The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

From Pie and cake maker to bread baker...hopefully, with help

jwimpee01's picture

From Pie and cake maker to bread baker...hopefully, with help

Hi all!

I love the artistry of baking and the beauty of colors textures and smells! I have made pies and tarts and pastries for many years now, but want to spread my wings to bread. Ive made simple breads, flat breads but always with dry yeast (gulp) I grew up basking in San Francisco sourdough, and my recent trip there made me yearn to make my own. I understand because I live in the desert of Vegas I will not be able to get the same taste and perhaps crumb or texture, but I still would prefer making my own over buying others. 

I have bought the "Tartine Bread" book and love it, but find it a little short on helping a very green beginner in bread. It's like learning a new language for me. I've bought all of the list of equipment for beginning, and have had a starter going now for about a week. This morning for the first time I saw substantial bubbles. I'm excited! I'm sure that this will be a long learning and patient proccess but I'm determined! 

Here is my question ( from reading other's posts) I understand it can take another 3 weeks to have the started ready for the next step - leaven...Can I just take that TBSP out for the leaven and keep feeding that same starter infinitely? so that I can make bread from it whenever I want without having to start the 4 week proccess over again?

Thanks in advance!!

isand66's picture

Yes, once you have an established starter you will want to keep refreshing it every week usually or more depending on how much you bake,  You can then take some of your starter to make a levain as needed.  Sometimes i will refresh my starter and use it for the levain without making a separate one depending on what I'm making.

Good luck on your new baking journey.

jwimpee01's picture

Thanks so much for the information!

dabrownman's picture

getting your bread SF style sour.  I live in Phoenix and no problem with not having it sour enough.  It is an urban myth that Labs you need for sour only live in SF.  I made my first SD starter many years ago while in SF but the 2 I have now are much more sour that that one.  If it is finally bubbling again after a week, I would think that before the end of the next week it should make some nice bread.  Tartne doesn't make that sour of a bread but SFSD isn't that sour now a days either.

Welcome and happy baking. .

CFWilco's picture

Yep I have a starter (about three times what I need for a loaf). This way you can take what you need for a loaf and then feed your starter again to keep it going. I good idea is to keep it in the fridge which abates the rate in which the yeast chomps through the flour. All you need to do is to bring it out of the fridge an hour before you want to make a loaf and it will spring into life. Oh and dont worry if it splits (ie you have water on the top of the starter) a good mix with a spoon will sort that out.

I have had my starter going now for about 4 months like this and I can safetly say that the taste has developed over time and continues to do so.

best of luck