South African from Sourdoughs International
Keep starter in fridge and feed once a day about a quarter cup of flour. When the starter jar is about 1/3 full, discard 1/2 and keep feeding daily.
expanding the starter
About 8 to 12 hours before you want to make the bread, fill the starter jar up 1/2 full with flour and enough water to mix well, and let sit out on the counter for the room temperature rise. It can take as little as six hours to double in size, (fill the jar), or if prepping for the next day you can do this the night before for making bread in the morning, or, most of the time, I do this in the morning for making the dough at night, then cook the bread the next morning.
If you wanted make bread all in one day, like a Saturday or Sunday, I would expand the starter at night right before you go to bed, then get up in the morning and make the dough which takes about 30 minutes, let it rise for around six to ten hours, and then bake. This is what I have been doing lately because I can watch the rise and cook at just the right time- expanding the starter about ten or eleven at night and then make bread around 9am and bake around 8pm.
If you are in a hurry and the bread still hasn't risen all the way because it's cold or something, you can put it in a 100 degree oven for an hour and it will rise really fast. More than an hour at this temp can make an off-tasting loaf.
Grind flour, use Spelt, or Einkorn, Farro, or Kamut, or a mix, fill up the grinder hopper all the way, or better yet weigh out the 1280 grams of grain and then grind it. Lately I have been using Spelt, it tastes good and so far makes a more sour bread. However, I have been making the starter with Kamut, the combination of Spelt and the about 1/4 Kamut in the is contained in the starter makes a loaf the doesn't crumble, whereas the all Spelt loaves were a little crumbly.
I usually make five loaves, but I made the recipe below for four baguette size loaves that basically fill the pan within about an inch from each end so they don't go off the ends. If you make less than 3 or four loaves my machine doesn't knead it very well.
Starter- 670 Grams
Water- 570 (must be adjusted for the grain moisture)
Honey or Agave- 50 (optional)
Whisk the above together and then add flour. Knead in machine for 16 minutes at low speed (default)
Add flour 1280 grams
If too darn sticky to form a loaf add more flour and knead a couple more minutes.
To get sourdough to rise well, you need to have pretty wet sticky dough, if it's too dry it won't rise as much. It's kind of a pain to work with. I put olive oil on my hands for each loaf I form to keep the dough from sticking to my hands. I sprinkle flour on a cutting board and roll the dough to form the loaf.
Form the loaves and cover them with cloth, the fabric napkins work well because they are lightweight. Ideally, you want to get all the rise you can without the loaves falling back down from rising too much. In the summer this can be as little as four hours. I try to slit the loaves with a razor blade about 1/4 inch deep after they have risen a couple hours, often I forget or am asleep. They rise more if you slit them. The way I tell if the loaves have risen fully is to wait until some cracks are appearing, like fissures, and the loaves have doubled in size. I would guess 5 to 12 hours, but can be less, or in winter more. Over rising is not a big deal, I try not to, but because of my schedule I often do an eight hour rise when 5 or 6 was ideal. (summer temps). Over risen loaves have flat tops from falling a bit. Flavor not as good.
Place loaves in a cold oven, careful not to jiggle them. Turn on oven convection bake to 350 or 400 and set the timer for 25 minutes. Use the thermometer and probe center of loaves for the ideal 190 degrees. Try not to go over 195 degrees or the loaves will be dry in a day or two.
Short loaves take about 20 minutes. If after 25 minutes the loaves are at say 165, the next 30 degrees goes fast, like three or four minutes it seems.
Place in bags after around 20 minutes out of the oven so they retain moisture.
Baggette Pan: (Bend to get the shape you desire)