A crafty, nommy, occassionally geeky blog-thing.

White Sourdough (63% Hydration)

As a “no knead” graduate, I’m used to making high hydration, slack doughs, slumped into loaves which are only vaguely “boule” shaped. Tasty enough, full of “rustic charm”, but definitely not pretty.

I want pretty. So I’ve picked up some brotforms, and am training myself to use more flour than seems right, on the understanding that stiffer dough will be easier for a beginner to shape.

Brotforms make even mishapen loaves look artisnal

This is a slightly stiffer1 version of the “San Francisco Sourdough Bread”2 found in Saus’ Advanced Bread & Pastry. I wanted to try something stiffer, as I’m just getting the hang of using proofing baskets, and properly shaping the dough. No shapeless lumps of wet dough today!

I started with .75 ounces of liquid rye starter (100% hydration), and built it up to a 7 ounce stiff white starter (approximately 50% hydration) in 2 feedings over 24 hours. The levain accounts for 20% of the total flour in the final dough.


I then proofed the dough overnight. Its getting warm around here, and by 9am, the dough was overproofed. Witness the slashed tire. Time to start overnighting dough in the fridge!

But not unsalvageable

Overproofing + a less-than-graceful transfer to the dutch oven resulted in slumpy, wrinkly loaf. But its mine, and I loves it. The crust is a bit thick 3, but the flavour is fair — mild, and slightly nutty, with just a bit of tang. If tomatoes were in season, this is exactly the sort of bread I’d want to put them on.


  1. Stiffer dough is easier to work with, and results in a tighter crumb, with fewer large holes. The original formula called for 69% hydration; I’m using 63%.

  2. I hesitate to call my loaf a San Fran sourdough, as I’m pretty sure L. sanfranciscensis isn’t a dominate strain ‘round here.

  3. I judge “doneness” in the oven by aroma & colour, and have been baking more rye of late — time to re-calibrate my eyes for white bread.