The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

  • Pin It
Floydm's picture
Floydm

I've been feeding my starter every 12 hours since Thursday evening. It isn't too lively: I'm getting some growth and bubbles, but nothing close to doubling in size.

I went ahead and fed it again this evening. I put it in the oven with just the light bulb on, which keeps it around 80 degrees. We'll see if a slightly warmer environment stimulates it enough that I can bake with it tomorrow. If not, I may cheat and make a sourdough that is spiked with half a teaspoon of yeast, since it *smells* like sourdough. I'd like to get a chance to taste it.

I went ahead and made a poolish tonight too, so at the very least I could make a decent loaf of French bread tomorrow.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I tried baking with my starter yesterday but blew it. I left the dough too slack, so it ended up a puddle. I expected it to tighten up as it developed, but it did not significantly. Oh well, I'll try again in a few days!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Today the starter is looking real good.

sourdough starter

It doubled in size overnight.

sourdough starter

I'll probably try baking with it tomorrow.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I made pizzas last night using the Neapolitan Denominazione de Origine Controllata crust from American Pie. It is basically the same as the Neo-Neapolitan dough except it totally omits sugar and fats. I meant to make the pizzas the day before but didn't have time, so I just punched the dough down and left it in the fridge a second day.

I made a couple of small ones for the kids. I guess I didn't dress them w/ enough cheese and sauce, because they totally poofed up and ended up looking more like pizza bagels than pizzas.

kids pizza

I don't know if you can tell here, but they ended up being about 2 inches tall.

Our pizza came out more normal, with a thick, poofy crown and thin crust in the middle.

our pizza

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I'm still feeding my starter. Pretty amazing separation:

hooch?

But there is still activity.

hooch?

I'm not sure if that is hooch (an alcoholic by-product of fermentation) on top or if it is just water that separated out because it was so thin. I thought about tasting it, but then figured that might not be such a good idea.

I fed it again today, this time a bit more flour and a bit less water to try to stiffen it up some. It appears to be working, and I'm not seeing any fluid on top.

My hope is to be able to bake with it for the first time Sunday. It smells good, like sourdough already.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

There are signs of life in my new starter.

sourdough starter, day 3

I fed it more whole wheat flour and water again today.

On that note, I saw a professional baking blog post that irked me yesterday. Basically, when faced with a simple question about starters by an enthusiast new baker, Rose punts and says "it is too hard to explain to you. Go buy from a professional."

That is a load of crap, and that is a ridiculous response in what is supposed to be a baking advice column. I won't go so far as to say that making a starter is easy, but it isn't impossible, and it certainly isn't an impossible process to describe: I've done it, Sourdolady has done it, and Carltonb has done it. An idiot like me can do it; why can't she?!? Besides, if you screw up and have to throw it away, what are you out? About 75 cents worth of flour and a few minutes a day for 3 or 4 days.

Remind me not to buy her book if that is what her attitude toward amateur bakers is like.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I am trying to start another sourdough starter. I started it a couple of days ago.

I looked at SourdoLady's starter recipe but didn't have any pineapple juice in the house, so I began with 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup water, and a half a capful of apple cider vinegar. Day two (today) I added 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup rye flour.

I'm not seeing any signs of activity yet, but neither of the flours are particularly fresh so I may not have enough wild yeast in them to get started. I figure I'll give it one or two days of food and if I don't see any signs of life I'll dump it and try again.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Tonight we are baking cookies for Santa. Lebkuchen and Sour Cream Sugar Cookies, two recipes that "Santa" is particularly fond of. :)

Floydm's picture
Floydm

For my weekly batch of French bread, I tried autolyse again. This time I successfully combined it with a poolish.

My overnight sponge was 8 ounces bread flour, 8 ounces water, and 1/8 teaspoon of instant yeast. My autolyse the next day was 10 ounces of water and 8 ounces of flour. I let that soak for 20 minutes, then mixed in the poolish along with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 heaping teaspoon instant yeast. I then mixed it in the stand mixer, adding an additional 3 or 4 ounces of flour until I had a dough that was slack but more substantial than a batter.

Fermentation was 3 hours, with 2 folds an hour apart. I divided it in two for final shaping and used a lot of flour so that I could handle it without it sticking. It actually toughened up and shaped better than I had expected.

I let it rise 90 minutes while preheating my baking stone at my max oven temperature, 550. I used to not be impressed by the baking stone, but I've found that if you preheat it at max temperature for at least an hour you do get a significant increase in spring.

I threw them in the oven, added steam, and reduced heat to 475. I think they took about 20 to 25 minutes to bake: the hot stone also reduces baking time noticeable. Very good results, nice open crumb.

I'll try to bake this one again next weekend and post photos.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I'm back from Texas. Afraid I didn't find the time to go bakery hunting. The closest thing to an artisan bakery I found was the Au Bon Pain sandwich shop in the DFW airport.

I did get to try one of the cakes from Collin Street Bakery, their pecan apricot cake. I'm not a fruit cake fan, but I have to admit it was darn good.

Glad to see that folks were able to help each other out here while I was out.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Floydm's blog