Continued from Adventures in Sourdough (Part I).
Having successfully produced a sourdough starter that smelled good and seemed to meet minimum bubbling requirements, I was now ready to try my hand at bread.
This would require finding a recipe with modest ingredient requirements since, under no circumstances, did I want to make a special trip to the grocery store for dried potato flakes. In the end I selected a very simple recipe figuring that, if nothing else, it would be an easy, inexpensive way to test the starter. Here is what I used:
- 1 c starter
- 1 c water
- 2+ c all purpose flour
- 1 t salt
When the author mentioned needed to add a lot of flour during kneading, I should have taken the hint. This needed a LOT more flour.
I mixed up the ingredients in my Dimension 2000 mixer (like a Bosch) for 5 minutes. I could already tell there wasn’t enough flour and dumped in an unmeasured extra amount as it processed. After 5 minutes, I removed the bread and hand-kneaded for about another 5 minutes—and added a lot of additional flour. Since I am not familiar with raw sourdough I was hesitant to add too much and ended up with a soft pliable dough.
I put the dough in a glass bowl sprayed with Pam, sprayed the top of the dough and covered it with wax paper. I heated the oven to 100, turned it off, and put in the dough to rise overnight.
In the morning, the dough had doubled and still smelled good, so I set out to form my loaf. Since this dough was still very soft, I was nervous about letting it go freeform on a cookie sheet or stone and I put it in the round glass pan I use for my yeast bread. I let it rise again for 2 hours. Note that I floured the pan instead of just greasing it since the dough was on the sticky side.
After 2 hours, it had risen nicely, so I put it in a 450 degree oven sitting over a pan of water. I baked it for 30 minutes, then removed the bread and let it cool on a wire rack. Where exposed, the crust was beautiful and nicely chewy. There was a reasonable rise and a good sour edge to the flavor. The only real issues were a slightly bland flavor and a bit too much moistness (guess I should have added even more flour).
Next time, I will be adding more flour which I think will help the texture. I will also try an add-in–probably sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary. If it hangs together enough, I’ll bake it on a stone, so that more of the crust takes on the chewy delightfulness of the top.
In the meantime, we are happily dipping slices of sourdough experiment #1in an olive oil/balsamic vinegar mix and I am excited for round two.