The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough with 1-2-3 Method

jstreed1476's picture

Sourdough with 1-2-3 Method

Baked my second sourdough ever yesterday, and I couldn't be happier with the results.

I used the 1-2-3 Method described by Shiao-Ping at Sourdough Companion. I was persuaded by its simplicity--no traditional recipe to follow, just a ratio.

The starter was a 50% hydration that had sat in the back of my fridge totally untouched for at least 5 months. It was based on Reinhart's starter formula in BBA; after a single failure of a loaf, I pushed it behind the mayo and forgot about it while pursuing other projects.

Then, last week, I read 52 Loaves and was inspired to give sourdough another shot. I poured off the hooch, scraped off the grey stuff, and spent four days nursing it back to vitality. Needless to say, I had my doubts.

Here's how the loaf turned out:


Here's the formula:

100 g 50% hydration levain

200 g water

35 g whole wheat flour

15 g rye

250 g bread flour

7 g salt

Mixed the starter and water, then added the whole wheat and rye, then the bread flour, approximately 50 grams at a time.

After all flours were mixed and hydrated, I let it rest 20 minutes, then added the salt, kneaded about 1 minute on lightly oiled counter, then proceed with a resting-kneading sequence in Dan Lepard fashion: rested 10 minutes, kneaded 10 secs, rested 10 minutes, kneaded 10 secs, rested 30 minutes, kneaded 10 secs, rested 1 hour, kneaded 10 secs).

After that sequence was over, I let it rise about 90 minutes, then preshaped, rested, and shaped it before placing it in a long basket with a towel. It proofed about 3.5 hours at 75F, at which point it passed the spring-back poke test. Loaded it onto my long, skinny homemade peel (not with out major sticking issues with the towel, unfortunately--hence, no scoring), then onto the bakin stone. 500F for 5 minutes (no steam, and I forgot to cover it with my roasting pan), then 450F for another 15. Internal temp was about 210F. Cooled, cut, and took pics.

I think it tastes great--especially with butter--but unfortunately no one else in my household likes sourdough. I think maybe they'll go for sourdough rye or a dark pumpernickel, so perhaps that'll be next. Also, the dough was pretty slack before the final shaping, so I think it could make a good pizza crust.

Overall, I can credit the 1-2-3 Method as the key here--it seems a very "village bakery" type of thing to do, especially when combined with the incredibly effective, non-labor-intensive kneading protocol advocated by Lepard. The more I bake, the more I appreciate simplicity.


dlstanf2's picture

Your loaf looks great. I've added your method to my collection.I will certainly try the Dan Lepard method of kneading.

Like you, my family are not sourdough aficionados, more the Wonder White crowd.

However (I know, there's always a "but"), the usual hydration for a 1-2-3 ratio is around 71.4%. Using a 50% hydration starter puts your hydration level around 63.5%.

How did you manage such an open crumb with a forgotten starter and such a low hydration level?

jstreed1476's picture

How did you manage such an open crumb with a forgotten starter and such a low hydration level?

Just had one of those moments when you realize something that should have been obvious a long time ago--a forehead slap moment, so to speak.

I was calculating starter hydration by a totally non-standard method--I assumed that since the water was 50% of the starter's TOTAL weight, it was at 50% hydration.

I now realize that the hydration should be calculated just like the hydration of a loaf--by percentage of flour weight.

SO: I am using a 100% hydration starter, because I refresh it with equal weights water and flour. Right?

That makes my total hydration exactly the 71.4% that you mentioned.

Thanks for the heads-up!

dabrownman's picture

did a nice write up of 1:2:3 here for a non or retarded method.