Or, you live, you learn.
For my graduation my aunt gave me a cookbook “Vegetarian Spain”. She wrote that she hoped I would like it despite being not a vegetarian, which is something that always puzzles me. While I’m happily omnivore (as is she), I’m not Jordan Peterson or his useless daughter and an exclusive carnivore. Actually, I more often cook vegetarian than not, so why should I be offended by a book about vegetarian cooking?
Anyway, what intrigued me was the idea of making my own sourdough.
I’ll post the recipe for the sourdough starter and not the elaborate kneading and resting instructions, you can surely find some on the net if you’re interested.
Mix 150g whole wheat flour with 150 ml water in something higher than wide that holds at least 1l, cover with a clean dish towel, let rest in a warm place.
Add 75g durum wheat flour, 75 ml water, 1 teaspoon of sugar, cover again and let rest.
I didn’t have durum wheat flour, so ordinary flour worked as well.
Like day 2, minus the sugar. By now it should look like this and smell like it went wrong.
Carefully remove the brown water on top. Add 75 g flour.
You can use your starter now. You can also keep it in the fridge and add 75 g of flour and water every week.
I didn’t read the instructions carefully before and when I finally did so i noticed that making that bread would require the whole day and it was midday already, so I waited until the next day. According to the recipe the dough needed to be kneaded and folded and letting rest often and for a long time, so while it wasn’t that much work, it required several hours of being at home.
The recipe also asked for 600ml of water and that was way too much. Even after adding some more flour, my dough was too wet.
The finished loaf needed to rest for another 5-6 hours, and it simply ran, becoming very flat.
Another mistake I made was a good idea not thought completely through. I have this “pizza stone” which imitates a real stone oven, and I thought it would be a good idea to bake the bread on it. I still think it is, but I didn’t consider that the stone would need a much longer time to heat up than just the oven, so instead of adding direct heat from the bottom, it kept the heat away so the bread didn’t bake all the way through as you can see in the next picture. But you can also see how the sourdough worked and it was a damn delicious “just with butter” bread.
Chris J says
Fascinating. I make my own sourdough bread and starter as well, and it’s interesting to see the differences in technique for the starter and for the baking (I also use a round pizza stone, and yeah, it should definitely be pre-heated for a while).
The starter recipe I used was relatively simple. Put equal amounts of whole wheat flour and water in a container by weight, let sit for a while (not sealed) until it starts to bubble a little. From then on, get into a routine of replacing half of the starter with fresh flour and water (whole wheat, a mix of whole wheat and white, or just white, depending on what sorts of bread you want to use the starter for) equal by weight about twice a day for a week just to make sure it’s safe.
The bread recipe I got from a book called Flour, Water, Salt, and Yeast. It’s an overnight rise that doesn’t require too much hands-on time (And most is just before you go to bed so its easy to be home for it).
I wonder. For your baking, did you have any source of steam? I tend to keep a cake tin in the oven while preheating, and when I put the bread in I follow with a cup of water into the tin. It might be a trick of lighting or photography, but the surface of your loaf looks oddly transparent given the browned bits, and I’m wondering what might have caused that. Maybe it was just the lack of heat?
Anyway, always fun to see other people’s experiments in bread-baking! May your loaves always turn out delicious. :P
chigau (違う) says
I think my sourdough is about thirty years old.
I like making slightly wetter doughs as I find they rise better, so I got myself some proving baskets, but they are easy enough to improvise. Basicaly you need a bowl that will take the size the bread will rise to which you line with well floured tightly woven cloth. Ideally the bowl should be as near as possible the size of the risen dough and roughly the shape you want your final loaf, so not too steep sided, but it will still work if you all you have is a saucepan. Shape the dough as normal, but put into the proving bowl seam side up, then once the bread is risen you flip it over on to your hot pizza stone, slash and shut the oven door. With sourdough if you make it too dry you don’t get the variation in hole size, particularly you don’t get the larger holes which catch melted butter so well :) And yes you need to heat your pizza stone thoroughly before flipping the bread dough over onto it.
When I am cooking and it is edible, I call it a success. When it is tasty, it is double success. When it looks good, it is triple successes. So in my opinion you succeded thrice and the minor flaws are, well, minor.
My parents, especialy my dad, make occasionaly bread. It is always way better than bread from supermakret, even when sometimes slightly burned, or underbaked, or flat.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
I had expected that, as I know this from previous bread-baking with baker’s yeast, but the recipe asked for spraying the loaf with water before baking.
Thanks for the tip. I know people here like woven baskets for that task. I think I need to make myself one.
Let’s go for double success then.
Ice Swimmer says
Interesting to see recipe for wheat sourdough. The bread, from the outside, looks like it has a lot of character.
Here, bread made from sourdough is almost exclusively rye bread, because rye, if a high percentage of wheat flour isn’t added, is best suited for sourdough bread, unless pure rye dough is acidic it becomes extremely sticky and has a low structural integrity.
I’ve never tried to make rye sourdough bread, but I’ve been in the same room with two grandmas who made it when I was a kid**. For the making and leavening the dough they had something like this, called taikinapytty (taikina = dough).
* = There are a few places in this comment, in which the English expression has been hard to find.
** = It was bread made out of rye and boiled and mashed potatoes, making it was a long process as the dough was first sweetened in conditions, of which I’m not privy to, but probably involve low heat and the enzymes of the grain breaking down part of the starch in potatoes and the adding the rye sourdough starter to leaven the dough. It took two to three days.
Ice Swimmer says
Oh, and the sourdough starter is called juuri (=root) or leipäjuuri (bread root) in Finnish.
A woven basket would be perfect, you may get by with just flouring the basket, but you may find you still need a cloth liner, it depends on the weave and the angle of the sides, obviously the steeper the sides the more difficult it is for the flour to stay put. Oh and if you don’t use a liner the best way to clean a basket is a stiff brush, you can even buy ones with a curved bristle profile especially for the purpose! Anyway you’ll get edible bead while you experiment. Oh and the patterning the basket produces seems to be a sought after feature of the really expensive posh sour dough breads.
‘Bread root’ is a lovely way of putting it, far more poetic than ‘starter’