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 😄
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 😂
- Also I read that during bulk fermentation, I should expect a rise of 20% to 40%.
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 × 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 × 500g = 300g
- 2% salt = 0.02 × 500 = 10g
So the recipe would be:
- 500g flour
- 300g water
- 100g active starter
- 10g salt
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 ÷ 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 × 550g = 330g = 280g water added in the dough + 50g from the starter.
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%.
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.
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 😊