Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Some very sour dough

Over the past 10 days, I've been meticulously following James Beard's recipe for sourdough.  For those of you unfamiliar with the process, you let a milk/flour/sugar/yeast mixture sit on the counter and get really foul for about a week- that's your starter.  Then, you use a cup of your starter and mix it with flour and more yeast and - tah dah!  Sourdough.  Here's a view of my starter

And, after three risings, here are my loaves.

At this point, the process started to go wrong.  Using our sharpest knife (which is still pretty darn dull) I tried to make cuts in the loaves.  Then they collapsed.  Seriously.  It was pretty depressing.  So then I tried to put the loaves into the oven, and, being me, I dropped them.  Dropped them!  I put them back on the pan, shoved them into the oven, and tried to ignore the fact that one of the loaves now had marks from where it had fallen onto the oven rack.  Well, about 35 minutes later, I pulled these out of the oven.  Not ruined at all, despite my best efforts.  But see how the one on the left has those imprints?  Oven rack.

They're quite tasty- not too sour.  Thayer actually likes them, even though he doesn't normally like sourdough.  And now that I have a good starter, I can make sourdough like a maniac!
Mmmmm coffee, nutella, and sourdough tartines.


Anonymous said...

Sweeties you have to cut the loaves as soon as you shape them. And poking or slicing after they have risen will allow the gas to escape, hence the collapsing. Very impressive loaves, nonetheless and very impressive that Thayer liked it. Furthermore, if Scott hasn't spilled a drink on his computer lately, he would be an excellent contact in all things sourdough.
love carolyn mom

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Bravo!!!!

woolworkmn said...

My friend Zan had a starter for a quick bread that was delicious. I should ask her for the recipe. But I think you have to bake one weekly, which is a bit much.

Anonymous said...

Your mother is a treacherous she-devil: her immediate post-shaping scoring is heretical. Well, maybe it's more complicated than that, but she's still heretical. Decorative scoring is sometimes done before the final rise, but usually that's for pan loaves. Typically, though, the kind of scoring for these loaves is (in theory) done for greater oven spring (in-oven loaf-expansion) and a more interesting multilayered finished crust. Moving on to information that might, at least potentially, be useful: if you don't have a sharp knife, try using a serrated one, make your incision at an angle to the loaf (45 degrees or fewer), and make the cuts as shallow as possible (which, on top of making a more impressive bloom, will also help prevent collapse, though sometimes even when deflation occurs the bread will rebound if it's quickly put in the oven). Please excuse my word-torrent, I'm just so terribly pleased that someone, somewhere, is making bread from scratch.