The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to streamline the sourdough bread baking process...

gijane's picture

How to streamline the sourdough bread baking process...

Howdy All,

I have just made my 2nd attempt at sour dough. 

My first batch turned out 2 quite small boules with great flavor, but extremely fine crumb. 


This time I used a new batch of sour dough starter.  I used the Sourdo Lady's Rye flour and pineapple method.

Much better this time.

I ended up with 2 nice boules with pretty good crumb.


I followed Peter Reinhart's Basic Sourdough Bread Recipe from BBA on pg 233.

I love the bread but am wondering if there is a way to streamline the recipe.  It took me 2-3 days.

Can one do a bulk fermention and a final "proof" fermentation with this?  Or is Sourdough a totally different animal?

Thanks in advance!

GI Jane

ClimbHi's picture

I make this recipe almost weekly. I think it gets easier/quicker with experience. Yes, it's made over a period of two days, but the actual work involved is pretty minimal, especially if you use a mixer to knead.

It only takes about 5 minutes before I go to bed to make the preferment and refresh the starter.

The next morning, I pull the preferment out of the fridge to warm up while I walk the dog. When I get back (breakfast!) it takes about 10 minutes to make the dough and start kneading it, and about two minutes each for two or three "stretch & folds". (I do it by hand -- my mixer can't handle the double batch I do each week.) Put it aside to bulk rise for the morning while I'm off having fun.

Mid-day (lunchtime!), it takes about 5-10 minutes more to divide the partially risen dough into loaves. Set aside to rise again for the afternoon while I'm off having more fun.

While I'm working on dinner, I form or slash the loaves (My Lovely Assistant prefers pain de epi) and put 'em in the oven -- another 10 minutes or so.

So, all in all, it's only about 30-45 minutes of "work" for a week's worth of bread. The trick is in timing things so the "work" fits into the times when you're in the kitchen anyway. That way, it's really not much extra time investment.

That said, I do need to plan my bread baking for the weekends since I need to be there mid-day. But now that I'm writing this, you got me wonderin' if I could just form the loaves at the git-go, and let them rise all day. Hmmm. I'm gonna try it!

Pittsburgh, PA