Baking Ventures

A (mostly sourdough) baking adventure blog

Author: pj (page 1 of 2)


Woohoo! Back! I’ve actually baked quite a few things this summer, but didn’t have time to blog them. But, here’s something I made this afternoon: Germknödel.

What is it? It’s an Austrian dish my husband regularly ate when skiiing in Austria. To make Germknödel, you need:

Germknödel ingredients

Germknödel ingredients

I got the recipe from The Bread She Bakes.  It was very easy to make, and I finished the whole thing in under 2 hours, on a fairly warm day. I made the whole dough recipe, but halved the jam recipe.  I also added 1/4 tsp of Fiori di Sicilia because I love the flavour. I added the wet ingredients to the dry and used my standard slap and fold for a few minutes to bring it together. The dough was soft, but not overly sticky. After mixing, I proofed it in the oven for 1 hour at ~85F.



I  only used 150 g of plum jam since I only planned on making 4 dumplings. To the jam, I added 1tbsp of rum and 1tbsp of Grand Marnier.

Germknödel jam

Germknödel jam

Each dumpling was 100g, and got about 1 tbsp of jam. To fill, I made a rough circular shape that had a thick middle with thinner edges. Once the thinner edges were crimped to contain the jam, the dough had even thickness throughout. I used this method after filling the first one (bottom left) that had jam very close to the surface of a dumpling that had been rolled out to even thickness before filling. I then transferred the dumplings to a steam basket lined with parchment paper and put them back into the oven to proof for 30 minutes.  After the second proof, they were steamed for 15 minutes.


The result? Yummy deliciousness, soft on the inside and chewy on the outside:



Please let me know if you try it, the recipe is below.

Ingredients for Germknödel dough:


  1. 500 g All purpose Flour
  2. 7 g instant yeast
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 65g sugar
  5. Zest of 1 lemon


  1. 70 g melted unsalted butter
  2. 250 g whole warm milk
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 egg yolk
  5. 1/4 tsp vanilla essence, and 1/4 tsp Fiori di Sicilia (or 1/2 tsp vanilla)


Bye Bye Brooke!

I started baking sourdough bread as a weekly meditation while in a Masters program. I found it very relaxing to stretch and fold the dough, satisfying to have fresh bread, and fun to engage in little experiments to optimize my results.

For one of my final class projects I baked 7 loaves in one weekend! It was super exhausting. I graduated this May, and with all my new free time, I’ve thrown myself into all of the other hobbies/social activities I’ve neglected in the past two years. Since graduation, I’ve baked exactly 1 loaf! I completely neglected my sourdough starter, Brooke, and when I returned to her she was mouldy! There were black spots on the sides of the jar and the smell was awful!

I was so bummed. I shared my starter with a bunch of people and always told them it was so simple, and killing a starter was rare. And then, I killed my starter. Wonk, wonk.

Pity party over, time to move on. I’ve got a new starter going, and I’m looking forward to getting into baking again.

Have you ever lost our sourdough starter?


Using parchment paper in baking bread

When I first started baking sourdough bread in a dutch oven, I would nervously drop the floured boule into the dutch oven, cautiously slash the loaf, cover the lid and slide the whole thing into the oven as quickly as possible. The first step in increasing my confidence in loading the bread into the oven was to use some very thick oven mitts. That worked great. However, when I saw people using parchment paper I was really happy to adopt this technique.


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Passion fruit curd recipe

Last summer, I made the Lemon Raspberry Cake from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook. The cake was delicious, but it made me wonder what it would taste like with coconut and passion fruit flavours.  The first step in changing the recipe was to make passion fruit curd. Most online recipes for passion fruit curd are from Australia or the UK, and call for caster sugar. I had no intention of finding/buying caster sugar, so decided to use the lemon curd recipe from the “Lemon Raspberry Cake”  recipe, substituting passion fruit for lemon juice.

Jar of sunshine passion fruit curd

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Bread pic 8 – Lunch


Raisin Walnut Sourdough Bread

This weekend I made a Raisin Walnut Sourdough Loaf for a potluck. At the beginning of the year, I made some 2016 baking goals, one of which was to try adding things to my bread.  At the time I had King Arthur’s Sonnenblumenbrot in mind, but was inspired by a recent IG post from Joanne Chang(of Flour fame) of raisin walnut bread to go with the latter.

Raisin walnut sourdough loaves at Flour South End. #special #flourbakery

A photo posted by joannebchang (@joannebchang) on

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Bread pic 7 – Sourdough bread

Sourdough bread baked in Dutch oven. 20% whole wheat, 74% hydration.

Monday bake #sourdough #wildyeast #dutchoven #fermentation

A photo posted by @bakingventures on

Bringing the steam!

When I first decided to bake sourdough bread, I bought a round brotform and baked my first sourdough boule in our round, enameled dutch oven. Before attempting to bake sourdough bread, we used the dutch oven mainly for soups and stews. The dutch oven has been great so far, yielding consistent results with great oven spring and a nice crust. Boules are beautiful, but not the most convenient for sandwiches since the size of the sandwiches vary as you cut along the loaf. So, we got a long brotform (Thanks Dagi!) to make bread for sandwiches. However, it didn’t fit into our round dutch oven and trying to bake the oval loaf on a cookie sheet were not so successful. There was very little oven spring as we had a hard time introducing the steam at the start of the bake.

So we set out to solve it. Continue reading

How much starter should I use? The sourdough bread result

Last week, I baked two sourdough loaves, one with 67% starter the other with 30%. Overall they were pretty similar:

  1. Texture – the crumb was identical on both loaves.
  2. Taste  – this is still up in the air. We did a blind taste test and found the 30% loaf to be more sour than the 67% loaf (both were baked on the same day). We’re still undecided on what, if any, effect the starter had on the final taste of the loaf. We had sandwiches with both loaves all week and both were delicious.
  3. Time – the biggest and most objective difference was the time it took to make these two loaves. Using less starter extended the bulk fermentation time by 1 hour.

With an indiscernible (to our palates at least) effect on taste, the 1 hour time difference seems like a great tool to make this bread fit into our schedule. Need to attend to something else during bulk fermentation? Extending or reducing the sourdough starter would be an effective way to make that work.

How much starter should I use?

My current sourdough recipe calls for 67% (baker’s percentage) of starter. As I’ve been doing more reading, I’ve noticed that a lot of recipes call for much less starter than I currently use. I looked through ten different recipes, and found that for doughs with hydration levels around 80% (blue dots), bakers used ~ 25% of starter. For doughs that had around 65% hydration (orange dots), bakers used ~35% of starter. In contrast, my current recipe (red diamond) calls for 67%!!

10 recipes starter percentage Continue reading

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