The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Susan's Simple Sourdough from 9/2009

2tattered's picture
2tattered

Susan's Simple Sourdough from 9/2009

Hello! I am new to this website, and relatively new to bread baking. As you can see in the photo, I have had good results with Susan's Simple Sourdough from her blog entry dated 9/2009. I am baking in a 3.6 quart enamel-on steel shellfish pot, which is easier for me to handle than cast iron (arthritic hands). I lined the bottom with a round cut from a silicone baking mat and the bottoms of the loaves have been perfect.

Susan tells us that she uses a 'firm' starter that can be kneaded into a ball. My starter is very active, but is at 100% hydration. I adapted her recipe to work with my starter, but can someone tell me how to turn my liquid starter into a 'firm' starter like the one Susan uses? I mainly bake on weekends, so I currently store my starter in the refrigerator and feed once a week.

Thank you for any advice, and for this wonderful website!

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it will take a little more time for the starter to reach peak so let the starter guide you.  After a couple of feeds on the counter with a little warmth (75°F)  it should be speeding up and preforming predictably.  The first feeding (reducing the water) takes the longest ... so stay patient and flexible.  :)

2tattered's picture
2tattered

Thank you! Should I reduce the water very gradually or more aggressively?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)

williampp's picture
williampp

Hi 2tattered, To convert to a firm starter of 65% hydration. Take 24 grams of your 100% starter, add 27grams of water, then add 48 grams of bread flour, and you have 100 grams of 65% starter. Your feeds after that will be 1 part flour to .65 parts of water.

Bill

2tattered's picture
2tattered

Thank you, Bill!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Susan's simple Sourdough was the very first sourdough bread I learned to make 9 years ago.  She walked me through step by step and I still remember how excited I was! Congratulations on your success of making this bread.  Your loaf looks great!

Yippee

2tattered's picture
2tattered

Yippee, thank you. It’s comical, really - I have a half-dozen ‘Bread’ cookbooks, and have many pages of long, complicated sourdough recipes printed out from the internet (Tartine’s recipe comes immediately to mind). But I happened on Susan’s little 2009 paragraph, and it was so approachable I didn’t hesitate. I still have a lot to learn, but it sure is fun. Someday I may learn how to score😖

I’m so glad I found this site!

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

don't bother to score. It is so easy to flour the dough lightly and then pinch the 4 corners together at seams and proof seam down. Then turn it out seam up and let it come naturally the way it wants. You can see my breads as well as Danni's for a couple examples of natural expansion. So easy !  Susan was the first person's blog that I tried and I still do her breads. She has so many tried and true formulas and really great inst . c

2tattered's picture
2tattered

Thank you! I haven't tried that but I will this weekend. I have become obsessed - do you know of a 12-step program for me? My husband is threatening to hide the (many) flours, or disappear my starter. This is SO much fun!

Thank you for the compliment - it's only my second attempt. The first one was prettier, from a basket, but didn't taste as good. I'm so glad I found this site with all you fabulous bread fanatics!

Is Susan still active on the website?

Portus's picture
Portus

... so thanks 2tattered for highlighting it.  What intrigued me was the firm starter - perhaps not unusual in the greater scheme of things, but the image of this golf ball-sized plug of dough caught my imagination.

What also attracted me was the sprinkling of semolina on soon-to-become crust, so I tried the recipe out this weekend.  What a win!  Rose nicely, split along the "seam side down" fault line and presented a crispy crust with a pleasant hint of tang in the crumb.  Something I have not tried before was to "paint" the loaf top with a few pastry brush strokes of water, which worked a charm with the durum wheat.  Yet another for the recipe box.

2tattered's picture
2tattered

I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Your loaf looks just lovely! I do have one question: if you put 'the seam side' down, how does it break on top? I'm probably missing something here... I am not good at scoring, and am looking for an alternative technique.

Portus's picture
Portus

... as I intended this to refer to placing the loaf in the banneton for proofing, not in the DO for baking. Hope this explains the process I followed.

2tattered's picture
2tattered

Thanks, Portus, I should have known that. I'm going to try this and then maybe I can stop trying to perfect the scoring technique.

2tattered's picture
2tattered

My family has been campaigning for a slice-able sandwich sourdough with a tender crumb. Old folks have weak teeth. I adapted a recipe for Beginner's Sourdough I found on TheKitchn.com. I fed my starter 24 hours before I started the recipe, and it had been in the fridge for 22 hours. I noticed that it was still doubled, so thought I'd save myself some time. I combined 16 oz of starter with 3/4 cup spring water, 9 oz of Bobs Artisan Bread flour and 9 oz of KA AP flour in the bowl of my stand mixer. I mixed it up, scraping down, and let it sit for an hour or so. Then I added 1 1/2 tsp SAF instant yeast that had dissolved in 1/4 cup water and mixed it up with the dough hook. I let that sit for 30 minutes. Then added 1 T Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (pure salt, no additives) dissolved in 1/4 cup water. I mixed with hook for 8 minutes, adding AP flour a bit at a time until dough became somewhat cohesive. Kneaded on lightly floured counter until it felt right. I put it in a greased bowl, and let it rise until doubled  (took an hour and a half by the woodstove).

Then I divided it in two (1 1/2 pounds each), did a preliminary shape and fold for loaf pans and let rest for 20 minutes, covered with mixing bowls on counter. I greased two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pans with unsalted butter, shaped the dough firmly into loaves and put into pans. I let these rise for an hour (could have put into fridge overnight at this point). When they were just peeking over the rims of the pans, I set the oven to 450, and put an old cast-iron skillet in the bottom. When loaves had risen about an inch above the pan rims, I slashed them, brushed with water and sprinkled on sesame seeds. Put the loaves in the oven, dumped about 10 ice cubes into cast-iron pan and sprayed oven interior with water. Baked 10 minutes, and then lowered heat to 400 for 30 minutes more until deep golden brown. The resulting loaves are everything I would ask for in a sourdough sandwich bread. Perfect, and family is very happy with the thin crispy crust and tender crumb. No one's dentures have been disturbed while eating this bread. Oh, yay.

2tattered's picture
2tattered

perhaps so will grow their appreciation of a true sourdough boule (my favorite). Until then, I'll keep the old folks and the kids happy. And me, too - pretty damn delicious!