The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Sam-I-Am's picture

My new starter is only about a week and a half old, but today I was able to make sour bread with it!

Last year I tried my first starter, and while the starter was sour, I could never figure out how to get nice sour bread. I then got busy with other things, and the next thing I knew, my starter was looking quite black and fuzzy in the back of the fridge. Ew.

My new starter at 4 days old:


This is from sourdolady's starter recipe; rye flour and OJ the first days, then moving to a white flour and water feeding.

The bread I made today:


I wasn't trying for a such an open crumb as this; I was mostly interested in getting sour flavor. The bread turned out quite flat! 

The below paragraph is my notes to myself on how I made this bread; skip it if you get bored! 

I didn't really use anyone's recipe...I combined a cup of starter with two cups of flour and some water, with a tablespoon or two of rye thrown in. I let it autolyse for 20 minutes then added salt (1/2 - 1 tsp) and kneaded. I kept the dough VERY wet. I'm a beginning baker so I had some trouble handling it. It did, however, develop nicely while kneading. Then I refrigerated the dough overnight as it was getting late. This morning I pulled it out of the fridge and let it resume fermenting on the countertop. It was about 70* in our house. The dough took a very long time to rise at first; the internal temp of the dough didn't get above 70* till after the folding. I folded (ala JMonkey) it when the dough was double and let it ferment again. Then I shaped it, degassing just a little, and let it rise in the coldest room of the house. When it was doubled, I put my baking stone in the oven and heated it to 550*. I slashed the dough (which didn't work so well; it was too wet for me to use my usual technique of Very Sharp Knife) and then threw it in while spraying the oven with water. There was hardly ANY oven spring, which is likely a result of my abysmal shaping skills. I turned the heat down to 475* after 5 minutes, then let it bake for 25 additional minutes, until the bread was golden brown and sounded hollow. I impatiently let it cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then eagerly sliced into it. Crispy crust, lovely large irregular holes, and best of all, sour taste! I'm sure I can get better sour bread in the months to come as my starter matures, but for a first bread, this was pretty incredible!

Next time: work on shaping technique. Like Floydm said, a baker needs an iron hand in a velvet glove. I think I didn't get very good tension or a good seal. I also think I left too much air in there before shaping.

Let me know if you see anything that can be improved! 

chuppy's picture

Day four of Sourdough Starter

April 1, 2007 - 5:01pm -- chuppy

Good evening everyone!

I recently started my sourdough starter that sourdolady suggested starting with ornge juice. Today is day four and I've only notice about 12 little bubbles in the bottom of the tightly covered glass jar I'm using. I've discarded every thing except for 1/4 cup of the mix and then added the flour and spring water. The smell was quite intense but, I once again wonder if I am on the right track? At this point I will say thank you and wait for some response.

In search of my starter - Chuppy

zolablue's picture

Firm Sourdough Starter - Glezer recipe

March 24, 2007 - 8:43am -- zolablue

I’m finally getting around to posting Maggie Glezer’s firm sourdough starter recipe.  For those of you having problems with your starters you might wish to give this a try.  Most people here are using batter-style starters so it might be interesting to see if there is any discussion on firm starters.  Plus I need help in learning to convert properly for use in recipes which don’t use a firm starter and there are always questions that come up.

Inkoate's picture

A Sourdough Non-Starter

March 20, 2007 - 5:00pm -- Inkoate

I know this is a rather common question around these parts, but I'm very new to sourdough, and my seed culture that I've been working on just doesn't seem to be turning into a healthy starter.  I started off from the BBA formula to grow a seed culture, but by day 3, when the culture was supposed to have doubled in bulk, it had not, and but had grown by about half instead.  As instructed, I discarded half and mixed with the prescribed flour and water and fermented for 24 hours.  It again failed to double in bulk, at which point it says to leave it out for another 12 to 24.  I

pumpkinpapa's picture

I created a delicious spelt starter at the beginning of February and made some great loaves from it recently.


The one on the left was a 50/50 organic AP with organic light spelt flour (I can only afford 2.5 kg bags of spelt and ran out) while the one on the right is a 100% light spelt loaf. Both were excellent! The kids liked the 50/50 while I found the 100% to be exactly like pumpernickel in texture, great spread with peanut butter or pb/banana/honey!

I used Sourdolady's recipe for starter but reduced all liquids by 25%, otherwise too much liquid and the starter never matures. After a week the starter was active, not as much as white or rye, and definitely not as volatile as whole wheat, but it was bubbly and produced a pleasant aroma. You can use either whole or light spelt with no loss of nutrients as they are contained in the germ not in the bran as in wheat.

I used the basic sourdough recipe as given in Peter Reinharts BBA but with 25% less water again:


4 ounces spelt starter, 4.5 ounces spelt flour, 0.75 to 1.5 ounces water

Final dough:

20.25 ounces spelt flour, 0.5 ounce Celtic sea salt, 9 to 10.5 ounces lukewarm water 

Kneading took about 20 minutes, but my house is cool these days which affects proofs immensely as well. However unlike all my sourdough experiences (save for yeats spiked variations), this spelt sourdough had far faster and greater second proofing results than wheat or rye starter.

This is going to be my main bread, and if the kids continue to enjoy it then I should experiment with spelt cinnamon buns soon too. 

Noche's picture

Test Drive your Starter

March 2, 2007 - 8:31pm -- Noche

I smelled my starter before I baked today. It was trying to tell me something.

In the begining, this starter was never very sour, but now at one month old it has changed and can be where ever I steer it. This one had been mildly neglected this week and got pretty powerful.

It told me it was going to be very sour and I don't like "very sour." I should have waited a day or two and washed the starter until it smelled like what I like to eat. 

Next time I crank up a starter to cook with in a day or two, I'll not only shoot for volume but also taste.


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