Shortcuts seem to work

farinam's picture

I've been away for the weekend, but made a loaf to take with me.  Quite a buzz to sit around the table at lunch with friends and see it disappear and get involved with a discussion of the whys and wherefores of sourdough.

Anyhow, back home in the afternoon with no bread in the breadbox and needing some for lunch next day, the alternatives were to go for shop-bought (yecchh) or to make a yeasted loaf - OR - take some shortcuts.

I decided on the latter course. So I took the starter out of the fridge (four and a half days), measured out the required 180g, fed the balance afresh and returned the new brew to the fridge.  The balance of the dough was 320g water, 50g wholemeal,450g white and 10g salt (SourDoms Pane Francesa recipe).

I had time in the remainder of the evening to do the mixing and kneading followed by the pre-ferment with stretch and fold to get to dough up to shaping stage.  After shaping, it was into the fridge until morning, simply covered with a damp tea towel (I didn't have a suitably large plastic bag to put it in).

By morning the loaf seemed to have risen reasonably well but I decided to leave it on the bench for a couple of hours before baking because I was up early and had plenty of time to bake and cool before lunch.

As you can see the result was more than adequate.  Although my lame work was a little scratchy, I did manage to get some undercut and the nicely raised crunchy lips looked, felt and tasted good.

The take home message, I think, is that it is not essential for the starter to be 'fully' active to start a mix.  Perhaps if it has been in the fridge a bit longer, then it might not work as well without a pre-feed.  However if you are baking a couple of times a week, give it a try.


patricia sarr 2011 February 16

 I'm not sure the difference between kneading and folding, and I can't find anything on the site that explains.  Your short cuts are brilliant, but that one piece puzzled me.  Can you help?


farinam's picture
farinam 2011 February 16
Hello Trish If you do a search on the site there are a number of articles dealing with the technique. basically, once an hour or thereabouts you stretch the dough into a roughly rectangular shape and fold the top long side down one third, then the bottom long side up over that. Then do the same right and left (don't need to flatten). Turn it over and back into your bowl for another interval of rest/rise and repeat. The go seems to be about 3 repeats but it will depend on the activity of your starter, room temperature etc. If you look at my previous blog there are some photos of stages in S&F and maybe how far you shouldn't go. Happy baking. Farinam
Millciti's picture
Millciti 2011 February 17

There is a nice video here that shows the technique nicely  I like this one he also shows how the dough develops during kneading and folding : 


Also for Farinam, I use cold starter a lot - best under 4 days old.  Refreshed and refrigerated after 6-8hours.  Also you can start the bread like a sponge - add water, starter, and some of the flour and let it set for an hour or two then continue with the rest of the recipe to make the dough.  If you have a healthy starter and bake once or twice a week this seems to work almost as well as fresh starter.  I often do this in the Evening proofing the dough and forming the loaves, allowing the bread to rise in the pan or form for at least an hour before bed.  Then tuck loaves into a fruit bag (plastic bag with a few holes) then into the fridge for the night.  I then preset my oven and to warm up at 5:00 and bake at 6:00 am.  Now if I could just keep my hubby from cutting into the hot loaves in the morning...!


Happy baking!



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