My First Sourdough

Rather than doing what most people do when they want to try baking sourdough bread, I just jumped right in and developed my own starter. And, despite the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing, it worked! I mean, I can read a book as well as anyone else. But my practical bread building experience is almost nil. The starter took an extra day or two beyond what The Bread Baker’s Apprentice had set as the standard schedule. But then, there’s really nothing standard about developing a wild yeast starter. So I didn’t worry too much, just followed the suggestions and kept plugging away. Here are a few starter shots as I went along:

sourdough starter

sourdough starter

And here’s the barm. The white tape marks the beginning level. I’d say that’s some active yeast, eh?

sourdough barm

The finished loaves were far from perfect. The bottom is a bit too brown and the top not quite brown enough. I need a proper tool for the cuts in the top. (I used a box knife. No really.) I need to work on setting up my boule a bit better. Needs more surface tension. But after doing two I now have more of a feel for it. The taste seems just about right. Good sour taste. Probably could be a little more sour. But that will probably develop as the starter matures. I wish they had risen more. And I wish my oven wasn’t so sketchy. There’s no keeping an even temperature. At least I have an oven thermometer so I can keep adjusting, but I know it’s all over the place. Also, I think I had them too far down in the oven, but I needed to leave space at the top for the steaming water. Anyway, here’s a loaf and a slice:

sourdough loaf

sourdough slice