Sourdough Bread Baking Exploration
4.4 (201 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,598 students enrolled

Sourdough Bread Baking Exploration

Sourdough 102. Explore some of the techniques behind bread baking and learn to challenge baking methods.
4.4 (201 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,598 students enrolled
Created by Teresa L Greenway
Last updated 9/2018
Current price: $55.99 Original price: $79.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 13 articles
  • 7 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • When this course is done, the student will learn to challenge standard ideas of baking methods and explore baking methods.
  • You will learn to wash gluten, see what gluten and starch looks like, test the suitability of the flour you are using to bake bread and more!
  • You will have several printable formulas for Ciabatta, sourdough pancakes and several hydration level sourdough breads.
  • Have a better understanding of the stages of a sourdough starter.
  • Learn a method for recovering from a formula mistake.
  • You will learn an easy way to test your local flour to see if it is strong enough for making bread with.
  • A willingness to learn and patience are require for this course.
  • Kitchen scale and basic baking ingredients and utensils are necessary, unless you just wish to watch.
  • Bring your curiosity as we explore bread techniques, issues, science and methods.
  • Be willing to have your preconceived notions challenged!

I decided to make this course after being asked many questions behind the "why" of bread baking. I am always exploring the "why" of baking so I thought I would share with you the fun I've had experimenting. This course would be a good one to follow my Sourdough Bread Baking 101 course and it is aimed at beginning and intermediate sourdough bakers. 

If you don't have a sourdough starter, don't worry, I will show you step by step (with videos) how to make your own starter. You'll also get a free downloadable e-book on how to make your own sourdough starter that you can print out. 

The course covers:

  • Exploring protein quality in flour. This shows an easy test to see if your flour is suitable for bread baking. After the test we will use our test doughs to bake up a loaf of bread, so depending upon the flour your testing everyone's loaf will turn out different.
  • Gluten washing - see how to extract gluten from flour. See how it looks and performs, also see how the starch looks.
  • Recovering from a mistake. I made a huge mistake when I was doing one of the experiments, so instead of ditching the experiments, we explore how to recover from a mistake and we make beautiful Ciabatta bread.
  • All purpose flour VS bread flour. In this experiment we explore the differences between all purpose flour and bread flour. We'll use three experiments and do a higher hydration each time. You might be surprised at the outcome.
  • With the last iteration of the comparison loaves, we will use a high quality bread flour and a double hydration to bake up an 88% hydration loaf.
  • The last thing we will look at is the life cycle of a sourdough starter from feeding to it's death. We'll also make pancakes from the discard! 

We'll talk about freezing dough and what happens as well as how to protect gluten in a weak dough and how to slow down fermentation (see the links in the bonus section). 

We are going to have a lot of fun! So join me in this exploration of sourdough baking! 


Who this course is for:
  • Beginners, Intermediate students.
  • Any person with the curiosity to explore some of the techniques and methods around sourdough bread baking.
Course content
Expand all 47 lectures 02:34:24
+ Welcome!
3 lectures 02:21

Welcome to Sourdough Bread Baking Exploration. We will be exploring different aspects of flour, protein, gluten, hydration and seeing the different stages of a sourdough starter. We will also be baking bread while we experiment. Let's have some fun! 

Preview 01:12

You will need a sourdough starter to follow in this course. The video series in this lecture will help you get your own sourdough starter going and show you how to take care of it, how to make sourdough waffles and bread! 

Preview 00:56

Get started by viewing the video series, "Make Your Own Sourdough Starter With Me!" and by downloading the free book. 

Make Your Own Sourdough Starter Booklet.
+ Testing the Protein & Quality of Flour
9 lectures 38:09

Let's test the local flour you have available to you and see if it's able to bake up a loaf of bread. This is a quick easy test to help you determine the quality of a flour especially if you don't know how strong it is and whether it can be used to make bread with. 

Test Your Flour Quality

In this lecture we will begin our test of four different types of flour to determine their quality and whether we can use the flour to make bread with. We will bring the flour to 70% hydration and allow it to set for 30 minutes. 

Preview 06:17

After 30 minutes we will do a windowpane test to see how the gluten bonding is coming along and determine after such a short time, how strong the gluten already is. 

Protein - Gluten After 30 Minutes.

After 60 minutes we will test the strength of the gluten again and talk about ways to protect the gluten in weak dough. 

Protein - Gluten After 60 Minutes.

Let's take a minute to talk about hydration in dough and also share a few tips.

Protein - Some Tips

After the flour test we will be mixing the doughs together and making a loaf of sourdough bread from it. This lecture is the formula for the bread (or the instructions to turn our test into a loaf!) Everyone's bread will come out different depending upon what type of flour they tested. Look forward to having a lot of fun with this experiment. 

Protein - Four Flour Test Bread Formula

Let's have fun with the test dough and make a loaf of sourdough bread out of it! 

Protein - Let's Make a Loaf of Bread!

We will fold the dough a few times during bulk ferment and then shape our loaf and refrigerate it when it's done fermenting. 

Protein - Folding the Dough

Refrigerate the dough overnight and then bake it the next morning. 

Preview 04:12
+ Gluten Washing - Discover Gluten
5 lectures 18:20

Follow the formula to make the dough at 66% hydration and then do the gluten washing. 

Gluten Washing - Discover Gluten

Mix four different types of dough for the Gluten Washing experiment.

Gluten Washing - Make the Dough

To develop the gluten before we wash it, fold the dough at least once. 

Gluten Washing - Fold the Dough

Let's wash the dough and uncover the gluten. This is the fun part!

Gluten Washing - Let's Wash the Dough

Examine the gluten and see how it looks and  how it acts. You can also see the starch that was washed out. 

Gluten Washing - The Results
+ Recover from a Mistake - Ciabatta Bread
6 lectures 21:39

While trying to make test boules to compare All Purpose flour vs Bread Flour, I  made a mistake with my hydration calculator. I ended up with 92% hydration dough. Follow as I fix my mistake by making Ciabatta bread. 

Recover From a Mistake - What Happened?

This 92% hydration Ciabatta bread was made as the result of a mistake. It is terrific! Here is the formula and downloadable printout formula. 

Recovered Sourdough Ciabatta Bread Formula

Fold the dough and develop the gluten structure. 

Recover From a Mistake - Develop the Gluten

The dough is now ready to final proof and shape. It's the other way around for this Ciabatta bread! 

Recover From a Mistake - Final Proofing and Shaping

Shape your Ciabatta loaves and get them into the oven to bake. 

Recover From a Mistake - Shaping and Baking Ciabatta Bread

Bake the rest of the Ciabatta loaves and once they are cool, slice into them! Big holes make great craters for butter! 

Preview 04:10
+ All Purpose Flour vs Bread Flour - At Different Hydrations
16 lectures 50:31

What do you think will happen during the experiment? How will a lower protein flour compare to a higher protein flour? The results might surprise you. 

Compare Flour 10% Protein and 13% Protein

After making a mistake the first time I did this experiment and made Ciabatta instead, I redid the experiment here to compare All Purpose flour with Bread flour. 

Formula for Comparison Loaves 1

Start by making the first loaf with all purpose flour. This dough is at 68% hydration and the protein content is at 10%

Comparison - Make All Purpose Flour Dough

Now we'll make the next two loaves following the exact same formula as the all purpose loaf. These loaves will be a blend of all purpose and bread flour and also just bread flour. 

Comparison - Make the Rest of the Dough

Let's warm up the dough and finish the bulk ferment. We'll follow what each dough looks like and how it acts. 

Comparison - One Hour Later - Fold Dough

After refrigeration, take out the dough and let it warm up and bulk ferment. 

Comparison - 4 - Warm Up and Bulk Ferment

See what dough looks like when it's done bulk fermenting. 

Comparison - 5- End of Bulk Ferment

We'll shape our batards and proof them. 

Comparison - 6- Shaping the Loaves

Score and then bake the loaves and see how they turn out. 

Comparison - Score and Bake

It's time to compare the finished loaves, what are the differences?

Comparison - The Finished Loaves

Now let's do the loaves again and use a higher hydration to see what happens. Can you make a loaf using all purpose flour and a higher hydration? 

Formula for Higher Hydration Loaves 2

See how the flours perform with a higher hydration dough at 78%

Comparison - All Purpose Flour vs Bread Flour - 78% Hydration

In this formula I used a higher quality bread flour called Morbread flour and took it to an even higher hydration level of 88% I also used a double hydration method and an autolyse to help the gluten bond better before adding the additional water, starter and salt. 

Comparison - Double Hydration and Higher Hydration

Let's go even higher in hydration. This time I'm using a great quality flour an autolyse and double hydration. We'll take the hydration to 88% this time. 

Comparison - 88% Hydration Dough

Let's bake up our high hydration loaf and slice into it. 

Preview 02:12

Now that the experiment is over what do you think? See some suggestions for using low or high protein flours. 

What Do You Think?
+ The Life Cycle of a Sourdough Starter
6 lectures 22:33

The first stage of a sourdough starter life cycle is when you feed it. 

Life Cycle of a Starter - Stage 1 Feeding

I mentioned that I made pancakes from the discard when I was filming stage one. Here is the pancake formula I used to make the pancakes. The formula is simple and easy to throw together and tastes delicious. 

An Easy Pancake Formula from Discard

The second stage of a sourdough starter is before peak and after feeding. 

Life Cycle of a Starter - Stage 2 Before Peak

The third stage of a sourdough starter is peak. 

Preview 03:31

See what the peak stage looks like. 

Life Cycle of a Starter - Stage 4 After Peak

The fifth stage of a sourdough starter is it's decline and demise. 

Life Cycle of a Starter - Stage 5 Demise
+ Conclusion
2 lectures 00:48

Thank you for joining me in exploring sourdough! I had a lot of fun and I hope you did too! 

Thank You for Joining Me!

Find helpful links to more sourdough techniques and tips plus where to find discount codes to my other courses here on Udemy. 

Preview 00:16