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Sourdough Bread

I made a couple loaves of bread a couple weeks ago, based on a recipe in this book Sarah asked for, Josie Baker Bread. It was good, but actually not as good as when Sarah makes bread out of the book. Mine was not mixed uniformly (the two types of flour were a little noticeable in the end product), and it was saltier than it should have been. When Sarah makes bread from these recipes, it comes out amazing. Like, I’ve eaten half a loaf immediately and only stopped because sense eventually creeped into my head again. It’s great bread.

I’ve always been interested in the raise-your-own-yeast thing. Whether for bread, beer, or whiskey, yeast is the magical ingredient that invents flavors and alcohol and texture out of biological process and chemistry alone. That’s pretty awesome.

So, my goal by reading this guy’s book was to make good sourdough. Besides being interested in growing yeast, I also love sourdough. Like, strong sourdough. When you move around frequently, it’s not easy to keep finding a good sourdough source. Trader Joe’s is pretty great though…

Anyway, I’m making sourdough in this post.

I started a starter a couple weeks ago. Basically, mix 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (all flour here is King Arthur brand) and 1/2 cup cool water together in a jar with lid askew on your counter. Let it sit. Every two days throw out all but about 1 Tbsp, then mix in that same flour and water. After a day we had bacterial and yeast growth, evidenced by the growth of the mix. After a week the mix stopped smelling like fart fruit. A little longer and it smelled like yeast-y acetone.

3 May, 0600: fed the starter in anticipation of doing pre-ferment this night.

1930: setup bread pre-ferment based on book’s first sourdough recipe.

4 May, 0800: mixed dough first step, using bread flour. The pre-ferment was acetone-smelling, which may mean I let it sit too long, and the yeast consumed all the food. Maybe this is fine though, and will produce a particularly strong sourdough. I was careful about mixing well, for uniformity. Also, I measured salt fairly carefully. Salt was just Morton’s iodized, though, we’re out of sea salt. We gotta get more sea salt from Costco.

0845: did the dough folding technique. Will do four more times or so, at 30 minute increments. Dough smelled good this first time.

1015: did fourth and last folding. Now will let it sit for several hours doing bulk rise. In the meantime we’re going to walk the dog, then go hiking near DC.

1530: put it in the bread pan!

2010: put it in the oven… It’s not as risen as it should be. I think I missed the peak of rising and it fell while we were out.

2110: it wasn’t as risen as it should be. The result was a little too dense, but still good. The sour-ness was not quite where I wanted it, but pretty good still…

I think next time I need to watch the rises and catch them at the peak. Still tasty bread.