When you mix flour with water and let it sit at room temperature overnight. The mixture changes in smell & texture a little. As you captured the yeasts & bacteria in the mixture, they digest sugar in the flour into alcohol and gas (CO2). Therefore, as your flour turns to acid. The longer you leave the mixture, the sour it becomes. And of course, the gas they produce makes the dough bubbly.
On day 1 of fermenting, the amount of organisms in your dough is still too small. You will not see much of a physical change (but you can already smell the difference.) If you keep feeding them, you will notice drastic changes in both the texture & smell the second day.
Here is my culture on day 2. I used a 400 ml bottle and they’re burst!
Don’t stop just here. Keep feeding your culture until day 7-8 or until you see the bubbling dough and the size increase about (or more than) 2X in size, more (and bigger) bubbles. You smell acidic from it. That’s the sign telling that your culture is now ready to do the work in your bread!
Bakers call this a ‘sourdough starter‘.
Incorporate your culture into the bread recipe
This is how the traditional bakers make bread!
The baker has the starter ready before bake day. They would mix the flour + water + sourdough starter and leave the mixture overnight. Then the next day (the bake-day), the baker would work with the dough, adding physical force (kneading) to strengthen the dough. Then after shaping the dough, the baker proceeded to bake in the firewood oven.
Back in 2021, we live our lives more conveniently these days. As we have commercial yeast available (also, the sourdough yeast is available in the shop). You can just mix them into the flour+water, work with it a bit, and bake right away. It makes life easier, requires a small amount of time. Perfect for the fast-pave lifestyle.
Somehow I find it an art, to make traditional bread. Every time I see people baking bread from scratch to feed the family. I see ‘life’ in it. It is the way of how people live life because every time you eat the bread, you admire the hard work of the farmer, baker, and people who put effort into this one bread. It’s sweats & tears.
And I feel the same when I make my bread.
My first sourdough bread
Only two ingredients to get it done! Flour + water. This time I followed the recipe from Patrick Ryan in this video. (But I reduced to half of the recipe)
And this is the result of my first time baking the bunny bread, using my in-house yeast culture.
It doesn’t look perfect as the bread made by a professional baker. But it tastes amazing. And since I made tons of mistakes, I learned a lot from this first attempt as well.
And because I don’t have a kneading machine. While I was working with the dough, I thought “I won’t do this again!” I was so tired to knead to get the dough strength. (Because I didn’t study properly!) However, after I saw my first loaf of bread. I thought “next time is going to be great!”
Surely, I will continue to bake my own bread! And it will be better!
After baking my loaf of bread. I learned more by making mistakes. This is a part of my journey. You might don’t have the same problems that I had. But in case you faced some difficulty in baking your first bread. I’m sharing my mistakes and suggestions to make it better in this post.
You can also find some useful links at the end of this post. And I hope you enjoy baking (& of course eating) your bread! 😀
Mistakes I made today:
- I used a separate tray to put my bread on and I did not warm up the plate before baking. Therefore, there was a huge difference in temperatures between above and under the bread. The bottom of the bread cooked slower.
- I mainly used mechanical (kneading) force to strengthen the dough. It worked but I had to put a lot of effort to do that. Next time, I’ll combine, first I will let the chemical reaction do the work. Then I’ll add physical work after.
- The bread was too flat. There are probably a few reasons:
- 1) how I scored the bread (but I prefer this way & I’ll continue this scoring line)
- 2) Over-proofed bread!?
- 3) The lower plate wasn’t heated before baking (improper temp.)
- Improper measurement (I do not have a proper scale.)
But after all, this bread tastes amazing!!! A bit sour + salty. And I want more!
- Baking 101, masterclass.com
- 5 TIPS TO CREATE INCREDIBLE DOUGH STRENGTH | FULL MASTERCLASS, The Bread Code
- How To Make Sourdough Bread Masterclass by Patrick Ryan, ilovecooking.ie
- Salovaara Hannu, The effect of fermentation temperature, flour type, and starter on the properties of sour wheat bread, International Journal of Food Science & Technology 2007;22(6):591 – 597. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2621.1987.tb00527.x
- Alfonzo A. et al., Evaluation of the Fermentation Dynamics of Commercial Baker’s Yeast in Presence of Pistachio Powder to Produce Lysine-Enriched Breads, Fermentation 2020; 6 (1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation6010002
- Mozaffary P, Milani JM, Heshmati A. The influence of yeast level and fermentation temperature on Ochratoxin A decrement during bread making. Food Sci Nutr. 2019;7(6):2144-2150. Published 2019 May 7. doi:10.1002/fsn3.1059
- Maicas S. The Role of Yeasts in Fermentation Processes. Microorganisms. 2020;8(8):1142. Published 2020 Jul 28. doi:10.3390/microorganisms8081142