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Sourdough

Sourdough is a blanket term that covers any baked goods raised with a sourdough starter..  Many people have an almost instinctive identification of a specific bread as “sourdough bread”. It could be a San Francisco Sourdough Bread, a French Levain bread, a German Rye Bread, or many other breads.  And that is the point here.  …

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Sour

Sour is a mother that has been refreshed with flour and water.  Or, yet another term seemingly made up to confuse the beginning sourdough baker.  It’s just an active sourdough starter. A bit more discussion of starters and sponges. First, there are some equivalencies to be aware of: Mother = chef – it only depends …

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Salt

Salt, you know, blood pressure raising good tasting white poison death! Before we go down the rabbit hole, unless otherwise specified we use table salt, we weigh it and we add it to the mixing bowl with all the other ingredients.  That said…. As you probably know, salt is at the heart of a number …

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Straight Yeast

A straight yeast dough is a dough made with flour, water, salt and yeast followed by a short rise and immediate baking. This is the classic home baker’s way of making bread. It tends to make breads that taste yeasty and are not otherwise very flavorful.  

Autolyse

Autolyse is a preferment technique pioneered by Professor Raymond Calvel.  It is unique in that no fermentation occurs in an autolyse.  An autolyse is, by definition, a mixture of flour and water which is allowed to sit for as little as 30 minutes to as long as 12 hours.  Autolyse means “self digesting”, and during …

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Sponge

A sponge is used more by housewives than professional bakers, but a sponge is still a good yeasted technique. In the early days of commercial bakers yeast it was just not very reliable, so bakers would “prove” the yeast, or make the yeast prove that it was still active.  This is done by putting the …

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Old Dough

Old dough is just what it sounds like. This is one of the quirkier pre-ferments. Usually this is dough that has matured to the point where it could have been baked but wasn’t. Sometimes it’s a day or two old. The old dough will have developed complex, rich and often funky flavors. The old dough …

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Oil

Oil is important enough that it should perhaps have its own page instead of just a post!  Oil is a loose term used to refer to a wide variety of fats. More correctly, they are referred to as lipids. These terms can include solid fats (such as butter, lard or shortening) or liquid oils (such …

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Mother

Mother is is a batter like starter of flour and water that is unrefreshed. A note – as with many sourdough terms, you are more than likely to meet someone who tells you that this definition is incorrect.  If this happens, please smile, write down their definition and send it to us through the Contact …

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Milk

Milk has many uses in making bread. It provides liquid to the dough, just as water would. It adds flavor to the bread. If you are using any milk but skimmed milk, it adds fat to the dough, which extends the bread’s shelf life. It also adds lactose, a milk sugar, to the dough. Lactose …

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Water

To most visitors to this site (USA, Canada, northern Europe, Australia, Great Britain) water is something we take for granted. We turn on the tap and there it is. Water, clear, splashing, fresh, safe. We can turn the tap this way or that and change the temperature of the water. However, water, as I have …

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