My loaves

My loavesMy loaves

Latest effort.  This time the first loaf made with the starter that Mum began cultivating at the same time as my own.  She came to visit and brought her starter with her so we made this together.

I still had a bit of trouble transferring onto the stone and lost some volume again but on the whole I'm very pleased with the results.  We followed the Norwich Sourdough recipe from wild yeast blog.

It's supremely delicious!


Hi Helen,

You should be very pleased, that is some fine looking bread.

On the peel thing, do you sprinkle it with fine semolina before turning your loaf onto it.  It sort of acts like ball bearings and helps the release no end.  Otherwise, try turning your loaf onto baking paper first.  Also try to minimise the time that the loaf spends on the peel as well.

Keep on bakin'


lol-I used it all at the same time!  The final proof was done on a metal sheet which I had also sprinkled with all of the above and then used two rolled up tea towels either side to provide support.  The dough would just get a little caught between the two pieces of metal.  I made another loaf today with a different starter and different flour, the dough was a just a little dryer and I did the final proof in a basket lined with muslin.  No dramas at all turning that one out and getting it into the oven but the resulting loaf wasn't nearly as pleasing.  Still, I learn as I go.


Do I have to use an image hosting type site for any subsequent photos in this thread?  What site do others use for this?

Hello Helen,

You can start an album on this site from your account page and link to the pics in that or you can just do copy paste into the text.  The latter is probably a bit heavy on bandwidth but seems to work OK.  If you have an album, as i recall you have to select the pic and copy the URL ready to paste into the dialog box that comes up when you go to insert a pic using the Image icon on the tool bar at the top of the edit dialog box.

Good luck with your projects.


Well here is loaf #3 and it's not a patch on #2.  I still followed the Norwich Sourdough recipe only subsituting white spelt flour for the wheat flour and using my own spelt starter and not my mum's starter.  The resulting dough seemed a little bit too wet so I upped the flour content a little and ended up leaving the dough in the fridge after the final stretch and fold to be shaped and proofed the next day. As can be seen the crumb is very dense and I found the flavour to be a little too sour for my tastes.  Still, I passed it off to a neighbour and I'm sure they'll be most appreciative.  Oh well-bring on loaf #4!


Hello Helen,

Probably your mother's years of experience.  I know my mother could turn out a mile high delicate sponge cake with her eyes closed.  She never made bread though - tried it once and it 'didn't work'.

Yours obviously worked - just a little differently from what you expected.  Could be the spelt, I think I read somewhere that it has a different (lower?) gluten content and also needs less water than wheat flour.  The main thing would be to stick with it.  Once you get to know your ingredients and how it all reacts, I have found that the quality improves of its own accord.

Good to see the youngster keeping amused and getting used to kitchen utensils early.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam I'm a chef and have quite a bit of experience with yeasted goods so it was really me showing Mum what to do in the first loaf-how the dough should look/feel etc -stretching the skin etc.  I've since read the posts re the spelt bake off and it seems perhaps I have been a bit hard on myself and that spelt does behave quite a bit differently to regular wheat flour.  I did have one utter disaster where I was following sour doms tutorial only using spelt and the whole mass of dough turned almost liquid on me during retardation! It was with a lot of relief that I discovered this is not uncommon. The only reason I have been doing so much with spelt is that it's the only organic flour I can get my hands on besides rye.

I have seen I can get the Laukes (I think that is how it's spelled) brand unbleached bakers flour from the supermarket-does anyone have any experience with this?  Perhaps I can just keep the organic flours for starter feeding and use a more generic flour for the bulk of the loaves.

Anyhow, I'm totally hooked.  I've been wanting to make sourdough for the entire duration of my career (some 14 years) but a few feeble and misinformed attempts failed ...and I've only really got the time to devote to it now that I'm out of commercial kitchens.  It's probably I good thing I can't eat bread at the moment as I've just managed to get within a few kgs of my prebaby weight and I'm sure this new adventure would throw a great big spanner in those works otherwise.

Thanks for the help with the photos- very much appreciated.




Hi Helen,

I use Laucke Wallaby bread flour as my white flour and I have found it to be quite consistent and absolutely fine.  Kialla has a good reputation and I have used that once.  I know a place in Ipswich sells it but I am sure there are places in Brisbane as well.

Keep on bakin'


Great loaves! and nice picture from the bun to the bab.



According to Ed Wood in his book "Classic Sourdoughs". spelt is low in gluten and requires as little mixing as possible It also seems from the recent books I bought that all-purpose flour is the one to get in order to make the "better" sourdough bread. According to Ed Wood, but also in "Tartine Bread" (Chad Robertson) the air bubbles are bigger and more irregular with all-purpose flour, smaller and more regular with high protein or baker's flours.

Looking forward to your next loaves Helen, and I wanted to say, great scoring on that first loaf! What's the secret?





but I'd just bought a few new victorinox serrated paring knives-you know the ones..plastic, that cost about $7 each.  Used one of those.


Loaf#4 I had intended to follow Eduardo Schutz's Vermont Bread recipe and I did to a degree but couldn't follow the timings due to the demands of a teething infant. Although I have no idea what this dough should feel like, I thought it was still a little too wet and the resulting loaf was a little doughy. This may have had more to do with not transferring the risen dough onto my pizza stone and probably losing a bit of oven spring than dough consistency however.  Anyhow, it's still perfectly acceptable and I'm sure it will go down a treat with my mum's cumquat marmalade.


I think the shape is awesome. Good work!

Hi Helen,

Don't be too hard on yourself that's still a very nice looking loaf.

I notice your scoring was right from end to end.  I wonder if that contributed to the spread/slight loss of spring.  Possibly try using several slightly angled (virtually longitudinal) and partly over-lapping scores to try to retain some of the tension in the skin while still creating the weakness to facilitate oven expansion.

Keep on bakin'


I live and learn.  Didn't think about that.  Good point.

I've been at it again;

The loaf above was excess Vermont Bread that I retarded the final proof in a teatowel lined basket.  The crust was thin and crackling and the crumb chewy and complex.



This loaf started out as Pane Francese but turned into 'wing it' bread with a lot of retardation and slow benchtop ferment.  I finally baked it this morning.  I was hoping for more even holes but it's still a tasty loaf and I think I'm improving with each bake.


Holy moly, I'd be absolutely STOKED if my bread turns out as beautifully as yours.  They look superb!  Well done.

Right, so being relatively confident in working with commercially yeasted doughs and having now made a few sour doughs following recipes found here and elsewhere I thought it time I just made some 'wing it bread' -a white loaf that my husband would not be suspicious of and very easy to make on a daily basis.  After observing how these previous breads behaved I was pretty sure that I could be a whole lot more flexible with my timing, probably reduce my hydration a tad and use the stand mixer for to make the process a lot more user friendly and un-messy.  Don't get me wrong-when I've the time for it I love nothing more than feeling dough develop and change beneath my hands but sometimes you just have to get on with things and a massive sticky mess on the kitchen bench and your hands is almost the last thing you want with a squally infant about.  I'm very pleased with the result.  Will post a recipe if anyone feels it might be helpful.




Well I think I've cracked it and come up with a white loaf that I'm happy with and my husband loves for his lunches. This will be the last photo in this series..I feel like I've come a long way in a week or so : )

This is the second loaf made from a batch of "mamma bread' dough.



Next up-a fruit loaf methinks.


hi Helen, that looks like a very yummy loaf. Do you mind posting your recipe? I'd really like to try it. Thanks, Erin

Hello Helen,

A little bit of practice goes a long way.  Look forward to your further adventures.

I have found that the Earl Grey Tea  Fruit Loaf recipe from here gives a very nice result.

Good luck with your projects.


will check out your fruit loaf.  Thanks again for the guidance that has helped me get to this point.