The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I Think I'm Getting This Down

LisaE's picture

I Think I'm Getting This Down

After I made this loaf I started to think I could really start making stunning sourdough loaves like I see all over this site. I have a lot to learn about slashing, my tools consist of an exacto knife, a serrated knife and a chef's knife, none of which do a good job on their own but in conjunction get the job done enough so the loaf doesn't look too bad.

I apologize for the not so great pics, I had to start dinner just as the loaf was finishing up and I have a small galley kitchen so didn't take the time to make them look nice and I used my cell phone. Next time I will take more time creating decent backdrops and use my digital camera.


30 g mature 100% hydration white sourdough starter
90 g water at room temp
90 g KA unbleached all purpose flour
(I have to build extra because I can't seem to get the whole weight out of the jar, hence the weight discrepancy compared to below)

Final Dough

255g KA unbleached all purpose flour
255 g KA bread flour
300 g water at room temp
180 g proofed 100% hydration white sourdough starter
11.5 g kosher salt

Dough temp 76 F

In my stand mixer with a dough hook I mixed flours, water and starter until combined and let autolyse for 30 mins to 1 hr. Added the salt and mixed 4-5 mins or so, until theres some gluten development.

Transferred the dough to an oiled 9 X 13 pan and let ferment at room temp for 2.5 hrs with 2 stretch and folds every 50 mins

Preshaped into a ball and let rest 15 mins.

Shaped into a boule and transfered to my round banneton (sorry, don't have pics of that, next time!) and covered with plastic wrap.

Let proof seam side up about 2 - 2.5 hours until it passes my finger poke test

Turned out on parchment and scored. Baked in preheated 475 F oven with baking stone, turned down to 425 immediately.

For steam I use a wet wash on cloth lava rocks and some boiling water poured over, 12 mins.

Remove steam and finish off about 15 - 18 mins. Turn off and leave another 5 mins with the door open. 

I haven't tried to do a long retard during the bulk or proof yet, I haven't worked out what to retard it in, but soon I will try that too. The flavor is slighty tangy, smells sour and has a moist crumb and nice chewy crust.

I'm gonna keep practicing!

Yerffej's picture


The bread looks great.  Sourdough will soon be second nature to you...if it is not already.


LisaE's picture

Thank you, input from you is a real complement!

clazar123's picture

That is a beautiful loaf!

LisaE's picture

And it was delicious, thank you so much!

Janetcook's picture

Great Job!

My favorite scoring tool is a small (4") serrated knife that cost less than 5.00 at a local restaurant supply store.  I have a whole cup full of fancy lames and a drawer full of razor blades....mostly sitting idle.  I have baked bread daily since finding this site a couple of years ago and it took me about that long to settle into a scoring pattern that works for me.  I have lots to learn still and have had lots of fun learning.

A tip on scoring that I use when I remember - refrig. your proofed loaf for about 1/2 hour so it gets 'cold' and then score.  (Stop the proofing before it proofs all the way.  I go to about 75%)  Easier to score and you will get nice oven spring too :-)

Have fun,


LisaE's picture


That's fantastic advice about 'fridging the bread before scoring. I will try it (when I can find room in the fridge) and thanks for sharing your favorite scoring implement...Whew, I feel so much better!


SourdoLady's picture

Lisa, your bread is awesome! Keep up the good work. You are doing a great job!!

LisaE's picture

Thanks Sourdough Lady, your advice helped me to capture these yeast ( I call her Ursula) and thanks for the complement!

PeterS's picture

My lame is a plain old razerblade on a disposable chopstick...

Yup, cold dough makes us all look good.

LisaE's picture


I am definitely going to try the trick, nice baguettes! The last time I tried those...ugh....depressing LOL but still tasty! I appreciate the comment!


PeterS's picture


I forgot to say that's a very nice loaf in the pic.

Janet and I are on the same wavelength: always better to underproof than overshoot. That said, you can probably go longer with this bread under your conditions from the looks of it. I have noticed (at home) that proofing sourdoughs at room temps that the times are always longer than those suggested in many of the bread books. This is due to at least two things as I see it: 1) my house is colder and 2) variances in the starter. I suggest that one time you make two loaves and proof them for different durations.

I should also add that razor blades on sticks are apparently forbidden in French bakeries: they are concerned that the blade could fall off and get into a loaf. Something to think about I suppose. Again, as Janet mentioned, a serrated small knife is good. In fact, I have one kicking around in the back of my knife drawer that I am going to sharpen up for the next bake.

When cutting, remember to hold it at about a 30 degree angle to the bread and to cut deeply enough into the dough. I've found with a razor blade that I start off at the right angle and tend to stray more to vertical as I go along--and you can see that in the pic I posted.

I have used one of these and they are very nice--would make a good gift ;-) I think they are distributed by Forschner and should be readily available upoin asking. A curved small paring knice might do the trick, too.

LisaE's picture

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the tips, I will try the two loaf different proof time method. I am always afraid that my crumb will end up cavernous so I probably do go a bit under. I have yet to spend my Xmas gift card at Bed Bath and Beyond and am hoping to find a good scoring implement there, I'll keep the paring knife idea in mind. Thanks again!


dabrownman's picture

Very nice baking all the way around and inside too.

Happy Baking.

LisaE's picture

Hi BrownMan,

Your comment makes me wanna dance, it has a ring to it! Thanks so much for the complement, I've been following your blog for a while, the Irish ruebens made me drool and the magical fairy cakes were amazing! To die for I'm sure and can't wait to make them. I make a mean lemon meringue pie and will totally love those cakes.

Thanks again!