Sourdough Baking, Round 3 -- And Some of My Favorite Resources & Tools

Just over two years ago, I started down the sourdough breadmaking journey and wrote about it here. In the beginning I was baking something every day because I was learning and experimenting and also because I didn't want to throw away any of my starter (known as discarding), and I was afraid that if I placed my starter in the refrigerator, it would die.

And it did die. But it wasn't because of the process but instead because my starter ended up getting pushed farther and farther toward the back of the refrigerator and became completely neglected until at some point many months down the road I pulled the jar of blackened gunk out into the light of day and realized Stanley the Starter's life was over. Soon after there was another Stanley, but unfortunately he met the same demise.

Currently I am two weeks into my third starter, comprised of rye flour and water. Her name is Stella, and she is a bubbling beauty, and so now I am beginning to bake all things sourdough again.


I started down this path again for a number of reasons. The Coronavirus pandemic has made life paradoxically complex and simple. All the emotion that I feel about the connection between an international lockdown and a centuries old method of baking is a whole other blog post in itself at some point. Right now, in simpler terms, I am inspired and motivated by the popularity of sourdough baking. Many of my friends now are deeply into making their own sourdough bread, and that has brought me back around to the sourdough experience. I love hearing about what my friends are making and baking at home these days. 

As I have been engaging in multiple sourdough conversations, I realize we all have many questions for each other, such as what type of flour we use, where we shop for supplies, what websites and books we turn to. 

So here is a list of my favorites at this point:

  • Janie's Mill in Ashkum, Illinois. (I also use King Arthur Flour and Bob's Red Mill because those brands are available at my local grocery stores.)
  • Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa: I have had the best result for artisan bread with her Everyday Sourdough recipe.
  • Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish: Very technical but a must-have if you want to delve deeper into the entire process of sourdough baking.
My Favorite Recipes
My Tools
  • Weck Jars (3/4 liter mold jar): As you can see in the picture of Stella above, I just place the glass lid on top without sealing it. You really can't have too many of these jars. I also use them to store pasta and dry beans, peas, and lentils.
  • Mason Jars (wide mouth, quart): see above. I use them for so many things, including drinking water with lemon out of all day long.
  • Ozeri Pronto Digital Scale: I weigh my flour and water by grams, and I love this little scale.
  • Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven (5 qt.): Solid and indestructible. Many people use enameled cast iron, but I don't want to blacken my nice enameled cast iron pots with breadbaking.
  • Lodge Cast Iron Loaf Pan
  • Lodge Dual Handle Cast Iron Skillet (12-inch): perfect for baking cinnamon rolls
(Note: I have no affiliations with any of these brands or links.)

Just to clarify, I am just a beginner still with sourdough baking. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would place myself at about a 3, maybe even a 4, in regard to knowledge and experience. But with a lot of my friends just getting started, I thought it might be helpful to share what I have stumbled across and find most helpful. I also would love to know what techniques, tools, and resources you find invaluable. Sharing the trials and tribulations and the successes is part of what makes this experience (mostly) fun.

And here is my first bake with Stella so far. Yesterday I made crackers to go with hummus that I made for the first time.

Sourdough Crackers from the King Arthur Flour website

Happy sourdough baking, friends!


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