I Baked Bread, Oh Yeah. 3 days ago I pulled a tablespoon of unmarked sourdough starter from the fridge and mixed it with equal parts of unchlorinated water and bread flour (14% protein). Every 8 or hours I added approximately equal weights of flour and water. Yesterday morn I mixed with 200 g of the frothy, spongey slurry 650 g unchlorinated water, 200 g rolled 1 minute breakfast oats, 800 g bread flour, 2 fat eggs, an ounce or two of sesame oil, and a heaping 4 tsp kosher salt. I covered the slop with a wet towel for 45 minutes, then floured the work surface, dumped the muck on it, tossed flour on that, and stretched it, poked it all over with finger tips, and folded it over and over into a lump, tossed it in the bowl, and covered it again with the wet towel. 45 minutes later I repeated the process, and repeated it again 45 minutes later. I divided the dough into 4 logs of now somewhat cohesive but still sticky dough, and covered them with a wet towel. In two or three hours Maria announced that they had risen nearly double. I set the oven to 500 F . Half an hour later I snipped the tops of the loaves, then baked them for half an hour, or till internal temperature hit 195F. I pulled them out, and dumped them on racks to cool.
Maria Made a Scrumptious Italian Dinner. Maria went berserk over the bread, as usual. I don’t remember making more delicious loaves than these. By the time I go to the table, she had already cut off both ends and ate them. She loved the crunch of the crust between her teeth. We sat at the table with our friend Richard and ate most of one of the loaves. Then Maria served penne with Marinara sauce and Italian sausages she had first boiled and then skillet browned. Lawdy momma, what a delight. We all stuffed ourselves.
About My Sourdough Bread. I’ll stack my sourdough loaves up against yeast rolls any day every day. Major Keys:
- Don’t make the dough too stiff because that retards the rising. It rises better if sloppy and sticky.
- Don’t bake it too soon. Let it fully rise. You see a little cracking at the edge of one loaf from oven spring. That happens from failure to slice the unbaked loaves enough along the top. The loaves didn’t over-spring in the oven because they rose enough before baking, and I didn’t deflate them from over handling
- The high temperature (500) allows the smallish loaves to brown nicely by the time baking finishes. I could use 375 to 475 for larger loaves.
Note: If you want good sourdough starter, visit http://carlsfriends.org.