User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27957
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Playing with Sourdough

Stella and top_dollar_bread got me enthused about aerated compost tea again. For some reason, that led to remembering that I have THREE packets of sourdough starter starter (that's not a typo :wink: ) For some reason, I always want to make bread in winter time, but I can never do the sourdough because I don't have a gas oven (pilot light, warm location).

So two nights ago, I started the sourdough starter on top of the upstairs Verizon box, proofed the sourdough batter last night, and now, I'm going to bake me some sourdough French bread. :D The bowl of dough is resting right now outside in a brown bag to keep out the sun. :wink:

sweet thunder
Senior Member
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: Eureka, CA

Ooooh! I haven't been here much lately or I would've replied sooner. How'd your bread turn out?

You really needn't worry about a pilot light. Sourdough starter likes warm room temperature (72 degrees) but it'll do fine at cooler temperatures, too. It will grow a little more slowly and have a little more acidity, but still fine. You can help it along by feeding it with slightly warmer water and maybe bumping up your number of feedings per day (no more than three, though).

And once you've mixed the dough it'll taste even better if it gets a long, cool proof instead of a quick rise in warm temperatures.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27957
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Okay, sweet thunder, explain to me about "the number of feedings per day" :o
Also, I thought the temp had to be above 80ºF! It's good to know I don't have to go looking for warmer temp proofing area. :)

I divided the dough into two and let my DDs form the dough. The French breads turned out OK. We enjoyed them. But I think that it was a bit more dense than I hoped it would be.

I started another one a couple of days ago, but completely forgot and left the starter on top of the Verizon box for 2 days. :roll: I compensated by adding 1/2 C of flour and a dribble of molasses (don't know why, seemed like the right thing to do), then, being too eager to re-do the whole process, measured out the "proofed starter" according to a new recipe I found on-line with a bit of butter in it for "softer" interior. I left it to rise on the Verizon box, and then FORGOT it AGAIN! :oops: So 36 hours later, it was getting soupy and a bit of liquid was forming on the top. I simply added flour until it was a good bread dough consistency, formed it into a ball, and left it to rise just before we went to the pool for the day. Well, we stayed a little longer than I expected, and the dough looked like it might have peaked a already when we got home, but it was definitely 2X the original size, so I popped it in the oven. It smelled DELICIOUS! We all tried it, and DD10 and I love it, but DD7 brought back the last bite or two (and I know after initial tasting, she even tried eating hers with applebutter) that she doesn't really like this bread because it's TOO SOUR. :lol:

Based on the second recipe directions, I think one of my problems with the first one was overkneading. I was instructing the kids to wedge the dough like clay.... :oops:

sweet thunder
Senior Member
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: Eureka, CA

It sounds like you are mixing up a starter and then using the whole thing in one recipe. That's totally fine, and definitely easy if you only bake once in a while.
I assumed you were trying to keep a starter going and just use part of it each time you bake. It's a little more work, but eventually you get a yeast/bacteria culture that is very robust and reliable, as well as more flavorful, in my opinion.

Basically, you start the process by mixing equal parts flour and water and leaving it at room temperature. The yeast that is naturally present in the flour and the environment will multiply and populate your starter.

As it uses up the food supply you need to feed it more flour and water. In the beginning you feed it once a day, and after a few days, when it becomes a mature culture, you can increase the feedings if you want, up to three a day. How often you feed will affect the flavor and leavening power of your starter. The important thing is to be consistent.

To feed, you use equal parts flour, water, and starter, by weight. If all you're doing is maintaining it, you toss out all but a few ounces of starter and feed it the corresponding amounts of flour and water. If you plan to bake with it you can quickly build up the amount you will need for your recipe plus extra for keeping it going.

If you're interested in trying something like this, there are some great books out there. My favorites are Breads from the LaBrea Bakery by Nancy Silverton and Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman.

As for your bread, it sounds like it was a bit overly sour because the starter sat for a long time. In general, starters peak between 8 and 12 hours after their last feeding. Overkneading might not have been the issue if you weren't using a machine, since it's really difficult to overwork a dough by hand.

I'd be happy to chat more about this, but I don't want to bore anyone with the details if it's too much information!

tedln
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

It's not to much information for me. Please continue. I love real sour dough bread. My wife and I traveled to San Francisco often when we were younger and our first stop at my insistence was Fisherman's Wharf for some clam chowder and sour dough bread.

If we didn't return for a number of years, my mind could still relish the sour flavor of the bread and I could not find that flavor anywhere but fisherman's wharf.

We have returned a few times in recent years, but the flavor in my memory is gone from the bread on the wharf. Even the clam chowder tastes identical to Campbell's from the can.

I may try some of your methods to attempt to find that elusive flavor again.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27957
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

THANK YOU TED! :D I was just about to sit down with a bowl of clam chowder when I came across your response. Immediately got a slice of my SOURdough bread and dipped in. MMMM! You're right! They go together well. :wink:

Sweet Thunder -- Thank YOU -- not bored AT ALL! Please do impart to us any tips and suggestions you've time to post. I'm getting really into this now. 8)

Yesterday, I made some sourdough batter and used it to dredge green/pink tomatoes slices prior to dredging in seasoned flour for frying. MMM-mmm! Turned out great! Then I just added more flour, a drizzle of molasses, a couple of beaten eggs, some sugar, a touch of cinnamon, wetted it down with a bit of rice milk, and baking powder for extra fluff, and poured the resulting batter in the remaining oil from frying tomatoes. It turned into a sort of a cross between a giant pancake and a johnnycake, which I cut up and dredged in cinnamon/powdered sugar/nutmeg mixture. GREAT hit with the kids at snack time. DD10 declared it a cross between apple cake (didn't add any apples, but maybe the spices or a hint of tomato flavor coming through), cinnamon bun, pancakes, and doughnuts. Now if I can just remember what I did. :roll:

tedln
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

applestar,

Hmmm, I don't know many people who keep "a bit of rice milk" around for those inspired moments in the kitchen. I'm willing to bet some interesting dishes find their way from your kitchen to your table.

It must ony be a coincidence that I am watching "Memories of Julia Childs" on PBS at this moment.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27957
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Made 30 sourdough blueberry mini-muffins at snack time today. There is one left.... :() I have another round loaf of sourdough bread rising now 8) If it doesn't hurry up and rise, I'm going to have to leave it until morning... :roll:

sweet thunder
Senior Member
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: Eureka, CA

Have you tried refrigerating your dough while it rises? It makes the flavors much more complex and gives the loaf a great chewy crust.
It's also a nice way to give you some flexibility in your baking schedule.

Many bakers use something called a retarder, which is basically a slightly warmer version of a refrigerator, that retards, or slows, the process of fermentation. The fridge works fine, but the colder temperatures can sometimes slow the yeast down too much, so it helps to let it rise a while at room temperature first.

By the way, I love the idea of sourdough muffins! I often make sourdough pancakes, but I haven't tried muffins.

tedln
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

I love everything you folks have mentioned, but I am having difficulty wrapping my mind around sourdough pancakes. For me pancakes need to be slightly sweet and then enhanced with some maple syrup. The sourdough flavor in pancakes may be like deep fried dill pickles, it doesn't sound good; but it really is.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27957
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Mmm, Mmm, MMMM!!!! Just had some sourdough pancakes! They are YUMMY! Not really tasting the sourdough. Had them with Berry Syrup made from Strawberry/Blueberry/Blackberry mix that had gone a bit too soft to eat fresh. Also added a good Tbs (to 2C batter) of applemint infused honey in the batter. :D

I hadn't made this before and I'm realizing this is a great pancake recipe for me as I'm allergic to milk. Using the sourdough batter, I don't have to add milk but the sourdough can sub for the protein/enzymes as well as other nutrients unique to sourdough.

WinglessAngel
Green Thumb
Posts: 381
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:51 am
Location: NE Ohio

Could one of u message me the sourdough starter recipe? I've tried bunches and can't find the right one!! I love sourdough and can't hardely ever find good bread :( I lived in CA for a good number of years and always couldn' wait to get to San Fran for their's on Fisherman's Warf....I would greatly appreciate it...oh and try this with your thick sliced sourdough bread (toasted of course!)

Light dab of mayo
thick slices of fresh tomatos
chiffonade basil (lots of it the more the better)
sprinkle with oregano and salt and pepper

Great lunchtime sammie!!

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

If you look at the first message in this thread, you'll see the phrase, "I have THREE packets of sourdough starter."

Commercially available, packaged sourdough starter. The recipe is on the packaging.

If there is no "health" food store near you, with the small 1- and 2-lb bags of flour and envelopes of sourdough starter, check out the [url=https://www.kingarthurflour.com/]King Arthur[/url] people in New England. Started in 1791 and still going strong, their starter is. You can purchase it and the maintenance instructions. Caution: don't let it sit too long after purchase. I was deeply involved in caring for an ill dog when mine arrived earlier this year, and it went bad :( before I could work it up.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

WinglessAngel
Green Thumb
Posts: 381
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:51 am
Location: NE Ohio

ok thanks for the advice and i hope your puppy is ok now :)

tedln
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

winglessangel,

Like you, I loved the odor and taste of the sourdough bread and clam chowder at Fishermans Wharf. I would sometimes find myself in Napa Valley and need to make a side trip to the wharf for some bread and chowder. My wife and I were back a few years ago and I didn't smell the bread from a couple of blocks away the way I used to. When we got to the Wharf, I still couldn't smell the bread. I bought some and it tasted like store bought rolls. I asked one of the sidewalk vendors what happened to the bread and was told they started purchasing commercial sourdough rolls instead of making them from their saved starter. It's a shame because the San Francisco yeast strain in their starter was over one hundred years old and produced a pungent odor and taste I haven't found since. The clam chowder also tasted very similar to the chowder Campbell's Soup sells. It no longer has that fresh salt air or ocean taste it used to have.

Ted
Last edited by tedln on Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
I simply enjoy gardening!

WinglessAngel
Green Thumb
Posts: 381
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:51 am
Location: NE Ohio

awww that makes me sad....i enjoyed their bread immensely and that was a highlight of going down there was a sourdough bowl of chowder....i am truly shocked that they decided not to keep their starter going still....sign of the times i guess...thats horrible....and yes i knew it had been going for that long...unfortunate for sure!

Return to “Canning - Preserving - Recipes”