baking

Sourdough

Who knew sourdough bread was so hard??? I’ve tried it about half a dozen times or more since the first time I tried it. The first time I tried it, it was flat. The second time the dough didn’t rise for some reason. One time it didn’t look very good but it had the right sour flavor. Then another time it looked great and had the right flavor but it was a little underdone. I’ve baked it in my dutch oven and on our baking stone, with varied results.

I keep trying and reading and trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Recently I did another loaf and tried a different baking method. This is the method I used this time:

The result was pretty good. The rise was nice, there was a great color, the crust was crunchy, it was baked well (maybe slightly overdone) but not sour. UGH! So frustrating. But it did LOOK pretty:

I talked to a friend who does sourdough on the regular and she said that she puts the starter on her counter the day before and feeds it twice, once the morning before she makes it, then again that night. She said that will make it more sour. So next time, I’m going to try doing it that way and see what happens.

This week I tried again and did a few things differently. First, I weighed the flour when I made the dough and used grams instead of measuring cups. Second, I took my friend’s advice and took the starter out the day before, fed it twice and then made the dough the next morning. Third, I followed the new baking instructions.

The result was great! The bread was a little on the light side color-wise but the inside was fantastic! It was the best loaf I’ve made so far. It didn’t have a super strong sour flavor but the bread was light and airy and fluffy instead of being dense. I was really, really happy with the results.

For dinner, I made tomato bisque and we had the freshly baked bread with it. Fantastic!

On a similar note, I’ve been obsessed with the Great British Baking Show on Netflix. It never appealed to me but for some reason I saw a random episode of the new season and I decided to start at the beginning. I loved it! That first season was great and had some really good bakers.

I also love that you learn a lot from the show. They make stuff I’ve never heard of before and it’s interesting to see the methods. I also like that they do a bread episode each season! Listening to the judges critique the breads has been helpful for me recognizing some of the mistakes I’ve been making (not letting it proof long enough, not kneading it enough, etc). Also, it’s nice to watch the show while I wait for Top Chef to come back!

QUESTION: Are you a sourdough baker? Any tips or favorite recipes?

Bread

I had a success this weekend!

My sourdough! I think this is the 4th loaf I’ve tried and it’s definitely the best so far! I didn’t let it rise overnight this time, but it did rise for about 12 hours before I baked it.

I’ve been having much better luck with this sourdough recipe:

Sourdough Recipe

Category: baking, bread, Netflix, sick, sourdough

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 5-6 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 heaping Tbsp salt
  • 1 cup filtered water, cold or room temperature

Instructions

  1. In a very large bowl, mix starter, water and 3 cups of whole wheat flour with a wooden spoon and combine well.
  2. Add salt and remaining flour ½ cup at a time, attempting to completely stir in the flour with each addition. When you can no longer mix with a spoon, use your hands to mix in the flour. Continue adding flour until your dough begins to resemble dough, but is still sticky and "pourable."
  3. Pour dough into large loaf pans and fill ? way up. Cover with a towel and allow to sit in a warm place for 4-12 hours, until the dough is at least doubled in size and looks to be "domed" on top.
  4. Place loaves in a cold oven and turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 50-60 minutes, until the edges are golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  5. Remove to cool on wire racks for at least 30 minutes. Makes 2-3 loaves, depending on the amount of flour used and size of loaf pans.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=55052

It came from this blogIt has some pretty good tips in the post, too, so worth a read through.

I also recently bought this: Round Banneton Dough Proofing Rising Rattan Basket & LinerI’d seen it in some different blogs about baking and read up about it. Basically it’s for the last rise of the bread and to make those pretty grooves in the loaf.

I was so happy that it rose to the right shape, had the grooves and the right color I was going for. I let it cool a bit and then sliced into it. It wasn’t as sour as the last loaf, but the flavor was good and it was light. Not quite as airy as the sourdough professionals make but it’s getting better each time. It wasn’t as dense, too.

So happy with the result!!!!

In other news…I ended up getting sick this weekend. Michael was sick last week with whatever the nasty cold is that’s going around. Last week I was so exhausted I could barely function, but I thought I was going to miss this illness. Sadly, I did not. Saturday I got up with a stuffy nose and swollen glands and it progressed as the day went on.

What a bummer. 🙁 Not how I wanted to spend my weekend! We had plans, too. Now, of course, Logan is starting to show signs of getting the cold, too!

So I spent the weekend in and out of bed with cold meds, chicken noodle soup and my homemade sourdough bread. And the second season of Marcella on Netflix.