The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

My Daily Bread

ehanner's picture

My Daily Bread

Yesterday morning I started a batch of my basic all white SD dough. I had meant to include some white ww and a little rye for flavor but I was having a senior moment and so today we are enjoying white sourdough. I have been experimenting with varying the amount of starter in the batch to effect the final consistency. I find that the smaller the amount of starter I use, the more slack the dough is when it's time to form. With that in mind one could simply add more flour to stiffen up the dough but in my experience the condition of the starter is not a stable value so my thought is that I should learn to adjust the amount of starter based on how healthy it is at the moment to arrive at a consistency I can work with.

Today I am using 50g of active starter to rise 1100g of AP flour (Harvest King) at 65% hydration which works out to 710g of water. This is double the amount I have been using for this bread. The usual 2% salt is 22g. I mixed all ingredients in a bowl by hand and frisaged on the counter, gathered into a ball and let it rest for an hour covered.

After the rest, the dough is smooth and elastic. I now get to enjoy the maneuver I feel is the single most helpful in the kneading step, the French Fold. In just a few moments of French folding one can transform a slack untrained mass into a well formed and tensioned dough. There used to be a video here showing this maneuver but alas I think it was taken down by the poster. Anyway the bulk ferment is planned for 12 hours in the oven with the light on.

Dividing, shaping, PAUSE 10 mins, and shape into boules for the final proof of about 1 hour. With a little creative cutting of parchment I can manage to get two boules in the oven on a cookie sheet. I boiled a cup of water and placed it in the oven alongside the dough. After an hour, I pulled the water glass, slashed and baked from cold at 425F for 30 minutes + -.

The dough spread like a turtle and I feared I would be submitting these as "out takes" but to my constant surprise the oven sprung as advertised and all is well after all.



bwraith's picture


I am also very interested to get a better understanding of the difference between large percentage and low percentage of starter in the dough. The bread looks good.


ehanner's picture

Thanks Bill coming from you that's a big complement. I don't profess to understand the science yet but there is something about the acids in the starter that soften the dough mass and allow for gluten development. The interesting thing is that more starter allows for better gluten at the same time window. That means I get a shaped dough that stays put slightly better during the final proof and first 10 minutes after slashing.

To me it is a little frustrating because I know a more slack dough will give me better oven spring but the same quality means it becomes a pancake on the parchment. The Yin and Yang of this is hard to be sure of. At least for me anyway.

So my current approach is to try and get the same feel of hydration and arrive at a "moderate dough" that will hold it's shape and use slightly more starter than I have been. Less starter would mean longer ferments and proof times and perhaps better breads but I'm willing to sacrifice better taste for the moment so I can get repeatable results in a 12 hour window without refrigeration. By Sunday it's going to be 80F outside so none of this will be valid I suppose.--



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and you got lots of color on the top.  The bottom strikes me as pale by comparison and don't take this wrong but I'd be tempted to go down a shelf lower in the oven.   Mini Oven