The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first sourdough loaves

Jeff in Trees's picture
Jeff in Trees

My first sourdough loaves

Fairly pleased that these came out as nicely as they did.  Crust ended up *very* tough/crunchy, but certainly edible -- just need a small chainsaw to slice... ;)   Used recipe from theperfectloaf.com (https://www.theperfectloaf.com/beginners-sourdough-bread/) -- figured this would be appropriate as I'm a total beginner w SD.  Used starter from NW Ferments, their Yukon starter kit.  Took about 3 days to get it woke, then it worked like a charm. Not sure why picture came out rotated... ;) oh well..... 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Congrats!  Bon apettit, amigo!  

 Since you paid good money for the sourdough starter (I did too! I have never made SD culture from scratch, but hope to)  it would be wise to make a "backup" just in case disaster strikes.  Several backups, as time goes on and your starter "matures."  ("Ah... Feb 2021!  This sourdough culture made some good bread back then.")

For making dry powdered culture to store as a safety backup, see https://breadtopia.com/drying-sourdough-starter-for-long-term-storage/

To rehydrate dried starter see: https://breadtopia.com/faq/how-to-reactivate-dehydrated-starter/

and/or this video: https://breadtopia.com/starter_instructions/

(You obviously already have rehydrate instructions that came with yours. Same thing, basically.)

--

See this discussion: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/62174/long-term-starter-storage and scroll down to see comment(s) from user chefcdp, aka "Carlos", who is one of the principal people in the 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Preservation Society. He da Man!

 

Jeff in Trees's picture
Jeff in Trees

Thanks, Dave, for the links!  That does make sense - last time I messed with SD, years ago, I killed my starter through neglect & ignorance ;)

I'm so glad I got this started, though -- all the stores (even Amazon) are totally out of bakers yeast!  I'd be SOL if not for my new starter!  ;)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A crusty crust can often be softened by bagging the loaf overnight to trap moisture. (Some of us lazy loafers will just put the loaf into the cold microwave overnight.)  This lets inside moisture work to the crust. Another trick is to invert a large bowl over the cooling rack (bottom of rack open) after the loaf has cooled enough to handle.  I will do this if the loaf is baked late in the day and need my beauty rest.  :)

Gorgeous Loaves you baked up.  

Mini

Jeff in Trees's picture
Jeff in Trees

Ah, yes, I sort of accidentally stumbled upon the bag solution after bagging one of the loaves overnight :)  Good to know of the bowl-over-rack trick, too!

Thanks.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

feeding your starter plain white flour, bread or AP, will keep the culture "truer" longer than feeding it whole grains.   Whole grains, either wheat, rye, or other, bring their own wild yeast spores and LAB with them, and supposedly gradually take over from, or outnumber, the original critters you bought.

White, refined, (branless) flour has some wild yeast/LAB too, as white flour can make a starter from scratch.  But the white flour has much less than whole grain.

you got on the SD boat just in time!  Welcome to the club.

Jeff in Trees's picture
Jeff in Trees

So, here's my second attempt.  Different recipe (still a "beginner's" one :) ) -- see https://foodgeek.dk/en/worlds-easiest-sourdough-bread/ .  Crust came out better this time, although still a bit tough on the bottom; despite the fact that I'd set the rack on slot higher in the oven than before.  Texture was just a skosh moister than I'd hoped, as if they'd needed another 10 minutes or so, although I think that would have made the crust more crunchy and this was about perfect in that regard.  This dough was *really* sticky.  Rather than my old faithful wooden bread board, I did the divide and shape on an aluminum cookie sheet, which was ok but not quite big enough to have one loaf sitting while I worked on the other... so, had to swap them by resting temporarily on a smooth melmac dinner plate.  Where there's a will.... ;)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You might want to pick up a wide plastic bench scraper.  Mine have all come from the "dry wall" devision of the hardware store.  They don't scratch and the countertop doesn't  wiggle around like boards tend to do even with a damp towel under the board or tray.  Oh yes, the quarantine, well... I did cut up one of those super thin cutting matts to make a makeshift scraper once. My favourite width turns out to be just about the longest length of my hand, wrist to finger tip.  I have long skinny fingers.  A bench scraper is handy for some of those sticky wet doughs. You may have noticed that rye and oat flours add to stickiness.  Allowing the flour to absorb the water with a rest after working in also help reduce stickiness.  A little bit of stickiness or tacky surface is desired, you just have to learn how to touch the dough before it hugs you.  Doughs can be soooo affectionate!   :)

About those bottoms...electric or gas oven?    Rack or tray and what color?

Jeff in Trees's picture
Jeff in Trees

Thanks for the info :)  Hadn't thought of shaping directly on counter-top.  Ours are not all that smooth, compared to stone, but, good thought.

Electric oven.  Square quarry-tile baking stone on rack in lowest slot.  Two slots up from that go 2 dutch ovens in which the breads bake.  (First bake I'd had them lower, second slot up from bottom.)  Dough on parchment paper, dropped carefully into preheated DO's.  This time, 475 deg F for 20 minutes covered, then temp lowered to 425 for 25 minutes uncovered.  

Jeff in Trees's picture
Jeff in Trees

OMG, it turns out I've had one of those for awhile, just didn't know what it really was!  I'd been using it to clean broiler pan and/or frying pan when especially goopy (a task for which it is admirably suited, by the way ;) ).  So, next batch, I'll clean the counter top up real well and try using that.  Thanks!

Jeff in Trees's picture
Jeff in Trees

I'm pretty pleased with this one.  Went back to that first recipe I tried, but added orange zest, cardamom, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds to the dough before bulk ferment.  Added a bit more water as well, to make up for the added solids... and, for the levain, increased sd starter to 60 g and reduced flours and water accordingly.  

And, Mini Oven, I divided & shaped right on the counter top using a wide plastic bench scraper, per your suggestion.  Worked great!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Bread is coming along nicely too.  :)