SOURDOUGH - Daring Bakers' challenge - December / 2011


This is a scheduled post :o)

Our Daring Bakers Host for December 2011 was Jessica of My Recipe Project and she showed us how fun it is to create Sour Dough bread in our own kitchens! She provided us with Sour Dough recipes from Bread Matters by AndrewWhitley as well as delicious recipes to use our Sour Dough bread in from Tonia George’s Things on Toast and Canteen’s Great British Food!

I finally made my first ever sourdough! Thanks to this awesome challenge at The Daring Kitchen. Otherwise I would keep on procrastinating, God knows for how long! But I have to admit that this wasn't the best time for me, because I was only a few days away from packing for my very long trip from Korea to Brazil to spend the holidays with my family. So I had to squeeze it in, but I really didn't want to miss this chance. It was a great experience, and the final result wasn't that bad for a first timer like myself. There is a lot of room for improvement and experimentation and I can't wait to explore the vast possibilities of sourdough.

So let me tell you about my sourdough experience :o)

Jessica provided a few different bread recipes to use the sourdough and I chose o make the French Country Bread.

Servings: 1 large loaf plus extra wheat starter for further baking


Day 1

40 g stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat flour
45 ml water
(this will result in 85g of starter)

In a plastic container, mix the flour and water into a thick paste.

Cover and let it sit in a warm place (around 86°F)

Day 2


40 g stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat flour
45 ml water
85 g of starter from Day 1
(Result: 170 g of starter)

Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 1, cover, and return to its warm place.

Day 3


40 g stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat flour
20 ml water
170 g of the starter from Day 2
(Result: 230 g of starter)

 Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 2, cover, and return to its warm place.

Day 4


120 g unbleached all-purpose flour
100 ml water
230 g of the starter from Day 3
(Result: 440 g of starter)

Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 3, cover, and return to its warm place. 

At this point it should be bubbling and smell yeasty. 

If not, repeat this process for a further day or so until it is!


Stage 1: Refreshing the leaven


160 g wheat Leaven Starter
50 g stoneground bread making whole-wheat or flour
150 g unbleached all purpose flour
120 ml water
(Production Leaven Total: 480 g)

Mix everything into a sloppy dough. It may be fairly stiff at this stage. Cover and set aside for 4 hours, until bubbling and expanded slightly.

Stage 2: Making the final dough


100 g stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat flour, plus more for dusting
300g unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons sea salt or ⅔ teaspoon  table salt
300 ml water
300 g production leaven – this should leave some (1 cup) for your next loaf.
(Total: 1007 g)

Mix the dough with all the ingredients except the production leaven. It will be a soft dough.

Knead on an UNFLOURED surface for about 8-10 minutes, getting the tips of your fingers wet if you need to. You can use dough scrapers to stretch and fold the dough at this stage, or air knead if you prefer. Basically, you want to stretch the dough and fold it over itself repeatedly until you have a smoother, more elastic dough.

See Jessica's demonstration on this VIDEO

Smooth your dough into a circle, then scoop your production leaven into the centre. You want to fold the edges of the dough up to incorporate the leaven, but this might be a messy process. Knead for a couple minutes until the leaven is fully incorporated in the dough. See  Jessica's demonstration on this VIDEO.

Spread some water on a clean bit of your work surface and lay the dough on top. Cover with an upturned bowl, lining the rim of the bowl with a bit of water. Leave for an hour, so that the gluten can develop and the yeasts can begin to aerate the dough.
(I skipped the water)

 Once your dough has rested, you can begin to stretch and fold it. Using wet hands and a dough scraper, stretch the dough away from you as far as you can without breaking it and fold it back in on itself. Repeat this in each direction, to the right, towards you, and to the left. This will help create a more ‘vertical’ dough, ready for proofing. See Jessica's demonstration on this VIDEO.

(At this stage, my dough was way too wet and couldn't hold it's shape. So I added a little more flour, about 1/4 cup in order to make it a little more pliable but still wet as a sourdough should be)

Heavily flour a banneton/proofing basket with whole wheat flour and rest your dough, seam side up, in the basket. Put the basket in a large plastic bag, inflate it, and seal it.

(I don't have a Banneton, and neither an appropriate basket, so I used a pasta strainer)

I floured a clean napkin (I should have used whole wheat flour, but I made a mistake and used white flour... oops!)

and lined the strainer

I placed the dough in the lined strainer

and covered it.

Set aside somewhere warm for 3-5 hours, or until it has expanded a fair bit. It is ready to bake when the dough responds to a gently poke by slowly pressing back to shape.

Preheat the oven to hot 425°F/220°C/gas mark 7. Line a baking sheet with parchment, then carefully invert the dough onto the sheet. I like to put the baking sheet on top of the basket, then gently flip it over so as to disturb the dough as little as possible. Make 2-3 cuts on top of the loaf and bake for 40-50 minutes, reducing the temperature to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 after 10 minutes.

Unfortunately, after turning the loaf onto the baking sheet, it spread more than I was expecting, and started tearing all around the sides.

It didn't expand much more after baking, but still, it was quite airy inside with a lovely crumb.

Cool on a cooling rack. Slice it after totally cooled.

The result is a dense but delicious rustic bread. It was totally worth the extra work!

I would like to thank Jessica for encouraging us and for being such a supportive hostess.

To see the results of my fellow Daring Bakers, please visit THE DARING KITCHEN where you will also find the original recipes and guidelines for this challenge.


  1. Your bread looks wonderful. I just started my 'starters' tonight. I am trying both the rye and wheat. I hope mine turns out as well as yours.

  2. Renata, I think we are baking buddies! Your sourdough loaf looks a lot like mine! I was thrilled and I think yours looks fab!

  3. Awesome bread Renata! Great job. I also had to bake before leaving to spend Christmas with my in-laws but we only had to drive a few hours, not fly for many! And I also used a colander as my banneton :) Here's to many more sourdough adventures.

  4. What a beautiful crumb on that loaf. Great job! Good idea to use the colander as a banneton; I'll try that next time.

    Hope you're having/had a lovely time with your family in Brazil. :)

  5. I've been delaying making a sourdough for so long. I keep telling myself : I don't have the patience to wait that long :))
    Yours looks so beautiful Renata!
    Happy New Year!


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