Where am i going wrong?



Over the past month or 2 i've been trying to bake white sourdough loaves, but failing 90% of the time.

My liquid starter is 100% and passes the float test.

I use

450g Strong White flour, 380g Water, 120g starter and 12g Salt. So 80% hydration

I mix the water, flour and starter for 15 minutes the left for 30 minutes, then the salt is added and mix again.

I then bulk fermention for 5 hours stretching and the dough every 30 minutes.

I then shape the dough and place into the bannenton for 24 hours in the fridge.

The bread is baked in a dutch oven for 30 minutes and the 20 minutes without the lid.

The bread comes out very flat, with a dense crumb.

Any advice?



208 users have voted.


Laz0685's picture
Laz0685 2017 January 15

Hi Nathan,

It is possible your dough is overproofed since the second rise is 24 hours in the fridge. Try shortening this time to 8-12 hours. You may try switching recipes and using a dough with a lower hydration. It is more forgiving. Don't lose heart. I churned out about 10 bricks before I had an edible loaf..that was 3 years ago and now I rarely have a loaf not turn out.

Kind Regards,


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2017 January 16

The dough is at 84% hydration.  I would try for something around 70% hydration.  High Hydration doughs can be a bit a of challenge.

farinam's picture
farinam 2017 January 17

Hello Nathan95,

LeadDog is right, that is a very high hydration, particularly for a beginner.  I actually calculate it at 86% (including the starter) but let's not quibble.  I would suggest that you reduce the water to 300g or increase the flour to 550g which will bring you down to a reasonable hydration.

Lisa is also correct to advise not to give up as it sometimes does take a while to 'get the feel' and make 'good' bread though it would be rare that anything is completely inedible.

Good luck with your projects.


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