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{ 211 comments… read them below or add one }

Cambria, Ca March 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I would love view a video …..Tartine Bread….I received the book as a gift and really enjoy it…….but a video….ahhh…it would be the best!

I LOVE breadtopia….I just made a wonderful sourdough mixture from my recently received starter…will proof and bake tomorrow.

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Breadtopia March 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Tartine’s country bread isn’t so much a recipe as a lifestyle. 40+ pages of his book is devoted to this one bread. Having recently visited his bakery and tried it, I’m thinking it’s worth the quest to duplicate it. The amazing thing is that’s apparently possible for the home baker to do so and it’s certainly a rare thing when a professional baker shares his hard earned signature works. Read some of the reviews at this Amazon link and you’ll get a feel for what it’s all about.

I am thinking I’ll video document my attempt to make it. It would be fun and I’m guessing quite challenging.

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Barry Appel March 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

Where can I find Tartine’s country bread recipe? I would like to give it a try.

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Heinz March 26, 2011 at 11:23 am

I love Breadtopia. I’m still a beginner but I’m learning so much from the various feedback and all of Eric’s videos. The oval proofing basket and cloche that I ordered from Breadtopia are excellent and brought good results. I found that lining the proofing basket with Parchment Paper makes it much easier to transfer the dough into the cloche (thanks for this useful tip). Here is a pictures of the bread I baked this morning. I can’t wait to make me a sandwich for lunch!

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Brooke March 26, 2011 at 9:13 am

Your website started me down the path to breadmania! ;) Thank you for all the wonderful information and videos. I am currently trying Tartine’s raved about Country bread and would LOVE a video how to from you on this recipe. Have you ever tried Chad Robertson’s bread?

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Heinz March 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I’m very impressed and happy with the breads I have baked so far. Here is a picture of number 5; Sourdough based made with 30% Whole Wheat and 70% Bread Flour. In all my excitement I forgot to score the top but it turned out nice anyway. The taste was delicious although it could have used a little bit more salt.

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Joanne Merrell March 15, 2011 at 6:58 am

Eric ~
Thanks for a most informative video. I have been making bread for 36 years (always by hand, no machines. In fact I baked my first loaves in a woodstove while my husband I went the primitive cabin dwelling route while attending university in Maine).
I am just now delving into the world of making rye bread.
1. I thought rye flour starter was preferable because rye flour ferments quicker.
2. My rye flour starter doesn’t smell right this time, this being only my second attempt at makiong rye bread.. (i just found your site today so didn’t go with the pineapple juice, but I’m starting over after seeing your video)

Can I put the starter down the drain? I thought it would be GOOD for the septic system.
3. We live in Florida. It’s hot, and humid For the last 30+ years here I’ve tried to avoid making bread on rainy days, even with the A/C running. It doesn’t seem to rise as well and since I usually make dense, heavy WW breads this seems particularily true.

4. What white flour would you recommend for baguettes? I can’t find ANYTHING to make my bread taste like the baguettes I grew up with in France. Sigh!

Thank you so much for your site.

Jo Merrell

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Heinz February 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm

SOURDOUGH RYE
This is a great website with all the information one needs to make bread. I ordered the dry sourdough starter and followed the instructions to grow it over the last 4 days. Then last night before going to bed I made a Rye-Walnut dough and let is rest for 12 hours. Got up this morning and baked my first bread ever in a Romertopf just like in Eric’s video. I was not sure how it would turn out being that I am a newbe. But it turned out perfect with a nice crust, consistency and flavor. Thank you, Breadtopia!

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Susan January 10, 2011 at 5:25 am

I received my starter and just baked my first loaf of bread, which turned out so great and had such a wonderful flavor. I had tried other starters and never had that wonderful sour flavor I wanted. Thank you!

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peggy harris January 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I received my sourdough starter in the mail. I fed it according to the directions and it looked fine to me. I made the no knead sour dough bread recipe from your website and well, it didn’t turn out well. It was very hard on the outside and it didn’t rise much at all. I couldn’t even cut it although I could break it and it was very, very sour. I don’t know what I did wrong. I want a recipe for a plain loaf of sourdough bread I can make sandwiches out of. I’m use to making yeast bread but I would rather have sourdough.

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Melody December 21, 2010 at 1:56 am

Breadtopia to me is like Facebook to the rest of the world..a little more than addicting. I started two sourdough starters – one full white and one full wheat, just to see what the difference is like. I might keep them separate or combine the two. In any case, if it weren’t for you Eric and your work on this site, I would never have tried it! I’m excited to have excess, so that I can dry it to store some, and then mail off the rest to friends. I also baked my first loaf of olive parmesan a few nights ago, and my husband and I salivated at the wonderful aromas. We made it for a Christmas gift, so I’m excited to make our own loaf for Christmas Eve! Woohoo!!

I also found a local store that ships nationally, who sells bulk grain (whole grain and milled if you want it, I think) at extremely reasonably priced bulk amounts. I stopped by tonight (they happen to be 2 miles from my house), and I highly recommend them. She’s very familiar with your site and loves it! It’s called “The Family Baker” and their site is familybaker.com I think. In any case, there is a slight overlap (about 3 different things I could tell) between your store and hers, and the rest are things I couldn’t find on your site but didn’t want to buy in stores! (I’d rather support small businesses). Anyway, I hope that helps people, especially if you’re having a hard time finding certain grains, or bulk amounts, especially if you can’t find reasonably priced organic grains.

Good night! (it’s 1am, and I just finished “organizing” loads of new kinds of flours that I’m going to try soon).

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mali wolf November 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm

eric,I recently bought locally grown and milled wheat.How do I convert hard white,hard red and all purpose white to the proportions of store bought flour?
I tried the last one in no knead bread and it was way too wett.I had to add a lot of extra flour,Mali

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Laura November 14, 2010 at 11:14 pm

love your site.. I can’t wait until I start my first sourdough starter.
thank you, for all the information on your site and for the videos.
thanks again, from Rockaway Park,N.Y.

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abdo soliman October 31, 2010 at 12:55 am

thank you very much for your genres sharing of your knowledge. The long fermentation lend itself nicely for preparing sour dough bread*.This bread baking trend open the way to some innovation for home bakers and probably professional one too

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michael castro May 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm

My sourdough bread baked this morning.

[img]1_002.JPG[/img]

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michael castro May 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Hello I just made my sourdough starter after a 15 days of watching the culture grow then building the starter by feeding it 3X’s a day for 5 days. Made my frist loaf last Sunday using a dutch oven and cooking with coal 1st time came out ok got a nice sour taste and had some nice holes. Tomarrow I will use a dutch oven in my stove.

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Deb March 23, 2010 at 10:16 am

Bob –

Thank you for the info :) Yeah – I can use the dehydrator! Also, great tip on removing the knobs – will have to keep that one in mind!

I just visited your website – many recipes there that I will have to try!

Like I mentioned earlier, I am new to sourdough “baking”. Received kefir grains from a lady and as a bonus she sent me some of her whole wheat sourdough starter (yeah!). I have been researching on how to use both of these via the web and old cookbooks I have.

So far have made about a dozen batches of kefir – all successful and tasty! However the sourdough was a little confusing at first till I found a couple videos that helped me walk through the process. For the first few days I just fed the starter as was not sure how to use it. However this weeked I finally baked with it with success. Baked 5 loaves of bread – one loaf was a whole wheat sourdough/kefir soaked loaf (too sour for my taste, however hubby loved it). Two loaves were whole wheat sourdough (still a little too tart for me, again hubby liked). And the last two were whole wheat/bread flour loaves with more honey for sweetness (still a little tart, but I could “maybe” get use to the taste – again hubby liked).

My taste has not come accustomed to the “sour” taste yet, or maybe I am not adding enough sweetener – guess that is just a taste you like or don’t. Hubby likes “sour” so he likes it all. But then he also likes the kefir and the kombucha which I have a hard time with :( – oh well.

Anyway, thank you for the info!! I will keep trying other recipes and experiment with them!

Deb (debfroggie)

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Bob Packer March 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

Deb,

I use my dehydrator all the time to dry starter. Put parchment paper on the trays and spread the starter out in thin layers. You can use the heat as long as you don’t go over 100F.

Alternatively I put parchment paper on baking sheets and put them in the oven with the light on. If you have a stove with a gas pilot light, that heat is just right. Caution, make sure everyone in the house knows you have starter in the oven – I even take the knob off and put it IN the oven so no one will turn it on accidently.

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Deb March 23, 2010 at 9:45 am

Hi -

Just started working with sourdough starter, etc . . .

Since it is just my husband and myself I find I have too much starter many times. I have watched your video on drying starter for future use, sharing with friends and so forth.

My question is this – can I dry my starter in my dehydrator with no heat but rather just air circulating? The reason for using my dehydrator is that it has 6 trays so that I could dry more starter at the same time rather than 2 sheets in my oven.

Any info would be so greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your videos!!! They have really been very helpful!!

Deb (debfroggie)

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Elizabeth March 19, 2010 at 11:14 am

I received my live starter and fed it as directed except it needed a little more water than noted, I hope I didn’t harm it but the little pancake was kinda dry and 2 tbs did not make a dent; pretty excited about the prospect of it coming to life and bringing my bread loaves to the next “level” lol. Thanks Eric.

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Heather January 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Great website. Thanks so much. I’m learning a lot and hoping to turn that knowledge into delicious practical experience during 2010. :)

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Breadtopia November 13, 2009 at 10:31 pm

…and it’s better off stored in the fridge or even in an air tight package in the freezer.

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Breadtopia November 13, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Hi Cindy,

Try to find the yeast that most grocery stores sell that says it’s for bread machines. I forget what it’s called but that’s the stuff that’s the same as (or similar enough to) instant yeast since it’s suitable for mixing in with dry ingredients and isn’t necessarily intended to be activated first.

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CINDY ANDERSON, RN November 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Just a couple of questions:

Can I use Rapid Rise Yeast or Active Dry Yeast from Fleischmann’s?
Do I store the unused yeast packet or newly opened jar in the refrig or my pantry?

Thank you -

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CINDY ANDERSON, RN November 9, 2009 at 8:24 pm

I JUST REMOVED MY FIRST ATTEMPT FROM THE OVEN AND IT WAS FAB!

HOLY COW IT IS SIMPLY THE BEST!

ALL THE BEST FROM CAMBRIA, CA

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Breadtopia November 9, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Hi Sidney. I’m not sure that’s it but you can add water as see how it goes. Good luck.

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Sidney November 7, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Just watched your no-knead video, and enjoyed how easy and concise you made it seem!!! I went to your site to find out the cause of my “Pain Poilane” clone (a la Patricia Welles) not coming out with a nice brown crust, and I think I’ll give your no-knead a whirl!!! Can I just add water to my saved started to make it less doughy??? Maybe that’s my problem, the dough isn’t wet enough….(Am off to one of many Indian stores in Vancouver to find chapatti flour, I already make use of kamut and spelt. Thanks….

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Breadtopia October 31, 2009 at 9:35 am

Hi Arvind,

In a non air tight jar in the fridge. Here’s more on sourdough starter management.

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Arvind October 31, 2009 at 8:12 am

After you make the first batch how to store the remaining starter?

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Breadtopia October 19, 2009 at 5:53 am

That’s awesome, Dick. I love it when things actually come out like you hope they will.

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dick October 17, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Got your sourdough starter last week and after being away for the weekend I got it going this week. Just finished making the San Francisco sourdough bread from Peter Reinhardt’s Crust and Crumb book. Can I be in love with a loaf of bread? I cannot believe just how good this bread came out. I don’t have a camera but the bread looks just like a great photo of this bread should look and the flavor is just fantastic.

I was baking my own bread before with yeast and it was a lot better than what I could find in the supermarket. This takes me to a whole higher level. I followed the instructions and they worked just like you said they would. I had some King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat around so I started with that. Then I added the King Arthur Bread Flour the next day. The sourdough worked like a champ.

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Breadtopia October 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Hi Barry,

What I do is put the clay baker in a cold oven, heat it and the oven together to whatever temp I’m baking at and then put the dough in.

That’s great about your son and thanks for the nice comments.

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BarryA October 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm

I just received a Romertopf 111. I am new to clay baking. Do I soak the baker in water, put it in the oven and heat it to 500 degrees before adding the dough?

I have been baking your bread for a short while, and keep improving on the quality… I think I almost got it. To my shock, during a visit yesterday, my adult son told me that he was learning to bake bread. He especially asked about sourdough making. Boy, did I turn him on to your site!

Thanks for your help. The site is wonderful and the camaraderie, a lot of fun. Keep it going forever.

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Breadtopia October 16, 2009 at 10:59 am

Thank you Jody for the nice feedback.

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Jody October 15, 2009 at 2:42 am

Thanks for your great recipes and videos that are very helpful. I appreciate that you’re doing this from Iowa (my home state), that your information is simple and clear with enough details for those of us with little experience, and that the two of you seem down-to-earth and make bread creating an enticing adventure possible for anyone and not something scary or daunting. Even my aunt, who has loads of cooking/baking experience, especially in the pizza realm, has now adopted your pizza recipe and is using a peel and is very happy about both. Again, thanks.

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gina September 9, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Hi Eric, I tried the recipe and I for the first time in my life I got the perfect bread, everyone in the house loved it, after being fed up with all my prior attempts with bread that always came out with a very thick and hard crust and ruberry on the inside. I also learned from your video how to test the bread from inside. I had purchased a caramel thermometer but had no idea that I could use it also for the bread. Also I can’t wait to purchase a digital weighting machine. It so cool how we could zero it and weight again the other indredients. Thanks a lot. G

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marc lowen August 11, 2009 at 12:43 pm

eric
I’ve made a new sourdough starter using wholewheat and white flour didn’t get much of an oven spring with cold oven start but a great thin crust any comments. I also couldn”t resist kneading about 4 times befor the second rise comments please

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Breadtopia July 18, 2009 at 4:51 am

Sounds great. Thanks Gordon.

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Chef Gordon Rader July 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Great idea and great layout! I’m hoping that we’ll be able to work together soon! Drop me a line and we can try to set up a time for a visit to IHCC. Our students would like to hear from you!

I’ve added a link over at the Hill’s!

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Bob Packer June 23, 2009 at 11:04 am

Sheila,

Sounds like you might be over proofing. Try the “finger poke” test.

After about an hour or so of rise time (depending on your dough AND the ambient room temp) gently push the tip of your index finger into the dough about half way to the first knuckle.

If the hole fills in rapidly, it needs more proofing time. If it very slowly fills in, time to bake. If the hole remains, probably overproofed.

You may have to experiment a bit, but after several tries, you should get a pretty close idea on how long to proof.

Bob

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Shelia June 22, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I have a question. I love making bread and have tried many methods over the years and enjoyed them all. But I have one problem that occationally drives me crazy! The dough will rise beautifally and when I put it in the hot oven, it flops. I’ve tried rizing it in the oven and just turning the oven on, or
rizing it outside the oven and then gently putting it in the oven. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. What am I doing wrong?

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Jennifer K. June 4, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I had meant to say that I keep my bread in a paper BAG ..not a paper back lol. Got a trip to the used bookstore on my mind today :-)

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Jennifer K. June 4, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Eric! (AKA the “Hot Bread Man”)

Pun intended of course ha! I had referred to you as thus when I first began my journey 6 weeks ago baking no knead SD. Even though I have a great “Hot Hubby” at home he can NOT inspire the artisan baker in me the way you can!

Kudos to your creative and well laid out website, and to the great recipe’s I have tried out so far. I have baked SD bread often the old fashioned way and with my arthritis had to resort to purchasing it a few years back. Now I can make it with little to no elbow grease.

I mostly bake the SD as my family loves it and usually include 4-5 sliced cloves of fresh garlic and a tsp. garlic powder right in with the initial mix. I have even thrown in some fresh rosemary soaked in olive oil. Oh and I make it a point to add a tbsp. of olive oil to the starter/water mix as well. My bread rises perfectly, has a golden, thinner/chewy crust and a soft holy crumb. The bread has a nice medium sour tang too. If I keep the bread in a paper back loosely rolled up the crust stay’s crisp and chewy for 2-3 days. The bread toasts perfectly as well.

I am using a crock pot liner w/ lid and the parchment lowering method as well. We can’t afford to buy a la cloche, or dutch oven but honestly there is no need. That crock pot bakes the bread perfectly. You can hear the crust “singing” and see the tiny bubbles all over the crust too :0)

I had meant to take pictures of this last night but it was mauled and so I had to regrettably take pictures of the remains. The loaf “was” very pretty, but as you can see it’s been manhandled slightly by hungry hoards of bread trolls! Originally it was about 1/2 an inch higher. I put some of my own starter (made last year by me) in a Pyrex cup just before taking the pictures. I feed my starter every other day a 1/4 cup of flour and 2 tbps. filtered water. It’s thick and is always bubbly. I keep it on my counter lightly covered and and in the summer months I feed it daily due to a warmer kitchen. Great California climate! Also, I give it a once weekly dose of sweets (1 tsp sugar). It feeds the starter very well and IMHO keeps it vigorous. I keep my starter at about 4 cups so 1 tsp of sugar per week does not sweeten the starter a bit taste wise. Otherwise I’d recommend just a pinch or two of sugar for smaller batches if you are thinking about giving it some extra oomph.

Thanks again Eric for the great recipe’s!

Jennifer K.

Many Many thanks! Jennifer K.

[img]DSC00942.JPG[/img][img]AromaticWhiteGarlicSD.JPG[/img]

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Lucy June 3, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Dear Eric,
A friend showed me your site (Love that friend!) All the information you give is so appreciated.

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Bob Packer May 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Eric,

After going on to this site, I am totally confused. Seems to me that moderation in all things is the key factor.

http://blogs.consumerreports.org/health/2008/10/high-fructose-c.html

Bob

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Breadtopia May 20, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Hi Amy,

I’m with you. Would love to see high fructose corn syrup banned from existence.

Glad to hear your baking is working out. Very nice.

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Bob Packer May 20, 2009 at 7:26 am

Melissa,

Let me take a shot at your questions:

Now that I have gotten my starter going I have a few baking questions:

- How can I better control the density of the bread? Add more water?
The ratio of water to flour will affect the density. More flour, denser. Also, the use of whole wheat and/or rye flours will give you denser breads. Most of my “mixed” breads have no more than 50 percent whole wheat or rye. 3 cups white/3 cups WW or rye. You might try that as a starting point and adjust upward with the heavier flours. I personally like the heavier breads, but my significant other prefers the lighter bread (brought up on Wonder Bread). But I am educating her!

- How can I better control the thickness of the crust?
Baking in a covered container or baking in an uncovered pan can affect the crust. Baking with steam will also affect the crust. You might try buttering the top before you put the bread in the oven. To soften the crust, I rub a stick of butter on the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven. Even better is to use clarified butter which does not make the dull sheen on the crust. I also cover my loaves with a cloth as soon as they come out of the oven.

- Always seems the bread is quite done baking before it’s attained a rich color and I’m afraid of over-baking it.
Are you using an instant read thermometer to check the interior temp? I bake most of my breads to about 207 – 210F internal. Some do the initial bake at a higher temp and then turn down the oven about 25-50 degrees to get what I think you are striving for. If the bread starts to turn too dark, just put a tent of aluminium foil over it. I personally do not bake my breads as dark as I see on some of the bread sites.

- Any benefit to adding the salt a little later in the dough-making process?
Salt affects the action of the yeast/starter. Adding it later (just ensure it gets fully incorporated) IS beneficial.

- Can I use semolina flour in lieu of bread flour?
Can’t speak to this as I do not use semolina. Big question would be the protein content of the semolina. As you know, rye and whole wheat need white flour OR long ferments to help them rise because of the lower protein content.

Bob

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Amy May 19, 2009 at 3:21 pm

I have very recently started to bake my own bread to save money, but more importantly to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from at least one thing in my family’s diet! My 5 year old son loves sourdough bread, so i thought what the heck, lets give it a whirl. After a few bad starters, i found your website and used the pineapple juice method. It worked beautifully. I started a white flour one from the whole wheat one as well. I have just finished baking my 2nd loaf of sourdough, using the no knead method, and it was perfect!! Thank you so much and keep the videos coming!

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Melissa Kretschmer April 3, 2009 at 10:06 am

Now that I have gotten my starter going I have a few baking questions:
- How can I better control the density of the bread? Add more water?
- How can I better control the thickness of the crust?
- Always seems the bread is quite done baking before it’s attained a rich color and I’m afraid of over-baking it.
- Any benefit to adding the salt a little later in the dough-making process?
- Can I use semolina flour in lieu of bread flour?

Thanks!

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Bob Packer February 4, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Steve,
Just to let you know what you are in for, I had to go out last week and buy ANOTHER freezer. The two of us cannot consume all I bake every weekend, so I freeze most of it and bring it to work daily for my “guinea pigs” to test.

If there is not a loaf of bread in the break area every morning, I get a phone call.

Bob

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