The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Am I on the right track with sourdough?

granniero's picture

Am I on the right track with sourdough?

Hi Bakers,

I have lurked here for some time,played around with baking with fairly good success,I'm happy and so are my friends and family. At least we can all laugh together at the real flops.

I have a starter I got from KA,have had it for some time,take it out once in awhile and make waffles tried some bread with some good,some not so good results. I am somewhat afraid of it (the starter) but it's only flour and water,right? We can throw it out and there is always more. I have read the posts here for a good while,read lots of books and everything on sourdough I can find. Time to get down to business.

I began last night and will tell you what I've done so far and plan to do next and just want to know if you think I am on the right track. I have read so much,I want to get some method of my own down pat and work with that and improve from there. Last night I took the starter out of the fridge, don't remember when it was fed last (don't laugh,I'm still new at this). also didn't measure but it was at least a cup to a cup and a half. I let it come to room temp,fed it with a cup of water and cup of flour.   Then today I took out a cup, put it in another container and fed it a half cup flour and water. Marked it on the side of the container to check for doubling. In 4 hrs it was exactly doubled.  The recipe I am using came with the KA starter. It calls for 9 oz starter.a cup and half of water and 3 cups flour to start. I mixed this together,stirring vigorously as recipe said, then I placed it in covered bowl in fridge to wait for tomorrow since it got too late this evening to finish. Hopefully,this is called "retarding" ? Original recipe says to wait 2-8 hrs,does not mention refrigeration step.  Tomorrow I plan to take it out, let it return to room temp, add remaining flour,sugar and salt as called for. Knead and rise till doubled. Shape into loaves. rise again and bake.


Am I on the right track? I know I forgot to discard some of the starter when I took it out of fridge but when I saw it had doubled in 4 hours today, I was hopeful I was headed in the right direction. I have perhaps read too much and worry too much also. Keep telling myself,it's only flour and water.

Thanks for your input,always enjoy reading what all of you are doing.   Rosemary in steamy Florida






SourdoLady's picture

You should be fine with it. If you are still up to read this tonite, I'd recommend that you take it out of the fridge and leave it at room temp overnight. It would then be ready to continue with the recipe in the morning. More likely, you are not still up so in the morning this is what I would do: Take your chilled preferment and float the bowl in another, larger bowl of warm water to get it warmed up. After about 5 minutes of floating, flip the dough mass over in the bowl so that the cold side is now on the bottom. Put fresh warm water in if it has cooled too much. In another 5 or 10 minutes you can take it out of the water bath and then continue with the 2 to 8 hour ferment that your recipe calls for. I wouldn't go with more than 4 hours since you already have gluten development happening from the refrigeration stage.

Retarding is normally done after the dough is completely mixed. You can retard the dough either before or after shaping your loaves.

Don't be afraid of your sourdough. Just jump in and do it! We were all beginners once and the only way you'll learn is to give it your best shot. We learn from our mistakes so don't feel bad if you make a few flops. There are plenty of people here at TFL who will help you if you need it. Good luck!