Fresh from the oven sourdough baguette.

Well, I wrote too soon. Turns out the morning after my sourdough post, my starter “woke up”.

I had decided to stop feeding it twice a day, as that had become a bit of a pain with little reward. Having not fed it the night before, I fed it that morning for the first time in about 24 hours.  As I puttered around the kitchen, I looked over at the starter jar and… drum roll… it was growing. “Well hello there” I said.

The rubber band indicates where the level started. You can see that the starter has more than doubled.

The starter has since been reliably doubling in size between feedings (I’m still only feeding it once per day, and plan to retire it to the refrigerator very soon).

I have made two loaves of bread with this starter and am still perfecting the recipe. Likely due to the ambient temperature of my house, the bread has a long rise time, 5-6 hours. Because of this, the top tends to dry out, even when oiled. This decreases its ability to expand in the oven. But the bread has a lovely flavor. Not too sour. Just very flavorful.

Sourdough Baguette
This recipe is based on Michael Ruhlman’s bread ratio of 5 pts flour to 3 pts water (assuming the starter is 50/50 flour to water by weight)

  • 50 g starter
  • 100 g water
  • 200 g all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 scant tsp salt

Mix ingredients with a spoon until dough comes together. Then knead by hand or with a standing mixer and dough hook until dough is smooth and passes a window pane test (a small amount of dough can be stretched out in a disc until you can see light through it without tearing, indicating good gluten formation). This will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Dough will be soft and almost sticky.

Shape dough into long baguette loaf. Place on heavily floured board, cover with dish towel (plastic wrap may be better for drying issues – that will be the next experiment) and let rise in a warm place until about double in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Just before baking, slash top of loaf 3 or 4 times. Slide loaf (first gently releasing it from board if necessary) into oven, preferably onto a preheated pizza stone. Bake until loaf is golden brown and/or internal temperature reaches 200 degrees. Let cool slightly and try not to eat in one sitting!

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2010, where we’re miles away from a bad loaf of bread, and the butter is dripping between our fingers.

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