Inaugural Trial For General Chaos Starter
COMMENTARY: Well I bit the bullet on Day 10 and decided that doubling or no, I would use the leftover starter from General Chaos' morning feeding or die trying! I also had been having a serious case of Sourdough Envy due mainly from Tattoed Tonkas conquest of the Apple Bacon Onion Sourdough Bread and also Katie's very successful sourdough accomplishments. Unfortunately, I must apologize in advance because I find myself, when in the midst of baking, to revert back to less than stellar habits - mainly the "fly by the seat of your pants" throw in a handful of that, a pinch of this, an eye of newt, a slap in the a88...you probably get the picture? It's really a whirl wind of concocting inspired no doubt by long hours hiding in the bathroom as a little girl playing "chemistry" in the medicine chest and making "cakes" made of shampoo, old spice and shaving foam. :D Hell with a family of five the bathroom was the only semi-guaranteed place of privacy since it had a lock on the door. But I digress!
It all started happily enough with my decisicion to use the remaining starter from General Chaos' morning feeding. He'd risen by 75% and I thought, "That's close enough for government work! So I had just a smidge under 8oz (1cup by weight) of starter and using Mike Avery's general rule for starters that 1 cup is approximately equal to a package of yeast I opted to use the fairly large amount of starter for the recipe because I doubted GC's rising "oomph". I determined to use Bill's Sourdough Pagnotta recipe since it has a good all around moist crumb and nice crust and also has a good starter process laid out. So I ask in retrospect? Why couldn't I just follow the dagburn recipe as written? Dunno. I guess it started to go wrong from the beginning because I chose to add double the amount of starter it called for but didn't want to subtract out the amount of flour and water from the remaining flour and water ingredients, fearing there would be too little dough. The plan was to cut off a couple of hunks of the fermented dough and use them for pizza for dinner and the other portion for a large loaf of Tattoed Tonka's Apple-Bacon Onion Sourdough.
So I took Bill's recipe, doubled the starter and added the other ingredients to it. (I will write down the recipe "as I remember it" haha!). I did combine the starter, flour and water but left the salt out at that point and let it sit for 2 hours. I had only stirred enough to combine but not enough to begin gluten development. It was very lumpy and dry. So I added maybe an additional 1/2 cup of water. Don't know why I did that. I think it's cuz I'm used to seeing and working with a wet dough. Then I started doubting myself. I didn't know if I was supposed to let it sit undisturbed for 8 hours or if I was supposed to let it sit but start developing the dough. Remember I'm making this all by hand and I prefer the stretch and fold instead of the old kneading technique. So it sat and I folded and stretched and I could really feel and see the dough starting to develop structure even though it was still very wet. I combined, by folding in, the apple bacon onion mixture and let it sit again but obviously not long enough, judging by the pictures. Maybe that is my biggest error - and I think this is where I make most of my mistakes...my impatience at the end gets to me and instead of allowing it to fully proof, I rush this stage and underproof prior to baking. There was no oven spring to speak of. The bread is incredibly dense and the whole structure virtually non-existent especially toward the bottom.
So what did I learn from this? I learned that I'm too new of a baker to fly by the seat of my pants. I MUST FOLLOW A RECIPE! I learned that time is my friend. I learned that it prolly isn't in my best interest to plan on making and baking sodo the same day. I think it's a 1-1/2 to 2 day process. I learned I must learn more about sourdough methods and process from people who really "know". I learned that even though GC isn't doubling like it should, he still bubbled and danced and made the bread rise through the fermentation process. He was really quite happy! I learned that sourdough bread fermentation will NEVER SMELL LIKE A POOLISH WITH YEAST! If I want that lovely yeasty smell then I need to use a yeasted poolish or create an air spray flavored with that essence! ;) Not happenin' but a very good idea for someone!
Ok so here are some piccys and I will follow with the recipe! I just made Brain aka my hubby breakfast. He made the coffee. And I made Apple Bacon Onion Cheese Toast with Sharp Cheddar.
Apple-Bacon-Onion Sourdough Pagnotta
Apple-Bacon-Onion Sourdough Pagnotta Cut
Apple-Bacon-Onion Sourdough Pagnotta Cheese Toast
BLUE ZEBRA'S APPLE-BACON-ONION SOURDOUGH PAGNOTTA BREAD
(As derived from Bill Wraith's Sourdough Pagnotta Bread Recipe & Tattoed Tonka's Apple-Bacon-Onion Sourdough Bread Recipe)
Disclaimer: The actual measurements in this recipe have been changed to protect the innocent. Although they appear credible please do not confuse them with their actual accurate conterparts. For instance a 1/4 cup of brown sugar is masquerading because he is too embarrassed to say a couple of loose handfuls from a medium sized hand). Please do not anticipate accurately reproducing this recipe from one instance to another or across continents. It won't work. You can NEVER make it just like a Blue Zebra! Bwahahahahahahaha! The madness must continue!)
For Bread Dough:
228 g Starter [Roughly 8 oz of Starter (My starter is at a 1:2:2 ratio and is made up of 2oz starter: 4oz AP flour: 4oz filtered water)]
100 g WW Flour
700 g AP Flour
650 g Filtered Water
114 g Filtered Water * (Additional to original recipe added by Blue Zebra)
1-1/4 Tbsp Salt (Iodized salt)
2.25 oz Dried Apples (1/2 of a 4.5 oz package of Walmart Store Brand Dried Apples)
1/4 lb of Bacon (Salt Cured)
1 Yellow Onion (Purple onion is preferred by it's hard to get good help these days)
Bacon Grease (for cooking about 1/4 cup more or less, probably more...can you ever really have too much bacon grease?)
3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Reduction Syrup from Cooked Onions
1/4 c Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter - Cold
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt (or so)
1/2 tsp Black Pepper (or so)
1. Combine starter with flour and water and mix to incorporate until all ingredients are wet but lumps will still remain. Cover with plastic wrap or a plate and let rest.
2. Rest for 2 hours in an incubator (I used my oven turned off with the light on and cup of hot water sitting next to it. Temp was around 80-82 degrees).
3. Remove dough from incubator and fold dough in the pan. This is a step I do in place of beating the crap out of it with a spoon or dough whisk. I use a broad sweeping folding motion from the bottom of the bowl and raise a large section up out of the pan stretching it as much as possible without tearing the bread. When I meet absolute resistance I let the dough come back to rest in the center of the pan. After each stretch I rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat the process making sure to scrape down any extra dough off the sides of the pan so that I have one sticky mass of gelatinous dough. The dough is VERY WET right now. Repeat this folding 8 times or 2 complete bowl revolutions. Cover and return to incubator.
4. Rest1 for 1 hour in incubator.
5. Repeat step 3 with the folding in the pan. By this time, there is substantial gluten development. I added the salt at this point and foled it into the dough during the FF. The dough actually holds a tiny bit of shape and is a "dough mound" in the center of the bowl. The appearance of the dough when I first take it out of the incubator is bubbly and it appears to be rising. I am careful during the stretch and folds in the bowl to not "punch the dough down". I want to encourage the dough to continue to rise and bubble. Cover and return to incubator.
6. Rest2 for 1 hour in incubator.
7. Turn1 dough out onto floured counter. I used quite a liberal amount of flour on the counter because the dough was so wet. Using the Mike Avery stretch and fold technique I gave the dough 2 complete episodes of French Folds. That is: I stretch the dough out and folded in thirds one direction then folded in thirds a second direction. I repeated this process twice. Return the dough to the bowl and cover and return to incubator.
8. Rest3 for 1 hour in incubator. (Make sure to maintain approx 80 degree environment).
9 Turn2 dough out and make 1 complete revolution of FF (French Folds). That is: I stretch the dough out and folded in thirds one direction then folded in thirds the second direction. Return the dough to the bowl and cover and return to incubator.
10. Rest4 for 1 hour in incubator.
10.5 Make filling and allow to cool completely:
10.5a Cut bacon into 1" pieces and saute in pan until just starting to crisp but remaining a little pliable.
10.5b Saute roughly cut onions (you want them very large) in bacon grease til translucent but still retaining body.
10.5c Remove onions and any grease from pan using a spatula.
10.5d Deglaze pan with about 1/4 cup of water (I would use apple cider here if you have it. I obviously did not have it.
10.5e Reduce liquid to a syrup (roughly between 1 and 2 tbsp) by cooking on high heat and scraping all browned bits off the bottom.
Note: Syrup will be a very dark caramel color and will smell like onion soup.
10.5f Add dried apples and onions to the syrup.
10.5g Add a little more bacon grease to loosen the mixture up.
10.5h Add apple cider vinegar.
10.5i Add salt, pepper and cinnamon.
10.5j Add brown sugar.
10.5k Saute together using a spatula and cooking over high heat. The apples will start to rehydrate and the smell will be dark and delicious. You will see the liquid thicken and start to reduce. Reduce and concentrate over med to high heat. You want to be careful not to scorch so you may need to move the pan on and off the heat (that is why I always cook on high. I would rather control my temp by moving on and off the burner than for waiting for a cooking element to cool or heat up.).
10.5l Once the mixture is thick and bubbly, turn off heat and remove pan to a cool part of the stove.
10.5m Add 1 tbsp of cold butter to the mixture in the pan and shake to incorporate butter into the sauce. It should bind and help thicken the sauce.
10.5n Set filling aside and allow to cool to room temperature. Continue with your bread making as in step 11.
11. Turn3 - Repeat FF in step 9 as instructed.
12. Rest5 for 1 hour in incubator. (Make sure to maintain approx 80 degree environment)
13. Turn4 - Repeat FF in step 9 as instructed.
14. Cut dough into sections each section to it's own bowl. Cover and return to incubator.
15. Rest6 for 30 minutes in incubator.
16. Remove dough from pan and stretch out dough until about 1" thick. Add filling mixture as you would if making cinnamon rolls. Spread it over entire surface of dough and include adding the syrupy liquid. Work quickly and fold dough into 3rd with a FF then fold in 3rds again in the opposite direction.
17. Place folded dough into a banneton to rise or else put it into a pan for rising. You will want to bake this dough in a pan to avoid making a mess on your stone. I don't have a banneton so I use a piece of parchment paper inside a stainless steel bowl and let it rise. That way I place the dough seam side down and let it rise then pick up the parchment and transfer it directly into my baking pan or stone. Cover rising bowl with a dishtowel and place in a warm area of your kitchen.
18. Preheat your oven to 550 degrees. Place 10-1/2" cast iron chicken fryer pan into the preheating oven and preheat pan at the same time.
19. Check your dough. Dough should be rising. Pull up and stretch dough around any areas where the fillings are either escaping or weeping. Re-cover the dough and continue to let rise. (This is the step I rushed. I should have let the dough double ... however long that takes but I figured I would still be there all night and it was about 11:30 by that time so I opted for cooking the little bastage and letting the chips fly where they may!)
20. Transfer dough and parchment to the hot frying pan. Be careful! Remember things that come out of the oven are hot! Do NOT try to pick this pan up with your bare hand or you will be VERY VERY sorry you did! The dough starts cooking immediately on the bottom.
21. Place pan in oven, reduce heat to 450 and cook until the bread is done. Or thermometer registers about 210 degrees. That took about 45-50 minutes.
22. Remove parchment and bread from pan to a wrack and let cool overnight. Don't cut into it until it cools.
23. Photograph, cut, photograph, top with your addiction of choice, photograph.
Notes and Impressions: The smell of this bread is delicious. Very sweetly cinnamonny apply with a tiny sour note. The taste of the bread has a sweet forward note with a hint of cinnamon apple. The finish (or back of the mouth) note however was overly sour so it dominated the sweeter and more delicate notes of the brown sugar-cinnamon and apple. That sourness is likened to commercial sliced raisin bread that you get. My opinion is that it was too sour. This continued to be the case when we ate it as cheese toast using sharp cheddar. My hubby gave it an 8 but then I think that's because he loves me. I gave it about a 7...maybe.
Things I could do to change it?
1. I would let it fully develop so it wasn't quite as dense.
2. I would reduce the amount of starter and contemplate using a bit of yeast as a boost.
3. I would increase the amount of sugar by adding sugar to the fermenting dough as well as increasing the sugar in the fillings slightly.
4. I would increase the amount of the apples.
5. Substitute lardons for the bacon slices. They got lost in the bread. Add more of it too.
6. Add more onion and cook with more bacon grease.
7. Add a tiny bit more cinnamon.