Sourdough Loaf 19

Now I have what is looking like a reliable baseline recipe and a workflow that suits me (starter straight from the fridge and overnight bake on timer), perhaps it’s safe to experiment. Not so much with the timings and method, but a little on the ingredients. Cut back a little on the salt. Fine with the EVOO; I think it’s a healthy addition, although I’m not sure what difference it makes to texture or ‘shelf life’. Since a lot of what drives this is health and a desire to minimise UPF, I’m going to tweak in favour of the wholegrain, a bit less salt, a bit less white.

This was last night’s loaf. The timings are getting a bit easier now. Fitting in quite nicely with other commitments, like having a cup of tea, watching Gardeners’ World and going to bed. Ok, GW finished last week, but the fundamental timings are sound. They work well for me.


At some time during the evening, timing not crucial, get the starter out the fridge, at around, say …


  • 80g strong white flour (going with 80g instead of 75g because I like round numbers)
  • 80g water (warmish from tap)
  • 88g starter (straight from the fridge)

Note for next time: Now that I’m keeping and using starter straight from fridge, it’s nice and thick and easier to spoon straight into the pan (as outlined in Elly’s YouTube video), it’s also trickier to get precise amounts and weights, especially if you’re as sloppy as I am. And as I like a bit of symmetry in this bit, next time I’m going to put the starter in first, then however much slops in, I’ll match that with water and flour. Might even try wholegrain next time too.

Set it off on menu 29. It’s a 2½ hour program but has a pause after an hour. Which seems about fine. Might try Pizza dough menu next time (let it run its 45 minutes) and see how that works out.

While that’s twirling away refresh starter. What I’m trying here is refreshing the starter with however amounts seem about right, then leaving it on worktop at room temperature while machine is working.


The slightly anti-climactic bit where menu 29 has a siesta. Give the starter a sniff and stir, then put back in fridge. Cancel Menu 29 and reset it to Menu 30. Pretty much, nothing happening followed by nothing else happening. Menu 30, left to its own devices, is a 24 hour 30℃ snooze, but I give it a 2 hour nap.


Cancel menu 30.

Now some tweaks to the baseline recipe. To the mix, add …

  • 200g wholemeal spelt (Gilchesters organic) (increased)
  • 230g strong white flour (M&S Organic) (decreased)
  • 250g water (decreased)
  • 3g salt (decreased)
  • 20g EVOO (increased)

Nothing particularly scientific going on here. A preference for simple rounder numbers and a tweak in favour of wholegrain and downvoting the salt. EVOO is, in general I think, a good thing, and worth having in there.

On to menu 32 for a bit. Menu 32 is the pizza dough menu and lasts 45 minutes, with a pause in the middle. I must pay more attention to the display in future, because I’m pretty sure it does switch from knead to rise somewhere on the journey.

Another tip I’ve picked up from Elly’s YouTube video is to be unafraid of looking in (although it always feels a bit voyeuristic) on the dough and nudging bits back into the mix if they’re looking a bit left out.

It’s a bit irrational but I don’t like cancelling the menu in mid twirl, and it always seems more, ‘appropriate’, to wait for a dignified break in the performance. Which seemed to be about 20 minutes in.

20 minutes later …

Time for bed. On to menu 10 on the timer overnight.

The next morning …

Pretty pleased with this. Often a bit of experimentation goes wrong. I like the thick tasty crust but curious if its possible to make it softer/thinner. But all good.

Sourdough Loaf 18

Three in a row. This is a good baseline. Works fine with starter straight from the fridge. (This is using Elly’s The EASIEST, no-fuss sourdough starter maintenance method. No discard (YouTube video) approach to looking after starter.) And quite tolerant of wobbly measurements too. This was done in a bit of haste after coming back from a nice meal in town.

Rough Timeline …


  • 75g starter – straight from the fridge
  • 75g strong white flour (M & S Organic)
  • 75g water (warm from the tap)

Onto menu 29 while I refresh the starter … It’s looking a bit runny so around 40g rye flour and 30g water – a good stir and leave it on the bunker worktop for a bit.


An hour on menu 29 takes it neatly into the middle rest bit between kneads and is a good time to stop it. On to menu 30 for a couple of hours while I head out. (I forgot this 2 hour rest bit in loaf 17 and it didn’t seem to make any difference).


Back from a nice meal in town and time to add the other ingredients, a quick blast on the pizza dough setting, then overnight on the timer. Quantities are not as precise as they could have been (that’ll be the Peroni).

To the mix, add:

  • 191g wholemeal spelt (Gilchesters organic)
  • 261g strong white flour (M&S Organic)
  • 263g water
  • 5g salt
  • 18g EVOO

On to menu 32 for 20-30 minutes. I do this by eye. Basically, does it look right?

Then overnight on the timer on menu 10.

Sourdough Loaf 17

Well I’m not going to put this up there with penicillin, but, that was unexpected. I would have been perfectly content with a repeat of loaf 16, but I lost the place somewhere, and it did not end well. I’ll try and remember the steps.

I’d decided I was going to use this loaf as the time to adopt Elly’s The EASIEST, no-fuss sourdough starter maintenance method. No discard approach to looking after my starter, which has just passed its first month birthday. I’d kept it in the fridge last night and the plan was to use it straight from the fridge into the recipe. Quite runny though. I thought the fridge might thicken it up a little. I need to nudge my flour/water proportions a little.


Stage 1

  • 75g rye sourdough starter
  • 75g strong white flour (M&S organic)
  • 86g water (wobble)

Stage 2

  • 180g wholemeal spelt (Gilchesters organic)
  • 245g strong white flour (M&S Organic)
  • 255g water (hot tap – warm to touch)
  • 5g salt
  • 15 EVOO
  • squeeze syrup


This got very untidy. Here’s the timeline.

  1. 1915 – Onto menu 29 for a bit. Will check after 10 minutes while I start transferring starter to new Weck jar. New empty Weck jar weighs 396g (let’s call it 400g); handy to know so if I ever weigh it I know how much starter I have. I have 127g existing starter, and it’s a bit runny, so will (unusually for me), weigh this out. Perhaps 40g rye flour and only 20g water. Chuck it in the Weck jar with the existing starter. An awful lot sticks to the spoon. I read on the Cotswold Flour website (while I was looking for the fabled Cotswold Crunch that everyone seems to be raving about) that you should always wash your spoon in cold water, and, anyway, where was I … A lot more than 10 minutes have gone by, and I like round numbers, and Menu 29 seems to have a rest in the middle between kneads, so might as well give it the hour.
  2. 2015 – OK, at this point I should’ve put the machine on menu 30 and let things rest for a couple of hours. But I was a bit distracted and forgot to do this and went straight on to the next bit. I added the stage 2 ingredients and put the machine onto menu 32 (pizza dough). I did this bit visually; 10 minutes doesn’t seem to mix it enough so I gave it about 20-30 minutes.
  3. 2045 – What’s done is done. On to menu 10 (French) overnight on the timer.


I was not optimistic, but what can I say. Possibly the best one yet.

Sourdough Loaf 16

There’s an intriguing recipe in the Panasonic Bread Maker Recipe Group UK & Ireland Facebook Group about making a Spelt sourdough loaf. I’m going to give it a try, the only difference being I’m going to try do the whole thing in the machine. It’s based on a recipe from the website. As I don’t want to get my hands messy I’m going to try the whole thing in the machine, beginning to end.


Stage 1

  • 80g rye sourdough starter (was meant to be 75g but wobbled)
  • 80g strong white flour (M&S organic) (meant to be 75g but matching starter quantities)
  • 80g water

Stage 2

  • 200g wholemeal spelt (Gilchesters organic) (wobble from 180g)
  • 250g strong white flour (M&S Organic) (wobble from 245g)
  • 6g salt
  • 260g water
  • forgot the EVOO again

Method (setup)

Instead of mixing the initial ingredients in a bowl, I put them in the bread machine and switched it on Menu 29 (rustic sourdough) for an hour. After an hour is when this program seems to have a little lie down. Then onto Menu 30 for a couple of hours to prove at 30℃.

Here was my timeline, which worked pretty well for the overnight bake.

  1. 1930 – stage 1 ingredients into machine. Menu 29 (sourdough dough) for an hour.
  2. 2030 – Menu 30 (sourdough starter) for two hours
  3. 2230 – Add stage 2 ingredients. 20 minutes or so on menu 32 (pizza dough).
  4. 2300 – Menu 18 (French) on overnight timer.

There wasn’t a noticeable rise after the two hours on menu 30 but the look and smell was good.


This one looks like a keeper. A few tweaks on timing (and did I forget to add EVOO, and does it matter?). But this is a good base to get right for experimentation.

Next step is repeat this success, and also I’m going to try Elly’s approach to maintaining a sourdough starter. As she says 3:27 minutes in, If that approach appeals to you, give it a try. Well, her approach appeals to me, and I’m going to give it a try!

Sourdough Loaf 15

Dentist, Garage and Pliability in the way today … Timing might be strange.


  • 100g rye starter
  • 460g strong white flour (M&S organic)
  • 340g water
  • 5g salt
  • squeeze syrup
  • EVOO (I can’t remember if I put any in. I’ve a feeling I didn’t)

Method (setup)

  1. ~0700 – On Menu 29 for a bit.
  2. ~0750 – It’s had about 35 minutes. Got Pliability now. Onto Menu 30
  3. ~1022 – Not risen a huge amount. It’s had about 2½ hours and I’ve got to go to the dentist now. And I want this for lunchtime, so on to Menu 18 for full hour and half.
  4. 1155 – Looks OK.


Seems OK. I put a blob of syrup on top before baking and it’s run down the side again. Probably shouldn’t do this. It really didn’t look like it rose much at all during the Menu 30 proof.

Sourdough Review

The story so far …

Out of 14 loaves so far almost all have been edible, although six, eight and ten were pretty borderline. All tasty though. Main problem has been dense texture.

The Panasonic Bread Maker Recipe Group UK & Ireland Facebook Group has nudged me into some re-reading, and re-reading I note the advice to be light on the knead time. Perhaps I’ve been letting it knead too long, and perhaps I’ve been leaving it to proof (proof? prove?) too long.

The main take-away so far for me is that it’s best to do it all manually. Ideas of leaving things overnight leave too much out of control. I’m pretty sure all the bake programs rest the dough at 30℃ until the program starts in earnest which leaves a lot of indeterminate rise time where, I’m pretty sure, the dough has risen, then slumped again. Perhaps this is why the timer option on the Sourdough Bake program is reduced from the default 12 to 9 hours.

I do like the idea of Menu 30 though. It’s a controlled 30℃ environment. You’re not vulnerable to fluctuations in room temperature.

Anyway, onwards, to loaf 15 …

Sourdough Loaf 14

Can I make it two in a row? Let’s try and do exactly the same (well mostly) as last time …


  • 80g rye starter
  • 460g strong white flour (M&S organic)
  • 440g water (was meant to be 335g)
  • 6g salt
  • 20g EVOO (meant to 15g)

Method (setup)

  1. 0800 – menu 29 for 1 hour
  2. 0900 – stop menu 29. on to menu 30 (for about 4 hours)
  3. 1300 – menu 18 bake only for 1 hour


Not bad. I squeezed some syrup on top just before baking on impulse, and it impulsively ran down the side and settled round the top. Not a disaster and quite tasty in its own way but (probably) won’t do again.

Sourdough Loaf 13

Did a starter refresh last night. By eye. No weighing. Just some flour and warm water and a good stir. Back in the cupboard.

80g in the machine next morning. Looking good but ever so slightly lumpy. Obviously didn’t stir it that well, although I’ve noticed the rye flour can be a bit lumpy. Perhaps I should sieve it before putting in the starter.


  • 80g rye starter
  • 460g strong white flour (M&S organic)
  • 335g water
  • 5g salt
  • No EVOO (Not deliberate. Just forgot)

Method (setup)

  1. ~0830 – On Menu 29
  2. 0953 – That’s 1½ hours so rest on menu 30
  3. 1415 – About 4½ hours later, menu 18, bake only


Looks good. It rose about 2cm/50% on menu 30 over a few hours, and that’s probably about right. It does seem that leaving it too long is bad.

Loaf is pyramidal, pale top, brownish sides. I’m happy enough with it even though it’s a bit wonky. Must remember to add the EVOO next time.

Sourdough Loaf 12


Let’s try a changing more than one thing at a time. Again.

~Midday – refresh starter with added ~50g water and ~50g rye flour, but …

Put the jar in the machine. It’s a bit wobbly because it doesn’t fit. But the lid closes. On at Menu 30 – i.e. rest at 30℃ for a while

Seven hours later and a nice fruity looking starter …


  • 110g rye starter (meant to make it 100g but sloppy)
  • 460g strong white flour (mostly a new packet of M&S organic)
  • 340g water
  • 15g EVOO
  • 8g salt

Around about this time I discovered the Facebook Group Panasonic Bread Maker Recipe Group UK & Ireland, and it’s full of good stuff, including a few people who’ve done sourdough. There’s a bit to investigate in there. I like that it’s UK based so the ingredients are available and it’s mostly metric.

One thing people seem to do is use the pizza dough option for preparing sourdough, so I’m giving that a try.

Method (setup)

  1. 1920 – Menu 32 (Pizza Dough!)
  2. 2020 – Menu 30 (overnight)
  3. 0900 – around 12 hours overnight on menu 30. Looks like it has risen a fair amount overnight then sunk back.
  4. 0910 – bake only for an hour


Not good. One of the worst. Usual story. Good taste, poor dense texture. Pretty unappealing.

So that’s loaf no. 12. Out of 12 so far I’d say there’s only been one I’d describe as good. The remained split between fair and poor. Wasting quite a bit of ingredients too. Things to try:

  1. reduce amount of starter
  2. menu 29 (sourdough) for only an hour
  3. rest on menu 30 until well risen – but not indefinitely
  4. bake only – menu 18 when it looks ready