Beginner's Sourdough Journey!

Like many folks, I used this pandemic as a kick in the pants to finally figure out sourdough baking, because I’ve been saying I wanted to for years now. My favorite local bakeries closed and I knew I had to get to it. Luckily, I didn’t have to go through the process of making a starter from scratch - a friend shared with me some of her levain. According to baking tradition, I gave him a bread pun name: Jean-Luc Discard. He is very happy living in the fridge for most of the week and getting split/fed/baked with on the weekends.

Nice active ferment! It took me a while to discover my ideal feeding schedule so I could hit peak activity. Leaving it overnight or while I’m at work is just slightly too long and it’s falling when I am ready to get to it. So now on the first day of my weekend, I take it out of the fridge in the morning and let it come to room temperature for a few hours. Then I discard, feed, and let it double before mixing dough - around 5-6 hours.

I based my first bake on this recipe, though I don’t have all the tools and equipment she does - a simple loaf with white bread flour and white whole wheat. Baked on a pizza stone with a dish of water underneath for steam. I let it go a bit long so the crust was nice and dark and crunchy!

I was patient enough to let it cool, and then proceeded to eat like a third of it right away. So tasty.

The next bread I made was a modified “Overnight Country Blonde” from the book Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish. All purpose, white whole wheat, and a touch of spelt flour. I also folded in some fresh summer savory. It was a softer dough and made a slightly more relaxed loaf, very tender inside. Even more delicious than the first one.

Next up we have “Overnight Baguette Twists” from Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa. All purpose and white whole wheat flour, thyme leaves on top. My shaping on these looks very wonky but they were fun to do.

This focaccia I topped with dried tomatoes, feta, and rosemary. It wasn’t my favorite bake, but I can’t not eat homemade bread! I was running out of all purpose and bread flour, so it’s mostly white whole wheat with a bit of the others. And in place of the water I used the whey I strained off of my instant pot yogurt! Actually, I did that in about half of these recipes but I forget which ones.

Now I get on a breakfast kick starting with these english muffins. Really fun to make - they’re finished in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop! I’m very excited to have a stash of these in the freezer that I can pull out whenever.

And possibly my favorite sourdough recipe so far: bagels! Oh these are fantastic. Recipe from Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa again. They are boiled and then topped and baked on a cookie sheet. My partner’s favorite topping is everything, and mine is jalapeno cheddar.

I also tried a couple of recipes using the discard from the feeding process - no way am I just gonna throw that out!

By now I’m sure it’s apparent that I have a slight disregard for ingredients as per the recipes - for these pancakes I replace buttermilk with light coconut milk and yogurt whey. Yummy! They also had coconut flakes sprinkled on top while cooking. Then served with more flakes, maple syrup, and fresh pineapple. The batter wasn’t quite thick enough to support cooking the pineapple in the pancake like you would blueberries.

I actually prefered savory discard pancakes like these - no picture of mine, but I had them with gyoza dipping sauce.

One final recipe, I promise, and if you have read this far then congratulations you gluten fiend!

These crackers are very nice. I mixed in a lot of chopped fresh herbs - summer savory, chives, sage, and thyme.

So what should I bake next? When I manage to buy more flour that is, because the store has been out on my last two weekly shopping trips. :sweat_smile: :bread: :croissant: :baguette_bread: :pretzel: :bagel: :pancakes: :waffle:

10 Likes

I mentioned once to my husband that yeast and flour were hard to find…he has made it his mission to scour our city and now he can’t stop…I am going to try a few of your recipes tomorrow…our local bakery is still open, but she is limiting what breads she makes and most days, it is Italian or French…I want sour dough to use as soup bowls!!

Thanks for sharing…you bagels looks amazing…and I never thought to use the discard for pancakes…mmmm we love those and have been experimenting with fruit syrups!

1 Like

The jalapeno cheddar bagels look so good, I could eat them off the screen,

3 Likes

I always love reading your posts. They are truly journeys! Those pancakes with the pineapple look amazing and those bagels!! :star_struck:

1 Like

Yummmm!!

1 Like

This is amazing! Your bread looks professional. Great job!

1 Like

Heck yeah! You not only took on some pandemic baking, you NAILED it. Way to go AD.

1 Like

I will have one of each please! Each picture was better than the next. I love the up close shots showing the lovely textures and air pockets in the bread. :yum:

2 Likes

Bread porn! All of it looks SOOOO good.

1 Like

OMG these all look so mouth-watering!!!

1 Like