How to Store a Sourdough Starter

So many intangible inputs get mixed into our sourdough starter each day besides the raw, physical ingredients: the time needed to mix, attention, observation, and perhaps a little worry now and then — all the resources constantly tugged at, and contributed to, by daily life. At first glance this list might seem like a lot of fuss needed to keep a small, bubbling culture going. But really, it’s a smidgen of time in the day and, I think at least, the resulting bread is always justified. There’s undeniably a lot of value in maintaining a healthy and regularly fed sourdough starter, but sometimes we do need a vacation, don’t we? Luckily for us a starter is not only incredibly resilient, but it also can be sent into “low power mode” by following a few tips on how to store a sourdough starter for a longer period of time.

In the past I’ve talked about placing a starter in the fridge for around a week to reduce required maintenance, and this is always a valid option. However, what if we’re going to be gone longer than a week? Or two weeks? Or a month? I’ve experimented over the years with ways to store my sourdough starter and have found the following methods to all be effective means for storage and quick revival.

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The Importance of Dough Temperature in Baking

Baking bread at home certainly comes with challenges (or as my enigmatic college calculus professor used to tell me, opportunities for continuous growth). Baking bread at home with a consistent outcome has even more. But there’s a crucial facet of baking that can help us bakers increase consistency that isn’t always immediately apparent: the importance of dough temperature in baking.

Because temperature is one of the main contributors to vigorous fermentation, it’s key that we maintain a sufficiently high, and stable, dough temperature through the entire baking process. Of course, this does become more difficult when ambient temperatures begin to drop (hey, winter!) — and sometimes we don’t even realize it’s happening. Continue reading

Einkorn Miche

This hefty einkorn miche epitomizes community. It’s substantial and baked with the intention to share, to break with others, to enjoy its hearty flavor and nourishing quality gathered at the dinner table. A loaf so heavy it practically requires two hands to lift — and oh what a statement it makes.

Traditionally, miche are large, round country-style loaves pmeant to sustain a family for the days between their turn at baking in the communal oven (and with natural leavening, and all the subtle acidity built up through lengthy fermentation, it certainly will1). If you think about it, a massive round loaf is probably the most efficient way to bake large quantities of dough: It takes up less space in the oven, has plenty of crust, it can be divided and wrapped up, and finally, if meant to go to a single destination, a single loaf makes sense. A true daily bread.

Over time as the central community oven became more and more scarce, these large loaves began to fall out of favor, replaced by more ephemeral bread meant to be consumed entirely on the day of baking. But there’s still a place for this beautiful, and enticing, loaf.

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  1. As you know, sourdough breads have incredible keeping quality due to the natural acids produced as a byproduct of lengthy fermentation.

Kamut Demi-Baguettes + KoMo Mill Giveaway!

Baguettes are something I’ve had my sights on for some time and they’re also probably one of the most requested. I’m really happy these are the first ones to share here. These demi-baguettes are comprised of close to 50% whole grain, most of which is fresh milled kamut1, an ancient wheat variety. Kamut imparts a sweet and nutty flavor to this dough that contrasts beautifully with the baguette’s rustic and craggy crust. I’ve talked in the past about spelt which also has some of these characteristics, but kamut, to me, is even sweeter and also brings a very appealing creamy, yellow color to the crumb. The hallmark of a good baguette is a thin, crispy crust and ultra tender interior — I’d say this recipe yields just that, and more.

But first, let’s talk about the mill giveaway.

I’ve partnered with Pleasant Hill Grain to give away a brand new KoMo Classic electric grain mill to one lucky reader of The Perfect Loaf. I’m very excited about this giveaway; it’s the first one of its kind here, and I love the idea of getting more people into baking sourdough with fresh milled flour. Entry to the giveaway is at the bottom of this post, so read on and enter!
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  1. Kamut is the commercial name for khorasan wheat.

A More Whole Wheat Sourdough Pizza Dough

A pizza addict. Me. The person writing this post. The person slinging these pies and taking these photographs. I do have a problem, but do I need help? Asking for help is the first step. But I don’t want help, especially with pizza this good. And besides, I have some dough in bulk fermentation right now, I couldn’t possibly let it go to waste. Ok, one more round of pizza, I’ll write this post, then take a good long break, ok? Deal.

The Addiction1 means I’ve made some form of this pizza dough at least once, sometimes twice — or even thrice — a week since midsummer. One might think my desire to eat all this pizza would wane, after all, how much pizza is too much pizza? As it turns out (and as evidenced on Instagram), my upper bound on pizza consumption never really materializes. This is not because of some twisted gluttony I have for pizza, it’s just simply because it’s so good, and so dang easy. Continue reading


  1. I talk about it like it’s sitting right here next to me as I write this.