Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sourdough trials

I have tried making sourdough bread a couple of times.  It did work, but it took so long to actually rise during the bread making stage that it became too sour to actually eat.  I am resistant to using yeast during authentic sourdough making!!  I just don't won't have it.  SOOOOO I found an old time sourdough recipe using unbleached white flour rather than the whole wheat I've been using.  I want to get the hang of this skill and if it means starting with an easier flour, I'm all for it.  Still, it will be better than store bought!

update:  Well I had to get off my high horse and use a little store bought yeast as my first attempt rose a little bit, but nowhere near enough to produce a pleasant loaf.  Now, that said, it did taste fine, but was rather flat and wide.  The boys came home and all had a slice or two of it, and the rest of it I simly cut into strips and made breadsticks to go with that evening's dinner.  A big hit!  I combined softened butter and a lot of granulate garlic, simply brushed it on with a pastry brush and popped the pan in the oven at 350* until done.

Today I did turn out a lovely sourdough loaf, using two different old time sourdough recipes as a guide, so here is how I did it, using unbleached bread flour this time along with a small amount of store bought yeast.  (That said I have plans to try again with no yeast, using potato water to attract wild yeast)  This recipe could also be made up quite quicker which was nice!

*note:  Use glass and wooden utensils, not aluminum,  steel or plastic

In a large glass mixing bowl or crock add:

4 Cups unbleached bread flour
4 Cups warm water (not too hot! just warm)
3  TBSP sugar

Mix very well with your wooden spoon of choice.  I let it sit out for about an hour to attract some wild yeast, and beat it again real good before covering and setting to a quiet space in my kitchen for 48 hours.


After the 48 hours this is what it looks like:

You can see the separation of the fermentation process.  Just mix the liquid back in gently until it is well incorporated again.


Now we make the sponge.
Add to a large glass mixing bowl:
1 Cup starter
1 Cup warm water (not too warm) (add to it 1 tsp yeast, allow to sit 5 min, then incorporate into bowl)
1 TBSP sugar
2 Cups unbleached bread flour

Stir batter until no lumps remain with your wooden spoon.  Let this sit overnight.  This is what it looked like in the morning.

Now it's time to store the remaining starter in the fridge until it is next needed for more bread baking.  I put mine in a glass Pyrex measure/pour bowl and covered with Saran Wrap.  

Now to make your bread you add to the sponge:

1 Cup warm water (not too warm!) 
Add to the water, 1 tsp yeast --allow to set for 5 minutes and then add the remaining ingredients
3 tsp salt
enough flour to make a soft dough.  I personally used 4-1/2 Cups unbleached white bread flour.

Knead 10 minutes, until it's nice and pliable.  

Allow the dough set in bowl, covered with a kitchen towel,  at room temperature until doubled in bulk again.

1-1/2 hours later I cut the dough in half with a sharp knife, shaped into two loaves and placed on a baking sheet sprinkled lightly with corn meal.   Dust tops with a fine sprinkling of flour, and cover with kitchen towel.  Then I left undisturbed, covered with a light kitchen towel, to allow to rise once more undisturbed.

Preheat oven to 375*.  

Slash the top of the loaves gently with a serrated knife,  and pop the loaves in the oven immediately.  

After 35 minutes, check on the loaves and remove to cool.  Do not slice bread until it is completely cooled or it will be gummy inside.  

So that you could see the size of the loaf, I placed one on a dinner plate!

Here is a look at it sliced up.  :)


Now just simply feed your starter  

Add to the starter:

1 Cup mildly warm water
1 Cup unbleached bread flour
1 TBSP sugar

Stir well, cover and store in fridge for the next usage.