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I cultvated my sourdough starter....now what?

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richawatt's picture
richawatt

I cultvated my sourdough starter....now what?

I have successfully cultivated my sourdough starter, it is very lively, smells good, and looks good...I know you can't see, but I'm patting myself on the back right now.  My question is..now that I have it, how do I make bread from it.  Do I just substitute the commercial yeast with my starter?  And can I use just a rustic lean recipe?...flour, salt, starter and water?  Maybe 65% hydration???

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Congratulations on your starter!

The simple answer (in order) would be possibly (with a fair amount of adaptation)...and yes!

Apart from the excellent recipes on this site, please do check out some of the resources maintained by some of our resident sourdough experts. For example:

http://www.sourdoughhome.com/recipes.html (Mike Avery's site)

http://www.wildyeastblog.com (Susan 'Wild Yeast' site )

As for a basic sourdough, I'd recommend anything from a 15 to 30% (baker's percentage) starter component in the recipe. If that's more starter then you can spare, then you might want to consider an 'intermediate build'...this is just like using biga or poolish in a recipe - a preferment you can make the day before, using a small original amount of starter. After it has matured you typically use all of it in the final dough mix.

65% hydration sounds great for a basic white sourdough but maybe a little on the dry side if you're working with high gluten wholegrain flours.

Have fun, and let us know how things go.

Cheers

FP

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

richawatt, why don't you try what I call Susan's Loaf because Susan of San Diego told me about it and it is the one I go back to time after time. Refresh your starter the night before and start the bread late morning or early afternoon. To 3/4c starter add 3/4c water and whisk together. Add 2 1/2c bread flour, 2 tspns oil and 1 1/4 tspns salt. mix well and let sit covered for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold 3-4 times at 30 minute intervals. Let double. Shape boule, place in well floured (I use rice flour) banneton and place in the refrigerator overnight. Let warm up for 2 hours, preheat the oven to 500* either with a stone or a heavy baking sheet. Gently turn the loaf onto parchment paper, slash and slide it onto the heated stone. Cover with a large stainless steel bowl rinsed in hot water and reduce the heat to 450*. Remove the bowl after 20 minutes, bake until brown (usually 15 minutes), give it another 5 minutes until dark brown and internal temp. is 205*. As so many of the more expert bakers on TFL say, make the same loaf over and over until you know how the dough should feel and then move on to other breads. Hope you will try this - it's a winner! A.

shellee888's picture
shellee888

My first starter, my first loaf, it's so beautiful it's my picture icon.  I haven't tasted it yet.  This is also the first time I've ever let a loaf of bread cool before I cut into it!!!  My kitchen has NEVER smelled like this.  I am going to make this loaf again right now and resist the temtation to "move on to other breads."


Thanks for sharing this simple recipe.  I did change one thing.  I used a 100% hydration sponge (starter:flour:water  1:2:2) instead of starter and I doubled the amount used in the recipe (3/4 x 2).

stephysat28's picture
stephysat28

1st sourdough! Used this method for my 1st sourdough! I am estatic with the result!  

Marni's picture
Marni

AnnieT, Thanks for the suggestion.  I made it yesterday and it is the niceset looking loaf of sourdough I've made yet.  It smells great, sweet when it came out of the oven and tangy now - we'll taste it later today.

I don't have a stainless bowl, so I used a Pyrex dish.  The fun part is you can watch it rise through the glass.  I've never used a cloche, this worked well, I like not trying to get steam.

Marni

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Marni, I'm so glad you tried the loaf and had such success with it! I have made it so many times and still get a thrill when I remove the bowl and see the lovely loaf. There was a discussion recently about using a glass bowl - do be careful! I am so clumsy I would be sure to drop a glass one so I use a huge ss bowl. I also found an aluminum roaster at one of the thrift stores to use for batards but found that it is too long to fit on my stone - I should remember to take the measurements with me. Enjoy the loaf, A.

AlexL's picture
AlexL

So I just tried this recipe and it seems to result in a HIGHLY dry dough. By my calculations (I weighed all the ingredients out as I measured them) this results in about a 28% hydration dough:


.75 c 100% starter


.75 c water


2.5 c flour


2 tsp oil


1.25 tsp salt


= 1.125 c water + 2.875 c flour, or 28% hydration dough


I ended up with an unworkable dough, so I added another 85g of water to bring the total hydration up to 65% and I'm hoping for the best. Can someone please confirm these measurements for me? I just can't understand how 3/4 c of water is enough for a sourdough.

KenK's picture
KenK

I'm much better at algebra than baking.


1.125 cups of water is 9 ounces. 2.875 cups of flour is maybe 11 1/2 to 12 1/4 ounces, maybe a good bit more if its really packed in.   9/12=75% hydration

AlexL's picture
AlexL

You're right, the 28% figure is totally incorrect. I should've used the weights instead of the volumes in calculating that. It doesn't change the fact that I ended up with a very, very dry dough. Here are the volume measurements in grams as I measured them:


125 g 100% starter (3/4 c)


145 g water (3/4 c)


362 g flour (2.5 c)


2 tsp oil


1.25 tsp salt


= 207.5 g water + 424.5 g flour, 49% hydration


I added 85 g of water which brought the total hydration up to 69%, unfortunately it didn't incorporate into the 49% mixture very well and it's all lumpy, sitting in a bowl on my counter at the moment. I'm trying to stretch and fold it out but it's very dense and sticky, not at all elastic and smooth.

Susan's picture
Susan

I measured 6 ounces water, which is 3/4 cup, and it converted to 170g, not 145.


From what I read online, a cup of flour generally is weighed at 125g, not 145. 


I've never weighed 3/4 cup of 100% starter, so that figure eludes me. 


Don't worry about what the hydration is in your dough.  Add water until it feels right. 


If you have a scale, there are many recipes on my TFL blog that will make you happy.  Volume measurements are inherently difficult to translate from one person to the next.


Susan from San Diego

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Hi Susan,


I've weighed my flour several times and always come up at about 140g per cup.  Again, the advice to go on feel is much better anyway.  I think tackiness on the fingers and board is a great indicator of hydration.  Also, good to see another baker from San Diego!


-Peter


http://psoutowood.vox.com

KenK's picture
KenK

I guess that's why people like to have recipes by weight instead of volume.  I expect the original recipe's 2.5 cups of flour was more like 10-10 1/2 ounces instead of the nearly 13 ounces you have.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Hi Alex, that seems to be the recipe I use all the time to make Susan's Sourdough loaf. First off, are you using a firm starter? My starter is semi-liquid and I stir it down to be sure I'm not getting just bubbles. I'm afraid I don't do %s but the recipe as Susan gave it to me was 3/4c starter, 3/4c water, 2t oil, 2t kosher salt and 2 1/2c bread flour. If it seems a bit dry I add a little water but usually the dough is quite workable. For the lumpy dough, try wetting the counter and your hand and slap the dough down hard and turn it a few times, then let it rest. Or you can spread it out and do "frissage" to work out any lumps. Hope this helps, A.

AlexL's picture
AlexL

Susan: I wasn't aware of the volume-weight conversions. This being my first sourdough I think I was depending too much on a recipe. The thing is, I'm not sure what a proper sourdough is supposed to feel like. I only have one other bread as a reference and it's my default french "training-wheel" bread. Should the dough feel quite similar to that?


AnnieT: My starter contains equal parts flour and water. I stirred it down from about 4x rise to a bubbly semi-liquid batter. I did exactly as you suggested, wetting the counter and doing "french folds" four times at 30 min. intervals. It's better, but a bit lumpy still. I'll just add this batch to my ever-growing science experiment archive. And by "frissage" I assume you mean something like a massage?

Susan's picture
Susan

Have you watched Mark's videos?  They're great, and a huge help.  At the top of this page you will see a Video link.  Go there, and check out several videos from The Back Home Bakery.  You'll be glad you did.


If you don't have a scale yet, Alex, that should be your next bread-making purchase.  If mine died tonight, I'd go get another one tomorrow.  Weighing in grams makes everything much easier. 


I could tell you stories about sourdough bricks that would make you cry, so don't feel you are alone.  And don't expect sourdough bread to act like a yeast bread. Check out Mark's videos, poke around on this site, and visit other sourdough sites. Rule No. 1 for a good sourdough loaf is a starter that's at the peak of its activity, so work on learning about starter.  Then find a simple recipe and make it over and over again until it's just like you want it. By the time you've perfected that loaf, you'll be a confident sourdough baker.  


And remember to have fun while you're at it.


Susan from San Diego

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Alex, check out Mike Avery's site on sourdough, Sourdough Home. In his video of stretch and fold he shows how to stretch the dough out on the counter and press out any lumps of dry flour because he says the lumps can tear the dough. I'm sure some of the more expert bakers will be able to define frissage which I think is actually a method of incorporating fat into flour for pastry. I think we have hijacked the word for our own use, sorry for any confusion. A.

buttermere4's picture
buttermere4

Hi


I have made my starter it's now 10 days old and looking good. i was looking now for an easy first timers sourdough recipe. However the measurements all seem to be in cups! 


 


Does any one have a recipe with imperial weight? (or grams I can manage!) 


And the tsp I assume is teaspoon? we use tble or teasp for the two sizes.


 


And what type of flour is best also - thanks


 


Thanks if you can help -- great site by the way many thanks JB

Susan's picture
Susan

Congrats on your new starter!  And welcome to TFL.


Since I don't live in the U.K., I can't really recommend a perfect flour, plus that sort of depends on what kind of bread you want to make.


Use grams, much easier in the long run.  And yes, tsp is teaspoon. 


For salt, use 2% of the flour amount (for example, 350g flour calls for 7g salt)


So, here's a simple formula for you to follow:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/9346/123-easy-formula-sourdough-bread


Have fun! 


Susan from San Diego

buttermere4's picture
buttermere4

Hello Susan 


Thanks very much! for the recipe and speedy response too..... I bought some strong bread flour this afternoon and am going to make the bread in the morning -- I'll let you know!


Many thanks for the welcome JB 


 


From north west UK / Moving soon to Scotland! Further north!

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Dear buttermere4


I too am in the UK, new to sourdough but keen to try a first recipe. Several bakers on this forum and on other blogs and boards report having success with this recipe for 'Norwich Sourdough', from Susan at Wild Yeast. It lists ingredients by weight rather than volume http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/08/my-new-favorite-sourdough/. There is also an updated 'sourer' version http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2008/11/05/more-sour-sourdough/


Hope the baking goes well!


I would also like to try the recipe discussed earlier on this thread but can only get my oven up to 450. Would be glad to know if anyone has had success with this recipe starting the oven off at 450 with a stone?


Daisy_A

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Dear Susan of San Diego


Just tracked back to your blog and was pleased to see that there was a simple sourdough with 450 oven. Hope to try that. Great looking breads by the way!


Daisy_A

MikeM200's picture
MikeM200

Just tried AnnieT's suggestion for the San Diego recipe (Susan).  The bread turned out great, I followed the directions exactly and will be doubling the recipe next time for more bread.  I used my own starter from the bay area.

-Mike