The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough 1.1.2. - new formula for Sourdough Bread

md_massimino's picture

Sourdough 1.1.2. - new formula for Sourdough Bread

I've been trying and trying to get my sourdough bread up but have had little success.  The 1-2-3 recipe worked out ok except it was always too gloppy to make anything but ciabatta.  So I started experimenting with different forumlas, twice a day for two weeks. I think I've hit on something and I'd like some of you guys to maybe try it out and see if it works as well for someon else as it does for me.

I maintain two starters...a 100% hydration white and 100% hydration whole wheat.  I used Gold Medal AP Flour for everything, both refreshing the starter and making the dough.  If I want a wheat bread I use the wheat starter in the recipe, the same a white bread.  All ingredients are measured in grams for simplicity's sake.  So here's the formula:

1. part ripe starter

1. part water

2. parts flour

2% salt

Here's my technique.  I take a nice ripe starter and measure out the first part.  Normally I use 150g as a base.  Then I stir in 1 part water (150g) to make a slurry.  To this I add the 2 parts flour (300g) and mix in to incorporate.  I use a fork and my fingers to get everything mixed completely.  After everything is mixed I let it sit for about 20 minutes to autolyse.

After the autolyse I sprinkle in the 2% salt (12g) and give the dough a quick 5 minute knead in the bowl.  Part of this experiment was to cut down on the amount of crap I had to wash and clean up.  After the knead I let rise until doubled.  This could take anywhere from 1-3 hours.

After the dough has doubled, I flour a work surface and scrape out the dough.  It's should be a little on the sticky side but easily workable on the bench.  I've only made batards and baguettes so far, but the dough could probably hold other shapes.  I shape it into a rough oblong, give it a flatten, then do a quick letter fold and let it rest about 10 minutes.  Now a stretch, flatten and make either the baguette or batard.  I have a makeshift couche (read: old napkin) that sometimes doesn't work so well, so I tend to place the formed loaf right onto parchment with a little cornmeal on it.

After the loaf is formed you can do two things,  cover it and let it rise to about doubled.  I use spray oil to lubricate a piece of saran wrap so it won't stick to the loaf.  Again, this takes about 1-3 hours for me, your mileage may vary.  About halfway through the second rise preheat oven to 450.  Steam the oven, slash the loaf and put bread on a stone or cookie sheet.  After five minutes I give the oven another spray for more steam.  After another five minutes I give the bread a turn for even browning and reduce heat to 425 for another 15 minutes or so.  Here's how the white bread turns out...

Sourdough White Bread

and here's the wheat...

I've also formed the loaves and retarded overnight in the fridge.  This really brings out the sourdough twang.  I'm also experiemting with the salt percentage, 2% feels too high in some loaves. 

I would appreciate it if someone else could validate this recipe and let me know if it worked out as well for them.  Thanks!

flournwater's picture

Well, I haven't assembled the formula yet, but I do have a question about your figures.  You list your salt at 2% but, as I figure it (375 grams flour total) your salt comes closer to 3.2%.

Question:  What's the formula for your starter.  Is it simply a wild yeast flour and water mix or is there more to it?

You're getting a lot of rise out of your dough, especially considering there's no ADY or other leavening added to the recipe, and I'm impressed that the crumb is as nice as it appears given the formula.

I'll hold off trying the formula for now.  Not sure I have enough details.


md_massimino's picture

I have a total of 600 grams (150g starter + 150g water + 300g flour).  I was going off of total weight of all ingredients for figuring the salt content, is that not how you're supposed to figure it?  Maybe that's why I always feel like there is too much salt.  If that's the case then I've been adding too much salt.  Everything else is dead on though.

This recipe using is with a totally wild yeast starter, no commercial yeast is added.   I think I might have the hydration of my starter wrong now that I'm reading about it.  I got the current starter going with 50g flour and 50g water and  I feed it at a 1:1:1 ratio after that.  So if I have 100g starter I throw away 50g, then feed in 50g water and 50g flour.  I always thought that was 100% because I'm keeping the ratio of flour and water 1:1 at all times.  Is that correct?

flournwater's picture

Nope, your starter (as described) is 100% hydration.  That would mean 150 grams of starter is 75 grams of flour.  So, with the 300 grams of additional flour, you've actually got 450 grams of flour in the formula.  When using bakers percentages, the total weight of the flour in the formula is the basis for your calculations. 

Wow!! I am impressed with the fact that this is a product of wild yeast, exclusively. 

Your calculations for maintaining your starter look fine to me.  If you have a 100% hydration level in the starter and remove half of it, the remainder is still 100% hydration.  If you add a 50/50 mix of flour and water to feed you're still maintaining the 100% hydration level.

If  your 1.1.2 part forumula is working, I'd stick with it.  Just cut back on the salt and adjust your numbers to fit what's actually going into the mix.  When you've got a winning formula, even when it happens to come out right with slightly skewed numbers on the paper, stick with what works.

Now that I know all the details I'll try to get this one loaded in the oven some time next week.

md_massimino's picture

I always used someone else's recipes so I never really thought about the appropriate amount of salt to add.  I'm embarrased to say I made about four loaves where I forgot to put the salt in after the autolyse.  That really peaved me, talk about a waste of flour.  Those loaves were inedible, and one of them was about the most perfect batard I've ever made.

Thanks again for the feedback, let me know how it turns out.

flournwater's picture

Glad to know someone else forgets the salt.  I worked most of the day on a new formula today, got ready to load the oven and discovered I'd forgotten the salt.  I was able to cheat by kneading in the amount required and waiting for another rise (which I hadn't planned on) and the results weren't too bad but, because of my error,  the data I collected isn't valid and I'll have to go back to square one on this idea.

I was sharing the kitchen with my wife so I guess I could blame her.  She's beautiful and a real distraction.  But truth is I just allowed myself to get confused and forgot it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Flournwater, you were correct the first time with 375g flour (300g + 75g)  

Salt 1.8% -2%

(2% of 375g flour would be  7.5g salt)  (1.8% of 375g flour would be 6.7g salt)   

I tend to use even less but that is my preference. 


flournwater's picture

Thanks Mini Oven.  How the heck did I add 300 to 75 and come up with 450 on the second round of calcs?

Mom said to slow down ... shoulda listened to her.

I agree with your concept of using less.  I try to use only as much yeast as necessary to obtain the rise I want and only enough salt to create a tempting level of flavor.  If I can taste the yeast or the salt, it's too much.

zbdrums's picture

Hi Jani!!

Your sourdough skills are inspiring. I've been at it for about 2 years now and am wanting to plan my first oven build.  I'm in Dallas. Do you ever do workshops? I was wondering if you could email me the plans you mentioned in another thread. My email is


Thanks So Much,