Fast Track to Sourdough
Since April 8th, 2001, the day Sourdoughhome.com was launched, I have received tens of thousands of emails asking questions about sourdough. Questions the writers didn't want to ask in public forums. Questions that revealed the weaknesses in the books and web pages covering sourdough - including this one. These questions, and their answers, have served to hone this web site to a keen edge.
Over those years, I have seen many of the same questions from people who are trying to bake with sourdough again and again. There's a ton of information about sourdough in books and on the Internet. And much of it is contradictory and more of it is just plain wrong. What has been missing is a single page that focuses on the first time you bake sourdough bread. Painlessly.
In these pages, I want to get you baking with sourdough quickly and painlessly. The techniques are tried and true. They have been developed over the past eleven-plus years in both professional and home baking, and honed by the input of many, many people. They have been tested on students in many classes, so I am very, Very, VERY sure that you can succeed with these techniques also. In these pages, we'll cover how to get a good starter, how to maintain a starter, and how to bake two sourdough breads. We'll start with the Sourdough English Muffin Bread and then make my Black Canyon Sourdough Bread.
At this point, I am assuming you have yeasted bread-baking experience. If you don't, please go through the "Introduction to Baking" exercises (links on the left side of this page). If you are not yet comfortable with your kneading skills, you might check out the tutorial videos on the "Kneading Dough, Converting Recipes, Pan De Yema Oaxaqueno" page. The skills on those pages lie at the base of most bread making, and they are easier to learn before you start using sourdough.
It is worth mentioning that just about any paragraph in this series of web pages is discussed at length in several other pages at our site. The "Fast Track to Sourdough" pages are similar to learning to ride a bicycle with training wheels. If you want to understand how tires hold air, or how gears work, that level of information is on other pages on this site - and the search bar at the bottom of every page is a great place to start looking for more information!
Now then, if you're ready, let's start by Getting A Good Starter!