Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sourdough: 1, Kella: 0

Well, the results for my first loaf of sourdough are not in the basket. Nope, that lovely picture is Smaku's work for Good Eats. I want to make sure I give Creative Commons' users credit where credit is definitely due. I'm using Smaku's image to help you imagine what I was gunning for but did not achieve: crusty, yummy sourdough bread.

The starter I made on Friday and baked tonight did excellent through all fermentation and enrichment steps except the baking part, or so I thought. Perhaps I could have better cultivated the wild-yeast gathering for the starter, which is, I think, the trickiest step in the process. Dave seems to think that I didn't let the sourdough starter ferment enough, which is also entirely possible. There were some issues with the starter separating into liquid and dough early on, so I think I should add more flour in the beginning of the process.

While my loaf doesn't look pretty or as poofy as I would like to see, it did rise somewhat, which means I did collect yeast from somewhere off my porch. The tail ends of the loaf taste tangy and the texture is chewy and shows the requisite air pockets that indicate the presence of yeast.

However, the good news stopped once I cut into the loaf from the middle. A giant air pocket formed a cavernous tunnel much like the picture here. I think I didn't proof and shape the bread well enough, especially the latter. While I let the dough raise for 5 hours and then rest for another 2 hours, something went wildly wrong. I used bread flour, only glass containers, and filtered water, but my sourdough saga make me feel like General Douglas MacArthur: "I shall return."

All I know is that the Egyptians have been making starter breads like the one I made this week since 2500 BC, so I need to cut myself a little bit of slack and try again.

For those of you who are uber adventurous, the recipe I used came from a back issue of the now defunct magazine, Craft. As soon as I find a suitable recipe, I'll share. Till then, I'm sure you'll wait with "bated breath."

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