Base Sourdough Culture Loaf

I did a side-by-side experiment with my existing sourdough culture (this loaf) and a newly created starter based on a wild cider culture. The actual experiment will be in a separate post, whereas this one simply outlines the results of this culture’s fermentation.

Schedule: I based this loaf off of my sourdough schedule.

This sourdough culture is several months old and was originally started by using some fresh WLP001 brewers yeast. I’ve been feeding it 1:1:1 with starter:whole wheat flour:filtered water and over time has developed a really nice sour flavor.

Since this is a 100% naturally leavened bread, I created a levain with my sourdough starter that was last fed 12 hours prior. This levain provides enough for 1 loaf of bread only. Be sure to keep a little extra of your actual starter to keep it going.

30 minutes before mixing the salt into the dough, I performed an autolyse by mixing the levain, water and flour together.

Ingredients:

Levain

Started at 8:30am with the following ingredients. Mix everything together and loosely cover and let it ferment for about 8 hours.

  • 11g unfed sourdough starter (last feeding was 12 hours prior)
  • 54g filtered water @ 85-90’F
  • 43g bread flour
  • 11g whole wheat flour

Dough

  • 400g bread flour
  • 23g spelt flour
  • 23g dark rye flour
  • 340g filtered water @ 90-95’F
  • 108g levain
  • 11g sea salt

Method:

After mixing the dough, I performed 5 stretch and folds within the first 3 hours. The dough was a little on the sticky/wet side so I worked it as much as I could during the stretch and folds to help the gluten develop. The dough fermented at room temperature (around 70’F) overnight. After the overnight fermentation I shaped the loaf before proofing in a banneton for 3 hours.

I baked the loaf in a preheated dutch oven at 450’F for 38 minutes covered, then removed the lid of the dutch oven and baked for an additional 16 minutes.

Result:

This bread has a really great sourness to it. The added rye and spelt flours give it just enough complexity to not overpower the flavor the wild yeast brings to it. Watching this dough rise next to the new sourdough culture, it’s definitely a little slower to act and doesn’t rise as well. I’m not sure if it’s due to the starter being fed with whole wheat flour and then having it try to ferment mostly bread flour or what.

Next time I do a side-by-side with this culture and the new one, I’ll probably let this one ferment for an extra hour before proofing.

Original sourdough starter crumb

My Baking Notes

  • Ambient Temperature: 70’F
  • Started autolyse @ 5:40pm
  • Water temp: 92’F
  • Dough was 84’F at autolyse
  • Mixed @ 6:15pm
  • Dough was 79’F after mixing
  • 5 stretch and folds in first 3 hours
  • Started proof @ 6:25am
  • Preheated oven @ 8:10am
  • Into oven @ 9:15am

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