The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Susan's Original Sourdough - 3/26/2007

Susan's picture

Susan's Original Sourdough - 3/26/2007

I kept losing this recipe, so am placing it here in my blog!

My recipe and methods are most decidedly less than scientific, and are the result of about 1.5 years of fumbling and many bricks. I would welcome any suggestions.


1 T expanded starter, which was saved from the sponge

15 g filtered water (1 T)

25 g flour (2-3 T)

Mix water into starter, then mix in flour. Cover with plastic and leave at room temp until it is puffy and you see bubbles under the surface (for me, 4-6 hours, depending on room temp). Store in fridge and use as is within 3 days. For longer storage, refresh it before using (throw away all but 1 T, then add 1 T water and 2-3 T flour, etc.)


240 g filtered water (1 cup + 1 T)

223 g flour (1.5 cups) (I'm currently using GM Harvest King here)

All starter

Mix water into starter, then add flour, stirring until well mixed; cover with plastic and let sit at room temp overnight. When ready, it will be expanded and bubbly with just a hint of a depression in the middle. (btw, I am using a 1.5L bowl, and the sponge fills up the bowl to within an inch of the top when the sponge is ready.)


60 g water (1/4 cup) This amount is variable (weather, etc.)

14 g (1 T) olive oil

All sponge, except for 1 T saved for the next starter

222 g bread flour (1.5 cups) (currently using GM Better for Bread here)

62 g (1/2 cup) white whole wheat flour (KA)

1.5 t salt

I use my Zojirushi ABM to mix and knead the dough, but have made up a custom program of 6 minutes mix/knead, 20 minutes rest, and another 6 minutes of kneading. Everything goes into the pan but the salt, which is added during the last couple of minutes.

Empty the dough into a straight-sided, lightly oil-sprayed canister to ferment for about 3 hours at room temp (lower 70's F). Stretch and fold 3 times over the first 90 minutes of this fermentation (Many thanks to MountainDog!). When the dough is fully risen, turn it onto a Silpat and cut in half with a bench knife. Gently pull each half into a rounded shape, turn over, cover with plastic and rest for 15-20 minutes.

Gently rotate each round a few times to tighten it, then invert each round into a well-floured cloth laid inside a small bowl (add some seeds in the bottom of the bowl if you like). (The bowls I use are about 7 inches in diameter at the top.) Seal the seam and tightly cover the top of the dough with plastic wrap. Put the bowls in a warm spot, upper 70's F, for 1.5-2 hours. (I use my microwave, OFF of course, and put a mug of hot water in with the bowls.)

Preheat oven to 450 F. Remove plastic wrap from one round and gently re-seal the seam if necessary. Invert onto a semolina-dusted peel, slash the top, and slide it into the oven. (My oven is a Miele, and it came with several trays, but I would think a large cookie sheet would do the trick. I stopped using a stone, as it didn't seem to make a difference in oven spring.) As soon as the round is in the oven, overturn a 4L heat-proof Pyrex bowl on top of it. The bowl has been quickly rinsed with hot water before putting it in the oven. I assume one could use a SS bowl, but you'd miss seeing the rise, and that's half the fun!

Leave the bowl on top of the bread until it just starts to brown (16-18 minutes), then very carefully remove the bowl by sliding a spatula under the edge (there will be a small release of steam here, so let it happen and stay out of its way) then I slide my other hand, well-covered with an oven mitt, under the edge of the bowl and lift it up and over the bread. Make sure you already have a safe place to set the extremely hot bowl when you take it out of the oven. I would not put it on a cold counter; a couple of hot pads are what I use. Please be careful.

Bake the bread another 6-8 minutes until it is dark brown. The darker it is (without burning, of course) the more taste it will have.

Bake the other loaf. I bake 2 little boules two or three times a week. And one loaf of each baking usually ends up with one grateful neighbor or another...

Well, now you know my sourdough odyssey. Remember that it's just mine; yours may take a different path. If you have any questions, please ask. I now weigh everything (again, thanks to the folks on this site), but have put in measurements for those who do not weigh. The flour was scooped and leveled.

Susan in San Diego (so you'll know I am at sea level!)

Boule Baked Under Bowl

Baked Boule


weavershouse's picture

I have many different copies from many different posts so this will make things a lot easier. I'm making a batch right now.                                                  weavershouse

pattycakes's picture

when I was following the thread for the onion poppy seed loaf. That sourdough bread of yours looks fantastic! I love the color and the perfect ballness of it.

Will you also share your onion poppy seed recipe with me?

Thank you!


gosiam's picture

I, too, am looking for the Onion-Poppy Seed that Eric referred to in one of his recent posts.  Kindly post if still available.

Many thanks.