The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

StephaniePB's blog

StephaniePB's picture

It ended up taking me a little longer than intended to get another loaf together, the starter has a life of its own, what can I say, and it absolutely refused to activate two weeks ago. I'm letting it sit a little longer before trying it. So last weekend I went back to the all white flour wild yeast starter, and baked this. All flour was KA bread flour.

I started on Friday night, pulling the starter out of the fridge. I dumped all but 2 or 3 tbls, and fed it with 3/4ths of a cup of flour, same amount of water (my scale broke a few years back and I haven't replaced it, so unfortunately all measurements are by volume).

The next morning it had bubbled and settled down, so I fed it with another 1/4 cup water and flour. 5 hours later it was ready!

The recipe I've been using for my standard sourdough calls for a sponge, so 1 cup of the starter was mixed with 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of water. That then sat for another 4 hours. After it doubled, mixed in the rest of the flour (3 cups), and water (1 cup), let sit for 20 minutes (autolyze).

I increased the salt from the basic recipe with this version, upped it to about 1 1/2 teaspoons. I put it all in the bread machine to let it knead for about 10 minutes, and needed to add another 1/4 cup or so of flour to get the right consistency.

I let it sit for another hour or so, then did 3 stretch and folds over the next 3 hours. At this point, it was pretty late, so I shaped it, put it in a brotform, and into the refrigerator until morning.

My fridge and apartment are extremely cold, so I put the dough in the sun the next morning to warm it up - I've found that direct sunlight works much better than my oven, which is electric and doesn't have a light inside to generate any warmth. The dough started rising again pretty quickly, and continued to rise for about 6 hours. It more than doubled in size, I'd guess close to tripled, but when it had only doubled it was still bouncing back pretty well and I felt like it wanted to keep rising.

Baked it for about 45 minutes, starting at 450, ending at 375. I think I should have kept it at a higher heat longer.

I think it came out beautifully, at least, it looks fantastic. It's a little spongier on the inside than it should have been, I'm guessing that's because I dropped the oven temperature too early.



The taste? If you like extra-sourdough bread, this is it. I'm not a real fan, and find that I don't really like eating this bread without something on it to help cut the sourdough flavor.

I'm trying this bread, with this starter, again this weekend. I want to see if there's a way I can get the overnight piece out of this, I wonder if that's what's allowing the starter to develop such a strong flavor? Whatever happens, at least it's fun to play!


StephaniePB's picture

I'm a long time home baker, and a recent convert to sourdough. I started lurking around here when I started getting into sourdough, I've learned a ton from the forums and blogs! I keep a personal blog elsewhere, but am finding I want someplace to keep track of my baking experiments. I am.

I first tried sourdough baking around 10 or so years ago when I lived in NYC, and loved the results, but I think I knew at the time I still had a lot to learn about bread baking before seriously tackling sourdough. I now live in San Francisco, and find that my sourdough is often coming out too sour for my tastes. So that's my big challenge, how to make good sourdough that doesn't taste too sour when I live in the one place in the world with the dang bacteria.

I have two happy starters - one is a SF Goldrush I purchased ages ago, the other is a wild yeast starter I made here. I much prefer the wild starter, it's very irregular and can rise like crazy, which I love. The goldrush is much more like, well, commercial yeast, very even and reliable. Reliable's boring, though.

I'm in the process of converting my Goldrush to whole wheat (KA organic) right now, I'm curious what whole wheat starter will do to the final taste. I have only fed with white flour until now (KA Flour, unbleached, mostly AP for feedings, bread flour for baking), and it's fun to see how differently it's reacting with whole wheat. I always use tap water that's been sitting on my counter for 12 hrs or so, room temperature, 100% hydration. I have had terrible results with bottled water and filtered water, there's something in that tap water, I guess?

I'm hoping the goldrush will peak up later today so I can mix up a sponge tonight and bake tomorrow, but I'm not sure it will be possible. I did keep the discarded starter from this morning's feeding to use in pizza dough for tonght, though, so at least I'll get something in, even if I'm going to have to cheat with added yeast.

I also need to find my camera so I can start taking decent pictures!

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