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trouble with organic flour | Sourdough Companion

trouble with organic flour

Hi. Thanks for reading this, obviously the subject was prevocative enough!

I just tried a couple of free-form sourdough loaves using Demeter light flour (Demeter is an Australian organic, biodynamic flour mill) and had a rather disapointing result, it's really flat! Up to now I've been using (I think) defiance bread flour, occasionally mixed with whatever brand wholemeal flour I can get my hands on with usually pleasing result.

Here's a picture of one of the loaves next to my last loaf of white bread I pulled out of the freezer (I hope you can see the photo)

I rang the Demeter mill and they said their flours have 14% or higher protien content (I'm pretty sure that's what she said).

Anyone have any ideas? I used Dan lepards basic white bread recipe in the handmade loaf, adding a little extra water and amended cooking time. (I secretly have my doubts about such long proving times, it seems to me that my breads do better if give them a shorter prove time).

Thanks for your time. Cheers, Ben.


I have only just started making sourdough recently, and use the demeter flours exclusively. I have had a little trouble with getting them to rise properly using the Dan Lepard techniques of making the dough the night before, putting it in the fridge, the stretching and folding for 3-4 hours, and then proving for several more hours.
I have a loaf that is about to go into the oven using the demeter unbleached plain flour (rye starter), where I took it from the fridge, stretched and folded when I pulled it out, then again an hour later, and shaped one hour after that. It has now been 3 hours since shaping, and it has more than doubled in size, so is going in the oven in about 3 mins!
I have also found, the lower my hydration rate, the flatter my breads have been, I am going up 1% at a time right now, after starting at 67% (quite flat), and am now at 72% and finding it is getting very well risen and good crumb, so I dont think it is the flour, or at least, I hope not!
Hope that helps
the photo doesn't seem to be working, do I have to wait for the administrator to approve it or something?

Thanks for your reply Trent, it;s good to know that you have success with the demeter flours, I wont give up on them yet! Im affraid Im still not sure what went wrong though.

the photo doesn't seem to be working, do I have to wait for the administrator to approve it or something?

Thanks for your reply Trent, it's good to know that you have success with the demeter flours, I won't give up on them yet! I'm affraid I'm still not sure what went wrong though.

the photo doesn't seem to be working, do I have to wait for the administrator to approve it or something?

Ben you can upload the photo here in your gallery and then point to that picture in your post.  Looks like you have your picture at facebook?  Do they allow hotlinking of pictures?

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


OK here it is (I hope)

It's really not worth all the anticipation!

You did it!

Can't really contribute coz I haven't used demeter flours before. But a thought is, it's summer down under now, isn't it? You could try shortening the proving by half an hour...


That's a good thought.

What's the point of the proving stage anyway?

I usually find that by the time I divide and shape the dough into loaves it's already doubled in size, should I shape the loaves before this?

I think I may have been a bit ambitious with the last batch too, I doubled the recipe and so I was trying to prove two large loaves in two small baskets, perhaps that wouldn't help the loaf shape???

Happy Christmas everyone, It's shaping up to be a beautiful day here in Sydney, the forecast is for 24C (about 75F). I'll keep dreaming of a white Christmas one day...

Hi Ben,

What kind of bulk (1st) proof are you currently doing? I would suggest trying a long bulk proof and then scaling and shaping straight into the forms. Use the bulk (1st) proof to provide evidence that your dough is kicking bum then get your dough into shape pronto, ready for a final proof that will still have plenty of guts left for spring in the oven.

Take out variables...like cold temperatures. A 24C day is perfect, perhaps 3 or 4 hours at this temperature, but obviously this will vary depending on the quality of your leaven, flour and other factors. If the dough rises then falls back then you have gone just beyond a long proof...but don't stress too much becasue you only have one final proof (in the forms) to go.

I believe that the 'Demeter' mark is owned in Australia by Wholegrain Milling. The flour is stone milled, packaged fresh and would definately have different characteristics to a flour from one of the big mills like Defiance. 'Light' flour has a percentage (usually 15% - 20%) of the coarse bits sifted out. It is also referred to as '85% extraction' or '80% extraction' or similar.

The bran is usually removed, but hopefully a large amount of germ stays behind a gives a more nutritious, fuller flour that is more than the straight endosperm found in most roller milled white flours.

'Demeter' used to be a brand that signified biodynamic farming and processes. I am not certain if this is still always the case, at least in Australia. You might want to check with the miller to find out if the Demeter flour is biodynamic or organic, and at the same time ask for real, meanighful feedback about how this flour is known to perform. A protein value is not a lot to go on.

Millers receive feedback from bakers all the time...some of them could have faced the same issues as you...we need to encourage millers to let bakers know what they have heard about how their flour is working for other bakers.