/ Jason Weisberger / 10 am Sat, Mar 28 2020
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  • Pandemic sourdough baking: my second loaf and some more pretzels

    Pandemic sourdough baking: my second loaf and some more pretzels

    Click here to see the first post in this series on baking sourdough started from nothing but flour and water

    After starting a new sourdough starter not long after sheltering-in-place at my parent's place about 12 days ago, I have baked my second loaf of bread!

    I've been baking with sourdough for well over a decade. My aged OG sourdough starter is currently in hibernation, however, at my brother's house in Northern California while I am in Southern California. I wanted to bake, but did not have a starter. I decided to make one.

    View this post on Instagram

    10 seconds of steam coming out of a fresh loaf of #sourdough from my 12 day old #sourdoughstarter #boingboing

    A post shared by Jason Weisberger (@jlw) on

    The first loaf I tried with the starter showed that it was almost but not quite mature enough for me really enjoy what I was baking. It reminded me of a prior experience baking with my OG starter when it had not been treated well. Care of a starter is pretty easy, just feed it every day.

    I gave the starter another 5 days or so of daily feedings.

    I made some more sourdough pretzels while I waited.

    Last night I put up a smaller sized loaf of bread. I want to conserve flour as it has been the only thing I've had a hard time finding. Hell, I am using some aged whole wheat...

    I combined 1 ¼ cup of bread flour and ¾ cup of 2015 expired Gold Medal whole wheat in the big blue bowl. My mother has an awful lot of expired whole wheat in the fridge. I used 2 tablespoons of fed starter -- I had fed it 4 hrs before I took it from the jar -- and slightly less than 1 cup of water. I worked it together and added a little more bread flour to firm it up just a bit, as my last loaf was too wet and sticky.

    I let the dough rise for 12 hours. It was very sticky and wet again, so with a little more flour I worked it into a ball and let it rest while I floured up the banneton. I put the dough in the banneton for a 60-minute second rise. Then I got distracted and forgot to heat the oven until my timer went off, so I preheated the oven with my cast iron dutch oven inside to 500F.

    When I determined the dutch oven was likely heated up and ready, a few minutes after the oven told me it was, I transported the loaf into the dutch oven, put the top on and returned it to the 500F oven for 30 minutes.

    At the 30-minute mark the loaf was looking beautiful. I set aside the lid and returned the dutch oven to the oven, lowering the temperature to 450F. I gave the loaf another 20 minutes.

    I am pretty happy with the results. Not thrilled we can see that one line there from where I worked the loaf before the second rise, but this starter is working for me and getting better! Honestly, improvement will probably come from Jason learning how this starter behaves more than the starter getting more stable from this point onward.

    Previously:

    Pandemic Starter Day 1

    Pandemic Starter Day 2

    Pandemic Starter Day 3

    Pandemic Starter Day 4

    Pandemic Starter Day 5: Waffles

    Pandemic Starter: First loaf of bread

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