Russell's Blog

New. Improved. Stays crunchy in milk.

First Sourdough!

Posted by Russell on August 07, 2008 at 8:56 a.m.
My first attempt at sourdough bread seems to have produced a pair of unexpectedly tasty results. I was rather skeptical that this would actually work the first time. The taste came out much better than I had hoped for; awesome sourness, but not so sour as to overpower the flavor of the wheat. These are 50% whole grain, so they have some nice texture from the bran, but are still chewy and moist.

The boules didn't quite shape up the way I wanted them to, and sort of spread out on the baking pan once they came out of the bannetons. That's why they're more disk-shaped than sphere-shaped. Also, I didn't attempt anything fancy with the crust.

I cultured the starter from stone milled rye flour, and fed it alternating whole wheat and white flour every 12 hours for two weeks. The starter was the only difficult part. I killed my first starter by accidentally overheating it in my makeshift incubation pan. I gave up on the precise temperature control, which seems to have produced a somewhat less lively starter. It lifts the dough just fine, though.

The ingredients were :

  • 1/4 cup starter
  • 3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 1/2 cups white bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
I know it's better to use grams than cups for measuring flour, but I don't have a good bench scale yet.

This made two loafs, which I put into bannetons for 12 hours of rising. I baked them for 45 minutes at 375F, with a pan of water bubbling away at the bottom of the oven.

I made the bannetons from some small fruit baskets that were sitting around attracting junk accumulation. I made the liners by reclaiming some nice raw linen that was part of an IKEA laundry basket that had fallen apart at the seams (carefully washed, of course). I floured the banneton liners carefully, so they didn't stick much at all.

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