The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ronnie g's blog

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ronnie g

Or was it 2 cups of starter, 1 cup filtered water and 1 cup of unbleached white bread flour?  I can't even remember.  That's why I've decided to make use of this blog; keep a track of everything I'm doing.  I left it to ferment overnight and in the morning it was frothy and spongy, but it didn't seem to have grown at all.  Is it supposed to?

Oh well, nothing like wandering around in the dark for some excitement!  I decided to go ahead and make bread with it.  I added the whole lot of sponge (about 3 1/4 cups) to my mixing bowl and added also two cups of white bread flour and two cups of wholemeal flour.  The dough was tacky but not sticky.  I kneaded it, rested, kneaded, rested a few times until it was nice and smooth and stretchy.  I put it in a nice cosy steam bath to rise (maybe too cosy?) which it did to easily double in three hours.

I tipped it out, divided it into two pieces, had absolutely no idea how to shape into boules, so just kneaded lightly into balls and placed onto a tray.  I put these back into the steam bath thinking that seeing as it had done so well the first time, it would be okay the second time.  I checked it in only thirty minutes, and it had taken off.  The tops had cracked wide open and they looked pretty ugly!  

(Oh here's another blunder I made and forgot to mention earlier.  I didn't add the salt in to the initial dough mix, but added it while I was kneading.  That probably didn't help did it?)

I looked closely.  It seemed wet (maybe from the steam bath?), not very stretchy and a bit flacid looking.  I decided I couldn't wreck it any more if I tried, so I kneaded it again and added some more flour until the stretch and vigour were back.  I mean.... what more could I do wrong?  Anyone reading this is probably laughing their heads off right now.

I didn't return the dough to the steam as it seemed warm enough, but I let it rise on it's own.  I forgot to time exactly how long that was as a friend and I were in my studio painting.  Woops!  Anyway, I thought it rose to about double, pre-heated the oven and chucked it in.  I put a cake tin with some ice cubes in the bottom of the oven and spritzed every ten minutes until it looked cooked; about 35 minutes.  There was no extra rise in the oven, the crumb consistency I describe as dense to heavy-cakey.  The taste is nice.  The crust is crunchy and shiny.  Some pluses, many minuses.


ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

A couple of weeks ago I started on my journey to make sourdough bread.  Having been a home bread maker for nearly twenty years on and off, I thought (wrongly)... easy!   I AM such a funny girl!  The first lot of starter got thrown out after three days (it was probably fine, but any bubbles it might have had completely disappeared after I added tap water instead of filtered.)  Anyway, a new lot was started.  Just 50 grams white unbleached bread flour and 50 grams filtered water.  Long story short.... after five days I achieved a starter that doubled in size after the feeding routine.  I took it to seven days to make sure I had it going properly and also to develop the sour taste more fully.  It seems pretty sour to me, but fresh smelling like green apples.  Early on it had smelled like ripe bananas!

I did the sponge thing, (just for one loaf), proved it the first time and it rose nicely in a cosy covered bath of warm water in the laundry sink.  BUT!!!  When I left it to rise the second time before baking, it barely rose and baked like a little brick.  I DID mention that I have baked bread for 20 years, so I DO know how to bake regular bread.  (All by hand too I must say until recently when my KA took over the first initial mixing stage - I know I've gotten lazy!  Hey!  I'm a granny now, leave off!

So I tried a different recipe, this time trying to adapt my usual bread recipe that is a 70/30 mix of white and wholegrain.  Again the rise was not substantial even during the first proof.  I used two cups of starter and added as much flour as it would take.  Not as much as my usual.  Maybe I have to play this thing by ear...  During the second rise, (in tins) it seemed to take hours... I know it is supposed to be much longer than commercial yeast, but it rose about 1 1/2 times and then didn't move.  I decided to bake.  It actually sank during baking.  I was doing some spraying with water to get that nice crispy shiny crust.  The bread is tasty, but built like a brick!!!  I want bread like is pictured on this site!!!

So, I've done the sponge overnight.  I used 2 cups starter, 1 cup water, 1 cup white unbleached flour.  That doesn't seem right straight away.  It was a little frothy and bubbly in the morning,,,, spongey. : )





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