Saturday, January 28, 2017

sourdough bread

The starter was already shown a few days ago, nothing collected, just wheat flour straight from the bag with enough water to make a slurry. It bubbled overnight and that is unusual. It's always taken a few days.

But then the growing the culture did not go smoothly nor quickly. Such a fast start and long cultivation compared to its beginning. Eventually I took the advice proffered back there, by chickelit, I think, when I showed it start out, and added the heat of 100W lightbulb for three days. Even then the bubbles developed slowly to foam.

The culture changes the wheat, it actually consumes it. The culture tends to break down the gluten connections. The dough feels weird, a bit like clay, so it does not form a smooth skin that holds tightly and stretches, instead it simply breaks. Finally, it bakes with thick crust and I do not really appreciate that as do most sourdough aficionados. Even though the sourdough flavor concentrates in the crust, for me, it's too tough and too crunchy for sandwiches. Children would not like this bread. It takes some serious chewing.

It's one saving grace is it's impressively delicious. It is unlike anything you can buy. Bakers do not take this much time with their dough. This imparts a lingering sourdough flavor. You have to brush your teeth to get rid of it.

It was not cold fermented because the sponge took so long to develop to foam and that amounted to days of aging. Scant fresh water was added and only enough additional fresh flour to turn bubbling sponge into fairly wet dough. The fresh flour did develop good gluten protein connections but that was largely consumed and broken in the final proof. If I had dropped a grape into the starter, or a mushroom, it would disappear within an hour, that's how fierce the culture is.

I did reserve a cup of starter contrary to my original intention. Force of habit, I suppose.

The culture actually foamed more than this, I stirred it to see how quickly or slowly it would re-foam.

Scant 1/4 cup additional water and sufficient flour to form a wet dough. It was kneaded and stretched thoroughly to develop the new flour's gluten connections. The old flour is too chewed up to be much use for a sturdy gluten network.

See? even here it breaks instead of stretching as normal dough would do. 

Baked in a cloche preheated to high as the oven goes for 25 minutes, and 5 more minutes with the lid off.

The moment these simple sandwiches are done I'm ready to make two more. This bread is seriously addictive. My mouth still tingles with acidic coating, each swallow of saliva carries aggressive sourdough flavor. I forgot how fantastic this is. There is nothing like this commercially. Nothing. 

And I go to myself, I go, you know what, Chip? I'm living history. This is the bread of our ancestors. They would not recognize our mass produced sliced bread. The tradeoff our civilization made for convenience was a serious loss for us all. I mean that. And now we assume that version of bread is the real thing, when it's not. Making bread is not that big a deal yet for some reason we make it out to be. Most of the time devoted is for proofing, just sitting there, and not hands on involvement and it's not complex either. It just takes a bit of technique and patience.


ricpic said...

Chip's Breads would be the leading niche bakery in Denver in a matter of months -- guaranteed.

XRay said...

I'd be happy if he would just ship to the reader's here... but you're right.

XRay said...

Upon further reflection...

"You have to brush your teeth to get rid of it."

That's the flavor I want, when it's a good one of course.

I baked only a couple of loaves while living in SF, eons ago. Gave it up for different interests.

You're forcing me to start again. Real bread. Tucson bread.

Ha. I like it.

Synova said...

I'm still working on it. :) And I tried to start up my collected yeast again, with slightly altered expectations. Part of what alarmed me about the first attempt was the way that the dough wasn't elastic the way I thought it should be.

I'm getting good at making a regular french loaf with yeast packets. I think I'm so afraid of over-cooking that I under-cook them, though.

And I must be a check-it-outer because I checked out Sourdough International and got the book and a yeast culture or two. It's horrible to try to choose when you don't know what you're looking for and what the heck is spelt?

So now I'm waiting anxiously for my package to arrive. The anticipation is sort of fun. I may become addicted to ordering stuff so I can get packages.