The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough schedule help

De0584's picture

Sourdough schedule help

Hello all.  Long time reader, first time poster.

I am a culinary teacher at a local high school in Ontario Canada.  We do all hands on classes and some of that  hands on covers sourdough breads.  On of the fundraisers we do is a sourdough club

People pay in advance and for a number of weeks they receive a loaf every Friday.  I would like some input on scheduling of the different steps so that the students are the ones making the bread in class if possible.  

Currently I do some of the work outside of class time which I don't mind at all but I think there is some great hands on opportunity for the kids there.  

The working times are 8-3 with the kids.

I need the bread to be ready to bake at 8 30 am on Friday morning.

Currently I am making a 75% hydration bread using a whole wheat starter at 100 % hydration.

Wed 8 am.  Refresh starter rise at room temp.

Wed 3 pm starter in fridge

Thu 8am make leaven using whole wheat flour.  Seperate bowl make and autolyse dough.

Thu 10 am add leaven and continue autolyse.

Thu 1130 add salt, start bulk rise, stretch and fold every 20 minutes to1230.  

Thu 245 shape into lined baskets at room temp.

Thu 4 pm I place into fridge.

Fri 830 Slash and bake from fridge.


It works okay but I would love some input.  Do I do a cold ferment?  Retard the leaven?  I am open to an ideas


Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Hi De,

Every week, I bake a 60% whole wheat, naturally leavened hearth bread (miche) on a schedule remarkably similar to yours.  For what it's worth, here's mine:

Day 1: Serially refresh starter: 1st, early morning, 2nd, early afternoon and 3rd, before bed for overnight growth.  The last one over-matures, but that's fine.
Day 2: Put thrice-refreshed starter in fridge until mid-day, at which point I mill flour, inoculate leaven, add salt and water to remaining flour, mix to shaggy mass and refrigerate (= cold 'autolyse').  Around 4 pm, cold dough joins leaven in proofer to warm up.  Around 5 pm, when leaven is well domed, it is added to warmed dough and bulk fermentation proceeds for 2-3 hours (summer vs winter timing).  In early/mid evening, dough is rested, shaped, settled into banneton, bagged and refrigerated overnight.
Day 3: Bake when refrigerated dough reaches top of banneton (no warm proof).  It's often ready when I come down between 5 and 6 am.  Can be slower in winter and waiting a few hours longer doesn't dramatically affect outcome since refrigerated dough moves very slowly.

I've followed the above schedule probably 200 times now works nicely.  Hopefully there's something useful in there for you.  I admire your pulling this off with a high school class.  That's one (or 30?) more variable than I could handle in trying to produce an excellent loaf of bread every week.

Happy baking, and teaching.



De0584's picture

Thanks Tom

I will give that a go.  Thanks for the input.  Yes it is another variable for sure (they killed one starter before Christmas but I have mine from home as a back up).  It's fun for them when it works out though.