Sunday, 3 June 2012

Sourdough Disaster

I'm not to proud to admit it when things go wrong, and maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes, if you are upset by photo's of badly made bread look away now.

I’m in mourning for my sourdough project, which would appear to be in tatters. The trouble is, I tried to do too much (as usual) and lost most of it.

Initially I thought that my starter was not active enough, so I took it out of the fridge and fed it,

12 hours later I fed it again and boy was it bubbling.

Of course that meant that I had about a kilo and a half of starter, so I had to do something with it.
In the end I decided to try an overnight proof and then to make a couple of loaves using my proofing box for an accelerated proof.

Well the overnight loaf went really well,

and with high hopes I made dough, let it rise, shaped it and put it in the box.

 Unfortunately, I left it too long and when I came to turn it out too bake, I found that one loaf was stuck to the banneton, and the other was split and had a dry, hard crust. That’s when I made my second mistake. I tried to re-work and incorporate the dough, looking back I think I should have made rolls or flatbreads, anyway I only succeeded in making bricks.

At least my two loyal dogs liked them.

I have tried to dry some of the remaining starter,

but the hot weather has gone and its not really drying, I have kept a small portion in the fridge and I think that I will go back to what I know best, i.e. polish type focaccia or just plain loaves for a while. The sourdough bread was tasty, but there were so many bricks that I need to step back for a bit and re-think my strategy. I do hate to admit defeat, so I will be back. In the meantime, if any one has any suggestions, please let me know, but for the moment,there’s a Jubilee to celebrate !


  1. Hello

    Thank you for sharing your trials and tribulations with the sourdough. I amm reading your blog wih interest as I have never made sourdought before - it is something that is waiting in the wings at the moment until I get a little more time to play. However I have neer come across a "proving box" befre and I am quite interested in the concept as in the house I live in it tends to be very cold. I used to have an airing cupboard but when the new boiler was put in that went and I have no "warm place" in which to prove my dough. Where would I get one from or failing that is it possible to make your own? If so, would you be able to post instruction?

    Its a wet and windy day here in Peterborough gentle and persistent rain or what our family refer to as "caravan weather" and a day for listening to the radio or music whilst pottering around doing this and that.

    Take care



    1. Hi,
      That was quick! I actually made the proving box from a few bits and pieces I had lying around.(A storage box with lid and an extension lamp) On reflection I think it needs to be bigger to allow for more airflow, and maybe have some sort of temperature control mechanism to stop the drying action of the heat. Keep watching as I experiment. The bread itself is really good and worth all the effort, it's just a case of getting consistancy.
      I know all about "Caravan Wather", to us its rain lashing on the window whilst we are inside, brings back lots of memories.

  2. Hello its me again. Its ages since I have been really inspired with something and your bread proofer (the English call it a Prover) really got me interested. So much so I have been blog hopping (well it is caravan weather) firstly for instructions on how to make one myself; I came up with the following links if they are of any use to you. then leading on to a commercial Proofer available from Brod and Taylor They are only available in USA and Canada at present, but what I thought was helpful is that there are videos showing how it is used (they put water into the proofer to stop dryness - thought this might be helpful to you) its worth having a nosey at this. I then emailed asking if they shipped these over and how much etc. and the owner came back to me himself indicating that Lakeland are going to be stocking this item a 240 volt version from October/November 2012. I then went on to You Tube and there are four tutorials for a sourdough bread on there using this proofer. Here Here Here and Here There is also a tutorial on how to make yogurt in bulk with this gadget Here Interestingly the presenter added a little extra yeast to the sourdough base (she indicated to ensure that if you were unsure as to the volatility of the starter this would ensure a good result.

    This wanted me even more to have a go at the sourdough bread - I am itching to have a go. I also thought that it might give you a few pointers for the home made version and may help you iron out the wrinkles for little expense as well as giving you more room in your proofer. I still look forward to seeing how your modifications pan out.

    As an aside my partner and his father used to work for Baker Perkins and they always had a source of steam in the ovens that were made or if using an oven at home having a tray of water on the oven shelf to help provide the moisture for the bread to rise properly.

    I hope this helps



    1. Wow loads of things to look at there,
      Many Thanks,
      I will look out for Lakeland version as well.
      Happy experimenting with Sourdough, it can become addictive.

  3. Glad to have been of help. Have done a post on my blog linked the article to your blog; I hope it brings you some new readers as your lovely little blog deserves wider recognition.

    Hope this is okay