The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adventures in sourdough

Smita's picture

Adventures in sourdough

Three weeks of sourdough. Got my starter from a baking class and named him Clint. After Clint Eastwood - full of potential!

The basic recipe is as follows:


1/2 cup starter

2 cups whole wheat bread flour

1 cup AP unbleached flour

2 t salt

1.25-1.5 cups water


- Mix flours and water to form a shaggy dough. Autolyse - rest for 30 mins.

- Add starter and knead 8-10 minutes, till you get a windowpane.

- Add salt and rest.

- 3 stretch and folds at 20-30 minutes apart.

- Proof till double in size. Deflate and place seam side up a linen lined bowl or floured banneton.

- Then retard overnight in fridge.

- Next morning, set dough at room temp for 2-3 hours.

- Pre heat oven to 485. Plop bread into dutch oven, seam side down. Score and lower temperature to 450 or 440. Bake 35-35 minutes or till internal temperature is 210.

- Cool for an hour and slice.


Lessons so far.

1. Week 1: The loaf tastes terrific, but is a shining example of how not to fold and shape.

2. Week 2. Started paying attention to details: weighed EVERYTHING this week, checked temperature and in a rush of enthusiasm, made english muffins with excess starter.

3. Week 3. Best lookin' loaf yet! Big holey crumbs, perfect for dipping into some olive oil.

Lessons learnt:

1. Decided to be as empirical as possible but also not try to control EVERTHING. Must tell self to bake by feel as much as bake while following instructions.

2. This bread is great for sandwiches and for dipping. My next goal is to consistently reproduce them, and perhaps to try a celebration bread using the starter.

Feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Thanks in advance!





dmsnyder's picture

Was the 3rd week's bread made with the same formula?

It sounds like you are feeling more in control of your bread making. Feels good, doesn't it?

BTW, I recommend wearing an apron when you eat your sandwich. ;-)


Smita's picture

Thanks David! I used the same starter but used 3/4 cup each of whole wheat bread flour and whole wheat flour and about a cup of AP flour. In previous versions I've used some combination of whole wheat flour and white whole wheat flour (all King Arthur).


ques2008's picture

i too am a neophyte in sourdough.  in fact i just made my starter last thursday and waiting for it to dance, but i just stare and stare and stare and nothing seems to be happening.  still, i'm not agonising because i've been warned that it will be a very slow boat.

yes, you certainly did great on the 2nd try.  did you get your starter already made - you didn't grow your own?

Smita's picture

Good luck Ques2008. I got my starter at a  breadbaking class here in NYC. I'd be happy to send you some if you'd like. Sounds like you're on your way to making your own - good luck!

ques2008's picture

thanks for your kind offer, smita.  i got my starter going actually, managed to revive it.  when the entertaining and cooking are all done, i'm going to roll up my sleeves and start my sourdough adventure.

can't wait!