Fred Bread

LeadDog's picture

Last year a very good friend of mine named Fred died suddenly.  One of the things we enjoyed doing was talking and eating bread.  I even got him started in sourdough bread making so when he died I felt it was only fitting to make a special bread and name it after him.  It tool me about a year and a half before I cooked up this bread but I think it is worthy of the name.  Here is a picture to get you started.

When I did the Whole Wheat Injera I stumbled on to an idea that I had never pursused before and that was the use of high hydration preferments.  The Injera has a hydration of 175% and it has flavors that are just wonderful.  This got me to thinking about how I could get those flavors into a loaf of bread.  I started by making bread with a preferment at 175% and 20% of the weight of the flour.  That made a normal bread so I wondered what would happen if all the water for the dough was in the preferment of 175%.  That is what is so different about this bread there is no water added to the dough like other breads I have made all the water comes with the preferment.  Check out the expansion in the slash from the dough expanding like I have never seen in any other bread I have made.

You can tell it continues to expand as it cooks by the middle being darker and the edges are light in color.  You can even see some of the bubbles right there in the slash.  I have never picked up a bread that has ever felt like this, my fingers press into the bread like it is soft yet the crust is explosively crisp.  I have been making the bread for a few weeks now so I believe it can be repeated.  Here is the formula.

The Dough

Ingredient Metric Imperial Baker's Percentage
Bread Flour 432 grams 15.25 oz 100.00%
Water 0 grams 0 oz 0.00%
Salt 13 grams 0.46 oz 3.01%
Preferment 175% Hydration 755 grams 26.65 oz 174.77%
Total Flour Weight:
432 grams

Percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the starter is not counted. This recipe was originally in grams and has been automatically converted to other measures.


The preferment I made using home ground flour that had the big pieces sifted out.  That flour is added to two grams of my storage starter and the water.  I started by letting that ferment for 24 hours before using now I'm using it after 36 hours which is the flavor I like the best so far.  You can adjust the flavor of the bread by how long you let the preferment sit out before using it.  I think I'll try 48 hours some day but suspect it will be to long.  The water seperates in the preferment and I have noticed that after a while the flour floats to the top of the of the water.  I don't mix the preferemnt up as there are some glutten strands that have developed and I don't want to break them up. Next the Bread flour and preferment are mixed together into a shaggy mass and let sit for 30 mins to an hour then the salt is added.  I do one or two streatch folds depending on how I feel.  From here on out there is nothing different than what you would do for any other bread that you would bake.  Mine was shaped and fermented in an oval basket.  I bake it in the oven at 460° for 45 minutes and the first 30 minutes are under a roasting pan to help steam the bread.

The bread tastes great and I love the flavors it has.  I think this is going to be my new lunch bread. There are so many directions you can go with this idea this is only just the begining.  For those of you who are wondering what the overall hydration is, it is 68%.

526 users have voted.


RobCollier 2011 December 24

Well, if that tastes half as good as it looks- you're onto a winner!

What a great way to pay tribute to your friend.

I'll definately try this technique.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2011 December 29

I made Fred Bread again but in a different shape this time.  I also let the preferment sit out longer before I used it.  It is remarkable how much flavor there is in this loaf.  I'm really surprised.

arbour7's picture
arbour7 2012 January 3


Could you gave the flour you use?

What about 50% of white flour and 50% other flour (whole weat,,,,etc)



LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 4

 Yes you can use 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour that should work out really well.  I have even made this bread with a little bit of Rye in it.  There really are a lot of possiblities that I can think of with the basic idea of how this bread is made.

larrys 2012 January 14

 That bread looks great !!   Thanks so much for the recipe , I'll give it a try .

Happy New Year,


Laurae2u 2012 January 15

This is something I would like to try. Looks and sounds great. Where or at what temperature do you make your preferment?  Only 2 g of starter? What is that, like 1/4 tsp? That seems like such a small amount since I make 200g of 100% starter every day! I could really cut back if I only need 2g.



LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 15

 The current temperature in the house is about 60 degrees F.  The preferment sits on top of the fridge in a warm spot.  I have been making a  335 gram 100% hydration starter every week for a year so yes it is enough to get the job done.  I picked the idea up from Tartine bakery here in California.  He wrote a book on how he makes bread and that idea caught my eye and yes it really helps on cutting back on the amount of starter that you need.  Try a test batch along side of your normal batch.  Mine normally take 24 hours before I use them.  With Fred Bread I even went 48 hours before using it.  That bread tasted like the sourdough we get in the store here.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 16

 There are requests for how I made this preferement.  I take 2 grams of my 50% hydration storage starter and add it to 479 grams of water and break it up in the water so it turns milky white.  This gets the yeast and bacteria so that it will innoculate the flour throughly.  Next I add 274 grams of whole wheat flour that I grind myself and mix it all up.  The preferment is then placed on top of the fridge because it is out of the way and warmer up there.  When I look at the preferment the next morning the water will have seperated from the flour and is floating on top.  I have stirred this back in but also have just let it stand.  What I have found is that at about 24 hours after mixing it all up the water sinks and makes a layer under the flour.  I'm thinking that is the sign that the preferement is ready to use.  I'm thinking of taking pictures of the way it looks at the different stages.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 January 16

Wow!  Sounds as if Fred Bread is all the go at the moment.  I too have a pre-ferment developing to try this technique.

I am using the three stage build and have just done the second stage so by the end of the day should have the weight and hydration that is needed.  Then a matter of time before making the dough.  Not having the wherewithal to grind flour, I will be using store bought but, then again, who's counting.

What say we all post our photos here when we're done so that everyone can see the fruits of our labours and memorialise Fred.

Keep on bakin'


Staffo 2012 January 30

 I have been following this thread with great interest and decided to try a gluten free version of Fred Bread! 

My first attempt with Fred BRead was with millet - I only had the pre-ferment going for about 36 hours as it seemed to be ready.

Here is the result:

Fred Bread in MIllet

Fred Bread crumb

This was slightly sweeter than the millet I have been making for the past month or so. It was also more open. Unfortunately I kept it in the oven a bit too long, so it was on the dry side.


I have a Buckwheat version underway - set the loaf to prove before leaving for work this morning. The pre-ferment was much slower with buckwheat, it didn't go through the same rise and fall with the liquid. I called a halt to the pre-ferment at 60 hours, even though it still seemed to be active - possibly just starting another stage? The preferment had a delicious sweet aroma. Looking forward to the bread. Usually my buckwheat bread is sour, but very pleasantly so!

(here are are some photos of my last buckwheat loaf:

Buckwheat loaf  Buckwheat crumb)

WIll post some photos of the Buckwheat Fred Bread when I have them!

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 30

 I'm just looking at that millet bread and thinking I never knew that was possible, Wow!  I have a bag of millet that I use to give to my guinea fowl as treats.  I'm thinking that I need to try this.  Do you have any tips or tricks that I should be aware of?  I will be milling my on flour from the millet.

Staffo 2012 February 3

Hi LeadDog,

I just noticed that I didn't reply to your request. Sorry about that.

I have made another loaf of Millet Fred Bread in the past few days. This time I pushed the preferment out to 48hours. That was a mistake, the quality of the loaf was not as good., not the same texture or flavour and the crumb a little less open - less oven spring. So, I'll be aiming for about somewhere between 24-36 hours preferment in future, possibly the lower end. Have to keep testing the timing. Add some starch and or fibre to your millet flour. Since you will be grinding the millet ensure that there are plenty of fines in it. Using freshly milled millet would be interesting. I buy mine already milled (would love to have a mill, but it is not in the budget yet!) Millet is a thirsty flour, but don't be too generous with water. If you start with a 100% mix, then add more water if it seems too dry.

 You will notice my buckwheat fred bread pictured below. with 2 millet and 1buckwheat Fred Bread, my current view is that buckwheat makes a Fred Bread.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 February 5

 Yes I have read your glutten free posts some so now I know it isn't straight millet.  I have used Buckwheat in the past but am currently out of it.  Are you making Buckwheat bread with just Buckwheat, water, and salt just like a sourdough wheat bread?  I would really love to try that if that is what works.

Staffo 2012 January 31

As promised, here are the pictures of the Buckwheat Fred Bread:

Buckwheat fred Bread   Buckwheat Fred Bread

Buckwheat Fred Bread - crumb

The batard was light and soft with a thinner crust than I have been used to with buckwheat. Flavour is much sweeter, and a more complex fruity flavour. The crumb is soft and amazingly pliable for a GF bread. At lunchtime I noticed I could bend a slice into a 'U' shape without it breaking - this has to be a first!

 I was reflecting on sourdough with a friend recently, trying to explain why I find it so enjoyable. It isn't so much the mixing of ingredients, it is exploring the range of methods and techniques and building a new understanding of what is possible.

 LeadDog, thanks for introducing me to Fred Bread!Enhanced by Zemanta

Staffo 2012 February 15

Hi LeadDog,


I have just been reviewing your initial Fred Bread post, and I can see that I am not following your approach exactly.  I am using a higher hydration preferment, and using long preferment times, but I am adding much more starter to the preferment. I will try reducing the starter to the amounts you are using to see what happens.

The preferment times I am using are longer for buckwheat (48 hours) and shorter for millet (24 hours maximum, but I reckon 18 would be fine). It may all change when I reduce the amount of starter.

This week I tried a 60/40 buckwheat/millet loaf. I had noticed that when I used millet only (ie, no extra starch, however I do add a little extra fibre/fiber) the bread was consistently dry with a thick crust. The buckwheat only was very moist.

With the 60/40 loaf I used a 48 hour preferment, a short rest after mixing the dough, then added salt, folded for a few minutes, shaped and left to bulk ferment overnight in a cloth lined pyrex loaf pan. Baked at 250 deg C for 10 minutes with steam, then 40 minutes at 200 deg C.

Here is the result:

Good oven spring, nice light loaf.


Open, moist crumb, good texture. Pliable and a sweet, honey scent.

Crust is light, slightly chewy, not as thick as millet, very similar to buckwheat only.

lluisanunez's picture
lluisanunez 2012 January 19

 OK, my first try at Fred Bread didn't turn out as spectacular as yours, nor had any special oven spring. Maybe it was the choice of flour (high extraction wheat, 88%)? The crumb, though looks very much like your picture.

But the aroma when it was in the oven! And the flavour in its second day! I think this is the better tasting bread I have ever made, and with difference. In comparison, my other breads are bland.

As some in my family don't like sourness very much, I'm trying to discover the exact point (somewhere between 24 and 36 hours for the liquid preferment) where there is maximum flavour witout being really sour.

I'm already preparing a fresh liquid preferment :-)



LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 20

 Yes a lot about this bread will depend on your personal preferences and the ingredients that you use.  This week I got my two spreadsheets mixed up and for got which formula I was using.  I ended up adding the flour of my 1200 grams loaf to the preferment of the 1500 gram loaf.  I ended up with a higher hydration dough and it ended up making a ciabatta like bread.  I'm still messing around with this bread to see what makes it turn out like it does.  I also found out that the dough can be over mixed so mixing less and doing strech and folds will be important.

Lluisa I bake the bread on a granite slab under a roasting pan.  Maybe that helps my oven spring.

lluisanunez's picture
lluisanunez 2012 January 20

Lluisa I bake the bread on a granite slab under a roasting pan. Maybe that helps my oven spring.

I baked on a pizza stone too, under a roasting pan

Here's the picture

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 20

 I can tell by the scoring in the bread that it kept expanding as it was cooking.  To me this indicates that you baked it at the right momment.  I would be very happy with a bread like that.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 January 20

It was an extended and difficult labour but the result was a reasonably attractive bouncing bread.

Now for some of the gory details.

As I noted before, I decided to build the pre-ferment in stages from my 100% hydration stock of starter.  This went well with lots of activity and at the end of 24 hours I had a jug full of nice frothy batter.  After another 24 hours, partly by design, partly because of other committments, I had a jug with a layer of bubble 'skeletons' on top of a clear layer with a very 'still' looking batter beneath.  Obviously my beasties had gorged themselves and were now in the midst of a post-prandial nap.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I decided to proceed and added in the flour necessary to make a 65% hydration dough.  Something disasterous seemed to have happened.  I had an extremely soft and sticky dough that was virtually impossible to do anything with.  I immediately thought of redrich and the sage and pontifical advice that I had been giving to him in relation to a similar problem.  What to do?

As it was getting on in the evening, I decided to sleep on it and after some attempts at kneading using the (what I call) Bertinet technique with little apparent effect on the dough character and splattering little bits of dough all around, I put the dough back into the bowl with its Gladwrap cover and popped it into the fridge.

It was with some trepidation that I approached fridge and took out the bowl, but the dough looked quite healthy and had risen to some degree so at least I knew the beasties were still alive.  So I gave it a stretch and fold and popped it back into the fridge.  I would have to say the the dough did not really inspire confidence in the amount of elasticity that it showed.

About lunch time, I gave it another turn around the park, a rest in the fridge and then about midafternoon shaped the loaf and put it back in the fridge.  By evening, the loaf had risen quite nicely so it was into the oven to bake and you have seen the result.  Not as nice and shiny as LeadDog's, but what the heck, it was adifficult birth.  The texture is nice with good mouth feel and although the sourness does not hit you right up front it develops a bit later on the back of the tongue.  All in all, I am very happy with the result and plan to work with this idea some more.

Now, what went on?  First, we went through a bit of a warm spell and the room temperature got up to about 28C during the second 24hours of pre-ferment and this would have contributed to the run down in the condition of the pre-ferment.

Second, I think that the over working of the pre-ferment broke down gluten structure that might have been present.  This released water that would have normally been tied up in the gluten structure that resulted in the anomolous dough properties compared to normal for a 65% hydration dough.

Third, refrigeration allowed the dough to be handled while it was cold and slowed the yeast activity down so that there was sufficient time for some gluten structure to develop/redevelop to make an acceptable loaf.

Fourth, it showed that there are more ways to kill a cat than choke it with butter (as my mother often used to say) and some of those 'disasters' that have been binned at the dough stage might have been saved.

These are only my thoughts on the matter and if anybody else is better placed by all means let us know.

Keep on bakin' and Go Fred!


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 20

 Farinam what wonderful looking bread.  I think it is possible that we both have found that the glutten in the preferment needs to be handled with care.

Here is a part I have left out because I don't think it makes a difference but since we both did it I need to mention it.  I mix the preferment with the salt and flour and let it bulk ferment for a few hours.  The dough at this point looks like it is doing nothing.  Because of the timing of when I do things it is time to go to bed.  What I have done at this point is shape the bread and put it in a banneton.  The banneton is then covered with a plastic bag and it goes into the fridge.  The next moring the dough has risen so I bake it right away.

I'm going to try to make a Fred Bread this weekend by leaving it out of the fridge over night.  The weather has been below freezing at night so I think this will work.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 22

 Here are some pictures of the what my preferment looks like at different stages.

Over night

This is what it looks like after setting over night.  You see the water and the flour have separated and the flour is still separate particles.

36 hours

After 36 hours this is what it looks like and is when I use it to make bread.  You can see that the preferment has develop a gluten network that has caught the CO2 bubbles for the fermentation.  The preferment was only stirred when it was made up, the gluten network develop on its own.  This is the preferment for a 1500 gram loaf and was started with 3 grams of my storage starter.  This is 944 grams of preferment at 175% hydration.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 January 22

Thanks LeadDog,

I can only assume it is because I used the three stage build process but mine worked the other way (sort of). It was homogeneous and bubbly for the first, I guess because I wasn't watching continuously, 36 hours and then it separated to look vaguely like your first photo except that the liquid layer was not as deep even allowing for the difference in mass of batter.

Interesting to say the least.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 23

I got curious about the use of the fridge so I made two loaves one was placed in the fridge overnigght the other wasn't.  I get explosive oven spring from both of them so I don't think the fridge is a nessecary step in making this bread just a handy tool to help us cope with the lack of time.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 January 23

Hi LeadDog,

I'd be curious to know whether you detect any difference in the taste of the two loaves and how the taste develops with time (assuming they last long enough).

Nice looking loaves.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 28

 The taste of the two loaves was different.  Both of them had very nice flavor.  The loaf that I put in the fridge was towards the dark roasted grains flavor of the flavor profile and the crust was thicker and chewier.  The finish had a hint of acid.  The other loaf was my favorite as it had an very nice sweet flavor when first starting to chew on it that as it finishes a little bit of acid starts showing through.  The crumb of Fred Bred is noticeably different than any bread I have made before.  There are some large irregular holes but not as many as other loaves I have made.  The rest of the holes seem to be a little bit larger than the holes of a fine crumb, more open.  The walls of these holes are soft and supple.  The sensation as I eat this bread because of the crumb being this way is very enjoyable.  The acid flavor in the bread seems to get stronger with time but never over the top.

I have made one loaf that I feel tasted better than both of these loaves but have never been able to repeat that loaf.  These loaves I'm able to make over and over again so I'm very happy that I'm able to consistently make bread that I enjoy and like.

redrich2000 2012 January 29

I have a bunch of spelt flour so decided to have a go at making a 100% spelt Fred Bread. I had limited time so only left the preferment for about 6 hours, but it was nice and bubbly by the time I used it. Spelt produces wet doughs so I reduced the water using 200g spelt flour and 250g of water in the preferment then another 300g of spelt for the dough. That produced a dough that was a bit too dry, next time I think I'll try 275g of water. I also over-baked it a bit. The end result is okay though, it is dense and lacking bubbles but the flavour is great, very strong, almost like a rye.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 30

 I think this week I'm going to have to try a Spelt loaf like this.  Redrich it looks great and if its not black it isn't over baked.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 January 30

I've been a bit busy over the last little while but as promised, here is my most recent Fred Bread.

In this one, I persisted with the three stage build of the pre-ferment but prepared the dough at 24 hours from the start.  The room temperature was fairly warm so even without the extra 24 hours that the previous one had, the pre-ferment was possibly still a little over-done.

I don't think the dough was quite as 'sticky' but I opted also to persist with retarding the dough during development.  The dough was prepared in the evening with a one hour autolyse and a stretch and fold after mixing in the salt.  After overnight in the fridge, a series of S&Fs with minimum time out of the cool saw the dough develop quite nicely.

After shaping, I let the dough rise on the bench at room temperature before baking.

Once again an excellent result with a sweetness at the front of the mouth and a long, slightly acid finish.

I think my next try will follow LeadDogs one step preferment build, just to see what the differences between the methods are.

Keep on bakin'.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 January 31

 Farinam I really like the looks of your crumb.  This week it was warmer here and after shaping the loaf I retarded it in the cold garage over night.  When I took a bite of that bread today was just amazed at the flavor.  It is even more intense than previous loafs.  Now I'm wondering what is going to happen as the weather gets warmer.

Farinam are you using all white flour for yours?  One of these days I think I'm going to have to try that.  I also have to try Spelt and Millet.  This could keep me busy for a while.  I'm like a kid with a new toy to play with.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 January 31

Hi LeadDog,

Or should I say 'Mush' /;-{)}

My starter stock is maintained with 20%rye and 80% white bread flour.  When I make the pre-ferment I have used 100% white bread flour.  For the dough, I usually include 100g of wholemeal wheat flour (with the balance white bread flour) though that particular loaf had a bit less because my stock ran out (have to sack the shopper - me).

Like all things, there are a million and one variations that you might try.  And that is part of the joy, I think.

Keep on mushin'.


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 February 4

This time I followed LeadDog to a tee - well almost.

The pre-ferment was prepared in one go though I did use 4 grams of starter rather than LeadDog's 3 grams.  Also I was maknig a smaller loaf but what the heck.  After sitting overnight, sure enough, the flour and liquid had separated into two layers.  After 23 hours, I happened to be present, just as the sponge was rising.  These are the before and part way through pictures.  I was so carried away with watching the 'reverse Titanic' that I forgot to take an after shot.

My sponge did not seem to have the structure that LeadDog's did but then he did say his was after 36 hours.

I could have waited till next morning to see what it looked like then, but being the impatient type, I jumped right in and made the dough, let it autolyse for an hour, cut in the salt and a couple of stretch and folds before consigning it to the fridge to wait till morning.

Some more S&Fs in the am to complete the dough development, then shaping and proving.  After that, into the trusty oven to work its magic and here is the result.  Another victory for Fred Bread.


alpinegroove 2012 February 4

Thank you, everyone, for this informative thread.

My ultimate goal is making bread that has a distinct sour/acidic taste, and this looks like a possible way to achieve it. Have you discovered that this bread is more sour than other recipes you have tried?

To summarize the recipe:


2-3 grams starter

479 grams water

274 grams flour

After 24-48 hours, mix preferment with 432 bread flour and proceed as usual.

Is that right?

What adjustments would I have to make if I started with 100% hydration starter?

Thanks again.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 February 4

Hello Alpine,

I would say that there is a stronger 'acid finish' to bread using this recipe than with the same ingredients but with a shorter pre-ferment.  That is, the acid taste develops later on the back of the tongue after a hint of sweetness at the front of the mouth.

I made a slightly smaller loaf than LeadDog and my  pre-ferment was 4g (100% hydration) starter with 220g bread flour and 392g water.  I made the dough with 100g wholemeal wheat flour and 270g bread flour.  So I think the proportions are pretty much the same.

The procedure is basically no different than normal though, possibly, if you let the preferment go for too long the dough can be sticky to handle at room temperature.  I managed to salvage the situation by doing bulk fermentation and proving at low temperature which extended the production time a lot.

Although I did retard the dough overnight during bulk ferment for the latest loaf, that was more for convenience than necessity.

Let us know how you go.


alpinegroove 2012 February 5

Thank you. I hope to try this soon.

Any other suggestions for making more sour bread?

I know that there have been numerous discussions on this, but nothing so far has made my bread, which I am otherwise very pleased with, more sour, or sour at all...



LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 February 5

 alpinegroove the idea of Fred Bread is really very new, at least I have never heard of anyone doing it before.  This does make the sourdough bread with a sour flavor if you let the preferment sit long enough but not to long.  Right now I'm not sure of the signs of what is to long.  I do know when the flour floats to the top the preferment is ready to make a very good tasting loaf of bread.  I have extended the time to 36 hours and got more sour flavor but as factors like temperature change so will the timing of the preferment.  There will be more trial and error as the seasons change and the temperatures rise and fall.  I'm in the USA so I have cold weather right now and all the microbial activity is slowed down.  This should change as the weather warms up.  There is one thing about the sour flavor in many breads that I have made, it increases the older the bread gets.  I have yet to see an explanation as to why the sour flavor gets stronger with time.  You can try baking your bread and not eating it for three days you might get just what you want.

I did document that you can make the preferment with very little storage starter to get it going.  Just so that people know I also have started it with 18 grams of my discard from my storage starter when I feed it.  There is no noticeable difference as to how long it takes for the flour to float to the top.

alpinegroove I think that answered your questions but if you have more I will try to answer them.

I made a Fred Bread Spelt today.  I can't wait to see how it tastes.  I'm going to try Kamut next week and maybe barley after that.  I'm not sure what rye would do but I'm thinking about it.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 February 6

Hi LeadDog,

I have been pondering your comments about the sourness developing in the loaf with time.  I tend to agree with you that this is the case though taste buds can be deceptive at (and with) time(s).

However, it has occurred to me that as the bread ages the moisture content is likely to fall while the acid remains and so the concentration of acid will increase and become more noticeable/pronounced.

Just a thought - what do you think?


redrich2000 2012 February 10

Just to add to what Farinam and Leaddog have said, I have found this the best method to get a more sour loaf. I had tried using rye and feeding my starter different foods but the Fred Bread did the trick. My loaves still need work in terms of presentation but I am getting crazy props from my friends who say it tastes like a commercial sour dough!

One thing I have found though is that using Lead Dogs amounts I don't end up with as much preferment as expected. I aim for about 100g more preferment than I need.

The main difficulty I am still having is oven spring. I get some but not enough and so the final loaf is quite heavy and dense.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 February 10

 Redrich2000 I made a Spelt loaf last week and I think I didn't let the preferment sit long enough before I used it.  The flour had floated to the top but just barely.  The bread ended up being dense but does it ever taste good.  I have a Kamut preferment going right now for my next bread adventure.  The 2nd loaf I made last week was the normal wheat Fred Bread and after the Spelt loaf I decided to let the preferment go an extra 12 hours before I made the dough.  When I finally got around to baking it the dough felt like I had over fermented it so I expected a loaf that didn't have much oven spring.  When I took it out of the oven it looked just the opposite of what I expected like it was under proofed.  I'm still learning and I don't know what will surprise me next.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 February 6

 Hi Farinam,

Well the acid getting stronger as the bread gets older is a real mystery.  It is like it develops as it ages but don't know how it is doing it.  I'm a wine chemist in real life and have asked my co-workers what could possible going on and we don't have a clue.  You are correct taste buds can be deceptive at times but I'm in a business where our tastes buds are our livelihood.  This acid getting stronger in the bread was even noticed by the winemakers so there is something happening that is noticeable but what causes it?  The moisture idea is a good one and that kind of stuff does happen to us at work.  The increase seems way more than the loss of moisture.  I even asked this question on another bread forum but still no answer.  You would think someone somewhere would have researched this question by now.

I made another beautiful Fred Bread today.  I thought it was over proofed but it had some much oven spring it was like it was under proofed.  I'm totally amazed at this bread sometimes.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 February 6

Hello LeadDog,

I guess another possibility is that some component is oxidising and changing taste that way.

I wonder is there some way to measure the pH of a sample of the bread over time.  Maybe soak an aliquot of bread (5 or 10 grams) in a standard volume (50 ml) of de-ionised water and measure the pH that has developed.  Use another aliquot of bread for a taste test and see if a correlation turns up.  Maybe you could persuade your wine-tasting mates to take part to get a consensus on the taste variation.

Just a thought.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 February 10

 Farinam I asked my boss if she knew of any way to test bread for acid.  Well I didn't know this but her sister works in one the largest food labs in the nation.  She tests dairy products but maybe I can find out from her if there is a way to do the testing.

When I was thinking about it I thought along the lines you were thinking.  I would take a known weight of bread like 100 grams and add it to a known amount of water like 200 grams.  I would then liquefy it and centrifuge the liquid.  Then I would take some of the liquid and titrate it to find out how much acid it has in it.  The very least I think you would be able to tell if the acid got stronger over time by doing it this way.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 February 10

Hello LeadDog,

Another thought that occurred to me would be to try the soil pH testing approach.  Probably a bit more qualitative as I am not sure what sort of increments you might be able to distinguish.  I recall that some of the dipstick pH testers used to be farily speccy in that regard though over a fairly narrow range.  Next time I am in a garden shop I might have a look at the soil pH test kits to see what they might do.  If all else fails I could use it in the garden.


Bibtrekker's picture
Bibtrekker 2013 May 5

Farinam, did you ever try the pH soil test?  I realise this is an old post, however I decided to share my results...  last year I had problems with leuconostoc bacteria. After growing a new culture I decided I wanted to be able to innoculate or revive my culture if it happened again (I keep a backup also).  I garden and hence had the soil pH test available to use. The slide photo shows my results.  And then I did a lemon feed comparison to see if there were any added benefits to crumb, crust, spring or flavor.  I was happy with both the lemoned and the norm.  It's nice to be able to "tip the (pH) scale" in favor of my lovely culture.  Hope this helps?

farinam's picture
farinam 2013 May 5

Hello Bibtrekker,

No, I never did.  Must have gotten side-tracked or forgot to write myself a note!

The shine on the photo makes the colours a bit hard to match but it does show that here is a difference with age/stage which is pretty much what you would expect.

Did you just add the lemon to the levain for the loaf? Or to your whole starter stock?  And was there any evidence for the lemon in the taste of the bread?

Keep on bakin'


Bibtrekker's picture
Bibtrekker 2013 May 7

Hello Farinam,

As I recall, I split my original culture into two, one of which I lemon fed (once).  Then I did a couple bakes using each.  There was no discernible lemon flavour.

Happy bakin',



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