The Fresh Loaf

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First timer with sourdough

misshoney's picture

First timer with sourdough


I just made my first loaves of sourdough and wanted some feedback. I used I noticed after that this was apparently a slightly more advanced recipe for beginners due to the high hydration/ slackness of the dough, but my loaves came out with a great sour taste and a nice crust. I think the crumb looked okay, but I feel like it was slightly more dense at the bottom (trying to figure out how to diagnose the crumb). See attached pictures. 

I wanted some feedback, as I had to make some changes since I added in too much water in my Water 2 (suggested 95g IF needed, I added 35g, definitely didn't need to but didn't see the note saying that until after I had added, whoops). The changes were as follows:

I added a little extra flour since I messed up the hydration. I added in an extra set of folds (30 mins in between the supposed final set and my final set). I did all vigorous folds, but the dough was still very slack during pre-shaping (lost shape quickly, went into shaping after 15 mins instead of the suggested 35 mins of bench rest). I think I could've shaped it more tightly, but struggled due to the stickiness (should I have put it in the fridge to help with this?) I did an experiment to see how long I should go for proofing; for Loaf 1 - the boule- I proofed for 16 hours in fridge - suggested was 18 hrs in recipe). For Loaf 2 - the batard-  I proofed in fridge for closer to 17 hours. I couldn't tell if these were underproofed or ready (the poke test made it seem like they were ready, but I wasn't sure!) I ended up baking both loaves covered in a dutch oven for the 20 mins, then 30 mins uncovered. The bottoms were a bit burned, so not sure if I should've moved the rack up or something else. I think Loaf 1 came out better, but I truly cannot tell. 

Loaf 1Loaf 1 cut

Loaf 2 cut

Any feedback or suggestions would be wonderful! This was definitely a challenge, but I enjoyed it a lot. Looking forward to making some more loaves with any suggestions :) 

tpassin's picture

The loaf looks darned good to my eyes, especially the upper crumb shot. The larger cavities are probably something about the shaping - gas bubbles that you didn't notice, places where the dough didn't stick together, things like that.  Pretty minor nits in the scheme of things.

Differences in densities are also sometimes related to the details of the shaping technique. Or, if the dough were very soft, it might compress down during the early bake just from the weight of the loaf above it.

Over-cooking on the bottom might indicate too high a baking temperature, or more likely something about the dutch oven. It's especially likely if the interior of the DO is black or very dark.


misshoney's picture

Thank you!! I appreciate your feedback :)

squattercity's picture

Big congrats. Those loaves look really good. I know from experience that Maurizio's online recipes seem simple but aren't. They require your hands learning how to feel the qualities of slack dough.

If anything, I might suggest creating a little more structure -- I don't know if you did the slap 'n' folds up front -- and more attention to shaping by creating more tension on the dome of the boule.

Also, someone wiser than me once suggested proofing in a less wide bowl or banneton. That same person noted that scoring with a cross tends to accentuate spread, while other scores -- like 3 parallel lines -- enhance stability.

But you should be very proud of those loaves. I'm glad the eating was great.



misshoney's picture

Thanks a bunch, I'll try to work on tension when I'm shaping. I appreciate you!!

semolina_man's picture

It's a winner!