The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My First Sourdough Adventure!

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rmk129's picture
rmk129

My First Sourdough Adventure!

Thanks to this site, I baked my very first sourdough loaf today after two weeks of preparation :) Yippeeee!!!

It certainly is not the perfect loaf (quite flat), but I am just happy that I grew yeast from scratch that caused any rising action at all (thanks to a mixture of Floydm & sourdolady's starter recipes and advice)...
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Here is a pictoral account of my adventure...Day 1 is the day I began making my homemade starter.
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Day 5...my first big day of "bubble action" in my homemade starter!!!
June 16 003
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Day 9...getting more ambitious with a white and a whole-wheat version of my starter
...and also a mini-mug of raisins soaking in rum for a bread-pudding and many supplies for drinking yerba mate! :)
June 16 009
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Day 15...this is what my starter looked like after proofing it overnight for 15 hours
(no, I didn't sleep that long!)
I think I added 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup of active room-temperature starter the night before, but I have no idea if this is the correct method???
June 24 007
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Consistency of proofed starter after stirring...
June 24 008
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I used sourdolady's recipe for Deluxe Sourdough Bread

Initial ingredient mixture...let rest for 30 minutes
June 24 009
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After kneading
June 24 010
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After approximately 5 hours at a cool room temperature, there was definite evidence of "yeasty action"!!!
I was SO happy :)
June 24 013
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A few hours later, I thought the dough was ready for shaping (even though it had not quite doubled in size)
I like to call these wet masses of dough my pre-shaping "globs"
June 24 015
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I shaped one using a basket as a cloche (it is still in my fridge unbaked), and this one I tried as a freeform oval
June 24 019
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Both shaped loaves went into the fridge overnight.
In the morning, the oval loaf was significantly flatter, and there were chunks of ice on the baking mat!!! Yikes!!!
I took the oval log out and left in on the counter for 8 hours, during which it magically transformed itself into a Ciabatta loaf sitting in a puddle of water ;)
Whoops! Maybe I let it rise for too long?
Oh well....I thought the final product was yummy (slightly sour taste) and I loved the texture of the crumb.
Thanks to a World Cup game that captured my attention (Vamos Argentina!!!), the bottom was quite black, but I am getting quite adept at scraping black bottoms into the garbage can :)
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Final product--My First Sourdough Loaf!!!
June 24 020
June 24 023
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Pizza crust from starter leftovers....
I mostly followed Floydm's measurements to make a delicious pizza crust
1 cup starter
2 cups flour
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil (my addition)
I had a lot of fun shaping this crust (like he suggestd, just turned it around and around, stretching the dough into an approximate circle), and it turned out well.
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Sourdough pizza crust before baking
My husband likes to prebake the crust with olive oil, then bake it for a short time with toppings...works well for me too!
June 24 012
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What was left of the pizza before I remembered to take a photo...sign of a yummy pizza :)
June 24 024

Comments

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Congratulations on creating something edible from your new starter! The pictures are great. Your bread does resemble a ciabatta. The texture looks really good. Your dough may have been just a little bit on the wet side. If it is humid where you live, that can make a difference and you may need to add a bit more flour. I'm wondering where the chunks of ice and the resulting puddle came from. I've never had that happen before. Are you kneading with a mixer or by hand? If you are using a mixer it is easy to over knead with sourdough, which can cause it to release the water and make the dough get gloppy. It sure is a learning experience, but also such a great challenge to have each loaf turn out better than the one before it. You are off to a great start. Keep up the good work.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Your first loaf looks absolutely beautiful compared to my first attempt! I still do not
have that great open crumb. I must admit, that when I toast my sourdough I like the
tighter crumb cuz then I don't lose the melted butter through the holes!
I know you are on the road to sourdough success!!

rmk129's picture
rmk129

Hi SourdoLady and Paddyscake,

Thank you for your helpful and encouraging comments!!!

Yes, I do knead with a mixer (a basic mixmaster with dough hooks instead of the mixing attachments) so I think SourdoLady's overkneading suggestion is probably correct and might have had a lot to do with my loaf turning out as Ciabatta dough in a puddle of water :) I think I kneaded the dough for about 6 minutes (I thought I was erring on the side of caution...oops!). Next time I will try to keep the kneading to 5 minutes or less.

As far as the ice chunks on my baking mat go, I'm not sure if that had something to do with the dough or my refrigerator??? I have turned down my refrigerator temperature just in case.

You are definitely right about sourdough being a learning experience...I am going to treat it as an ongoing experiment in my kitchen and try not to change too many things at once so I can tell what the different results are due to.

Paddyscake, my second loaf (that sat in the refrigerator in a round basket "cloche" for 2 days before I took it out for the final rise and bake) had a tighter crumb and it also held its shape much better...you are right about the advantages of the tighter crumb as my fingers don't get covered in honey when I eat slices from this loaf :)

Today I am starting another basic loaf. Again with my white flour starter, but this time adding some wholewheat flour to the dough. We will see how that goes...