More Failed Sourdough!

More Failed Sourdough!



I was hoping to get some advice on my bread baking! I posted recently, but have altered some of my methods, but still I am not getting the loaves I hope for. My current set up is as follows:



  • 900g White Flour
  • 100g Wholemeal Flour
  • 200g Levain (mature sourdough starter)
  • 20g Salt
  • 730ml water. 


Process (primarily following a modified Tartine bread recipe by Chad Robertson):

  1. 40 minute autolyze
  2. 4 hour bulk rise, two turns per hour for the first two hours, then one turn p ter hour for the remaining two hours.
  3. Preshape, then bench rest for 40 minutes.
  4. Final shape, then final proof for 45 minutes. 
  5. Bake in dutch oven for 30 minutes lid on, then 30 minutes lid off at 230C.


Following advice from last time, I tried to get more strength into my dough by turning my vigourously in the first 4 turns and to proof much less (i’ve cut it down by 2 hours!). It passes the finger poke test to my estimation (see video!), but still I am dissatisfied for a few reasons. Firstly, the loaves do not develop ears. Secondly, there is not too much oven spring, so the loaves are quite squat and unattractive. Thirdly, the loaves have irregularities, almost as if some parts have collapsed, leaving indentations on the top.

Video of poke test:


Any advice? The current technique by Tartine Bread might not be working out for me. I’ve baked over 15 loaves with this recipe and cannot seem to get it right!

I have a few ideas of where I might be going wrong.

  • Firstly, my first loaf was the super-mishapen one which was quite dense. The second loaf went in 30 minutes after the first, and had a little bit more of an open crumb and was more dome-shaped and less misshapen. So maybe I need to leave it 30 more minutes or more to my final proof time. Have I underproofed, or overproofed?
  • Secondly, I have been scoring in a square shape. Perhaps I might have been able to avoid that large air bubble in the top if i scored a different pattern.

Thank you!

Source: Fresh Loaf