In Search of the Perfect Bread

Chris Ullrich
4 min readSep 19, 2022

My journey to a perfect loaf of “country” sourdough bread is one of many twists, turns, setbacks and occassional triumphs. And yes, I realize I might be a bit late to the sourdough game, but that’s just how I do things sometimes. I don’t always have to be an early adopter.

Although, being an early adopter to making sourdough would likely mean I’d have to be a time traveller too (seeing as sourdough became popular in the US around 1850), so I think I’m good starting when I started. Anyway, let’s talk bread.

For my first foray into sourdough bread at home I made the tiny mistake of seeking out one of the major authorities on the subeject: Chad Robertson. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Robertson and his Tartine Bakery, let’s just say he’s considered to be one of the greatest sourdough bread makers alive today.

Naturally, I wanted my bread to be as good as possible so I thought “Why not read the book and use the recipe of the greatest bread maker around?” It’s so simple. What could possibly go wrong?

Long story short: I am not Chad Robertson. Longer story longer: my first attempts at making sourdough bread at home were, putting it kindly, not great.

They weren’t a total disaster to the point of the loaves being inedible. You could still eat them. They just weren’t very nice to look at and didn’t have the “fine crumb” everyone always talks about. And yeah, several of them looked more like flying saucers than proper loaves of bread.

But still, they all tasted pretty good, even the really ugly ones. Slightly encouraged, I continued on.

It’s funny when you think about it (at least it is to me) this type of “country” sourdough bread only has three ingredients (four if you count the starter) so it really shouldn’t be that hard to make. You just combine water, flour and salt (and some starter or “levan”) and you’re off! If only it really was that simple.

Turns out there’s really quite a few stages to developing the proper combination of ingredients, technique, time, temperature and, let’s just say it luck, that will yield a great loaf of…

Chris Ullrich

I write about things I find interesting: Movies, TV, Coffee, Tech, Podcasting, Cannabis, Cooking, Stuff Nerds Love & More.