The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Got my KAF starter (very pic heavy)

JIP's picture

Got my KAF starter (very pic heavy)

O.k so I posted recently before I got it asking about the KAF starter I only got a few answers and searching did not bring up much either.  Since it seems most everyone has more luck or skill or paitience than I and makes their own I thought I would start a thread chronicling my impressions about it in case anyone else has the questions I had.  I may fail at this but things have gone well so far so here goes. 


First off I got it in the mail....


It didn't look like much I kind of likened it to as I sad to some peopl 2 tablespoons of snot (sorry for the grossness)...

It came in a box much larger than it needed to be there was also instructions for getting things going and a couple initial recipes (more on that later)



JIP's picture

So the first step was to add 14c water to the little cup and shake to rehydrate the little bugger then add 1/2c water and 1 c flour

did that mixed things up and got a real gloppy starter going.  I asked about this actually in another post and thanks to the responders for the help.

I am sure everyone is enjoying the exciting photos.  So after waiting the required 2-4 hours for things to start happening I opened it up and wow! things are really going....

Who knoew that "2 tablespoons of snot" could cause so much action.  I got a real nice sour smell and it at least doubled if not more so on to the second initial feeding.  The instructions said this one would fix the acidity whatever, so dispose 1/2 and add 1/2 c water and 1 cup flour like before.

so stir things up and I wil add this image just to see how small it started.

And after like 3 hours!!

Easily doubled I almost used the wrong bowl it nearly went over the top.

So all done with the preliminaries I can stir it down....

Divide it in half ( I gave the other half to my neighbor yeah I'm a nice guy)

Now on to the bread making....

JIP's picture

O.k so alot happened after the other posts and I only got a couple of pictures.  The next day after my last couple of posts I fed the starter for baking the next day.  In the morning I made I guess it was a poolis or a pre-ferment of some kind.  It was really liquidy it used all of the water and a good part of the flour.  After this point things sort of got off track.  I made the dough after about 3 hours.

First of all I should have left it in the mixer for alot longer because as you can see the dough turned out really shaggy and there was no possibilty of passing the windowpane test but whatever.  Where things went wrong is I had to leave the house for a couple of hours so I ended up having to put the semi-risen dough in the fridge for all of that time.  If I had planned it better I could have put the pre-ferment in the fridge and made the dough later.  Anyway needless to say the dough reall dried out in the fridge and it too forever fot it to warm up after I took it out.  So I got 2 smallish loaves out of it and they looked real nice going in the oven they took to the slashing real good but they just did not rise very much and they were kind of dry.  So after baking for almost twice the temp suggested in the recipe they finally got up to temp and I had bread.

The flavor was real nice but as you can see the crust dried up quite a bit.


I got a really dense crumb I think I am chocking it up to the dryness but I am open to any suggestions as to why this is.

So that's it for now I think I did o.k. for my first try hopefully things will go up up up from here.  I think I will be making this recipe again in a couple of days to see if I can do it better.  So any thoughts or insults whatever I can take it I am a big boy shoot me down.

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

PRETTY!  As these Texas folks would say.  And, if I were up north?  Aww shucks, I'd just say the same darned thing. 


You should be proud, I tell ya....just down right PROUD!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

They look good!   Maybe you cold have let the dough warm up just a wee bit longer coming out of the fridge but I'd say they look pretty darn good!   I think the dough (as compared to a pre-ferment) sitting in the fridge was the better choice, made up for the short mix.   Great curve on the lower corners too!  Enjoy!

Mini O

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, JIP.

Well, you got your starter activated without a hitch and you made your first sourdough bread. It looks like bread. It was edible. Hey! It just needs a few tweaks, right?

You've discovered you can slow things down by refrigerating your dough, and that may improve the flavor, but you have to allow for the time to wake up the dough when you take it out. You want to cover refrigerated dough (or loaves) air tight to keep it/them from drying out and forming a "skin."

You do want to knead your dough to develop the gluten really well. The gluten has to be strong to make walls for the bubbles that make for a nice crumb with lots of holes of different sizes. If you want bigger holes, you need to work with a wetter dough.

I get the feeling you may have under-fermented your dough and maybe under proofed your loaves. The loaves look like you might have gotten a better result with a hotter oven (darker crust without drying out the crumb).

Trying different recipes and reading good bread books helps, but there is no substitute for hands-on experience. Working out your technique with a few (1, 2 or 3) recipes for breads you want to make well is a good way to get the feel for things. Then you can branch out.

You might start by asking about how to achieve a different result for specific parameters of crust and crumb, then experiment.

Anyway, your first loaves are terrific first loaves. Congratulations!


JIP's picture

So I did a double feeding tonight so I can try and convert some to a WW starter.  I am planning to use Reinharts from Whole Grain baking.  Does anyone have any suggestions on one to use or mabye a formula to use with weights instead of percentages.  I am also going to be taking another shot at the recipe that comes with the starter.

JIP's picture

Well.. After a mediocre batch my first try I have acheived a MAJOR SUCCESS!!.  Tonight I think I made 2 of the best loves I have ever made.  I waqs alot more vigilant with all the procedures and times and things came out very well.

First I made the poolish from my starter that I double fed last night and as you can see after about 4 hours I got a nice doubling if not more.



I also tried to convert some to a WW seed culture from Reinhart's Whole Grain book (hence the double feeding).

So next I mixed for a long time in my KA this time 10 minutes as opposed to a couple minutes in the KA and ALOT of hand kneading last time.  I really think I devoloped alot more gluten this time and got alot smoother dough I even passed the "windowpane test" although you cant see it in the picture since my flash ruined the effect.

So next is the second proofing as you can see I bought a 4Qt cambro yesterday it is alot more practical than the 6Qt. that I bought for my Silverton debacle.

Before...... This shot is a little blurry but it is the only before shot I have.


And after about 3 hours....

As you can see nicely doubled.  I hope those bubbles on the side are inside as well (I actually have not had the chance to cut this bread yet).

So on to the shaping..

So after about 2 1/2 hours under plastic wrap a couple of slashes......

and in the oven they go.....

I tried changing the temps a litte I started at 500 for the first 5 mins as opposed to the recommended 450.  I used a cast iron skillet this time with a spritzer and spritzed about 3-4 times in the first 10 miutes.  I have to say this was a smashing success when I finally reaized I needed some hand protection while I was pouring the boiling water in the skillet.

 And now on to the good stuff.

I really needed to get a closeup of the wonderful bubbles in the crust.

and now the two together...


So I have to say my KAF starter has been a smashing success.  Much more to come I'm sure and when I finally get to cut them I will surely post some crumb photos (I I can get them before I devour it).  This may be it for a while thoug I think my wife has banned me from the kitchen.