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Fast Track to Sourdough
Black Canyon Sourdough Bread

Black Canyon Sourdough Boule from my Colorado High Attitude Bakery

One of our few plain white breads, this sourdough bread is styled after a San Francisco Style Sourdough. Of course, we're not in San Francisco, so we can't call it by that name. It has a nice wheaty taste with a hint of sour that grows stronger over a period of several days. Several people from the "City by the Bay" have told us this bread makes them feel like they are back home.

As you make this bread, you may find that the dough handles more easily than a yeasted dough with the same flour/water ratio. The sourdough helps make the dough softer and more extensible. Finally, please be aware that the cups and gram measurements are approximations of one another. Most people who measure in grams do not want to weigh out 1,234 grams. 1,230 is close enough. Nor do people using cups want strange cup measurements like 3/16 cup. So, please don't think that, for example, 90 grams of flour is 1/2 cup. The most accurate numbers here are the bakers percentages.

This recipe is for one 1.5 pound (680 gram) loaf. The other recipe at this site for San Francisco Sourdough Bread is for two loaves.


Weight in Grams Volumetric Measurement Ingredient Baker's Percentage
280 grams 1 1/8 cups Water 64.8
86 grams 1/3 cup Active sourdough Starter at 100% hydration 20
370 grams 3 cups Bread Flour 85.38
63 grams 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour 14.62
8.6 grams (9 is close enough) 1 2/3 tsp Salt 2

Method: If you are measuring by weight, measure all the ingredients into a mixing bowl in the order given and stir until the dough comes together.

If you are measuring by volume, put about 3/4 of the bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups) in a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients (including the whole wheat flour) and begin stirring. As needed, add more bread flour, until the dough is too hard to stir by hand.

Pour out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for about five minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for five minutes. Then knead the dough for another 5 minutes.

At this point the dough should pass the windowpane test. We talked about the windowpane test in the "Basic Yeasted White Bread" page at the end of the kneading pictures. If the dough doesn't pass the windowpane test, knead it for another 5 minutes. If it still isn't passing the windowpane test, you might look at the videos on the "Kneading Dough, Converting Recipes, Pan De Yema Oaxaqueno" page for hints on more effective kneading.

Once the dough is kneaded, lightly round the loaf. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Once the dough has rested, form it into boules. If you have them, put the dough into bannetons. Otherwise, just flour the loaves, put them on a baking sheet and cover them with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until at least doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). If you have baking stones in your oven, this will take about 45 minutes.

Once your dough has risen and the oven is ready, it is time to get your bread into the oven. You might look at the "Introduction to Peelology" page for ideas on how to get the dough into the oven.

After about 15 minutes, rotate the bread. I like to move the loaf from the top rack to the bottom, the one on the bottom to the top, and rotate the bread so the part that faced the back of the oven now faces the front. This helps bread bake evenly in an oven that is not evenly hot. After another 15 minutes, check to see if the bread is done. You can tap the bottom of the loaf, or use a chef's thermometer to make sure the bread is between 190 and 205F (88 to 96 C). Cool the bread on a wire rack, slice and enjoy!

Now you have been through the basics of caring for a starter and baking with sourdough starter. I hope that this helps you. If you have more questions, there are lots of pages in this site that can help answer them. If you have questions this site doesn't answer, please feel free to send me an email through the "Contact Us" page, or look at the "Resources" page for leads on getting more information.

Revised 4/19/2015 to include weight measurements, resolve inconcistencies between this and the other San Francisco Sourdough Style bread recipe at this site, and clarify instructions for people who can't leave their cups behind.