The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

First time Sourdough

markf1988's picture

First time Sourdough

Hey all

Used the perfect loaf Beginners Sourdough to make my first loaf!

I had to bulk ferment for an extra 2 hours with an extra 2 folds as room temp was around 19oC and my dough seemed so weak and slack.

Even then, I had great difficulty pre shaping and shaping because it was just everywhere. I persevered and retarded it overnight for 14 hours but when I flipped it over on my peel it just fell apart and spread like a puddle. The dough was just so sticky.

Cooked it in a Le Creuset which gave it a nice spring. Nice thick bottom crust (maybe a little too hard) but Im surprised by the spring I got from it. The texture is too closed though compared to the photos. Do you think I gave it too long to bulk ferment, but it would have been so hard to handle if I shaped it after 4 hours only.

Appreciate any advice!



JerrytheK's picture

No advice, but congratulations.

OK, some advice. Keep at it! My first few loaves were deadly hockey pucks.

The crumb looks good to me.

DanAyo's picture

Mark, you should be very proud! Sourdough can be challenging.

The formula you are baking is outstanding. But you mentioned slack dough. Maurizio’s formula calls for 78% hydration, which is a little wet for new bakers. I recommend that you consider reducing the hydration to 74%. If you choose to do so, simple subtract 40 grams of water from the formula, you will find the dough much easier to handle.


Benito's picture

Mark, really amazing first sourdough bake!  That is the recipe that I’ve been practicing with, I love the flavour of it.  I was having some issues with building enough structure and also with shaping.  One of the things that led to a breakthrough for me was when Danny suggested trying to drop the hydration a bit.  It doens’t seem like much but dropping it to 74% made it a lot easier to build enough structure and to shape.  Once I dropped it to 74% I was getting amazing oven spring and nice ears.  It was nice having really good success after many tasty but not great looking bakes.  I’ve only been working with sourdough since the late spring and only bake bread once every week or two at the most so I’m not the most experienced.  But having great success with slightly lowering the hydration really gave me some positive feedback and encouragement rather than discouragement. 

Anyhow, keep at it, great first bake.