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Slow Ferment Sourdough Bread

By I. N. Cognito

For 2 to 3 large loaves

sourdough-rye.jpgStart the process preferably in the evening.

Whilst 6 hours is the minimum ferment time, longer is better, allowing the activated enzymes t-i-m-e to do their priceless work.

So I prefer the overnight ferment, creating the dough at sunset, which means you get a loaf of 12>16 hours’ fermentation. But at a squeeze, you can make a dough at 7am, and bake it in the evening. Remember, the longer the ferment, the more nutritious and digestible the bread.

Doughs and ferments will vary according to many factors – seasons, temperature, humidity, presence and types of local wild bacteria, different flours, and so on.

Step 1

First make the yeast mix in a small bowl:

Granulated yeast – half a level teaspoon

Plain flour 1 teaspoon

Ginger powder 1 teaspoon

Jaggary, Rapadura or molasses 1 dessertspoon

Add 1 cup of tepid water, not so hot that it burns the finger. If it burns the finger, it will kill the yeast also.

Stir it well and leave; the yeast, etc. will slowly dissolve. A sourdough (wild yeast) starter may be used in place of baker’s yeast. But don’t be afraid of baker’s yeast, as it also positively transforms in the long ferment.

Step 2

Prepare the dough mix in a large bowl:

Put 2 to 3 kgs of 80% unbleached organic plain wheat flour (not wholemeal, as bran is indigestible) plus 20% other flours (for a mixed carbohydrate spread). For this 20%, I use plain spelt, kamut and either rye or barley flours.

I’m vague on measures, because I do it by feel, even when it’s 10kgs of flour. Precision in measures is not necessary for bread. It can vary, so can the end result. After getting the basics, you will develop the feel also. Using a higher % of plain wheat flour means a lighter loaf.

Add Ginger powder - 1 heaped teaspoon (best yeast growth material).

Good salt (Celtic) - 1 teaspoon

Now with a claw pasta spoon, stir this dry mix so that it becomes evenly distributed.

Step 3

Before proceeding to the next phase, first ensure that all ingredients in the yeast mix have dissolved. Stir it.

In a suitable bowl, mix the following - a quarter cup of olive, coconut or other good fat, plus half cup of yoghurt, and 2 cups tepid water. Toss the (dissolved) yeast mix on top of all that and stir with a wooden spoon.

Then pour this liquid mix into the flour mix and immediately stir in with a wooden spoon until it gets too thick to move any more. Then it’s the hands’ work.

As I am unsure of proportions (which as I said doesn’t matter, as any combo of ingredients will basically work, simply giving different textures and tastes), this mixture may be either too dry or too wet. Once the spoon has done all it can, get your hands into it, squeezing, kneading, punching dents into the idle of the dough and then folding it over itself, getting air into the dough –for about ten minutes.

You MAY have to either ADD more FLOUR to a TOO wet mix, or ADD more WATER to a TOO dry mix. Check and record your quantities, timings, as you go, and your own recipe will evolve. When the kneading is done, make sure you have NO dry flour remaining anywhere in the mix, on the sides of the bowl, etc.

The end result should be ever so slightly sticky to touch, not too dry, not too wet. Then make a lid, not touching the dough, of a damp cloth cover, and leave to rise. Or a normal lid will be ok, but there must be space in the pot for the dough to rise DOUBLE.

When you get up in the morning, the dough should have doubled, and ideally will be standing up strong. If it has dropped or sagged, it means that the combination of heat/humidity plus yeast has been too volatile, so you can cut the amount of yeast next time. Given t-i-m-e, even the smallest amount of yeast will eventually spread throughout the dough, causing it to double. Overnite doughs in winter may need a LITTLE MORE yeast to double, unless you find a slightly warm (not hot) nook where it can stand.

You’ll get it after a while. Persist; it’s well worth the apprenticeship.

Step 4

Next morning, lightly oil your bread loaf tins (or you can make bread rolls on an oven tray). Coconut oil is best, as it produces gorgeous brown crusty loaves, and the loaves don’t stick to the sides. If the dough is still a little sticky to the touch, no problems, simply smear a very fine film (half-teaspoon spread with hand) of coconut or olive oil on your table top and on your hands (this helps prevent sticking), throw the doubled dough on it, punch it down, and start kneading and folding over itself, getting air INTO it, treat it rough for 5 minutes. Do NOT add more flour at this stage, as it will not be fermented, which would defeat the whole purpose.

Then cut into pieces large enough to fill HALF of each bread tin (it’s gonna rise double again). Separately knead these pieces a little more, creating an unbroken top. Place in tins, and with a very sharp knife, cut across the top of each dough 4 slices at 1 cm. deep. This allows the rising to be better accommodated by an opening upper surface.

Step 5


Place these tins in a warm place, a cosy corner, near a wood stove (NOT HOT). However, if the climate is warm, normal atmospheric temperatures are adequate for this second rise. If it’s a cold winter morning, I prefer to place the tins directly into the oven at 40 degrees C., completing the proving this way, then simply increasing the temp. to 170C. as the loaves again reach their peak rise. Or prove the loaves on top of a stove with the griller below on lowest heat. Once the loaves have doubled again (anytime from 1 hour onwards), put them into a pre-heated 170°C oven – and bake for 35/40 minutes.

Ovens vary a lot. Fan-forced ovens give a better distribution of heat. You will discover your own timing eventually. 35 minutes in my German Blanco oven makes a dampish, springier loaf; 40 minutes a drier, crustier loaf.

Catching the loaf as it reaches peak rise is an art that cannot be explained. If this second rise goes OVERtime, it may sag in the cooking, or if it goes into the oven UNDERtime, it will still expand while cooking and so crack along the sides. This will not affect the edibility so much, more the aesthetics. If your oven is cooking unevenly, open the door after 20 minutes and turn the bread tins around for the last 15 to 20 minutes. Tapping the crust of the bread will indicate if the loaf is cooked. There will be a hollow sound, and the surface will spring back. With experience you will be able to tell, by touch, tap and tone, when the loaf is just done, medium done or well-cooked.

Step 6

Remove loaves from tins immediately once cooked, or they will keep cooking and dry out. Place on cooling racks. VOILA!!

Once the loaves are totally cool, you may package and put in freezer. Later, when you de-freeze it will be as fresh as when you cooked it. The loaf that you start to eat direct from the oven should stay in a bread bin for the first day. That evening, put it in a sealed plastic bag and keep in the fridge.

Long-fermented bread has a much longer shelf life than quick bread. All raw food wants to ferment. If we don’t pre-ferment, pre-digest it, it’s gonna ferment in our stomachs anyway. It’s the same with breads. Quick breads will soon develop fungi, long-ferment breads hardly at all, even after weeks.

Step 7

You may make many variations upon this theme. Eg. Add olives in a savory loaf. Add organic dried apricots and fermented walnuts with rapadura sugar and cinnamon for a sweet loaf.

Sourdough Starter Recipe

Instead of using baker’s yeast as a bread starter, many people prefer to use sourdough, which is simply a flour and water mix that collects wild yeasts from the atmosphere.

Step 1

In a ceramic bowl, mix well 1 cup plain, unbleached wheat flour with 2 cups spring water (no chlorine). Cover with a cotton cheesecloth, and peg it to the rim. Leave this near the kitchen window, not in direct heat or light, but in a warm nook. Give the mix a stir a few times during the day.

Step 2

After 2 to 3 days, stirring regularly, bubbles will appear on the surface, evidencing the presence and action of wild yeasts. Now feed it, like a new baby, by adding 1 heaped dessertspoon of flour, plus same amount of water and mix well, until there is no dry flour left, and transfer the mix to a new, dry, clean ceramic bowl. Feed it more when the bubbles again appear, but when 7 days has passed, it’s ready to use.
You have your sourdough starter. And each is unique according to the variety and density of the yeasts gathered there. There are hundreds of different yeasts in the atmosphere.

Sometimes, some brown liquid (hooch) may form on the surface. This is ok. If the mix is already fairly wet, you can drain off the hooch. If not, you can simply mix it back in.

Some sourdoughs being used in the US and Europe today began their lives as far back as the 1850’s!

Step 3

After 7 days, distribute the mix into 500ml (or less) glass jars, perhaps 3 to 4 jars will be needed. Don’t use metal or plastic containers. Always leave some space at the top of the jar for expansion, and the lid should have a small breathing hole, like nail size. Store these jars in the fridge.

For use in sloooow bread-making, to make about 3 medium loaves, mix well 250mls (8.5 ounces) starter well into the dough, and leave it sit overnight (as per the previous recipe pages). It will rise slower than baker’s yeast.

When you have just 1 jar of starter left, empty it into the ceramic bowl again, add 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of water, and leave out, covered, for 24 hours, giving regular stirs. This activates a new batch. If you want more, do the same again next day. Then put back in clean jars once again, and into the fridge.

An explorer of all things freeing, I. N. Cognito is a Super Hero who strives to bring clarity and focus to issues of health and food freedom.

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COMMENTS - 49 Responses

  1. I make sour dough regularly as my families main source of bread. All I do to make a starter culture is add 1 cup flour to 1 cup water and stir a few times a day for a week.

    Then to make the bread - a moist heavy loaf - to my starter culture I add 4 cups flour and 4 cups water, stir and sit. After it has risen (I leave it for a day usually), I take out a cup of the dough and place it in a clean jar and refrigerate - my next starter, then add anything I want and stir - from oatmeal, to nuts and grains, to dried fruit, to left overs. I usually also add salt to most loaves.

    Stir until it becomes hard to stir then oil up some bread tins, after the tin is well oiled tip the remaining oil into the sour dough mix (usually a couple of tablespoons is what I have left over). Divide it between tins. Leave it to rise in the tins.

    Turn oven on to full heat and cook in this for 10 mins then lower the temp of the oven to 190 and cook for 30 mins.


  2. Meredith,

    That sounds so much easier. Thank you! I’m going to try it!

  3. Hi Clive and Meredith,

    My starter is almost ready and I will be baking my first ever loaf of bread on Saturday! I will be making 1 large loaf so I figured 125ml or so of the starter. My question is related to storing and using the remaining starter. If I am making bread once a week should I reactivate the starter over a day or two by feeding it? Or will it be okay to let 125mls reach room temperature then add to the dough mix?

    One more question for Clive: Do you still recommend ginger powder added to the traditional starter mix and the dry mix or is that more for the bakers yeast recipe?

    Thanks again for the great article!


  4. I’ve made this twice now, and I love it! I used a mix of whole wheat and buckwheat for my first loaf because it was all I had on hand. The loaves were beautiful and moist! Which is surprising since I used such rough flours. I made this batch with unbleached white, oat flour, and a bit of quinoa flour I had left over. The loaves are proving right now, and they look and smell beautiful. I can’t wait to try them! I’ve passed this recipe on to several friends, and will probably pass this recipe on to my children some day. Thanks Clive!

  5. An easy way to make bread every day, is to simply add a cup of freshly ground flour and water to the bowl that you used to make your bread. There is enough yeast left in this bowl, that if left overnight will create enough starter for the next day. The starter is much better if you use it every day than if you store it in the fridge, even if it is fed every day.

    Bakers yeast may seem to be more convenient but it also has an additive in it and if you want to go back to original bread making, then sour dough bread made with freshly ground flour is the way to go. The bread is so much better, more wholesome and filling than anything you can buy commercially, even from organic sour dough bakeries. Making sour dough bread is so easy, there are very little rules. If you start with less starter, you have to let the dough prove for longer and you wait till the dough doubles in bulk before baking in a very hot oven. If your bread sinks, it is because the oven is not hot enough. The ingredients are simple: flour, water, salt, olive oil and seeds, nuts, herbs, garlic, or dried fruit - depending on what you want to add to your loaf, on the last knead, just before baking.

    Bread making is great fun, and children love to help out !! Enjoy

  6. Hi Lacey,
    Congrats girl,
    It’s a blast for me to get letters like yours. One thing I forgot to include in “Bread Dread” is that if you ever cannot get plain flour, just buy wholemeal and simply fine sieve it to remove the indigestible bran, etc. And you can do the same with other flours that you add, like rye or spelt, etc. Lotsa love,

  7. Dear Jeanee,
    What you are saying has merit, but the whole point in my story is that if that dough (any dough) you have created is not permitted to ferment, just sit, for longer than 6 hours, it will contain many toxic, indigestible elements. Sloooow is the traditional way, and we lost the plot with the rush since the 60’s.
    Clive Lawler

  8. Thank you so much for the recipe, Clive. I had just about given up on bread and I am glad to know that there are alternatives, even if I have to make them myself.

    Clive, what do you think of the following method:

    Do you think it would still allow the activated enzymes time to do their work and produce a more nutritious and digestible bread?

  9. Hi Clive,

    Thanks again for your help with my query. I have baked 2 incredible sourdough loaves so far. The first was too heavy (I had to use wholemeal) but the secound made from my rye starter with some Organic stone ground plain unbleached flour from Eden organic is simply PERFECT. I really can’t thank you enough. Your recipe is the easiest bread I’ve ever found and it tastes unreal. Everyone I’ve told about it says bread is too hard to make but I think the way you outlined it is exactly what they need. Purchasing your book right now!

    Thanks again


  10. Jessy,
    Looks an excellent method, thankyou. I’m gonna try it.
    Some new understandings there on gluten breakdown - superb.
    He doesn’t mention type of flour. As I explained in my book, make sure you use PLAIN flour (that’s NOT white flour, which is plain flour put thru a bleaching process), so that’s flour always with the coarsest bran particles sifted off. “Whole DON’T (necessarily) mean WHOLESOME”, and with bread, that is absolute, including your bloody biblical breads!
    For anybody still agruing for BRAN, I recommend you read “Bull in a China Shop”, at:, and then make your arguments.
    Clive Lawler

  11. Dear D,
    If you were the ONLY person to enjoy my recipe, that would be enuf.
    Thanks, made my day,
    Clive Lawler

  12. Hi
    I was just wondering if this bread would be considered low GI?

  13. Clive, thank you so much for the info.

  14. Hi Suzanne,
    Yes, if I were to use such terms, bred as they are from a thoroughly damaged and perverted view of both nutrition and medicine, yes, it would not only qualify, but even WIN, the LOW GI Stakes.
    Love, Clive.

  15. Hi Clive
    Not really sure what you mean Clive. I hope I haven’t offended you. I’m not sure why I even bothered asking really. I don’t need a concept like low and hi GI to know if a food gives me low blood sugar and the shakes. I can tell within about 15-30 minutes if a food has stimulated my insulin too much and leaves me with anxiety, shakiness and grumpiness. However, the term has been useful as a tool that allows me to convey my embodied experience to others who have no idea what its like to have a baked potato leave them sleepy for an hour or two. Medical staff no longer look at me like I have a psychological problem when I tell them that a piece of bread leaves me dizzy and cranky. I have a legitimate label to slap on a very bothersome bodily experience. Perhaps, I suspect that I just didn’t want to have to feed another loaf of bread to the chickens and waste what little money we have at the moment. I will try your bread Clive and let you know if it agrees with my body. Thank you so much for your response.

  16. Suzanne,
    Sometimes I exhibit minimal patience with modern nutritional attitudes and terms.
    Thankyou for taking the time to explain. I understand.
    I too, in India in the early 1990’s, experienced my first diabetic coma, which started a whole new dietary awareness career for me. Gratefully, I could just about eliminate that condition using Ayurvedic herbs and a change of diet, all of which led me to, among other things, the bread story.
    I would love to hear your feedback. All the best.
    Clive Lawler

  17. Jessy,

    I used the recipe from the nytimes site that you linked to. I thought it would be an easy way to introduce myself to the whole bread making thing. Then I could move onto the sour dough recipes. I cooked this last night and my kids absolutely loved it. They insisted on taking it to school for sandwiches and have asked me never to buy the bread from the store again. What a great success. So simple to make and so good to eat. I’ll still do the sour dough but this is a definite favourite in our house. Thanks for the link

  18. Hi Clive,

    Your recipes sound wonderful! I enjoyed your article as well. I am going to start a SD starter today and try the initial recipe as well (w/ yeast). I used to make bread often for my family but since my 7 y/o was diagnosed with autism and celiac disease I have not baked much except for him. My husband certainly missed fresh-baked bread!

    My question revolves around my son with CD (NOT diagnosed with a biopsy but w/blood levels of gluten antibodies). We have had him on a gluten-free/casein free diet (treatment for autism and a milk allergy added to the celiac disease) for about 3 years now. So, I am wondering if 1) you have adapted your recipes to include those made w/non-gluten flours and 2) what are your thoughts on diets such as this? I have considered a gluten challenge with him, to see if he can tolerate small amounts and your discussion on the proper way to break down gluten makes sense.

    Look forward to hearing from you…and may I say that I am very impressed with your dedication to this blog and your prompt answers to individuals who post. I think that is quite refreshing!

  19. Dear D.Lewis,
    Thankyou for the juice. I do enjoy the cyclic energy exchange via this column.
    It is perfectly natural that there are millions of people out there, whether diagnosed or not, who are gluten/lactose/casein-intolerant. And believe me, it IS a very NEW phenomenon, since the 50’s, which is when the human race’s speeding up of all life processes began a radical exponential rise -with the onset of quick-rising of breads and the pasteurisation of milk, amongst myriad other madnesses.
    Of course, Coeliac D existed before then, but it was rare.
    I have been making this sloooow bread for six years.
    There was a phase of about 1 year when I sold bread rolls thru the local health food store.
    The response was amazing, and when I stopped, people were actually pleading with me to continue.
    But my “ACTIVATED NUTS” biz was demanding my focus. And my book was starting to sell well.
    Hence I received a ton of feedback.
    Amongst those responses were several from so-called gluten-intolerant folk, who were, without even one dissension, amazed that they were eating plain flour wheat with NO reactions!!
    Now, I don’t know how complicated their gluten diseases were, but the positivity was across the board. I myself was also blown away.
    So you see, I have never needed to bother with “gluten-free” flours and diets.
    Gluten is a wonderful vegetable double protein, when in its “right” mind, as it were.
    I also had others with so-called yeast-intolerance, candida, etc, reporting the very same excellent results - no allergenic reactions to the yeast. I can only explain this by the same reasoning for the conversion of gluten and carbs, in that somehow once a ferment (of any substances, not only a bread dough) is allowed sufficient time, no ingredient in that fabulous brew escapes conversion to its positive, digestible, nutritious alter-ego.
    Whilst I enjoy the science, I also love the mystery of it all.
    However, these understandings are NOT new. They have been in our traditions for eons.
    We just buried them for convenience and profit.
    I would, from the sum of my experiences, warmly recommend you implement the gluten challenge with your son. I have seen such tests bring great results, and it’s extremely gratifying.
    At the same time, you might also try him with whole, unheated, unpasteurised milk too (cow or goat), because the processing and heating of milk destroys the very innate enzymes whose job it is to break down casein and milk fats.
    If you like, I will send you my MILK chapters “Kow Tow, Brown Cow” and “Soy Polloi”.
    Just include your e-mail address.
    If you need more info, keep talking.
    Clive Lawler

  20. The milk chapters sound great! Thanks for the offer. My email is coyotezbooks “at”

    Thanks for your response as well!


  21. Hi Clive,
    thankyou for your articles. I know something is wrong with my food but your writing has made a lot of sense to me.
    Can dried yeast be used. Where do i buy bakers yeast? I am very weak, with a dizzy/fuzzy head, so if my post does not read well, please just question me.
    You said that biscuits etc are not fermented flour, so what do i do to the flour to make it digestible for cakes and biscuits?
    I have an Australian nutritient book here from 1950, and that only says to let the dough double..about an hour, and then ready to be placed in tins, then double and ready for baking. The book also advocates using ‘wholegrains’ to get all the nutrients. So the quick make was already well underway back then.
    I have questions about vegetable etc but i do not know if i can ask on this blog.
    regards ingrid

  22. Hi Clive,
    I went to the site of the no-knead bread, and he says use bread flour or all-purpose flour. As this is an American site,and you said not to use bread flour, then is all purpose flour plain un-bleached flour?
    Is unbleached flour available in supermarket as i did not notice it. I saw plain and self-raising flour.

    As rolled oats are soaked before cooking to make them more digestible, what do i do for recipes for biscuits using oats…like anzac biscuits?
    Regards Ingrid

  23. Dear Ingrid,
    Thankyou for your letters.
    About bread:
    From my experience, you will NOT find the flour I recommend in supermarkets.
    I find the PLAIN flour only in health food stores. Plain means wholemeal flour which has had the large bran particles sifted out, and of course I buy organic, again NOT available in supermarkets. Or, make your own by buying wholemeal flour and put it thru a sieve. I have no idea what BREAD flour means, but avoid it.
    About yeast:
    Whilst sourdough (wild yeast starter) is the superior leavening, it is not always manageable, so yes, you can use baker’s yeast, in either its fresh cake form, or granules. And because you leave the dough overnite (covered with lid or slightly damp cloth), you need far less yeast, as it has time to grow thru the mix. Note to use ginger powder in all dough mixes, as the medium for the yeast to grow upon. When you long-ferment the dough (meaning longer than 6 hours, and the longer the better), you create a magic enzyme world in which NOT ONLY the gluten becomes agreeable but also EVEN THE YEAST gets favourably converted. I have made bread this way for 5 years, in a minor commercial way at one stage, and it was astounding for me how many people expressed their joy in being able to eat bread again without allergic reactions - some of those allergies being to gluten, some to yeast - and, how many of those people plead with me to make that bread once again. There have been candida sufferers eating my yeasted, gluten-friendly, wheat bread with relief and aplomb.
    What, we could eat wheat for millenia, but since 1950, it has become toxic?? No way, it’s not about wheat, nor gluten, nor yeast. It’s all about the speed - the acceleration and de-sensitisation of life and of our food processes.
    About bikkies and cakes, etc:
    Again, all you need do to create a happy cookie is to leave overnite the basic prepared flour dough (with spices, nuts, dried fruits, etc already mixed in), and add the eggs (if required), baking soda, the next morning before forming your bikkies or cakes. It does take some adjustment to bake this way, but the experiments and trials are worth it. I and some friends have made some cakes and cookies 2die4.
    About your vegetable questions: Ask away.
    When you use oats or corn meal in bread or cookies, simply soak them overnite in water, separate from the main dough, strain off excess water in the am, and add to the mix. Voila! L’anzac.

  24. Clive,I am amazed at the proliferation of people suffering from gluten allergys etc and you methods of overcoming this with the slow fermentation of breads.My wife has been suffering {gluten allergy} for some time and only recently diagnosed and I may have been half the problem making my bread in breadmaker mainly on fast setting,2hours.I will immediately try your system and await results. Bob

  25. I have tried to make this twice and I cannot get the bread to prove, what am I doing wrong? I did forget the slits this time, could that be it? Is this a dense bread?


  26. Lolita,
    Was the original dough mix stretchy?
    Sounds like not enough water, but without observing, it’s difficult to diagnose.
    Yes, it’s a reasonably dense bread, but not heavy.
    I make the same recipe, always fairly light.
    Are you in Byron Bay area?
    If so, I could have a look at it.

  27. Clive,

    It was stretchy. I halved the recipe. I am in the US and it seemed like a large amt of flour when I did conversions to kilograms. I am using my Kitchen Aid mixer on low with the kneading attachment, is that the problem. It seemed perfect consistency until the second kneading. This is my second failed attempt. Is the machine too much? Should it be less kneading using the machine? I don’t want to use my hands because I am intolerant to gluten and it makes me get an itchy nose and sneezing.

    I am gluten intolerant and so is my friend and we are dying to try it and see if we can tolerate this bread.

    Thanks for answering.

    I am really excited about making this bread. Your article was fabulous.

  28. Lolita,
    I must ask the obvious q’s.
    Did U add yeast? What type?
    Machine kneader should be fine, espec as you said dough was stretchy.
    What’s the present overnite temperature in your area?
    Possibly too cold for rising action?
    I recommend you persist. I remember my first loaves many years ago - disasters.
    Like all worthwhile crafts, there must be an apprenticeship.
    Keep in touch, let’s get thru it.

  29. Clive,

    Thanks for answering and all the help. I did add yeast I believe it is Red Star. I am having difficulty with ratios of flour maybe that is wrong. I did 4-5 c whole wheat and 2-3 of rye is that off? I do believe since it is fall the kitchen is not warm. My last house had more sun streaming in the kitchen. The oven’s lowest temp I believe is 270F which is too much heat for the bread, any suggestions? Should I warm over and leave it open, turn it off and leave the dough on the door? How long should the dough sit, I have been doing 24hrs, then I go to the next step of rekneading with the machine and letting it rise a second time. I have waited 24hrs because I am concerned about gluten and then it falls during the time when I am home to bake the dough. I baked it last time on 300F, too high or too low?

    Thanks again,


  30. Lolita,
    Was the yeast baker’s yeast? Like granules?
    You didn’t use brewer’s yeast? I must ask.
    Did you dissolve the yeast completely before using, as per recipe?
    Was the yeast water only warm, not hot?
    Latter kills the yeast.
    OK, I’ve realised that you, being in the US, operate on the Fahrenheit scale. All of the temperatures mentioned in my book are Centigrade, so my 170 degreesC = approx 360 degreesF, so your oven is fine.
    You baked at 300F, which is too low. It needs to be 340 for 40 minutes, 35 minutes if you like the bread to be a little moist.
    As for rising, the dough needs only to sit overnite, like 5pm > 7am next am, that’s 14 hours.
    The conditions you described seem ok.
    What you need to see in the morning is that the dough has risen about double, and that the dough surface has many air bubbles in it.
    Easily, by that stage, the gluten has been converted to a digestible, non-allergenic state.
    Of course, there are people, with coeliac disease, who may be allergic to gluten IN ANY FORM.
    But these folk are not common.
    Once you punch the dough down in the morning, you then cut off loaf size pieces and re-knead before placing in oiled tins for second rising, correct?
    The loaves should rise approx double again in the tins before you place in pre-heated 340F oven.
    OK, try again girl,
    Lotsa love,

  31. Lolita PS,
    Yes, the ratio of wheat flour to rye you mentioned will create a heavy loaf, since rye has little or no rising capacity. Much better to have only about 10% rye, until that is, you become more experienced.
    Ciao Clive

  32. I used baker’s yeast, warm not hot water and yes it dissolved. I get a great first rise but the second is poor. It was little better this tiime. Should I use barley, rye and wheat? I will keep at it.



  33. OK, better this time, cool.
    Ya use the Ginger powder?
    Barley, rye, spelt, corn, rice flours all make for heavier, less-rise breads.
    You need at least 70% plain wheat flour in any combo, or second rise may take ages.
    I use 80% wheat, 10% spelt, 10% kamut flour, latter gives lightness.
    Keeping AT it also,

  34. Clive,
    Have you seen this recipe, it does not use yeast. Yes I use your ginger. I was going to try mostly wheat, some rye (like the taste) and some barley, what do you think? I will keep at it. Look at the recipe below and give me your thoughts. Your article is great and I think you are dead one especially when takes into account the hybridizing of wheat.



  35. Hi Clive, I found your article very interesting to read. I’ve been attempting to make sourdough loaves for over a year now, using various sourdough starters that I have bought, or made from local yeasts etc, but my husband dislikes the tangy taste, and most of the time I have a great first rise, and the second rise just doesn’t happen no longer how long I leave it. My understanding was that I had to avoid bakers yeast as it was too fast acting and would upset the intestinal balance in my stomach, but you’re suggesting if you leave bakers yeast out for longer then it will still be ok? Does the sourdough bread made your way, but using bakers yeast still have that typical sourdough taste? Do you know anyway I can make good healthy bread that will be acceptable to my husband - who really only likes bland plain white bread? (I’m hoping we can reach a happy medium!)

  36. I have become very intrigued. I grew up on the “American diet” of crap and junk and in the past two years I have just discovered how horrible this is for us to eat all the time. My son has had developmental problems directly linked to diet and intolerance to additives. Ever since I discovered this I have been driving my family crazy trying to eat “right”. Problem is that everybody has their own version of eating right and I have had to weed through all the modern fads to get to the real info. I have been making everything from scratch because it is so hard (in the US) to find products without nasty additives. I really want to try your recipe but am nervous about using the yogurt. My son is lactose intolerant and I try to avoid dairy whenever possible. I would love to get some good raw dairy products (which would probably be easy for him to digest) but sadly they are outlawed where we live. What would be a good thing to substitute for the yogurt in your recipe? Also, do you know if it is essential to soak beans such as lentils or black beans? Does this do anything for them besides making them cook faster? Thanks for all the info.

  37. Hi Jennifer,
    i reckon you should check out sue dengates website for info on additives and food intolerance and sally fallons book, nourishing traditions. These 2 references should help you sift through the crap! It is essential to soak beans and lentils as you will find out when you read sallys book!…… Good luck, your onya way.

  38. Dear Clive,

    I received the San Francisco sourdough starter from Sourdoughs International last week and started activation on Friday night per included instructions (add 3/4 c. flour and 1 c. warm water to the starter, mix and start at 90 degrees). Within 24 hours, it was bubbling nicely, so I fed it another 1 c. flour and 3/4 c. warm water. The instructions said to then move it to 70 degrees to give the yeast a better environment. I did that for about 8-10 hours but didn’t notice any new activity (bubbling, etc.). I then fed the mixture again and put it back to 85 degrees. Since then, it isn’t doing anything. There is a small layer of hooch on top, and it smells just like sourdough (nothing funky). Any advice on whether it’s eventually going to get active again? The instructions say that it’s done activating when a new feeding provides foam and bubbles that reach the top of the jar in a 2-3 hour time period. I have sent them an email, too, but thought you might have some insight.

    BTW - I have Ulcerative Colitis and have been strictly (and very successfully - no meds, no symptoms) following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for the past 18 months (no sugar, no starch). I am praying that your slow-ferment method might allow me to once again eat bread!



  39. Hi Clive,
    I would also like to know if there is an alternative to the yoghurt in your recipe for those with dairy allergies. I understand raw milk may not provoke allergies but I do not have access to raw milk to make my own yoghurt. I would love to try the bread but need a yoghurt replacement.
    Please reply so I can try,

  40. A comment for those who are lactose intolerant and don’t think you can use yogurt in a recipe, or just to eat. You can make your own 24-hour (i.e., long-fermenting) yogurt using the same principle that Clive uses for bread.
    I’m lactose intolerant and I do this every week. The resulting yogurt is superb — especially when made with 1/2 and 1/2 instead of milk (definitely do not use low-fat or skim milk); it’s thick, creamy and just nicely tart. (It’s also very good with raw milk with the cream still in it, if you have access to that.) Heat a quart of 1/2 and 1/2 but don’t boil it. Cool it to 100-110 F. Add plain yogurt as starter (1/2 cup will do). I use Fage thick Greek style yogurt as the starter. I incubate my yogurt in the oven with just the light on. Any method of keeping it at about 105-110 F will work. Leave it for a full 24-hours. In that time all discernible lactose (milk sugar) will have been eaten up by the fermenting process. (If you actually own a yogurt maker, just keep it on for 24 hours.) Twenty-four hour yogurt is a staple of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which I’m on for Crohn’s disease. Part of that is not eating bread/grains of any kind (no sugars/starches except those in honey and most fruit, because they’re very hard to digest for people with inflammatory bowel diseases). So I’m very eager to try your bread method, Clive. I’ve always loved sourdough.

  41. 41. Beverly Allison
    Jan 4th, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I would like to order the book Whole Don’t Mean Wholesome, but the am unable to “shop” on this website, says there is an error. How do I order the book (I am in the U.S.) what does it cost and what would shipping cost to 87114?

  42. 42. Diana Fessler
    Jul 8th, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Please elaborate on the following sweetners and the measure of a dessert spoon.

    Jaggary, Rapadura or molasses 1 dessertspoon.

    Thank you,


  43. The entry by Clive Lawler dated Feb 25th, 2008 at 11:19 am
    The reference to “Bull in a China Shop” can now be found at:

  44. Hi there,

    I’ve been experimenting with making long-fermented breads. I first became so inspired when I was reading “Bread Alone” that I even built my own traditional bread oven in the front patio of the house. The book was written by a French baker who has several bakeries throughout New York. I highly recommend Bread Alone to everyone seriously thinking about being engaged in bread making. You’re going to have a different perspective of what bread is when you read it.

    Really like Meredith’s idea that she doesn’t use additional yeast for the sourdough starter. All the “good” traditional types of flour, grounded in a mill, naturally contain yeast. So all you need is spring water, time, and continuously assured ideal temperature for the starter to be perfect to ferment your final dough.

    On the other hand, if you prefer slow fermentation to the faster process, your dough doesn’t need either sugar or other molasses. Although yeast feeds on sugar,the fungus won’t die, because you’re going to add more flour to the first dough which feeds your yeast with more sugar. Moreover, your yeast is going to vigorously spread and make your dough come up big time. Salt is needed to retard the hungry yeast, so when it will come to “oven spring” during baking, your bread will surely “reach it’s peak”.

    Great site, good topic.Thanks.

  45. I am amazed to discover that these findings are based on such a simple solution. We love bread. It’s just been such a problem all my life. I’ve had brain fog and weight gain and yeast for years, keeping me from having a good social life and doing well in school. Now with the damage done, this simple solution is becoming evident. For all the years of thinking allergies were not the problem, and then finding out that milk, wheat, and eggs were the problem, my hopes and health improved with diet modification. I will be ordering this bread to try it and make my own fermented yogart too. First I have to totally fix the leaky gut syndrome with the probiotic pills and abstaining from all the allergens, then I will give these fermented foods a real try, because, milk and eggs will cause congestion in my ears and swelling results in loss of hearing, worse than a headcold. The wheat causes yeast overgrowth resulting in tiredness, inattention, brain fog, bloat and weight gain. It also may have been responsible for causing hashimoto’s hypothyroid condition. Soon, someday, I’ll give this all a try. In the meantime, I can give these foods to my family. It truly sounds wonderful. Keep up the good work. This brings hope and healing for our thoughts and feelings. Thank you all for sharing.
    Perhaps you can come up with sprouted/fermented brownie mix and spaghetti, someday.

  46. Just bought your book on kindle and wanted to join the group as well

  1. 1 Bread, Crackers and Goats « A Neo Hippie Mama’s Diary Pingback on Feb 17th, 2008 at 3:02 am
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  3. 3 Make Me A Cake As Fast As You Can. | UnRuley Articles Pingback on Jan 17th, 2011 at 9:49 pm

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