The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

jstreed1476's blog

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Baked my second sourdough ever yesterday, and I couldn't be happier with the results.

I used the 1-2-3 Method described by Shiao-Ping at Sourdough Companion. I was persuaded by its simplicity--no traditional recipe to follow, just a ratio.

The starter was a 50% hydration that had sat in the back of my fridge totally untouched for at least 5 months. It was based on Reinhart's starter formula in BBA; after a single failure of a loaf, I pushed it behind the mayo and forgot about it while pursuing other projects.

Then, last week, I read 52 Loaves and was inspired to give sourdough another shot. I poured off the hooch, scraped off the grey stuff, and spent four days nursing it back to vitality. Needless to say, I had my doubts.

Here's how the loaf turned out:


Here's the formula:

100 g 50% hydration levain

200 g water

35 g whole wheat flour

15 g rye

250 g bread flour

7 g salt

Mixed the starter and water, then added the whole wheat and rye, then the bread flour, approximately 50 grams at a time.

After all flours were mixed and hydrated, I let it rest 20 minutes, then added the salt, kneaded about 1 minute on lightly oiled counter, then proceed with a resting-kneading sequence in Dan Lepard fashion: rested 10 minutes, kneaded 10 secs, rested 10 minutes, kneaded 10 secs, rested 30 minutes, kneaded 10 secs, rested 1 hour, kneaded 10 secs).

After that sequence was over, I let it rise about 90 minutes, then preshaped, rested, and shaped it before placing it in a long basket with a towel. It proofed about 3.5 hours at 75F, at which point it passed the spring-back poke test. Loaded it onto my long, skinny homemade peel (not with out major sticking issues with the towel, unfortunately--hence, no scoring), then onto the bakin stone. 500F for 5 minutes (no steam, and I forgot to cover it with my roasting pan), then 450F for another 15. Internal temp was about 210F. Cooled, cut, and took pics.

I think it tastes great--especially with butter--but unfortunately no one else in my household likes sourdough. I think maybe they'll go for sourdough rye or a dark pumpernickel, so perhaps that'll be next. Also, the dough was pretty slack before the final shaping, so I think it could make a good pizza crust.

Overall, I can credit the 1-2-3 Method as the key here--it seems a very "village bakery" type of thing to do, especially when combined with the incredibly effective, non-labor-intensive kneading protocol advocated by Lepard. The more I bake, the more I appreciate simplicity.

jstreed1476's picture

Followed one click after another to find this amazing article, courtesy of the National Park Service, describing baking, baking ovens, and other aspects of breadmaking in the middle of the 19th century. Seriously, it's worth your time.

The Baking Process in the 1840s




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Maybe some of you saw this recent Onion feature and thought, "I know someone like that . . ."

How about a little test for deciding if your enthusiasm for breadmaking is a cause for alarm:

1. I bake enough bread to _____.

a. Feed myself (1 pt)

b. Feed myself and my family (2 pts)

c. Feed myself, my family, and the family next door (4 pts)

d. Feed myself, my family, the family next door, and all my co-workers (10 pts)

2. I have created ____ spreadsheets to calculate baker's percentages.

a. zero (1 pt)

b. 1 (2 pts)

c. >1 (4 pts)

3. If a forum post fails to include a crumb shot, I _______.

a. notice but refrain from commenting (1 pt)

b. comment on its absence (2 pts)

c. skip the thread entirely (4 pts)

4. King Arthur Flour _______.

a. is kinda pricey (1 pt)

b. is worth the investment (2 pts)

c. doesn't offer the complexity and depth of flavor offered by organic flour ground in my hand-cranked mill (4 pts)

5. Commercial yeast is ______.

a. perfectly acceptable (1 pt)

b. okay for beginners (2 pts)

c. heresy in a jar; when I travel to visit family, I bring my wild yeast starter (4 pts)


5-8 points = you're a practical baker who may even slice a loaf before it has cooled.

9-12 points = people regard your baking as a healthy pastime, but know better than to praise Panera in your presence.

13-16 points = everyday life intrudes on your breadmaking.

17-26 points = the folks at TFL are the only ones who really understand you ;-)

* no, not that kind.

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