The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New starter.... Next step??

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

New starter.... Next step??

Aloha everybody!

Well the starter is 2 weeks old now and looks pretty stable. I was concerned at one point and was feeding 1:3:3 twice a day for about 3 days and just this morning cut it back to 1:2:2. Don't ask why as I really don't have a clue!! What I would like to ask for at this point is a recipe for a simple SD sandwich dough that I can make in a regular loaf pan. I'll also need the steps to "prep" the starter or the explanation of "hydration" to get the things going as well as possible. I guess what I'm asking for is to have someone hold my hand and walk me though the next few steps with baby steps so that it will sink into this thick scull of mine! I've been teaching myself to bake bread by going to one of the online recipe sites and reading the recipe, reading ALL the reviews that are posted, and then making the bread incorporating the modifications that other suggested. It has worked out well for about 24 assorted loaves of bread... so far! I've read a lot on this site (and others) and watched a lot of video and sometimes I just get a bit overwhelmed and confused. I'm using scales and would like to stay with recipes that are by weight so that I might get a little bit better consistency. There is still so much to learn but I do want to understand what I'm doing a little better.

Hope I'm not asking too much here!



Kent's picture

Originally postd by Eli, I have made it several times. Very good


White Loaf Au Levain

White Loaf Au Levain


This is a great sandwich bread and was based on a classic white loaf I have been making for some time. It has a really soft crumb and crust and this loaf had a really open crumb due to 20 hour refrigeration before baking. I had some time issues!


Here is the formula:


282 G Warm Water (75-80 degrees) 47 % 60 G Sugar (granulated) 10. % 38 G Olive Oil 6. % 9 G Salt ( I use Grey Sea Salt/ my preference is little salt)To taste 2.0% 1 Cup Starter liquid ( forget the grams but will post) 600 G Bread Flour ( I use a Hi Gluten flour) 100 % Directions:  Crumb


I mix flour and all of water together and make a shaggy ball. Allow to autolyse 20 minutes. Come back and add Starter and work into a dough then add oil. Knead approximately 10-12 minutes by hand (windowP test). Last two (2) minutes I add the salt. Dough should be tacky but not sticky. Grease a bowl and place dough inside covered with plastic. Allow to double in size (this bulk ferment will depend on your Starter) mine takes about 4 to 5 hours in a 71 degree kitchen.

Remove from bowl; divide into two equal portions and place in greased 8.5×4.5×2.5 pans cover with plastic and allow to double (should be at top of pans or a little above).

Place in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes and then turn/rotate 180 degreees and bake another 15-20 minutes. Adding steam first 3-5 minutes. Should be golden brown and internal temp should be approx 200 to 205 degrees. I brush with butter and then remove from pans and allow to cool.

Great classic white loaf also used for rolls. Enjoy and please let me know how you like it. ( you may refrigerate overnight after placing in pans to rise. This will fully develope sour flavor. Remove and allow to rise 1 inch over pan then bake.)

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Thanks for the help Jan and Kent. I've been reading Susan's tutorial and now my old brain is complaining to me! I got through lessons 1-3 fairly well but lesson 4 is rough for me to comprehend. I'm going to eat some dinner and give it a go again. I hope that SD bread is worth all brain pain! I sure wish math came easier to me.....





Janknitz's picture

It's also called "Baker's Math".  For the clearest and most extensive explanation, go here.  Susan, of Wild Yeast, posts here on TFL, and she is great at clear, detailed explanations.  After workin through all four parts of her explanations, you'll be an expert! 

If you dig around on her site, she also has great, practical advice on starter maintenance.  I follow her suggestion of maintaining just enough 100% hydration starter for what I need for my regular weekly bake.  That way there is no waste--the discard goes to my bread, I feed the remainder for the next week and refrigerate it.  And I don't have to spend any extra time "building", unless I need more for a particular reason. 

There are some great posts here on TFL, too, if you use the search function to find what you're looking for.  But you sometimes have to wade through a variety of responses to a topic to sort out what's going to work in you home baking context.  When I'm confused, I head to Wild Yeast's blog, to help sort things out. 


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I was working with my new starter last week, trying to use up about 160g or so instead of discarding it into the compost. I just ad libbed or "free styled" a sandwich loaf using an idea that's been blogged here on TFL.

Essentially, the premise is to use one part starter, two parts water, three parts flour by weight for your base recipe. I wasn't terribly precise in my work but I did get good results; good enough to try that same formula tomorrow.

I suggest that you do a search of the thread to get a better understanding of the process that worked for a lot of folks. People with more experience than I had some good words for that idea.

On the other hand, you might want to take the idea and run with it first.


Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Thanks for information. I went to the Post office today and my copy of the BBA came in! It took 5 weeks to get out to me in the middle of the Pacific but its here and reading with much enjoyment. Peter is an easy author to read.

I need to study more of Susan,s tutorial on bread math but just couldn't get back into it after dinner. Especially when you have a good book to read!

Janknitz's picture

It is a lot to wrap your brain around!  I helped myself learn it by creating a spread sheet that would do the calculations for me.

This also necessitates a conversion chart so you can change recipe amounts from ounces to grams and a list of the weights of various ingredients so you can convert volume measurements to weight.  It's a bit of a pain to create all this, but now I understand the process a lot better.  Good learning exercise!

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.  Perhaps here it is that which does not kill us makes our bread better ;o) 


Enjoy BBA--lots of good stuff to wrap your mind around in there!  How's the bread section in the Hilo library?