My first loaf failed

Can someone tell me what went wrong? I'm really new to making sourdough. I have made a strong starter from scratch by mixing 2oz of water and flour and adding it to 2oz of starter. My starter is doubling in size, has a fruity aroma and lots of bubbles. I used this recipe to make two small loafs. They were rising beautifully, I slashed them and put them in the oven. Not only did they come out really pale but they're cracked on the bottom. Do you have any insights?
191 users have voted.


oldman 2018 November 9

I'm not crazy about the recipe you used.  I wouldn't advise mixing baker's/active dry yeast and starter.  It's not going to give you the flavor profile you want and most of the rise is the yeast, not the starter.  The cracking/seperation/tearing is caused by too rapid a rise and the dough is probably continuing to rise while it's baking.  With sourdough you usually slash the loaf to avoid that cracking.  It's less of a problem there because even sourdough with big bubbles in it still takes at least twice as long to raise as regular yeast breads. 

Check the recipe section of this site.  Find a recipe that uses only flour, water, salt, and starter.  Nothing fancy, just a basic sourdough.  Try again with a recipe that's not correcting for mistakes you didn't make and you should have more success.  If you want to retry your original recipe, use half as much of the rapid rise yeast you used the first time.

Rfox2014 2018 December 11

Did you bake in a dutch oven?  I recommend you read up more on sourdough making.  There is an excellent book called “flour, water, salt, yeast’ that is great for building your foundation of knowledge.  Think of it as a bread bible, if you will

larrikin 2018 December 15

I am fairly new to sourdough.  My first three batches were acceptable, but not great.  Like some other posts, my crust gets too hard and does not take on the desired deep golden color. You folks posted that is due to an oven that is not hot enough.

Most of the time my oven is, indeed, unreliable.  I live so far out in the country, if I called for a repair, I would have to feed and board him or her overnight!  Should I try using the convection feature on the oven? 

Do you recommend a stone for the oven?

mattyf9 2019 January 23

I don’t like this recipe at all. If you want to make sourdough then why use commercial yeast at all? You don’t need it. Look up Trevor J Wilson online and on YouTube. The guy makes amazing bread. Just at a glance it looks like you didn’t have enough steam to make a dark brown crust. Steam is vital. Spraying the loaf a few times before you put it in the oven isn’t going to cut it. You need to create a lot of steam and without a professional oven, it’s very difficult to do. You need to bake your bread in a Dutch oven. The steam released from the dough will be captured inside the Dutch oven creating the steam you need. Also, what are you using to shape and do a final proof? The shape of the dough is odd, and it seems you didn’t score your bread Which is why it cracked like that on top. 

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