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hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
8315 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
Your starter is your yeast—incorporate it like you would a dry yeast. Mix it with the liquid ingredients, then add the flour. Dump it into the liquid, swish around to mix it with the water so that it will be evenly dispersed throughout the dough.

Stirring it down serves no purpose. Just add the appropriate amount by weight (never volume, as it is horribly inaccurate).

If you just plop the starter atop a dough that’s partially mixed, you’ll just have to work harder to get it distributed in the dough.

I hand mix 6 loaves at a time in a 10 qt round cambro. I add water, levain, and stir (with my hand). Then add the flour(s), rough mix w/hand. Let autolyse for 30 mins, then add salt (and sometimes additional water, if it’s a mostly whole grain dough). I then do a stretch and fold each 30 mins for the next 1.5 hrs (that’s 3 s&fs after the initial one). It sits out for another hour or two (depends on when I go to sleep), and I put it in the fridge before retiring.

It rests in the fridge until 12-1:30, I take it out, divide, rough shape, final shape, then proof in baskets for 3.5-4 hrs (depending on ambient temp in kitchen). I bake in batches and in hottest summer, some of the shaped loaves must be refrigerated again prior to baking or they will overproof before I can get them into the oven.

This schedule works for me...there are a whole bunch of ways you can adapt it to work for you. When I make pain au levain w/ no commercial yeast, I sometimes do a room temp bulk rise and an overnight refrigerated shaped rise. Those loaves are always gorgeous—terrific oven spring, scores open up dramatically, etc. But shaped loaves in baskets take up quite a bit of fridge space.


KosmoCramer
Ohio State Fan
Member since Dec 2007
61709 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
Ken's Artisan - YouTube


The link above is Ken Forkish briefly showing the techniques he uses for mixing, removing the bulk, shaping, proofing, baking, etc. in a series of short videos.

It's a great companion to the book.

ETA: not directed at you H1, more for TF99
This post was edited on 2/17 at 9:26 pm


hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
8315 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
In case anyone is ready to jump into breadmaking with both feet, Bellegarde Bakery is hosting a professional bread workshop on March 24/25. Instructor is Mike Zakowski of Bekjr in Sonoma, CA. More info here: LINK
Cost is $400.


Motorboat
LSU Fan
At the camp
Member since Oct 2007
18578 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
It's sold out. Looks like a good course if you have the time.


hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
8315 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
It’s not sold out—the notation on the linked page that says Sold Out refers to a previous workshop. If you click on *Purchase Tickets Here*, you can definitely still get a seat in the workshop.


Motorboat
LSU Fan
At the camp
Member since Oct 2007
18578 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
My bad


TigerFanatic99
Chicago Cubs Fan
South Bend, Indiana
Member since Jan 2007
11981 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
I'm preparing to frick up another loaf this weekend on Sunday, maybe I'll screw one up tomorrow too if I am feeling froggy.

Anyone else baking tomorrow or Sunday? What's on the menu?


Trout Bandit
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Dec 2012
7713 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
2 loaves wheat sourdough. Fed my starter a little while ago, will mix, fold and shape tonight and bake in the morning.


hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
8315 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
It’s Friday, so yes I’m baking.
—Eight loaves in bulk proof stage in fridge, four walnut Forkish style, four Tartine style sourdough
—getting ready to mix 8 loaves of an oatmeal sandwich loaf
—will mix 8 loaves of challah around noon.

My sourdough is much happier with the slightly warmer temps in the kitchen. It was sorry and slow moving a couple weeks ago, but this weeks refresh and levain were much more lively.

Breakfast was a sausage sandwich on oatmeal toast (frozen a few weeks ago and defrosted this AM), with butter and brown sauce.


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TigerFanatic99
Chicago Cubs Fan
South Bend, Indiana
Member since Jan 2007
11981 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
When do you feed your starter in relation to when you add it to your dough? Do you add a hungry, depeted starter to your dough, add the starter to the dough right after feeding it, or add the starter when it has fully risen (a few hours after feeding, but before it collapses)?


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hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
8315 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
I don’t bake daily, so I keep my starter in the fridge. I pull it out on Wed AM and feed it, then feed (refresh) it again Wed PM. Early Thurs AM, I mix the levain: 1.5 tablespoons starter, 75 g white flour, 75 g WW, 150 g water. This sits all day (anywhere from 8-10 to as much as 12-16 hrs, depending on ambient temp, my schedule, how lively the refreshed culture was). I look at it and decide if it’s ready to use: is it thoroughly bubbly, light and fluffy in appearance, and does it pass the float test? Ie, will a blob of it float in a bowl of water? I use the levain to make the dough: levain mixed with water, then add the flours, then autolyse 20-30 mins, then add salt and a bit more water. 4 or so stretch and folds every 30 mins, then into the fridge overnight. Pull it out and shape then rise for 3-4 hrs before baking.

An unfed starter won’t necessarily have enough oomph to give a good rise. You can use unfed starter (the part you discard) as a flavoring ingredient in a loaf leavened w commercial yeast, if you can’t bear to throw it away.

A newly fed starter—this depends. At around 72 degrees, the yeast can reproduce in about 4 hrs, So whether there is sufficient yeast available to raise your bread depends on the concentration of the starter before feeding, ingredient temps, ambient temp, and how long you wait before using.


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Trout Bandit
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Dec 2012
7713 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
I like to feed my starter at least 8 hours before I use it. I discard all but a few TBS of starter and then add my water and flour.


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10
TigerFanatic99
Chicago Cubs Fan
South Bend, Indiana
Member since Jan 2007
11981 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
I did buy Forkish's book. I love how it actually gives you a schedule for each task. This is exactly what I needed. I separated some of my starter out this morning around 10 and mixed the levain. I'll mix the dough at around 7 tonight, let it rest for half an hour, and then mix in the levain. Ill fold it a few times over the next 3 hours before I go to bed and leave 8t out, covered over night. It's about 68 degrees in the house.

I'll shape it around 9 tomorrow morning then try a noon bake.

I think last time it burnt to ahit only on the bottom because I left it to cool in the glass dish rather than let it cool on a rack or cutting board. I've got high hopes this time.


KosmoCramer
Ohio State Fan
Member since Dec 2007
61709 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
Sounds good! Cant wait to see some pics.

Glad you like the book!


TigerFanatic99
Chicago Cubs Fan
South Bend, Indiana
Member since Jan 2007
11981 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
Should I have expected my levain that I mixed about 8 hours ago to rise very much? The started I used was good (bubbly, etc. Its about 4 weeks old now).


hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
8315 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
It’s not gonna rise like a loaf of bread, but it should be visibly very bubbly.


TigerFanatic99
Chicago Cubs Fan
South Bend, Indiana
Member since Jan 2007
11981 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
Hmm. The starter I have cultivated is. The levain I mixed 8 hours ago using some of it has grown a little bit, but it isn't bubbly on top by any stretch. We may be on the path to baking another doorstop I guess. The dough is autolysing right now so I'll measure out enough of the levain an add to it here in another 20 minutes. It's about 67 degrees in here so I think I should add another 50 grams of levain per his "seasonal variation". Maybe I'll use my actual starter for that "add-in" since it does appear right.


hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
8315 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
Use the levain......bake he recipe as written before trying variations.


TigerFanatic99
Chicago Cubs Fan
South Bend, Indiana
Member since Jan 2007
11981 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
K, that's what I just did. It was noticeably stickier than previous bakes I have done. I did make sure to follow the recipe to a tee, so I assume this is expected.


KosmoCramer
Ohio State Fan
Member since Dec 2007
61709 posts

re: Baking Bread 101: Beginning a sourdough starter (pics)
Did the levain pass the float test?


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