More Vermont Sourdough..

I blame the starter, it wanted to bake, it was begging me to use it. I hadn’t planned on baking more of the same this week.

I made one of the variations on the Vermont sourdoughs the Mellow Bakers are working on this month;  the one with increased wholegrain. I had some wholemeal flour from Melin Llynnon, a restored Welsh windmill on Angelsey which,  ‘ was known as ‘Môn Mam Cymru’, the ’Mother of Wales’ or ‘The Breadbasket of Wales’  because of its capacity to produce wheat and bread flour in great abundance.’ I also used a little spelt and rye to create a good mix of grain.

One day I would like to tour around all the working mills, large and small that are left in England and Wales.  Anyone like to join me?   Like some people dream about bee keeping, I dream about a mill :)

Quick dough notes:  I used a lot more water than the recipe gives as the flours were very thirsty,  and I  added a small pinch of commercial yeast needing to bake the loaf mid-afternoon.  This gained me about an hour and might have helped aerate the loaf a little more.

A small portion of baker’s yeast, up to 0.2 percent can be added to a levain dough without any noticeable changes in the bread’s sourdough characteristics. This small amount of yeast will have a slight impact on fermentation and dough volume.    Jeffrey Hamelman. Bread P. 152

The bread had a really hot full bake and the crust is a little scorched, but we enjoy a rich dark crust;  Chewy, smoky and nutty with a sweet, well risen middle and an interesting texture from the coarse particles of bran speckling the crumb.   This goes on my bake again list!

14 thoughts on “More Vermont Sourdough..

  1. blue

    Just look at those lovely monsters!
    I don’t know how you get through all that bread (but I’m assuming your family, friends and neighbours are extremely well cared for in the bread department :-))

    p.s. You can sign me up for the mill tour, as long as we stop by every bee-keeper as well.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      There is always the freezer! Bread freezes really well. I wrap it in paper and then bag it. Sometimes the crust will separate a bit if it had a very high hot bake and has gone a bit crackly when you defrost it.

      Are you going to keep bees? How wonderful!

  2. burntloafer


    Wow. The scoring and the color of that bread is fantastic. Nicely done!

    J, you asked on my blog about the percentages for the oat flour bread – I mimicked Hamelman’s Light Rye exactly, save for changing rye flour to oat flour and leaving the yeast out.

    And I think your friend is probably right; it could be good, but I should not have expected oat flour to carry a bread’s taste by itself. It did make it more moist, and it was heavy, but if I ever experiment with this again I will add yeast, apples (or maybe Craisins!) and possibly nuts. It was a good base, but that is all. Hope that helps!

    Thanks for your interest! I learn a lot from you.


    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Steve. you are too kind, I learn something every time (I hope) that I roll up my sleeves, there are so many breads I haven’t tried yet, in baking years I am not even in pre-school yet! Steve’s oat bread post here if anyone else is curious to see Steve’s experiments with oat flour! And his gorgeous dogs :)

      PS Sent you an email with info about Dan Lepard’s oat breads. There’s a good one here.

  3. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Such gorgeous loaves, Jo! It’s funny – I don’t have any angst at all about adding a little yeast to my sourdoughs (not the starter, of course), having been tutored by Dan’s THL. But I do know a lot of the diehard sourdough bakers, particularly here in Oz, are absolutely deadset against it. Personally, I’m just happy to get a good flavour and rise.. :)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      No angst here either Celia! I make lots of hybrid loaves and find the spike of yeast particularly helpful with breads that are very high in rye.

      It is a conscious decision though to change a recipe in this way and it does make a MSD and because I am baking these particular breads with a group baking from a specific book and recipes I list any changes I make and reasons why. If someone is trying to figure out how to get a bread that looks like mine in the time, then it is helpful to know what I’m up to I guess. I was interested to see that JH mentioned it too :)

  4. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Joanna keep posting about your sourdoughs, each time I see yours I am inspired to make mine look better. Plus my sourdough knowledge (or lack there of) always makes just a litttlle bit more sense when I read your posts. Bread looks great.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      That’s really kind of you! I think it’s a bit like learning to drive, and you forgt how hard and worrying it can be, but you also have to have faith and just keep at it. I’ve been on a good roll lately. I was thinking that since I got a new oven that gets really hot I have been able to make these very intensely coloured crusts simply by not being frightened that the bread will burn. I do watch it avidly through the glass door though just in case :)

  5. teawithhazel

    not sure if this is a new post or not as it’s dated 11 june 2010..but it’s posted with your new format..whichever way they’re mighty fine the scoring..jane

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Jane, thanks for the compliments – You are right, it’s an old post, but they all turn up in the new format or theme. I added a little excerpt bit with a picture, so that if you do a search or look at the archives you get a picture. I’m gradually doing that for the posts. I’ve done about a dozen of the Sweet Sutff ones so far. You can’t change part of the blog on its own, the software at WordPress does it automatically and sometimes there are odd things that happen in the process. Photos go missing, sentences become all capital letters, that sort of thing. But I did make this formula again yesterday as it is one I use a lot as it has a bit of rye in it, but not so much that my hubbie won’t eat it. Would you like me to email it to you? To get the colour like that you have to have a reasonably hot oven, 220 C for the first part of the bake and make sure you bake the bread for a ‘full bake’. So for a 750-800 gram loaf that means at least 50 minutes in all.

        1. Joanna Post author

          I don’t know why it should pop up again – I edited the ‘manual excerpt’ box because I want to update the posts to make them easier to find. Maybe the mysterious WordPress software ‘read’ it as a new post? I will email you later, Joanna :)

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