Thanks Dom!

SourYumMum's picture

Thanks to SourDom for sending me some of his precious starter for me to get baking again (after my own starter went down the sink ... ).

Whilst it not be a pretty bread - it sure was yummy and was taken out for dinner last night. Is the dense line right at the bottom a sign of under-proofing? I would have liked to have left it for another couple of hours before baking but it was my contribution to last night's dinner with friends. I started at 8am, baked at 4pm.

<img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="100_1597 (942 x 707)">

<img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="100_1599 (942 x 707)">

Feedback, please??


202 users have voted.


SourDom 2006 July 17


(sorry for the slow reply, have been offline for a few days)


Your loaf looks beautiful (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I love the 'rustic look').


The crumb looks great - nice open texture. I wouldn't have thought that it looked overproved, but Bill has more than 20 years baking experience on me, so I am reluctant to disagree.
8am to 4pm isn't overly long for me in Melbourne. Two 3 to 4 hour prooves seems about right, but maybe I am overdoing it. If the dough hadn't risen much before baking, then usually I would reckon that you can leave it for longer, though as you have discovered, if the first rise has been long enough you will still get a great spring and nice texture if you bake sooner rather than later.

If that seems confusing, try different timings - you will get the feel for what works for you, in your oven, with your recipe, in your home.

I am very pleased that the starter has travelled safely and is clearly alive and kicking


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 18

Aha! Marvelous how your brain slows down as you age. Dom's post has jogged my memory, I just realised that the bread in the photo may be Dom's Pane Francesse, and if it is I remember a communication with Dom earlier this year where I said that I had to cut the proofing times down to 3 and 3.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 18

I have also found that if you keep your starter warm, 25C-26C, it will maintain it's sour. When it is allowed to brew at cool temps it will smell acidic but not have much sour.

SourDom 2006 July 18


use the fridge

have a look at [url=]my tutorial on proving[/url] for a description of how to do this.

give it 12-24 hours after shaping.


SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 19

Thanks Dom, I will.

Last night I mixed a dough from a large amount of stiff starter that I'd had in the fridge for the previous night, then whacked the mixed dough back in the fridge until this morning, let it rise for a couple of hours, then baked.

<img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="Sourdough">

Haven't tasted it yet, but it looks nice! Hey, I even got brave and gave it a little slash!

Today's baking looks like this ... two loaves from the one dough batch, chocolate shortbread stamped by my sons for Aunty Olly's birthday ... oh, and last night's pasta for Croc's enjoyment!

<img src="" width="240" height="160" alt="Chocolate shortbread">

<img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="Fettucine!">

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 July 19

*Picking my jaw from the floor*

You've been very successfully productive, Carol! Love the bread's spring. Hey, I haven't made choc shortbread before. LOL, my daughter and I thought it was the print of one of those enchanted folks. Was going to ask you where you got it from. Looking at it the second time, I realise it's a cake, lol!!!

Wow, homemade pasta, you're da bomb!

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 19

Hi TP,

Well, I work Mondays and Tuesdays at work work (boys at preschool), then the rest of the week I work home work. (Clear as mud?) So today has included vacuuming, 3 loads of laundry, and entertaining two crazy boys on a rainy day ... so we made bikkies for the Aunt's birthday. Bikkies and pasta are good because little boys can 'help' do stuff ... like, stamp the bikkies, turn the handle of the brand new pasta machine (don't know how long my enthusiasm for it will last ... god knows I hate kneading!!!!!!!)

Hell, I even coloured my hair! (Not that I have anything to hide ... )

And I need a nap.

That said, my bread was fabulous in texture ... I was very happy with it, nice and chewy with a crackly crust ... but not sour enough. Tasty, but not sour.

All suggestions welcome!

(The bikkies are yum. Very chocolatey.)


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 19

You're doing pretty well Carol, just think back a couple of months. The learning is an exponential curve, once you start to get the hang of it you start to progress pretty fast.

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 19

It's all fascinating, Bill.

I don't necessarily understand exactly what I'm doing, but I'm certainly getting a handle on what a 'good' dough feels like, etc.

Little pieces come together bit by bit ... and it's all edible, which is a very good thing indeed!

northwestsourdough's picture
northwestsourdough 2006 July 19

Your bread really looks great Carol. I find you can get an easy sour just by doing the extra proofing like the guys said, and adding 1/2 to 1 cup of whole wheat or rye flour. Just enough to speed up the enzyme activity.

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 20

Thanks Teresa,

It's sure yum this morning. It does have some wholewheat flour in it, but I haven't yet used rye.

It's a little hard to find in anything under 5kg bags around here at the moment!

The bread has a nice 'chewy' texture, of which I am very fond, so I guess that's the leaving it in the fridge thing?


SourDom 2006 July 20


If you are baking the Pane Francese recipe, here is a schedule that I used earlier this week (using the starter I sent to you), with the best results that I have had to date (in terms of flavour and crumb!)

Day 1 evening - refresh starter
Day 2 mix dough, knead.
Leave the dough on the bench overnight (this works for me in Melbourne where it is reasonably cold overnight, perhaps 10C, if it is warm overnight I would use the fridge instead)
Day 3 morning - shape the dough, put in basin/banneton to prove
Cover dough with cloth, put whole bowl in plastic bag and whack in the fridge
Day 3 evening, or day 4 morning
Take the dough out of the fridge
Turn on the oven.
About 1 hour later - bake

I know it seems like a long time from go to whoa, but it is worth it!


SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 20

Thanks Dom,

I'll do that. I'm not worried about how long it takes ... to get nice bread! It is indeed your Pane Francese recipe. That nice loaf from yesterday's bake was nearly smuggled out the door by a relative an hour ago ... good thing I spotted the attempt!

I just need to get into a nice rhythm of baking/consumption/preparation so that we can just about always have some ready to go into the oven!

I am tickled pink with the results I'm having this time around ... even my own little starter has started to bubble, so I've got two jars labelled 'Dom' and 'Duck' (named by my youngest son after a one of Thomas the Tank Engine's locomotive mates) in the fridge!


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 16

Carol, I'm not familiar with the speed of Dom's starter but considering the 8AM to 4PM time span, and the good appearance of the crumb, I think you may be just getting into a very slightly overproofed situation.
With overproofing the gluten starts to weaken and is unable to support the gas cell structure. In your case, as I said before, a slight overproof shows up as the weight of the loaf collapsing the slightly overproofed cells in the bottom of your loaf.
In a really overproofed loaf the whole thing collapses like a house of cards.

EDIT I've copied the photo and blown it right up, and it confirms my opinion.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 16

Bit of [url=]jealousy[/url] ay Bill.
Maedi, if I was doing serious graphics or Photoshop work I'd have a Mac, but for everything else I'll have a PC thanks.

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 16

I love Macs but I can't run the software I like on them.

Anyway ...

OK Bill ... bit too long ... that's good, I've obviously forgotten what I read earlier about why you get that layer at the bottom and muddled it.

It's funny because the dough had not risen as much as I would have done previously, so everything you see there is 'oven spring' as I couldn't wait and had to chuck it in the oven.

So if I had baked an hour or two earlier, it would have been a bit better??

This bread baking business continues to confuse and amaze me!

I am making another batch now ... a small loaf and a batch of rolls.


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 16

Carol, among the many things that I have learned is the fact that I'm still learning.
Each starter has its own personality, that is, it will differ in action from any other starter. It will act differently for you than it does for Dom, due to variations in flour, temperature etc. It will even vary from recipe to recipe, its a matter of learning it.
That said, one of the golden rules of baking is that it is better to bake a little underproofed than overproofed. The old yeast rule of thumb of letting the dough double in size before baking will most often result in an overproofed loaf.
As I have said before somewhere, learning when a loaf is proofed and ready to bake is possibly the hardest thing any baker has to learn.
As an example, I am rather pedantic with my baking, yet I can mix the same recipe at the same time time of day and temperature, proof in a temperature controlled box, shape and into the fridge at the same time, out of the fridge at the same time, and still have to vary the time before baking by up to an hour.
It keeps baking interesting, instead of it being just a mechanical process one does by rote.

nina 2006 July 16

That bread looks so tasty Carol!
Glad to hear you have a starter again after your disaster.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 July 16

Hullo??? You're in the wrong forum, Carol. This doesn't qualify for Beginners. Great crumb!

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 17

TP .. beginner I am! Definitely!

I have an awful lot to learn, so you just keep slaving over your hot oven, take lots of photos, and keep posting them so I can see what's going on!

I also got my quarry tile for the oven!

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