Easy daily routine


After having some success with baking Tartine country bread, and a couple of other sourdough recipes gleamed from the forum, I am trying to fit baking into my daily routine (where an office job keeps me changed to the desk for most of the day!!).

At the moment, baking sourdough loaves is reserved for the weekends, due to the folding etc. which requires you to be present every hour or so. This gives good results, but to expand my baking schedule, I need a little forum help :-)

Can anyone give some good suggestions for recipes which could fit in with a routine where I have maybe 20 mins. to spare in the mornings (around 7:15a.m.), and where I get home around 5:00 p.m. The baking should be finished at 10:00p.m., and my personal tastes are for loaves with a minimum of sour taste, and with up to a third wholemeal flour.

Looking forward to your replies.

Thanks in advance.


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Alvaremj's picture
Alvaremj 2013 January 13

I think the key is to just try some different things. I think the Tartine methond is pretty demanding. Here is what I do;

Morning one; feed starter (this all depends on how long your starter to become ripe) 

evening one; mix dough and ferment for about an hour or so, fold and then refridgerate

After work ay two; shape proof bake-- on this day it usually takes me 4 hours total 


You can also bulk proof after mixing and proof shaped loaf instead. 


Hope this helps! 


farinam's picture
farinam 2013 January 13

Hello bakerjohn,

I was going to suggest something similar.  Evening one prepare loaf starter and develop dough.  Bulk prove in fridge overnight.  Morning shape loaf and fridge till evening.  Evening two bake (assuming loaf is sufficiently proved).

I think the secret will be to experiment to find out what works for you and your starter.

Good luck with your projects.


davo 2013 January 14

You need two mornings where you start out at home, but only need a few minutes before going off to work - not much more time than brushing your teeth - and really you don't need to do anything the second morning. You also need to be home those two nights.  The evenings need around 3 hours or so clear each, for me. (when I say "clear", you need to be around but can be doing many other things at intervals.)

Morning one (before work) : mix levain from active starter (activated from fridge with several feeds over 24/36 hrs). I usually add some rye flour into this stage. Ferment this all day while you are at work. If home will be hot, I actually take the levain into the office! It's a long fermenting time so don't seed the levain with too much starter - you will figure it out for your temps, eventually.

Night one (after work). Take fermented and active levain and mix up bread dough. This is usually after kids are fed and before getting them off to bed. Say mix up at 7.30 pm or so. I do short kneads and 10 min rests, morphing into stretch and folds over longer intervals. the process can vary with whatever is going on at home. So long as you are reaonably attentive, it's a robust process - if you miss a stretch/fold, it won;t really matter! At around 10.30 pm (earlier if it's warm and dough gets puffy quickly) shape loaves and place in floured banettons (i use a mix of rye and rice flour to line banettons - they never stick with some rice flour in the mix). Into fridge inside plastic bags, to stopr drying out (four large loaves in my normal batch).

Morning two. Check loaves to see how much they continued to rise in fridge. Can give an indication of how they will be that evening - ie likely to need warm up time or likely to bake right from fridge. But this is just a progress report - the real test is at baking time later that night.

Night two. Look at the loaves on arrival home. Once you get used to how they look and feel, you can tell if they will bake OK straight out of the fridge, or will need 30, 60, 90 or even 120 mins to warm and rise some more. Assuming it's not more than 60 mins needed, turn on oven immediately and heat up stone. Remove loaves at appropriate intervals and bake ( I have a wide oven and do two lots of two loaves total 4 loaves).

Works OK for me.

bakerjohn 2013 January 14

Many thanks for the replies/suggestions.

It sounds like it shouldn't be a big problem getting a routine that fits my schedule, but that there will be a period of trial and error in the start.

With the techniques described, can you say anything about the level of sourness in the taste? (the family especially, but myself also, not a big fan of overtly sour loaves).

thanks :-)

davo 2013 January 15

I have read different things about sourness from long cool proofing. Some (many) say that it makes loaves very sour. Others say that the lactic acid-producing bacteria prefer warmer conditions, and the cool temps (relatively speaking) favour yeasts. On that basis the cool temps over a long time (slowing all processes down but generally favouring yeasts over LAB) should actually produce less sour bread. I suppose you could test for acidity/pH in the final dough, but not sure how much has been reported on this. For what it's worth, I have two kids who don't like things to be too extreme - and both like my SD made using fridge-retardation. Use of rye in the mix seems to me to produce more sourness - might be a combination of the natural flavour of the rye, plus how it affects the relative rates of growth of bugs, but I'm not certain. If you want less sour, stick to predominantly white baker's flour. Also maybe get some diastatic malt (ground up sprouted-then-dried barley), as I gather this provides amylase enzyme which assists in naturally breaking down maltose (disaccharide) into monosaccharides, and this allows the wild yeasts to break down mono's. Those yeasts (generally) will not metabolise disaccharides. A microbiologist will probably find an error in there, but that's how  understand it.

Just one tip - if you don't use rice flour in your banetton-lining mix, a long fridge retard can leave your loaves sticky and hard to get out f the banettons (from a bit of sweating at the contact skin area). This can be important, as what happens if the loaf hangs from its skin before you can tease it out  is that it can shear a bit internally - which leads to a kind of internal gap under the top crust. If I have no rice flour, one thing I do is on Morning two, way before I bake later that night, I gently roll the loaves so the sides come apart from the banetton. Then I do the same on arrival home on night two, before any (say 1 hr) final warm-up of the loaf. This "breaks the seal" and stops that last instant sticking of the finally puffy (and slightly fragile) dough at the instant of baking.

Hope that helps.

bakerjohn 2013 January 20

Thanks again for the input :-)

I tried baking a 900g loaf with 26% wholemeal flour, 64% hydration and with a levain percent of final dough reduced to 35% from a typical 40-45%, following the good advice received to try to prevent an overtly sour taste.

I made the levain on the morning of day 1, and mixed the dough in the evening the same day. After a bench rest, I placed it in a floured banneton, covered with a plastic bag and then into the fridge.

I had planned to bake early in the evening of day 2, but due to altered plans, I came home too late. I could see the dough had not risen at all, and decided to take it out of the fridge to stand in ambient temp. (ca. 18 degrees) over night.

The next morning the worries/doubts started coming thick and fast ;-)

The dough had risen to roughly about 60% of where I would normally have expected it to so as to be ready for baking. It should have had another hour or so I would have guessed, but running out of time, I had to bake it anyway. Under-prooved despite a longer than usual (for me) amount of time, I was gloomily expecting a barely risen, dense and sour-tasting loaf.

The oven spring was just about ok, but not quite what I normally expect, but I had to wait for the afternoon after coming home from work before slicing and tasting.

You know one of those good baking experiences... heh heh!

After slicing the loaf, the crumb actually looked ok, but best of all, the taste was only very moderately sour - ahhh all my efforts weren't for nothing afterall :-)

This was a definate good start, and one to build on!

The areas needing improvement were the texture and taste - the texture was a bit too moist, and the taste a bit bland. Next time, I will bake on the second day, and we'll have to see what effect this has.

Thanks again for the help so far :-)

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