The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello. Here to Start a Sourdough Blog

Ryan Blackwell's picture
Ryan Blackwell

Hello. Here to Start a Sourdough Blog


ive been reading this site for a few months, and have officially been a member for five minutes. 

I keep a bakers journal here at home, but thought it might be enlivening to start a virtual one. I've been baking for three years. Seriously for about six months. I began a sourdough  starter four months ago and haven't looked back. 

Ill be posting recipes, baking schedules and photographs of my loaves--which I make about twice a week. But to start, I'll post a little history and information about my process. 

Mark Bittman taught me to bake. Not personally of course. But hell, maybe one day. 

 How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is still a go to of mine. Not as much for breads, but the point is he got me excited. His recipes are base and delicious. He does a great job introducing just about everything. 

Willing jumped off the Veggie Train a year and a half ago (after a short four year ride), but the book is good as gold. 

Anyway. I started my sourdough using his instructions. And yes, I sprinkled a pinch of yeast in there day one. So for all you purists out there I apologize. But I have to say I've got a robust starter these days that competes with the hardiest. 

My starter, which ill refer to as frank (a name I've never used until this moment) lives on a wire rack in the kitchen next to the fridge.  No fridge for Frank unless I'm away. I try and feed him twice a day but half the week he only gets one meal. He doesn't seem to mind. 

Frank eats King Arthur Bread Flour, with the occasional (three times a week ish) dash of rye. He enjoys his 100% hydration. Frank always drinks before he eats. 

My "Master Recipe" is this, which you'll see is very similar to Susan's from this site. My dearest thanks for her blog:


Starter Poolish 503g

Water.                70-166g (60%-78%) [Depending on loaf]

Flour.                 284g (usually at least 10g rye)

Salt.                    1.5 tsp


I am by no stretch of the imagination a professional. Enthusiast, sure. and for the most part me, my family and friends like my bread very much. I hope to communicate that I find baking bread to be rewarding. I've found there is no need for dogma. Im continuously changing routines and hydrations--figuring out what works for me in my schedule, while pursing a better loaf of bread than the last. Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy. 

 And please, all hints, tricks, observations and advice is welcome. I've already learned so much from you all. 



PiPs's picture

Hi Ryan,

Welcome aboard ...  sounds like 'Frank' has a good home :)