The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Basic white sourdough boules

sam's picture

Basic white sourdough boules


Tried this out...   33% preferment (33% of that with my starter) -- all white KAF bread flour, natural leavening.

1.  Levain at 80% hydration, cold fermented for 24 hours at 46F (levain had risen appx 2.5x, was domed and had not collapsed).

2.  Bulk fermentation of final dough at 68% hydration at room temp (low 70's F) for 2.5 hours, two stretch+folds.

3.  Shaped into boules, put into brotforms with cloth, retarded again for another 20 hours at 42F.

4.  Heated up oven + baking stone at 500F.

5.  Took out loaf from cooler, scored + baked immediately.  It was appx 1.6 lb total.

Results:   I believe the loaf was underproofed a bit still.   Also my scoring for boules lacks any "ears", which, depending on your point of view, is good or bad, but I was hoping for something.  I've had good ears on other breads, but whenever I do a boule there are little to no ears.

The best:  This has produced the most excellent flavor and chewing texture.  Very happy with the results, ears or not.  Much better than store-bought bread.   I won't win any international awards, but not bad for my beginner skills.

I normally keep my starter @ 125% hydration to prefer the yeast activity (I don't own a microscope so I cannot say for sure), and from what I read, the lower hydration levains prefer the acidity, so I did a long slow levain at lower hydration to see how far I could push the acidity.   The final bread is really good!  Bold sour but also complex sour.   I love it, actually.  So in a sense, mission accomplished.




Not the most open crumb in the world, but good for me!


pmccool's picture

You have a lovely loaf of bread!  And if it tastes as good as it looks, you've hit a home run.


sam's picture

Thank you for the compliment!    Appreciated.   :-)


Mebake's picture

Great Bread, gvz! If you had included 1 tsp yeast to the final dough, the sourness wouldn't have changed much , but you would have had a taller loaf..


sam's picture

Hey Mebake,

It's been a long time since I've used baker's yeast, but I had a bunch of SAF Instant in the fridge..   I tried out your suggestion, thanks!   Unfortunately my camera ran out of battery, so no pics.. but....

I did the exact same set things I did before -- cold stiff levain for 24hrs, followed by room-temp bulk ferment w/S&Fs, and final ferment at cold temp for another day...    but this time, per your suggestion for height -- I spiked the final dough with 1% yeast and also spiked it with 0.5% of diatastic malt powder (first time using it, might as well see what it does :-)).  (I know I was changing two variables at the same time, but...  ).

Result:   The boules grew in size quite a bit more in their final cold ferment with the extra ingredients of yeast + malt versus straight natural-yeast only and no malt.   However, when I scored them, even though I was as gentle and ginger as I possibly could, and didn't cut very deep at all, they deflated a bit.   Not entirely deflated, but the overall loaf height result was the same as before!  :)

Flavor:  About the same -- maybe even a little better this time! -- but maybe my palette isn't sophisticated enough to tell the difference, but both taste great to me.  Really good.   (Note:  Maybe I am just dreaming, but I actually think tonight's bread tastes better).

Crumb:  The natural-yeast version was much more open than my spiked version.  Dunno why, could be due to the deflation upon scoring...    ?

Chewing texture:  About the same..  well, maybe a little bit more "fluffy" with the added yeast..  but not gummy at all from the malt.   For me, I've noticed in the past, that adding baker's yeast makes the crumb "fluffier".  But this was the 1st time I've ever added malt.

Color:  Tonight's bake had a much deeper/golden color, and gradient color change from the scoring.  I am suspecting the malt had something to do with it, but not sure.

Spring:  Oven spring about the same in both tests.

I'll probably stick with natural-yeast...  but the next time, I'll try to spike with the malt in the future but not any additional baker's yeast.   I've never had an issue with "deflating" when I use my normal starter+levain solely.  I didn't like to see my babies deflate... 

Thanks though, it was cool!  And I have good bread again!