Baking with sourdough has a learning curve. So far it has been an interesting ride.
Some basic rules I’ve learned along the way:
Don’t use metal bowls or utensils.
Don’t leave your baked bread in the pan to cool. It will turn into a soggy mess.
Do dump it out of the pan right from the oven unto a cooling rack.
Do dust your pan with flour or cornmeal after greasing. Your bread will stay in one piece when you remove it from the pan.
Don’t just go by the recipe proofing times. They may be to long or short for your kitchen conditions, the current weather, and your specific yeast strains. Learn your dough through experience.
If you want fluffy pancakes, it is necessary to add some baking soda (not powder) right before cooking.
If your starter starts out with a bang, and then goes flat; you did not kill it. It just takes roughly a week to a week and a half for the bacteria to get firmly established in your starter.
Once firmly established, you do not have to feed your starter every day. However, if you are not going to be using it for awhile; put it in the refrigerator. To start using it again, just bring your starter back to room temperature and start feeding it.
Do not preheat your oven. You get a better oven spring (rising) that way.
If you use glass pans, lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees.
Do pour your starter into a clean jar or crock every so often to prevent build up on the inner jar rim.
With the heat of summer starting, most of my experimenting will be holding off until this fall. I try to use the oven as little as possible in the summer time. In part 3 I will tell you my favorite way to make sourdough drop biscuits, and then move on to my next fermenting topic.