The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first sourdough bread!

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FangAili's picture
FangAili

My first sourdough bread!

my first sourdough

Ok, so it's not going to win any beauty contests, but it tasted great! It was really sour, with a crunchy crust, and moist inside! I am very pleased!

Starter technique
I liked the idea of making a starter from just flour and water (and no juice or other stuff), so that's what I did. I used whole wheat flour, because I was less likely to run out of it in the near future! (I live in a rural area and can't always get to the supermarket.) I fed it 1/4 c whole wheat flour and some water, twice per day, and let it sit out on the table. I just sort of eyeballed the water amount. Later on I decided I had been under-watering it, and gave it a bit more. I don't know if I was right on this count, but anyway, it worked out fine. It took about a week before I was satisfied that the starter was fully bubbly and mature enough to use.

Bread recipe
My recipe was simple: Starter + flour + water + salt
1 1/2c Starter
2c Bread flour
3/4 tsp Salt
as much water as I thought looked right...

It took some 3 hours for the bulk rise, then another 2 for the formed rise. I don't have a bread peel so getting the round from my cutting board to the baking sheet was a little tricky--I used two large spatulas. For steam I put some water in an old pan and set it on the bottom rack of the oven. I left it in there the whole baking time. (I've since read that steam is only supposed to be present for the first half of baking, though it turned out great anyway.) I don't have a baking stone either, so I doubled up two cookie sheets and baked it on that.

Given this success, my husband has started talking about chocolate sourdough bread, so that may just be my next challenge. Oh, that, and figuring out how to maintain my starter.

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

also do final shaping and proof on parchment paper that is already on a rimless cookie sheet and not have to transfer it - just put it in teh oven.  Once you get a stone, then you can slide it right off the sheet onto the stone.  Wow!  40% WW SD on first loaf is a real success.  I'm assuming the 2 C in the dough was white bread flour since I haven't ever seen WW bread flour.  You are now on your way to really good bread!

FangAili's picture
FangAili

Yes, it was white bread flour. Thanks for the idea about cookie sheets--unfortunately mine all have rims. But I think I'll start doing the second rise on parchment paper right on the cookie sheets, and then it can go right in the oven.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

they instanly become rimless! You can then still pre heat two sheets in the oven.  I sometimes just proof in bennetons and turn them out on parchment that is on a cutting board.   The board acts like a peel, sliding the parchment and the bread on it into the oven.

Before I got a stone, I used to heat my cast iron griddle that came with an old BBQ grill in the oven to get more mass under the bread.  I just slid the  boules or batards onto it with the parchment.  I have also slid boules into a preheated

12" Cast Iron Skillet too and used other means for steam .  It was like half a cloche.  Both the cast iron griddle and the fry pan worked very well.   I used a couple of bread pans half full of water in the bottom of the oven during the entire pre heat and the first 10-12 minutes of baking at 450 F.  I just made sure the water was boiling before loading the bread on the iron.

FangAili's picture
FangAili

Turning the cookie sheets upside down--of course! Thanks for all the tips, including this one. I have so much to learn!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

also say to put a rolled up Kitchen towel or two in the pan of water to keep it from sloshing around and it generates more steam that way.  Others put lava rocks into cast iron fry pans to generate more steam  as well.  3 months ago I never thought about turning cookie sheets over either  - or how to do any of this.  I learned it all here !!  TFL is a great place to learn about all facits of bread making  - and other stuff too.

happy baking

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, Fangaili!

Glad you started sourdough bread baking! Your first SD looks better than my first attempt (a genuine frizbee).

From the looks of your crumb, it appears that you have allowed bacteria (lactobacilli bacteria present in a sourdough culture, and responsible for the sourness) to run havok in your bread, as improper feeding regime of a sourdough starter will render it soury, which results in bacteria attacking the structure of your loaf.

Get your starter on a uniform feeding schedule, and use it when it peaks (receding surface with lots of soap like bubbles for liquid starter, and slightly deflated top for stiff starter), and you'll notice that your bread will be less gummy, has better structure, and is airy light and very flavorsome.

Best wishes, Khalid

 

 

FangAili's picture
FangAili

Thanks for the imput, Khalid! My starter is pretty young... now that it's functional I keep it covered in a non-airtight container on my kitchen counter, and feed it 1/4 c whole wheat flour and some water once/day. I read so many different ways of maintaining a starter that my head started to spin, so I am just going to try this way for a while and see what happens. Hopefully the bacteria levels and everything will even out to where they're supposed to be.