The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

My first attempt at sourdough

Trptman's picture

My first attempt at sourdough

Alright, like every new bread baker, I have been intrigued and completely enthralled by the idea of producing a loaf of sourdough. After two weeks of cultivating a starter, I finally decided to go ahead, and try to bake with it. As a first attempt, I am more than satisfied. The crust is extremely crispy, crunchy, and delicate. The crumb is fairly chewy with a slight tang to it. Not overpowering, but definitely there. While not super sour, the flavor is definitely more subtle and complex than the normal white baguettes I was making before. Next time, I think I'll try to add a bit more starter. I've seen recipes that call for a single tablespoon up to two cups to make essentially the same amount of bread. How much are you using and what quantity does that produce? Needless to say, I am completely obsessed and angry that college/life is getting in the way of baking every day.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Looks better than my last attempt.

Really lovely indeed!

How you maintain and use your starter will affect the flavour. Enjoy experimenting.

Danni3ll3's picture

We are glad to have you join us! And your loaf is beautiful! That’s an amazing accomplishment for your first Sourdough boule!

As to your question, most of us work by weight measurements so if you don’t have a scale, that might be something you may want to consider. It’s a lot easier to figure out percentages. That being said, I usually use about 12% prefermented flour. I have dropped it down to 11% and lately have used 14-17% because it’s winter even though my house is kept at 73F. 

Okay so what does this mean? It means that this is the amount of flour that is in the sourdough starter compared to the total amount of flour in the entire recipe (including the starter). I usually use 1100 g of flour in total ( that includes the flour I am going to feed my starter) and I want to have 14% prefermented flour. So 1100 x 0.14 = 154. That’s the amount of flour in grams that I am going to use in my starter. It usually ends up being a bit more because I don’t count the original bit of starter which can be 10 to 25 g. You lose some anyway scraping it out of the container into your recipe. 

As to the amount of water you use in the starter, that’s up to you. If you are used to a 100% starter, then you use the same amount of water. In the example above, that would also be 154 g. So the total amount of starter would be ~308 g for my 1100 g of total flour. Remember to deduct tbe flour you use in the starter from the entire recipe. Here you would be left with 946 g for your main dough. 

I hope I haven’t lost you. When Dabrownman explained this to me, it took a long time and a lot of rereading before I got it. I tried to be as clear as possible but ask away if you don’t get something. Then again, you may know all of this already...

Oh and my 1100 g of flour makes 3 boules of ~650 g baked weight. 

Trptman's picture

Thanks for all that info Danni. I am totally following your calculations about total flour and starter. I did not have a scale when I first created the starter but do now and used that to make this loaf. I used about 700g of bread flour in addition to the starter. I liked the amount of bread I got out of these two loaves and will probably continue to use about that much. However, I also may try your suggestion of 11-12% prefermented flour. What is the taste that you usually get out of that recipe? I would like something a little stronger in terms of sour flavor, but not too overpowering.


Thanks again for the info! Looking forward to continue experimenting! 

Danni3ll3's picture

so I am probably not the best person to advise you. I do know though that if you make your Levain and put it in the fridge for 24 hours or more once it has hit peak, that it will make a much more tangy bread. Sifting our the bran out of the whole grain flour in your recipe and using that to feed your starter will also increase the sourness. 

You need to look for Dabrownman’s posts on making bread more sour as that’s the type of bread he aims for. The above hints are from him. 

Hope  this helps!

hreik's picture

You should be very proud of yourself.  Nicely done.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

In the loaf (stay under half the flour weight) the less sour it will taste.  Just the opposite of what you might think.  

Per loaf (Shooting from the hip...) I use about half a cup of stirred down sourdough starter for a white loaf requiring 3 to 4 cups of flour.  :)


bread1965's picture

That is one very nice loaf! Well done!