Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sourdough, Round II

Did you know there is an XM Radio station just for ABBA?

Yesterday I made a second attempt at sourdough. I've been just adding to my starter rather than just halving and replenishing and it was time to pare it down. I used a slightly different recipe and put the rest of my starter in a crock in the fridge to hibernate.

Again my plan was to do loaves rather than rounds (why is it that plural of loaf is loaves and elf becomes elves but leaf can be leaves or leafs?). I was amazed that one loaf doubled in about six hours but the other I had to let sit overnight, same dough, same quantity.

I baked the first loaf last night but in a dry oven with no steam "injection." As I noted before about maybe baking at too high of a temperature, this time I baked at a lower temperature. I did forget to slash the top. In my opinion this loaf came out much, much better than before. Not nearly as crunchy of a crust but still that fresh bread crispness. The second loaf I baked this morning. This loaf was a little lighter in texture, I think from sitting out longer it had more air in it. On this loaf I did do the steam "injection" and I'm not sure I can tell a difference. I think the second loaf was a little tarter, again I am guessing that's a result of rising longer.

I didn't get any oven spring, no significant rising in the oven. So while the texture of the bread was right, I kind of expected taller loafs. I did not oil the loaves as they rose. Every bread recipe I have seen calls for this except for every sourdough recipe I have read. I don't know why it would be different with sourdough. The oil is supposed to help prevent the surface of the dough from drying out, which mine did. Of course my expectation may just be off the mark. Need more practice.

I really, really have to work at baking. I can pull of even a complicated ethnic dish with little hitch but ask me to bake bread and it will be fortunate if the bread is edible. I've come to use my temperature probe as a crutch and this has drastically increased my success rate with bread. I'm not sure if my cooking instructor would approve but after 15 minutes in the oven, I rotate the loaf pan and insert my temperature probe setting the alarm for 200 degrees. I've had four perfectly done loaves now in a row. A first for me to have even one not doughy in the middle. Worth the small hole from the probe in my opinion.


Brook said...

I checked out the link for the sourdough and will have to wait til after the holidays to get started on this one if I'm gonna do it right. Thanks for the info!

Huff Daddy said...

Well you do need about 1-2 weeks of cultivating it and then you need to grow it to have enough before you can even bake a loaf of bread. So now would actually be a good time to start. If you need any help, let me know. I can send you some of my starter if you want or some stone ground flour if you would like.