The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

What where when how?

God loves a Trier's picture
God loves a Trier

What where when how?


I’m a keen newcomer to the sourdough bread making world.  I’ve cultured a very robust and predictable starter (started as white and now fully rye). 
I’ve made a few loaves with varying degrees of success.  (Ok I’ll admit - they were terrible).  But these failures have fortified me in my mission to succeed. 
My issue is this.  I cannot two basic recipes with the same formula.  Like an Idiots Guide.

So my question is this. 
Can anyone provide me with a basic time-line of what to do and when.

(I’m pretty familiar with terms like autolyse / prove etc.  And my stretch and fold / knead technique is passable.  It’s just the timings that I find confusing. 

idaveindy's picture

Bake with Jack's overview:


Actually time, temperature, and sequence are ingredients that are, in general, unique to each recipe, AND unique to your local situation.  As Ken Forkish says: Temperature and time are ingredients.

Time and temp are also interconnected. Fermentation happens slower at cooler temperatures, faster at warmer temps up to a point.  Whole grain flours ferment faster than white flour.  So your room temp or fridge temp will make things happen faster or slower.  

Your flour may take more time or less time.  Your starter may be slow/weak and cause the dough to take longer to ferment.  Or it may be strong/supercharged and ferment the dough quickly.

You learn to "read" the dough by practice and lots of experience.

A popular saying on this web site is: Watch the dough, not the clock.  A good recipe will tell you exactly what to _look for_ in the dough, not the exact number of minutes to wait.

The Interwebs is full of bread recipes.  Find one that gets good reviews, and follow it.   There is no need for a beginner to invent their own recipe.

---->  But... a good baker learns to tweak, or adjust, a recipe to meet his or her local conditions, and local ingredients.  The most common adjustments are hydration (due to dry/moist/less-thirsty/more-thirsty flour), amount of starter/levain (due to being strong/weak, or local temperature), and length of time for bulk and final proof (usually for temp differences.) <----

On another recent thread, From BaniJP's comment:

Joshua Weissman:

Sourdough Masterclass:

Bon Appetit:

The Perfect Loaf:

From my comment:

Bake with Jack: Of special note: watch Ep 128 first, then Ep 101. Channel home page:

Ken Forkish:

Trevor Wilson :

Full Proof Baking:


Take your pick.   Also, books from Peter Reinhart, Ken Forkish, and Jeffrey Hamelman will teach you a lot.  Those seem to be the favorite cookbook authors mentioned on this web site.


This web site also has lessons. Click the "Lessons" link at the  top of the page.

Good luck, amigo.

God loves a Trier's picture
God loves a Trier

Thank you - that’s given me plenty to look at x