Sourdough Diaries, part 2

Posted by Richard Loffhagen on 28 May 2016

Very pleased to be honest, especially since I went "off piste" by adding a little yeast when I had no intention of doing so, and the recipe and instructions I followed didn't mention it.

The crust was the highlight, and I think that the dutch oven contributed to this, and the flavour was just what I was hoping for, while the crumb was just like "a bought one".

Of course, by the time that they were out of the oven, it was virtually dinner time, so didn't devour as much "fresh" bread than I would've if it was out of the oven before lunch. Our poached eggs the next morning, however, were served on superb sourdough toast.

I have a couple of plans for next weekend's bake. I love the taste of caraway seeds, so I'm going to add a few teaspoons to the mix. Also, I'm planning on trying to make the dough on Friday, perhaps baking a couple of loaves on Friday evening, and retarding one loaf in a banneton in the fridge so that it's ready to bake on Saturday morning. Let's see how it goes, I'll report back.


keep an eye on the room temperature, perhaps even keep a record while learning.

take photos, keep notes. I sense that even if everything is the same week to week, there will be little changes in the final product that you'll get the feeling for as you go on.

I didn't use the diastatic malt (I'd lost it), I must buy some. There's no point in not listening to the experts.

I forgot to mist some of the loaves as they went in to the dutch oven, and although bit didn't seem to make much difference, I must remember in future.


I've started retarding the loaves, shaped in bannetons, overnight, and they work very well. I just take them out of the fridge first thing in the morning, and by the time the oven has heated, they're ready to bake. I've also started making sourdough rolls, using the same method.


It's been over 2 months, usually baking 3 loaves every weekend, sometimes during the week. Finally, my pre-ferment has got to the point that it'll float in water, so just last Friday (July 15) I made a dough without using yeast. As usual I shaped 3 loaves into bannetons, retarded them in the fridge, and baked on Saturday and Sunday. They were perfect, it was such a relief to stop using yeast.

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