My Sourdough Chronicles.

13 Jan

Healthy and active sourdough starter


I can never pass up a great loaf of bread, especially if it’s leavened only by using sourdough culture. In Colorado, there were a few places (Denver and Boulder) that I liked to buy bread from. In Arizona, a couple of places (Bisbee and Tucson) had some amazing breads. Now here in Georgia, I’ve found bread that I love in Athens. It’s a bit of a trek for me, since we live in Augusta, so I finally decided that I should just start making my own sourdough leavened bread.


One of my first doughs for a loaf


One day in October of 2013, I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was finally serious about baking sourdough leavened bread. My friend Juliette, owner and baker of Guadalupe Baking Company, kindly offered to send me some of her dehydrated sourdough starter. I quickly messaged her because YES, I wanted some. She lives in Bisbee, Arizona which is one of my favorite small quirky towns that I’ve been to. I met Juliette at the Sierra Vista, Arizona farmers’ market and I bought bread from her weekly. Both David and I enjoyed all of her breads immensely. When Juliette informed me that her starter was  20 years old, I was impressed and really excited to receive it.

I was very nervous when I was rehydrating the starter and I followed Juliette’s instructions very closely, even after the first few times of feeding the starter flour and water. As I was trying to psych myself into attempting my first loaf, I made pancakes, waffles, pecan sweet rolls, biscuits, quick breads, bagels, focaccia, and crumpets. A friend of mine suggested that I name my starter, so I decided to call it (her) Brava.

I won’t go into details about my baking successes and failures so far in this blog post, but I do want to share some photos of what I’ve been able to bake with this incredibly robust starter. I now try to bake at least once a week, sometimes more if I know I can give some away, and I’ve managed to figure out a routine so that I won’t need to stuff my freezer full of breads and treats that D and I cannot finish. I’ve also gifted a little of Brava away, and I’m hoping that person is having as much fun as I am.

This whole process of creating a loaf of bread has been a greatly educational experience for me. It’s exciting, frustrating, and satisfying all at once. I’m still trying to make what I consider my idea of a perfect bread (especially a more open crumb), but I know that it will just take some time and patience. At least I can say that the bread that I do bake, tastes good and I don’t have to depend on buying our weekly bread anymore. I’m not saying that I’ll pass up amazing bread if I do come across it, because that would be crazy.


Pecan/date quick bread


Pecan caramel sweet rolls


Bagel with chive cream cheese and lox




Rosemary focaccia


A beautiful dough


My first boule


My first boule after baking


Sometimes bread doesn’t come out like you’d want it to


The beginning of my now favorite 5-7 grain boule


5-grain seeded dough


After I bought a cast iron combo cooker, this was the first loaf that got a good amount of oven lift


I called this my Piscean boule


Seven grain, seeded boule


I called this “The Fugliest”


One of my mixed grain loaves


Basic white sourdough loaf


Za’atar crackers


Before baking and after baking


Rum caramel banana upside down cake


This was good


My first sourdough challos (challah)




Posted by on Monday 13 January 2014 in a day in the life


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7 responses to “My Sourdough Chronicles.

  1. Hethyr

    Tuesday 14 January 2014 at 07:51

    You are making me fully miss gluten! ;) They all look amazing. How did you get that gorgeous spiral design on the boule?


    • Kathya

      Tuesday 14 January 2014 at 09:02

      Hi Hethyr! I used a banneton, or also known as brotform, to let the dough proof and shape into a boule. It’s basically a wicker basket, comes in various sizes and shapes. Most times now I just use a linen liner inside of the basket, so that doesn’t leave the spiral design on top. Here are a couple of links so you can see what those baskets look like:


      • Hethyr

        Thursday 16 January 2014 at 17:40

        So cool! I had never seen or heard of those before. Must. Have. And your newest boules look incredible, too. I miss you… and eating with you! ;)


  2. Donna

    Tuesday 14 January 2014 at 09:29

    Beautiful! Are these sponges or a true kneaded/sit for 2 hours/knead again style?


    • Kathya

      Tuesday 14 January 2014 at 09:57

      So far I’ve only made bread that I knead and let sit and fold/knead again. Typically it takes 2-3 days to have a loaf ready because there’s a lot of waiting for it to proof and develop.


      • Donna

        Tuesday 14 January 2014 at 11:17

        Does sourdough take longer to proof?


      • Kathya

        Tuesday 14 January 2014 at 11:53

        It does typically, at least from my limited experience with commercial dry yeast. The longer time, though, really contributes to developing the flavors and rounding out the sour flavor.



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