Grain. Water. Salt.

Overview of the bread baking process

Wrapping one’s head around the bread baking process can be a challenge. I’ll summarize the steps first and then will cover each in detail.

Growing wild yeast

The method for growing yeast is taken almost entirely from Peter Reinhart’s book Whole Grain Breads. The main difference is that I use only integral, freshly milled flour and water, while Peter uses commercial whole-wheat flour and adds things like pineapple juice to his starter. I also use higher hydration and feed the mother starter differently than he suggests.

Seed culture

Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads

Managing the mother starter

In the previous step I ended up with 200g of the mother starter sitting in the fridge. After about 3 days, when I am ready to bake again, I feed that starter such that I have enough to bake a new loaf and to keep some for later:

Mixing the dough and proofing

The recipe of the dough closely resembles that of Peter Reinhart’s. The difference is that I don’t use commercial yeast or other ingredients and my hydration ratio and other proportions are slightly different.

Shaping and baking

The bulk of the method is taken out of Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread, but I made several adjustments essential for my integral flour and wet dough.

I bake my bread in this famine
After I pull the wet dough out of the proofing bowl, it looks like a large pancake.
This is how the dough looks after the two folds



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Alexandra (Sasha) Fedorova

Alexandra (Sasha) Fedorova


I research computer systems, raise young scientists and consult in the area of systems performance. I am a professor at the University of British Columbia.