Adventures in Bread-Making: Sourdough Loaf #1

After my successful-ish first loaf of white bread, I decided to take on an intimidating challenge, far great than myself: sourdough bread. It’s been quite a process, and my loaf could use a lot more work, but the flavor and crust are spot-on. But first, the fails.

I absorbed myself in a very deep YouTube hole, watching lots of videos about sourdough starters and how to use the starter to make bread. Along the way, I became very aware (very quickly) of all the little details that could be misinterpreted along the way.

For example, I followed a recipe by The Kitchn for 5 days — weighing flour and water to feed my starter for 5 days. However, in her step-by-step, there is no mention of removing and discarding starter at every feeding. So, I followed what was written and just kept adding flour and water each day. Big mistake. My proportions were all wrong and although my starter was bubbly and sour-smelling, it lacked the proper consistency. I had to throw it all away and start over.

The following week, I spent 7 days cultivating my starter using Joshua Weissman’s extremely helpful video. He makes the entire process approachable and easy to follow, and before I knew it, I was ready to attempt my first sourdough loaf using his amazing YouTube video.

Like his timetable outlines, it took me the entire day plus another 4 hours the following day. It’s a very traditional recipe with many steps and moments of waiting in-between.

The result was good, but dense. I suspect that my starter was not as active as it should have been, and our fridge was on the colder side for the overnight proof. It was a solid B+, but there was a lot of room for improvement. So I tried again! See my results in this post.