With this entry, I have gone off the one sourdough recipe I have been making and found others. Basically, I am doing the turn and fold method with the long bulk fermentation for all my breads now. It is mostly working too and I love eating my sourdough. I bake it about once a week now, often prepping the dough in the morning and evening for first and second proof, then baking at night. I do not cut the bread until the next morning.
In 2012, I created my own sourdough starter from scratch. It used organic flours (rye, kamut, whole wheat, spelt) and distilled water. I kept the sourdough alive and tried to make sourdough bread half a dozen times. However, it was only mildly successful one time when I made a Olive Sourdough Fougasse. I basically gave up on sourdough until recently. It’s been a personal challenge for me as a baker. I put the sourdough starter in the fridge and would occasionally feed it, but it has lived in hibernation since 2013. In fact, I had a bit of a hard time reviving it when I took out for this experiment.
Currently, I feed my sourdough mostly with a mix of AP, whole wheat, and rye flours. I find rye flour really makes an active starter. I will also the starter with kamut or spelt if I have it on hand. I use distilled water some of the time, but I have been mixing it with cool boiled tap water. Luckily, I have access to one of the best municipal water systems in Canada.
A couple of months ago, a neighbor and I became friendly over our mutual love of food. She shared with me this no knead sourdough recipe from the Clever Carrot. She also gave me a loaf to try. The whole no-knead process and the many tips (love the water glass float taste) convinced me to try the recipe.
Why do I love sourdough? I do love the tangy taste of it. Second, it lasts longer than standard bread loaves. I do not consume a lot of bread. I make bread because I love to bake it, but rarely do I ever crave it. I am not a carbs person so a loaf of bread takes me a awhile consume. A standard 1kg loaf like the one below will take me on average 4-6 days. Loaves from commercial yeast including the other No Knead bread recipe I use get dry and hard within two days. This is why I always have to freeze those loaves, but with sourdough, they remain mostly soft in room temperature for days. I love that. Finally, I do believe sourdough is easier to digest and probably better for you.
Note: I use Canadian All Purpose flour which has higher gluten levels than standard American or British AP flours. I almost always used AP flour over bread flour for bread including all my previous Jim Lahey No Knead bread attempts. I bought bread flour for this experiment though. In the end, I feel AP is enough.
Now that actual bread and baking season is among us, I found that my spring bread entries were still waiting to be published. Other than the standard Cranberry, Sunflower, Seed, and Orange loaf, the other two were good, but not necessarily standards. I’m already in process of attempt #10. More actual bread pictures will follow (hopefully).
Attempt #7 – May 26, 2015 – Cranberry Sunflower Seed Orange
24 hour first rise. 15 mins covered. 25 mins uncovered. Maybe the long first rise was a bad idea because this loaf came out too wet. For the first time, it was so stuck to the dutch oven that I had to rip it out in half. Not much rise. Still tasted good.
Attempt #8 – May 30, 2015 – Toasted Grains – Quinoa, Flax, Millet
1 tablespoon of butter
1 cup mixed grains (quinoa, flax, millet)
Idea taken from Girl Versus Dough. I rinsed the quinoa earlier in the day and let it dry. I melted the butter (more than 1tbsp maybe?) and toasted the grains on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. I used way too much butter, but it smelled fantastic. Proceeded with my usual recipe (almost one third WW flour).
First rise was about 20 hours. The smell of the bread was even more lovely this time because of the toasted grain.
Attempt #9 – June 13-14, 2015 – White Loaf
Idea taken from The Kitchn. I only used white AP flour, same yeast/water, but I added 11g of kosher salt (accidentally poured too much). After the first rise of about 14 hours, I shaped it into a loaf and put it into my 10×6″ silicone Ikea loaf pan. Even with the silicone, I lightly oiled it with canola and put wheat bran in it. The oiling was not necessary, but the wheat bran made a nice crust. Second rise was for over an hour. I put it in oven for 30 minutes, turning it half way at 15 min. It did not have a good vertical rise (most my breads don’t for some reason).
It was a bit too salty as expected. Crust was still good, but more delicate than usual. I’d do this loaf again though 430g of flour seems a lot for a small loaf.
This is a bread technique I’ve wanted to try for some time. I actually like kneading. I started doing this in January when I moved into an apartment with a kitchenette and almost no counter space. I have wanted to own a dutch oven for a long time too.
Yeast: Unless otherwise stated, I used Fleischmann’s Traditional Active Dry Yeast. I didn’t proof it before using.
Salt: Fine sea salt or kosher salt.
Water: Room temp distilled water or room temp boiled tap water. I didn’t measure my water as I would always just pour enough to get a sticky dough.
Proofing: My first rise was usually 18 hours or more, but due to my schedule, I’d often have a very short second rise for about an hour. I found no significant difference with a longer second rise.
Non-stick Grain: I experimented with flour, wheat bran, cornmeal, oats, and polenta. Plain or WW flour was best because cutting made a mess of the others.
Dutch Oven: Lagostina 4-qt round dutch oven from Canadian Tire. I could not afford a Staub or Le Creuset yet; I would have to order a Lodge one online. The Lagostina is enameled on the inside unlike the Kitchen Aid and it had the dimpled lid (perfect for steam) unlike the Cuisinart. The only downside is that it’s a bit wider than I like and not 4″ high, but that’s alright for now.
Lid: I usually covered the bread for about 15-20 mins and uncovered for another 10-15.
Happy Sunday! It’s been a few weeks since my last Salon. Actually, I’ve become quite busy lately. I am too tired and fatigued to read on the weekdays, and I must run errands or have social engagements on the weekends. I have managed to read at least one book per week, but just barely.
Today, I am reading Marsha Altman’s P&P sequel The Darcys & the Bingleys. I really should be reading my Classics Spin book Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I will start that, but I must consider the over two dozen books from the library. I bought a couple of cookbooks and a calligraphy book the other week too. I still have at least 30 books unsorted in the house that I got this summer.
Books are my addiction!
In fitness news, I ran a 4KM colour run two weeks ago and no running since. Once again, no time, but it was good. I hope to run more as the weather gets chillier. I am biking about 4 days of the week now. I don’t know if my endurance or legs muscles are better, I am definitely faster and more confident on the road. I’m surprisingly enjoying myself. I even bought some lights for my wheels so I can bike in the dusk.
In knitting news, there is no knitting news. Sigh.
Food news, I started my sourdough starter yesterday! I hope to make sourdough in a couple weeks time. Exciting.
What have you been doing this weekend?
This my second time I’m making a recipe from JoyofBaking, and I’ll make another recipe from the site today. I think it’s consistently delivered good results. This loaf is really good. The lemon glaze and the zest give the loaf its quality result. The hand mixer is in storage so I used my arms. That was not good overall. I also think you could use less butter than called for in the recipe. As usual, I reduced the sugar.
This cake is gooey, cinnamony, and chocolately. It could be eaten as a coffee cake for tea or snacks, but it could be a small birthday party cake as well. For people like my Dad who do not like chocolate, raisins could probably be used instead. It’s a little bit of work to separate the eggs and layer the cake, but I think it’s well worth it.
I made this gingerbread loaf last Christmas. It’s a great alternative to gingerbread cookies, but I did grow up with ginger, hard for me to hate. This recipe was given to me by a friend, and she’s been using it for years. I do not know where I got it, but it is delicious. The texture is a cross between bread and cake. It was soft, but not too moist. Nice firm and delicious exterior. We used the square pan instead of a loaf pan, and we had to take it earlier than described. Easy and good.