My sourdough tips

I’ll list here the tips I’ve read or watched online or the lessons I’ve learned so far from my own journey ๐Ÿ˜„

About flour

I use low-protein flour (10%) which means:

  • This flour doesn’t absorb as much water as a high-protein flour (at least 12%)
  • So far, I’ve tried a hydration level of 60% with a blend of whole wheat (12% protein) and all-purpose (50g + 450g). Result coming soon. I’ll increase the hydration level by 1% for my next bake to see what’s the limit. I know for a fact that 70% is wayyyy too much ๐Ÿ˜‚
  • Also I read that during bulk fermentation, I should expect a rise of 20% to 40%.

Baker’s math

To create your own recipe, start with the amount of flour that you want.

For example, I bake with 500g (450g AP + 50WW). And I decide on a hydration level of 60%. This gives me:

  • 20% sourdough starter = 0.20 ร— 500 = 100g (I use 100% hydration level which means that my starter is made of equal parts of water and flour)
  • 60% water = 0.60 ร— 500g = 300g
  • 2% salt = 0.02 ร— 500 = 10g

So the recipe would be:

  • 500g flour
  • 300g water
  • 100g active starter
  • 10g salt

BUT…

Don’t forget that there’s 50g of flour and 50g of water in your starter. So if I use those amounts, the hydration level would be: 350 รท 550 = 64%

4% that’s a LOT considering that I’m using a low-protein flour.

So actually if I really want a 60% hydration level recipe, I need to calculate the total amount of water based on 550g of flour which gives us: 0.60 ร— 550g = 330g = 280g water added in the dough + 50g from the starter.

Pfiou… ๐Ÿ˜…

The final recipe I’m using for 500g of flour then is:

  • 450g AP flour
  • 50g WW flour
  • 280g water
  • 100g starter
  • 10g salt

And with this, the hydration level will stay at 60%.

Ta-da ๐Ÿ˜

About sourdough starter

  • How I’ve made my own starter from scratch: link
  • About maintenance:
    • My starter jar is mostly at room temperature. Since I started this sourdough journey (June 29, 2021), I had put my jar only twice in the fridge for 3 days top.
    • I feed it twice a day.
      • When I know I’m gonna use it in a recipe, I’ll feed it 1:3:3 with a blend of all-purpose flour and whole wheat. It’s usually a ratio of 10% whole wheat.
      • Otherwise I feed it 1:1:1 with all-purpose flour only.

About sourdough discard

I used to discard a LOT at the beginning. And I would keep it in a second jar that I put in the fridge.

But at some point, it was so overwhelming for me that I decided to throw away the discard I accumulated (it even overflowed from the jar). I felt guilty about it but I was not enjoying the process of making bread anymore because I was afraid of wasting too much when I was discarding.

Anyway…

Now I think I found a good balance. I’m still discarding but way less and so far nothing goes to waste. And that’s because I’m maintaining a small starter (around 10g) and I use my discard in recipes I enjoy baking such as crackers, fluffy pancakes and banana bread ๐Ÿ˜Š

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