If your sourdough bread has problems rising, staying risen in the oven, or is not chewy, crispy or sour enough, you may be able to solve these problems in your next loaf. Sourdough bread is made using either the sourdough or sponge method. The traditional sourdough method may take weeks or months for the starter dough to ferment in the open air. The sponge method lacks the traditional Lactobacillus yeast, and requires only hours to ferment. Sourdough bread making is a work in progress. Problems that arise with one loaf can be anticipated and solved in the next loaf.
Knead the dough a full 8 to 10 minutes, if the sourdough bread has problems rising or spreads out flat while in the oven. Add flour to the counter top, and knead the flour into the dough, using the heel of your hand. The dough is sufficiently kneaded if it springs back when lightly pressed, and no longer sticks to your hands or the work surface. The bread may also require 1/8 tsp of ascorbic acid powder, and 1 tsp diastatic malt per 3 cups of flour.
Knead 3/4 tsp of salt per 3 cups of flour into the dough, if the bread rises during fermentation, but falls during baking.
Place the dough in a plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight during the first rise, if the bread is not chewy, or lacks a spongy quality.
Knead 1/4 cup dark rye flour into the dough after the fermentation peaks, if the baked bread lacks the characteristic sour taste.