The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Susan's Simple Sourdough, modifications

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Susan's Simple Sourdough, modifications


Susan’s Simple Sourdough with a few modifications

Combining several of Susan’s excellent recipes and techniques for a simple sourdough I’ve tried over the past few weeks, I made two large boules this morning with excellent results. 

I began by tripling the recipe for her small boule, and substituted rye for whole wheat (personal preference).  So my formula was:

128 g stiff San Francisco sourdough starter

548 g water

741 g All Trumps High Gluten Flour

64 g Hodson Mills Rye Flour

16 g salt

To this recipe I also added ¼ teaspoon of diastatic malt powder.  To be honest, I’m not sure why I added the diastatic malt, but I seem to remember it showing up in a recipe and thought I’d try it. 

This produced a little under 1500 g of dough, and I probably should have divided the dough into three loaves, but I opted on two large boules instead.

In a large bowl, I combined the starter with the flour, then added the diastatic malt and the water and autolysed for 60 minutes.  I then added the salt and did three stretch and folds in the bowl, spaced at 10 minute intervals.

At the end of that time, I lightly oiled my counter surface and did a full stretch and fold, which I repeated after 45 minutes.  After that I allowed the dough to double at room temperature (which took several hours) and then prepared the boules for the bannetons. I worked the dough by stretching and pulling the dough over the counter surface until I got a good tight skin, then placed the dough upside down in the bannetons, sealing any cracks that remained.

The two bannetons went into a large plastic bag, into which I blew a bit of air so that the plastic stayed well above the surface of the dough.  Retardation time was approximately 12 hours.

Next morning, I removed the boules and allowed the dough to rest on the counter for an hour.  I then began to preheat my oven, which I knew would take at least another hour.  By that time the dough was ready to score and load.

My baking stone went on the bottom third rack in the oven to make certain I had the height I needed for the covering bowls.

For a scoring pattern, I used two “nesting apostrophes” going in opposite direction from one another, one starting on the outside edge of the boule moving inward; the other starting in the center and moving outward in the opposite direction.

I used a large rimless cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper to load the boules, placing a stainless steel bowl over each. As you’ll see from the photos, I used my two Kitchen Aide mixing bowls, which I like because the handles make for easy removal.

I baked the boules covered at 500 for 30 minutes, then removed the cover and lowered the heat to 475 for another 20 minutes.  The boules stayed in the oven for an additional 5 minutes with the heat turned off, then removed to a cooling rack. 

I know the heat level might seem excessively high, but I think it’s because I use a one-inch cordelite baking stone, which absorbs a lot of heat.  Even though I pre-heat my oven for an hour, I still can’t seem to get the thermometer to read 500 degrees. 

The crust was a beautiful deep brown, something that till now has eluded me.  The crust was crackly and remained so as the bread cooled.  The crumb was perhaps not as open as I would have liked, but the texture was still tender and moist, and the flavor was exceptional, but not particularly sour.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Those are neat bakers...  I wish I could see the bread and the bakers better! 

Ah! these are the deep mixer bowls you mentioned...


Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

HI Mini,

Thanks for your kind comments!   I have been having trouble with sizing, but did manage to get one or two good close ups.  Because they have handles. the Kitchenaide bowls work fine for me, as long as the boules aren't too big.  Then I have to switch to a stainless steel bowl.



mrfrost's picture

From what I have read, all things being equal, the diastatic malt helps produce a more even, finer crumb. Don't know if the small amount used here made a difference either way, but next time you might try it without the malt to see if you get bigger holes.

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I didn't know the function of the diastatic malt, so thanks for the information.  


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Wow, If only I could make big round loaves in my Korean oven.  Gorgeous! 

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I've been having some not-so-good successes lately so I really appreciate the encouragement.  I'm going to try to duplicate these results this weekend.  Wish me luck!