Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sourdough Adventure

What you see is my first ever sourdough bread. It is whole wheat, retarded and wonderfully sour. My starter was only 5 days old when I used it for this loaf. I fed it once everyday and left it at room temperature with not so much as a cheesecloth to cover it with. Day by day, my wonders grew. The starter became pungent with a deep wheat-y smell, reminiscent of a fresh loaf of bread unadorned with fats, sugar, and flavoring.
Since it was my first time to make a sourdough loaf, my excitement overflowed with the cold rain splattering against my window--even though it could mean a very very slow rise. The recipe called for three quarter cups of starter, a little bit of yeast and baking soda. Much as I love baking bread, long gone were the times I made them using only a bread's basic ingredients : flour, salt, yeast, water. I have, most of the time, made them enriched and adorned.
The dough was tacky and malleably soft. I let it rise for about an hour at room temp before retarding it overnight in the fridge. Retarding doughs ensures a slow rise, giving time for the yeast to consume the starches and make the loaf taste its optimum. The next day, I let it rise once more and baked it at 375deg F for 20minutes, top and bottom heat.
The crust was a fine reddish brown even without any egg wash. This is due to the starter and the retarding effect that allows the sugar to be broken down from the starches--a Maillard reaction as it's properly called. It is more pleasing to the eye and the palate. A retarded dough would almost always ensure a nicely browned crust and not to mention a more flavorful crumb.

The scent from the oven was sour-y and wheat-y; The crumb was unbelievably soft, chewy and light; as if of a higher dimension, with an altogether new characteristics punctuated with an immensely sour flavor. It had been an amazing and humbling adventure how seemingly basic components create such a three dimensional experience-- as I've now again learned is true in baking as it is in life.

1 comment:

jagscupcakes said...


I love some of your creations...especially the sour dough bread, could you care to share the recipe? Including starter recipe?

Thanks a lot