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I just took a challah out of the oven, the first I've ever made using bread flour. All these years, I've had the notion that bread flour would produce a heartier, heavier bread than I like, and I've

Best loaf yet!

Bagels boiled in lye solution. Getting there...

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16 hours ago, Stone said:

It has only little bubbles and it does not float.  My sourdough days may be over.   

IMHO, sourdough days are highly over-rated.   Only important if you need to be in the club.

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I tried two starters, and neither went anywhere.  One, with a regular wheat flour I had lying around -- who knows how old it was or where it came from.  (Bob's Mill, probably.)  The second with "premium wheat flour" I got an an Asian restaurant.  Neither worked for beans.

Is there a recommended brand for the starter?  Although I've got much better ways to ruin flour.  (Who knew baking powder died?  I did, after making a flat disc of a cake.  At least it still tasted good and was a lovely platform for a lemon royal icing.)

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Stone, what is the room temp where you are growing your starter?      Below, just one rec


My SF kitchen never reaches this range.   (Butter remains hard as a rock.)    Our country kitchen in summer far exceeds this range.   (Butter melts and pools in the butter dish )d  

It's my guess that your temp may be too cool for good fermentation from scratch.

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Agree with Joe on those flour types. If my starter is sluggish, rye especially helps to jump start it. I use a 50/50 blend of WW and AP flour.

Regarding the temperatures, the 80+F ones above are incorrect and way too hot. Just think about the SF temps and the "famous" SF sourdough. Cooler temps just mean slower fermentation and the development of better flavor. 75F is just fine. 

What method are you using and how long have you been doing it? I'd recommend regular feedings, perhaps 1-2 times a day at the same time. Google Chad Robertson, Tartine Bakery. That's what I use. 

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I started with 140 g each water and WW flour.  After 24 hours, saved 140 g and added 140g each water/ AP flour.  Same second and third day.  

After three full days, I did the same feedings, but in 12 hour increments.  Tried twice.  About a week each time.

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Perhaps as close to Roman pizza bianca as I've gotten so far. Now, if I only had a few slices of mortadella.

For the proofing, I did a trick I learned from an instructor at the Italian Culinary Institute...


Mix a little salt water with the olive oil and schmear that on the dough while it proofs.

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