SourDough help please


SourDough help please.

We seek guidance on achieving our dream texture! Below is our recipe and method and the issue we face, can anybody help us identify areas to work on to get to our desired texture?


Rye Flour                            50g

Water                                  50ml

Fed daily in lead up to making bread. Kept at 20-25’c.


Bakers Flour                                  1652g                   (43.7%)

Water                                             1250g at 30'c       (33.0%)

Starter (from above)                       600g                     (15.8%)

Autolyse for 20mins, then add;

Rye flour                                          225g                     (5.9%)

Salt                                                  54g                       (1.4%)

  • Kneaded for 5 minutes, Hobart mixer.
  • Bulk fermentation, usually 12 hrs at 20’c. (Temp hard to control).
  • Then stretch and fold, rest 10 minutes.
  • Scale off to 1000g pieces.
  • Rest 15 mins.
  • Shape to loaf, into banneton.
  • Proof at ambient (20’c) until double size.
  • Bake in wood fired oven 230’c, for 40 mins

This is what we usually get! Refer to attached photo, what do we need to change?

Should add that the starter is always quite sour, but the final bread is not :(






290 users have voted.


farinam's picture
farinam 2015 November 7

Hello Phil,

A couple of thoughts.

Is your recipe similar or the same as your ideal loaf?  If it doesn't have as much rye, that could make a difference as rye is lower in gluten than wheat and doesn't make as strong a dough.  Wholemeal flour will also weaken the gluten structure due to the effect of bran and germ interrupting the continuity of the sheets/strands.

One observation that I have made is that dough kneaded with high(er) energy input seems to produce a bread with a finer crumb than one developed with lower energy input such as stretch and fold.  I put this down to the fact that the higher energy creates more, smaller pockets for the carbon dioxide to migrate to whereas the lower energy and technique of stretch and fold creates fewer, larger pockets.  Perhaps you could do a batch forgoing the mixer and just do stretch and fold to see how it goes.

Bread made with 'sourdough' doesn't have to be sour you know but, if you do want more of a sour tang, then a higher proportion of 'sourdough' in the recipe and longer development and proving times can move you in that direction.

Hope this helps in your quest and good luck with your projects.


Peter 2015 November 25

Flour is always 100%!!! Rest of ingredients are the percentage of flour weight. When using wholemeal flour and especially rye you need more water ( double for rye) . If you want big holes it's all down to high water content 80/90%( of flour weight) . I use the simplest recipe called 1-2-3 being 1-starter 2- water 3- flour . Your looks similar when you convert it so I think you need more water in your recipe. Wet doughs are more difficult to handle but there are techniques that help ( oiled hands , air kneeding etc) look it up . Maybe try less rye or more water but wet dough with high rye flour ratio won't have enough stretch to hold shape down to low gluten. Good luck anyway.

Here's picture of the loaf 1-2-3 method

Zhiem 2015 November 29

I have found the comments from Farinam and Peter very interesting. I get a similar "dense" result and its probably because I am way too casual about the mixing process and never measure anything. I usually mix my (sluggish) starter with (very varying) quantities of wholemeal wheat flour, wholemeal spelt and  Lighthouse bakers flour before giving it some "high energy input" with the KitchenAid. I try to keep it as wet as possible and yes it is difficult to handle. Sometimes the result is so dense (after overnight proving) that I have taken to adding some instant yeast to the mix. Of course the more instant yeast I use the higher the rise, but I try to keep it to a minimum so as not to compromise the sourdough process, (but I guess I am doing that anyway). I will try in future to cut back on the wholemeal flours, keep the mix wet and turn down the speed of the KitchenAid dough-hook.

Fourlambs 2016 January 25

Thanks for the replies. We have had good results with the extra water and we are also including a little gluten powder (1.0%) in the recipe. Its looking good.

Thanks Phil

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