The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

my first loaves of sourdough

flour-girl's picture

my first loaves of sourdough

Hi --

I just pulled my first loaves of sourdough from the oven. I made Jeffrey Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain, starting with his liquid levain culture which I began 10 days ago.

I'm not sure how I did. The loaves didn't spring up much in the oven, but there's a pretty nice crumb and crust.

Maybe my starter needs more maturity? Any other ideas?

If you want to help diagnose my attempt, check out my blog at Flour Girl.

I guess it's a good thing I start baking school tomorrow; I think I could use a little professional help!

Happy baking!


Jw's picture

Heather, I would into the maturity of the starter. But please ask the pro's and let us know what they think. Baking school, must be nice!

Happy baking to you as well.


Paddyscake's picture

look pretty good! There are a number of factors that can affect the spring. As you said the maturity of your starter. I assume it was well fed and active. Are you baking on a stone? was your oven/stone sufficiently preheated ? Were your loaves fully proofed? The book may tell you 2-3 hours, but depending on the temperature your loaf can take as long as 5-6 hours if it's really cold in your kitchen. You'll be right up to speed soon..good crumb, crust and taste, you'll be there before you know it. Keep us posted.


xaipete's picture

I only made this bread once, but I baked it under my make-shift cloche and was pleased with the amount of oven spring my loaves got. Mine were all white flour.


LindyD's picture

I'm certainly no pro, but I do bake this bread weekly (using bread flour and rye).

You didn't mention whether you had retarded the loaves overnight.

It could be your ten-day-old starter has not developed sufficient strength and maturity to raise two 1.5# loaves.  Even though my culture is nearly two years old, I've noticed that if I get lazy and don't get it to full strength through a couple of refreshments before using it to build the liquid levain, the oven spring will be affected.

That said, waiting too long to load the bread into the oven can also put the crimper on oven spring.  Bake the bread when it's 80-90% of the proofed size you think it should be.

The important thing is that it tasted good.

Have a great time in class and keep us posted!


flour-girl's picture

for taking a look ...

No, I didn't retard the loaves overnight; I just followed the "quickie" directions as written. Now I'm seeing that sourdough makes spending 3-4 hours on yeasted bread look like fast food! But it's quite rewarding to think that everything (well, except for the grinding of the grain) was of my own creation!

I think a little more practice and a more-mature starter will produce some better loaves, but I'm OK with my first effort!

Thanks for the support,

Flour Girl

Paddyscake's picture

I remember after spending all my time baking sourdoughs I decided to bake some Struan. I was totally amazed.  I had forgotten how quick yeasted breads are. It felt like I was making a "boxed" version!