I’ve been baking bread for a while now, and this past summer I tried my hand at catching a wild starter.  Well, it’s almost 10 months after my first wild starter caught on, and here’s what it’s producing.

I’m no kitchen blogger, and I’m sure that there are few people here who are interested in looking at what I’m eating.  But there’s a cool recipe format on WordPress that I wanted to try out, so I figured I would do so with my Chicago Sourdough recipe.

Chicago Sourdough

  • Servings: 1 to whoever you can't fight off
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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For the refreshment

  • 100 g starter (1:1 by weight flour:water)
  • 100 g flour
  • 100 g water

For the dough

  • All of refreshed starter (typically about 290 g)
  • 140 g water
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 240 g white (all purpose) flour
  • 5 g (1 tsp) salt

The night before baking, mix the ingredients for the refreshment until it is a lumpy mass.  Cover the bowl and leave overnight.

In the morning, prepare bread dough.  I use a bread machine, adding the starter, water, flours and then salt.  I then use the dough setting and walk away for the next 90 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.  I split the dough into two balls for smaller loaves.  Each ball is stretched into a rectangular shape and folded in thirds.  Edges are then pinched so the loaf maintains its shape.  Cover loaves with a damp cloth and allow to rise until you can tolerate not eating bread any longer (90 minutes minimum).

I prepare the oven at 450 degrees with a cast iron skillet filled with water at the bottom of the oven.  The loafs are placed in the preheated oven and checked after 10 minutes so see if the are coloring too fast.  If so, reduce the temperature to about 425 and continue bbread_crustaking for a total of 25 minutes.

The header image shows you that the temperature of my oven isn’t terribly balanced.  The lighter colored loaf was closest to the door.


The crust is a pleasant tan color. My father in law is a retired baker, who owned a small shop in a tiny village in France. He suggested the water trick as well as the temperatures to achieve these colors. I’m not disappointed with the results.

The crumb is soft and pleasing. I rarely get a very airy crumb with my bread recipes, most likely because I spend too much time shaping it (and therefore squish a lot of air bubbles out of it) and am too impatient during the second rise.

All in all, I’m happily surprised that the wild starter is performing this well.




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