Sourdough Baking Basics: Class Notes & Photos

The Sourdough Baking Basics class on Saturday, January 18 featured the skills of chef Jonathan Berthel of Penokee Mountain Foods and baker Curtis Gauthier of Ashland Baking Company. Below are some photos from the class, plus references for the sourdough starter and recipe.

Curtis talks about the care and feeding of sourdough starter.

Jon Boy explains how to tricky it can be to bake sourdough bread at home.

Curtis talks about dough stretching.

Hand mixing allows a baker to really get to know the dough.

Dough can be shaped in a variety of ways.

Shaping loaves takes practice.

This dough deflated slightly because a fan in the room caused it to chill.

Bakers use a special tool (called a lame) to score the top of the bread. This allows the dough to expand upwards as it bakes (and also looks pretty).

Perfect pan loaf.

For best results, cut bread after it has cooled.

The freshly baked bread is now ready to eat.

Sourdough Starter Recipe

There are a variety of sourdough starter recipes out there, but Curtis recommends Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Sourdough Starter (Levain) recipe on Epicurious.

Sourdough Recipe

Here is the recipe Curtis uses to make the perfect sourdough. Once you get started, you should consider switching from measuring by volume (in cups and teaspoons) to measuring by weight (in grams and kilograms). Look for more recipes online.

  • Bread flour – 4 cups
  • Water – 1 3/4 cups
  • Salt -2 1/2 teaspoons
  • Levain (starter) – about 3/4 cup