Baguettes – Take a walk on the wild (yeast) side.

What makes sourdough bread rise?

Why, yeast – of course.

But how does sourdough bread rise even when there’s no yeast in the recipe?

Wild yeast – the stuff that’s floating in the air all around us.

After all, our frontier-settling ancestors weren’t packing Fleischmann’s RapidRise in their Conestogas.

They had to rely on their own homemade “brew” of fermenting flour and water, and the wild yeast it attracted: sourdough.

If you’re a bread baker, you’re familiar with all kinds of yeast. Your mom probably learned to bake bread with compressed yeast, a crumbly, moist yeast that comes wrapped in individual squares. Due to its perishable nature, compressed yeast has pretty much fallen out of favor with home bakers.

You yourself probably grew up with the aforementioned Fleischmann’s – either RapidRise, or their classic active dry, in the bright yellow packet (or brown glass jar).

Or perhaps you learned to bake with Red Star, another active dry yeast that’s been around for decades – since 1887, to be exact.

Nowadays, instant yeast is all the rage. So within the space of about two generations, we’ve moved from compressed yeast, to active dry, to instant – a category that includes bread machine yeast, and “rapid” yeast.

So, what’s the difference? Say, between between active dry and instant yeast? Or among RapidRise, instant, and bread machine yeasts?

Well, they all start with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, just one strain of the more than 1,500 identified species of yeast.

1,500 strains of yeast? But wait, there’s more – literally. Those 1,500 identified yeasts are just an estimated 1% of the yeast population in the world; most species remain as yet unnamed.

And what exactly is yeast? It’s a single-cell organism, part of the fungi kingdom. The yeast we use most often today, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is one of the oldest domesticated organisms known to mankind: it’s been helping humans bake bread and brew alcohol for thousands of years.

Used to be, there was quite a difference between instant yeast and active dry; active dry contained a greater percentage of dead cells, which “cocooned” around the live ones, making it necessary to “proof” the yeast – dissolve it in warm water – before using. This water bath dissolved the dead cells, and freed the live ones for use.

These days, active dry and instant yeasts have just about the same number of live cells. So, active dry yeast no longer needs to be dissolved before use; simply mix it into your bread dough along with the rest of the dry ingredients, just as you do instant.

SAF leads the way among instant yeast brands. Produced by France’s LeSaffre company, largest yeast producer in the world, SAF Red is widely used by professionals everywhere – including the bakers in the King Arthur Bakery and test kitchens.

SAF Gold, another SAF variety, is an “osmotolerant” yeast, perfect for sweet breads, and any dough with a high amount of sugar.

How does it work? Sugar likes to absorb water; and when sugar’s in bread dough, it pulls water away from yeast, leaving the yeast thirsty. The yeast cells in SAF Gold are bred to require less liquid to live and reproduce; so they’re better able to withstand sugar’s greedy ways with water.

Next up:  RapidRise, instant, and  bread machine yeasts. Is there truly any difference?

It’s widely agreed that instant yeast and bread machine yeast are the same beast. But then, the plot thickens…

We’ve spoken at length to representatives from Lallemand (another large yeast company), Fleischmann’s, and SAF/Red Star (both brands now owned by LeSaffre). And there’s no agreement, even among folks from the same company, as to whether RapidRise and instant yeast are the exact same yeast, save for their names (RapidRise is Fleischmann’s trademarked name).

Having beat our collective heads against this brick wall long enough, we decided to… well, remain undecided, for now. Personally, I find RapidRise is faster out of the gate than SAF, but gives out sooner. And since I like to give my loaves leisurely rises (a long rise brings out bread’s flavor), I like SAF.

That’s my yeast story, and I’m sticking with it!

Now, back to our wild yeast, and the bread it produces: sourdough. Saccharomyces exiguus, one of the most common wild yeasts, flourishes in a simple flour/water medium. Put flour and water on the counter, and you’ll probably see your liquid begin to bubble in a few days. That’s wild yeast at work.

Unfortunately, Saccharomyces exiguus alone isn’t the most effective yeast for raising bread dough. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is better at converting flour’s native sugars into an easily digestible yeast food. So, while you can make bread with sourdough alone – no dry yeast – adding a dash of SAF instant or another processed yeast will certainly help things along.

These days, with all kinds of dry yeast widely available, we don’t need to rely on sourdough for its leavening power. Most folks use sourdough for its rich, tangy flavor, rather than its leavening power.

Still, it’s fun to make a loaf of bread using just sourdough every now and then; our Extra-Tangy Sourdough is such a loaf, if you’d like to experiment. It takes about 24 hours to make, start to finish; but it’s well worth it, if you’re a true sourdough aficionado.

The following recipe combines the best of both worlds: sourdough’s flavor, and dry yeast’s leavening power. The resulting loaves are typical crusty baguettes, with a pleasing hint of tang from their sourdough starter. Enjoy!

First, let’s get our sourdough ready.

Uh-oh… looks like it’s been awhile since I’ve fed the poor thing.

No worries. I’ll just pour off most of that dark liquid…

…stir it up…

…and it’s ready for a meal.

Note: If the liquid atop your sourdough is pinkish; or if it smells bad – “off,” rather than fresh, tangy, and alcohol-like – it may have become infected with harmful bacteria. Best to discard it, and build yourself a new starter.

Transfer the starter to a bowl, so you can wash out its container.

If you like, discard 1 cup of starter; this will control the amount of starter you’re dealing with. If your starter is scanty and you’re trying to build up the amount, there’s no need to discard.

Or, if you do discard – yet don’t want to simply “discard” – use that extra cup of starter to make Sourdough Waffles, the best waffles you’ll ever taste.

Add 1 cup flour (King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose, of course) and 1/2 cup lukewarm water to the remaining starter. Notice this is equal parts flour and water, BY WEIGHT.

Stir to combine.

Cover, and let rest for a minimum of 4 hours, or for as long as 12 hours.

Your goal is an actively bubbling starter, so give it as long as it needs.

Remove 1 cup of starter for your baguette recipe, and put the remainder back in its crock. Store it in the fridge till next time.

At last! Let’s make baguette dough. Put the following in a bowl:

1 cup fed sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 cups (21 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Mix to make a rough dough…

Then knead till smooth. You’ll find this dough is particularly silken.

And look at that gluten development!

Allow the dough to rise, in a covered container, for 1 hour.

You should see it gain a bit of volume.

Refrigerate overnight, or for up to about 18 hours.

Whoa! Now THAT’S a nice rise!

And look how beautiful the dough is – still so silky smooth.

Next, divide the dough into six equal pieces; a scale makes the task easy.

Shape each piece into a rough cylinder. Cover the pieces of dough, and let them rest for about 10 minutes. This will relax the gluten, making them easier to shape.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, gently flatten it.

Fold in half lengthwise…

…and seal the seam, using the side of your hand.

Repeat the process, flattening the dough, folding over, and sealing.

You’ll have a loaf that’s already about 10” long. Gently roll it under your cupped fingers to a loaf about 12” long. Put the loaf on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, using two baking sheets.

So OK, they’re not perfect, looks-wise. But beauty is only crust-deep!

Cover the pan, and let the loaves rise until they’re very puffy, about 3 hours.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

The risen loaves should look about like this.

Spray the loaves with lukewarm water…

…and, holding a very sharp chef’s knife or heavy serrated knife at a 45° angle to the dough, make three diagonal slashes.

Be aggressive enough to make a deep cut.

Once you’ve slashed the loaves, don’t fool around. See how they’re deflating? You want to get them into the oven immediately.

After just a minute or so in the oven, you can see them picking right up.

Bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown.

Like this. They’ll probably be slightly flat, rather than perfectly cylindrical.

For rounder, more shapely loaves, use a baguette pan.

Nicely risen…

…slashed, and into the oven they go.

30 minute later – fini!

Six lovely baguettes.

Look at the top vs. bottom crust; love that blistering, don’t you?

Here’s the difference in shape between baking baguettes freeform, on a baking sheet (left); and using a baguette pan (right).

Can’t you just hear that crust crackle as you tear into a hot baguette?

Nice crumb, eh?

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Wild Yeast Baguettes.

One final word – our yeast video is a great live-action comparison of the various yeasts discussed here.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Wei-Wei

    That crumb is absolutely gorgeous, and I can’t get over how smooth the dough looks. I nearly reached out to poke my computer screen… thankfully nobody’s watching 😀

  2. brightbakes

    seriously PJ, I’m glad someone’s as yeast-addicted as I am!! 🙂 Great (informative) post. Also, I just have to shout it out that I started my Sourdough adventures a few years back and it all began when I ordered your sourdough culture. It has never let me down, even when I neglect the poor thing. When I’m finally ready to bake with it again, it springs back to life super quick!
    Cathy B.

    Cool blog! Thanks for sharing, Cathy- PJH

  3. rachelfernald

    Do you grease the baguette pan? And would you could you use convection bake? I also have tried to put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven, but I am not sure that it has made any difference. Thoughts?

    The baguette pan is non-stick. I do not recommend the use of convection. The moving air sets the outside crust too quick, preventing a full oven spring. If you want to use steam in the bake to encourage spring, turn off the convection, once the baguettes are loaded pour 1 cup of boiling water into a preheated cast iron skillet placed on the oven rack directly below the baguette pan. Frank @ KAF.

    I have good luck simply spraying the risen baguettes with warm water, as directed. And I also spray the baguette pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray; I think it helps brown/crisp the crust just that tiny extra bit… PJH

  4. aaronatthedoublef

    Very cool. I always wondered about the differences between yeasts. As for sugar, doesn’t yeast also need some sugar to grow? If I increase the sugar in a bread recipe do I need to up the water as well?

    The dough does look beautiful. It appears to clean the sides but is sticking to the bottom. Do you leave it this loose?



    Yeast needs food. Sugar is generally suggested on the envelope, but there is enough in the flour. Increasing the amount of sugar slightly will require no alteration. However “Sweet Doughs” like this one:
    Will need a little more yeast. Frank @ KAF.

    Aaron, yeast does an excellent job of breaking down flour and other carbs to the sugar it needs to grow – so no added sugar is needed. Yeast is a very efficient little fungus! PJH

  5. strawbrryf

    omg, what a wonderful post.
    1) i completely agree about rapidrise v. instant: rapidrise does start out faster, but peters out. not a good idea if you’re making a no-knead bread or something with a long rise time.
    2) thank you! for posting pictures of your baguettes. mine look just like that and i was all self-conscious about them not looking “professional”. well, no more. although i might invest in a baguette pan for the holidays 😉

  6. tomyeap

    Starting from begin to end, look like you making starter 2 times!???? My baguette crust is a it chewy and not crunchy. What wrong? Thanks.

    No, first I fed the sourdough starter. Then, the next pictures you see, I was making the dough. They do look similar… A chewy rather than crusty crust is often due to 1) too low an oven temperature – have you checked your oven with a thermometer independent of its own dial? Or 2) Letting the hot loaves cool at room temperature. Try leaving them in the turned-off oven, with the door cracked open, till they’re completely cool. PJH

  7. crome

    Hey- Great post as usual!! Love this blog–every time I read I learn something new. Question– Does active dry in turn “last longer” than instant yeast?

    After the proofing stage of active-dry, these 2 yeast run along the same time line. Frank @ KAF.

    And just in case you mean, does active dry keep longer in the freezer, or at room temperature- they last equally well. PJH

  8. clelumom

    your post is great, love the blog and the baguettes look delicious, but I’m concerned about a couple things. First the dark liquid doesn’t have to be siphoned off, just stir it in and it will add flavor, it’s part of the ‘sour’ flavor. Also, I’m concerned about the picture showing a metal spoon; you should never use metal utensils, bowls, etc with the starter or while mixing up the dough as the metal will kill the starter. It’s ok to bake it in metal pan. And the starter also usually has a sour smell to it naturally, whether it’s bad or not.

    I have to respectfully disagree – stirring sourdough with a stainless steel spoon won’t kill it, as ss is completely non-reactive. Also, the reason I don’t stir in all the dark liquid is I like a thicker sourdough, and a less sour sourdough. The nice thing about sourdough is, as with most yeast baking, it’s “to each his own.” There are many, many different paths to a great loaf of bread. Thanks for connecting here – PJH

  9. xbaber

    Seeing this post made me want to get a sourdough starter again. I had one and loved using it for waffles. But, earlier this summer, before I became enlightened** and started exclusively buying KA flours, I fed my starter with buggy store-brand flour and had to toss the whole thing. I fed the starter and then a minute later saw a bug in the flour canister. I was so upset and grossed out. All I wanted was to make a loaf of sourdough bread and a batch of sourdough waffles and I couldn’t make either.

    ** I had always looked at the shelf price of KAF and thought, “It can’t be THAT much better than the store brand or the national brand.” Then my store had the KA organic AP flour on closeout, so I bought a bag because the price was quite reasonable and I was hooked. The gluten development was beautiful!

    We’re really very proud of our flour – we’re SOOOOO careful about it. It truly is the best flour in the U.S. I always say, you can’t afford America’s best jewelry, car, or house (I’d assume!) – but you CAN afford America’s best flour. So why not go for it?! Thanks for sharing your experience here – 🙂 PJH

    1. Mary Arthur

      I lived just outside of Bombay (now Mumbai) India for almost a year.

      just sift the bugs out of the flour & try to use it as quickly as possible or store it in the frig or freezer. I remember when weevils were in everything that was let sit for very long!

      The local bakery just ground the bugs along with the flour & by the time we knew those little black bits were actually insect carapice, we already loved the bread!!!

  10. kzchon

    Are the measurements of active dry yeast the same as you would use for saf instant? Somewhere I learned for each tsp. of active dry yeast use 3/4 tsp of saf instant. So 1 tb active would be 2 1/4 tsp. Is this correct? Or can I use Tb for Tb?
    In your cookbooks am I always using saf and not active?
    How much sugar in a recipe then, is it better to use the gold saf yeast?

    Hi – I use the same amount of instant vs. active dry – don’t bother to do the math, as it doesn’t really make any difference in the final outcome, though rising times will be slightly faster with instant when compared to active dry. Our cookbooks state the type of yeast to use – active dry or instant. They’re interchangeable, though, so long as you dissolve the active dry before using. Best to use SAF Gold when sugar is 1 1/2 tablespoons per cup of flour or greater. Can you still use SAF Red? Sure; rising times will be slower, that’s all. Enjoy – PJH

  11. karenmtaylor

    Why do you use AP flour rather than bread flour? I made sourdough bread yesterday from the started I got from KAF, I love sourdough but I used 2 cups of bread flour and 3 cups of AP flour. I compared by slice to yours here in the blog and my bread is denser than yours, is that because I used some bread flour?

    Karen, the higher-protein the flour, the more liquid you need to use. You can definitely get a light/airy yeast bread from any protein flour starting with about 10.5%, so long as you adjust the liquid accordingly. A “drier” dough will usually rise less than a “wetter” dough; next time, add a couple of tablespoons additional water, and you should be just fine with this flour mix. PJH

  12. sullivantp

    Hi, beautiful baguettes! Say, given the comment above about too-low oven temperature rendering a chewy crust, would it be better to crank the over up to 550 — or is 425 a better cooking temperature? (I’m guessing the answer but 550 works well for me generally.) And do you add any steam or ice cubes while making these?


    Tom – Try baking at a higher temperature if you’d like. The loaves may spring up higher and faster. If you would rather use steam than spraying the loaves with water, that would be fine, too. Let us know how it goes! Elisabeth

  13. eclifford

    PJ, I took the sourdough class this summer, having good luck with texture and flavor, but shape continues to be a problem for me. I’m using the recipe you gave us. Need tips for getting the height I want from bowl-risen boules, rather than the spread. I’d like a nice round ball I could use for a bread bowl. I’ve been experimenting with various techniques, but no resolution so far. All my boules are wide and flatish. Flour content? Rising time? Oven temperature (I generally use 485F)? I do add a little instant yeast to the flour when starting out (about 3/4 tsp.). Thanks

    Many times when this flatish spread occurs, it may be because of the rising time. While in its last rise, try to take it a little earlier! PJ? Elisabeth

    Sorry, I’m not familiar with the sourdough class – perhaps contact the folks at the BEC? could give you the contact info. of the person who taught the class. In the meantime, I often have the same issue – flat rather than tall. One solution is to use less liquid; make a stiffer dough, one that can hold itself up rather than spread out. Worth a try – you won’t have as open and light a texture, but you should have a taller loaf. You might give our Rustic Sourdough recipe a try- PJH

  14. empressqueenb

    Is it possible to use whole wheat flour to do the starter & bread? I’m trying to do 100% whole grain as much as possible. Thank you.

    No, not and get the same result. You can certainly use 100% whole wheat flour, but you’ll need to experiment with the amount of water; and you’ll get a much denser, smaller loaf, very close-grained and somewhat moist rather than airy/crunchy. Your best bet would be to find a whole-grain baguette recipe, rather than try to retrofit a classic baguette recipe to use whole grains. We have a whole-wheat baguette recipe in our King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book – give it a look sometime. Good luck – PJH

  15. tomyeap

    The inside of the baguettes are not white. I even tried the bleached and unbleached. Over mix or under mix? Thanks.

    In general, you’ll have creamier color the less you mix; whiter the more you mix. If you want stark white, you’d have to use bleached flour. PJH

  16. kmjas1

    Hi, your link to Wild Yeast Baguettes is not working properly.
    Hope you can fix it. Thanks for expanding my knowledge on yeasts.
    I end up with a yeasty taste in my cinnamon rolls using regular yeasts. I proof it and do not use more than the recipe calls for. Would it help the flavor if I changed to SAF Gold? – Mary J

    Mary, changing to SAF Gold won’t add “yeasty” flavor or aroma. If you like the taste/aroma of active dry yeast, then by all means use it for all of your baking; instant yeast isn’t the solution for every bread baker, and there are those who swear by the flavor of active dry… PJH

  17. djoatwood

    I had just received my sourdough starter last week so I made up a batch of this bread and baked it this morning. It did not rise very much and there was almost no oven spring. The crumb is rather small and dense. The flavor is a little odd–not much as I expected, but the crust is nice and crunchy.
    I will try making this again, but feel I should doing something different.

    Hi – You might want to contact our Bakers’ Hotline, 802-649-3717, to talk this through… PJH

  18. LeeB

    Responding to the question about whole wheat – personally I think sourdough is a fabulous way to use whole grains. The method is excellent for neutralizing phytates in whole grains and making them much more digestion friendly. I have found that using whole rye for my starter gives me a very powerful starter. I make the Rustic loaf and these baguettes this way: mix up the cup of starter and 1 1/2 cups of water with 3 cups whole wheat flour (or spelt or rye) and let that set overnight. The next day add the rest of the ingredients, kneading in the mixer, rise, shape, rise and bake as directed.
    It gives you plenty of whole grain tempered by the sourdough starter and boosted with just enough white flour and conventional yeast to give a nice lift and texture.

    Excellent advice, Lee – thanks so much. I’ll definitely have to give this a try- PJH

  19. destache

    Love the blog, and the products. I’m a frequent baker of the rustic using my Zo through the first rise, but tried this long-rise sourdough recipe today. Had a couple issues, but it will be better next week. Question: for the final rise, when you say “cover the pan”, what do you suggest it be covered with? Keep up the great work! Bill

    You may cover the loaves with some plastic that has been sprayed with a canola spray to prevent any sticking. Cover the loaves lightly while trying not to allow any air get to them. The key is for no drafts! A warm environment is best. Elisabeth

    I actually use a big, light plastic cover that came on a large deli (party) platter. It’s about 4″ high, and fits nicely over the baking sheet. It’s just really cheap plastic, but does the job… Next time you attend a party (or give one) and have a party platter, save that cover! 🙂 PJH

  20. Caryl

    I made my first sourdough with the directions included with my kit. The loaves came out OK, but not the way I think they should. First, the recipe included with the kit says to use 2 tsp. instant yeast, the blog recipe says 1 tsp. – which is preferable? I kneaded the dough in my KA, and it was smooth, but clung to the hook. I was afraid to add water – DH says I should have added water, but how much and at what increments. The crust was nice and crispy, but the interior was not airy; it was close grained. Help!

    Glad to hear you are adventuring into the sourdough world! This recipe is a considered a “wetter” dough. It should cling to the hook slightly yet be smooth. Try using only 1 tsp of yeast. How are you measuring your flour? If you feel the dough was too dry you may have added too much flour to the dough. Have you seen our method for flour measurement? Here it is: Do try the recipe again! kelsey@KAF

  21. sallybr

    When I saw this post, I had already made (but not blogged about) some sourdough baguettes using my King Arthur sourdough starter

    I used a different recipe, with longer bulk fermentation, and a “stretch and fold” method to knead, so if it’s ok I would love to include a link to my post about it. Full credit for the recipe should go to an amazing baker from Texas, she goes by the name of “TxFarmer”, and she keeps a blog at The Fresh Loaf Forum, as well as her own blog (in CHinese, but with wonderful pictures)

    ANyway, if anyone is interested in a slightly different method for great sourdough baguettes, please jump here:

    Thanks so much for sharing this here, Sally. PJH

  22. kntegan

    After unsuccessfully trying two other brand sour starters, I ordered King Arthur starter. WOW – what a difference. The starter works great, the instructions are clear. The bread is amazing. Thank you.

    And thanks for connecting here – it’s always good to hear about sourdough success! PJH

  23. delpais1000

    Question for you: Can I make sourdough using gluten-free flour? I love sourdough and crave it all the time, but due to dietary restraints I cannot eat regular sourdough. Your thoughts? Thank you very much!

    I’d say this would be a tough row to hoe, Chris, structurally speaking. Perhaps better you should try our Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread recipe, adding some Instant Sourdough Flavor or sour salt (citric acid). That would be my advice. PJH

  24. Angela

    I’ve been making all my own bread for the last few years, and sourdough is my favorite. However, I’m back in school full time so no longer have the leisure time to accomodate sourdough’s schedule. My trade off has been “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and other no-knead options. I decided to try making sourdough bread in my bucket, and the results were amazing! I use the starter I bought from KA–after three attempts to grow my own, which was a time consuming process that yielded hard tasty lumps with no oven spring, my KA starter has never failed to taste great AND rise high! Well worth it! I take a cup of starter from my crock and put into my dough bucket, feed my starter, stir, and put back into the fridge. Add 6 cups of flour and 3 cups of water to the bucket, stir, cover, and let sit on the counter. (Overnight works well, I like it sour, but it is very flexible). After it’s nice and bubbly, I stir in 2 Tbsp of salt and 2 Tbsp of sugar, plus 4 cups of flour with my dough whisk. Takes about two minutes. Then, it can sit out for a few hours or go straight into the fridge. I use one of the 6 L Cambro buckets, with the lid on tight, and have never had a problem. When I want bread, I pull out the bucket and grab a hunk of dough. I either pull it into a round or put it into a loaf pan if I want toast. Then I heat the oven to 450. When the oven is hot, I slash my round, spritz it with water, and bake. That’s right, no rise time, just the time it takes the oven to heat! Gorgeous crust and crumb, and great oven spring. Nothing is better with spaghetti… For a loaf, it does come out better if you let it rise a bit before you bake. I made 10 small rounds from a batch last week and they made very well received gifts. YUM, and SOOOO easy!

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your sourdough no knead variation! Irene @ KAF

  25. jillwill

    mmmmmmmmmmm After this article I really want to eat!!!!! Lol It’s really very interesting! I’m becoming very fond of baking! Thanks a lot for it!

  26. jaynamistry

    I bought the KAF sourdough starter and followed the instructions exactly. I didn’t use the starter immediately and refrigerated it. when I checked the starter again, it was pink and moldy and I never ended up making sourdough bread. What did I do wrong? I even have your sourdough starter crock. Anyway, I gave up on it because and never bothered ordering anymore starter, but the bagettes look awesome. May try again. Thanks for the informative topic about yeast. I have been baking alot of the ‘Artisian Breads in 5 minutes a Day’ breads. So easy to make and everyone loves them.

    Yes, if a starter turns any shade of orange or red, it should be discarded. This is a sign of cross-contamination. This can occur at any step along the way. Good catch! Frank @ KAF.

  27. karylhansen

    If I want to halve this recipe, do I just halve all the ingredients? Or is it better to use the full complement of yeast as some recipes recommend?

    Karyl, we were just talking about this yesterday – whether halved bread recipes should have their yeast halved or not. I guess bottom line, it depends how long you’re willing to wait; obviously, if you halve the yeast the rise times will be longer – which isn’t a bad thing, as rising develops flavor. So if you’re in a hurry, don’t halve; if you can wait, do, and note how the rising times change. It might not be as dramatic as you’d think. Hope this helps – PJH

  28. mstebby

    Instead of making 6 loaves of bread could you use some of this for pizza dough?

    Absolutely – this is a very versatile dough, and it would be fine for pizza crust. Enjoy – PJH

  29. veracity

    The one thing that is missing from this post, (which is so important) is WHY wild yeast is better than dry or instant. Wild Yeast requires a long rise (12-13 hour MINIMUM), and there’s a reason for that. The long rise is what creates the right environment to break down the phytic acid in the wheat through fermentation. Why is that important? Because without breaking that down, wheat in the “rapid rise” state is actually unhealthy for our bodies (literally cannot be digested properly)…that means pretty much all modern bread. Do people not look at the growing “gluten free” aisles in their grocery stores and honestly not question why this is happening? Modern bread (and let’s put gmo corn, gmo soy, rapeseed, cottonseed and all the other poison oils and other junk added to bread, to the side for a moment) actually steals nutrients from your body, and that is just thanks to the flour and quick rise yeasts alone. My comment would be way too long to post all the science but do an online search, answers are out there.

    The advent of “quick” is killing us, and “quick” has everything to do with making money…in every sense..think about that. Our food is literally killing us and people have to start waking up and realizing this. We trade health because our lives are busy and hectic, “quick” is the bandaid solution (and the big corporations know it!!) But at what point is the trade-off no longer worth it? There is more cancer now then there has EVER been. Why? Reasons are out there we just have to be willing to look for them and then find the solution to fix it…If not for ourselves, for our families and future generations.
    Thanks for sharing your views. We always hope that our customers and fellow bakers will make healthy choices for themselves and their families, and we’re always happy to share any info we have when questions arise. ~ MJ

  30. MattieMay

    I’ve tried a couple of your recipes, I got my sourdough starter going from scratch over several days, here’s my problem: Every recipe I try is dry, my dough never looks wet or smooth like the pictures. I measure it out exactly, my starter has usually doubled or tripled before getting the cup of it out i need and I use a dough whisk for mixing. I love using 1/2 white 1/2 wheat flour and understand i need more water for the the wheat? Also, my husband picked up the bread flour instead of the all purpose, i believe you use less flour….can you help me? do i just need to add more water or less flour. When i just tried the above recipe same problem and i only used just over 4 cups of flour! What am i doing wrong?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you are replacing white flour with WW or even bread flour expect to add more liquid. If you made this recipe with half WW and half bread flour and did not add any extra liquid the dough was probably dense and heavy. The rise will be less than enthusiastic and will be dry in texture. When trying a new recipe it is best to not make any changes so you have a baseline. Then introduce changes gradually. We have some great blogs on WW baking. Try this one called <a href= White to Wheat Happy baking! Elisabeth@KAF

  31. Larry

    I’m a very new baker, so forgive me a beginner question. First, I made my sourdough starter from the KAF recipe, then tried these baguettes using some starter that would have been discard. And … success! Six loaves — 3 from baguette pan very pretty, 3 from baking sheet rather homely, pretty much as you described. And absolutely tasty!

    The only problem I ran into was after the second rise. I gave them all of 3 hours (in oven with light on to compensate for cool house). When it came time to slash the tops, there was a skin on the dough which led to the slashes creating a bit of a mess. Is that normal or did I let them rise too long or should I have covered them while they rose?

    Thanks for a great resource. I took Bread 101 at the KA’s Baking Education Ctr. last fall and it gave me courage to begin this journey!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      When letting bread rise, please keep it covered so that pesky skin does not form. If you don’t want to have the plastic on the dough, try using a clean bin liner and putting the whole tray in there. Blow some air in it to puff it up and close it tightly, then let the bread rise. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  32. Barbara

    Yikes. This is *not* a recipe to retard the second rise by putting it in the fridge overnight (a practice I follow with my other sourdough breads because it deepens the flavor & brings out complexities). I took shriveled, mummified sticks out of the fridge to bake off for this morning’s breakfast. “Huh… the oven spring must be amazing,” I comforted myself. I gave them a good spritzing and slashing and popped them in the hot oven, hoping that they’d plump up and at least look edible. Eh, not so much. 🙁

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      There a number of different reasons things could have gone wrong here, Barbara, but it sounds to us like your shaped loaves over-proofed during their time in the fridge. If you give our free Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE, we’d be happy to troubleshoot with you for a better next experience. Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Annie, you’re looking to make bread without any added yeast, try using our Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread recipe. You can shape the dough into baguette shapes instead of loaf shapes if you like; using this formula and method will give you better results than simply leaving the yeast out of this recipe. Good luck! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While instant yeast isn’t necessary when baking with sourdough starter, most of our recipes call for the addition of commercial yeast to ensure a high rise and pleasant structure in the finished loaves. You’ll still get the tangy flavor from the starter, but the bit of added yeast will move the process along and ensure fabulous results. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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