutes, until golden brown.

The focaccia in the pan shows a bit more browning at the front of the oven than at the back. I turned the pan at 10 minutes, but I should have turned it again.

The foccacia on the plate looks quite appetizing.

2020 October 9

Scones again for bread and tea

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:22
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I made scones again, modifying slightly the recipe I used last time, but this time I’ll take photos:

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Mix dry ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
handful of flame raisins


8 tablespoons cold butter

and cut in the butter with a pastry blender followed by rubbing it with your fingers to get coarse crumbs.  It was a mistake to add the raisins before the butter—next time the raisins will go after the butter, but before the wet ingredients.

Beat the wet ingredients together:

1 large egg
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until everything is a sticky mess. It wasn’t quite as sticky this time as last time.

Dump the dough onto the counter and pat it into a circle about ½-inch thick.  Cut into 8 wedges (vaguely triangular wet blobs will do) and use a pastry scraper to transfer to a baking sheet that is covered with baking parchment.

Bake for 20–25 minutes.

The scones are tasty, fresh from the oven.  They looked nice also.

Scones cooling on the rack.

The display at the beginning of the bread-and-tea Zoom meeting.

I made the scones again on 2022 February 4. I used ⅓ cup of chopped dried plums from the tree in the garden and ⅔ cup raisins, added to the dry ingredients after the butter had been thoroughly worked in. I made a rectangle of the dough on the cutting board, and cut 7 wedges from the rectangle, which seemed a little easier than the circle I tried cutting before.


Here are the 7 scones from February 2022. They came out a little better than last time!

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