The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first sourdough loaf. 07-05-2013. Beginners success.

Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

My first sourdough loaf. 07-05-2013. Beginners success.

Ah yes! First ever blog also!!!!!

I started my adventure sometime in March/April this year with a wish to re-produce a bread like the rustic artisan loaf made by a bakery in a nearby town called Knysna. Trouble was, it's a 45 minute drive......... for a loaf of bread? I don't think so -.

After a while researching and surfing the www, I found "The Fresh Loaf" and one of the members, very kindly, helped me get going with my starter (see: sourdoughlady - wild yeast starter.) Still being very confused by all my new found knowledge, I messed around and played with this for a while. No haste, but I did develop a good, strong, starter from the very beginning. I think I was a little intimidated by all the strange terminology and in total awe of the wonderful bread everyone seemed to produce.......

So now I had a starter, happy and bubbly - I just had to do something with it! I downloaded a couple of ebooks from Amazon and eventually settled on Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Bread Every Day". His common sense approach and easy to follow instruction was all I needed. My first loaf was great and my third ended in the trash (but thats the only one) so there have been more successful loaves than not.

Six months down the line and my recipe has almost no resemblance to the original, progressing from ordinary baking sheet to pizza stone to cast iron pot, but still a real pleasure to eat. My favourite is olive and rosemary but my husband likes the very cheesy, so there is plenty to choose from and I bake at least twice a week!

If I could figure out how to upload more than one photo to a blog I would. Perhaps someone could tell me how!

Thank you Fresh Loaf and all your wonderful contributors........ I'm so very glad to be part of the community. 


dabrownman's picture

had a great lof of SD like that everyone would be making one all the time no worries!  Well done, welcome and happy baking.  Nice not to have a 45 minute drive too :-)

blueboy2419's picture

That looks lovely

I haven't ventured into the Sourdough world yet but I've promised myself to have a go before Christmas. I only hope I get something similar to your lovely loaf.

Casey_Powers's picture

Your loaf looks wonderful!  I too am on a bread journey .  That sourdough has such a nice shape and pattern.  Look at  the button with the tree and add photos using that button.  I add them later in comments.  I am sure there are better ways to add photos but this way we could see the cheese!

Warm Regards,


Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Thank you Casey. I am trying to load a series of the cheesy loaf but still can get it right. I will just post a picture of the result. It really was yummy!

pmccool's picture

What a lovely loaf! You have obviously been learning and practicing a lot.  

Was it the Ile de Pain bakery in Knysna that inspired you?  They do make some fabulous breads and are quite proud of them, too, if I recall correctly.  I was only there once but was quite impressed with their work.  They use Eureka Mills flour, I think. 


Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Hi Paul, Yep you got that right....... Ile de Pain it was. I live in George. I only use Eureka flour (well it is milled in Swellendam so always nice and fresh) and my friend assures me that my bread is just as good tasting as theirs..... Hmmm. Whatever..... I'm happy. All my bread is baked in a pot at the moment (sort of Dutch Oven). Started off with my husbands potjie but soon moved on to a very larny Le Creuset 26cm casserole pot. I bake up a storm and sometimes there are 3 different loaves to choose from. Such fun!!!!!!!! M.

Janetcook's picture


This is great for a first loaf!  Mine all resembled Frisbees.

Peter Reinhart is one of my favorite authors and Whole Grain Breads is my standard from which I learned a lot of what I know.  He sure made the process easy for me to go from using IY to SD and his Master formula is a snap to convert into almost any loaf.  I also like that his loaf is very home baker friendly especially when struggling with terminology.

Hope to see more of your bakes in the future.

To add more photos you simply repeat the process you went through to post the photo you do have in your blog.  I am NO computer expert at all - in fact, I am one who prefers not to use a computer but times have thrust me into it so I learn - albeit slowly and I do know how to do the photos with my computer. (I have an apple laptop)  

Take Care,


Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Hi Janet, I still cant figure out how to load more photos into the content of the blog! I have an iMac and all photos are in iPhoto but thats not the problem. It wants a URL?????????? Do I have such a thing????? I don't usually struggle with computers but this has go me stumped...... 

Janetcook's picture

 To transfer photos I want from iPhoto here in my photo file I begin by transferring them onto my 'desktop' by highlighting them on my iPhoto screen and then exporting them onto my desktop.

Once on my desktop I come here and click on the small tree icon on the top of the comment box.  

I then get a pop up where is says URL and at the end of that long skinny box there is a smaller square box with squiggles in it.

I then click on the small squiggle box which gives me a bigger box that shows me what I have on 'file' in my TLF account.  

I click on 'upload' and follow the prompts.  Which means I choose one of the shots off of my desktop and download it into my files here.  I then go back to the small square box with squiggles and upload the next the shot I want to store here.  I continue in this fashion until all the shots are stored here then I begin to 'insert' them onto the screen where others may see them. 

All have to be transferred one at a time.

I label them so I know what shot I am storing for future use.  (This step has to be done where you are choosing size of photo etc.  There is a choice at the end in that box and I click on 'sequential' and then print the name in the long skinny box beneath that list.  (This is on my computer not the site here so is done when I am transferring from desktop to TFL.)

Hope this helps and doesn't add to your confusion.  I am terrible at this.  My son had to help me and I had to take extensive notes and practice several times before I really got it.  I am not very good at explaining in words though - much better if I could sit down next to you and simply show you.

Good Luck,


Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Thanks Janet. If anyone else talked about skinny boxes and little boxes with squiggles they would think we are totally nuts!!!!! I know exactly what you mean! It's all perfectly clear! The other thing I found out is that my images are to big being high def so I'll have to edit a bit to get them down to a smaller size and then export to desktop which is what I should have done in the first place....... Live and learn! I'm not bad with technology at all but this I did not know. Hubby loves to Google so he researches a lot of stuff for me!!!!!!! (Big Smiley Face)

Janetcook's picture

Glad to have helped!!!! Indeed, my computer language is not very sophisticated so I am glad to know I did not throw you into complete and utter confusion :O  

I edit mine down when doing the transfer.  The first drop down box asks about size.

Sequence I follow once inside the box:

  • 'Kind': JPEG
  • JPEG Quality: Medium
  • Size:  Custom
  • I type in parameter I want here.  I generally go down to 600.  (Once on TFL I can make further adjustments down.)
  • File:   Sequential
  • Prefix for Sequential:  I insert a bread 'name' here.  

This is an example of a final edit.  Was 600 when transferred.  Then, once on TFL, I dropped it down to 300/150.

Have fun!




Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

So cool. Thank you. Then I'll have space to add text to the photo's. What a dumb bunny I am! I have made my notes and will get it right next time.........

Janetcook's picture

No dumb bunnies.  All simply a learning curve.  The more we learn the more there is to learn so we go one step at a time always expanding into the next 'thing'.  

We are busy bunnies having fun =-}


Foodzeit's picture

down the line, I hope your breads now are as successful as the first one that really looks delicious. Can't wait to see the crumb shot. I have a good idea for you. Make a cheese bread with rosemary, so you and your hubby will both have the favorites. I always make something for both of us so everybody will be happy with the bread.

bakingbadly's picture

Congrats on your first successful sourdough loaf. It looks amazing!


Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Thanks Zita........

It gets better and better all the time!

Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Proofed and dressed loaf ready for the pot.A little extra cheese sprinkled on top in last minute of baking.finally.... very yummy loaf.