The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Sourdough by new home baker

whw's picture

First Sourdough by new home baker

I posted about my first few baking experiences here:

I created my first sourdough starter (using wholewheat flour and Debra Wink's pineapple method (thanks Debra!)) and kept it going for about 2 weeks before my first bake. Actually, that was my 2nd sourdough starter. My first sourdough starter was with plain water and the stink from the bacteria during the first few days threw me off it completely and I discarded that starter and started afresh with the pineapple method, which worked perfectly for me.

Thanks also to Stewart (leucadian) whose step by step methodology I followed to refrigerate my starter so that my refreshing wastage is kept to a minimum.

Today I baked my first sourdough. The recipe I used was from Richard Bertinet's book 'Crust'. I baked half a recipe ie. just one loaf instead of two loaves. I used 200g of starter using 20g of starter and 90g of water and 90g of flour (per Stewart's method of using 1 teaspoon of refrigerated starter each time). Below are the pics.

After letting the loaf fully cool (I left it for like 2 hours before slicing), below are the pictures of the crumb:

As you can see, I (and my mother-in-law) ate like one third of the loaf! We kept on slicing away and eating!

My first impression is that the bread tasted quite plain on its own. Not much sourness. I presume this is normal for a first bake? Or is this due to the method of how I build my starter (ie. mixing 20g starter to 90g water and 90g flour)? ALSO, proofing was supposed to be like overnight. I proofed my loaf in a basket in my kitchen. I live in tropical Malaysia where it's hot and humid. It took only about 2.5 hours to double in size in the basket (this is the final proofing in the basket. Prior to that, I did let the loaf rise for 1 hour, degas, and then rise again for another 1 hour before placing in the basket for proofing). So I baked it after it doubled in size as I did not want an overproof loaf (I have bad experiences with overproof loaves in my first couple of bake session!). So perhaps the lack of flavour is due to the quick proofing? Next time, I plan to let it proof overnight in my refrigerator.

The crumb was moist and soft. Is this the correct texture? Should it be drier?

I believe that because of the humid weather here, when I sliced the loaf (this is like 2 hours after taking out of the oven), the crust is already soft. The bread is chewy. Is chewy how it's meant to be? My mother-in-law likes it this way. For me, I actually prefer to lightly toast the slice in a toaster. The crust is then crispy and crackly, and the crumb less chewy (but still gives a nice bite). It's weird to have to toast freshly baked bread right?  Does your crust stay crispy and crunchy even after a few hours outside the oven?

Let me know your feedback from the pics.


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Your bread looks very good to me. There are ways to manipulate the level of "sour" in your starter, you'll find the methods in some of the archived threads. However, given your location, you'll have to be very careful and methodical to tweak your starter. Climate differences will present a challenge.

In the meantime, just enjoy the experience of accomplishment.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Doing very well!  Very well indeed! 

You will soon discover and play with ways to slow down the fermentation which may give you more flavor from the flour. 

One easy way is to start out using ice cold water in your dough.  Another is to use the refrigerator to slow down the process.  Another is to add salt, just a pinch to your starter and right away into mixing up your dough.  Another is to simply use less starter. 

Have fun...   :)