A few weeks ago, I gave up on the starter I'd been tending and using for over a year, and made a new one from scratch. Instead of trying to nurse my old starter back to health, I reminded myself that despite the considerable mystique attached to it, it's really not that hard to get a starter going - particularly a wheat one - assuming a sufficient degree of attention and patience. I finally got it going and I've been baking with it for around 2 weeks. I have not been disappointed, as I think I had just got used to an underperforming starter and had forgotten how a healthy starter behaves.
At the same time I've been trying to shed same old same old practices and develop a formula that everyone in the family liked, that was repeatable, and relatively easy, so I could use it as daily bread. I borrowed from this and that and here and there, and thank gods (I've been watching Battlestar Galactica) I think I've got it.
The formula has a bit of spelt, a bit of rye, and the rest wheat. I used wheatgerm and malt powder (Thank you Lumos) which seem to have a good effect but I'm not sure which does which. The resulting bread bridges the difficult gap between light and substantial, has a light crispy crust, keeps for a few days (assuming it doesn't get eaten first) has a mild balanced flavor and isn't too holey for sandwiches. I've made it a couple times, and it seems to be repeatable.
But now, my biggest problem - how to keep from fiddling this to death. I think the best way to do it is to name it but Sourdough with Spelt and Rye just seems boring. Ergo Lexington Sourdough which is pretty boring as well. Any tips on how to name breads?
And now it's time to switch focus to biscuits, cornbread and pie. Thanksgiving is nigh!
Take ripe sourdough - around 70% hydration - from refrigerator (should be domed and pitted) and feed as above to 100% hydration. Ferment on counter (around 69degF) for around 7 hours until very active and bubbly.
Mix flour and water by hand and autolyse for 30 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix in stand mixer for 5 minutes starting at low speed and working up to highest speed. Dough should adhere into a smooth mass during the mix. Stretch and fold on counter twice during 2.5 hour bulk ferment. Cut and preshape into two rounds. Rest for 20 minutes. Shape into batards and place in couche seam side up. Refrigerate for 10-15 hours. Place on counter and proof for 1.5 hours until dough starts to soften. Bake at 450F for 20 minutes with steam, 20 minutes without.