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kjknits's picture

I want to post here how I started my sourdough starter, and what happened throughout the process, so I can come back and review if necessary later.

All amounts are weight measurements measured on my Salter scale. All water is Brita-filtered water at room temperature.  Starter is rotated between two Mason jars with each feeding so jar is always kept fairly clean and sludge-free.  Ring cap is placed loosely on jar after feeding.


Day 1:  Combined 4 oz KAF bread flour and 4 oz Brita-filtered water.  Put in Mason jar and loosely covered with ring cap.

Day 2:   Morning--Fed with 4 oz water, 4 oz flour.

            Evening--The starter had more than tripled during this day and was foamy, bubbly, runny and sour-smelling.  Causes a lot of                         excitement in the house.  Stirred down, dumped to 4 oz starter, and fed with 8 oz flour, 8 oz water (1:2:2 ratio).

Day 3: Dumped all but 4 oz of starter.  Fed with 8 oz water and 8 oz flour.  Some small bubbles, but nothing spectacular.  No rise.

Day 4:   Dumped to 3 oz, fed with 6 oz water and 6 oz flour.  There has been no rising since the big foamy mess of Tuesday.

Day 5:  Kept 6 oz starter, fed 6 oz water and 6 oz flour. (I don't know why I decreased to a 1:1:1 feeding, probably just a senior moment.)

Day 6:  Kept I don't know how much, but I have notes I fed at 1:1:1.

Day 7:  Same as Day 6, fed 1:1:1.

Day 8:  Fed in the AM 1:1:1 (on 3 oz of starter), then fed in the PM the same way.  The starter rose by double this day.

Day 9:  Fed 1:1:1 on 3 oz of starter, then had to stir down 3 hours later bc starter had tripled. Fed again at noon, 1:2:2 on 3 oz., tripled again             in 3 hours.  Kept stirring down all afternoon.  Fed again in the PM, 1:2:2.

After that, I followed bwraith's advice and started feeding 1:4:4 feedings on a small amount of starter, like 20 grams.  The starter is doubling on this diet after about 6 hours.  Ambient temp in the kitchen is high 70s.

Day 10:  Baked with starter!  Made good bread!  Experiment is a success!!! 

cabbagehead's picture

I never thought I'd see the day when I would get excited about a lump of dough. I just finished kneading a basic recipe and now I have to wait a very long 90 minutes for it to rise before kneading it again. It's very warm and humid here today so I wonder if that will affect the rising time. Any thoughts? My wife is going to be very surprised when she gets home because I've been talking about doing this for months. Her first clue will be the fact that it will be very warm in the kitchen even though the air conditioning is going full blast. No, wait a minute. Her first clue will be when she opens the front door and the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread massages her olfactory nerves. Yeah, that's it.

cabbagehead's picture

I have never baked a loaf of bread in my life. I am 53 years old. My mom still makes delicious Irish soda bread. But it is my brother who lives in Costa Rica that has inspired me to finally bake some bread. I am the type of person who would never be satisfied just baking a loaf of plain white bread every weekend. I tend to max out everything I do (I started running a few years ago to get in shape and lost 42 pounds inside of 6 months). Then I started drinking beer and stopped running only to find that the 42 pounds came back with a vengeance. DUH! Anyway, I am going to bake my first loaf of bread tomorrow. Something about the concept absolutely fascinates me and I can't wait to get started. I work from home and my schedule is very flexible so I foresee no problems. I plan to post my progress for anyone that might be interested but mostly for my own amusement. {_;)>

pmccool's picture

After being on vacation 10 days, it’s taken me almost 2 days of intermittent poking around to catch up on the various goings on at TFL.  This is one busy bunch of bakers!  I especially enjoyed the JMonkey/TattooedTonka sourdough starter event and the reminiscing by others about how they got started with making bread.


Since we weren’t pressed for time, we decided to take a train from Kansas City to Chicago, and then from Chicago to Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is the end of the line for that Amtrak route.  Our oldest daughter, her husband, and their son traveled with us.  Our not-quite-5-year-old grandson, already a veteran air traveler, thought that riding the train was just about the coolest thing he has done so far.  The generous seating arrangements definitely are more comfortable than most cars or aircraft for a similar duration trip, not to mention the ability to move around without banging into your fellow travelers.  If they would make high-speed lines more widely available here in the U.S., I’d definitely use rail more often. 


Most of our time in Michigan was spent visiting family but we did manage to play tourist for a couple of days.  We visited Mackinac Island one day and did all of the usual sightseeing/fudge eating/T-shirt buying stuff.  Hmm; guess that makes us “fudgies”.  That’s a northern Michigan term for tourists, especially those from downstate, as well as a nod to the fudge shops that proliferate in most of the towns up there that draw tourists.  Our grandson was thrilled by all of the horses that are used to transport goods and people by wagon or carriage, since cars and trucks are banned from the island.  While one is less likely to be mowed down by oncoming traffic while crossing the street, it’s just as necessary to watch where you put your feet as it is to keep an eye out for carriages or bicycles.  We also bought some pasties from a store in Mackinaw City and took them back for one evening’s dinner with my wife’s brother’s family.  Yum!  Sorry, Mini-Oven, we never did make it across the bridge into the U.P.  Guess that will have to wait for another trip.  The other touristy thing we did was to tour some of the wineries on Old Mission peninsula north of Traverse City on another day.  There were only one or two in the region 30 years ago but the numbers have been growing in recent years and some of them are turning out some very drinkable wines.   


No baking was attempted while we were away, so I’m definitely looking forward to firing up the oven this weekend.  I was afraid that I might actually have to buy some bread at the supermarket when we got back into town, but was relieved to find some of my own in the freezer.  (Help me!  I’m turning into a bread snob!)  We did get to enjoy some other folks’ baking, though.  My mom made a batch of bismarks for the crew after a long day of cutting, splitting and stacking firewood for next winter.  A friend brought both dilly buns and home-baked hamburger buns for a cookout on another evening.  All were wonderful and none survived for very long. 


Vacations are funny things.  I never want them to end, but I’m always happy to get back to my own place and sleep in my own bed.  Okay, so maybe I’m the funny thing.  Anyway, I’m back home and happy with that and with the trip.

kjknits's picture

Just thought I would start a blog, so I can stop highjacking bluezebra's with all of my sourdough questions.  Hopefully I will soon be posting some photos of my own sourdough loaves!

tattooedtonka's picture

After some encouragement and ideas from BlueZebra, and Kjknits, here is an oddball bread.

Apple-Onion-Bacon Sourdough

The brownish color crust is due to large amounts of Spelt flour.


In below pic there is Apple to the right, Some onion and bacon on the left, and you will see bacon up top. With a mild apple cider flavor throughout. In case you were wonderin..



Well, if your interested in the recipe, dont even bother askin, it all went by in a blur.  I COULD give the recipe for the original Normandy Apple Bread, but not this....I even measured all the ingredients on a scale, and each time I thought something along the lines of "ok as soon as I add this in I gotta write down the amount" but it was kinda like, Attention Deficit.  Oh look at the apple cider, boy that stuff is good, where was I, oh yeah I gotta put in more flour.. Dang it forgot the weight of the bacon..

So now Im thinking, heh this might work...

So now I have this mixed and kneaded mass, and split it in half.  Placed two halves in bread pans, let rest for 1 hour 30 minutes, and fired it right into the oven at 375 for 50minutes.

And the best part is, its great........Dang I wish I wrote it down....


dolfs's picture

Today we had a large barbeque party with our various neighbors and their children and dogs (it was our dog's 10th birthday). So, I just had to make Hamburger buns and hot dog rolls.

Hamburger BunsHamburger Buns

On Friday, when my other baking was going on, I did a quick trial run with Hamelman's recipe. They were OK, but for the production run I made two changes:

  • Upped the butter to 15% (from 8%)
  • Used a wash from one egg and some milk to glaze

I made 4.3 lb of dough, and used 3 oz per bun, making 22 buns. The original recipe calls for shaping by rolling out a preshaped (mini) boule. That hadn't worked out so well for me, so for production I made nice tight mini boules, and flattened them a little (but not all the way). I used the milk/egg wash, added some sesame seeds, and baked for 15 minutes at 400F. For the hot dog buns I shaped like mini baguettes, except rolled them a little so they were even. Both were a great success.

Buns, cutBuns, cut

Since I was baking again, and my guests on Saturday ate all my Spinach Cheese Boule, I made another one today as well. Used a 4 sided cross cut slashing which worked out much better. Again, half is gone already!


redivyfarm's picture

It has been a busy time on the farm so the baking has been streamlined accordingly. RC asked for sandwich bread which inspired me to adapt a recipe that I had baked a dozen times or so last year and abandoned for heartier, tastier breads found here on The Fresh Loaf. This recipe is quick to prepare so the sourdough flavor doesn't develop much. Even with an overnight retard in the refrigerator I didn't get a noticable tang. When it was "my sd bread" I added ascorbic acid for taste. I used excess starter in this baking which always seems virtuous in the waste-not-want-not way. I finally got around to purchasing some single edge razor blades and wow, do they do a nice job of slashing! I noted that this recipe said to slash before the final proof and gave that a try as well for a little different look-

Sourdough Hybrid Loaf

Sourdough Hybrid Loaf

The most interesting thing was that with the practice I'm getting handling a variety of doughs since finding the good folk of The Fresh Loaf, I am able to tweak a recipe enough to get the taste and texture I have in mind. Folding the dough to a good surface tension just "felt right". Many thanks to all!

mkelly27's picture

So I find this cool web site about Artisan Baking, only to find out I have been registered for it for a year and a half. Go figure.

Anyhoo, if you read my intro from "Mid-Michigan check-in" you will note that this isn't the first dough I've thrown.

I became intrigued with Sourdough lady's pineapple juice starter so I started one myself on May 6, 2007 using orange juice. Needless to say it went fantastic as I now keep 2 batches alive and healthy (it's that Engineer / Redundancy thing) This weekend has been my test bed for my new culture and I can say without reservations that it has to be the best thing to ever come out of my oven.


My first Sourdough LoavesMy first Sourdough Loaves


I basically took my starter and created the BBA barm, then replaced the poolish with the barm in my regular Ciabatta recipe and left out any other yeasts.

I'm just getting used to this posting of bread porn pictures, but I'll get better. I'm considering a studio for the photo sessions along with some cheesy guitar music in the background

tattooedtonka's picture

Today was a good day so far.  I was able to produce two great loaves of Normandy Apple Sourdough, two loaves of Brownbread, and I have a Olive Sourdough in the fridge for baking in the morning.

Here is the Normandy Apple Sourdough, using my starter Miracle Max for the build.

The crust browned up real nice, but I feared it may be a bit too crunchy.  As the loaves cooled though the crust softened up nicely.  The crumb is nice and moist with the apples making a really nice kick of flavor.  The loaves arent even fully cooled yet and the first loaf is half gone.  The family loves it.  And to think they all looked kinda puzzled when I had so many starters growing in the kitchen.

Next up was Boston Brown Bread.  I deviated from the recipe in that I used frozen blueberries in place of dried ones.  I thawed, drained excess juice and then added with my liquids.  I was hoping for a very overpowering blueberry flavor.  I didnt quite achieve that though.  The molasses in the recipe came out a little stronger than I would have thought.  They are good still the same, but not exactly my cup of tea.



Okie Dokie, after that, I have a loaf of Olive Sourdough that has already been shaped, it is just doing an overnight retardation in the fridge.  I will update the finished product after Mondays Bake.



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