Rethinking Perfect


I have been making naturally leavened breads for several years. I was gifted a sourdough starter from my friend Phyllis and I have learned from a very generous community.  I use to look at beautiful pictures of breads and think “oh I hope I can make something like that…”

Now my idea of the “perfect” bread is the one that reflects my life, my family and the food choices we are able to make, which means “imperfect,” but truly wonderful. Each loaf is different and carries the intentions of this humble baker: sustenance, personal aesthetic, community, faith and family.

When I moved to Brazil last year, I took my starter with me on our journey. I didn’t know where we would be and when I would get our belongings out of storage. So I set out to find a simple recipe I could make using flour and water on any kitchen or using any kind of oven.

I started wondering if there was a formula, a way to find a rhythm so that I could make bread part of my family’s life. I read Flo Makanai formula  and couldn’t wait to try. I love that the math comes easy and I can use what I have. I have made 100% whole grain using this formula and also egg bread (eggs, fats and liquids measured as 2 parts).  I have used this formula to make stem buns and focaccia.

Please see some of my notes bellow

1 2 3 sourdough formula

1 part leaven, 2 parts water, 3 parts flour (in weight)

2% salt

Let’s say we will start with 50g

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I want my hands and my heart leading the way I bake. Many times it's about trusting what I have learned but mostly is about not being affraid of taking a chance. Baking with #wildyeast is embracing all the things I can't control or don't know like different flours, change in the weather or events in my life. Each loaf will be different and will have a different story. How exciting! #rethinkingperfect . Here is my wildyeast from a jar that I keep in the fridge. I am planning to make bread so I am going to wake it up by feeding a portion of it water and flour. I do use a scale but I have made the #123sourdoughformula bread ( for how-to follow this hashtag) just by looking at the amount. I added 50g of unfed #wildyeast from the fridge to a container and the same amount of flour and water (100% hydration). So I will end up with 150g . Some Recipes will ask for 30g others 300g of #levain (fed starter) … In warm weather the #levain can be bubbly in a few hours. It gets confusing as we all internalize a process that works for us, but that is one way I do it. For this formula, I will then add 300g of water and 450g of flour (which half whole grain can be a nice place to start) Mix for 6 minutes by hand Do some streach and folds every 30 minutes repeating 3 times. Then make a boule, a round and put the #sourdough in the fridge overnight in a covered container until you are ready to bake. When ready to bake, take it out, shape and let it rise 2-3 hrs and bake. #storycooking #FloMakanaiSourdoughFormula @flourambassador #sourdoughseptember #readwritecook2017

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Before going to bed make leaven:

3 tbsp (50g) starter from the fridge

6 tbsp (50g) flour

1/4 cup (50g) of water

Mix well, cover and let it ferment overnight. In the morning the starter will be bubbly. This is the leaven we will use to make bread.


In the morning, for the bread, mix 6 minutes:

150g leaven fed and bubbly

1 1/4 cup (300g) water

3 cups (450g ) flour (mix as you would like, for example 200g unbleached white, 200g While whole wheat, 50g rye)

2 tsp salt

Let it double, first rise.

During the first rise I often stretch and fold 3 or 4 times every 30 minutes (on a  shape of an envelope. (see videos bellow or hashtag on instagram: #123sourdgouhformula )  to help develop and strengthen the gluten. Then let it rise until almost double at room temperature.

Shape into a boule, round. Place in a floured fabric inside a bowl, covered.

Let it rise about a third in the fridge until you can bake, 8 to 24 hrs.

Score bread

Bake 450F for 30 minutes

or in a Dutch oven covered 25 minutes and uncovered another 25.

To store and keep the starter going, I feed it the same way I make leaven and put it back in the fridge until I am ready to make bread again.

I hope bread making makes you happy, like listening to a favorite song


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