First Loaf of Real Sourdough - I'm Hooked
Hello. I recently joined The Fresh Loaf and have thoroughly enjoyed perusing through the site and reading about what others have been doing and looking at pictures of their beautiful breads. I have baked breads off-and-on for a number of years, but have never made a true sourdough. I have used KA Flour's dried starters, but commercial yeast is also used in the recipes. The resulting bread is good, but not great. Your site provided enough inspiration for me to get off my duff and actually make some sourdough!
I made starter using equal parts (by volume) organic AP unbleached flour and bottled spring water, and fed it at least daily for about 10 days before using it, and it appeared nice and vigorous. The dough recipe was from John Ross's Sourdough Baking website located at http://www.io.com/~sjohn/sour.htm.  The recipe is:
* 2 Cups of sponge (proofed starter)
* 3 Cups of unbleached flour
* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 4 teaspoons of sugar
* 2 teaspoons of salt
In addition, I added 1/2 cup spring water to make a wetter dough.
Because I have shoulder pain, I used the stretch-and-fold method instead of kneading the dough. I did the first stretch-and-fold at 20 minutes, then 3 more times at 45 minute intervals. After a final 45 minute interval, the dough was well-raised, and I formed a boule and put it to rise in a 10-inch skillet lined with oiled parchment. After about 2 hours, it was ready for the oven. I baked it in a cast iron dutch oven, which was preheated to 475 degrees. The boule was scored, then lifted into the dutch oven on its parchment and then covered with the lid. The oven was turned down to 450 degrees and the bread baked for 30 minutes. At that time, the lid was removed and the bread baked for another 15 minutes. It sounded nice and hollow, and the internal temperature was 201 degrees Farenheit, so I removed it to a cooling rack.
As it was already late at night, I left the bread on the counter until morning before slicing it. It looked beautiful to me, and the flavor was awesome - probably the best bread I have ever baked. I'm sure it's not on a par with what many of you more experienced bakers are doing, but I'm really happy with my first attempt. Now I need to learn about Bakers Percentages, etc. and gain more experience baking real sourdough.
Here are a couple of pictures of my first loaf. Any comments and suggestions are welcome.