The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Where did I go wrong with my sourdough?

Lunapequenita's picture
Lunapequenita

Where did I go wrong with my sourdough?

I know the question is one that could have a ton of answers. This was my absolute first time making sourdough. I’m really not even much of a good bread baker so am probably out of my element. I followed Reinhart’s directions for making the bread by creating a starter, then barm, firm starter, etc. I used rye flour as directed for the starter but then regular bread flour for feedings and then rest of the steps. 

I have included a picture; the taste was pretty good but the bread was heavy and doesn’t have any nice airy holes in it. I also had difficulty scoring it. My guesses are I under kneaded it or under proofed during the first rise but I guess it could have also been an issue with my starter. I’d like to try again but want an idea of where I erred and would love help. 

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

OK, there are none of those giant holes that some people like, but getting those takes quite a bit of work, practice and confidence. To me, your bread looks great, and if the taste was pretty good, I would call that a win. It might be slightly underproofed, but certainly not much. For a first effort, I'd say that was terrific.

Lunapequenita's picture
Lunapequenita

Thank you for responding! That makes me feel better. I’ll keep practicing. 

bakeyourownAU's picture
bakeyourownAU

Hey,

Your bread looks absolutely great! If it tastes great, and stops you buying store bought mass produced bread, I think that's a success! :)

Every one of us here, including myself started of with flat or dense loaves. My first loaf was an absolute pancake :D! But the taste of sourdough is very very different, almost perfume like compared to the other breads, so that got me hooked. With time, you will understand your starter, your environment and all other aspects of sourdough baking better. It just takes time and practice like others have said. 

Keep at it! :) 

Lunapequenita's picture
Lunapequenita

Thanks for the encouragement! I’m trying again this weekend. 

Muddy Gardener's picture
Muddy Gardener

I am new to making sourdough, too (currently eating my 6th loaf....) - I think it looks yummy.   For changing the texture to be more classically sourdough-y,  here are a few things I've tried:

  • adding a smidge more water to the recipe (only a bit at a time - certainly less than 5% more) - this will make the dough stickier and harder to handle but it does change the way it rises
  • doing stretch and fold during bulk fermentation - initially I was only kneading it to start with
  • baking it in a preheated dutch oven, lid on for most of the time, lid off for last 20% or so, in a much hotter oven than the person who gave me the starter advised (250C vs 200C)  - though baking on a pizza stone with a big steel bowl covering it is also said to work (and is much less expensive way to test out the process, and requires less storage room in the kitchen!)
  • using more white flour (strong bread flour) in proportion, and feeding the starter with rye (n.b. you are already doing both of these but I include them in case anyone else reads this)

All these seem to have some positive effect.   Happy experimenting!

Lunapequenita's picture
Lunapequenita

Thank you for the tips. Can you explain about the stretch and fold? I saw it in a video after I made my bread. My recipe does mention doing it though. Is this in addition to kneading? 

Muddy Gardener's picture
Muddy Gardener

I am no expert on this for sure but I recently ran into this video which covers it https://youtu.be/HlJEjW-QSnQ

The video also covers lamination which I have not ever tried (yet).  My dough looks nothing like hers at that stage.  Always something more to learn!

Happy baking!