The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

1st Attempt At Sourdough Boule

Justkneadit's picture

1st Attempt At Sourdough Boule

So off I go... I have completed my 1st attempt at one of two recipes I will fervently try to "perfect" over the course of the next year.

Today, I baked cranbo's sourdough recipe which I shaped into a boule. I did however incorporate some different techniques that I wish to "master". (I put quotations because I can already see this will be a life long endeavor to perfect my loafs and techniques). I used the 36 hour method for this boule and will continue to do so making slight changes one at a time to see how I can improve my loaf with the conditions I am given. This might get lengthy because I want to keep accurate review of each bake so that I may improve my loafs.


Furthermore, as long as my situation allows, I will start the sourdough boule on Thursdays and the baguette a l'ancienne on Sundays and finishing the loaves on Saturday and Tuesdays, respectively.


Ok, here is the process:


  • 550g KAF Bread Flour
  • 308g water (38.2 F)
  • 110g 100% hydration starter (AP Flour)
  • 12g Pink Himalayan Salt
Simple enough...Process:
  • Mix flour and cold water into a rough mass. Dough temp was 66.2 F going into the fridge, which was at 36 F +/- .5 F. Hung out in my fridge for 14 hours.
  • Saved the flour/water mix from the depths of my fridge and kneaded in the starter first, then the salt. It was cold! Kneaded approx. 15-18 mins with a 10 min rest at 8 mins. (Was very difficult to knead at first. I'm sure the lower hydration and the temp didn't help much. Also I believe my starter was a bit past prime usage because it had become more liquidy than a dough consistency. So that also made it more difficult to knead into the dough. In the end this, in my opinion, was the best dough I had kneaded. Very supple and slightly tacky but not sticky.)
  • Once I kneaded it into submission I began 4 S&F's at 30 min intervals. After the last S&F I let the dough relax for 20 min then shaped and placed into ze brotform. Slid the brotform into a plastic bag and back into the fridge for 19 1/2 hours at 40 F.
  • After the dough's cat nap I let it proof for 6 1/4 hours at 75 F.
  • Set the temp of the oven to 525 F, for heat loss when I open the door, and placed the boule onto the baking stone and poured 1 cup of boiling water in a pan below with lav rocks, shut the door and reduced the temp to 450 F for 25 mins, rotated the boule 180 degrees, then reduced temp to 400 F for 15 more mins. The boule out of the oven was at 208.5 F internally.

Overall, very pleased. Taste was delicious with a smooth and creamy texture with a subtle tang. Open to advice or critques please.

One more thing, for aesthic reasons only I'm concerned with the major center bloom. I think I need a better choice for scoring.




Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Nice loaf Justkneadit!  I am far from qualified to critique your attempt, but it sure does look great.  I like the rise you got out of that round.  Heighty!  Quite better than my first sourdough boules.

Crumb looks nice and open.  Bet it was nice and chewy soft.

Nice job.


Justkneadit's picture

Thanks for the compliment! And yes, it was soft and chewy on the inside! Magically the loaf disappeared in a day.

cranbo's picture

Wow! great job on the boule. My first one sure didn't look like that, kudos! Crust color & texture looks fantastic, even center bloom actually looks nice in my eyes.

Seems like the large holes are distributed in the center; I'm not sure what this has to do with, but it may be fermentation time or your shaping technique. The big bloom from the scoring may mean it was slightly underproofed.

Looks really delicious. 

Justkneadit's picture

Thank you Cranbo. I'm thinking the large holes in the center in maybe a shaping deal, so I will work on that for the next time. I definitely agree about the underproof. I felt like it was but I baked it anyway. It really didn't start to rise out of the fridge until about 5 hours. Well, at least I know for next time. Thank you for the advice.

It was mighty tasty though!

dabrownman's picture

you got there!  Nice color, bloom and open crumb for a 60% hydration dough.  Very nice for a first attempt. I'm not sure any of mine ever looked that good.

Nice baking


Justkneadit's picture

Thank you very much. I like the spring I get once in the oven I would just like to control it better. Perhaps next time I will let it proof just a bit longer and score it in a different pattern. Im also contemplating reducing the amout of steam as well to 1/2 a cup instead of a full. We'll see...

My 1st attempt at baguettes a l'ancienne will be a baked goodness by tomorrow evening so im crossing my fingers they turn out good...great!


isand66's picture

Very nice bake.  Looks like you got some real nice crust and color and your crumb looks very good.  I agree that the shaping may have been your issue with this one.

I encourage you as you continue baking to try some other methods as well.  You can check out some of my posts to see my techique which works very well.  I am actually experimenting myself and just finished baking TxFarmers 36 hour baguettes which are similar in technique to your method.  I also baked Dave Snyder's baguettes which differed by mixing the starter in with the flour and ice water first and putting in refrigerator.  Next day you add salt and rest of water and do s&f every 30 minutes for 2 hours and after 3rd hour form loaves and bake.

Justkneadit's picture

Are you refering to your posts to shape baguettes or boules? Thank you!  I can't complain with my first shot.

evonlim's picture

I wish my first like yours!! ;)

FlourChild's picture

Amazingly good first sd boule!  Bravo :)  Like the look of that fish you've landed, too.

Justkneadit's picture

Thank you! I was thrilled with the way it turned out, but me being me I immediately saw the points I needed to improve. My stomach didn't complain though. Yeah, that was a fun Walleye to catch. Every year I used to go to Canada to fish and the biggest Walleye we would catch was probably 3 or 4 lbs. So, when I went Lake Erie and pulled out this 10 lb sucker I almost jumped out of the boat with joy. Pure awesomeness!