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Help with picking first recipe for sourdough newbie

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wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

Help with picking first recipe for sourdough newbie

Hi All,


Thanks for all the help I have gotten browsing this site already.


I have been making bread by hand for about a year and decided to get some starter when I heard about Carl's 1847 Oregon Trail starter.


I revived it starting last weekend which seemed to go quite well even though it was colder than normal. After reading here about firm starters I decided to give it an extra feeding after dividing it in half. I now have 360 grams of 100% hydration and 240 grams of 50% in the refrigerator. I am hoping to make some sourdough bread this weekend. One problem I have is that many recipes don't specify the hydration of the starter (and are often in cups, instead of weights).


I am looking for a recipe for my first attempt at sourdough. I would like it to be a fairly simple recipe using white bread flour (that is what I have!) that would allow a schedule something like this:



  • Thursday after work -- feed up starter (and modify hydration if necessary?)

  • Friday afternoon/evening -- make sponge/pre-ferment

  • Saturday -- finish and bake


If this is practical and anyone can point me to a recipe they would recommend, I would appreciate it very much. I do have Reinhart's "Crust and Crumb" (and hope to get his new one soon)


thanks in advance -- wayne


PS: I will be baking this on a boat so am limited to small gas oven or convection/microwave if that matters. I have tiles for the convection.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Wayne.


Welcome to the world of sourdough!


Since you do have Crust&Crumb, Reinhart's San Francisco Sourdough in that book is marvelous. It has a different schedule than you specify, but give it a look.


Another choice would be my San Joaquin Sourdough. It also has a somewhat different schedule, but it is much less complicated than the Reinhart option, and many beginning sourdough bakers seem to have had good success with it. I make it with some rye or WW flour (about 10% of the flour), but you could make it with all AP. It just would taste quite as good. Here's a link:Pain de Campagne


Good luck with bread baking in your galley!


David

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

Thanks David, that looks delicious. I'll have to study it a little to see if the schedule can fit.


What is the hydration of your starter? I didn't see it at first glance.


wayne

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Wayne.


The San Joaquin SD is easy to schedule because of the cold retardation. Although the original method calls for 21 hours retardation, I find that anything between 16 and 24 hours is satisfactory.


The one significant change in method from that in the link I gave you is that, after the stretch and fold in the bowl x 3, I've been doing a couple stretch and folds on the board 45 and 90 minutes later, then letting the dough expand by 50% or so before refrigerating it.  If you retard at 50ºF rather than in the refrigerator, that last step is probably not called for.


My standard starter feeding is 1:3:4 (starter:water:flour). I use a mix of 70:20:10 (AP:WW:Whole Rye flour) to feed my starter. Feeding all AP will work, but the starter will be less active (lower ash content) and the bread less tasty, but still should be delicious.


David

Matt H's picture
Matt H

My first loaf of sourdough was the Pain Levain from the King Arthur Flour Cookbook. It's a big red and white book that looks just like their bag of flour. Every recipe I've made from this book is solid, and this loaf is straightforward to make and a real show-stopper.


The recipe is like 5 pages long, and gives a ton of details every step of the way. They describe it as:



...a traditional French-style sourdough with a mildly sour flavor. It's an everyday bread, delicious but uncomplicated, and we enjoy mixing it by hand. You can make a single large loaf with this recipe, or divide it and make two smaller ones. Large round loaves are reminiscent of the loaves peasants baked for centuries in the communal ovens of Europe. Large loaves have a longer shelf life than smaller ones.



Mostly white flour with a bit of whole wheat, and only water, flour, and salt. It's not fussy, not requiring refrigeration, or anything like that.


I expected a lot of trial and error, but the very first time I made this, I concluded that it was the best loaf I'd ever made, and one of the best I'd ever eaten!


The KAF cookbook does not have a lot of sourdough recipes in it, but they are all amazing. In particular, the olive-oil rosemary bread, shaped into rolls, and with a roasted garlic clove hidden in the middle are to die for.


Good luck and have fun!


-Matt


 

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

Hi David,


I had no trouble fitting the schedule into mine.


On Thur evening I fed 40 grams of my 50% hydration starter with approx 30 grams each of flour and water to bring it up to about 75%.


Friday morning my 1847 starter had more than tripled so I made the dough and refrigerated overnight. By Fri evening it had popped the lid of my 2 qt container so I moved it into a 3 qt!


This morning I divided in 2, shaped and baked, and had it for lunch to make turkey sandwiches.


It didn't look much like yours. My micro/convection only goes up to 450 and my shaping/slashing was not great. This was the wettest dough I have ever worked with. I also used quarry tiles on the rack and a shallow pan underneath as well as spraying oven about 3 times.


The good news is it tasted great, crumb had a few larger hole on one side, and the crust was great, very good tasting, nice chewy/crunchy texture. I used 25 gr KAF WW and 25 gr Organic Rye flour.


Thanks again, will definately make this again and try to improve my shaping/slashing. How do you keep the knife from dragging while slashing?


wayne