Sourdough baguettes from 4-day old throw-away starter
Hi all, first time post for me. I usually lurk and quietly absorb all the information but I felt compelled to post these photos because I am so happy with them. I have been trying to make a whole wheat sourdough starter (after previous failure) from Sourdolady's formula. On day 4 it was bubbly and smelled wonderful. When I fed it, instead of throwing away the rest of the starter (I hate to do that, dont you?), and I was curious as to how it was performing so I added a bit of water and flour to the throw away starter and let it ferment in a bowl overnight. Then I refreshed it again the next morning. When I came home 8 hours later I added 1 cup of water, 1 tsp salt and 2.25 cups of bread flour to the starter until it formed a pretty springy dough that wasnt too sticky (didn't know if this 4-day starter would work so I didn't want to make too much!).
After mixing the starter, water, flour and salt it was then a 20 min autolyse with 2 minute kneading afterwards, 1 hour ferment, stretch and fold at 1 hour mark, and another hour of fermenting. Then I did another stretch and fold after that hour was up and shaped the dough into a ball. Then I cut the dough up into 3 pieces and shaped it into baguettes and let it proof for 1 hour. This was baked in a 475 degree oven with steam for 35 minutes total.
I was worried because the dough didnt rise too much during any of the fermenting/proofing stages so I thought it was going to be some flat sourdough baguettes indeed. But no! These baguettes had humongous oven spring. The pictures are below. I cut into it hot, sorry I couldn't wait! And wow! Huge irregular holes, soft and slightly chewy crumb, thick crunchy crust. There wasn't a "sour" flavor from the sourdough but it tasted so good. I guess the starter is doing pretty well because at 4 days it can make some good baguettes :) By the way, this is my first time making baguettes because I usually stick to whole wheat breads but I think this is going to be a regular thing now!
Thanks sourdolady for a starter formula that really works and all others for your bread wisdom!