Sunday, December 9, 2018

Outdoor Patio and Third Loaf of Sourdough Bread

We changed up a few things this time. First, we fed the starter with some Dark Rye Flour on Friday, before we started the new weekly bread ritual on Saturday morning. Not only did it make the starter start to smell more sour, but the fermentation was also really happy about this change. It bubbled over after both feedings, and made a huge mess of the baking pan it was sitting in. (Thank goodness for the hubby's forethought to set it on a pan, so the explosion didn't destroy the floor of our oven).

We made sure not to overwork the dough again, and regulated the temperature a little better this time, too. Unfortunately, our timing was a little off today, as we were also working on the back patio, and we think we left it out of the fridge too long before we baked it... But other than that, I'm not quite sure how to describe what it is that we're missing. It's probably just a matter of more practice and eventual expertise, so we'll hopefully just get there naturally.

Notes for this week:

  1. We think we should try a loaf of Raley's sourdough in comparison to ours to see if we can pinpoint what we think we're missing.
  2. Just keep practicing...

In addition to our third loaf of sourdough this weekend, we also set up some new lighting and heating features in our back patio area. Excited to now have an outdoor area that's usable year-round. One of the amazing advantages of living less than 2 miles from the Santa Cruz beach.  <3

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Sourdough Bread: Second Loaf

This week, our Starter looked much more healthy than it did last week. It was bubbling and growing the night before we made our dough, and had a much better smell to it. That was the first big improvement.

Because our loaf was a little under-proofed last week, we ended up over-compensating the opposite way. We kept the dough in too warm of a place for too long, and it ended up over-proofing this week. It rose beautifully every time we let it rest, and we were thinking that these were all very good signs. In the end, we learned that when the dough rises like that, it's easy to deflate it and it still comes out "not quite right."

Something else we felt we were missing in both loaves was a more sour flavor. So next week, we're going to try some different kinds of flour, to see if we can get the flavor profile closer to correct.

Notes for this week:
1. Keeping the loaf at room temperature is important, instead of too warm or too cold.
2. Round proofing basket made the loaf maybe more uniform, but it wasn't noticeable.
3. Dark Rye or Wheat Flour should make the bread more sour tasting.
4. White Rice Flour on the surfaces was a much better choice, as it doesn't stick so much.
5. Bake time took about the same 35 minutes as last week.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Sourdough Starter and Bread: First Attempt

Voila! Our first loaf of bread, fully made from scratch. We've even made our own sourdough starter. There is still so much to learn about getting this just perfect... But having the first loaf come out of the oven, tasting good, was a big enough victory for today.

The goal from here is to start on a baking journey, similar to the cooking resolution I had in 2015. Try to bake something every weekend to keep the starter alive and well, and learn all about the intricacies of making a truly great dough for pizza, sourdough bread, english muffins, etc.

Notes about today's loaf:
1. Bake time only took 35 minutes in our oven, not the full 45 minutes.
2. The crust is great, although the level of flour is too much on the surfaces.
3. The inside is soft, but very dense. Possible we over-worked the dough.
4. Starter may have been slightly too "young" to fully activate the yeast.
5. Color was not what we expected. Not sure if it's right or wrong though.
6. Next time, we want to try a round loaf instead of the oblong shape.
7. Would be interesting to try a seasoning or a different salt for more flavor.