Stove Top Sourdough Bread
I'm a newbie to this site, but not a newbie to baking. I recently moved to an Alaskan "Homestead" and am cooking on a wood stove (no oven...)I have a sourdough starter that is about 15 years old. It has always made great pancakes, but I have never had success with biscuits or bread. They are always dense and do not rise well. They get tough skins on them before they rise much at all. This happened even in my suburban homes. Yesterday I made a batch of sourdough "soda" bread from Ruth Allman's Book: Alaska Sourdough. It called for 4 cups starter, etc. and 8-10 cups of flour. I could barely knead in 4 1/2 cups flour. The dough was a nice texture when I got done kneading, but it never rose. I slit the tops and "baked" it on the wood stove anyway. (I put the pans on trivits on the cook surface and cover them loosely with foil. Then I just keep the fire stoked.) There was some expanding during cooking, but the bread was heavy and pasty when I cut it open.
So, I followed the recipe (other than not adding as much flour). Any ideas on how I can improve the rising? Anyone else cooking on stove tops? I've had good luck in a cast iron pot with a regular soda bread -no sourdough- but my husband loves!! sourdough and I'd really like to make a good loaf.