Fast Sourdough

(Melissa) #1

I made a poorly planned pair of sourdough breads yesterday, but they came out pretty well, so I’m sharing the experience – to give a sense of the freedom to make sourdough work with your schedule.

Yesterday, I fed my starter later than I’d hoped. It was close to peaking around dinnertime and I decided to use a lot of it (like ciabatta quantities) because I wanted to go to bed early and have school-lunch sourdough bread by morning.

This was a 2-hour bulk fermentation, starting with Rubaud mixing at 6:15 pm, then 3 stretch and folds…coil style for the last. I used the warmth of a lit oven to help speed things.

45 minutes to preshape, bench rest, and shape.

Into the fridge to proof at 9 pm.

Baked in preheated oven and bakers, straight from refrigerator, at 6:15 am.

650g bolted sprouted hard red spring wheat
500g water
450g starter (100% hydration, part AP, part bolted sprouted…)
19g salt (3 tsp)

Start of bulk

End of bulk

Interior of one of the loaves

(Leah) #2

@Fermentada, 450g of starter!!! WOW! That would have been my entire jar of Cyril! Your bread looks great.


(Melissa) #3

Yeah I’m not even sure what my original plan was with building that much starter :joy:

(Leah) #4

Too funny! I’m laughing because I seem to keep a lot more starter around than most people do. Somehow, in my mind I think if I don’t keep as much of Cyril as I do I won’t have enough left to grow more. If I seem to really have too much Cyril on hand, I just make some sourdough pancakes. LOL!


(Melissa) #5

My starter inventory ranges from a couple quarts to a smear at the bottom of a jar. The first times i depleted my starter supply that much, I did worry and wonder if I’d have to grow a new starter, but working from a teaspoon is really no different than a larger amount. Just unnerving when it’s all you’ve got :slight_smile:

(trillium) #6


Thank you for this inspiration to bake outside my comfort zone!

You say you ‘baked from cold’. How do you do that??

I tried putting a fully proofed loaf into a room temperature Breadtopia oval baker into a beginning-to-warm oven. It had good oven spring, crusty ears and crisp crust.

But it stuck! Fortunately only at its shoulder level, so half an hour of careful scraping with a strong pointed knife liberated it without damage.

There’s gotta be a better way! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

~ irene

(Melissa) #7

Sorry ! That was bad wording on my part. Cold dough. Hot baker. I’ll fix that! I imagine parchment paper is the only solution?

(trillium) #8

Thanks so much Melissa!

I just took (no chiseling involved) a lovely loaf of mostly whole wheat sourdough out of the oven. Cold dough, hot oven, no parchment paper involved. I’m guessing that when the cold dough contacts the hot baker it sears the bread’s skin quickly, eliminating sticking.

My goal is to maximize the whole grain deliciousness content/nutrition of the largest loaf my baker can accomodate in the easiest way possible. I cut the big loaf in half, freeze one and keep the working half in Bees’ Wrap.

I watched Eric’s video on how to gracefully tip proofed loaves from bannetons into hot bakers. I found that when I tried his technique the tips of my fingers barely reached over the rim of the banneton. With no friendly basketball player in residence to help, I’m now trying to figure out the best way to bake cold dough.

Today’s bake is very encouraging. The oven spring was, if anything, greater than the not-quite fully proofed loaves I’m used to baking

Thanks again for sharing your sourdough adventures!
~ irene

(Melissa) #9

I also don’t have the hand size for some techniques but I do find it’s balanced by being able to stick my fingers into hot bakers without harm – not recommending that of course! :slight_smile:

I usually either flour my hand and roll the dough onto it, then place it in the hot baker. Or I put parchment on the banneton, a cutting board over the parchment, then flip and score, and then lift the parchment into the baker.

(wendyk320) #10

Melissa, did you do your refrigerator proof in a banneton? If so, did you prep it in any special way for that length of time and was there any problem with sticking in the morning?

Also, how did the taste of this “quick” loaf with the large amount of starter compare to your usual loaves?

(Melissa) #11

Hi Wendy,

I didn’t have any problem with sticking. I flour the basket liner heavily with AP flour, and then brush off the excess after flipping it onto parchment paper and before scoring.

I recently did a cranberry walnut with a lot of spelt and rye – very sticky – and for that I pulled out the rice flour to combine with AP. Again no problem with sticking - I think that was 6-8 hrs in the refrigerator.

I didn’t register any more sour or sweet in this “macrolevain” than my typical loaves of 15-20% starter.

(wendyk320) #12

This quick version is another great option for when time is short or an unexpected bread requiring occasion arises. I like having the option to bake first thing in the morning too. Thanks so much for posting this!

(SingKevin) #13

Wow! I wish I could get 83% hydration (if my math is right) to look as manageable as that especially after such a short bulk.

(Melissa) #14

I’m not sure how it was so manageable to be honest. I need to repeat it to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Maybe all that starter was at an ideal stage of it’s own gluten development?