Longer Refrigeration Time

I've seen some discussion here recently about longer fermentation in the refrigerator. I tried extending the time this last weekend and had great results. I fermented for 24 hours instead of my usual 8-10hours. Here are the results:




I used a very simple recipe based on Graham's sourdough recipe. It is a great recipe. I also list my technique.


Hydration %100.0% 
Warm Water300.050.0%
Bread Flour500.083.3%
Total Weight1011.0168.5%
Total Flour600.0100.0%
Total Water400.066.7%

Mixed and autolysed for 30 min. I used warm water about 85°F
Fold every 30 min. for 2 hours.
Turned out dough and rough formed round loaf. Let set on counter for 30min.
Final loaf formation and place in bannaton. Let set covered on counter for 30 min.
Placed loaf in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Pulled loaf loaf and finale proofed for 2.5 hours.
Sprayed loaf with water and baked at 425°F for 18 min. under roasting pan.
Finished baking until desired color was reached. About 15min more.

Next time I may add a little rye flour to see if I can increase the sour a bit more.



now that is a thing of beauty. very, very nice!

Thanks phaz!

<p>this may seem like a silly question but as you state 200g starter is that before or after feed? can anyone clear up the steps to this quantity from my main starter? how much do i take from my main starter to achieve the desired amount? im very new to sourdough, i am in the process of baking my first loaf (which looks flat in the oven!) my starter is 8 days old! any help or pointers would be great!&nbsp;</p>

Hello Cookingwithcharl,

The 200g is your tested levain.  You take a quantity of your stock and build it up to the amount that you require in one or more stages.  Most commonly, for a 100% hydration culture you would do something like take 100g of your stock and feed it with 50g flour and 50g water and leave to 'prove' that it was active for a time (often 4 to 12 hours depending on temperature and starter activity). 

You would also add the same amount of flour and water to your stock to give it a feed and to maintain the quantity that you keep.

It is possible to take straight from your stock the amount required for a loaf but you run a risk of wasting your effort if for some reason your stock of sourdough has ceased to be active and hence the reason for proving that your culture is OK before going on to mix your dough.  This is exactly the same reason that yeast based recipes advocate mixing the yeast with a little flour and water and leaving it to bubble - just to show that it is truly active.  It is not necessary but a good precaution to follow.

Don't get too despondent if your first few loaves do not come up to expectations.  It often takes a bit of practise to get the feel for the development and handling of the dough and the shaping of the dough into a loaf.  I would say to stick with the same simple recipe for at least half a dozen bakes and be very observant of what is happening as you prepare and develop the dough - make notes as you go to remind yourself from session to session and read and re-read SourDoms beginners blogs on this site as you will find little joggers and understand things better as time goes by.

Look forward to hearing of your progress and eventual success.


Hi Cookingwithcharl,

As Farinam mentions,the 200 grams is a fed starter that has shown to be active. I feed my starters every 12 hours when it is on the counter. I typically use my starter at the end of the cycle. I build up the amount I need like Farinam mentions except I start out with 100 g of starter and add 100 g of water and 100 g of flour to give me 300 g total. After 12 hours I pull the 200 g for the recipe and feed the remaining 100 g just like above. I usually repeat the feeding cycle at least once before placing the starter back in the refrigerator until the next time I need it. If I don't bake, I still pull the starter out once a week and go through a couple of feedings to keep it active.
I hope between Farinam and I we cleared it up.
Do keep trying! The rewards will come!

Please excuse my ignorance but im struggling to understand your volume and percentages, if im correct, this loaf has only 50% hydration, seems very low if im right

Hi gamby,

No, the hydration is just under 67%.

I take the water and flour in ther starter in account when figuring the hydration. I used 200g of 100% starter. That means that there is 100g of flour and 100 grams of water in the starter for a total weight of 200g.

If you add the 100g of water that is in the starter to the 300g of warm water called for in the recipe you get a total water weight of 400g

At the same time, if you add the 100g of flour in the starter to the 500g of bread flour called for, you get a total flour weight of 600g

400g / 600g = .667 or 66.7% hydration.

I hope that clears it up. It can seem confusing because using a starter adds another level to the percentage calcs, so don't feel about asking.



Hi gamby,

I think you are confusing the reported baker's percentages with hydration but there is a also a slight inconsistency there in that the total flour (dry plus starter) has been used whereas to be slightly more correct the Baker's Percentages should have been related only to the dry flour to facilitate recipe scaling which is what Baker's Percentages are all about.

Keep on bakin'


I see your point on the percentages in regards to scaling. Thanks for pointing it out. I used a bread formula calculator to get the numbers I posted. So if it needs to be modified I would appreciate your input. Could you show me how you would change the calculations?

I'm thinking that the dough hydration would still be calculated accounting for the starter's flour and water contents. I can see though that percentages for the starter, water and perhaps salt should be calculated based on the dry flour weight. This would make the total flour number higher than 100%. Correct?

I've also seen salt amounts calculated based on total flour vs dry flour amount. What are your thoughts?



Hydration %100.0% 
Warm Water300.060%
Bread Flour500.0100%
Total Weight1011.0168.5%
Total Flour600.0120%
Total Water400.066.7%


Based on my previous post I made the changes in the percentages shown above. I left the salt calculation based on total flour vs dry flour in the formula. Otherwise it would calculate out to 2.2%

Again, I would appreciate your thoughts.


Hello Tom,

My interpretation is that the Bakers percentages are such that if a baker is making a batch of dough for bread it is all based on the amount of dry flour and everything flows from there.  Presumably this comes about from using, say, a 56lb sack (or multiples thereof) of flour rather than using part sacks and having to weigh/measure flour as well. And so you would want to be able to calculate all other ingredients in relation to that.

Of course the calculation is slightly more complicated in the case of a sourdough levain but I don't see why the salt would be treated any differently from other ingredients.  If you need 11g for your dough mix then it should be 2.2% of the 500g of dry flour and if perchance you are making a batch from 5kg of dry flour then you would need 110g salt.

I have seen dough hydration calculated both ways - including and ignoring the levain components - but feel that they should be included because of the effect on dough texture that quite small changes in hydration can have, particularly for beginner bakers who haven't yet developed a feel for their dough.

Just my two cents worth.

Good luck with your projects.


Thanks, Frainam,


On the instructions Graham sends out with his starter he talks about calculating salt off the total flour vs the dry flour and also talks about factorung in starter contents. Basicly both ways are fine I think as long as you indicate in the formula which method your using.

I'll play with the calculator I'm using so that future post will indicate what I did.

Thanks again for teh input.



Hi Shasta,

Just a quick question. When you say "autolysed for 30 min" do you mean with salt added or without. I have read a number of posts about "autolysing" and some people seem to mean mixing all the ingredients and just letting it rest. Whilst others leave out the salt and knead that in later. I read the experiment on Northwest Sourdough about this process. So, did you leave the salt out initially ?? and if so ... is that something that you tend to do every time you make bread ? Thanks Chris

Hello Chris, 

yes I withhold the salt until after the autolyse. It's the way I always do it.

You just have to make sure you work the salt in well afterwords.