The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Anybody have luck with Sarah Owens' "Sourdough" book?

KatinaP's picture

Anybody have luck with Sarah Owens' "Sourdough" book?

Has anyone else tried the bread recipes from Sarah Owens' "Sourdough"?

The first bread just came out of the oven - Chestnut Bread. Haven't tasted it yet but I had my doubts the whole way along the process. The dough didn't stretch properly - it broke off instead of being elastic, which is a sign of the gluten not being developed, correct? It also had no oven spring. I followed the recipe as written and I'm wondering if any of you had any luck with the recipes or made any adjustments that I should try.

I used Maine Grains sifted wheat flour as the bread flour, according to the seller's instructions.

I'm posting a photo that I'm embarrassed about. For the record, in the past I've lots of success with Tartine and FWSY breads, among others.

The book:

Thank you!

bread1965's picture

and had the courage to post the picture.. Haven't heard of the book, so I haven't tried it.. maybe posting the recipe can give us a clue as to what might have gone wrong!  Let us know..

AlanG's picture

sharp edges from the wheat bran can act as a shearing force to inhibit gluten development but you still should be getting some.  I've not had the experience of have the dough break as you describe but I mostly use 10% rye in my sourdough with the remaining AP flour.

embth's picture

The two reviews are posted 11/10/15 and 11/4/15.    It will be interesting to read the reviews that are posted when more people have worked the recipes. 

KatinaP's picture

So, I emailed the author and turns out my error was using the Maine Grains sifted wheat as my sole bread flour. I should have used it as no more than 30% of the called for bread flour. Round 2 is made with King Arthur Bread Flour and had great oven spring. It's still cooling so I can't show the crumb yet.


Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

That makes sense. Using all whole wheat flour instead of bread four is going to make a huge difference.  30% is a pretty good mark for any other grains other than bread flour without having to alter much and still get an expected loaf.

This ended up looking good. Congrats!

KatinaP's picture

Well, the flour seller said the "sifted wheat" was its version of bread flour based on the gluten content and that is how I should use it. (I can't remember what type of wheat it was, hard wheat or what) I just made the mistake of getting overzealous. ;)

Next up: Butternut Squash and Cherry Sourdough

CB Scott's picture
CB Scott

Yes. I make sourdough loaves that come out great after watching a YouTube video of her "table loaf" I'm pretty sure the secret is the starter. I started using rye flour in my starter and make sure a table spoon full floats before adding to the dry flours. Also I followed her lead and now use my hands to mix. 

KatinaP's picture

Since I first posted 5+ years ago on the Sarah Owens book, I've made her breads hundreds of times and that have turned out fabulously. It was my inexperience that got in the way the first time. Go figure!