Sourdough Bread Baking Experiment for the Sourdough Challenge

Sourdough Bread Baking Experiment for the Sourdough Challenge

Taking the #Sourdough Challenge into its fourth week I am happy for my bread-making hobby. I think baking bread is the most rewarding thing I do. Especially when the aroma fills the house, there’s really nothing better.

But like many of you who have taken the #Sourdough Challenge during this pandemic to bake every day, my ideas are running thin. For that reason, I joined Reddit’s Sourdough Community where I get new ideas nearly every day.

There I can brag if I have an unusually good loaf. I can also tell them about my failures and seek advice. 

One post there caught my eye, as you can see in the photo above entitled:

After a year of experimenting, I think I’ve found my go-to recipe (75% hydration)

Several of us asked her to share the recipe which she shared on her phone while riding the train.

First, you’ll need “some crucial equipment:

  1. “Food scale (you can’t have consistent, controlled results without weighing)
  2. “Dutch oven—I use a cast iron dutch oven which has the tendency to conduct too much heat. A way to avoid over-doing your bottom crust is to remove the loaf from the dutch oven after the first 20-25 minutes of baking and place directly on the oven rack.
  3. “Bannetons— I have 2 of these:
  4. “Razorblade/chef’s knife for scoring

Here’s my base recipe for two loaves (some things are done by feel but I’ve tried to quantify as much of the process as possible):”


Her Directions


  • 100g mature starter
  • 100g bread flour
  • 150g water


  • 800g bread flour
  • 230g whole wheat
  • flour
    700g water
  • 25g salt
  1. Build levain from mature starter

  2. Minimum 1 hour autolyse of dough (w/o salt); the hour (or more) autolyse step is crucial to forming gluten structures before introducing the levain and salt.

  3. Combine levain and dough; add salt. 

  4. 4-6 stretch and folds about every 30-60 minutes. The dough might seem way too wet until the second or third “stretch and fold.”  Trust the process. Wet your fingertips before touching the dough to make it easier to handle

  5. Bulk ferment as one mass (covered) in the fridge for about 14-20 hours

  6. Divide dough into two masses, pre-shape into two rounds, cover and bench rest for 30 minutes

  7. Shape loaves and place in floured bannetons. Let rest for at least 30 minutes. Once you’re ready to bake, flip loaves onto parchment paper, score with a razor blade, and drop into a preheated dutch oven.

  8. BAKE:

20 minutes, @ 500 F (covered in dutch oven)
5 minutes @ 440F (uncovered in dutch oven)
20 minutes @ 440 F (directly on oven rack)

The author also makes these suggestions:

“Use the best ingredients you can get/afford. Organic fresh milled flours, high-quality salt, high-quality water, etc. I live in NYC and use our tap water — my building is over 100 years old and my starter seems to really enjoy whatever else is floating in the air. ;-)”

Take the #Sourdough Challenge Start Baking Today

In the comment section below or at our own Sourdough Community, tell us about how you have been taking the #Sourdough Challenge during this pandemic.

After Thought

Cynthia, a neighbor borrowed one of my cast iron dutch ovens (see comment below)  to see if it made a difference. I think that this a very handsome loaf, don’t you agree?

Author: Darryl Alder lives with his wife in Riverside Lodge, which is their home, along the Provo River in Utah. He is a retired career Scouter and outdoorsman who spent many hours over a campfire using a Dutch oven and loves sharing recipes for the kitchen and the campfire alike. You can read many of his outdoor recipes here and on this site by searching for Sourdough Saturday or Recipes on the top right-hand side of the blog.

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