The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First attempt at sourdough

berry29's picture

First attempt at sourdough

sourdough loafsourdough loaf

sourdough crumbsourdough crumb

Yesterday I made my first loaf of sourdough based on the Norwich Sourdough recipe from Susan's wildyeast blog. I have been baking bread regularly for the past two or three years -- mainly breads with overnight pre-ferments -- but had never attempted to make my own sourdough because I don't like the flavor of an overly sour bread. After learning a lot more about sourdough from books and this site, I realized that most of the information I was getting reinforced the idea that sourdough isn't necessarily all that sour. Plus, my kitchen is a nice 75-78 degrees these days, which seemed to be ideal for nurturing a new sourdough starter. So, I mixed together some flours and water, waited, fed it, and waited some more. After a week, my starter was more than doubling in four hours when fed a 1:2:2 mixture of starter, water, and flour by weight (I used KAF organic AP flour and a little rye in the first mixture, all AP after that) so I figured it was ready to test the starter with a real loaf. And it worked! I was extremely pleased with the whole process, and the bread tasted better than I had hoped. It really isn't sour at all; in fact, my husband and I thought it had a somewhat honey-like flavor. The loaf was baked on a pre-heated stone and covered for the first 15 minutes of baking with a pre-heated wide, shallow clay pot (it's about 11" in diameter and 5-6" deep and doesn't have a drain hole) that I bought specifically for that purpose. I love the color the crust gets when using the pot, although it limits my shaping options.

Thanks to everyone on this site who contributes such helpful information. I can hardly wait to try more sourdough recipes that I wasn't able to attempt before.




kanin's picture

That's a damn fine first attempt. Looks great. What did you use for scoring?

berry29's picture

 Thanks, I use a serrated carving knife for scoring.


Susan's picture

Hey Berry89--

Here's a slash for you to try out: Hold your knife flat to make the two outside short cuts, then straight-up-and-down for the longer middle slash. The loaf below started out as a boule, but came out of the oven in a slight oval shape. It was baked under a large SS bowl. I often slash a boule like this when we plan to make sandwiches.

Your loaf is beautiful!

Triple SlashTriple Slash

Susan from San Diego

berry29's picture

Those side slashes are cool; thanks for describing how to achieve that look. 


susanfnp's picture

 Your first attempt, you're sure? It looks perfect!


weavershouse's picture

What a great start making sourdough! Beautiful job.


Susan from San Diego, that's an interesting slash. I'm going to try it.                               weavershouse

jonesy's picture

I would be very proud of that lovely loaf. I am going NOW to try to emulate it.

holds99's picture

Beautiful loaf.  Don't know how you will top that one.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Paddyscake's picture

That is awesome for a first loaf!! tell us more about what breads you have been baking for the past few years. I'm sure if this was your first attempt at sourdough, you must have great stuff to share with us!!

yves's picture

Nice work. Im really envious of your crumb, It looks great. Am I right that you meant the recipe in Wild Yeast: My New Favorite Sourdough? (and thanks for the bookmark :-)