The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

1-2-3 Sourdough - Success!

BethJ's picture

1-2-3 Sourdough - Success!

I want to thank all who have posted to this forum encouraging newbies to try the 1-2-3 sourdough method as a starter bread. 

I’ve done a few controlled bakes now, and am so pleased with the results thus far.  Easily the best sourdough I’ve produced to date both in taste and texture.

While I still aim for a more open crumb, and can improve on both shaping and slashing, if I never got any better at it than I am today I would be quite happy to eat this bread forever. 

Today’s bake started with with 100 g. starter, 200+16 g. water, 150 g. AP flour, 150 g. bread flour, and 6 g. salt.  I divided the dough in half and baked in sequence in two 8.5” bannetons.  I use a parchment-lined peel to turn out the dough from the banneton, and an Emile Henry baker top (no bottom piece) on a baking stone to bake.   

To help me improve, I took someone’s prior advice and have set up a very controlled baking recipe and time-line.   I take copious notes as to any variations from my master recipe, and note the results.  It’s been an extremely useful process in improving my results.

Thanks again!

Today’s bake:


leslieruf's picture

and very nice crumb.

Well done, it is great when it all works isn’t it.


Bread1965's picture

You should be very happy.. very well done.

One more bit of advice to think about.. bake boldly.. go for a darker crust on one of your bakes by baking longer with the lid off! It will affect the way you enjoy the bread in very interesting ways! Nothing like courageously baked bread! :)

Bake happy.. bread1965!


barryvabeach's picture

Beth,  I have been baking for many years, and would be very proud of those loaves.  Keep up with the note taking , though because it will really help refine your process.  

syros's picture

I too use the 1-2-3 for baking. I am so new at this that I am honestly afraid to venture into other recipes. Looks great. 

DanAyo's picture

Beth, you said, “To help me improve, I took someone’s prior advice and have set up a very controlled baking recipe and time-line.   I take copious notes as to any variations from my master recipe, and note the results.  It’s been an extremely useful process in improving my results.”

If you like using a computer and Excel I have a suggestion. I use a Dough Calculator spreadsheet. The original formula containing the ingredients and baker’s percentages are stored on the first sheet of the spreadsheet. When I make any changes, I copy the original sheet and call it by some meaningful name. That way I can keep track of all baking attempts. I create a new sheet every time I make a change. I have a history of it all. There is also a link on the spreadsheet that opens a word document containing recipe instructions and a baker’s log. Works for me - thought I’d pass it on.


BethJ's picture

@bread1965:  Here the first loaf was baked 20 minutes covered and 8 minutes uncovered, and the second loaf 18 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered.  Both came out at 210 degrees.  I'll try adjusting the uncovered time further and make note of the results.

@barryvabeach:  Thank you!  I'm encouraged! 

@DanAyo:  I do keep records of each bake and their respective variations (v. 2.0, v. 2.1, v. 3.0 etc.).   It is extremely useful to have those notes in achieving the desired results.  For me that's the beauty of this whole approach.  Previously I was fairly hap-hazard in my attempts at sourdough baking, trying different recipes and modifying them without consistency or record (with little success, I might add).  A calculated approach has definitely improved my results.

Happy baking to all!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I bake all kinds of different breads but still use the 1-2-3 formula often; it's so easy and always nice. If I add more whole grain flours (as I often do), I up the water just a bit more, but I've added seeds and other things and it still turns out nice. Have you retarded (i.e. put the dough in the fridge for an extended amount of time) either the bulk ferment or the shaped final proof yet? You might try that too, to see how it affects the flavour.

Well done!


dabrownman's picture

and for the rest of your life you will never eat bad bread ever again.  It won't be long before you start adding more whole grains, seeds, nuts, dried fruits and upping the hydration to make even better tasting and healthier bread!  You got the 1,2,3 down!  Now the fun part begins......well done and happy baking 

BethJ's picture

I do retard the dough.  My general procedure is to mix the dough, allow for autolyse, add salt, knead, 8 sets of S&F at 30 minute intervals, another 4 hours on the counter followed by 12 hours in the fridge.  I divide and shape into the bannetons while the dough is still cold, followed by about a 3 hour proof before baking. 

The flavor and texture of the bread are quite nice the first day, although not quite as sour as I would like to achieve.  Once the bread is day-old, the sourness is much more present, but alas, the texture suffers and we relegate it to the toaster.  It's lovely toasted with either butter and jam, or goat cheese and olives.  OK, I'm making myself hungry!