Sourdough Bread

sour-dough-1So I made some sourdough bread. I created my starter sometime in August, when it was actually warm, and have miraculously not killed it yet, even after being on vacation for 16 days and forgetting about it completely for at least 2 weeks in fridge. I have 2 starters now, one at 100% hydration, and one at 50% hydration. Watch me be all baking-geeky now. I used Susan’s recipe for her favorite Norwich Sourdough. I took the suggestion of the recipe the original time to let the second fermentation after the shaping take place in the fridge, which yielded a very sour bread with a splendidly crunchy crust, just the way it should be. I’m tempted to shape these into small boules next time to fill with some fondue or clam chowder. I actually made some more of the same just yesterday, half of which I took out too early. No biggie, though, as it’s cut and getting stale now, and will soon be cut up even smaller and dried even more,then will be made into the dressing we’ll be eating with our Thanksgiving dinner. The batch I made this weekend was mucked up by me (I didn’t allow the dough to rise for 1.5H before putting them into the fridge, which I totally blame on the other 2 batches of dough I was focusing on), so I allowed the dough to ferment for about 2.5 hours outside of the fridge before chucking them in the oven. This batch isn’t as sour as the first, and I had weird issues with the tension of the shape, but otherwise the crumb and crust are good.

sour-dough-2I’m getting much more into baking and just this last weekend made some 100% whole wheat bread (doorstop, but tasty anyhow), Pane al Cioccolato, and the aforementioned sourdough. I think my stash of baker’s yeast is dead, if not nearly so, as I didn’t get hardly any rise out of the biga for the WW bread, nor did the dough itself get very large. I’ve been not using a whole lot of it, since I’ve been using a lot more natural yeast, so I think I’ll try it again sometime with a whole wheat starter instead of the instant yeast, and we’ll see how that works.

The Pane al Cioccolato was an attempt to recreate the Chocolate Panini bread made by the Pearl Bakery, which I am in love with, but would much rather have on my terms. The proportions given by Jude are really close to the panini, so I’ll be working with it more to create a more appropriate bread – something a bit airier, but with less vanilla and more of the nutty chocolate flavor. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

And that’s all for now. I haven’t been taking photos of anything, since my iPhone already has had flour, egg, and other miscellany spilled on it, and it would be much more expensive to replace my Canon. I’ll likely have the boyfriend take photos of the Thanksgiving turkey and the like – I’m still debating on whether to slow-roast (tested and certified, this is a guaranteed Perfectly Juicy and Tasty Bird) or to deep-fry (which I’ve only done with a chicken and wasn’t all that impressed). Until this weekend…