The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

CBudelier's blog

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Thing 1 and Thing 2 have given birth to two reasonably successful loaves of bread. I used Rose Beranbaum's 2 day basic sourdough recipe from TBB. I made one loaf with each of the starters. The doughs were made from:

  • 150 g. 50% starter
  • 150 g. water
  • 180 g. bread flour (my first experience with bread flour)
  • 6 g. salt

Her recipe calls for mixing all ingredients, kneading for 5 minutes and then autolyzing for 20 min. After this, 5 more minutes of kneading and then a 1 hour rise. Following the first rise, the dough is folded twice and allowed to rise for another 4 hours. Then the loaves are shaped, put in a bowl lined with a floured towel and given a final 4 hour rise. I floured the towels with both AP flour and corn starch. I had a lot of flour left on Thing 2, so I think I used too much.

Dough slashed and ready for baking. Thing 2 is on the left, Thing 1 on the right

Thing 2 and Thing 1 after baking

Each of the loaves weighed just under 1 pound.

Thing 1 Crumb                                                                                Thing 2 Crumb


The crumb looked pretty good to me, considering that I was using 2 new starters and bread flour for the first time. The tase was still pretty mild, but I expected that since the starters are young and I didn't do a long, cool rise. I tried to taste a difference in the flavor between the 2, but couldn't. The rest of the family devoured both loaves in about 45 minutes!

The biggest difference I noted was that Thing 1, the indoor starter did perform a bit larger and faster than Thing 2. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues over time. Now I just have to figure out how to justify keeping 2 more jars of starter.......

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After 7 long days, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are looking and acting like living, breathing starters. Thing 1, the indoor starter almost tripled itself today, and Thing 2, the outdoor starter doubled.

As I expected, they are behaving differently, but I actually expected Thing 2 to be more energetic than Thing 1. I guess I expected the outdoor microflora to be more lively than the ones in the house.

I'm going to keep them at 100% hydration for a few more days and then switch them to 50%. I want to see if I can expand them both enough to bake with them this weekend.

CBudelier's picture

Starter A and Starter B departed this earthly plain yesterday afternoon after a brief and uneventful life.  After a short memorial, they were buried at sea.

Having wiped a tear from my eye (maybe if was just flour dust), I decided that just because these 2 starters didn't take doesnt' mean that I need to stop the experiment.  So, before the disposal had stopped running, I mixed up 2 more batches of starter.  These are being called Thing 1 and Thing 2 (I'm a Dr. Seuss fan).  They are a 30/30g mix of rye flour and water.   This time I covered both of them with a damp rag instead of cheesecloth hoping that they won't dry out.  Thing 1 resides on the refrigerator, and Thing 2 is taking shelter in a dry spot outdoors so it doesn't drown during our current rain storm.

Today is day 2, so I gave them both a quick stir and put them back in their places.   Tomorrow will be their first feeding.......we'll see what happens. 


CBudelier's picture

After looking at several other blogs showing amazing sourdough results, I'm feeling really envious!    My starter experiment is dying a slow, horrible death. (If figures that the 3 other starters I have took off in no time at all, but the one I share with everyone tanks!!)   I fed the starters again trying a reduced amount of flour and water to see if anything will change.  If not, I'm going to toss both of them and start over.

I did have a bit of success with my original starter, Boris, this weekend.    I was able to get a batch of English muffins and a couple of loaves of bread baked on Saturday.     I still can't get big open holes in the muffins, but the crumb on the bread was pretty good.


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Well, I'm not going to post any pictures because the starters aren't doing anything right now.   I'm hoping that it is just the typical down time in the early life of a starter.   I fed both of them again tonight with a 30/60/60 feeding.    Hopefully I will see bubbles tomorrow.

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Well, 5:00 Wednesday evening was first feeding time for my starters.   The one on the refrigerator looked nice and bubbly after 48 hours.   The one that was outside, however, was relatively dried out from being out in the wind for 2 days.

Nevertheless, I took 20 grams of each and fed with 20 g. water and 20 g. flour, stuck them on the top of the fridge, and left them to do their thing.   After about 5 hours, the indoor starter (Starter A) was showing signs of activity, and the outdoor starter (Starter B) looked dead.    I went to bed figuring that this was going to be a very short experiment and blog!

Lo and behold, by 6:00 this morning, they had both risen to the same height!   I am going to give them a second feeding at 4:00 CST before heading to my son's track meet.  I will post feeding and post feeding photos later tonight or after school tomorrow.

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After reading all the discussions about "flour vs. micro organisms" in getting a good starter, I decided to run my own test.

I believe that the flour has all the vital nutrients that a starter needs to survive, but I also believe that the location and local flora and fauna play a part. I believe that is what makes San Francisco sourdough taste different than a Russian sourdough, which tastes different from a European sourdough.

A few months ago I started a starter out in my garden, and it behaved quite differently than the one I had started in my kitchen. They were started about 6 months apart, so there was no real way to tell what caused the difference. So, to eliminate several variables, I've started a new experiment.

1. I made 2 starters with 25 grams of rye flour and 25 grams of water.


2. Starter A is resting on the top of the refrigerator where the average temperature is 68 degrees.

3. Starter B is resting out in the garden by the pond where the temperature is ranging between 40 and 72 degrees.


If my theory is correct, they will behave and taste differently. I will admit that I am not using sterile test conditions, but I consider them to be pretty realistic. I also realize that with the weather being nice and the windows being open, the same little beasties that are outside may be migrating inside and could affect Starter A.

At any rate, at worst I'll have 2 more starters to play with!











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