The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Six Months of Sourdough!

a_warming_trend's picture

Six Months of Sourdough!

I haven't made a post in awhile, but I have been practicing, practicing, practicing. I hit one year of baking last weekend, and six months since I fell in love with sourdough. I actually haven't baked with commercial yeast since I baked that first fateful SD loaf on November 4, 2014. 

Over these last weeks, I've been experimenting with a range of ways to bake sourdough in the midst of a busy work week. This is the quest of a home baker who can't seem to limit herself to weekend baking, despite a pretty demanding full-time job. 

I've been working with a range of ways to extend fermentation: long autolyse, long cold bulk, long cold proof, BOTH long bulk and long proof, young levain, super-long-fermented levain, stiff levain, high-hydration levain, 5% levain, 30% levain, and dozens of variations in between. 

Many more specific discussions of methods and results to come in the coming weeks!


dabrownman's picture

SD bread portfolio!  Well done and Keep them coming,

nmygarden's picture

I mean, WOW.

Gorgeous, and no doubt delicious! Thanks for sharing,


Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

and gotta love all of your loaves! Really look great - I always prefer the wild yeast and these are just such a great collection of breads!!

Polish Babka's picture
Polish Babka

Congratulations on all these beautiful loaves!!! Georgous!! do you bake them in Dutch oven? the crust and ears are great! And I'm jealous of your collection of bread baking books! Nice :)

mrvegemite's picture

You have produced some wonderful looking loaves over the last few months. Look forward to hearing your opinions/observations on all the experiments you have done. Thanks for your posts

leslieruf's picture

of great looking bread. 

WendySusan's picture

I can't wait to read your about your methods for the making of all of those loaves.  Don't keep us in suspense too long.   Excellent bakes!

chouette22's picture

I continue to be amazed at how much you are able to produce besides also holding a full-time job. I just LOVE to read about your experimentations with all the different factors to produce bread. Do let us know what you have come up with! Your results speak volumes!

a_warming_trend's picture

I really appreciate your kind words. Bread-baking has definitely become one of the most exciting journeys I've ever begun, and I still feel like I just got going. 

I've been so busy at work that I've only really had time to bake the bread; I haven't sat down to record a formula in over a month. That's one of the drawbacks of my hopelessly experimentation-heavy approach: I get so excited about starting the next loaf that I often don't discipline myself to sit down and record what I just did!

To answer a few of your questions: Polish Babka, I do bake in both dutch ovens and combo cookers, but when I do the small torpedoes, I use a baking stone covered with a cheap turkey roaster lid. I actually think that overall I like the crust I produce on the stone better than that from a dutch oven or combo cooker; it's crisp and crunchy, but thinner. I also think that I am more able to get an explosively open crumb when I bake on the stone. 

On that note, Eigebroetlie: That batard towards the middle with the bonkers crumb...I am actually not sure what happened there! I do know that I had bulk fermented for 3 hours and then retarded for another 8 before shaping for a long cold proof, baking the next morning...but I haven't been able to achieve that crumb again. 

In fact, I will likely be making a new post soon describing my most consistent approach to a very open crumb. I know that's not everyone's goal, but it's definitely mine when the endpoint is a bowl of olive oil rather than a sandwich!



Skibum's picture

Wow, really nice crust, some of the most open, holey crumb I have ever seen and some very creative scoring Nicely done! Happy baking Dki

sammccollfiction's picture

I know you don't keep a detailed log - I've been baking a loaf every day for six months to try and find a consistent way to bake brownish sourdough. I've baked on metal, under metal, I've now ordered a glass casserole with lid. I've tried long and short autolyze, baking the same day and refrigerating overnight, but really I never get a huge lift. I want height! My loaves are all delicious, but don't have the bursting ear!  What do you think is the optimum weight of the dough before baking to get it to go up and not out? Thanks for any advice.