Is sourdough bread ALWAYS baked in a Dutch oven?

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JustJoel

Executive Chef
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
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My starter is finally coming to fruition, after much cajoling, coaxing, cursing, and lots of TLC. I could, of course, just keep feeding it and playing with it without ever making a loaf, but that would be kinda counterproductive, to say the least.

I’ve been looking at all the different recipes, and I’ve noticed a few things in common with each: 1. Every recipe is for two loaves. 2. Every loaf is cooked in a Dutch oven. 3. Pretty much every recipe varies wildly in the amount of starter used.

>I only want to make one loaf, to start. If it’s dreadful, at least I won’t have wasted the flour. Can I decrease a recipe by half, and if I do, do I decrease the amount of starter equally?

>While I appreciate the benefits of baking bread in a Dutch oven, it offers limited options for shaping. What if I prefer a baguette-shaped loaf, or sourdough buns, or a loaf shaped like a, well, loaf?

>Aside from following the recipe, how do I determine how much starter to use? Some recipes call for a tablespoon, and then make a leaven with it. Some recipes call for more starter than raw flour.

Since I’ve started to rely on baker’s percentages, I’m really coming to appreciate formulas over recipes, but I’m having a hard time fitting the starter into a formula!

Any help you can give this newbie would be appreciated. A tutor to guide me as I make a loaf would be even better. We can all dream, right?
 
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GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
26,760
Location
Southeastern Virginia
My starter is finally coming to fruition, after much cajoling, coaxing, cursing, and lots of TLC. I could, of course, just keep feeding it and playing with it without ever making a loaf, but that would be kinda counterproductive, to say the least.

I’ve been looking at all the different recipes, and I’ve noticed a few things in common with each: 1. Every recipe is for two loaves. 2. Every loaf is cooked in a Dutch oven. 3. Pretty much every recipe varies wildly in the amount of starter used.

No, sourdough does not have to be baked in a Dutch oven. If you only want one loaf, halve the recipe. Pick a recipe from a trusted source and use that.
 

medtran49

Executive Chef
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
4,855
Location
Florida
No, sourdough does not have to be baked in a Dutch oven. If you only want one loaf, halve the recipe. Pick a recipe from a trusted source and use that.

+1. I used to make it a lot and always halved the recipe to make 1 loaf.
 

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