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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sourdough

I've always been fascinated by sourdough bread.  Not sure why as I've also never been successful in keeping it alive or making good bread from it.  That has all changed.

I decided to try again and, as is my wont, threw all the instructions out the window.  I mixed up a little bit of flour and about the same amount of water with a tiny pinch of yeast and a bit of sugar.  No measuring.

I let it stand awhile then stuck it in the fridge.  Every couple days I took it out, let it warm up, stirred in another spoonful of flour and of water and stuck it back in the fridge.

After about a week, I decided it was time to bake.  I removed the starter from the fridge, added approximately equal amounts of flour and water, about the same amount as was already in the bowl, stirred it up and let it work while we went to church.

When I got home I put about half the starter back in the fridge and to the rest added more flour, water, oil, salt etc.  I meant to add a little sugar but I forgot.  Since bread really needs only flour and water (yeast helps it rise and salt makes it taste better) I figured I was okay.  Also, I pulled out a cookbook and read that I should have removed half the starter first, then added the fresh flour & water to the remainder to "feed" the starter.  I already told you, I was doing this my way.  I forgot about the book.

I kneaded the dough briefly, covered it with oiled plastic and let it rise all day in the (turned off) oven.  Finally, I shaped it into a loaf (sort of) and plopped it into a greased bread pan.  I wanted to make sandwiches with the bread and figured it would be easier if it was regular loaf shaped rather than "rustic" as is most sourdough bread.

Let it rise again, turned on the oven and baked until done & golden brown.  it worked.  The loaf did not rise substantially (note to self: more flour & water next time for a larger loaf) but it did brown nicely, sliced nicely and made nice sandwiches and toast.  I have been eating it for breakfast & lunch all week.

I wish I could show you a picture but alas, I never think to photograph my food until it's pretty much eaten so . . . maybe next time.

This weekend I plan to make another loaf of bread and, if I have enough starter, pizza dough.  I'll let you know how it goes.

If you'd like to give sourdough a try, read up on the subject.  Most cookbooks that have bread recipes at least give a nod to sourdough and websites featuring sourdough abound.  I cannot vouch for their authenticity or accuracy.  If you want to try what I did, just read this post again and give it a go.  All you have to lose is a little flour & water, time & patience.

Quotable quotes; in the category I Prefer Butter & Jam!
"'A loaf of bread,' the Walrus said, 'is what we chiefly need:  Pepper and vinegar besides are very good indeed.'"  Lewis Carroll from The Walrus and The Carpenter

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