I love Italy! Thoughts on why I am getting all that density? And starting can be daunting, especially with sourdough, but that’s what this post is about: a beginner’s sourdough bread. But, my loaf could use some improving…the crumb was a bit moist, it did have good air pockets, but could be a bit airier. Determining the correct proof point comes with experience, especially if you bake the same formula over and over again. This is my beginner’s sourdough bread. I baked a loaf using this recipe. In the end, bread was fine, maybe a bit overfermented so I’ll try to adjust it a bit tomorrow. In addition to this, organic acids that are present, and produced by, your starter/levain help condition the gluten and build strength in your dough during the long bulk and cold proof. The modifications are the following: 1). Once you add all these things you really have to work the dough with your hand to get it all incorporated thoroughly. If you want to increase rye just remove a portion of the AP flour and add in rye in its place. I followed your timings exactly and the levain failed the float test, so I gave it another hour, still with no results. Autolyse (“auto-lease”) is a step in the baking process where  only flour and water are mixed together , always at the beginning of the whole process. 12:35 Shape I don’t know how to troubleshoot to see if its over proofed, under developed or if I’m missing something else? With regard to shaping, try to ensure you have a fairly taut top surface of your boules when you shape them. HI! I haven’t got the hang of high hydration dough and 78% is too high for me so I decreased the hydration to 70%. Do you add salt to the already mixed flour, then water then levain? But I didn’t get much leavening or bubbling during the bulk fermentation — a little activity, and a little sourness, but no significant proofing and no bubbling around the edges, as you describe and show above. Her recipes are simple to follow, foolproof, and utterly delicious. I’m at 5000ft elevation. Any suggestions? I’ve never personally used a stainless steel bowl but I know others have. I thought I was in business! Spreading the word about sourdough and getting people into baking awesome bread at home is what I’m all about Thanks! Combo Cooker — love it for more than just bread, it’s a workhorse in my kitchen. I am new to sourdough baking, and your recipe was my fourth attempt at making sourdough bread (the three other recipes I tried before were not very successful). After about 3 hours, the volume of the dough had nearly doubled, and the poke test looked good. Emilie has the answers. I highly recommend Central Milling’s Artisan Bakers Craft (Plus) flour, it’s really good stuff. Use what you have and you’ll get great bread, no worries about spending any more than needed. At this point, your autolyse is complete, and your levain is ready. As far as oils (like walnut oil or olive oil) I feel like adding these in at any time is fine. If you’re new to shaping bread dough, have a look at my Guide to Shaping a Boule (a round) in addition to the steps below. The ability to convert a “sourdough hater” into a “sourdough lover” might be one of the best compliments ever! You can also poke at the dough from time to time and start to build up a feel for how the dough responds: is it very weak feeling (close to overproof)? How was the performance? Happy baking . Nonsense! 3 hours for bulk fermentation could work just fine, it depends on how the dough looks and feels. Hi Maurizio, first of all thanks for writing these detailed instructions! Looking forward to using your tips and suggestions the next time I bake, Great to hear that, Karen, glad I put this up when I did! Is there any difference in crust between steam oven method and combo cooker method ? A levain is composed of a ratio of bacteria and yeast and is essentially flour that has been pre-fermented. Her passion and hands-on teaching techniques have attracted both bakers and non-bakers from all walks of life. Next I want to go back to mostly white bread flour and incorporate some black garlic I just made, maybe with walnuts or dry cured black olives. Your baking sheet will work just fine! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Don’t forget to tag @theclevercarrot and use #artisansourdoughmadesimple on Instagram and Facebook. See my guide to the autolyse technique for more information on its benefits and uses. I let the levain go for 8-9 hours (it expanded to its peak mixed after the autolyze close to 78 degrees F). As described in the temperature section above, this means try to get the dough to come in at this temperature right at the end of mixing (which is also right at the beginning of bulk fermentation). Working with one at a time, flip the round so the floured top is now down on the floured work surface. Taste is phenomenal. Thank you! Tried it this weekend. Yet about fresh milled whole wheat. If the thought of keeping a sourdough starter alive seems downright scary to you, you need this book. I performed 3 sets of stretch and folds, and let the dough bulk ferment for a total of 4h30. Most folks learning to cook will do so with the tools on hand — measuring cups, bowls, dishtowels, sharp knife and timers. I just made this bread and it’s delicious, but I have a problem when I bake that I never get a good oven rise. But it spread all over the place as I transferred it to the baking peel to go to the dutch oven. I vividly remember the weeks leading up to that first loaf: weeks of voraciously reading Tartine Bread, finally thinking that my newborn sourdough starter and I were ready to take on the sourdough world. Could I just use the preheated baking stone and hope for the best? Without more details, and knowing the hydration isn’t overly high for this recipe, my first guess would be your dough was overproofed. The flour I used here also has such a high protein percentage the dough strengthens up rather quickly during bulk, even with just a few stretch and folds. Good luck on the next bake . Placing it higher in the oven would work if your heating element is at the bottom of your oven, some are like this, just make sure you have enough room to lift off the lid! Complete Sourdough Cookbook: Authentic And Original Sourdough Recipes From The Old West. I’ll keep up with three feedings per day for a week and see how it goes. From her master formula she expanded variations that use wholegrain, alternative flours such as rye and einkorn. It’s this Lodge 3qt. Elaine has dedicated the last few years of her life to her social media pages where she personally answers every single question posed to her about sourdough. Much, much too complicated to call it a beginner’s instruction page. The Clever Cookbook Calculating baker’s math is not difficult in any way, to be honest. This post is a how-to guide on getting started with baking my sourdough style at home, with extra description at each step. =P We got more activity and better rise this time. PS Still failed the float test, but didn’t seem to matter! I have these liners that I tend to use, sprinkled with a bit of white rice flour to ensure the dough really doesn’t stick. A triumph! Your bread will turn out awesome. How do you know when the proof has gone on too long or hasn’t gone on long enough? Using your hands, mix all the flour and the water called for in the “Dough Mix” section above in a bowl until all dry bits are hydrated. As I’m getting ready to make bread today. So I’ve just started doing Instagram:) A few tweaks later, the second batch came out great. mine are in the freezer in plastic bag . I will try that. Everything looked fine until the actual bake. Let me know how it goes — happy baking, Deb! Invert the peel and parchment paper so they are resting on top of your basket. A rustic bread like this begs to be torn apart and eaten with a thick, hearty stew. By the time I pulled it out of the oven, it had flattened quite a bit and there was even a noticeable indent on one side. Try adding 2 more sets of stretch/fold during bulk (really vigorous stretching and folding at the beginning), this should help prevent the dough from spreading so much after your preshape. The target final dough temperature (FDT) for this dough is 78°F (25°C). You’re very welcome Andrea! Appreciate your work and advice! If the dough feels good to you, use all the reserved water. A starter is a mix of flour and water that naturally ferments. I’m sure your bread is great but for my site, and for sourdough that I truly enjoy, I think this is a good place to start, to learn the terms you’ll definitely overhear somewhere along the way, and to help those who visit here see a little deeper into the way I learned to bake. Check out my guide on starter maintenance, if you haven’t yet, which shows you what it should look like when it’s at its “peak”, which is exactly how you want your levain to look and smell. This way even when I open the door to the oven it quickly gets back up to temperature since there is a massively hot cast iron lid in there. Awesome — sounds super delicious! My very first sourdough loaf surprisingly turned out to be pretty decent, but oh boy, was it sour. A beautiful tasty bread with fresh milled wheat! And to practice And to try it with walnuts!! I’ll also give additional time a shot next time. I did a 2.5 hour autolyse of flour+water. I’m a total beginner and this site, especially this recipe, has made it possible for me to bake my first loaf. So far, I was usually sticking to Tartine recipe but your method really made a difference. I have one quick question about the formula you describe here – you don’t really seem to do much of a knead, other than quickly mixing things together before the bulk ferment. A bit too much flour, but it’s the first time I’m using the banneton, so I wanted to be sure the dough wouldn’t stick. As you’ve probably guessed all these steps are interrelated and build on each other. Thanks! Score these loaves at a 90° angle between the razor blade and dough. Hi Maurizio – thank you so much for taking the time to put together such a comprehensive blog (and especially this post!) If you’ve already done this, we can proceed; if not, I have an entire post dedicated to creating a sourdough starter. I’ll be using organic sprouted white wheat flour and arrowhead mills organic rye, plus I have some whole wheat already on hand (can’t remember the brand). Not a n00b question at all. It didn’t rise quite as well as yours during the bulk ferment. Totally hooked on this site. Hope that helps, keep me posted and happy baking, Liz! What I’m saying is if you want to make 1 loaf take all the ingredients in the Dough Formula and divide them by two. Nothing to be scared of. Stretch the dough up high enough just so that you can fold it completely over to the other side of the dough in the bowl. 12:40 Bake in preheated oven. This will give fermentation a little more time as well. Wow, well that’s great then! I live in Asia. This has happened to me plenty of times, usually a case of too much water for the flour to handle, as you guessed! I’ve been trying to find information about sourdough (the best type of bread for my taste) for sometime now and everyone just assumes you know the drill beforehand. JH — I live at 5280 ft, no modifications necessary! Do you think I could somehow make the bulk fermentation (with the 3 stretch & folds) go a bit faster using the proofer in my bakery? Place the combo cooker back in the oven and let it heat back up for 10-15 minutes. You don’t need the thermometer, scale, dutch oven, special tools, multiple types of flours or any of that. She has such a connection and understanding of her craft and ingredients and such a willingness to share it so that everyone can create nutritious and delicious sourdough. I chose to make a “box” pattern. Elaine’s book gave me the confidence to start to explore using ancient grains too in my bread making. Any new baker is inevitably hit with question after question. I would recommend you try to reduce hydration significantly, perhaps by about 10% (try 627g water for the Dough Formula mix).

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