The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My First Sourdough

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EdTheEngineer's picture

My First Sourdough

Today is a big day for me. Since starting baking a few months back I've known that I've wanted to make sourdough bread, but not wanting to jump ahead, and travelling a bit for a few weeks at a time, I've put off trying to start a sourdough starter. This was until eight days ago when I returned from my final awayness of the year and set to work on a starter, following a guide I found linked to from here (forgive me for forgetting the source, but it was just the usual flour + water + saltana + go for a wonder around the kitchen while whisking).

Anyhoo, yesterday it was 'Mouldy Mildrid's One Week Birthday Party' and in honour of this I cracked open a beer and set to work on my first ever sourdough. The recipe was:

 - 150g starter (should probably be 150g levain but my starter is still quite young and only just fed and I was impatient). 100% hydration.

 - 450g white flour

 - 50g rye

 - 10g salt

 - 360g water

 - probably about half a Tbsp of olive oil worked in in the process of stretch and folds

I did about 2 hours worth of half-hourly stretch and folds and then another after an hour, then went to bed leaving the dough in the fridge overnight, about weight hours. The next morning I shaped it (improvised a banneton from a fish kettle) and left it to prove and warm through in the pantry (about 12C at the moment) for about five hours. Then into the Aga.

And a crumb shot:


My shaping was more retard than batard and I have a lot to learn about handling these higher hydration doughs (tips gratefully received!). But the flavour and texture are enough for me to say that I'm completely hooked on bread baking now. Am enjoying it with another beer (fermentation - surely the greatest invention ever?) and then I'll have a go at the Tartine Plain Country Bread tomorrow.



Daisy_A's picture

Obviously a lot of life in your starter :-)  Daisy_A

Floydm's picture

Dang... nice spring, Ed.  That is beautiful.  You are off to a great start.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

So, the hook is well set indeed!  Very nice results Ed, especially for a starter so young and inexperienced.  As the two of you mature and get to know each other better you can expect even greater things.  You will find that the taste of your bread deepens and gets richer as your starter matures.

Happy Sourdough Baking!

EdTheEngineer's picture

I've noticed quite a spectrum of starter related anthropomorphisations in this culinary cul-de-sac. 'Is it a pet? Is it a spouse? No! It's a super-starter!'.

I'm very much looking forward to the journey, I must say. Thanks for the encouragement!

SallyBR's picture

I am sure you are now officially hooked on sourdough bread baking!   With a first attempt like that, you will never stop!


Congrats! feels great, doesn't it?

EdTheEngineer's picture

Certainly does! And the best part about baking is that if it goes 'wrong', it probably still tastes nice, no one is hurt and you've only spent a pound. Which differentiates it slightly from building and launching rockets, my other hobby.

Daisy_A's picture

I read bread flour was a potent explosive. Scared me a bit as I tip shedloads of it into the oven when I peel.

As for exploding dough - Yozza may just have the scars to prove it. On this link


ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

I'm wondering if the presence of continuous beer in the atmosphere has added to the vibrance of your starter.... lol.  I'm so jealous that your very first loaf turned out so amazing!!!  Maybe I should start with the beer...

EdTheEngineer's picture

It certainly contributes to my vibrance, if not the starter's.

Jaydot's picture

Don't you love it when a plan comes together? :).
What a gorgeous loaf!

ehanner's picture

Great spring and boldly baked. My kind of bread.


EdTheEngineer's picture

Thanks Eric. I don't often take the crust that dark with (predominantly) white flour breads but it's so much prettier, to my eyes anyway. I've clearly been missing out!

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

That's great.  And it's your first sourdough?  Amazing.

spacey's picture

You've got an Aga?  For bread cooking, that's gotta be awesome!  Actual sealed cooking enclosures.

My only advice is that you may want to proof for longer.  If you're leaving the bread in the fridge overnight you can ignore the pre-fridge stretch+folds, and just do one or two in the pantry.  At least that's how I roll :)

Great looking loaf!

EdTheEngineer's picture

The Aga is great. Not mine, I'm staying at my parents' until I move to a new job in Cambridge in Jan. So I'm taking advantage whilst I can! I'll get myself a combo cooker when I move to the new place.

Would the longer proof reduce the volcanic oven spring? I must say that's one of my favourite bits :)