Hi Everyone, My name is Malcolm and I hail from Melbourne Australia and I am trying to bake sour dough.


I have been trying to bake a sour dough loaf for about 5 weeks now, not the same loaf but 4  different ones, I used a recipe for the starter from a youtube video from take back the bread. The advantage for me for this recipe is it had the video to go with it. (Visual learner)


The starter recipe has

4 cups of white allpurpose flour

4 cups of potato water 

2 Tablespoons of honey

2 teaspoons of salt 


The dough recipe

2 cups of starter 

I cup warm water (only if starter is really thick)

2tsp of salt

2 tsp of sugar

4-5 cups of flour


Starter: Mix it all together, leave out to catch yeast from the air for 2 to 3 days  and then when bubbly into the fridge, the starter did everything it was suppose to do and I thought here we go,

I made a dough following the recipe and I had a lot of trouble getting my first loaf to rise, its winter here so not very warm, but I got there 9 hours later, the second rise at night was in a warmed up then turned off oven with a bowl of warm water for 3 hours. Cooked it for 30 mins  till brown and sounded hollow. When I took it out of the oven and it cooled (well it was still warm) I cut it and it was doughy in the centre, it has the right taste

My second try was even more doughy, this time no water in the oven during cooking, I made a proving box from an up turned plastic tub and a home brew warming pad and a thermometer, it gets to abut 20c in there and I have proved yeast bread and it works great

Today I have made two loafs, I have an oven themometer to check the oven and its close but I adjusted for it. I proved the bread for 12 hours the 1st prove then 4 hours the second and it is worse, no water in the oven this time took almost 90 mins to get to an internal temp of the bread was 190c

I just cooked the second loaf and 1st proove was 12 hours, second prove was 6 hours, I didnt want to cook the second loaf untill I had seen the result of the first. For no other reason than I had to try something I set the oven to 210c and closed my eyes and said a little prayer and it took 40 mins to get to an internal temp of 200 it is crusty brown and I am to scared to cut it untill it cools down.

I will check back later with the results, but should it not work can anyone see anything wrong woth the above??


Kind regards



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farinam's picture
farinam 2013 August 10

Hi Mal,

There are more ways to make a loaf of bread,probably, than there are bakers.  The main things are for the starter to be active, the dough to be properly developed and the loaf to be properly proved.  With respect to your starter you don't give any details how it is developed and maintained.  A good starter often requires at least a week to ten days of development to get the balance of yeasts and bacteria right.

A good place to start on this site is SourDom's Beginners Blogs.  They give a good run down on developing and maintaining a starter, preparing and developing the dough, shaping the loaf and so on right through to baking.

Generally for a plain bread you shouldn't require anything other than your starter (started and maintained with just flour and water)  flour, water and salt.

The timing of your preparation, development and proving will depend mainly on temperature and will vary between kitchens and the seasons unless you have temperature control and you should be guided by what is happening rather than what is given in a recipe or blog as mostly the precise temperature and climate conditions are not given.

The other thing that you need is practice and I generally recommend that you pick one simple recipe such as SourDom's Pane francesa and make that a number of times with only variations as indicated by your experience with dough development, shaping and proving.  You will be amazed at how it will suddenly come good.

Good luck with your projects.


Mal 2013 August 11

Hi Farinam 


Already onto the statrter on here I am going out to get ingredients today. I figured it might be the starter cause it doesnt rise like the one discribed in the sourdough starter you recommended 




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