Week 57: Sour Sourdough

Sourdough not sour enough? Try this shorter, less complicated method of making sourdough, that gets a sour boost from citric acid, which is what’s produced as your starter matures. It’s got a nice rise, sturdy crisp crust, and a chewy interior. It doesn’t have the extreme open crumb, but honestly, I find that annoying if I’m trying to make a sandwich, so that suits me just fine. I used all bread flour, but you can substitute some rye and/or whole wheat (see ratios below for a Pain de Campagne) without any adverse effects. My starter is made with rye flour, so there is already some whole grain mixed in.

So far, my soudough loaves have not been very sour. My starter is young, and I think that might have something to do with it. To make this have that familiar sourdough tang, I added 1/4 tsp citric acid. This resulted in a slightly tangy loaf; if you’re looking for more, bump it up to 1/2 tsp instead.

STEP 1: Activate starter (4~6 hours)

Feed your starter so you can use it when it is active/mature. Mine usually takes between 4~6 hours, depending on the temperature. Keep it close by, so you can monitor the rise, and use it when it’s mature, and not starting to fall. My starter is a 1:1:1 ratio, i.e. 100g flour + 100g starter + 100g water.

STEP 2: Prepare dough

  • 450g Bread Flour (all purpose is okay, too)*
  • 300g Water
  • 10g Salt
  • 1/4 tsp citric acid
  • 100g active starter

* To make a Pain de Campagne, use this mixture of flours:

  • 315g white
  • 90g whole wheat
  • 45g ryre
  1. Mix everything together, so the flour is thoughly incorporated into the water and levain. I do this by hand (just one, keeping the other one clean to turn the bowl) because it’s the best way to tell that there’s no lumps of wet levain or dried dough. Alternatively, you could use the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

STEP 3: Autolyse (1 hour)

  1. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a dough scraper to get everything included.
  2. Cover and let rest for one hour, to properly hydrate the dough

STEP 4: Bulk Fermentation/Kneading (3 hours)

The dough should rest for 5~6 hours, with in-the-bowl stretch and fold kneading method occuring every 30 minutes. It helps to write down each time you complete a stretch and fold/30 minute rest period, so you don’t lose track.

  1. First stretch and fold: Wet fingers. Reach under a side of dough, lift it away from the bowl and pull it up and out to stretch, then fold it back over the top towards the opposite side. Pick up the opposite side and do the same, then repeat with the other 2 sides. Since this is the first knead, and the dough it prett tight, repeat it two times.
  2. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. (30 minute rest time total so far)
  3. Second stretch and fold: Do one rotation of the four stretch and folds (instead of the three that you did the first time around).
    • Don’t pull too hard, so as not to tear the dough.
    • Be gentle, and don’t press the dough down too much, because you don’t want to release the gasses forming.
  4. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes (60 minutes rest time so far)
  5. Third, Fourth, FIfth and Sixth stretch and fold: Repeat these stretch and folds, and 30 minute rests four more times (this will be 3 hours total rest time so far)

STEP 5: Finish bulk fermentation (2 ~ 3 hours)

  1. Cover, and rest dough for 2 hours, so that your total bulk fermantation is 5 hours. If the temperature is on the cool side, you might want to let it rest another hour. It should be just very slightly puffier, and have very slight movement if you shake the bowl. Very slight.

STEP 6: Shape dough and proof overnight

  1. Gently turn your bowl out onto a lightly floured surface.
  2. Follow the video instructions below on how to shape your dough into a batard shape, and place it in the proofing basket seam side up

Here is a video in slow motion

Step 7: Bake

  1. Next day, preheat oven and pot with a lid to 475
  2. When it’s ready, remove bread from fridge and score. This is a great scoring tutorial from Breadtopia, with four videos for visual instruction.
  3. Follow baking (and cooling) instructions below,
10:00Bake @ 45020 minutes
10:20Remove lid10 minutes
10:30Bake @ 42510-15 min
10:45Cool in oven with door open20 min


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