Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Second Attempt: Sourdough Bread (WIP)

Our second attempt at making bread with wild yeast yielded better results visually, but I think we let the batter ferment for too long and well, the bread ended up tasting like San Francisco Sourdough Bread.

Ronny and I don't really like 'sour' and we prefer the sourness to be more on the level of pain au levain, but let me tell you - the crust was fantastic!

We'll have to experiment a bit more but I do remember reading somewhere that the sourness of the bread can be controlled by the amount of time you spend 'proofing' it.

Anyhow this is what we did:

Step 1: When the time came to feed my starter again at 17:00, I poured 50% of the contents of my jar into a plastic bowl and we used 75 g of this, throwing away the rest of it.

Step 2: We added 3 dl water and 250 g AP flour and mixed it to form a runny batter.

Step 3: In a separate bowl we mixed 350 g AP flour with 2-3 Tbsp salt and 1/2 Tbsp honey.

Step 4: Then the dry mixture was sprinkled over the wet mixture so that it was resting on top of it like a blanket.

Step 5: We covered this with plastic wrap (leave a little space) and a cloth and left it for 18 hours (!). *

Step 6: Mix all the contents inside the plastic bowl for about 1-2 minutes, and then let the dough rest with a cloth over the bowl for 20 minutes.

Step 7: Mix it again for 7 - 8 minutes, and then let the dough rest with a cloth over the bowl for 1 hour.

Step 8: Ease the dough out onto a well-floured surface and shape it into a rectangle with your hands, then fold it like an envelope.

Step 9: Put the dough back into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cloth and let it rest for 1 hour.

Step 10: Repeat Step 8 & 9 and let it rest for 2 - 3 hours. The dough should double in size. If it doesn't you need to give your dough more time to rise.

Step 11: Ease the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead it lightly.

Step 12: Then line the interiors of a colander with a cloth and dust it with flour.

Step 13: Put the dough into the colander and cover it with another cloth and let it rest for 3 - 4 hours or until you press the dough and it doesn't spring back-up. This is a sign that the bread has risen properly.

Step 14: Preheat oven and oven tray to 250C and make sure you have lots of ice cubes ready.

Step 15: Ease the dough onto a sheet of oven paper and put this onto the tray and then quickly put a casserole dish full of ice under the tray and let it bake for 15 minutes. Don't open the door during this phase.

Step 16: After 15 minutes, remove the tray with ice in it and lower the temperature to 225C and bake for another 30 minutes.

Step 17: When you hit the bottom of the bread with a wooden spoon and it makes a clunky noise - your bread is ready.

*18 hours at temperatures above 20 C is way too long unless you want your bread to have a nice sour tang. I recommend you only leave your bread for a maximum of 15 hours during the first stage if it's relatively cool. If it's warm this time should be a lot shorter. I guess as you bake more often with your starter you'll get to know it better and will know how it will react on certain days.

Note 1: I take back some of the 'sourness' comments I made above. When the bread cooled down - the sourness diminished significantly and we had more than a few slices this bread the next day for brunch slathered with a general dose of herbed garlic butter and slices of cured Spanish cheese (cow's milk variety).


Trish said...

Wow...you are right....that looks terrific; although I really did like the looks of your first loaf. I agree, getting used to the 'sourness' takes some time. I read somewhere in the past few weeks that using baking soda in one's sourdough recipes (not the starter but the recipes you use it in) balances the acid and takes some of that sourness away. We shall see as we go along. Perhaps it depends on the starter mix too...and what is used. The bread I made is not very sour according to those who sampled it. I am watching carbs so can you believe it...I haven't even tried it? grin...I am very strong...or at least for now!

Elra said...

What a pretty bread Murasaki. You are right about the sourness of the bread, the longer it proofs, the more sour it will be. I don't really like my bread too sour either.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Trish: I'm looking forward to seeing all your experiments, Mad Chemist. ;) You are much more disciplined than me as far as refraining from eating these things. I ate some really late last night even though I wasn't even hungry. I just had to try it!

Elra: Thank you, Elra. Fortunately once the bread cooled down most of the sourness went away. :)))

Natashya said...

Looks great! I do like the sour, tangy taste.
You are becoming a bread chemist!

Dorte said...

wow ... it looks nice. It like a very sour bread too !

Trish said...

Just read your comment...and you know....I think you are right...I am going to put my bread into a 'loaf' pan of sorts next time...if making the French Bread....but I like your 'round' loaf...much more rustic feeling!

Lori said...

Pass it over here because I love SF sourdough! Oh I am so jealous. I must try my starter again! Great job!

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Thanks for all the friendly encouraging comments. :) Feedback is so nice!

Anonymous said...

I like the round loaf as well, reminds me of the bread shops here, very rustic but true to form... so.. is this a thumbs up? Was is DELISH?

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Girl Japan: With herbed garlic butter and some cured Spanish cheese - it was difficult to stop eating this. :p