This is where I keep bread-related notes. Welcome to Brunston’s bountiful, beautiful bread and baking bonanza.
This is also a work in progress. Please pardon the mess.
This is the place you keep your sourdough starter. Recommendations include glass mason jars or BPA-free plastic containers. I use a 32-oz plastic deli container (made of polypropylene and therefore BPA-free) myself, but you should use what’s convenient and comfortable for you. Personally, I find it helpful to use a clear container so you can see the gluten development (as little bubbles of air) of your starter from the side.
You can either keep your starter in the fridge, feeding it once a week, or at room temperature, feeding it every 12 hours. Look at the next section for how to feed your starter.
When you are ready to bake, use the same ratios but feed every 12 hours until it starts to become bubbly and is doubling in volume at least every 12 hours. If your sourdough crock is clear, look for bubbles of air dotting the side of the crock.
Feeding sourdough starter is a matter of ratios. You can do this step once a week for refrigerated starter that isn’t actively being used to bake bread. This step should be done once every doubling (about every 12 hours depending on how active your starter is) when you’re preparing to bake bread.
Stir the starter well. If you have not fed the starter for a long period of time and there is a clear liquid on top, it’s fine to stir in. If you find your bread is too acidic / sour, you can drain this liquid off before stirring.
This guide assumes you are keeping 200 grams of starter in your sourdough crock.
Discard enough starter to leave just 100g. If you’ve been following this guide’s regimen and ratios, you’ll be discarding 200g here, but it’s just a rough guide.
Add 100g all-purpose flour (just under 1 cup), and add 100g lukewarm water (just under 1/2 cup). Stir until combined and smooth. Cover loosely with the lid of your container and let sit for around 2 hours at room temperature to give the yeast a chance to warm up. Close the lid tightly and return to the fridge.
If you use the Brunston Bread recipe below, these ratios and amounts will work out just fine.
If your recipe calls for a large quantity of starter, keep the ratio of 1:1 flour:water the same, but in the adding step, add the amount of flour and water so that the total added weight is the amount that you’ll need in your recipe. This way, you always have 100g of starter left over to keep your culture for future baking!
You can use discard starter for a variety of delicious recipes. I use mine for sourdough pancakes.
A boule is the rounded shape of a common handmade loaf. What we’re trying to do is to form a taut surface on the top of the boule, so that it rises upwards instead of spreading outwards, and form the rounded shape that will create the final shape of the loaf.
This recipe was adapted from Sam Sifton’s no-knead bread recipe, which was adapted from Mark Bittman’s no-knead bread recipe, which was a popularized version of Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe. I have modified it for taste and ease of preparation.
If you really want to get into bread or baking, I highly recommend an inexpensive set of scales like this one. It makes recipes more repeatable.
If you don’t have a set of scales, all-purpose and bread flour is about 120g/cup, and 5g of kosher salt is about a teaspoon. You can see other helpful conversions here, but seriously consider getting a set of scales.