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First Sourdough | Sourdough Companion

First Sourdough

crust viewcrumb view

My first Sourdough round made from a starter I raised a week ago. I used the Rivercottage Bread Bible guide to raising a sourdough starter and made one using a mixture of white bread flour and rye, feeding daily for a week. It burst out of its container towards the end of the week and was active and bubble and had lost it's initial erm.. strage smell. I used it in an overnight sponge, then 2-3 hour initial rise before shaping into a boule and proving in a floured cane basket. Once it had doubled, I slashed it in a pound sign and baked it on a preheated stone with water in the baking tray underneath for steam. I had issues with the baking however, the top seemed to brown really quickly so I covered it with foil and for the last 15 mins of baking, turned the whole loaf upside down in an effort to get the base to cook. It was lovely and crisp when I took it out, but upon cooling the crust had gone soggy, so I returned it to the oven for an additional 20 mins to crisp up again. I suspect it really needed longer baking and may consider getting an instant read thermometer so I can double check cooking length next time. The flavour is lovely and cool, with a pleasant hint of sour. It is flattish, but I suspect these sourdough boules are meant to be that way. It opened out quite a lot upon slashing?


 For the first time you did great.   The bread looks delicious!  

 It looks good and normal.  What are your cooking temperatures and time?

Thanks! My oven temperature always measures much lower than set (oven thermometer reads about 20degreesC lower) and I set it to maximum and preheat for 30 mins at least. This was baked for close to an hour which I thought should be long enough. Is it really worth getting an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature? I've also read around and probably need to practise getting a really good surface tension, and probably invest in a good lame. When I slash the dough, it spreads immediately and when I've seen online videos of dough slashing, the slashes seem to stay deep and not open immediately and only expand during oven spring. What is the trick to achieving this?

 If your slashes spread open immediately it might be because the loaf was slightly over proofed. What was your level of hydration and how long I'd to you leave it to proof for?

Brilliant first bread, especially since the starter was only a week old! That's brilliant!

Its about 57% hydration, I made it wetter than the river cottage book advised as I have often had better results with slightly wetter dough. I proved for about 1 hour at room temperature, but this is after an overnight sponge and a 2 hr bulk fermentation.


Yes, the starter seems to have worked alright, its still very active and bubbly (it bubbled right out of its container one day!). I'm now storing it in the fridge as I won't be baking for a week and feeding it once every 3 days, although it seems to be collecting liquid on the top (I guess this is the alcohol byproduct of the yeast). I'm tipping the liquid away before refreshing the starter.