Instead of posting a bunch of step by step photos, I’m going to link to the instructions on the Sourdough by Foodbod site. She says it all better than I could; I’m using her recipe.
Because I think the time frame and figuring that all out is important and can be confusing at first, I’m going to give the timeline that works for me. Feel free to change your start time but you need to keep approximately the same time frame. My kitchen stays pretty cool. We keep the a/c on 69 most of the time and the a/c unit is in the attic above the kitchen so the kitchen actually gets the most air. You may need to adjust your time frame a bit depending on the temp in your kitchen.
One bit of advice: Follow the recipe exactly at first. Later, you’ll know if it needs a bit more flour or a bit more water. I’m always tempted to add more water and usually end up with a sticky dough.
These times are approximate. Once you start making the bread several times a week, you’ll surely want to adjust some of these times based on your schedule and how things are working in your kitchen.
10 a.m. – Remove the starter from the fridge and let it come to room temp.
Noon – Feed the starter.
3:00 p.m. – Check the starter. Is it bubbly and active enough? If not, you may want to put off your bread making til the next day and give the starter another feeding. You’ll come to know your starter and how it reacts. If the starter is ready, take out the 50 grams needed for the bread, put the rest back in the fridge.
2:00 – 4:00 p.m. – This is ideally when I mix up my dough. It will be a bit shaggy. Resist the urge to add more water at this point.
5:00 p.m. (or one to two hours after the dough was mixed) – Do your first lift and folds. The instructions are on the Sourdough by Foodbod site and she has links to videos.
6:00 p.m. – Do another set of lifts and folds (not so many this time – follow Elaine’s directions).
7:00 p.m. – Do another set of lifts and folds.
7:30 p.m. – Do another set of lifts and folds.
8:00 p.m. – Do another set of lifts and folds.
Cover the dough and leave it sitting on the counter overnight.
The next morning:
Follow Elaine’s directions to get the dough into the banneton. Place it in the fridge and leave it 3 – 24 hours.
Once you’re ready to bake the bread, she has instructions for baking it in a preheated oven or not. I have much better luck placing cold dough in a room temp pot with a room temp lid in a cold oven. Using Elaine’s recipe and a 3.5 quart ceramic glazed Dutch Oven with a lid, I bake it at 460 for 50 minutes, remove the lid and bake another 10 minutes, then remove the pot from the oven, let it sit about 5 minutes, then remove the bread to a rack to cool.
I’ve also found that cutting the bread before it’s completely cool can make the crumb/texture a bit chewy/gummy so resist the urge to cut it right away. Let it cool completely before cutting.
If you want to make a loaf of bread, I use the exact same recipe as far as amounts. I let the dough sit out all night but the next morning I shape it into a loaf, put it in a greased loaf pan, cover it and let it rise til the dough is near or at the top edge of the pan.
Preheat oven to 425. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375, then bake for about 30 more minutes. I like my internal temp to be about 190 to 195.
King Arthur has an excellent article about the temp at which bread is done.
Experiment. Have fun!